Life is a special occasion

DIY: Japanese Kusadama Balls

It's all in the details. This is one of the most important, if not the most important, thing to remember when planning any event. It is those same details that can add up, and fast too. Japanese kusadama balls are an affordable way to decorate a wedding ceremony, baby shower, birthday party event a cocktail party without breaking the bank. The Japanese kusudama is a paper ball made out of multiple identical origami shapes glued together. They were traditionally used as a ball for incense or potpourri but now we see them more for decoration or as a gift. There are many different patterns to make a kusudama ball. Folding Trees has a great tutorial kusudama balls. Click here for part one on how to learn to make the traditional Japanese shape and here for part two.

Newport Beachside Hotel & Resort

Attention to all you bride's and groom's looking for a beachside wedding venue, Newport Beachside Hotel & Resort may be the perfect spot for your wedding.  Breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean, personalized service and an award-winning Miami restaurant Kitchen 305 has made Newport Beachside Hotel & Resort the quintessential destination for Miami beachfront weddings and social events. From an intimate gathering to a celebration for 500, a formal affair in a grand ballroom to a casual beachside occasion, Newport Beachside Hotel & Resort offers creative and comprehensive solutions for all budgets and styles.

Vera Wang Fall 2009 Trunk Show

Attention South Florida! Vera Wang Fall 2009 Bridal Couture will be in South Florida this weekend only, February 26-28, 2009 at EVER AFTER. See the fabulous gowns featuring unique colorings and Swarovski embroideries.

Dee Santoli from Vera Wang Corporate will be at the store helping brides select the perfect look for their day. Each bride will work with her own EVER AFTER stylist and enjoy champagne while trying on fabulous gowns.  By appointment only. Please call (305) 444-7300 to reserve your spot today or register online.

SPECIAL OFFER: 10% off! Each bride will receive a 10% discount on her bridal gown, as well as special discounts on accessories and veils! 

Current Music: K'NAAN

Dick Clark said it and I couldn't agree more: music is the soundtrack to our lives. I am always listening for new and interesting music. My music library is literally filled with every single genre of music known to man. It certainly is a crucial element for all special events. Currently, my music radar has zoomed in on K'NANN. Born in Mogadishu, Somalia, critics have said K'naan has "a sound that fuses Bob Marley, conscious American hip hop, and brilliant protest poetry." His voice and style have been compared to Eminem, but his subject matter is very different; according to K'naan, he makes "urgent music with a message", talking about the situation in his homeland of Somalia and calling for an end to violence and bloodshed. Check out Wavin' Flag and If Rap Get Jealous!

Photo Courtesy of Myspace
Article Courtesy of Wikipedia

Real Events: Academy Award Parties

Special Events posted a recap of the Academy Awards parties in Los Angeles, which hit this week. I would love to receive an invite to either of these events. Event pros behind the Oscar bashes are reporting a healthy year. The longtime team of Sequoia Productions and Wolfgang Puck Catering, both based in Los Angeles, treated guests to a Zen mood and a rich array of food at the annual Governors Ball, which followed the Oscar ceremony at the Kodak Theatre. The menu included tray-passed hors d'oeuvre, sushi and seafood stations, and a served dinner of Asian salad with lobster, short ribs and pumpkin coconut soup with shrimp.

Another Oscar stalwart--Sir Elton John's Oscar-viewing party/AIDS fundraiser--held sway at West Hollywood's Pacific Design Center. In a dramatic tented environment developed by New York designer Antony Todd, West Hollywood-based Crumble Catering offered a menu of risotto flavored with Marsala, sauteed beef filet with spinach, pine nuts and potatoes with truffle sauce, pan-roasted sea bass, and warm chocolate tartlets with raspberries, bitter orange and Grand Mariner sauce.

Photos & Article Courtesy of Special Events

Stock-The-Bar Party

Moving into a new home conjures up a whole lot of new expenses, especially if the house is bigger than your last one. Invite guests over for a stock-the-bar party for a quick way to get your home bar up to snuff without breaking your bank. Or, try the same idea with different events like a coed bridal shower; same ideas, works for all types of events!

Things You’ll Need:
Party Favors
Guest List

Step 1
Decide if you want a theme for your party. Stock-the-bar is a theme in itself, but you might want to give your event a twist. Choose something that will be fun for you and your guests.
Step 2
Plan to have the party at a time that shows off your house best. If you have a great backyard, have a daytime stock the bar party. To show off your amazing living room, consider an upscale nighttime party.
Step 3
Create a guest list. Make sure you invite plenty of people so you can get enough gifts to fill your bar.
Step 4
Send invitations that explicitly say that this is a stock-the-bar party. You don't want to be coy or people won't know to bring gifts.
Step 5
Make a list of supplies you need for the party, so you don't forget anything. Include enough wine and liquor for the night, so you don't have to break open any new (or expensive) bottles if you don't want to. Remember to buy mixers for cocktails.

Step 1
Consider having a mixed shower with both men and women. This is becoming more fashionable, plus it allows for a great stock the bar party. Like any cocktail party, the host and hostess should hold the party in their home during the evening.
Step 2
Let guests know where the couple is registered so they can bring bar ware and accessories along with bottles of wine or liquor.
Step 3
Make sure the theme suits the couple. If they are wine lovers, plan a wine oriented stock-the-bar party. Purchase several wines to showcase during the event and provide great cheese and chocolates as accompaniment.
Step 4
Decide if you want to include traditional bridal shower games at the stock-the-=bar party. You may want to forgo these for activities that better suit the theme.
Step 5
Have custom party favors created with the couple's name and wedding date. To save money on screen printing, you can always create labels yourself to add to gifts.

Invitations Courtesy of Party Invitations
Article Courtesy of E How

Phindy Studios

What a gorgeous bridal session taken by Phil & Mindy Thornton of Phindy Studios. How beautiful is the reflection! 

Baby Shower Etiquette: Party Timeline

What timeline does a typical Baby Shower party follow? Below is one possible order of events for a baby shower. Use this as an outline for yours and mix up the order and duration of the events, or add or remove events according to your preferences and needs.

• A baby shower typically lasts about 2 hours.

• Guests arrive.

• Greet them at the door.

• Welcome Everyone there.

• Recognize the guest of honor (the Soon-to-be-Mommy), and let her make any comments that she might like to make (warn her ahead of time).

• Make introductions, or have each guest introduce themselves and how they know the expectant mother, or have the expectant mother introduce each guest, and how she knows each one.

• Serve any snacks or appetizers and beverages you have.

• Play 2-3 baby shower games. This helps the guests get to know each other and gets everyone into a "party" mood.

• Serve any main dishes and/or desserts or baby shower cake.

• Gather everyone around to watch the expectant mother open her gifts.

• Ooh and Aah.

• Chat, have fun, eat more, giggle and laugh as needed. Guests often chat awhile after gifts are opened, and then gradually they will begin to leave.

• As guests begin to leave, pass out your baby shower favors.

Article Courtesy of Plan The Perfect Baby Shower
Photo Courtesy of Kim Vallee

Twitter Finds: i Do Originals

How awesome is Twitter. In just a few days, I have made some terrific new contacts. The first friend I made was i Do Originals, an online wedding boutique specializing in personalized details. Her stuff is fantastic, and there isn't a bride around who would not be able to find something she wants from her site. If you need an inspiration break, take a few minutes and visit her blog which shares all her latest creations. Whether you're a bride, groom, wedding professional, or just a wedding lover you will enjoy this blog. Below are a few pictures of her latest creations that I liked best! They are all examples of how to incorporate your wedding monogram into your wedding day design.
On the cake box

Blinging out the bouquet 

On a bridesmaid parasol

As an ice sculpture

Displayed on the unity candle

Isn't it all great! I'm so happy to be on twitter. There are so many talented people out there and I hope to connect with all of them and find out what they do or what they create and maybe even work with them sometime. And I'm not just writing this to write it. One thing I swore to myself after I left my last job was that I will never - ever again - put myself in the position where I have to be fake in order to keep my job. Not only was it incredibly difficult to do - at least for me it was - but honestly; what is worse than not being able to say what you think and how you feel? What is worse than having to kiss people's butts and be phony work friends with people you don't like just so you can keep your job? For me, that was the most difficult part about my last job. I loved what I did but hated the office politics. So, I am sending love to all of you out there who are doing what you have to do in order to fulfill your dreams! Trust me, it's all worth it in the end!!

Signature Drink Of The Month: Pisco Sour

Distilled from grapes, pisco is produced in Chile and Peru's wine regions. The pisco sour delicately balances a creamy, frothy, limey drink with a grape brandy. Don't be fooled, this cocktail has a bit of bite to it. Perfect for an outdoor reception, the pisco sour will surprise your guest's tastes especially when served up in a martini glass.

1/4 cup (2 oz.) pisco (see notes)
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon pasteurized egg whites

In a blender, whirl 3 ice cubes, pisco, sugar, fresh lime juice, and egg whites. Whirl until smooth (you'll no longer hear the ice cracking against the side of the blender) and serve straight up in a martini glass with a dash of aromatic bitters and a wedge of lime.

Photo Courtesy of Leigh Beisch

Event Planning Tip: Make Your Appetizers Impressive

I am an avid Food Network follower and have been for a very, very long time now. In fact, it has been such a long time, I can remember when the Iron Chef that aired on the FN was in subtitles. Actually, the more I rethink things, I even remember having the pleasure of meeting a FN executive during college. It seems to me he was the VP of programming or something. For whatever reason, he was playing pool at the infamous SoHa, an upscale CU bar mostly for young, artsy graduate type-thinkers and drinkers and I happened to shoot a game of pool against him. FN was so under developed back then that he didn't even believe me when I told him what a huge fan I was. He challenged me and made me list the shows I liked for proof. Had I known then what I know now, I would have asked the man for a business card and tried to get an internship. I probably would be in charge of talent development, or even have my own show by now! I'd probably be able to go to the Barefoot Contessa's house for one of her fantastic get togethers in the Hamptons! Too bad I was not more concerned with a career while I was in college.

IN-ANY-EVENT, Sandra Lee, one of my FN favs, whipped up a yummy appetizer, steamed dumpling spoons in a special sauce. It wasn't the recipe that jumped out at me. Dumplings aren't anything earth shattering - the dumplings did look good. What jumped out at me was were two things that can help to make your appetizers pop during your next event. The first was Sandra's use of gyoza, or pot sticker wrappers. Gyoza, here is a little background for any of you in the dark, is similar to a wonton but thicker. More importantly, they are very handy because you can fill them to make all sorts of delicious and simple, yet chic appetizers. Any sort of dumpling is different than your typical appetizers: shrimp, caprese salad, chicken skewers, etc. And different is good!

The second thing that jumped out at me from an event planners p.o.v were the Chinese soup spoons. Just like the gyozas, these spoons are fabulous for events because they will present most any appetizer in an impressive light. Why? Because we eat with our eyes first! I found melamine Chinese soup spoons here for $0.89 each, 10/$8.50 or 60/$39. You can even pick spoons with a design on them like Sandra Lee! Whether it is a dinner party for ten or corporate event for 500, these are two very simple and affordable ways to punch up your next event. What are your impressive ways to serve up appetizers at your events?

PS: Fine Living is re-airing original episodes of Iron Chef weeknights at 11 PM!!!

Top photo courtesy of Eat Brisbane

L | D Finds: Zen Inspiration Rock Garden Test Tube Vases

Zen Inspiration Rock Garden Test Tube Vases from Wrapables. Create an atmosphere that inspires balance and relaxation with these unique test tube vases, which are nestled in a wooden box filled with rocks. Great idea for a centerpiece.

Valentine's Day Treats: Lip Smackers & Chocolate Covered Marshmallows

Having a Valentine's Day party? Or, want to give your sweetie a lovey-dovey surprise? Try these adorable and very easy to make Lip Smackers, recipe from Parents Magazine, or Chocolate-Dipped Marshmallows, recipie from Real Simple .

3 packages (3 ounces each) red flavored gelatin (or your favorite flavor)
4 envelopes unflavored gelatin
Pink decorating icing

1. Place all the red gelatin in a large bowl.
2. Pour in 3 cups boiling water; stir to dissolve gelatin, about 3 minutes.
3. In another bowl, sprinkle 4 envelopes unflavored gelatin over 3 cups cold water. Let gelatin sit to absorb water and stir to combine.
4. Pour clear gelatin into red gelatin, and stir to combine.
5. Pour mixture into a 9 x 13-inch baking pan, and refrigerate until set, about 2 hours.
6. Dip lip-shaped cookie cutter into hot water, then cut out shapes from set gelatin. NOTE: to make it easier to remove "lips" from pan, place bottom of pan in hot water for 5 to 8 seconds, then remove the cutouts with a thin spatula.
7. Pipe outline of lips using pink decorating icing and enjoy!

Chocolate-Dipped Marshmallows
recipie from Real Simple

12 marshmallows
2 ounces semisweet chocolate, melted
3 tablespoons toppings (such as chopped pistachios, shredded coconut, and crumbled graham crackers)

Dip half of each marshmallow in the melted chocolate, letting the excess drip off, then sprinkle with your desired toppings. Make it creative by using crushed graham crackers, chopped pistacios, shaved white chocolate, toasted coconut...there are lots of possibilities here! Serve immediately or chill until firm, about 20 minutes.

DIY: Photo Frame Card Box

I am always praising The Knot so why would today be any different! The same Knottie that posted on how to create your own monogram aisle runner, also posted on how to create your own photo frame card box. Again, if you've got the extra cash to spend on purchasing one, woo-hoo. But this is such a simple project and would be a lot of fun for the bride and groom to do together. If you are going to use this for a birthday party, it would be a great project for father / daughter or mother / son. For those of you who are not partial to DIY projects, check the wedding boards to pick up a used one. However, if you'd rather spend a fraction of the cost, and think you can handle a little work then read on...

4 Photo Frames
Suggestion: 8"x 10" or 11"x 13", whichever you prefer but keep in mind that the 8x10 is already quite a large box
Screw Driver
16 L Brackets
Suggestion: In terms of width, use the size recommended by the L brackets. Also, be mindful of the length because you don't want them to go through the front of the frames.
Lazy Susan, optional
Suggestion: check out Walmart
Foam Board
Suggestion: check out Michaels
Batting material for the "cushion" on the top of the box
Fabric, one yard will be ample
Suggestion: try Joann Fabrics and select fabric that follows the color theme of your event
Suggestion: one yard is ample
Exacto Knife
Duct Tape

1. Start by putting the frames together. Measure down on the frame where you want to drill the pilot holes for the screws so that the L brackets will be even to connect the frames together. Mark the spot with a pencil.

2. Drill the pilot holes into the frames. Use a drill bit size recommended on the box of screws purchased. Make sure you do not drill straight through the frame by marking the frame and only drilled up to the tape line.

3. Once all of the pilot holes are in place, start screwing the brackets onto the frames. At this point, it should look pretty "complete"--the photos and glass will be in, and your box will be solid.NOTE: Clean the inside of the glass, insert your photos before screwing them together. Do not put the frames together empty because there may not be enough overlapping to squeeze the glass and backing back into the frame. IE, you might have to take the frames apart to actually put the photos in.

4. Next, start on the top. Measure the space in the top of your frames, and measured the foam board to correspond with that. You may have to shave a little extra off of the foam board in order to make a little room for the fabric you will use to upholstered it with later.

5. Remember to cut a hole in the middle of the foam board for the cards. Make it fairly big, but not big enough for hands to fit inside.

6. Place the piece of foam board that was just cut down on the table and lay the batting material over it. Cut around the edges, and give yourself enough extra material all the way around to be able to fold it under the bottom of the box top.

7. Start to fold and staple! Stretch the fabric around the box top and staple it to the back side. You're basically upholstering the box top. You also have to cut a slit in the middle of the material for the slit in the middle of the foam board. Just pull the edges of the fabric through and staple to the inside of the opening.

This is what it looks like when it's done.

8. Repeat steps 6 and 7 with your matching fabric.

9. Cut out a piece of foam board, there is no need to cover it in fabric. This will fit inside the frames for the bottom of the box.

10. Now, attach the top. There are a few different ways. Some people Velcro the top and bottom directly to the top of the frames, or you can attach additional L brackets to the bottom and top sides of the frames to hold the bottom and top in place. See the photos below.

View of the inside of the box from the top. The bottom is already in place, but you can see the additional L brackets put in place to hold the top of the box in place. This way it will not fall down inside of the box.

This is a photo of the box turned upside down. Here you can see the L brackets attached to keep the bottom in place.

11. Secure the foam board for the bottom to the bottom of the box. Use duct tape and taped over the L brackets. It's important not to completely ruin the frames if you want to take the box apart and use the frames after the even so don't tape anything directly to the box.

12. Attach the lazy Susan to the bottom of the box. This is another area where you may need to improvise. There could be a dip in the lazy Susan and the middle of it might not touch the box and will make it difficult to attach. Cut a few square pieces of the foam core and tape them to the lazy Susan to build up the middle. Then roll little pieces of duct tape and stuck them to the foam board and tape it to the bottom of the box. Use a lot of duct tape to ensure its sturdiness. NOTE: if you don't want your box to spin, you don't need a lazy Susan.

This is the taped-up lazy Susan right before it was turned over and attached to the bottom of the box.

13. Turn your box back over, place the top on, and it's finished!

The finished product.

This is a view of the finished top of the box.

Another angle of the finished box.

Thank you Road To the Aisle for such detailed and helpful posts!!! Here is a second posting from another DIY Bride.

L | D Finds: Event Layout Generator

Mosaic is one of the largest and most unique linen inventories and they also offer planners an event layout generator. Whether you are planning a meeting, a wedding, sweet sixteen or picnic your guests will need an area to sit, and this is one detail you'll need to organize in order to host a successful event.  

The program is very simple to use.  Set the dimensions of your room, add tables, chairs, dance floor or other items to the layout and and save. Mosaic even offers you the option to email your event plan to a friend or create a printable sheet.  Very straight forward easy.  Their website is worth browsing, it's also filled with a great photo gallery and event planning tips. 

Crane's Wedding Blue Book

Crane's Wedding Blue Book is one of many helpful resources to help couples plan their special day, except it's available online. From announcing the engagement to writing that final thank-you note, Crane's Wedding Blue Book is right at your fingertips. Below is a excerpt on wedding time lines with regards to the invitation.

An old superstition claims that being married on the half hour brings good fortune since the minute hand is ascending toward heaven, while being married on the hour leads to a bad marriage since, as with the minute hand, it is all downhill from there. Perhaps it is best to be married at noon when both hands are in the praying position. The time of the wedding is presented on one line and all letters are lowercase. If your wedding is being held at six o'clock, the time line simply reads, "at six o'clock." The time line for weddings held at six thirty reads, "at half after six o'clock."

The time line can be used to designate the time of day by using either "in the morning," in the afternoon," or "in the evening." For most times it is not usually necessary, since a wedding held at six o'clock is obviously being held in the evening. Weddings held at eight, nine, or ten o'clock are another matter, since they could be held in either the morning evening. In those cases, a designation denoting the time of day is helpful. In any event, you may always include the time of day if you find it aesthetically pleasing, and most older traditional invitations do include it.

If your wedding is being held at noon, should the invitations read "at twelve o'clock noon"?

Your invitations should simply read, "at twelve o'clock." Unless otherwise noted, "twelve o'clock" means "noon."

If you feel strongly about indicating the time of day, you may use, "at twelve o'clock in the afternoon."

If you are to be married at 6:45, how should this be read?

The correct wording for 6:45 is "at three quarters after six o'clock." Although correct, the wording may appear awkward to many people, so it might be a good idea to change the time of your wedding to six-thirty or seven o'clock.

Visit Crane for a lot more information and to browse their stationary!!

L | D Finds: Damn I Like That

When it rains, it pours! So, I've been researching bridesmaid dresses for Bride N & Groom C when I came across Damn I Like That. Now, it is my new obsession! What a find; it's filled with men’s and women’s fashion, accessories, home d├ęcor, health & beauty. Seriously, all the latest products and trends. The product I love the most, is the bubble calendar. That's right, a BUBBLE CALENDAR!

For $30, you can go through 2009 popping bubbles with your very own Bubble Calendar. A poster-size calendar that has a bubble over every day of the year so you can keep track of the date by popping. Why is it so entertaining to pop bubbles? Do you think you would be able to make it through the entire year without popping them all?

Beautiful Things

The world is filled with pretty little things; it's actually overflowing with them. Since Valentine's Day is right around the corner, I'm posting some of the P.L.T. I've seen lately. Such as, this red rose ring by designer Daniela Swaebe. What fun!
Maybe you yearn for something a little less flashy. Okay, check out Ippolita's 18K gold Art Link Necklace. Perfect for both thee office or a night out.
Something for the ears? Bridget Lynne's Double Aspen Leaf earrings are two real aspen leaves dipped in 24K gold, with a 14K gold filled chain dangling beside. This is four inches of fabulous! The Lemon Quartz Briolettes would be a nice selection as a bridesmaid gift!

Fashion and special events go hand in hand. Honestly, when is there a better time to bust out all your gorgeous jewelry, slamming shoes and couture clothing than for a special event? It absolutely goes without saying that any of the items spotlighted in this post would make a statement at your event. A few of the pieces on this page are on the extravagant side. At least for me they would be extravagant purchases. Hey, if you can afford 'em, go for it. After you buy them, just call me to help plan your next soiree! But great deals do exist for great jewelry!!!! I happened to find all the items listed above just by surfing the web. So take ten minutes and search the Internet. It's worth it! You'll be able to find beautiful, affordable and unique jewelry to wear to your next event or to your own wedding. Happy hunting!