Last Minute Valentine’s Day Gift Ideas

Last Minute Valentine’s Day Gift Ideas

February 11, 2018

We’re celebrating the most romantic holiday of the year by sharing some of our favorite gift ideas for your special someone. The best part? These gifts are all local to Pittsburgh – our favorite city.

Delightful Desserts
If you’re buying for someone who loves sweets, you won’t want to pass up the beautiful hand painted chocolate truffles from A519 Chocolate (who now have a pop up store in Lawrenceville) or the colorful macarons at the new Macaron Bar in Ross Park Mall. Sweet treats are a simple yet thoughtful gift, and Pittsburgh is full of awesome dessert vendors who are looking to help you find the perfect indulgence.

Edward Marc Chocolatier is another great option for a sweet gift. This company is owned and operated by the same owner of The Milkshake Factory. It’s no surprise that their desserts are irresistible; they use only sustainably-sourced ingredients for their delicious products. They not only sell hand-made chocolates, but a delicious variety of caramel dipped apples as well.

Fresh Flowers
Flowers are feminine, fun and fragrant. They’re a feel-good gift that reminds your loved one how much you care. Visit Allison McGeary Florist’s storefront in Lawrenceville for a beautiful bouquet or call Hens and Chicks in the Strip District for an impressive arrangement! Want to surprise your loved one with a flower delivery? Both Hens and Chicks and Allison McGeary can deliver one-of-a-kind arrangements right to your door.

Blissful Beauty Products
Pamper your loved one with a hand-crafted product from Una Biologicals in Lawrenceville. Their shop features organic lotions, soaps, essential oils and much more. Not sure which product to buy? You can also purchase a gift card for one of Una’s upcoming workshops!

Valentine’s Day Gifts- Think Beyond Flowers and Candy

Buying your special someone the typical chocolate and flowers isn’t always the most original present for Valentine’s Day. Spice up Valentine’s Day this year by thinking outside of the box.

Create an experience.

Show them that you’re listening and care about the little things that they say they’ve always wanted to do or are interested in to help you choose the perfect gift. For example, if they love exotic cars, rent their favorite car of choice for them to drive around for the day, or if they’ve mentioned that they’ve always wanted to fly a plane, buy them a flying lesson to have an experience that they’ll never forget!

Planning a romantic getaway or vacation is always a great surprise for your loved one; however, making sure that it’s a vacation they personally are going to enjoy is crucial. It may not always be you’re idea of the perfect getaway, but creating the vacation based solely upon their interests is what is going to make the experience memorable. This vacation could be simple and short by just taking a weekend to go see their favorite sports team play, or it could be long and luxurious by going to an island that they’ve always dreamed about going to.

Who doesn’t love jewelry?

Diamonds or any type of jewelry is known to be the safe route during this romantic holiday, but why not make it original? Personalizing one of their favorite rings, necklaces, watches, etc. by getting it engraved is the perfect touch to making the present more unique. Whether you choose to engrave you’re wedding anniversary, date of when you first met, children’s names, etc., personalization shows that you wanted to take the extra step to make it extra special.

We’d love to hear if you have ever received a special and meaningful Valentine’s Day gift. Let us know what it was.

Holiday Office Party Etiquette, As seen on WTAE News

Shari was featured yesterday on the 5:30 broadcast on WTAE news talking about holiday office party etiquette.

Here are five additional tips that didn’t end up making it on air:

1. Use this time to socialize and talk to co-workers you may not interact with on a daily basis. It is a good time to get to know someone new.

2. If you aren’t sure about the dress code, opt for being more conservative. Ladies, this is not the time to show too much skin.

3. Check whether you were invited with a spouse or guest in advance before arriving with one.

4. Make sure it is all inclusive and refer to it as a “Holiday Party” or a “Celebration of the Season” and not a “Christmas Party”.

5. Tips for the planner- Be certain to keep your guests in mind when selecting the venue, food and entertainment. Know that it is appropriate for those who will be attending and that they will feel comfortable and have a good time.

One extra piece of advice, if the month of December is just too busy for the company or everyone is already so busy with all of the other holiday parties they have to attend, it may be a better idea to postpone the celebration until January and make it a new year celebration.



Creative Christmas Party Ideas

It’s the holiday season and everyone is excited to have their holiday parties! If you are looking to impress your guests, we have plenty of simple ideas that will put the finishing touches on your Christmas event.

We all know how to decorate a Christmas tree with ornaments – but why not use ornaments in other decorative aspects of your party?  Hang ornaments with ribbon inside open windows, it’s a fun way to remind passersby of the holiday cheer!  Grab some large clear ornaments, pop the tops off and fill it with chocolate milk, eggnog or whatever beverage you would like (don’t forget a festive colored straw!).  Fill all your usual decorative vases and bowls with ornaments. We have been seeing this used a lot with tall clear glass vases with candles on top – what a great use of decorative lighting!

Those lights on your tree can also be used elsewhere around the house, even on the dinner table!  However, the wires are not the most attractive sight.  Tie small ribbons on the strand and add some jingle bells for a fun lighting display on the table!  If you prefer to use candles and want to keep it low-cost, turn some of your wine glasses upside down on some holly and place your tea lights on top! Above the table, hang some 3D paper stars and snowflakes for a fun arrangement!

If you are looking forward to having hot cocoa at your party, think about getting really creative with it.  The latest trend for this warm drink is hot cocoa is making ‘Hot Cocoa Pops”, much like a lollipop.  Find a recipe online and find some festive mugs so guests can make their own hot cocoa!

As for snacks, you may already be familiar with the cheese and cracker display that is layed out in the shape of a christmas tree.  Go above and beyond to make a snowman out of cheeseballs!  For some easy sweet treats, grab the holiday (tree-shaped) pretzels, dip them in white chocolate, and add some red and green sprinkles!

There are plenty of ways to get creative with Christmas parties, share with us some of the ideas you have for this year, or have used in the past!

Thanksgiving Centerpieces

Getting the family together is always a celebration, especially around the holiday season.  Thanksgiving kicks off our holiday festivities and it’s nice to have everyone over for a big meal.  What is the main attraction for your Thanksgiving – is it your mouthwatering recipes, your fun and unique traditions, or is it your Thanksgiving décor and centerpieces? 

You will certainly have a feast for you meal; we would like to suggest a feast for your eyes. You can really impress the family with a creative statement centerpiece for the table!

You could do something very traditional by stuffing a cornucopia with seasonal fruits and veggies, or use flowers.  If you want more of a modern setting, filling tall glass vases with decorative items is popular.  Take the tall vase and fill it with autumn items such as acorns, leaves, pine cones, or cranberries. 

Adding a candlelight will set a relaxed mood too!  Just don’t use scented candles, it conflicts with all of the aromas in the foods on the table and in the kitchen.

If you are using pumpkins as a focal point, think about adorning it with lace, or by painting it with unusual colors you can really embellish it to make it more atypical!  Branches have become very popular in décor, even replacing the use of flowers!  Go outside and find several branches to spray paint and display in the center of your table or use them as-is!

There are plenty of fun ways to create an incredible centerpiece year after year that will ‘wow’ your family!  Please share with us some of your ideas!

Savanna’s 5th Birthday Party

Savanna’s 5th Birthday Party

Happy Birthday to Savanna!  We put together a very “sweet party” for a sweet little girl!  Savanna’s birthday was a child’s wonderland, full of sweets and treats! The birthday was held at Seabase in Greensburg, PA, where kids were free to play in the ball pit, climb through the jungle gym, play mini- golf, ride the indoor train and play arcade games. Bright colors filled the room with lighting by Gray Phoenix and linens by Lendable Linens in hot pink, lime green, blue, orange and yellow. Tons of fun twisted balloon sculptures and polka dot balloons with ribbons hung from the party room ceiling and a balloon arch bareing Savanna’s name were created by Festivities.

The real showcase of the party were both a feast for the eyes and the palate, by Bellachristie Sweet Boutique.  There were all kinds of treats imaginable – candy displays of gumballs, giant lollipops, jellybeans and more, as well as sweet treats including mini cupcakes, decadent marshmallow pops, pink iced donuts, decorated cookies, push-up cake pops, and rice krispie treat popsicles, just to name a few. Flanking the display were an ice cream bar on one end and a cotton candy station on the other! 

Mini jars of various child-friendly beverages were served with straws decorated by glittered paper mustaches and lips. Guests also enjoyed a popcorn station with three varieties from Pittsburgh Popcorn Company. 

All the kids went home with a gable box of treats and toys.  Guests enjoyed themselves in Savanna’s own little “candy-land”!  Happy Birthday Savanna!


Halloween Cupcake Decorating

Halloween always gets the creative juices bubbling, with ideas for costumes, parties, and festivities. Here is a great creative idea for a Halloween children’s play date or holiday party.  Cupcakes have been such a delicious trend and what is more fun for children and even yourself, than to get your hands sticky by decorating them.

Set up a decorating table with all the necessities such as icing, edible glitter, candies, and of course delicious cupcakes! Get creative and incorporate those Halloween candies like candy corn, gummy eyeball and earth worms, and the orange sprinkles.

A fun touch to the party would be aprons for the children, place cards to know which station is theirs, and to go boxes for the kids. They can decorate and take some treats home to their families.

This simple concept will turn into such a great Halloween get together for your children.

Kids’ Birthday Party Themes

If you are having a birthday party for your little one soon, one of the first things you think about is the theme of the party!  Consider the tot’s interests and go from there.  There are endless amounts of theme ideas that kids love!  You can go with a more typical theme, or come up with something unique and very individualized.

For typical kids parties, girls often love to get all dolled up for a princess party!  Since girls are generally more tame, you could try to incorporate a tea party into their princess theme, having a ‘Royal Tea Party’.  For a ‘Fairy Party’ you could buy all the girls wings as favors and let them flutter around the yard, also known as the ‘magical forest’.  Another party theme for warm weather could be a ladybug-themed picnic!  Girls love ladybugs, and a picnic would keep the party mess outside of the house.  Is your little girl too rough and tumble for princesses and fairies?  Maybe she would like a cowgirl party.  Get her favorite pair of cowgirl boots out and play pin the tail on the donkey!  Does she have a favorite board game?  Try recreating a life-sized ‘Candyland’ board in your backyard!  Even if it is not an exact replica of the game, it will be fun for the kids to be their own moving-pieces!  Also, with a Candyland theme you can set up a candy station for the kids to bag up their favorite goodies to take home as a favor!

Boys tend to be wilder, wanting to run around with his buddies.  Therefore, a sit-down picnic or tea party would generally not be the best choice.  Have a more typical party, such as a Pirate party!  Buy the kid’s eye patches as favors.  A Pirate party is especially great if you have a pool, having the kids ‘walk the plank’ (a.k.a. the diving board) is a fun feature to incorporate.  Or, have all the kids come dressed as their favorite superhero for a Superhero party!  If you are really crafty, you could even make all the kids their own cape!  See which superhero is the strongest, having them break open a ‘villain’ piñata!  Maybe your boy would love a dinosaur party!  Bury fake bones in your sandbox and see if they can find all of them.  Does your little one have a tree house?  Turn that backyard bungalow into a Jungle party!  Let them swing on secured ropes (a.k.a. vines), and climb on the monkey bars.  Perhaps your guy is the outdoors type.  Make this party a sleepover, and camp out with tents!  Of course a Camping party isn’t complete with a campfire and s’mores!

These are just a few theme ideas, I’m sure you have a few of your own so feel free to share these ideas with us!  So, how creative can you get with your kids parties?

It’s The First Day of Fall…Time To Start Planning For The Holidays

Today is the first day of Fall and the holidays are just around the corner. Hard to believe, but in just three short months we’ll be in the midst of sipping eggnog and decking the halls. It is now officially the time to begin thinking about planning your holiday parties.

What needs to be done? Well for starters…. select your party date, decide on your location (at home or off-site), plan your guest list, select inviations, design the menu, decor and entertainment. Make your party unique.

Feel overwhelmed planning on your own?  Allow Perfectly Planned by Shari do it with you to revieve the anxiety and allow you to relax and enjoy the party as the host.