Roundup: 10 Summer Cocktails to Help You Stay Cool

Now that the temps are rising, beat the heat with these delicious, frosty, summer-inspired cocktails. Serve them ice-cold at your next alfresco dinner party—or even at your wedding reception!—and you might not need the A/C.

Summer Cocktail Ideas: Strawberry Smash

1. Strawberry Smash // via The Coveteur

2. Grapefruit Fennel Fizz // via Jojotastic

Click through for eight more summer cocktail ideas

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Children’s Birthday Party Challenge: Guest Judge’s Pick

Recently, we asked our community to submit their most fun and festive kid’s birthday party invitation designs for our “You are Invited!” Quickfire Children’s Birthday Party challenge. We received a whopping 1,356 submissions and, to help us sort through the amazing entries, we asked superchic blogger and wardrobe stylist (and mama to adorable Parker!) Jen Pinkston of The Effortless Chic to be our guest judge. Her winning pick? “Party Favors” by Jennifer Wick.

“I love all of the birthday invite submissions, but my favorite is “Party Favors” by Jennifer Wick. I love the simplicity of it and am always a sucker for polka dots!”
—Jen Pinkson of The Effortless Chic

Thank you so much, Jen, and congratulations, Jennifer Wick! You can also check out (and purchase!) all of the winning children’s birthday party invitations here.

Special Prize: Jen Pinkston's favorite Minted children's birthday party invitation

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Recipe: Blackberry, Cucumber, and Mint Popsicles

Looking for ways to beat the heat? Stay cool with these easy-to-make (and super hydrating!) popsicles infused with blackberries, cucumbers, and fresh mint. All you need to do is start with chilled cucumber-mint water (my favorite summertime drink!) and add a handful of your favorite berries to make this deliciously refreshing (and practically calorie-free!) icy treat.

Click through for this easy popsicle recipe

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Baby Shower Invitation Challenge: Special Prize Winners

A beautifully designed baby shower invite is not only functional, but also serves as a baby album keepsake for generations to come. We challenged you, the talented Minted Design Community, to freshen up our collection with the most original baby shower invitations the world has ever seen. We were beyond blown away with the amount of creativity and risks taken in this challenge.
Congratulations to all the winners and runner-ups!

The Trifecta Award based on the strength of submissions to this challenge: Pistols 
We selected one designer to receive guaranteed placement in the Minted catalog,
a homepage banner, and email to help build his or her brand on the site.

Brushed Boy” | “Little Cub” | “Chic Raindrops” | “Barnyard Baby Shower


Collection Award for the designer who is guaranteed at least five total picks across the challenge and other challenges in the baby & kids category in the next year to build a design collection on Minted: Baumbirdy

Oh Baby Dots” | “Owl Girl” | “Over the Moon in Love” | “From the Very Start


For the most out-of-the-box baby shower invitation
Owl Girl” by Baumbirdy

Runners-Up: Hey Baby Baby” by Itsy Belle Studio | “Night Owl” by Susan Asbill
Reef” by Angela Marzuki


For the best design specifically created for one of our die-cut shapes
Elefante”  by Peetie Design

Runners-Up: The Pink Drink” by Anupama | “Little Deer” by Karidy Walker


For the best design for a boy
Baby Names”  by Jennifer Wick

Runners-Up: Team Player” by Loree Mayer | “Ahoy, Boy!” by Erica Krystek
New Buckaroo” by Pedestal Design Studio

Click through to see more special prize winners from our invitation challenge

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How To: Pack a Picnic Basket Like a Pro

Once upon a time we owned a pricey picnic basket, but after an evening of bocce (and vodka!) on the beach, it ended up either lost or stolen (we’re still not sure what happened). Now, I’m all about simplicity when it comes to picnics—an easy, affordable basket I can quickly fill with boxed sandwiches and some basic outdoor-eating staples. Want to make your own portable spread? Take a peek at my tips on packing the perfect basket for your alfresco meals this summer.


Keep reading for my best picnic-packing tips

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Valentine’s Day Art Challenge: Special Prize Winners

For our Quickfire Valentine’s Day art challenge, we called on our artist community to create pieces that would make the perfect gift for a loved one. For this art challenge, we were particularly looking for the perfect Valentine’s Day gifts for men—whether for a husband, father, or brother. We loved seeing the graphic illustrations, unique customizable keepsakes, and modern typographical pieces that you designed. Congratulations to all winners!

Out of the (Candy) Box Award for the most creative and innovative take on a Valentine’s art print
Gold Standard” by Keen Peachy


Perfect Gift for Him Award for the most unique art gift for him
License Memories” by Johanna Phillips Huuva


All you need is Love Award  for the best typographical piece that showcases a quote, piece of poetry, or literature in the public domain
How do I Love Thee” by Fatfatin


Foil-Pressed Award for the best piece incorporating a foil-pressed element
Heart Stripe” by Cindy C Lackey

Click through to see more special prize winners from the Quickfire Valentine’s Day Art Challenge

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The Easiest Party Decorations, Ever

Here’s another favorite tip of mine for throwing a party on a budget: Use pom-pom fringe! It’s so fun and festive on its own, and best of all: no DIY-ing required. All you need are removable hooks, a few strands of pom-pom fringe, and about three minutes—it’s easier than blowing up balloons. And since pom-pom fringe usually goes for about $2.50 a yard, it’s super budget friendly, as well.

pom pom trim pom pom fringe

I bought my pom-pom fringe online in assorted colors from M&J Trimming. You local fabric store will also likely sell it by the yard; several colors are also available on Amazon, as well.

pom pom fringe pom pom party decorations


More Easy Party Ideas
How to Throw a Killer Party on a Budget
DIY Fruity Party Printables (so perfect for summer shindigs!)
DIY Alphabet Crayon Favors 
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Design to Dish: Fresh Fruit Sugar Cookie Bars

red white and blue bars Melt” art print by Lindsay Megahed | Fresh Fruit Sugar Cookies Bars (recipe below)

The 4th of July is coming up this weekend, and we are knee-deep in cousins, BBQs, and family fun! My mom’s side of the family has a big get-together every year on Independence Day, so it was always a major holiday for us growing up, and is still one of my favorites as an adult. As a kid, the 4th of July meant swimming and eating popsicles all day, and sitting in lawn chairs (or more likely on the curb) to watch fireworks on the driveway. As an adult, it means getting to spend time catching up with family from far and near. And, of course, red, white, and blue!

I spotted this red, white, and blue art print from Minted (“Melt” by Lindsay Megahed) way back in March, and it has been on my mind ever since. It looks like bomb pops, one of my childhood 4th of July favorites! I wanted to make a sophisticated red, white, and blue dessert to go with it, and these fresh fruit-topped sugar cookie bars are easy, beautiful, and festive. And let’s not forget the most important thing: they’re delicious!

red white and blue 4th of july treats

Keep reading for this easy 4th of July dessert recipe…

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10 Tips for Critiquing Minted Art and Designs

The Minted community is about paying it forward in more ways than one, and because feedback is so critical to the creative process, we award Critique Awards to artists who provide quality feedback on other artists’ submissions. Each Challenge Home has a “Most Constructive” leaderboard, where we track the community members who have received the most “Constructive” votes for their critiques.

Curious about what’s considered the best way to provide and receive helpful feedback? We’ve compiled the following tips, with the help of seasoned Minted artists.

Mad About Pencils by Olive and Me Studios

Mad About Pencils by Olive and Me Studios

1. Be Specific
When asking for feedback on your submission page, don’t be vague by asking questions such as “Do you like this?” or “What do you think?” Instead, focus on specific points such as color, style and fonts. “If you feel something is not working in your design, you should have some idea where the problem is,” says longtime Minted artist Phrosné Ras. “For example, ask something like, ‘Do you think the script font is working as the heading or should I use sans serif?’”

Same goes for providing feedback to others—aim to be the opposite of ambiguous. Thoughtful observations and pointed suggestions for improvement are more helpful than saying, “I don’t love it.” And keep in mind that basic pointers mean a lot to new designers.

2. Start a Poll
Minted artists are busy during challenges, so a quick way to give and get feedback is to start a Design Poll, which allows artists to upload up to four versions of a design, and invite others to rate each version. You’ll receive the feedback below your design in the Comments section.

“Giving someone a broad critique of their work takes a lot of time,” says Jill Ellis. “But helping them choose one typeface over the other or vertical vs. landscape or red vs. green in a poll—that’s much more manageable.”

In the above poll comments, Kelly Schmidt shares her poll pick and critique of Simona Cavallaro’s award-winning “Bold Dots” design. “While the feedback is all positive, I like that Kelly explained the reasons why she chose this,” Simona says. “The fact that she pointed out ‘hey baby’ is more unique than ‘oh baby’ solidified my decision to use it. I like to do things differently than the crowd, so this feedback helped me feel more confident about that.”

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