Birthday Candle Craft DIY

by Jillian Leslie on

Birthday candle craft using glitter and glass beads. Easy way to makeover a candle! |

Today we're sharing an easy birthday candle craft, from Kristen and Missy from Sweetly Chic Events & Designs, where you can makeover any basic grocery store candle into something sparkly and fun!

We just love DIY's that are simple, inexpensive, and that add a special touch to an event. That is why we are sharing this tutorial for our DIY birthday candle makeover!

This tutorial will have you turning those everyday store bought candles, into your own creative, custom candles, full of glitz and glam that will be the perfect touch for your next birthday celebration! This is a great craft for a first birthday, especially if you want to add just a couple of DIY details.


Mod Podge Birthday Candle Makeover |

1. Begin by taking your foam paint brush and apply a thin layer of Mod Podge to the outer edge of your birthday candle. We simply followed the already existing purple line on our candle.

Mod Podge Birthday Candle Makeover |

2. Sprinkle your choice of glitter on to the Mod Podged portion of your candle. We chose a pretty, pink glass glitter!

Final Birthday Candle Makeover |

3. Shake away the excess glitter. You should be left with a crisp outline of glitter!

Final Birthday Candle Makeover |

3. Once the glitter has set, add a layer of Mod Podge to the interior portion of your candle.

Mod Podge Birthday Candle Makeover |

4. It's now time to add your glass beads.

Birthday Candle Makeover DIY |

5. Sprinkle your glass beads onto the newly Mod Podged portion of the candle. Gently press the beds into place, allowing them to set and dry.

Birthday Candle Makeover DIY |

You now have a glittering birthday candle that will look perfect atop any cake or sweet!

Cake with Birthday Candle Makeover |

Cake with Birthday Candle Makeover |

What a fabulous and fast way to add a creative touch to your next special event!

Birthday Candle Makeover DIY |

If you like this DIY, take a look at all the gorgeous party crafts Missy and Kristen have created for us!

To learn more about Missy and Kristen, please visit them at Sweetly Chic Events & Designs, and on FacebookPinterest, and Instagram.

Lemon Chive Goat Cheese Dip Recipe and What to Serve With It

by Jillian Leslie on

This post is promoted by Kellogg's.

Lemon chive goat cheese dip recipe - the only dip recipe you need for entertaining! |

I believe any casual entertainer needs quick go-to recipes that work every time. That's why I'm sharing our delicious lemon chive goat cheese dip recipe because this is one of those recipes. If you like to entertain, I recommend you pin this!

This dip is simple to make, the flavors are bold, the texture is creamy and has great mouth-feel (yes, that is a thing), and it pairs with almost anything.

We were asked by Town House Crackers to share simple entertaining tips for a casual get-together, so my newest type of food spread is what I call "deconstructed."

Using a big cutting board and placing the dip in the center of the board as the "star," I surround it with an array of foods in a very casual way and let my guests dig in. I've found this to be a successful way to give my guests license to indulge and have fun.

Lemon chive goat cheese dip recipe |

First the recipe...

Lemon Chive Goat Cheese Dip Recipe


  • 1/2 cup goat cheese
  • 1 cup sour cream (I recommend full fat)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 large shallot, sliced
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon chopped chives


Place olive oil in a skillet and heat on medium heat, add shallots. Saute shallots until they are crispy and brown. They can overcook quickly, so keep an eye on them.

Once they are brown, transfer them to a plate lined with paper towel to let them drain.

Place the sour cream and goat cheese in a small saucepan. Add salt and pepper. Place the saucepan over low heat. Using a wooden spoon, stir constantly while the goat cheese and sour cream melt.

Once it looks creamy, take the pan off the heat, and stir in almost all the lemon zest and shallots. Set aside a couple pinches for garnish.

Spoon the dip into a serving dish, and garnish with the remaining lemon zest and shallots.

Lemon chive goat cheese dip recipe |

Now what do you serve with this dip? The answer is anything you love. In the photos, I served our dip with two types of Town House crackers -- the Town House® Pita Crackers and the Town House® Flatbread Crisps --both worked great. The crisps tasted more wheaty and like traditional crackers, the pita crackers tasted more like pita bread.

Town House crackers and dip |

I also cut up different colored peppers to give my spread some color, and put out some cherry tomatoes for little bursts of flavor.

Lemon chive goat cheese dip recipe |

We just got back from Hawaii where I rediscovered macadamia nuts (so rich and buttery), so I had to add them to my spread, plus they're a little unexpected for entertaining. And finally, I found these cool dried mandarin oranges that I thought would add some sweetness and chewiness to my cutting board.

My advice is to think in terms of balancing flavors, textures, and colors. You want a mix of crunchy, chewy, creamy, tart, sweet, salty, acidic, and rich on your board. That way your palate is always entertained and... as I've found, so are your guests.

Lemon chive goat cheese dip on a cracker with tomatoes |

Lemon chive goat cheese dip recipe |

In addition to the crackers I mentioned in this post, Town House crackers are also available in Original flavor (my mom's favorite) and Pretzel Thins.

From presentably munch-able options, to dipping inspiration, to versatile possibilities, we have the variety that will help her stylishly host any type of gathering - from planned to impromptu.

AuthorLogo (7)

This post is sponsored by Kellogg's but all opinions, recipes, and entertaining ideas are mine. Thanks for supporting our sponsors so we can create awesome content!

Free Printable St. Patrick's Day No Pinch Sign

by Jillian Leslie on

Free printable St. Patrick's Day no pinch signs |

St. Patrick's Day is coming up, and we wanted to share something fun with you. These are free printable St. Patrick's Day no pinch signs. Just print them out, put them in 8x10 frames and you've got cute decorations for your home.

If you're planning a party, you should definitely check out all these adorable St. Patrick's Day parties our community members have added to our site, plus we have some terrific sets of free St. Patrick's Day party printables to decorate.

And don't miss our post on 7 cool ideas for your St. Patrick's Day party! We've included ideas for rainbow candy (with colored Twizzlers), Lucky Charms decorations, green beer, green whoopie pies, rainbow cupcake, and more!

7 Great St. Patrick's Day party ideas! |

Ever since my daughter's kindergarten teacher mixed up all the classroom furniture on St. Patrick's Day, and blamed that pesky leprechaun, my daughter has loved this holiday!

Free St. Patrick's Day Party Printables

by Jillian Leslie on

Free St. Patrick's Day party printables with a cute little leprechaun! |


Today we're giving away a set of adorable and free St. Patrick's Day party printables that Lisa from Candles and Favors has designed for us. I love the little leprechaun!

The collection includes: cupcake toppers, water bottle labels, food tent cards, cupcake wrappers, a "Luck of the Irish" banner, and postcard invitations.

Download the free St. Patrick's Day party printables here:

Take a look at the individual files here...

Free St. Patrick's Day Party Printables - cupcake toppers |

Free St. Patrick's Day Party Printables - cupcake wrappers |

Free Tented Cards St. Patrick's Day Party Printables |

Free St. Patrick's Day Party Printables |

Free Tented Cards St. Patrick's Day Party Printables |

Free St. Patrick's Day Party Banner - Luck of the Irish banner|

And here are some photos to inspire you for your own party!

St. Patrick's Day party ideas |


St. Patrick's Day party ideas |

St. Patrick's Day party ideas shamrock cookies |

St. Patrick's Day party ideas |

To see more of Lisa's personalized designs and party favors, check out the Candles and Favors website and on Facebook and Twitter.

For more St. Patrick's Day ideas, check out these  St. Patrick's Day parties on our site, all our free St. Patrick's day printables!

Minion Party and More!

by Jillian Leslie on

Minion party and more |

Today is all for the boys. I show off a lot of girl birthday parties in my favorite parties of the week posts, so I wanted to celebrate boy birthdays this week! First, you've got to see this amazing Minion party with a seriously amazing cake and cupcakes!

In addition, I'm featuring a vintage train boy birthday party (I love the old train whistle party favors), a Paul Bunyan themed lumberjack boy birthday party held in a park and feels very throwback-y, and an amazing race car birthday party with a real tire as a cupcake stand (cool detail).

Clockwise from the top left:

I am back from Hawaii, my favorite place on earth. There's something so calming  about being there. I think it's the rhythm of the waves and the smell of the ocean that brings me peace. I feel rejuvenated, even coming back to a super full inbox. Plus I celebrated a birthday when I got home. It was luau themed. :)

How to Become a Professional Kids' Party Planner!

by Jillian Leslie on

Tips for how to become a professional kids' party planner |

Need tips on how to become a professional kids' party planner? Today we are sharing a new book from Tonya Coleman, founder of Soiree Event Design that will give you the inside scoop. 

What I love about Tonya is she tells it like it is, and is not afraid to talk about money. This book is filled with tips from someone who's been there, seen it all, and made a nice living out of doing what she loves. Tonya is also giving away three copies of her ebook to our readers, so take it away, Tonya...

How to Become a Professional Kids' Party Planner |

I am so excited to guest post today right on the heels of the AMAZING BASH Conference that took place a few weeks ago in Phoenix, AZ, where I taught my class “The Girlfriend’s Guide to Party Planning.” The class shared information from my new ebook: Soiree Event Design’s Guide to MY Party Planning Biz! which is a detailed look into the kid’s party division of my business.

This is not the stuff many other planners will tell you... things I frankly couldn't find anywhere when I first started. I scoured the internet & purchased multiple books looking for DETAILS, but none of them gave me the nuts & bolts on how to do it. SO, I felt passionate to share my story (successes and failures) with other new party planners.

Talking to many new party planners, it seems that the common struggle is money, and deciding how much to charge. Frankly, it seems like a confidence issue to me. My lightbulb moment came when I actually kept track of the time I was spending on a party. When I added up all the receipts and time I spent on the party, I ended up not making any money at all. In fact, I was in the hole. Then my daughter walked in the room and it hit me! I spent HOURS working on this party. Hours that could have been spent with my kids. Hours that I gave away for FREE! NEVER AGAIN!

Here's a snippet from my book on how to set your price: "Rarely do I ever get an actual dollar amount from clients when I ask this question. Many times we play the game of "tell me how much it costs"... then I submit an estimate... and then ALL OF A SUDDEN they have a budget! So, after wasting a bunch of unpaid time putting together a decor plan and estimate without any frame of reference of their budget, only to present an estimate that ends up way out of the client's actual price range, I devised this budget formula which works for me when budgeting a kid's party that the client wants to have at their own home. I figure out the total amount it would cost to have a party at a local fun zone type of place for the amount of guests that the client is inviting. I use Chuck E. Cheese as my unit of measure, as most people for some reason compare custom parties to doing it at an all-inclusive place like this.

A party for 12 kids would cost at Chuck E. Cheese $23 child, which includes:

2 hour table reservation next to many other parties going on Activities-- video games, play gym & pull string piñata Entertainment-- Chuck E Cheese character (not exclusive to you) Chuck E. Cheese branded balloons, disposable tablecloth & tableware Chuck E. Cheese branded goody bag & favor cup 2 slices of pizza, soda & ice cream cup per child Party host Chuck E. Cheese email invites

So for a party of 12 kids, it will run you approximately $300. Then I simply triple that and create my base budget of $900 and explain to my clients that the additional cost is to provide a unique, personalized custom experience specifically for their child and their guests by creating a room transformation around their child's theme, providing themed activities, themed personalized favors, personalized printables and setup and breakdown of the party decor."

Seem like a lot? Parents all over this country are paying to throw fabulous parties for their kids and they value our talents and will pay for that value.

This is a business. Party planners are in the business of bringing smiles to children’s faces, but we have to make a profit while doing so. We just have to be confident to charge our worth and transition our minds into a value based pricing system instead of a service based pricing system.

Once I did that, my confidence levels soared. I began to charge my worth and guess what? Clients started rolling in. Stop giving your value away for free…find out how I did it and how I went from making no money to running a profitable kids party planning business! WHO’S READY?

I’m so excited to partner with Catch My Party to give away to 3 lucky winners a copy of my ebook. To enter, just head to this post on the Catch My Party Facebook page and leave a comment. That's all you need to do to be entered!

How to Become a Professional Kids' Party Planner |

If you’d like to purchase a copy of the ebook, you can purchase it here. Don’t worry, if you are the winner, you will be refunded. When you purchase the book, you receive an invitation into our private Facebook group—an online community of fellow party planners with direct access to me on an ongoing basis to answer questions, offer support and continued guidance. PRICELESS!

To see more from Tonya, you can follow her on her blog, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram.

Tonya, I can't thank you enough for sharing your wisdom. You are a bold, creative, and very funny lady. I'm happy to have you as my friend!

Free 2015 Oscar Night Party Printables

by Jillian Leslie on

Collage for the Oscar Night Party Printables |

The 2015 Academy Awards are almost here (Feb. 22nd), and we have a set of free 2015 Oscar Night party printables to help you celebrate in style! It's so fun to see all the glitz and glamour and of course the dresses (my favorite part). Get all your friends and family together to celebrate, and we've even included a ballot so you can vote for your favorite movies and stars. Don't forget the popcorn!

This free 2015 Oscar Night party printables collection was designed for us by Printabelle, and it comes with a welcome sign, Oscar ballots, water bottle labels, cupcake toppers, and blank tented menu or place cards.

Download the free 2015 Oscar Night Party Printables here.

Here are the individual files:

Free 2015 Oscar Night Party Printables |

Ballot for Oscar Night Party Printables |

Free 2015 Oscar Night Party Printables |

Free 2015 Oscar Night Party Printables |

Menu cards for Oscar Night Party Printables |

If you’d like any of these printables personalized, Michelle will do it starting at $3 per file! To learn more about Michelle and see all the printable collections, head to Printabelle and the Printabelle Facebook page.

And for more inspiration, check out all the amazing Oscar parties on our site!

Chinese New Year Party Ideas

by Jillian Leslie on

Chinese New Year |

Chinese New Year is approaching and it's the Year of the Goat. The Goat is said to be peaceful, artistic, relaxed, but a little set in it's ways.

So clean your houses in preparation, because today we're sharing some beautiful and festive Chinese New Year party ideas to help you get you ready!

1. Chinese New Year food table

This beautiful spread features delicious foods which will bring good fortune throughout the coming year!

Chinese New Year Food Table |

2. Cherry blossom cupcakes

Cherry blossoms on cupcakes welcome the spring -- and the Chinese New Year!

Cherry blossom cupcakes |

3. Table settings

I love these red, orange and gold place settings -- perfect for celebrating the Chinese new year!

Chinese place settings |

4. Party favors

Gifting chocolate "money" in traditional red envelopes is a great way to welcome your guests to the New Year!

Chinese Party Favors |

5. Zodiac cupcakes

These yummy cupcakes celebrate the various Chinese zodiac animals with cute fondant toppers!

Zodiac cupcakes |

6. Chinese New Year centerpiece

You can add red and gold holiday decor, like these sparkly garlands, for your Chinese New Year celebration!

Chinese Centerpiece |

7. Fortune cookie cupcakes

Spraying fortune cookies with edible gold mist makes them into a perfect red velvet cupcake topper!

Fortune cookie cupcakes |

8. Oranges for luck

Oranges will bring special luck for the coming year! They are supposed to bring an abundance of happiness and prosperity.

Chinese oranges |

9. Backdrop

You can make your own special party table backdrop with black poster paints and a loose brush.

Chinese banner |

10. Chocolate-dipped fortune cookies

Dipping fortune cookies in chocolate is a simple and delicious treat!

Chocolate dipped fortune cookies |

Be sure to check out all the Chinese New Year parties on our site!

Frozen Hot Cocoa Party and More!

by Jillian Leslie on

Frozen party and more |

Today I'm sharing an amazing Frozen hot cocoa party. It's a gorgeous Frozen party with a hot chocolate bar and yummy toppings, I know... cool idea. Plus wait until you see the three other parties I'm showing off in my four favorite parties of the week! I just love the creativity I'm seeing!

My other three favorites include a beautiful pink flamingo girl birthday party with the most adorable birthday girl (check out her outfit), a Clueless movie 30th birthday party with a retro 90's "as if" vibe, and a dreamy, girly, fabulous circus first birthday party in lovely pinks and purples!

Clockwise from top left:

I hope you enjoy the parties this week. Thank you to everyone who has added parties and shared your work. It really is a community of inspiration.

I'm writing this from my hotel room in Hawaii. It's been a wonderful trip with my husband, David, and daughter, Lainey. I got to put my feet in the sand, watch the beautiful crashing white waves, tour a coffee farm, and explore an amazing lava tube cave. We're leaving the day after tomorrow and while I'm sad to leave paradise, I'm excited for what awaits. Stay tuned...

Easy Chocolate Banana Brownie Recipe

by Jillian Leslie on

Easy Chocolate Banana Brownie Recipe |

My daughter loves to bake and has been baking with me since she was a toddler. It's one of our favorite activities to do together, especially on a rainy day (hence the slightly darker photos). But let's face it, cooking with kids, is a messy proposition.

So when we were asked by Bounty to help introduce their new Bounty with Dawn Paper Towels, I couldn't think of a better way, than to start baking with Lainey! Enter our delicious and easy chocolate banana brownie recipe.

Easy Chocolate Banana Brownie Recipe |

What's great about these brownies is they are moist, chocolatey, filled with lots of banana, and not too sweet. We used dark chocolate and a healthy pinch of salt to give them a nice balance and a deeper complexity of flavor.

Making chocolate banana brownies |

 Easy Chocolate Banana Brownie Recipe

  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup butter (melted)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar (firmly packed)
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chunks
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups sliced ripe bananas (~2 large bananas)

Preheat your oven to 350F,  and grease a 9x9 inch pan with butter.

Add the dry ingredients, flour, salt, and baking powder to a mixing bowl, and stir until the ingredients are thoroughly combined.

Melt the butter (about 30 seconds in the microwave), and let it cool. Add the butter, eggs, brown sugar, and vanilla to a second mixing bowl.

The easiest way to melt chocolate is to put it in a microwave safe bowl, and heat on high for 20 seconds. Stir and heat for another 10 seconds. Repeat until it is smooth. Add the melted chocolate, and 1 1/2 cups of bananas.

You can the dry ingredients all at once. Stir with a fork until just combined. Break up any large chunks of banana.

Bake for 25 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.


Making chocolate banana brownies |

But after all the measuring, mixing, and tasting, we were left with this... the mess.

Chocolate banana brownie mess |

But now I've got a new ally in my war on mess --Bounty with Dawn. Our paper towel brand of choice is always Bounty. I love how tough they are, plus the "select-a-size" helps us all not be wasteful.

Bounty with Dawn paper towels

So with the new Bounty with Dawn, all you do is wet a sheet and it's ready to use. It's been designed to be more powerful than just a paper towel and soap. It's meant to clean greasy pots and pans, countertops, and tabletops. Plus you can use it to clean mirrors, glass cooktops, or other shiny surfaces without streaking, by just running it under the faucet a little longer and squeezing out the excess water.

The best part I found, is that because it's Bounty, it's strong and won't rip, even after rinsing it out a few times. It tackled my mess beautifully and quickly and smells good too.

Bounty with Dawn paper towels

So here are the brownies right out of the oven.

Easy Chocolate Banana Brownie Recipe |

And here's the final product, so delicious and moist. Btw, I think there are only three left at the moment.

Easy Chocolate Banana Brownie Recipe |

So please, go cook with your kids and have fun, and know Bounty with Dawn is there the help with the yucky stuff

Easy Chocolate Banana Brownie Recipe |

Bounty with Dawn_Logo-smaller2

 Disclosure: Compensation was provided by Bounty. But all opinions and ideas expressed in the post are all mine!

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