A Sweet Sixteen Succulent Party Theme

I’m finally sharing pics from the recent Sweet Sixteen party I planned for my oldest daughter, Taylor. If you’ve been a reader for a while, you may remember her 9th Sweet Shoppe party, her 10th Zebra party, 11th Baking and Craft party–to name a few! Sixteen is BIG and I wanted to make sure the party reflected her personal style. It was desert meets succulent party theme. She picked everything, from the colors (peach and cornflower blue), to the theme (succulents), to the patterns we used throughout. It was a nice experience working with her to make the vision come to life. I also kept thinking, wow, I’m so lucky she has great style (because I LOVED her ideas)!  :)

succulent party theme :: succulent invitation with boho pattern

An invitation always sets the stage for a party and I was thrilled how this turned out. I designed them myself and printed them on high-quality paper. The succulents were incorporated on the front and we chose a peach and cornflower blue boho pattern for the back. I also designed coordinating stamps and thank you cards.

setting up a succulent party theme

The guest list was pretty large since we included both family and her friends. We knew our home wasn’t big enough to host everyone inside, and since it was mid December with temps in the 50’s, we knew outside would be too chilly. We opted for renting a 20×30 tent for our backyard and it worked out better than imagined. It had a heater inside which made it completely toasty (it could get up to 75 degrees!). I loved the  clear plastic vs the traditional all-white because it gave the space a nice indoor-outdoor feel. We had market lights strung inside which lit the space at night. It looked amazing! Let’s go inside to look at some of the details, shall we?

succulent party theme - wooden signs

There were three hand-painted wooden signs throughout the party: above the dessert table, next to the favors, and at the entrance. I picked up the wood from Lowe’s and gave it a quick stain. Then, I used water based Sharpie paint pens to write on them. (more…)

Work It :: Update these 6 things now, thank yourself later

It’s been awhile since I just chatted here, so a big wave hello to you all. The New Year always seems to be the time we all feel pressured to get our act together (or, is it just me?) and that can feel a tad overwhelming in my opinion. Fitness, health, career, organizing, relationships–I mean can’t a girl enjoy a glass of wine and some first-of-the-year calmness? Anyway, I tend to avoid major resolutions and putting a bunch of pressure on myself. BUT, I do pick 1-2 areas and get things “in order” a bit. On the personal side of things, I chose to revamp my diet by kicking off another Whole30 (see how I also didn’t make some crazy fitness goal? Baby steps people). On the professional side, I decided to use January to get “it” together a bit in the administrative area. I posted about this on Instagram and got such a great response that I thought I would elaborate a bit here.

Prepare yourself for success with these tips for bloggers. 6 things you can do now that will help your blog and small business later.

I’m going to share six tips for bloggers and small business owners that I think are simple to do but can really be game-changers. As a blogger and small business owner it’s extremely important that you’re able to respond to opportunities quickly. Whether its’s an email that comes your way, a potential client reaching out via social media, a last minute networking event, or an unexpected piece of press. I realized that when these things came my way, I was often scrambling to reply because there were things I didn’t have together. For example, I would need to update my media kit, or my bio was out of date, or darn it … I had run out of business cards (again). So, this month I decided to pick a few things to “get together” so that when opportunities came my way, I was ready for them. And, it actually already paid off! Two cool things came my way unexpected last week and I was in a great position to respond quickly–without stressing out and stopping what I was doing to update things. Woo hoo! (more…)

3 Unique New Year’s Eve Cocktails

Looking for fun and festive New Year’s Eve Cocktails? If so, you’re in luck. Although I do love to serve a nice bottle of champagne (or two) on New Year’s Eve, I also like to mix things up a bit by offering guests a unique cocktail that they might not have tried before. These three recipes are simple to make and fit the bill for the perfect New Year’s Eve Cocktail. Grab these few ingredients ahead of time and you’ll be ready to play bartender!

New Year's Eve Cocktails

First up, a Spicy Tomato Martini that will be perfect to serve anyone who is a fan of martinis or Bloody Marys. (I happen to love both!) It’s crisp and flavorful and really an interesting vodka cocktail to serve. Be sure to grab vodka, Clamato Juice, and Tabasco.

Next we have another vodka option, a Cranberry and Rosemary Cocktail (which you can serve as a mini holiday martini version as well). Mini martinis are fun to serve before dinner or as a dessert drink. Pick up cranberry juice, vodka, and fresh rosemary and cranberries for this one.

Third, we have a twist on the traditional mimosa with this Tangerine and Thyme Mimosa (which became my favorite this season). The tangerine lemonade gives it just enough familiar citrus flavor but a lot lighter than typical OJ. And the thyme makes it just so interesting. Grab Tropicana® Tangerine Lemonade, champagne, sprigs of thyme, and tangerine slices for garnish.

What will you be sipping on this New Year’s Eve? Will you make any of these New Year’s Eve Cocktails? If you do, be sure to tag @HostessTori and #TSCocktails on Instagram!

You might also want to whip up these olive cheese bread bites for appetizers or this lemon rosemary cake for dessert. 

3 Simple Leftover Ham Recipes

Tracking PixelThis is a sponsored post, of course all thoughts are my own. 

I have a confession: I absolutely love that after Christmas dinner we always have a ton of leftovers. Why? Well, because for the next few days I tend to stay in my sweats, binge-watch holiday movies, and avoid going to the market at all costs. I’ve come to realize that with a little leftover planning and prep, I can set myself up for delicious meals in the post-Christmas craze. Here are three leftover ham recipes that I plan to serve up next week. Don’t they look delicious?

leftover ham recipes

Ham and Brie Strawberry Sliders These are going to be a hit with the family for sure! Sliders are always fun to serve and the combo of melty brie and ham. I’m drooling already.

Scalloped Root Vegetables with Ham and Crispy Fried Onions This dish looks gorgeous and it would be such an interesting meal. I’m pretty excited about this one. In fact, it would make a great dish to serve on Christmas.

Ham and Brie Crostini with Fig Jam Because everything is better with brie. And these would be perfect if you have company coming over. Fig jam sounds fancy (even though it’s totally not) so you’ll look like an awesome hostess.

I’ve also made this Brazilian-inspired Ham Monte Cristo before which is a great way to put your Smithfield ham to use.

ham

Smithfield want to inspire you to put those leftovers to good use and they are sharing many inspiring recipes so you can whip up crowd-pleasing dishes. I’m making the three above, be sure to pick a couple and grab your ingredients ahead of time so you aren’t running to the market (well, unless you’re into that sorta thing).

If you weren’t planning on make a ham this holiday you might want to reconsider. I mean, did you see those leftover recipes?! No holiday table is complete without a Smithfield Signature Spiral Sliced Ham. A lot of people don’t realize how easy ham is to prepare – you just pop it in the oven at 275 degrees for about 10 – 12 minutes per pound, then evenly brush on the tasty glaze and you’re done. You seriously cannot mess it up–so simple!

And don’t forget about setting up your own Smithfield Bacon Bar!

This is a sponsored post in collaboration with Smithfield. All thoughts are my own.

 

Holiday Candy Dessert Pizza

Looking for something fun and festive to serve at your holiday gathering? This holiday dessert pizza is just the thing – trust me!

dessert pizza

I don’t know about you, but I love holiday baking! I’m a big fan of the traditional sweets like Christmas cookies, gingerbread, and cinnamon rolls. But I also love to come up with new creative holiday dessert recipes, especially for entertaining. That’s how this new recipe came about. I was dreaming up a fun and colorful dessert for a kids’ holiday gathering and it hit me: DESSERT PIZZA. I mean, it’s like pizza (who doesn’t love pizza?!) but it’s sweet… and covered in candy. I knew I had to bring it to life. So I started planning. I knew my “pizza” needed three (very important) components: the crust, the icing, and the toppings.

Dessert Pizza

This dessert pizza needed a great foundation and that’s exactly what this pie crust is. The key ingredient in this delicious crust is Crisco®! I love Crisco® All-Vegetable Shortening in my pie crust recipes because it delivers higher, lighter-textured, moist and tender baked goods (recipe below). And if you’ve never made pie crust before, please do not be intimidated. It’s actually really simple and doesn’t take long at all! The crust was so tender and flaky you’ll want to make it for every pie and pizza this holiday season ;).

dessert pizza recipe

After I baked the crust, I let it cool completely while I whipped up the frosting for our dessert pizza. I also used Crisco® in my frosting. The shortening acts as an emulsifier, creating a fluffy, creamy frosting which was perfect to spread over my crust. (Just make sure your crust is cooled before you spread on the frosting). I used this frosting recipe.

Dessert Pizza

Look at that flaky crust and smooth frosting. This will seriously please holiday guests of any age!

christmas dessert pizza

And of course, that third component is an important one–the toppings. For our holiday dessert pizza it had to be bright holiday candy of course! My daughter and I went to the bulk section of our market and selected a variety of holiday candy. You know, a little of this, a lot of that.

holiday dessert pizza

I cut our dessert pizza into slices and the kids grabbed a piece (which they did after careful evaluation of candy toppings of course). This was such a fun recipe to make but even more fun to watch the kids enjoy it. I have to say: I think it is a holiday recipe hit! What do you think? Will you make your own dessert pizza this year?

Holiday Dessert Pizza Crust
 
Ingredients
  • ¾ cup Crisco® All-Vegetable Shortening, chilled
  • 2¼ cups flour
  • ½ cup cold water

To Make
  1. In a large bowl, cut shortening and flour together. I use a pastry blender, but using two forks works! Combine until it looks like small pebbles.
  2. Add the cold water and stir until it combines into a mound. If it seems you need more water, you can add cold water, a teaspoon at a time.
  3. Place dough in between two pieces of floured plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for about 20 minutes.
  4. Roll it out to form your “pizza crust” and poke a few holes in it with a fork so it doesn’t puff up while baking.
  5. Bake at 350° oven for 10-20 minutes, or until the crust is cooked through and starting to turn slightly golden.
  6. Cool before frosting.

Find more great Crisco® recipes on Facebook and Pinterest.

Be sure to visit the Crisco Brand Page on sheknowsmedia.com where you can read other bloggers’ posts!

Simple Bacon Appetizer Ideas + WIN Bacon for a YEAR!

Tracking PixelThis is a sponsored post, of course all thoughts are my own. 

It’s that time of year again, when we all have to plan what to serve guests, bring to a potluck, or prepare for our holiday entertaining. I don’t know about you, but sometimes it’s frustrating trying to come up with something new and delicious. Well friends, I bet it’s safe to say you haven’t thought of this one yet. If you’re looking for a new party food idea that is  delicious, creative, and simple to make … you’re in luck.

Today I’m sharing easy bacon appetizers and party food ideas! You in? Okay, get ready to recreate at home – a “Bacon Bar!” (Plus I’m giving one of YOU bacon for a year! More at the end….)

easy bacon appetizers

Who doesn’t love bacon? The Smithfield Bacon Bar makes bacon the star and if a fun twist on typical party food. You can mix things up with different Smithfield bacon varieties like Peppered Brown Sugar, Sea Salt Caramel (Yes, FOR REAL), and Caramelized Bourbon Bacon. Talk about your food becoming a conversation starter. YUM.

easy bacon appetizers

There are so many ways to set up your bacon bar and it will work any time of day. Serve some warm flakey biscuits and set out some bacon jam guests can spread on top (YUM), add it to a Bloody Mary (best cocktail garnish EVER), use as topping on you’re favorite side dish–really you can get creative. Seriously, are you drooling yet? You’re guests are going to LOVE the unique flavors!

easy bacon appetizers dip

This bacon also really elevates any traditional dip recipe you might be serving. Here, this cheese dip became instantly upgraded when I added bacon crumbles to it!

bacon appetizers

Or, you can just eat the crumbles because……bacon.

I also like the idea of serving a flight of bacon with all of the different flavors guests can sample. Then have them vote on their favorite! Be sure to label each one and give guests paper and pencil so they can cast their vote.

make easy bacon appetizers

Visit Smithfield.com/BaconBar for free printable labels, décor ideas, and recipe inspiration to give your Bacon Bar a personal touch and let guests know what each flavor is.

One appetizer I’m making this season is definitely going to be these Crispy Bacon Twists with Gouda and Apricot Preserves. Don’t these look delicious?

My head is pretty much on overdrive thinking of all the ways to set up a bacon bar. I’m pretty sure we could set this up for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert and guests would love it. What do you think? You better start planning because I have an amazing giveaway for you! 

*I’m giving one lucky reader Smithfield Bacon for a YEAR!  Want to win this tasty prize? Check out Smithfield.com/BaconBar and browse  the different easy bacon appetizers and recipes, come back here and comment telling me your favorite Bacon Bar recipe in the comment section.

**UPDATE: Winner selected, congrats to Clarissa!

I’ll pick one winner and they will receive a coupon booklet for free bacon for an entire year. Giveaway closes 12-14-2016.

This is a sponsored post in collaboration with Smithfield. All thoughts are my own.

Comment below and enter to win bacon for a year! 

Need more bacon in your life? I’ve got you covered with these bacon fries and this bacon beer cheese dip. Enjoy!

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