My entertaining style is all about creating a beautiful and thoughtful event but all while keeping things as simple as possible. When I was in middle school, I was addicted to two day time TV shows (I used to record them on VHS every day to watch them when I got home. Sad? Maybe. But totally true). They were Martha Stewart and Semi Homemade with Sandra Lee. Martha was all about details and making things perfect and pretty, while Sandra was all about starting with store bought and elevating it a little to make it impressive and “your own.” My style is definitely a combo of these! So, if you’re looking for pretty (but simple) engagement party ideas, this post is for you! The four parts to the perfect engagement party are: Desserts, appetizers, a themed cocktail, and a couple of thoughtful details. Desserts When it comes to creating beautiful desserts for any party, my secret is to start with store bought. Yep, head to the grocery store or local bakery. You can then dress up these pre-packaged good and re-plate them and no one will know the difference. Plus, you’ll save yourself time and stress if baking isn’t your thing. I picked up this chocolate cake and these eclairs from my local grocery store. Then, I simply put them on a serving platter and added some fresh flowers (also from the grocery store). These blooms are not edible so you would just remove them before eating. If you’e worried about it, you can always pick up some edible flowers. I made this “congrats” cake topper using my new Cricut Explorer Air Machine which totally dressed up the cake. It only took a few minutes to make this vinyl decal that I added to a piece of crafting wood I had. I loved how it turned out! Don’t the desserts look pretty? And there was no baking required! Appetizers Another engagement party idea I love is to serve one appetizer that guests can eat while holding a cocktail. If you want to serve two to offer variety, go for it. But don’t do more than that. This simple appetizer took me a few minutes to put together but looked gorgeous on a plate. Just skewer: watermelon, basil, feta cheese, and a blackberry. Such a unique flavor combo! Themed Cocktail Every great party needs a themed cocktail. I created this “love punch” which would be so fun at an engagement party. The grapefruit gave it the perfect peachy-pink color which was so pretty. I think I’m in love with this grapefruit cocktail actually. (Grab the recipe, here.) Isn’t just so perfect? And it tasted delicious! Thoughtful Details Like the cake topper above, I used my Cricut machine to make a couple more thoughtful details for the party. I made these vinyl heart decals for my punch glasses, and also a decal that said “love punch” that I added to a acrylic sign holder which I placed next to the punch bowl. The glasses might be my favorite element! You can let guests take them home as a party favor. Or, if you want to keep them, remove the decal before washing. They come off very easily and leave no residue on your glass. I also love how the white heart pops from the color of the punch when the glasses are filled. If you’re looking for engagement party ideas that look great but won’t cost a fortune (or require you to turn into Martha Stewart), these ideas are perfect. Start with store bought, dress things up, and add a few details, and you’re ready to entertain! Be sure to check back next week, I’ll show you how to create these thoughtful details. I’ll show you the step-by-step one how I used my Cricut to make the vinyl decals.You can also browse the Cricut Design Space–there are so many great projects to make!
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I recently shared part one of my oldest daughter’s sweet sixteen succulent party theme and I’m back to share more of the pretty details! This party really reflected her personal style which is laid back and outdoorsy. This boho themed party incorporated her love of sunset colors and succulents. I especially love how all the desserts turned out! I worked with some seriously talented dessert pros and they nailed it.
This was the dessert table that I set up in our outdoor tent area. Here’s what it looked like from the outside.
The color palette was a play off of Taylor’s love for desert sunsets. Personally, I feel like the colors really brought this boho dessert table together.
The handmade sign above the table read “oh how sweet sixteen.”
Let’s start with this cake. Because, WOW. It was a “semi-naked” cake because she loved the look of a naked cake but also really enjoys eating the icing. :) I can’t blame her! The color was a sunset-y peach color and it was adorned with real succulents.
The topper was laser cut from wood and added such a nice finishing touch to the cake. (The flavor was snickerdoodle and it was delicious!).
The cake was really a show stopper.
The cupcakes were topped with the most creative fondant toppers. They looked just like mini succulents! There were also some flat toppers with boho-inspired patterns on them. No one could believe they were edible. (You might remember the cute toppers we had at my London’s 5th birthday breakfast party? Same talented source, more on that below.) (more…)
Looking for something fun and festive to serve at your holiday gathering? This holiday dessert pizza is just the thing – trust me!
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.
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 ;).
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.
Look at that flaky crust and smooth frosting. This will seriously please holiday guests of any age!
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.
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?
It’s really no secret around my house that I love coffee. Morning, afternoon, evening … I can’t resist a delicious, steamy mug.
I recently shared how the Mr. and I are taking back our weekends (or at least Saturday mornings) by having our own standing coffee date. And while that plan is still going strong, I, of course, find several other times throughout the week to enjoy some me-time with a little coffee break.
The new Starbucks® Caffé Latte K-Cup® pods have really become my new favorite thing. They taste so delicious that I find myself looking for moments throughout the day to brew a cup and just take a break. Perhaps we should all do more of that–step away from work and take a moment to just reflect and hit the pause button.
Over the weekend, I made these chocolate spoons (with sprinkles of course) with my girls. They love to use them to stir their hot cocoa, and I’ve discovered they are the perfect addition to my afternoon coffee. What says “perk me up” better than coffee and chocolate?
To make the chocolate spoons, you simply dip a spoon into melted chocolate and then top with some sprinkles. Once they set (about 15 minutes on the counter) you can store them in an airtight container to use during the week. When you’re ready, just stir it in your Caffè Latte and enjoy!
Stir, Sip, Enjoy. Signature Starbucks® latte flavors, now available in a K-Cup®
Fall, schmall. It might be mid September but here in So Cal it’s 97 degrees. And honestly, even if it was cooler, I believe ice cream is a year-round treat. Are you with me?
I’m always looking for simple ways to add a fun touch to things and that’s how I came up with these easy ice cream cone wrappers. In under 5 minutes you can transform an ordinary ice cream cone into a unique one! All you need to do is print them, cut them out, and wrap them around the cone. Simple :) They would also be fun if you’re hosting an ice cream party! (more…)
About three months ago, I completely revamped my eating habits and daily diet. The truth is, I was eating out way too often and finding myself grabbing whatever was on hand from the fridge or in the pantry when hunger would strike (which often wasn’t a very healthy choice). One of the biggest changes I made that has helped me eat much healthier is to prepare meals and snacks on the weekend for the upcoming week. If this sounds familiar and you want to eat out less, eat in more, and feel healthier overall, I encourage you to check out The Great American Cook In Challenge (don’t worry there are lots of tips and recipes to make it simple!).
I’m eating in a lot and I never skip breakfast anymore. It really is the most important meal of the day (duh, I was totally ignoring that little fact).This recipe is much healthier and much more delicious than grabbing a pastry at the coffee shop or running through a drive-through on the way to work. Trust me!
In fact, it’s almost too delicious to call breakfast. Which is great because it makes a great snack any time of the day. The ingredients (see them below in the recipe) are easy to keep stocked. Having versatile staple ingredients on hand in the kitchen is really the best tip I have for becoming better at eating in. (more…)