Saturday, December 22, 2007

Cheers To A Wonderful Holiday

Dear Readers, if you are sure of one thing by now, it would be that no cocktail party is complete without the cocktails! Here are two of my favorites, the Kir Royal and Big Spender. Thanks to Cocktail Times for the pictures.

Kir Royal
Top Creme de Cassis with premium champagne. Can it get any more simple or delicious? Didn't think so!

Big Spender, a little more exotic but sooo worth it. Trust me, your guests will love it. I certainly did.

1 oz Gran Centenario Anejo tequila
1 oz Liqueur Creole
1/2 oz Blood orange juice
Cristal Rose champagne

Assemble the first three ingredients in a bar glass with ice and stir to chill. Strain into a chilled champagne flute and garnish with spiral of orange peel and a flamed orange zest.

Have a wonderful holiday filled with family, friends, love and fun! Be sure to let me know all about your fabulous parties!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Small Plates, Small Bites

I know, I know...I left you hanging for a few days with your pad sparkling in the warm glow of candlelight, the cd player all programmed with tunes to keep everyone in the mood and more than a few party frocks to ensure all eyes will be on you and I neglected to tell you what to feed your treasured guests. Well have no fear, I have returned. Where have I been, you ask? You guessed it...what happens at the mall, stays at the mall.

Now my precious party-throwers, let's talk food. When it comes to food for a cocktail party remember this simple phrase: small plates, small bites. Whatever you deem table worthy your guests should be able to eat in two bites, three at the most. Cocktail parties are about socializing, connecting and having an absolute blast. You should have a cocktail in one hand (at all times!) and the other free for...well that's for you to decide. Here are some ideas, remember small plates, small bites, BIG FLAVOR!

1st row: Spiced Party Mix, Crudites with Lemon-Pesto Goat Cheese Dip and Plum-Glazed Stuffed Shiitake Mushrooms
2nd row: Cheese, Herb and Sun-dried Tomato Phyllo Rolls, Potato Latkes with Watercress, Smoked Salmon and Avocado Salad and Curried Scallop Cakes
3rd row: Crispy Shrimp with Citrus Glaze, Skewered Rosemary Shrimp with Mint Pesto and Dukkah-Crusted Lamb Chops with Pomegranate Molasses

For a little something sweet

Toffee Crunch Caramel Cheesecake

Pecan-Fig Pie with Brandied Whipped Cream

Chocolate Panna Cotta Layer Cake

Coconut-Sweet Potato Cheesecake

These last two dessert options can do double duty as favors. Just wrap in colored cellophane and tie with a pretty ribbon!

Bittersweet Chocolate Truffles

Gingerbread and Citrus Sugar Cookies

Friday, December 14, 2007

Strictly Fabulous

I have a secret: I am fascinated by party clothes. I remember being a little girl and watching my mother get ready for the various parties my father would take her to throughout the season. He was always nattily attired in a sharp suit or tuxedo (my very own James Bond), but my mother. Oh my mother had the most beautiful cocktail dresses and evening gowns in all the land. The fabrics, the shoes, the jewelry, the fur...I loved it all. Since we've been discussing the holiday parties, I'd be a bit remiss if I left out a few options that will have you greeting your guests in style.

Without further ado...

This lovely raspberry dream is by ABS and can be found at Saks.

Love, love, love the neckline on this Escada number.

Your curves are going to love this dress by Igigi! Plus the rhinestones on the neckline will light up your face.

I so love this KLS design, talk about fabulosity.

Oh Oscar! Flirty and elegant.

Tadashi does it again, find it at Saks.

Next up: food and cocktails. See you then!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

My Absolute Favorite...

First, I want to thank everyone for their emails letting me know how much you're enjoying my blog so far! I am both thankful and grateful you spend a few minutes with me every day. And most importantly, if something I post helps you celebrate more stylishly, then I've done my job! If there is anything you'd like to see more of, be sure to let me know. I'm just getting started!

Now, if you really know me, you know that peonies are my absolute, hands-down favorite flowers. Quickest way to my heart? A perfect peony does it every time.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Sounds of the Season

Now that we've talked about how to decorate your home for the holiday festivities, it's time to talk sounds. Music is one of my passions and when used properly, it definitely sets the tone for the evening. Texture, substance and most importantly, ambiance are the names of the game, people. So let's focus. Here's my top 25 (in no particular order)and rest assured, there's something for everyone.

1. Old Blue Eyes, himself

2. Perfect Harmonies

3. The Pop Diva

4. The Operatic Greats

5. The R&B Ingenue

6. American Classic

7. A Country Favorite

8. It's Miss Patti, after all

9. For the child in us all

10. The Voice

A rocking good time

12. THE Divo!

Nawlins Christmas

14. One of my favorites!

15. Destiny's Child

16. Celine's Latest

17. Smooth Diana Krall

18. NKC, the Legend

19. Christmas Tunes by Dave

20. Opera's New Generation

21. Incredible Vocals

22. Simply Good Music

23. Michael Buble -Old School Feel

24. The Reason for the Season

25. For My Dad, Lady Lena

Honorable Mentions of Note:
Sarah McLachlan


Mr. Tony Bennett

Monday, December 10, 2007

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year...

The holiday season is in full swing and you know what that means: parties, parties and more parties. It's the time of year to get together with your loved ones and enjoy one another's company. The world's mood is lighter, brighter and full of cheer. The perfect conditions in which to celebrate. Hopefully, you'll open your doors and roll out the welcome mat. Over the next few days I'll talk about how to plan the perfect holiday cocktail party. We'll cover everything from the setting, food, cocktails and even goodie bags for your guests.

First up, decor. Creating the perfect ambience is a sure-fire way to get everyone in the holiday party spirit. With metallics being one of the hottest trends this season, it's very easy to find a way to incorporate these sparkling hues into your color palette. Here is an inspiration board to get you started. Surely you'll find more than a few things to tickle your fancy. My favs: the capiz shell lantern, beaded coasters, fresh leaf wreath and the snake print plates. Oh and remember, everyone looks better in candlelight!

Products courtesy of West Elm, Crate and Barrel, Pier 1, Red Envelope and Illuminations

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

The Top 5 Reasons Why You Need Me

I was talking with a young lady on yesterday, when she did something totally unexpected. In the midst of exchanging the usual pleasantries of our day, she excitedly thrust her left hand right under my nose. Now in my line of work that happens quite a bit, so one would think I’d be prepared. After offering heartfelt congratulations and admiring her intended’s taste in jewelry (he really did an awesome job), I naturally started asking questions about her upcoming nuptials. (I am an event planner, after all, it’s second nature.) You know, the when’s, where’s, and how’s of it all. After obliging my curiosity, she stated rather matter of factly, “And I’m thinking of planning everything myself.”

A hush fell over the room. Think of those Visa commercials where everyone is paying for their goods by swiping their cards and one lone customer decides to pay with cash, thereby throwing everything out of whack. You get the picture. Once the normal flow of the universe resumed, I pressed my card into her newly engaged palm and told her, should she ever have need of me, I’m just a phone call away. This exchange is what sparked the idea for today’s post. Why should I hire a wedding planner? It’s something I’m asked all the time, so I thought I’d extol our virtues, one by one.

1. Skills – Your planner has their pulse on everything that’s new and happening in the events industry. She knows the latest design trends and how to bring your vision to life. Plus she knows the cream of the crop where vendors are concerned. You should see my rolodex (wink)!

2. Coordinate – For the lifetime of your event, she functions as your very own personal assistant in a manner of speaking. She’ll interview vendors such as florists, venues and photographers and schedule all of your appointments. Can you say “cake tasting”?

3. Resolve – One of the most important roles your planner will have is to be your advocate. She will work on your behalf to mediate any issues that arise with your chosen vendors or even your family members. She’ll even delicately explain to your future mother-in-law that while you appreciate her fashion sense, your dress will have neither puffed sleeves nor a large bow above your bum.

4. Assist – Your planner will help you navigate the terrain of contracts, permits and paperwork. It’s her job to know the ins and outs and to make sure you get the best price for your services. If you’re planning to wed in Aruba, do you know the residency requirements? I do:)

5. Lead – When your big day arrives, your planner and team are there to take the reins. She’ll be front and center to make sure every detail is taken care of from the music cues to deliveries to keeping an eye on your precocious little ring bearer. The caterer can’t find the reception site? No worries, I’ve got you covered.
And to quote BFF Bridal, I'll be your new BFF or at least until you say "I do". Now, doesn't that put your mind at ease?

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Make It Your Own

Okay dear readers, now is the time for a design tidbit from yours truly. One question a lot of my clients ask is how to infuse their personality into the celebration, be it a wedding, birthday party or baby shower. I say personalize it! Whether you choose a custom designed logo or your initials and the date, personalization helps the look of an event feel pulled together and cohesive. Think of it as branding for your special day. When you think of Coca Cola, Mercedes Benz or even Starbucks, a certain graphic image comes to mind. That's branding, people. But as with all things, moderation is key. Pick a few key items to emboss such as the ceremony programs, cake topper, menus and favor boxes. Don't bother with napkins, that may be a bit of overkill, plus napkins will certainly end up in the trash. We can find better use of those budget resources.

One of my favorite companies is Event Blossom. They have such a large inventory plus they carry items you won't find at every party which is even better. Here are a few of my favorites:

These diamond paperweights in varying sizes bring a bit of glitz and glamour to your event. Definitely a girl's best friend!

Love is in the air with these satin and rhinestone Love boxes. These are perfect for truffles or cookies beside each place setting. Be sure to line them with wax paper so guests can use them later as gift boxes. Pretty and practical!

What I like most about these cd covers is the little pocket to tuck in a thank you note or poem. Another opportunity to add a personal touch that your guests are sure to remember.

Until next time!
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