Sunday, June 19, 2011

A Paper Trail Steppe

I have been pouring over bridal magazines, websites, and blogs today.  I have noticed a beautiful and inexpensive décor trend: paper products.  This is not the twirled together streamers of your thirteenth birthday or grandmas doilies under her cookies (well actually there are doilies but done with some pop).  I am just completely blow away with the beauty of all the paper décor I have found I just had to share.  For the bride looking to keep cost down but still wants beauty how perfect are these ideas?  Your guests will be talking for weeks about your decorations.

These are not your grandma’s doilies!  Imagine what a beautiful light these will cast as the night goes on.

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The above paper pinwheels left me salivating for more….

paper decor3 You know it is the “it” thing if Chanel has tapped into it (7000 handmade flowers at the Chanel Couture runway show 2009)

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My breath was taken away with beauty these origami cranes bring.  The Japanese tradition is to fold 1000 cranes.  For every crane folded you make a wish and it is said to come true.  What a love detail to bring to any wedding.  We give the bride and groom well wishes after all.

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This sweet idea could be followed with the lovely paper boutonnieres below.

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Paper décor as I said is a great way to keep cost down but does not have to be tacky or cheap looking.  The above displays prove how fantastic paper cane be.  Take these inspirations and run (well no running with scissors).

Friday, June 17, 2011

A Steppe to Progression

I am so excited to be bringing you this fabulous news!  As some you may know I have been asked to partner about with a group of fabulous ladies on a great new wedding blog,

Be U Weddings is the brain child of the talented Sacha Krasney.  Sacha's sought-after custom stationery designs, and www., have received numerous mentions in magazines and websites, including Chicago Social Magazine, CS Brides, Modern Bride, Daily Candy Chicago and Pop Sugar Chicago


Along side her, is the ever regal Abby Foster, bringing her editorial skills to the table.  Check out Abby’s creative fun read  And then there’s me, “stepping” in as their feature editor.

Launching July 15th, Be U Weddings is a chic and innovative real weddings blog that highlights unique weddings and advice for brides in the Chicagoland area and the Midwest. Samantha Saifer, Director of Marketing for Chicago Social Magazine and CS Brides says, “Sacha Krasney’s be U weddings blog is a must-read for the trend-setting Chicago bride. We’re already in love!”

We need your help. We're looking for extraordinary wedding events (engagement photo shoots, bridal showers, bachelor/bachelorette parties and weddings) and/or unique vendors and ideas to feature. Whether you've planned a romantic urban vintage soiree or a Great Gatsby-inspired wedding, we want to hear from you. Please help us spread the word and stay tuned!
To submit, visit

When you submit, you will automatically be entered into a special drawing for your chance to win a $100 gift certificate to Cleise Day Spa ( in Lincoln Park (or a $100 gift certificate to Squash U,, if you live outside the Chicagoland area). The drawing will take place on July 31st, so please submit your event/idea as soon as possible.


**** We are also looking for photographers, videographers, planners, stylists, cake decorators, florists and other wedding industry professionals who would like to submit weddings or ideas for publicity purposes. Please e-mail me if you have a vendor to share, ****

We are looking forward to inspiring brides-to-be and vendors alike.  We cant wait to hear from you!

I also want to extend a BIG thank you to Abby Foster and Sacha Krasney for bringing me in on this journey with them!!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

A Two-Steppe

So the princess bride has walked down the isle in her fairytale gown to her prince.  They have sealed their fates with a kiss and now it is time to celebrate…

…But what’s this the princess bride cant dance around or do the funky chicken because she has too many layers of tulle.

Lucky for us she thought ahead and planned for just this, out comes dress number two; a short, fun and flirty dress to dance the night away in.

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2nd dress


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The fairy godmother gave our princess the right dress for her big trip down the isle.  But every princess bride needs to let her party girl have some fun too! 

Our very own 2011 princess bride had her back up dress:

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So let your hair down and do the YMCA or just shake your rump, just have a little fun with your second wedding style.

Monday, March 7, 2011

A Warming Steppe

With the thought of moving into a new apartment and my boyfriend buying a condo, house warming ideas are floating through my head.  A house warming party is a great time to have your friends over to show off your new digs.  You’ve just moved in so keeping it simple is key, once you have settled in you can have friends over for a big sit down dinner.


The focus is to show of your new place with those that matter.  Before the party make sure that you do a thorough cleaning of the new digs, people are going to be checking everything out!  Sharing your new place with your friends and family doesn’t mean trashing the place.  If the floors are a concern, make sure to have guests remove shoes.  Be sure to offer inexpensive flip flops or slippers for guests to wear.


Keep food simple with food, easy to pick up, finger foods.  Be sure to stock your bar, if you are going to be serving alcoholic beverages.  Keep on hand: vodka, gin, rum, tequila, bourbon, wine and beer.  You should also have mixers such as tonic, seltzer, orange juice, soda pop, cranberry juice, and lemonade.  Having these mixers on hand, also leaves options for those who do not want to drink.


Before the party you need to decide if you will showing guests around or kindly asking a friend to.  If you decide you will be doing the tour guide, nominate a friend to answer the door and greet guests.  You can also have the option of self guided tours, print a floor layout for guests and label each room, and state any added details (such as renovations or note worthy décor).

Keep the atmosphere warm and inviting with music playing in the background.  Plug in your Ipod but be sure not to crank too loudly you want people to be able to interact.

1. Our House – Crosby, Stills, and Nash

2. Home – Foo Fighters

3. Sweet Home Alabama – Lynyrd Skynyrd

4. He Calls Home – Candlebox

5. Home – Michael Buble

6. Mama I’m Coming Home – Ozzy Osborne

7. Down Home Blues – Etta James and Otis Redding

8. I’m Coming Home – Diddy ft. Skylar Grey

Keep music moving with choices for everyone

9. I Got Friends In Low Places – Garth Brooks

10. Home – Chris Daughtry

Just a few choices, notice the theme??

A house warming party is about bringing your friends and family together to embark on this new step in your life.  Some guests may feel inclined to bring presents but by NO means should you expect or request gifts.

A house is made of walls and beams; a home is built with love and dreams.” Unknown author.

Green with Envy Steppe

While I may not be Irish, St.  Patrick’s Day has easily become one of my favorite holidays through the years.  The older I get the better it seems to get.  It is one of the few days a year where I can be assured that all my friends will come together.  As a kid it meant donning head to toe green.  As a teenager it meant a smile brought on by the Shamrock shake (thank you McDonald’s).   In my 20’s it easily was the largest drinking party of the year.  Now in my 30’s it has become a day to bring friends together, filled with great food (I could eat corn beef and cabbage everyday!!!) and a still some drinking (goodbye to the days of binge drinking though).  Below find my inspiration board for a great Irish get together!


Photos from left to right):,,, ,,

As I said Saint Patrick’s Day to me means good eats.  Find some tasty and different finds for your Saint Patrick’s Day feast below.


Corn Beef and Cabbage Rolls:

Cook 6 Savoy cabbage leaves in boiling water, about 2 minutes. Rinse under cold water and pat dry; slice in half. Mix 1/4 cup each mayonnaise and chopped parsley and/or dill; spread on the cabbage leaves. Cut 2 slices rye bread into strips. Slice 1/2 pound corned beef into strips and toss with a spoonful of whole-grain mustard. Top the cabbage leaves with a few strips each of the bread and corned beef. Roll up and slice in half.


Irish Grilled Cheese: (I am a sucker for grilled cheese, it just gives me that all over good feeling so there had to be a way to work it into my St. Patrick’s Day feast)

Mash 4 tablespoons softened butter with 2 tablespoons each chopped parsley, scallions and chives. Spread the mixture on 4 slices white bread; top each with sliced Irish cheddar cheese and bread-and-butter pickles. Cover with 4 more bread slices. Spread plain butter on the outside of the sandwiches and fry in a skillet until golden on both sides. Spread the remaining herb butter on the warm sandwiches. Slice into quarters, then press the cut sides in more chopped herbs.


Beer Battered Broccoli

Whisk 1 cup beer, 1 cup flour, 1/4 cup chopped parsley and a pinch of salt. Let the batter rest 1 hour. Dip 4 cups broccoli florets in the batter and fry in 375 degrees F vegetable oil until golden brown, about 2 minutes. Drain on paper towels. Serve with sour cream.

Whatever you may decide to do with your St. Patrick’s Day be sure to bring out your inner Irish.  With some of these above recipes you will certainly inspire some green envy from party guests!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

A Seuss Steppe

What a perfect day for National Read Across America Day, as it is the one and only Dr. Seuss’s birthday (actual name Theodor Seuss Geisel).

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go." Dr. Seuss (I Can Read With My Eyes Shut)

Dr. Seuss books were always a childhood favorite, and still remain some favorites.  He definitely began my love of books.  Gather up your favorite Dr. Seuss books and have a reading marathon with your favorite little one.

"You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You're on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who'll decide where to go..." Dr. Seuss (Oh, the Places You’ll Go).

If you don’t have a little one in your life you can pay homage to the man of riddles with a Seuss inspired menu. 

A grown up version of Green Eggs and Ham: (looks delish)

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1 cup Cookin’ Greens Spinach (cooked & chilled)

24 Hard-Boiled Eggs (medium or large)

½ cup (125 ml) low-fat mayonnaise

½ cup (125 ml) low-fat cream cheese

1 tbsp (15 ml) Dijon mustard

1/8 tsp (1 ml) cayenne pepper

1/2 tsp (2 ml) sea salt

1/8 tsp (0.5 ml) black pepper

2 slices (12 g) pancetta, cooked until crisp and

broken into 1/2” pieces

2 tbsp (30 ml) finely chopped chives

  1. Using a thin paring knife, cut eggs in half lengthwise.
  2. Carefully remove yolks and place into a mixing bowl.
  3. Mash with a fork until as smooth as possible. Set aside.
  4. Arrange whites cut side up onto a parchment lined tray,
    cover, and refrigerate until needed.
  5. Add Cookin’ Greens – Chopped Spinach, mayonnaise,
    cream cheese, and Dijon mustard to the bowl of a food
    processor. Puree until combined thoroughly.
  6. Add mashed egg yolks, cayenne pepper, salt, and black
    pepper to spinach mixture, and pulse until smooth.
  7. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour to chill.
    To Serve
    Using a piping bag, carefully pipe spinach and egg filling into
    each egg white half. Garnish with chives and a sliver of
    crisp pancetta. Serve immediately.
    COOKIN’ GREENS TIP: To help eggs sit upright on the
    serving tray, carefully cut a small slice from the rounded
    side of each egg white 1/2.

Be sure to wash your eggs down with a Pink Yink Ink Drink:

  • ½ pint fresh or ½ cup frozen blackberries
  • 1 cup milk
  • 6 fresh strawberries (green tops removed) or ½ cup frozen strawberries, thawed
  • 1 tsp honey
  1. Put the blackberries in a blender and puree them.
  2. Pour into a large glass.
  3. Put the milk, strawberries and honey in a blender and blend.
  4. Strain the mixture (optional).
  5. Pour the strawberry mixture carefully on top of the blackberry mixture

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"Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living, it's a way of looking at life through the wrong end of a telescope." Dr. Seuss

Friday, February 25, 2011

A Red Carpet Step

Sunday, February 27th, 2011 marks the 83rd Academy Awards Show.  What a great time to roll out the red carpet and get glammed up with your girlfriends.  Two of Hollywood’s hot young stars are hosting this years awards, James Franco and Anne Hathaway.  I’ll be tuning in just to see what their energy brings to the table this year.

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When you send out invites to your party be sure to also send out this years Oscar ballots.  This way guests can fill out their chooses prior to coming to the party. ( Make sure to have everyone dress in black tie.  How often do we get to get dressed up?  As guest enter the party snap lots of “paparazzi” photos.  Guests can be asked to bring food tying in to their favorite nominees.  For “True Grit” someone could bring grits, Irish soda bread for “The Fighter”, and perhaps good ole caramel popcorn for “Toy Story 3”.

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Of course every good Oscar party needs champagne.  Here’s a great Oscar worthy drink idea: (From Katie Lee, who will be serving this up to the actual stars)

Moet's Silver Screen Punch

1 (6 ounce) can pink lemonade concentrate, partially thawed
8 ounces pineapple juice
1 cup frozen strawberries
1/2 teaspoon grated ginger
1 cup vodka
1 bottle Moët & Chandon
1 pineapple, cut into rings and frozen

In a blender, combine pink lemonade concentrate, pineapple juice, strawberries, and ginger. Blend until smooth. Pour into a punch bowl. Add vodka and stir to combine. Just before serving, pour in Moet. Add frozen pineapple rings.

You can also send everyone home with they’re very own Oscar. One simple version would be to top cupcakes with an “Oscar”.

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Of course if you have enough time, and are as skilled as the baking gurus at Bakerella then you could whip up your guests there very own Oscar cookies. 

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Enjoy the Oscars!! I am sure there will be some surprises, tune in early to check out the red carpet.  The fun will begin at 8pm Eastern on ABC.