March 20th, 2009 |

Spring Fling Cocktail Party

Spring Fling Cocktail Party (small)

I don’t know about you, but I am SOOOOO happy Spring is finally here…..it’s been a LONG winter!

Let’s welcome Spring with a casual cocktail party for friends….and you don’t have to make things difficult for yourself.  Choose a couple of fabulous drinks, some easy snacks…..and you will end up with a festive evening your friends are sure to enjoy!

What could be more fun than a bellini bar?!  Set up a table with three different flavors to mix with champagne or prosecco…..

Prosecco with Ginger

Stir together 1 cup ginger juice and 3 tablespoons honey in a small pitcher. To serve, pour 2 tablespoons of the mixture into a Champagne glass. Fill with Prosecco. Place 3 slivers of crystallized ginger in each glass.

Prosecco with Apricot and Cranberry

Stir together 1/2 cup cranberry juice with 1/2 cup apricot nectar in a small pitcher. To serve, pour 2 tablespoons of the mixture into a Champagne glass. Fill with Prosecco. Garnish with a thin slice of red apricot.

Prosecco with Blood Orange

To serve, shake a few drops blood-orange bitters into a Champagne glass. Fill with Prosecco and garnish with a twist of orange.

Since you are feeding people for just a couple of hours, you only need a few hor’dourves.  Choose three or four sure-to-please snacks, and focus on your presentation – play with the colors of the food and your serving pieces to create a modern buffet.  You can never go wrong with an assortment of crudits, and for this particular event I think we need to go with something Springy……how about Goat Cheese Stuffed Tomatoes, and Crispy Spring Rolls?!

Choose some bright color flowers to put around your house, add a few candles and between your decor, food and drinks…..it’s sure to be a fabulous Spring evening!

Images: flowers (lapartieevents.com), bright color floor pillows (instyle.com), midnight bar mixers (crateandbarrel.com), stuffed tomatoes and spring rolls (williams-sonoma.com)

March 19th, 2009 |

Lilac & Green: A Spring Wedding

 

I love those first few days of Spring.  Everything is in bloom and everyone is just so happy to be back outside!  Springtime is the perfect time for a wedding, and today I am going to show you an inspiration for a garden wedding with a sophisticated lilac & green color palette.  (Maybe I still have green on the brain from St. Patrick’s Day!?)

A few things to consider when thinking about the fashion side of your wedding: make sure that your dress equals the level of formality of your wedding.  For a garden wedding, I love this dress – not too formal, but completely unforgettable with the green sash and flower brooch.  Seeing as though a tuxedo may be too formal for your groom and his groomsmen, try a dark suit but add in a pattern tie that pulls all of your colors together.  Mix and match your bridesmaids and flower girls – no one says they need to wear the same color!

There are some wonderful details for a garden wedding below….enjoy!

 

Tables are set up outside, using the natural greenery as a backdrop.  The flowers are done in shades of purple and are a lovely compliment to the natural decor of the garden; the white linens look crisp on a Spring day.  You can use simple details to give the day a modern feeling – such as arranging the place cards through rows of limes, having candles floating in a cylinder vase of black rocks.  These little touches take a traditional setting and bring an updated feel to the event.

You can have a lot of fun with the food you serve at weddings these days – it’s all in the presentation!  For instance, try serving miniature crab cakes on a slice of lime for an hors d’oeuvre.  Set up a candy bar along with your wedding cake – using only green candies.  You could even offer celephane bags for people to fill and bring home as favors.

A Spring wedding promises a beautiful celebration of love and a lovely day in the garden!

 

Fashion Images: purple flower girl dress (marthastewartweddings.com), wedding gown,

green bridesmaid dresses andgroom’s tie (theknot.com)

Detail Images: table setting (projectwedding.com), purple bouquet (instyleweddings.com), programs (theknot.com), estate (brides.com), floral tree and candy favors (marthastewartweddings.com),

lime placecards (theknot.com)

Food Images: mini crabcakes (brides.com), champagne glasses (theknot.com),

green candy buffet (amyatlas.com),wedding cake (theknot.com)

March 18th, 2009 |

The Essentials to Setting a Table

Essentials to Setting a Table (small)

The very talented ladies at Elle Decor have some great tips for setting the perfect table.

Setting a table should be an expression of your personal style. But even the most creative stylists need structure to achieve the best results. After deciding on the time, place and guest list, consider the following steps to setting the perfect table.

1. Set a Theme

It’s important to set the theme for your event, no matter how large or small the gathering. Whether it be a birthday party or a ladies luncheon, setting a theme will captivate your guests. Always make sure to create a consistent look from start to finish.

• Make sure to keep a consistent look among the invitations, decorations and menu.

• Choose a theme that represents your interest.   Garden motif, nautical look, tropical themes are always a hit.   Still need inspiration? Look at the items in your closet; it will help you come up with a table setting that mirrors your style.

2. Select Dinnerware

First off, use what you have—with a bit of digging and creativity, your perfect setting is in there somewhere.

• If none of your patterns seem to fit the bill, select your simplest and build from there. White plates are the perfect staple since you can dress it up or down.

• Or if simple doesn’t seem special enough–mix things up. Combine a variety of complementary—but not matching—dishes, cups and platters with the same motif, such as florals or stripes, for a fun, stylish table.

3. Select Glassware

Experiment with your glassware and don’t let classification limit the use—many glasses have multiple uses. Also, don’t feel you must work with one style or color of glassware.

• Most glassware can do double duty. For example, martini glasses make great serving pieces for small appetizers like shrimp.

4. Select & Polish Silverware

Sometimes it’s easy to overlook flatware. But don’t since it adds another stylish element to your summer table. Think of dressing up your flatware with a variety of adornments or buy some unique or vintage pieces to mix in with your set.

• Add flatware with bold designs or vivid colors to your table for a decorative touch

• Ribbons, twine and metal accents can be used to embellish flatware, creating a charming, summery look.

5. Select Linens

Always have fine linens on hand for sit-down dinners since they add a level of sophistication to even the smallest gathering.

• Pay attention to how they feel; they stay with your guests throughout the entire meal. Avoid stiff fabrics and choose materials with a soft or more luxurious feel to them.

• Choose placemats and napkins that pick up the colors of your glassware and dinnerware.

• Textured elements like embroidery add interest, and you can play with patterns – mix a stripe napkin with a floral placemat for added playfulness.

6. Finishing Touches

Plates, glasses and flatware are a given, but it’s the accents that really make your table setting memorable and express your personal style.

• Floral arrangements in low glass containers, partnered with small fruits like oranges or lemons, add a summery vibe.

• Special items used as favors or place cards (seashells, garden herbs or flowers) will distinguish your table and delight your guests. Herbs like rosemary can be wrapped in twine and arranged at each place setting.

• Add glass votives to illuminate a tabletop—it’s an inexpensive way to create warmth and ambiance.

Images: table setting, dinnerware and placecard pictures (elledecor.com), glassware and linen pictures (crateandbarrel.com), silverware caddy (potterybarn.com)

March 18th, 2009 |

Make a statement with flowers

 

Images: reflection thru mirror (via lastoriafoto.com), purple tulips (brides.com),

white peonies (via zoomphotography.com), yellow flowers (via toddevents.com)

March 17th, 2009 |

Even better the second time around…..

leftoversQuite a party, huh?!?  St. Patrick’s Day always is…..

The only problem?  What to do with all of that leftover corned beef.

Well, Bon Appetit has the perfect solution….

Grilled Corned Beef and Fontina Sandwiches

Ingredients

  • 8 slices Jewish-style rye bread, divided
  • Dijon mustard
  • 1 pound thinly sliced corned beef 
  • 8 oz thinly sliced Fontina cheese
  • 1/2 sweet onion (such as Maui or Vidalia), thinly sliced
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter, divided

Preparation

  • Place 4 bread slices on work surface. Spread mustard on 1 side of each. Divide corned beef among bread slices. Top with cheese and onion. Cover with remaining 4 bread slices, pressing slightly to adhere.
  • Melt 2 tablespoons butter in each of 2 large nonstick skillets over medium heat. Place 2 sandwiches in each skillet and cook until golden brown on bottom, pressing occasionally with spatula, about 3 minutes. Turn sandwiches over and cook until golden on bottom and cheese melts, about 3 minutes. Transfer sandwiches to plates, cut in half, and serve.
March 16th, 2009 |

Flower Cupcakes

The flower cupcakes I posted a few weeks ago inspired me to do some Spring baking of my own.

I made these cupcakes for my friend’s birthday over the weekend and they were a huge hit!

Flower Cupcakes (small)

You too, can create these flower cupcakes…..there is a daisy crown pan currently in Williams Sonoma stores that makes this little baking project oh so easy!  You can make it even easier on yourself by picking up the cupcake mix from the infamous Sprinkles bakery in Beverly Hills there as well.   Mix, bake, add a little frosting….and you have yourself a special Spring treat!

I will definitely make these again – they were great for a birthday party, but would be darling for a shower, classroom treats, or even Easter brunch. Cupcake Equipment (small)

Images: tips (flickr.com), cupcakes & tips (etsy.com), daisy crown pan and sprinkles cupcake mix (williams-sonoma.com)

March 16th, 2009 |

St. Patrick’s Day

The luck of the Irish will bring you good fortune with these recipes!

The Irish celebrate St. Patrick’s Day on March 17th – it is believed that St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, died that day in 461 AD.  Today, it is a worldwide celebration of Irish culture and history.  People celebrate the day with parades, wearing of the green, and of course, drinking beer!  In Ireland, people traditionally wear a small bunch of shamrocks on their jackets or caps.  Children wear orange, white and green badges, and women and young girls wear green ribbons in their hair.

St. Patrick’s Day takes place just a few days before the first day of Spring….one might say it has become the first green of Spring.

St. Patrick's Day (small)

Your table should be easy – pull out anything green!  I love pairing white, green and yellow together – very festive and Spring-like.  Find some shamrock plants at your local nursery and place a sprig on each person’s plate or napkin (a four-leaf clover is meant to bring good luck).

Here are a few Irish recipes sure to make everyone excited for the celebration:

I hope you enjoy St. Patrick’s Day as much as I do!

Make sure to visit us tomorrow for ideas for your leftover corned beef…..

Images: napkin with four-leaf clover (marthastewart.com), short ribs and cabbage (williams-sonoma.com), corned beef and cupcakes (bonappetit.com)

March 15th, 2009 |

Polka Dots & Stripes – A Children’s Birthday Party

Polka dots and stripes and pink all around….

Give your little girl the birthday party of her dreams!

Pink & Black Birthday Party (small)

Images: chevron print dress (neimanmarcus.com), hanging pom poms (swoozies.com), invitation (tinyprints.com), table setting and stripe cake (brides.com), favor box (theknot.com)

March 15th, 2009 |

Party Dresses for the Little Hostess

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Spring fashion is a time for blossoms and brights.

Here are a few of my favorite party dresses for the little hostess.

Little Ones 3 Dresses (small)

Images: pink floral dress (gap.com), blue stripe dress (bestdressedchild.com), yellow floral dress (nordstrom.com), burberry plaid dress (neimanmarcus.com)

March 14th, 2009 |

What do I wear to…..A Spring Gala?!

I recently had a reader e-mail me with a fashion question….

“I have a black tie event to attend this Spring and don’t know what to wear.  It’s a Saturday night and I don’t want to wear the same old black dress!  Can you help me?”

Absolutely!  This Spring, it’s all about color….wear a bright color, such as fuchsia, melon, yellow or turquoise.  Maxi (or floor length) dresses are a huge trend for both daytime and evening…so pump up your glam factor and go for a floor length dress in either a solid or pattern.  Below are a couple favorites of what I found in the market….I hope they work for you!

Spring Gala (small)

Images: floral dress by Marc Bouwer Glamit! (neimanmarcus.com), ombre strapless dress by Nicole Miller (saks.com), gold gladiator sandals by Stuart Weitzman (nordstrom.com) and satin clutches (jcrew.com)

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