September 30, 2010

October 2 is Almost Here!

Today is the day of Jen's wedding rehearsal and dinner.  Tomorrow evening we will enjoy a relaxing night in the hotel suite and prepare for her BIG DAY!  I am working on my Matron of Honor speech...and experiencing a roller-coaster of emotions.  To put it frankly: I am so happy for my best friend! 

 Look how far we've come...

14 years later...

As wedding events ensue, I most likely will not be posting until next week. I will have lots of wedding details to share with you then!

September 29, 2010

{Wine Wednesday} Autumn Sangria

On Sunday I posted about this delicious sangria.  Without further ado, I bring to you...


{photo courtesy of Inn the Kitchen}

2 bottles Merlot
1 bottle ginger ale
1 cup sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cloves
4-6 apples (I used a mixture of red delicious, granny smith, and fuji)
6-10 cinnamon sticks

In a medium pot, compine Merlot, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves.  Let simmer for ten minutes, stirring occasionally until sugar is dissolved.

Pour immediately into a sealed pitcher or other container.  Chop apples and add them to the mixture along with the cinnamon sticks.  Cover and refrigerate for at least 24 hours.  Add ice and ginger ale just before serving. 

My Tips
Don't buy expensive Merlot!  I used Two-Buck Chuck from Trader Joe's.

Add the ginger ale once the mixture has cooled (just before serving).  This gives the sangria that slight fizz, which I think makes it very refreshing.

Allow the flavors to meld in the refrigerator for at least 24 hours...the longer, the better!

Make sure you simmer - and don't scorch - the wine as you cook it for ten minutes. This would cook all of the alcohol out of the wine...defeating the purpose of making the sangria in the first place. = )

This Autumn Sangria got rave reviews, and it will be a Thanksgiving and Christmas staple from here on out.  Give it a try ~ it makes you feel like Fall all over!

September 28, 2010

Twilight Freak, Right Here!

One of my favorite blogs around is My Sweet & Saucy.  Melody, the owner and head pastry chef at the shop, is amazingly talented!  The cakes they create at Sweet & Saucy Shop are anything but ordinary.  They are in fact extraordinarily beautiful. 

After seeing this photo shoot they took part in {they made the gorgeous cake}, I am now head-over-heels in love.  Also, I am going to come right out and say it:  I LOVE TWILIGHT.  The romance, the drama, the vampires...I love it all.  I've read all the books {including the leaked Midnight Sun} cover to cover.  I can't get enough of this photo shoot.  The Twilight nerd in me so desperately wishes I could have attended Bella and Edward's wedding.  Don't worry, I do know this didn't happen in real life.

If you've read the Twilight Series, especially Breaking Dawn, then you will see that they really nailed this photo shoot.  Even if you aren't into Twilight, I feel like you could still appreciate the sheer beauty of this shoot.  Aren't these pictures GORGEOUS?

Aren't these pictures GORGEOUS? Sigh...

Be sure to check out the Sweet & Saucy Shop and follow their blog. Better yet, if you're in Orange County, stop by Long Beach and check them out!

P.S. I'm totally Team Edward

September 27, 2010

Eeek! It's Jen's Wedding Week!

Well, her Lingerie Shower, Bridal Shower, and Bachelorette Party have come and gone.  And her wedding week is finally upon us!  My best friend Jen's wedding is THIS Saturday!  It's going to be such a chic and elegant wedding. I've made the following collages as a little preview of her big day.  Real photos to come after October 2!

Here is the glowing bride-to-be herself! 

It's going to be a very busy, very fun week indeed.  Speaking of busy...I better start working on my speech!

Yay for best friends, and yay for weddings!

September 26, 2010

Candle Party & Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes!

On Friday night I hosted a Party Lite candle party.  If you have ever bought any Party Lite candles, you know they are amazing!  They also carry really cute {and, ahem, much less expensive than Pottery Barn} decor as well.  Not only do I love candles, but I love planning parties, and I especially love an excuse to try a new cupcake recipe!

I knew that our awesome Party Lite consultant would be setting up all of her Fall goodies, so I rolled with the theme.  I found a really great recipe for Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes from who else but Martha.  Visit her site for the recipe.  Super easy and delicious!

I made mine with classic cream cheese frosting.  I was originally planning on decorating the tops with a cinnamon spiderweb design, but I ran out of time.  This was on a Friday night, and I am a working woman, after all!  I opted for just a sprinkle of cinnamon on top.
They were a hit!

Here are some pictures of the rest of the spread...
From left to right:  Autumn Sangria, assorted wines, Pumkin Spice Cupcakes, chocolate chip cookies, veggies & dip, assorted cheese platter, and cream cheese with rasberry chipotle sauce...YUMMY!

I am dedicating a full post to this amazing sangria for this week's Wine Wednesday ~ stay tuned!

I found the cutest white wines at Trader Joe's.  Purple Moon Chardonnay, Venetian Moon Pinot Grigio, & Bay Moon Sauvignon Blanc.  These would be perfect for a Halloween party! 

Another great Trader Joe's find...Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups.  These are DANGEROUS!

I can't do a candle party post without posting a couple of candle photos...

Overall, a great night!  Consider hosting a Party Lite party for your girlfriends!  Or, at least consider trying those delicious Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes & the Autumn will not regret it!

Happy Sunday!

September 22, 2010

{Wine Wednesday} Drink Wine the Healthy Way!

About a year ago I started doing the Tracy Anderson Method.  I don't always love her when I'm doing my workouts (they are TOUGH - just look at that body of hers!), but I really do love her method.  

One great perk about her method is allowed!  Check this video out about how to drink wine...the healthy way!  Watch it here!


September 19, 2010

{Hand-Painted} Africa-Inspired Birthday Gift

Our cousin, Bethany Joy, just celebrated her birthday.  She has an adventurous spirit and a heart for service.  Last summer she spent two months in Africa, and she loved it!  I rolled with the African theme and made her the hanging block above.  I think it will look very cute in her college dorm room!

African prints and patterns were my inspration...
My original intent was to paint a "B" for "Bethany" on her block, but when I was finished painting all of the patterns, I loved the way it looked as is. 

I gave her a handmade African necklaces {similar to the one below} to tie the whole gift together.  The necklace wasn't handmade by me, but by an African child.
{Necklace Photo Credits}

Happy Birthday, Bethany Joy!

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