30 November, 2009

New {Vendor} Love!

Hello, my lovelies! I've stumbled on a couple great vendor finds for Milwaukee and the surrounding area!

First up is my good friend, Miss Kate Funk. You may know her from some of the posts I've done here and on Renegade Soiree. She also runs this blog and Esty shop. She and her fiance Jay have started their own business called Lucky 13 Productions. And believe you me, it's more than a catchy title. Kate is absolutely brill! Check out their website here. With several packages, they're sure to fit any budget!

This next vendor I found completely by accident. I was doing my daily blog crawl and I happened upon a link. As usual, I followed it and this is what I found! I love that she has her own blog as well as the website. And what a cute blog it is, too. Lot's of great inspiration. Anyway, Sweetness By Alice is located in Milwaukee and her cakes are chic, whimsical and above all, beautiful!

Haute Apple Pie, a popular Milwaukee blog isn't really a vendor, but for me it is a super special treasure trove of ideas. The three wonderful ladies who write for the blog have a really wonderful way with words and are incredibly creative. I am LOVING this blog right now!

Milwaukee brides (and grooms!) are sooo lucky to have all this local talent at their disposal.

21 November, 2009

Over the Barrel

Hey all! I have just received my new Crate & Barrel catalog. It's wonderful {contented sigh}. Today as I was flipping through the 'log I really got in the mood for a little holiday cheer. And for me, this means a holiday party. So, in light of that, I've pulled my Top 10 from the issue and arranged them below. I hope this gets you thinking about your own holiday party ideas.

1. Mr. Boston's Holiday Cocktails ($15.95)
2. Beaded Bow Napkin Rings. ($2.95 each or $9.95 for a set of four)
3. Clio Martini Glasses ($9.95 each)
4. Star Cookie Cutters (Set of four, $4.95)
5. Holiday Cardinal (Love this! Check the website for prices of the pieces)
6. Star Tree Topper ($24.95)
7. Ruffle Foil Chargers ($4.95 each or $14.95 for a set of four)
8. Reindeer Wine Gift Tags (set of four, $4.95)
9. Ornament Centerpiece ($34.95)
10. Sugared Fruit Ornaments ($35.70, set of six)

There you have it! I hope you take the time to check out the Crate & Barrel website for more fabulous Christmas decorating ideas!

I know it's sort of late but.....

I finally finished sorting through the piles of pictures I took of the Halloween Party! Despite the less than stellar lighting, I was able to clean a few up and put them together. I hope you enjoy them!

I had a great time planning and executing this little party and all the guests had a lot of fun. My only regret is that I didn't get any pictures of the food station. The food was great, if I do say so myself. I wish you could've seen the cake. It was a delectable double chocolate cinnamon cake with a fresh raspberry buttercream filling. Mmm!

20 November, 2009

With Thanksgiving right around the corner, I thought I might give up some of my favorite recipes for the Harvest occasion. I'd like to start with a cake so yummy no one will ever guess how easy it is to make. Pumpkin Spice cake with a light Honey/Cream Cheese Frosting.

*Quick Tip: Try to come up with fun, festive names for some of your signature dishes. I think it adds a touch of whimsy to any Holiday tradition.

You'll Need:

For the cake:
1/2 c. (1 stick) unsalted butter or margarine
2 1/2 c. cake flour
2 TBSP baking soda
1/2 Tsp. salt
1 TBSP pumpkin pie spice (I like to make my own with: cloves, allspice, nutmeg, cinnamon, and ginger)
2 large eggs (1/2 c. egg substitute)
1 1/2 c. sugar (or 3/4 c baking sugar substitute)
1 can solid pack pumpkin puree (Martha Stewart and my Mom say to use neither pumpkin pie filling NOR fresh pumpkin puree- I'd listen if I were you.)

For the Frosting:
1/2 c. (1 stick) unsalted butter or margarine, softened
1 bar (8 ounces) cream cheese (I use 1/3 less fat), softened
1/4 c. Honey

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 9" baking pan with baking spray
  2. In a bowl, mix flour, baking soda, salt, and pumpkin-pie spice. In a secondary bowl whisk eggs, sugar, butter, and pumpkin puree until combined. Gently add in dry ingredients to pumpkin mixture, and mix until smooth.
  3. Turn batter into the 9" pan you've prepared. Bake until the toothpick test comes out clean (a few crumbs will be attached), approx. 45 to 50 minutes. Cool cake on a rack, approx. 30-40 minutes. Level the bottom of the cake with knife or cake leveler. Turn cake upright onto stand or serving platter.
  4. Honey Frosting: whisk butter, cream cheese, and honey until evenly combined and smooth.
  5. Frost that cooled cake and serve!
Enjoy the recipe. I also found a similar recipe here. It's a good one, too. Happy Baking!

Image from Martha Stewart dot com

19 November, 2009

Allison's Got a Brand New Blog!

The very talented Milwaukee artist and my good friend, Allison C. Beilke has a new blog. On it, you'll be able to see a cross-section of her work as well as lots of other Allison related news. It's a baby blog, so there will be a lot of updates to come within the next few weeks.

I suggest checkin' it out. It's a good way to contact her for information on commissioned work, including wedding and party invitations. She's brill!

You can find the link here.

The Totally Wonderful, Very Big Surprise!

Paper Source has done it! Finally, get this, a home letterpress machine! Isn't it a honey? It's a table top unit that allows you to craft your own beautiful letterpress creations. A-woo hoo! I have been waiting for something like this for ages and now it's finally here, like a dream come true! *Sigh*

Retailing for $149.99, this little beauty won't break the bank. Also available for purchase on the Paper Source website, are letterpress inks and plates. Check them out here.

Think of it! You could now bring letterpress into the realm of DIY. All that style at my fingertips! I die!

17 November, 2009

Winter {Wedding} Wonderland

Hello all! I hope you all had a fabulous weekend. Although I hate to admit it, winter is nearly upon us. I could dwell upon the horrible dreariness that is a Wisco winter, but I won't. Instead, I will dream about the splendor of winter weddings. I absolutely LOVE an exquisitely styled winter wedding. *Sigh*

While researching for an upcoming post, I came across this picture. I die! I found myself being really inspired by this image and I hope you are too.

LOVE the pop of green from the bouquet! I wish I was closer so I could tell what those flowers are.

image by David Barss Photographer by way of View Point Inn website

New at The Crew

If you know me, you know how much I {heart} J. Crew Bridal. I'm also a sucker for their accessories and coats, but I digress.

A preview of the Spring 2010 Collection. I die, I love them so much!

13 November, 2009

From the Trenches: A Clarification

From the mailbag:

Hello! Two questions for you. 1. What's a junior bridesmaid? and 2. Do I need one? Thanx

First of all, thanks for reading and more thanks for writing in! Answering questions and giving advice makes me all giddy!

So, to answer your questions:

1. A junior bridesmaid is typically a position for a girl who isn't really old enough to be a bridesmaid but not young enough to be a flower girl. For me, this age range is 9-15. Younger participants usually take their positions very seriously. It's sweet. Junior bridesmaids usually attend and help with showers or any creative aspect of the festivities as the bride sees fit. She may go dress shopping with the Bride (this is especially fun if the young lady is a sister or daughter). Typically, the JB would wear an age appropriate version of the bridesmaid dress and would stand with the rest of the attendants during the ceremony. She should attend both the ceremony rehearsal and the dinner. I always suggest the JB help the ushers or handout programs as guest arrive. There are a lot of things you can do to make it a special job for an important little gal in your life.

2. While it is nice to include younger family members in the Bridal party, it is no longer, in my opinion, necessary. It's up to you and your SO. Only you two will know if you need one.

p.s I couldn't resist the peonies. It's chilly here and I needed something pretty to look at.

Photo credit: theknot.com

Harvest Inspiration

I am IN LOVE with this harvest tablescape from Martha Stewart. Hats off to you Martha! Click here for her how to.

Don't Forget!

Hey everyone! Don't forget the Holiday Open House at Broadway Paper tomorrow! I'm really excited to attend this event. I plan to get lots of party ideas. Hopefully, I will have a chance to scoop up the best wrapping paper (I'm kind of a wrapping paper fiend). Not to mention my very good friends Kate Funk and ac will be there at 1pm to join in the fun....

Tomorrow is a BIG day and I can't wait! Check out the BWP blog here, here, here and here for {some of} the details (I don't want to give away the farm!)!

10 November, 2009

My New {Designer} Crush!

Steven Birnbaum has the cutest little ad in the newest issue of Martha Stewart Weddings. *sigh*...I loves him so much! For those of you that don't know, Steven Birnbaum is half of the mindblowingly talented design team Birnbaum & Bullock. Mostly I love that this particular line ranges in price from $950-$2350. I love style at a reasonable price. Here are a few of my favorite offerings.

1. Maggie. This dress gives good detail, I'll tell you what! I'm really enjoying the lapel effect on the back of the dress. Simple, yet stunning. Such a great combination.

2. LouLou. I love love LOVE short, chic wedding dresses. And let me tell you, they seem to be all the rage for this coming spring. I am in lust with this dress. I want it. The neckline and the bow detail?! To die for and how cute with the gloves. A perfect 10, in my book.

3. And here's Sunni. This little dress strikes me in a couple of ways. It's such a breezy, beautiful dress. I love the little flower detail on the bottom of the dress. It's small, sweet and romantic. A friend of mine is getting married next fall and she's been looking for a dreamy dress and I think this would be perfect for her.

I'd also like to mention the lack of veil in all three looks. In my own, personal opinion-I'm happy to see them go. My traditional, 50's housewife side LOVES the look of a bride in white with a demure veil obscuring her features from her betrothed until he finally kisses her, sealing the deal. BUT. My, fun, chic, ultramodern side says, "Forget about it!" Veils don't need to be fingertip length to be elegant. I'm a firm believer in alternative bridal adornment. The three styles shown here are wonderful! In fact, I think I feel a post coming on!

All photos from the Steven Birnbaum website.

09 November, 2009

Attention Cream City Hostesses!

Hey there everyone! Happy Monday! What a weekend! I have so much to share with you....so many of my posts in the "someday" category are now finished and ready to roll out for you. But first, I think I owe it to you to share some news....

Broadway Paper is having a Holiday Open House! I cannot possibly tell you how excited I am to attend this wonderful event. "The BWP" (as we affectionately call it) is one of my favorite places in Milwaukee. I go there for virtually all of my paper needs. They have it all. My favorite thing? The wonderfully diverse section of gift wrap, for sure. Read the post by the lovely new owner, Miss Kate Strzok for details.

I'll be there! Will you?

Okay so...

I was totally grouchy and tired of editing pictures for my next post until I came across this!

Love. This. Picture. Miss Kate Funk is so brill I just can't stand it. Check out the Milwaukee powerhouse here, here and here. You won't be sorry. I never am.

P.S. I just got the Kate Funk 2010 wall calendar! Yay me and thanks Kate (and ac) for being so awesome!

06 November, 2009

A Little Something {New}

Hey everyone!
Check out the new invite suite from Allison C. Beilke. I love her and her brilliant work. If you'll remember, she did our entire wedding suite. It was a huge hit. Apparently this suite was created for a college friend of hers. All the info has been changed of course.....

Here it is! Enjoy!

Isn't it sooo nice! I love it! I am a sucker for a square card. I have been simply DYING to do a Cherry Blossom themed wedding. I think it can be a really romantic theme. And, if you do it right, it can be really lovely and elegant.

*sigh* Ah, Romance....

04 November, 2009

From the Trenches: Bridesmaid Ettiquette

From the mail bag:

Hey Erin!
Love your blog! I have been lurking for awhile, but just had to ask you a question. My fiance has two sisters. They are younger than me and I've never really spent a lot of time with them. My soon to be MIL asked me when she and the girls should meet up with me to pick out their bridesmaid dresses. I have already asked 6 of my friends to be my bridesmaids. I think 8 girls is too many. I really don't want to add anymore people, especially people I don't know that well. My fiance says I should try to find room for them because they are his sisters. He doesn't want my MIL and I to have a bad start. He also says, he won't be upset with me if I don't include them, because he doesn't really want to find 2 more men to fill out the bridal party. We just aren't sure we can afford it. My older sister (and my MOH) thinks I shouldn't worry about their feelings and tell them they can't be in the wedding. I feel conflicted. What should I do?

This is a toughy. I have to tell you, if this had been me, I'd have been inclined to give in. I was so worried about hurting people's feelings and starting off at odds with my MIL. The bad thing about giving in? Once you start, people will try and talk you into everything. Me? For one thing, I got talked into something I absolutely did not want. Calligraphy. I also got talked into adding 20 couples to the guestlist (True story.).

Since it sounds to me like neither of you really want to do this, here is my advice. Be honest, but tactful. Be assertive, not aggressive. Articulate the reasons why adding four more people to the bridal party is undesirable to you. Tell your MIL what you just told me. You don't know the girls very well, that a bridal party of 18 (8 'maids, 8 'men, and you and your groom) is too big and you just cant afford it. But (and this is a BIG but), offer alternative ways the sisters can be involved. Let them plan the bridal shower, help with the registry, take them with you dress shopping, plan the rehearsal dinner, the bachelorette party....the list goes on and on. They want to be involved in their brother's special day and they most likely want to get to know you. Let them. Make them special and show them that a relationship with them means a lot to you.

I hope I've answered your question and let me tell you, I hear this one a lot. Thanks for writing me, my lovely!

A Preview

Hello everyone! It's been a whirlwind the last couple weeks. I survived unscathed! I wanted to give you a preview of last Saturday's Halloween party. Everything was a dream. The food was exquisite (yes, I do menu design), the decor to die for, but the company was by far, the best part of the evening.

This is the incredible bouquet that served as the crown jewel of the decor. It's is absolutely incredible! It was designed by my good friends at Urban Sense (the new website will be up and running soon). These are the same guys who did the florals for our wedding! I love them! (I'd give you more on them, but that's for another post!)

Swoon! The picture hardly does it justice. I was able to get it from some other angles and I'll get them up soon, along with the rest of the event!