Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Miami Beach Wedding!

Beautiful wedding to attend...CHECK!
Gorgeous, sunny weather.... CHECK! 
Fruity (albeit overpriced) drinks...CHECK!
Plethora of Cuban sandwiches and other delicacies....CHECK!
Excellent first time in Miami.... CHECK! Mission Complete!

As you can tell, I had an absolutely stellar time in Miami. We attended a wedding for Mr. Fo's good college friend Canor, and his wife (as of 3 days ago) Carla. They made such a gorgeous couple, I wish I had more up close-up pictures of them to show you, but I was too busy having fun and crying at their sweet ceremony and the beautiful toasts their families gave them. Yup, even wedding planners cry at weddings ;) 

The ceremony and reception were held at the beautiful Palms Hotel in Miami Beach, and you couldn't ask for better scenery. Despite a little rain, Canor and Carla took a chance and decided to hold their wedding outside as planned. Love prevailed and the weather held out - it was a perfect evening by the pool, and you could smell the ocean just steps away. (Even just writing this now, I'm sad I'm not there anymore!) 

The ceremony was held in a beautiful gazebo, and take a look at Carla's dress. OMG it was gorgeous. It's hard to tell the details in the picture, but the train was long and made of tulle, and had the perfect embellishments on it. It was stunning!

As I mentioned, the tables were set up by the pool, as was the cocktail hour. The palm trees were the perfect backdrop!

Carla and her florist did an amazing job with the flower arrangements and centerpieces. The shades of pink and white were soft and romantic. I absolutely ADORED the different style white frames that were used around the flowers. I think it's such an unusual and different idea!  

Mr. Fo and I had a blast, as we always do. Side note - 80 degree Miami weather is not good for Jackie's hair; it was in a perma-ponytail/bun situation all weekend.

But really, who cares about your hair when you're drinking lots of these.... 

... on the beach...

 We did spent a good chunk of time on the beach. On Sunday, the families of the bride and groom hosted a super fun, laid back gathering of "Bocaditos and Beverages." I learned that bocaditos is a spanish term for snacks, which I will be using all the time now...how awesome is that word?! I may have to throw my very own Bocaditos and Beverages party one of these days...it was such a fun idea! 

 My favorite bocadito was the heavenly sandwich below which was simply a honey croissant with ham, cheese and a mayo spread. Holy bocadito...Holy moderation - gots to get back to my 5K running training STAT! 

Doesn't that sound like a lovely weekend? It really was...I wish I could bottle up that "wedding feeling" when everyone is happy, there's true love in the air and the booze and music keeps on flowing. Weddings are honestly one of my favorite things about life...seems like I'm in the right business :) 

Back to the real world now! Moderation and all :)

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Bienvenidos a Miami

I'll be away from my computer this weekend because I'll be in 87 degree Miami weather this weekend! Any suggestions for this first time Miami/South Beach visitor? I'll be attending some fabulous wedding festivities but will make plenty of time for the following:

'da clubs
'da beach
'da pool
'da drinks
'da food 

(Once I got started with the " 'das" I couldn't stop)

Do you think we'll see these guys? Mr. Fo is wearing the exact same white suit as Don Johnson so it'd be a little awkward.

Cheers and Happy Weekend to everyone... :)

Sunday, February 19, 2012

An Elmo Birthday Party!

This post is slightly overdue as my niece's birthday party was last weekend, but sometimes life gets in the way...I'm sure you know how it is :)

As I previewed HERE, Brooke is nuts about all things Elmo. He is pretty darn cute, so I can't blame her. Her party was at a little kids gym called "My Gym" where Brooke takes "tumbling" lessons. It's pretty much the most darling thing I've ever seen. It was the perfect place for a kid's birthday party! The kids loved running around and playing on all the gym "equipment." There was even a special surprise guest... You'll have to read on to see who we got to meet!

One of my most important jobs was to pick up the balloons. I wanted to get a lot of balloons to create an ombre effect of the party colors (red, orange and yellow). Let's just say fitting 24 balloons in my car on a super windy day was not a good idea. Let's also say that I did not arrive with 24 balloons either. It was fun when a few of them popped during my drive over, freaking me out and making me think they were gunshots. Ha.

A visual....

There was a little room at the gym where you could serve cake and food. After their workout, the kiddos (and adults) were hungry! My sis-in-law Drew got this cute banner on Etsy HERE ...how cute!

We set the kiddos' table with the Elmo treat bags and used supplies from Office Depot that we personalized with Elmo stickers Drew's husband designed.  

Elmo cupcakes were a must...how CUTE are these?!

Little Elmo was chilling in the ice bucket...

Brooke is a lucky little girl, because her special guest of honor was none other than Elmo himself! She was slightly freaked out by him, but I definitely can't blame her. I be it's super weird to see Elmo on TV and then see a huge version in person.

I feel like Brooke will be mad about this next picture when she grows up, but it's so classic.

Let's look at Brookie when she was happier ...before Elmo came out :) She had a super cute outfit (also from Etsy) that had a tutu but the tutu freaked her out so she wouldn't wear it. I was sad about the lack of tutu, but she looked fabulous as always :)

After all the exercising and the trauma of Elmo, Brooke was pooped :) Happy 2nd Birthday to my favorite little girl! 

Monday, February 13, 2012

Creamy Tomato Soup Fondue with Grilled Cheese Bites!

As promised, here's the Creamy Tomato Soup recipe from the Superbowl Party. My friend Hillary said it was, and I quote: "my cousin's wifes old Italian family recipe," but it turns out it's just from an old Parade Magazine. BAHAHA! 

Classic family recipe or not, this soup is freaking good. Add grilled cheese bites for dipping and you've got yourself one heck of a fondue. Hillary made her grilled cheeses with Jarlsberg and Manchego (fancy cheeses rule) and crisped them up when she brought them over to my house. Why not have a whole fondue dinner for Valentines Day and serve this tomato soup fondue for dinner and chocolate fondue for dessert? 
Too much fondue for you? (Rhyming is fun.)

Here's the old family recipe passed down from generations of Parade Magazine Readers. Ha. Love you Hill!

2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 tablespoons flour
3 1/2 pounds ripe tomatoes, chopped
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon sugar (can be omitted)
3 cups vegetable broth
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves (can be omitted)
Salt and pepper, to taste

1/2 cup half-and-half

1. Melt the butter with the oil over low heat in a pot.
2. Add the onion; wilt over low heat for 8 to 10 minutes. Add the garlic during the last 2 minutes, stirring. Sprinkle with flour and cook 3 minutes longer, stirring.
3. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, sugar, and broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer and cover; cook over medium-low heat for 30 minutes. Season with cloves, salt, and pepper. Remove from heat and cool slightly.
4. Purée the soup in a food processor. Pour through a strainer into a pot. Stir in the half-and-half.
5. Warm the soup before serving.

August 2000

Enjoy :)

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Valentine's Cuteness!

If you're anything like me, you use Valentine's Day as an excuse to prepare a dinner that's fancier than a normal night. We've done the expensive restaurant route but I'm sort of over it. I mean let's be serious here. We've been together for 10 years, married for 3. Do we need to go spend $100+ on a fancy dinner a Tuesday night? Personally, I'd rather be at home cooking in my pajamas. Who's with me ladies? For those of you who ARE going out, have a great time! (Seriously, have a great time! I want you to!)

Even though I'm not going out all year, it's been hard not to notice the Smorgasbord of cute Valentines ideas out there. Here are a few of my favorite cutenesses!

Pure Cuteness.

Healthy cuteness. You can get some healthy ingredients at Meijer for some of these great gifts.. 

Clever Soup Cuteness.

Goat Cheese Cuteness. 

Best Friends Dinner Cuteness. 

Brunch Cuteness.

Dollar Store Cuteness.
(Confession: I'm plugging my own 2011 V-day table here. But it was SO cheap and easy to do! I thought you could use some last minute ideas. )

Breakfast Cuteness. 
(Confession #2: This is again my doing... but wouldn't it be fun to surprise your honey with these for brekkie?)

While we're on one of my favorite topics (that would be moi), aren't you curious as to what I'm going to whip up for Mr. Fo this year? I'm thinking of this:

Goat Cheese Dates Wrapped in Prosciutto Cuteness.

Veal Picatta Cuteness. 
(Confession #3: I've never cooked veal before. Why this delicacy has slipped my culinary trials I am not sure, but we'll see how it goes.)

For dessert I'm thinking of some TCBY. You know, because of the whole moderation thing, and because it's easy, delicious and Mr. Fo can pick it up for me. And because despite of the fabulous amount of cute heart shaped dessert options, nothing has jumped out at me and said "MAKE ME NOW!" So TCBY it will be. Most likely White Chocolate Mousse with Dark Chocolate chips. YUM.

Single or Betrothed, I hope you all enjoy a fun evening with someone you love and who loves you. 
And eat lots o' chocolate.