Perfect Cocktail Party Playlist

By Brandy Brown of Marabou, a member of the Minted Design Community

In most, if not all, types of merrymaking, entertainment usually plays a big part. If you are organizing an event and your plans do not include hiring a DJ, and the thought of adding tasks to an  already packed schedule borders on the ridiculous? Don’t fret!  You can set the tone and provide a magical atmosphere with this all-purpose musical selection. Compiled is a variety of mingle ready melodies guaranteed to pull even the shyest of wallflowers out of their shell! Just remember, in order to encourage & maintain conversation between guests set the volume at a festive level. The Perfect Party Playlist is both crowd pleasing and danceable! Enjoy!

Total Time: 1 hr
Listen to it here

top image via here

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Books to Bottles Baby Shower Invitation Challenge Special Prize Winners

Who doesn’t love a baby shower? The gifts, the excitement, the anticipation! We asked the Minted Community to design unconventional baby shower invitations for modern moms-to-be. We were looking for chic designs to re-invent the traditional shower invite. We can’t get over the number of adorable, edgy, beautiful, and truly surprising designs that came in! Now it’s time to shower those Minties with some love. We’re thrilled to announce the special prize winners for the following prizes. Congratulations, winners!

Avant Garde Award for the best ahead-of-its-time invitation design

Baby’s Due Date” by Serenity Avenue

We couldn’t resist giving our “Avant Garde Award” to this retro library-card design. Ashley created something truly novel with this one (pun intended). We love her attention to detail from the off-kilter, seemingly stamped months and numbers to the hand-drawn look of the circles marking the baby’s due date.

Runner Ups (clockwise from top left): “Backyard Barbecue” by Susie Allen | “Coming Soon” by GeekInk | “Letter Boy” by Homeseed Paper | “Ride On Over” by snickerdoodles

Cutest Award for the cutest invitation design that is still modern

Bonjour Bebe” by Pistols

Where do we even start with this one? “Bonjour Bébé” is absolutely adorable. We wish we could say it has a certain “je ne sais quoi,” but we know exactly what it is that we love so much! Her delicate flowers, precociously posh little baby girl, and sparing but prominent use of the French language push this design over the edge for us.

Runner Ups: “Heart & Bow” by Erin Pescetto | “Sailboat” by Olive and Violet | “Eats & Treats” by Noma and Dolly

Baby Makes 3 Award for the best invitation design representing the new threesome

Family Picture Wall” by Alethea and Ruth

“Family Picture Wall” does a beautiful job incorporating mom, dad, and baby into one cohesive design. Rachel’s lovely mix of bows, pins, hand-drawn frames, and varied text gives the design a personal, casual feel. We love the sense of anticipation in her adorable framed onesie, representing the little one to come.

Runner Ups: “Yellow and Blue Make Green” by VOSS | “Sweet Seahorses” by Oma N. Ramkhelawan | “Baby Makes Three” by Jamie Bryant | “Welcome to the Next” by Sandy Pons

Animals Award for the best invitation design incorporating an animal or other creature

Nesting Birds” by j.bartyn

Cambria’s “Nesting Birds” stands out for a few reasons. Her midcentury color palette and clean type make this a design for an incredibly chic, sophisticated shower. At the same time, her stylized flora and fauna are so nostalgically friendly and familiar. Not to mention the fact that she illustrated this design using an oil ink printmaking technique. We love a shower invitation with depth and personality!

Runner Ups (clockwise from top left): “Via Stork” by Jana Volfova | “Stylish Stork and Funky Baby” by chocomocacino | “Babies are from Paris” by Ana Sousa | “Mouse Showers” by kadie foppiano | “Ready to Pop” by nocciola design | “Beat the Drum” by Cecile Paper Lounge | “Baby Elephant” by Pistols

Over-the-Top-Pretty Award for the prettiest invitation design

Floral Shower” by Bethany Anderson

Isn’t it obvious? We love Bethany’s beautiful, overflowing florals because they strike the perfect balance with her clean shapes and simple color palette. “Floral Shower” is over the top pretty, but it’s not overwhelming. This is the perfect shower invite for a feminine, delicate soon-to-be mom.

Runner Ups (clockwise from top left): “Oh Baby” by Lina Goldberg | “Oh Baby Florals” by Griffinbell Studio | “Petit Bebe” by Kristie Kern | “Baby Love” by Rebekah Disch | “Mariposas” by Wondercloud Design

Text with a Twist Award for the best design that uses curvilinear text to create unique shapes or unusual layouts with the mom’s or parents’ names

Cloud Nine” by robin ott design

Robin’s “Cloud Nine” just makes us feel good! Her beautifully detailed illustrations could have you staring at this design for minutes on end. Her use of curvilinear text is subtle, but perfectly incorporated and helps push the eye up, up to cloud nine. We love the way Robin sets the stage for the excitement that will come with the new baby.

Runner Ups (clockwise from top left): “Bold Baby” by a la amore | “The Big Reveal” by Cheer Up Cherup | “New Blooms” by Sarah Curry | “Rock-a-Bye” by Betta

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Party invitation in Pregnancy & Newborn.

We are so excited that Tyler Tea’s Molecular Bond was featured in the June issue of Pregnancy & Newborn!

The editors did such a fun job of styling a scholarly themed party… it would be perfect for an early birthday or baby shower even.

We worked with their editors to re-purpose Tyler Tea’s design, which was originally a bridal shower invitation, and turned it into a birthday party invitation. Being able to customize anything you want is definitely one of the best things about minted… I always love to know no one will have exactly the same design!

By the way, if you’re like me and wondering where that awesome lightbulb candle came from: it’s from Pylones.

Pretty cool right?!

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Party invitations guest judges’ awards.

Today we’re excited to announce our judges’ picks from the Party Invitations Design Challenge!!

Stephanie Brubaker is the culinary and aesthetic genius behind StephModo, a pretty blog with original recipes, valuable tips and a healthy dose of “pretty.” Steph chose Element of a 16 birthday party invitation by Eunice Kindred.

Says Steph: “Loving this age-appropriate, modern invitation that boasts just the right amount of “cool”.  It emits the right amount of sophistication without being overly so.  He is still technically a ‘kid’ after all!  What a top-notch option for a stylish, fun-loving teenager that isn’t into skulls or cross bones.”

Our judge Liz Stanley is the creative, DIY force behind ‘Say Yes to Hoboken‘, a style and crafts site, when she’s not camping under the Golden Gate Bridge with her husband and son or digging for treasures at local thrift stores.

Liz chose Science by Kristen Kern.

“This one really stood out to me for it’s solid design elements and unexpected color choices,” says Liz. “I want to throw a science party  just around these invites!”

She also really liked Sweet Treat by Natalie Peoples.

“The simplicity of the design, fantastic font choices and fun summer colors–I’m a sucker for all things turquoise made this one a winner for me,” says Liz.

And last, but certainly not least, balloon bear by kadie foppiano.

Liz says: “I love the nostalgic, vintage feel to this invite and the colors combined with the text are just perfect.”

A very big thank you to these lovely ladies, bloggers, and mums for taking the time to pick out party invites that both they and their children will love!

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Gender neutral baby shower.

A very sweet gender-neutral baby shower inspired by Moglea’s Simply Stork baby shower invitation was recently featured on On To Baby.

The event planning was quite a feat: Laurel Anderson of Esla Events: Planning + Design threw her big sister Lindsey a beautiful shower from across the country. She packed up twelve dessert platters, 150 cookies and brownies from Batter Bakery, 350 yards of ribbon, and one darling little baby hat and flew from San Francisco to Denver.

Aren’t the little blocks super cute?

Everyone always appreciates knowing what exactly they’re eating so these little tags are both cute and helpful!

I love how they pulled the little heart from the invite for this sandwich flag.

And aren’t these sweet little ribbon flags the perfect touch?

This is a very manageable little DIY detail project!

Write a little note for the ‘Mom & Baby’ is such a sweet activity. And I love how the birds were pulled into the paper on the table and the little silver card holder.

The favors had such a fancy matching box!

A happy presents-opening shot!!

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Birth announcement photo tips.

Although we don’t think you’ll have any trouble finding an adorable birth announcement design (check out our assortment here!), we know photographing your wee one can be a wee bit overwhelming! So we’ve asked professional children’s photographers Moss & Isaac, whom I met at ALT back in January, to give us some pointers–whether you’re hiring a pro or doing it yourself, we’re sure you’ll find their very practical tips helpful.

All photos by New York City-based Moss & Isaac.

What is the ideal age to photograph a newborn?
We like to photograph newborns roughly between 7-10 days. We like to give mom and dad a week to get settled and comfortable. Shooting within the second week is great, because their skin is usually better and they sleep a lot, hopefully. A sleeping baby makes it much easier for us to move them around without disturbing them.

What do you recommend for various outfit changes for the little one?
Starting out nude is always best. We ask to start with a warm room so that the little one stays nice and cozy while naked. Gather some baby blankets and fabrics that you like, to swaddle the newborn for different looks. When choosing clothing, whether it is an heirloom gown or it’s a brand new outfit, make sure it is easy to change in and out of. From experience, we found out that babies don’t like being changed! We suggest no more than two outfit changes, unless you want a grumpy little one on your hands. Also, make sure the clothing colors are bright jewel tones or light pastels. That goes for the parent’s clothing too. Dark colors such as black, navy or dark brown tend to make a baby’s porcelain skin look pale.

How do you coordinate a date for the shoot when the due date isn’t known until after the child is born? Do you tentatively set it up with the parents before hand?
We are full time photographers, and this flexibility helps immensely when setting up a newborn shoot. We do prefer that a couple contact us prior to the delivery, as it gives us time to work around other shoots or meetings when needed. We like to keep in touch, that way as soon as we know the birth date, we can set our shoot date.

What are some of your favorite sets / motifs / locations / props for newborn shoots?
Personally, we don’t work with a lot of props. We always shoot in a room that has plenty of natural light, whether it is the nursery or another room in their home. Colored or wallpapered walls, dressers, blankets, hats, hairbows and baskets are always great to work with.

Some of our favorite items consist of family heirlooms, whether it be a quilt, an outfit, an antique rocker or crib…we think it makes the photographs more special when we can include items that are meaningful. Capturing the family in their home is so special to us, we love to create a story with our images. We want to photograph the parents, the favorite stuffed animal, the baby quilt, and even the family pet, so that when the family looks back on the photos, they will remember that time in their lives with affection and joy.

How long does a typical newborn shoot take?
Hours! If a baby is having a good day and sleeping soundly, then our job is easy and we can be done in one hour. We arrive at nap time, just after a feeding, so that our chances for a sleepy baby are strong. However, as any parent knows, a baby is sometimes unhappy no matter what. In that case, we stay until we feel we have captured the family successfully. Sometimes that takes a few hours. A good photographer can capture a serene and beautiful moment, even if it only lasts a few seconds! Preparation is key, we always send out a list of tips for parents to read before we show up for the shoot. A few items such as a white noise machine (or radio) and a heating pad can make the shoot go much smoother! Prepping for the shoot beforehand helps us do our job quickly and gives the parents peace of mind.

How does a flash affect a newborn? Do you try to shoot without one?
We love to shoot without a flash if possible. Natural light is our favorite, it is so soft and enveloping. If you are shooting in natural light and it still seems dark, go to your local drugstore and get a large white or matte silver piece of poster board. You can use it to reflect natural light on the baby and create a more pleasing photograph. Sometimes we do have to use artificial light, so we have both flash and constant light sources to work with. When we use flash, we integrate the natural or lamp light in the room. We never use our flash directly on our subjects, we bounce our light, so the newborn usually is not affected at all.

Are you often asked to involve an older sibling? What are the challenges of that situation? Any advice?
Sibling photos are great! They are part of the family story we want to capture. Certain ages can be tricky. If a child is too young, they don’t always hold a newborn the safest or the most attractive way. We utilize soft chairs or a couch to support them both. If that doesn’t work, lay the newborn down on it’s back, and have the older sibling lay down beside them. Stand directly above the children and shoot down. Encourage the older child to hold the baby’s hand, or whisper in it’s ear, you’ll get some really cute expressions and they will both be safe and sound. Make sure that the older sibling has something to look forward to after the shoot, so they don’t feel left out. Try to have someone or something to occupy them during the majority of the shoot so your attention can stay focused on the newborn.

Any other tips?!
Be sure to ask your photographer for any suggestions he/she has on how to prepare. If they have any experience with newborns, they will know exactly how you can get ready. Look around your home, and maybe other family member’s homes to find objects that are meaningful and precious to you and gather those items ahead of time. Make sure your home (at least the nursery) is clean and picked up. And if you are looking for unique items, Etsy.com has tons to choose from.

Thank you so much Moss & Isaac for all these helpful tips!! We appreciate your taking the time to enlighten us on some of the techniques behind your masterpieces.

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Vintage carriage inspired baby shower.

Can you tell we have babies on our mind over here?! As luck would have it we have yet another adorable baby shower inspired by a minted invitation to share with you. Camille Styles, the Austin-based event planner who you may know from her eponymous blog, used Vintage Carriage Baby Shower invitations by palm papers as the inspiration for her friend’s baby shower. I’ve recently begun using Pinterest to create inspiration boards for events… so helpful!  And Camille did just that; check out her French toiled inspiration board here.

Isn’t it fun how Camille changed the banner greeting from ‘IT’S A GIRL’ to ‘BONJOUR, BÉBÉ!’ Yet another example of how easy it is to make something your own by customizing with Minted! Instead of playing shower games (I’m also not a huge fan of them), Camille asked guests to write a piece of advice for the new mum and leave it in an apothecary jar. How cute is that?! It will be so fun to read through these. And don’t you think they would look nice mounted around photos from the shower in an album?

Now who doesn’t love homemade cut-out cookies and macaroons? Fête Accompli did all of the french-y nibbles.

The background was created by stringing up long strips of fabric behind the drinks bar. I love how it still lets light through.

After invites, I personally think flowers really make an event. These lovelies are by Merveille and I love how they are just a slight bit messy. Nibbles on the menu: endive with beets and oranges and grapes stuffed with chèvre and pistachios.

Lastly, Camille and her team created a favor board–such a cute idea and I love how it adds another visual element to the shower-scape. They covered a foam board with fabric and then pinned up little glassine packets of sweets. Check out their how-to here.

A big thank you to Camille Styles for sharing your lovely event with us and also to Mel from She-n-He who beautifully photographed all these pretty little details!!

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Petit oiseau inspired baby shower.

I wanted to share a super chic baby shower, completely inspired by a minted invitation: petit oiseau by Cecile Paper Lounge.

The event was coordinated by Amy Nichols, who also happened to be my personal wedding planner. Linens pictured by La Tavola.

This dessert table by Amy really picks up on all the colors in the invite. Flowers by Laurel Designs.

Aren’t these glitter cake pops by Sweet Lauren Cakes stunning?

These cookies by Sugar Mama SF are the perfect take on the invitations!

The simple floral arrangements: hydrangeas and green berries are so sweet and very appropriate for a baby shower.

A little dyed sugar and a mint leaf ties in the shower colors with the drinks.

The food by Barbara Llewelyn Catering featured all type of finger-sized brunch items, like mini French toasts!

I just love these flower pomanders!

A big thank you to photographer Jihan Cerda for the amazing pictures of this lovely affair! And well done Amy –not surprisingly, this shower is absolute perfection!

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Fourth of July Parties!

Our good country’s birthday is around the corner… what are you doing to celebrate?

Block Birthday Party Invitations by the Social Type, re-purposed into a Fourth of July party invitation! For a completely custom invitation: simply make a note of your color change request in the special instructions box as you’re checking out.

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Moving Party!!

I can’t get enough of Victoria Hudgins and A Subtle Revelry… I was literally just posting (see below) about her genius DIY wedding programs and happened upon her moving party. Her family is moving from San Diego to Denver.

Fluorescents are ALL the rage right now, which Victoria’s party captured perfectly. It reminded me of some of our fun, bright moving announcements. All photos are from A Subtle Revelry.

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