Waxing Poetic

Engagements are filled with an abundance of beautiful things: parties, thoughtful gifts, good wishes and lots and lots of bubbly (sometimes too much)! When wedding planning stress begins to creep its way into my mind, I simply stop and think about how insanely thankful I am for all of the wonderful people in my life. Gratitude is one of those graceful qualities that has the ability to touch all of those around you, and what better way to brighten a loved one’s day than with a well executed thank you note.

As elegant stationery sets become more accessible, it is now easier than ever to create your signature style. If you are not yet ready to commit to a letter pressed customization, major card brands offer blank thank you cards fit for any occasion, and a fabulously fun way to jazz up this budget-friendly option is with a personalized wax seal! I don’t know about you, but when I see a letter sealed with a wax stamp, my already cluttered brain instantly floods with thoughts of royal parties, love letters and official presidential business (whatever that is). Little do these high rollers know that the process of perfecting a wax seal is so simple that even a child could do it (that is if said child was an arsonist). LOOK MA, I can melt thangz…

Wax Seals 8

Perfectly Prim Wax Seal

What you will need…

- Box of crayons

- Monogrammed wax stamp (I bought mine in the wedding section at Michaels)

- Lighter

How to…

- After writing your thank you note, seal and address the envelope. It is important to address the envelope before applying the wax so that you don’t mess up the seal.

- Pick your crayon color of choice. I always think it’s fun to add a pop of color so I chose a neon yellow/green for these first couple ones! Gently take off all of the paper on the crayon.

- Hold the crayon down on an angle over the pointed edge of the envelope seal. Using the lighter, melt the pointed edge of the crayon so that the wax begins dripping onto the edge.

- Gauge how many wax drips you will need by the size of the stamp you will be using. When enough wax accumulates into one spot (it should look like a mound), place the stamp directly into the center of the wax.

- Let stamp sit for at least seconds. Gently pull the stamp off and there you go! Your own fun and polished wax seal!

Wax Seals 1 Wax Seals 2 Wax Seals 3 Wax Seals 4 Wax Seals 5  Wax Seals 6Wax Seals 7

It goes without saying that color options are literally endless. Just wait until I get some “Purple Mountain’s Majesty” or “Macaroni And Cheese” up in here. Bored? You can waste a solid 20 minutes looking at the full list of Crayola color names.

Your welcome.

Cheers.

Sara

 

June is for Graduation Parties!

Four scores and seven years ago (5 months ago), my (wonderful, handsome, fantastic) fiance dropped my (beloved, only) camera underneath the wheel of my (4 door, suv) car. What happens next can be summed up quite easily:

- Small girl gets in big car.

- Small girl drives big car away.

- Small girl has one big problem: One mangled, unusable camera. OOPS!

However, this beautiful sunshine mixed with my post-wedding giddiness is bringing me back to my home base,  ready to party. HOLLA TO ALL MY PEOPLE!

As I sit here in Starbucks, attempting to down one of those freaky Evolution juices (whatever you do, do NOT buy the green one), I have decided to hold myself accountable by making a posting schedule. Might sound crazy to implement this during the final stretch of wedding planning, but hey, if all those kick ass mommy bloggers can do it, why can’t I? I am going to post every Monday morning of the week, now is that in line with #motivationmonday or what? Not only will my posts focus on my own budget-friendly creations, but will also highlight snapshots from some of my favorite event designers and vendors, all of which have impeccable taste and execute flawlessly.

Now let’s get to the good stuff! Because June is the prime month for graduation parties, I reached into the archives and am going to leave you with some high-school spirited party inspiration from my brothers graduation party that I planned last summer! All of the flags shown were simply made from scrapbook paper, hot glue and thin wooden rods. The paper lanterns were ordered from Oriental Trading, which always offers an insane price on all of that fun stuff! We even hosted a caricature artist for the party, which served as an amazing take-home favor that people were talking about for weeks! As my former 16-year-old, cheerleading squad captain self would say, READY? OK!

Gios Grad 1Gios Grad 2Gios Grad 6Gios Grad 4Gios Grad 3Gios Grad 7

My mom, brother and me!

My mom, brother and me! Yes, that is my mom.. hands off people!

 

Cheers.

Sara

 

 

 

Give Thanks for your Friends

As I approach the quarter mark of my life, there is an abundance of things for me to be thankful for: my Irish lad, crop tops, the Wen hair care system, my eccentric family, Trader Joe’s, my health, Beyonce music videos… the list goes on and on (and would probably take us to 2014 if I continue). But what I want most during this holiday post is to give a special shout out to that magical, life-altering and hysterical thing called friendship:

To put it simply, I have been blessed with top-notch friends. Dime, top of the line.. whatever the rest of that song says (don’t pretend like you don’t know it). Think of your most valued quality and *BAM* my friends have it. Spanning from all stages of my life (and just to clarify, there are two stages: before and after I learned how to straighten my hair), I have maintained the most amazingly fulfilling friendships and I cannot thank God enough for bringing their beaming faces into my life. Not only was I blessed with quality, but also quantity! Just ask my 15 bridesmaids…

Enough lovey dovey talk for now, let’s get to the fun stuff: A Friendsgiving feast fit for a queen!

Now I wish I could have hosted a gluttonous soiree for all of these friends of mine, but this year stayed more on the intimate side with a Friendsgiving get-together for my Pittsburgh Pi Phis! Kayla and Dana hosted at their digs, while the rest of us brought food and in my case, decor!

Friendsgiving 2Friendsgiving 1Friendsgiving 5 Friendsgiving 4Friendsgiving 6Friendsgiving 7Friendsgiving 8Friends at Friendsgiving

Clothespin Place Settings

What you will need…

- Clothespins!

- Paint Marker or Regular Marker

- 2 Petite Feathers per Guest

- Burlap Strips

Friendsgiving Place Settings 1Friendsgiving Place Settings 2Friendsgiving Place Settings 3Friendsgiving Place Settings 4Friendsgiving 3

“Happy Friendsgiving” Banner

What you will need…

- Fabric of choice for backdrop (I reused the same tablecloth fabric from my Carousel Party to make place mats and the banner… I cannot get enough of this fabric)

- 6 Sheets of Scrapbook Paper (2 of each color choice)

- Twine

-Hot Glue Gun

-Scissors

How to…

- If free-handing letters scares the bejeebers out of you, find a font that you like on the computer and print out the letters to spell out “Happy Friendsgiving”

- Cut letters out of the scrap book paper, alternating between paper choices

-Cut rectangles that will fit each letter from the backdrop fabric

- Hot glue one letter to each rectangular piece of fabric

- Cut twine to desired banner length, remembering to always leave a little extra for tying or taping the ends

- Hot glue the top back of each rectangular letter to the twine, making sure each letter is in the correct order and not spelling out “gnivigsdneirF yppaH”

- Hang in desired location!

Friendsgiving Banner 1Friendsgiving Banner 2Friendsgiving Banner 4Friendsigiving Banner 3

And no matter how pretty it looks before dinner, always remember the best kind of Friendsgivings are the ones that end up looking like this:

Friendsgiving 11Friendsgiving 12

So take a hint from Jonah Hill (when he was still fat and funny) and tell all of your friends those three magic words during this holiday season!

Cheers.

Sara

Lions, Tigers and Bellinis, OH MY!

“Oh hey there stranger”.. Most of us can fess up to using this passive aggressive statement at least once via mouth, text, email, Morse code or carrier pigeon. Regardless the medium, it is a fantastic way to render the receiver speechless, thinking up excuses explaining why they have been totally MIA.  Now if you are really sneaky, you can throw this phrase out to detract from the fact that it has actually been YOU who has -POOF- disappeared from your social life or, in this case, the blogosphere. So, uhhh yeah hey there stranger…

The real reason I boarded the lame train this month is because… I GOT ENGAGED! LET THE PARTY PLANNING EXTRAVAGANZA COMMENCE!

Engaged

Oh dear. You can practically see my wedding Pinterest board imploding in my brain.

This year is sure to be filled with TONS of wedding planning juicy goodness, but that doesn’t mean I can’t get down with some spray painted plastic horses now does it? This next party will bring you back to those innocent days spent at Kennywood.. a time when eating dip-n-dots until you vomited was socially acceptable.

Carousel Brunch Party!

This scrumptious party was thrown for my fiance’s 2 year old niece, Elizabeth, and quite frankly, it was one of the classiest toddler parties I have ever had the pleasure of decorating. Buttery brioche and a fully stocked prosecco bar acted as the main adult attraction while the kids sat in awe (and surprisingly silence) of the live puppeteer show! Not only was this party a blast to plan for, but it also forced me to learn how to spell “Carousel,” which, in my defense, looks a lot easier than it actually is.

Carousel Table 4Carousel Table 2Carousel Table 3Mimosa Bar 2Chevron StrawsPlasticware JarsGarland Buffet 2Carousel Cake

 Festive Fabric Garland

What you will need…

- Approximately 1-2 yards of 3-4 different fabrics of choice (raid the discount section at your local fabric store)

- Twine or rope at a desired garland length

- Ruler

- Scissors

Isn’t it awesome when there is no adhesive involved?!

How to…

- Begin by cutting each piece of fabric in half, giving you two seperate pieces of each type of fabric

- Using the ruler, measure and cut 1″ slits down one side of any piece of fabric

- Using the ruler, measure and cut 2″ slits down one side of the the second piece of matching fabric

- Only using your index finger and thumb, quickly tear each slit of fabric until it reaches the other end of the fabric, resulting in several shreds of fabric

- After doing so with both the 1″ and 2″ sections of fabric, repeat process with the other colored fabrics

- You should end up with 2 differently sized shred piles per fabric

- Simply loop a piece of fabric onto the twine and pull the ends through the loop, forming a secure knot

- Alternate colors and fabric sizes to your liking!

Fabric Garland 1

Fabric Garland 2Fabric Garland 3Fabric Garland 4Fabric Garland 5Fabric Garland 6Fabric Garland 7Fabric Garland 8Fabric Garland 9… and behold, ze most adorable fabric garland (and fabric garland maker) the world has ever seen

Carousel Drink Flags

What you will need…

- 2-4 Sheets of assorted scrap book paper

- 1/8″ Wooden sticks

- Scissors

- Glue or Hot Glue Gun

How to…

- Using one piece of scrapbook paper, fold a 2″ section down one side of the page

- Using the fold as the open end of the triangle, cut the remainder of a triangle into the fold

- After your perfect size triangle is formed, use triangle as a stencil to keep all other triangles at the same size

- Cut 5 triangles into the folded side of the scrapbook paper

- Fold a 2″ section down the other side of the same piece of paper and repeat!

- Repeat with all other colored scrapbook paper

- Using the scissors, cut each stick down to the desired flag pole size (don’t forget to leave space for the actual flag to be glued on)

- I began adhering the flags using the pictured glue sticks but found it unsuccessful… time to whip out the big guns. Using the hot glue gun, glue one stick onto the crease of each flag

- Place a dot of hot glue at the pointed end of the triangle and fold, making sure it is completely even and smooth!

Carousel Flags 1Carousel Flags 2Carousel Flags 3Carousel Flags 4Carousel Flags 6Carousel Flags 5Carousel Flags 7

After making this little army of flags, pop open some prosecco and get the vitals together for a mimosa and Bellini bar! Champagne flutes, fresh fruit, peach and orange juice should do just the trick but you can make it as simple or elaborate as you like. I personally feel that all children’s birthday parties should provide at least one alcoholic beverage per person/hand/minute…

Mimosa Bar 1

Gold Menagerie

What you will need…

- Dollar Store Plastic Animals!

- White Spray Paint

- Glitter Gold Spray Paint

- Cardboard Box

- Newspaper

How to…

- Set down newspaper and place cardboard box on top: This is your spray paint safe zone

- Spray each plastic animal with an allover even coat of white spray paint and let dry

- Now here’s the fun part: After the animals have dried, spray paint each animal with an allover even coat of glitter gold spray paint (ooooh did someone say glitter?) and let dry!

You are now left with cheap and totally chic, kid-friendly decor!

Gold Menagerie 2Gold Menagerie 3Gold Menagerie 4

Lampshade Carousel

Now I can’t really pretend like I knew what I was doing here. An old, stained lampshade proved to be an adorable asset to my decorating needs! A fresh paint job and stenciled letters turned this trash into a darling table centerpiece.

Carousel Lampshade

Carousel Table 5

I raided my local Trader Joe’s for all of the gorgeous flowers pictured at this party!

Carousel Presents

And did I mention that the birthday girl rocked the flyest outfit at the party yo.

Happy Birthday Lizzie and a special thanks to Vanessa for letting me take over the decorations!!

(I owe you a glass)

Cheers.

Sara

Please Sir, I Want S’more

So we meet again.. I believe last time we left off, I was immersed in sweet summer peaches and drowning myself in prosecco. After nursing one hell of a sugar hangover, I found myself on a two week excursion exploring the southwest. Rafting the Colorado River, discovering dinosaur fossils and repelling into mind-blowing canyons were just some of the Indiana Jones-esque activities enjoyed during the trip. It’s safe to say that I had a taste (or gulp) of ‘Murrica at its best and have safely returned to the world of mason jars and fizzy drinks.

Cliff jumping Grand CanyonCliff jumping into the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon!

And now it is fall! Being a September baby, I practically came out of the womb sporting my finest flannel and sipping a craft pumpkin ale. Twenty four years later, I find that things haven’t changed much.

Hobo BabyThis is me dressed in my finest fall attire.. note the flannel patches

This innate love of all things fall has got my mind swarming with party ideas fit for any pumpking! So let’s slather this blog post in melty marshmallow and welcome my most favorite of seasons into the ‘Burgh the Uncorked way…

S’MORES PARTY!!!

Smores Table 1Smores Table 2Smores Table 3Smores Table 4DSCN0969Ombre Pumpkin

First thing’s first, Imma get me some pumpkins…

Painted Pumpkins

What you will need…

- Uhmmmm… Pumpkins! (I used three… one large and two small)

- Three Shades of Metallic Paint (I used Martha Stewart Auburn Copper, Rose Gold and Pale Bronze)

- One Shade of Dark Red/Oxblood Paint (I used Martha Stewart Chipotle)

- One Shade of Beige (I used Martha Stewart Acorn)

- Paint Brushes

- White Spray Paint

- Black Chalkboard Paint

- Cardboard box (suggested to keep your home paint free)

- Painters Tape

- Cotton Ball

How To…

- Start by completely rinsing and drying the pumpkins to ensure an even paint job

- Using the painters tape, completely tape the stem (top to bottom) of each pumpkin

-Using the inside of the cardboard box as a “spray paint room”, spray all three pumpkins in even white coats and let dry

- After the pumpkins are dry, evenly paint the largest pumpkin with your “beige” shade paint and let dry

- After the largest pumpkin has dried, free hand or stencil an oval “speech bubble” with the black chalkboard paint and fill in (the chalkboard paint tends to run so keep an eye on it!)

- On one of the smaller pumpkins, begin painting the darkest metallic shade on the bottom 1/3rd of the pumpkin

- Continue painting the medium metallic shade in the middle

- Finish off painting the lightest metallic shade on the remaining 1/3rd of the pumpkin

- The ombre pumpkin will need several shades because of the metallic sheen of the paint

- On your last coat of the ombre pumpkin, dip a cotton ball in water and lightly blend the paint lines of the contrasting metallic colors to create a more fluid ombre look

- Paint the last pumpkin entirely in the dark red shade of paint

Pumpkins 1Pumpkin Paint 1Pumpkin Paint 2Pumpkin Paint 3Pumpkin Paint 4Pumpkin Paint 5Pumpkin Paint 6Pumpkin Paint 7Pumpkin Paint 8

Using chalk, put a cute saying on the pumpkin like “Want S’mores?”… and please don’t judge my handwriting in this post.. it is the reason I type.

“S’more Please?” Banner

What you will need…

- Brown, White and Black Construction Paper

- Elmers Glue

- Fishing Line

- Tape

How To…

- This makeshift banner was made in a time crunch but absolutely brought everything together (Note: A good banner can do WONDERS)

- Cut the construction paper in perfect rectangles for the “graham cracker” portion of the banner

- Freely cut the white construction paper to look like gooey “marshmallows”

- Cut out black letters for the “chocolate” portion of the banner (does not matter if they are even, the imperfections help achieve that beautifully messy s’mores look)

- Layer and glue each component to make each letter

- Tape the fishing line to the back of each letter and hang banner… Applause, you just learned how to make a banner on an absolute whim! (P.S. Thanks Meg!)

Smores BannerSmores Banner 2

So what happens if it begins pouring down rain on said S’mores Party? Pull out that thinking cap of yours because the kids were promised s’mores and gosh darnit they will have s’mores! Setting up tea lights and bundling up wooden sticks in a jar is a perfect way to bring an open fire indoors.

DSCN0979

And if that doesn’t work, the grill and/or microwave will always suffice.

Hey, at least it looked pretty!

Smores GrillSmores JosieSmores James

They didn’t seem to mind….

Cheers.

Sara

Cheers to a Peachy Summer

Yesterday I wore a sweatshirt.

This may not be the most riveting, attention-grabbing first liner out there in the blogosphere, but it is the truth. Yesterday was August 14th and I wore a sweatshirt. Yes, the sweatshirt may have been my favorite Pi Phi embroidered half-zip, but it was a sweatshirt nonetheless and a sweatshirt should not be worn on a mid-August day.

So what does one do when faced with said predicament? Throw a Summer Peach Bash obviously!

Although the temperature took a mild drop, summer is still dancing all around us, and will continue dancing for another month (hopefully). So have no fear fellow sun moochers, because Uncorked is here to save you from those end of the summer blues!

Peach Party Peaches

So why peaches? Well I am glad that you asked because…

1. They are in their prime in August

2. They taste good

3. They are pretty

4. Did I mention they taste good?

A simple and prim peach party is the best way to ignore cooling temperatures! Peaches around this time of the year are cheap and delicious so grab a crate and invite your favorite friends over to wine and dine as if you were all yachting on the Mediterranean (yachting is a word right?)

 Peach Party Table 1Peach Party Table SettingPeach Party Table 2Peach Party Table 3Peach Party Food TablePeach Party Food Table 4Peach Party Food Table 3Peach Party Food Table 5

Chevron Champagne Tray

What you will need…

- Wooden Serving Tray (I got mine for $8 at Ikea)

- Off-white Colored Paint or Spray Paint

- Peach Colored Paint or Spray Paint

- Crafting Painters Tape

- Paint Brush

- Pencil

- Scissors

How to…

-  Paint the entire surface, upper and under, of the serving tray in the off-white colored paint and let dry (preferably overnight)

- Measure the center of the tray vertically, marking a point on each end of the tray with the painters tape

- Align the left side of the painters tape with one of the points, taping a long line down the center to meet up with the other end

- Begin taping equidistant diagonal strips along the larger half of the serving tray, making sure the strips are secured in the edges

- After the entire side has been taped with the diagonal strips, take a pencil and mark a line where the left edge of the center tape line is (see photo below)

- Cut diagonal tape strips on the penciled lines (if done correctly, the right edges of the diagonal strips should be in line with the center of the tray)

- Remove center tape line

- Make new center tape line (will overlap with the diagonal tape lines) but now have the RIGHT edge line up with the center of the tray

- Begin taping equidistant diagonal strips on the other side of the serving tray, making sure to keep the lines symmetrical to the left side (it is very important that the strips line up perfectly to make a successful chevron pattern)

- After the entire side has been taped with the diagonal stripes, take a pencil and mark a line where the right edge of the center tape line is

- Cut diagonal tape strips on the pencil lines

- Remove center tape line

- Fill in any gaps that would disrupt your chevron pattern

- Tape the side perimeters of the tray to keep the paint from getting on the sides of the tray (see photo below)

- Using the peach paint, evenly paint the resulting chevron pattern (be careful not to get paint on the sides of the tray)

- Paint several coats for a vibrant finish!

- Let dry (preferably overnight)

- Remove tape and voila! A serving tray that is très chic… see what I did there

Chevron Tray 1Chevron Tray 2Chevron Tray 3Chevron Tray 4Chevron Tray 5Chevron Tray 6Chevron Tray 6Chevron Tray 7Chevron Tray 8

Peach and Mascarpone Flatbread

I have to give credit for this wonderful concoction to Butter Me Up Brooklyn… Click here for the full recipe. It is so unbelievably worth it!

Side Note: I decided to grill my peaches before putting them on the flatbread for some extra color and flavor. I would highly recommend!

Peach Mascarpone FlatbreadPeach Mascarpone Flatbread 2

Candle Motif Centerpiece

What you will need…

- An array of different size glass jars, all suitable for holding a tea light

- A package of tea lights

- (2) Large Glass Vases

- (12-16) Peaches

* I got everything pictured from IKEA and it was extremely cheap… not to mention their candles smell awesome!*

Peach Party Table 4Peach Party Table 5

And lastly,

Get some sparkly letter stickers from any crafts store and label a peach for each place setting with a guest’s name. This small personalization really makes a big impact! Not to mention it also gives your guests a little treat to take home, NOMZ NOMZ!  Peach Party Table 6

(And yes, I invited myself to my own party. Get over it)

Peach Party Champagne

Cheers.

Sara

 

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

It is hard to believe that a week dedicated to terrifying the bejeebers out of you is also one of the most highly anticipated television spectacles of the year: Shark Week!

So what is it about this 24/7 marathon that drags people of all ages out of the beautiful summer air and into their AC infested abodes? Is it the dark and ominous music, the unbelievable survivor tales or perhaps the hot Australian accents? Whatever it is, I can say with certainty that I DON’T CARE, I LOVE IT (kudos Icona Pop). After cage diving in Australia last winter with these vicious (but strangely lovable) man eaters, I am more excited about this year’s Shark Week than ever before!

 Cage Diving 2Cage Diving 1

So why not throw a party?

Shark Party Table 3Shark Party Table 1Shark Party Table 4Shark Party Table 3Shark Party Table 2

Life Preserver Garland

What you will need…

- (6) 12×8 White Foam Sheets

- (4) 9×12 Red Felt Sheets

- Natural Colored Twine

- Hot Glue Gun with Glue Sticks

- (1) Large Circular Dinner Plate

- (1) Small Circular Salad Plate

- Pencil

How to…

- Using the large dinner plate, lightly trace a circle on all of the white foam boards with pencil

- Using the small salad plate, lightly trace a circle in the center of all of the large circles

- Cut both circles out so that they resemble the shape of a donut

- Cut 24 2-3 inch rectangular segments from the red felt sheets

-Wrap 4 segments around each white life preserver as follows, gluing into place with the hot glue gun

- Cut twine to desired length

Loop twine through one red felted loop of each life preserver, tying a knot into each

- Hot glue the knot in place on the back of each life preserver so they do not spin while hung

Life Preserver Garland 4Life Preserver Garland 1Life Preserver Garland 2Life Preserver Garland 3

“Swim At Your Own Risk” Sign

What you will need…

- Sand or Cream Colored Paint

- Red Paint

- Paint Brushes and Sponges

- (2) 1/8x3x2 Basswood Sheets

-Wood Glue

How to…

- Saw both sheets directly down the center

- Glue sheets into place according to the picture below

- Let dry for 24 hours

- Paint the entire surface of the sign in two coats of the sand or cream colored paint and let dry

- Freehand or Stencil the words “Swim At Your Own Risk” in the red paint and let dry

- I did not have sandpaper on hand, so for a weathered look, lightly sponge over the words with the sand or cream colored paint and let dry

Swim Sign 1Swim Sign 2Swim Sign 3Swim Sign 4Swim Sign 5

Shark Island Cupcake Tier

What you will need…

-Your Favorite Cake Mix

-Blue Frosting

-Gold or Yellow Frosting

- Silver or Dark Grey Construction Paper

- Colorful Drink Umbrellas

-Brown Sugar

-Cupcake Tier Stand

How to…

- Bake cupcakes and let cool! (Instant cake mix is perfect for a time crunch)

-  For a thirteen cupcake tier… frost 8 cupcakes with the blue frosting (the choppier the better)

- Frost the remaining cupcakes with the gold or yellow frosting (smooth)

- Cover the gold or yellow cupcakes entirely with brown sugar

- Take your construction paper, and cut out “fin” like shapes

- Place one fin in each blue cupcake

- Place one umbrella in each brown sugar cupcake

Shark Cupcakes 1Shark Cupcakes 2

Just add in some goldfish, snacks, drinks and a fisherman’s net, and VOILA, you have yourself a jaws-tastic shark party fit for any 15 foot great white (or hungry 2-year-old)!

Isabella Cupcake Black and White

Cheers.

Sara