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24 Oct

How to Design an Elaborate Halloween Tablescape

Flash back to 2013 when I first wrote about this elaborate Halloween tablescape article on my blog with Fort Worth Magazine! I’m bringing it back from the grave for your reading and viewing pleasures! Enjoy, and happy Halloween!

Here, in my parents home, an elaborately decorated dining table with seating for 14 guest was whipped up in true Carol Dunaway fashion.  Enjoy these inspirations for your own Halloween table design.

Elaborate Halloween Tablescape
Elaborate Halloween Tablescape

Six skulls from Katherine’s Collection were the main focal point of this table.

Mom got crafty when she made these homemade stone-crusted Elizabethan Collars to compliment the decorative skulls.

These large Katherine’s Collection skulls didn’t come with those darling tophat headbands with their own jewel-toned glittered mini-me’s.  But they were the perfect addition to this ensemble or to any outfit for the upcoming Halloween festivities.

Crystal Skull

Glittered candles from Pier 1 (similar) and decorative butterflies along with black and white ribbon from Amazon add to the decor.

Black Sparkle candle

Arranged white Hydrangeas in mirrored containers add that garden touch I alwasy enjoy incorporating in my own tablescapes.

The perfect addition, bone encrusted ornaments hanging from the chandelier.

Complimenting the theme of the table are two different sizes of black goblets.

Several layers of alabaster & silver rimmed plates are stacked upon these fabulous chargers that burst with silver, along with one of my very favorite flatware.

And don’t forget to do name cards! Individually wrapped custom made bone cookies were the finishing touch.

Silver-lined plates and chargers

Having a wreath on the front door gets the party started before your guest walk in.

Halloween Door Wreath

Recreate this elaborate Halloween tablescape HERE!

If you are anything like me and already planning for the Christmas holiday then don’t miss this Christmas Tablescape!

Happy holiday planning!

 

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14 May

10 Tips for Total Yard Sale Domination

Be a Garage Sale Boss

Who doesn’t love a bargain? I certainly do, which explains why I have so much stuff. Toys. Clothes. Kitchen Gadgets. Whatever it is, I probably own two of it, and everything is now piled so high in my house that it’s making me feel anxious and slightly – OK, seriously – overwhelmed.

Longtime readers will recognize these warning signs from the last time clutter made me almost institutionalized in a straightjacket (read about it here). And just like the last time, I know there’s only one thing to do: Let it goooooo. That’s right, Elsa: It’s Epic Garage Sale Time. And as I always say, if you don’t love something, set it free. And offload it in a giant garage sale.

I’m no stranger to selling stuff en garage. Honestly, my first memory of front-porch peddling was at the age of four when my parents had a garage sale in Wedgewood before we moved to Ridglea. I started hosting my own garage sales beginning in college when I attended SMU. I mean, a woman’s gotta purge when a woman’s gotta purge, amIright?

Over the years, I’ve honed my techniques to speed up sales and maximize profits while minimizing looky-loos and randos trying to sneak five-finger discounts. So, in the spirit of sweet deals, I’m going to give you my Top Ten Tips for Epic Garage Sales, absolutely free, so you, too, can be a Yard Sale Boss!

Screen Shot 2019-05-13 at 5.16.13 PM
Screen Shot 2019-05-13 at 5.16.30 PM

Here’s the scoop!

Christy Smith’s Epic Garage Sale

4714 Alta Drive 76107

Saturday, May 18th, 2019

8:00AM-3:00PM

RAIN OR SHINE!!!

(If raining, we will move everything indoors.)

Christy Smith’s Top Tips for an Epic Garage Sale

(I will post photos over the next 48 hours as I set up.)

1. Plan Ahead

Epicness doesn’t just happen. It’s a process. Throughout the year, I collect merchandise around the house, price it, and then toss the unwanted and unused stuff into a few boxes that I keep in the garage. Usually, I start with the small stuff. Not everything gets set aside – I do sell some items on local FB pages, but I always make sure to keep plenty of fabulous big ticket items for my Epic Sale.

2. Monitor Quality from the Start

My garage sales are EPIC because I don’t sell junk. Before I toss stuff into the box, I make sure it works, it’s unstained, it’s got all the parts, and the batteries are still good.

3. Be a Great Hostess

I always serve Champagne and OJ at my garage sales. People love hospitality, and you’d be surprised what people decide they need to buy after chugging a Mimosa!

4. Get Your Family Into the Act

My sales always include lots of items donated from my parents home (they purge too), and sometimes the boys will sell donuts, kolaches, and lemonade. It takes a village to sell stuff to villagers!

5. Be Social but Stay Safe

I genuinely love people, and I genuinely enjoy chatting with strangers from all walks of life. Through all the years I’ve been hosting garage sales, I’ve only experienced a few instances where someone has stolen from me. It sucked, but at the end of the day, it’s just stuff. Most important are my kids and ensuring their safety. If they’re on-site, they never leave my sight.

6. Sweeten the Pot

I always keep a 25¢ box filled with small toys and trinkets for kids to get a little something extra while rummaging with their parents. When adding up the total that people owe, I throw in a few of these tiny treats. It makes the parents feel like they got a bonus, and the kids love getting something new.

7. Make it Easy

I always mark my house with balloons and place a few signs at nearby intersections. In the past, I’ve hired off-duty police officers to manage crowd control and traffic flow – nothing kills a shopping mood like a bottlenecked traffic jam. We just invested in street cones to control the parking situation.

8. Getting the Word Out

When it comes to advertising our sale, I turn to social media. It’s effective, and the price is right! (Free!). I post on my personal FB page, in a few buy/sell and mommy forums on Facebook and on Next Door. I also create an event on FB to help guide people to our location, which becomes a reminder for them right before the sale starts.

9. Enlist the Troops

Never host a garage sale without several friends helping, especially during the first few hours. These thrifty shoppers come in droves and swoop in on all your slashed-to-sell goodies as soon as you open the gates! I always have 4-6 people helping me with the sale, and I pay them in $100 credit towards their purchase of my seconds.

10. Be Smart about Pricing

Here’s my unofficial pricing method: Depending on the age and condition of the items, we usually mark things between 50%-90% off retail. If it’s a brand new item with or without tags, or something super unique or vintage, I do a little research to see what that item is selling for on eBay, The Real Real or 1stDibs. And then I mark accordingly to align with a similar price point that was listed.

Organizing and arranging stuff for the sale is my favorite part of a garage sale – it totally satisfies my OCD. And, because this is all about bargains, here is my bonus advice:

Christy’s Favorite 6 Tips for Garage Sale Organization

1. Be sure to have lots of plastic folding tables and garment racks, even if you have to borrow some from friends and neighbors.

2. Use cardboard boxes to hold bulk items. 

3. Have paper grocery sacks ready to give to shoppers as they arrive to make it easier to shop your treasure trove. Save your bags throughout the year for ample supply.

4. If you have items with multiple small parts, put them into various sized ziplock bags and mark the price with a sharpie. This keeps things from getting separated when people rummage. (This works especially well for toys with small/multiple parts.) 

5. Use a tagging gun for clothing. I like to note the size, price and also measurements if something has been altered like the inseam.

6.  Don’t forget the dough! The day before your sale, stop by the bank and get $100-125 in change per money handler. 

So that’s it! I’m gonna get back to tagging and setting up this mother so you can rummage through my life this Saturday at our EPIC yard sale! Besides, who can resist a glass of champagne and a carload of bargains?

Let me know you’re popping over by RSVPing to THIS Facebook event link.

19 Sep

11 Tips for creating your next Outdoor Patio Party

Riedel PS The Letter

Fall into Autumn with my personal favorite tips and tricks for hosting the ultimate outdoor social.

Dining al fresco surrounded by close family and friends is the optimal way to welcome the beautiful fall weather that’s right around the corner here in Fort Worth.

And boy, I am really looking forward to the change of seasons in the Lone Star State! Don’t let the door kick you on the way out, 110-degree weather!

Outdoor social events and patio parties have been a staple in my family since I was a little girl. I watched my mom throw both elaborate and opulent events, to the more simple of gatherings.

In my eyes, she was and still is the ultimate queen bee of entertaining. I enjoy following in her footsteps while putting my own personal touches and a little flair to my parties.

1. Please, Don’t Come In!

In order to avoid the doorbell ringing a hundred times, I will put a sign near the front door to direct people around to the back of the house. Not having to answer the door multiple times allows you as the host to enjoy mingling with guests.

Porch Party
Patio Sign

2. Conversation Starters

When entertaining, I always have something humorous or a good conversation starter located at the bar. Usually, the napkins or Styrofoam cups do the talking, but I’ve been known to bust out a bowl of penis mints to get the ladies laughing.

Adding your own personal and/or humorous touch to parties helps create the belly-laughing moments that you and your friends will reminisce about for years to come. BTW, I always find lots of humorous goodies for entertaining at the Ft.Worth Junior Leagues’s Christmas in Cowtown Holiday Gift Market every October.

fun styrofoam cups
fun cocktail napkins

3. Garden Clippings

You can go hog wild with garden clippings when it comes to decorating your space for a patio party. Even if you don’t have blooming flowers on your property, different types of greenery make for a lovely botanical look.

Of course, you can always run to Central Market for some colorful stems to pair with your fresh cuttings. For this event, I actually did go to Central Market and I arranged the flowers the evening before.

garden flowers
Central Market flowers

4. Food for Thought

Sky’s the limit when it comes to feeding your guests, but when entertaining outside, be mindful of items melting or spoiling in direct sun.

Claudia Sheddy, the owner My Sweet Roots, has catered several gatherings for me, and I absolutely love her presentation of food. Every time I’ve used her, I receive calls the next day asking for her contact information.

My Sweet Roots
My Sweet Roots

5. The Bar Scene

Although I always have at least one server for parties, even patio parties, there are times when I love to set the bar up for self-service. There is always at least one invitee who takes the initiative to man the bar and pour the refills. It’s also the perfect way for guest to mingle with one another- especially if they have never met.

Patio Bar
Patio Bar
Patio Champagne

6. Stemware Don’t Care

Throughout the years, I’ve lost many Baccarat crystal glasses when I hosted parties. To minimize stress and broken stemware, I decided to keep my sanity and my crystal intact and invest in Riedel stemware from PS The Letter. If one of these glasses were to break, I’m not calculating additional cost in my budget for party planning. Phew.

Plus, there’s nothing better than enjoying a drink out of a Riedel wine glass. The impact you will experience from the shape and size of their grape varietal specific glasses brings out the true flavors of your wine grape.  Ahh…

Riedel PS The Letter
Riedel Wine Glass Patio Party

7. Always Overbuy

I always overbuy for an event to ensure I never run out- especially when it comes to the limes and alcohol. It is so much easier to return unused items than send someone to make another run right in the middle of your party. I also make sure everything I use for patio entertaining is disposable except for the serving pieces and stemware. This makes for easy cleanup and just an overall less stressful event.

Patio Liquor
Topo Chico Patio Party
Patio Party Limes
Plastic Flatware

8. For the Smoking Guests

Ashtrays are imperative. Although most of my friends don’t smoke, it never fails… a few cocktails in and a some of them will bust out the cancer sticks and get their social smoking game on. I can guarantee a few of your guests will be itching to light up a fresh stogie while enjoying the crisp fall evening at your party.

Crystal Ashtray

9. Let’s Get Comfortable

For this party, I set the bar up on the center table in the loggia, where people usually sit down to eat. Although there are plenty of fun places to serve drinks, being mindful of shade is crucial to keeping your ice from melting and glasses getting warm. Small details to consider such as making sure there are enough shady spots for guests to mingle around before the sun goes down. Keeping guests feeling comfortable and happy is imperative.  It will also make you look like a seasoned hostess!

Patio Seating
Patio Seating
Patio Party by the pool

10. Big Ass Balloons

And sometimes, you just need a few Big Ass Balloons as your statement pieces to tie in the full look. This Dallas-Houston company knows how to float a party when it comes to helium. Big air, don’t care!

Big Ass Balloons patio party
Big Ass Balloon party

11. Keep Them Entertained

I usually add a bit of entertainment when I host an event. If it’s not a strolling magician, it might be a balloon artist, lip reader or DJ. But for this occasion, I turned the satellite radio on and piped in through the outdoor speakers.

Alta Drive patio Party
Alta Drive Patio Party

Photography by Maria Ciszek

SoFortWorthIt GIVEAWAY

All in all, keeping your patio party fun, lighthearted, relaxing, and simple will make for a great time! Don’t stress about the small details and don’t be afraid to hire a few extra hands so that you can enjoy your own party. So, sit back, relax, grab yourself a chilled glass of Rose, and make sure those Texas mosquitos don’t bite as you host a beautiful patio party of your own!

PS The Letter
Central Market
Big Ass Balloons
Junior League Christmas in Cowtown

Now who’s ready to kick off these gorgeous temperatures with the perfect giveaway for your next gathering? One lucky hostess will win an entertainment spread to kickstart her next outdoor social.

– A Box of 4 Riedel Wine Glasses from PS The Letter $45

– Floral Arrangement from Fort Worth Central Market $35

– Big Ass Balloon gift certificate $50

– 2 Tickets for Christmas in Cowtown $25

Please read the OFFICIAL RULES & DISCLAIMERS located in the Rafflecopter link below.