The Hip Hostess

Menus, tips and ideas for hosting with style!

DIY Fall Flowers: How to Make $35 Flowers Look Like $120 October 30, 2012

flower arranging tutorial fall party planning

I love having pretty flowers on the table, but ordering arrangements from a floral shop gets expensive so I started making my own.  I hit a corner flower stand (or two) to pick up my supplies and then arrange them myself.  It’s fairly simple and isn’t as hard as it looks: About 15 minutes of shopping and 30 minutes of trimming/ arranging.  For the flowers pictured here, it translated into a savings of about  $85 (3 arrangements at $40 each from a local florist, compared to my $35 worth of flowers – I own the vases so those aren’t included in the cost savings equation).  Here’s how I made these 3 flower arrangement for a fall party. (more…)


Hip Tip: DIY Coffee Candles October 25, 2012

I’m not a coffee drinker, but I love the scent of really good coffee.  That’s why I am loving these DIY coffee bean candles.  Fill a small bowl or ramekin with flavored coffee beans (like hazelnut), nestle a tea candle into the center, light it and the warmth of the candle will send the smell of delicious coffee into the air.  These candles are perfect for brunch.


Mini Pumpkin Pillars {Halloween Ideas} October 13, 2012

I love all things mini. I also love pumpkins so this idea from BHG is a must for my fall table. Place mini pumpkins on pillar candle holders for a sophisticate fall centerpiece. They’ll take you from Halloween through Thanksgiving. It’s an inexpensive centerpiece and a cleaver use for pillar candle holders. I have a set of 3 glass candle holders from PB (like these) that will look great topped with mini pumpkins this fall.


DIY Apple Place Cards {Fall Party Ideas} October 1, 2012

fall party planning ideas decorating with apples eco-friendly

Using apples as place card holders is an inexpensive and simple way to add some fall to your table.  They’re perfect for any autumnal party, whether it’s a fall bridal showers, engagement party, dinner party or Thanksgiving.  They also make great party favors for guests to take home and enjoy.

To make these DIY apple place cards, you’ll need:

Apples with stems intact (I used Macintosh but any variety will do)
Card stock (craft stores sell single sheets)
A printer
Twine or ribbon
Single-hole punch

Here’s how to put them together:  Using a Word document, printed all of the names on the card stock (leave several lines between each name, and make two columns by tabbing over so you don’t waste any space/ paper).  Make a rubber leaf template by printing it on a sheet of regular paper using this leaf template (you need Abobe Reader to download the template), or copying the shape onto a piece of paper with a pencil like I did for the place cards pictured (the rubber leaf shape is very simple to draw/ cut and they don’t need to be perfect).  Cut the template out and trace it around each of the printed names, centering the names inside the leaf (you will be able to see the printed names through your template if it is made of regular paper).  Cut the leaves out and punched a hole to the left of each name, near the end of the leaf using a single-hole punch.  Used some inexpensive twine to tie the leaves to the apple stems.  Happy fall!


Monkey Mix {party favors} February 27, 2012

Party Favor Ideas

Here’s a super simple party favor idea for a monkey theme party.  Buy or make a great trail mix (mini peanut butter cups from Trader Joe’s make this mix special), fill glass jars with the mix, then add a label and some ribbon or yarn (or a combo like I did here).  A lovely party favor created in just minutes!


Hip Tip: Inexpensive Shower Decorations January 12, 2012

Stocking up of party decorations starts to add up, so I like to print a picture of whatever my theme is – a sock monkey or nursery rhyme – and frame it in a pre matted frame for the party.  Set it on the buffet or wherever you have drinks set up.  It’s a great way to add to your party decore without breaking the bank.    The best part is, you can reuse the frame for other parties or for your favorite picture.

Party Decore ideas


Hip Tip – Postcard Invitations April 28, 2011

My hip sister requested that postcards be sent as invitations for her bridal shower.  An eco-friendly idea since you eliminate the need for envelopes.  Postcards are more casual than traditional card and envelope paper invitations, but a little more substantial (and practical if older guests are on the guestlist) than an electronic e-mailed invitation.

A few things to keep in mind when sending postcard invites.  First, buy postcard stamps.  It’s a small savings, but it adds up.  Second, you’ll need to buy small labels to use for addressing them, unless you plan to handwrite all the invites.  The side of the postcard reserved for the address is too large for regular mailing labels.  You can print on regular labels and cut them to size, just be sure to measure the margins before printing so they’ll fit on the postcard without any of the text being cut off.  Third, have the postcards hand canceled.  The postmark will go all the way across the top of the postcard and cover any text that you have at the top.  Hand canceling is a small ink stamp that just covers the postage, without blocking any of your text.  Many post offices will hand cancel for free; other post offices will charge 5 cents per postcard for this service.  Finally, be sure to have the post office hand cancel in front of you.  (I paid the 5 cents for 70+ postcards, only to find out that the post office did NOT hand cancel them after I left so make sure they do it while you are there.)


Resolve To Go Green? Host a Product Swap! January 12, 2011

Filed under: Eco Friendly,Hip Tips,Miscellaneous — hiphostess @ 7:00 pm

How many salon products have you purchased and decided you didn’t like after a few uses?  For many people (myself included), too many to count. Here’s a fun way to purge without adding to a landfill: Host a product swap for friends to exchange barely used products they purchased and decided they didn’t like after a few uses.

Ask each guest to bring a few products (at least half full) that they would like to exchange for other products.  Moisturizers, hair products, skincare, perfume, nail polish, self-tanners and sunscreen are all sanitary to exchange among friends.  Host this party in the afternoon and serve coffee, tea and cookies for snacking.  Invite guests to use a mud mask (leave the tube and disposable guest towels next to the sink in the bathroom) during the party.  The mud masks will make for some interesting party pictures.  Serve spa-type snacks, such as roasted edamame, trail mix, carrots, hummus and water with sliced cucumbers.

Photo credit:  Back Garage –


Apple Picking Picnic September 23, 2010

Early fall is the perfect time to host an apple-picking party—a fun outdoor activity that will get everyone outside
to enjoy the crisp, sunny weather. Make it an early-afternoon event and plan a post-picking picnic if the weather
permits. Or, plan a late-afternoon picking and head back to your house for a casual apple-themed dinner. Apples
are grown in all 50 states, with California, Michigan, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Washington as the top
apple producers. To find a local orchard in your area, visit

Check out my September column on The Family Groove for more tips and ideas for hosting an apple picking picnic.


Wine Cork Place Card Holders August 6, 2010

Looking for a craft project for those wine corks you’ve been saving all these years? Turn them into place card holders for your vineyard or wine tasting party!  Using a sharp knife, slice a small piece off of the cork so the cork will lay flat. On the opposite side, slice a long slit in the cork lengthwise and tuck a place card into the slit for a wine-themed place card holder.

If you’re not a DIYer but like the idea, you can order wine cork place card holders, like the ones pictured above, online.

Wine Cork Place Card Holders – $8 /set 4


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