Tropical Party Ideas

If yesterday’s cocktail hour post was any indication, I clearly refuse to believe that our tropical vacation is over. Therefore, I’m desperately trying to convince anyone who will listen that we should throw some kind of tropical party. No particular celebratory event or tropical destination necessary. Just, “yay, tropical!” Here are my top five tropical party favorites:

A Feteful Life: Tropical Party Ideas

1 / Paper & Stitch’s DIY honeycomb garland and drink stirrers — love, love the bright colors of these honeycomb.

2 / Tropical cocktails are a must, but no one wants to get stuck behind the bar (even if it is a tiki bar). I would definitely give this Paradise Punch from TheKitchn a go.

3 / There’s a jerk at every party, but I’d keep these festivities friendly with Jerk Shrimp Tacos + Pina Colada Crema.

4 / My kids would lose it over these DIY Fruit Balloons from Oh Happy Day. Fabulous!

5 / In case you missed ’em in our cocktail hour yesterday, I’m obsessed with these rainbow-colored whole fruit ice pops from 84th & 3rd, all of which have boozy options. Make some without for the kids and make everyone happy.

Advertisement

I Want It Now: Large Walnut Cutting Board

A Feteful Life: I Want it Now - Large Walnut Cutting BoardI’m in the market for a new wood cutting board. I currently have a pretty cheap Ikea one which has served its purpose for the last few years but I need an upgrade. I use my cutting board for almost everything (with the obvious exception of raw meat) to help protect and maintain my marble countertops. And, I think this beautiful walnut one by Boos will be perfect! I want it now!

What’s In My: Road Trip Bag

I have a confession to make… I don’t like road trips. In theory I love the idea of hitting the road and taking in all the amazing sights that our country has to offer. But in reality, I find it really boring and often very stressful trying to entertain two kiddos who are also bored. But, alas, we are headed on a family road trip soon so I need to figure out a way to maintain my sanity while trying to enjoy the start of my vacation. I’m already starting to plan what to pack in my road trip bag to keep things fun and entertaining…

A Feteful Life: What's in my Road Trip Bag

1. JanSport off trail backpack – When it comes to traveling (especially with kids) backpacks are my bag of choice. You can pack it full of stuff and still easily carry it while keeping your hands free.

2. Along the Way App – This handy app does exactly what its name implies – just type in your route and it will show you places to eat, grab coffee, shop, and even sightsee as you go.

3. Audio books from the library – Last time my husband and I went on a road trip we got an audio book to listen to and it was a game changer for me. It made the 7 hour drive fly by and I was even a bit sad when we got to our destination because I wanted to continue listening. Since our kids will be on the trip with us (and since my older son is now obsessed with Harry Potter) we’ll probably listen to something kid friendly like Harry Potter & the Chamber of Secrets but if it were just me, I’d be listening to Goldfinch which is on the top of my “to-read” list. While audio books tend to be more expensive than the paper or kindle versions, be sure to check if your local library has free ones for you to download!

4. Ray-Ban Aviators – I have the most sensitive eyes to light and I cannot drive without sunglasses. I think aviators are the perfect shades because their frames are light and airy but still give you a lot of coverage. Plus, you can’t go wrong with a classic.

5. Trader Joes Grand Slam Popcorn – This stuff is addictive! It’s sweet, salty and amazing. I love it, the kids love it, and it won’t last in our car for very long.

6. National Geographic Kid’s Atlas – If the kids loose interest in Harry Potter, I’m packing lots of little activities for them to do in the car. Both of the kids are obsessed with maps (just like me) and I think they will absolutely love this kid’s atlas, which includes maps, games, funny facts and silly attractions.

Coffee Granita with Whipped Cream

A Feteful Life: Coffee Granita with Whipped CreamI am obsessed with coffee. I love it all… hot, cold, latte, cappuccino, ice cream, etc. You name it, I love it. But there’s one coffee confection that I have yet to try but have always wanted to… coffee granita. If you’re not familiar with a granita, think of it as part shaved ice, part slushy, all amazing. So since we are melting under another heat wave in the Nation’s Capital, I decided that this was the week to give this cold dessert a try. And, it was AMAZING!

The flavor of the slightly sweet frozen coffee with the creamy and rich whipped cream reminded me a bit of tiramisu but not nearly as heavy. While I will definitely be making this dessert again because it is ridiculously simple, it should be noted that it does require some of your time – raking the freezing coffee every 30-40 minutes over the course of 2-3 hours. It’s not hard work but the periodic raking ensures that your coffee freezes in light and fluffy crystals.

A Feteful Life: Coffee Granita with Whipped CreamA Feteful Life: Coffee Granita with Whipped CreamA Feteful Life: Coffee Granita with Whipped CreamA Feteful Life: Coffee Granita with Whipped CreamCoffee Granita (adapted from Ina Garten)

Ingredients

2 cups strongly brewed coffee or espresso, lukewarm
1/4 cup sugar (the original recipe calls for 1/2 but I don’t think that’s necessary)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons coffee liqueur, like Kahlua
Sweetened Whippped Cream (recipe below)

Directions

Combine the coffee, sugar, coffee liqueur, and vanilla and stir until the sugar dissolves. Pour the mixture in a flat pan that’s about 9 by 9-inches. Place the pan in the freezer for one hour, until it starts to become slushy around the edges. Rake the mixture with a large fork to break up the crystals and place it back into the freezer. Every 30 minutes, rake the mixture until it is completely frozen and granular throughout. Freeze until ready to serve. Spoon the granita into glasses and top with a dollop of whipped cream. Serve immediately.

Sweetened Whipped Cream (from Ina Garten)

Ingredients

1 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Directions

Place the cream, sugar, and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Whip on medium and then high speed until the cream just forms stiff peaks.

Kids Book Club

 

A Feteful Life: Kids Book Club

I love how excited my kids get over simple celebrations of the things they love. It really doesn’t take much to make them happy, and one of the things they love most is reading. So I thought it would be really fun (and educational) to get a kids book club together over the summer. Suzanne was on board immediately and we invited some other friends to join, too. We had our first book club meeting last month, with a little party too of course, and had a total blast. Head on over to The Land of Nod’s Honest to Nod to read all about it!

I Scream, You Scream… We All Scream for Ice Cream

Happy 4th of July! I hope everyone has some fun plans to get outside and to celebrate our independence and catch a glimpse or two of fireworks.

While July 4th is obviously the most well known holiday that we celebrate in July, it definitely isn’t the only one. Just 10 days later on July 14th it’s National Ice Cream Day! And, if you’re anything like me, you’ll agree that this is definitely not a holiday that we should overlook. I love ice cream and have been wanting to throw a party in its honor for a while now. Here are some of my favorite ice cream party ideas…

A Feteful Life: Ice Cream Party Round-up

  1. You don’t need much cutlery for ice cream but spoons are a must, especially these dressed up tassel spoons by Studio DIY.
  2. You could serve the ice cream in a bowl but why not make some homemade cookie cups, like these from Sugar & Cloth, instead. Don’t they look delicious?
  3. These pre-made ice cream balls on a stick, from Martha Stewart, are genius. You could either pre-dip the ice cream in toppings or let your guests do it themselves.
  4. While I’m not usually a big fan of sweet cocktails, this sorbet & sparkling wine cocktail (made with homemade peach & mango sorbet!) might change my mind. It looks so refreshing!
  5. Kids and adults alike will have fun with these printable waffle cone wrappers by Oh Happy Day. Yay!
  6. I love hostess with the mostess’s idea of using these acrylic containers and scoops to display the toppings for an ice-cream sundae bar. They are modern, simple and let the beauty of the ingredients shine.

 

 

Fete Local: Jewelry by Beth Lauren

A Feteful Life: Jewelry by Beth Lauren

I came to two conclusions after visiting local jewelry designer Beth Silverberg’s 14th St. studio: (1) I want to live/work there; and (2) I would drape myself in her gorgeous geometric brass and quartz designs any day of the week. I might not accomplish the first, but you and I can both make the latter happen seeing as Jewelry by Beth Lauren is available online. One out of two isn’t bad, I suppose.

Beth’s unique jewelry features incredibly interesting tribal and brass geometric elements, and incorporates quartz and crystal in unexpected arrangements. I love that her approach to design is to source materials first, including a heavy dose of vintage, and then use those as inspiration. It’s such fabulous handcrafted design. And while her jewelry is stocked by serious retail stores (such as Barneys Japan and Anthropologie), she continues to maintain a strong local presence by working out of her live-in studio and popping up in boutiques around town.

Her studio, by the way, seems pretty much the perfect place in which to create. From its floor to ceiling windows, to the well-styled living room, to my favorite CB2 candleholders (of which I had an entire dining room table full pre-kiddos), I’m ready to move in. But I digress.

If you’re looking for unique jewelry, from the everyday piece to something really special, we highly recommend checking out her collection. We didn’t even bother trying to cull a top ten — it wasn’t going to happen. We’ll take it all (can’t you just see me in that first pair of earrings below?! … bad pun intended).

A Feteful Life: Jewelry by Beth Lauren

A Feteful Life: Jewelry by Beth Lauren

A Feteful Life: Jewelry by Beth Lauren

A Feteful Life: Jewelry by Beth Lauren

A Feteful Life: Jewelry by Beth Lauren

A Feteful Life: Jewelry by Beth Laure

Cocktail Hour: Classic Gin Rickey

A Feteful Life: Cocktail Hour - Gin RickeyDid you know that the gin rickey is the official cocktail of the District of Columbia? I didn’t until the nice folks at Green Hat Gin let us know during our visit. On top of that, June 14th (Rebecca’s B-day) was national gin day and July is gin rickey month! Oh my, so much to celebrate here. And, because it’s so stinkin’ hot here in DC, I decided to celebrate this drink a bit early and I whipped one up for my birthday yesterday. I’m so glad I did because it’s the perfect refreshing cocktail on a hot and humid DC night.

Classic Gin Rickey

Ingredients

2 ounces gin (I used Green Hat Gin’s Spring/Summer Batch, which is my favorite)
1/2 lime
club soda

Directions

Fill a collins glass with ice. Squeeze half a lime over the ice then throw the lime into the glass. Add the gin and top off with club soda. Enjoy!

 

 

 

Modern White & Acrylic Swivel Desk Chairs

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m working on getting my office set up. It’s a slow process because I love so many things and I can’t decide which to pick. My current dilemma is finding a new desk chair. For the last year I’ve been using one of our extra dining room chairs and it has served its purpose, but I need more. Namely, I need some wheels. My desk is an L-shape which allows me to have an area to work on my computer and an area to spread out and work on projects. Also, my printer is in a cabinet behind the desk. It would be amazing to have a chair that can move with me as I move through my office.

My office is a converted sunroom so I get a lot of light in there – it’s one of my favorite things about the office. It also means that I want to make sure the furniture and decorations have a light and airy feel to them as well. That’s why I love this collection of white & acrylic desk chairs. I think any of them would be perfect in the space. Now I just have to decide which one! Decisions, decisions…

A Feteful Life: White & Acrylic Office Chairs

 

  1. Clear Acrylic Office Chair by Bouclair
  2. City Mid-Back Conference Chair on Overstock
  3. Bentwood Office Chair by West Elm
  4. Stratum Office Chair by CB2
  5. Liz Acrylic Swivel Chair by Dot & Bo