Friday, October 31, 2014

Circus Birthday Party

Hi and Happppppy Halloween! Hope you are doing something fun to celebrate. I'm celebrating that my latest party post for MomTrends It's a Party series turned out so darn cute! I was tasked with creating a Circus Themed first birthday party. Overall the theme was fairly simple to pull off - red and white stripes, balloons, circus animals and cotton candy pretty much sealed the deal! Add in cute kids and all the fun brands MomTrends puts together, and you've got yourself a regular party! To see more photos and scope out the brands that were featured, check out the full post HERE!

Thanks to Jim Lockman and Click for the beautiful photos !

(Take note of my niece Claire chowing down on some cake. Her focus is amazing.) 

As I mentioned, it happens to be Halloween today, in case you didn't know! Unlike most of her preschool friends who are going trick or treating as Elsa from Frozen, my little niece Brooke branched out and is dressing up like a beautiful peacock. My sister in law got this costume from Etsy, and I have to say it's gorgeous! Just as gorgeous as Brookie! 

Do you have a little Elsa in your house? Whatever you or your kids are dressing up as, have a great time, eat lots of candy and be safe! 

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

A Sparkly, Fun Etsy Shop

Sometimes the Internet can be a regular black hole, am I right? Between Pinterest, Etsy and social media, there is so much to look at and drool over. Before you know it,  a week has gone by and you're still tapping away on your laptop. (I kid, I kid...)

The other day when I was knee deep in this wondrous world wide web, I found a real gem. I'm talking about Amanda Catherine of Amanda Catherine Designs - she's a creative designer with bright, unique prints and more! If I could buy one of everything from her shop, I totes would and you'll want to too!

You can check out her Etsy shop HERE.

...and her website HERE.

So just wait and see - I'm about to brighten your day with her fun fonts and styled prints! She's got something for everyone!

This print is perfect for your preppy friend.

I like this one for a fancy friend...or even for a little girls room! 

This one is definitely a perfect match for my hubs Mr. Fo ... who always orders a double. ha. 

This one is for me. Although I would change it to Saturdays AND Sundays for me. Ha!

This heart print is precious and comes in different colors.

Amanda designs other fun goods like these mint green pencils....

...and this amazing market tote. I'm basically in love with this and wish that I could carry it around with fresh flowers and a baguette like in the picture. Even if I had no where to bring the baguette, thats how I would carry it in this bag. 

And don't even get me started on her adorable holiday collection of prints!

I hope you take a peek over at Amanda's shop because I truly think any of her items would make a perfect gift for the holidays, a birthday or just because.  Oh, and proceeds from every purchase made will go to fund Love146,  an organization dedicated to end child sex slavery and exploitation. So you're not only buying something spectacular and handmade, you're supporting a good cause. It feels good, doesn't it? 
Hope your week is off to a killer start!

I received no compensation or products for this post, I'm just sharing this fun shop because it's awesome and that's how I roll.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Chef Alyssa's Cooking Class - A Memorable Night Out!

Last week I went to my first ever cooking class and I'm happy to report it was everything I dreamed of and more! Chef Alyssa is a cute as a button chef here in Charlotte. She's relatable, knowledgeable and most importantly (in my opinion) made the class fun! Alyssa has a whole calendar of cooking classes  that cover 5 different skill levels. She makes every effort to use local, sustainable and healthy ingredients which is always appreciated. In a shocking turn of events, I went to the Italian Cooking Class...what can I say, Italian food is in my marina-laced blood. 

When we got to class there was Bruschetta with delicious cherry tomatoes and perfectly crisp bread. Mangia.

The classes are held in Atherton Mill in South End Charlotte where they have a great farmers market. It was the perfect backdrop for the evening. The tables were organized with recipe books, burners, knives, and cooking utensils, all in Alyssa's signature colors of navy and lime green. You didn't have to bring anything, just yourself and your brown bag if you choose to BYOB.  Which I did. Obv. As if I could cook Italian food sans red wine.

The ribbon-tied mason jar did not go unnoticed. Cute touch!

On the Italian Countryside Menu was Roasted Eggplant Caponata (sort of an eggplant "hash"), Pork Satimbocca, Mushroom Polenta and Almond Macaroons.

Chef Alyssa did demos of each of the dishes, going through everything step by step. Then a tray full of ingredients (pre-measured of course) were brought to our table where each of us took turns chopping, dicing and salting. Alyssa and her crew walked around to answer questions, fetch us more olive oil and just to chat. We never felt like we were on our own, there was always someone there to answer a quick question....or three.

Here's some photos of the Eggplant Caponata in progress which made a delicious side dish to the pork.

We sauteed mushrooms with fresh herbs for the Mushroom Polenta. 

The Pork Saltimbocca was my favorite dish. Pounded thin, pork cutlets were  stuffed with sage leaves and prosciutto. I plan to make this at home very soon. 

For dessert we whipped up these Almond Macaroons which were incredibly simple to make but packed a huge punch of almond flavor. Did you know there were Italian Macaroons? I sure didn't. They were excellent! 

After all that hard work of cooking and drinking wine, we went to the "dining" area for the real treat - eating our homemade dinner! Sometimes even the best restaurant can't compete with food you've made yourself...with Chef Alyssa's help of course! 

Honestly we had the absolute BEST time at Chef Alyssa's class and I plan to attend many more. This is a great gift for someone and makes a fun girls night out or date night. It's a great value as you get a full meal and a ton of cooking knowledge. We had an absolute blast. 

I attended with my Mom Mickey (how adorable is she...)..

Coincidentally, I found out that my BFF Kalle was going to the exact same class! These photos of me holding on tight to a bottle of red are pretty standard.

Here I am with the star of the show, Chef Alyssa. Told ya she was presh! 

So think about attending one of Chef Alyssa's cooking classes or giving it as a gift this holiday season. I promise your belly will be full and happy! Cheers!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Navy and Green Wedding - Liz & Adam's Early Fall Wedding!

Getting the professional photos from a wedding is like Christmas morning. No matter how many great iPhone photos there are, nothing can compare with the beautiful professional photos! I'm super excited to share Liz & Adams' photos taken by Brandywine Photography. Brandy did a wonderful job capturing all of the creative details of this navy, green and white wedding.

Full vendor list at the end of this post. Thanks to everyone who made this day a success!

Liz was an art major in school and her creativity shined throughout her entire wedding. Now this is how you do a DIY wedding!  Liz hand lettered all of the signage on chalkboards. I told her she can make and SELL these signs for my future brides! How precious is the little program attendant too!

The ladies got ready at the Westin Hotel. Here's her gorgeous dress hanging in the window.

Liz & Adam had a First Look at The Green in Uptown Charlotte. 

They found some big ole' balloons. 

And hey, look, there's the bridesmaids!

The ceremony was outdoors on the Trolley Museum patio, right in the heart of South End Charlotte. The bustling spot makes a unique outdoor space! With a wooden altar, navy and green tissue paper poms and white chairs, the ceremony was classic and colorful!

I loved the flower girls' little green baskets! 

Liz said she wanted something pink at her wedding so she chose a beautiful bouquet of pink peonies. A pop of pink is never a bad thing!

The bridal party took the light rail over to the venue and looked fab doing it!

The cupcakes were delicious (I had approximately 45) and I loved the chevron cupcake liners! 

For wedding favors, the couple gave out personalized pint glasses which I LOVED. Everyone loves some swag, am I right?

From personalized matchbooks to color coordinated paper lanterns, this reception killed it with creativity! 

Here's the couple I have NO doubt will live happily ever after! It was a pleasure to work with you both! 

Don't forget, there's still 2 more days to win the wine tasting kit giveaway from Coppertops Paperie! You can find the giveaway post HERE

Liz & Adam Wedding Vendors
Cupcakes: Brandy Haithcox