Monday, January 31, 2011

A Sprinkle of Chocolate...

This weekend, I ate a LOT of chocolate. Meaning that I threw my best friend Kalle a chocolate themed sprinkle, and to give her my support, I had to bake and eat a lot of chocolate. Poor me, right? (FYI - if you don't know, sprinkle is a smaller "shower.." Kalle already has an adorable little boy, but her little girl can't wear boy clothes, now can she. Hence - a party needed to be thrown!)

To celebrate Kalle's little girl, I focused on would think it's just a pregnancy craving for Kalle, but in fact, it's 24 hours a day/7 hours a week/pregnant or non-pregnant craving. The girl loves chocolate. 

(Between you and me, I need a break from chocolate right now...there is such thing as chocolate overload - and I experienced it this weekend....blasphemous, I know!)

Chocolate Brown and Pink was the color theme, and it turned out adorably! 
Let's smell the chocolate, shall we?

Welcomed by a pink and brown bow, guests were welcomed into their very own chocolate factory!

On the menu at the chocolate feast?

Dark chocolate Brownie Pops - I tried my hand at these, and I have to give Bakerella props for making all those cake pops! How do you dry the pops without having the chocolate drip down the side of the stick? Honestly, if they weren't so cute, I would never make them again. Chocolate everywhere!! Fyi, when melted chocolate dries on the counter in a hidden spot and you don't find it until the next day, you basically need a hacksaw to get it off. 

Dark Chocolate Chunk Espresso Cookies - by Martha. These were absolutely excellent...the espresso brings out the dark chocolatey goodness. I am going to do a separate blog this week with all the recipes, so don't fret.

Chocolate covered pretzels are always a hit...

Individual chocolate mousse anyone? This recipe is from Hershey's, and was SO easy. Again, more on these recipes later this week. I spooned the mousse into shot glasses and served them individually with a spoon. A perfect  mini size for a rich treat!



My fab friend Hillary made chocolate balls - essentially, these are balls of chocolatey goodness. Pretty self explanatory.

Chocolate cocktails? Yes please. Thanks for the recipe Emeril - BAM! I added an abstract glass garnish by piping melting chocolate onto a foil covered baking sheet. Stick it in the freezer for an hour and you have a hardened chocolate accoutra-mon (accoutrement) for your glass. Cool yo.

There was also a fabulous chocolate cake, but I didn't get a good picture of it...probably because it was scarfed down asap due to extreme deliciousness. Recipe to come. 

There was even some non-edible chocolate. I created a chocolate wreath using a Styrofoam wreath form painted brown, unwrapped hershey kisses, super sticky glue (thanks for the suggestion Amanda!) and glossy brown spray paint. The glossy spray paint added a lot of sheen to the chocolate. Without that finishing touch, the wreath looked dull.

For a simple centerpiece, I arranged small brown bud vases with pink spray roses and clustered them around glass containers with pink tissue paper and brown candles. So simple and pretty! I love the color combo.

On another table, I used chocolate brown frames to showcase various pictures of chocolate sayings, vintage advertisements, and posters. On this table I put a cheese platter and a veggie platter - a fantastic idea for a chocolate need something NOT chocolate to snack on, I promise!

Of course there was a signature Jackie Fo bathroom flower...really brightens up your trip to the powder room, I've got to tell you.

As if the guests didn't know that chocolate and babies were sweet, I created a mantel display to remind them.
Kalle is going to put these letter's in the baby's room...isn't that SWEET!

For favors, guests took home the chocolate treats in to go waistline thanks you.

...and these cute pink favor bags.

In the bags? More of these adorable "Dream in chocolate" notecards from the Michaels Dollar Bin...

...and of course chocolate truffles, because everyone really needed to take more chocolate home.

 Possibly the sweetest thing of all? Being an aunt to a brand  new baby girl! Here I am with Kalle, my beautiful preggo best friend. She really rocks the pregnant look. I, on the other hand, look as though I am holding my brownie pop as a weird a salute to chocolate...

Now go get yourself some chocolate...and as I said, come back this week for all of the chocolate recipes!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Fun and EASY DIY Projects

Happy Friday!
Take a look at these fun and super easy DIY project. Some are perfect for Valentine's Day, but depending on the colors you use, they could be used for any time of the year!

If you're tired of the regular old cupcake toppers, try this easy and adorable idea from Icing Designs. They took cupcake liners to create a paper flower - so pretty and creative!

Next up is from the always fabulous, much adored Martha. Stewart, that is. I spotted this in my February edition of Martha Stewart Living, and squealed with delight.  A carnation ice cream cone anyone? A side the BLEEP do you think Martha comes up with all this stuff? Do you think her and her staff just sit around a big table with tons of paper, flowers, ribbon etc, and just put random things together until they look cute? Just curious. Now back to business....HERE is the template Martha used for the paper cones if you want to try them out yourself.

Finally, this is really for Valentine's Day only, unless you are super into hearts all year round. That's cool too. I am obsessed with garland lately, and this garland does not disappoint. It comes from the super creative How About Orange. How cute!

Hope you have fun with these easy projects! Today I will be up to my neck in this:

Yup, chocolate. I am throwing my best friend Kalle a chocolate themed shower. Off to craft, bake and shop! Loving my life today. Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

...Party like it's 1981!

Slap bracelets....The Breakfast Club...neon...Madonna - these are all wonderful things that the 80s brought us. Oh, and me of course.. :)

So when my good friend  Michel Flanagan wanted to celebrate his 30th birthday - he chose the 80s for his birthday bash theme, and asked me to help bring the 80s back for a night. I present you:

To achieve a fun 80s theme AND focus on the birthday boy, I used bright neon colors and Flanagan's hilarious pictures from his 80s childhood. 

I spray painted wooden letters using florescent spray paint and strung a garland of photos on the mantel.

Bright neon tissue paper stuffed into glass containers held more funny pictures.

Neon streamer decorated the doorways.

Nostalgic 80s snacks were put into neon colored bowls. How much did you LOVE handi snacks?! Note: Clearly they had no "fresh food" movement in the 80s as most of these items involved a processed cheese of some sort! (Which I will admit, I sometimes find delicious.)

I bought crazy straws and glow sticks for the party.

... and 80s style shades...purchased on the super super cheap from Oriental Trading!

And check this out ... I found mini rubiks cubes from Party City!

I created a makeshift photo booth complete with 80s props. I bought a piece of black fabric and created a glittery "1981" sign. For the "camera," Flanagan set up a computer with a Photobooth app to take pictures. It worked really well!

For props, I used wigs, guitars, crazy hats and glasses, and tons more. My favorite props? Flanagan's face on a stick! The party guests had a blast with this!

For dessert? Well obviously I made cupcakes in the shape of a huge Pacman!

Surrounding the Pacman were more 80s photos of Flanagan, in frames I spray painted with fluorescent colors.

And let's talk about the costumes. People really brought the 80s back...starting with Flanagan who came as....


Ferris Bueller and Sloane were there...

 2 valley girls made it (me on the right and my friend Hillary on the left)... 

Indiana Jones stopped by... 

...and so did the popular game of Tetris...

Finally, my favorite picture of the night. Somebody ordered Dominoes, and when Flanagan went to get the door, the pizza guy said "Hey... Gorbachev!" 

This was SO fun to plan and to attend....80s forever. Happy Birthday Flanagan!