fall inspirations [thanksgiving centerpieces]

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

i can smell fall in the air (maybe its the perfect houston weather lately) but october is almost here and soon halloween will be over and on to the next anticipated holiday which is thanksgiving. halloween sort of share the same rich color look thanksgiving has and it is perfectly common to segue on to thanksgiving with whatever halloween decor you have minus the ghoulish embellishment and cobwebs!
so here are a few table centerpieces i love, all from better home and gardens. take a look....

this is an easy project i suppose, a floral foam ball and orange mums (or carnations, gerbera daisies, roses) on top of a beautiful white vintage-inspired vessel. using orange flowers will mimick the pumpkin look perfect for your thanksgiving table!
these veggie-wrapped candles are perfect accents to a bountiful thanksgiving dinner - how lovely are they? tie your green beans, asparagus or corns on candles with a ribbon for a rustic look. for the artichokes, create a hole on the top center enough to fit a small sized candle - so pretty!

mini-pumpkins and pears take centerstage in this setting. place the arrangement on top of a tablerunner filled with fall leaves for great visual impact!

lastly, i love this whimsical centerpiece of flowers on odd-shaped gourds. such a different and interesting arrangement - if these don't scream thanksgiving to you, i don't know what else will!

{all photos from BHG}

congratulations! [swanky swag winner]

congratulations Paula of JC's Loft for winning our EgoVertoPaper halloween give-away!

we wll contact you shortly and pls. email us your address back so we can mail the prize to you!

thank you everyone for joining! thank you for the blog love! till next time!

chocolate malt cake [3 versions]

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

this is pure torture as i'm back on my nutrisystem diet but i have to share this with you. you all probably got your copy of the sept issue of bon appetit magazine. i really dont have any business having subscription for such magazine as i am scared to try daunting recipes but i love flipping through the pages with the hopes of getting inspired to try the recipes one day.

now back to that chocolate malt cake, i dont know if its the picture of the dripping chocolate frosting or the piled yummy marshmallows, i know i want to try this one day! it is so popular that several bloggers have already tried the recipe and shared their insights and tips for their readers. read on....

too tempting version of the cake by amandeleine

she's becoming doughmesstic's take on the choco malt cake

and the original version of christina tossi's recipe via bon appetit sept issue

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can someone please share a semi-homemade version of this chocolate malt cake for me? i am dead serious. i am so craving to try this.

food truck party [mobile caterers]

Monday, September 27, 2010

{photos from food network}

i have been following food network's the great food truck race and i am drawn to it's exciting fast-paced challenges every week. although the series ended last sunday with a truck winner receiving $50,000 - i have been thinking of hiring a food truck to come over at our place and serve us all with their delectable casual menu ideal for a beautiful fall day!

there is nothing more fun than enjoying yummy delicious food outside on a perfect fall day - the food truck will be a sure hit for a block party or your very own tailgaiting party at home. think about it - no prepping, no clean up. the food truck shows up, then we all eat and eat some more!

consider a food truck for your next festive party - im seriously contemplating.
i just need an occasion for it! ha!

incidentally, yahoo came up with the 10 most remarkable food trucks in the US - read here!

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thank you all for entering our give-away! for those who have not, pls check out this post and comment if you would like to win the adorable halloween partygoods designed by EgoVertoPaper! you have till tomorrow Tuesday, Sept. 28 to join! good luck everyone!

Swanky SWAG [free Halloween give-away]

Friday, September 24, 2010

Its officially Halloween season and we are all excited (I finally got my son his costume and we are all set!) and with that said, we are having our first ever give-away in collaboration with EgoVertoPaper, an etsy shop specializing in handcrafted party papergoods and cake decorations. Thank you so much Mary!

One lucky winner will receive a dozen adorable monster cake toppers ( love the goggly eyes!) and a "happy haunting" banner - all lovingly created by Mary of EgoVertoPaper. Perfect for your upcoming Halloween party or a monster-themed birthday party for your little one!!!

Here are more than one ways to enter the contest (note : international readers may join!)

1) be a follower of my blog (click that FOLLOW gadget on the right side of this blog) and enter a comment when you do so (for anonymous readers, pls leave your email address in your comment)

2) check out EgoVertoPaper's etsy shop and add her shop as your favorite (if you don't have an etsy account, it's easy and free to set-up) and come back here and leave a comment that you did

3) check out EgoVertoPaper's etsy shop again and add any items in her shop as a favorite in your etsy account then come back here and leave a comment again

You have until Tuesday, Sept. 28 to join and a winner will be picked (via random.org) on Tues midnight and will be announced Wednesday Sept. 29. Once again, thank you for supporting this little blog and I hope that we will continue to be a part of your daily blog reads!

{prize photos are by EgoVertoPaper}

Halloween free-giveawayHalloween free give-away

Free give-away

Free give-away

halloween treats done easy [DIY kits]

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

i found these easy halloween DIY kits from target (halloween stuff section) and these are just perfect for busy moms and dads who may not have the luxury of time to round up items and ingredients for fun easy crafts on a planned halloween party. all packages are complete with everything you need from icing, candies, fondant and cookies!

i think it would be a great idea to get all the kids together to do fun decorating and icing these cookies (or creating candy jewelry) before they head out trick or treating. then they come back and indulge with all these yummy treats to end the night. these are also ideal if your kids' class has a halloween school party where 
they get to sample and play with stuff they actually make and put-together! best of all they're priced reasonably, from $ 4.99 - 9.99! btw, im not sure if theyre available online....

Halloween stuff

halloween DIY kits for kids

DIY kit

DIY kit

DIY kit

all available at target!

stay tuned for a give-away! [sneak peek]

Monday, September 20, 2010

i am so excited to debut a first ever give-away in my little blog and i am so grateful for mary of EgoVertoPaper for sponsoring this fantastic give-away!

note that mary did an awesome job creating the cupcake toppers, stickers/labels and name banner for my son's 3rd birthday last may. she has been very busy at her etsy shop and i am so thankful that she had extended her generosity and i cant wait to share this with you!


this give-away is open not only to US and Canada residents but also including our international readers too! woohoo!

so stay tuned for more details!

party central [via children's party network]

we are all having fun over there!
go check it out!

john derian [for target]

Sunday, September 19, 2010

it's been almost a month since john derian's collection for target first came out and i hope i'm not too late to share some of his affordable wonderful table pieces via target. this new york-based artist is known for his decoupage work and this limited time only line for target is featuring nature flora and fauna, butterflies, birds and more vintage-inspired designs. this collection boasts some whimsical designs of these in coasters, melamine plates and trays, storage bins, mugs and more. the design line also extends to journals, notebooks, wall decor and paper binders. most popular items are out of stock online but taking a trip to your nearby target gives you the ability to admire his beautiful work up close and check availability. here are some of my picks :

this three-tiered serving tray is of course out of stock online but i believe it is under $ 15! this is a perfect centerpiece for a woodland fairy party!

love this tray - with its red and green colors, looks like it would be lovely to use for the upcoming holiday season - $ 16.99!

lovely dinner melamine plates for $ 2.99/piece or $ 23.99 for an assorted 8-piece set. nice to use for a picnic and i love the organic look of it!

tapered tray with water lily design for only $ 19.99. so pretty!

{all images from target}

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i love target!

friday faves [blogs & sites i love]

Friday, September 17, 2010

i love that its friday again. weekend is almost here and i'm about to have quality bonding time with the family without having to deal with anything related to work or the office. all of that can wait till monday. in the meantime its random friday favorites again and i am featuring some of my fave blogs and sites that are part of my daily reads (and the online mags i keep re-reading all the time). i hope that you check them out and be one of their rapid growing new fans!

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reichel's copy cat chic blog provides less expensive alternative finds on absolutely anything you can possibly have in your house. from rugs to sofas - you name it, she already did the homework for you. you don't have to settle for the first item you have fallen in love quickly even if it will drastically drain your pocket, leave it to reichel to find the exact same one for less or a similar one for dirt cheap. i love all her finds!

to read more about this busy young talented designer/entrepeneur reichel, click here.

# 2 FAVE

the premier issue of the online interior design and lifestyle magazine RUE just came out and every design blog and social media outlet out there has been buzzing about it! super fabulous spaces page after page - i cant wait for the next issue! its like lonny and domino magazines rolled into one!

# 3 FAVE

another online publication sweet paul came out with their first issue last spring (the fall issue is coming out this monday!). a refreshing new lifestyle magazine focusing on easy beautiful recipes, fun elegant entertaining, stylish crafts and is based on the highly succesful blog sweet paul by the same food stylist author, paul lowe. enjoy!

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thank god its friday, folks!

snack cake tower [no bake cake]

Thursday, September 16, 2010

i am seriously thinking of making one for halloween. this snack food cake would definitely be a hit with all the kids and i'm sure this will be a blast from the past for most parents. why not have your old time favorite snack be meticulously arranged and gathered to create a big cake instead of a real cake? definitely an easy cost-effective way!

although im not sure if kids nowadays even tried these calorie-loaded treats, i know for a fact our little one does not know they exist (at least as far as im concerned). they can get hooked to these twinkies, ding dongs, ho hos etc and would demand them be a apart of their daily snack repertoire! LOL

take a look at some of the fun creative snack cakes i found and ill share a quick easy DIY instruction via food network at the end of this post :

tacky living
see below on how-to steps to create this snack cake above via food network

from food network magazine oct 2010 by food stylist brett kurzweil

**start with a 22-in round cake board as the base, then stack up styrofoam rounds to form the layers (use 6, 10, 14 in rounds). you can use any size rounds (or square as desired). the trick is to leave a wide edge between the layers to hold the snacks. cover styrofoam with foil and use dowel to secure them. kurzweil placed suzy Qs (you can use any snack cake) vertically around the bottom layer using a heavy can as a "bookend" to hold the first one in place while he added the rest. he packed them in snugly so no extra frosting or fondant was needed to hold them (this is called "pressure fitting"). Continue layering and alternating between standing and sitting layers of snack until your styrofoam rounds are covered. when done, cover the cake with plastic wrap and store it at room temp for 2-3 hours**

dr. seuss sweets table [first birthday party]

Monday, September 13, 2010

two weeks ago i helped out a friend assemble and decorate a dessert table for her son's first birthday party. the theme was dr. seuss and it was helpful for me that a few months before his party, target and michaels had some dr. seuss back-to-school items in their dollar bins and i was able to find inspiration in those cute things!

we decided to go with a baby blue, red and yellow color scheme for the party decor. i found some stuff from the dollar bins to add to the display such as magnetic stickers and wall decals. i then re-used some of my colorful pails and white melamine plates that go well with the table. i think it's important to recycle and re-use most of your accessories party after party, not only it is cheaper that way, it saves time and effort in buying and searching for that right cake stand or platter or cupcake stand. in my opinion, there's nothing wrong in borrowing or re-using old pretty things. they are not meant to be used only a single time.

so here are some shots, pardon my iphone photography skills but this is the best i can do.....

Sneak peek

i started with creating the labels using cardstock, paper source labels and colored vellum paper. i also found the cupcake toppers DIY free printables from yellow mums, which perfectly matched the color theme.

Dr Seuss 1st bday party

the yummy treats were fruit roll ups, swedish fish candies in mini-cups, cookies and creme kisses (didnt know these exists - yum!), almond joy, chocolate mounds, caramel popcorn, cotton candy, cupcakes and vanilla meringue.

Dr Seuss 1st bday party

dr seuss party

Vanilla meringue

i used the meringue tower as the centerpiece anchored by two red striped pails of chocolates with balloons. the tower is actually my wilton cupcake stand taped with a dr.seuss wall decal border and the pails were temporarily decorated with dr. seuss magnetic stickers (which you can take out later without damaging your pail).

dr seuss dessert display

it was priceless to see everyone (including my son here) enjoying the goodies and treats. kids were fighting over party favors and candies - even mommies too!

pandemonium at the candy bar


it was raining that day and the little pinata number was done inside (and that's my DIY red pompom attempt LOL). nevertheless, the kids still get to enjoy scrambling for more candies!

designer tablescapes [from house beautiful]

Friday, September 10, 2010

last week marked the start of Mercedes Benz NY fashion week and as a tribute to the exciting CFDA's fashion night out event, i will be highlighting tablescapes created and inspired by the biggest names in fashion/interior design as featured in House Beautiful magazine.

a cozy romantic table for two by ralph lauren. the neutral setting was done luxuriously with the addition of the scarlet and burnt orange hues which sets the tone for the fall season!
young talented designer eddie ross put together this white and red lovely table using romantic white milk vessels and plates. perfect setting for an intimate luncheon or brunch!

LA designer/socialite minnie mortimer is responsible for this simple elegant setting. when sterling silver is matched unexpectedly with casual details, like the knotted raffia napkin ribbon, it makes for a classic beautiful tablescape!

kelly wearstler's name equates to highly successful hotel boutiques but her rare understated style is evident in this table which is a deviation from her usual graphic colorful design. here's another neutral backdrop accented by rich gold and auburn that works perfectly!

marchesa is synonymous to glamorous red carpet frocks and their fabulous table is just that - super glammed up using the design house's new line of fine china and glassware accented with pink roses - so hollywood!

the lady that brought shabby chic to our design lingo, rachel ashwell, created this sweet table with ruffled linens, mismatched vintage china, white ceramic wares and blooming peonies ideal for spring and summer!

i adored how my favorite tory burch, used the sea blues palette and inexpensive herbs and potted greenery for her casually styled chic table!

and finally my personal fave lifestyle guru and designer, carolyn roehm, didnt omit her love for the use of blues by laying out a stunning vivid royal blue damask tablecloth under celadon plates and chargers. i love the centerpieces of fruits and flowers in bright colors to offset the coolness of the blues and greens. this setting is perfect all year round!

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all images from house beautiful