Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Taste of the Nation Charlotte

So I'm just catching my breath from a busy week prepping for a fabulous wedding. The wedding went smashingly and I will be blogging about it later this week.

I did manage to sneak in a delicious night of eating and drinking the best of what the Charlotte food scene has to offer at Taste of the Nation Charlotte. This large scale event (which is held all over the country) benefits the non-profit "Share Our Strength, No Kid Hungry." Sampling food and drink for a good cause? You know I'm in! Frankly, I almost prefer little delicious samples of various types of food versus a big ol' meal. Then you can eat whatever you want and it's totes fine because they are just tiny samples that are basically calorie free. I'm not joking, I literally just kept saying "I'm so happy" the entire night. It was like a foodie dream come true. If this event comes to your city I highly recommend attending and eating your face off.

Warning: Do not read this if you're hungry. Warning #2 - All these photos are via my trusty iPhone.

First off, let me set the scene for you. Below are the happy people enjoying themselves on a Wednesday evening.


Musical chefs set the soundtrack for our evening. I thought it was so cute the band members wore chef hats and aprons!


Now time for the food and drink I know you are waiting for...

This bite is mini Osso Bucco from the Gallery Restaurant at Ballantyne Hotel and Lodge. Mr. Fo and I love this restaurant as we had our wedding at the Ballantyne and go back for our anniversary. You can read about our previous Ballantyne adventures HERE and HERE.


This MIGHT have been my favorite bite but I don't want to discount any other restaurants efforts...But seriously, a cheese-stuffed meatball on top of a polenta cake? My regret of the evening is that I didn't go back for another one of these...guess I didn't want to be "that girl." Anywho, this restaurant is new in town and I've been dying to try: Napa on Providence. I will be headed there immediately and will request this exact bite.


Vivace is one of my favorite Charlotte restaurants not only because of their amazeballs ambiance and outdoor seating (plus complimentary valet-holla) but also their delicious modern Italian cuisine. We had Easter brunch at Vivace and let's just say my prosciutto Eggs Benedict did NOT disappoint. Neither did their sample of Sweet Corn Cavatappi pasta for Taste of the Nation.


I so want to remember where this next bite comes from, but I can't! If anyone knows who provided this appetizer, do tell. A jalapeno corn cake was topped with bbq and coleslaw to make an uber flavorful bite.

There were MANY more food options, but I probably ate them before I was able to take a photo, so let's move on to cocktails.

There was a specialty cocktail station as soon as you walked in the door. My favorite of the signature drinks was the Elderflower Gin made with Bombay East. I'm really not a gin gal, but the Elderflower Tea made it unforgettable...and I'm not joking...I really remember it. 

There was a variety of desserts, but my favorite were floating. Whaaaat am I talking about? Yes, they were literally on floating displays by Sterling by Design. The amazing chocolates were from Johnson and Wales.They were so amazing that I put a bunch in my purse to take home for Mr. Fo. 
Man I'm classy...

I attended this event with my fab bride and groom turned friends, Mark and Allyson. You can see their lovely nuptials HERE. You know it's a good time when there's a photo booth involved.

So was this a fun night or what?! Mini food bites and cocktails of all kind? I'll take that as my Wednesday night activity every week thank you very much! I'll be back this week with a recap of the weekend wedding I coordinated, but in the meantime, here's a preview pic:

Happy Tuesday!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

2013 Wedding Trends

So I was flipping through the Interweb and I came across a Huff Post article about 2013 Wedding Trends. Huff Post has the most delectable online gems, doesn't it? Anywho, while I probably should have posted this article back in January 2013 instead of April (HOW is it April, btw), it's never too late, right? 

Here are some Wedding Trends for 2013...do you think they've come true so far?

Eye-Popping Cakes

 like this colorful beauty featured in the article. Hubba Hubba - yes, I'm "hubba-hubba-ing" about a cake. This simply screams SPRING! 

Here are a few other fantastically WOW cakes!

Holy texture...this cake is not messing around in its complexity!

Tea time? This cake is not exactly a wedding cake - but can you even believe it's a cake at all? This is actually by one of my favorite Charlotte wedding cakers, Wow Factor Cakes. Wow is right! 

Neutral Colors

Depending on the venue, I think neutral colors can look great for an event or wedding. The natural look  works especially well with off white and blush colors.

I love the nail color in the inspiration board below. And the back of the dress...and her hair...pretty much everything. 

You'd think the term "Sparkly Neutral" would be an oxymoron, 
but this beige sparkle linen begs to differ. 

A Return to Formality

I love a fun rustic wedding as much as the next guy, but man is there something special about a suped up formal black-tie affair. The glitz, the glamour, the food...it's straight out of Gatsby I tell you.

Holy elegance....this draping...those chandeliers...you had me at hello.

I'm going to let you drool over this spectacular black-tie wedding for a few photos. Check out her amazing wedding dress and the gorgeous gold table settings. I die.

Green Weddings...and I'm not referring to the color

So like most everything else these days, weddings have gone environmentally friendly. (In full disclosure I'm not the greenest person myself and I'm frankly not a fan of the green peer pressure I sometimes feel. Sometimes it's not feasible to 100% recycle or ride a bike. I'm just saying. You know you agree.)

This is cute...although I have a black thumb and would most definitely kill this tree seedling if someone gave it to me as a wedding favor. But still, cute. 

You can also be green by serving local ingredients. I believe that reduces the "carbon footprint" or something of the sort? Can you tell I'm not too familiar with the lingo? I am familiar with local food and I will tell you that lettuce from the farmers market tastes so much better than the bagged stuff that's traveled to your grocery store from Timbuktu. That's the truth yo. 

So what did you think about some of these trends? Have they come true so far this year?

In other random news, I recently read this great article called: "Stop Instagramming Your Perfect Life." For those of you not familiar with Instagram (i.e. my mom), it's just another social media outlet where you can post photos of your daily life. I happen to really love it...it's less ridiculous than Facebook. That said, the whole social media world is simply out of control and frankly can really make you look at your own life with slight disdain, which just sucks. Nobody is on a beach all the time, nobody is at a fabulous event every evening and no one runs 10 miles every day of the week. (I mean, maybe these things are true for some people, but they're rare.) My point is, everyones got messy parts of their life but no one wants to show them! So to combat this, here's my latest Instagram photo:

So this was my sink that I came home to one day from the delicious shrimp scampi I'd made the night before. Yup, the night before. The dishwasher was in full wash mode
so we couldn't put dishes in there. I mean, I could have hand washed these dishes.. but I was like
 whatevs, I'm going to bed. Mr. Fo could have done the dishes when he worked from home that day, but he's allergic to doing the dishes (must be a husband thing). But I'm not going to be all naggy wife about dishes...I only nag about important things. Like where we go out to dinner.
 So the next day I took a picture of it and posted it for the world (aka my Instagram followers) to see. And it was awesome. Because if your biggest worry in the day is a sink full of dirty dishes, it's probably been a pretty good day.
As far as the shrimp scampi goes, well...... I swear, white wine, butter and lemon sauce might just solve the world problems.

 Point being - people aren't perfect! I've never claimed to be. Perfection is boring. Being messy and slightly crazy is where its at. Don't you agree?! 

Three cheers to your perfectly imperfect life my friends!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Easy, Beautiful Appetizers!

If you're like me, you love having friends over for food and wine and chatter. But you also want easy to prepare food that looks beautiful and is easy to prepare ahead of time so you can spend time learning the latest gossip ("she did whaaaat?!") vs. barefoot in the kitchen straining to hear conversation over the oven timer. 

I've gathered some super simple appetizers that you can prepare ahead of time that will make you the ultimate hostess with the mostess. 

These watermelon and feta cubes are perfectly refreshing for spring and summer!

How about making some spring flowers? These cheese stuffed tomatoes are really blooming :)

These Greek salad skewers are much easier to pop in your mouth than a regular salad.

This avocado and salmon stack is pretty to look at and it has avocado so you know it will be a crowd pleaser!

I simply adore these prosciutto and melon apps. The prosciutto looks like a flower!

Strawberry, brie and honey make for the perfect crostini combination. 

Maybe you're hosting a brunch - make these French toast and fruit skewers for a twist on the typical breakfast. YUM. 

These easy dessert parfaits is uber healthy therefore leaving room for more wine...(at least that's how my brain works)

And finally, you simply can't go wrong with a cheese plate. I'm pulling this one from a dinner party I did last summer to celebrate my best friends 30th birthday - you can see the whole party HERE. Our friend Hillary prepared a simple cheese plate using the popular slate and chalkboard look.

So don't stress about having your friends over - just plan ahead. And while you're at it, on a completely unrelated note, be sure you listen to Justin Timberlakes new album,  especially the song Mirrors. 
It's totes my jam right now. 

Happy entertaining!