March 23rd, 2009 |

Lunch Date with a Friend

Lunch Date (small)

Everyone is always so cooped up inside during the Winter and early Spring months….invite a friend or two over for an quick lunch to catch up.

I’m looking forward to catching up with one of my good friends tomorrow!

Here is what I’m thinking about for lunch:

Chicken Panini with Fig Jam

Recipe via Cooking Light

Ingredients

  • 1/4  cup  fig jam
  • 1  (8-ounce) ciabatta, cut lengthwise
  • 1/4  cup  crumbled blue cheese
  • 2  tablespoons  butter, softened
  • 8  ounces  sliced cooked chicken breast
  • 1/8  teaspoon  freshly ground black pepper
  • 2  cups  arugula leaves
  • 1  teaspoon  fresh lemon juice

Preparation

Spread jam over cut side of top half of bread. Combine cheese and butter in a bowl, stirring until smooth. Spread cheese mixture over cut side of bottom half of bread. Arrange chicken evenly over cheese mixture; sprinkle with pepper. Place top half of bread, jam side down, over chicken.

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat, and add sandwich to pan. Place a heavy cast-iron skillet on sandwich; cook 5 minutes or until both sides are browned, turning once.

Place arugula in a bowl. Drizzle juice over arugula; toss gently. Remove top bread half from sandwich. Arrange arugula mixture over chicken. Replace top bread half. Cut sandwich into 4 equal portions.

Images: kitchen (williams-sonoma.com), sandwich (cookinglight.com),

kitchen cabinets (via joeschmelzer.com)

March 23rd, 2009 |

Keeping Flowers Fresh

fresh-flowers

1 To keep your flowers looking better and lasting longer, display them in a vase and make sure that none of the leaves are covered with water. Leaves decay in water, and they’ll drastically decrease the vase-life of your cut flowers.

2 First things first: When you bring flowers home, cut the stems at an angle and then place them in fresh water for a nice long drink before removing the wrapping.

3 When the water in a vase starts getting low, don’t dump it and start all over again. Flowers are at their happiest when you just top off the existing water by adding some that is fresh.

4 Decorating a buffet with flowers? Keep the flowers away from fruit – fruit gives off ethylene gas, which accelerates the aging process of flowers.

Tips via Style At Home

March 22nd, 2009 |

Spring Fashion III

Spring J Crew (small)

Images via J Crew

March 22nd, 2009 |

Spring Fashion II

Trina Turk (small)

Images via Trina Turk

March 22nd, 2009 |

Spring Fashions

Spring Kate Spade (small)

Images via Kate Spade

March 20th, 2009 |

Hello, Spring!

Hello, Spring! (small)

Image via Avant Garden

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)

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