Monday, November 23, 2009

Will You Marry Me?

Happy Monday, dear readers! I hope everyone had a blissful weekend full of love, laughter and reflection. As engagement season (typically Thanksigiving thru Valentine's Day) approaches, I came across a very imaginative, quirky proposal on From "I Will" to "I Do". I'm sure hoping Sarah said yes...would you?

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Food For Thought Thursdays: Sweet Potato Souffle

One of my favorite Fall foods is sweet potatoes. I love them baked, mashed, candied and of course in a pie. And let me just tell you that my mother makes the best sweet potato pie in all of the land! I wish I had her recipe to share with you but alas, my mother is strictly old school and cooks by taste and sight. But I've found something which I think will be equally good this Thanksgiving holiday, Sweet Potato Souffle courtesy of Patricia and John. Enjoy!

Sweet Potato Souffles from Sundays at Moosewood Restaurant

2 large sweet potatoes, peeled
1/4 cup brown sugar
3 Tbsp butter, melted
4 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup rum
1/4 tsp cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 350.
Cook the sweet potatoes. You can roast them in the oven, but I prefer boiling them since you’re going to mash them and roasting them could caramelize the outsides a bit too much.
Mash the sweet potatoes using a potato masher or stand mixer.
In the mixer, beat the sweet potatoes with the brown sugar, butter, eggs, rum, and cinnamon.
Transfer the batter in to a buttered 2 quart baking dish or into individual ramekins.
Bake for 45-50 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out cleanly.
Cool slightly and serve warm or cold.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

How to Tie A Tie

I found this great little website, Tie-a-Tie while browsing Stumble Upon and I just had to share. I've always wanted to learn to tie a tie but I always seem to make a mess of it. you'd think with a dad and two older brothers I'd have gotten the hang of it by now. The great thing about the site is the video tutorials which walk you thru each knot step by step. Great for the guy in your life or if you want to brush up on your skills. I'm off to practice my Half Windsor knot.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Studio Wed Fall Table Trends

Today we are featuring the stunning Fall Table Trends created by the incredibly talented vendor team at StudioWed Atlanta.
This table feaures rich fabrics and luxe floral and paper designs.
See more detailed pictures of the Fall Elegance design here. The vendor team: Photography - Liana Photography
Flowers - Shosho Designs (See our interview with the talented Shoshona here.)
Linens - I Do Linens
China - Owen Lawrence
Cake - Sugarplum Visions
Stationery - Luxe Expressions
Rentals - Event Rentals Unlimited
Table Design - Lemiga Events
The Indian Mod tablescape is vibrant and alive with color. My favorite touches are the lanterns and paisley designs on the stationery.

The vendor team:
Photography - Project Duo
Flowers - Chelsea Floral Designs
Linens - I Do Linens
China - Owen Lawrence
Cake - Sweet Sensations
Stationery - Ink & Paint
Rentals - Event Rentals Unlimited
Mini Cake Favors - Sweet Sensations
Table Design - Lemiga Events
The Barn Rustic table is so warm and inviting and really speaks to the season.
Favorite elements are the caramel apples and the patterned icing on the cake.
The vendor team:
Photography - Andrea Taylor Studio
Flowers - Tulip
Linens - I Do Linens
China - Owen Lawrence
Cake - Sugarplum Visions
Stationery - Ink & Paint
Rentals - Event Rentals Unlimited
Apple Favors - Dreamy Gelato & Chocolates
Table Design - Lemiga Events
Table Coordination & Set Up - Peachtree Weddings

Friday, November 6, 2009

Friday's Escape:

Happy Friday, dear readers! I hope you've had a wonderfully productive week and are ready for a little R&R. I was talking with one of my girlfriends last night and she announced we're taking a ski trip this winter. Now, let me explain, neither of us have ever been skiing but I must admit I am looking forward to it. I immediately started looking for fabulous ski resorts and came across Le Chabichou. While we may not make the trek to France this winter, this property has definitely been added to the dream list.

The famed Le Chabichou is a picturesque chalet hotel favored by royalty and the international jet set. Offering 42 blissfully comfy rooms with amazing mountain views. The chalet also boast a two-star Michelin restaurant. Did I mention there's a spa? Imagine unwinding after a day on the slopes, relaxing in the hotel’s sauna or jacuzzi.

Not sure how much skiing I'll be doing this winter but I can imagine lounging by the fireplace, sipping a gourmet hot chocolate and flirting with a cute ski instructor;)

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Food For Thought Thursdays: Moroccan-Style Chickpeas with Preserved Lemons

Now for something a bit more exotic. I bet this is incredible with lamb. Enjoy!


3 tablespoons olive oil
½ medium onion, diced small
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground coriander
½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon ground cayenne
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 14.5-ounce can small-diced tomatoes, with juice
2 15.5-ounce cans chick peas (garbanzo beans), drained and rinsed
1 ½ tablespoons minced preserved lemon peel
¼ cup raisins
¼ cup chopped parsley

Heat olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium high heat.

Add onion and spices and sauté for about five minutes.

Add garlic and sauté for about thirty seconds.

Add tomatoes with their juice, chick peas, preserved lemon peel, raisins, and a half cup of water. Stir. Lower heat until the stew is barely simmering. Cover and simmer for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add more water if it starts to look dry.

When you’re ready to eat, sprinkle with parsley and serve.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Where To Begin - 5 Tips to Jump Start the Planning Process

Congratulations, you’re engaged! So, what happens next? Here are 5 great tips to get you started on the path to planning the wedding of your dreams.

1.) Think about it. If you’re like a lot of newly engaged women, you’ve planned your wedding many times in your head. You’ve dreamed of the gown you’ll wear, the colors of your bridesmaid’s dresses, the flowers in your bouquet, the linens on the table and the song that will play during your first dance. With that vision dancing in your head, consider the basics: Is it formal or informal? A grand production or intimately elegant? Is snow covering the ground or has Spring officially sprung?

2.) Set a budget. This is where your dream meets reality. It’s time to have an honest conversation with those who will assist you in writing the checks. Are your parents generously covering the tab? Are you and your fiancée paying the cost to be the boss? Sit down with the key players and decide upfront exactly what each party is comfortable with contributing to your big day. Once you’ve created the outline, you’ll be able to fill in the blanks.

3.) Hire a wedding planner. I can’t stress this enough. Qualified wedding planners know the ins and outs of coordinating events and will be able to steer you away from any missteps and pitfalls. Whether you decide to bring someone aboard at the beginning of the process or 2 to 3 months to make sure all of the I’s are dotted and T’s are crossed, your planner’s advice will prove invaluable.

4.) Reserve the ceremony and reception sites. Have a 2 to 3 possible dates in mind when visiting sites. Have an idea of how many people you’re potentially inviting and if your preferred sites can accommodate those numbers. Popular venues can book up to a year in advance in most major cities.

5.) Compile guest list and double check addresses. Creating a guest list is probably one of the hardest parts about planning a wedding. My recommendation? Once you’ve assembled all the names and addresses; take your total guest count, equally divide it amongst both sets of parents, the groom-to-be and yourself. You may even find yourself giving a seat or two over to Mom and Dad.

Happy Planning!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Planning Tip - Staying Organized

Happy Monday, everyone! A couple of weeks ago, I received a call from my mother with a fun proposition. My cousin has the most adorable 3-year old identical triplets and understandably she needed a little break. Enter my mom, myself and Disney On Ice. I so have a new respect for MWMs, Moms with Multiples! That Saturday afternoon reinforced my thought that staying organized will save your sanity:)

As a wedding planner, I know one of the key components to a successful event is organization. It is my job to stay on top of EVERYTHING! I create schedules, timelines and contact grids so I know where all the players are at any given moment. With so many details to keep track of and people to account for, I know it can be overwhelming. I promise if you start out organized the road to your "I Do's" will be a less bumpy one.

I have a little assignment for you, go to your nearest Tarjay and pick up a gorgeous and fun 3-ring binder. Pick a design you love, whether it's all-business basic black, preppy polka dots, feminine florals or chic stripes. Be sure it has pockets on both sides so you're able to quickly tuck in paperwork to be hole-punched later. If spiral is more your style, the fabulously stylish Jordi Labanda's are my personal favorites!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Food For Thought Thursdays: Honey & Vanilla Chai Macarons with Chocolate Ganache

I have to thank Richmond's own, Veronica Perez of Petites Bouchees for introducing me to macarons. The chewy texture, the melt in your mouth creamy filling...truly exquisite ingredients make them so special. I came across Ellie's blog, Almost Bourdain and fell in love with her Honey & Vanilla Chai Macarons. While I'm no pastry chef, amateur or not, maybe I can talk Veronica into trying a new flavor. Hmmm....

Honey & Vanilla Chai Macarons with Chocolate Ganache

1 cup confectioners’ sugar
3/4 cup ground almonds
1/4 cup PURE Honey and Vanilla Chai
3 egg whites
Pinch of salt
1/4 cup granulated sugar

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Choosing A Color Palette - Kuler

Do you love color but can't decide which colors to use for your wedding? Choosing the right color palette for your wedding can be a daunting task. There are so many shades and variations from which to choose not to mention finding the perfect complimentary colors. I've found an amazing tool that will allow you to play with all the colors in the rainbow and create your own color story. Kuler by Adobe is a free site (we love that!) where you are able to dabble and let your creative juices flow or browse color themes created by other users. Kuler also allows you to pull colors from a favorite photo to find the perfect match.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Friday's Escape: The Ritz London

Happy Friday, dear readers! I hope you've had a productive week and are ready for a little R&R. This week we're heading to the Ritz London. What I love most about this hotel is it's old-school glamour and luxury. The hotel adheres to a strict formal dress code in all the public areas of the hotel. I can just imagine taking afternoon tea in the Palm Court. Civility at its best.
You can get a feeling for the grandness of the property even from the outside.
This room reminds of something from a 19th century novel.
The suite's sitting room
The restaurant. I wonder if cocktail attire is required here as well. I do so enjoy dressing up!
The hotel's cocktail bar. Do you see those leopard print chairs?
The famous Palm Court where reservations for afternoon tea are made up to 12 weeks in advance.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Food For Thought Thursdays: Challah

When I saw this recipe I immediately thought of my girlfriend, Jill. Now, Jill and I have been friends since 1st grade and she has always been a terrible cook. We wouldn't even let her make rice krispy treats...Kool Aid she could do quite nicely. (I'm gonna pay for that later, I know.) Fast forward 10 years and one husband later and Jill has fully channeled her inner Martha Stewart. I visited her about a month ago and she made the best french toast I'd had in a long time. Her bread of choice? Challah. Enjoy!

courtesy of Smitten Kitchen
1 1/2 packages active dry yeast (1 1/2 tablespoons)
1 tablespoon plus 1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup olive or vegetable oil, plus more for greasing the bowl
5 large eggs
1 tablespoon salt
8 to 8 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup raisins per challah, plumped in hot water and drained (optional)
Poppy or sesame seeds for sprinkling (optional)

In a large bowl, dissolve yeast and 1 tablespoon sugar in 1 3/4 cups lukewarm water.

Whisk oil into yeast, then beat in 4 eggs, one at a time, with remaining sugar and salt. Gradually add flour. When dough holds together, it is ready for kneading. (You can also use a mixer with a dough hook for both mixing and kneading, but be careful if using a standard size KitchenAid–it’s a bit much for it, though it can be done.)

Turn dough onto a floured surface and knead until smooth. Clean out bowl and grease it, then return dough to bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, and let rise in a warm place for 1 hour, until almost doubled in size. Dough may also rise in an oven that has been warmed to 150 degrees then turned off. Punch down dough, cover and let rise again in a warm place for another half-hour.

At this point, you can knead the raisins into the challah, if you’re using them, before forming the loaves. To make a 6-braid challah follow the instructions on this video for the braiding process (I personally did not have success following the written instructions from Smitten Kitchen).

Beat remaining egg and brush it on loaves. Either freeze breads or let rise another hour.

If baking immediately, preheat oven to 375 degrees and brush loaves again. Sprinkle bread with seeds, if using. If freezing, remove from freezer 5 hours before baking.

Bake in middle of oven for 30 to 40 minutes, or until golden. (If you have an instant read thermometer, you can take it out when it hits an internal temperature of 190 degrees.) Cool loaves on a rack.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

New York Bridal Market - The Short of it all

I'm wrapping up this week's coverage of New York's Bridal Market shows with my favorite short dresses. If you've been following up til now, you know my affinity for short wedding dresses. A perfect choice whether you're ceremony is at the beach, your grandmother's carefully tended garden or you want to spice things up at the reception.
I love this dress from Lela Rose. The crystal beadwork is amazing.
This Marina K beaded mini is a perfect dancing dress. If you've got the gams, no need to hide them. Show them off!
This beaded coat by Melissa Sweet reminds me of Audrey Hepburn. Love it!
Swingy and flirty at Priscilla of Boston Platinum. This gown is perfect.
Now I know this last gown is far from a shortie but the train is too incredible to ignore. Romona Keveza's detailing on this gown is nothing short of amazing. It's like an unexpected burst of excitement!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

New York Bridal Market - Part Deux

Continuing with a few of my favorite designs from New York Bridal Market shows, quite a few designers pulled out all the stops. We saw lots of embellished skirts and great detailing, really one of a kind pieces. Enjoy!
What I love most about this gown from Douglas Hannant was the feather appliques. If it's your desire to make a statement with going too far over the edge, this gown is sheer perfection.
Can we talk about this incredible Anne Barge design? There is beading and lots and lots of ruffles without being overpowering. The gown retains its shape and silhouette so the model is wearing it and not the other way around. Exactly what you want for your wedding day.
Refined. Elegant. Sophisticated. This gown by designer Junko Yoshioka is all of that and more. I can just picture the movement of this gown as the model walked. Take notice of how her hair and necklace echo the lines of the dress.
Ladies, I need you to take a deep breath and exhales very, very slowly. Ines Di Santo is known for creating glamorous, sexy gowns for the confident bride. This incredible dress is no exception. Definitely not for the shrinking violet. In this gown, you know your groom will not be looking anywhere else but at you the entire night. LOVE it!

**Images courtesy of Brides and Mark Ingram

Monday, October 19, 2009

New York Bridal Market - Christos

Happy Monday, Everyone! I hope your week is off to an amazing start. This weekend was all about New York's Bridal Market and the fashion shows. Though I did not make it to the shows, I was kept in the loop, quite brilliantly I might add, by the team over at Saturday evening was the live streaming of Priscilla of Boston's stunning show. It was almost as good as being in the front row! This week I'll be posting a few of my favorite designers offerings. First up is Christos.
Lace bodice with tiered tulle ballgown. Can't you just imagine the movement?
I love the button detailing on the back of this dress. Skims your curves perfectly.
Really feeling the understated elegance of this gown. Real flower power in the accent.
The ribboned waist sets the delicate beading off perfectly.
This gown is my favorite. I love the shimmering gold floral pattern. Imagine how divine it would look at a candlelight ceremony. Fabulous!

**Photos courtesy of Brides
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