Friday, May 29, 2009

Embracing The Garter Tradition

Happy Friday, dear readers! I know we typically have our virtual vacays on Friday's Escape but today I have something even better. On Wednesday, I hit the road (well I-95 actually) to attend the launch party of the oh so fab Julianne Smith's new garter collection. Luxe fabrics, fresh & modern design and personalized, hand-styled details ensure these are not your grandmother's garters. Perfect for the bride who wants to embrace the garter tradition but with her own style. The party was held at Hello Cupcake and when I say we all died and went to cupcake heaven... If you live in DC or just visiting, make sure you stop by. I have 3 words for you: gourmet from scratch...enough said. (try the Triple Coconut)
Perfect little something blue
so loving the polka dots

cupcake heaven
cupcake maven Penny Karas and designer Julianne Smith
Dana Briggs of Elegantly Yours Events, myself and the insanely talented (and funny!) Katie Martin of Elegance & Simplicity (who will be presenting at Maximize Your Brand in July, btw)
hip planner Ivy Robinson and the stylish Robin Fisher of Polished
**images courtesy of Sevan Photography

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Food For Thought Thursdays: Vanilla Bean Shortbread with Berries and Whipped Cream

I found the most amazing strawberries and blueberries at the market this week. I've made the best smoothies but I want to try something a bit different for the weekend. This week's recipe is something light, fruity and absolutely delicious! Enjoy!

Vanilla Bean Shortbread
from Cooking Light May 2009 and online

Makes 32 servings (serving size: 1 piece)


* Cooking spray
* 9 ounces all-purpose flour (about 2 cups)
* 1/4 cup cornstarch
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 1/2 cup butter, softened
* 1/2 cup canola oil
* 1/2 cup sugar
* 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise (or 1 TBL Vanilla Bean Paste)


1. Preheat oven to 350°.

2. Line bottom and sides of a 13 x 9–inch baking pan with foil; coat foil with cooking spray, and set aside.

3. Weigh or lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, cornstarch, and salt in a large bowl; stir with a whisk.

4. Place butter in a medium bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed 2 minutes or until light and fluffy. Add oil; beat with a mixer at medium speed 3 minutes or until well blended. Gradually add sugar, beating well. Scrape seeds from vanilla bean, and add seeds to butter mixture; discard bean. Add flour mixture, beating at low speed just until blended. Spoon dough into prepared pan. Place a sheet of heavy-duty plastic wrap over dough; press to an even thickness. Discard plastic wrap. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Cool in pan 5 minutes on a wire rack; cut into 32 pieces. Carefully lift foil from pan; cool squares completely on a wire rack.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Save The Date: Maximize Your Brand

Happy Tuesday, dear readers. I hope you all had a wonderful time over the holiday weekend, spending time with family and friends. As an event planner and business owner, I know the importance of continuing my education in the special events industry. There are always new things to learn and people to meet. In an effort to stay "in the know" and bring that valuable knowledge to my clients, I along with Dana Briggs of Elegantly Yours Events, am hosting Maximize Your Brand: A Wedding Business Symposium July 22, 2009.

We are very excited to welcome celebrity event planner and featured star of Whose Wedding Is It Anyway, Linnyette Richardson Hall of Premiere Event Management as she discusses the best ways to interview your clients and create winning proposals.

Katie Martin, owner of the world renowned Elegance & Simplicity and founder of the Green Wedding Consortium, will discuss how to “go green” with your business.

Chat with legal eagle and planner Karina Jimenez of Something Blue Legal as she informs you of how to avoid the legal pitfalls prevalent in today’s wedding industry.

Michelle Slaughter, owner of HERPRESIGN public relations firm, will share the secrets of what captures an editor’s attention so your events can get that much coveted media exposure. Learn how to effectively build your brand.

If you are involved in the special events industry, this is an amazing opportunity you do not want to miss! Dana and I look forward to seeing you in July. Be sure to stay in the loop by checking out the Maximize Your Brand blog.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Food For Thought Thursday: Spicy Honey Chicken

Perfect for a summertime BBQ. I can't wait for my brother to fire up the grill! Happy cooking:)
Spicy Honey Chicken

2 t vegetable oil


2 t garlic
2 t chili powder
1/2 t onion powder
1/2 t coriander
1 t kosher salt
1 t cumin
1/2 t chipotle chili powder

for extra heat, increase chipotle or add ground red pepper

8 boneless skinless chicken thighs (Yes, Thighs!!)
everyone is always asking me if they can use breasts for this. Sure you can, but I'm tellin'
ya right now it's better with thighs.

1/2 C Honey
1T Cider Vinegar
**Recipe courtesy of Our Best Bites

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Stay First Kiss Ready

I am attending a launch party of a colleague in a week or so and I needed something to go in the bridal gift bags. I wanted something useful but still fun and feminine. Now you know how I love Etsy (they have the COOLEST things), so I'm looking around for something fabulous when I came across Your Lips But Better. Jenny makes the yummiest (is that a word?) lip balms I've come across in a long time. Amazing flavors/scents like Rose, Ginger Peach, Cucumber Melon, Honeysuckle Nectarine...I could go on and on. With ingredients like jojoba oil, avocado oil, and cocoa butter, you'll be sure to stay ready for your first kiss as the new Mrs. It's a good thing I ordered a few extra for myself;)

Monday, May 18, 2009

Gold List Monday: LEPENN DESIGNS

Happy Monday, dear readers! If you are not on Twitter by now, you should be. I have met some really talented people networking on that site and today's guest, Le'Trice Penn of LEPENN DESIGNS is one such person. I loved Le'Trice's work so much, I had to have her design something fabulous for one of my clients. The end result is gorgeous, better than I ever imagined! It's one of my favorite invitation suites to date. She had recently revamped her website and had an incredible photo shoot to showcase her work and I knew it was time to introduce her to you. Enjoy!
Please tell our readers a bit about you and your business. How did you get your start designing paper?
LEPENN DESIGNS is a custom/handcrafted invitation and stationery design studio owned by the husband and wife team, Le'Trice and Charles Penn. We design all things paper and beyond for all of life's events. We have a true passion for creating beautiful and unique products that will wow your guest and leave behind sentimental thoughts of you. Our business began in 2007 from the basic idea of wanting to start a business. We brainstormed ideas and decided that a custom invitation business would be a perfect fit as I, Le'Trice, have always had a knack for design and I always loved being on the computer creating things for family and friends.

When starting a consultation, what questions should couples ask their stationery designer?
The first thing to do before you even contact the designer would be to visit their website and peruse their design portfolio in order to make sure their style is a good match for you. Then once contact is made you could ask the designer about their production time frame, starting prices & deposits and how the overall design process will work. Stationery companies have different processes so it is very important that you do some research first in order to make sure you are a good fit with them. They are responsible for working closely with you in order to make sure your designs express your true style, so of course you need to be compatible with them!

How far in advance should couples book your services?
In order for the custom design process to go smoothly and non-rushed, couples should book with us at least 4-5 months before their wedding date. We tend to fill our production calendar months in advance so it is very important to hold your initial consultation as soon as possible so that you can be placed on the schedule to allow plenty of time to work on your designs.

What do you see as upcoming trends in paper designs?
Some of the new trends that I'm starting to see more and more is the incorporation of the exact pattern/graphic design of the couple’s wedding attire, venue or table linen into the actual design of the wedding invitation. I have done several designs where the bride has sent me an inspirational photo for me to mimic in her stationery design. It's a really cool way of expressing the couple on paper and tying all of the wedding details together. The best part is when the guests actually notice how EVERYTHING matched!

Another great trend is having custom postage designed to coordinate with your wedding invitations. Let’s face it, the latest stamp designs to come out through the post office have been awful! So the perfect solution is to create a custom stamp through by uploading your monogram design or graphics that were used in the invitation design. I have done this for my clients for no additional uploading fee, all I ask is that they give me a stamp or two for my samples ;-)

From where does your design inspiration come?
My design inspiration comes primarily from the client. I take detailed notes during the consultation so that when it is time to design I am able to create exactly what they have envisioned. I use key signals such as how they react to certain samples, colors, graphics etc. in order to figure out what their "true" style is. I have my clients send me color swatches, floral/decor ideas they're using, dress design and even cake design so that I can build their invitation suite around the exact style and feel of the wedding. Other inspiration comes from the latest stationery trends and reading a ton of event/floral design blogs that truly grab my attention to help get my "Paper Mojo" started in creating a design!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Food For Thought Thursdays: It's Cocktail Time

A close friend invited me to a shindig next month at her amazing new home in Washington, DC and she has yet to settle on the menu. Since the weather has warmed up, we'll be hanging in your backyard. I thought I'd share a few of the recipes I'll be sending her way. So how I think this just volunteered me as the sous chef.
Asian Salmon Cakes
Herbed Goat Cheese Mini Flans
Rosemary & Parmesan Crusted Asparagus
Chicken Pesto Pizza

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Bring More To The Table

Good afternoon, Dear Readers! One of the things I love about designing events is the transformation of the space. Guests typically don't see the before and afters but they absolutely experience the effects. A key element in that transformation is linen as it has the biggest impact. I came across an great article by Youngsong Martin, owner of the uber-fab Wildflower Linens, on GetMarried this morning and thought it perfectly illustrates just how important linens, particularly chair treatments are the overall look of your event. Happy Planning!

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