Friday, March 25, 2011

DIY Centerpieces

I finally decided on/put together my DIY wedding centerpieces. We are having our reception in an Irish Tavern complete with stone walls and exposed wood beams..mmm.. and I struggled for ages to figure out what I could do that was romantic, rustic and cost effective without looking cheap. I also hemmed an hawed about posting "spoilers" for my own wedding on this blog, but then figured that no items that I posted could truly spoil a wedding. There are no predictions that can be made until the sum of the parts are witnessed, and in the end that is not the soul of a wedding day anyway. These are just little bits of fluff and prettiness. Bits of cheer to accent the day and maybe somewhere out there another sane bride is looking for affordable bits of fluff for her day too!  I know I spend hours myself googling babys breath centerpieces and finding many that I liked, but did not work for me, or were not fesable to make.
      Since we are getting married in Ireland, I needed to find a shop that was international where I could send and elf with a list, and have everything bought and ready to be assembled when we arrived. Enter my swiss boyfriend IKEA. Don't worry Daryll approves of this relationship. Ikea is there wherever I go in the world, and likes to provide me with pretty things (and meatballs), and I really don't owe him too much at the end of the day. It works out well. Here's how the centerpieces break down for those of you who would like to attempt something similar...

Supplies for each table...
1 Small Burken Jar (.5L)
1 Medium Burken Jar (1L)
Ribbon or twine or rafia of your choice
1 Fenomen set of block candles (5 piece)
1 Tolsby picture frame
20 stems of baby's breath (I paid $10 for mine here in NY just to test out. But it should be cheaper in bulk)
Table numbers from the Wedding Chicks! I love these gals!

Step 1- Prepare babys breath.
I acually approached this as a hand held bouquet. I still need more practice, but since I wasn't using an opaque container I wanted the stems to look pretty. It makes the top a little harder to control (i.e. make into a perfect pouf, but I think the "wildness" of it adds to the romantic look. Starting with one little bunch as the center of the bouquet keep adding stems in an even manner around the perimeter. I used a little more than half for the large arrangement, and created that one first to make sure it was lush enough. you may have to break off a few unruley pieces to keep it generally uniform, but it should be pretty easy.

Step 2- Cut to the appropriate height.
Do not cut the stems until you have assembled the bouquet. I think I may use a clear hairtie to bind the bouquet together. Then, using the height of the jar as your guide, measure how much of the stem you need to cut off to make the arrangement sit correctly. Running the stems under water while you cut I hear helps keep them fresh.

Step 3- Save or Assemble.
Create the smaller bouquet in the same manner. You could save these in buckets of cold water until a little closer to the event,  if doing them the night before. Or you can fill the jars with cool water and add the bouquets right there and then.

Step 4- Ribbon
I just wrapped cream ribbon around the mouth of the jars and tied them in clean knots. I plan on sealing the edge of the ribbon with a candle to prevent fraying. (This only works for Polyester mix fabrics and ribbon).

Step 5- Table numbers
I simply printed these off in Grey ink on regular printer paper and inserted them in the frame. The frame is two sided so it would be very handy if you wanted to put the number on the front and perhaps a menu, or a little welcome note on the back.

Step 6- Arrange on the table any way you like! I plan on having printed pictures and instruction sheets to hand out since D will most likely be setting up these the morning of the wedding with some elves.

At the end of the day, these priced less (for 2 arrangements with candles and a framed table number) than a small arrangement by most dublin florists! I think en masse they will be lovely.

Friday! Woot!

Frida Kahlo. In honor of our Cafe Frida trip. Amazing food, amazing woman.
Ah, another Friday is finally here! Thank God! It is actually one of the first weekend in a long time that the boy and I will both be off work together and there is lots to catch up on since we NEVER see each other. At least we live together or we really wouldn't see each other. Right now we are just getting by on good mornings and goodnights, but hopefully that will continue to improve. Tonight I am going out for dinner and drinks at Cafe Friday with some friends. Tasty! and then out more drinks to celebrate a friends birthday. Fingers crossed, Mr. Man will get off work at a reasonable hour tonight so he can join the festivities too. Saturday/Sunday are big ones. With our big wedding coming up in 12 weeks (AHHHH!) there is a ton to be done. (For those who don't know us, we had a little wedding last summer due to some immigration hurdles and are now planning our big religious wedding in Ireland). So on tap are the following....
Finish afters invitations and mail to Ireland.
Finish favors (Very excited that I just got my Divine Twine last week for these!),
Trial runs for the bride and bridesmaid bouquets so I can plan what flowers to order. Yes we are doing our flowers. In Ireland. The day before. No I am not psycho. I have a plan. And elves.
Touch base with our vendors and lovely attendants, order BM/GM gifts.
Start planning our drink tickets and seating cards.
Hang our new pictures from Ikea (not wedding related, but we need to change it up).
and finally craigslist the airconditioners that have been in our living room since last summer and need to go before the bridal shower in 2 weeks. (Anyone looking for a cheap almost new AC?!)

Ugh, I'm tired already. Any fun plans for you, blogosphere?

Friday, March 18, 2011

Green Goodness: Lunch Time!

From their facebook profile

Green Goodness is still here! I figured it's Patty's day week for another 2 days and almost the beginning of spring (which is another event that makes our brains scream GREEN! or at least mine anyway. Especially living in a frozen urban wasteland) so we might as well wrap this up. Besides, I've been dying to post on my new favorite lunch spot since I found it a week ago. Taim Mobile Food Van. Yes it's a van, or a truck or what have you, and it makes some of the best sandwiches I've ever had! (Check out the full restaurant here). The top of the roof is a lovely shade of lime green, but that's not why I picked it. I picked it because of their Falafal sandwich. Green Falafal at that! You're Welcome. No really, those of you who do not already know about this van should be thanking me. See, every day the line to get one of these sandwiches (or platters, or smoothies) gets longer and longer!  Like epically long. Soooooo long. It was pretty bad today. I waited 30 mins. Food vans or carts are supposed to be quick y'all. I was not annoyed tho, because it is worth the wait and it's always a good thing when you see fair priced, well produced and freshly made food being supported. In fact I'm hoping that this gets a bit out of control and they have the means and demand to open a location in Midtown West or 2 trucks! Or a truck on every corner! That would be nice! Their Green Falafal Sandwich is super fresh. Each one has about 4-5 falafal balls, hummus, Tahini, Israeli Salad and Pickled Cabbage (ask for the spicy sauce on the side too!) and at $5.75 is a little more expensive than traditional carts but a steal considering the quality of ingredients you are getting. So find out where they are headed next. Follow them on twitter, get their early and make sure you don't tell the impatient, hungry devotees in line that I sent you ;)

Green Goodness: Epic Fail

My "Old Navy Special" this year ;) Thanks Husbandy!

Ok, so maybe I was a little too ambitious when I attempted to post all my Green Goodness segments yesterday. I only managed one : Fail. Regardless, I hope everyone enjoyed St. Patrick's Day and got their "drink on" or "food on" or "parade on" or anything you enjoy doing every March 17th. We had a great night crawling around Sunnyside, Queens. While Manhattan looked like a green tinted scene from the Jersey Shore, we ventured off the beaten path to find a bit more authentic experience. To quote a very infamous celebrity on the choice of events- "winning!" We found a great new pub in the neighborhood, PJ Horgans on 42nd Street and Queens Blvd. With the exposed wood beams and vaulted ceilings in the dining room it was very cozy without being claustrophobic. The pint's were good and the Irish comfort food was very satisfying. Apparently the Chicken Pot Pie is amazing there but sadly it wasn't on the event menu that night. Boo. However, the Shepard's pie and the Chicken Curry we got to sample were great and although "The Best Burger" was not as advertised, it definitely held its own. I have to say, it was such a nice change from the craziness of Manhattan. Very few drunken obnoxious people, crowded but not overly so, and more family centric. We could actually maintain a conversation without yelling- say what!? After PJ's we hopped across the street to the Courtyard at 41st and Queens Blvd. It was a bit more crowded and crazy, but they had a live band singing pub songs which was awesome! Live music makes everything more fun. (Especially when in some of the songs you get to repeatedly scream "Rise up your kilt," like, how often does that happen?) All in all the night was a success, we got some sleep after, and I think most people are functioning quite well today for it being the day after St. Pats. Now how often does THAT happen?! Sláinte!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Green Goodness: Sweet Eats!

"Hello Lover" Photo via Foodtographie

 I tried to take a fieldtrip the other day to sample my first Green Goodness item, and they were tragically sold out! See, they really must be good! So what is this little guy? It's my favorite green sweet in the city - the Pistachio Macaron from Buchon Bakery.

I am a bit obsessed with Macarons in general as of late. A few years back I kept seeing them in frilly magazine photo shoots and films like "Marie Antoinette," and could never figure out what the little pastel cakes were (at least I thought they were cakes. Oh poor ignorant me). So what are Macaron's? First of all, they are not to be confused with the ol' coconut Macaroon! Although they both deal with egg whites as a main component, the Macaron is not coconut related necessarily. It's traditionally almond. It is described as a "small round dry pastry made of almond paste, sugar and egg white." Ok, so that description doesn't make it sound very special, but oh it iiisss. You see, between each little pastel pastry there is a layer of butter cream that is to die for. At bouchon especially, they put a little "surprise" in the center of the butter cream layer. In one flavor there is a dollop of caramel for example, in another flavor, jam. Yum. The pistachio flavor is by far my favorite though. It's that perfect mix of savory and sweet. To clarify, it is definitely sweet, but the pistachio helps to balance the flavor and keep it from getting to that sickeningly sweet point. The bakery keeps these little guys in the fridge (pictured above) so they are all chilled out. This create my favorite aspect of the treat. The butter cream stays cool until you take a bite and then it literally melts in your mouth! The cookie portion itself has a very light, crisp outer and a soft, chewy middle. It all makes for an awesome mouth circus of texture and flavor! A great treat for your St. Patrick's table when you and yours are all Soda Breaded out!

Anyone else have any recommendations for some awesome Macaron action in your home town?

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Green Goodness!

Bejapers and Begorah! St. Patty's day is fast approaching, so! (oh I love annoying my Irish husband with those two words. In my terrible Irish accent none the less).

 I thought I would pay tribute to the day by showing some love for all things green! So tomorrow, I will be posting several items to inspire you to partake in a little bit of green on St. Patrick's day, even if it isn't necessarily Irish. We have loads of great, green, glorious things (ooo alliteration) to enjoy on this earth, and these are just a few.... Stay tuned...

Oh and for those of you who love to take poor innocent children and dress them up in ridiculous holiday attire, only to take an unending amount of photos of them to use as black mail when they become loveable but unruly teenagers, check out this amazing "how to" on Oh happy day for the photo above! So stinking cute.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Hope for Spring

Photo by Jeffrey Friedl. His blog has some breathtaking photos of the Japanese countryside.

        Hope you had a nice weekend. I spent mine sorting out a bit of spring cleaning (11 hours on Saturday! Eep!) but I have to say the house is in great shape and having everything organized definitely helps to chase those winter blues away. It has been a long, cold one this year but in light of the recent news overseas, I are reminded that we are lucky in countless ways. As we don't have cable, I've been catching up on the news in Japan online. It is truly heartbreaking what the citizens and their loved ones are going through. I'm planning on donating to one of the following charities, but is always hard to decide where one's money will make the most difference. How are you planning to help? Does anyone have any other suggestions of how we can lend our sympathy and support?

Friday, March 11, 2011

Friends in High Places

Pssss...word on the street is, Jennifer Aniston may be looking to call this little slice of NYC her own. How gorgeous is this West Villiage apartment?!

More detail and photos over here at Curbed via New York Daily News

I love that it is totally her taste as is. It's laid back but stylish without being pretentious. If you just removed the Manhattan skyline you would never know this was a New York apartment. The use of a basic white and grey pallet on the walls and trim keep the feel really clean. All those fun pops of color and warm lighting really help to warm up the space and add such great interest. Oh and I looooove the stark white windowed bathroom. No worries about anyone looking in, it's the top floor penthouse baby! It gives me such a beachy vibe. Perfect for a California girl. Can't you imagine a summer BBQ on that patio. Heaven!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Better late than never...

Impulse solo trip to Ireland. One of the top 10 biggest "love's" so far!

Hello! For about a year now I have been mulling over starting my own blog. The name was never quite right, nor the subject, so I kept stalling, and stalling and stalling some more. Then I got hooked on following blogs, and found this gem of a quote from the book "Art & Fear"...(as quoted by Jordan Ferney of "Oh Happy Day." read her great interview here!)

The ceramics teacher announced on opening day that he was dividing the class into two groups. All those on the left side of the studio, he said, would be graded solely on the quantity of work they produced, all those on the right solely on its quality.
His procedure was simple: on the final day of class he would bring in his bathroom scales and weigh the work of the “quantity” group: fifty pound of pots rated an “A”, forty pounds a “B”, and so on. Those being graded on “quality”, however, needed to produce only one pot—albeit a perfect one—to get an “A”.
Well, came grading time and a curious fact emerged: the works of highest quality were all produced by the group being graded for quantity. It seems that while the “quantity” group was busily churning out piles of work—and learning from their mistakes—the “quality” group had sat theorizing about perfection, and in the end had little more to show for their efforts than grandiose theories and a pile of dead clay.

So it's time to get started. No more dead clay! (As a perfectionist I am an expert at theorizing myself into an inactive stupor!) . This is blog just for me about stuff I love. Love to eat, love to see, love to wear, love to experience, and love to share. Laissez les bon temps rouler!
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