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We love celebrating birthdays.  Some people are obsessed with their birthdays, and others could care less.  Here at Alex & Lily, we are in the camp who believe that birthdays should be celebrated and that they should bring together as many people as you can who love and care for the person entering another year.

The ‘new birthday’ simply means celebrating birthdays in a way that is unique or different from birthday celebrations of the past, but not too extreme that you break the bank.  Every birthday should have a theme- whether that theme is overt or subtle.  Themes do not always dictate dressing up as your favourite childhood hero- or any hero for that matter.  Rather we are suggesting a more sophisticated and adult theme that revolves around food, drink or activity.  Something that is classy and fun, and easy for everyone to participate in, not only those who love to dress up.


Theme #1: The New Bartender On The Block

Ask all of your guests to bring their favourite alcohol or liqueur.  Once you have all of the supplies ready, try your hand at mixing up some tasty cocktails with the flavours you have at your disposal.  If you have a friend who is a particularly good bartender, have them start things off.  You can also look up recipes and mix up some of your favourites.  This is also a great time to show off your new bar set you got for Christmas, your wedding, or of birthdays past 😉

Theme #2: Wine O’ Clock

Similar to making your own cocktails, ask each guest to bring a bottle of wine of their choice, along with one food item that pairs nicely with it.  Conversely, you can also put together a nice variety of cheeses and garnishes to suit a wide variety of flavours.  The party essentially turns into a wine tasting party with each guest tasting small amounts of various wines, and appropriately pairing them with some delectable cheese.  Yum!  Again, a great time to show off those cheese knives you have oh-so-carefully stored away in a drawer!


Theme #3: Country Cuisine Cook-off

This theme is based around food- an essential for ANY party.  Choose your favourite cuisine, or country and ask guests to bring a small dish of that cuisine/country.  Add topical music and beverage you have yourself a food-themed bash! Alternatively, you can do all the cooking (or hire someone else to) and sit back and enjoy an indulgent meal with your loved ones.

Theme #4: GAME ON!

We always love adding a little fun into the evening and if you are already entertaining at home, it is easy to bring out a board game or two!  Similar to the previous themes, you can ask guests to bring a board game, or use the ones you have at home.  Try to think of games that involve a lot of players at once, so that everyone has a chance to participate.  You can have two games going at a time if your group is large enough.  Though board games seem to be a nostalgic activity, it is a fun way to get the competitive juices flowing or the chance to make fools of yourselves without a care. (With this theme, don’t forget to supply food and beverage as well).


These ideas are cohesive and flexible while also creating a focus and a central theme to your special day.  They can be as detailed and committed as you like.  Accompanying décor, music and dress can be added, or you can choose to keep it simple.

We hope this has sparked some ideas for your next birthday bash!  And, as always,  Alex & Lily are here to provide more ideas and guidance when you need.


Alex & Lily

(Note: Image 1- Style Me Pretty; Image 2- Etsy; Image 3- Williams Sonoma)


How to create a fun and thoughtful Stagette/Bachelorette!


I love weddings. Always have. And this year weddings are a daily subject of conversation due to my involvement in many other people’s weddings. I am proud to say that I have some wonderful people in my life who have asked me to be a part of their bridal parties. So, one of the biggest duties of a bridesmaid is of course, planning the Stagette/Bachelorette! Here I’ll share some tips to help make your stagette a fun and successful one!


Firstly, speak to the bride about her schedule and figure out an approximate time of year that both makes sense for the brides, as well as for the timing of the wedding. Typically, the Maid Of Honour (MOH) will lead and organize the general parameters as well as be the liaison for the bride. That being said, the bridesmaids need to contribute too!


Figure out the strengths of the bridal party: Who loves décor? Who is all about the games? Who’s strength is logistical work? Once you’ve determined this you can divide up the work. This is very important so that the MOH is not doing everything herself and also, to ensure that everyone contributes to the event.


So- what do you need to plan a bachelorette?? Of course the details will vary for each party, but here are the guidelines…



Are you going away for the weekend or staying in town? Will you be in a bar? Hotel? Home? Think about the environment where you will be and whether it yields itself to calm atmosphere or a party one. Consider the size of location and whether it will accommodate the guest list as well as the general mood you are looking to capture.



The options are endless but it is always fun to have a theme be carried throughout the party. Plus- it looks so pretty to have coordinating colours! You can keep it simple by using the wedding colours and playing off the theme of the wedding itself.

The theme should also suite the type of bride you are planning for. Does she like to party? Does she love the outdoors? When planning a party for the bride it only makes sense to cater it to her likes and hobbies.



I cannot stress how important it is have good, clear communication not only within the bridal party, but with the bride and the guests as well. A bachelorette relies on the involvement of others to come together, contribute and celebrate. Common decency says that guests should be informed of the details and expectations of the party. Speaking of guests, have the bride send you a list of those who she would like to invite. Invite everyone on the list- even if you have never met them before! Also make sure that guests have a way to contact you in case they have any questions.



Will you be eating out all the time? Or staying somewhere that has a kitchen? And further to that, is there someone in the group that cooks??


It is a good idea to provide some alcohol for the group (as long as the group drinks). In some cases if you are not going out for drinks, you can work the entire cost of alcohol into the overall budget.



It is good to set a budget – and stick to it. How do you determine the budget? Consider the activities you would like to do, the cost of stay and the guest’s level of comfort with spending money. Clearly, the lower the cost the better so that guests are not put off from attending the party due to cost constraints. Charge every guest that same price and don’t forget to minus one person from the numbers to cover the bride’s portion. An average budget for a weekend away will vary, however, the cost should cover: any activities you are taking part in, some food and drink, accommodation, group apparel, and some extras here and there.


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This can be anything from a Welcome Drink to a special book prepared by the group for the bride. The details are the little pieces that help pull everything together and create a greater impact. They are seen in the (optional) favours, the adjusted menus for those with dietary restrictions, adding a personal touch to the decorations, hand-made treats or a surprise element for the bride.


The most important thing to take away from this is that your bachelorette planning should have the bride in mind the whole time. This is for her and her chance to celebrate her new chapter of her life with her nearest and dearest. Going the extra mile for your bride will be noticed a appreciated- I promise. So put your thinking caps on, get your girls together and contact Alex & Lily if you have any questions!


All the best,

Alex & Lily

Preparing for the New Year

Party tips and Holiday Organization


While the holiday season is coming to a close, there is still time for some last minute New Year’s Eve (NYE) party tips and tricks! I always find it lovely to go to or host, a house party for this time of year. It is nice to be able to CHOOSE those that you want to ring in the New Year with, as well as avoid the line up at the bar and the dreadful hunt for a cab at the end of the night.


The first thing that NYE brings to mind is the start of something new and fresh! Why not make a signature cocktail, with some added bubbly, to celebrate the night! I love this recipe with a fresh, citrus taste.


Another thing that NYE brings to mind is SPARKLES! I have always been a lover of glitter and all things shiny. Perhaps it’s the ceremonial fireworks that are set off throughout the night, but adding a bit of sparkle to the evening is fitting and fun! It can be incorporated in the décor, like this lovely PRINTABLE banner from Etsy, or in these playful coasters from Lofty Living. For you ladies, adding a bit of sparkle to your nails is also a simple and playful way to add some sparkle to the night.


As for those New Year’s resolutions: if you are going to make them, your greatest chance of succeeding in these resolutions is to write them down! Believe it or not, the simple act of physically writing out your resolutions gives you a greater chance of fulfilling them. Writing out your goals hold you more culpable to those words and also creates a visual record of what you promised yourself.


Here are some examples of New Year’s resolutions:

  • This year I will organize and clean out my purse once a month.
  • This year, I will save up enough money to finally redo my powder room.
  • This year, I will make sure to start planning and organizing a party at least a week in advance to avoid unnecessary stress.
  • This year, I will (finally) clean out my closet (possibly with help from a professional), and donate the items I no longer use.


So, if you are the type to make these resolutions/promises/goals–Write It Down! (and if you’re a stationary fiend like me, write it down in a lovely notebook like this one from Kate Spade.)


On Another Note…

As we ring in a new year, it is also time to think about cleaning up the holiday décor like trees, wreaths and lights, etc. Even though you will be bringing out the same decor in a year from now, it is still important to pack things up carefully and thoughtfully. Remember that ornament organizer from Target (see @alexlilyhome Instagram post)?? Now’s the time to use it! Place ornaments carefully into the box, with delicate ones wrapped in tissue for safe keeping. If you have a fake tree make sure it’s nicely placed in its’ box to allow easy unpacking the following year. It is well worth the initial effort of carefully and purposefully packing up holiday items for storage to save yourself time, energy, and twisted-light-strand headaches next year!

New Year

Wishing everyone a Happy, Healthy and Stylish New Year!

See you in 2015!


Alex & Lily


Holiday Hosting

Believe it or not, my father taught me all I know about being a good host. From years of watching him at family gatherings (most notably Thanksgiving and Canada Day), family dinners, or various entertaining evenings, he has set a standard of what it looks like to be a great host.


Regardless if it’s preparing for a big holiday party or a quiet get together, hosting a party is a role that must be filled. The job of a host/hostess serves to help guests enjoy their experience in your home all the more. Guests are just that- Guests. Whether or not your guests have visited your home previously, it is always suitable that each guest feels taken care of. That being said, here are four simple tips to help you become the most hospitable host ever:



This, in my opinion, is the most important step. Without planning, you are running by the seat of your pants and may not present yourself as a good host.

Think about the number of guests you want to invite, the type of atmosphere you want (casual, formal, themed), and of course the food and drink you would like to serve. These factors should all be sorted out before guests arrive.

The planning does vary depending on how detailed of a person you are. The more detailed you are, the more details you will pay attention to and include in your party. Don’t feel bad if you do not resemble Martha she is after all, the Queen. As well, the details of your party will be determined by factors such as the number of guests you have, any chosen theme, and what and how you are serving food.



Upon guest arrival, always offer to take their coats and have a place to hang them (or drape them). As well, inform guests of what they can do with their shoes- do they keep them on or take them off? Once they are free of their coat, offer them a beverage!

This is very important, as well as good manners. Offering guests a drink allow them to more readily adapt to the environment and helps them get settled into the party. For some holiday season drink suggestions, click here.



The job of the host/hostess is not over once all guests have settled in, but continues throughout the night. The ongoing task of replenishing is important for your guests’ experience. Try to keep in mind what each guest is drinking, so that you are able to offer them a refill once their glass is getting low. Of course, for alcoholic beverages make sure to ask guests if they would like a refill before pouring. Keeping the bar well stocked is very important for a smoothly run party. Here is a simple outline for your bar essentials- whether you have a built-in bar area or a make-shift one for the night.


The second part of replenishing is the food. Keep an eye on platters or snacks you have out. Keep crackers filled up so that guests can eat the cheeses and meats you have put out, for example. After all, you want your guests to eat and enjoy the food!


TIP: make sure to have water or another non-alcoholic beverage on hand for those who are not drinking or guests who are driving.



To assure yourself that guests are in fact having a good time, check in with your guests from time to time. This does not mean you have to ask questions like “How are you?” or “Are you doing ok?”, but instead, “Are you hot/cold?” or something more conversational like, “Have you tried the brie yet?” This question brings attention to the food and helps to gage whether or not the guests are enjoying food as well as letting them know that they are welcome to it.



Not all parties are created equal: some parties require a lot of work and planning and others are more casual and straight-forward. Therefore, your hosting role will not be the same for every gathering you have. Click here to see some real tips from Canadian women on their view of being a good host.


Overall, taking on the role of a host/hostess is about making guests feel welcome, comfortable and are treated like a guest in your home. Keep in mind that you can share hosting duties with your partner! Either divide and conquer or collaborate!

So get those pouring skills tuned up, pick up some of your favourite cheeses and get hosting!


For some added fun, click here to see what kind of Party Personality you are!

Happy Hosting!


Alex & Lily