Summer Wedding Travel Tips: Women’s Travel Ready Wedding Attire

Planning what to wear to a bevy of wedding events is difficult enough without adding in the extra challenges of limited space and weight restrictions. I’m one of those people that will get EVERYTHING to fit into one bag rather than pay for extra baggage fees. In order to still be prepared for looking the part at all the wedding events and still being able to pack light, I’ve come up with a list of rules that I need to apply to my wedding trip packing.

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Summer Wedding Travel Tips: Travel Basics

Anyone else traveling for a wedding this Summer? While weddings happen year round… Summer is wedding season. When weddings are in town there is always some prep. But, there is nothing quite like traveling for a wedding.

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Cocktail Recipe: Sweet Pea Cocktail

When I heard of the Sweet Pea cocktail I really had to think a bit before I decided to try it. I mean really, peas? In a cocktail? Well, I’m so glad I tried it! I found the original recipe at the Bon Appetit blog. I changed a few things to make it more my taste. I tested it out on friends who enjoyed it… so, I feel pretty safe in saying that this is a great cocktail for Spring or Summer.

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{Inspiration} Spring Centerpiece

I’m SOOOO ready for Spring to get here.
I’m ready for flowers, gardening, Spring clothing, and some sunshine! I’m not looking forward to allergy season… but, my readiness for spring is overriding my fear of another sneezing season. In my desire for Spring to get here I decided to create some Spring-like centerpiece items. I used them as decor at the Portland Creative Connection event… now they sit on my diningroom table making me happy all day long. I think these decorations would be cute for any Spring event including Easter dinner, an afternoon May day celebration, or a Mother’s Day brunch.

Recipe: Honey Orange Ginger Old Fashioned

Okay, now… there may be a few people who claim this isn’t an Old Fashioned. It might have changed just a little too much to be considered related to the yummy traditional cocktail. But, I formulated this recipe with the idea of an Old Fashioned in mind.

{Recipe} Apple Cider Margarita

Mmmm… is there anything better than the flavors of apples and spices together? Why, yes…there is! Add tequila! 😉 I typically enjoy rum with my apple cider. But, after I saw How Sweet It Is put out a delicious looking Apple Cider Margarita, I knew I would have to try something different. (BTW– one of my favorite food blogs!)

The Apple Cider Margarita was a HUGE hit last thanksgiving as everyone mingled and snacked before the big meal.

I had to use some items that I had on hand, so my drink is a tad different. It was super delicious though. Please let me know what you think if you try it!

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{Recipe} Smore Cocktail

Last Thanksgiving I had the distinct pleasure of drinking for the first time in nearly a year. I made my plans with pumping/dumping/timing so that I wouldn’t have to worry about nursing my son and created two delicious cocktails for the hour before Thanksgiving dinner. They were AMAZING. I wanted to share these delicious cocktails with you just in case you wanted to make some for your holiday celebrations.

The first of these cocktails combines my favorite thing about the fall (Smores, Roasted Marshmallows!), my favorite flavor (Chocolate!), and alcohol.

Fall Tradition of the Pumpkin Patch and Toddler Style

We went to the Pumpkin Patch when X was only about two months old. We decided on that trip that the Pumpkin Patch would be a yearly tradition. This year’s trip was even more fun than last year’s trip, because the little guy was totally into it. He was amazed by everything, and everyone, around him.
Plus, I got to dress him up in a super cute hat and scarf. He is my lil’ stud.
Not sure if the clothes he is wearing are still available.
But, the links below go to the sites of the stores I purchased his clothing at!
(Hat: Old Navy, Scarf: Dollar Tree, Shirt: Target, Jacket: Old Navy, Skinny Jeans: Old Navy, Shoes: KMart)

What is your favorite Fall tradition?

{Real Party} You Are My Sunshine First Birthday

The song “You Are My Sunshine” has been one that I often sing my son. Living in Portland, Oregon the sun only really shines during the summer and early Fall. So, my son keeps me smiling year round. 
I hired Macey from Motormouth Studios to hang out at the party all day and take photos. She did a fabulous job!
There were a ton of DIY details that I want to share with you, including printables, recipes, and activities. But, they all can’t go in this one post. So, today will be a picture overload. Stay tuned this week for all of the DIY items!

{Real Party} Portland Blogger’s Family Picnic

The Portland Bloggers group that I’ve been meeting up with just had the June Meet-up. The group meets approximately every two months. This month it was a family picnic so that everyone could meet some of the people that we all blog about.
Unfortunately, the weather did not cooperate.
A last minute venue change along with busy summer schedules made for a small turn-out.
But, the small turn out ended up allowing the group to really talk about blogging.
As my hubby told me repeatedly “It is quality, not quantity!”
 So, not much on the picnic front, but a lot of great information and some fun new faces.
(I’ll be sharing some of the blogging topics over on my other blog, Leave the Laundry for Later.)
I wanted to share the pretty party details with you.
And, tomorrow, stop by for a couple quick and easy DIY party tips!
All the ladies from the event: Macey, Courtney, Justine, Kae, Suzannah, myself, and Adi
Suzannah, Justine, Courtney, and Kae
We all posed with the balloon. Silly, but fun!
Welcome table put together by Kae of Paper Morning
I loved this photo of my son so I had to share!
All photos were taken by the lovely Macey from Motormouth Studio. She is a Portland-area family, portrait, and wedding photographer. I really like her style and was thrilled when she donated a gift-certificate for the meet-up, coupons for the bloggers, and agreed to take photos of the event!
Bloggers in attendance at the event: 
Baby Daddy PDX—Matt
Charmed in PDX— Courtney
Motormouth Studio—Macey
The Musical Life of a Portlander—Jason

{Recipe} Sweet Potato Cake with Marshmallow Buttercream Frosting

Mmmm… birthday cake. Is there anything better?
I really enjoy making my friends birthday cakes or cupcakes. I like to play around with flavors and frostings. I like using things I have on hand or going to buy something special. I made this cake  (featured in the Rustic Birthday Party Post from yesterday) using some of the sweet potatoes that came in my weekly veggie box delivery.
And, boy oh boy was it a good use of vegetables!
The cake didn’t look perfect. My frosting job was a little wonky. But, it tasted pretty awesome.
The sweet potatoes made the cake moist. The marshmallow gave the frosting a fun kick.
Then, the crunch of the walnuts made me want another slice.
Sweet Potato Cake Recipe
Recipe loosely based on epicurious.com recipe
changes and additions made by me
INGREDIENTS:
  • 4 8-ounce red-skinned sweet potatoes(yams)
  • 2 3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 3 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Topping:

  • Marshmallow Buttercream Frosting (see recipe below)
  • Walnuts (or pecans)
DIRECTIONS:
1. Poke yams with fork and bake until tender (about 1 hour at 375 degrees F). You can also do this in the microwave or used leftover mashed sweet potatoes ( approximately 2 cups worth). Peel yams and smash once done.
2. While yams are baking prepare a pan for cooking. You can use a muffin tin with liners for cupcakes. I used a springform pan and sprayed it with a little cooking spray and dusted it with a little bit of flour to prevent sticking. Preheat oven to 325 F.
3. In a medium bowl sift together (or put in bowl and stir around with a whisk or fork) flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
4. In a large bowl mix 2 cups of (cooled and mashed) yams with sugar, vegetable oil and syrup. Then mix in eggs 2 at a time. After mixing in eggs add in the flour mixture and mix until just incorporated. Add in vanilla extract and mix one last time. (I use a hand-held mixer, but if you are lucky enough to own a kitchen aid stand mixer then I’m sure that would work as well.)
5. Pour cake batter into prepared pan. Bake at 325 for about one hour or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
After the cake was done and cooled I sliced it in half, brushed the tops with a little bit of whiskey (a simple syrup would work as well) to keep it moist, and then frosted it. I put marshmallow icing and walnuts on the first layer before addign the top layer. I then frosted the entire cake with marshmallow icing and topped with walnuts.
Marshmallow Buttercream Frosting
I improvised this frosting recipe using my basic butter frosting as a base
INGREDIENTS:
  • 2 sticks butter- room temperature
  • 1 8 oz jar of Marshmallow Cream
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • milk or cream if needed for consistency
DIRECTIONS:
1. Whip up two sticks of room temperature butter until fluffy. (I use my handheld mixer.)
2. Add in 1 8 oz jar of Marshmallow Cream- whip until incorporated. I spray my handheld mixer with a little bit of cooking spray to help keep the marshmallow cream from sticking to my mixer.
3. While mixing, slowly add in powdered sugar.
4. Add in vanilla and salt and mix.
5. If the frosting is too thick add in tsp of milk or cream. If it is too runny add in a little bit more powdered sugar. I found that I usually don’t need any additional milk or sugar.
Add candles and a song and then you’ve got yourself a birthday cake!
I’d love to know if you decide to make this cake.

{Real Party} Rustic Dinner Party

On a previous {Working on it Wednesday} post I shared an inspiration board for a Fall dinner party with a color scheme of whites, tans, browns and blues.
Guests were in charge of bringing desserts or appetizers while I was in charge of making a main course dish and two sides for 20 people. I challenged myself to keep the whole party within a budget of $125. The decor could only cost $25 and the food, favors and two bottles of wine had to ring in under $100.

The Budget Breakdown
Decor:
$3 on plastic zoo animals
$4 on spray paint
$13 rugged burlap
$9 on flowers
Total: $29
 The rest of the decor were items I already owned
and items I made from things I already owned.
Food, Favors, and Wine: 
Wine— Two Bottles Free
Had leftover from Halloween party
Favors— Takeout boxes for guests to fill with desserts
$6.75
(Boxes were $13.50, but I split the costs with a friend
who needed the other half of the box order for Thanksgiving)
Food— $82.00
The biggest part of this cost was the meat for 15 people.
I also added a vegetarian main course dish and a birthday cake to this shopping trip.
Total: $88.75
Total Party Cost: $117.75

Check back this week for recipes and DIY decorations.

{Real Party} Little Pumpkin Sip and See

This week is the week of baby showers here at the blog…
Monday we saw a {Real Party} of a rustic, yet soft baby shower for a girl
Tuesday we saw a {Real Party} of a modern robot-themed shower for a boy
Wednesday was {Working on it Wednesday} with inspiration for a woodland-themed shower
~*~
Today I have photos from another {Real Party}!
My friends and family were super sweet and threw me a Sip & See for our visit back to Oklahoma.
It was a great opportunity for us to celebrate the little guy while seeing all our friends and family in one place. And, since a lot of our friends in Oklahoma recently had kiddos of their own it was an opportunity for us to meet their little ones as well.

My mom, sister and friend Jill really went all out in decorating for this party. My mom created all the paper goods using scrapbook paper and stickers. She even did the little cupcake toppers out of scrapbooks supplies. They used pumpkins, hay bails,fall foliage and even potpourri on the tables to bring out the feeling of fall.

Jill created name tags for all of the guests since our guests were from all different parts of our lives—h.s. friends, college friends, after-college friends and a ton of family. She also created little tissue paper pumpkins (via Martha) filled with candies for the favors.

The food was AMAZING. My step-mom, Teresa, and my mom made all of the food. They decided to do a dessert buffet with coffee, coffee-punch and water to drink. The menu included: pumpkin cupcakes, orange dip and fruit, mocha scones, acorn bites, s’mores pops, chocolate chippies and so much more! It was really, really delicious.

A lot of our friends and family have little ones of various ages so a kids table was a must. Each bag had toys, carrots, apples, juice, fruit by the foot and crayons. Coloring books were spread out on the table so the kids would not be bored while all the adults were chatting.
Of course the carrots were barely touched.

The ladies also put together a little gift table with photos of our little guy and an activity for guests to work on. Each guest got to fill out an advice form that we will keep and save for our little guy as he gets older. Then they would hang the advice from the clothes line above the table. Some guests even put money on the line for us… it was all so sweet.

Our little family felt so very blessed. 

Thank you to my mom, step-mom, sis and to Jill (and her family!) for throwing us this amazing party. I kept getting questions from everyone asking when I had the time to throw the party or what part of the party I did and it was very fun saying,
“Not a thing! They did it all.”

I couldn’t have done it better myself.

Thank you for checking out our party!
I think a lot of these details would transfer nicely to a very pretty Thanksgiving table!

{Working on it Wednesday} Fall Themed Birthday Party

Birthdays are my favorite excuse to throw a party.
My friend’s birthdays are my favorite birthdays to celebrate. 
(Well, until my little guy’s first birthday… I’m sure.)
Alicia’s birthday cake from last year—Carrot Cake!
My friend Alicia has a birthday near the end of November which gives me the perfect excuse to have a Fall themed Dinner party in her honor. I’ve been brainstorming on the party for about a week now and I’m getting quite excited about it. 
Table from Alicia’s birthday dinner 2 years ago.
I’ve decided to make the party a sort of challenge for me to help me keep it on budget and to inspire me to do some fun DIY projects for the blog.
The Details:
Guests: Approximately 16 Guests
  Color Scheme: Browns and Blues inspired by this Inspiration Board from Creature Comforts

 Inspiration Board Links: Burlap and Lace Poms from Jenny Cookies,Winter Tablescape from unknown via Pinterest (if you know please let me know so I can link), Color Inspiration Board from Creature Comforts, Clear Bottles as Candle Holders

I’d like to explore different textures and lighting for this party… 
and of course have some delicious food!

Food Inspiration Board Links: Braised Beef Short Rib Pot Pies from Martha Stewart, Spinach with Garlic Chips from Pioneer Woman, Roasted Carrots from Pioneer Woman, Cake inspiration from Jenny Cookies


 
The Challenge Rules:
Decoration Budget: $25 (must use mostly items that I already own)
Food & Favor Budget: $100
As we are a foodie group each of the guests are bringing a bottle of wine and a dessert or appetizer.
So, my food and favor budget must cover the main course, 2 sides, 2 bottles of wine and favors for 16 people. Certainly a challenge, but totally doable!
Gift Budget: $0— Must be completely homemade from supplies I already own. 
This would be slightly less possible if I didn’t already have something in mind and have an over abundance of supplies at the moment.
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