Friday, April 30, 2010

Another Pet-Peeve Solved - Azula!

Another pet peeve solved with a new favorite gadget!! I HATE when you sit by the pool and the bottom of your bathing suit gets picked and looks worn. (Especially since the condo we will be living in while waiting on our house to be ready has an amazing pool.)The Azula is a flexible, water resistant and fashionably-designed mat that women and girls place at the edge of the swimming pool to keep their bathing suits from snagging while sitting down. It is also great year-round for sitting on sports bleachers, working out, boating, gardening, water parks, the beach, children's use and more. There are some really cute designs! There is even one that says "time out" for those moments our little ones need some "thinking time". Plus, as always the creative ladies are local Charleston moms.

If you live in the Charleston area, you can pick one up at Southern Belles in Mt. Pleasant. You can also visit their web-site to order.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Delicious Shrimp!

My mouth starts watering at the thought of the first of three South Carolina shrimp seasons (roe shrimp season) coming up in May or June. (The exact date depends on management biologists determining that an adequate supply of eggs have been spawned.) I like to stock up on these shrimp from our local favorite shrimper, Wayne Magwood. The recipe ideas are endless and I am so excited to try some of the recipes that appeared in Real Simple's April 2010 magazine.

This Garlicky Baked Shrimp is first on my list.

Followed by, this Creamy Shrimp and Poblanos. YUMMY! If you missed my Shrimp Shooter recipe, this is a good one too! Don't forget to support our local shrimpers and support sustainable seafood practices. ASK your grocery store, shrimp shack, seafood store, etc. if the shrimp you are buying is local and/or supports sustainable seafood practices.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Adorable Orange and Blue Baby Shower

I am crazy about this beautiful blue and orange baby shower that Christi from P is for Party showcased. There are so many great ideas that I can't wait to share. Every element has that extra touch of class and elegance. I think this party is the perfect example of choosing a theme and designing each detail with the theme in mind. The attention to every design detail makes this event stunning! This adorable baby bump mannequin is from The Marketing Company. I think every baby shower could use this attractive decoration.

In addition to the blue and orange color scheme, the babies monogram appeared throughout various elements of the shower, starting with the adorable boxed invitations. Even the beverage napkins included the monogram. I LOVE the yummy monogrammed cookie favors. What a great affordable idea?!?!

The table setting screams luxury. The texture and color of the blue linens are fantastic. Using real silverware, instead of plastic, steps up the elegance of the event too. I am so excited about the napkin fold - It is just precious!

The guests were treated to "Mommy's Mocktails" made from peach nectar, orange juice, and grenadine. I think the "bottled water" is a cute idea too.

The event ended with this gorgeous cake. Of course it has the signature monogram and blue and orange color scheme.

Hop over to P is for Party for more details and party inspiration!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Let's Toast!

My hubby and I were lucky enough to have a fabulous (baby free) dinner with the in-laws at Charleston Grill a few weeks ago. From the live jazz music to the delightfully innovative menu, the entire dining experience was extraordinary. As we waited on dessert, the sommelier (fancy word for wine expert!) sent out the sweetest Moscato d'Asti. It was a crisp refreshing slightly sparkling Italian wine from Strevi in Northern Italy. I LOVED it! Lucky for us, the waiter brought us the bottle to the table, so we could be sure to remember it for future celebrations. (Also, lucky for me, this wine is low in alcohol (5%).) This week I stopped in to our local Total Wine and sure enough, there was a great selection! I can not wait to bring this wine to our next dinner party. I like to offer to bring dessert and this wine will pair nicely. I also think it would be great for brunch or to to serve at a baby shower. Just as this wine is a sweet surprise, I think this wine monkey will make for a cute surprise too! Find it here!

While we are on the topic of wine.... I LOVE the idea of these locally made soy candles using recycled wine bottles. I snapped this photo with my cell phone at a local store, Open House. (wish it was more clear). I can't wait to light a few of these at our next dinner party. I also think this would be a great party favor for dinner guests or a hostess gift too.

I am a HUGE fan of buy local and I strongly support Etsy too. You can find these candles here on Etsy.

Happy shopping and drink up! It's time for a toast!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Saddle Up for the Derby

Saddle up for the Kentucky Derby! Whether your Derby experience involves a trip to Churchill Downs or a backyard barbeque with your family and friends, the Derby's signature traditions make for an amazing event! From the potent mint juleps to the lavish hats, there are so many customs that have held strong over the years. You can count on every “fashionista” watching the designer duds and every “foodie” drooling over the hordeuvers. It’s the “most exciting two minutes in sports” while the crowd awaits to see which horse will don the blanket of lush red roses.

This year we are placing our bets with our friends in Greenville, South Carolina and of course cupcakes are on the menu. In honor of those signature mint juleps, I could not resist these cupcakes (for the adults of course!)!

For the kiddos, I whipped up these adorable cupcake toppers! I think they are a precious way to include the kids in the festivities.

Download them for free here and be sure to send in pictures of your creations.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Sweet Talk!

Being a classroom teacher before I became an Instructional Coordinator, I recognize the dedication of teachers. Grading papers at night, cutting and laminating, writing lesson plans, searching for engaging activities, etc. The job and our babies are always on their minds. Sending in a little sweet talk for teacher appreciation is a perfect inexpensive way to say thank you! I have used several of these ideas in the past to thank my teachers, but eighteen25 made the packaging much more attractive.
Simply cut your favorite patterned paper to fit in your printer, print these labels, and cut according to how you plan to showcase them. Download the labels here. Here are a few of the pics from eighteen25....

This label was punched with a circle punch and backed with a scalloped punched scrapbook paper. Then, tied onto the package of swedish fish with a bow. I am usually short on time and need to make between 50 - 80 of these, so I print the saying on label paper, punch, and attach to a package of goldfish.

Chocolate is always a BIG hit too! Who would not want to receive this adorable sweet treat?

This one is my favorite! I LOVE everything that smells sweet, so this is right up my alley. You could use this for any scented item, plug-ins, lotion, etc. Bath and Body Works here we come.

There are tons of cute "sayings" that align with snacks and sweets. These are some of my favorites!
• Kudos ® to You!
• You are worth 100 Grand ®!
• Thanks for all the laughs and Snickers ®
• You are Out of this World! (Mars ® or Milky Way ®)
• You Deserve a Sweet Escape ® for All You Do!
• Thanks for the Mounds ® of Work You Do!
• Hope your vacation is Carefree ® (Gum)
• You are M&M!!! (Marvelous and Magnificant)
• Students and Teacher Working Together Makes a Sweet Symphony ®!
• Thanks for putting up with us Ding Dongs ®!
• You are O'FISH'ally Awesome!(Gold Fish ® crackers)
• We Love You!!! XOXO (Hershey's Hugs and Kisses ®)
• You Deserve an Extra Payday ®!
• Thanks for always being willing to do EXTRA ®! (Gum)
• You are a JOY! (Almond Joy ®)
• We are NUTS about you
• You were "mint" to be a teacher
• Snack bag of chips with note "You're all that and a bag of chips!"
• Have a poppin' good weekend (popcorn)
• Thanks for pudding up with us. (Snack pudding)
• Have a Cracker Jack® of a summer!

These ideas can not only be used for teacher appreciation, but for any special person that needs a little recognition and sweet talk. Feel free to share your ideas for sweet talk and send us some pics too.

Sweet Lollipop Toppers!

I am always on the hunt for cute ways to dress up cupcakes and I love the idea of using lollipops as toppers. I really love that these are so simple and do not require any fancy decorating. Quick and easy! The flowers are perfect for any summer event. I think these would be great additions for a Sweet Shoppe Birthday Party too! I am planning on adding them to our picnic at the park play date menu. They may also appear at our annual pool party. :) I would love to see pictures of any great cupcakes you have made! Especially, if you take on this easy idea.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Sweet Idea

A very sweet friend sent me this adorable pink tummy love invite for a baby shower a group of her friends are hosting.

She wanted an idea for the favors that was inexpensive and coordinated with the invitations. I put my thinking cap on and we decided on these sweet treats.

I made the favor tag with pink and chocolate colors, little hearts, and a chic pregnant silhouette. Then, I printed coordinating digital scrapbook papers onto address labels. I wrapped the pink labels around Hershey Nugget chocolates and placed them in a clear treat bag. I used a two-sided tape roller to seal the bag and attach the personalized favor tag. VOILA - a perfect inexpensive sweet treat for the guests! Thanks for the inspiration Erin!

Find these tags on Etsy at Pluff Mudd Studio!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Swooning Over Modern Lola

As we all know, I have been on the hunt for pink and green polka dot ideas and frog princess theme goodies for Cate's birthday party. Last night I stumbled across Modern Lola which was also featured at Bella Grace Party Designs! They have a fantastic variety of party supplies, including the perfect pink polka dot plates with a green border. I am so excited! They also have some very cute Lily Pulitzer paper party supplies. Having visions of Cate's dessert table, I could not resist the classic white cake stands either!

I would love to visit your favorite stores and see some fresh ideas. Any suggestions??

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Yummy Coffee Cake

I originally saw this yummy coffee cake recipe at Poca Cosas. I am always looking for easy breakfast recipes to serve guests and could not wait to try this one. Luckily, I did not have to wait long (Thanks Regan & Jacob).

Paula Deen's Ultimate Coffee Cake

16 to 18 unbaked frozen dinner rolls
1 (3-ounce) package REGULAR butterscotch pudding mix, NOT INSTANT
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup pecans, chopped
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, melted

The night before place frozen rolls in well greased Bundt pan. Sprinkle dry pudding mix over rolls. Sprinkle brown sugar over pudding mix. Sprinkle chopped pecans over brown sugar. Pour melted butter over all. To prevent the dough from forming a hard crust while its rising overnight, cover with a damp towel or tightly wrap with plastic wrap. Let rise overnight at room temperature, about 8 to 10 hours.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Bake in oven for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes. Turn pan over onto a serving platter to remove. Serve by pulling apart chunks with forks.

Although mine did not look exactly like the Paula Deen picture,the cake tasted wonderfully sweet and moist. (I guess it was that extra butter I thought it needed, but totally should have stuck with just one stick. Ha ha)
What is your favorite breakfast recipe?
Recipe and picture courtesy of Paula Deen 2007.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Pet-Peeve Solved!

When it comes to cupcakes, one of my biggest pet-peeves is faded cupcake liners! You spend so much time baking and frosting the most delicious treats only to have the liners stained and faded.

Reynolds has solved our dilemma with their new line of Stay-Brite cupcake liners. The designs are backed with a traditional foil liner, so the pretty paper stays fresh and vibrant.

I love these rich damask patterns! Quirky pirates, curious monkeys, polka dots, swirls and many more designs are sure to find their way onto my dessert tables and parties.

Find them here. Can't wait to see your pictures of these fantastic gems.

Photos courtesy of Reynolds & No One Puts Cupcake in the Corner.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Cate's Purple Paradise

Cate's purple paradise has become one of my favorite rooms in the house. I was addicted to Project Nursery, Serena and Lily, Etsy, Baby Bloomers (a local store) and cruised lots of pictures of showcase nurseries. I wanted her room to grow with her and not scream baby. As much as I LOVE pink, I also did not want her room to be predictable. Hope you love her purple paradise as much as we do.

I fell in love with everything Serena and Lily, especially their crib bedding. Every design resource recommended to build from the bedding, so we started here! The inspiration for the room came from this Lulu bedding collection. The day I found out we were having a girl we ordered the crib set, blanket, diaper changing pad, and extra fabric to run with the scheme throughout the room. This was our biggest splurge!

This window seat is one of my favorite spots in the room (probably because my hubby built it!). I had the pillows, seat cushion, and curtains custom made from the additional yardage of Serena and Lily fabric.

This nightlight was an Etsy find. I sent the purple fabric and Berry Patch Designs whipped up this personalized beauty for Cate.

To coordinate the color of the walls with the fabric and accessories I went to our trusty Lowe's. Lowe's matched the lighter color purple for the walls and created a really pale purple for the ceiling. They also matched the "white" on the wainscoating (which my hubby also built) to the furniture. I loved the idea for a wall decal, so I searched Etsy for this gem.

The crib, night stand, and dresser were purchased from Baby Bloomers. The glider and ottoman were also custom ordered from Baby Bloomers.

I have been told that monogramming everything is a southern thing and I think it adds that extra little oomph for my southern baby. I purchased this basic lamp from Target and took it to our local monogram shop to get it personalized. The picture frames are Paula Prass. I just can't resist her goodies.

This wardrobe was a really lucky find at a local consignment store. It was already painted green. All we had to do was add a couple of shelves.

We searched high and low for a round white mirror and eventually ended up buying this one from Lowe's and painting it white (It was black). The diaper pale was custom made from more of the extra fabric by Etsy shop Brody and Ma. Home Goods was THE SPOT for accessories. I think we went there every weekend to find our treasures: green polka dot piggy bank, additional frames, baskets for her closet and drawers, and much more!

Look at Cate loving her room. I know I am biased but, isn't she precious??
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