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Halloween Party Planning

September 30, 2016

If the usual trick-or-treating just won’t do to celebrate this year, the time is right to host a Halloween party. Whether your guest list is full to the brim with wee little ghosts or full-grown goblins, read on for inspiration on hosting the perfect frightful fete.

FOR THE KIDS

For little ones, keep things more sweet than spooky by decorating with goofy grinning pumpkins, wiley witches or cartoony monsters.

Keep the kiddos busy and take care of dessert in one foul swoop with a decorate-your-own cupcake bar. The possibilities are limited only by your imagination! For example, make jack-o-lantern cupcakes with orange frosting, black licorice strings cut into 1-inch segments and M&Ms for eyes and noses. Or let the creativity fly with a make-your-own-monster bar with brightly colored icing and kooky candy such as gummy worms and rock candy.

Game time! Divide guests into teams of three to four and arm them with rolls of toilet paper for a mummy-dressing contest. Make sure to have your camera ready to capture the process and the finished results!

For a parting gift, send party-goers home with bags of popcorn tossed with Halloween gummies or candy corn.

FOR THE GROWN-UPS

Spooky tunes are a must for spooky soiree. Setting the soundtrack is as simple as hooking up your smartphone to a bluetooth speaker and tuning the channel to Monster Mash Radio. Don’t have a speaker? Put your phone in a bowl for a DIY solution.

To mix up the decor from the usual orange and black, try an offbeat theme such as a mad scientist’s laboratory with brightly-hued cocktails in beakers and test tubes, or evoke a creepy apothecary with mercury glass skull jars, shot glasses  and metallic pumpkins

The best way to encourage guests to dress up is to tempt them with a costume contest! Stuff cool striped trick-or-treat totes with your favorite candies to hand out to the winners.

For a nightcap, brew a pot of pumpkin-flavored coffee and set out spirits such as spiced rum or Irish cream to mix in.

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Skeleton couples = forever love

Day of the Dead decor

Skull cups add a little scare to their sips

 

Fashion Food Party & Event Ideas Shop

Game Day Style

September 1, 2016

The end of summer always feels bittersweet, but if there’s one thing that gets us psyched for fall, it’s the start of football season! Whether you’re headed to a game at the local high school or hosting a big game-watch at home, you’ll want to suit up in style. Here’s how to get ready for kickoff.

ADD A VEST

Layering on a vest is a fun and easy way to spice up an autumn outfit. Traditional puffer vests are a cool weather staple and never go out of style; for a slimmer silhouette, look for more lightweight quilted styles in textured fabrics such as tweed or houndstooth. For a day that’s crisp rather than cool, military-inspired vests can also add a bit of extra warmth without too much added bulk.

ROCK STRIPES

Wearing a striped tee, tunic or blouse featuring your team colors gives off a sporty vibe without going for the full-on jersey ensemble. Add your favorite pair of jeans and slip on sneakers or ballet flats and you’re good to go!

ACCESSORIZE

If your team colors aren’t hues you’d usually wear, showing team spirit can be a challenge. Rather than spending a lot of money on clothing—jackets, sweatshirts or sweaters—in a color that you don’t love to wear otherwise, focus on accessories. Start with a blank slate of neutral colors—think jeans and a black, white or gray top—and add sunglasses or a scarf in one of your team colors.

TOP IT OFF

Your gameday look isn’t complete without a finishing touch on top! For just a couple bucks, you can buy a foot or two of ribbon in your team’s colors at your local craft or fabric store—and how you use it to tie up your tresses is up to you! Try using a wide ribbon as a headband, weaving thin ribbons into a braid or topping off pigtail braids with sweet bows.

Décor Family Food Party & Event Ideas

Yay USA! How To Get The Americana Look

June 23, 2016

With Independence Day on the way, the time is right to give your home decor a dose of Americana. Ready to bring a little red, white and blue through your front door? Here are four easy ways to set the scene with USA pride, just in time for the July 4 holiday.

Hang spirited signage

Decorative artwork can bring a touch of patriotic flair to your front door or living room wall. If you’re short on wall space, prop a box sign up on a desktop or counter. Go for the classic primary color combination, or look for rustic designs with softer, more muted variations of red and blue. Either way, the sentiment will be heard loud and clear!

My Home Sweet Home Map Box Art, $9.99

Life Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness Plaque, $10

Every Heart Beats True Box Sign, $5.99

Set the table

Switch out your everyday dinnerware for Americana-inspired pieces. Think table linens (placemats, napkins, tablecloth or table runner) in eye-catching stars or stripes, plus plates and platters in bold reds or blues. Or just start your day with a fresh splash of USA pride in the form of a cute mug for your morning coffee.

Americana Stripe Table Runner, $7.99

Barberware Dishware Set, $49.99

Americana US Heart Logo Jumbo Mug, $4.99

Perk up the patio

Your backyard or front porch is the perfect place to incorporate classic Americana colors without changing your whole interior color scheme. Add cherry red cushions to your existing wicker furniture, perk up a rocking chair with a printed pillow or hang an oversized metal star from your fence.

Enterprise Outdoor Pillow, $9.99

Kane Geo Outdoor Cushion, $29.99

Rustic Metal Star, $6.99

Party in retro style

Hosting a barbecue for July 4 weekend? Channel the heart of Americana with accessories that look like heirlooms plucked from your grandmother’s kitchen. Look for a pristine white deviled egg dish or cake stand for an old-fashioned dessert display, or pour lemonade or punch into Mason jars filled with ice.

Deviled egg dish, 9.99

Mason jar coolers, $9.99

Pedestal cake stand, $11.99

With a touch of patriotism inside as well as out, all that’s missing is a slice of oh-so-American apple pie. Happy 4th!

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Family Fashion Food Shop

Father’s Day Gifts For All Kinds Of Dads

June 6, 2016

Mark your calendar: Father’s Day is coming up on June 19! Whether you plan to celebrate with a big brunch with extended family or a quiet celebration at home, finding the perfect gift is at the top of the to-do list. Check out our picks for dads of all stripes. Happy shopping!

FOR THE FOODIE

If your dad is an avid chef who has cookbooks to spare, gift him with a innovative gadget or a whimsical spin on a use-all-the-time basic to perk up his prep time.

Electric pepper mill, $7.99

Acrylic wine pourer and chill rod, $9.99

Multicolor whisks, $6.99

FOR THE COMPETITOR

He doesn’t always have to win, but he sure loves playing the game! Wrap up a classic lawn game to learn to play together, or make Dad smile with a new spin on a retro game from his childhood.

Black Series Bocce Set, $24.99

Rock Em Sock Em Batman vs. Superman, $24.99

Black Series Lawn Darts, $14,99

FOR THE TECHIE

If it’s high-def, Bluetooth or remote controlled, your dad is all over it. These tech toys will definitely feed his need to try out the latest and greatest!

Sharper Image Sky Drone with Camera, $69.99

HD DVR Dash Cam, $24.99

Radio Control Quadcopter, $34.99

FOR THE STYLISH GENT

For the father who takes pride in always looking polished, treat him to breezy boat shoes, cool shades or a classic timepiece.

Game On Boat Shoe, $44.95

Navigator Sunglasses, $12.99

Simple Dial Leather Strap Watch, $14.99

FOR ALL OF THE ABOVE

For dads who defy categorization, you can’t go wrong with either a sentimental gift from the heart (photos of you together) or a pampering treat that he’d never buy for himself.

Dad & Me Tabletop Frame, $7.99

Men’s White Birch and Tobacco Shave Set, $9.99

Family Rules Woodgrain Photo Album, $5.99

Décor Family Food Party & Event Ideas Shop

Host A Hot Summer Soiree

May 25, 2016

Whether it’s to celebrate Memorial Day, graduation or no reason at all, hosting a shindig under the sun is a fitting way to kick off the summer. Some careful consideration when it comes to eats, drinks and ambiance will go a long way to make sure a good time is had by all.

PUMP THE JAMS

Music makes the difference between just hanging out and a true celebration. A portable outdoor speaker is an easy alternative to a full-out outdoor sound system; just connect your smartphone via bluetooth and click your favorite party tunes. Or fake an impromptu speaker by putting your phone inside a bowl (the shape will help amplify the sound) and pressing play on Pandora. Whatever you do, just make sure your playlist features Justin Timberlake’s “Can’t Stop the Feeling,” already a slam dunk for the song of the summer.

LIGHTEN UP

Look to lighting to set the mood. String lights are a fun and easy way to make your space feel festive. Try stringing a set or two along your deck railing or twist them around a tree trunk. Lanterns provide a subtle glow and instant ambiance; light a real candle inside or sub in a LED-powered pillar or votive to up the safety factor.

TIME TO TOAST

Refreshing drinks are the centerpiece of a successful bash, but you’ll want to spend your time having fun with your guests, not playing bartender. The key to a low-maintenance drink plan is prepping ahead of time for self-service. Fill a galvanized tub or cooler with ice to hold sodas, and juice boxes and beer. Use easy-to-pour pitchers or spouted coolers for lemonade or fruit punch for the kiddos (or spiked for the grown-ups). In the wine department, look for screw-top bottles so guests aren’t left hunting for a corkscrew.

CHOW DOWN

For a fun alternative to the usual barbecue menu of hot dogs and hamburgers, try veggie and meat kabobs on the grill. Prepare steak, chicken or shrimp skewers ahead of time and have guests assemble their own veggie kabobs with sliced pepper, cherry tomatoes, onion wedges and zucchini chunks. Staples such as potato salad or coleslaw are classic side dishes, but serve only if you can confidently keep them cold for the whole day. (Nothing like mayo in the hot sun to tempt the food-poisoning gods!) Fruit salad, corn on the cob and vinegar-based slaws and salads all hold up well over the course of an afternoon and don’t need to be reheated for latecomers. Cookies, popsicles or brownie squares leave guests free to grab their sweets as they like without having to ask for help slicing and serving.

 With all the essentials accounted for, the guest list is up to you. Cheers!

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Food Party & Event Ideas Series

Leonardo DiCaprio Themed Oscar Party

February 25, 2016

It’s award season! Who doesn’t love the fashion, the drama, the movies, the parties?? It’s a great excuse to get together with friends to eat, drink and make merry during these last few dismal weeks of winter.

Hosting a great Oscar party is all about making the evening fun and relaxing for your guests, and being organized and prepared so you can enjoy the evening watching the show instead of slaving in the kitchen. When inviting people to an Oscar viewing party, it’s also important to emphasize that you don’t have to have seen any of the films or know anything about the event to still have a great time.

That being said…

Can we all agree that it’s Leo’s year to win??? Just give the man the award. One more year seeing his fake-smile-congratulatory-towards-his-fellow-nominees reaction might make us weep. It’s been established that he’s pretty talented. He’s been nominated a million times, right? It’s time celebrate these facts with a new, different, (and slightly obsessive) Leonardo DiCaprio themed party Oscar Party!

How to do it: Plan the menu and décor around themed delicacies all in homage to Leo’s dapper mug. Plus, include framed photos from his famed movie appearances next to each dish or drink to help guests make the connection.

Check out these super easy themed menu items that are simple to make and can easily be prepared in advance.

The Revenant – Gummy Bears: Is it too soon? To joke about bears? (This joke may only be relevant to those who have seen this movie…)

Django Unchained – Candy of any variety: What better way to play tribute to a character named, Candy, than with an awesome assortment of sugary treats. An assortment of theatre candy in colorful dishes is always a crowd-pleaser.

What’s Eating Gilbert Grape – Grape Parfaits: This is a fantastic, make-ahead, fancy-looking delicious treat that could not be easier to make. Use your favorite yogurt parfait recipe and substitute grapes for other fruit mentioned. Assemble the dessert in festive wine glasses for a very upscale, Oscar party-esque look featured within the buffet spread.

 Gangs of New York – New York Style Hot Dogs: Wanna get fancy? Wait for it…take little smokies and carefully cut standard hot dog buns to fit their tiny size. They become delightful little handheld savory snacks to balance out other sweet items on the menu.

The Beach – Seaweed Dip: Make your own favorite dippable concoction, or pick up your favorite from the store and pop it in a pretty bowl so you can take all the credit. If you’re near a Trader Joe’s grocer, they have a great Spinach Artichoke Dip that is inexpensive and delicious.

The Departed – Boston Crème Pie Bites: This is the only menu item that has any significant baking or prep required. You can plan to make this the day before and chill until ready to serve. Check out these super cute mini desserts on House of Yumm and was delighted with how easy they were to put together.

Titanic – My Heart Will Go On Cocktails/I’m the King of the World Celebratory Champagne: Just print your favorite “Jack” photo and paste onto your favorite bottle of bubbly. If he doesn’t win? Save it for your next personal victory, goal achievement or career success – and you’ll feel like the king of the world.

Finally, one of our favorite elements of a good Oscar Party is the ballot for guessing the winners. Each attendee is provided a sheet of the nominees and places their guess on who will win before the show starts. For some categories, people may have a good guess, but things like Best Sound Mixing and Best Animated Short Film are anybody’s game. Each category is worth a different number of points and a winner is recognized at the end of the show. It’s always fun to have a small prize like a movie theater gift card to gift to the winner, however the bragging rights of walking away as the winner are more than rewarding. Download your own party ballot with this year’s nominees and may the best person, (LEO), win!

Guest written by Gordmans theme-party Queen, Beth. 

 

 

 

 

 

Food Shop

Just Add Water: Top Water Bottle Round-up

January 28, 2016

What if there were a magic tonic that could make your skin look brighter, boost your energy and help your body fight off germs? Surprise!! There is. It’s called WATER. Our bodies work at their best when well-hydrated, but few people drink as much water—eight 8-ounce glasses, or 64 ounces—as they should each day. For the best shot at getting your fill, bring your water wherever you go with the help of these colorful bottles, cups and coolers.

1.Dots Cold Cup, $4.99

This 22-ounce lidded cooler is covered with perky lime and turquoise polka dots, topped with a chartreuse straw.

 

2. Episode 7 Troopers Water Bottle, $2.99
Show your love for “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” with this bold black-and-white 25-ounce bottle lined with stoic storm troopers.

 

3. Loop Peace Water Bottle, $4.99

The finger loop on this peace sign-emblazoned 20-ounce bottle makes it perfect for toting to and from yoga class.

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4. Owl Mason Jar Glassware, $3.99

This owl-shaped mason jar-style sipper has a cute vintage vibe and comes in bright turquoise, ruby or green glass.

 

5. Opaque Heart Cold Cup, $4.99

A whimsical striped straw and metallic gold heart make this fuschia 22-ounce cup feel extra special.

 

6. Glitter Carpe Diem Cup, $5.99

Serious sparkles and inspirational words wrap around this 22-ounce cold cup with a sleek black lid.

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7. Be Happy Tritan H20 Water Bottle $7.99

The poppy red and orange floral motif on this 18-ounce bottle will inspire you to do exactly what it says: Be happy!

 

8. Zebra Pink Glitter Cold Cup, $5.99

This 22-ounce cooler combines the straw of a cold cup with the finger loop of a water bottle. Add a funky magenta zebra pattern and you’ve got one eye-catching way to drink up.

 

9. Marvel Slash Tritan Water Bottle, $2.99
A few of Marvel’s most famous faces—from the Hulk to Spiderman—adorn this colorful 20-ounce bottle. (Even superheroes need to stay hydrated!)

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Food Party & Event Ideas

Hosting A Holiday Cookie Exchange

December 18, 2015

How to host a holiday cookie exchange

What’s better than taking a bite out of a freshly made holiday cookie? How about choosing from a dozen different kinds of cookies, all baked with care by the ones you love? Share the holiday cheer this season by inviting your dearest friends, neighbors and family members to a cookie exchange.

 EXTEND THE INVITATION

Whatever way you choose to invite your guests–mass email, Evite or snail mail–the purpose of your invitation is to clearly state what’s expected of each baker. Ask your partygoers to bring two containers, one empty and the other filled with their favorite holiday season cookie. Set the number of treats between one to three dozen depending on your expected attendance. Tip: There will always be one guest who forgets his or her empties, so consider having a stack of paper plates, aluminum foil or plastic baggies on hand to save the day.

 MAKE YOUR LABELS

Pick your cookie-sharing surface–your dining room table or kitchen counter works–and station a stack of sticky notes and festive markers or pens nearby. As each baker arrives, ask him or her to add their treats to the collection and affix a note with the cookie name and baker’s name. To help out those with food allergies, encourage guests to note whether their recipe contains nuts, dairy or gluten–a simple “N,” “D” or “G” will suffice.

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 MAKE YOUR ROUNDS

Now it’s time to belly up to the cookie bar and fill your containers! While everyone is making their selections, share the story behind your treat of choice. Did you learn to make kolaczki from your Polish grandma, Babcia? Or did you inherit your love of Swedish butter cookies from your next-door neighbor as a kid? Every holiday sweet has a tale, and knowing why your friends chose to share their particular recipe is a treat in itself.

DON’T FORGET SNACKS

You’ll have plenty of sugary treats to munch on. After all, there’s no rule against dipping into your cookie stash right away! But having some salty snacks on hand can provide the perfect counterpoint to all the sweet stuff. Put together a platter of crackers, cheeses and cured meats or set out bowls of olives, salted nuts and Chex mix.

 RAISE YOUR GLASS

Try the DIY sparkling cocktail bar or hot chocolate bar with toppings from our Black Friday brunch post, or whip up this spiced apple cider recipe to keep the whole crew warm and toasty. Holiday mugs or glasses help set the mood. Cheers to a successful cookie exchange that will hopefully become a treasured tradition for years to come!

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Food Party & Event Ideas Shop

Start A New Tradition! Black Friday Brunch

November 23, 2015

It’s almost time for Black Friday, my friends. You’ve pored over the sales fliers, assembled a trusty team of shopping buddies and carefully planned a store-to-store strategy, (including all the hottest deals at Gordmans, of course!) After the early morning rush, what better way to thank the people who would throw themselves onto the last big-screen TV for you than by hosting a hearty, post-shopping brunch?

ATTIRE:

The ideal dress code is pajamas, slippers optional.

DECOR:

Make a cheeky garland to drape across your mantle or doorway by threading twine through the handles of shopping bags. Tie a knot at each handle to keep the bags from all sliding to the middle.

EATS:

An egg casserole is easy to prep ahead of time and bake in the oven post-shopping. Scramble a dozen eggs, whisk in a cup of heavy cream, add your choice of additions (think crumbled sausage or bacon, shredded cheese, sliced mushrooms, diced green peppers), season with salt and pepper and pour into a greased 9-by-13-inch casserole pan. Cover with foil or plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. When you return from shopping, preheat the oven to 350º F and bake for 10-15 minutes, until eggs are firm and golden. Or create an simple breakfast buffet with muffins, bagels and miniature cereal boxes with regular, chocolate and strawberry milk to pour in.

DRINKS:

A coffee bar is just the ticket to give your guests their second wind. Pour your choice of coffee toppings (chocolate chips, coconut shavings, candy sprinkles—anything goes) into bowls or cups the night before. Bring out whipped cream and flavored creamers, brew a pot of coffee and you’re ready to caffeinate. For a boozy brunch, uncork a bottle of sparkling wine (look for an inexpensive champagne, prosecco or cava) and mix your own champagne cocktails with fruit juices. Try orange juice for Mimosas, peach nectar for Bellinis or cranberry juice for Poinsettias; pour the juices into carafes the night before for a pretty presentation. Guests can fill their own glasses one-third of the way with juice and top off with bubbly.

ENTERTAINMENT:

Amuse your fellow shoppers by doling out awards for the day: Best Getaway Driver, Most Valuable Player, Top Deal Huntress, Most Frequent Bathroom Break Taker … whatever fits the bill for your crew. Pick up award ribbons from the craft store or trinkets from the dollar store to use as prizes and make the ceremony especially photo-worthy. Or put a shopping-themed spin on the traditional “What’s in your purse?” shower game and award prizes to whomever can most quickly unearth various items from their handbag: fast-food breakfast wrappers, the longest or shortest receipt … you get the idea.

Food Series

Healthy Snacks: Apple Cookie Recipe

October 21, 2015
healthy apple cookie recipe

Fall is a common favorite around the Gordmans office. It means cooler temps, pumpkin carving, hay rides, and best of all, apple picking season! While we love a good slice of apple pie, and a caramel apple is a close second, it’s nice to have a healthier option. We experimented and found a lighter alternative to cookies using our favorite fall fruit that your kids are sure to enjoy.

Ingredients:

  • Apples
  • Peanut butter
  • Chocolate chips
  • Pecans
  • Coconut

Core the apple then slice it into thin rings. Spread peanut butter on one side. Top with chocolate chips, pecans, coconut or any of your favorite toppings. Enjoy!

For another healthy recipe check out our raspberry yogurt parfait.

What’s your favorite fall activity?

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