Friday, October 31, 2008

Friday's Escape: Beaver Creek

Happy Friday, Everyone! I'm going to do things a bit differently for this edition of Friday's Escape. Usually I highlight a fabulous hotel/resort I've found but this time I wanted to showcase a city. Beaver Creek in Avon, Colorado is known for its breath-taking mountain views and incredible skiing. I'm so ready to go shopping for my snowbunny outfit. Anyone want to join me?

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Food For Thought Thursdays: Tea Time Treat

I don't know about you, but I am a tea kind of girl. I find it comforting, soothing and incredibly heartwarming. It's one of my "Me Time" treats. I'm always on the lookout for a way to turn a favorite thing into something wonderful. Just that little extra touch to take it to the next level. When I found this molded cinnamon and chocolate sugar recipe, I couldn't pass it up. Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Get It Shorty

You know how much I love short dresses. They are perfect for the adventurous bride who doesn't want the drama of a long gown, plus in my opinion, are the only way to go for an out of doors ceremony. Can anyone say grass stains on a $3K+ gown...not a good look.

I was checking out the new designer lines and found this beautiful Amsale offering. I can totally see it accessorized with a gorgeous garden hat and even wrist-length gloves.

When I saw this little mini by Anne Barge, Cindy Crawford's barefoot beach wedding immediately came to mind. So chic, so simple...perfect for your elopement to the Caribbean.

This Amsale dress just screams "Vegas, baby!" to me. It's stylish, edgy yet other words, Sin City at its best.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Food For Thought Thursdays: Smoky-Spicy Sweet Potato Soup

Fall is upon us and it's absolutely my favorite time of the year. The air has crisp bite, the leaves are changing and it's so much fun to snuggle up under the down comforter and cozy t-shirt sheets. I love soup, especially when it's chilly out and found this yummy recipe. Enjoy!
Smoky-Spicy Sweet Potato Soup

4 sweet potatoes (2½ pounds), peeled and sliced 1 inch thick
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)
4 slices smoky bacon, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
1 large carrot, peeled and shredded
1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, chopped, plus 2 teaspoons adobo sauce
5 sprigs thyme
1 bay leaf
One 32-ounce container chicken broth
1 teaspoon grated peel and juice of 1 orange
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Honey or maple syrup, for drizzling
1 cup sour cream, for passing around the table

1. In a large saucepan, add the sweet potatoes and enough water to cover. Bring to a boil, salt the water and cook until tender, 12 to 15 minutes. Drain and return to the pot.
2. While the potatoes are working, in a medium pot, heat the EVOO, 1 turn of the pan. Add the bacon and cook over medium-high heat, stirring often, until crisp, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate. Discard all but 2 tablespoons bacon fat. Add the onion, carrot, chipotle pepper, adobo sauce, thyme sprigs and bay leaf and cook until the onions are softened, 6 to 7 minutes. Stir in the chicken broth, orange peel, orange juice and cinnamon; drizzle with honey and season with salt and pepper. Simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 5 minutes. Discard the thyme sprigs and bay leaf.
3. Add the broth mixture to the sweet potatoes in the pot and puree with an immersion blender (alternatively, puree in batches in a blender or food processor). Serve the soup with the sour cream and bacon on top.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Do Your 'Maids A Favor

Instyle Weddings is currently holding a contest where you can win up to 6 bridesmaid dresses from Thread. All you have to do is send a picture of yourself in one of your most outrageous bridesmaids gowns where you took one for the team. Contest ends November 30th!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Gold List Monday: The Fabulous Elizabeth Messina

Happy Monday, Everyone! As you can imagine, I come into contact with some of the most amazing vendors in the special events industry and from time to time they share their insider tips to make your day extra special. Lucky for us, today is no exception! I had the opportunity to interview the fabulous photographer Elizabeth Messina. Elizabeth has shot everyone from Brooke Shields and Chris Henchy to Tori Spelling and Dean McDermont to Kevin and Brandi Garnett. Her work has been featured in Martha Stewart Weddings, Town & Country and InStyle magazines. Elizabeth is an incredible artist who manages to capture the love and joy of couple on their wedding day. Enjoy!

Please tell our readers a bit of your background and how you started as a photographer.
When I first fell in love with photography, I wanted to be an artist. I got a BFA from the San Francisco Art Institute but it wasn't until several years later that began photographing weddings. A good friend of mine was getting married and asked me to be her wedding photographer. It’s been said that I did her a favor but in truth SHE did me a favor and my life is forever changed because of it. There is something so wondrous and beautiful about weddings…so much and affection. I truly love to photograph weddings!

What should couples look for in a wedding photographer?
There are several important factors to consider when choosing a wedding photographer. First, try to look at as much work as you can. The more you see, the more you'll know if you like the style of a photographer. And trust your instincts. The photographs should move you and elicit an emotion response from you. Second, be aware about how you feel in the presence of the photographer. A wedding photographer in many ways is more closely involved with you on your wedding day than anyone else. It’s important to feel comfortable and at ease. The more natural you feel, the better you images will be. Third, be thoughtful about your photography budget. There are wonderful photographers in every price range. The photographs become part of your family’s story. They are so important, so if you are faced with deciding between a photographer that you love, that's a little out of your price range and a photographer who offers a lot more in their package, go for the one that you love. The images are the most important thing. You can always do a book at a later date. Finally, take a deep breath and relax. Finding the right photographer is a little like finding the love of your only need one...

What is the style difference between traditional photography and photojournalism?
Traditional photography is just as it sounds...traditional, posed family portraits. Photojournalism is more documentary, capturing moments as they unfold. Personally I think of myself as a lifestyle photographer. I think the details are as important as the more traditional images. I want to capture what it felt like, to tell a visual story of a couple's wedding day. Family portraits are very important, but I love to take photos in between the posed shots, when people laugh and interact with each other. I also love to take images of the bride & groom alone together, to capture their joy and intimacy. And then of course, as many people know, I love shoes and flowers. All of the small details together tell the story. Besides, later in life you may want to show your granddaughter what your weddings shoes looked like.

How can couples maximize their outdoor photos?
Natural light is the most beautiful light there is. Trust your photographer to know how to best shoot you in varying lighting situations. There may be a beautiful staircase you want to be photographed on but if the light is not good, the photo won't be either. Allow your photographer to encourage you to move when necessary. Personally I love to back light people, have the sun behind their backs and shoot right towards the sun. It makes beautiful luminous images. Be sure to allow enough time to capture images outside. If you are having an evening ceremony, you may want to do some formal photos before hand.

What are some of your tips to help couples capture the emotion of their wedding day?
This is simple, just be yourself. Enjoy the beauty and the emotion of your wedding day. If you are in the moment your photographer will capture your happiness...

How soon should couples being looking for your services? What questions should they ask?
Some couples book me a year and a half in advance, other couples only a few months before the wedding. Certainly the earlier you start, the more likely you'll get your favorite photographer. I don't think there is any magic list of questions. And no questions are off-limits. Make sure you let the photographer know what's most important to you. Every wedding is different, every couple is different and there are photographers out there to suit every couples needs. Planning a wedding is wonderful adventure. Enjoy every minute and again, be sure you look at as many images as you can. If you love most of what you see, chances are you'll love your own wedding photographs.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Inspirational Heirlooms

Let me just say, I know tomatoes come in colors other than red, but light purple and pink? See how the turquoise containers make the colors of the tomatoes pop? In a word: Wow! First seeing this photo I thought of a color palette for a wedding. I see beautiful paper lanterns hanging amongst the trees, a candy display in tall glass cylinders (again jelly beans, sour balls and jawbreakers), a gorgeous fruit tart, candy-colored cocktails and even a basket of flip flops for guests at a beach wedding. Happy Monday!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Cocktail of the Month: Black Orchid

I finally posted latest COTM, the beautifully delicious Black Orchid. Perfect for a Saturday night. Plus, the lovely purple color goes well with the fall season. Be sure to let me know how it turned out. As always, be responsible. Happy weekend!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Friday's Escape: Hotel Nassauer Hof, Wiesbaden

While brainstorming on this week's getaway, I received an email from a college friend who now lives in Germany. She's a counselor at an American school and comes home most summers but I promised I was making the trek to visit for my grand tour of Germany thru her eyes. So until I can make the trip, I found the uberfabulous Hotel Nassauer Hof in Wiesbaden which is just outside of Frankfurt. It's one of the few grand hotels in Europe and is exquisite.
I can imagine how lovely this little park would look covered in snow.
These pools are used for thermal baths offered in the spa. Did I mention the hotel boasts an Estee Lauder spa?
What I love most about this hotel is the restaurants. They have such differing personalities and decor.
This lounge would be lovely for pre-dinner cocktails.
How gorgeous is this staircase. And let's not leave the ceiling out. Imagine eating dinner in this setting, the city lights shining in thru the windows, glittering candles on the table...

I think Hotel Nassauer Hof would be a beautiful honeymoon option, particularly if the beach/tropical island isn't your thing. Also the hotel hosts various events throughout the year focusing on art, music, etc. Enjoy your weekend!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Food For Thought Thursday: G. Garvin's Surf and Turf

One of my absolutely favorite chefs in the world is G. Garvin. His food is amazing and he always keeps it "super simple". Chef Garvin has a knack for making down home meals, elegant and sophisticated. The recipe I've chosen for this week is his amazing Surf and Turf. The quickest way to your guy's heart. Enjoy!
G. Garvin

G’s Surf and Turf with Potatoes & Haricots Verts

For Steak:
2 pieces of 8 oz skirt steak cut into thirds
Blackening spice to taste
2 tablespoons olive oil

For the crab legs:
1 ½ pounds king crab legs, shortened at the joints
4 cup of water
1 whole lemon, sliced in half
2 tablespoons garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt to taste

For Fingerling Potatoes & Haricots Verts (French-cut green beans):
1 ½ pounds fingerling potatoes, peeled and blanched
Black pepper
1 pound haricots verts (French-cut green beans), blanched
1 tablespoon butter, melted
1 tablespoon garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon shallot, chopped
3 tablespoons of unsalted butter

For Steak:
1. Season the skirt steak and set aside.
2. In a large sauté pan add enough olive oil to coat pan.
3. Add skirt steak to pan and brown on both sides until desired doneness and set aside

For Crab Legs:
1. Cut crab legs at the joint and cut slits into the shell.
2. Add all ingredients to a stock pot and simmer for 12 minutes.
3. Remove and set aside until ready to serve.

For Fingerling Potatoes & Haricots Verts:
1. Bring two pots of water with a pinch of salt to a boil. Add haricots verts and boil for 3 to 5 minutes or until bright green. Remove haricots verts from pot and place in ice water. Drain and pat dry.
2. In another pot add the fingerling potatoes, removing after 5-7 minutes or until tender.
3. Add melted butter to a sauté pan and place over medium heat.
4. Next add garlic and shallots; sauté for 2 minutes. Add haricots verts and then add the blanched fingerling potatoes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
5. Sauté until heated through. Add butter and stir until melted.
6. Arrange on plate and serve next to the blackened steak and crab legs.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

In Search of the Perfect Bag

As you know, I'm a huge fan of The Sartorialist which always seems to provide studies of the most interesting people and their fashion choices. Today's post was not different. What struck me most was this gentleman's bag. I have a cousin in California whose caramel leather backpack we fight over (well actually, I beg for) every time he visits. He's had that bag for years, since I was a teenager and I've lusted for it ever since then. Its well-worn and supple leather has softened even more over the years, the patina is simply gorgeous plus it's roomy enough without being bulky. So, seeing this bag brought back fond memories. I'll be doing a quite a bit of travelling over the next few months and am currently searching for new luggage. Bobby, if you're reading this expect a call very soon! Enjoy the day, everyone...

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