Wednesday, February 27, 2013

The little things

So I'm going to deter a bit from the usual prettiness and party-ness I typically ramble on about in this blog.

It's been a fairly tough week here and I'm feeling reflective about a few things, as that sometimes happens. Mainly that life is incredibly precious. And that anxiety and worry are always there but thinking positively is a better way to be. But I'm also thinking that I'm incredibly blessed with family and friends who listen and don't judge, a husband who puts up with my craziness and all of life's little pleasures. In fact, sometimes it's the little things that make it so enjoyable, and the little things that make up the big things.

So here is a list of my current favorite little things.

1) Making lists. I love lists of all kinds. Hence why I'm making this one. Helps me organize my thoughts - which are constantly running amuck.
2) Zoes Kitchen's Homemade Hummus - Holy olive oil that's good. I'd drink it.
3) My BFF Kalle's kids. They are so hilarious; they make me happy just by being in their presence. And her too, of course, for always letting me hang at her house while her kids make me laugh.
4) Picking out a mug for my morning coffee from my growing mug collection. It's getting cray in the mug cabinet.
5) Watching TV with my husband who I am so so happy to have by my side through thick and thin. 
6) A satisfying and productive work day. 
7) New Girl. This show is hysterically funny and seriously will Nick and Jess just make it happen already?
8) The Oscars and the deluge of criticism and dress coverage that follows in the week afterwards. I enjoy additional ways to procrastinate with fun Internet best and worst dressed lists.
9) The Sunday New York Times and all the thinking it makes me do. Despite the fact it takes me a week to finish it. 
10) My brand new niece Claire who I just discovered has dimples and recently celebrated her 1 week birthday by sleeping up a storm.  Eek! Man she's cute; here's a photo of her in the onesie Mr. Fo and I got her her as a little play on words with her name. (Not to add another thing to the list, but seriously, how great is it you can put literally anything you want on a onesie?)

I'm going to go count my blessings and appreciate the little things for the rest of the week. 
Thanks for humoring my reflective-ness today. 

Thursday, February 21, 2013


Today I've got some groundbreaking news to share with you. I. Love. Bows. 

Bows of all kinds make me happy, and it's really the little things isn't it? With all the crazy crap in this world, you've got to find pleasure in the silly (albeit pretty) things, like bows. 

This is not news for anyone that knows me. It's sort of my jam. It's like my true loves are really wine, cheese and bows. Don't judge. 

Let's explore the wonderful world of bows to start off this Friday on a bow-riffic note. (I had to...)

My number one gal pal Kate Spade has an affinity for bows, and I have an affinity for everything online and in her store. Sign up for their emails - their sale prices are amazeballs. 

In my dream bow world, I would own this diamond bow necklace from a little store you might have heard of, Tiffany & Co. Swoon. 

Since I probably won't be spending $2 grand on a diamond bow necklace anytime soon, I'll settle for this little pretty.

If I was wearing these glittery bow shoes, I would probably skip around all day and annoy everyone with my perkiness.

Like most things, you can incorporate bows into all things party. Like bow napkins - can I get an OMG?

... or how about a Bow cake for your wedding or special event?

Try these bow drink stirrers to add prettiness to your cocktails. Bows AND cocktails? Happiness explosion...

These striped cuties were from Pizzazerie's real life wedding featured on Martha Stewarts site. It's amazing, take some time to look through it all. Full wedding HERE





Champagne flutes can be black tie too!

For a little less formal look, try bows on your mason jars for just about any occassion.

My personal favorite type of bow is bow-tie pasta. Hee-hee. 

The only thing that could make me happier than bows is my brand new cutie-pie niece Claire who is just about 2 days old. I can't wait to spoil her rotten, just like her big sister Brookie :)

Claire makes a scrunchy face that I just love. She's thinking... about how many presents Aunt Jackie is going to give her.

Here's a sweet picture of Mr. Fo (aka Uncle Stu) with his new niece. His reaction to her was pretty precious, I must say. He was smitten.

And here I am with the brand new babe. I love you Claire and I can't wait until we're BFFs! 

Have bow-tastic day! Ha. 

Monday, February 18, 2013

Princess Birthday Party

It's I thought I'd brighten your day with a cute princess birthday party for an even more adorable 3-year old princess. Of course I'm talking about my niece Brookie. You can see her other birthday celebrations here:

She's a lucky girl! And even luckier because her little sister is scheduled to arrive TOMORROW! You know I'm excited to have another little one to cuddle :) A plethora of pictures to come, I guarantee it! 

In the meantime, let's look at Brooke's Princess Party. Like any good 3-year old girl, Brooke is obsessed with all things princess. Cinderella, Belle, and Sleepy Beauty are all her jam. She speaks the princess talk and walks the princess walk. She's referencing princesses that were nowhere to be found when I was growing up. Yet another reminder that I'm old. But I digress. Brooke's mom Drew did a bang-up job of planning a girly, pink and purple party for Brooke. 

Number one tip for a successful kids party - get a bouncy house. The kids spent 99% of their time in their, and the other 1% of time eating cake. 



My friend Hillary and I proved that you're never too old for a bounce house. Although we basically almost broke a hip whilst bouncing. 


Pink tablecloths were offset with green and purple scrapbook pages for place mats.


And pretty princess "wands" made from tulle pinned to Styrofoam balls acted as centerpieces along with tiaras for each party guest. 




A pretty castle served as the cake! 


Here's Brooke blowing out her birthday candles in her princess dress. I mean, what else would she wear.

I'm so excited to meet the newest little Princess this week! Have a great day! 

Friday, February 8, 2013

Chocolate Dipping Ideas

So have you heard that Valentine's Day is coming up? I mean, you'd have to be living in a hole of some sort to miss the giant pink and red balloons and roses galore that smack you in the face when you walk into any grocery store. Do I sound cynical about V-day? I'm really not. I love heart shapes and themed anything. But in general, I feel like you should love your person every day and not just Valentines Day.  Right?

That said, any excuse to send cards, buy gifts and eat chocolate is a-ok with me. 

My latest article for Home Made Simple's website is all about tips and tricks for Chocolate Dipping. i.e., how to expertly dip foods in chocolate. Perfect for Valentine's Day, right? See the Tips and Tricks here! Then use them on the yummy, adorable ideas below. 

Rice Krispies are easy and no-bake, so there's no excuse to not make them, shape them into hearts and dip them in chocolate! 

You can't eat the actual spoon, but using this chocolate covered spoon is sure to sweeten up any treat!

Waffles are so delicious, and I have to say I don't make them enough. As in ever. I need to get out that waffle maker that's collecting dust. And then I need to add chocolate and heart shaped sprinkles. Obvi.

Marshmallows practically beg for chocolate. Hello...smores??

Why have plain chocolate chip cookies when you can have them dipped in chocolate, right? I mean, you've probably been dieting since the New Year, so it's probably 'bout time to get off the wagon.

Chocolate covered pretzels have that coveted salty and sweet combo that everyone loves!

In the same salty and sweet vein, try your hand at Chocolate Dipped Potato Chips. Crunchy meets sweet and salty. YES! 

Chocolate covered strawberries are practically a requirement for a romantic evening in. Jump on the bandwagon! 

OMG, you don't have to be Italian to simple adore Biscotti. I might make it my Valentine this year. Check out this chocolate dipped caramel biscotti!

Remember, check out the tips and tricks at Home Made Simple, plus more recipe ideas. Happy Chocolate Dipping! 

Monday, February 4, 2013

Blueberry Baby Shower

According to all my preggo friends (and I have a lot...maybe they're trying to tell me something), you can figure out the size of your baby by comparing it to a fruit. One week it's the size of a kumquat, one week it's an orange, etc. Well for Liza, a good friend of mine from Charlotte Speech and Hearing Center, the "blueberry" week really struck a chord for her. She calls her little girl "Blueberry," so when it came time to throw her a little work shower, the them was obvious - Blueberry, duh. 

It was like the stars aligned for us, because despite it being the dead of winter, blueberries were on sale all over the place. It was theme party kismet, if you will. 

Decor-wise, I went with burlap, mason jars and blueberries. I arranged white roses and babys breath in mason jars wrapped with burlap and tied with a dark blue ribbon. For a blueberry accent, I skewered real blueberries on a stick and made them part of the arrangement. It was too cute if I do say so myself!




The signature cocktail was Blueberry Champagne, which sounds complicated but was really just blueberries and champagne. Burlap wrapped mason jars and striped straws made the drinks extra special. Don't worry, the mama-to-be had sparkling cider :)


I made mini blueberry Pie Pops which were fairly time consuming to make but were yummy and adorable. I vote that they're worth it! Recipe HERE.

Blueberry Cupcakes (accessorized with a sweet onesie!) were made by my fav independent baking gal, Jen Panaro. If you're in the Charlotte area, contact her for all your sweet party needs! She is making a beautiful cake for an engagement party I have coming up in March. 

We did have some non-blueberry foods, like these cute "Birdsnests." These were homemade chicken salad in phyllo dough cups, and they were bite sized and delicious! 


This Asiago Potato appetizer is simply put, amazeballs. Recipe coming as soon as I can get my act together. 


Here's sweet Liza, all belly and still as pretty as ever! 

Check out this fabulous locally grown onesie :) Which if you know Liza and her affliction for locally grown healthy foods, it's the perfect outfit for her baby who will most definitely have a natural penchant for steamed broccoli and other veggies. For reals, Liza loves her veggies. 

 Liza is undoubtably going to be a wonderful mom, and I can't wait to meet her little blueberry! 

 If you're hankering for something sweet and salty this week (to counteract all that veggie and blueberry talk above), check out my latest Tablespoon article featuring Rocky Road Pretzel Bites that literally take 20 minutes to make. BAM - chocolate in a flash! Have a great week!

Rocky Road Pretzels with Dark Chocolate