Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Our Wedding Registry Wish List

For our wedding, Ryan and I decided to forego a traditional registry, and created an Amazon wish list instead. That way we could register for all kinds of a fun things from a variety of sources. We have lots of Etsy items on our list as well as things from Modcloth, Restoration Hardware, Leif, Anthropologie, Terrain, and even the online printshop of a Swedish photographer I found through Instagram. 

Since we've been living together for four and a half years, we don't need a lot of traditional registry items, so, instead, we're asking for a few pretty odds and ends, and a lot of art.

Wedding Registry Wish List (art and decor)
01. Etsy (Banana Tree Studios), 02. Modcloth, 03. Restoration Hardware, 04. Annette Pehrsson, 05. Etsy (Clare Elsaesser, 06. Etsy (Flapper Doodle), 07. Etsy (Clare Elsaesser), 08. Etsy (Ashley Goldberg), 09. Etsy (Pretty Little Theives), 10. Etsy (Fifi Du Vie), 11. Etsy (Stone and Violet)

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Monday, November 25, 2013

Our Wedding Invitations

My Wedding Invitations - Personalized silhouette cameo with evergreen wreath and antlers

We sent our invitations a few weeks ago, and boy does that make this whole wedding thing feel real! Of everything I've done so far to prep for the wedding, this moment feels the biggest.

The design of the invitation suite was very important to me. After all, the invite is the first introduction to your wedding style that guests see. It's also the only thing a lot of people will file away in their keepsakes.

I wanted the design to feel really personal, and I think the custom cameo does that well. Kristen of Five Dot Design created the suite after an extensive conversation about what I had in mind and a few revisions based on my very specific (and sometimes nitpicky notes). She did an incredible job, and I would recommend her to anyone. I'm really excited to see what she does with the rest of our stationery (programs, menus, and place cards).

My Wedding Invitations - Personalized silhouette cameo with evergreen wreath and antlers

Kristen thought it was really romantic that we were getting married on our fifth anniversary, and she had the idea to incorporate the number five into the design in subtle ways. Each antler has five points, and the silver thread is wrapped around each suite five times. I love that little detail. Most people won't notice it, but it imbues the whole thing with a kind of magic that feels auspicious and special.

My Wedding Invitations - Personalized silhouette cameo with evergreen wreath and antlers

I looked at a few styles of love stamps and wedding stamps, but I ended up buying a bunch of 20th-cenury poet stamps instead. They're just so much cooler! I bought about four times as many as I needed for the invitations so that I can have a little happy moment every time I pay a bill in the foreseeable future. 

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Friday, November 22, 2013

Thanksgiving Recipe: Apple and Pumpkin Pie Pops

Apple and Pumpkin Pie Pops

Is anything more party ready than food on a stick? My whole food concept for our friendsgiving party was to take classic Thanksgiving foods and give them a party twist. So, of course, pie became pie pops. I made both apple and pumpkin and decorated them with letters so guests would know which was which. 

In case you doubt the depths of my mania, just know that I was considering making three kinds but decided to table pecan because it also started with a P. 

Apple and Pumpkin Pie Pops

Ingredients:
2 batches (2 pie shells each) pie dough
1 egg
1/2 cup pumpkin pie filling
1 apple, diced
1 tablespoon sugar
a dash of cinnamon 
cooking spray
12 pop sticks (found in the baking aisle)
3-inch diameter round cookie cutter 
small alphabet cookie cutters (optional)

Step 01. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees fahrenheit. Spray a cookie sheet nonstick spray.
Step 02. Mix apples with sugar and cinnamon. Set aside.
Step 03. Roll out pie dough to about 1/4 inch thickness. Cut out 24 rounds and 12 letters.
Step 04. Set 12 rounds on the cookie sheet, placing a stick in the center of each one. Add a spoonful of pie filling to each round. Top with the remaining rounds, sealing edges with a fork. 
Step 05. Brush the tops of each pop with egg. Add the letters and brush them with more egg.
Step 06. Bake for about 15 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool before displaying. 

Apple and Pumpkin Pie Pops

I also made a little display for the pops by poking holes in a shoebox wrapped in brown paper. Actually, I ran out of brown paper, so I had to use a brown paper bag with a blue Joseph-Beth logo on it. Oh well. 

I think it worked pretty well as a serving solution. In the past, I've always thought it a shame to serve pops lying down on a platter. It just doesn't do justice to their cuteness. 

Apple and Pumpkin Pie Pops

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Thursday, November 21, 2013

Thanksgiving Recipe: Mini Green Bean Casseroles & Mac and Cheese Cups

Mini Green Bean Casseroles in mason jars

For our friendsgiving cocktail party, I wanted to serve lots of mini, appitizer-y, cocktail-y versions of Thanksgiving favorites. I've found that the easiest way to party-i-fy anything is to make a tiny version of it in an individual cup (example). So I served mac and cheese cups and classic green bean casserole in small mason jars (I told you I'd be using those again soon!) 

The mac and cheese cups are made by adding an egg to a standard mac and cheese recipe and baking it in muffin tins. The egg helps the cups hold their shape. What's great about these is that there's more surface area so everyone can enjoy the yummy, browned, crispy, edge serving. Ryan announced, one-bite-in, that he never wanted to each mac and cheese any other way. 

For the green bean casseroles, I followed the classic Campbell's recipe, baking it in mason jars instead of a casserole dish (the recipe makes enough to fill 12 small mason jars). Since they were smaller servings, I adjusted the bake time a little. Instead of baking the casseroles for 25 minutes and an additional 5 after adding the crispy onions, I baked them for 15 and an additional 5. 

Mac and Cheese Cups

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Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Thanksgiving Recipe: Turkey Sliders with Stuffing and Cranberry Sauce

Turkey Sliders with stuffing and cranberry sauce

If there's one Thanksgiving dish that intimidates me, it's the bird. And, if there's one Thanksgiving dish that doesn't lend itself to being cooking in a tiny apartment and then carried two blocks to a bar for people to eat during a cocktail party, it's definitely the bird. But, a Thanksgiving party of any sort does seem to call for turkey. My solution: sliders.

(Recipe makes 24 2-oz sliders)

Ingredients:
24 Hawaiian rolls, sliced in half
48 oz ground turkey
Half a 14-oz package of stuffing, prepared
Half a can of cranberry sauce (or make it from scratch)
Olive oil
Toothpicks (optional: decorated with washi-tape flags)

Step 01. Shape ground turkey into 24 2-oz patties. Heat a bit of olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat.
Step 02. Cook each patty for about 5 minutes on each side or until cooking throughout.
Step 03. Place patties on bottom buns. Top each with a scoop of stuffing, and spread a bit of cranberry sauce on the underside of each top bun.  Secure each slider with a toothpick.

Turkey Sliders with stuffing and cranberry sauce



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Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Thanksgiving Recipe: Sweet Potato Fries with Black Pepper Marshmallow Sauce

Sweet Potato Fries and Black Pepper Marshmallow Sauce

When I decided to make small bites inspired by classic Thanksgiving dishes for our friendsgiving cocktail party, the first idea that came to mind was sweet potato fries. I knew immediately that should be served with some kind of marshmallow sauce to complete the Thanksgiving flavor profile. Figuring out how that could not be disgusting became the challenge. 

Some people are completely against eating marshmallows on sweet potatoes in the first place because they say it's too sweet. I agree that it often is to sweet, but, the way I make them, they have a bunch of lime juice to cut through the syrupiness. I decided to follow a similar strategy here by finding something that would cut through the sweet. I decided on black pepper. 

What follows is a recipe that sounds really gross, but was actually quite a hit at the party. If you are adventurous and crave a spin on a classic Thanksgiving dish, read on.

Sweet Potato Fries and Black Pepper Marshmallow Sauce

I bought frozen sweet potato fries and baked them. For 10 small, shot-glass servings, I used 18 oz sweet potato fries and the following sauce recipe.

Ingredients:
1 tub marshmallow fluff
About 1/3 cup mayonaise
Way more black pepper than seems reasonable

Mix all ingredients together with a whisk. That's it. 

Sweet Potato Fries and Black Pepper Marshmallow Sauce

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Monday, November 18, 2013

Our Friendsgiving Cocktail Party

Our Friendsgiving Cocktail Party

Last Friday, Ryan and I hosted a friendsgiving cocktail party at our favorite bar which is a few blocks from home. Having never hosted a party away from home before, I was a little nervous, but it was a huge success.

Hosting it at the bar meant that we didn't have to worry about drinks or ice. (Ice is always my downfall.) Plus there was a jukebox (that was somehow also a photo booth -- a magic photo booth that brought out the Johnny Depp in Ryan's face). There was also plenty of room to dance to our favorite tunes.

Ryan and Kelly in the jukebox photo booth

We ate and laughed and danced with our very best besties, and Ryan and I felt like we got a glimpse at what a fun time our wedding is going to be.

I made an insane amount of Thanksgiving-themed cocktail munchies, and my friends, who never let me down, took on the challenge of eating all of it. Thanks, dollfaces; you are the best.

I will be posting recipes for said munchies each day this week, so stay tuned.

Our Friendsgiving Cocktail Party
Our Friendsgiving Cocktail Party
Our Friendsgiving Cocktail Party
Our Friendsgiving Cocktail Party
Our Friendsgiving Cocktail Party
Our Friendsgiving Cocktail Party
Our Friendsgiving Cocktail Party

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Friday, November 15, 2013

What I wore today: 11/10/2013 (Roaring)

Roaring 20s Outfit: Brown tights, Frye "Melissa" brown lace-up riding boots, green Anthropologie dress, Burgundy wool cloche hat, leopard brocade swing coat

Last Sunday, we had our all-store holiday meeting. The theme was The Great Gatsby, and we were encouraged to dress up as little or as much as we wanted to suit the theme.

I usually jump at the opportunity to create a costume, but my enthusiasm for putting on fishnets and a fringy dress wavers greatly when it gets cold outside. So, instead of a full-blown flapper costume, I decided to put together a fall outfit that incorporated a 1920s silhouette with the general coziness of tights and boots. I think the ties on this dress are meant to be tide tighter to create a waist, but I like wearing it baggier for more casual 1920s-esque silhouette.

Aren't these boots the greatest? Frye made a limited-edition run back in '09, and I eBay stalked them for three years to no avail. Then the same style just showed up, out of the blue, at Urban Outfitters (where I happen to get a 40% discount!) It was a great moment in the life of a shopper.

I hadn't allowed myself to buy any brown-leather knee-high boots even though my faux-leather ones were absolutely falling apart. No, I wanted the Frye ones and I was going to hold out until I found them. I was going to drop several hundred dollars on them, wear them for the rest of my life, replace their soles when needed, and never buy another pair of brown-leather knee-high boots again. That was the plan. The plan took years of discipline, but the payoff was great.

Listen to me, "years of discipline." I make shopping sound like Kill Bill.

Roaring 20s Outfit: Brown tights, Frye "Melissa" brown lace-up riding boots, green Anthropologie dress, Burgundy wool cloche hat, leopard brocade swing coat
Roaring 20s Outfit: Brown tights, Frye "Melissa" brown lace-up riding boots, green Anthropologie dress, Burgundy wool cloche hat, leopard brocade swing coat
Roaring 20s Outfit: Brown tights, Frye "Melissa" brown lace-up riding boots, green Anthropologie dress, Burgundy wool cloche hat, leopard brocade swing coat
Roaring 20s Outfit: Brown tights, Frye "Melissa" brown lace-up riding boots, green Anthropologie dress, Burgundy wool cloche hat, leopard brocade swing coat

Green tie-waiste dress - Maeve, Anthropologie (old)
Brown tights - Pure and Good, Anthropologie
Lace-up Melissa riding boots - Frye, Urban Outfitters
Burgundy wool cloche hat - Urban Outfitters (old)
Leopard brocade swing coat - Forever 21 (old) last seen here

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Monday, November 11, 2013

Party Recipe: Individual 7-Layer Dip Cups in Mason Jars

Party Recipe: Individual 7-Layer Dip Cups (in Mason Jars)

I had a lot of fun planning a sugar-and-spice-themed menu for Jenn's baby shower. Coming up with sweet treats was easy, but picking spicy things that would please a crowd was a bit more difficult. I ended up deciding to serve roasted-red-pepper hummus (store-bought since I had a lot to do) and individual 7-layer dip cups in mason jars.

I love how cute mason jars are with individual treats in them. I'm thinking I will make little personal pies in them for a get-together sometime soon. Maybe for Thanksgiving. Of course, if you prefer, you could use clear-plastic punch cups or any small glasses you happen to have.

Party Recipe: Individual 7-Layer Dip Cups (in Mason Jars)

This recipe is one of those things where you basically buy a lot of ingredients and just need to assemble them, rather than doing a lot from scratch. I think this kind of halfway homemade solution is a great idea for parties where you are making a lot of things. It doesn't dirty a lot of dishes or take a lot of time, but the results are festive.

Ingredients (to serve 12): 
1 tin of Frito-brand bean dip
1 12-oz tub of guacamole
1 8-oz container of sour cream
1 packet of taco seasoning
1 12-oz tub of fresh salsa
Half a bag of shredded "taco" cheese
1 small can of sliced black olives
12 tortilla chips to garnish and the rest of the bag to serve alongside

01. Thoroughly mix taco seasoning into sour cream.
02. Scoop a bit of each ingredient into each mason jar, forming as thin and smooth a layer as you can. Start with the bean dip, then do the guacamole, the sour cream, and the salsa.
03. Top with cheese, black olives, and a tortilla chip. Chill until guests arrive.

I know what you're thinking: "Célèste, that's only 6 layers!" Okay, you got me. Traditionally, you would put chopped tomatoes on top along with the black olives. But, it's November and tomatoes are terrible this time of year. So, I just omitted them and hoped no one counted the layers and called me out on it.

Party Recipe: Individual 7-Layer Dip Cups (in Mason Jars)

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Friday, November 8, 2013

DI(fr)Yday: How to Make Paper Cupcake Toppers with Crepe Paper and Toothpicks

DIY Paper Cupcake Toppers

I made these cute little paper cupcake toppers to decorate spice-cake cupcakes for Jenn's sugar-and-spice-themed baby shower. They are so simple and cute, and the use crepe paper, something you might have on hand already if you're throwing a party. 

DIY Paper Cupcake Toppers

You will need:
Crepe paper
Toothpicks
Scotch tape
Scissors

Step 01. Cut your crepe paper into fringe by making slits about every quarter inch or so.
Step 02. Cut a strip that's about three inches long and wrap it tightly around one end of a toothpick.
Step 03. Secure the end with a small piece of Scotch tape.
Step 04. Gently separate the fringy bits with your fingers, fluffing and spreading them until you like the look. 

DIY Paper Cupcake Toppers
DIY Paper Cupcake Toppers

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Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Party Recipe: Cinnamon-Roll Pops

Party Recipe: Cinnamon-Roll Pops

I made these for Jenn's sugar-and-spice themed baby shower. They're so easy that this isn't even so much a recipe as it is an idea.

I used Pilsbury cinnamon roll dough, though you could, of course, make cinnamon rolls from scratch if you have the time and prefer. Then just poke a stick or a decorative paper straw through the rolls before baking them. Make sure to use a paper, wooden, or metal stick; don't use anything plastic or anything else that wouldn't be oven-safe.

Party Recipe: Cinnamon-Roll Pops

I think these are so fun. I love food on a stick, especially at a party. It's just way more fun to eat and it looks so festive.

Party Recipe: Cinnamon-Roll Pops

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