Use This, Not That: Eco-Friendly Party Swaps

Although I love (love love love!) party supplies, I had to take a step back and think about my contribution to the trash of this world. It's no secret that single-use plastics are polluting the planet, especially because most of the time they aren't actually recycled. We've all seen images of trash-filled beaches, trash islands in the ocean twice as big as Texas, and floating trash in the Caribbean Sea. As much as we think our trash is gone, it really isn't. Time and time again, we are seeing it pop up in oceans, landfills, and beaches. It's our responsibility to do all we can to improve these conditions. Because of this, I am going to try to do something practically no DIY and party blogger has done before- strive to be more eco-friendly and show you more sustainable methods for your parties. Because while these projects and party themes may be cute, they're killing the planet. And you don't have to sacrifice style to be eco-conscious. To start off small, I'm showing you 10 ways that you can make easy swaps for your next party!

*This post contains affiliate links

 Although I love (love love love!) party supplies, I had to take a step back and think about my contribution to the trash of this world. Because of this, I am going to try to do something practically no DIY and party blogger has done before- strive to be more eco-friendly and show you more sustainable methods for your parties. And you don't have to sacrifice style to be eco-conscious. To start off small, I'm showing you 10 ways that you can make easy swaps for your next party! Click for the full post.

Wooden Cutlery Instead of Plastic

Single-use plastic utensils are probably the biggest waste of money and resources. But, they're so easily accessible and convenient! I challenge you to try wooden cutlery for your next party. There are so many ways that you can customize the utensils if you wanted to, but honestly they are totally fine as-is! They come in fun shapes and colors, but I think tying them with a simple ribbon can also add a nice pop of color similar to the way plastic forks can. Or, try decorating the handle with washi tape for an easy, stress-free look!


Paper Straws Instead of Plastic

I think we've all seen that tragic story of a straw being pulled out of a turtle's nose. Along with being absolutely heartbreaking, we know it's unnecessary. There are so many times we get a straw and don't need one. Any time I'm at a restaurant, I get a cup and a straw- and I always give back the straw. For your next party, try switching to paper straws. There are SO MANY fun designs, which makes them even better for mixing and matching the theme. They're pretty affordable too, and can be used after the party for ordinary drinks. They don't last as long as plastic straws (which is a good thing!) so be sure to keep them out of the liquids until guests are ready to drink.


Compostable Plates Instead of Plastic

Another easy swap is going from plastic plates to paper or compostable ones! Plastic party plates aways end up in regular trash (not recycling) and that's a huge amount of plastic going straight to the landfill. Try switching to something more eco-friendly, like these sugarcane/bagasse plates. You can also use paper plates, which are still better than plastic ones. Look for uncoated paper plates, which can be composted if you're into that sort of thing. This article explains a little more about it.


Reusable Melamine Plates Instead of Disposable

If you really want to be eco-friendly, reduce and reuse! Instead of going for disposable items, invest in a cute set of reusable melamine plates that can match any theme. I love these because they are white on top but have a fun pop of color underneath. If you want to go this route but can't afford the investment, consider going in with a group of friends to create a complete party set. Then, you can put it in a giant container and share it whenever it's needed! Fostering community and saving the environment. What could be better?!

 Although I love (love love love!) party supplies, I had to take a step back and think about my contribution to the trash of this world. Because of this, I am going to try to do something practically no DIY and party blogger has done before- strive to be more eco-friendly and show you more sustainable methods for your parties. And you don't have to sacrifice style to be eco-conscious. To start off small, I'm showing you 10 ways that you can make easy swaps for your next party! Click for the full post.


BYO-Cup Party Instead of Disposable

I had a party earlier this year and I decided the theme was Bring Your Own Cup! Each guest brought a cup of their choice to drink out of for the night. This is fantastic because you don't need to worry about having cups for everyone and you don't ned to wash dishes either! I can't tell you how many parties I've been to where I'm tossing out dozens of plastic cups because no one knew which cup was theirs. This solves that problem even better than a sharpie! I always use my disco ball cup for parties, but my new favorite is a pineapple cup or shell cup for summer. The options are endless!

Reusable Cups That Double as a Favor

If you don't have enough cups for the group, how about purchasing a set of reusable cups that can double as favors? Home Goods always has tons of cute and affordable cups that you could purchase as a favor, and they're definitely better than giving a bag of plastic toys that kids play with for 2 minutes and forget about! This idea would be great for both kids and adults. Just make sure you don't get anything too cheap and crappy- you don't want it going right in the trash!


Personalized Mason Jars Instead of Plastic Cups

Another alternative to plastic favor cups is to use glass mason jars as cups. You can find these in almost any store (like Michael's, Target, or similar) and they've always got sales. To personalize them, use a Sharpie to write each guest's name. This way, everyone knows which cup is theirs! Add a cute paper straw and you're in business.

 Although I love (love love love!) party supplies, I had to take a step back and think about my contribution to the trash of this world. Because of this, I am going to try to do something practically no DIY and party blogger has done before- strive to be more eco-friendly and show you more sustainable methods for your parties. And you don't have to sacrifice style to be eco-conscious. To start off small, I'm showing you 10 ways that you can make easy swaps for your next party! Click for the full post.

Paper Fans Instead of Tissue Paper Poms

Tissue paper poms are easy party decor items that takes up a lot of space, but they don't store well so you can't re-use them. Once they've been unfolded and fluffed, they're pretty much trash. Try using paper fans instead! They come in every color and pattern imaginable, plus they fold up again if you want to re-use them, especially if you use my handy dandy hack! They don't take up a lot of room to store because they fold so compactly, but once they're set up they really make an impact!


Honeycomb Balls Instead of Balloons

Unfortunately, we are starting to see that even balloons aren't good for the environment. Releasing them can have devastating effects, as they can get tangled up with animals or land in places they shouldn't. Even those tossed in the trash can end up in the ocean, where they are mistaken for food. Instead of balloons, use honeycomb balls to create unique party decor and even "balloon" arches! They have the same round shape and come in all kinds of sizes (and even shapes!), so you can create the exact look you'd like. PLUS, you don't have to worry about them deflating!


Disposable Paper Tablecloth (or Reusable Ones) Instead of Plastic

Aside from the fact that plastic tablecloths look kinda cheap, they are full of creases that you can never get out (and not to sound like a broken record but... awful for the environment). Try switching to paper tablecloths! They come on a roll or in a pack, but they usually have a plastic liner underneath so be sure to get a fully paper one. Or, even better, invest in some inexpensive polyester tablecloths that you can toss in the wash after use. I have a large black one I always use for my food table and it's held up really well- plus no stains! For the easiest party set, skip the tablecloth completely and stick with a simple runner!

I like to keep it light over here, but this was something that was really weighing on me. We're all guilty of choosing convenience over sustainability sometimes but it's important to start making changes that will help the earth, not hurt it. I hope this blog post showed you that being eco-friendly isn't really hard, and can actually be really cute! 

Now, I need some feedback from you. What did you think of this post? What types of items would you like alternatives for? Let me know in the comments below!

How to Plan a Disney Themed PartyY

Whenever I thought about my wedding day, I imagined myself stepping out of a carriage in front of Cinderella's castle. I'd be wearing my big poofy wedding gown, and walk up to my prince charming, who waited for me in front of the castle. And then, just as he leaned in to kiss me, reality came and slapped me in the face. It costs TONS of money to get married in front of Cinderella's castle. And although it would be AH-MA-ZING, there's no way I have that kind of money for my dream Disney World wedding. So, what's a girl to do? Well, clearly, it's to regroup and plan an amazing Disney-themed engagement party.

Psst- If you want to see all the photos from the party, be sure to check out this post!

 How to plan a Disney themed party, filled with craft projects, links, and decor ideas! Perfect for weddings, engagement parties, and birthdays. Click for the full post!

The Plan

To prep, I created a Pinterest board and pinned any Disney ideas I liked. I decided that since I wanted to do several different movies, I needed something to tie them all together. I decided to focus on one color scheme for all the elements and centerpieces. I picked mint and peach/coral since they are some of my favorite colors, and also because my mom had those on her wedding day, so they were important to me. I also added pink (my favorite!) and metallics to give the party a little sparkle.

The first thing I did was I sat down and listed out all the Disney movies I wanted to incorporate and noted the elements from each. At this point, you're just taking notes, so write down anything you wish. The more the better! I had things like Snow White- wishing well, jewels, birds, apples. Just a simple list of word association for each move.

The next step was to list out all the things I needed to collect to add these elements to the party. My list included things like vintage books (Beauty and the Beast), seashells (The Little Mermaid) and a globe (Up). Step 2 was to collect everything. I started by searching around my house, and then going to my parent's office. They had a globe and a few winter decorations that were perfect for Frozen. I also was able to utilize their huge collection of picture frames for the quotes! The more you can borrow for the party, the better. Any money saved on decor can be allocated to something else ;)

Once I collected all my freebies, I went shopping!

 How to plan a Disney themed party, filled with craft projects, links, and decor ideas! Perfect for weddings, engagement parties, and birthdays. Click for the full post!

1. Magic Lamp 2. Clock 3. Cloche 4. Ariel’s Candelabra 5. Frog Prince 6. Glass Slipper 7. Moss 8. Pumpkin Jar 9. Coral 10. Rapunzel’s Lantern 11. Mrs. Potts 12. Flamingo Lawn Ornament 13. Enchanted Rose 14. Cinderella’s Carriage 15. Lumiere

Thrift Store

A lot of my stuff came from the thrift store. I was able to repurpose some items, like turning a mail holder into a wishing well. I spray painted a flounder kids' cup into a gold statue for the Little Mermaid table. And, all a tarnished teapot needed was a little elbow grease to become a wonderful Mrs. Potts.

Christmas Tree Shops

If you're looking for affordable decor that seems high end, look no further than Christmas Tree Shops! I purchased all my votive holders, the seashells, and the Beauty and the Beast cloche from there.

 How to plan a Disney themed party, filled with craft projects, links, and decor ideas! Perfect for weddings, engagement parties, and birthdays. Click for the full post!

1. Gold Frames 2. Be Our Guest Napkins 3. Love Stirrers 4. Beverage Cups 5. Coral and Mint Dinner Plates 6. Folding Cocktail Table 7. Tablecloth Clips 8. Striped Lanterns 9. Sequin Table Runner 10. White Tent 11. Bottle Opener 12. Shell Garland 13. Pink and Aqua Best Day Ever Tags 14. Beverage Dispenser 15. Gold Dinner and Coral Dessert Plates

Oriental Trading and Party City

Almost all the tableware, decor, and barware came from Oriental Trading and Party City. Oriental trading had these great seashell garlands, and paper lanterns in any color you can imagine. Party City had these Be Our Guest napkins (perfect!), colored cups, and engagement napkins. If you mix and match all the items, you can create a unique mix that can incorporate all the elements of the party.

Amazon

Oh, Amazing Amazon. How did we ever survive without thee?! I was able to find all the obscure things I needed on Amazon- a Cinderella carriage, glass slippers, a tiny magic lamp, and a cute frog prince. I also found some of the barware, like these cute bottle openers and these cute drink stirrers. I added these sequin table runners in all sorts of colors to each table for a little extra sparkle. My favorite thing was probably these pumpkin candle holders that I spray painted gold. I'm using them in my fall decor right now, and they are just soo cute! Ditto for these cheap little pumpkins that I spray painted gold and silver. 

Dollar Store

The dollar store was great for random little items. Things like these horses that I spray painted, these cheap silver trays that looked fancy, and even a magic mirror! I also got my books for the Beauty and the Beast table from the Dollar Store. It was a pretty funny sight- me removing all the book jackets to check out the covers and make sure they were the right colors for the party. In the end, I settled on A World of Pasta, which obviously Belle reads.

Michaels

I don't think any party could be complete without a trip to Michaels. it was here that I picked up some moss for the sign-in area, the rose for my Beauty and the Beast cloche, and a stand for my signature cocktails sign. I also picked up the supplies for the Tangled Lanterns I made using the Cricut.

Misc Crafts

 How to plan a Disney themed party, filled with craft projects, links, and decor ideas! Perfect for weddings, engagement parties, and birthdays. Click for the full post!

After I did the purchasing, I also had a few of my own crafts projects. First, I made these DIY balloon pins. I wanted something to distinguish the members of our immediate family, and I wanted it to have an Up vibe to it, like a cross between the balloons and the infamous grape soda pin.

The Wishing Well was made from some sort of hanging letter holder the thrift store. I had my fiance create posts and a roof out of scrap wood and paint stirrers to create a wishing well, and I painted it all white to match. A few vines and flowers from my craft hoard completed the look. 

I had my fiance make these adorable croquet mallets from Damask Love. They were the perfect Disney-themed activity and created an awesome photo op! They were one of my favorite elements of the party. My fiancé thought I was crazy when I told him to make them, but everyone loved them.

For an easy project, create a game of ring toss (aka "engagement ring" toss). All you need are some empty wine bottles. If you don't have any, this is the perfect excuse to drink lots of wine and de-stress from party planning. Soak the bottles to remove the labels, and let them dry fully. Spray paint them in fun colors, arrange them in a box, and toss on some colorful rings

 How to plan a Disney themed party, filled with craft projects, links, and decor ideas! Perfect for weddings, engagement parties, and birthdays. Click for the full post!

If you want to learn more about planning a Pinterest worthy party, be sure to sign up to get your FREE Anatomy of a Pinterest Worthy Party guide! It's full of helpful hints on how to pick a theme, the little details that will make your event unique, and tips to take great photos of your event. And, there's even a checklist so you don't forget anything! So what are you waiting for? Get yours now!

If you want to see all the photos from the party, be sure to check out this post!

Pssst. Looking for some assistance planning your next big event? I can help! Visit my virtual party planning services page for more info and pricing.

Are you going to try and plan your own Disney-themed party? What's something you MUST have? Let me know in the comments below!

 

 

Last Minute Dollar Store New Year's Eve Party

New Year's Eve is just 2 days away. There's barely enough time to shop Amazon Prime, so you've got to do something different. How about checking out your local dollar store? They've got everything you need to throw a really cool party on a budget. Don't believe me? Check out the loot I got from my local dollar store!

Note: not everything in this post cost me $1, but they were all under $3 at the local dollar store. I've also linked some items on Amazon in case you can't find them at your dollar store. This post contains affiliate links.

Light up the New Year

Sometimes when you're browsing the dollar store, you'll find some cool items that can be repurposed. 

For instance, I found these really cool flashing number cake toppers, intended for kids' birthday parties, that would fit in perfectly with New Year's decor. They're meant to hold candles, but I think they look fine on their own. They'd probably look really cool with sparklers in them, but I never use sparklers (I'm scared of them!) so I'm not sure how that would work ;)

DIY Metallic Confetti Balloons

At the dollar store, I found these metallic shreds that go in gift baskets, but I thought of a much prettier use for them- confetti balloons!

You will need:
Clear Balloons
Metallic Shreds
Funnel or rolled up paper (here)
Scissors
Drink Stirrer or pen
Helium Tank or Balloon Pump

1. Take your clear balloons and give them a stretch, especially the neck.

2. Grab a few strands of the metallic shreds and roll them up. Squish them into the opening of the balloon, using the drink stirrer to carefully push them through the neck and into the balloon area. 

3. Repeat this a few times until you fill up the balloon. Remember that once it's blown up, the shreds will take up a lot less space.

4. Optional Confetti: Take a funnel or rolled up piece of paper and place it in the neck of the balloon. Cut up the shreds to create a confetti and use the drink stirrer to push them into the balloon. I used a paper funnel, so I pushed the confetti down, then used the neck of the balloon to pull the confetti into it. This was easier than trying to shove it all through the tiny hole.

5. Blow up your balloon using the helium or a balloon pump. Remember that air will escape, so it's best to blow these up on New Year's Eve, but you can pre-fill them so they're ready to go :) Then you can pop them at midnight for a fun confetti explosion!

DIY New Year's Eve Hair Accessory

This is probably THE EASIEST New Year's Eve hair accessory tutorial you'll find. All you'll need are some alligator clips and self-stick foam numbers!

To make these clips, peel the backing off the numbers and stick them onto the hair clip. Didn't I tell you it was easy?! If you want to jazz them up a little more, you can put a piece of ribbon on the alligator clip so it isn't silver, but I don't think it's necessary and I like the extra shine of the metallic silver.

NYE hairclip.jpg

New Year's Eve Accessories

We are going to step away from the DIY projects to focus on the stuff that you can purchase from the dollar store. This stuff is MUCH cheaper than what you can find at Party City or similar stores. I think these hats were $1.29 but at Party City, similar ones were $3+. 

My local dollar store also had a lot of really cool 2017 glasses. I thought these two styles were the nicest and made it obvious that it was 2017 (not 2007) so I picked 'em. Also those rhinestone ones had the nicest pink color plus they're so Y2K that I couldn't resist. They also kinda remind me of the Times Square ball drop.

I got 2 different types of noisemakers. These small streamer ones in pink and blue (above) and the traditional cone shaped ones (below). The cone ones were cheaper and came with twice as many for just a little more than the small ones. Plus they're appropriately themed! 

I also got some nice trays, cups, plates, etc. for the table, plus all the silver and multi-colored disco balls. They're cheaper than the ones on Amazon and a decent size, so that was a win! I've been wanting to do a fun color scheme for New Year's Eve for a few years now, so I'm really excited that I get to try it this year.

Pssst. Looking for some assistance planning your next big event? I can help! Visit my virtual party planning services page for more info and pricing.

Have you tried any fresh color schemes for NYE? What color palette do you usually use? Let me know in the comments! And don't forget to follow my NYE board on Pinterest :)

How to Mix and Match Party Supplies

Who doesn't love going to a store and seeing a sale?! I think one of my favorites is the mix and match ones. You know, like when you go Victoria's Secret and get underwear 5 for $25. It can cost a little more than a regular pack of underwear but why do you buy that one? Choices! Everyone likes to pick and choose the items they like best. You do it for your panties, why not do it for your parties too? (See what I did there? Hah.)

This Christmas I decided to challenge myself by creating a completely unique party scheme using easy to find, store bought supplies- and you can too! I went to my local Target and picked up nearly everything in their Christmas party supplies aisle. I also added in some other items I loved, like this star banner I got from Old Navy and some napkinsI got from Marshall's (similar). I also added in some cups and stirrers I made. 

Matchy Matchy

First let's take a look at all my supplies while they hang out in their clique. 

Santa round plates. Santa shaped plates. Santa letter place cards. Santa paper fan. Striped cups. Santa beverage napkins. Striped napkins. Jolly ornament. Merry Christmas stirrer from Target. Red Pom Pom stirrer and clear cups made by me.

Snowflake napkins. Snowman plate. Snowflake cups. Merry Christmas stirrer from Target. Pom Pom  stirrer, bell stirrer, and clear cups made by me.

star banner. Jolly napkins (similar). Merry Christmas stirrer from Target. Pom Pom stirrer, bell stirrer, and clear cups made by me.

Paper fan. Polka dot tablecloth. Paper ornament garland. Happy Holidays plate. Colorful writing plate. Colorful writing napkin. Holly jolly napkin. Pom Pom stirrers, bell stirrers, and clear cups made by me.

Aren't they a little boring? Nothing stands out and they feel a little cookie cutter, especially the Santa and the snowman. 

Mix it Up

Simply by trying different combinations of store items, you can create a one-of-a-kind look. So, what's the secret to successfully mixing and matching supplies? 

You need to have a plan.

In an ideal world, you'd just grab all the things you like the most, and they'd come together in perfect harmony. This, however, is the real world. Sometimes you grab your favorite items and they don't mesh together... at all. Take a look at the supplies offered and think about what you like and why. Is it the design? The color? How functional it is? Think about how all these items will fit together and see which ones work best. 

Find a focal point.

Pick the piece you like the most or the one that is the most complex first. Then, see that works best with that piece.  Since this piece will be most important and/or hardest to match, you want to make sure the other items fit in perfectly with it.

Mix patterns, neutrals and solid colors.

To avoid pattern overload, balance out complex patterned pieces with solid colors or simple patterns like stripes. These simpler pieces will enhance the look of your party by complimenting your more patterned pieces instead of competing with them. People's eyes will want a place to rest! Having too many things to look at will overwhelm your guests.

Look at the big picture.

This is a little harder to do, but super important. You have to look at how each item looks as a whole, not as individual pieces. What does that mean? Well maybe you don't like that bowl pattern as much as another one at the store, but it fits in better with your whole look. It's important to recognize that not every piece has to be your absolute favorite one, but it'll have to fit in well to give you the overall look you desire.

Don't confine yourself to one store.

To get a really interesting and unique look, browse several different stores or brands to create a one of a kind party pack. This not only gives you more options, but also allows you to find pieces you really love, instead of only finding the best that one store has to offer. To see my top shops for party supplies, check out this blog post.

Don't be afraid to break the rules.

Do you like the way 2 patterns look together, even though they're technically "clashing"? Go for it! Rules are made to be broken when it comes to decorating and sometimes it's fun to try something new and different, even if it's not the trendy or traditional way to do it. Who knows, maybe you'll create your own trend! 

Check out what you have.

think the best part of mixing and matching is being able to use what you already have. Before going shopping, take a look at your inventory and see if you can enhance what you already have by mixing in some new pieces. By doing this, you can save time and money on purchasing new items. 

Try to find some consistency or pattern in your choices.

The key to being able to successfully mix and match comes from being consistent in some way. This will prevent it from looking like you grabbed any party supplies you could find. What are some factors of consistency that will help you?

Color

One way to keep a party consistent despite different patterns is by choosing a color scheme. Maybe the thing bringing all your items together is that they all have the same 3 colors in them. Or they're all pastels, metallics, etc. Color scheme is probably the #1 way to create a cohesive look. It's also the easiest, so use that to your advantage!

Shape

The shape of an item is a great way to create visual interest, but it's also a catalyst to unintentionally creating a mismatch. If all your items are rounded, a square plate may look out of place. 

Style

If all your items are somewhat upscale, using a cheap paper plate will look totally out of place. Think about the type of event and what you want the overall look to be, and go from there! 

Quality

Know where to splurge and where to save. For example, expensive straws aren't the best use of money because they'll be tossed away, and a cheaper straw will do the trick. However, it's better to spend a little more on decent plates and utensils. You don't want anyone to have trouble cutting their food or be left with a soggy, drooping plate when it's full of food. 

Saving money.

To save money, mix in some cheaper items from the dollar store to match your more expensive designed pieces. Learn more about how to save money (and time!) on party supplies by clicking here

When you've got all your items together, take a look to make sure nothing sticks out like a sore thumb. If it does, you've either got to find something to bring it together or just nix it completely. 

Pssst. Looking for some assistance planning your next big event? I can help! Visit my virtual party planning services page for more info and pricing.

So what do you guys think? Are you ready to try your own mix and match party? For more party ideas, be sure to check out my Pinterest!