What to Give Your Thanksgiving Dinner Host/Hostess

Succulents make great hostess gifts! Head here for a potting tutorial: http://eighteen25.blogspot.com/2013/11/thanksgiving-hostess-gift.html

Succulents make great hostess gifts! To find out how to create this adorable potted plant gift,       go here: http://eighteen25.blogspot.com/2013/11/thanksgiving-hostess-gift.html

Hey Ya’ll,

Putting together a Thanksgiving dinner can be a major undertaking. Even hosting a potluck style dinner is a lot of work when you consider the cleaning (before and after) that goes along with inviting guests into your home to share a meal.

Hostess gift tags via http://catchmyparty.com

Hostess gift tags via http://catchmyparty.com

For these reasons, I think it’s a really fantastic idea to bring your host/hostess a thoughtful gift to show your appreciation. Below, you’ll find a few host/hostess gift ideas that go beyond the average bottle of wine or bouquet of flowers… Happy Thanks-Giving!

Host/Hostess Gifts

Ateco cookie cutter


The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook


Serena Lily kitchenware dining


Pier 1 Imports Cake Stand


Cooling Whiskey Rocks


Pier 1 Imports Snack Bowls


Claus Porto Soap


Philosophy Pumpkin Pie Bubble Bath


Nest Birchwood holiday candle


Uni-Sex Apron


Metal and Glass Serving Tray


Sofia Coppola Blanc de Blanc ’10 (4PK with Pink Straws!)


Kusmi Tea


Bulliet Bourbon

Hazelwood Shea Butter Body Scrub

* Succulent plant image (at top) and tutorial via http://eighteen25.blogspot.com/2013/11/thanksgiving-hostess-gift.html.
Related Posts:

Dress Up Your Thanksgiving Table Using Place Cards

Image via lovelylittledetails.com

Image via lovelylittledetails.com – FYI, this is a fabulous blog with LOTS of great tips and design inspiration. For their full-thanksgiving post, go here: http://bit.ly/18Radki

Hey Ya’ll,

If Monday’s post about simple vs. elaborate Thanksgiving tablescapes has you feeling overwhelmed, there’s one thing you can do to make a drab table fab with little to no work: place cards!

Image via tastefultatters.com

Image via tastefultatters.com

That’s right. These tiny little name cards can add color, texture, dimension, and sparkle to your table and make your guests feel important all at the same time!

Image and tutorial via  thetwineryblog.com

Image and tutorial via thetwineryblog.com

You can get crafty and make your own by attaching a label to items found in nature like leaves, pine-cones or mini-pumpkins:

Screen Shot 2013-11-20 at 5.45.54 PMYou can also make items out of paper or wire or wine corks or even add a coat of metallic spray-paint.

Screen Shot 2013-11-20 at 5.42.52 PMOr hit up your local Target for something a little more chic, like these golden elephants from Nate Berkus’ holiday collection:

618bb8c83f8fd5d0d64c701eb8b91e55Green Tip: Buy a large set of re-useable place card holders that work for every holiday/event. Or buy something seasonal that your guests can take home with them. Avoid paper-print outs, since they’ll likely end up in the trash and just create more waste!

Image via thinkgarnish.com

Image via thinkgarnish.com

Do you use place cards at your holiday gatherings? I think it’s a fun way to transform a family gathering or a friendly dinner into a more formal event. You can even take it a step further and use the place card as an opportunity to give each guest a small, personalized gift with their name on it. The sky is the limit!

Last Minute Halloween Inspiration!

Image via ABeautifulMess.com

Image via ABeautifulMess.com

Hey Ya’ll,

Since Halloween falls on a Thursday this year, many people will be hosting Halloween parties this weekend. Are you ready? If not, I’ve got a few ideas for anyone looking to put together a party of their own, create a last minute costume or decorate your home in time to greet neighborhood trick-or-treators.

img50Let’s start off with a little party decor inspiration via Williams-Sonoma! I love the chic, gothic-vibe of their Halloween decor this year. It immediately caught my eye when they sent out their most recent e-newsletter.

Screen Shot 2013-10-22 at 5.32.36 PMClick HERE to see all of the great ideas and products I pinned via Williams-Sonoma for Halloween.

Expert Tip:Subscribe to e-newsletters from your favorite party supply stores. They may seem like junk-mail to most, but you’d be surprised how many fantastic party ideas, recipes, and amazing deals I’ve gotten all because I subscribe to (and actually open!) the e-newsletters from my favorite retailers.

Screen Shot 2013-10-22 at 4.30.43 PMAnother great source for Halloween party inspiration and supplies is Koyal Wholesale (another e-newsletter I never miss!). They really hit the nail on the head this year with the perfect Halloween color palette:Screen Shot 2013-10-22 at 4.30.33 PM
If you’re not into this bright color palette, try a simple black and white theme. Here’s a mantle we designed for a YourBash! event last year:
24790f83f5c5a7209681d6c177a5565bAnd don’t forget, if you don’t have a lot of time to put up a bunch of decorations for Halloween, you can accomplish a lot with just lighting!
a12f816bb451d2eabd4cec299d42f281Try placing a few large lights in your front-yard to project green, orange or even a black and white strobe effect onto your home. It will give it an instant spooky feel without going to a lot trouble!
One of my costumes from last year!

One of my costumes from last year!

Finally, if you’re looking for a last-minute costume, check out some of my older posts for few fun ideas:

Themed Family and Group Halloween Costume Ideas

15 Clever Halloween Costumes for Your Pet

31 Days of Halloween: Let’s Talk Costumes!

And here’s another post that combines my party planning tips with my friend Ceci’s fabulous makeup tips for Halloween:

How to Plan A Halloween Party and Create A Costume Using Face Paint

So… what are you going to be for Halloween this year? Are you hosting a party or passing out candy? Let me know your plans in the comment section below.

A Few Of My Favorite Pins!

Screen Shot 2013-09-16 at 6.52.10 PMHey Ya’ll,

Today, I’m sharing three of my favorite pins from the hotbed of useful information and dazzling imagery known as Pinterest!

Screen Shot 2013-09-16 at 6.43.02 PMOneWed.com originally pinned the photo above of an outdoor garden wedding with a crisp green apple theme. As an event planner with a strong commitment to Eco-friendly design, I was inspired by how green (literally and figuratively!) this event design is. The bottle of wine is accomplishing so many things: table number, signature beverage, wedding favor, and it sets a sophisticated tone while also establishing the event’s theme and color palette. An excellent idea indeed. Click HERE to find this pin on my DIY board, where you’ll find lots of pins to help you put a personal touch on your next event.

Screen shot 2013-09-16 at 11.39.43 PMI could blame my attraction to the pin above on how insanely hot it has been in L.A. lately, but I’ve always loved the idea of personalizing a beverage with fancy ice cubes filled with tasty treats! This pin was originally posted by 17apart.com, and led me to THIS pin via homedesign.marthastewart..com, which also looks like a delicious must-try. You can find both of these pins on my Beverage Board.

Screen shot 2013-09-16 at 11.52.44 PMFor my last pin, I’m sharing this chic salad bar setup that instantly caught my eye. Talk about using your food to add color to your tablescape! This pin was originally posted by celebrationsathomeblog.com, and I’m so glad it got my attention because it led me to this wonderful blog penned by Creative Director, Chris Nease. I highly recommend taking a spin around her site, lots of great posts featuring party planning how-to’s, recipes and design/decor inspiration.

Screen shot 2013-09-16 at 11.56.39 PMYou can find the rest of my inspirational and educational (and down right FUN to look at!) pins sprinkled throughout my Pinterest boards, here: http://www.pinterest.com/brianworley/boards.

What are some of your favorite pins? Feel free to post a link to it along with your Pinterest profile URL in the comment section below. Let’s pin together!

My Top 6 Picks for Places to See, Stay and Eat in New York City 2013

Image via Louis Vuitton City Guide 2011 http://bit.ly/1dEsVlI

Image via Louis Vuitton City Guide 2011 http://bit.ly/1dEsVlI

Hey Ya’ll,

I was recently in the Big Apple working on some planning for The Knot Gala, which takes place in October (stay tuned for more details on this awesome event!). While there, I managed to do a bit of sight-seeing and snap some pics along the way, so today I’m sharing those photos and a few of my best recommendations for places to see, eat and stay in NYC.

1. Empire State Building

image-9The Empire State Building is a great spot for taking in city views both day and night. The observation deck is open from 8AM until 2AM, with the last elevator up leaving around 1:15AM. It’s a must-see in my book! Here are a couple of my photos from the top:

image-8 image-72. Washington Square Park

imageWashington Square Park is known for the gorgeous arch (pictured above), which was dedicated in 1895 in honor of George Washington, for whom the park is named. The park also features a large grassy area with a fountain that’s a popular meeting spot in the city (pictured below).

image-13. The 9/11 Memorial

9/11 Memorial Rendering via http://www.911memorial.org/about-memorial

9/11 Memorial Rendering via http://www.911memorial.org/about-memorial

The National September 11 Memorial honors the nearly 3,000 people killed in the terror attacks that occurred on 9/11/2001 at the World Trade Center site, near Shanksville, Pa., and at the Pentagon, as well as the six people killed in the World Trade Center bombing in February 1993.

6 copy The Memorial is made up of two waterfall pools that are each nearly an acre in size and sit in the footprints where the Twin Towers once stood. The names of every person who died in the 2001 and 1993 attacks are inscribed into bronze panels edging the Memorial pools.

4. Lombardi’s Pizza

lombardis_v2_460x285(2)For a quick bite to eat, I love popping into the pizza places that are scattered around the city. I have yet to meet a slice of New York pizza that I didn’t love. Lombardi’s is one of the best and is over 100 years old and considered one of America’s first pizzerias!

pizza5. Hakkasan

Hakkasan foodOn my most recent trip to NYC,  I ate at Hakkasan located in midtown Manhattan and the food was incredible. I highly recommend checking this spot out both for the delicious menu as well as the stunning 11,000 square foot space (see photo below).

Hakkasan NY6. Eventi Hotel

eventi hotelI loved staying at New York’s Eventi on my last trip, which is a Kimpton Hotel. It’s very modern and stylish.

Eventi loungeI have also stayed at the Gotham Hotel and all of their rooms have a little balcony. That’s another great option for the price (see photo below).

hotel09I’ll be sure to update this list each time I visit the city in the coming months but for now, those are some of my favorite spots in the city! What are your favorite places in New York City? Let me know in the comment section below.

Engage! 13 Re-Cap

Screen Shot 2013-06-03 at 12.21.28 PMHey Ya’ll,

Engage! 13 in Ashville, North Carolina just wrapped and I have to say it ranks as one of the most fun times I have ever had.  The location of the Biltmore Estate could not have been a more picturesque and ideal location for a luxury wedding summit and this was by far, LUXURY!
photo[7]The wedding summit took place from Sunday to Wednesday morning and was made up of speeches from top industry professionals like my friend Ceci Johnson who I have featured many times on my blog who does incredible invitations among other things, my friend Marcy Blum, who is a both hilarious and an incredible wedding planner out of NYC, just to name a few.
9407_10151629098258812_1726885421_nYou can also go to the Engage! 13 website for a list of speakers and of course the list for the next Engage! event, http://www.engage13.com, which takes place in Scotsdale, AZ at the Montelucia.  If you are a wedding planner, photographer, or somehow involved in the wedding industry this is the premiere event to attend.

226703_10151629099298812_1234178545_nFor a group of people in the event industry, we are treated like royalty, there are incredible gift bags and branded goodies showered upon us the entire time. It is almost like you are having a birthday for four days.

Many of the goodies were provided by www.giftsforthegoodlife.com and http://www.karentran.com/

Many of the goodies were provided by http://www.giftsforthegoodlife.com.

photo[9] photo[4]I got a bow tie (above) in my welcome bag and decided to try my hand at tying it for the second evening event which is a dine around where the guests are each assigned a different speaker to dine with which is an incredible opportunity for more networking and more personalized conversation.

936670_10151629098513812_1046932796_nEach evening there is a party that are all about networking, socializing and making new friends.  The final night party was the party to end all parties…

389353_10151629098473812_1955603600_nphoto[14]Karen Tran who did the flowers on Shedding for the Wedding created a Gatsbyesque party full of lush flowers that would blow any bride away.

photo[12]Of course, the setting, a tent next to the historic Vanderbilt mansion was not too shabby a location for a spectacular evening.

photo[13]My friend Josh Friedman from Elan Artist (he also provided the incredible band for my birthday party back in September!) put together an evening of the best talent including burlesque dancers, cigarette girls, singers and a woman who pretty much stripped to not much and powdered herself with a giant powder puff!

gatsbyEveryone, well mostly the women, were dressed for the theme and if you take a look at my pictures you can see that they were spot on with their decor inspired costumes.  Then, to top off an already extraordinary night, there were fireworks…

Cheers! To the two hostesses with the mostest (below) who organized this incredible experience Kathryn Arce and Rebecca Grinnals of www.engagingconcepts.com.

photo[4]I had such an incredible time, I am back home now and require some much needed sleep after staying up until 3am Sunday night, 2am Monday night, and 4:30am on Tuesday evening after the party just enjoying the opportunity to get to know people who are competitors and now we are colleagues and friends. So many great memories made.

Engage! 13: Biltmore Estate

437_532021203525866_1208737725_nHey Ya’ll,

I’m in Asheville, NC for Engage! 13 being held at the beautiful Inn on the Biltmore Estate.

Screen Shot 2013-06-03 at 12.21.28 PMThe Engage! events are always so much fun to attend. And so far, this one is no different!

Screen Shot 2013-06-03 at 11.15.29 AMI arrived on Sunday, and I was instantly blown away by the stunning setting and our beautiful accommodations for the weekend. Here’s a pic I snapped from my room:

Screen Shot 2013-06-03 at 11.15.38 AMNot a bad view, huh? I also love all of the fun goodies we get at these events. Here’s a snapshot of this year’s bag:

971334_10152006531439782_1502616063_nThere are still plenty of presentations and speakers left, but so far, I really enjoyed hearing Andrea Wasserman speak. She filled us in on her role as National Bridal Director for The Wedding Suites at Nordstrom and gave us lots of useful tips and advice. If you’re getting married, or know someone who is, I really recommend checking out: nordstromweddings.com.

photoThis event is particularly fun for me because I get to sit back and soak in all the great information and make new connections without the added pressure of speaking. I will, however, be speaking at Engage! 13: Montelucia this December. Check back for more updates this week! Have a great Monday, everyone.