Unique, personalized gifts for teachers

We love giving gifts in my family, and when it comes to the teachers we love and admire, there’s no one more deserving of our thoughtfulness.

Search the internet for cute teacher gifts, and you’ll no doubt find yourself in a rabbit hole for a solid two hours, poring through craft projects and “pinteresting” ideas. But let’s be honest; you’re busy, I’m busy…I’d just like to give a thoughtful gift that doesn’t take several hours and make a mess.  I also don’t want my gift going in the round file (aka the trashcan), in case our dear teacher doesn’t see the beauty in my rendition of her likeness made from pencil shavings and glitter glue.

I found an incredible resource for darling teacher gifts that are personal, thoughtful, affordable, and really, really cute! Expressionery carries a fantastic selection of customizable stationery products; and, bonus, my good friend Laura Kelly is one of their talented designers!

Browsing the selections on Expressionery.com was so much fun; there were so many cute options. I finally decided on this self-inking stamp that says, “Fantastic!”, and I personalized it with our teacher’s name, the grade she teaches, and the name of the school. It’s adorable.


Next, I customized a set of notecards for our teacher. This was so much fun! I brought my  daughter in to help; we had a great time choosing a hairstyle and color, skin tone, and even Mrs. Dion’s outfit, and the colors of her shirt, pants and shoes! (Of course we chose all purples and pinks, because Mrs. Dion loves those colors.)  The cards came out perfect!



A small pail of brightly colored candy and some jewel-toned mini paper clips gave the gift a little extra pizzazz, and I put it all in a darling vintage school bus, instead of a traditional gift bag.


Mrs. Dion absolutely loved her gift! She wrote us a thank you  note on one of the notecards, and said she really appreciated how much thought went into the present, and that she had never seen anything so unique! We’ve been seeing her cute stamp come home on our daughter’s homework. If you’re looking for great gifts for teachers, (or anyone, for that matter!), the Laura Kelly collection on Expressionery is the perfect place to find them!


The aforementioned concepts, product selections, and styled concepts are the creations of Ritzy Parties, Inc., provided as an official member of the Laura Kelly Design Team.






DIY Easter Party for $35.00? Challenge accepted!

I’m so excited to be named as an official Evite Influencer! My first assignment was to create a DIY Easter Party for $35.00, to be featured on Evite social media.

(Screech of brakes…..) THIRTY FIVE DOLLARS!?!?!

I’ll be straight with you, keeping to a small budget isn’t one of my strong suits, but there WAS a time, not so long ago, that I was…um, errr….”less ritzy” (translation: flat broke), and I STILL knew how to create beautiful parties. Challenge accepted! I was super EGG-cited to give it a whirl!

I started by selecting this darling invitation from the Evite site, you can use it yourself, by clicking HERE.

evite invitation peeps pink yellow

Off I went, to my local discount retailer to source supplies. I had a general plan in mind, but I needed to see what the REAL supplies were going to cost. (Spoiler alert: I’m super proud to tell you, I did it!!)


This party is designed for four guests, and features custom table runners, a fresh flower centerpiece, hand-painted place mats, party favors, and even a cool Easter printable that I drew myself. (I’m as surprised as you are on that one.)

Take a look!


I’m just in love with these awesome table runners! Normally I’d rent linens, but keeping my budget in mind, I knew I’d have to make my own. I selected this fabric, (a yard and a half was used to create this whole runner), for the bright, springy colors, not to mention the pattern reminded me a lot of jellybeans!  The garland is made by simply closing plastic Easter eggs on a long strand of white twine, and then arranging it in a pretty, curved line down the center of the table.


These place mats came in a four-pack, and are made from cork. (How cool is that!?) To make them more interesting, I hand painted assorted flowers on them with three colors of acrylic paint, and let them dry. They add a nice pop of color and pattern to the table, don’t you agree?


The party favor on the plate is made from a mason jar, (I painted the lids pink with the same acrylic paint used on the place mats). Inside, I layered in green paper shreds, brightly colored jelly beans, and a cute chocolate Easter bunny!


I always bite the ears off first, how about you?

Next, I created a fun activity sheet with Easter themed games, and printed out copies for each place setting.  These were placed in flower pots, painted with the words “Happy Easter”. (Same paint from the place mats!) I added a pack of crayons wrapped in coordinating scrapbook paper that I had on hand. This gives the kids something fun to do, and also makes a super cute accent. Guests can take the flower pot home after the party and put a plant in it! (The paint washes off with soap and water, so the flower pot is great for use all year-round).


The centerpiece was made with a nod to that Evite Invitation I showed you at the beginning, using my own trifle dish and a mason jar filled with water, which is placed in the center.  I poured in jelly beans, then added pink marshmallow bunnies, and finally, more plastic Easter eggs.  I trimmed and placed the flowers into the mason jar (now concealed by all those goodies), and added a pretty ribbon.


This all came together so well, I couldn’t believe I was able to do it for only $35.00!

Here’s the breakdown:

  • Fabric, 1 1/2 yards  – $4
  • Paint, hot pink, aqua and yellow acrylic paints – $1.50
  • Cork place mats, 4 pack – $4
  • Four flower pots at$0.50 each – $2
  • Four crayon packs at $0.60 each – $2.40
  • Four pack of mini mason jars – $5
  • 1 bag Green paper shreds – $1
  • Plastic Easter eggs – $2
  • Marshmallow bunnies – $1
  • Jelly Beans – $3
  • Four chocolate bunnies – $4
  • Flower bunch – $5

TOTAL: $35.00

Things I had in my house, (that you probably have too!) are:

  • A tablecloth
  • A piece of ribbon that was tied to the centerpiece
  • Dinner plates
  • Trifle dish, (or a large clear bowl will work just as well), and mason jar
  • Scissors, glue and paintbrushes.

Of course, you can customize this any way you like by changing up the colors, patterns, and candy selections. The possibilities are endless! Evite is a great place to start for inspiration, just look at their amazing gallery of invitations that can get you started with your own theme planning!

Hope you enjoyed this fun party as much as I did creating it for you, and until next time, remember to “Celebrate Everything!”


Hello? Sorry, Bunny can’t seem to hear you….

Want more fun ideas? Pay a visit to the very talented designer Michelle Stewart, for yet another fabulous Easter Eggstravaganza!

The aforementioned concepts, product selections, art and designs are the sole creations of Ritzy Parties, Inc., provided as a participating member of the Evite Influencer Program.

EVITE Influencer Badge

Meet me Under the Sea!

Lovely Olivia turned two years old, and her family and friends were very excited to plan her a spectacular party! Olivia loves sea life, mermaids and crabs, so we created this one of a kind Under the Sea party for her, in collaboration with Oriental Trading Company.  We’re bubbling with excitement to share all the details with you, over on the Oriental Trading Company site. We’ve also prepared some fun DIY tutorials for the decor and treats!


Our beautiful, nautical themed dessert table goodies were provided by Sweets.Co, who made amazing mini donuts, gorgeous lavender and mint green cupcakes, sugar cookies and oyster with pearls cookies, and even shimmering sea glass candy!


Olivia’s guests were invited to enjoy a fun snack as they entered the party; called Mermaid Munch! It’s fun and easy to make, with easy to find ingredients.  The kids can help with this one!  For extra festive flair, We love to scoop our Mermaid Munch into darling mini lilac popcorn boxes.

For Olivia’s Party, we created a cute custom label and attached it to the front of each container.


We created some fun and elegant party favors for Olivia and her friends, including Make A Wish On A Starfish Wands, and Elegant Saltwater Taffy Party Favors, each one adorned with a special keepsake golden sand dollar charm.


These favors were both fun, and very simple to make!  You can get the complete instructions for our pretty Starfish Wands here.


We’ve also created a quick and easy DIY tutorial for our elegant Saltwater Taffy Party Favors here!

Our ocean treasure display added yet another fabulous decorative accent to the party, and the children were delighted to find that it was spilling over with gold coins that were actually chocolate! We used plastic sea life figures, sprayed them liberally with gold spray paint, and created a cascading treasure box of glittering gems, pearls, and treasure.


Our final decorated area was an incredible DIY photo backdrop, for a very special surprise guest, a princess mermaid! You won’t believe how simple this was to create!


Olivia and her friends loved meeting the surprise guest, a princess mermaid who came to read stories and paint little faces!  We loved being a part of her special day. See all the details at Oriental Trading Company!


Photography: To Pepper, With Love

Desserts: Sweets.Co

Design, Handmade Art and Styling: Ritzy Parties, Inc.

DIY: Under the Sea Photo Backdrop

This quick and easy DIY Photo Backdrop is inexpensive and simple to make; it’s the perfect enhancement for  your Under the Sea themed party!

Under The Sea Photo Backdrop

You’ll need:

One lilac tablecloth roll

One mint green tablecloth roll

One package clear latex balloons

Two packages mint and lavender tassel garland

One set of cardboard seaweed standees

Two large starfish


We used a metal backdrop structure to support our backdrop, but you can also make your own structure using PVC Piping.

We draped the structure with the plastic tablecloth rolls, by doubling sheets of the tablecloth roll over the top, so that it hung evenly, then trimmed with scissors to floor length.


We alternated the lilac tablecover with the mint green, to get a cool striped effect.


Next, we inflated clear balloons, to resemble bubbles! We tied them to balloon weights at varying heights, so it would appear that the bubbles were “rising”.


We added iridescent glitter to cardboard seaweed standees, which added lots of sparkle!  These were placed in front of the draped panels, on either side, leaving space in the center for a chair for the special guest!

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Finally, we added two strings of mint and lavender tassel garland, added a couple of starfish, and our easy, yet stunning backdrop was photo-ready!

IMG_5055 (2)


The kids enjoyed the fun decor when the surprise guest arrived for story time and face painting!

Elegant Saltwater Taffy Party Favors

These elegant Saltwater Taffy party favors are the perfect accent for an Under the Sea themed party.


You’ll need:

Green Saltwater Taffy

Purple Saltwater Taffy

1 Dozen Clear Cellophane Bags

Pink Tulle

Lilac Tulle

One dozen metal sand dollar charms

Gold Spray Paint

Thank You Tags


Place the metal charms in a box with sides, spray paint with gold paint, allow to dry, then flip the charms over and repeat on the reverse side.  Allow to dry overnight.

taffy charms painted.jpg


Combine the green and purple saltwater taffies in a large pile, mixing well to blend the colors evenly.  Add about 1 cup of the taffy to the clear cellophane bag, or until the bag is 2/3 full.  Cut 6″ lengths of pink and lavender tulle, and tie the bags closed.


Thread a thank you tag and the gold sand dollar charm onto the tulle, and secure well by tying in a knot.  Display on shimmery fabrics, with seashells, for a very bubbly and sweet thank you to guests!




Make a Wish on a Starfish Party Favor


You’ll need:

One dozen armored starfish (Or any starfish will do, they should be about 3″-4″ in diameter)

One Package Gold Paper Straws

One roll Pink Tulle

One roll Lilac Tulle

One roll Light Gold Glitter Tulle

Thank you tags

Gold Glitter Spray


Lay the starfish out on a covered surface, and spray generously with gold glitter spray, then set aside to dry.

Cut the pink, purple and gold tulle into 6″ lengths. Tie the gold in a knot around the center of the pink and purple strips.


Working on a protected surface, add a generous dot of glue to the center, and place one of the paper straws on it to secure.


Add more glue to the back of one starfish, and adhere it to the front of the straw.


Add your own thank you tags. For this party, we made our own, but we also love these.

Allow to dry overnight, then display in a pretty vase!


Recipe: Mermaid Munch

We made this fun snack for our Under The Sea party for little Miss Olivia and her friends. It’s tasty, easy to make, and the kids can help out!

Cook time: 1 hour

Yield: 20 1 cup servings

Here’s what you’ll need:


Two 7 oz. bags store bought popcorn (we used kettle corn for extra sweetness)

1 bag of Wilton Candy Melts, Pink

1 bag of Wilton Candy Melts, Purple

1 Cup Pepperidge Farm Princess Pink Goldfish Crackers

2 tablespoons green nonpareil sprinkles

24 Mini Lilac Popcorn Boxes   (Or, choose your favorite color, they come in a rainbow of choices!)



Arrange half the popcorn on a large cookie sheet with sides that are at least 1” high. Set aside.

In a microwave safe dish, add 1 cup of pink candy melts, and microwave one minute at a time, stirring between intervals, until completely melted.  Using the tines of a fork, drizzle the melted chocolate over the popcorn, being sure not to concentrate too much chocolate in one spot.

While the chocolate is still wet, use ¼ cup of the goldfish crackers, and toss gently over the top of the drizzled chocolate.


Repeat the same process with 1 tablespoon of the green nonpareils.  Set aside, to allow the chocolate to set.


Repeat the entire process on a second cookie sheet, this time, using the purple candy melts.

Once the chocolate on both trays has fully set, gently break apart the set choc0late by hand, and combine the two trays together. This recipe can be made up to 2 days in advance, and stored in a tightly covered container. Do not refrigerate, as this may cause condensation that can create soggy popcorn.

For extra festive flair, We love to scoop our Mermaid Munch into lilac mini popcorn boxes.  We created a cute custom label and attached it to the front of each container.



Cookie Pushers

If you’re an active member of society, you’re well aware by now that it’s Girl Scout Cookie season. I’ve loved these cookies since I was a little girl; my favorites are the Tagalongs, (now called Peanut Butter Patties, but I hold steadfast to my old school cookie terminology).

I was a Girl Scout leader for many years.  Girl Scouts provides the gold standard in being an amazing leadership program for girls; teaching them to discover, connect and take action within their communities. My daughters have both loved selling cookies, and have developed a loyal customer base. Our friends and family constantly lament about their cookie addiction. Who HASN’T polished off an entire sleeve of Thin Mints?  Don’t lie.

I’ve often referred to myself as a “Cookie Pusher”, and I’m constantly receiving cookie related recipes and humor. Want to know how to make Thin Mint Truffles, Shortbread Pie Crust, or which wines go best with your favorite co0kies?  I’m your girl.

Hope you enjoy this fun photo montage in the lighthearted and fun spirit that’s intended. No girls were harmed in the making of this series; and yes, we ate the cookies when we were done.

I give you, “COOKIE PUSHERS”.

(Note: these photos are satirical in nature, and are not intended to represent official Girl Scout photos, nor official Girl Scout activities. Ritzy Parties, Inc. is not affiliated with or endorsed by Girl Scouts of America.)





Concept, styling: Ritzy Parties, Inc., http://www.ritzyparties.com

Photography Editing: Nicole Anderson, http://www.topepperwithlove.com

Floral Perfection in Aqua and Hot Pink

This floral party was perfection! Created in a gorgeous palette of aqua and hot pink, this one was extra special, because it was created just for my mother, for her birthday! It’s been a hectic month, (as usual!), so naturally, I turned to Evite.com to help handle all of my invitation needs, and found some awesome inspiration while I was at it!


The invitation I chose was just stunning. It featured an aqua background with a beautiful design of cascading flowers in shades of pink and yellow with green leaves and vines. I created a sign using tissue paper flowers inspired by the invitation, and added calligraphy using and oil based gold Sharpie, that said, “Happy Birthday To You”.


The cake, made by Cakes by Queens, was Mom’s favorite, a delectable, light and airy coconut layer cake. A monogram with her initial, “C”, was iced onto the front, and fondant flowers in the colors of the theme added a bright pop of color.



Custom printables by Amber Dominique Designs added class and elegance to the table, and echoed the gold calligraphy from my sign, and the invitation.


Amber does such a beautiful job, she even made our signature beverage, “Hippie Juice”, look extra luxurious!


In case you haven’t tried Hippie Juice, it’s a must have for parties! Here’s the recipe!

HIPPIE JUICE – for adults only!

Prep time: 5 minutes

  • 4 cups watermelon vodka
  • 1 1/4 cups triple sec
  • 1 3/4 cups Malibu rum
  • 4 liters pink lemonade
  • 2 cups strawberries, sliced thin

(Makes 1 Gallon, serve with lots of ice)

I found the cute straws and gold flags at Hobby Lobby. They added a fun touch to our cocktails. I also paired up some great paper plates and napkins that I found there. Don’t you just love this color palette!?

straws pickshob lob plates

Flowers from Orange County Wholesale Flowers were next on the planning agenda. I put together some bright, fresh arrangements using hot pink, light pink, and peach roses, along with billy balls, Italian ruscus, and feverfew.


Brightly colored balloons, and confetti from my friends at Fern and Maple Events were scattered liberally throughout the space.


For party favors, I ordered these beautiful artisan sea salt chocolates from La Luna Salt Company. I couldn’t believe how well they went with the colors of the party, like they were just made for it! They were a delicious take-home treat for our guests to enjoy after the party.


I also tried my  hand at making macarons for the first time. I’m super proud to say, they turned out beautifully! They were featured on the dessert table right next to the beautiful cake.

Here’s a look at the finished party table!


Overall, it was a very successful, and beautiful party!

And… I think they liked the cake!


Thanks for stopping by! Until next time, “Celebrate Everything!”


Where to find everything:

Invitations: http://www.evite.com

Paper plates, napkins, straws and flags: http://www.hobbylobby.com

Cake: Cakes by Queens, http://www.facebook.com/cakesbyqueens/

Paper Printables: Amber Dominique Designs, http://www.amberdominiquedesigns.com

Confetti: Fern and Maple, http://www.fernandmapleevents.com

Party Favors: La Luna Salt Company, http://www.lalunasaltco.com

Flowers: Orange County Wholesale Flowers, www.facebook.com/ocwholesaleflowers/

Custom paper decor, recipes, design and styling: Ritzy Parties, http://www.ritzyparties.com


I get by, with a little help from Evite!

Phew! January was the busiest!!! Travel, travel and more travel! Between the CHA Mega Show, the Bash Conference, and events for our clients, it flew by, and with it, my husband’s birthday! (I know, gasp! This planner ran out of time to plan his party!)

Never fear, Evite to the rescue! Once I’d picked a date, it took just minutes to come up with a beautiful invite, a gorgeous theme, and a cool present for Mr. Ritzy Parties.

I logged into my account on Evite.com, and browsed the great selection of invites.  I was so pleased to see that Evite now offers the ability to upload your own photo or design onto one of their invitations! Very cool feature! In the premium selections, I found a chic design of geometric triangles, in shades of navy, coral, gold and teal. Perfect! I started filling in our details, and before I knew it, I had sent the invite to our friends and family!


Sit back and relax? Okay! (It really shouldn’t be THIS easy!)

But, it was! In fact, using the Evite “Instant Gifts” feature, I immediately was able to order up a gift, (a cool Fitbit from Brookstone!), and had shipping confirmation within the hour. Talk about simple!

Next, it was time for some design and décor…

I love to let the invitation set the mood for the party. I decided to run with the design from the Evite invitation, and let that guide my design choices.  I ordered a cake, giving the bakery the design of the invitation, and specified just a few details.  Did I mention how much I adore this design? The colors and patterns really reflect my personal style, and match my house! I was really looking forward to seeing this come alive in cake form!


I created some quick paper party décor, using scrap book papers in the stripes and dots inspired by the Evite.  I made festive buntings to hang in all the doorways, and a few birthday signs using my Sizzix Big Shot Die Cutter. I also found some incredible honeycomb paper lanterns and gorgeous, giant paper medallions at Ikea! Their paper party supplies are incredible, and there was a wide selection of colors and patterns available. (Note to self: focus, focus, focus!)

I hung the paper décor using these amazing 3M Command ceiling hooks and banner anchors, they have such an amazing line of hanging helpers for parties, the selection is seriously impressive.


Here’s how it all came together. I’m so pleased, it was just beautiful, don’t you think?


I love the way the cake emulated the look of the invitation, the bottom tier even matches the interior of the virtual envelope!


Mr. Ritzy loved his gift, (which showed up well before the party, bonus!), and everyone loved the party! Thanks so much to Evite for helping simplify the process, and for the inspiring design!

Until next time, remember to “Celebrate Everything!”



Invitations, Premium Designs, and Instant Gifts: http://www.evite.com

Cake: Cakes by Queens https://www.facebook.com/cakesbyqueens/?fref=ts

Paper Honeycombs and Medallions, cups and napkins: http://www.ikea.com/us

Photography: To Pepper, With Love http://www.topepperwithlove.com

Paper buntings, signs, confetti, party design: http://www.ritzyparties.com