Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Colorado Bound

When thinking on what to blog this week, I had one thing on my mind: Vacay! Mr. Fo and I are headed to Steamboat Springs, Colorado next week for the 4th and for the wedding of our friends, James and Annie. I blogged about their awesome handmade invitations HERE. I'm so excited for several reasons:

1) Mr. Fo and I really need a vacation.
2) I heart weddings. Duh.
3) I've never even been to the state of Colorado, not to mention the beautiful Steamboat Springs. I think I'm more of an East Coast girl, but I am MORE than happy to explore the other side of the country, don't get me wrong! 
4) We can get in touch with our outdoorsy side with gorgeous hikes and swims in the hot springs. Not to mention a gondola ride over the mountain. You just can't do these things in Charlotte. That's a fact. 
5) Oh, and did I mention that the wedding is on the brides family's working cattle ranch? If that's not awesome, I don't what is. More on that later. 

To sum it up, I decided to familiarize myself with all things Colorado and do a little research to get excited. Here are a few Internet gems I found:

Obviously I'm concerned about what to wear...and how to pack it all. (Note: Packing is evil.) It's about 90 during the day and 55 at night which provides quite the conundrum. So I hit up the fantastic blog Colorado Couture for some inspiration.

This outfit is amazing. Minus the shoes which I'm definitely not going to walk around in and are not suitable for hiking (but are really cute). I also plan to settle the ongoing debate - should I get a fedora? YES. I will be purchasing this weekend at Tarjay which has a fantastic fedora selection. Whew, glad I settled that.

This is super cute for a fancier ocassion...love the necklace and the shoes!

I have already been rocking the white denim (Thanks LOFT) this summer, so you know I was planning to bring those along. I heart white jeans. 

Here are those hot springs I was talking about...I'm planning to take a dip for shizzle.

Love this "map" of Colorado from Etsy! 

How yummy does this Colorado Bulldog look? It's a take on a white russian, which holds a special place in my heart. Miami University grads, you know what I'm talking about.

This traditional Colorado breakfast hash is calling my name. Poached eggs are my friend.

Oh, and so is this bison burger. Another thing you can't find easily in Charlotte.

Look at this gorgeous wedding image with the mountains in the background...

And I love these next 2 pictures because they are from the Fetcher Ranch, where the wedding will be! I love that barn!

I'm so excited I can't stand it! I"ll post a blog or two before we leave,  in the meantime, tell me what YOU are doing for the 4th of July! (Also need to mention before she gets mad at me that July 4th is my best friend Kalle's 30th birthday. We are celebrating with a fancy dinner party. More on that later!)

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Healthy(ish) Summer Entertaining!

Yesterday was the first day of summer, and while that means lots of fun things, it also brings horror to women across the world. Why? Because it's time  to rock that little  ole'  bathing suit. And if you're like me, you want to look good without compromising your summer entertaining. All joking aside, life is too short to not throw parties and celebrate life with yummy food and drinks, right? I'm here to your rescue to show you how to throw a party with healthy food that actual tastes good, looks adorable (duh) and won't ruin your bikini bod. And you know you look DAYUM GOOD in that bikini, right?! 
Confidence is key ladies. And gents.

Watermelon on a stick - this is easy, yummy and cute to look at. Triple Word Score. Hit up your local farmers market for produce this summer and EAT LOCAL! It's cheaper and more fun than the grocery store. Plus you can support your community, which is just a nice thing to do.

Classic artichoke dip is packed with mayo, try this lighter version made with yogurt. The taste doesn't suffer! 

If you're going straight up with a veggie display, it doesn't have to be heinous looking. 
Veggies can be pretty too!

I love this modern looking veggie display.

These mini cheesecakes made with yogurt are seriously darling and perfect for July 4th! These come from a great website called Skinnytaste that takes classic recipes and makes them lighter. But they still taste yummy and look pretty, or else I wouldn't be talking about it on my blog. 

Use these cute polka dot cups display fruit. These are cute enough to eat :)

Image Credit lost in cyberspace - sorry!

This Skinny Sangria Sparkler is gorgeous to look at, isn't it? I'm making this this weekend just for kicks. Because you need a go-to summer cocktail and this just might be the winner.

Ooh...or should i make this Blueberry Lemonade with Vodka? Decisions, decisions.

Per my recent blog post, you know I am obsessed with all things mozzarella and tomato.

We've all had 7-layer Mexican dip, now how about 5-layer Greek dip with protein packed hummus. Have I talked about my hummus obsession? A day without hummus just doesn't happen in my life...I'm obsessed. Store bought only as I admit I've tried and failed to make my own. 
Sometimes you need to leave it to the pros. 

How genius is this raspberry and dark chocolate idea? If you need something sweet...

More chocalatey fruit, this time on a stick - yay!

If you need something sweet and savory...this strawberry, chocolate and brie crostini is amaze-balls. To quote Zoolander, this crostini is ridiculously, ridiculously good looking.

And finally, something uber sweet and uber cute that's perfect for entertaining, dark chocolate dessert shooters.

Did you notice that those last few desserts all used heart healthy dark chocolate...I'm always looking out for my peeps. So don't let your entertaining suffer because you want to look good this summer. 
You can have both! You're welcome :)

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Marathon Wedding Weekend!

Imagine a day where you have cake for breakfast and delicious food samplings for lunch, lots of chatter about pretty pink things and a photo shoot involving a "Mobile Cupcakery?" Not to brag or anything, but that was my weekend, and it was just as good as it sounds!

You may remember THIS pink and grey wedding theme I blogged about in April? Well, the lovely and fabulous bride Sarah lives out of town but her wedding is in NC, so when she and her fiancee came to town, I arranged a marathon wedding planning weekend for them. Here's some insight to one of the most fun days at work that I've ever had...I think you'll agree it's not a bad way to spend a workday or two! 

Cake for Breakfast (literally...our meeting was at 9 a.m.). As usual, Wow Factor Cakes did NOT disappoint and if I could have Amy's Red Velvet or Chocolate with Chocolate Ganache for breakfast everyday, I would be 1000 lbs. I'm not going to lie, light and fluffy cake beats my nonfat yogurt with granola normal weekday breakfast!

I'm not going to give away the design of the cake itself, because it's too fabulous and I want to save it for later. But here's a hint from their Save the Date!

Then we took a tour of the house where the wedding will be held. These pictures (taken from my trusty iPhone) simply don't do it justice. The absolutely lovely home is owned by a gracious family member of the groom and will be the perfect backdrop for this fun October wedding! Picture cocktail hour on the patio below :)

...and the ceremony and some pre-ceremony activities will take place on this A-MAHHHH-ZING wraparound front porch. Can you say gorgeous?!

Next up, the yummy food. Sarah is a southern gal, and she wants her food to represent that. There's going to be plenty of homestyle comfort food, served in a whimsical way. Thanks to Dean and Deluca catering for always delivering on the vision of the bride - they freaking rock! See below for miniature awesomeness! And yes, those are mini hot dogs, burgers and biscuits....

...complete with homestyle sides.

Next up was a paparazzi photo shoot....aka engagement shoot with the awesome Michael Flanagan. I arranged for Charlotte's Mobile Cupcakery (aka the pink food truck!), the Southern Cupcake Queen to be in the photos since it goes with Sarah's love of pink and all things sweet!

I love this shot on the tracks with the pink balloons and I can't wait to show you more pics when I get them!

I wanted to say a quick note to say that the bride and groom were total troopers, considering I dragged them from here to there and everywhere in the span of 2 days! Thanks to Sarah and Kyle and their awesome families for having fantastic attitudes and for being generally hilarious to be around. :)

Needless to say, this was a SUPER fun weekend and made me realize how much I enjoy what I do. I can't wait for this wedding as I know it will be so fun, unique and creative. And did I mention fabulous? Speaking of fabulous, I hope your upcoming week is...well...fabulous!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

TJ's Dark Chocolate Almonds

I hope you have a Trader Joe's near you...because if you do you need to buy THESE and make your life instantly better:

...and that's all I have to say about that! You're welcome!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

A newfound love for Grapefruit

Per my last post on summer cocktails, I promised some grapefruit love. So here goes my diatribe on my newly found love for grapefruit! 

Here's the interesting thing - as a child, I hated grapefruit. My dad used to eat it with a spoon and boast about it's superior health qualities. YUCK - I hated the extra-tart flavor. (Interesting fact - I also hated onions....and believe me, as an adult, I haven't met an onion I didn't like.) So, I know tastes change as we get older. Because day-ummm (exaggerated version of damn to note emphasis) do I love the tart yet sweet taste of grapefruit! And it's sort of pink, which is obviously a bonus. So, besides eating it straight up with a spoon, what else can you do with grapefruit? Lots..and lots o' delicious things.

I am all about the mojito lately, but not the regular mojito...I like the variations. Like this Grapefruit Mojito from Iowa Girl Eats. She gives a great step by step tutorial. If a cocktail can be gorgeous, this one is at the top of the list. 

If you need a little carbonation in your cocktail, this Grapefruit Soda Cocktail from A Pastry Affair  
fits the bill!

Being that grapefuit is so healthy (it's an antioxidant and detoxifier just to name a few benefits), it just makes sense to add it to a spinach, quinoa and avocado salad as in this health bomb from Skinnytaste!

And to add to all your other salads, how about this citrusy dressing from Huffington Post?

This is way better than a grapefruit with a spoon - it's a Grapefruit and Blueberry Muffin from The Fancy Apron.

Ooohhh...or a Grapefruit Scone from The Way The Cookie Crumbles. These looks ah-mah-zing.

Who knew poppies and grapefruit went together so well? Grapefruit Poppy Seed Bread from In Her Chucks

And while I'm on this baking kick, I should show you this yummy looking grapefruit cake with grapefruit buttercream frosting. Yum! Cake from Cakecentral

Oh, and if you think this is a lemon square, you are wrong - it's a lemon/grapefruit bar...mmmkay! 
Grapefruit Bars from Picky Cook 

So, tell me, are you going to run to the store and grab some pink grapefruits? I certainly plan to do so! 
Have a GREAT weekend!

Monday, June 4, 2012

A Summer Goal - Hint: It involves cocktails!

Like most people, I have many goals. Some are important, some are not as important, and some are just downright fun. While it's no world peace, my summer goal is to ... wait for it ... make more interesting cocktails. I know, I know...it's uber exciting... I know you're jumping up and down right now. It's not that I don't love my crisp white vino in the summer, or my favorite beer - Blue Moon with an orange, but I'm going to branch out into the world of fruity, spritzy and fabulous summer cocktails. Join me, won't you?

We've all had a mojito - now try a Blackberry Mojito! All links to recipes and photos are below the pictures!

Mmm...this might be my new summer go-to cocktail - a Greyhound, which is simply vodka and grapefruit juice. It's healthy (the grapefruit, duh) and not overly sweet. Try it! Side note - more on grapefruit later in the week as I am discovering how much I love it.

I served this Strawberry Basil Mojito at my strawberry party and it was a hit! 

How refreshing does this Watermelon-Cucumber cocktail sound?!

This isn't yo mamas lemonade stand - it's a Blueberry Lemonade cocktail!

Add a popsicle and some champagne to brighten your day with some fruity fizz!

This Skinny Cocktail is chock full of summer fruits!

Last but not least, get these free printables to adorn your summer cocktails. Aren't they adorable?

So...whose with me on the 2012 Summer Cocktail brigade? Anyone thirsty out there? Let me know your favorite summer cocktail!