Oscar Inspiration

Oscar Night. An evening of beautiful gowns, celebrities, high anxiety, excitement and, of course, partying. This lavish night doesn’t need to be just an evening of stars, but an opportunity to bring life to your next party.

First, let’s take a look at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ Governor’s Ball. This party, boasting a central palm tree with Swarovski crystals covering the trunk, towering tropical blooms, and a delicious menu by Wolfgang Puck, was inspired by music and vintage nightclubs.

 83rd Academy Awards, Governors Ball Press Preview

Courtesy of BizBash.com



Courtesy of BizBash.com

This is a fantastic party idea, because it can be taken in so many different directions. Your club atmosphere can be as grandiose or as simple as you want it to be.  Start with brightly colored linens to introduce your color palate to your guests instantly. With the dominant table colors established, you can pair them with contrasting napkins and china.

Next, consult with your event planner to find out which lighting vendor can create a  design that will complement your overall aesthetic. In general, large splashes of color on the walls can create a warm ambiance even in a neutral space with blank white walls.

Then, kick your party into high gear with a live band. Choose either a large brass band to create that old-time feel or, on a smaller scale, consider a jazz trio to play a few sets alternating with a DJ. Like any live show, the performers provide an extra boost of energy by connecting personally with audience members and getting them excited for the dancing to come. The bands are well versed in many different genres of music and are able change gears and cater to the mood of the guests and/or host.

Finally, round out the look and feel of the evening with a variety of centerpieces. Contrasting looks can add extra flair to the room. Tall center pieces with large plumes of feathers and bright floral bouquets establish a dramatic upward movement to the room. Also have your designer create a look that is closer to the table. By pairing a small floral centerpiece with surrounding votives, you can add a touch of light that will produce a more cozy, intimate atmosphere.

By using these basic steps you can replicate a night of classic entertaining.

Enjoy!

Meredith

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Valentine Inspiration

As the smell of chocolates, perfume, and candy fill the streets this Valentine’s Day take a few minutes to step back and simplify yours. Here are a few tips to inspire you.

If you have kids, do what Danielle is doing and throw a Toddler Valentine’s Day Extravaganza! Find fun activities for the kids such as arts and crafts or baking cupcakes!


Instead of going out to an overbooked restaurant, eat in! Nothing is more romantic than having a secluded, candle lit dinner cooked exclusively by you. Spend the evening proclaiming your love for one another without any interruptions from a waiter eager to bring the check and get the next tip-payer seated.

It’s easy to run into a store and pick up yet another generic gift. This year, to give that special someone something truly original and from the heart, try making something yourself. Find out what they like and work from that. Here is an idea we spotted from a crafter online who loves cherry blossom trees:

craftster.org

The girls at CUE hope these ideas help spark your own romantic creativity and wish you a very Happy Valentine’s Day!

xoxo,
Kiki

SUPER BOWL!!!!

It’s that time of year again! When friends and family come together to support their favorite team, or, as the case may be, come together to face off and cheer for opposing teams! Here are a few simple ideas to make your Super Bowl gathering more exciting.

First, no party would be complete without the banners or colors of your favorite team. This year it’s a tough choice between two old school teams, the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Green Bay Packers. You can pick one or have a bit of flare for both! Lay out a green table cloth to represent the gridiron and set up the team gear on opposite sides.

 

Courtesy of http://www.PartyCity.com

And no Super Bowl Party would be complete with out a hearty, tasty treat. This year try a great slow cooker chili recipe. Using turkey meat instead of ground beef can be a healthier option.

 

Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 3/4 cup diced onion
  • 3/4 cup diced celery
  • 3/4 cup diced green bell pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 (10.75 ounce) cans tomato puree
  • 1 (15 ounce) can kidney beans with liquid
  • 1 (15 ounce) can kidney beans, drained
  • 1 (15 ounce) can cannellini beans with liquid
  • 1/2 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon dried basil
  • 3/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon hot pepper sauce

Directions

  1. Place the beef in a skillet over medium heat, and cook until evenly brown. Drain grease.
  2. Place the beef in a slow cooker, and mix in onion, celery, green bell pepper, garlic, tomato puree, kidney beans, and cannellini beans. Season with chili powder, parsley, salt, basil, oregano, black pepper, and hot pepper sauce.
  3. Cover, and cook 8 hours on Low

Courtesy of http://www.Allrecipes.com

Finally, make this non-holiday count! Make this Super Bowl Sunday a SOUP-er Bowl Sunday. When sending out your invitations or calling friends, ask each attendee to bring a can or two of soup. Find a local shelter or food bank that is accepting donations and drop of your charitable gift to make someone’s February a little brighter! 🙂

 

 

Have a Happy Super Bowl!! Goooooooo [your team’s name inserted here]!!!!!

‘Tis the season to be Giving!

Christmas is in the air! People are bustling from shop to shop seeking out gifts for friends and family, wondering what gift would be the perfect one. In years past, the newest piece of electronic equipment or the coolest new toy were the must-have items to get your hands on. This season, however, people are being a bit more conservative with their gift giving. Instead of giving wild and ostentatious gifts this year, many people are turning to alternative presents.

This year let us not forget the spirit of giving and additionally, charitable giving. As a different choice this season, try to think of a charity that means something to you or to the ones you love.  Research the charity online and check its website for a donations link (most will have one), or call to make a contribution in the name of the person on your gift list. Not only will such a gift warm the heart of the person you’ve honored, but it will also help those less fortunate or contributes to further research for an important cause.

This season the Curtain Up Events team will be giving as well.

Danielle will be giving to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society  in honor of her Mother. (nationalmssociety.org)

Meredith has chosen to give to the National Breast Cancer Foundation in honor of her Aunt Holly. (nationalbreastcancer.org)

Lastly, Kiki has decided to donate to HOPE International in honor of her relatives and victims of the natural disasters that occurred in Indonesia. (hopeww.org).

Remember, make your giving this season twice as nice by giving charitably!

Gobble Gobble Time!

Every year as Thanksgiving approaches, you begin to consider many things: “What do I do first? How should I decorate? What should be on my menu? Dare I attempt the Turducken?” With that in mind we at CUE thought it might be nice to offer a few suggestions to help you get in the Thanksgiving spirit.

First, let’s start with a craft project.  A cute way to spice up your Thanksgiving table is to create a Turkey Bread Basket.

Turkey Breadbasket Centerpiece

Courtesy of Familyfun.go.com

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Large wooden spoon
  • Tacky glue and a glue stick
  • Pair of googly eyes
  • Pencil and scissors
  • Construction paper in a variety of colors
  • Flat wooden craft spoon
  • Red marker
  • Colorful printed wrapping paper or pages from old magazines
  • Waxed paper
  • Thin wooden skewers (sold in the kitchen/cooking section of most grocery and department stores)
  • Basket to serve as the turkey’s body (it should be large enough to fit a loaf of bread or dinner rolls)
  • Florists’ foam or Styrofoam block (sold at many large craft or department stores) large enough to wedge into the basket
  • Cloth dinner napkin
Instructions
  1. To create the turkey’s head, turn the large wooden spoon so that the back of the bowl becomes the face. Use tacky glue to stick on the googly eyes. Then cut out a yellow construction paper beak and glue it in place.
  2. For the turkey’s wattle, use the marker to color the flat wooden craft spoon red. Glue the wattle onto the face at an angle so that the top slightly overlaps the beak. You can use a pinch-style clothespin to hold the pieces in place until the glue dries.
  3. From the construction paper, help your kids cut out lots of colored feathers that measure about 10 inches long and 1 3/4 inches across at the widest point. Cut out the same number of feathers from the wrapping paper or magazine pages, then trim them so that they are slightly smaller than the solid-colored ones.
  4. Cover a flat work surface with waxed paper (this makes for easier cleanup after applying glue), and you’re ready to assemble the feathers. For each one, place a construction paper cutout on the waxed paper and set a wooden skewer atop it so that the blunt end is just below the top of the paper and the pointed end extends about 3 inches below it.
  5. Next, use a glue stick to coat the underside of a printed feather. Then press it, glued side down, onto the construction paper feather, sandwiching the skewer between the 2 layers.
  6. Wedge the foam block into the basket (trim it first if necessary). Push the spoon handle into one end of the block deep enough to secure it. Stick the feathers into the opposite end. Cover the block with the cloth napkin, and the turkey basket is ready to fill with bread.

If you are  in the mood for a more elegant meal, then consider using a few leaves from your yard to create a subtle fall theme. Display autumn leaves beneath a sheer tablecloth and the dining room will look as brilliant as the trees in your front yard. First, place leaves between paper towels or waxed paper inside a phone book for a week to dry and smooth them. Next, if needed, use double-sided tape to attach foliage — in any grouping — to a standard white tablecloth. Then place a sheer cloth, such as organza, on top.

Courtesy of MarthaStewart.com

You might also want to use a leaf or a sweet-gum-tree spur as a place card. Just tie a name tag with a bit of ribbon to the stem of your chosen item.

Courtesy of MarthaStewart.com

Finally, no Thanksgiving is complete without a bit o’ Pumpkin Pie. It’s a guaranteed crowd pleaser. Follow the recipe below.

Here’s what you’ll need:

Ingredients

  • 1 (9 inch) unbaked deep dish pie crust
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 (15 ounce) can of 100% Pure Pumpkin or Pumpkin Puree
  • 1 (12 fluid ounce) can NESTLE® CARNATION® Evaporated Milk

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Combine sugar, salt, cinnamon, ginger and cloves in small bowl. Beat eggs lightly in large bowl. Stir in pumpkin and sugar-spice mixture. Gradually stir in evaporated milk. Pour into pie shell.
  3. Bake for 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350 degrees F.; bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until knife inserted near center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack for 2 hours. Serve immediately or refrigerate. (Do not freeze as this will cause the crust to separate from the filling.)

Libby's(R) Famous Pumpkin Pie Recipe

Courtesy of AllRecipes.com

But remember, no matter what decor you choose or how many delicious treats you taste, Thanksgiving is ultimately about being grateful for the ones we care about and the meaning they bring to our lives. So, this Thanksgiving make sure to put a little extra TLC (Tender Loving Care) into each project or dish and it will certainly shine through to your loved ones!

Happy Horror Madness

Halloween is creeping around the corner and as you work your way around the crowds, through the mess they’ve left behind in the costume store, and pick out your last minute costume, you might’ve forgotten a vital component in making Halloween such a wonderful holiday – a party! The greatest thing about this day is that you can get away with doing anything from different themes to activities to food selection. Do you want to make it kid friendly? Or scream-at-the-top-of-your-lungs scary? If you are still deciding and need some inspiration or just need some last minute tips, the CUE team is here to save the spooky.

As the tricks of planning are over, the treat of seeing your guests flow through the door shows off your dedication in making an unforgettable night. Now it’s your turn to relax and party like there’s no tomorrow!

xoxo,
Kiki

Celebrate the 4th in Style

Looking for last-minute party ideas for Sundays 4th of July celebration? Look no further because we at CUE have a few tips on simple table decorations, fun drinks, and playlist recommendations!

Easy, yet chic centerpieces.

Everything is coming together for Sunday’s bbq, you have all the food planned out and everyone is assigned to bring something, you have the tables planned out, but you forgot about centerpieces. Here is an easy, yet chic centerpiece idea to give even the kiddy tables a grown up look.

Run to your local Whole Foods or market and pick up several bouquets of white hydrangea. Prepare the flowers by cutting the stems, grab a few vases that you have around the house (or borrow a few from your friends and family… I love the eclectic look; wide mouth vases will work the best), fill them up with water and pop the flowers in. I really like the look of white hydrangea, and bring in pops of color by tying red or blue (or both) ribbon around the vase.

This is a simple and very inexpensive way to class up your tables with some nice centerpieces.

*** Sample of a DIY hydrangea centerpiece that we constructed at a recent event.

Refreshing summer drink that is perfect for kids and adults!

One of my favorite easy 4th of July recipes is a festive drink, inspired by one by Martha Stewart (the photo here was my inspiration– it belongs to her!).

To make the garnish –which is perfect for the Fourth!– simply press a cookie cutter though a thin piece of watermelon rind. So pretty and fun!

Ingredients:
1 pt. fresh, ripe strawberries
3 cups seedless watermelon, diced
1 lime, juiced
2 liters. ginger ale

Instructions:
1. After cleaning your strawberries and watermelon, put them into the blender on high to make a purée.
2. Mix them with the ginger ale. You can serve this beverage as it stands with ice, or change it by doing any of the following:

* Freeze the berries and melon for a “smoothie” (this is a huge hit on a hot day!)
* Using one liter ginger ale and one liter champagne
* Adding berry vodka to the mix for the adults
* Add blueberries to float in the drink (red, white, blue)

Oh, yummm!

And now to get the party going, you need a playlist that gets your guests in the mood to celebrate.

A few weeks back, my roommate decided to throw a “Party in the USA” party, and I was in charge of creating the playlist. I decided to stick to the theme and only add songs that had America, USA, or the name of a state in the lyrics. It really hurt my brain to think that hard about music, but I took my task to heart, and this is what I came up with (I think it’s appropriate to bust it out again for this weekend).

American Woman
American Pie
American Baby
American Honky Tonk Bar Association
American Ride
R.O.C.K. in the USA
Don’t Stop Believin’
Sweet Home Alabama
Georgia
Empire State of Mind
California Girls
Hotel California
Pink House
Take Me Home, Country Roads
City of New Orleans
Beautiful America
Buffalo Soldier
Wakko’s 50 State Capitols (oh, yes, I threw that in there, thank you Animaniacs)
Small Town USA
Keep on Rockin’ In the Free World
Party in the USA
God Bless the USA
Living in America
Everyday America
Born in the USA
Surfin’ USA
American Saturday Night

That’s just the start of our playlist. Come up with more songs of your own. What are your must have songs for this weekend of celebrating?

We wish you all a safe and happy holiday weekend from the girls at CUE!

xoxo,

Emily

Mix up your Cinco de Mayo

The holiday of Cinco De Mayo, The 5th Of May, commemorates the victory of the Mexican militia over the French army at The Battle Of Puebla in 1862. It is primarily a regional holiday celebrated in the Mexican state capital city of Puebla and throughout the state of Puebla, with some limited recognition in other parts of Mexico, and especially in U.S. cities with a significant Mexican population. It is not, as many people think, Mexico’s Independence Day, which is actually September 16.

Though, in the United States I feel like we search for any excuse to throw another fabulous party. Though most of your preparations for tonight’s festivities have probably already been taken care of, why not mix up your drink menu with more traditional tequila drink recipes. (Fun Fact: Margaritas aren’t really enjoyed outside of the resort areas in Mexico!)

These recipes are sure to spice up your party, and impress your guests with your creativity. These drinks are also tastier alternatives for those of us who aren’t the biggest of tequila fans.

Infused Tequila
For a large dinner party, nothing beats a pitcher of distilled spirits. For an alternative on the tired vodka blends, try this infused tequila recipe. It’s just the thing for a hot summer night.
Pour a 750ml bottle of Cazadores silver into a glass pitcher, and fill with strips of cucumber and seedless watermelon. Store in the refrigerator overnight. Before serving, mix in a shaker with ice and a few drops of agave nectar. Serve over ice and garnish with mint.


Paloma
Forget the Margarita. The Paloma, or dove, can make claim to being the national cocktail of Mexico. In addition to the refreshing taste, Palomas probably earned their claim to popularity for being incredibly easy to make. In Mexico, they’re made simply by pouring a shot of tequila and Fresca, a sugar-sweetened grapefruit soda, over ice. In the States, where Fresca is inherently diet, you can make a similar drink with Squirt, or achieve a natural tasting Paloma with the following recipe:
Lime and salt the rim of a tall glass. Fill with ice.
Add 1.5 oz. of silver tequila to your shaker.
Add 2 oz grapefruit juice and 1.5 oz. lime juice.
Sweeten with agave nectar as desired.
Shake with a full scoop of ice.
Drain into the glass.
Top off with Sprite.

Corzo Modern Muddled Margarita
If you must have your margarita, forego the frozen, sugary types. Drop into your shaker the following:
2 orange wedges.
2 lemon wedges.
2 large lime wedges.
1 oz. agave nectar
1.5 oz. Corzo Silver.
1 oz. Cointreau (optional)
Crush ingredients with a strong muddler.
Add a scoop of ice, cover and give it a good shake.
Pour into a martini glass and garnish with an orange wedge.

Enjoy these sippable treats!

Share with us your favorite Cinco de Mayo party tips and recipes. We would love to hear what you’re doing.

xoxo,

Emily