Brides won’t want to miss Monday’s Weddings Illustrated Expert Chat with the amazingly talented Mariana of Kismis Ink Photography. Kismis Ink Photography has been featured in Grace Ormonde, Brides Magazine, Destinations Magazine, Occasions Magazine, Inspire Smart Success Magazine, Every Last Detail, Mercy New York, Ruffled and many others. Mariana’s warm, bubbly personality is infectious. Her innate ability for capturing a couple’s love through the lense of her camera, make her photos true works of art.
Mark your calendar and plan to join in this Monday at 3 PM!
We are bursting with delight this morning over photos from a Broadway influenced celebration Diva With A Fork created for one up and coming Bat Mitzvah star in Tampa Bay! Here’s a look at the beautiful pinkolicious invitation and “ticket” escort card created by our talented friends at Natural Impression Design. Each “ticket” escort cards was attached to thirteen different divalicious Broadway poster cookies created by the one and only Eleni’s New York.
Photo Courtesy of Kismis Ink Photography
Stay tuned for more details from this Great White Way inspired party!
Christian Grey, Anastasia Steele, Charlie Tango, handcuffs, silk neckties, inner goddess, Red Room of Pain, twitchy palms…
If your lips aren’t smirking by now, then you must be a Fifty Shades of Grey Virgin, A/K/A one who hasn’t read the best selling trilogy Fifty Shades of Grey by E L James. Last weekend, we surprised a huge Fifty Shades fan with a party inspired by the books.
msn.com Courtesy of Vintage Books
Fifty fans, may we present…
40 Shades of Kelly
Our “PG” version of Christian Grey’s Red Room of Pain!
What’s a birthday party without cake?
Yes, this mask is edible!
How could we forget Christian Grey’s infamous grey silk tie and handcuffs? We know Miss Steele wouldn’t!
British novels, piano keys, Seattle’s Space Needle…this Fifty Shades of Grey inspired cake designed by Sweet Tweets Cakery in Tampa, Florida had it all!
Notable quotes from the books were printed on Stardream silver paper and encased in platinum, crystal encrusted frames, which added sparkle to cocktail tables in our “Grey Room.”
Bronze keys hung with crimson satin ribbon were tied around red glass vases filled with black magic roses. These centerpieces sat atop cocktail tables draped in Crushed Romance Burgundy linen in the “Red Room.”
I love living in Tampa, Florida! I moved here when I was just a child from Parsippany, New Jersey. It was so long snow and grey skies…hello sunshine and swimming pools! Although I’m always delighted to pack my bags and jet off on a vacation, I just can’t imagine calling any other place home. After reading that, I’m sure you can imagine the excitement I felt when Cheapflights.com gave me the opportunity to share my top picks for restaurants, cocktails, entertainment and gastronomical food and wine festivals in and around my hometown of Tampa, Florida. I have to admit, narrowing down my favorites to five in each category was incredibly tough. Amazing chefs abound in my neck of the woods! Ask any foodie that lives or has visited here. But, if you dream of bubbling cocktails and gastronomical cuisine…the Insider’s Guide to Tampa on Cheapflights.com delivers what you’re craving!
Eat, Drink and Enjoy,
Although I’m still waiting to win the lottery, I recently felt like I hit the jackpot when searching for floral design inspiration! Here’s a few of my favorites I couldn’t wait to share…
Photo Courtesy of Belle The Magazine
Floating floral centerpieces added a chic, eye-catching element to this elegant, outdoor soiree!
Wall of Paper Flowers by Hartmann Studios
Hard to believe the floral wall above is made entirely of paper flowers, isn’t it?
Photo by Rizzoli New York
Are you as speechless as I am? Made entirely out of an array of fresh flowers, this stunning peacock was created by the extraordinary Preston Bailey. Planning a wedding, bat-mitzvah or other social event? Say goodbye to traditional centerpieces. All eyes will be sure to light up when they gaze upon a gorgeous, floral work of art!
Image by The Food Channel
Gourmet hamburger businesses are popping up all over the country. They’ve taken the fast food concept to new heights. Today on the blog we’re celebrating the art of the burger by sharing Diva With A Fork’s favorite recipe for phenomenal burgers, along with a few inspiring finds and tips for hosting a stylish, laid-back burger bash right in your own backyard!
Image Courtesy of The Barbecue Store
It’s impossible to have a burger bash without serving mouth-watering hamburgers. You can pile a plethora of toppings on a burger, but it’s a flavorful patty that sends taste buds into a tizzy! Am I right? Therefore, for the first time in my family’s history, I’m sharing my C.P.A. chefy hubby’s recipe for the most amazing burgers known to anyone who has ever had the pleasure of devouring one hot off the grill. This recipe comes with a warning though. I know that gets your attention, right? So, here’s the warning…those that dare to serve these scrumptious hamburgers at their next BBQ, better hide a few for themselves. These grilled darlings cause a ruckus every time we’ve served them. Yes, you heard me correctly. Although these babies are large, a majority of your guests will return for seconds and demand a few for the road. My kids can even back me up on this. Think I’m kidding? Here’s your chance to taste one for yourself…
Hamburgers From Heaven
Makes Approximately 6 Burgers
1 pd Boneless Beef Short Ribs (Freshly Ground)
1 pd Top Sirloin (Freshly Ground)
1/8 of a Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Fresh Crushed Black Pepper
2 Sheets of Parchment Paper
1 Baking Sheet or Large Tray
1 Package of Arnold Select Wheat Sandwich Rolls
Directions: Have the butcher at your local grocery store grind and mix together 1 pound of boneless beef short rib with 1 pound of top sirloin. Once home, place the ground mixture in a large bowl, add approximately an 1/8 of a cup of olive oil and a generous sprinkling of kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper. Mix ingredients together with meat to combine, but be sure to NOT overwork the meat. Then create by hand 6oz sized patties that are about an inch in thickness. Make sure to slightly indent the center of the patty. Place each patty on a baking sheet or large tray covered with parchment paper. Add a sheet of parchment paper on top of the patties if needed to stack burgers. Once the patties are created, refrigerate for at least a half and hour. Before grilling, allow the patties to come to room temperature. Turn on the grill and wait until the temperature reaches it’s highest. This is so the grill sears the burgers. When the grill is extremely hot, lift the lid and spray with Pam Olive Oil Cooking Spray or brush with olive oil. Be very cautious of flare ups! Use your best judgement when applying olive oil to a grill. Cook the patties to your liking, but we prefer our burgers medium. Medium is best described as when the outside of the burger is firm and the center is soft. Inside the meat should be pink in color. Serve immediately on an Arnold Select Wheat Sandwich Roll topped with your favorite condiments.
Important Note: Be sure to follow each step above. Do NOT skip steps, especially ones pertaining to chilling and bringing the patties to room temperature.
Invitation by Pearenthetical Press
Now that you have the “Mother of All Burgers” recipe, it’s time to take your BBQ to the next level. I suggest taking a break from the typical phone call or email invitation. Instead, mail festive invites to family and friends a few weeks prior to the party. In my opinion, the envelope is just as important as the invitation itself. Think of envelopes as the wrapping paper on a present. We wrap gifts expecting it to build excitement in the one we are giving the present, right? If it didn’t add intrigue, why would we take the time to wrap it in the first place? An envelope with a gingham liner like the one above, adds an extra pop of color to this adorable invitation. It’s the bow on the present. Together, the envelope and invitation set the tone for a wonderful par-tay!
Napkins by Pottery Barn
Setting a beautiful table doesn’t have to be stressful. Find a pattern, texture, color or object as your focal point. If you love gingham as I do, perhaps reintroduce it subtly with linen napkins. Pair the napkins with a cheery yellow table cloth or sunflowers arranged in a galvanized container for a burst of color.
Barn Wood Tray by saveoncrafts.com
Add a rustic flair by serving burgers on wooden trays. As the sun goes down, there’s no need to call it a night. Let the party continue as antique, bronze lanterns add ambiance.
Lanterns by Williamsburg Marketplace
Life certainly isn’t a dress rehearsal, so relax and entertain often this summer with the ones you hold dear. I certainly plan too!
We are delighted to have Kathleen Chu joining us today from Everyday Health. Kathleen’s here to share a few divalicious “skinny” cocktail recipes perfect for summer entertaining!
With summer around the corner, it’s time to fire up the grill, hose down the patio, stock up on mosquito repellant, and plan the perfect outdoor soiree. Whether it be a barbecue, wedding, or any get-together to enjoy the weather, it’s important to make healthy food choices that won’t sabotage the beach body you’ve been working on all year. We can start with everyone’s favorite item on the menu –cocktails. While these boozy refreshments are sure to spice up any party, they can be damaging to the waist line. When tempting summer food staples are all around, it is important to be mindful of your liquid calories in order to make sure you’re not wrecking your diet.
Read on to check out some healthier twists to our favorite cocktails that are yummy and bikini-body friendly.
Recipes from Everyday Health (here, please insert this link http://www.everydayhealth.com/calorie-counter.aspx), excerpts from The Skinny Rules by Molly Morgan, RD, CDN, CSSD:
Skinny Strawberry Mojito: 80 Calories
Image by WhiteOnRiceCouple.com
Mojitos are the perfect accompaniment to any platter of chips and guacamole. While a mojito does not have as many calories as many of its summer cocktail counterparts, you can lower the calorie count even more by using fresh fruits to sweeten the drink instead of syrups. Check out this fun reinvention of the classic drink, where you can swap out the traditional lime flavor for strawberries!
8 ounces club soda
1 ounce white rum
10 mint leaves
4 sliced strawberries
4 lime slices (1/2 of lime)
Directions: In a sturdy glass, muddle mint leaves, strawberries, and lime slices by gently pressing on and twisting the mint leaves and lime. Muddling doesn’t mean grinding them to a pulp — just twist until you smell mint. The end of a rolling pin will work if you don’t own a muddler. Next, add 1 cup crushed ice, the club soda, and rum. Stir gently and garnish with a mint sprig and a lime wedge before serving.
Cinco de Mayo Mango Margarita: 180 Calories
Image by MODA Magazine
Like the mojito, the margarita can be the highlight of any fiesta. Unlike the mojito, the traditional version of this sugary beverage can pack on up to 800 calories for a single 7-oz serving! By using fruit substitutes, you can lower the calories without sacrificing flavor.
3/4 cup frozen mango cubes
1 ounce tequila
1 ounce lemon juice
1 teaspoon triple sec
Directions: Blend all ingredients in a blender until you reach a slushy consistency. Garnish with lime wedge for a splash of color.
Beachside Pina Colada: 250 Calories
Image by Bryan McCay
A universal symbol of summer, sand, and fun, the pina colada can be one of the most havoc-wreaking cocktails on your figure, with a regular 8-oz serving having as much as 700 calories. Here’s a lighter version of the drink for you to try!
1/4 cup pineapple, diced
1 ounce white rum
2 ounces light coconut milk
2 ounce pineapple juice
3-4 ice cubes
Directions: This one is a breeze: Put all ingredients into a blender and process until smooth. Garnish with pineapple wedge for beach appeal.
Searching for creative ways for guests to remember your celebration? Then you’ll love the site we recently discovered…
This website is bursting with products that can be customized easily for Welcome Gifts, Bridal and Baby Showers, Weddings, Bar/Bat Mitzvahs, Quinces, Sweet 16 parties and other special events! Here’s a few of our favorite finds along with some inspirational ways to use them…
Recently I attended a Kitchen Shower for a friend getting married in a few weeks. When I received the invitation to the shower, a recipe card was included. Guests were instructed to write their favorite recipe on the card and bring it the day of the shower. At the celebration, the host collected everyone’s cards and placed them in a decorative box. During lunch, the bride-to-be was presented the box filled with dozens of culinary delights.
When I saw these cute binders on ThePaperWorker.com, I immediately had flashbacks of my friend’s Kitchen Shower. These binders are a lovely way to organize recipes provided by family and friends for a bride or mother-to-be! For a bride-to-be, your design might include the couple’s wedding colors, their monogram, a photo of the couple, their wedding date, etc. The arrival of a baby doesn’t mean a new Mommy’s stove should end up covered in cobwebs. Bring dinner to celebrate a new arrival along with a custom binder filled with recipes requiring only a few ingredients or ones that take less than thirty minutes to prepare. It’s a gift I’m sure will fill their tummies and hearts with joy! Don’t know anyone getting married or having a baby? How about hosting a “Cookies & Cocktails” holiday party? As guests arrive, provide each with a beautiful binder dreamed up by one divalicious host…that’s you! Your family and friends will love using your stylish gift to collect the many delicious cookie and cocktail recipes everyone has brought to the soiree.
Over the years I’ve seen clients spend small fortunes on wedding favors. Some their guests would utilize and others I knew they’d toss as soon as they arrived home. My advice to anyone purchasing party favors for their upcoming celebration? Try not to search for things at the last minute. Giving yourself enough time to shop, significantly increases your chances of finding the perfect party favor for your affair.
A CD of meaningful songs placed in a custom CD sleeve like the ones above make wonderful mementos. On the cover of the CD sleeve, add a photo, picture or logo, a date…set your imagination free. Inside the CD sleeve, add a personal note of thanks to guests for sharing in your special day. Don’t forget to provide the personal meanings behind the songs included on the CD. I realize everyone’s taste in music differs, but with a keepsake filled with as much meaning as this…chances are pretty good they’ll hold onto this one. In fact, they might even listen to it over and over!
Why not add a bottle of bubbly in a decorative box to your out-of-town guests Welcome Bags? Welcome Bags continue to build excitement leading up to the main event. They’re fun to fashion by yourself or with help from family and friends. Best of all these special tokens won’t break your budget, but guests might think they did! Don’t worry…your secret is safe with me! ThePaperWorker.com has oodles of affordable items and a friendly team eager to help bring visions to life! For more information on the products included in today’s article, visit ThePaperWorker.com.
Question: I’ve heard a few photographers mention “off-camera light” when refering to their work. What is “off-camera light” and how important is it at my wedding or Bar Mitzvah?
It’s very important, especially at a wedding. First, let me explain what it is and then I’ll show you some examples.
“Off camera light” is exactly what it sounds like. The photographers light is taken off the camera and mounted on a tripod or held by an assistant. Here’s why it’s important:
This picture was taken during a brief stop at the causeway on the way to the reception. The couple wanted some quick pictures of their friends near the water so we jumped out of the limo for a few minutes and had some fun. My flash is on my camera, pointed directly at the subjects. Notice how the bride’s dress is “blown-out?” You lose detail in the dress when the flash is mounted on the camera. That’s okay for fun, fast snapshots like this but what about the portraits, etc?
Now look at the dress. Notice that you can see all the detail and ripples in the fabric? That’s because the light is “off-camera.” By placing the light a little to my right I can light the couple (and the dress) in a much more flattering way.
Here’s another great example:
Without “off-camera light,” this you wouldn’t be able to see all the detail in this dress.
The fact is, “off-camera light” makes almost every picture better. Not only does it preserve the detail in a dress you spent so much time picking out… it also makes for a more dynamic and flattering portrait all together. Plus, a photographer who uses “off-camera light” will usually have a few tricks up his sleeve for creating something truly unique:
Notice the detail in the dress and the way the light highlights her face in dramatic fashion? That’s only possible with “off-camera light.”
But don’t make the mistake of thinking it’s only needed at weddings. It’s needed anytime you are having a portrait taken. This is especially true in dark churches and synagogues:
“Off-camera light” just makes everything better. It allows the photographer to shape and control the light and produce an image that stands out.
So, when shopping for a photographer for your Tampa wedding, Bar Mitzvah or event, be sure they know how to use “off camera light.” You’ll be glad you did!
Booray Perry is a wedding and Bar Mitzvah photographer in Tampa. Visit his website at www.boorayperry.com
Photo by evernewrecipes.com
Planning a Super Bowl celebration? Our Artisan Spinach Dip is the perfect addition to your party’s menu! That’s right, this isn’t your typical spinach dip. This recipe has been in my family since before I was born and it’s one my children (the ones that refuse to eat veggies) devour!
Artisan Spinach Dip
1 Package Frozen Spinach
1/2 Cup Parsley Flakes
3/4 Cup Fresh Green Onions
1/2 Teaspoon Dill Weed (NOT Fresh)
1 to 1 1/2 Teaspoons Lowry’s Seasoned Salt
1 to 1 1/4 Cup Hellmann’s Mayonnaise
1 to 1 1/4 Cup Sour Cream
Juice from 1/2 of Lemon
2 One Pound Round Pumpernickel Breads
1 Large Round Platter
The directions are simple…thaw and drain the spinach well before mixing with the other ingredients. Isn’t that easy? I’m sure you’re wondering what makes this recipe so delish though. Well, I’ll let you in on the secret of this spinach dip’s fantastic flavor. It comes from allowing the spinach dip to chill in the refrigerator overnight in a covered bowl. Yes, I swear it’s true! This step gives all of the ingredients the chance to blossom. Therefore, if you want this divalicious dip to turn out exactly like mine, you must prepare it the day before a party. To serve, cut out the top of a one pound round pumpernickel and pull out the center section of the soft bread. Once you’ve hollowed out the center, fill it with the creamy, tangy spinach dip and place it in the center of your large round platter. Then, thickly slice the second one pound pumpernickel and cut the slices into finger sized pieces. Scatter the cut up bread around your dip filled, pumpernickel bread bowl and enjoy!
Beware…you may want to double the recipe. Whenever I serve this dip, it’s gone within the first twenty minutes!
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