Thursday, February 13, 2014

Cookie Decorating Party

Recently, I hosted a cookie decorating party for a few friends at a local bakery. I always admire the look of beautifully decorated cookies but mine never seemed to turn out so well. 

The baker had everything set up for us on a work table and it was fabulous to be able work and decorate without any clean up. Tiny tubes of royal icing made it easy to make squiggles and lines on the pre-cut cookies. 

We each started out with a plate of cookies. After a quick tutorial and some great decorating suggestions, we were on our way to making beautiful cookies. 

One of my favorite techniques was with sugar. I piped icing to outline or fill the cookie and then dipped it in a plate of sugar to get a great coating. The lips were my favorite! First I piped the outline of the lips and then dipped it in sugar. After it dried for a while, I filled in the rest of the cookie with icing and then dipped it again in sugar. Here are a few of the cookies I decorated. 

My friends and I had a blast and spent hours decorating cookies, talking, and enjoying coffee and tea. My friend Patti made these cookies. 

After our cookies were packed and ready to take home to our favorite valentines, we enjoyed some cake from the bakery. The three layer chocolate and almond cake had a raspberry icing in the middle. So delicious. 

A cookie decorating party is a fabulous idea for all ages! My girls were a little bit jealous that this was an adults only event. 

Monday, February 3, 2014

Fire in Ice

Mother Nature is taking us on a wild ride this winter. But this weekend, we enjoyed temperatures in the 40's that felt practically balmy after braving sub-zero weather. We attended a unique event called Fire in Ice. Beautiful ice sculptures delighted guests in the historic district. 

Tory Burch...on ice

My princess in front of the Enchanted Castle

Cupid is aiming his arrow!

The angel at my church
Hot cocoa warmed up cold hands at stations throughout the historic district. My girls burned their marshmallows perfectly before making the s'mores at several other points around town. 

Meanwhile, today I'm on the way outside to shovel snow. I have to keep a path clear in hopes that some packages will arrive from the UPS man or by postal delivery!

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Zara Blanket Scarf

Usually I don't jump on the bandwagon with the item that everyone seems to have from a particular season. But when I first saw the Zara blanket scarf, I knew that I needed to have it. It's plaid, it's warm, and it's from Zara. What else did I need to convince myself?

With the incredibly cold winter that we're having here in Maryland, I'm actually getting quite a lot of mileage out of this scarf that doubles as a blanket. Really, the scarf is so huge that it will be a great blanket next fall for football games.

Zara Scarf / Talbots Cardigan / Corduroy Pant / Boots

Figuring out how to tie such a large blanket scarf is somewhat of a challenge because it is bulky. I didn't want it to overpower my outfit. Here's how I tied it.

1. Fold the square scarf in half into a triangle.
2. Roll the edge of the triangle until about 12 inches of the scarf remains unrolled. Make sure your roll is fairly small or else it will be bulky around your neck.
3. Put the triangle end in the front and wrap the two ends around your neck. Bring the ends back to the front.
4. Fluff and arrange the scarf.

P.S. In other exciting news, I'm proud to say that I've lost 5 pounds since Christmas. It's been a lot of hard work with clean eating and not cheating. I've also been doing Jillian Michaels' Ripped in 30 workout. I'm still on week 2, but I'm making progress!!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Lilly Pulitzer Estate Sale Bid List!

You may remember that I recently shared the details of the sale of the Property of the Estate of Lilly Pulitzer with you. I would love to own a piece of history and would be content with the most common item that belonged to one of my favorite personalities. Even something as small as a simple plate or a vase would be a treasure. Here are a few of my favorite things from the sale.

Set of Two Chinese Export Garden Seats Elephants? No more needs to be said. These are amazing!

Painted Canvas Whimsical Map of Palm Beach I always love the look of Lilly for wall art. Wouldn't this be a gorgeous print to revive for a shift dress in the future?

White Painted Wicker and Bentwood Desk I imagine that many letters were penned from this stunning desk. Perhaps it would be some good inspiration for blog writing.

Italian Baroque Giltwood Mirror Lately, I've become slightly obsessed with antique mirrors. When John asked me what I wanted for Christmas, I told him that I wanted a mirror. No lie. I did get a stunning mirror for Christmas, but I'm sure that I could find a home for this one, too!

Turquoise Painted Rattan Low Table What a fabulous little table! I imagine this on a covered patio with comfortable printed sofas.

The complete catalog for the estate sale is now available online. You can also order a copy of the print catalogue. Remember that you can bid online or by phone if you're not in the Palm Beach area.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Oranges Everywhere, Even in Your Mixed Drink!

While you're chasing away the winter blues, get a little boost of juice! January is National Citrus Month. I love to pair vibrant orange with neutral hues any time of the year. We just bought a huge box of Clementines in the grocery store to squeeze out a little taste of summer even as the Polar air swirls around us.

Today I have some outstanding orange options for fashion, accessories, and beauty. As an extra special treat, you'll enjoy some delicious and refreshing recipes for orange mango made with Sparkling ICE!

If you're like me and you need a big bag to hold everything, this Nylon Easy Tote is a great choice. You can get it monogrammed, too! Bonus!

Bundle up in the gorgeous Double-cloth Sabrina coat, now on sale for a fabulous price. There's free shipping today only.

A tunic is always a beautiful choice, even if I have to wear a wool coat over it. Wear the Charlotte tunic  now with a pair of Travel Pants.

Wouldn't this Nail Polish be a fun choice for a pedicure? The name is pretty funny, too...A Good Man Darin is Hard to Find.

Sparkling ICE, “a zero calorie naturally flavored sparkling water with vitamins and healthy antioxidants” is so delicious and pairs well with other things.

My favorite recipe is the Orange Mango Mimosa! I tried it for brunch and LOVED it. I plan to serve it at a morning party I'm hosting soon.

Orange Mango Mimosa
1/3 cup chilled dry champagne
1/3 cup chilled Orange Mango Sparkling ICE
1 tablespoon Grand Marnier or triple sec (optional)

Fill the champagne flute 1/2 full with chilled dry champagne. Top with chilled Orange Mango Sparkling ICE. Top mimosa with 1 tablespoon of Grand Marnier or triple sec (optional).

Orange Mango Martini
1 oz. Tequila
1 oz. Orange Vodka
Juice of 1 Lime
3 oz. Orange Mango Sparkling ICE

Directions: Combine Tequila and Vodka with ice in a shaker. Strain and pour into the chilled martini glass. Top with Orange Mango Sparkling ICE

Sparkling Orange Mango Granita
6 oranges, emptied and shells frozen
1 mango, peeled and pitted
1 bottle of Orange Mango Sparkling ICE
½ cup water
¼ cup sugar

Preparation Cut the oranges in half and scoop out the pulp for later use. A thin layer can be sliced off the bottom of the orange halves to create a flat surface and prevent them from rolling around when serving. Freeze empty orange shells. Note: For easier scooping, roll the oranges by hand before cutting in half, using a firm downward pressure to loosen the pulp.

Directions: Place chopped mango in the bowl of a food processor and process until smooth. Transfer to a medium bowl. Add the water, Sparkling ICE and sugar, and stir to dissolve. Pour mixture into deep-sided metal or glass pan. Place it in the freezer, uncovered. When the top of the liquid forms an icy layer, scrape through entire pan with a fork every 30 minutes. Return to freezer and let another frozen layer form; scrape again with fork. Repeat freezing and scraping steps until all liquid is frozen. Remove from freezer, and scrape surface with the tines of a fork until it is the texture of shaved ice. Fluff with a fork to create soft granita. Repeat this process every 30 minutes for 3 to 4hrs. Put mixture in frozen oranges and serve.

Many thanks to Sparkling ICE for sending the recipes to me along with a few bottles to sample. 

Monday, January 20, 2014

Fresh Ingredients & Chef-Designed Meals at Home

Recently an ad for Plated came up on the sidebar of my search engine. I'm so glad that I clicked on the ad because it's a great discovery.

Plated delivers fresh, ready-to-cook ingredients paired with gourmet recipes so that you can cook delicious meals at home. You choose the recipes you would like to order, and they deliver all the perfectly portioned ingredients to you – No need to grocery shop or recipe hunt, and best of all, no excess waste! They provide you with a convenient and nutritious way to discover your inner chef, and make cooking fun.

The menu constantly changes, so you'll never get tired of the recipes. I ordered the Provencal Steak with Purple Potatoes and Green Beans to start this cooking adventure.

My package arrived in a sturdy box that was clearly marked perishable. The ingredients were carefully packed in an insulated bag that had ice packs in it. As I unpacked everything, I was thrilled to discover that everything was still quite cold.

The step by step directions for the recipe are easy to follow. The instructions said that it would take about 30 to 40 minutes to prep and prepare. I spent about 45 minutes total working on the recipe, prepping some ingredients while others were cooking. Recipes are rated for difficulty level, making it easy to choose what you want to make.

I really loved the purple potatoes. Such a unique ingredient!

Here's the final product! I didn't slice the steak the way it was pictured, but no one minded. Everyone loved the meal! We even had some potatoes and green beans leftover for the next day.

There are a limited amount of free meals for 4 people with the code freefbplates. Get 4 free meals with this code! Just pay $10 shipping. Where can 4 people eat for $10? 

If the 4 meal offer is expired, use the code 56d3e5 to get 2 free plates! That's a 50% savings off the regular price.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Lilly Pulitzer Estate Auction

If you've ever gone to a Lilly Pulitzer store and fallen in love with the chic furnishings, you're in for a surprise.

Mark your calendars for February 22 at 11 a.m. The colorful furnishings from Lilly Pulitzer's Palm Beach estate will be available for purchase. Watch for more information from Leslie Hindman about the auction that will be held at its West Palm beach location–1608 West Dixie Highway.

From the auction website, "Highlights from the collections being offered in January include a Tiffany Studios Bronze and Nautilus Shell Desk Lamp, with an estimate of $5,000-7,000; a Royal Copenhagen Flora Danica Partial Dinner Service, with an estimate of $25,000-35,000; an Italian Sterling Silver Six Piece Tea and Coffee Service, Buccellati, with an estimate of $5,000-7,000; and a Meissen Porcelain Fourteen-Piece Monkey Band, with an estimate of $6,000-8,000."

Here's a tidbit of information that delighted me,

The sale will accept live, phone, absentee and internet bids.


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