One host + two co-authors + amazing Women on Fire book party!

It was such great fun couple weeks ago, celebrating Women on Fire Volume 2 in Chicago.


Take a peek at the event by pressing play!

*View more videos of the event here!

As a party planner, I couldn’t wait to “bring to life” the beautiful visual theme of Women on Fire.  It was exhilarating dreaming up the look and feel of the book signing party – from color palette to creating fiery florals, cocktails, savory and sweet menu items – we’re talking fun from start to finish.


Of course, nothing is can compare to the inspiration of our dear, fabulous, fine fellow Women on Fire.  The room was going to glow just from their sheer presence, as well as all the friends and family joining to cheer our local authors Leah Hamilton and Linda Neff onward and upward.  The party, the library at A Perfect Event, every room needed to raise itself up to the greet each guest with a warm, fiery embrace.


First up – creating the visual color palette.  Women on Fire means warm, jewel tones from yellow to orange to red – which are easy to incorporate into party details from flowers, cocktail napkins, and paper décor like menu cards.


Second – flowers!  Everyone loves a pop of fresh floral, especially in the winter doldrums.   Tulips are a low cost, fast and easy flower to buy in bunches from your florist or even right in the grocery aisle.   I love ombre design – arranging florals from pale color to rich intensity hues – so we clustered stems from yellow to orange to red inside the vase.


Third – menu.  This is the fun part.  Guests absolutely love to see and taste something new, unique, and tied to the theme.  A cocktail tied to the book title, Women on Fire, was in order.  Local Koval Distillery (fun fact, the first distillery in Chicago since the prohibition – and grain to bottle artisans, at that) is always my go to for whiskey cocktails.  “Whiskey on Fire” is fast and easy to whip up at home.  I am here to tell you, guests are still talking about how delicious these were – a week later.


For any cocktail party a combination of savory and sweet bites rounds out the perfect menu.  For an On Fire party menu we needed hot, grilled skewers, bien sur.  From beef to chicken, shrimp to veg, skewers are so easy to prepare in advance, cover in spiced all natural dressings (use them as marinades) right from grocery produce aisle, and grill or bake just before guests arrive.


Serve them ontop tasty, healthy salads like lentils, wild rice, cabbage slaws to add in more delicious, nutritious vegetables and grains.  I love to buy lentils, black beans, shredded carrots, cabbage, broccoli wokly right in the produce department, and instantly mash them up with bottled organic healthy choice dressings like Garlic Expressions (right from Toledo, Ohio, where my family lives, and carried in groceries coast to coast).


Time for dessert!  Parties need a sweet ending, and we instantly thought of fired up smores on skewers.  Marshmallows, wooden skewers, and a quick broil in the oven create an instant hit with guests.  Drizzle with some melted dark chocolate, crush a few graham crackers as garnish – and you’ve reinvented a childhood favorite.  For a healthier choice, skewer fresh strawberries, broil quickly, and drizzle with balsamic syrup (a thicker balsamic than vinegar, available in grocery aisle).


Set the Table  – I love to create a visual feast on the buffet – and rolling a colorful The hit of the night, were perhaps the inspired Women on Fire quotes, printed, cut and layered on colorful papers with washi tape accents, then frames, and placed throughout the party ontop mirrors with votive candles.

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Inspiration Frames- FOR PURCHASE ($15.00)contact

They came, they saw, they “fired” and nibbled.  Bought books, cheered, snapped selfies, instagramed.






It was a cherished, perfect night, filled with fire and finery.

Here’s to a 2014, that’s on fire.


Whiskey on Fire Cocktail

1 bottle Koval Whiskey (can use your local favorite whiskey)

1 jar dried Cinnamon sticks

1 bottle organic spiced Apple Cider

1 6 pack Ginger Beer (not alcoholic, but full of fresh ground ginger)

1 pack Simple and Crisp Orange Slices (can use fresh sliced oranges)

1 jar dried whole Anise

Open whiskey, and add 3-4 cinnamon sticks.  Cap, and let infuse for at least 24 hours.

Before guests arrive, pour into large drinking jar or pitchers 1/3 whiskey, 1/3 cider and 1/3 ginger beer.  Float cinnamon sticks and a few orange slices ontop mixture for garnish.

To serve, fill glasses with ice, top with Whiskey on Fire, and garnish with floating orange slice and anise “star”.

Debi Lilly, A Perfect Event, Women on Fire member

Photography by: Bethany Fritz/Maypole Studios

Food by: Pure Kitchen Catering

Whiskey by: Koval Distillery

Florals by: A Perfect Event

Video By: Jordan Lindley