Thursday, November 16, 2017

Wedding Week 2017: Vinum Wine Shop

You may be wondering why we're featuring a wine shop as a wedding vendor. Well, Vinum Wine Shop is so much more than your ordinary wine store. Owners, John and Samantha Miller, have quite the story as to how they got started and are here to help with all of your wine and wedding needs!


Vinum Wine Shop located in Middleton, MA was established in 2015. John Miller went to school for aerospace engineering. After being a flight instructor for many years and needing a change, he moved to Boston and started learning about wines from the retail store he was working for. He was eventually scooped up by a wine distributor who recognized his passion and talent. From there, his education continued.


John traveled to Spain, France, Italy, and all over the United States tasting different wines and has some amazing stories to share. He took his knowledge to the next level and began teaching at Boston Center for Adult Education. During his 20+ years of experience, he helped others start some great wine shops and has always loved talking to the customers and sharing the wine experience. John spent the better part of his career working with smaller wineries, ones which work hard to make their farming practices sustainable. By working with smaller wineries and putting their products on shelves Vinum is in the unique position to get you wines from wineries that spend their time and money on putting the best wine in the bottle.

wine bar;craft beer

Samantha went to college to be an elementary school teacher and currently teaches pre-school. Over the last 20 years, she has worked in a number of restaurants as a bartender, manager, and server. She met John when he helped develop the wine list for 75 Chestnut in Boston. She took a couple of his classes at Boston Center for Adult Education and she was smitten...with wine (and John too of course)!

Wine isn't the only beverage Vinum focuses on! Vinum Wine Shop has cultivated an amazing, fun, always changing cold craft beer selection. They have beers that are delivered directly from top notch breweries, both local beers and rare beers. Vinum tastes every beer that comes in and they encourage guests to mix up a six-pack and try something new. Maybe you're not the creative type, or maybe it's beer for someone else, but John, Samantha and their experienced staff can help you or direct you to some of the best hand-selected sampler packs. You won't be disappointed!

holiday gift

This store has a lot of pride in what they do! The staff at Vinum Wine Shop prides themselves on their hand selected wine and craft beer selection. They've chosen wines from small producer wineries and try to stay with family opened and sustainable properties. They make a concerted effort to cultivate a selection that is ever evolving and helps introduce customers to new and interesting wines and craft beers. The team also takes pride in educating and sharing with their customers. Taking the opportunity to taste some of the Vinum selections helps customers and the store find what we all like best.

Realtor

All of that means Vinum always has wine open, craft beer, and monthly meads from 1634 Meadery, available to try because if you taste it...you'll see it is all spectacular. Vinum Wine Shop also offers unique wedding party gifts. They provide reusable wooden crates, customizable with names, dates, or monograms, the include 24 unique craft beers, wrapped in your wedding colors.


Vinum would also love to host your wedding party events! These celebrations can be customized to suit 15-25 people. Whether a beer and wine tasting or game night, they will work with you to create a memorable night, that everyone will enjoy. Vinum Wine Shop has an in house caterer that can make your event one of a kind. The perfect way to celebrate with your closest friends and family!


Needless to say, our new favorite place is Vinum Wine Shop. We can't wait to visit John, Samantha and their team and devour the details of the most perfect wines and craft beer the North Shore has to offer!

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Wedding Week 2017: Boateng Films

For all of your cinematic wedding needs, check out Boateng Films! Boateng Films offers superior HD image resulting from cinematic creativity years of experience in the films industry and use of modern DSLR technologies. Executive Director and CEO, Eric Boateng, takes great pride in producing beautiful cinematic wedding films with love. It is his greatest pleasure to share your wedding day, and your wedding dreams with you.

logo

Moments that turn into forever - Boateng's wedding films recreate not just the mood, but the experience, and the feelings from your wedding day. The Best Man’s toast, the first dance, your father giving you away at the altar, and the vows that came after – Eric and his team beautifully document all the details that you and generations to come will experience enjoy forever.

EOBT1099

As a professional cinematographer, Eric takes pride in capturing your precious wedding moments with an artistic, creative eye and use of modern technologies, including drone video coverage. Boateng Films customize their services to meet your needs. Their packages typically start out at $1,800. Check out Boateng Film's website to see their featured films!

Promotional

In the brief time we spent talking with Eric, we could see how passionate he is. He exudes professionalism and his work backs it up. We highly recommend reaching out to Eric and his Boateng Films team for your cinematic needs. He will definitely devour the details of capturing your special moments beautifully!

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Wedding Week 2017: Volkmann Weddings

When we met David, right off the bat we could tell how passionate he was about his business. People say a picture is worth a thousand words--David believes his photos are worth a thousand emotions and a thousand memories. That belief shines through in his work. See for yourself!

Volkmann Weddings

David became a wedding photographer because he loves a good love story. He's a romantic at heart and has a zeal for capturing beautiful, romantic and personal wedding photos. Based out of Peabody, MA and photographing weddings all across the Greater Boston and North Shore areas, David takes a unique approach to his photography. He wants to become a trusted part of your wedding party, ensuring that everyone feels comfortable, uninhibited, and ultimately just forgets that the camera is there.


Every single wedding David photographs is different and not every wedding fits into a standard package. Volkmann Weddings is extremely flexible with their clients and will customize their time to your special day. That said, packages start at $2,250 and which includes a healthy amount of time and a few other surprises you will like! David and his team truly cater to your needs to make your wedding photos the best experience possible.

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In order to make investing in David Volkmann Wedding Photography as easy and affordable as possible, they also offer fully digital packages. Their goal is to work with you, your vision, and your budget. All photos will be delivered electronically and you have the ability to download all edited high-resolution images. You also get a full print license for all of your images so you have an unlimited, royalty-free, lifetime-license and rights to print your images.

wedding fireworks love beach salisbury ma .jpg

Visit the Volkmann Weddings website to view their full portfolio. For all your wedding and engagement photo needs, call David today and devour the details of capturing the most amazing moment to last a lifetime!

Monday, November 13, 2017

Wedding Week 2017: Brilliant Ice Sculpture

Welcome to Wedding Week 2017! After attending Seasons Bridal Show last weekend, we have a number of vendors to introduce to you. First up, Brilliant Ice Sculpture out of Lawrence, MA!

Brilliant Ice Sculpture

Brilliant Ice Sculpture was founded by Donald Chapelle whose 33-year affection for carving has elevated the Boston ice carving scene. Donald's professional ice carving began at age 18 including a seven year post at Brookline Ice and Coal while Executive Chef at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, later he sculpted ice at the Ice Box in Roslindale, MA.

While employed for four years as a Chef De Partite at the prestigious five star Hilton International in Geneva, Switzerland and Vienna, Austria, Donald Chapelle worked and trained with Japanese ice sculptors creating ground breaking sculptures for thousands of functions and outdoor events. His years of experience contribute to the thought and creativity that goes into each ice sculpture.

Donald Chapelle - Owner and Sculptor for Brilliant Ice Sculptures in Lawrence Massachusetts

Brilliant Ice is also an environmentally friendly company! Their building is powered by rooftop solar panels installed in 2012 by owner. At the end of the night when the party is over, Brilliant Ice's sculptures will end up watering trees, vegetable gardens or flower beds as opposed to filling up dumpsters then landfills. They create cutting edge yet sustainable products that help minimize the impact of waste created by the hospitality industry for event planning. They also deliver 95% of their sculptures with low-emission vehicles.

Don and his crew reuse or recycle their plastic drip trays, lights and foam when used. Their entire plant is heated by the freezer condensers only. They recycle remaining ice from ice sculpture production to chill the water for the next batch of ice blocks, an energy savings of 25% per block. Brilliant Ice Sculpture creates very little waste materials other than organic earth-healthy waste; minimal plastic is used in the making of ice blocks which is reused several times for packing materials. They use only natural ingredients and do not use chemicals of any kind in the process of creating these amazing sculptures. Lastly, only organic cleaning products are used in the cleaning of their facility.

our building is powered by rooftop solar panels

Ice carvings have been with us since the early 1500's and like fine wine, art and music, ice sculptures dazzle guests because of their incredible beauty. Ice sculpture’s purity, refractive capabilities, and endless applications elevate any festive occasion as a stand alone piece or when associated with a display. Functional ice sculptures enhance otherwise mundane displays of food and beverage to another level.

You can elevate a raw bar, caviar display, sushi station, fruit station with a Brilliant Ice sculpture. You can also showcase your signature drink with these decorative beverage servers or shooter stations! With a functional ice sculpture, the end result is always amazing. Not to mention, the Brilliant Ice sculptures are unlike any other out there. You have to check these out!



For your ice sculpture needs, be sure to contact Don Chapelle with Brilliant Ice Sculpture and devour the details of the coolest display at your next celebration!

Thursday, November 9, 2017

It's Alive at the Peabody Essex Museum

If Halloween in Salem wasn't enough for you, the It's Alive exhibit at the Peabody Essex Museum may just do the trick! This limited-time feature wraps up on November 26th so be sure to get to the PEM before time runs out.


The roots of the Peabody Essex Museum date to the 1799 founding of the East India Marine Society, an organization of Salem captains and supercargoes who had sailed beyond either the Cape of Good Hope or Cape Horn. The society’s charter included a provision for the establishment of a “cabinet of natural and artificial curiosities,” which is what we today would call a museum. Society members brought to Salem a diverse collection of objects from the northwest coast of America, Asia, Africa, Oceania, India and elsewhere. By 1825, the society moved into its own building, East India Marine Hall, which today contains the original display cases and some of the very first objects collected.

In the late 1860s, the Essex Institute refined its mission to the collection and presentation of regional art, history and architecture. In doing so, it transferred its natural history and archaeology collections to the East India Marine Society’s descendant organization, the Peabody Academy of Science (the “Peabody”). In turn, the Peabody, renamed for its great benefactor, the philanthropist George Peabody, transferred its historical collections to the Essex.

In the early 20th century, the Peabody Academy of Science changed its name to the Peabody Museum of Salem and continued to focus on collecting international art and culture. Capitalizing on growing interest in early American architecture and historic preservation, the Essex Institute acquired many important historic houses and was at the forefront of historical interpretation.

With their physical proximity, closely connected boards and overlapping collections, the possibility of consolidating the Essex and the Peabody had been discussed over the years. After in-depth studies showed the benefits of such a merger, the consolidation of these two organizations into the new PEM was effected in July 1992. Bringing us to present-day and the Peabody Essex Museum's latest exhibit, It's Alive! Classic Horror and Sci-Fi Art from the Kirk Hammett Collection.

Image result for kirk hammett metallica

Kirk Hammett, best known as the guitarist of the rock band Metallica, is also an avid collector of classic horror and sci-fi movie posters. This exhibition explores the interplay of creativity, emotion and popular culture through 135 works from 20th-century cinema, including posters by an international array of graphic designers, rare works by unidentified masters as well as related memorabilia such as electric guitars, lobby cards, film props and costumes. Hammett has dedicated the last three decades to creating one of the world’s most important collections and acknowledges his poster collection as a source of inspiration for his own musical creativity.

Come check out this extensive exhibit and devour the details of the PEM has to offer! See you there!

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Wedding Wednesdays: 10 Great Tunes for Your Father Daughter Dance

A key part to most weddings is the music that accompanies the schedule of events. Having the right tunes is a thoughtful way to connect with your guests and adds a personal touch. Plus it creates a lasting impression for the bride and groom. When you hear a certain song 10 years from your wedding, you'll always remember the time you shared out on the dance floor. The same goes for the father-daughter dance! Here are our top ten jams for this special moment!

1. "Daddy's Little Girl" Michael Bublé


2. "Forever" by The Beach Boys


3. "God Gave Me You" by Blake Shelton


4. "My Girl" by The Temptations


5. "My Little Girl" by Tim McGraw


6. "My Wish" by Rascal Flatts


7. "Unforgettable" by Nat King Cole and Natalie Cole


8. "Wildflowers" by Tom Petty


9. "What a Wonderful World" by Louis Armstrong


10. "You Are My Sunshine" by Johnny Cash


The best father-daughter wedding song will have all the right elements: It's something sweet and meaningful that's great to dance to. Choose from this list of classic songs, or let it guide you toward the right pick for you and your dad and devour the details of your perfect father-daughter dance!

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Candymares: What To Do with Those Leftover Treats

It's officially a week post-Halloween. Is your home still full of candy? Are you having nightmares as to what to do with it all? We know it can be terrifying but we've got a sweet solution for you! Get rid of all that leftover candy with these easy-to-make Halloween Candy Bars.

Tricks and Treats: Leftover Halloween Candy Bars

Ingredients:
2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon of sea salt (plus more for sprinkling on top)
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter
1 ¼ cup packed dark brown sugar
¼ cup granulated sugar
1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 ½ cup roughly chopped leftover Halloween candy of your choice

Instructions:
1. Preheat the over to 350 degrees. Then, whisk the dry ingredients together (except for sugar) in a medium sized bowl.
2. Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Whisk butter and remove from heat as soon as the butter begins to brown. Transfer the butter to a bowl to prevent burning. Set aside to cool for a few minutes.
3. Beat the butter and sugars until thoroughly blended, for about 2 minutes. Beat in the egg, yolk, and vanilla until combined. Add the dry ingredients slowly and beat on low-speed just until combined.
4. Press your dough into a greased and parchment lined 9’ x 13’ pan. Press the chopped candy into the dough and add on top as well. Bake until lightly golden on top, about 18-20 minutes.
5. Let cool and cut into bars. Enjoy!

Image result for halloween candy

We hope this recipe devours the details of satisfying your sweet tooth one last time before kicking all of this candy to the curb. If you have other great ways to get rid of your leftover Halloween candy, let us know in the comments section below!

Monday, November 6, 2017

Monday Mashups: Welcome to Hawkins

We owe a lot to the top streaming media company, Netflix. They have made staying in on a Friday or Saturday night and binge watching TV socially acceptable. Countless hours spent immersed in some of the top hit series ever produced, including their very own original series like Stranger Things. When we heard about the season 2 release date, we knew to keep our eyes peeled for an epic premiere party--and Netflix provided just that!

<p> After the screening, guests headed to UCLA’s Dickson Court North for the on-theme after-party, which was set at a...

To celebrate, Netflix worked with MKG to produce a screening and after-party that submerged guests in the show’s spooky, '80s-theme world. Held on October 26 in Los Angeles, the evening began with a screening at the historic Regency Village Theatre in Westwood, where a 100-foot-long black carpet welcomed talent including Winona Ryder and Millie Bobby Brown. In a nod to the show’s fictional town of Hawkins, Indiana, the theater was renamed the Hawk Cinema, and featured branded popcorn bags and lobby signage.

<p> For the screening of the <em>Stranger Things 2 </em>premiere, Netflix and MKG rebranded the historic Regency Village Theatre, nodding...

After the screening, guests moved to UCLA’s Dickson Court North for an after-party that was designed to immerse guests in a town fair in autumn of 1984. In keeping with the fair theme, guests could win carnival prizes and snack on treats such as pretzels, funnel cake, and cotton candy. Drinks were themed around the show, with names such as UpCider Down and Maple Bourbon Bone Chiller. And you bet they served some Eggo waffles!

<p> A food truck outside the screening served Eggo waffles—a reference to one character's affinity for the breakfast food.</p>

The evening featured several other nods to the series, both in the decor and the activities. There were several elements that guests had just seen in the episode screening, such as a “Welcome to Hawkins” town sign, a rotten pumpkin patch, and a tree with a “portal” to the Upside Down, the show's spooky alternate dimension. Just your average day in Hawkins!

<p> A tree at the event featured a fake portal to the “Upside Down”—a reference to the show’s creepy alternate...

Fictional town bulletins and flyers, as well as a Hawkins Police Department car, further immersed guests in the show’s world, while branded giveaways such as “Hawkins Middle School A/V Club” pins provided fun touches. And no Stranger Things party would be complete without a reference to Barb: In the “Don’t Cry Over Spilled Milk” carnival game, guests knocked over milk bottles with missing ads for the fan-favorite character. Poor Barb (but we love this personal touch)!

<p> Bulletins and flyers throughout the screening and after-party aimed to immerse guests in the show's setting.</p>

What a way to celebrate and devour the details of the season 2 premiere! For more pictures and event ideas, check out the full article on BizBash. And if you haven't binged Stranger Things yet, you better get on it before the Shadow Monster comes for you!

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Restaurant Week: Portsmouth & the Seacoast

Fall foliage is in full swing, especially alongside the scenic New Hampshire seacoast. As a quintessential part of autumn in New England, we encourage you to plan your trip to peep the leafs changing while making a few stops at some of the Granite State's finest dining establishments for restaurant week! From November 2nd through the 11th, more than 40 restaurants and breweries from Portsmouth, Dover, Hampton, New Castle, Rye and Exeter, New Hampshire, as well as Kittery, Maine are participating, creating special prix fixe menus highlighting the flavors of the season.

cover page restaurant week small

Restaurant Week three-course, prix-fixe menus will be offered at $16.95 for lunch and $29.95 for dinner per person. Keep in mind, this is the Seacoast’s most popular culinary event of the season, so space will fill up quickly. We recommend making your date night plans as soon as you can! Here's a look at some of the participating restaurants:

black-trumpet

Black Trumpet is a family-owned bistro and wine bar. Their first floor dining room offers a cozy, romantic setting with warm, unassuming service. The upstairs wine bar is a more intimate, convivial space enlivened by conversation and great atmosphere.

29 Ceres Street, Portsmouth, NH
On-street metered parking.
603-431-0887

cava

Cava features two wine bars and a chef’s bar serving modern and classic Mediterranean cuisine. Their chef uses only the freshest seasonal products available to create his innovative menus. The “tapas” or small plates are all meant to be shared and enjoyed amongst friends.

10 Commercial Alley, Portsmouth, NH
On-street metered parking.
603-319-1575

district

The District is a casual fine dining restaurant like no other. You’ll appreciate their seasonally inspired, approachable menus that feature local ingredients from more than 27 local area farms.

103 Congress Street, Portsmouth, NH
Recommended parking in the Worth Lot on Maplewood Avenue.
603-501-0586

mombo

Mombo showcases made-from-scratch New American cuisine with an international twist. The highlight is their living menu which is always changing so that their chefs can incorporate the season’s freshest ingredients. The open-kitchen bar and the Chef’s Table will give you a first row seat to all the action. Visit their casually elegant neighborhood eatery nestled in a historic Strawbery Banke Building and have a cocktail in their outdoor patio lounge.

66 Marcy Street, Portsmouth, NH
On-site free parking lot.
603-433-2340

the-oar-house

The Oar House serves fine food in a setting filled with mementos of the Portsmouth’s long and proud maritime heritage. The Oar House specializes in seafood and New American cuisine, and provides live music inside, Thursdays through Saturdays.

55 Ceres Street, Portsmouth, NH
Valet parking.
603-436-4025

Visit Portsmouth Restaurant Week’s website for more information and to pick your restaurants/make your reservations today! Join us for Portsmouth & the Seacoast 2017 restaurant week and devour the details of a tasty trip through New Hampshire's fall foliage and flavors!

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Wedding Wednesdays: Tip for Tipping Your Wedding Day Vendors

One item you may not consider when budgeting for your wedding is gratuity. How much and who do you need to tip day of? It's easy to lose track of what's expected when planning a wedding. We're here to help!

Vow exchange ceremony

Since some vendors will expect a gratuity, and other gratuities will need to be considered on a case-by-case scenario, there are a few things to consider. Traditionally, business owners of larger companies don't get tipped—just their employees—but you can and should tip an owner when the service exceeds expectations. Small business owners should never be overlooked either, since their businesses are often run by just one person.

Tip vendors who offer exceptional service, write thank-you notes (they're always appreciated) and assign the responsibility of handing them out to a trusted person such as your wedding planner, a parent or wedding party member. Here's a helpful breakdown of what's customary for each vendor.

Wedding Planner
Wedding planners won't likely expect anything, but if yours did a great job, you can always offer a token of appreciation. (Note: Nonmonetary thank-yous like professional photos of the wedding for the planner's portfolio can go a long way too.) About 50 percent of couples do tip their planners.

Protocol: Optional

The Standard: 10–20 percent, up to $500, or a nice gift

When to Tip: Hand off the envelope at the end of the reception or send a thank-you note with photos or a check right after the honeymoon.

Wedding Hairstylist and Makeup Artist
This is one area where gratuity is definitely expected. Tip between 15 to 25 percent just as you would in a hair salon, and consider giving a little extra if there's a crisis, like one of your bridesmaids has a meltdown over her curls and it requires a redo at the last minute.

Protocol: Expected

The Standard: 15–25 percent, depending upon the quality of service

When to Tip: Tip your beauty stylists at the end of your service.

Wedding Delivery and Setup Staff
Slip a few dollars to anyone delivering important items to the site such as the wedding cake, flowers or sound system. If a lot of gear needs to be brought in and set up (tents, chairs or porta-potties), the workers deserve a tip too.

Protocol: Expected

The Standard: $5–$10 per person

When to Tip: Drop off cash envelopes the day before the wedding to the catering manager so the person accepting deliveries can distribute the tip.

Wedding Ceremony Officiant
If your officiant is affiliated with a church or synagogue, you're often expected to make a donation to that institution. If you're a member, you'll probably want to give a larger amount than if you're not. However, if you're getting married there and they're charging you to use the space, feel free to give a smaller amount. Tipping the officiant, both nondenominational and denominational, is also appreciated.

Protocol: Expected (depending on officiant)

The Standard: Donate $100–$500 to the church or synagogue, and for the officiant, an optional tip of $50-$100

When to Tip: Most ceremony fees are required prior to the wedding. Otherwise, have a responsible attendant pass the cash envelope at the rehearsal dinner if the officiant is in attendance.

Wedding Ceremony Musicians
If you worked with a great harpist and they pulled off your ceremony scores flawlessly, consider showing some monetary thanks for their talent. However, you probably don't have to tip the solo church organist who was required to play.

Protocol: Optional

The Standard: $15–$20 per musician

When to Tip: Ceremony musicians should receive a tip at the end of the ceremony.

Wedding Photographer and Videographer
You're not expected to give your camera crew any money beyond their normal fees. But if the wedding photographer or videographer doesn't own the studio, consider tipping each person (or give a certain amount with a thank-you note to disperse to staff). Especially if they were super accommodating during all of your photo opps!

Protocol: Optional

The Standard: $50–$200 per vendor

When to Tip: Tip your photographer and videographer at the end of the reception.

Wedding Reception Staff
This group includes the on-site coordinator, maître d' and banquet manager. A service charge (typically 2 percent) is almost always built in to the food and drink fee, so check your contract. If the gratuity is not included, tip as follows.

Protocol: Expected

The Standard: 15–20 percent of the food and drink fee or $200–$300 for the maître d'

When to Tip: If it's covered in the contract, the final bill is typically due before the reception. Otherwise, have one of your parents or an attendant hand the envelope to the maître d' at the end of the reception, since you'll need to know the final tab to calculate the percentage.

Wedding Reception Attendants
When it comes to bartenders and waitstaff, and parking, bathroom and coatroom attendants, the rules of tipping are dictated by your contract. If the service fee is included, consider doling out extra only if the service was exceptional. If it's not included, ask ahead of time how many attendants will be working your wedding and calculate on a per person basis.

Protocol: Optional, based on contract

The Standard: 10–20 percent of the liquor or food bill to be split among bartenders or waiters respectively, $1 per guest for coatroom and $1 per car for parking attendants

When to Tip: Although tips are traditionally passed out at the end of the event, you could distribute them at the beginning of the evening to encourage all the workers to give you great service.

Wedding Reception Band or DJ
Whether you hire a 12-piece swing band or a single DJ, tipping musicians is completely optional, depending on the quality of the job and how willing they were to follow your ideal playlist. And don't forget about any sound technicians they bring with them.

Protocol: Optional, yet preferred

The Standard: $20–$25 per musician; $50–$150 for DJs

When to Tip: An attendant should tip the musicians or DJ at the end of the reception.

Wedding Transportation
Again, check your contract, as gratuity is usually included. If it isn't, plan to tip provided they show up on time and don't get lost.

Protocol: Expected

The Standard: 15–20 percent of the total bill

When to Tip: Tip transportation pros at the end of the night or after the last ride. If you used a separate company for the guest buses, designate a bus captain to hand the driver a tip, otherwise this duty falls to a designated attendant.

Turquoise and pink tented wedding reception next to barn ceremony

We know, this is a lot to consider! But it's better to be prepared than bust your budget. Take the time to factor in these tips and devour the details of giving the right gratuity to your wedding vendors!

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

See the Future with Facebook

The future of technology that is. More specifically--purchasing event tickets with your Facebook account. Ticketing platform SeatGeek has signed Facebook up as a distribution partner, allowing sports fans and concert-goers to buy tickets directly through the world’s biggest social network. The company's goal with this partnership is to increase discovery of live events by using the power of the open web; putting tickets where fans are already spending time online.


For Facebook, this partnership serves as yet another conduit to increase its stickiness and ensure people stay on the site. It’s similar to tie-ups Facebook previously announced with Eventbrite and Ticketmaster. And for SeatGeek, known as an aggregator and secondary ticketing marketplace for resellers, it’s a major step forward in terms of encouraging other companies to adopt its primary ticketing API, as Facebook has one of the biggest reaches of any platform on earth.

How is this partnership going to play out exactly? Here are some examples. A ride-sharing company may want to sell tickets to events it regularly drives to or a record label may wish to sell to fans through its website. And a sports team may want to leverage SeatGeek to sell its own tickets through Facebook.

The first company to tap this new tie-up between SeatGeek and Facebook is Sporting Kansas City, a soccer team with an average attendance of around 20,000.  SeatGeek was already an official primary ticketing partner of Major League Soccer (MLS), and by extension Sporting Kansas City, which effectively allows a club’s tickets to be sold on any website or application of a team’s choosing, providing the website or app in question is under the organizer’s direct control or in a partnership with SeatGeek. And that is basically what today’s announcement with Facebook is all about — it will allow any company that runs events to sell tickets through SeatGeek on Facebook.

Through this open API approach, the open ticketing ecosystem will create opportunities to increase distribution, empower teams and artists to sell on the platforms of their choice, and eliminate fraud through a process of barcode verification. Basically, SeatGeek Open powers a modern box office that is mobile, flexible, and widely accessible - perfectly built for teams and artists looking to reach more fans and create richer experiences. Next time you're perusing an event to attend, keep your eyes peeled for these tickets at your fingertips and devour the details of the future with Facebook!

Monday, October 30, 2017

Monday Mashups: An Apple A Day

Keeps the doctor away but in this case, definitely not the dentist! These apple recipes are the perfect sweet treats to devour as we head into the holiday season. Give them as a gift, bring them as a dessert, or enjoy them when you simply need a sugar fix! Here are three different ways to transform your every day apples into decadent holiday delights.

Caramel Apple Donuts

caramel apple donut recipe on LaurenConrad.com

Ingredients:

For the donuts:
2 cups cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup buttermilk
2 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 drop green gel food coloring
1 apple, diced

For the caramel topping:
1 bag of caramel bits or wrapped caramels
2 tablespoons milk

Toppings:
mini M&Ms
toffee bits
crushed peanuts or almonds
rainbow sprinkles

Instructions:

1. Whisk flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon in a medium bowl. In a separate large bowl, whisk sugar, buttermilk, eggs, vanilla and food coloring. Add your dry ingredients into your wet, and whisk just until combined. Try not to over mix or else your batter will be tough. Mix in the diced apples.

2. Butter or spray your donut pan and preheat oven to 350 degrees. Add some donut batter into a large piping bag and fill each donut cavity until they’re 3/4 of the way full. If you don’t have piping bags, don’t worry—use a spoon instead. Piping bags just give you a more even distribution. Bake the donuts for about 8-10 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted.

3. Let the donuts cool in the pan for about a minute, then flip onto your work surface and let cool. Repeat until all your batter is baked.

4. Add your toppings to their own individual bowls so decorating can be as quick as possible.

5. Add the caramel bits or wrapped caramels (make sure to take off the wrapping) and milk to a small saucepan and cook on medium low heat, stirring occasionally until all of the caramels are nice and melted. Turn the heat to the lowest it can go and leave the saucepan over the heat. This helps the caramel not to harden while dipping donuts.

6. Once your caramel is melted, start to dip your donuts into the caramel, one at a time. After dipping each one, quickly sprinkle your topping of choice. Repeat until all donuts are topped.

Marbled Candy Apples

A fun spin on traditional candy apples. | LaurenConrad.com

Ingredients:

6 smaller Granny Smith apples
2 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cup water
1/2 cup light corn syrup
unsalted butter or oil spray
2 tablespoons white gel food coloring
2 drops each purple and pink gel food coloring
1 teaspoon clear vanilla extract, or any other favorite flavor clear extract
6 wood apple sticks
candy thermometer

Instructions:

1. Wash and dry your apples and remove all of the stems. Make sure your apples are very clean and completely dry. Air bubbles tend to form when candying apples, and this will help them to not form as many bubbles.

2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Make sure to butter or spray the sheet completely and set aside.

3. Insert wooden sticks about 3/4 of the way down into the apples and set aside. Make sure the rest of your ingredients are next to the stovetop so you can work quickly once the candy mixture is done cooking.

4. In a small saucepan, combine sugar, water and corn syrup, and whisk until combined. Turn your stove on medium-high heat, and place a candy thermometer into the saucepan. Boil the mixture until it reaches the hard crack stage (300 to 308 degrees). Make sure not to whisk the candy mixture at all while it is cooking! Wait until it is about 308 degrees, and then take it off the heat.

5. Immediately add in the white food coloring and vanilla extract and stir until combined. Add in 2 drops each of pink and purple food coloring. With a toothpick, slightly swirl the 4 dots (about 4 swoops). If you swirl too much, the colors will just meld together. Let the candy mixture sit for 30 seconds for the air bubbles to slowly calm down.

6. With your non-dominant hand, tilt the saucepan so the mixture comes to one side. With your other hand, dip and slightly twirl each apple into the candy mixture. Once the apple is completely coated, let the excess candy drip off into the pan for a few seconds. Place the covered apple onto your prepared baking sheet to let harden. Repeat this process until all apples are coated.

Caramel Covered Apple Cider Marshmallows

caramel covered apple cider marshmallows recipe via LaurenConrad.com

Ingredients:

For the apple cider marshmallows:
1 cup spiced apple cider
7 ½ teaspoons gelatin
½ cup water
¾ cup brown sugar
¾ cup sugar
1 cup tapioca/cassava syrup*
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon allspice
¼ teaspoon cardamom
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons powdered sugar

For the caramel:
2 cups sugar
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup light tapioca/cassava syrup*
½ teaspoon salt
4 ½ tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon vanilla

Instructions:

1. Start by reducing your apple cider for the marshmallows. In a small saucepan, heat your apple cider over medium high heat and simmer until it has reduced to 1/2 cup. Place in the fridge to cool.

2. Combine the cornstarch and powdered sugar in a small bowl.

3. Spray a 13″x9″ pan with oil or butter and cover entirely with the cornstarch and powdered sugar mix. Save a little extra for the tops of the marshmallows.

4. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, add the cooled reduced apple cider and gelatin and whisk lightly until combined. Set aside to bloom.

5. In a medium saucepan, combine the water, sugars, tapioca syrup, salt, all of the spices and whisk until combined.

6. Turn the heat to medium and let it come to a boil and continue boiling until it reaches 240 degrees. Once it hits 240 degrees, take it off the heat.

7. Turn your mixer onto its slowest speed and break up the bloomed gelatin.

8. With the mixer still running on low, slowly add in the hot sugar mixture. Once it is all added, you can bump the speed up to high and whisk until your mixture is glossy and thick and at least double in size.

9. Add in the vanilla and whisk one more time to incorporate.

10. Working quickly, spread the marshmallow mixture into your prepared pan and spread the top until somewhat smooth.

11. Sprinkle the reserved cornstarch and powdered sugar mixture onto the top and lightly press down with the palms of your hands to smooth the top.

12. Set aside to firm for several hours or overnight.

13. While your marshmallows are cooling, you can make the caramel layer.

14. Heavily spray or butter a baking sheet. Make sure it has sides and is around 12″x18″.

15. In a large saucepan, combine sugar, heavy cream, tapioca syrup, and salt and whisk until combined. Turn the heat to medium and consistently stir, with a wooden spoon, until your mixture is boiling.

16. Once your mixture has started to boil, reduce heat to medium low, stop stirring and let it continue to boil for another 5 minutes.

17. Make sure not to turn up your heat at this point. Making candy requires some patience.

18. Add in the butter and continue to boil until your mixture hits 250 degrees. This will take about 30-45 minutes.

19. Once you’ve hit 250 degrees, take your pan off the heat, add the vanilla in and stir.

20. Carefully and quickly pour your caramel onto your buttered baking sheet. Spread it out as fast as possible until the whole pan (or most of it) is covered. Set aside to cool down for about an hour.

21. Once your marshmallows are firm, pop them out of the pan and cut them into 1-inch strips. Set aside on your work surface.

22. Once your caramel is firm enough to handle, take it off of the baking sheet. I had to run a knife around the edge of the pan to loosen it up a bit.

23. Cover your work surface with parchment paper and turn your caramel over onto it. You’ll want to cut your caramel block into about 3-inch wide strips. But to make sure, you can place one marshmallow strip onto the top of the caramel block, and lightly fold the caramel over onto the marshmallow strip. You want the caramel to be able to cover all sides of the marshmallow.

24. Cut your caramel block into strips.

25. Place one marshmallow strip onto the middle of one caramel strip. Roll the caramel firmly over the marshmallow and pinch hard to seal the edges together.

26. Repeat until all of your caramel is used.

27. Now it is time to cut your logs into small squares. Make sure you use your sharpest knife. You can always refrigerate your logs for about 10 minutes to make cutting a little easier.

28. Wrap your individual caramels in parchment squares for gift giving, or store in an airtight container for up to a week.

These recipes come highly recommended (just not by your dentist)! Enjoy these sweet treats (followed by brushing your teeth) and devour the details of sharing some decadent delights with your friends and family this holiday season!

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Pumpkin Palooza at Lawn on D

Had to highlight one of our favorite places again just in time for Halloween. There is always something to see, do or experience at The Lawn On D. Open daily during designated hours, The Lawn On D provides a colorful collection of public seating and lounge chairs, interactive art exhibitions, assorted games such as bocce and ping-pong, and free Wi-Fi. The Lawn On D is the perfect place to relax, enjoy the South Boston neighborhood, and spend time with friends and family.


This Saturday, October 28th, the 2.7-acre outdoor event space on D Street next to the BCEC will be hosting Pumpkin Palooza 2017! It is the last special family event of The Lawn On D’s 2017 season. Complete with Halloween-themed activities for all ages like pumpkin carving, a costume contest, face painting, train rides and more, followed by live music and a variety of spectacular evening performances, you won't want to miss your last opportunity to hang at the Lawn!

Image result for pumpkins at lawn on d

Plan your Saturday to include this pumpkin party and devour the details of Halloween as The Lawn on D's 2017 season comes to an end. Hope to see you one last time as we swing into 2018 with The Lawn on D!

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Wedding Wednesdays: Seasons Bridal Show

Back again this year on Sunday, November 5th is our favorite bridal show to attend--Seasons Bridal Show! As you may recall from our previous posts, our best friend Becky is a part-time professional model and she's been working at this event donning wedding gowns for bride-to-bes to check out. This time around, she is a bride-to-be herself so it will be so fun to be there again with her meeting different vendors and sampling sweet treats. We really can't wait!


As excited as we are for Becky to tie the knot, we're also excited for all of our bride-to-be readers to walk down the aisle as well! So if you're in the midst of planning and are searching for vendors and unique ideas, you must attend this exceptional event! Brought to you by Wedding Creators and the recently renovated Hilton Boston-Woburn hotel, the Seasons Bridal Show is the perfect place to see each aspect of your big day come together - regardless of the season.


Did we mention you can enter to win different door prizes? This year, the grand prize giveaway is a 3-night all inclusive trip to Secrets St. James Jamaica (airfare not included). Did we also mention our favorite vendor Janeen Jones will be in attendance? Her hair and makeup skills surpass your ordinary wedding day stylist. With years of experience and features in top modeling photo shoots, you'll be blown away by Janeen's expertise and amazing services! And because Janeen is so awesome (and a great friend to Becky and I), she has offered to give out a free makeup application at her salon to any bride that attends the show and mentions this blog post! This is a huge opportunity for any bride-to-be so please spread the word!

jj-logo

At the bridal show, Wedding Creators' exclusive group of wedding professionals will help you bring into focus the day you've always dreamed of! Talk to the professionals and see samples of:
  • flowers
  • invitations
  • table linens
  • wedding gowns
  • tuxedos
  • dresses
  • photographers and videographers
  • limousines and transportation
  • entertainment
  • wedding cakes
  • makeup & beauty
  • ice sculptures
  • honeymoon planning
...and much much more!

Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, standing, wedding and text

The bridal show is free and open to the public, they just request you register online ahead of time here! For more information, visit the Wedding Creators website and Facebook page. Let us know if you'll be attending and join us as we devour the details of the 2017 Seasons Bridal Show!

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Ice Ice Baby: 3 Unique Ways to Cool Things Down at Your Holiday Party

Alright stop, collaborate and listen: the holidays are right around the corner! For those of you that host your families year after year, we have some unique ways to "keep things chill" at your seasonal celebration. Check out these easy DIY icy items that your guests will truly appreciate. Cheers!

Ice, Ice Bucket

Ice bucket made from ice with berries and branches frozen inside.  Love it!

Keep your wine and champagne chilled all night long in this beautiful solid-ice bucket. Using ingredients like rosemary and cranberries to freeze within the ice gives the bucket a true holiday season feeling!

Floral Ice Cubes

#Cocoscollections:   Champagne Bucket of Floral Ice Cubes

Fill your ice bucket with this frozen floral arrangement! Your guests will love this beautiful display and how cold it keeps the rosé!

Frosty Shots

Make holiday shot glasses - ice shot glasses - diy shot glasses - holiday entertaining ideas - winter bridal shower ideas - bachelorette party cocktail ideas - unique bridal shower shot glasses {Sugar and Charm}

How 'cool' (pun intended) are these frosty shot glasses? Frozen fruits adorn the exterior for the perfect holiday display while keeping your adult beverage extra chill-ay (it rhymed). Highly recommended to start off the night with these festive frosty favorites!

Chill out with your friends and family at your next holiday party with these icy ideas and devour the details of keeping your drinks cold in the coolest ways! Word to your mother.