Tuesday, February 26, 2013

{oscar viewing party snapshots}

{simple serve yourself bar set up}

This past Sunday we hosted our first ever Oscar Viewing party and it was a blast (see the inspiration board here). We did a little re-arranging of our living room furniture to make for optimal viewing for our 12 guests, set-up a simple serve yourself bar and served a trio of fancy tacos for dinner.  Some parties that we host allow me the time to really take a lot of great photos for the blog, but other times I get too caught up spending time with our guests that I forget to take photos so I just have these few snapshots from the evening:

 {we made two batches of make ahead cocktails using these guidelines and I placed out a few 
bottles of champagne along with a selection of liqueurs and bitters for people to play with}

 {oscar ballots I made myself and oscar bingo printed from here}

 {a selection of popcorn: one is the classic Garrett's popcorn Chicago mix, the other 
was brought by Heather and it is a chocolate, sea salt and chile flake mix}

   {I wanted to make some extra special and since it was the Oscars, 
caviar seemed like the best way to go!}

Friday, February 22, 2013

{friday cocktail: a smoke & a beer}

For the most part, the friday cocktail recipes on this blog are pretty girly- they tend to include champagne, be pink or red in color and are garnished with cute stir sticks or festive straws, but every now and then, it's fun to try something different.  The other night while searching through one of our favorite cocktail books trying to find a recipe to make for Chris, I came across one for "a smoke & a beer" which we just so happened to have all the ingredients for.  This is definitely one of those recipes where you read the ingredient line up and question how this combination could ever be enjoyable.  The resulting cocktail is much like a manly-er version of a bloody mary, but with a little bit of fizz from the beer and distinct smokey flavor from the mezcal.


Wednesday, February 20, 2013

{oscars viewing party ballots}

For the past couple years, we have been printing ballots and corresponding bingo games for almost every award show.  Before I discovered free printable ballots, I would only really watch the Oscars award ceremony, but filling out your picks for the winners makes watching every award show fun and enjoyable.  This year we are hosting a little get together to watch the Oscars (see the inspiration board here) and I decided that since I didn't have a chance to send out real invites that taking it up a notch with the ballots would be substitute for some snail mail.  Inspired by this image on Pinterest, I created some fun booklet style ballots for each of our guests.  I dropped them in the mail earlier this week so that everyone could get a head start with their picks since we are planning on making the competition interesting!

If anyone is interested in printing ballots like my own, feel free to email me and I will send you the files.  Otherwise, I highly recommend this ballot and bingo from How About Orange.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

{mint love social club turns 2}

I absolutely cannot believe I am sitting here writing a post for this blog's two year anniversary!  Something that started as a simple creative outlet only a few of my friends would read has turned into something so much bigger in just two short years.  

Thank you to everyone who visits for coming back day after day filled with support and encouragement.  I hope that this blog inspires you and that you enjoy reading it every bit as much as I enjoy writing and sharing  it with you. 

And just for fun (in no particular order) here are the top five most visited posts of the past two years:

Thursday, February 14, 2013

{DIY round menu cards}

Ever since Chris and I moved in together, our tradition for Valentine's day has always been that Chris cooks an amazing meal for us at home and I make the table look cute.   Lately I have been really obsessing over the round menu cards I have seen popping up all over pinterest like this one or this one.  I can design and print a menu card in a matter of minutes usually, but I knew these round cards would take a little bit extra effort so I figured they would be perfect for our Valentine's dinner.  

I absolutely love how these turned out! At first I was only planning on printing the one side with the menu and circular border, but then I thought I would present you guys an option for a double sided menu.  I especially love the double sided version for weddings or bridal showers so that the menu is immediately given away when people sit down.  While printing on both sides of the paper is do-able, it is also something that would drive me crazy so instead I have printed one side and used an embossed stamp on the other side.  Scroll to the bottom of the post for instructions and free downloadable template!

 {I also mocked up a pink version to see what I preferred.  I like the clean look of the white, but the pink would be adorable for a bridal shower!}

what you need:
1. download the circle template right here and type in your menu selections. 
2. print using the rear tray of your printer if possible
3. using the circle cutter, cut out your menu
4. stamp back side of menu with desired stamp, immediately cover in embossing powder.  Tap off excess powder and then seal with embossing heat gun. 
5. enjoy your dinner!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

{brunch for ten}

I love posting about the different parties we host on this blog, but I don't always get to go in depth about what it really takes to host each one. This past weekend we hosted a little brunch for 10 people at our place and I thought it would be fun to give a little insight into everything you need to host your own brunch for 10 people.  A lot of the difficulty in entertaining is the guesswork involved in how much of each dish you should make or how many bottles of what you need.  We have hosted brunch at our place quite a few times over the years and I think we have finally nailed a good menu that tastes great, but also allows us time to enjoy ourselves with our guests. So here it is!

The key to a successful brunch menu is choosing dishes that won't take over your entire Saturday prepping food and losing out on a fun weekend.  I would estimate that we spent about an hour and half prepping all the food together.

For the french toast- we followed this recipe which we made one and half times the recipe.  This was way more than we needed for 10 people so I would say you are actually safe to follow the recipe as is without doubling it unless you think you will have some particularly hungry eaters!  (Also let me just warn you that this french toast is like crack and it tastes so good it almost feels wrong, but definitely not wrong enough to not finish your entire plate and maybe seconds.)

For the potatoes we purchased 4 pounds of red potatoes for 10 people.  The potatoes were cut into bite size pieces, boiled until tender and then stored them in the fridge overnight the night before our brunch.  The morning before guests arrived we tossed the potatoes in some oil, salt and pepper then roasted them at 450 degrees for about 45 minutes. Bonus points if you wanna add some truffle oil to them!

The strawberries were simply a pound and half of strawberries which I sliced the night before and stored in their serving bowl til the next morning.

The biggest part of the meal was the baked eggs which required our guest's involvement in creating their own dish.  This is a great brunch addition because it takes a lot of work off the hosts and your guests can prepare their eggs exactly to their liking. Here's what you will need to set that up:

  • 2 to 3 eggs per person
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded cheese
  • 1 cup chopped onions
  • 1 bunch chopped green onions
  • 12 slices of bacon, cooked & chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 cup chopped cilantro
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 cup mushrooms, chopped & sauteed  
  • sriracha
optional toppings if you wanna get real fancy:
  • truffle oil
  • avocado
  • arugula
  • soyrizo
  • ham
  • pancetta

Each of the above items should be portioned, cooked and placed into serving bowls the night before then stored in the fridge. Before guests arrive, lightly spray each ramekin with cooking spray and place all the toppings selections out  (extra points if you make cute labels for each of them!).  Each guest will fill their ramekin with their desired toppings then crack 2 to 3 eggs on top.  To discern which ramekin belongs to who, have guests write their name using a sharpie directly onto aluminum foil and cover their prepared ramekin.  Bake ramekins for 25 minutes or until the eggs are set at 375 degrees.  See more information about baked eggs in this previous post. 

Once the eggs are about 10 minutes from being done, pop the french toast and potatoes back into the oven to warm them up.  With this many guests, we usually set all the dishes out and allow people to serve themselves with the exception of their individual ramekins.  

{a little snapshot from last weekend's brunch}

 {1.carafes for orange juice & water, 2. simple champagne flutes, 3. highball glasses- to serve bloody marys in 4. metal straws for the bloody marys, 5. ten individual baking ramekins, 6. pyrex dish}

Obviously to pull this meal off you will need plates, forks, knives, water glasses, pots, pans and etc. for 10 people, but you will also need some more specialized items that you might not already have available.  These are all items that will prove useful for many menus and occasions to come besides just this simple brunch.

Entertaining guests in our house wouldn't be complete with a few cocktails!  While I love mixing it up and trying interesting cocktail combinations, when it comes to brunch I like to keep to the classics.  A simple mimosa which I like to use Korbel's Brut for and a DIY bloody mary bar using our "doctored up" bloody mary mix are the only two drink options you need!  For 10 people, you will need 2 bottles of champagne and one carafe of fresh orange juice for the mimosas.

For the bloody mary bar you will need:

  • one fifth of vodka 
  • two bottles of bloody mary mix- preferably Trader Joe's version
  • 10 celery stalks
  • a bucket of ice
  • 6 limes, cut in half and then quartered
  • bottle of sriracha
  • bottle of tabasco
  • container of horseradish
  • bottle of worchestershire sauce
  • kosher salt
  • fresh ground pepper
  • small bowl of olives
As for coffee, we simply used our Kuerig machine for guests to use as they pleased, but one pot of coffee should get you through the event. 

{1. gold flatware makes everything better, 2. paper straws would make a festive alternative to the metal ones, 3. a vintage trophy champagne bucket to keep the bubbly cold, 4. crystal decanter for the vodka,  5. labels from Sugar Paper LA for the baked eggs toppings & bloody mary bar, 6. colorful cocktail napkins from Crate & Barrel}

These are just some fun items that will punch up the decor of your get together- you certainly don't need any them to host a great brunch, but they do make everything look a bit more fancy!

{our set of gold flatware from our wedding registry that I try to use as much as possible}

I hope you have enjoyed hearing a little bit more about the process behind entertaining for a large group in way that the hosts can still enjoy themselves as well.  Brunch is one of my favorite meals and I look forward to the next time we get to cook host this meal for our friends!

Friday, February 8, 2013

{friday cocktail: the ginger}

I named this Friday's cocktail "the ginger" partly because it has Domaine de Canton's ginger liqueur in it, but also because of its red hue (see what I did there? its funny right? no? ok.)   Because of farming worldwide you can pretty much get any fruit or vegetable you need at any time of the year regardless of season, but blood oranges are one of those things that seems to only be available for a short amount of time during the winter months.  Blood oranges have been one of my favorite citruses to use in cocktails ever since my dad made me this cocktail; they have a light citrus flavor and lend a beautiful red/pink hue to a drink.  Go grab some blood oranges before they are gone til next year and make yourself a pretty drink like this one this weekend:


Thursday, February 7, 2013

{gold confetti invitations}

One of the most visited posts on this blog is the DIY gold confetti artwork that I posted over a year & half ago! Inspired by that popular post, I have added these new gold foil confetti invitations to my Etsy shop.  I'm pretty much in love with everything these invitations have going on.  With a little bit of sparkle, some confetti and a pretty script font what's not to like?!  The photos show them used as a wedding save the date, but the design really works well for almost any event like a birthday or bridal shower! 

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

{valentines gift guide}

Valentine's day is basically the girliest holiday there is.  Everything around you is pink or red and covered in hearts which easily makes it one of my favorite days.  Regardless of many people saying it's just a made up holiday, it is still a great excuse to celebrate the love in your life. Here is a little gift guide of my favorite Valentine's gift for her (check out last year's guide here):

6. Custom Neon Sign

Monday, February 4, 2013

{january recap}

Getting back into the swing of things after travelling for the holidays made this month feel particularly short, but it was still packed with a lot of fun! Here is a little recap from January:

I would like to specifically highlight a link to the charity that Bliss helped with a silent auction event a few weeks ago, the Jane B Wellstein Memorial Foundation.  This foundation's story will break your heart, but the couple behind its cause are truly two of the most generous and happy people I have ever met.  Click here to learn more about their message and to donate to the foundation.

Friday, February 1, 2013

{friday cocktail: the 49er}

This Friday's cocktail is named in honor of Sunday's Super Bowl winners (see what I did there?).  I will admit that I am definitely not a big sports person let alone a avid football follower/fan.  Plus my time living in Los Angeles didnt even give me a default team to root for, but I did live in San Francisco for 3 and half years so the 49ers are basically my football team if there ever was one.  This cocktail is inspired by one of my top five favorite cocktails, Blood Sugar Sex Magic, except this one substitutes Domaine de Canton's ginger liqueur in place of basil and swaps out the whiskey for a dark rum.  It packs a little heat and a lot of flavor just like the original recipe, but with some added sweetness from the liqueur.  I'll definitely be enjoying one of these on game day while sporting my favorite football sweater (yes I do have the Bears version as well- I never said I was loyal I simply said that the 49ers were my chosen team).

{let's talk about those little gold stars real quick...aren't they cute? clearly very pinterest worthy as evidenced here, but just be warned they taste absolutely horrible and they melt into little yellow blobs after about 3 minutes in liquid.  I learned this the hard way back on this drink and I'm just trying to save you the disappointment.  The good news is- they work wonderfully on the icing on cupcakes so don't completely write them off!}