Friday, April 29, 2011

Presenting the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge

I'm too excited for words!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Kate was perfect.  In every single way.
Pippa's dress was amazing.
I teared up on several occasions - when Kate got out with her dad at Westminster Abbey, when William whispered "You look beautiful" at the altar, when the carriage pulled away.

This is the best day ever.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Royal Wedding Viewing Party Ideas

Ladies, get out your fancy hats and/or fascinators - the countdown is ON!  Less than 24 hours until the Royal Wedding!  Weeeeeeeee!!!!!!!!!!

Whether you are lucky enough to watch the wedding live, or you have your DVR set for a viewing party after work, you need to be totally and utterly prepared to watch the Royal Wedding in style!  Here are some fun ideas for your viewing party that would make Queen Elizabeth proud  :-)

Royal Champagne Cocktail
1/4 cup fresh or frozen (defrosted) raspberries
2 tbsp. water
1/4 cup vodka
3 tbsp. lemon juice
2 tbsp. raspberry liqueur
1-1/2 tbsp. simple syrup
1/2 cup chilled champagne or sparkling wine
fresh raspberries for garnish
Puree berries and water until smooth. Combine berry puree, vodka, lemon juice, liqueur and simple syrup in an ice-filled shaker and shake vigorously.  Divide among 2 champagne flutes and top with champagne. Garnish with raspberries.

Crack Baby
Rumored to be Prince William's favorite cocktail...
One part vodka
One part fresh puree of passion fruit
Splash of champagne on top

Blushing Duchess
2 parts vodka
3 wedges peeled and seeded grapefruit
sugar for rimming the glass
1/2 tsp sugar
1 part triple sec
Rub the grapefruit around the outside edge of the glass and then roll in the sugar.  Place the sugar and grapefruit in the bottom of a shaker, muddle thoroughly. Add vodka, triple sec and ice.  Shake well. Pour drink including ice and grapefruit into rimmed rocks glass.

Union Jack Fruit Pizza
1 pouch sugar cookie mix
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 egg
1 package cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla
4 cups sliced fresh strawberries
3 cups fresh blueberries
1 cup fresh raspberries
1.  Heat oven to 350°F. Line 15x10x1-inch or 13x9-inch pan with foil. Spray bottom only of foil with cooking spray. In large bowl, stir cookie mix, butter and egg until soft dough forms. Press evenly in bottom of pan. Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until light golden brown. Cool completely, about 30 minutes.
2.  In small bowl, beat cream cheese, sugar and vanilla with electric mixer on medium speed until fluffy. Spread mixture over cooled crust.
3.  Arrange fruit over cream cheese. Refrigerate at least 1 hour until chilled. Serves 20.

Tea Sandwich Flats
1 can crescent dinner rolls
2 oz. cream cheese, softened
2 oz. soft goat cheese
pinch garlic powder
fresh dill, basil, or thyme
1/2 cup deli egg salad
6 cucumber slices
3 radishes
1/4 yellow bell pepper
1.  Heat oven to 375°F. Unroll dough onto ungreased cookie sheet to form 12x8-inch rectangle, and firmly press perforations to seal.
2.  Bake 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown. Cool completely, about 20 minutes. Cut into 24 (2x2-inch) squares.
3.  For goat cheese topping, in medium bowl, stir together cream cheese, goat cheese, garlic powder and 1 teaspoon dill. Spoon about 2 teaspoons cheese mixture onto each of 12 crescent squares. Top with veggies and additional fresh herbs.
4.  For egg salad topping, spoon about 2 teaspoons egg salad onto each of 12 remaining crescent squares. Top with veggies and additional fresh herbs.

Royal Blue Velvet Cake
Inspired by Kate's heirloom sapphire engagement ring...
For Cake:
1 box white cake mix
1-1/4 cups buttermilk
1/3 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs
1 tbsp. unsweetened baking cocoa
2 tsp. royal blue paste food color
1 toothpick-full violet paste food color
For Icing:
1 jar marshmellow creme
1 cup butter or margarine, softened
2-1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/8 tsp. salt
1.  Heat oven to 325°F. Grease bottom and sides of three 8-inch round cake pans with shortening and lightly flour, or spray with baking spray with flour.
2.  In large bowl, beat all cake ingredients with electric mixer on low speed about 30 seconds or until moistened. Beat on medium speed 2 minutes, scraping bowl occasionally.
3.  Divide batter evenly among pans. Bake 23 to 28 minutes or until top springs back when lightly touched in center. Cool 15 minutes. Remove from pans; cool completely.
4.  In large microwavable bowl, microwave marshmallow creme uncovered on High 15 to 20 seconds to soften. Add butter. Beat with electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Beat in powdered sugar and salt until smooth.
5.  If necessary, trim rounded tops of two cake layers to flatten before assembling. Place 1 cake layer, top side down, on serving plate; spread with about 1/3 cup frosting. Top with second layer, top side down; spread with about 1/3 cup frosting. Top with untrimmed cake layer, top side up. Frost side and top of cake with remaining frosting.  Serves 16. 

Must-Have Table Decorations

Fairy-tale inspired carriage centerpiece

Elegant-themed paper products fit for royalty


Princess-themed tea lights
And don't be ashamed to wear that tiara that you have in your closet - you can guarantee that I'll be wearing mine!  Cheers! 

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Kate's Getting Married!

Looks like Kate Middleton isn't the only Kate getting married!  Kate Hudson's new engagement ring was spotted this morning during an interview with Matt Lauer.  She told Matt that she got engaged about a week ago, and she was just waiting for someone to notice.  Apparently she was inside 24/7 for the past week because how could someone NOT notice this sparkler?!?!  Us Weekly estimates that her ring is a whopping 9 carats!  Pretty hard to say no to that!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Easter in Annapolis

This year for Easter, my parents took Kris and me on a holiday weekend getaway to Annapolis, Maryland.  We stayed right at the Waterfront and spent a great weekend exploring downtown Annapolis.  We arrived on Saturday morning, right as it started to rain, and we were dreading the worst - afternoon thunderstorms.  But by the time we checked into our rooms and explored the hotel, the sun was out and shining bright! 

After eating some crabcakes for lunch (obviously), we strolled around the cozy streets.  Here are some of the sights: 

St. Anne's Episcopal Church

The Governor's Residence

The State House
We also took a lovely horse carriage tour around town, and it made me want to live in Annapolis!  All of the streets are very narrow and covered in brick.  Everything is so quiet and colonial - I loved it!

It wouldn't be a proper day in Annapolis without a boat tour! 

For dinner, we ate deliciously juicy steaks at Ruth's Chris Steakhouse.  There is nothing that I love more than an awesome piece of fillet mignon...  except maybe the cheesecake we had for dessert!

Before leaving Annapolis on Easter Sunday, we had to have brunch at Chick & Ruth's Delly.  Inside, you feel like you are in downtown Manhattan - pictures all over the walls, small tables, waitresses running around like crazy women.  They also have "food challenges" - the colossal 1 1/2 lbs. sandwich, the colossal 3 lbs. burger, and the colossal 6 lbs. milkshake.  And believe it or not, a table by us got the milkshake!  They had to stand up to take a sip!  

To end our fun weekend away, we had tickets the O's game in Baltimore.  I love going to Camden Yards - it's such a nice stadium with beautiful views of the city!  I am a little disappointed in myself, though - I was so full from brunch that I didn't get a Hebrew National hot dog  :-(  The only snack I could manage was a small bag of Cracker Jacks.  Luckily it was an exciting game, so I didn't even mind not getting up to eat.  We were all on the edges of our seats at the end - it went into extra innings!  Sadly, the O's lost in the 11th inning by 3 runs...  but we still had a great Easter weekend!   

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

My Easter Basket

Kris is away this week for work, so I thought it would be fun to stop by Ross for a little shopping trip.  Luckily, the Easter Bunny came a few days early for me  :-)  Here are some of the things I got for my basket!

Patent nude pumps with a crisscross toe - $15.99
A new beach hat!  Khaki big-brimmed hat with white stripes and a sweet side bow - $7.99

Nicole Miller 20" magenta rolling duffel with matching zebra print lining - $39.99
I couldn't think of a better reason to plan a long weekend where I need a carry-on  :-)

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Bring Spring Inside

The flowers in bloom around my mailbox make me really happy.  Probably more happy than they would make a normal person, but I don't care.  I love them, which is why I walked down my driveway yesterday after work to take a picture of them to share with you.

To celebrate my flowers, here are some tips to get rid of winter and decorate your home for spring!

1. Change your bedding.
It's time to remove that heavy winter bedspread and those extra blankets!  Swap them for something more lightweight, like a cotton blanket or comforter.  Get rid of those dark-colored, dreary sheets, and dress your bed with fresh pastels or floral prints.

2. Open your windows.
Let the clean, fresh air into your home, and get rid of the mustiness left over from winter! 

3. Add fresh flowers.
You don't need to spend a lot of money to have pretty flowers in your home.  Go to your local grocery store, and you can easily pick up a beautiful bouquet for less than $15.  If you want to get more creative, place the flowers in a pastel colored vase adorned with ribbon or lace.  The great part is that flowers can be placed anywhere - on your coffee table, kitchen table, or even your nightstand.

4. Add pastels to your living space.
Look for floral prints, pastels, or anything else that would make the room brighter.  It can be plates, lamps, throw pillows, candles, or any extra seasonal decorations. 

5. Put a spring-themed or bright-colored runner on your dining room or coffee table.
Make spring the center of attention in your home.  Use your home's focal points like the dining room table or coffee table in your living room to brighten up the entire house.

6. Revamp a smaller room in your home.
While it's unrealistic to totally redecorate the larger rooms in your home for every season, you can easily change up the smaller areas, like your foyer, bathrooms, or outdoor patio space.