Friday, March 30, 2012

{friday cocktail: bellini bar}

Last night while prepping for the "breakfast for dinner" party we are hosting this weekend, we tried out a few Bellini recipes to use in a make your own Bellini Bar that we are planning on setting up.   After searching around for some simple recipes that have a little twist on the classic Bellini, we decided to try out a Rosemary Peach Bellini and a Strawberry Balsamic Bellini.  Both cocktails were great- it is hard to go wrong with pureed fruit and Prosecco.  Although, we are still trying to perfect these recipes before the party and add a little bit more flavor to the fruit purees.   I will be back next week with more details on the Bellini Bar set up.  For more info on setting on a Bellini bar- check out this great and simple post.

Cheers & a very HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my dear friend Kay!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

{party inspiration: breakfast for dinner}

This weekend, we are hosting a little birthday party for our good friend Kay.  Since Kay shares my love for crafting and party decor, we couldn't just have a simple little party.  At her request, we are throwing a "breakfast for dinner" themed get together centered around lots of breakfast inspired mini bites and sweets as well as traditional brunch cocktails with a twist.  Here is a little inspiration I put together based on the theme and Kay's desired color scheme:

All images are from the Pinterest board we are collaborating on leading up to this weekend.  I promise to be back with all the details next week!

Friday, March 23, 2012

{friday cocktail: applejack rabbit}

One of the fabulous gifts I received at my bridal shower was the PDT Cocktail book which Chris and I have had on our wish list for sometime.  This book includes over 300 recipes from the famed PDT speakeasy in NYC as well as extensive guides to bar prep, tools and techniques.  While many of the recipes include obscure ingredients or significantly more preparation than your average cocktail the results are well worth it.  For our first cocktail from the book, we choose something with relatively straight forward ingredients, the Applejack Rabbit, and substituted the regular orange juice the recipe calls for with blood orange.  While the previous Applejack cocktail we made was not one of my favorites, this one has just the right amount of sweet and citrus to win me over and perhaps even earn a spot on our regular rotation of cocktail recipes...

{pdt book image via}


Wednesday, March 21, 2012

{diy bridal shower projects + free printables}

Today I have one of the last posts about my bridal shower with a guest post from one of my best friends, Kay Lee, who envisioned the entire event and executed every last detail with perfection.  She's here today to share some great free printable downloads that can translate for any of type of party as well as some insight into a few of the diy projects she created for the shower. Take it away Kay...

Natalie is my personal sounding board for everything related to parties and design, so it was painful not being able to bounce around any of my ideas for the shower with her.  However, knowing how much we both love events and design, it was a thrill to create this feminine little shower with a touches of peach, grey, burlap and lace for one my dearest friends. 

The burlap garland was actually a last minute addition to the bridal shower. I laid out everything the night
before and felt like the mimosa table was missing something, so I whipped up this project just in case. 
I'm so glad I decided to do it because I think it created a cohesive look between the mimosa table and
the nearby burlap table runners. For a six-foot garland (as pictured above), I used one yard of burlap and 
adhered it with hot glue to a piece of ribbon. Click the following to download a template
 for the burlap banner cut-outs:

One of the few requests that we had from Natalie was to include some sort of champagne cocktail 
at the shower, so we set up a "make-your-own" mimosa bar. If you'd like more information for
the set up of a mimosa bar, check out this great post from Camille Styles. Although the mimosa 
bar itself was pretty self-explanatory, I printed up some cute instructions on 100lb kraft paper cardstock. 
Here is a link to download the instructions:

Natalie's mom generously supplied bottles of champagne to give as favors for the guests. I printed "thank you" tags on 100lb kraft paper and then cut out the "tag" shapes. I punched a hole at the top of each one 
and applied reinforcement stickers then looped them around the bottles with bakers' twine. 
Here is a download to make your own:

I knew I wanted the placecards to match the invitations for the shower, so I used the same
 banner design and just printed them on tented cards. Here is a template download for the place cards:

These are the invitations I designed for the bridal shower, which served as a jumping off point 
for the rest of the decor. They are available for purchase here.

You can see additional photos from the shower here & here.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

{peach & strawberry crumble}

I cannot believe I have never blogged about this dessert crumble before!  I think we have made this dessert about 7 or 8 times over the past couple years.  This past weekend we were invited to a St. Patrick's dinner party and I offered to bring dessert.  After spending some time on pinterest looking for something St. Patrick's inspired like this or this, I decided it would be better to just keep it simple and go with something I knew would be a crowd-pleaser, a strawberry & peach crumble.  

This fruit crumble is also a great make ahead dessert which can be fully prepared the night before an event and on top of that, we always use store bought frozen fruit for this dish.  We have made it with both fresh and frozen fruit and the difference is not noticeable at all so why not just go with a frozen option.  You can see the original recipe we follow here- we tend to switch up the fruit to whatever sounds good and have had success with rhubarb, peach, raspberry, strawberry and mixed berry options.  The only fruit I would not recommend for this dish is apple.  Another thing to note for this recipe is if you like a lot of crust you may want to double the "crisp" portion of the recipe.

Monday, March 19, 2012

{bridal shower floral guide}

As promised in the recap from my bridal shower, Heather from Bourbon & Bleu is back today to guest blog with a little bit more information about the beautiful floral arrangements she put together for the event. Take it away Heather.... 

 Making the floral arrangements for Natalie's bridal shower was such a blast!  I met with Kay a few weeks before to discuss the look she was going for - feminine and organic arrangements in pink, white and peach colors.  Based on the table set-up, we decided on 4 main arrangements (1 for each table's centerpiece) and a large floral piece for the mimosa table.  Kay had also been saving up beer bottles and mason jars to add to the centerpieces.  I put single long stems of white and pink ranunculus in the beer bottles and mason jars. I knew that the dessert table would already have a lot going on with Kay's amazing chevron paper background and the various desserts, so I went simple. I purchased two bunches of ivory hydrangea and placed them in white ceramic vases.

For the table arrangements, I headed down to the LA Flower Mart and picked up the following:
  • 2 dozen ivory roses
  • 2 dozen peach roses
  • 3 bunches white stock
  • 2 bunches peach stock
  • 1 bunch wax flowers
  • 1 bunch sweet william
  • 1 bunch flowering spurge
I used green floral foam in the base of the arrangements so that I could more easily structure the arrangements.  I started with the roses - as they were the main focus of the arrangements - and placed about 4 white and 4 peach roses in each arrangements.  Next I added in about 2 white and and 2 peach stems of stock. After this I just added in the remaining wild flowers at different locations and heights to give it an organic look. 

  {image via Sarah Roach Photography}

  {image via Sarah Roach Photography}

Later this week, I'll be back with Kay guest blogging in more detail about some of the DIY projects she created for the bridal shower including some free printable downloads!

Friday, March 16, 2012

{friday cocktail: the blackthorne}

 In honor of St. Patrick's Day tomorrow, I knew we had to try out a cocktail with Irish Whiskey.  Last year we celebrated St Patrick's with a dinner party and a very appropriate cocktail, Irish Coffee.  This year's cocktail is twist on a very classic cocktail out of the The Savoy Cocktail Book from the 1930s, The Blackthorn.  You can see the other variations of the cocktail and some history behind it here


Thursday, March 15, 2012

{my bridal shower}

This past weekend, my bridesmaids and mother-in-law threw me the most amazing bridal shower I could have ever asked for.  The only things I requested up front were that the theme be girly (since we arent going very girly with the wedding decor) and that champagne cocktails be present.  I got exactly what I asked for multiplied by about a million.

I cannot take even one ounce of credit for any of this beautiful event; the overall theme and all of the beautiful DIY decorations including the tablescapes, garlands and dessert table was created by my very talented bridesmaid, Kay Lee.  While the various desserts, florals and mimosa bar was done by Heather of Bourbon & Bleu.  My mother in law, Maria, hosted the shower in their wonderful back yard and provided the delicious brunch spread.

Today, I just have a ton of lovely images from the entire shower and next week I will have Heather and Kay guest blogging in more detail about the diy decorations, paper goods, florals and desserts so be sure to check back!

 {mimosa bar}

 {braided garland}


 {brunch spread, image via Sarah Roach Photography}

 {festive balloon}

 {dessert table, image via Sarah Roach Photography}

 {opening gifts, image via Sarah Roach Photography}

 {my beautiful mother}

 {thank you favors provided by my mother.  Bottles of Rose Sparkling Wine from Kenwood Winery. This is the same sparkling wine we will be toasting with at the wedding next month}

{my bridesmaids that made the whole thing possible}

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

{easter apothecary jars}

Since we are almost halfway through March, it was becoming embarrassing for us to still have our Valentine's themed candy in the apothecary jars on our coffee table.   For most holidays, filling the jars with appropriately themed candy is the extent of the decorating that Chris will allow me to do- you can see some previous variations on our apothecary jars here and here

I absolutely love candy so when I shop for sweets to fill the jars I always look for something that looks pretty, but doesn't actually taste good to me so that the candy actually lasts throughout that holiday.  Luckily for me, Peeps, the holy grail of Easter Candy is pretty much my least favorite sweet ever.  For the other two jars, I picked up some "robin's egg" malt balls and mini pastel plastic Easter eggs- all of which I found at our local Rite Aid.