Cool Beans

Cool Beans

Today I finally had a moment to get myself over to the hot spot
everyone is talking about – City Provisions.

Wow! What have I been doing for the last two months? I plan to pop
over again tomorrow…and the next day…and so on…

I found everything I could ever POSSIBLY serve at my next party right
there under one roof, all while enjoying a quick bite for lunch. It
feels so good to easily support local farms, all from a 150 mile
radius of sweet home Chicago.

The mouth watering local farm to table menu makes it tough to
choose…Farmer Nick’s Sriracha Egg Salad, served on Brioche? Old Bay
spiced Laughing Bird Shrimp Salad on a Pita Wrap? Hmmmm…

After much anticipation, I settled on a Michigan Farms Smoked Turkey
with Roth Kase Smoked Gouda, Living Waters Romaine, homemade rosemary
mayo, served on Tomato Focaccia. Divine! Delish!

These local brewed Bean & Body mini cans are the more adorable party
drink EVER. No theme is now complete without serving my favorite, the
marTEAni with perfectly retro-fitted mini straws. They blend
healthful organic green tea with organic brewed coffee, add in exotic
spices, and voila – you simply chill and serve your weekend holiday
brunch guests the most luscious, sophisticated brew of anti-oxident

Best of all – born, brewed and bottled right here in good ol’ Chi-town.

Buy, serve and drink local. Obviously.

Debi Lilly, A Perfect Event

S'mores and More

I must admit – nothing seems finer than a nice,  gooey, delicious fire roasted s’more.

Perhaps it was all that time at summer camp…or maybe I just don’t want to grow up.

When my darling husband built me a firepit in our tiny little city backyard I was simply elated.  My very first thought?  A whole new reason to have parties.

So, each year my kids invite their class over for the annual “S’morin before S’norin” party.  That’s right, we have conjugated it to new “verb” status.

His is one night, hers the next.  It is a mixture of creepy crafts, food fun, and of course fire roasted s’mores.  But to me, besides all the sticky sweets, the entire party brings together our family, our friends and our neighbors to celebrate together.  It helps us meet new classmates and their families, and is an entire evening of smiles, laughter, dancing, ghost stories, tricks and gooey marshmallow treats.  It quite frankly, is my favorite weekend of the entire year.

The spooky food fun starts with treats in every ghoolish form…like these skulls a la pbj.  Anyone can do these…simply take dinner rolls, slice open, fill with pb and j, then pipe chocolate icing from an icing tube or pastry bag with a small tip to make the eyes and teeth.  4 ingredients, about 10 minutes of work, and TONS of yum.

Sugar cookies, from premade all natural dough at the grocery (or better yet, your own traditional family recipe) are made into fossil fuel by simply pressing plastic bugs, spiders, skeleton rings and more into the cookies as soon as they are pulled from the oven.  The kids did these all by themselves – from greasing the cookie sheet, to opening the dough, to decorating with the “fossil imprints”.  Their faces were BEAMING with pride and excitement as they discovered what talented scientific skills they had!  1 grocery purchase, and hunt up a few toys around the house (washed so sparkling clean).

Spooky Skewars provide for hands-on fun during the party.  I like to watch and see how many actually make it onto the skewar…I was refilling bowls of candies without any “crafting” at all yet started.  This is a very easy, no prep edible activity that works great no matter what the children’s age.

What can be easier than lining up a collection of glasses right out of the kitchen cabinet (here I have them displayed ontop of a “tombstone” for a fun “tray” design detail) and filling them with bags of candy from the grocery?  You can find orange, black and yellow candies in the seasonal aisle and also in the candy aisle (orange slices, black licorice bites, gummy worms, gummy bears).  Can you guess which candy bowl was empty first?

Another fun food is a scary Frankenstein-cake.  The kids loved these – and they are just five ingredients assembled in three easy steps.

Buy mini pumpkin muffins in the bakery/at the grocery, large marshmallows, tint whip cream green with a touch of all natural food coloring, small pretzel sticks, and black “gel” icing tubes.  Ice the top of the muffin with a spoon and whip cream.  Push the pretzel through the top of the marshmallow, and break off the end to make Frankenstein’s head “screws” the correct size.  Place the marshmallow “head” ontop the icing, and paint the facial details with the black “gel” icing.

Being a s’mores party, I should pen at least a few sentences about the menu highlight of the night.  I love to craft s’mores out of every possible type of cookie and graham.  Cinnamon grahams, sugar cookies, snickerdoodles, m and m fudge, peanut butter chocolate, chocolate oatmeal, and more.

Hershey’s bars are great and all…but I prefer Reese’s on my s’more.  Kit Kats, Rolos, Krackle…there is no end to the yummy combinations kids can experiment with at the s’mores bar.

A perfect campfire treat.  There is just nothing like the good ‘ol childhood favorite s’more.  No matter how you stack it.

To round out your holiday menu planning, no party of course is complete without customized specialty drinks – even if petite guests are in first and third grades.  The theme for the punch bar this year was “Twilight” themed – as juices and ciders.  It is always a hit with the ladies to sneak in a little RPatz. Don’t you agree?

Next up…the tantalizing table decor…

Debi Lilly,

Shower Chic

Shower Chic

Well, wasn’t I the luckiest lady last weekend, attending Ariel’s simply picture perfect bridal shower.

This was the setting – for over twenty lovely ladies at her charming, enchanting grandmother’s home in Highland Park.

Even the weather was perfect – making the winding, fall leaf peeping drive to the North Shore almost as beautiful as the party.

Ariel’s brother Jacob is a highly trained chef de cuisine, as is Grandma. Together they were a gastronimic force in the kitchen. They worked for a week whipping up a four course feast fit for a wedding queen.

From the moment you entered the front door the scene was set – pink and fuscia garden roses were potted and displayed on a gorgeous garden tower in the foyer. English Tutor Teapots and Tea Sets surrounded the display as a British nod to the groom, from London. His mother had flown across the pond just to attend – which really speaks volumes to the beautiful families now brought together.

Talented Grandma of course has three successful daughters – and one is a fabulous artist. Auntie had drawn a wedding vignette displayed in the foyer, featuring a formal placesetting with china, crystal, silver, and all sorts of personalized details including wedding monograms, British tea, etc. But she didn’t stop there – she had made 8×10 hand numbered prints for each and every guest as a shower favor. Mon dieu! The details never stopped.

Once seated for lunch – Grandma, Jacob, mother Wendy, and all involved pulled out all of the stops. It was just magnificent.

The table was set with a profusion of color – linens, flowers, custom made hatboxes handmade by mother and maids which held more shower favors. And the china – and the silver – oh my! Every setting was more unique and beautiful than the next. I loved that Grandma used all of her personal collections, creating a very special luncheon table.

The first course was mouth watering – a Watercress and Potato soup. I loved every single drop – and its presentation was perfection in double handled soup bowls.

I had thought as I was heading to the shower – for once I won’t bring my camera – and just be a guest this time. Well – imagine my frustration when all I had was my blackberry to document this magnificent work of art..

Debi Lilly,

Merci beaucoup

Merci beaucoup

A huge, giant, immense thank you to all of our brides, guests, industry friends and event partners last night at The Pre Wedding Party at Bloomingdale’s.

Wasn’t it absolutely gorgeous? Delicious? Entertaining and Inspiring? I just loved it. I loved seeing all the photos being taken of our fabulous florals, color palettes, and more. I will post photos as soon as Amanda Hein has them ready – I promise!

What makes these events the most fun is working closely for months and months planning and designing each and every single decadent detail.

We ask the fresh, fun wedding industry on the scene to create food menu paired with our party vignette themes and decor – entertaining experiences like mood music, photo booths, mini beauty treatments, and more. Together we create a night to remember – and make wonderful new friends while doing so.

Entertaining Company
Classic Party Rental
Amanda Hein Photography
Instant Photo Booth-Rick Aguilar Photography
Julius Meinl
Le Royale
Fig Media
Beauty on Call
Bobbi Brown Cosmetics
Estee Lauder
The Elysian Spa & Health Club
Michelle Rahn
Belle Vie Bridal Couture

Thank you, thank you everyone!

Debi Lilly,

Canisters de Cuisine

Canisters de Cuisine

One day later – and I am still obsessed with the Sweets and Treats Shower at Bloomies yesterday…

maybe tomorrow I can move on?

Here is yet another one of my Paris Marche de Vanves finds put to new use. Don’t you love giving an old treasure new purpose?

I sure do – and may I say these canisters have never looked so lovely.

Even the morning after their starring centerpiece role at the photo shoot.

Debi Lilly,

French Finds

French Finds

I just loved the petite cafe au lait bowls on our Sweets and Treats Shower table today.

I brought about a dozen of them back from Paris this summer. Every weekend we spend mornings at my favorite Marche aux Puces de Vanves, scouring each stall for tabletop treasures.

It’s such a fun, personal statement to use family collections for bridal showers – adding in layers of detail with heirlooms from grandma to mom to mother in law.

What favorite finds do you love to use for your parties?

Debi Lilly,

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