Archive for August, 2011

Hurricane Irene Aftermath

Tuesday, August 30th, 2011

Hurricane Irene has passed, and the cleanup begins.  We were very fortunate to only have some branches fall and the gutter torn from the house.  We did lose power, but that has just recently been restored.  We were lucky that she was not as powerful as predicted, but there were many who were not so fortunate.

On Sunday afternoon, the family and I decided to survey the damage around our town, and some of our favorite beach towns.

Our home:

A tree fell on my neighbor’s garage.

Around my town:

Belmar, NJ

At the time we were there, police were not allowing anyone onto the boardwalk or to cross Ocean Ave.

Silver Lake in Belmar overflowed into the streets.

Avon-by-the-Sea, NJ

Deal Lake in Asbury Park, NJ flooded the streets.

A car driving through the water; you can see the height of the water in comparison to the parking meters.

West End section of Long Branch, NJ

Surfers out in the ocean.


We hope that everyone is safe, your families and friends are safe, and that minor (if any) damage was suffered to your homes and businesses.


Preparing for Hurricane Irene

Friday, August 26th, 2011

We’re preparing to be hit by Hurricane Irene over the weekend, and expecting to be without electricity and internet access.  We are processing as many orders as possible today and into tomorrow with shipping early Saturday afternoon.

The grocery store shelves are nearly bare – what’s left of the bottled water.

I was fortunate to be on a relatively short line at the gas station this morning; when I drove by an hour ago, the line was down the highway.

Depending on the severity of the storm and damage, there may be a delay in shipping and processing orders.

To all in the storm’s path, please stay safe!


{Real Parties} 60th Birthday Par-Tee!

Thursday, August 25th, 2011


We’ve been celebrating milestone birthdays around here left and right at Belleza e Luce.  I’m so happy to share this one with you today because it was styled for my Dad, who turned 60 at the end of July.  My Dad was never one to celebrate or acknowledge his birthday – loves to celebrate anyone else’s, but not his, so much so that we couldn’t even say, “Happy Birthday,” to him.  However, something happened in this last year and when he started talking about wanting a party, my mother and I just about fainted!

The party theme was obvious – he loves anything golf, and I knew we needed to keep it low-key, fun, and the emphasis not so much on his age, but on gathering with friends and family.

I created a simple invitation with an actual golf tee inserted into the paper; a green and navy argyle patterned bellywrap covers the party details until the big reveal exposing who the party was for (a huge surprise to family and friends!).  The mailing label features the argyle pattern and silhouette of a golfer in navy.

This summer, I have been 0-2 in hosting parties outdoors, being rained out twice.  Would I strike out?  Thankfully, my prayers and sun dances were answered!  We had a beautifully sunny and warm day with no threat of any inclement weather.

I used golf tees, golf balls, and wheatgrass everywhere in the decor.  I also created 8×10 signs that were placed around the yard with golf sayings (e.g Fore!, Par-Tee, Bogie, etc.), quotes from Caddyshack and from famous golfers.

As guests arrived they were asked to guess the number of golf tees in the bowl with a chance to win the coveted “Par-Tee Tournament Trophy.”  The closest guess was 744 with the actual number being 729 (as his birthday is July 29th – clever, huh?)

We had a a 9 hole mini golf course brought in, which provided endless fun for the younger guests and a cut-throat competition amongst the golf-fanatic adults.

We served Arnold Palmers (non-alcoholic) and pitchers of Water Hazards (rennamed Blue Hawaii cocktails), in addition to other refreshments at the 19th Hole.

In addition to the mini golf course, the kids enjoyed splashing in the pool and decorating foam visors with stickers, markers, and glitter.

Since my Dad has always enjoyed the movie, Caddyshack, it was only fitting that the famous gopher make an appearance.  He popped up at the dessert table which displayed Donut Hole-in-Ones (munchkins) in golf ball baskets, Water Hazards (blue raspberry jello), Sand Traps (Rice Krispie treats), Chocolate Chip Shot Cookies, and the amazing, delicious tiered cake featuring greens, water hazards, and golf flags by Joy&Cake.  Did I mentioned how yummy it was?  I created the wheatgrass stand that the cake was displayed on.

Old golf bags and clubs of my Dad’s were placed on the side of the table as well as around the yard.

It was too hot for these guys to make an appearance while the sun was out, so they were placed on the dessert table as the sun was setting.

They are now happily living in my cousin’s pond.

Guests went home with a package of golf balls and customized golf tees that read, “Gary’s 60th Par-Tee.”

The party was a hole-in-one!  (Yes, pun intended!)


New to Shop and on SALE!!!

Wednesday, August 17th, 2011

We are so excited to have launched 15 new invitation designs in our shop – and they are all ON SALE!!!!  50% off printables, 30% off printed invitations now through August 31st!   Take a peak at some of our new creations:

In addition, our Halloween collections are 20% off (printable and printed) through September 5th –  that includes favor tags, invitations, and cupcake toppers.  It’s not too early to begin planning your Spooktacular Party!

Don’t forget to sign up for our monthly newsletter!  Subscribers will get exclusive free printables, party tips, and coupons.  For signing up, we will send you a coupon for Free Shipping on your next Belleza e Luce order!  And never fear, your name and email will never be sold or shared – we hate unnecessary junk and spam, too!

{Real Parties} Vintage Baseball Birthday Party

Monday, August 15th, 2011

This past June we had the wonderful priveledge and honor to design a vintage Yankee’s inspired baseball party for my grandfather’s 85th birthday.  Did I mention it was a surprise party for him and also my grandmother, too!  Talk about keeping secrets!!!

My grandfather (Dee Dad, as we call him) is a lifelong NY Yankees fan; when he talks about great moments in baseball, he would always recall the old-timers and good ol’ days of the simpler life, when people would get dressed in their Sunday best to go to the ballgame.  With that, I decided to create a party with nods to the olden days of baseball.

The invitation was designed in navy pinstripe with a silhouette of a batter knocking one out of the park.  Some old-fashioned font styles completed the simple but festive design.  I added the batter’s image to the envelopes as well; pretty envelopes are so much more fun and exciting to open, afterall!

With the invitations mailed out, I began to work on all the party details.  Of course, I had these wonderful visions of the party being held outdoors on our porch overlooking the pool with navy and white pom poms hanging from above.  Cue weather: 1 hour before the party, the skies grew dark and the heavens opened to a downpour!  Onto Plan B: indoors  with a few friends helping me move the centerpieces into the living and family rooms.  (If you remember, my Popsicle Party was a washout as well – I really need to figure out a way to control the weather on party days!)

Peanuts, old baseballs, bats, and mitts were used throughout the decor.

I scored a box of 50 old baseballs and a bat at the flea market for only $7.  I created miniature pennants featuring the man of the hour’s initials in his own logo, his number, and some fun baseball phrases (‘Hey Batter Batter’, ‘Swing!’, and ‘Homerun’ to name a few).  As guests arrived, they were asked to sign their autograph on a new baseball bat I purchased.  The bat full of well wishes now sits proudly in my grandfather’s office at home.

The guest of honor finally arrived, and the surprise was a wonderful success!  At that moment, I was able to relax.  (I think surprise parties are the most stressful to pull off.)

Guests were encouraged to test their Yankee knowledge at one of 2 quizzes while enjoying traditional ballgame fare of hot dogs, sausage sandwiches, burgers and more.

Dee Dad’s great-grandkids dressed in matching jerseys in honor of the occasion (even the daughter of a diehard NY Mets fan!)

The 7th inning stretch consisted of a cake that was prepared by the very talented Elyse of Joy & Cake (& By Little Hands); my aunt would not believe that the baseballs were edible – until the kids dug into them!

Peanuts, popcorn, and pretzels – staple food of ballgames, were all available for guests to help themselves.  For me, no trip to a game is complete without an ice cream sundae in one of those helmet cups!  Imagine my delight, when I found the official Yankee cups online and in stock!!!!

Guests traveled back to their homefield with individual boxes of Cracker Jacks and a tag that read, “Ed’s 85th Grandslam,” tied with navy striped baker’s twine.

The party was a homerun, and Dee Dad was able to celebrate with his entire family and friends; in his words, “the best gift of all!”