Tag Archives: party

{Style & Beauty} The Perfect Black Tie Wedding or Formal Event Look

24 Aug

Since I’m loving weddings this week, I thought I would share the perfect look for your next black-tie or formal affair.

This outfit took me through three events this summer, including a ballroom black-tie wedding, an outdoor wine country wedding, and a fancy dinner on the town, and will no doubt take you straight through fall and right into winter, too:

  1. Chanel Half Moon Wallet on Chain in Grey Metallic (pictured above in Black).  Finally, the perfect evening handbag:  with six credit card slots, enough room for your smartphone, lipstick and keys, and a crossbody or clutch option, you’ll never need another evening purse again . . . except this one in every color.  Find it at Neiman Marcus and Chanel boutiques.
  2. David Meister Drop Shoulder Gown.  This drop shoulder jersey dress has more interest than a strapless gown, figure flattering side ruching, and a bold enough brooch embellishment that you can forego a necklace.  Available at Bloomingdales.
  3. Dior Ondine Crystal Flower Temple Sunglasses in Black.  The perfect way to bring the bling.
  4. Stuart Weitzman Jazziest Platforms.  Black satin beauties guaranteed to lengthen your gams and bring your style to new heights.

And of course, don’t forget to complete your look with a smoldering eye and peachy pout:

  1. Les Quatres Ombres de Chanel in Smokey Eyes.  If the intensity overwhelms you, try a softer version with the Murano quad.
  2. Bobbi Brown Long Wear Gel Liner in Black Ink.  You could always try MAC’s Fluidline in Blacktrack or Smashbox’s Cream Eye Liner in Black – the most important thing is using the right brush.
  3. MAC Lipglass in Clear.  Sure, it’s sticky, but it stays put.
  4. Chanel Joues Contraste in In Love.  Of course.
  5. Dior Diorshow Mascara in Black.  Get waterproof if you’re a crier, but stick to the original formula and brush instead of the newer Diorshow Black Out.
  6. Dior Rouge Lipstick in Mazette No. 028.  This perfectly bright cherry coral can be lightly applied as a sheer wash or layered for an intense pop of color.
  7. MAC Lashes in No. 36.  A not too obvious fringe to bat around the ballroom.
  8. Chanel Le Crayon Levres Precision in Rouge.  Line, fill and blend with one tool.

For a less spendy look, try these alternatives:

  1. MAC Cine-Matics Smoky Black Makeup Lesson.  Makeup made easy with all you need for your smoky eye look in a compact travel case with mirror:  three eyeshadows, Technakohl eyeliner in Graphblack, Zoom Lash mascara in Zoom Black and two brushes.
  2. Nars Blush in Orgasm.  This contemporary classic needs no introduction.
  3. Boots No7 Lip Glace in Cherry Kiss (or try Tangerine Twist).  Target comes through with this imported essential you’ll use every day.
  4. Nars Creme Lipstick in Blonde Venus (or try Belle de Jour).  Good for brunettes, too.

And for a complete – almost – all in one solution (with a most befitting name), try NARS Limited Edition Everlasting Love Artist Palette:

Happy Glam-ming!

The Outlaw Mom (TM) Seal of Approval:  I have owned, tried and tested each and every one of these fabulous products and trust me, ladies, they will not let you down!

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The Outlaw Mom’s Red, White and Blue Cake Balls

4 Jul

Happy 4th of July!  This year we’ll be celebrating with these red velvet, white chocolate and blue sprinkle cake balls:

I thought we’d be showing up empty handed to today’s Fourth of July party since we’ve been so busy lately, but luckily I remembered that a nicely decorated cake ball is such an easy – and equally delicious – alternative to the more time-consuming cake pop!

If you’re headed to or hosting a barbecue this evening, you still have time to bake this patriotically pretty party treat – just follow my cake pop tutorial using red velvet cake, substitute white chocolate for the candy melts, and add some electric blue sprinkles.

For a little extra flair, download free flag and circle toppers from The Sweetest Occasion and Paper and Pigtails.

Don’t have time to bake today?  Try The Outlaw Mom’s Coconut Sprinkle Strawberries or check out these other great patriotic treat ideas.  Now, get  to it!

Birthdays Are Forever: Free Special Agent Oso Birthday Party Invitation Printable

26 Jun

How could I have been so remiss?  I posted all the details about our Special Agent Oso birthday party, but neglected to post our invitation!

Here it is:

Better late than never!  Download a free printable invitation to personalize for your own little special agent’s celebration here.   Just change the font to Cooper Black and you’re ready to go!

Pirate Themed Birthday Party

12 Jun

Ahoy there, Mateys!

You’ve read about my inspiration for Sam’s pirate themed first birthday party and how to make your own pirate party invitation – now here’s how our party turned out and some ideas for your buccaneer bash.

The Pirate Ship

From the second I came up with the idea for the pirate theme, I became obsessed with building a life-sized pirate ship for our partygoers to play in.

If you’ve been following on Facebook, you know that I even resorted to the extreme of dumpster diving in the parking lot of Michael’s for cardboard boxes.

After harassing every shipping department from Sears to Safeway for refrigerator or washer/dryer sized boxes, I ended up purchasing 5 grand wardrobe boxes from U-Haul.  The plans I downloaded from Mr. McGroovy called for 7 boxes, but it was hassle enough for me to maneuver the five I had, so I figured we could make do and be creative about it.

The $23 I spent on the plans and Mr. McGroovy’s rivet project kit were so worth it.  The plans were easy to follow and the rivets made building and taking down the ship – literally – a snap.  The great thing about the rivets is that you can re-use and rebuild your project over and over again.

We cut the cardboard pieces for the ship walls at home two days before the party and decorated the cardboard cutouts the evening before and the morning of the party when Hubby and Uncle B set up the ship at the park.

Jane had a blast painting and setting up the ship:

Hubby and Uncle B (dressed as a pirate) finished building the ship just as the guests began to arrive:

We spray painted the outer hull of the ship with black chalkboard paint with the idea that the kids could draw on the ship as a party activity.  For the inside, we kept it bright and cheery in playful preschool colors.  We also added some chalkboard contact paper to a few inside walls for the children to draw on.

The finished ship:

The net and bamboo pole masts with pirate flags – Grandma’s ideas – were the finishing touches.  I couldn’t find any starfish or other sea creatures to attach to the net, so we ended up using those toy animals that soak in water for 72 hours and grow 6 times their original size.  Of course, after Pirates of the Caribbean:  On Stranger Tides was released, pirate party paraphernalia showed up everywhere!

The Treasure Chest Cake

What I really wanted to do was this amazing cake by The Willow Blog.  But since we designed, created and decorated the cake the night before the party, we changed the concept to an old sea-weathered treasure chest.  I say “we,” because this cake was truly a family effort with Grandma, Granny, Hubby, and Uncle B all involved into the wee hours of the evening.

Here’s how we did it:

Construction

After stacking two rectangles of sheet cake, I did a crumb coat using my favorite buttercream frosting.  Then Grandma fashioned the top lid of the chest with a curved piece of cardboard and not-to-be-overlooked outstanding architectural and design direction from Hubby and Uncle B.  We covered the lid with aluminum foil and placed a few squares of leftover sheet cake under the lid at the back of the rectangular base to prop it up.  Another layer of buttercream frosting over the lid and back of the cake sealed the lid to the base.

Decoration

Using Wilton gel icing color in brown, I mixed a dark brown frosting to cover the entire base of the cake.  To cover the lid, I pressed on dark brown fondant, and then placed light brown fondant around the base for a decorative trim that would help outline the shape of the treasure chest.  Silver, gold and white Wilton shimmer dust added a pearlized, dusty effect proper for a glistening treasure chest washed ashore.

The fun part came next:  I rolled several small fondant balls of varying sizes to make pearls and then covered them with pink Wilton pearl dust and the white Wilton shimmer dust.  If you’re wondering about the difference between pearl and shimmer dust, the pearl dust is much sparklier – so of course I preferred it!  I placed the glistening pearls in strands along the two sides of the chest so they would appear to be spilling out.  Note:  the homemade marshmallow fondant from The Frosted Cake and Cookie that I was so excited to work with didn’t work out so I opted for pre-made fondant.  (I might try it again because of the rave reviews, including praise from SugarBelle, and because it was the most fun to mold and shape).

Finally, I stuffed the cake with as many chocolate gold coins (correctly pointed out to me as “doubloons” by Jane) as I could fit to achieve a stuffed, overflowing look.

We carried the cake to the park the next morning on a homemade cake board (cardboard covered with aluminum foil) and decorated it during the party.  To create the beach, I poured light brown sugar around the sides of the cake and added some blue frosting for a bit of “ocean.”  Then I added a sea of gold coins in the remaining space in front of the bit of ocean and on the sand.

We ended up never cutting the cake at the party!  (See The Birthday Boy below).  But the kids were treated to cupcakes decorated with buttercream frosting, M&Ms and cute pirate cupcake toppers from Meri Meri.

The Fare

We offered a pared down version of the menu for Jane’s Special Agent Oso themed birthday party:  bagels, cream cheese coffee and juice.  We also offered personal organic watermelons, carved out with a melon baller and re-filled with watermelon balls, strawberries and grapes.

Inspired by all the beautiful dessert tables showcased around the blogosphere lately, we topped the tables with glass containers filled with rainbow Goldfish crackers, black and red M&Ms, Swedish Fish and  RedVines to go along with the black and red pirate theme.

{What I wouldn’t give for a beautiful “blog worthy” shot of a lineup of our yummy containers!}

These Swedish Fish in blue jello technically were edible, but we just used them as decoration.

We followed Chica and Jo’s advice on mixing the blue Jello with clear gelatin, which worked, but the “water” was still a bit dark.  If you’re going to make these, be aware that the Swedish Fish will blow up into Swedish whales if you make them too far in advance!

The Favors

Jane helped make these jewel encrusted treasure chests out of styrofoam boxes we picked up for pennies at a nearby pharmacy’s going out of business sale:

We simply painted the chests and then glued on jewels.  A word of advice:  don’t use Gorilla Glue!  I had it on hand and was too lazy to search for our other kid safe glue and it foams and poofs up, which makes for a tight, but funny looking, bond.

We had planned to put foam pirate swords (similar to this), bubble wands and pirate teddy bears in the decorated chests for our toddler guests to find on a treasure hunt, but you know toddlers . . . the second they saw the treasure there was no keeping them away!  It was much better this way, though – the kids enjoyed sword fights and blowing bubbles from the get go.

Jane also made these great homemade telescopes that we passed out as another pirate prop to play with.

We planned to give out these little pirate booty bags with sticker, chocolate coin and temporary tattoo loot that Granny put together, but never got around to it:

The Birthday Boy

Did Sam enjoy his party, you ask?  So much so that he snoozed under the trees.

Since he was sleeping during the party, we took the uncut treasure chest cake home and saved it for a celebration at home later the next evening.

Hope your pirate party turns out to be a swashbuckling success!

Inspiration for a Pirate Themed Birthday Party

12 Apr

After a few months of brainstorming, I finally picked a theme for Sam’s first birthday party last week:  pirates!

While I was mulling it over, the first obvious choice was a character-themed party from one of the television shows he watches.

Yes, American Academy of Pediatrics – my not yet one-year old son watches television!  The shock and horror, I know, I know.  Not only that, but his first words were “Go . . . go Go” (Nick’s Go Diego Go) and “…clap…clap” (Disney’s Little Einsteins).

But I couldn’t pick an Elmo-themed party because Elmo was Jane’s first love.  And a Super Why! party would be treading dangerously close to Jane’s territory, too.  Plus, we just had a character party for Jane (Special Agent Oso) and I’m not really in the mood for another one.  Hmmm . . .

Arrgh!  That’s it!  A pirate theme!

From left to right:

  1. This book is permanently wedged in between the kids’ car seats for guaranteed entertainment and tantrum-taming in the car.  (Nowww, pat clap, pat clap, pat clap!)
  2. The pirate theme hadn’t gelled yet when I drove past this giant billboard, but it managed to make an impression.
  3. I picked up this pirate’s hat, the sword and children’s costumes for 80% off at a post-Halloween sale last year.
  4. One random midday nanny check, I popped in to see the kids watching Jake and the Neverland Pirates on Playhouse Disney, which they’ve never watched with me.  (No wonder Jane’s been greeting me with “Ahoy there, Matey!” and “Aaargh!” when I come home from work).
  5. Tiny Prints was having a sale on gift tags just after Christmas, so I bought all of our Christmas gift tags a year in advance and saw this one for Sam and had to pick it up, too.  (I do love a good sale!  See No. 3 above).
  6. I also picked up these matching personalized cards and address labels for Sam – on sale of course.
  7. After I burned the parchment paper from my Crunchy Meyer Lemon Sugar Cookies baking experiment and saw that it resembled an old treasure map, the lightbulb went off!

Now, time to get planning . . .

Special Agent Oso Themed Birthday

13 Feb

For Jane’s first birthday last year we had a Hello Kitty themed party, with a cute fondant cake from Sugar Butter Flour.  This year, Jane wanted an “Oso birthday party!”  Here’s how we did it.

The Invitations

We mailed out these homemade invitations – download your free printable!

The Cake

Although my own mother made all of our birthday cakes when we were kids – in addition to all of our elaborate Halloween costumes every year – I rang up the bakery again this year to see if I could get a 3-D cake like this or cupcakes like this made for Jane’s party.  Turns out that this would cost more than both my arms and legs combined, plus a few of my vital organs as well.

So, with great determination, I set out to make a Special Agent Oso birthday cake on my own.

Special Agent Oso up close and personal

First, I bought the Wilton Stand-Up Cuddly Bear Pan Set at Michael’s.  This cake pan requires 2 firm ready-made cake mixes, like pound cake.  I chose one pound cake mix and one yellow cake mix.

Second, I made my first e-Bay purchase:  an edible image of Special Agent Oso with the text, “Happy Birthday Jane” from Cakes for Cures.  The image stores for up to a year and is very simple to peel off and apply to your cake.

Two days before the party, I pre-made the frosting using my favorite buttercream frosting recipe.  I mixed the colors using the Wilton 12 Icing Colors Set, which includes Aqua – the perfect color for Oso’s ears, eyes and paw prints.

Since I wouldn’t be using the frosting right away, I mixed the colors right into tupperware containers so I could pull them straight out of the fridge, re-whip, and use them immediately.  (You can re-whip with a fork instead of the mixer because the quantities are relatively small).  I mixed a generous amount of Yellow, equal amounts of Aqua and Black, a small amount of No-Taste Red and saved a small portion of uncolored frosting.

I also made the fondant cutouts two days in advance.  First I colored three pre-made fondant balls with the Wilton Icing Colors in Aqua, Yellow and pink (using No-Taste Red).   I rolled out the pink ball and used a fondant cutter to make 20 little number “2”s for the sides of the white sheet cake base.  Then I rolled out the yellow and shaped it into the base of the paw print image.  Last, I rolled and flattened smaller balls of the aqua and placed them onto the yellow base for the Oso paw print.

*Tip:  use a little bit of water to adhere the fondant pieces together.  Be careful not to use too much water or the fondant pieces will slide off of each other and the colors will bleed.  Finally, I created a few free form “2”s in green and aqua to use as accents.

A day before the party, I bought a white sheet cake from Costco which would serve as the base for the 3-D cake bear and feature the edible image and other decorative elements.

The evening before the party, I baked and decorated the 3-D bear.  The baking part was a little tricky because you need to pour the cake batter into an upright cake pan, but I enlisted the help of Grandpa to do this.  After letting the cake cool for two hours and with Jane’s figurine as my guide, I decorated Special Agent Oso free hand with the largest closed star decorating tip I had.

*Tip:  The larger the tip, the more time you’ll save because it will cover more surface area with each star.   And, the star tip is great if you’re short for time because you can easily disguise your mistakes and less than perfect handiwork is less noticeable.

After Special Agent Oso was finished, I covered him with plastic wrap and set him aside for the big day.

On the day of the party, I anchored Special Agent Oso to the sheet cake, piping extra frosting around his base to blend him into the cake and secure him well.  I placed the edible image on the remaining surface area of the sheet cake and used the fondant “2”s and multi-colored candy accents to finish the design.

Here’s the final result:

Special Agent Oso Birthday Cake

The Decorations

I love balloons, so any opportunity to go overboard, I take it.  Since Oso’s colors are turquoise and yellow, I ordered about 3 dozen balloons in yellow, blue and turquoise and hung them in two bunched columns.  We also had a giant mylar “2” balloon to mark the occasion.  We followed the same color scheme for the streamers and spread a blue plastic table cloth over our kitchen table for a little punch of color.

As a nod to Special Agent Dotty – the one female special agent – I hung these homemade Martha Stewart pom poms in bright pink and orange tissue from our ceiling.  (I’d love to take credit for putting these together, but actually got them from a friend who had put them together for her party).

Since there are no Special Agent Oso party supplies commercially available, I made do with the printable decorations from the Disney website’s Celebration Center, like this pinwheel.

One great idea is to cutout the different characters and paste them on to foam flowers in the Oso colors.  Here’s an example of one taped to our wall above the “Happy Birthday” banner:

I also made Digi-Medals for each of the children by cutting out the printable medals from the Disney website, writing each child’s name in permanent marker on the medals, laminating them, punching a hole in the top, and then attaching the medals to the neon-colored nametag necklaces I found at Diddam’s.

For the finishing touch, I decorated with lime green and yellow flowers in monochromatic bunches.

The Food

I knew I didn’t want to be in the kitchen cooking the entire time the 30 guests were here, so we came up with a simple, finger food menu that would be easy for the kids to eat and quick to prepare:

  • 3 dozen bagels (1/2 mini bagels) + assorted cream cheeses from Posh Bagel
  • frozen mini-quiches
  • cheese slices (cheddar, havarti, swiss, american)
  • crudites and ranch dip (try Costco‘s readymade vegetable platter with organic dip)
  • watermelon (sliced into “smiles” with the rinds on, rather than cubed)
  • coffee (Peet’s has great to-go containers and provides the stir stix, creamer, sugar, paper cups and lids)
  • apple juice and water

The bagels and coffee were the most popular; and next to the cake, the kids loved the watermelon slices the best.

Watermelon smiles

The Entertainment

The Jumpolene Uncle B gave us was the hit of the party!

All in all, a great day.

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