Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Pinterest Inspired Party!


At the beginning of February I held a lunch at my place for a couple of friends I've met in the few months since we've moved here. Between all our mini trips out of town and our two trips to NJ, I hadn't had a chance to invite anyone over and I took this as an opportunity to put to work some of the great party ideas I had been pinning on Pinterest. Also, since the Superbowl and Valentine's Day are February's two major occasions I figured I'd try to incorporate them in some way. 


My party was on Saturday before the Superbowl, but none of us girls really care much at all about football so the only way I chose to incorporate the Superbowl was in the menu. Superbowl parties are known to have some great appetizers and snacks that no one can resist, not even someone as apathetic towards football as myself! My two tributes to the Superbowl were cheeseburger sliders and buffalo chicken dip with pita chips. My friend Neda (who has a great makeup blog Here) made this AH-MAZING buffalo chicken dip for us a few times that I couldn't wait to try myself. It was really so simple to make and it's one of those snacks everyone keeps eating throughout the party. 

The rest of my party menu was: Cajun Shrimp Pasta (SO GOOD, I had none left!), Kale Quinoa Salad (which turned out amazing yet again. You know a salad is good when people willingly take it home with them!!), and bruschetta

Didn't have a chance to take a better picture of these
Now to include Valentine's Day into my party I tried my best not to go crazy on pink, red and hearts but its nearly impossible for me to not go overboard with anything. I tried to find sweet yet subtle items. For example, I made German chocolate cupcakes with a coconut vanilla frosting which I dyed pink using food coloring and I baked them in a silicon heart shaped cupcake pan I got from Target a few years ago, seen in this post. I also found some adorable items in the $1 section of Target which I couldn't resist. Like a small felt hearts banner, which was used as the backdrop to our photo booth. Instead of doing the usual sodas for drinks, I had (store bought) pink lemonade and put frozen berries to keep the drinks chilled. It was hard to keep away from all the overload of Valentine's day since I love themed parties SO much, but I realize just using a few themed ideas was a good way to go about it without seeming like cupid threw up all over everything.





'Pinspired' Ideas:

Mason Jars! I've been seeing these on Pinterest for a long while now, and I did my best to not fall into the trap of liking something just because it's popular, but seriously they are SO cute looking! They really added a chic feel to the party. By serving pink lemonade in them with a striped paper straw it caught everyone's attention since as something out of the normal soda in a glass way to serve drinks.  I got mine at Walmart 12 for $9 and the paper straws were from Target's party decor section, I think 20 for $2. 


Photobooth ideas are all over Pinterest. Originally I thought to make my own props, but when Target had a whole bag full of them for just $5, how could I turn it down? ;) I kept it simple with just a banner against our white wall and since we had a bunch of kids at the party, it kept them busy for a solid 15 minutes while we were able to take a gazillion adorable pictures of which maybe 3 came out nice. I liked this idea because it gave us something different to do than the usual munching and chatter without being too involved like playing organized games. 


Fruit Cones are such a simple yet fun way to make dessert look classy! Since I had some pretty heavy items on my lunch menu for the healthy eater I thought these fruit cones were a nice dessert alternative, plus the kids even liked how pretty they made the fruit look and were happy to snack on them.


Okay so I only partly tried to keep dessert healthy. Because when I saw these S'mores Brownies on Pinterest, all self control was lost. They were definitely a gluttonous addition to my dessert menu but one I do not regret. Ok maybe a little. Just imagine sweet gooey melted marshmallows sandwiched between a decadent chocolate brownie with a layer of crunchy graham cracker thrown in! I swear I have no self control. But they're SO worth trying!
bubbly, ooey, gooey marshmallow goodness!


Also, my husband is a Valentine's baby and as you may remember from my post last year I tend to get super cheesy with my ideas to celebrate his big day. So this year was no different. I turned to my beloved Pinterest for ways to surprise him. He grew up outside of America and is a HUGE fan of international chocolate bars. I'd seen some adorable cards using candy bars but I knew they wouldn't work for him since he's not really into Snickers, Mr Goodbar etc. I started leaving him little messages all week with chocolate bars attached, next to his keys or in his laptop bag and then on his actual birthday I gave him the card with a whole bunch added on. I forgot to take pictures of the ones from earlier in the week but it was something like 'Thanks for not being a FLAKE, you're an awesome husband and a great dad. We love you' and 'Hey Handsome, the AERO of my heart points to you!'



Now that Ali is old enough to understand birthdays, I had him make a present for his Baba too. Of course the idea was Pinterest inspired and it worked out pretty nicely. I bought poster paper and paintbrushes from the dollar store and Crayola washable paint from Target for $4, which we had LOADS of fun painting with in the bathtub afterwards. My advice is to practice the hand and footprint first on regular paper so you get the hang of it, before you attempt it on the actual poster. It was a fairly cheap craft with a result that looks so stinkin' adorable; we're planning to get a nice frame for it to put up in Ali's room.

Lastly, I tried to make these adorable strawberry roses and here is where the phrase "Pinterest Fail" comes to mind. They weren't as easy as they looked and definitely very time consuming. I was only able to get 3 done before I realized my husband wouldn't wait more than 3 seconds to devour them and he couldn't care less how his strawberries look, but he does love them dipped in chocolate! Lesson learned. I thought my plate looked cute and the hubster was certainly impressed with all of my creative attempts. 


Hope you guys enjoyed reading all these crazy Pinspired ideas I put to work and they've inspired you to try out some of your own! 


Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Recipe: Ultimate Chocolate Cake with Fudge frosting

I cannot believe how long its been since I last wrote here. I knew life was going to get busy in the new year, I just didn't realize exactly how busy it was going to be!

I have so many posts in my drafts right now which eventually I hope to post up. Even before 2013 ended we did some projects around the home, reupholstering our dining chairs and re-staining bookshelves. Once I got back from my cousin's wedding in NJ we took a trip to Atlanta (right before they got hit with a pretty serious snow storm!). Then, I hosted my first get together with a few friends I've made here using some awesome Pinterest party ideas for inspiration! And last weekend we finally made a trip out to Disneyworld, where I made my first attempt at DIY Tshirt making! So stay tuned because I have plenty to share with you all!


In the spirit of Valentine's week I'm posting up this UH-mazing chocolate cake I made. My husband's birthday happens to fall on Valentine's Day, so usually I end up spoiling him with goodies rather than the other way around. Fortunately, we are both major chocoholics so its a win win! I love how moist this cake turns out, due to the Secret Ingredient.

Recipe Sourced here: Ultimate Chocolate Cake with Fudge frosting

Your key to a super soft cake!





Because you can never really go wrong with sprinkles, use them to add some pizzazz 



Enjoy!