Archive for March, 2013

A Mermaid Party

Wednesday, March 27th, 2013

In just a few months summer will be be in full swing, which means it’s time to start thinking about your daughter’s upcoming birthday party!  I always love a great party theme that gets the kids excited, as well as takes me back to my childhood while planning it!

Back in the day, my friends and I were always pretending that we were Ariel from The Little Mermaid each time we jumped into the pool.  If you were the lucky one who got to be Ariel that day, you’d jump out of the water and perch yourself on the edge of the pool singing “Part of Your World“.  I’m not sure if it was how pretty Ariel’s hair was, the fact that she had a talking crab as a best friend or that she got to married a handsome prince that we liked best…but we always wanted to be her!  Dinglehopper anyone?!

You can bring the magic from under the sea to life at your daughter’s birthday party, whether she’s turning two or seven.  A mermaid party is the trending theme for little girls, and it’s a fairly simple party to plan!  You can set the scene with a mermaid invitation or a pool party invitation if you’ll be hanging out in your back yard pool.  My favorite is this formal Seaside Invitation by Checkerboard, which is actually a stylish layered ensemble with a white top card and a lagoon bottom card, which is wrapped with a silver cord.  A tiny seashell motif subtly gives way to the beachy/tropical theme, which I just love.  The best part about this invitation is the seashell envelope liner, which acts as the perfect finishing touch for presenting your party theme.

Your mermaid party will give you so many possibilities for location, decoration and party treats.  If hosting your party at home, a twisted blue, teal or green streamer against a wall will help you create seaweed and ocean waves.  Colorful paper poms strung together from the ceiling easily look like floating sea creatures for an under the sea masterpiece.  Dress the party guests and the guest of honor in a fun mermaid beach towel or a pastel tutu – whatever makes them feel most like a mermaid princess.  For a party craft, have each guest create their own mermaid wand for creating under the sea magic.

punch ~ cupcakes ~ cake ~ tutus ~ flip flops ~ cake pops ~ party spread

In the collage above, you’ll see a variety of fun suggestions for planning the perfect mermaid party.  I absolutely love the ombre mermaid cake which features mermaid tail scales which fade from a pale blue to a deep teal color.  A touch of gold shimmering frosting creates a seaweed garnish good enough to eat!  You can even carry this theme into your cake pops, or small cupcakes with white frosting, dusted with silver edible pearls.  A white chocolate mermaid tail (colored teal with food dye) makes the perfect cupcake topper.  Offer your guests a fruity teal punch that looks like it came from a tropical paradise.  Be sure to send each guest home with a fun under the sea themed party favor, like the vibrantly colored flip flops below, displayed in a treasure chest.

Washi Tape

Monday, March 25th, 2013

Have you jumped onto the washi tape bandwagon yet? I honestly thought there wasn’t anything more addicting than Pinterest, however, I have now moved onto a new obsession, introduced to me by a coworker, and now I am spending way too much time using pinterest to search ideas on how to use washi tape!!  I will pre-apologize, because after reading through this blog you’ll be finding ways to use washi tape in your life too!

So what exactly is washi tape?  Washi tape is basically a gorgeously decorated masking tape that originates from Japan.  But it’s not your everyday masking tape that you use to mark up floors, tape a temporary fix or write on to protect a surface.  It’s a DIY crafter’s dream that’s available in a variety of thicknesses, designs colors and patterns upon patterns!  Washi tape is made of sticky paper, which is composed of a combination of natural fibers from hemp, bamboo or other trees, however it is much stronger than you would think.

Washi tape has taken the world by storm and you’ll not only see it by the registers at checkout, or in the art section of your local target, but you’ll see it sold in many places on the internet, my favorite being Etsy.  Washi tape is not only cute, it’s also affordable.  Rolls typically range from $3 – $7, depending on how large, decorative or thick the roll of tape.  Most manufacturers sell bulk packages where you can pick your own patterns to bundle and save.  Vendors are even offering washi tape storage cases and towers so that you can keep your washi tape organized.

Just what can you do with the washi tape?  EVERYTHING!  I created a collage of some of my most favorite uses below, including creating party favor tags, decorating your keyboard, creating your own iPhone cover, creating a design on a flower vase, adding a border to a cup or creating patterned letters for your son or daughter’s nursery or room.  My favorite way to use washi tape is wrapping a present in white wrapping paper and then decorating it with unique patterns and lines of washi tape.   It’s a perfectly fun, trendy and inexpensive way to turn a boring box or wrapping paper into something fabulous!  You can also stick two pieces of washi tape together to create a matching bow or ribbon.  Washi tape is also a scrapbooker’s dream as it creates a really fun and unique way to create borders or frames around photos and images – throw that old ruler away!

cups ~ gifts ~ phone case ~ vase ~ tape rolls

Feeling a bit inspired?  Look for upcoming spring designs which will feature a few washi tape-inspired looks.  You can also send us pictures of your washi tape creations and we’ll feature them in a future blog to help inspire other DIY-ers.

*A special thanks to Cristen Pallante for sharing her DIY washi tape creations with her Mac keyboard and baby nursery letters…adorbs!

Spring Preview: 2013 Wedding Collection

Wednesday, March 20th, 2013

It’s finally here…today is the first day of spring!  I am sure our northern customers are overjoyed at that statement today, as from what I understand, you’ve been buried in snow all winter long!  We only saw one snow dusting here in NC this past winter, but any weather below 30 degrees is enough to chill me to to the bone!  Bring on the warm spring weather!!

Spring offers so much promise, from fun activities with family and friends to a brand new wardrobe, flowers in the garden and enjoying the daylight hours long after work and school get out.  Spring is one of my favorite times of year at Ibox, as we get to see all of the brand new product that will be on our website in the coming months.  Our vendors and designers work extremely hard in the fall and winter months to follow trends in stationery, fashion and party planning to bring those trends to paper!

Noteworthy Collections has given us a sneak peek at some of their brand new wedding invitation designs that they’ll be releasing to us exclusively in the next few weeks, and we couldn’t be more thrilled!  To be quite honest, I couldn’t keep it a secret any longer, so I thought we’d preview four of their brand new designs to you today, so that you can get an idea of what designs you’ll be seeing once the entire collection is released.  Each wedding invitation is paired with a collage to give you some modern wedding inspiration.

Washi Tape Inspiration – I promise that I will do a blog on washi tape in the coming weeks, (if you have not yet heard of washi tape, you will soon be consumed by patterned tape like the rest of us).  This fun photo wedding invitation is ultra modern and is perfect for a lime & turquiose wedding, (though it is available in several color schemes).  Drawings of washi tape border your askew photo against a weaved charcoal background for a striking invitation that’s as modern and trendy as you are!

Lime & Turquoise Wedding: dresses ~ table setting ~ wedding favors


Romantic Floral Inspiration – Perfect for a formal, feminine and romantic wedding, this is one of my favorite floral invitations this spring.  It features a classic large pink floral bloom on the right side of the card with a contemporary trellis patterned background for a modern twist.  Within this collage, the dress this bride wears is simply gorgeous, and it ties in the floral cluster from the beautiful invitation.

Romantic Wedding: table setting ~ bouquet ~ wedding dress


Watercolor Ombre Inspiration – As any trendy girl knows, ombre is the IT thing this season.  Fading colors from dark to light, or light to dark makes for a gorgeous range of a color palette, and you’ll see a variety of ombre designs in stationery this season.  This is my favorite of our ombre collection, which features a vibrant orange fading background which was created with watercolor paints.  You can easily pair it with an array of orange and yellow wedding decor, which is perfect for an upoming summer wedding.

Perfectly Orange Ombre: table setting ~ wedding cake ~ shoes


Rustic Western Wedding Inspiration – There’s just something about a souther girl!  One of the biggest trends we have seen over the past year is the incorporation of woodgrain into your stationery.  It’s dark, eye-catching and perfectly southern.  If cowboy boots are your go-to each day, this wedding theme is perfect for you!  I love the fact that this bride wore cowboy boots underneath her dress, along with her maids.  It’s the perfect setting for a barn reception.

Rustic Western Wedding: barn reception ~ horseshoes ~ maids in boots


The rest of the new Noteworthy Collections 2013 wedding collection should be live on our website within the next few weeks so keep your eyes peeled!  Hooray for spring and brand new designs to make your wedding perfect!!

A Garden Party

Tuesday, March 19th, 2013

One of the most gorgeous growing trends for spring and summer parties is a garden party.  With spring just now coming into season, flowers are budding, birds are chirping and the weather is warming – which leaves the perfect setting for a feminine party for you and your girlfriends.  A garden party is the perfect party theme for a bridal shower, birthday party or baby shower, and it can also be a great excuse for a simple gathering of lunch and a few cocktails with the best of friends.

Set the scene with a garden party invitation that embraces the spring season.  One of my favorite garden party invitations is the Contemporary Pink Botanicals Invitation here to our left, which features a shimmering pocket decorated with spring blooms, which is wrapped in a pewter satin ribbon to perfectly tie your ensemble together.  Your invitation wording prints on an elegant shimmering diamond card stock which eludes to your formal garden affair.

One of the best things about planning a garden party is that you don’t have to plan any of those silly games or corny ice breakers for this type of party.  A garden party is meant to be an intimate event among close friends…so there’s no need to break the ice when your guests arrive.  Anyone new can be introduced to the group, which will instantly start a great conversation.  Ask each guests to dress in their most special garden attire and plan for a day of warm conversation, light laughs and serene relaxation.  You can host your garden party in your very own backyard or head to the local spa or resort and take use of their gardens.

lanterns ~ champagne ~ table spread ~ sandwiches ~ macaroons ~ dress ~ heels ~ earrings ~ bracelet ~ ring ~ clutch

One of the largest trends with garden party themes is bringing the inside outside, which brings a warm and inviting setting to your gorgeous garden backdrop.  Set your party scene by bringing your table, chairs, table cloth and fine china outdoors into your garden, for a serene and elegant affair.  Decorate each table with a vase of flowers and tea trays of champagne and fancy cocktails.  For sunset garden parties, a clear or rose colored oil candle makes for a beautiful centerpiece.  Decorate your garden with lanterns filled with fresh spring bloom flowers or tiny lanterns and place floating candles and flowers into a stream or pond in your backdrop.

When it comes to the food you will serve your guests, err on the lighter side of fare.  Serve mini tea sandwiches made from spring greens, cream chese and asparagus, gorgeously colored pastel macaroons, tart lemon meringue bars or a fresh berry or yogurt parfait.  Offer your guests a cup of high tea, a fresh cucumber water, a fun and light cocktail, ice tea or lemonade.  For your party gifts, offer each guest a potted plant to take home with them or a sachel of seeds to plant.  You can also invite guests to take home their floral bouquet as they leave.

Your Spring Cleaning To-Do List

Monday, March 18th, 2013

While preparing for guests to come over for our St. Patrick’s Day party this weekend, I decided to do a full-on clean of our kitchen and living room, which included cleaning the inside of my kitchen windows which were utterly disgusting, and reminded me how excited I am about spring cleaning…granted, not so much fun to do, but I always love the results of a fresh, clean house!

What’s on your spring to-do list?  Spring cleaning can encompass so many things, from cleaning your home to weeding through your closet, (the best part being refilling your closet with fresh new spring clothes)!

If cleaning out your closet is on your to-do list, remember to give back to your community by donating your gently used items to those in need, be it a friend, co-worker or sibling!  There are also many salvation army or goodwill locations who will take your donations, as well as give you a receipt for your donations, which is always helpful for next year’s tax season.  Try something different this year and after cleaning your closet and organize it with fun drawers or shelves that make having a clean organized space fun!  I have always wanted one of those dream closets you see on TV with a sitting area in the center – a girl can always dream, right?!

After you finish cleaning out your closet, you’ll want to refill it with a fresh look for the warm seasons ahead.  Take a few tips from our bright and trendy collage above with floral prints, wedge shoes, big sunglasses and floral earrings.  Try a head-to-toe makeover and update your hair or daily makeup to go along with your new clothes!

If spring cleaning is at the top of your to-do list, we’re right along with you.  Spring cleaning sounds like a great idea, but where do you start when you feel like your house is just a mess waiting to happen?  How to Nest For Less had a great blog posted this past month for a spring cleaning list that will help you clean your house from top to bottom!  Follow this link to download a free printable which will easily guide you as you make your way through to a clean haven this spring!

 

Your Essentials List for St. Patrick’s Day

Friday, March 15th, 2013


guiness ~ t-shirt ~ bagpipes ~ kilt ~ clover ~ green beer ~ corned beef ~ nails ~ lucky charms ~ parade

It’s time to stock up on green food coloring – St. Patrick’s Day is this weekend!  Some of you may be heading out to your city’s local St. Patrick’s Day parade, preparing for a huge St. Patty’s Day party or heading out to an Irish festival.  Whatever you decide to do, may the luck of the Irish be with you!!

We’ve compiled a list of St. Patrick’s Day Essentials for our readers, to make sure that nobody pinches you this St. Patrick’s Day.

Wear Green
avoid being pinched

Let Your Ears Ring Bagpipes
it’s the sound of Ireland, embrace it

Break Out the Guiness
you know you love the sound when that can opens

Stock Up on Chapstick
especially if you’re wearing one of those ‘kiss me i’m irish’ shirts

Chill Out with a Shamrock Shake
the only day of the year that you can admit eating at mcdonald’s

Bring on the Lucky Charms
you’re never too old to follow the rainbow

Wear an Obnoxious Hat
everyone else is doing it

Dig Out Your Irish Kilt
there’s nothing like wearing a skirt all day

Serve a Traditional Irish Dinner
corned beef & cabbage rocks

Hire a Cab or Driver to Get Home
keep everyone safe, the irish never drink & drive


A St. Patrick’s Day Breakfast

Wednesday, March 13th, 2013

I’ll be honest, I am obsessed with my Irish culture, and often every day feels like St. Patrick’s Day in my house.  My guest bathroom is covered in celtic trinkets and decor, and let’s be honest, there’s a six food Ireland flag hanging above my garage that stays up all year long.  I think it’s so amazing to be proud of your family’s culture and history, and this weekend it’s all about the Irish, and I couldn’t be more excited!  It’s time to turn back on that St. Patrick’s Day Pandora station and get ready for some green beer, kilts and of course, the St. Patrick’s Day Parade!

I thought it might be a bit fun to share some St. Patrick’s Day breakfast ideas with you, so that you can have a fully Irish day from sunrise to sunset!

For Mom & Dad – Irish Coffee ~ Nothing gets the morning started better than a steaming cup of coffee!  Add a little whiskey into the mix, and you’ve got a true Irish start to the morning, (or a great after-dinner warm treat)!  This recipe is actually taken from a Polish blogger who had a bit of an Irish flare that morning, (thank you Google for translating the website for me)!  This delectable coffee is made with light brown sugar, 4 cups of strong piping hot coffee, whiskey, whipped cream, sugar and vanilla sugar.  Oh, and don’t forget the chocolate chips or chocolate shavings for the garnish!  Simply whip your whipped cream with the vanilla and sugar to give it a really sweet taste and then rinse each glass with hot water.  Pour a spoonful of sugar into the glass and then add one cup of your hot coffee.  Stir to dissolve your sugar.  Then add the desired amount of whiskey and add a dollop of your whipped cream.  Top with grated chocolate and you’ve got a breakfast coffee that’s sure to keep your insides warm!

 

For The Family – Mint Chocolate Chip Pancakes ~  Even grownups love chocolate chip pancakes, but add a little minty green to it, and you’ve got the perfect recipe for a St. Patrick’s Day breakfast!  The recipe for these amazing pancakes can be found here, which is your basic pancake recipe featuring flour, sugar, baking powder, eggs and buttermilk, (or you can go simple with a ready-made pancake mix like Bisquick).  After your batter is ready, mix in your chocolate chips, 3-4 drops of green food coloring (a MUST for St. Patrick’s Day), and 1/2 a teaspoon of pure mint extract.  The cook gave a great suggestion to choose your mint extract wisely, as mint and peppermint are very different.  The peppermint will give you more of a Christmas-y taste, (think candycane), whereas the mint extract combines both peppermint and spearmint to give you that true mint taste – the choice is yours.  To make your pancakes extra special, pair them with a dollop of whipped cream or vanilla ice cream – #nom!

 

For the Kids – Lucky Charms & Green Vanilla Milk ~ If your kids are like mine, they will choose cereal any day over anything else…heck, they’d even eat it for lunch and dinner if we’d let them, and the more sugar in the cereal, the better, (not that we let them eat it)!  This simple and fun St. Patrick’s Day breakfast is perfect for picky eaters!  Simply split a serving of lucky charms into two green muffin papers and pair it with two clear jars of vanilla milk colored with a drop of green food coloring!  Make sure you include a fun straw, to avoid any green mouth issues that WILL last all day!  Make it even cuter by creating four leaf clovers out of your cupcake wraps by pairing four together in a cluster on the table.  Leave it waiting at the table and they’ll love it!

 

For the Family – Shamrock Pepper Eggs ~ Shamrock pepper eggs are so simple and absolutely adorable for St. Patrick’s Day!  You’ll only need 1 green bell pepper, eggs, butter, water and salt & pepper, (talk about a perfect breakfast on a budget)!  After washing your pepper, you’ll want to slice it horizontally to create your pepper rings.  Most make about 4-6 rings, so if you have a large or particularly hungry family, go for 2 peppers.  Let the kids remove the seeds from the center and you’ll be left with shamrock looking pepper rings.  Heat your butter in a pan on medium heat and drop your peppers into the pan.  Crack one egg at a time into a bowl and then pour it into the pepper ring, (or scramble it if yolks scare you, like they do me).  Add a few tablespoons of water into the pan and cover it for about 3-5 minutes.

 

 

Embracing the Daylight

Sunday, March 10th, 2013

Are you a glass is half-full kind of person?  I like to view Daylight Savings as gaining an extra hour of sunlight in the day, rather than losing an hour of sleep.  It’s time to embrace the daylight and the upcoming of the spring season, (finally)!

What will you do with your extra hour?  My favorite thing to do in the spring and summer evenings is grab a cocktail on the front or back porch as the kids ride their bikes around aimlessly or play a game of soccer.  There’s nothing better than soaking up the end of the day’s sunlight while breathing in the fresh spring air.

In honor of this short and unique 23 hour day, InvitationBox.com is offering a 25% off sale for everything on InvitationBox!  Simply enter the coupon code FORWARD25 at checkout today for your discount!

We’ve compiled a list of our Daylight Savings favorite activities and suggestions below to give you a few ideas for our extra hours of sunlight!  Be sure to share with us your favorite spring activities, too!

Tips for Embracing the Daylight

  • Dine on your outdoor patio instead of indoors
  • Take the family to a baseball game
  • Go hiking after work
  • Ride bikes with the kids before bedtime
  • Dine outdoors at your favorite restaurant, and stay an extra hour sipping a cocktail with friends
  • Enjoy the sunset from your porch
  • Head to the beach
  • Exercise with a partner after work or take the dog for a long walk

Spring Forward: Coping with Daylight Savings

Saturday, March 9th, 2013

It’s that time of year that we all love and hate at the same time – Daylight Savings.  We’re going to ‘spring forward’ tonight and set the clocks forward one hour, thus gaining one hour of daylight (yay) and losing an hour of sleep(seriously?!).

For many of us, losing an hour of sleep is an annoyance, however some people find that Daylight Savings screws up their inner clock for days at a time, creating a tired, moody and unproductive zombie-like version of ourselves.  Believe it or not, we actually spend one-third of our lives asleep!  It’s no wonder that the changing of time messes up our schedules and mood.

How can you beat the Daylight Savings blues?  How about an invitation sale to bring you out of the sleep deprivation blues?  We’ll be offering 25% off at InvitationBox this weekend, using the coupon code: FORWARD25.  We’ve also compiled a few tips below…

Tips for Coping with Daylight Savings

  • To give yourself more time to adjust, try setting your clock forward an hour on Friday evening.  This way, your body will have two extra weekend days to adjust to the new time, rather than interfering with a work day.
  • Schedule yourself to go into work one hour late on Monday.
  • At the end of the day, reduce your caffeine intake so that you can adjust to the technically-earlier bedtime.
  • Exercise as soon as you wake up – try a brisk walk or a jog on the treadmill to get your energy flowing.
  • Eat an earlier light dinner.
  • Studies have shown that light triggers your brain to wake up.  Reduce light triggers before bed and read a book rather than watching TV, surfing the internet on your tablet or playing those addicting games on your phone.

…and if all else fails, there’s always Starbucks…lots of Starbucks!

2013 Spring Trends

Friday, March 8th, 2013

Ah, spring – it’s almost here!  On March 20th we’ll be saying goodbye to winter, and hello to warmer weather, (hopefully)!  Us North Carolinians did not see much snow this winter season, however I have family up north who were practically buried in snow this past month!  Growing up in the northeastern part of the United States, you would think I would be accustomed to the cold weather, but North Carolina has me totally defrosted and when I see 30 degrees on the thermometer I immediately get the chills!

With the spring season comes the *perfect* excuse to re-vamp that outdated wardobe, (mine could seriously use a good makeover)!  I did a bit of research on the top spring trends for 2013 and while some trends this season were expected, others completely blew me out of the water – I’m sure floral pants look good on some people, but that’s just one item that will not be added to my wardrobe this season!  More power to you if you can rock it!

For those of us that rock casual attire on a daily basis, the below wardrobe will be perfect for you!  Floral prints will be largely popular this spring, and you’ll see floral print on pants, shorts, headbands and handbags.  Grey will be the hidden hue of the season, with little splashes of the neutral color in your most popular wardrobe pieces. Showing your midriff is also back in style for spring, along with the tailored short.  Sheer oversized tops will be the perfect coverup for spring, with a nude or plain colored tank underneath.  Chunky wedges full of style, bright colors and floral prints are also back in style.  Pair them with chunky sunglasses and geometric shaped jewelry to top it off.  For those of you who have an overwhelmingly large makeup drawer that is part of your everyday life, don’t got putting it away for spring.  The smoky eyes of winter will be sticking around this spring, along with a blue lined eye.  Keep your lips and nails simple with a nude hue.  If you’re dressing up for an event, or simply want to put your best foot forward that day, international prints will be extremely popular for dresses, from London themes to Asia and Africa.

floral hobo ~ sheer top ~ tailored shorts ~ tangerine wedges ~ bracelet ~ shades ~ earrings ~ eyeshadow ~ eyeliner ~ nails ~ nude lips

 

For those of us that have to put a formal face forward at work, or simply like to keep life a little dressy, the below fashion forward spring 2013 look is definitely for you!  The fashion week runways for spring were covered in hues of black and white this year, but not in the traditional sense that you migh think of with black and white.  We’re talking huge bold prints, layered effects and geometric patterns in striking black and white contrasts.  Ruffles aare alos making their way back into style, with the black and white ruffle dress we show below.  Keep your legs toned this spring too, as long high slit skirts are back in style.  Power suits will be popular for the career minded professional, with long v-necks and saucy geometric heels to keep it feminine.  Makeup trends mix neutral with bold with a natural or beige eyeshadow, minimal or charcoal liner and a bright pink lip.  Cast a dash of ivory onto your nails and you’ll have a complete look.

clutch ~ eyeshadow ~ nails ~ lip ~ liner ~ heels ~ dress ~ earrings & bracelet ~ sunglasses