Planning a Birthday in Costa Rica … Table Settings for Under $100

Once our theme was set, I spent a lot of time online looking through Style Me Pretty, Martha Stewart Weddings, and The Knot.  I wanted something elegant and feminine which incorporated orchids.  Also, because it was a birthday party and I did not want the room to look like it was set up for a wedding, so I stayed away from all-white themes.  I found this image at finestationery.com, which I used for inspiration:

Since so many people were contributing to Aunt Carmen’s party, we needed to keep our costs low.  The best way to do this was to use as many the hotel’s services as possible, so I started with the room.  The hotel’s Arboleda salon is surrounded by windows and reminded me of a conservatory, so I thought it would be fun to turn each table into a miniature floral garden.
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Planning a Birthday Party in Costa Rica … Choosing a Location and a Theme

To make Aunt Carmen’s 80th birthday party memorable, we needed to come up with a theme.  Great parties need themes to make them flow and focus the event.  We wanted this to be a celebration of her life, so we started by asking: what does she like?  Aunt Carmen has owned shops, hotels, and restaurants, designed shoes, and developed real estate.  But her latest passion is … slot machines!
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Planning a Birthday Party in Costa Rica … How It All Began

I grew up in Costa Rica.  My dad is one of eleven in his family and my mom is one of seven, so I grew up surrounded by lots of cousins, aunts, and our family’s friends.  Aunt Carmen, the oldest of my dad’s siblings, has always been extremely capable and well-connected; she’s the Vito Corleone (from “The Godfather” movies) in our family.  Anytime anyone had a problem, they went to visit Aunt Carmen and Uncle Arturo.  Do you need a doctor?  Call Aunt Carmen.  An architect?  Aunt Carmen.  An attorney?  Aunt Carmen.  A visa?  Aunt Carmen.
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Get the Look: Add Patina with Belgian Linens and French Dinnerware

In the September 2010 issue of House Beautiful, there is a story about interior designer Penelope Bianchi’s house in Santa Barbara, California that really resonated with me.  As many of you know, at Gracious Style we really believe in buying timeless objects because we only want to own things that we’ll still love ten, twenty, and thirty years from now.
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Ten of My Favorite Summer Sale Items at 50% to 75% Off

It can be hard to say goodbye to old friends.  Because every collection you see at Gracious Style was personally chosen for you, they all have a special place with us.  But things change, and eventually some things have to be discontinued.  That’s why each year we have a Summer Sale, where we put many of the collections we’ve loved for years at 50% to even 75% off.
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