Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

As you gather around the table today with your nearest and dearest, be sure to remember all that you have to be thankful for. I have been blessed with so many wonderful things in life; an incredible family, loving friends and a job I love which has allowed me to connect with so many amazing people. It doesn't get any better than that. I thank you for your time spent with me every day and I look forward to the days ahead. May you travel safely, eat until your heart's content and laugh until your stomach aches. Happy Thanksgiving, Everyone!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Food For Thought Thursday (but on Wednesday)

I know I'm a day early but just in case you were scouring your recipe book for a killer cranberry recipe. Andrea's Cranberries with Orange Zest and Port would be incredible spooned over your turkey or alongside your mother's pound cake. Enjoy!

1 cup (240 mil) ruby red port
6 cups fresh cranberries (1-1/2 pounds/680 g), picked over and rinsed
1-1/2 cups (263 g) granulated sugar
2 tablespoons fine orange zest
1/4 teaspoon salt

1. In a large skillet, bring the port to a boil over high heat. Add the cranberries and cook, stirring, until they begin to pop, about 5 minutes.

2. Add the sugar, orange zest and salt and cook, stirring, until the sugar dissolves and the mixture returns to a simmer, 3 to 5 minutes. Let cool before serving. Garnish with strips of orange zest.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Pulling Your Look Together

One of my brides-to-be has stationery on her mind and I don't blame her. Your wedding papers encompass more than just invitations and RSVP cards. One must think of menus, programs, escort cards, place cards, maps, even your napkins and favor boxes/bags. Keep in mind all of these items work as a unit, not only to provide information or some other such utility but to flesh out your wedding day's design as well. Your papery should mirror your decor's colors, style and feeling or mood. One way to do this is with a monogram or logo. One of my tweet friends, Kristy Rice, an incredible custom stationery designer, twittered about Marry Monograms last week. As you may have guessed from the name, the company creates beautiful monograms. Remember ladies, personalization is key, after all, it's your day.

Speaking of personalization, I've been feverishly working on a new logo with my graphic designer (you're the best, Mel!) and after many color scheme and layout changes, it's finally done. I am totally loving it! Now, just have to settle on a web designer to pull it all together. If you know someone great, shoot me an email!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

This Just In!

One of my favorite retailers, Z Gallerie (thanks for putting me on, Franki!) is having an amazing sale with up to 70% off! Do your part and let's stimulate the economy people!
Kosta dinnerware is on sale also...hello, golden holiday party anyone?

Friday, November 21, 2008

Friday's Escape: Gstaad Palace

Winter has definitely set in here in Richmond. Everywhere you look people are bundling up with colorful hats, scarves and gloves. I think it's going to be a very cold winter. With that in mind, began thinking of where can one release her inner snow bunny and enjoy the season. Why Gstaad, of course! For my lovely winter brides, The Gstaad Palace is a beautiful property overlooking the legendary Swiss Alps. We're talking premium skiing and luxurious accommodations. Their spa has been rated one of the world's best. Imagine after spending a day on the slopes, tired muscles soothed under the skillful hands of your masseuse in your private spa suite. Can you say heaven? Enjoy the weekend!
Gstaad Palace in winter
The majestic Swiss Alps
New Year's Eve fireworks display
Classic room
Deluxe Room, loving the tufted leather headboard
Junior suite bathroom

Spa's floating pool, very romantic
Spa's private treatment suite, perfect for his and her double massages

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Food For Thought Thursdays: Southern Comfort

I have a confession to make: my name is Dawn and I have an extreme sweet tooth. I inherited it from both my grandfather and grandmother as well as my dad. His mother was the one who always had a freshly baked cake, pie or even cookies ready whenever we came over. My favorite? Her incredible Pineapple Upside Down Cake. (I still can't find anyone who makes it as well as she did, believe me, I've looked.) My Grandma Maggie was the type of cook who "eyed" everything, meaning there were no such things as measuring cups used in her kitchen. Oh how I envy that. Same goes for Grandma Louise and her rice pudding. I really think it's a generational phenomenon. My mother has definitely picked up that gene, I won't start about her fabulous sweet potato pie! It's about 31 degrees out and I could use a little southern comfort. Enjoy!

3 tablespoons butter
3/4 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
6 slices pineapple or 1 can (20 ounces) can of drained pineapple chunks
maraschino cherries
pecan halves
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk
In a 9-inch square cake pan, melt butter; sprinkle with brown sugar. Arrange pineapple and cherries and nut halves on sugar, making a design.
Make cake batter.
Cream 1/2 cup butter; gradually add 1/2 cup sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Add egg and beat well. Add sifted dry ingredients alternately with the milk; beat until smooth, ending with dry ingredients. Pour over pineapple design. Bake at 375° for about 35 minutes. Let cake cool for about 5 minutes before turning out onto a serving plate. Serve warm with whipped cream, if desired.

1/2 cup plain cooked rice
3 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
1/2 cup raisins
3 1/2 cups milk
ground nutmeg, freshly ground if possible
In a large mixing bowl, mix all ingredients except nutmeg. Pour mixture into a lightly buttered shallow baking dish and sprinkle with nutmeg. Place baking dish in a pan of hot water in oven and bake at 300° for about 1 1/2 hours, or until set. A clean knife inserted into the center should come out with nothing clinging to it. Serve warm or chilled with whipped cream or whipped topping, if desired.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Know Who You Are. Get Noticed.

That's the tag line for one of my favorite leather accessory makers, Lodis. The spanish company makes some of the most stylish (and functional) clutch purses, wallets, passport covers, get the picture. After weeks of lusting, I finally scored a framed wallet with a insanely practical cellphone holder on the side. BIG plus for those of us who live and die by our phones. They make perfect attendant gifts. Oh, did I mention Lodis also carries a men's line? Happy shopping!
perforated leather wallets
so loving the pleating detail of the Sevilla Diva clutch, perfect for evening
Combo wallet/clutch in a striking color
I sooo need a laptop tote!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Friday's Escape: The James Hotel, Chicago

As I was dreaming of where we'd go today, I realized I had never been to Chicago. How did I settle on Chicago, you ask? Why our new President Elect, of course! I was reading a story earlier this week regarding how he and our new First Lady recently celebrated their anniversary at Spiaggia and thought, it's time for a visit to the Windy City. It's heralded as the best Italian restaurant in the country and the couple's favorite.

Now that we've established the perfect place for a romantic dinner for two, where are we going to stay? Why at none other than The James Hotel. The James is a gorgeously sleek property close to the Magnificent Mile, Chicago's prime shopping district.
Loving the modern lobby, take notice of the minimalist arrangements of branches.
The Loft Suite, I want those chairs for my living room asap!
Cocktails in the J Bar are a must. The chocolate banquets are so lush.
Should you decide to marry at the hotel, the Great Room would do nicely.

Also, there is wonderful property currently under construction in the city, The Elysian. It will be a residence hotel, featuring 188 guest suites and 52 private homes. Can't wait to see it upon completion. Happy Weekend!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Food For Thought Thursdays: Mushroom and Spinach Crepes with Goat Cheese

Happy Thursday Everyone! Where has the week gone? I don't know about you but I love cheese, the creamier the better. So when I found this incredible recipe for Mushroom and Spinach Crepes with Goat Cheese and Balsamic Drizzle, it seemed to be calling my name. Did I mention I love spinach also? This recipe would be perfect for Sunday brunch or slightly modified in smaller portions for your next dinner party. Be sure to pair it with a crisp white wine. Enjoy!

1 tablespoon oil
1 onion (sliced)
2 cloves garlic (chopped)
1 tablespoon butter
8 ounces mushrooms (sliced)
1 tablespoon thyme (chopped)
4 ounces spinach
salt and pepper to taste
1 splash dry sherry
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
4 whole wheat crepes (or crepes)
1 handful goat cheese (grumbled)

1. Heat the oil in a pan.
2. Add the onion and saute until just starting to caramelize, about 5-9 minutes.
3. Add the garlic and saute until fragrant, about 1 minute.
4. Add the butter and let it melt.
5. Add the mushrooms and thyme and season with salt and pepper and saute until they start to caramelize.
6. Add the sherry and deglaze the pan.
7. Add the spinach and saute until it wilts.
8. Reduce the balsamic vinegar to a syrup like consistency in a small sauce pan.
9. Place some of the mushroom and spinach mixture into a crepe followed by some goat cheese and balsamic syrup drizzle and fold.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Birds Of A Feather

One of the things I love about fashion is its theatricality. Bridal haute couture has become extremely presentational and I think it's great! While you may not wear Monique Lhuillier's feather gown, it can provide inspiration for your day. Whether the color inspires you to think beyond classic white or ivory, the crystal beaded belt calls upon your inner glamazon or the feathers conjures visions of ultra modern bouquets and centerpieces, this gown is a incredible. And I love how the simplicity of the veil balances the look.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

New Cocktail of the Month: Blushing Geisha

Be sure to check out our new COTM: Blushing Geisha. Designed with the utterly delish Ty Ku liqueur, it's sure to your new fave and a hit with your guests. Very smooth, fruity and unabashedly feminine. Cheers! As always, be sure to enjoy your fab new cocktail responsibly.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Monday, November 3, 2008

Daily Read: Southern Weddings Blog

The fabulous Lara Casey and her team at Southern Weddings Magazine has launched their newly designed blog today. Gorgeous and filled with inspiration, can't beat that! Definitely a daily must-read for brides-to-be.

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