Archive for the ‘parties’ Category

My followers must think I am nuts calling this a monthly muse when in fact its a “whenever I feel like it muse”. But that wouldn’t sound as good, so I will keep calling it a monthly muse and continue publishing one whenever I feel like it. lol. This is not out of laziness however. It is simply what happens to an entrepeneur who spreads themselves thin enough to do everything they need to do and then miss some things they want to do. Maybe in the near future I will have someone help me with that but for now, its just me folks.

I do have such a delightful monthly muse to share with you all today. The name alone makes me feel girlie and glittery and energized. Please meet “Champagne Hearts,” an event decor duo that specializes in everything DIY, sweet tables, decor and elegance. Holly and Alexandra came into my life as the bridesmaids to actress Georgina Reilly and actor Mark O’Brien’s wedding in the winter of 2013. I actually met them for the first time when I came to photograph the whimsical tea party bridal shower for Georgina the summer before. Holly and Alexandra had created an Alice in Wonderland/Story book themed tea party that was elegant, girlie and sweet. It was the most gorgeous shower I had ever been to and I knew that they had a special talent.

When they started their business early this year, I knew that they would take off with ease. These girls will not only impress you with their endless talents of creativity, but they also bedazzle you with their contagious enthusiasm. They are an inspiration to me and many women around the world. They take on new endeavours with gusto and use their imagination like an endless stream of water. They can make anything they put their minds to and they will impress! Please welcome this hard-working, creative and motivated duo “Champagne Hearts”! Did I mention they look as good as they sound?;)



1. Describe Champagne Hearts. What is it? What are you known for? What would you like people to know more about? Who is on your team?

Holly: Champagne Hearts consists of Alexandra and I. We are primarily an event design duo, located in Toronto, Canada, that specializes in creating dessert tables, sweet treats, DIY decor, crafting unique pieces, and all the finishing touches for any and all parties! We are currently working on our children’s party collection named Junior Hearts– our unique & one-of-a-kind children’s party collection! We create party parcels conveniently packaged in a variety of themes to suit your special little darlings’ fancy & it is delivered right to your doorstep! Champagne Hearts will also create parties at your home, or location of your choice as well! Taaah-daaah! A perfectly designed party and full of love & DIY without the fuss! We have also just launched our lifestyle blog—it is extremely exhilarating.

ALEXANDRA: Champagne Hearts is basically a design duo, Holly and I. There are 3 components to Champagne Hearts: Crafting and designing décor for themed parties/events, our lifestyle Blog and our ‘Party Parcels’, (parties in a box)- which are launching online soon.




2. How did you get into this line of work? What inspired the idea?

Holly: This line of work kind of fell into our laps—and we are beyond happy it did. It all began with our lovely friends hosting parties and Alexandra and I jumping to the opportunity to decorate, bake, and ‘wow’ the guests—it was always such a blast. I remember one party when Alexandra and I were running around (usually at Michael’s craft store or dollarama) and we looked at each-other and said to one another “why are we not doing this all the time?”  It just made sense and from then on, we started to plan.

ALEXANDRA: Holly and I just found ourselves jumping at the chance to decorate every party our friends were hosting. Weddings, bridal showers, murder mystery game nights, holidays, you name it and we’d take it all on (and they’d let us)! We figured if they trusted us in their home and at their events, why wouldn’t others!?  

 3. What is your dream for this business? How would you like it to be in 10 years?

Holly: We launched Champagne Hearts less than three weeks ago and our dreams and visions for CH are through the roof! We absolutely want to expand and have all our creative dreams become a reality—there are no words to truly describe how proud I am of Alexandra and I at this point of the game. Just wait until you see our sweet Junior Hearts Collection—my heart melts just thinking about it. Champagne Hearts has some incredible and creative projects up our sleeves and we cannot wait to share them.

ALEXANDRA: Growth, growth, growth! Champagne Hearts offers a range of products and services, and we’ve only just started! This February we launched the event side of our business and kick started our corresponding blog. Wait till you see our array of parties in a box! There is SO much we want to do! Our vision is endless!

4. How did you meet your partner in crime? How did you know that you wanted to start a business with her?

Holly: I met Alexandra through our best friend Georgina. We were both bridesmaids for her wedding—when we met it was instant friendship. Our first meeting was actually at a Murdoch Mysteries wrap party—we danced together and shared laughs. It was literally one of the moments when you realize you have met a lifelong friend. Those moments are so rare and are meant to be cherished. Alexandra and I just totally understand eachother—we want the same things in life and when we’re together, it is always completely hilarious.
ALEXANDRA: Holly and I were introduced through our mutual friend, Georgina. Both two of her bridesmaids, we bonded instantaneously! Holly and I just get each other. We love the same things, want the same things, and thought what better way to achieve those than together! 


5. Do each of you have the same job in your business or do you split it up? Who is better at what?

Holly: We are both incredibly creative and we work together on all aspects of Champagne Hearts, however with the overwhelming & amazing response we have received thus far (less than three weeks and our email is blowing up!) we stay organized by dividing up parts of the business. We both like to be organized. Alexandra is the best business woman I have ever met—I learn something new from her each day.  She handles the business side and the Party Parcels (which includes Junior Hearts) portion of CH. With that being said, as a creative director of sorts, I am heading the lifestyle blog and social media side of the business. Although we are separately handling those areas, we are equally as involved with the other areas. The best part of working with Alexandra is that we are so in sync and our communication is on point. There is never something that is unknown to the other. We make all decisions together and craft together—because why wouldn’t you spend a crafternoon with your bestie?

ALEXANDRA: I was bred into a family of entrepreneurs and seemingly gravitate towards the business-y aspects! I’m handling the party parcel side of Champagne Hearts, whereas Holly heads up the blogging and social media side of things, (although we both contribute to either side creatively). The outside events are done together. 

6. What is your favourite event that you have created tables or an entire look for? Why?

Holly: I would have to say I really enjoyed our first event that we ever created–it was for our dearest best friend Georgina Reilly. This bridal shower was actually our first event ever that we created together—and we actually met via G. We were both bridesmaids and that was how we met. It was a beautiful summer day and we created (with the help of our friend Jennifer Macklam) a wonderland-esque tea party for G. My favourite elements were the simple details—the straws with the “Drink Me” labels, the floral tablecloth, the delicious cookie dough balls I made. There were clocks and books, and sweet darling details that pulled it all together.

I also really LOVED the baby shower we recently threw for my darling sister. It was the ultimate feminine and sweet baby shower—white ruffle backdrops, doilies, and sweet baby pink animal mason jar favours. That was a shower that was an incredible labour of love. It was all I could think about—awake or dreaming.

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ALEXANDRA: I’d have to say Georgina Reilly’s bridal shower, it was a true labor of love. It was the first collaboration between Holly and I, and it was celebrating our best friend. Aside from that, I loved the theme: A wonderland-esque, whimsical, feminine tea party! Complete with vintage tea sets, books, floral, clocks, finger sandwiches, sweet treats and perfect company.






7. What kind of party or event do you dream of planning?

Holly: I used to always dream of my wedding and now that that has come and gone (oh, what a beautiful day it was), I get giddy with excitement when I think of baby showers, gender reveal parties, and children’s birthday parties. I cannot wait to plan all those sweet parties in my future.

ALEXANDRA: For me, I can’t wait to plan my OWN wedding! You naturally absorb all the ideas you’re brainstorming for others and store all the ones that resonate with you on the back burner. My personal taste is very eclectic and bold. I love rich reds, burnt yellows and nautical navy! Insert a Jazz band and … a fiancé, and I’ll be calling on you for photos!  

8. Who is your inspiration?

Holly: My friends, family, and my husband inspire me 100%.  There is never a dull moment in my life—I am inspired by the beautiful people that grace me everyday. I am surrounded by competent, able, hilarious, and fun people day in and day out. I am surrounded with love and that inspires me.
ALEXANDRA: My family and closest friends, bar none. Every morning I wake feeling absolutely blessed that I’m surrounded by such a dynamic, creative, positive, supportive, caring group of people.

9. Where do you get your inspiration from? Do you use pinterest?

Holly: I’d have to say I am inspired by a lot of things. I really enjoy Pinterest—organizing my multitudes of boards is somewhat calming to me (I’m a nerd, I know). I also get a lot of inspiration from social media—instagram houses some incredible men and women doing incredible things—crafting, styling, and designing brilliant parties & spaces. I am also an avid television/film & book lover and I pull inspiration from what I am watching or reading at the moment. I posted my “Current Crushes” blog post last week (check it out!) and it briefly highlighted my obsession with the BBC show “Downton Abbey”—I am currently inspired by rich oil paintings, gallery walls, textured and ornate chairs, and gold-everything.

ALEXANDRA: My girlfriends just sigh at my lack of Pintrest-ability! Holly is good at it. My inspiration is driven by simple things: Books, flowers, the park, the neighborhood cat, old photographs, the busker at Dundas Square… 

10. When a client is trying to explain his/her inspiration do you ask them to pull photos for you or give you a colour scheme? How much information should a client prepare for you?

 Holly: I can usually get a good sense from a client about what they want and I will start to pull inspiration (mostly, I just get too excited to wait) and I always ask the client to bring as many photos, sketches, whatever their hearts desire to the consultation to help them communicate exactly what is needed and wanted from us. The more, the merrier! There is something so amazing about the initial planning process—it is usually messy, unorganized, and scattered but so full of love and inspired ideas. As long as the client feels that they have completely communicated their vision—I have no qualms with how large or small their collection of inspired material is. Alexandra and I have a knack to really understand the concepts wanted and we are there to help guide visions, dreams, & ideas and make them into a reality.

ALEXANDRA: More is better! It gives us a sense of who you are. Most people show up with a random assortment of different themes and images they’re inspired by, and it’s our job to narrow it down and work from there.

11. If you had a choice between these things which would you choose to do: bake a cake, make a photo backdrop out of fabric, or plan a budget

Holly: Oooh this is hard! They all sound so fun (yes even the budget!). As much as I love to bake & decorate a cake and make lists & plan a budget for a special fete, I’d have to say the photo backdrop. To be honest, the idea of crafting a backdrop makes me giddy. There is nothing more fun than a photoshoot and photos are such fabulous memories–I’d definitely enjoy creating a beautiful backdrop (even though I am a beginner seamstress).

ALEXANDRA: This is tricky. I’d have to go with baking (and decorating) a cake. Lastly, the budget (I don’t think I’m alone here)..

12. What are some of your favourite vendors in the city?

Holly: I don’t know if I have a favourite. I do enjoy garage sales (c’mon springtime!), value village (you can find some incredible pieces perfect for DIY projects), and my local dollarama (haha I’m a nerd and a half).
ALEXANDRA: Champagne and Cupcakes, Fashion Crimes, Designer Fabrics, Le Dolci, The Drake General Store (to name a few), and good old fashioned garage sales!

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 13. What is a good way to save money when planning a party?

Holly: Be realistic. Be crafty. Hire Champagne Hearts.

ALEXANDRA: Do things yourself! Get crafty (or hire us) *wink*

14. What are the first most important steps when planning a party?

Holly: Budget and guest list 100%. The sooner you can determine how many guests you are hosting and how much money you are willing to spend; everything else will be a piece of cake.

ALEXANDRA: Guest List. Budget. Venue. Theme. Menu

15. What party themes are popular right now?

Holly: I don’t know if I only think these are popular because I personally am so invested and excited about them but UNIQUE gender reveal parties, baby showers, and children’s birthday parties are super popular right now. There are so many creative parties being dreamt up and designed—blows my mind. Weddings are always popular and such a dream to decorate.

ALEXANDRA: Gender reveals have been gaining a lot of popularity. Another perfect excuse to celebrate parenthood in addition to a traditional baby shower!

16. Parties are all about the details….what are some pretty details you would recommend adding to a baby shower or bridal shower?

Holly: I love pretty details and darling personal touches. Baby and bridal showers are celebrations of beautiful milestones in one’s life—these should be celebrated with personal touches. Pictures, music, and flowers are always simple and gorgeous additions to any and all fetes. I love whimsical details that are effortless and fun—and the love & laughter of all the attendees (easily my favourite and the most darling & pretty detail of any shower).

ALEXANDRA: I’m all about personal touches, especially when the celebration is intimate like a birth or nuptials. Picture walls, name cards, monograms, guestbooks, photobooths, are all lovely details that capture emotion, adding an authentic personality to your party! (Flowers are also a perfect way to symbolize new beginnings). 

17. What is your biggest challenge right now?

Holly: Time management; Alexandra and I are busy bees—she is an executive and amazing business lady & I am an actress. Our schedules are very different but nevertheless, both incredibly busy! We have the luxury of prioritizing our duties within Champagne Hearts and we meet weekly to discuss all things business and creative, so that is incredibly helpful (and fun!). I also think a huge challenge for me, personally, is that I have not been blessed with patience, haha. I am so thrilled by our success thus far and expansion is coming fast & furious and our excitement is building by the day! I can’t wait to share all the amazing projects we have lined up!

ALEXANDRA: Time management. I’m in an executive role with Wasteco, where I’ve just launched a new program. Holly is an actress. Since a big part of our business is online, the other on weekends, it works. Organization and multitasking is key!

18. Holly, you just recently got married and made all the details yourself. What was your favourite detail ? how long did it take you?

Holly: I must confess I cannot believe I have already been married for over 6 months!! It seems like yesterday I was counting down 6 months to the big day! I created all the details myself and I wouldn’t have done it any other way. The wedding was truly a labour of love. My favourite DIY detail was without a doubt, the brown-paper bags for the candy table.  I dragged my husband to Michael’s (craft store) to purchase ink. We were going to stamp our fingers on each individual bag (in the shape of a heart, no less). We spent a lifetime at the craft store and finally came out with (too much) ink and proceeded to stamp our fingers on over 200 bags. It should be noted that my husband is not really a “crafty” man and the entire process was one that I will never forget—it was beyond hilarious and intensely heart-warming. The greatest thing about these bags is that they were not the most beautiful details of the wedding and they absolutely were not used as much as we had hoped; but they were the most loved detail of the wedding—we made them together. The entire wedding décor took me about 3-4 months—it was very scattered & an unorganized mess of inspiration for a few weeks into crafting (I actually crafted much more than I actually used at the wedding) and it was the ultimate whirlwind of a wedding. It was perfect.

19. Alex, you just recently went to cake school. What was your biggest surprise or learning curve?

ALEXANDRA: Practice makes perfect! Cake decorating is an art, and one that requires precision and finesse! I’m certainly no pro (yet). Creating an intricate fondant cake takes patience. I was surprised at the time required for even the simplest design. It’s all in the foundation, which becomes the canvas to create on. The possibilities are limitless, that’s why I love it. Craftsmanship, you can eat! What’s better than that??

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Mid-December, I had the pleasure of photographing a fiery, articulate and pretty young woman with bright blue and pink tipped hair named Casey. An edgy, bright coloured theme of graffiti art and street decked out Toronto’s venue “The Warehouse” for Casey’s much-anticipated Bat Mitzvah. It seemed to fit her style perfectly. She even had a punk-party dress in black and hot pink accompanied by pink converse shoes. “Street” was definitely her style and this theme couldn’t have been any more appropriate.

Approximately 280 people flowed into the venue collecting gift giveaway’s of Lazy Pants and choosing from the cocktail menu of colourful martinis and sprinkled drinks. Servers handed out various delicious appetizers, made by Toben, as the teens discovered live graffiti art and caricature artists. Once the guests were invited into the dining area, Casey was introduced by the Magen Boys and the Hora began. The night ensued with tons of dancing, speeches and eating. The desert table was a fabulous feature backed by a graffiti logo in Casey’s name on faux brick. Every detail of the table helped accentuate the street feeling. Cookies had graffiti logos, and were lined on top of paint cans. Even candy floss was made to look like it had been spray-painted. The cake itself was made to look like a giant spray paint can. It really was exquisite! These intricate graffiti details were even passed along onto the floral centre pieces and even the table number placings.  This creative and innovative design was thoughtfully prepared by Caspar Haydar Design. The large balloons from Balloon Trix, dotted the ceiling at various lengths which finished off the look. With the help of the Magen Boys and their lighting techniques, the room looked like it had been lightly sprayed with hues of pink and purple. All in all, this family had gone above and beyond for their well-loved daughter. Love was certainly in that room.

This Bat Mitzvah was truly enjoyed by everyone, young and old and in the middle. It was a pleasure to see everyone have fun together and enjoy their family.

Congratulations Casey. Mazel tov!

xo- April



DJ + VJ: Magen Boys @ http://www.magenboys.com/

Food: Toben @ http://tobenfoodbydesign.com/

Decor: Caspar Haydar Design @ http://casparhaydar.tumblr.com/

Videographer: Dream Vision @ http://www.dreamvision-online.com/

Consultant: Fern Cohen

Balloons: Balloon Trix @ http://www.balloontrix.com/

Venue: The Warehouse @ http://www.thewarehousevenue.com/


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About a year ago, I met this fabulously spunky and beautiful woman named Elle. She is the owner and creative brains behind her bakery boutique and multi-faceted business providing clients with event planning, catering and lifestyle event co-ordination. I have had the honour of shooting her over the top parties and events and I thought it would be best to share her with you! Elle has been featured in publications such as Toronto Life, Huffington Post, The Star, Bizbash and many more! Her energy and creative flare is infectious!  Enjoy!


Monthly Muse Interview with Elle Daftarian from Petite&Sweet




 1. Describe Petite + Sweet. What is it? What are you known for? 

Petite & Sweet is a lifestyle/event planning/catering & bakery boutique specializing in covetable sweets, strewn artistically across extravagantly designed dessert tables. We are known for our over-the-top parties, our unforgettable trademark desserts, and for the way we are able to maintain day-to-day relationships with our clients through our boutique.

Our team is an amazingly talented ensemble of event stylists, backdrop & table prop artists, graphic designers, pastry chefs, cake decorators, and dedicated interns. People are always shocked to discover that we create and assemble just about everything we offer in-house, from the novelty cakes to the floral arrangements, to the invitations and the party favours.

2. Do you bake?

Do I bake? Absolutely! My daughter Sophia and I love try out new recipes together all the time, but I am not a professional pastry chef; that work is best left to Hardi, our Cordon Bleu-trained chef-de-patisserie. His talent shines through his flawless treats – one of my favourite things about being in this business is coming up with new dessert ideas, collaborating with him on their concept, design and flavouring, and then of course, the taste testing!

 3. You have just opened a second location in Leslieville, which is your bake shop. How does it compare to your first location? Does it offer anything different?

The Leslieville (technically Riverside) location focuses strictly on the baked goods that light up the sweet tables at the events we do, whereas the Rosedale location is our lifestyle and event planning headquarters. When business started really taking off, we realized quickly that we needed a bigger kitchen to keep up with the demand of our clients and fans. From there, BAKES was born!

4. Not only do you create the art direction and styling for beautiful dessert tables, but you also offer event styling for personal and corporate affairs. Is this correct? Is there anything you don’t do?

LOL .. I ask myself that question all the time. Normally, I would advise that one should pick one thing they’re good at and focus strictly on that, but I really believe that if you have a passion for something broader like event planning and all the details behind it, there is no limit to what you can accomplish if that is truly where your heart is! I love designing and planning events; my work doesn’t feel like work to me. Watching the business I love take off for me leaves me so much to be happy and grateful for.

5. How did you get into this line of work? What inspired the idea?

I think I fell into this business in the most organic way; I was always told by friends and family that I throw the best parties, and that my attention to even the smallest details was what made their experience so amazing. I took that to heart, and realized it is what I should be doing for a living if I wanted to love what I do. So this is me, giving it a try and finding that I picked the right career!

6. What is your dream for this business? How would you like it to be in 10 years?

My dream is for Petite & Sweet to become a household name that is synonymous with the finest treats & events that Toronto has to offer, and to eventually expand to the rest of country and then, to the rest of the world. I want to inspire people to create their own perfect sweet tables, using our treats, the ideas they find on our blog, and the decorations and extras that can be found in our shops. I try not to look as far as 10 years ahead, as a lot can change in that time. I prefer to give myself small, achievable goals that will get me to where I want to be, one step at a time.

7. You pull long nights and early mornings styling or arranging products for a big reveal at a party or corporate affair. How do you manage a personal life?

Great question! I think maintaining a work/life balance is so important, if just for my sanity! When I feel like I’ve been working too hard, I make a  conscious effort to go out and see my friends and let loose a little. If I don’t make the leisure time to shut my work mode off for a bit and enjoy some mellow time, I might as well be dead!

8. As a young woman and entrepreneur myself, I struggle with being a “slave” to my job. It is so motivating but also exhausting. Are you in the middle of this conundrum also or have you managed to find a divide between work and play?

If you had asked me this question a year ago I would have said I’m such a slave!  It is really hard to try and stop your brain from thinking and doing when you own your own business, but what I’ve learned in the past year is that I’m really no good to anyone (especially myself!) if I don’t allow myself time to go out, be inspired, and just be. One of my greatest lessons has been to learn to MAKE TIME.

9. What is your favourite event that you have created tables or an entire look for? Why?

OMG wow there are so many! Honestly, I can’t really give you one in particular; I love them all; they are all so unique and different in their own way.

 10. Do you work with particular vendors for the services you offer, or do you source new people each time? Who are some of your go to vendors?

I definitely have my favorite people that I work with on events, yourself being one of them 😉 I think its super important to align yourself with people that ‘get’ you, and the experience you are striving to deliver to your clients.

11. What kind of party or event do you dream of planning?

I have dreams of styling the Governors Ball for the Oscars, or throwing a party for Vanity Fair or Vogue. I am confident that my team and I would hit it out of the park; I have so many crazy, wonderful ideas!

12. Cakes that look like sculpture are so popular now. What are some of the cakes that Petite and Sweet have made that have blown your mind? 

We have definitely made some crazy cakes, from cakes that looked like buildings, to race cars, to teddy bears, but the most amazing one to date for me was made by my incredibly talented co-star Yolanda Gampp, which was a cake shaped like a human heart for the Crime Writers Awards Gala. It looked so real, it was unreal!

13. You had the opportunity to film a reality series called Sugar Stars. How was the experience? Would you do it again?

Well TV is definitely not as glamorous as it seems. The experience was incredible – just to see all these incredible tables come to life and having a team full of people who really believed in what we were doing following us around with cameras was the sweetest kind of support! I would definitely I do it again, maybe not at that level of involvement necessarily, but I did really enjoy the experience.

14. Who is your inspiration?

MY DAUGHTER is definitely my inspiration! She brings so much joy to my life, and is always in awe of everything I do.

elle monthly muse 70th birthday

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