Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween!  Who's hit the candy bag before the kiddies even show up?  I hope you checked out fall table inspiration on Wednesday for our take on Fall Luxe.  Here's how I've put Fall Luxe into my apartment (which has limited storage space).  First up, here is my $15 Happiness pumpkin that I still love love love!

Please ignore the side of Xbox controller.

I set it on my coffee table and paired it with another mercury glass pumpkin from Sur la Table, which is on sale for $11.96!  My gold glass coasters are from World Market, but they sit out all year.

For my dining table, I kept my Target tablecloth because it didn't seem to clash with all the other decorations.  I used another mercury pumpkin from Sur la Table (purchased last year), two brass pumpkin tiny taper holders from Williams-Sonoma (bought on super clearance for $2.95 each this past summer).  I also mixed in a real pumpkins from the grocery store and put these beautiful peachy roses in a vase I already owned (the flowers were a Halloween present from Mr. 3...sweet man).

We also are lucky enough to have big beautiful windows in our dining room, so I set up a little festive display using a mix of succulents which I already owned and more tiny taper holders, grocery store pumpkins, and another mercury glass pumpkin from Sur la Table.

I also love to light a candle this time of year, but I can't stand the fragrance of most candles - they always smell too chemically or sweet.  The higher end candles (i.e. Jo Malone and  Diptyque) are wonderful, but I have a policy against shelling out $50+ for something I'm going to light on fire.

This soy candle is Green Tea and Ginger which means I get a bit of yummy fallness from the ginger without going overboard.  I find this brand at Home Goods, TJ Maxx, and Marshall's for $6.99-$7.99 aaaaaall the time and it's pretty much the only candle I will buy these days.  All of their fragrances are light and wonderful.

Like my inspiration board, I'm mixing different textures with metallic and natural finishes for a Fall Luxe look, but I'm also being budget and space conscious.  I decorated in mid-September so I feel like I'm getting a lot of use out of my fall decorations.  Because I didn't carve the pumpkins, I should be able to use them all the way to Thanksgiving.  Also, by mixing in grocery store items like the peach roses and grocery store pumpkins, I'm not having to store a large supply of decorations in a small apartment space when it's time to start decorating for Christmas.

Aaaand just to keep it real with y' is my mum that a guest at my ice cream social gave to me.  I'm not sure what happened, but I should probably go as a planter murderer for Halloween.

Mr. 3 and I are planning to have a festive fall meal tomorrow for Halloween and hand out candy to the children in our apartment complex.  What plans do y'all have in the works for Halloween?  Whatever you do, stay warm and safe!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Party Shoe DIY

I hate when I'm shopping for a specific event and I can't find the right shoes. This happened most recently when I was helping my niece Myah shop for her first homecoming. After trying on almost every dress in Dillards, we finally found the perfect one! But none of the shoes in the mall were right. They were either way too high, expensive, or just not right for the dress.

We finally ended up at Forever 21 for accessories when inspiration struck! There was a pair of plain nude suede heels that weren't too high and in Myah's size. I had to figure out how to make them work because of the $22 price tag. My first thought was to glitter them, but then I found $7 necklaces that matched Myah's dress perfectly. That totals to $36 for custom shoes!

I used shoes (obviously), pendants (earrings and necklaces are good options), gorilla glue, a q-tip, a sewing pin, and pliers. J actually used the pliers because I was worried about scratching one of the gems when removing the chain from the pendant. 

First I very lightly marked the shoe with a pencil where I wanted to position the pendant. This step is important later because you can't really wiggle the glue around unless you are ok with visible stains. I slightly dampened the shoe where I wanted to glue and also the parts of the pendant that would touch the shoe. Then I applied the glue to those pendant surfaces with the q-tip. Using very steady hands (borrow a pair if you must!), I placed the pendant on the shoe based on my pencil markings. I didn't have a clamp so I just held it in place for about 30 seconds and then I was able to let go. 

One piece of advice: read all the instructions on the glue before starting. While I got through the part that said slightly dampen your surfaces before applying glue, I did not realize that the glue would expand a lot or that it would dry white (see picture above). This is where the sewing pin comes in. The glue started to ooze out of all the nooks in the pendant. Not pretty! So I took my sewing pin and started to either remove or push the glue back under the pendant, as it made sense for the location. This process took more than an hour because the glue just keeps on going and going.

 Good news is that the pendants stayed firmly attached to the shoes after a whole night of dancing at homecoming. Yay! I let the glue set for almost 36 hours; this is not a project you want to do the afternoon of your event.

Isn't she adorable! I had a great time shopping with her and then helping her get ready for the dance. And she had a lot of patience with me as I made her try on every single not strapless dress in her size. I can't wait to do it again!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Posh Purpose: Fall Luxe

Fall is my favorite season and I love to decorate the apartment, but I don't want to spend the money or time decorating once for Halloween and once again for Thanksgiving.  Instead, I love more of a fall luxe theme which can carry you from September 1st to Thanksgiving.  You can achieve a fall luxe look with by mixing textures and metallics with the occasional pumpkin thrown in.  Here's an inspiration board to get you started on creating your own fall luxe table:   

1. Williams-Sonoma Botanical Plates, 2. West Elm Gold Flatware Sets, 3. World Market Oversized Natural Herringbone Runner , 4. Williams-Sonoma Luster Amber Wine Glasses, 5. World Market Small Matte Metallic Pillar Candles, 6. World Market Green Pumpkin Ceramic Casserole Baker, 7. Pottery Barn Cast Leaf Serving Platter, 8.  World Market Gold Metallic Taper Candleholders, 9. Pottery Barn Cast Leaf Lidded Serving Bowl, 10.  World Market Natural Wood Base Glass Hurricane Holders, 11. World Market Driftwood Chargers
Source: All images sourced from vendors

I'm obsessed with the Williams-Sonoma Botanical Plates!  I would rather have the Staub pumpkin cocotte, but this green casserole dish from World Market is a great substitution at a way more affordable price - on sale for $15.99!  I like the mix of modern elements (the candlestick holders and flatware) with natural elements (driftwood chargers, wooden candle holders, and leaf dishes) which keeps the table from looking overly modern or overly cottage-y.  As a bonus, the wood base hurricane holders and driftwood chargers could easily be reused for summertime entertaining and the gold flatware and taper candleholders will transition through to Christmas and New Years.

Anyone else have any fall tables to share?  Send them our way and we may feature them on the blog!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Halloween Decor

It is almost Halloween! Mother is wrapping up her decorating as I type, but here are a few sneak peeks of what she has done so far.

Mom bought this spooky ghost from Michael's last year. She hangs him from the dining room chandelier. But be careful! You don't want the light bulbs catching anything on fire.

The foyer is a work in progress. She has already changed it since I took this picture! One major change is that she replaced the things under the domes with plastic skulls I bought from Habitat for 50 cents each.

This scarecrow sticks around the foyer for the whole fall season, but for the month of October he has a less friendly face. Mom took some super cheap brown fabric, glitter, and paint to add a bit of spookiness.

Now we are in the living room. This creepy child statue got a witch hat for the holiday. Mother added texture to a cheap Walmart hat by gluing down the same fabric that is on the scarecrow's face and then painting over it with black craft paint.

I have absolutely no idea where this cat tree thing came from, but it keeps the child statue company.

Remember the Halloween runner I made for mom? Here is another progress shot. She has probably added even more to it since I left. Mother takes Halloween very seriously.

Are y'all ready for Halloween? I was just in the check out line at Publix behind a lady buying huge bags of candy. Apparently she gets over 300 trick-or-treaters in her neighborhood!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Thrift Store Finds: the Brass Sink Edition

I bought a sink. Perhaps I have reached a whole new level of hoarding since I now own both a chandelier and a sink, yet live in a teeny tiny apartment. But I don't care because this sink is awesome and you won't believe the great deal I got.

Isn't it beautiful?! It is solid brass and I only paid $30! The insides might need some reworking, but it is still a great deal even with paying for handyman labor. By the way, a quick thrifting technique to see if something is brass or just brass plated is to carry a magnet around with you. If the magnate sticks to the object, it just has brass plate and has been filled with some other metal. Brass isn't magnetic. I didn't have a magnet on me, but the Habitat employee name tags have one piece that is magnetic so I swiped one for a quick test.

It was originally attached to this piece of furniture. It is very pretty, but I didn't love it. Fortunately a friend wanted the base but wasn't crazy about the sink so we struck a deal and split it apart right in the store. J borrowed a cordless drill from one of my Habitat friends to unscrew the top from the wood base. We ended up with the countertop because the brass pieces were attached and we had done enough demo in Habitat for one day. Fortunately my friend had been planning on replacing the top anyway so there was no issue. You can see how damaged the top is in the first picture. We aren't entirely sure what it is made of or how to restore it.

Something to note: apparently the EPA doesn't allow places like Habitat to sell faucets because people might use them for drinking water. I'm not clear on the exact details but it is something to keep in mind while thrifting. I got lucky because, like I said, the faucet was solidly attached to the top so it had to come home with me. Thank goodness! It would have been a tragedy for this awesome faucet to be tossed. And J was able to separate all the brass fixtures from the top later. That is the story of how I came to own a sink yet no house.

Want to see more thrift store finds? We have a whole category just for that! We would love to see your finds, so feel free to share in the comments section. Or holler at us on twitter or instagram and hashtag it #ThriftStoreFinds.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Short Break

Hey y'all - sorry for being more MIA than usual. J and I spent time in Boston hosting a baby shower and Melinda is currently sans computer. We have decided to extend the break throughout this week and start back with blogging on Monday. Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Posh Purpose Tip: Sephora Mascara Samples

Yesterday, I placed an order at Sephora for a couple of new items and a couple of things that I had run out of a few weeks ago.  One of those staple items was my Benefit mascara - They're Real!.  One of the reasons I don't participate as much in the Mascara Diaries series as Briana does is that I'm pretty much devoted to this mascara brand.

I'd already loaded the Benefit mascara into the cart when I remembered to check out the Sephora weekly specials.  If you don't know about the weekly specials, Sephora has a page that has 4-6 promotional codes for deluxe sized samples of high end cosmetics and perfumes.  This week they are offering a free mini-lash primer and mascara from Dior with any $25 purchase.

Image Source: Sephora Weekly Specials

I had also accumulated some Sephora Beauty Insider points and I was able to trade them in for three deluxe samples of mascara from BareMinerals, Givenchy, and Marc Jacobs.  In my past experience, I've made each sample last 3-4 weeks, which means I'm set for the next 3-4 months for mascara without spending a dime.  So, I decided to remove the Benefit mascara and give these new brands a try.  I really still think that the Benefit mascara is the best, but in the name of saving $23 plus tax I'm sure I'll be just as happy.

Next time you are shopping online at Sephora, make sure to check out these two areas to see if any of your purchases can be replaced by free sample items.  You'll still get high quality cosmetics, but at no cost.  As always, make sure to check out Ebates or Top Cash Back for Sephora deals.  The day I shopped Ebates offered 8% cash back!

***This post was not sponsored by Sephora, Ebates, Top Cash Back, or any of the brands mentioned in this post.  There are two referral links to Ebates and Top Cash Back to help you sign up if you are interested in earning cash back for which I will receive compensation for each referral through their Tell-A-Friend programs.***

Monday, October 13, 2014

Outdoor Halloween Decor

Last week, I shared my mom's Halloween mantle so now it is time to see what she has going on outside. First up, the Monster.

Mom put this monster together out of all kinds of materials, including moss from the back yard and old leaves that fell off her plants. He is pretty cool during the day but at night he gets really scary. Some trick-or-treaters make big circles around him to get the candy at the front door!

Mom also has lined the walkway to her front door with branches. We used similar branches at my wedding, but we painted and glittered them silvery white. They have a much spookier look when left natural.

As you can tell, Halloween is a very exciting place at Mother's house. Her indoor decor has been increasing so make sure to check back for more!

Friday, October 10, 2014

Chairish Collaboration: Our Ideal Home Bar

Chairish recently contacted us to partner with them on creating a style board for our ideal home bar.  For those of you that haven't heard, Chairish helps design lovers buy and sell pre-loved decor to one another.  In addition, Chairish also holds curated shops with design heavy hitters like Emily Henderson.  Briana and I have admired Chairish from afar for quite some time and we were really excited to work on this project.

Our challenge was to pick from a selection of Chairish barstools and get some inspirational goodness together.  Now, y'all should know by now that Briana and I would dearly love to have a butler's pantry/wet bar area for entertaining in our dream homes, but we think it would be awesome to also have an area for seating to serve up some champagne cocktails (Chairish challenge = right up our alley).

I immediately gravitated towards these beautiful rattan barstools...for some reason, they made me think of that Elvis Presley movie, Blue Hawaii,...which I may have watched a thousand times growing up (I went through a movie musical phase, but only the classics.  My mother may still have the songs trapped in her head from watching them with me on repeat - I know she especially loved it when I screeched out the lyrics to the theme song of Bye Bye Birdie.).

Counter Height Swivel Barstools
Image Source: Chairish

After selecting these barstools, and doing a lot of online window shopping on Chairish, two themes quickly emerged: Tropical Elegance and Tropical Fun.  Both themes use some of the same key pieces, but one is subdued while the other is more eyecatching.  Both are a bit glam, a bit retro, and will work in a lot of different types of homes...which is just how I like it.  I also had a vision in my head for the back bar wall to be covered in a luxe printed wallpaper with a big mirror flanked by two sconces on either side.  I imagined a gorgeous chandelier hanging over the bar area and a set of five barstools set up against a gorgeous natural stone countertop.  I also fully believe that barware should be beautiful so it can be showcased and set out to admire rather than hidden away.  With those ideas in mind, I set up my style boards.  First up, Tropical Elegance:

Chandeliers/Sconces/Mirror/Cocktail Set/Ice Bucket/Counter Height Swivel Barstools (all sold on Chairish)
Marquis by Waterford Cocktail Shaker (Image Source: Bed Bath and Beyond)
Dorset Champagne Coupes (Image Source: Williams-Sonoma)

Oooh! I love that wallpaper, the lighting, and the cocktail set soooo much.  The gold design of the wallpaper and the brass ice bucket tie in nicely to the golden tones of the barstools.  The wallpaper and barware keep this home bar looking modern and classic.

Chandelier/Sconces/Mirror/Divided Platter/Chip & Dip Dish/Ice Bucket/Counter Height Swivel Barstools (all sold on Chairish)
Brazillance Wallpaper (Image Source: The Greenbrier)
Tortoise Glassware (Image Source: Horchow)!  I think this style board kicks the tropical theme up a notch but without being cheesy or overdone.  Of course, I know that banana leaf prints are popping up everywhere, but it's for good reason.  They are AWESOME!  Y'all know how I feel about some Georges Briard servingware, so I'm really loving the divided dish and how it mixes in with the other barware.

I had the best time working on this project for Chairish and my favorite part was choosing the lighting from their great selection.  Which do you like best: Tropical Elegance or Tropical Fun? Or would you pick a totally different set of bar stools for your home bar?

***Posh Purpose was NOT compensated by Chairish.  We simply believe in the company and like a good styleboard as much as the next obsessed fanatical avid Pinner.***

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Posh Purpose Review: Brooks Brothers Outlet

I took a pile of clothes to the dry cleaners recently and discovered that my favorite black suit had developed a hole in the crotch and in the crease in the front of the pants (how does that happen?).  I also took a look at the jacket and I saw the fibers were starting to break down.  If you've ever accidentally thrown a dry clean only item in the wash, you know exactly what I'm talking about.  My mom had originally bought my suit for me when I did an internship in grad school which was over 7 years ago...soooo I definitely got my wear out of it (thanks mom!).

I immediately went into a panic, because the official colors of Washingtonian work life are navy, grey, and black...with black being the most dependable.  After a trip to the mall to check out suits at J.Crew, Talbots, Banana Republic, and Brooks Brothers, I've determined that women's fashion is a barren wasteland of cheap polyester suits with ill-fitting pants and cuts that will go out of style (belted jacket anyone?).  My original suits came from Talbots, so I was really disappointed that they have change their cut and I couldn't find an easy replacement.  Brooks Brothers was the sole exception in the quality department, but there was only one suit I wanted, they didn't have it in my size, and even with the Friends and Family special they were running, my suit was going to be close to $850 with a jacket, skirt, and pants.

After a call to my mother, who has always advised me to buy the best quality suit, I was still wrestling with the decision to blow a ton of $$$$ on the suit.

THEN Mr. 3 offered to drive me out to the Leesburg Corner Premium Outlets to visit the Brooks Brothers Outlet on a MONDAY AFTER WORK.  For those of you who aren't in the know, this was an extremely generous offer, considering the outlets are 45 minutes away...without D.C. commuter traffic.

Image Source:

After a little bit of searching (they were also short on sizes), I found exactly what I wanted: a skirt, jacket, and lined pants made from tropical wool with a classic (but not frumpy) silhouette in petite sizing.  Brooks Brothers Outlet was also running a huge sale and I had an outlet coupon for an additional 15% off.  Mr. 3 has also needed a new suit for over a year, so we both wound up purchasing new black suits for less than what I would have paid for one suit at the retail store.

I know outlets get a bad rap for having lesser quality items than the retail stores carry.  If you've ever been to Banana Republic or an Ann Taylor Outlet, you have seen the difference.

However, I found out a lot of really helpful information from the store manager, who used to work at the retail location, that made feel 100% OK with an outlet suit. To begin with, the outlet uses the same fabric as retail but the outlet store suits are manufactured in Egypt or Taiwan. Retail suits are made in the U.S. or Italy.  However, all of the factories, regardless of location, are owned by Brooks Brothers so they can maintain quality control rather than hiring it out to any ol' garment factory and slapping a label on it.  Both of these factors made me feel really good about this purchase because the fabric and quality control standards for the outlet suits and the retail suits are the same.

Mr. 3 went with the classic style in a classic fabric (as opposed to the fashion styles and fabrics which will come and go), which means Brooks Brothers Outlet will always carry Mr. 3's suit so if his pants wear our or he needs another pair, I can just go in and purchase them without having to invest in a new jacket too.  As for tailoring, the manager told me that you can take your pants to the retail store and they will hem them for $10 and also do other alterations.  Luckily, neither Mr. 3 nor I have to get any alterations, but I think it is a great service (and $10 for hemming is a STEAL in D.C.).

While I would always prefer to buy American or Italian-made, sometimes it just isn't in the budget.  I'm happy I found exactly what I wanted at a price I could afford while still being confident in the quality and longevity of the suit.  Anyone else had a hard time suit shopping?  What solutions did you find?

***This post was not sponsored by Brooks Brothers or Leesburg Corner Premium Outlets.  We just like sharing our thoughts on all things fashion.***

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Recently Spotted: Staub Pumpkin Cocotte

It's time for yummy comfort food and fall decorations.  If you follow me on Instagram, you probably saw my pumpkin centerpiece this past weekend.  I have a deep and abiding love for all things pumpkin, which is why I'm obsessing over this Staub Pumpkin Cocotte.  I've already been into Sur la Table to look at it...twice.
Staub Cast Iron Pumpkin Cocotte
Image Source: Williams-Sonoma
Isn't it the stem gorgeous?  I realize that this is a specialty item, but if I had the room and the moo-lah, I would totally buy it to use from now until Thanksgiving (and for many fall seasons in the future).  Although it's styled as a soup pot, you can still use this pot to roast and braise meat and veggies the same way you would with any Staub pot.  Briana and I each have a Staub pot and grill pan that we love and use quite regularly.  The Staub line is made from high quality materials, performs well, and cleans easy!  Which is why I seriously want to add this pot to my day.

Equally as adorable and festive are the coordinating Staub Mini Pumpkin Cocottes!

Mini Pumpkin Cocotte
$19.95 - $24.95 each
Image Source: Sur la Table

Mini Pumpkin Cocotte
$19.95 - $24.95 each
Image Source: Sur la Table
These come in .5 and .75 qt options.  They are made from porcelain enameled ceramic and can go in the oven, broiler, microwave, freezer, and most importantly...the dishwasher.  These are so fun...I wish I could do a little hocus pocus and get myself some more cabinet space.

If you love decorating for fall as much as we do, send us your photos and we may feature them on the blog!

***We were in no way compensated by any of the companies mentioned in this post.  We just love to share our wish list with our readers!***

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Thrift Store Finds

How are y'all enjoying the fall weather? It hasn't reached us yet in Florida so I am admiring from afar. Check out these beautiful pictures of fall leaves! I love it.

These adorable old school desks were $50 each. I have no idea what you would do with them, but they were sold pretty quickly.

Isn't this salt and pepper (and something else) set adorable? $7 and it could be yours! Someone should rescue it quickly from the creepy lady and horse figurine to the right.

This rocking chair makes me think of a doctor's office with the black pleather seats. But it is possible to recover if you are brave enough to take it apart. The price tag said $50 which was fine. I would have wanted a lower price since the metal had some worn spots in the finish, but I also have an illness where I will buy pretty much anything in a thrift store if they give me a lower price.

This cute chair is a bit worn but the caning is in good shape. And that is important to check while thrifting because replacing caning is not cheap, nor does it sound like an easy DIY project for my skills. They were selling two of these chairs for $60. Great deal, even if you have to restuff and reupholster.

Here is another floral chair for $45. The fabric is in great shape and not at all dingy looking. The legs need touching up though. I still can't get into florals but since the internet seems to love them right now, I figure why not share?

Want to see more thrift store finds? We have a whole category just for that! We would love to see your finds, so feel free to share in the comments section. Or holler at us on twitter or instagram and hashtag it #ThriftStoreFinds.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Halloween Runners for the Mantle

My mother loves decorating for Halloween probably more than any other holiday, including Christmas. She hosts a party for the whole family before trick or treating starts where we all eat chili and pregame on candy. It gives us a chance to admire all the kids' costumes and take pictures of all the cousins.

This year mom decided she needed new decor for her mantle. She found a lot of great stuff at Marshalls, including two table runners. She had the idea to combine them into one piece to lay over the mantle. And since I have been sewing for long enough to master straight lines (at least in short distances), I put the thing together.

This project was super easy. The black lace runner you see going along the length of the mantle went untouched. The orange witch feet runner was cut in half, after triple checking because we are a family of perfectionists. Then all I had to do was borrow my sewing teacher's serger to bind the cut edges, roll the stitching under, and sew the orange pieces to the black piece with a straight line. See, super easy! 

These pictures are not of the final product. There are rolls of tulle and ribbon that are lying about and Mom needs to snip the white tag out of the black runner in the corner. However, I decided to share early since there is a limited amount of time for holiday DIY inspiration. Do y'all have any Halloween projects in the works?

Friday, October 3, 2014

How to Host: An Ice Cream Social

A couple of weekends ago, I threw an ice cream social for all of our friends to say goodbye to summer!  I thought this would be a great way to have an inexpensive party, but I didn't realize it would be so low stress!  We held the party from 2:00 - 4:30 pm on a Sunday afternoon.  This allowed Mr. 3 and I to go to church in the morning and also spend some time together post-party.  We had a great time visiting with our friends and enjoying our delicious ice cream.  I only spent about $65 for 10 or 12 people and it was by far the easiest party I've ever thrown.

The Decor

I went back and forth a lot with a whole bunch of ideas on how to dress up the apartment.  I debated everything from weaving streamers and attaching it to the ceiling to creating a whole backdrop like you see at those fancy pants weddings.  BUUUUT most of the ideas seemed way too ambitious and the backdrop would have been expensive to do up right.  So, I decided to work with what I had and focus on serving better quality ice cream instead.  I used my oh-so-perfect-for-my-red-and-gold-chairs table cloth and my existing mish mash of clear glass cake plates and glassware.  I lined each cake plate with a doily leftover from my wedding.  I already had the spoons leftover from Bible study and I had picked up the straws and napkins earlier in the summer from Home Goods (it's always a good idea to nab these things when you see them if you like them!).  I found Meri Meri ice cream cups at Sur la Table on clearance for $3.50 when I went to the cooking class with Mr. 3.

The Food

Ohhhhhh the ice cream!  A few years ago, Mr. 3 found this wonderful roadside ice cream shop called the Moo-Thru in the middle of nowhere Virginia.  If you are local, it's the big red barn looking thing on the side of 29 South in Remington, VA.  It is hands down, the best ice cream I've EVER had in my life.  I wish I could find stronger words to tell you how much I looooove this ice cream.  The Moo-Thru is owned by dairy farmers who live right down the street and all the milk for the ice cream comes from their own cows.  The whipped cream is REAL and they also sell milk in glass jugs (it's the way God and nature intended milk to be...where the cream rises to the top and you have to shake it to blend it in).  Everything there will put the fat on your butt.  HOWEVER, unlike other ice creams, this is worth the extra zumba time.

Now that you have a better understanding of the yumminess of the Moo-Thru, you can see why I would spend $35 on 4 quarts of ice cream - pumpkin, strawberry, cookies and cream, and cinnamon.

For toppings, I bought REAL whipped cream (sadly, in the can from Trader Joe's and not from the Moo-Thru), caramel syrup, chocolate syrup, Magic Shell (a must!) maraschino cherries, sprinkles, toasted coconut (leftover from another dish), mini Reese's, M&Ms and crushed Oreos, Heath Bar, and Snickers.  All of the candy, except for the M&Ms, came from fun-sized bags that are sold at Halloween.  The M&Ms were from a larger one pound bag because I knew I needed more M&Ms than the fun size bags or the regular sized bags they sell at check out and it was also cheaper.  I bought a six-pack of root beer for floats and I also made a batch of brownies for sundaes using a mix (which was the only thing I cooked for this party).

The Set Up

Mr. 3 picked up the ice cream on his way back from a business trip and I made the brownies the night before the party.  Mr. 3 also cut up all the chocolate candies while we took a break from cleaning the apartment.   We filled up the small bowls with the crushed candies and covered them with Press & Seal before throwing them in the fridge.  Everything else was set-up the day of the party.  Because we had to worry about the ice cream melting, I put out the toppings about 15 minutes before guests arrived and didn't put out the ice cream until we had 3-4 guests.  I kept the ice cream, soda, and whipped cream in a beverage bucket loaded with ice to keep these items cool.

Since this was a laid back Sunday afternoon party, I just let people hang out where they pleased.  We had plenty of room and seating (especially with the addition of my new chairs!).  I also made the ice cream self-serve.  I didn't want to scoop and I also didn't want anyone to feel awkward about asking for more scoops.

Tips & Ticks to Take Away

1. Serve high quality ice cream.  Unfortunately, not everyone has a Moo-Thru, but many towns have a local ice cream store of some kind.  Take advantage of it if they offer homemade.  The trick is to serve something that you aren't likely to find at a children's birthday party (I'm looking at you huge vat of store-brand Neapolitan in a bucket!).  I've also noticed at the grocery stores around here that there is a huge variety of ice cream from small, almost "craft" style brands.  Serve those instead of the generic or mainstream brands.

2.  Spice it up. Serve a couple of "safety" flavors with a few odd balls thrown in, but don't serve plain vanilla or chocolate.

3.  Check your candy prices, because this is where you can turn an inexpensive party into a pricey ordeal.  For me, chopping up the fun sized bags was the way to go.  Not only did I have enough for the party, but I saved the leftover crushed bits to throw into cookies for Bible study aaaaand I had enough wrapped candy leftover to hand out at Halloween.  Also, go to Target or Walmart.  The prices are so much better than the grocery store or drug store.

4.  Offer variations for people to make more than just a scoop of ice cream with some toppings thrown in.  My brownies and floats were a big hit!  Other options might be banana splits or cookies (who doesn't love a chipwich?).  Offering brownies or cookies also gives people who might have lactose intolerance something to eat while everyone else spoons up some ice cream.  If you want to turn it up a notch, why not serve boozy milkshakes?  You'll have to stand by the blender for the first few minutes, but people rarely eat more than one sundae, milkshake, split, etc. so you won't have to worry about manning the blender the whole time.

5. After the first round of ice cream gets served, put it back in your freezer so it doesn't melt.  Make sure to announce that people can go for seconds or thirds, but you just put it away to keep it cold.

6.  Borrow scoops from friends so no one has to wait for the one scoop in order to dish up their ice cream.

7.  If possible, send people home with an insulated bag with leftover ice cream.  Leftover ice cream is dangerous.  It only takes one bad day at work and a quick glance in the freezer for an ice cream binge to happen.  We sent one guest home with two flavors.

8.  Keep water on hand either in a pretty pitcher or small water bottles.  WHY does ice cream make people so thirsty?

This party was so fun and easy to plan.  Besides cleaning and shopping for toppings, we really only had to bake the brownies and chop up the candy.  Everyone had a great time and really enjoyed the ice cream.  I know this seems like its only good for a summer party and fall is definitely upon us, but have you ever gotten a craving for ice cream in the dead of winter?  It's so weird, but it does happen.  THEN, there are those people who will happily walk around with a double dipped cone while there is snow on the ground (the Chancellor of my undergrad was well-known for doing this).  With that in mind, I could totally see this being a very fun halfway to summer party!  Hope everyone has a great weekend!