Sunday, February 28, 2010

A little white lie....

Hi everyone!

I am back from my "crazy week." I hope you will forgive me, but I kind of lied. See, I didn't really have a crazy week. In fact, this was me for 7 days:

I was in the Bahamas for a week long vacation with Mr. Fo, capped off by an awesome destination wedding where I saw a lot of family and friends.

Here's the thing. Mr. Fo is a tad paranoid. He was concerned that my blog has reached such a paramount height of fame that I should not post that we would be "out of town" for a week. I will admit that this is pretty smart, although I had bragged about our trip to everyone I knew, so it's not like I was being all stealth about it. In all honesty, if we had been robbed by a crazed Jackie Fo fan, I would probably feel as though I have really hit the big time in blog land.

So... I made up this story about being busy and flitted off to the Bahamas; feeling a little bit guilty all the way. Hope you're not mad :)

I will do a long post on my fabulous vacay tomorrow. I am off to peruse all the blogs I have missed. Happy to be home!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Radio Silence

I've got a crazy week coming up. This will be me:

Due to said craziness, I won't have much time for playing in blog land.

But don't worry, I will see you peeps back here on the flip side.

Have a fantastic week everyone!!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Bye Bye Wedding Dress

NOTE: This is a very wordy post at first... but keep reading, the pictures at the bottom are worth it!

Nothing says perfect wedding like having your wedding dress stolen. Don't you agree? Because I mentioned this "incident" in my last post, I will share what happened. It was not fun. But don't worry. I ended up having an AMAZING wedding which I will tell you about.

So... I am sitting at work one day, about 5 months before my wedding. I had picked out my dream wedding dress about 2 months earlier. It's all good, if you will. Except it wasn't. I received a random phone call from the bridal shop saying "I am sorry, but we have gone bankrupt and we do not have your dress and cannot refund your money."

There was silence. Pure shock followed by Italian rage. Okay, okay, I didn't exhibit my Italian rage until later when I had to be escorted out of said store by a police officer (more on that later), but I wasn't happy. And neither was Big Joe (my dad). See Big Joe here.

So here's the actual story written by a few professionals:

Can you believe this?? I couldn't either. Their solution for stealing all of our money was to let the dress-less brides go to what was left of the shop and have a "free for all" with the leftover dresses. Um, no thank you. My FABULOUS friend Michael and I went to check out this situation ... just for curiosity's sake. (There was, in fact, as the story reported, a cop standing guard. You know, to deal with all the "crazy brides." I think he had to have been the worst cop on the force... can you imagine that morning at the police department? "You, new guy... go keep an eye on those brides at the bridal shop... tomorrow you can hunt real criminals." ) Anyways, my fab friend Michael was a witness to this situation. I apparently got an "attitude" with the lady in charge of this asinine non-solution solution. So, she kicked me and my friend out but we didn't want to go. We were MAD! In hindsight, it was a tad dramatic of me to "resist" leaving the store, but I was a bride with no dress. There was a clear lack of rational thought at this moment. Due to all of my 5 foot 3 scariness, they had the worst cop in the force escort us out of the store. Seriously, the guy probably had a water gun instead of a regular gun. (But I might have still been a little scared. Even if he didn't have a gun, he probably knew a lot of people with guns.)

Anywho. The bottom line is that those ass faces at the evil bridal shop never intended to give me my dress or my 9 bridesmaids their dresses. They just stole the money and used it to try and keep their shady store afloat. They are the true Bernie Madoffs of the world. La Bella Sposa is probably where he picked up all his tricks.

This story has a good ending. I was able to get my dress (again) from the fabulous J. Majors, which I mentioned in my last post. Most of my bridesmaids got their money back and only had to pay for their dress once. My wedding was, and I may be a little biased, but INCREDIBLE. So it all worked out. Moral of the story: Never pay all of the cost upfront. I really shouldn't be giving financial advice of any sort, but listen to me here ... I speak the truth. Here are some pictures from our happy day. And please note, I am aware that our wedding was 1.5 years ago so this post might be a little delayed. But this blog is about food and party planning, and I don't know of any bigger party that had more food than my wedding... :)

(All photos taken by the amazing Christopher Record - check him out here)

The dress that I bought twice - totally worth it! by Lazaro :)

Me with my grandpa - It's not sauce, It's GRAVY... please go to my first post to understand what i am talking about.

Our large and incredibly fun wedding party doing a Saved by the Bell group high five - Go Bayside! (for those of you that get that reference)
The bridesmaid dresses were chocolate brown and also by Lazaro.

We walked into our reception like we owned the place. Note that I changed my sash for the reception to match my bridesmaids' dresses... the chocolate brown was perfect for the fall.

This was what we walked into, so of course we were happy! It looked amazing! Our wedding was held at the beautiful Ballantyne Hotel in Charlotte. We had a lot of help planning. I had a huge wedding (Italian, remember?) and there is no way I could have handled being a bridezilla (joking... or am I?) and planning a wedding at the same time. We used Jen at Soiree Charlotte - she rocked, book her now if you are in the Charlotte area! The awesome flowers were created by Crawford & Company. The ceilings were draped in a sheer white material and the walls were draped in brown velvet. The ballroom was transformed and it looked like a fairyland. That is the cheesiest thing I have ever written, but it's TRUE.

Our appetizers were shrimp cocktail with lit ice cubes - it looked SO cool!

Our cake was by Cake Lady Jill. All of the layers were a different flavor, but our favorite was the carrot cake. Jill even made us a tiny replica for our anniversary this year. Here's a picture of our cute anniversary cake because I can't resist:

HOW CUTE IS THAT?! I think we are going to have to have this every year, even when we are old and gray and the sugar will send us into a diabetic coma.

Don't worry though... it wasn't just pretty cakes and lit up shrimp cocktail... it was ridiculously FUN too.

We had an 80's band! (This was a compromise with Big Joe. During cocktail hour and dinner we had a Frank Sinatra impersonator. Not joking. Only after "Sinatra" were we were allowed to rock out to the 80's courtesy of The Breakfast Club.)

A signature cocktail was served.

With our favorites... Drew and Michael, the new mom and dad :) Black and white "Wayfarers" were passed out when the band played "Sunglasses at Night."

Our favors were mini cocktail shakers from Beau Coup... we attached the recipe for our signature cocktail.

And my absolute favorite part:

A photo booth. This. Was. So. Fun. 'Nuff said.

I will leave you with two of my favorite photos from the day:

We rode off happily ever after in a golf cart. This was appropriate since Mr. Fo and I met working at a golf course 8 years ago!
I crashed my golf cart into him (true story) and the rest was history.
(NOTE: I still can't drive, but he loves me anyways.)

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Ladybug Dinner - not just for kiddos

Before I get into all the glorious ladybug detail, I just want to get a little mushy here. How great is it to have friends you have known forever? Friends who you can talk about high school memories with... Friends who have seen you at your best and your absolute worst... Friends who know almost everything about you (good and bad). Now that we are getting older and are "adults" (I use this term loosely!), it's so great to share all of our milestones together. For example, when one of these friends gets engaged to a GREAT GUY we can all go wedding dress shopping and then throw a SURPRISE ladybug dinner for her. All because you know her parents called her ladybug and that although it was embarrassing at times for her, all of her birthday parties had some sort of ladybug element to them when she was growing up. Bottom line... I love my friends and consider myself so lucky to have them in my life.

Enough of this lovey-dovey stuff, I don't want you guys to barf or something :)

So as I mentioned above, one of my best friends Leighton (a.k.a. Ladybug, a.k.a. Bug) is getting married and we are so happy for her. She came back to North Carolina to go wedding dress shopping even though she is a lucky S.O.B. (excuse my language) and lives in NYC. She wanted her family and us to be there with her - so cute, right? We roll into the FABULOUS wedding dress shop J. Majors with not 1 but 2 bottles of champagne to celebrate. It was 4:30, which is basically 5 o'clock, so don't judge. ( Side Note: This shop is the same place I got my wedding dress after my 1st one was stolen - YES, STOLEN, but that's another blog post). If you are in Charlotte, get your wedding dress at J. Majors - they do an amazing job. Back to ladybugs and things. Leighton is a beautiful girl and all of the dresses looked great on her (even in our champagne haze they still looked good), but she found the "one" right away. I don't think she'll mind if I post a picture of it right here on the Internet. Here it is:

She can totally pull it off, right? When Leighton and her fiancee say "I do" they are planning to release ladybugs into the air ... not creepy or weird at all, right?
(joking, I wouldn't let them do that)

OBVIOUSLY I am just kidding as A) I would never post a picture of her wedding dress on the WORLD wide web and B) who would wear a ladybug costume as a wedding dress??? But, if you are interested in purchasing this costume for your ladybug themed wedding,
you can find it

So after the wedding dress shopping, we went back to our friend Hillary's house for a surprise ladybug themed dinner to celebrate Leighton's engagement. Earlier that week, Hillary and I had an excellent time shopping for ladybug themed items , which if you are curious, are EVERYWHERE. Seriously, the abundance of ladybug items in regular stores and party stores was truly astounding. But I digress. Here are some pictures of our fun evening:

Lady bugs in the flowers and ladybugs on the table. And did you notice the ladybug LATTICE made out of ribbon? I cannot take credit for this genius; this was in fact Hillary's dads idea - Ummmmm Dear Hillary's Dad, you are brilliant.

Ladybug wine - made from real ladybugs! (JOKING. We would never do that.) This was purchased at Earth Fare and was delicious.

We had place cards with ladybugs - mini frames found in Michael's dollar bin in tons of colors...

We made poor Leighton wear this AWESOME ladybug visor that we found (also at Michael's)... Hee Hee. This may be making an appearance at a later date... perhaps with a veil attached to it for her bachelorette party.

And for dessert, we had these adorable and delicious ladybug cupcakes from For Goodness Cake. The owner of For Goodness Cake is a friend of Hillary's and her cupcakes were AWESOME!

We had such an awesome day and I think Leighton appreciated
the extra ladybug effort we went to ;)

We love you Bug!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Last heart shaped post :(

Sure... Valentine's Day is a Hallmark holiday... super cheesy with all the red roses, chocolates and blah blah blah... BUT... I love any excuse to celebrate ... in fact, head over to honey living and read her musings about Valentine's Day... I'm with her... loosen up people! Or if you can't loosen up, use V-day as an excuse to eat like kings... like we did... hehe... and here we go....

We started off the day with these...
and if this isn't the next Diet Coke commercial, I don't know what is....

Remember this post? I told you I would adorn Mr. Fo's Diet Coke. Even I am laughing at how ridiculous that looks. But I said I would do it and I did it. Perseverance baby.

For breakfast we spent time with my in-laws and my new niece... nothing heart shaped for this meal since I didn't make the breakfast... okay... I actually did make banana bread muffins in heart shapes to bring over, but I didn't take a picture, so I don't think it counts.

(Funny quip from Mr. Fo as he bites into heart shaped treat #45 of 2010 - "I can't remember the last time I ate something that wasn't heart shaped." He's funny that Mr. Fo.)

Dinner time is where the magic happened my friends. First... the table... yes, I went with red roses (aww factor - my dad sent these to me)... simple rose petals and our FABULOUS wedding china which I break out for any excuse ... Mr. Fo complains when I do this because you can't put the china in the dishwasher. Mr. Fo hand washing dishes? Blasphemous! But I digress...

The table:

Pretty and simple... plus the grocery store had the rose petals packaged up and ready to go. I didn't think twice before I put those in my cart. They were a must have and I wish they sold them year round just for me.

On the menu...

Salad recipe HERE

I don't know when I turned into someone who boasts about her china, but OMG. Martha Stewart for Wedgwood from Macys, will you be my Valentine?

And from my girl Giada, the entree...

What are the cute little filets cooking in? Why it's my brand new cast iron pan that my Mom got me for Valentine's Day! Dear Mom: Along with Martha Stewart for Wedgwood, will you be my Valentine? (And by the way, a little safety tip. If you live in a bad neighborhood, don't put a baseball bat under your bed. Put a cast iron pan under there. In addition to being a cooking tool, they should advertise the cast iron pan as a killing machine. Just looking out for you guys.)

Sides please...

Biscuits with my sister-in-law's homemade strawberry freezer jam - that's one recipe that she and my mother-in-law have perfected... I won't even try...

And asparagus - I am obsessed with it lately, and even Mr. Fo, a former non-asparagus-lover, is now a fan. Must be the gobs of shaved Parmesan. Always does the trick.

All together now....

(As I look at this picture, it's like... "May I have some steak with my goat cheese?!"
I like cheese, okay? )

And finally, because we hadn't eaten enough... the official sponsor of Valentine's Day... chocolate...

Chocolate Molten Cake recipe HERE ... in a flash of pure genius (or pure insanity as I realized we made it through the meal without a heart shaped food item)... I created a makeshift heart stencil out of a PAPER TOWEL... and dusted some powdered sugar over the cake...
Just call me the MacGyver of the Kitchen...

If you are supposed to end your Valentine's Day completely stuffed and 5 lbs heavier, I think we succeeded. Even Cupid stopped by and left us a message on our chalkboard:

Thanks for putting up with my heart shaped obsession... I promise I won't break out the heart shaped cookie cutters until next year ... and then they're back in full force...

You have been warned!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Something Sweet for Valentines Day...

On this Valentine's Eve i want to share a few extra SWEET images with you...

For a while now I have been trying to find a sugar cookie recipe that doesn't spread after you cut out shapes with a cookie cutter... (i.e. a Christmas tree cookie that turns into a blob after you bake it...not cool)... i finally found a good recipe where the dough doesn't spread after you bake it.. you can find it here.. I tested out the recipe on these Valentines Cookies... success! My hearts stayed heart shaped :)

Here is a Valentines present that came a little earlier this week:

My precious new niece Brooke! It's hard to tell from the picture, but all that hair she has is strawberry blond! It's pretty much the cutest thing i have ever seen. You can already put a bow in it! Not that I've tried... okay I have... even babies need accessories. (I talked about my niece's arrival here and here.)

Hope you have a sweet day, whatever you have planned!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Honest Scrap Award!

I want to thank Mama's Birds Nest for nominating me for an
Honest Scrap Award! Check out her site for some yummy recipes :)

I feel so special ;)

The Honest Scrap award rules are simple:

Thank the person who “nominated” you and link back to that blog post.

Tell 10 honest things about yourself—and make them interesting, even if you have to dig deep!

Pass the award on to ten bloggers who you feel embody the spirit of the Honest Scrap, and whose blogs you find brilliant in design and/or content.

10 Honest Things about Me - Warning - I am kind of a weirdo

1. I am scared of all things hospital related. Birth giving, death, sickness, etc. It's a problem.

2. My car is incredibly dirty and I don't care at all.
I would rather spend money on clothes or food than a car wash.

3. I have one of the biggest appetites of anyone I know. I really think I could eat a Sumo wrestler under the table. I don't understand people that eat half a sandwich and wrap up the other half for later. Are you joking?! Exhibit A: My mom will have a yogurt for lunch. Really Mom? That's like 1/8th of a meal.

4. I won Best Smile as my high school senior superlative and I think it was totally deserved. I'm sorry for not being modest, but you must know your own strengths.

5. I think my cheeks are too big ... like a squirrel with nuts in his mouth at all times. This deep seeded notion probably comes from 2 factors: 1) When I was a baby I had the biggest cheeks ever. EVER. My grandma called me "Puffy" 2) The other factor is that my cheeks really are huge.

6. When I was younger my dad used to tell me I would be the 1st woman president and I totally believed him. Clearly this did not happen. This is great because it sounds like the worst job in the world.

7. Even though I am a social and VERY talkative person, lately I have been wanting to be a hermit. Cooking at home with my husband is the best part of my day and that's pretty much all I want to do all the time. And blog of course ;)

8. I hate driving on highways and almost never do it. Honestly, Mr. Fo makes me practice my highway driving with him so I don't forget how to do it. This fear probably stems from the fact that one time my mom and I (both equally terrible drivers, sorry Mom) got stuck in the merge lane on the side of the highway for seriously a 1/2 hour and could NOT get over... cars whizzing by me... life flashing before my eyes... it was incredibly traumatic.

9. When I was younger (my friends will LOVE this) my piano teacher told me I had a really good voice and I believed her. I used to always (and still do) sing super loud in the shower. After my piano teacher told me I had the gift of song (which I don't BTW, she was on crack or something), I stopped singing in the shower because I was afraid circus people would be out looking for sideshow acts and think WOW, this little girl has a great voice! Lets kidnap her and use her in our circus. (I was also afraid of being kidnapped).

10. I am originally from NJ and get really sick of the NJ jokes. There are really nice parts of Jersey, okay! (And admittedly, some not so nice parts) So come on people, don't judge.

Here are 10 blogs that I think deserve this awesome award...

Check them out - you won't be sorry ;)

Monday, February 8, 2010


Football. Beer. Pigs in a Blanket. AstroTurf table. That's what the Superbowl means to me...

Take a look at our Super Bowl party pics to get an idea of how we roll...

So here's the thing. Mr. Fo has this ridiculously awesome artistic talent that comes in handy for all sorts of random things...i.e. making our kitchen table into a football table and freestyle drawing the Superbowl symbol ... How awesome is he?!

He also made the fleur de lis and horseshoe symbol out of poster board and we taped it to the wall. People thought we had painted our wall with the symbols!! Ummm no... we're not THAT dedicated....Note the white dots on the Colts symbol. For this detail, we used the always handy "Wite Out" ... shh... our little secret...

We bought this LOVELY AstroTurf flooring from Home Depot (yes... people use this for flooring), laid down some athletic tape for yard lines and we had a football field. We even color coordinated the plates and "plastic ware" ... There were more Saints plates used than Colts plates- just FYI.

Our end zones rocked...

Food was delish - Chili with a Toppings Bar, Spinach Artichoke Dip - IN A BREAD BOWL, Pizza Rolls and the ever popular, quick to disappear Pigs in a Blanket. Look at them - are they not the cutest things ever?!

You had your choice of Saints Brew (Dixie Beer - made in New Orleans) and Colts Brew (the always classy Colt 45 - YES, they still make this!) I bought small plastic trashcans, wrapped them with construction paper and we had cheap beer buckets!

We also had some non-partisan beer in an adorable Beer Tub... Beer me please...

Mini cupcakes in coordinating colors (well... the Colts turned out a Tiffany blue color - but it was so pretty I left it that way )... and Football Cookies - LACES OUT for those of you that get that Ace Ventura reference. Hee Hee. Note the ADORABLE pennant flags in both the cupcakes and the flowers in the picture below- those are from the absolutely awesome Make Merry blog. They were nice enough to send me the template... I think I put them to good use!

The flower arrangements were at the corners of each end zone in mini galvanized buckets...Very realistic to have flowers in the end zone, don't you think? ;)

The little arrangement with the floating spider mum was in the bathroom. Nobody ever forgot they were at a Superbowl party!

Mr. Fo even used the extra turf to cover our coffee table. We really loved the built in coaster feature... so much that we are keeping it permanently. (Not.)

Take a look at this - Peyton Manning and
Reggie Bush managed to join us in our
Honeymoon and Wedding photos...

Even though I am always pulling for my boy Peyton, I was happy the Saints won - and how cute was Drew Brees with his little son at the end of the game?
I almost shed a tear... I'm a sucker for a quarterback with a cute baby...

I hope you enjoyed our little Superbowl Soiree - we had a great time although its safe to say I definitely socialized more than I watched the game...

NOTE: Most of these pictures were taken by my good friend Amanda - check out her post about the party at her fabulous design blog, CasaBrasi.