Thursday, January 30, 2014

Looking for Love this Valentine's Day?

As I sat a bar last night with two of my best friends, the topic of love surely came up in conversation; how dating can be difficult, especially if you came out of a long-term relationship, loving yourself and finding a way to love somebody else again. It is hard to find yourself after a relationship ends and someone who can make you forget your ex.

These are struggles we can all relate to. Well after discussing love for quite sometime and wanting to be matchmakers, my friend and I lassoed in a nice gentleman and got his number for our other friend; being the great wingwomen we are. I can't say this will turn into anything for our friend, but in the moment we thought it was something she should pursue.

When I got home, I pondered the struggles of meeting people, whether friends of friends, a complete stranger from online, or someone who happened to start a conversation with you on a train, at a bar, or in class. The nightmare that is a first date. For some, it may seem completely awkward, for others it could be the start of something really great; a friendship, a relationship, or just a fond memory. Then for whatever reason when I was thinking about all of this, I thought maybe my friend should tryout speed dating! Forget, forget Tinder, I'm talking about putting yourself out there, meeting a variety of people in one night, and seeing which one, in person, sparks your interest and creates that connection you're looking for.

So, what did I do? I googled it. popped up and I was hooked. HurryDate speed dating parties let you meet people face-to-face to see if there is chemistry! Each party is held at fun, cool bar and is organized so you'll meet lots of new people on a string of real, live mini-dates. Pretty much exactly what some of my friends could use to find Mr. Right.

I encourage you all to check out their website to find out more and look into signing up for one of their speed dating parties! I feel like I might be rounding my single ladies up to attend when the next Boston location opens in our age range.

HurryDate seems very promising and even provide tips and advice for speed dating via YouTube here:

I hope this post gives you the confidence to devour the dating scene details and maybe find you your perfect match!

Monday, January 27, 2014


Looks like this is another wedding fever week of blog posts. Being from MA I figured I would give a shout out to VOWS Bridal Outlet in Watertown. You may recognize the name from TLC's "I Found the Gown", VOWS was the first bridal outlet in the country to offer high-end designer wedding gown samples and overstocks from famous designers. They feature dresses made by Vera Wang, Reem Acra, Amsale, Monique Lhuillier, Jenny Packham, Oscar de la Renta, Lazaro, Marchesa, Badgley Mischka Paloma Blanca, and many more, all at discounted prices.

Owners Leslie and Rick DeAngelo, after opening 22 years ago, could never have imagined that their business would expand far beyond the Boston area and touch so many brides from across the country and even around the world! Selling these gowns for 50-80% off retail is no easy feat as Rick and Leslie continuously dig through factory attics, boutique back rooms and department store warehouses across the world to score these sought-after looks for less. Over the years, VOWS has received many accolades for their exceptional work in providing designer gowns to budget-minded brides including the coveted Best of Boston award from Boston Magazine for eight years running.

What you may not know about Leslie and Rick is that in 2005, they launched their own bridal line called Liv Harris Designs, named after their two children Olivia Rose and Adam Harris. These gowns are made from luxurious silks and exquisite laces. They come in all sizes and are offered at extremely reasonable prices.

VOWS has truly become the ultimate dress destination for the bargain-hunting bride. Here's a clip of Leslie and Rick on a mission to find the best gowns for VOWS:

Leslie and Rick are great at devouring the details when it comes to finding you the perfect wedding dress! Be sure to check out VOWS online, in-store, or on TLC.

Bridesmaid Gift Ideas

As I browsed Pinterest, I decided to create a weddings board and part of that is pinning bridesmaid gifts. Here are some of my favorites thus far.

Custom sandals, monogrammed bags, makeup bags, or robes, candles, personalized jewelry box, memory box, or photograph vase are all truly thoughtful bridesmaid gifts. These are great because you can incorporate your own personal touches and the theme of the wedding.

Personalized key-chains, dress hangers, and necklaces are great elegant touches for your bridesmaids.


If you're looking to go the fun and flirty route, these gifts are perfect. Custom painted wine glasses, personalized wine labels, and a bridesmaid kit filled with different items to prepare them for the wedding!


These gifts are a wonderful way for you to devour the details and make it a special day for your bridesmaids as well.

Engagement Brunch

When it comes that time for me to plan an engagement party, this is exactly what I would want. Just the future Mr. and Mrs. families would be present, celebrating the two joining in marriage. Sweet and filled with love, toasting to a happy life together over delicious brunch. I wouldn't want it any other way. I hope this gives you all an idea of what you would want when celebrating this monumental life event.

Tablescape.. A very sweet setup for the families to enjoy. I love the simplicity of the flower arrangements and the twinkle lights hanging above the table. Beautiful.

Chalkboards have become a great display piece in many different types of events. I think using it to display "our love story" and different food/drink elements is a great idea.

A mimosa bar is a must when celebrating an engagement brunch. Guests can create their own delicious blend to enjoy when it is time to toast!


These gorgeous diamond ring cookies are perfect for the occasion. They are a sweet little detail to add to the celebration.

As a parting gift for your families, send them home with these wine stoppers as a reminder of this special day. I would also engrave the wedding date on them.

Lastly, I would hire a photographer to capture the memories of this lovely celebration. It would be really sweet to incorporate both families into some of the engagement photos to make it truly special. I would also use a chalkboard to keep the theme going!

These beautiful and extremely sweet ideas are true inspiration for all to devour the details when planning their own engagement parties!

Friday, January 24, 2014

Vermont Brewery Tour


Our last day in Vermont turned into an adventure when we realized they're home to almost 30 different breweries. Our first stop was the Magic Hat Brewery in South Burlington.
The Magic Hat Brewery has been brewing excellence since 1994. Today, the South Burlington based brewery is cranking out 400 bottles of beer every minute and the brewing process is non-stop. It's quirky theme shines through the entire brewery. We went on a self-guided tour and sampled some brews only available in Vermont. It was definitely the most entertaining stop of the tour.
Next we headed to Fiddlehead Brewery in Shelburne. This new operation was opened by one of the former head brewers at Magic Hat, Matt Cohen. Their mission is to produce full flavored beers with beer lovers in mind. They focus on depth of flavor, freshness of ingredients, and incorporating local products whenever possible. Head brewer Matt creates a single batch of a different beer every month as a special that is only served at the brewery. This is a great way to get people into their operation, tasting, and taking beer home with them. We also received our 'Vermont Brewery Tour Passports' at Fiddlehead, which we got stamped at each brewery so we can eventually send in for some free stuff! And yes, we even went back to Magic Hat and got it stamped, haha!

After Fiddlehead we shot back over to Burlington and tried out Switchback Brewery. The Switchback Brewing Company was founded in 2002, serving its very first pint of beer in October. With tremendous sales growth in Vermont, Switchback also released its beer in the Albany, New York area in 2006 and part of New Hampshire in late 2007. In 2011 Switchback was able to begin distribution to Lake Placid, NY and southern Maine. We were in love with the porter we sampled there. They're hoping to continue to expand and maybe one day expand into Western Mass.

The Vermont Pub & Brewery, also in Burlington, was opened in 1988 after lobbying the state legislature for three years to allow pub brewing in Vermont for the first time since Prohibition. We ordered a sample platter here with six different brews. We really enjoyed the Bacchus Brau, Dogbite Bitter, and Mocha Java. As you can tell by their names, these aren't your typical brews. They're quite unique and extremely delicious. We highly recommend them.
Pretty much on the same street as The Vermont Pub & Brewery is Zero Gravity Craft Brewery. A very small brewery with some delicious ales and IPAs. We split the Winter Gruit and Conehead which were both tasty. They even make their own root beer which was literally the best root beer I think I've ever had.


Rock Art Brewery in Morrisville was our second to last stop. There was a very laid back vibe in this brewery. One big open room featured almost everything they have to offer; growler refills, kegs, bottles, Rock Art swag, Vermont foods, and handcrafted wood items. You can head upstairs to their viewing room that overlooks their entire operation. Very cool place to check out.

Last but not least, we headed to Crop Bistro & Brewery in Stowe for our last sampler platter. We picked six brews off the menu, all were great. This past year at Crop, their head brewmaster has been working hard at concocting a number of straw and golden Lagers, big malty Double Bocks, Amber Ales, IPA’s and Double IPA’s, Brown ales and Stouts, Belgian-influenced ales, and his famous New England specialty, classic Bavarian weizens. And just this September, they have begun bottling select brews in 22 ounce bottles, including their Helles Lager, Crop Weizen, and Idletyme IPA.


To remember our tour, we decided to pick up a piece of merch (mostly free stickers and coasters) at each place to bring home. Check out what we got!


I hope the details of our day are making you want to devour your own Vermont Brewery Tour on your next trip!

The Farmhouse, Burlington VT

While exploring Vermont Tuesday night, we stumbled upon a great hidden gem; The Farmhouse Tap & Grill in Burlington, Vermont.
The Farmhouse is a farm-to-table gastropub dedicated to showcasing many of the area's local farms and food producers. They feature award-winning local burgers, comfort entrees, artisan cheeses, house made charcuterie, and innovative specials. Head Chef, Chef Phillip, hails from The New England Culinary Institute and worked in some of the most recognized Vermont super-restaurants, Trattoria Delia and Hen of the Wood.
Drinks were a must so I ordered a Citzen Cider brand Pruner's Pride. It was different from any hard cider I've had before. Perfectly crisp and tart, I really enjoyed it.
For dinner I had the turkey burger. You could tell the turkey patty was definitely hand-made. It was topped with Vermont cheese, grilled onions, pickles, arugula, and cranberry sauce. Hand-cut fries from locally-grown potatoes were served on the side. I wanted to order an extra one to-go, that's how good it was!
Condiments were all prepared in-house. Chef Phillips created the best tasting ketchup, honey mustard, hot sauce, and aioli, I've ever had. We debated asking if we could take a bottle home with us, haha!
After our very filling burgers, I had no room for dessert. I snapped a picture of the dessert menu so everyone could see the sweet treats pastry chef, Chef Samantha Noakes, had created. We actually ordered a piece of the JSF Pumpkin Pie Cheesecake to-go and ate it a little later. It was absolutely delicious.
If you're ever in Vermont, I highly recommend getting dinner at The Farmhouse. I am looking forward to my next trip to up there just so I can try out some of the other menu items.
Chef Phillips and Chef Samantha Noakes sure know how to devour the details when bringing farm-to-table, and I hope this trend finds its way to MA sometime soon!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Party Planning Apps

Now, you may be wondering why I am blogging about party planning apps when I should be supporting the hiring of an actual event planner. Well, it is good to stay on top of things that could become competition within your industry; which is why I'm covering this topic. I found an article on Pop Sugar that lists seven different apps you can use to plan an event. None of these seem like a real threat to event planners but they're definitely good to know about.

Here are the ones you should check out:

Pro Party Planner $5

Helps you manage your event from start to finish in one app. There's a section for all your party needs: guest list, menu, drinks, entertainment, decorations, and favors. They've even created organizational tabs for the shopping list, tasks list, and party timeline to keep everything in order.

Liza's Simple Soirée Party Planner $2

An easy-to-use app for entertaining. Event planning expert Liza Rivera Salta put her industry knowledge and experience into a simple interface so that you can plan your menu, record RSVPs, and coordinate shopping lists all in one place.

Party & Event Planner Free

This app features a party countdown, an expense planner, customized to-do lists, push notifications for open tasks, a guest list manager, and a calculator to help you figure out how much drink supplies to buy based on guests' drinking habits. Basically provides a variety of management tools in planning a successful event.

I am definitely considering testing one of these apps out to see how well they work. If you're interested in planning events, I suggest looking into these apps to remain knowledgeable with event technology. Don't let these apps hinder you future event planners from devouring the details, use them to make you better!

Home-cooks Unite!

Today I want to give a special shout-out to my good friend Shelagh Kelley, whose devotion to cooking and baking kept me from starving throughout college. An inspiration to home-cooks everywhere, Shelagh's blog Kelley Family Cookbook is really taking off! She shares great recipes, tips, and reviews that anyone interested in cooking can follow and learn from. My favorite recipes so far? The apple crisp and of course Mama Pinkham's Amazing Soup (which I may have taught her to make haha). This girl has really done well for herself and has a lot more in store with big plans ahead including starting her own food truck. I admire her dedication and am now extremely hungry!


Be sure to check her blog out and keep devouring the details!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Breakfast On The Bridge

I was thinking back to one of my event classes at Endicott and remembered one of my favorite readings of an event that took place in Sydney, Australia. I guess it was so memorable to me because of the grandeur of the event. So, I thought it would be interesting enough to share with all of you.

As part of the Annual Crave Sydney International Food Festival, it was decided that the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge would shut down for a period of time so thousands of people could get together and enjoy some breakfast on it.

On October 25th, 2009, turf was laid across the eight lanes of asphalt, and 6,000 people had a picnic-like celebration on the bridge, accompanied by live music and cultural activities. The event was repeated in 2010 and although originally scheduled again for 2011, the event was moved to Bondi Beach because of the traffic concerns.

To really get the grandeur and importance of the event, check out this video I found showing what went into preparing, hosting, and publicizing Breakfast on the Bridge.

Can you imagine shutting down the Tobin Bridge and hosting this kind of event? That would be one for the books! Maybe someday I'll have my hands in on devouring the details of such a grand event.

A Few 2014 Events You Might Find Me At

Turning over a new leaf in 2014? Trying to be more adventurous, like me? Then check out these upcoming exciting Boston events that take place all throughout the year.

1) Extreme Beer Fest, March 21-22, Seaport World Trade Center

This epic event is sponsored by Dogfish Head Brewery and will feature more than 60 brewers pouring over 240 beverages, double the amount at last years. Other local Massachusetts breweries participating include Night Shift, Jacks Abby, and Tree House Brewing, as well as Allagash, Crooked Stave, The Lost Abbey, and Cigar City. Tickets are selling fast so be sure to purchase yours a.s.a.p.!

2) Wine Riot, April 18-19, Park Plaza Castle

Samples of more than 250 wines from around the globe are poured for all the interested wine connoisseurs out there. You will even receive a bit of wine education thanks to the team of experts on hand, who will be providing interactive booths and courses with information and tips on understanding wine a bit better. This would be a fun 'girls night out' if you're looking for something to do with the ladies.

3) Taste of the Nation Boston, April 29, Cruiseport Boston

The name says it all. Boston chefs will face off in preparing delicious dishes in order to support a great cause. Chefs from participating restaurants will create dishes that fall into a specific theme for each event which diners will vote on. Winners of each of these events will be featured at the main event in April, where tickets will get attendees a tasting dish, one vote, two drink tickets, and pizza from host restaurant Lincoln Tavern. This tasty night will support the Share Our Strength No Kid Hungry campaign.

4) Boston Calling Music Festival, May 23-25, City Hall Plaza

The Boston Calling Music Festival will run for three days and features some of the largest live music acts on two separate stages. A full performance schedule will be released in the weeks leading up to the event, but you can sign up for the Boston Calling mailing list for more info. Last years lineup was spectacular and I'm looking forward to seeing who will perform at this one.

5) Boston Comic Con, August 8-10, Seaport World Trade Center

If you didn't think I would attend this, you don't know me very well. I have seen so many clips of the in-depth costumes people create to attend this event, it's become truly inspiring. The effort put into such designs and the appreciation of numerous comic book characters is intriguing. I would love to attend. This year’s celebrity guests include Eve Myles from the BBC series “Torchwood,” and James Marsters from the TV shows “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “Angel” spin-off. I have a feeling ticket sales will increase with this years celebrity guests lineup.

Don't let anything hold you back from devouring the details and trying new things this year!

Monday, January 13, 2014

Wedding Venue Feature: The Hellenic Center

If I wasn't obsessed with the North Shore already, I'm certainly more in love now. I recently came across The Hellenic Center after my parents were invited to a wedding there. A quick Google search and I was in awe. Known as the North Shore's grand mansion, The Hellenic Center offers an incredible venue for wedding ceremonies and wedding receptions. Located in the beautiful town of Ipswich Massachusetts, the mansion has been a pristine setting for a variety of weddings and receptions over the years.

The 100-year-old Georgian-style mansion sits at the end of a long, private drive, that guides you into a beautifully landscaped backdrop for wedding photographers to capture every special moment. This romantic picturesque setting is perfect for an outdoor ceremony, cocktail hour, or tented reception.

The Hellenic Center also offers indoor function space. Its ballroom consists of gleaming hardwood floors, crystal chandeliers, two fireplaces, space for 250 guests and has French doors that overlook beautifully sculpted gardens. A historic grand stairway leads you to the mansion’s elegantly furnished bridal suites with private bathrooms for the bride and groom.

This facility is the whole package. Wedding parties are able to receive five-hour exclusive use of the mansion’s ballroom, veranda, and sculpted garden, a bridal suite with private bathroom, a professional event coordinator, dining tables and gold chiavari chairs, bar staff, and parking for 200 cars. I highly recommend checking The Hellenic Center out if you're looking for a classic and elegant wedding venue. I can picture my own wedding taking place in a similar setting (just need to get a few more things accomplished before then like a job and fiancé haha).

 I hope you find as much of a reason to devour the details at The Hellenic Center as I do!

West Hollywood's Favorite Florist and Event Producer

Well known for his big personality and appearances on The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, Kevin Lee is an icon when it comes to producing high-profile and celebrity events. It is said that his true genius lies within his expansive imagination; a visionary of concepts that have yet to exist. With his many talents, Lee was able to create his own floral design and event planning company, LA Premier. His company is celebrated for its cutting edge and trend-setting designs at parties, special events, weddings, corporate openings, movie premiers and award shows.

Lee's brilliant eye for color and design and his personal attention to detail can dramatically transform any event, whether it be an elegant dinner party at home, an international celebrity wedding or a corporate celebration. His talent has been featured in numerous magazines such as Architectural Digest, In Style, Elle Décor, USA Today, US Weekly and People Magazine. Lee and the highly trained staff at LA Premier have remained well known over the last 20-years not just for their great designs and productions but for their friendly and personal service to their customers; continuously keeping them visually satisfied event after event.

What else makes Lee so unique? Probably the fact that he understands that a beautiful, memorable wedding does not require a fortune to fund it. Even though he produces lavish events for A-listers and high profile clients throughout Hollywood and Beverly Hills, he is able to offer some great budget and money-saving advice for brides-to-be.

Lee's first budget tip is to order save-the-dates and wedding invitations online. An endless stream of online options are said to provide much cheaper alternatives to those offered in store. He also suggests that couples should arrange for buffet stations at the reception as they will save money compared to a sit-down plated service, which requires additional wait staff. A live musical act also tends to send wedding costs soaring. The expert, who's clients tend to easily spend $40,000 on flowers alone as they plan their weddings, advises couples to hire a DJ. If live music is an absolute must, arrange for the DJ to be accompanied by a couple of live instruments rather than hunting down a full live band. Lastly, as for the all-important gown itself, Lee advises brides to rent a high-end designer gown as opposed to buying a brand new one. All great tips to save some immense amounts of money!

Here's a little taste of Kevin Lee's big personality and some of his visions come to life.



Thanks for the inspiration, creative ideas, and great budget tips Kevin Lee! Keep devouring the details!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Homefront Red

As I was waiting at the doctors this morning, I picked up a magazine, which I have not done in a while. I was skimming through when I came across an interesting blurb about a winery. Murphy-Goode Winery has been making wine in Sonoma County for more than a decade. Created over a friendly game of Liar's Dice, Tim Murphy, Dale Goode and Dave Ready decided to make their love of fine wines official and in 1985 Murphy-Goode Winery was born. Starting out with just Fume Blanc and Chardonnay, Murphy-Goode has added more wines to the line-up including world-class Bordeaux varieties from Alexander Valley.

The unique feature to this winery is its willingness to give back. Murphy-Goode is a proud sponsor to Operation Homefront, a non-profit organization that honors active-duty soldiers and veterans by supporting their families with emergency financial assistance. Murphy-Goode has created their own wine called Homefront Red in which a portion of every bottle sold is donated to Operation Homefront. So next time you're in the mood for some red wine, consider purchasing Homefront Red from Murphy-Goode and give back to the dedicated soldiers who protect this country.

We thank you for your service! And thank those who've given back. Continue to devour the details Murphy-Goode!

Medieval is the New White

Hammond Castle was built between 1926 and 1929 to serve not only as the medieval style home of John Hays Hammond, Jr. but also as a backdrop for his collection of Roman and Renaissance artifacts. The castle was constructed as a wedding present for his wife Irene Fenton Hammond to prove how much he cared for her. Hammond, a great inventor surrounded by much history, later found himself becoming a historic figure for inventing the remote control. 

Today, visitors to Hammond Castle Museum are welcome to explore the castle on a self-guided or educational museum tour. The castle sits on Gloucester's beautiful Atlantic shoreline, surrounded by lush gardens, making it a gorgeous setting for special events. As you are renting a fully functioning museum with regularly scheduled hours and events, rentals will start after closing hours (4pm). Areas included in the rental are the great hall, Renaissance dining room, the courtyard, and the ocean-side lawn with its spectacular views. This unique venue is seemingly perfect for a medieval themed wedding.

Come on a journey with me to medieval times as I get you to envision what you're special day can be like.

This wedding dress is epically perfect for a medieval wedding. It's very suiting for the time and not too over-the-top or costume-esque. Stunning. I love it.

Crazy unique arrow display seating chart. A playful way to incorporate your theme and give your guests something to talk about!

Background music during the reception? A harpist of course! May be hard to track one day but would make the day extremely memorable.
Medieval tablescape. One long table is how they dined in medieval times plus it is a great way to celebrate! Incorporate some tall candles, medieval headpieces, chalices, and unique silverware to bring the theme to life.

What to serve for dinner? A delicious turkey leg. Feast like a king! Or turn the whole dinner into a pig roast; something totally different from traditional weddings.
This is a cute wedding favor idea for your guests! Give them something that will grow, just like your love.

Can't have a wedding without a cake. This simple and elegant design incorporates the medieval theme beautifully. I am in love with the crown at the top.

I hope this idea can give you some inspiration when planning your unique wedding. Keep reading and I will keep devouring the details!