Archive | May, 2012

Sangria- A Summer Classic

31 May

It’s starting to get hot out there! A tasty way to cool down and feel refreshed is by whipping up some easy sangria recipes. Here are some reasons why I love this beverage so much.

1. It’s so versatile, there are many different recipes you will never get bored with this drink.

2. It’s not too strong which makes it perfect for summer parties since your guest will be drinking more because of the heat.

3. It’s just so colorful and creative you can add really add whatever fruit you want to this drink and it will still taste awesome!!!

SUMMER FRUIT SANGRIA- From Boulder Locavore

·         1 cup pitted mixed cherries
·         1 cup sliced halved red seedless grapes
·         ½ cup black raspberries
·         6 sliced/wedged red plums
·         2 peaches peeled and thinly wedged
·         2-750 ml bottles or 1-150ml bottle of dry red wine (like Rioja)
·         1 cup Citronage
·         2/3 cups brandy
·         Juice of 3 oranges (freshly squeezed)
·         Ginger ale
Combine the wine, Citronage, brandy and orange juice in a large jar or pitcher.  Add all the fruits and allow to chill overnight.  Serve in a glass with ice and a splash of ginger ale for a bit of fizz.  Garnish with an orange slice.
 
Pink Sangria From Full Fork Ahead
 

Slightly adapted from Red and White Sangria by Aaron McCargo Jr. on Food Network

Prep Time: 15 minutes    Chill time: 2 hours    Level: Easy    Serves: 4-6

  • 1 bottle good quality fruity white wine, like pinot grigio or sauvignon blanc
  • 1/4 cup orange liqueur
  • 1 medium peaches, washed, pitted and sliced (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1 cup strawberries, washed, hulled and sliced
  • 1 orange, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup green grapes, halved
  • 1 cup bing cherries, pitted and halved
  • Ice
  • fresh mint sprigs for garnish (optional)
  • simple syrup (see below; you’ll need water and sugar)

In a large pitcher, mix the white wine and orange liqueur. Add the peaches, strawberries, orange slices,  grapes and cherries. Stir all to combine. Refrigerate 2 hours.

To make a simple syrup, boil about one and a half cups water and stir in enough sugar to sweeten to taste. Stir often and reduce down to about half, or until you have  about a cup of syrup, 5-8 minutes. Cool completely.

Stir in the simple syrup prior to serving and sweeten to taste. Serve over ice and garnish with fresh mint if desired.

White Peach Sangria from Celebrations at Home


2 bottles pinot grigio
1 1/2 cups peach schnapps
2 cans peach nectar
1 cup frozen pink lemonade concentrate, thawed
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup frozen sliced peaches
1 cup frozen raspberries
In a large pitcher, combine wine, peach schnapps, peach nectar, lemonade concentrate, and sugar. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Add peaches and raspberries and chill for 2 hours. Serve chilled or over ice.

Pomegranate Sangria from Eat, Live, Run

Ingredients:

1 bottle rosé or dry white wine

1 cup light rum

1 1/2 cups orange juice

1 cup pomegranate juice

2 cans ginger ale

orange slices, kiwi and pomegranate seeds for serving (optional but pretty)

Directions:

Mix together all ingredients and chill in the refrigerator for about four hours so the flavors can settle. Serve over ice with sliced fruit.

Still looking for some more recipes check these out!
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It’s Starting to Get Personal

28 May

A year ago from today was one of the best days of my life, not only did I marry my best friend but I got to throw one ginormous party! I can’t believe a year has gone by already. In this year I have not stopped learning. If marriage has taught me anything it is that we are forever changing, growing and working to become a better person and encouraging my husband to do the same.

A good marriage is one which allows for change and growth in the individuals and the way they express their love. – Pearl S. Buck

Most of you have already seen all my wedding pictures but here are a few of my favorite moments from that night, courtesy of Robert and Kathleen Photographers.

Bigger isn’t always better

24 May

Have a party coming up and stressing about what to make to eat? Don’t feel like you need to feed your guests full courses and large portions. Opt for a mini menu instead!

The pros to having a few smaller appetizers are it will make your party less formal and allows your guests to relax and mingle more freely. Also a lot of apps you can make in advance so you as the hostess can actually enjoy your party. I always feel like I am getting so much more when there is a variety of foods even if the portions are small. Still not sure what to serve, take a look at these mini dishes that serve up a big style.

Mini Veggie crudities 

Mini Cakes! 

Mini Sliders

Meatball Sliders with a basil pesto sauce! These look awesome and are a fancy twist on a regular slider. Click Here for the recipe.

Mini Pizza Puffs

These look a little to easy to keep popping in my mouth! Click Here for the recipe.

Mini Fruit Cups

Mini French Fry Shooters

Um, Yum! Who wouldn’t want these and they are the perfect size to the taste without a ton of calories. Click Here for the recipe.

Mini Milk Shakes

What a perfect way to end a party, with a mini milk shake! Click Here for the recipe.

Mismatching Bridesmaid Dresses

22 May

I knew right from the beginning that I didn’t want my bridesmaids in the same kind of dress. I wanted to let them choose their own dresses to best suit their style. I then started to toss around the idea of having them wear different colors. I didn’t like the idea of a monochromatic color scheme. I felt like they would be in some sort of uniform, my own little bridal army, so to speak, and not in a good way.  I decided they would all wear a shade of the color blue.

There are a few things to keep in mind when considering a multi-shade look.

1. Keep one element consistent.  You don’t want your girls to look too mismatched and miss acquiring the cohesive look you are still aspiring to. Try keeping the length the same, as well as keeping the tops the same or at least the same type of fabric.

2. Don’t trust the colors you see online. Make sure you request color swatches to make sure the shades you want are exactly what you are going to get. It is surprising how different the colors look online compared to what they look like in the light of day.

3. Make sure you have a range of shades, from light to dark and everything in-between!

Here is how my bridesmaids turned out. I made sure they all wore strapless and the same length dress keeping the look cohesive while giving the whole look some depth.

Robert and Kathleen Photographers

Here are a few other wedding parties that I feel also got it right.

Memorial Day BBQ

21 May

Memorial Day is a day for remembering the men and women who we have lost while serving in the armed forces. It also marks the unoffical start to summer, and my favorite season! It’s a day filled with sun, sand and of course the traditional family BBQ. Now more then ever we should be commoradting our soilders, so get your red, white and blue on and enjoy some memorial day BBQ ideas.

Make your own hot dog, what a cute idea!

Patio SOS

19 May

Our patio set is in a sad state of affairs. We have had it for seven years and structurally it’s in good shape but the colors are just so faded, and hence ugly.  There’s also a huge hole in the umbrella compliments of a stow away mouse over the winter. Here is what it looks like now.

You can see my sad attempt to add color with my yellow pillow. You can’t tell in the picture but the color is akin to a green/grey/yuck! Here is an close-up shot.

I need some serious patio inspiration. If you are like me and want to get the patio set ready for Memorial Day weekend, take a look at some colorful patio sets. Not sure which one I will try to emulate. Stay tuned for my patio spruce up!

A Little Bling-Geode Bottle Stoppers

17 May

DIY Geode Bottle Stoppers: this is something I will HAVE to try, but I couldn’t hold out and not share this idea with you right away! Have a cocktail party coming up and want to dress up your liquor bottles. This idea comes from cupcakes and cashmere which the name itself is just fabulous, and so is this great idea!

Here are her photos and the step by step guide.

Pick out your bling- you should be able to get these from a nature store or even some craft stores.

Pick up some corks and craft glue and glue the geodes on the top of the stopper.

And viola an easy way to dress up any bottle!

Cost Cutting Wedding Tips

16 May

My littlest cousin is completely in love and getting married in December. Makes me feel really old that she is getting married already, but I am going to try and not think about that too much! 🙂 She just graduated college and is looking to throw a cost conscious wedding. I thought being in the business I would help her out and gather my top five tips to keep the class high while getting the cost down. Hopefully a few of you other newly engaged brides out there find this useful as well.

No. 1- Off Peak- Consider getting married during non peak dates. Depending on where you live, most peak wedding months are May – October. If you get married between November – April not only will you get a good deal on the venue but your other vendors might be more willing to negotiate their rates. Not loving the idea of a winter wedding, check out some of these gorgeous pics from Green Wedding Shoes, it might make you want a winter wonder land of your own.

No.2 Bigger isn’t always better- Limiting the number of guests at your wedding is by far the greatest way to keep costs down. Small intimate weddings are very personal, and having just your closest friends and family makes that day even more personal. Estimate between 15 – 20% of your guest probably won’t be able to attend.

No. 3- Prioritize – Pick the most important elements for the big day. For me it was photos and for my husband it was the food. So we made sure we didn’t cut corners when it came to those two items.

No. 4 – Location – Host your wedding and ceremony at the same location that way you don’t have to pay for two venues. Usually wedding venues will charge a small ceremony fee less than if you rented another location.

No.5- Borrow- Yes it’s nice to have your own cake topper and veil, but really you are never going to use them again. When close friends and family can lend you personal items from their day to make yours more special, it not only adds a personal touch but saves you money.

A Mothers Day Gift

12 May

I am a meeting planner by day and a ruffle loving, DIYer, party planning blogger by night. I love finding unique ideas that make life’s little moments more special.

 

 

For Mothers Day this year I wanted to do something special for my mother in law. We always get her a hanging plant, for her deck. She has a green thumb, so I knew I wanted the gift to continue to be a plant. I decided to try making these shabby chic terracotta pots with my in laws house number on them. I thought they would look really cute on their front porch. It was defiantly a learning experience for me, there were a few moments where I thought this DIY might end horribly wrong. I will let you know what not to do so if you decide to recreate you won’t make the same mistakes I did. In the end it worked out really well. I planted lavender and an annual flowering plant, here is how they came out.

I started out with just the plain pots and some simple exterior white paint. I used a spray bottle of water and watered down the pots as I applied a thin coat of white paint to make it more of a white wash.

The first coat I felt like was just a little to thin, it was a little too shabby not enough chic.

I like how they turned out after the second coat of white wash. I lightly sanded them after this just to give them a little texture. A word of caution make sure you use the really fine sand paper, I first used thick sand paper and it scratched the pots. Next came the hard part, painting the numbers on. I tried free hand and it turned out horrible!!! I decided to take the easy route and use stencils.

I had a hard time finding the right letters for the No. So I bought wooden ones and traced on the pot and then painted it in. I then used the stencil for the numbers.

I am really happy with how they turned out, I think I might just have to do these for our house as well!

Terracotta Pots- Playful Makeover

10 May

I am loving this new trend of DIY chalkboard paint items for your home. I have a really weird obsession with chalkboards. This is nothing new, however, as when I was in 2nd grade my dad got my sister and I a used classroom size chalkboard and I’d never been more excited! All I wanted after that was perfect long pieces of chalk. I knew I would have to try a chalkboard paint DIY. Spring is here, so what is better than a grade school makeover on Terracotta Pots.

I decided to plant three of my favorite herbs. Below is the final product. I love this idea because I do not have a green thumb and as hard as I try my plants usually die, yet I keep trying. With the chalkboard pots I can just erase the herb and start over!

To recreate these yourself here is what you need to know:

Supplies- Terracotta pots, chalkboard paint, other exterior paint colors, thick cardstock paper, and sponge paint brushes.

1.Gather all your supplies, this is a two day DIY since you want to make sure the paint is really dry. 2. I drew a template that I wanted to use as a stencil for painting on the chalkboard paint. 3. Paint your first coat on the pots. I decided to do two cream and one a solid chalkboard. You will have to do several coats. 4. I decided the pots looked too plain so I painted a bright yellow to peek out from the inside of the pot and a light blue. 5. After the pots are dry, tape on the stencil then paint the chalkboard paint on the stencil. 6. The outcome is colorful pots with cute, little chalkboard signs.

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