Tuesday, October 29, 2013

No-Cook Appetizers

If you follow me on other Social Media channels, you may have noticed that I've been contributing posts to the fabulous Bon Bon Rose Girls blog. Since Bon Bon Rose was one of my very first reads when I got into the blog world 4 long years ago, I am obviously thrilled to be a contributor. My first post was all about the Bubbly and my second was about easy-to-assemble No Cook Appetizers. Here are a few of the photos taken by my friend, the talented Kristen LeQuire. Check out her site HERE - her food photos will make you drool! 

And be sure to check out my full Bon Bon Rose posts with recipes and details Here and Here!

All this talk about no-cook apps got me looking for more, and I came up with some goodies. Honestly, anyone can assemble a few pre-made items and look like an entertaining pro! Believe me, I do it all the time ;) I'm a big fan of cooking (obvi) but girl sometimes you just gotsta hit up the pre-made section of your g-store. That's grocery store, and I felt like being gangster there for a second (why, I don't know...slaphappy from a full day) 

This Smoked Salmon app not only looks pretty it tastes great! I mean, I assume it tastes great because I heart smoked salmon.

As an Italian, I can't pass up on a good antipasti tray. Just make it look pretty - no cooking involved!

From Italy to Texas, yes, I'm switching gears...Have you ever had Texas Caviar? It's an fresh salsa made with black eyed peas and a bunch of other goodness that I dare call healthy. Serve with those scoop-y tortilla chips. If you're in the South, Harris Teeter makes a GREAT pre-made Texas Caviar. 
Plus the name can't be beat. 

These Pesto Turkey Pinwheels look delicious don't they? And you can find pesto already made in the grocery store, so it's easy as can be to assemble these hearty pinwheels.

As far as no-bake desserts go, I'm a big fan of just opening up a bag of dark chocolate chips and going to town, but since that won't really work for a party, I like no-bake mini cheesecakes. 

Go for one with a fruity topping:

Or a Smores topping. Because really, who doesn't like smores?

There's plenty more where that came from, so dig around on the world wide web and you'll find easy apps until your hearts content. I've got a wedding this weekend so this will probably be my last post of the week as I get ready for Liz and Derek's Charlotte Trolley festivities! 
Cheers to the happy couple!

Happy Entertaining! 

Friday, October 25, 2013

Here's to 5 years!

Five years ago today I got married. For some reason the number "5" seems like a big deal to me! I know it's not 25, or 45, or even 10, but it's a good solid number that makes us not newlyweds anymore. 

And that's okay. 

We've been through tough stuff, both changed careers, taken amazing vacations, laughed our asses off, gained some "happy" weight (no one tells you about the Marriage weight gain) and are still happy to be on the same couch together at the end of the day. We've answered the question about "having kids" a million and one times, and no, we're still not ready. But closer? Maybe? In like a year or two (and I've been saying that for about 3 years). We've discovered that I'm a pretty good cook (see above weight gain), he's still can make me laugh and he's way good at surprises (see Dominican Republic). He's got my back and I've got his. Seriously - don't mess with him or I'll find you.

Stu/Stuart/James/Mr. Fo, whatever people choose to call you - you're my best friend, and even when you pretend to not know how to use the coffee maker so I have to make my own coffee (grrrrr) I still love you beyond words. 

Here's to many more wonderful "5 years". 

Photo by Christopher Record (you can see more of his fabulous work at another blog post I did that also has a crazy wedding story if you're interested)

Wednesday, October 23, 2013


Well hello there! I hope that your week has gotten off to an excellent start. Not to brag or anything but mine started off smashingly with a quick jaunt to one of my favorite places - Charleston, SC. I was able to tag along on Mr. Fo's work trip and we made a mini vacay out of it because this week is our 5-year wedding anniversary. To celebrate we were able to get a reservation at Husk, a hot-spot restaurant in Charleston. If you don't know, Charleston is not only a city filled with history and beautiful scenery, it's a major food city. Husk is about three years old and has received many, many national accolades. In fact, in 2011 Bon Appetit magazine named it the best new restaurant in America. Not too shabby! Last time we ate at the bar at Husk which was also great. You can read about our hilarious time HERE.

Now that we had the full Husk experience, I can say it is totally worth the hype. Seriously. Make your reservation and go to Husk to be completely wowed. Everything is impressive at Husk, from the menu to the dish ware. The menu changes daily and uses food from local farms. 

I thought I considered myself a foodie but the menu at Husk had a few (read: a lot) items I had never heard of before. I played it cool though, don't worry...I only asked the waitress like 6 questions.

I'd heard a lot about the fried pig ears lettuce wrap appetizers, so I knew we'd get those. Mr. Fo was a little uneasy about the pig ears because, well, it's pig ears. But we went for it and OMG they were amazeballs. Combined with fresh veggies, spicy sauce and nestled in big beautiful lettuce, they were absolutely delicious! You can read more about them HERE

Benne Buttermilk Rolls were brought to the table and Mr. Fo and I went through 2 baskets of them. Whoops. A benne is like a southern sesame seed.  The rolls were served with the creamiest honey butter I'd ever had. Mr. Fo and I had read a lot of Husk accolades, including one article that kept referring to various menu items as "The most influential ____ of the year." So Mr. Fo said this was the most "influential" bread of the decade. He also continued to use this terminology about everything. Read: "This is the most influential water I've ever had. This is the most influential napkin I've ever seen." Oh, Mr. Fo. 

Another impressive thing about Husk is the cocktail menu. In addition to unusual cocktails, Husk is known for it's over 50 choices of bourbon. Overwhelming much? Mr. Fo decided to get a flight of bourbon which obviously came with a side of shaved ham. Man that ham was good. Being that Mr. Fo and I are probably too unsophisticated for Husk, we were sort of like, should we be dipping the ham in the bourbon? Is there a process for this ham/bourbon situation? In the end we just ate the ham and enjoyed it. Mr. Fo doesn't normally drink bourbon straight (although I think it's one of his life goals to do so) so he may or may not have diluted the bourbon with ice cubes in a super stealth way. God we're classy. In his defense I just smelled it and it immediately cleared up my sinuses, so this was some hard core liquor. 

Since I'm apparently selfish, I only took a photo of my entree. Mr. Fo had the flat iron steak which was excellent. I think I won with my crispy duck breast, which was out of this world. It's probably the only time I'll have pig ears and duck in the same meal. The duck skin was crispy and flavorful and the meat was tender and delicious. Loved it! 

For dessert, we had an apple crisp that was out of this world. Most definitely the best fruit crisp/crumb I've ever had. 

If you have a chance to go to this restaurant, I highly recommend it. Save your pennies so you can experience the whole meal - cocktail, apps, entree and dessert. I also really loved that the portions were quite large. Sometimes you go to an expensive restaurant and the portions are teeny tiny, and this is not the case at Husk. We were in a definite food coma post-Husk, but it was completely worth it.

I don't want to ignore another great meal we had that day. We ate brunch at 82 Queen, just down the road from Husk. Maybe its just because I was really hungry because we had driven in fom Charlotte and I didn't have breakfast, but they were some of THE best biscuits I'd ever had. Mr. Fo said you don't get to eat breakfast when you are having brunch, but I disagree. He's so judgmental.

In the meantime, it was a little cold for Charleston and you can tell that the residents and tourists were confused on what to wear. I include myself in this mix. One day I wore flip flops and the next day I wore boots. It was a real condundrum.

 That said I was able to go for runs along the Battery both mornings and the view as always was spectacular. Running in Charleston is a joy because there's always something beautiful to look at. I bet if I lived there I'd be a marathoner. (Haha, that's funny.)

While Mr. Fo worked, I occupied myself by wandering around the market, shopping and lunching. Charleston is the absolute best place to aimlessly wander. There are beautiful homes with courtyards and front porches and endless little nooks and crannies to explore.

In my next life I want to become a lady who lunches in Charleston. Is this too much to ask? I practiced this at Eli's Table (see photo below), another wonderful restaurant I highly recommend. After going on and on about how fun it was to wander aimlessly in Charleston, shopping and eating and drinking wine, Mr. Fo told me it was time for me to go back to work. Meanie face.

Oh Charleston, I miss you already!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Preppy Pink and Navy: Late Summer Wedding of Amanda and Collin!

On this seemingly super long Monday, I'm excited to share Amanda and Collin's professional wedding photos from the super talented and fun Smitten Photography by Sharon Clark. I posted about this wedding back in August with my iPhone photos, and I promise you that these are just a little bit better than those! Amanda and Collin's preppy and clean pink and navy wedding will almost have you yearning for summer again! Sharon's photos really capture how sweet this couple is and also what a beautiful couple they make! Sit back and enjoy!

(Full vendor list with links at the bottom)

Amanda's dress was absolutely gorgeous and she looked stunning! Collin and his groomsmen looked great too, I loved the gray suits. 

Does she not look like a model here? 

This black and white photo is dreamy.

The beautiful pink and white flowers were from Pink Petunia. They did a great job. I loved the alternating arrangements on each table. The head table was my favorite with the mercury votives!

The tables were simple with white cloths, navy napkins and the pink and white flowers.

To jazz up the napkins, I tied them with hand made tags and pink and white twine. It took awhile to create but I LOVED the results!  

Roof with a View was a perfect venue for the couple!

Love the bridal party photos! 

Sangria was the signature cocktail complete with pink and white striped straws!

The stunning cake from Wow Factor Cakes was amazing and tasted even better! (Perk of the job - free wedding cake!) 

For another sweet treat, guests were treated to gourmet popsicles from King of Pops. The perfect cool treat!

The photographers were able to get amazing sunset photos of the happy couple from the roof. These are simply golden - no pun intended! 

This veil pic is my favorite of all of them. I think it's so unique and shows off her gorgeous veil!

Amanda and Collin did their getaway through pink and white ribbon wands we got from Etsy.

I wish Amanda and Collin a lifetime of happiness but they don't need my well wishes! They're well on their way! For more beautiful photos of the evening, you can check out Sharon's blog. 

Vendor List:

Photographer: Smitten Photography
Reception venue: Roof with a View
Flowers: Pink Petunia
Caterer: Waiters Choice
Popsicles: King of Pops

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Harvest Party Ideas

There are SO many things I love about the fall. In fact, I think I'll just make a list because I love lists. 

1. Pumpkin stuff is number one, hands down. 
2. Boot weather
3. Cozy food
4. Football watching
5. Red wine weather
6. Our anniversary (5 years this year!!)
7. My birthday (on Thanksgiving this year!)
8. Crockpot soups, stews and chilli

....and many, many more reasons. It's really the most wonderful time of the year, dare I say. 

To celebrate the amazing weather and the fruits of fall, my sister-in-law and a friend and I (probably terrible grammar) are hosting a Harvest Party. What is a Harvest Party you ask? I don't know. It's just a fancy term for a party held in the fall. Picture pumpkins, cider and hay bales. I'm been obsessively researching Harvest Party ideas and here is some of the inspiration I've found! 

I love how this wagon welcomes guests with a handwritten pumpkin and other gourds. I also love the word "gourds." So weird. 

If we were doing a sit-down dinner, I would copy this exactly. It's so freaking cute! I'm sure it's a pain in the arse to cut out these little pumpkin vases but it's totes worth it. 

I love the way these forks are displayed...the candy corn? Love! And I love candy corn. Who doesn't. I mean, sometimes I eat so much it makes me sick but whatevs.

This is a perfect, simple centerpiece for a fall-themed gathering. Throw a few pumpkins around and voila - you're done! 

Here are those gourds again. I don't know if I've ever seen those green colored pumpkins, but they sure are gorgeous! I love the whole tables cape, it's absolutely perfect.

These little mini desserts in mason jars are amazing and I will be doing this for our harvest party. I"m thinking some sort of pumpkin parfait with crumbly streusel? 

I love bars of any kind. The kind that you drink at of course, but also party bars - like mimosa bars, mashed potato bars, etc. This apple cider bar is perfect for a Harvest Party!

Any party I'm throwing has to have a cocktail, and this Autumn Sangria is beautiful! 

By the time our Harvest Party rolls around in late November, I'll have so many ideas...probably need to pick a few and go with it! I can't wait, sometimes I think planning the party is almost as fun as actually being at the party :) 

I hope you have a great weekend, I'm so excited (and fortunate) to be heading to a beautiful beach house with a group of friends and my favorite husband (ha) Mr. Fo. Happy Harvest! 

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Pins lately

Oh Pinterest. Land of inspiration. Land of procrastination. Land of make believe where all homes are perfect, all food is scratch-made and all weddings are dreamy and stress-free.  I have mixed feelings towards Pinterest. While I obviously love it for inspiration and collecting different photos of wedding/event themes for my various events, it's hard from a planner perspective. What do I mean? 

Well (and I'm not alone here, I've talked to fellow wedding/event colleagues who agree) sometimes my clients absolutely fall in love with an image they see on Pinterest. And why wouldn't you fall in love with a beautiful, airily lit room with perfect ceiling draping, towering flower tablescapes and a model-worthy bride and groom. What sucks is when a client falls in love with an image and I have to say: "That image costs 4 million dollars to create in real life..". Insert tears. See what I mean? It's a real double-edged sword (if that expression makes sense here).

But I DO think if you use Pinterest as inspiration and a way to collect your favorite looks, it can be a useful (and fun) tool. I know I get lost in the Pinterest-web constantly. I have gazillions of meals I want to make, crafts I want to do and events I want to plan - all from my daily perusal of Pinterest! So don't get me wrong, I totes love it and to prove it, here's my fave pins as of late (in completely random order). 

This isn't a new idea, but it's adorable and easy. My g-store is selling mini pumpkins for 50 cents each, so it's economical as well as stylish. Don't be shy, write some names on mini pumpkins yo!

Obviously I'm in a pumpkin place right now. I mean, who isn't. Pumpkin Biscotti combines two of my great loves - pumpkin and Italian food. Donezo.

I'm pretty into pink and orange these days. They don't clash, unless clashing means they look super awesome together. I love these mini florals with the "Oh joy" flag, it's perfect for a baby shower or any happy occasion. 

This is a craft I could sign on for. Write on a mug with a gold sharpie and stick it in the oven? Guess whose getting homemade mugs for Christmas?? Everyone! But seriously, my one concern is of course about blowing up the mug in the oven - how do I know if it's an oven-proof mug? 

Speaking of worrying about silly things, this is basically my life. Anyone that knows me (even a little bit) knows I'm a hypochondriac. Web MD is not my friend, and this is HILARIOUS to me.

This sparkly cake is from my glittery, flowery dreams. Too pretty to even eat!

This recipe is Skinny Eggplant Parm. See, Pinterest is the land of make-believe - as if eggplant parm could be skinny! It does look SO good. I need to actually make this recipe instead of just staring at it on Pinterest. Side note, this recipe comes from Skinny Taste and it's a fabulous website. Check it out!

So when I first saw this photo, I thought it was cute but not practical. I mean clearly the waffle triangle is too large to dip into the syrup container, right? Until I realized that you pour the syrup on top of the waffle. Duh! Isn't this perfect for a brunch event?

Here's my land of make-believe, courtesy of Pinterest. My dream kitchen has a huge island, white cabinets and dark floors. I could do some serious damage in this kitchen. Le sigh. 

Finally, my favorite, favorite pin is Jesse from Breaking Bad, in honor of the fabulous finale this past Sunday. Anyone else think Aaron Paul is super cute? 

I hope you enjoyed my walk down Pinterest Lane. Ha! I'm also super excited because my first feature on BonBon Rose Girls blog went up today and it's all about the Bubbly! BonBon Rose was one of the very first blogs I started reading way back when. I'm hoping to be contributing to them about once a month or so. Thanks to Kristen LeQuire Photography for the beautiful photos and helping style the shoot. Here's a few preview shots, you can see the full post HERE