Thursday, September 30, 2010

Halloween Color Scheme

For whatever reason, I struggle with transitioning my home decorations to Halloween before October. September just doesn't feel right to me - not quite summer but not ready to be fall. It's kind of a month of limbo in our house. But this weekend I'll make the switch. Fortunately there are a lot of great Halloween party and home decor ideas out there already! Enough that the main challenge may be just to pick a color scheme.

You can go with the traditional black and orange:

Throw in some silver to glam it up a bit:

Or you could go the way of Wicked and use the purple and green inspiration from The TomKat Studio for your festivities:

And now, Pizzazzerie and Anders Ruff created a whole new option with their recent Pink-O-Ween collaboration:

So what's your plan for Halloween party decorations?


Monday, September 27, 2010

Event Extras: Pimp Your Powder Room

Pop quiz: What's the one space that many but not all of your event guests will use; but usually gets left out of the event decor plan? Think about it. The bathroom is probably one of the few other areas in your home or venue that a large portion of your guests will visit. Why not tie it in with the rest of the festivities?

The Bride Scouts show us how to do just that with a photoshoot they did for Style Me Pretty. Check out their post here for a few more tips on how they customized the display. It's a great take on the dessert buffet craze, don't you think?

I am a huge believer in providing bathroom baskets for any gathering. But if you have a venue that will accomodate it; a display like this is a lovely way to let your guests know how much you appreciate them. Mints, handtowels, soaps and cotton swabs are wonderful to have in the bathroom. Since you won't be worried about minimizing things for photo purposes; you'll want to include a few more basics. I recommend including:

Bobby pins
Ponytail holders
Safety pins
Shout wipes
Lint Roller
Feminine products
Spray deodorant (choose whatever brand is best suited to your color palette, naturally)
Contact Solution
Nail Clippers

The list can go on but these items will help people survive most situations that they may not be prepared for (blisters from new shoes, sauce spilled on their shirt, etc.). And if you don't have a whole vanity to dedicated to the amenities; use a smaller basket and one stand for a more limited display. I'm willing to bet that at least one of your guests will find something that saves the day for them!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Oktoberfest - Des Moines Style

One last Oktoberfest post before I get ready for the tapping of the golden keg this afternoon. Check out this story on the Des Moines Oktoberfest celebration. It covers an example of when a major change did NOT work in making the event more successful but was definitely worth a try. Now the Des Moines Oktoberfest is making what I think will be a triumphant return to it's original location.

Added bonus: great tips on what a Burgermeister does. Another great addition to your Oktoberfest party!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

An Oktoberfest of Your Own

Considering some of the stats from Germany's Oktoberfest, it may not be something you can replicate exactly in your own backyard. But here are a few ideas on how you could do it on a *slightly* smaller scale.

  • If you don't want to rent and set-up a tent; take a cue from some of the building/tent roofs at Oktoberfest. This look can be replicated fairly easily with a little rope or wire and streamers a la the blogosphere darling Max & Margaux wedding.

  • Finding some authentic Oktoberfest tables like these might be a little tough unless you have someone who wants to build them (or drop some cash on one here). But to get that bier hall feeling, a wooden picnic table will do the trick. For centerpieces, fill a few beer steins with flowers or wheat/hops and line them down the center of the table. 

Empty Oktoberfest

And although I couldn't find a photo from Oktoberfest that actually shows this runner on a table; it does add to the Bavarian theme and can be ordered from quite a few websites including

  • Even if you don't have an Oom Pah Band, you'll still need Polka music. My personal favorites are The Beer Barrel Polka and In Heaven There is No Beer. 

  • To add just a little more fun, give everyone a Tyrolean hat and set up a photo booth. Beer steins, aprons, talk bubbles with German phrases (Wilkommen! Prost! Danke Schon) and lederhosen could make for some great props. You could also go the route of the Hessen Haus in Des Moines which hosts the local Oktoberfest that I'll be joining:
Owly Images

  • It should go without saying that you'll also want to have some German beer on hand. Add custom labels with names like Smithsteiner. And to drink it, you'll need


Or at the very least, some large steins for all.


Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Oktoberfest by the Numbers

For 200 years; ze Germans have been doing it right with an annual festival in Munich known around the world. Of course, we're talking Oktoberfest. This year, the beerfest will be held from September 18th through October 3rd. But Oktoberfest is more than beer right? It's all about sauerkraut, pretzels, wursts, polka and well, mostly beer.
Approximately six million people attend the event over those 16 days. That calls for some massive production skills just for set-up to house all those people. Think about all of the food and beer you would need! Here are some 2007 stats from Wikipedia:

Oktoberfest figures (2007)

  • Area: 0.42 km2 (103.78 acres)
  • Seats in the festival halls: approx. 100,000
  • Visitors: 6.2 million
  • Beer: appr. 6,940,600 litres (1,833,512.55 US gallons)
  • Wine: 79,624 liters (21,034 US gallons)
  • Sparkling wine: 32,047 litres (8,465.9 US gallons)
  • Coffee and tea: 222,725 litres (58,837.7 US gallons)
  • Water and lemonade: 909,765½ litres (240,334.6 US gallons)
  • Chicken: 521,872 units
  • Pork sausages: 142,253 pairs
  • Fish: 38,650 kg
  • Pork knuckles: 58,446 units
  • Oxen: 104 units
  • Expenditure of electricity: 2.8 million kWh (as much as 14% of Munich's daily need or as much as a four person family will need in 560 years)
  • Expenditure of gas: about 205,000 m³
  • Expenditure of water: about 90,000 m³ (as much as 27% of Munich's daily need)
  • Waste: 678 t (2004)
  • Toilets: about 980 seats, more than 878 meters of urinals and 17 for disabled persons
  • Phone booths: 83, also for international credit cards
  • Lost property: about 4000 items, among them 260 pairs of glasses, 200 mobile phones, wedding rings, and even crutches.
  • Nearly 1,000 tons of garbage result annually from the Oktoberfest. 

To give you an idea of where all of those people and pork knuckles go; here are some shots of the set-up of the Hofbräu-Festzelt tent. It is the largest of 14 tents at the festival, holding 9,992 people (FYI - that's five times the size of the town I grew up in).

Materials are delivered from storage and construction begins on July 15th:

On September 5th about 1300 pounds of hops are delivered to be used as the main decor of the tents interior (see last two photos). After training the 280 people who will staff the tent during Oktoberfest, the Hofbräu-Festzelt party is ready to go!

Check back tomorrow and we'll share some ideas on how to throw your own Oktoberfest party - hopefully without generating 1,000 pounds of garbage.


Thursday, September 16, 2010

What I Love Most About Mercedes Benz Fashion Week

Hint: It's not the fashion!

I love fashion and designers and all of the glamour and gorgeousness that goes along with New York (now Mercedes Benz) Fashion week. Trust me, I see some of the photos of the incredible clothes and my heart aches to be a millionaire and be able to wear those things.

But what really gets my heart racing is thinking about how it all happened. Who is checking to make sure each model is ready to hit the runway at each show? Who developed the program that's running check-in at the entrance? How many people did it take to run power to everything? Who figured out how that was going to happen? Can you imagine being responsible for all of this?


This year, that role goes to Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, the Lincoln Center's first-ever director of fashion who oversees year-round activities on the campus; and Christina Neault, executive producer at IMG Fashion - the company that produces the event. *Sigh* These women have a hand in everything from the crew that built the travertine-esque entrance to the person handling a designer's last minute seating changes. Not to mention the whole however-many runway shows thing. How exhilirating!

On top of all that, Fashion Week changed locations this year! It came to the Lincoln Center after being in Bryant Park since 1993. Changing a venue is almost like starting from scratch when it comes to event logistics. IMG Fashion added a week to their usual set up time, increasing it to 18 days. 18 days! The advantages of the Lincoln Center far outweigh the stress of changing things. The facilities are larger and the design and technology are better for guests and producers alike. Plus, they won't have to use port-a-potties anymore.

Wait what? People at Fashion Week use Port-a-Potties?! Yes, according to BizBash, "Instead of the typical self-contained restrooms that stood in a separate room at Bryant Park, Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week at Lincoln Center will station three luxury bathroom trailers in the common areas and provide 18 standard units backstage." I'm sure the old ones didn't look like the port-a-potties I'm used to.

So yes, my favorite part about Fashion Week (as it is with the Olympics, the Superbowl or any other world-reknowned event) is thinking about what the people there have to do to make it happen and wishing I was there to help. And I wouldn't mind taking a few outfits home either.

Check out these articles for more MBFW info: In Tents: N.Y. Fashion Week's new home fits like a glove; New York Fashion Week's Move to Lincoln Center Brings New Design and Technology; 10 Ways Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Is Changing at Lincoln Center; Mercedes Benz Fashion Week  

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Decor DIY: Painted Tube Cocktail Art

When I first spotted Kim & Mike's wedding on the Treasured Petal blog, my eyes stopped here:

Well, on the amazingly inventive decor part anyway. Don't get me wrong; they're a lovely couple but check out the prettiness! I had to see more!

Thank you!

 Get out of the way you two!! source

 Much better! source

This stunning piece hung over the entrance to their cocktail hour. It was handcrafted and filled with flowers corks and rolled up magazines. Think about the endless ways you could use something like this - a chuppah, home decor, or modify it slightly and use as a great table centerpiece!
Thankfully, Victoria from City Cradle Design tracked down the creator and rounded up a tutorial! (P.S. Victoria's site also has a gallery full of templates and DIY projects to explore. She's pretty fab.) I included the instructions below but check out the City Cradle post and photos here. So the only question now is... what should I make this for first?

You will need… Cans with different circumferences and heights, a can opener, nuts (short, slotted) and bolts, drill and drill bit that matches the size of the nuts (also something to puncture the can. I used a screw), flat-head screwdriver and a wrench that matches the size of the bolts.

You will also need… Spray paint (outside color), craft acrylic paint (inside color plus white) & varying things to fill the cans with.

How to:
  • Cut the bottom of the cans out with a can opener.
  • Arrange the cans in the arrangement you like.
  • Starting with the corner can, drill a hole in the middle of the can (we estimated). Match the hole to the middle of an adjacent can and mark the second can, drill a hole where you marked the second can.
  • Screw the 2 cans together with a nut and bolt (so that the cans are touching, but do not tighten the bolt because you may need to take the cans apart later.
  • Add the cans together one by one. Depending on the height of the cans, you may need to join some of the cans together with two bolts to make the attachment secure. This step takes a lot of time because each can will be connected with multiple other cans.
  • Tighten all the screws with the screwdriver and wrench.
  • Spray paint the outside of the structure. Pay attention to the crevices, and don’t worry about getting paint on the inside of the cans (If I were to make this again, I think I would paint the cans before bolting them into together). Let the spray paint dry according to instruction on can.
  • Paint the inside of the cans white (so that the inside color will be more vibrant).
  • Paint the inside of the cans the desired colors to match your event.
  • Fill the cans with event related items- we used flowers corks and even rolled up magazines.

Friday, September 10, 2010

State Holiday

You may not know, but tomorrow is essentially a state holiday in Iowa. It's so important that if anyone is planning an event in the state in the month of September; the first question out of their event planner's mouth better be "When is the Iowa/Iowa State game?" (if they don't already know, which they should)
That's right. Our state rivalry football game between the University of Iowa Hawkeyes and the Iowa State Cyclones is a HUGE deal. Iowa doesn't have any pro teams so all of our energy goes into the college games and this one is the granddaddy of them all!

Even though the game encourages a generous amount of smack talk in the days weeks (and months) leading up to the game; there is one thing the rivals can agree on: tailgating. No matter where the game is held or who wins; in the end we all love a good tailgate.

So, in honor of the big day tomorrow and all the fun that the Hawkeyes and Cyclones around the world will be having; I leave you with this.

If you couldn't tell from the pictures, I am a little biased so...


Event Envy: Guac Off!

This event is!
OK - not really what I'm looking for but I don't think one word can describe it. When looking at the pictures from Mindy Weiss's Guac-off event all I could think about was how much I would like to be there. In fact, all I could think about all day was how much I wanted to be there!
Take a look. Can't you feel the sun on your face; hear the mariachi band in the background and taste the delicious guacamole?

 There are few tables I have seen that are casual and amazing at the same time. These strike the perfect balance.

Anyone hungry yet?
 Love how this display uses wood containers of all types!

 There were 75!! guacamole entries.

All photos via Mindy Weiss

For more photos of all the fun check out the Mindy Weiss blog.
What a perfect event for summer or the transition of seasons - when you can't really do beachy/tropical anymore and autumn/harvest-y just isn't quite right yet. Don't forget about it as a potential Cinco de Mayo party either!