Saturday, September 2, 2017

Baby Shower Mocktails & Cocktails

I was recently asked to help out with a baby shower for a dear colleague. I was put on drink duty and of course consulted with Pinterest before anything else in search of the perfect cocktail.  My friend is having a baby boy so already I already had to discount amazing pink cocktails like these:

Pic 3
Ombre Grapefruit Cocktail

Pic 13
Cranberry Cutie

There were so many great looking cocktails but they seemed so sweet.

Pic 4
Blue Raspberry Sherbet
Pic 6
Lemon-Lime Blue Slushie

I wanted something that wouldn’t give everyone a sugar hangover and be good enough to stand alone as a mocktail and would be great with alcohol added to it. I was also looking for something that could be made in bulk so I could enjoy the party. Here is the perfect mocktail for this party: 

Bangin Blueberry Lemonade
Doesnt it look so refreshing?  Check out the full recipe at

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Guest Post: City Garden Party Update

Hi, I'm Sarah and I'm taking over Casa Pena Designs to update you on the Garden Party that I collaborated with Heidi to help plan. I had been talking about hosting this party for over a year and knew I needed a little help getting started. It was a huge success, in large part because of her design skills!

For example, after seeing the space, she whipped up this quick concept drawing:

Not that I ever doubted it, but I was amazed how well she understood my vision for the party. The concept drawing was instrumental in my ability to achieve the easy-going energy flow I was looking for.

Until the city bugs came out anyway, then it was time for bed.


We used a Fujifilm Instax Mini to capture the evening because we wanted our guests to have a photo in front of our mural (the reason for the party). In retrospect, we should have also taken digital shots, which we'll know next time.

Prepping the Space
I've lived in this house with my partner Lyn for about 5 years, which means that the algae along the side of the house has been there for at least that long. It started to bother me last year, but this year I decided to do something about it, thanks to the mold-be-gone product I found at kuh-kuh-kuh Costco!

It was kind of a process and I'm not sure how I feel about using a chemical that made me cough uncontrollably, but it worked like a charm!

We spend A LOT of time on the back patio, so we decided to invest in some comfortable outdoor furniture. We went to the nearest Costco to test out furniture and decided on this set. Since we have a little city car, we made the purchase online so we could easily arrange for delivery. This set is really comfortable and fits in this nook on the patio perfectly.

Potting Bench/Party Bar
I'm an avid gardener, so the idea of having a potting bench has always appealed to me, but I never made it a priority. That quickly changed when one of Heidi's recommendations was a potting bench that doubles as a bar from one of my favorite stores, World Market.

It was a great recommendation, and I'm happy with the purchase, but I wish I would have gone to see it in person before placing the order. It's more of a bar than a serious potting bench, but it fits perfectly in the space.

We moved the old set to the back of the patio area to provide additional seating. We had the perfect amount - everyone had a seat!

My partner, Lyn, has a special gift for creating killer playlists. Feel free to use our Drinks with Friends Spotify playlist - it was perfect for the energy flow of the party. 

I designed the invitations and detail my process in this post

We've always had plenty of lighting in our main patio seating area (under the deck), but police spotlights were the only thing lighting up the rest of the patio. This was problematic, since the purpose of the party was to show off the walls!

I shared Heidi's vision for how to hang the string lights, but I wasn't sure how to do it. What I was sure of was that I needed another trip to Costco for lighting.

I tried a few different approaches with hanging the lights. Two strings and an infinite number of tiny glass shards later, I decided to give it my all, which required a trip to the Home Depot. At this point, I got a little Harold Smith.

I'll unpack that when I detail my landscape design vision and execution in an upcoming post.

In the meantime, we're already working on our next event together - my bachelorette! It's more like a relaxing vacation (I hope) but there's much to coordinate, design and plan. Stay tuned!! - Sarah

PS - You can follow Sarah's blog at

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Urban Backyard Garden Party

With this beautiful weather I thought I would share with you a recent event request for a garden party to showcase a recently acquired wall mural and updated landscaping in a backyard in Baltimore City.  I immediately had a vision that included strung globe lights, soft music playing in the background, good drinks, and great company.  Below are some images I found that perfectly illustrate that vision.

Image from The Daily Nest
Image from Pinterest

Image from Pinterest
Once I had a chance to discuss the party and space with the client I set to work on a design board and (very) rough sketch of the backyard.

The mural mentioned above has a flamingo theme which I attempted to highlight with accessories.

I will be sure to take before and after pictures of the set up and post them soon!

Monday, May 1, 2017

Design Show House: The Final Reveal

Im going to be straight with you, the Show House has been a lot of work. A great deal of that work has been growing and expanding my business at the same time as creating the vision and the install of the bathroom space. Designing business cards, figuring out sales tax forms, business insurance, and all the paperwork in between has been a challenge and I've certainly learned a lot.

I guess because of the way it came together I can't really imagine it working out any easier or if there may have been a simpler way.  I really needed this push that participating in the Show House provided. Otherwise I don't think I would be as far along in this process as I am (and I'm still a long way from sitting back and kicking off my shoes).

I couldn't have made this progress without the huge support of my husband and my friend Sarah, who have both spent hours with me figuring out all the small stuff that goes into starting up a business. They both pushed me and inspired me to keep going, all with no complaints along the way; proof that I have amazing people around me.

Thank you to everyone that followed along on this design project. I hope that you stay tuned for more projects as I continue to blog about my business, the design that inspires me, and before and after pictures.

Also, congrats to the winner of the Show House tickets is Bobbie L and her girl Lauren!  Can't wait to see you at the house!



After: Mornings Away Framed Art, Gold Tray, Gold Robe Hook, Orchid, Paint is SW Rock Bottom

After: Chestnut Hill Radiator Cover

After: Light, Faucet, Hand Soap, Mirror, Black Soap Dispenser

Kohler Purist Widespread Faucet

Lux Robe from Phina's for the Home

Custom Soap: Phina's for the Home

PS - If you are just now joining in on the fun, check out the series below:

Monday, April 24, 2017

Design Show House: Ticket Giveaway

The design show house is so close to opening! All this week it will be open to private parties then opening to the public following a ribbon cutting on April 30, 2017. I am so exited to have people experience this house! It has been such a labor of love to go through this process and I cannot thank you enough for following along on this journey.  To show my appreciation I am giving away 2 tickets to the event ($50 value), which can be used any day of the event April 30th through May 21st. Follow me on Instagram (upper right corner of blog) and comment on the Ticket Giveaway post for a chance to win! Winner will be drawn at random.  Good luck!

Additional information about the show house:

The 40th Annual Symphony Decorators' Show House "Mayfair" will be open to the public beginning Sunday, April 30 through Sunday, May 21, 2017. Tickets are not date specific. You may use your ticket any time during normal operating hours.
All proceeds support the educational programs of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra including OrchKidsTM, the Baltimore Symphony Youth Orchestras and Midweek education concerts impacting the lives of more than 55,000 students a year.
TICKETS: $25 in advance / $30 at the door
HOURS:Sunday 12 pm-4 pm
Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday 10 am-6 pm
Thursday 10 am-8 pm
PARKING: Parking and a shuttle available with a $2 donation at: Padonia Park & Ride, Deereco Road, 1/2 mile south of Padonia Road

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Design Show House: Bringing the Vision to Life

Once Casa Pena Designs was selected for the space we had a few weeks to get all of the items ordered and installed in the space.  I reached out to a few vendors who graciously offered items either deeply discounted or for free, which is a huge help to a designer like me who is just getting started.  A huge thank you to Kohler, Lamps Plus, Phina's for the Home, and Target for making this transformation possible!

First phase to tackle was painting the wall.  I chose SW Rock Bottom for the dark wall and SW Snowbound for the trim/ceiling.

Painting the dark color on the wall really added dimension and character to this space. I think it was the boldest change we made and I've received a lot of comments on it from the vendors who have been through the house.

Next we (and by we I mean Jeff) hung the light fixture from Lamps Plus.  I am so in love with this lamp! It really pops against the dark wall and makes the bathroom look so rich.

Over the course of the next few weeks I bought lots of accessories and made the curtains and valence for the shower stall and the window. My dining room was quickly transformed into my workroom for sewing and managing design boards, accessories, documents, and everything that goes along with this business. I think I'm going to need more workspace very soon.

Once the Kohler Purist Faucet came in, we installed it right away. I couldn't wait to see it shine in this room.

At the risk of sounding cheesy I've got to say: my husband has been a total rockstar. He installed the light, the faucet (which was no easy feat), and still had energy to help hang art and paint. His support during this process has been nothing short of amazing to me and I appreciate him so much!

Stay tuned for the final reveal and a give away in the next few days!

The Show House opens to the public Sunday, April 30th through Sunday, May 21st.
Sunday: 12:00pm until 4:00pm
Monday: Closed
Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday: 10:00am until 4:00pm
Thursdays:10:00am until 8:00pm

The Cafe will serve snacks and lunch and there is an antiques tent where you can purchase items on display in the decorated rooms.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Design Show House: The Before

We had a meeting at the house this week, which officially kicks off the date we are able to take over the space and begin the transformation.  I was able to get a couple of pictures of the space before we get started.

Here is the design board:

1. Light, 2. SW Paint Color, 3. Mirror, 4. Shelf, 5. Kohler Purist Widespread Faucet, 6. Radiator Cover, 7. Succulent, 8. Fabric , 9. Mornings Away Art Print, 10. Towels

The homeowner doesn't want the tile walls or flooring to be removed so that created a bit of a design challenge but that soft blue tile coupled with a rich dark charcoal wall will give this room a completely different feel. Switching out the fixtures for brushed gold versions and covering the radiator will give the space more of a finished look.  I can't wait to get started!

To read about the whole process start here: