How to Throw an Awesome Party

Last Saturday we celebrated being debt-free, and today I’m here to share 5 awesome party tips! I would have shared this post sooner, but we called a few of our friends and visited an escape game room and rejoiced in our debt-free lifestyle.

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1. Pick a theme!

Since we were celebrating being debt free we chose a money theme. From the decorations to the food – everything was green!

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2. Shop the dollar store.

The first place I go for party inspiration is the dollar store. I always end up purchasing cheap decor and gaining lots of ideas for my theme. For our debt free party I picked up these awesome shades for the kids to play with as well as several bags of coin rolls which I used as filler in large vases.

How to throw a party 43. Make your own decorations.

Use your creativity and get to work! I picked up a few poster boards at the dollar store and made these large, hanging spirals.

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4. Use things you already have.

If you’re anything like me, you have lots of items around your home that can be put to good use during a party. As usual, my Fiestaware served food and a few coffee cups doubled as utensil holders. I borrowed 2 large drink dispensers from my mom and reused my placecard holders as food labels.

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A few leftover wine bottles quickly became a centerpiece.How to throw a party 8

5. Simplify your menu.

This one is probably the hardest for me. When it comes to the menu, I tend to dream big. . .. wwaaayyyyy bigger than what I can actually accomplish. This time I went with a few simple items; green fruit, green veggies, grilled chicken and pork skewers, chips and green salsas.

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6. Have fun!

We tried our hand at a few outdoor games, and had a grand night!

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Recap: The Trip of a Lifetime

It’s hard for me to believe that my Trip of a Lifetime has already come and gone! I still remember the time when my friend was recommending the Good Sam checklist, and now everything has come to an end, and I am back to the daily routine again. My mom and I had a blast and I will always cherish the time I got to spend with her. I know I won’t be able to give you a complete recap of our amazing week but I’ll do my best and fare warning, you’re about to see A LOT of pictures!

Mom and I have been planning this trip for years and since my parents are train buffs, we opted to take Amtrak from my hometown of McGregor, TX to Pittsburgh, PA. For those of you who have never ridden a train – DO IT! You’ll have the time of your life! Train travel is very relaxing and luckily for us, has awesome luggage requirements as compared to its airline counterpart.

Not much has changed about this old station since my childhood and I couldn’t love it more! I have so many memories of waiting in this station, to travel by train or just watch it go by.Fiestaware Tour 9

Most trains consist of several coach cars, a few sleeper cars (where we traveled), a dining car, a lounge car (the one with the big windows) and of course, an engine.Fiestaware Tour 10

Our sleeper car room had it’s own bathroom which is a huge luxury on the train and chairs that folded out into beds.
Fiestaware Tour 13Coming and going from Pittsburgh we had a layover in Chicago so we took the opportunity to see a few sights! Chicago’s Union Station is beautiful and if filled with lots of classic architecture.

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On our way home we stopped by the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago Museum where we found this Civil War era $500 from the National Bank of Lowell (MA) which also happens to be the name of my brother. Oh, and that large cube? That’s what $1million looks like in $1 bills!Fiestaware Tour 11

In Pittsburgh, we rented a car and drove about 45 minutes to Newell, WV, home of Homer Laughlin China Company that makes Fiestware. The factory itself . . . .is  little lack luster. . . .let’s just say it’s not exactly a tourist destination but since we were the only ones there at 9am and it didn’t open until 9:30am. . . . we had to find a few touristy photo ops. I mean, we came all the way from Texas for this!Fiestaware Tour 14

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Just down Fiesta Drive, there’s a bone yard of broken Fiestaware which we later found out has just recently been sold to a start-up company that wants to make concrete counter-tops with speckles of Fiestaware mixed in. I might have to look into that in the future!Fiestaware Tour 22Needless to say, when 9:30am came, we were the first ones in the door.

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It was every color of the rainbow we’d dreamed of AND more! I mean, eat your heart out!Fiestaware Tour 15

At 10:30am we got to go on a tour of the factory and as luck would have it, mom and I were the only 2 on the tour! We weren’t allowed to take pictures but we did get to see the entire process from clay to the finished product and it was very fascinating. When I made the reservation I was told we were going to walk a mile and a half and they weren’t kidding, we definitely got our workout in! At the end of the tour we got to see the Fiestware museum, a small room off the factory that had shelf after shelf of every retired Fiesta color.

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Just off the main show floor was the 2nds room which was filled with slightly blemished dishes that were a fraction of the price. We spent most of our time in this room, filling egg crates with stacks of colorful dishware. I mainly tried to buy pieces that you can’t regularly find in departments stores so I came home with several different types of serving bowls, a carafe, pie plates and loaf pans.Fiestaware Tour 16

Once everything was said and done we had an entire trunk full of Fiestware!

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We packed our dishes into our suitcases and headed home! I didn’t get a ton of pictures of my ‘loot’ but here’s a shot of my kitchen table as I was unpacking it.

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Doesn’t it just make you happy? It’s like a rainbow of color everyday!

If you’re ever in the Pittsburgh area, I highly recommend you make the short trip out to Newell, WV, you won’t regret it! For my mom and I it truly was the trip of a lifetime!

A year in the making – 1 Year Blogiversary

365 days ago, a dream of mine became a reality.TFP Sign

It started probably a year before that when I stumbled across a blog called House of Hepworths. Who even knew DIY blogs existed? It was the first one I’d ever heard of and I was instantly infatuated with Alison and her amazing DIY skills. I was hooked. I read every post she’d ever written and waited anxiously for new posts to be published (yeah. . . I was kind of a creeper). I began to dream and really think, I could do that!

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At the time we lived in a tiny 2-bedroom duplex whose owner barely let us install a ceiling fan (it had NO ceiling fans. . . in the middle of west Texas. . . . yeah, not smart) so I knew a DIY blog was out of the question as long as we lived there. Time went on and I began to follow other blogs like I Heart Organizing and Primitive and Proper and as the DIY bug grew within me and I worked on small projects around our home.


In January of 2012 this all changed when, through a series of God sized events, we bought our first home. I was ECSTATIC. Long before we moved my head began to spin with renovation ideas, paint colors and flooring options. (Side Note: I didn’t join Pinterest for a long time because my friend Katie told me it was like my brain on steroids. She was right.) I immediately knew the time had come to launch my very own blog, and that my friends is how it all began.

I was so excited I had probably 2-3 posts written before we moved. That’s right, in two weeks time I packed our entire house, we cleaned our new house, did all the techy stuff that goes along with starting a blog and I wrote several posts. Maid Easy offered a good house cleaning option. Oh yeah, and we both worked a full time job. Needless to say, we were pumped about this dream coming true.

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Over the past year we’ve learned a lot. A LOT. We’ve learned about working together and communication. We’ve learned that if you give a mouse a cookie, he’s going to want something to drink. We’ve learned that I am a mouse. . . .and I want a cookie. We’ve learned that I have big dreams and can always see the final product where as Phillip never sees the final product and often says things to me like,

“You aren’t finished with that project. . . are you?”

“You want to paint what?”

“Those things don’t match.”

Yet he always loves the result. It’s been an entertaining year of growth and discovery.

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I’ve learned 3 things about myself over the past 12 months;

  • I love to dream up big projects and see them through to completion.
  • I love writing about what I’ve done. I do the staging, shooting and editing. . . .so that I can write.
  • I love that there are people out there whom I’ve never met who actually read the things I write. It never ceases to amaze me.

So to you, faithful reader, thank you. Thank you for reading, dreaming and learning with me. You are the reason that I continue to write so thanks for the encouragement and love.

Speaking of love . . . . wouldn’t you just LOVE to win a new purse?? I thought so.

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Without further adieu, the winner is. . . .Heather Jernigan!

Heather be sure to check your email for prize details.


Here’s to many, many more DIYing years to come!

The Trip of a Lifetime

If you’ve been around the Front Poarch very long, you know that I love all things mid-century or as Phillip says, “old”. I’m not really into true antiques but there is something about simple, classic design that I just can’t pass up.

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One of the “old” things I love the most is Fiestaware.

I mean hello, concentric rings and rich, bold color! Swoon! (And yes, I’m well aware that Fiestaware was first produced in the 1930s.) We registered for it when we got married nearly 4 years ago and I love it more and more every day. It’s my china and my every day dishware. It holds our Christmas turkeys. . .

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. . . and our leftover Chinese.


My most favorite of all Fiestware is this beauty.

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When Phillip’s Poarch grandparents got married in 1951 they received a complete set of Fiestaware. The only problem was that Anita thought it didn’t match so she gave it away. GAVE. IT. AWAY. Needless to say, if she still had that set it would be worth thousands and more importantly, it would be a sight of sheer early Americana beauty. This is the only piece she kept from the set and several years ago, when Phillip and I were dating she gave this teapot away too.

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She gave it to me. It is one of my most prized possessions and by far my favorite “old” thing.

To me the best, most awesome, over the top cool thing about Fiestware is that they make it in a factory. In Newell, West Virgina. And you can go there. And go on a factory tour. And shop at the factory outlet store. And buy lots of really cheap Fiestaware. And MOM AND I ARE GOING OVER SPRING BREAK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


That’s right! After years of planning the tickets have been purchased, the tour reservation has been made and come March 9th it’s going to be me and mom and Fiestaware for 5 straight days!

In addition to the blog, I’ll be documenting our journey vis Instagram to be sure to follow me @FrontPoarch.

Just 56 days until the trip of a lifetime begins!