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New Brand Spotlight: Artland

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With showrooms in New York City, Beijing, Xian, and Guangzhou, and even wider distribution, Artland enjoys a major presence in the worldwide tabletop and home fashions industries. Artland’s vibrant patterns, prints, and colors are a splashy alternative to standard glassware.

When you’re searching for colorful glassware, beautiful home décor, and entertaining pieces sure to spark conversation at your next gathering, look no further than Artland for quality, functionality, and artistry.

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Tips & Picks for Game Day Entertaining

As the dust from the playoffs start to settle, and the last two teams standing face each other for the big game, football fans across the country congregate to enjoy the competition, food, friends and of course, those awesome commercials!

If you’re planning on hosting a game day party to root for your favorite team (or just enjoy this last hurrah of the season if your team didn’t make the cut!), here are a few tips to get you prepared along with some of our top picks for football fun at home:

It’s all about atmosphere. Make your home more festive than any bar in town by incorporating team colors—napkins, paper plates, serving bowls, pennants, balloons… It IS a party after all! Try having a football ready to toss around between guests during halftime. It’ll get everyone in the touchdown spirit!

Snacks, snacks, and more snacks! Chips and dip are a great game-day go to. Since this IS the biggest game of the year, why not elevate your selection of dips by whipping up something special in a slow cooker? Mom’s chilli anyone?

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1.Mitchell & Ness NFL® hats, 2. Waechtersbach Fun Factory Serving Bowls (Set of 2), 3. Krups Beer Tender, 4. Spiegelau Beer Glasses (Set of 2), 5. DeLongi 5-Quart Stainless Steel Slow Cooker, 6. Highbury Whittier 3-Section Tray, 7. Waring Pro Buffet Server, 8. Wilson NFL Game Ball, 9. Bodum Picnic Charcoal Grill

Tailgate favorites are always a hit. An at-home football party calls for BBQ classics, wings and ribs! They keep hungry guests happy…even if their team is on the losing end. Set up a buffet-style table with a heated server, some colorful serving plates and some stick-to-your ribs recipes.  

Cheer on your team with a selection of beverages. Beer and soda are the obvious must-haves for football parties, but make sure you offer lots of cold water, too! If you really want to impress your guests, bring the bar home by serving a traditional foam-topped beer from your personal beer draught tap!

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Fresh Picks: Holiday Party Dresses

It’s the most wonderful time of the year…to party! In this season of what seems to be non-stop celebrations, a great party dress is definitely essential. Whether you opt for demure and ladylike or sparkly and vibrant, the right dress should definitely make an entrance.

Stylist’s Tip: Sequins, lace, pleats and mesh are all gorgeous details we love on party dresses. The problem is they tend to be very delicate, so great care must be taken in freshening them up. We love using the Rowenta Precision Valet Commercial Garment Steamer for de-wrinkling and even freshening up delicate dresses. It’s definitely a handy tool to have around! (A great bonus: You can use this handy tool all over the house, too—from your upholstery to drapes.)

 

We’ve picked out some of our favorite party dresses below. For even more pretty party frocks, check out our Dresses page!

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1. Jessica Simpson Sleeveless Sweetheart Lace Dress, 2. Maggy London Metallic Knit Tiered Dress, 3. Jessica Simpson Feather & Sequin Dress, 4. Max and Cleo Layla Pleated Shift Dress, 5. Max and Cleo Maddy Lace Dress, 6. Maggy London Sleeveless Beaded Mesh Party Dress

Mary Poppins Party Planning Ideas

Spit, Spot! Spit, Spot! Mary Poppins is such a classic, and would make for a wonderful birthday party as well. Watching the film, you can come up with all sorts of imaginative ideas to throw a party that Mary Poppins would be proud of.

Make your invitations in the shape of a teapot, a sugar cube, an umbrella with a parrot on the end, or a chimney sweep — or make a variety of these shapes — and send out with the party details on one side. You may want to write, “Come on over for some supercalifragicaliciousespialidocious FUN!”

For the decoration, make it bright with your child’s favorite colors with balloons and streamer. Place umbrellas all over the room too. Set a proper party table with a real tablecloth and china for a tea party. Play the music of Mary Poppins for added fun.

When the guests arrive say “Spit Spot” and clean up a messy playroom — just like Mary would advise!

If you would like everyone to be in costume, when the kids arrive, have hats, scarves, necklaces, bags, umbrellas, and small suit coats out for the kids to dress up as Mary Poppins.

In order to begin the party, sound off a large bell or make a canon noise, just like Admiral Bloom sets off canons that shake the Banks’ home.

Have the kids make hats like Mary Poppins. Using straw hats and provide plastic flowers and fruits for the kids to decorate their hats with and to wear throughout the party.

Let’s Go Fly a Kite by putting out construction paper that they can make kites from and decorate them with cutouts, markers, and string for the tail.

Have a “Spoonful of Sugar” Relay Race. Divide the group into two teams. Provide each with a spoon and sugar cube. The kids must race to the other end with a sugar cube on the spoon without losing it, and returning to the line and putting the cube on the next kid’s spoon without touching it. The first team done wins!

Play “Pin the Toppins on the Bird Lady.” Print out a large printable of the Bird Lady or draw a large bird lady sitting on steps, as well as a few gold toppins to play with.

Play “I love to laugh.” Write jokes and funny stories onto slips of paper, and have the kids take turns getting up and making one another laugh — just like in the movie. The kids are not supposed to laugh, of course, but if they do, have them stand up during that round.

Enjoy supercalifragicaliciousespialidocious cookie decorating. Have pre-made sugar cookies cut out into teapots and have the kids decorate with frosting and sprinkles.

Help Bert with his drawings. Place large pieces of butcher paper on a flat surface and give the kids chalk to draw all sorts of imaginary scenes to be hung in the party room.

Serve tea sandwiches cut out into teapot shapes, animal shapes, etc, fruit kebabs, an assortment of small pastries, vegetables with dip, and cake. Serve raspberry punch for the “tea.”

For the party favors, send them home with toppins (chocolate coins), their kites, chimney sweeps, fancy sugar cubes, and their straw hats.

Have a Poppin’ good time!

Tips for a Boy’s Birthday on Valentine’s Day

So, your son was born on Valentine’s Day! The first birthday was not a problem, as it was wonderful to celebrate with hearts and the color red to express your love. Now, as your son is growing up, Valentine’s Day feels more “girly” with heart-shaped candy, pink cards, lace, and frills. What to do as your son’s party lands each and every year on Valentine’s Day?

The good thing is, Valentine’s Day has not become as huge as, say, Halloween, where the holiday could easily overshadow your child’s party. Also, everyone will be doing activities specific to Valentine’s Day, so your son’s celebration will be a fun and unique birthday party.

Valentine’s Day often falls on a weekday, so if you are hosting a party, it most likely won’t be on the actual holiday. This will make it easier to plan a non-related theme for the party. On your child’s actual birthday, you may want to send a treat in to his class to celebrate. Be prepared, as there will be a lot of pink, white, and red baked Valentine’s goodies around the classroom. You may want to have a word with your son’s teacher to let him or her know you will be sending in a special treat for your son’s birthday that is not related to Valentine’s. This differentiates the treat from everything else, and the teacher can make a birthday announcement so a round of “Happy Birthday” can be sung as well.

Send in whatever you were planning on making, and don’t give a second thought to keeping it with a Valentine’s theme. By making something completely different, you will help keep his celebration separate from the holiday.

If you find your son’s birthday party day has fallen on Valentine’s Day, the same ideas apply. Go ahead and have your unique thematic party. The kids will have fun celebrating a birthday, and also have their own Valentine’s celebrations with their friends and family.

Gnomeo and Juliet Party Ideas

Gnomeo and Juliet, what a fun play on Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, is a new movie about to hit the big screen.  It’s all about Gnomeo and his sweetheart, Juliet.  As with the original story, these gnomes find that their love is destined for trouble given the neighboring feud between the red and blue hat gnomes.  Alas, this is a garden adventure of a lifetime for these gnomes.  What a fun movie for the kids and a fun party to spice up a typical garden party theme.  I always thought those gnomes would make darling characters and, no doubt, this movie is ready to take you for a ride.

1. Send out red hat and blue hat Gnome Invitations, inviting your party guests to have a Gnome Good Time! Use red and blue heavy card stock cut out into hat shapes with the party details on one side.  Have the birthday child decorate the gnome hats.

2. The colors are blue and red all over the party area, including balloons, streamers, and tableware.  Of course, this is the perfect party to host outdoors in your own gnome garden! Make sure to have gnomes decorating the garden area too.

3. When the children arrive, have red and blue felt hats set out for the kids to decorate and wear during the party.  Make sure there are equal numbers of blue and red hats so you can later the divide the kids into teams.

4. Play Hide and Seek the Gnome.  Simply hide your gnomes and give the kids a minute to find them.

5. Lawnmower Races.  Set out two child lawnmowers and divide the kids into two teams based on their hats.  Have the kids race their lawnmowers from one end and back again until all team members have completed a turn.  First team done wins!

6. Set up a series of Gnome obstacles for the kids to do in the yard.  Cartwheels, jumping jacks, jump rope, somersaults, etc. would all be fun and have the kids act like gnomes as they complete their obstacles.

7. Play Follow The Gnome, just like Follow the Leader.

8. Set up a Gnome Buffet for the kids to enjoy.  Fill white cones full of red and blue treats: berries with whipped cream, flavored popcorn, and blue and red nacho chips.  Red and blue flavored juices and punch would be a great choice for Gnome juice.  Finally, serve cupcakes frosted red and blue for a feuding gnome treat!

9. For your party favor, send them home with their Gnome hats and miniature gnome statues too.

10. Gnomeo and Juliet would make a great movie birthday outing with a few friends too.  I still suggest wearing gnome hats to the theater for added fun!

Have A Valentine's Day Slumber Party

For the pre-teen set, Valentine’s Day is the perfect opportunity to host a fun sleepover party, especially for girls. If you don’t mind staying up all night to bond, this is the perfect Valentine’s gathering for you!  Alternatively, if you have a young child that would also like to have a slumber party, but you may think she is too young, incorporate these ideas into a “faux” slumber party that takes place during the early evening and the kids can go home afterwards.

For a fabulously sweet slumber party, check out these ideas:

Given that you have the entire night (or even if it a faux slumber party) make Valentine’s Day decorations at your party. Purchase balloons, red and pink construction paper, glitter glue, markers, pipe cleaners, and cotton balls. Your guests can create valentines, blow up balloons, and make paper chains and cupids to decorate your home.

Play a game of Valentine Charades.

Make up a romantic story, or a fairytale story for young children. Provide writing supplies and have the kids write a number-one-best-selling romantic tale. Have everyone decide on the heroine’s name and then write it on a piece of paper. Fold the paper over and pass it to the first writer. She will think up the name for the hero. Continue to pass the paper along, and ask each guest to take on a different plot point, such as how the boy and girl meet, their first words, what happened next, what action happened to pull them apart, what heroic action took place to bring them together again, what their best friends think, etc. Make sure to have each guest fold the paper down after she has written her part. After the story is done, open the entire piece of paper and read it aloud!

Using boxes of conversation hearts, have the group make the longest sentence possible using the words on the candies.

Play your favorite music and dance! If you have a Karaoke machine or know someone who does, this would be a great time to use it.

Enjoy giving each other manicures, pedicures, and facials – make sure to use pink and red polish.

Have a pair of spiky high heels on hand, and have the kids set up an obstacle course that they must walk around and through with the high heels on.  Make sure this is supervised so no one gets hurt.

Play Musical Sleeping Bags, as you play Musical Chairs. The kid left outside of a sleeping bag is “out.”

Watch fun movies related to Valentine’s Day. Let the kids choose, as long as you agree as the host parent! Serve popcorn with a variety of toppings. Cinnamon and sugar would be yummy for this holiday.

Make mini heart-shaped pizzas for dinner. Have the kids cut readymade pizza dough into the shape of a heart, place their favorite toppings on it, and bake.

Enjoy a full evening of chocolate, with chocolate fondue, chocolate dipped pretzels, hot chocolate with whipped cream and chocolate shavings, and small boxes of chocolates.

In the morning, enjoy a batch of heart-shaped pancakes served with strawberry syrup and a cup of fruit on the side.

Send the guests home with pink and red lip-gloss, nail polish, hand soap, facial scrub, chocolates, and bubble bath placed into a small, red, personalized pail.

Through A Smurfs Party

How cool is it that the Smurfs Movie will hit the big screen later this year in a CGI/ live action version. Wouldn’t this make a fun party theme too? All of those Smurfs – all of that blue!  Think it would be fun?Read on for Smurf party ideas to bring these characters to life for your birthday child.

For your invitation, draw a Smurf handprint, paint it blue on both sides, and write your Smurf party details on one side.

For your party décor, this party has got to be about blue and you can vary different shades of blue to bring the theme alive, i.e. light blue, royal blue, blue, etc. Off set all of of the blue with white as a secondary color too.  Use blue and white for balloons, streamers, and tableware.

Additionally, mark a path to the front door with Smurf footprints and make Smurf paper handprints to place on the party walls.

When your party guests arrive, have a face painter to paint the kids’ faces blue.

As an opening craft activity, have the kids make Smurf hats that they can wear during the party and take home with them too.  The Smurf hats can be made out of white heavy card stock or felt.

Hand out cards with the various Smurf names on them and have the kids play Smurf Charades. Alternatively, call out a Smurf character name and have the kids mimic that Smurf.

Play Smurf, Smurf, Smurfette like Duck, Duck, Goose.

Hold a Smurf Treasure Hunt.  Hide blue candies around the party area and give the kids a few minutes to find them all.  Have them sing the Smurf song as they search too.

In the movie, the Smurfs find a hidden grotto that they drop into and wind up in Central Park in New York City – trying to stay away from Gargamel as they try to find their way back to their Village.  Have the kids jump through a large hula-hoop or into a large box to mimic their own fall through the grotto. From there tag someone to be Gargamel and play Gargamel Tag.

Create a menu any Smurf would love to eat!

Using a mushroom shaped cookie cutter and cut out Smurf sandwiches and fill with cream cheese and blueberry jam.

Serve a berry salad of blueberries and strawberries.

Blue tortilla chips with dips.

Serve Smurf Juice.  Using blue Kool Aid mix with Club Soda instead of regular water. Add ice cubes with berries frozen inside.

Make a favorite batch of cupcakes and have the kids frost and decorate their Smurf cupakes with blue frosting and blue and white candies.

As the kids depart, give them a blue tumbler with their names painted on them.  Fill with Smurf pencils, notebooks, stickers, and any other small thematic goodies.  Alternatively, give the kids a Smurf frame – a wooden frame painted blue.

Don’t forget to send them home with their Smurf hats too.

La, La, La, La, La, La!  Have a Smurfy good time!