Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Christmas Idea for Family Friends

Gifts for a family can always be so tricky to buy or put together... but this idea from Disney's Family Fun web site is great - plus it's a fun activity for your whole family to make together.


There are a couple of different ways you can put this Gingerbread Family kit together - a) purchase the gingerbread men from your local supermarket, or b) make the gingerbread men by scratch.

If you are interested in making your own gingerbread men, here is the recipe found on the Family Fun site:

- 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
- 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
- 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
- 2 eggs
- 3/4 cup molasses


1. In a large bowl, mix flour, cinnamon, ginger and baking soda.  In a separate bowl, cream butter and brown sugar with electric mixer.  Add eggs in one at a time, then mix in molasses.  Slowly add in the dry ingredients, beating after each addition (the dough will become stiff).  Divide dough in half, shape into disks and wrap in plastic.  Chill for 1 to 2 hours until dough is firm enough to roll.

2. Heat over to 350 degrees.  On a lightly floured surface, roll out one piece of dough to a 1/8- or 1/4-inch thickness.   Use a 5-inch gingerbread man cookie cutter to cut the dough and use a spatula to transfer the gingerbread people to an ungreased baking sheet.  Bake for 10 minutes or until lightly browned.  Cool completely.  Repeat until remainder of dough is complete.

To assemble kit, line a plastic container with tissue paper and add 4-5 undecorated cookies.  Also include white decorators frosting, M&M minis, Cinnamon Red Hots and shoe string licorice in with the cookies.  Or add whatever ingredients you like to use when decorating your cookies!  When everything is packaged together, add a cute little tag and bow and get ready to deliver the family their gingerbread kit!

If you are looking for other quick and fun ideas for Christmas gifts to make with your kids, head over to the Disney's Family Fun site now!

Letter for Santa

I just can't believe that tomorrow is December already!  Goodness - before you know it, it's going to be the new year and I'm going to be a new auntie (my sister's due date is January 1st).  Since I'll have so much more responsibility as an auntie, I have to start thinking of fun things to do with my little lady, Eva!  When she's old enough, I would love to have her do something fun like this Letter to Santa kit below, created by Heather of Chickabug.

The story behind the Letter to Santa kits:  Heather was inspired to create these cuties while looking at the form for a letter from Santa in the grocery store.  The letter includes some boxes that your little kiddies can check whether they have been good or bad... and what they're doing when they're being good.  It also gives space for them to write their Christmas list and sign their name!

To purchase one of these cute little Letter for Santa kits, head over to the Chickabug shop... or head over to their blog to find out how you can get it for 50% today only!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Real Wedding: Dodger Stadium

We're back for this week's edition of Wedding Wednesday {I know, it's Tuesday, but tomorrow will be busy getting ready for Turkey Day!} and it's a fun one!  I first came across this wedding on the Calligraphy by Jennifer Facebook page and immediately fell in love. Cakes and Kisses, a Los Angeles based photography company, shot this fun wedding - and boy did they do a great job!

I just love weddings that tie in a passion or hobby that you and your significant other share and enjoy together.  I also love hearing how the photographers enjoy the wedding so much, and this one was no different for Kelly Steen, owner of Cakes and Kisses.  She herself is a Dodgers fan and attends games as often as possible during the season.  What a fun wedding to be able to help with when you get a behind the scenes look at a venue you love to be at!

I hope you enjoy the photos from this wedding - it's so fun how could you not?!?!

Beautiful shot!

I totally dig this cake topper!

What a great cake!  Keeping with the theme, but doing so tastefully for a wedding.

The couple had custom jersey's made for their big day!

Here is Kelly, owner of Kisses and Cake, with the stunning bride!

For more information on this wedding, head over to the Cakes and Kisses blog. Stick around and check out some of the other great weddings and events Kelly has photographed!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Homemade Christmas Idea

Last week I was sitting at the car shop waiting for my car to get finished when I came across this super cute idea for a homemade Christmas gift.  I thought this would be a perfect gift idea for a teacher, hairstylist, grandparents, neighbor or as a hostess gift {honestly, you could give it to anyone!}.


Who doesn't love hot chocolate on a cold winter's day??  Why not pair some yummy hot chocolate with these yummy chocolate dipped marshmallows??  These 'mallows are such a fun spin on the traditional dipped marshmallows you see around party land.  To make these sweet treats, simply insert a straw into a marshmallow and dip into melted chocolate.  Let the chocolate "cool" a little, then dip into red sprinkles while chocolate is still slightly soft.  Your gift recipient will love having chocolate marshmallows mixed in with their drink... and a straw to drink it with!
**Another cute idea, instead of a straw use a peppermint stick - nothing better than peppermint flavored hot chocolate!**

While your marshmallows are cooling, why not make some homemade hot chocolate mix to go with your chocolate dipped marshmallows?  Better Homes and Gardens provides a great recipe to create your own hot chocolate mix.  All you have to do is package all the goodies together and your friends and family are bound to think you're the sweetest thing since, well, your sweet Christmas gift! :)

What are you favorite homemade Christmas gifts to make??

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Teressa's Navy and Pink Baby Shower - the details

The shower I co-hosted for my good friend from college went great this past Saturday - much more laid back and less hectic than my sister's shower last Saturday... but I think that has something to do with the weather and a smaller guest list.

My other friend from college, Kelsey is starting her own photography business and took some photos of the shower for me - I can't wait to see them!  You can check out more of her great work here, at Kelsey Ann Photography.

While I don't have any of the photos yet, I wanted to give some details of the shower... with the pictures to follow!

Teressa {the guest of honor and momma-to-be of twin babies} wanted a friends only shower to avoid an event getting too big {after last weeks shower for my sister, I totally understand this!}, so she invited around 17 people and we had 10 or 11 people in attendance.  Because she isn't finding out the sex of the babies {she has way more will power than I would if I were pregnant with twins}, I wanted to go with a theme that matched colors for both a boy and a girl, so we went with dark navy blue and a fuchsia/hot pink - I think she's having a boy and a girl, so I think the colors worked great! :)  I'll post photos soon of the invite and envelope I sent out... it may be one of my favorite creations so far!

The shower started at two and after some mingling and chatting, we started the games.  We played three different games - the first was a bottle game where every guest was given a bottle filled with 4 oz of lemonade and they had to drink it the fastest (through the nipple mind you).  The game was hilarious to watch... and I honestly never realized how hard it was to drink out of a bottle... especially with sweet lemonade (note to self, lemonade hurts the jaw when sucking it through a bottle).  The next game we played was a quick game of The Price is Right.  My co-host, Tanya, picked up a bunch of essentials for babies and mom, and each guest had to guess the total cost of the everything - the mom-to-be was quite fooled by the cost, as she quested more than $20 below the actual cost of the items!  Our last game was a relay game involving a clothesline.  Each guest was given a teddy bear to hold on their hip while they took onesies, bibs and socks down from a clothesline and dropped it in a laundry basket on the floor - the variance in time was crazy!

After all of the games everyone filled up on lunch and dessert.  Tanya brought all the food for lunch and I made all of the desserts.  For lunch, Tanya made pulled pork sandwiches (they were so delicious!), chips, vegetables, a pasta salad and I made a jello salad.  For desserts, I made vanilla cupcakes with pink frosting, pink rice krispy bars and brownies. I dyed the cupcake frosting and rice krispy bars pink because I didn't think anyone would want to eat a blue dyed cupcake - can you imagine how that'd temporarily dye your teeth!?  Guests were also asked to fill out a "wishes for the babies" card for Teressa to keep as a memory.

The last part of the shower was reserved for the opening of gifts!  Teressa received a lot of fun stuff - including plenty of toys, which made her husband extremely happy!  She also received a lot of diapers (she's going to need them with twins!), some clothing, and other essentials for the babies.

I hope you enjoyed reading about the shower!  Like I mentioned, there are photos coming, so you can put an image to the novel I just wrote!  I will leave you with one my favorite maternity photos of the mom and dad to be, taken by Kelsey Ann Photography.

Aren't they too cute!  I think this photo should be an ad that is in a pregnancy magazine!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Baby Shower #1 Weekend Recap

This weekend was my sisters baby shower, and wouldn't you know it, Minnesota gets hit with a whopping snow storm that started Friday night and carried through the whole day Saturday (my neighborhood alone got dumped on with 12 inches!)  Welcome to winter I guess!  Needless to say, everyone was quite concerned about the weather, although we only had a couple of people who didn't show up.  Most guests showed up early (before I was even finished setting up, because the weather made my commute across the Twin Cities longer than it should have), so I wasn't able to take any pictures of the actual party set up (ugh, how terrible... my first baby shower that I've planned and I have no photo evidence).  I do plan on taking photos for the entire party set, maybe I'll even try to "redesign" the shower somewhat (believe me, I have plenty of desserts left, especially cupcakes!)

I do have another baby shower coming up this next weekend - this time its for one of my good friends from college and she's having TWINS!  Hopefully there isn't going to be another snow storm in the forecast... I don't think I'm ready for all these storms quite yet!  But I do PROMISE to take pics of that shower!

I hope everyone had a good weekend!  I'm excited to see all the parties from this past weekend!

PS - with the baby shower preparations for this weekend (and our power has been out for the past two days due to the storm, so I'm going to be playing catch up), posts will probably be a little light!  We'll be back in full swing for sure next week!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Real Wedding: California Love

Sorry all... but it has to be a short post tonight - I'm up to my ears in baby shower planning!!  But we hope you enjoy this weeks wedding!

Today's Wedding Wednesday post comes from the Wedding Wire Blog. This wedding was very vintage and artsy but in a simplistic and pretty way.  And the couple - well they definitely rocked their wedding day attire!  I'm loving the rock and roll glam mixed with a vintage feeling. The wedding took place at a bed and breakfast, where the couple entertained a small number of guests.

I hope you adore this wedding as much as I do!

{photos by brc photography}

Such a pretty wedding, right?  Don't you love those shoes the bride has on!?  And the colors - so gorgeous together.  This couple did a small, private wedding beautifully!

Be sure to check out the Wedding Wire Blog for more wedding inspiration and real weddings - it's a terrific site for a bride-to-be!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Featured Vendor: Erin Johnson Photography

Happy Tuesday!  I hope everyone had a great weekend.  Ours was filled with car shopping (for me, this is about as much fun as getting work done on a cavity!), and preparing for the upcoming baby showers we have this weekend and the next.  It has been a madhouse in the CK Events "studio".  But enough about us - on to the featured vendor of the week!

Today's vendor does amazing work - which you may have already noticed if you have checked out the Harry Potter themed wedding we featured a couple weeks back on Wedding Wednesday, or if you viewed last weeks Wedding Wednesday post.  Not only does the team of Erin Johnson Photography take amazing wedding photographs, but they also take photos for any event imaginable... senior portraits, family portraits, engagement photos, pregnancy photos and so much more!  So read on to learn more about Erin Johnson Photography!

Every child is an artist.  The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up. {pablo picasso}

Erin Johnson of Erin Johnson photography is the epitome of the above Pablo Picasso quote.  She was born into a family of artists and has figured out how to "remain an artist" into adulthood.  Out of college, Erin began working as a painter at a photography studio - it was there that her interest in photography began.  It started with children's photography and grew into assisting one of the photographers with a wedding... and that's where her love for wedding photography started.

While Erin has focused on wedding and engagement photos for years, she loves working at any and all events.  Recently she has had a lot more portrait sessions, including seniors, families, babies and bellies.  "I love working with clients that give me the freedom to execute my vision for them and be creative.  I actually really thrive on the excitement and challenge of an event."  

Artists always have something or someone who inspires them, and Erin is no different.  She gains inspiration from web sites and clothing catalogs {like Anthropologie}, but she also gets inspired by her clients and the locations of the photo shoots.  While her clients are her inspiration, getting them to allow her to show her creativity can be another story.  If Erin could tell her clients just one thing to help her make their experience better, it would be to have them let go and let her create for them.  "The more control I get, the better the images are.  In addition to being a photographer, I am also a pretty good stylist."

I would consider Erin a "model entrepreneur" because in addition to running her business, she gives back to the individuals who aspire to get to where she is at professionally.  She offers a workshop to people looking to start and run a wedding photography business.  {It's always great to hear about successful professionals sharing advice with "amateurs" in the business world - I wish there was more workshops like this available for the events industry.}

Because she's just as passionate about business as she is about her photography, Erin johnson Photography is a successful Photography company in Minnesota. The way she speaks about the business side of her company can reassure anyone that she's knowledgeable in both areas.   One recommendation she gave to individuals seeking to start their own ventures {for any industry} is to protect your personal life and balance between the two.  In addition to finding balance between work and personal time, get out and network, treat your clients well, master your trade and use the internet to your advantage!

Fun facts about Erin:
1. The 5 things she can't live without:
- Jesus
- Family and friends
- Two business assistants {Carly and Ellie}
- Her camera and iPhone
- Her bed

2. Favorite color scheme right now:
- The vintage look - yellow, white and grey.

3. Favorite time of year to photograph:
- FALL!! "I love the high grass and rustic photos with the fall colors"

4. Trends in the photography industry right now:
- Anything vintage looking. Taking furniture outside.

Below are some of Erin's favorite photographs from past clients.  {enjoy}

I'm loving the colors of this photo!  And the beautiful symmetry of the photo!

Oh my! This little lady is too much for me!  Just too cute for words!!

Love, love. love this photo {and that dress!}
Such a unique and creative photo!  Meet Erin - the brains behind Erin Johnson Photography {and under the umbrella}

Such a fun and modern location!
Love trash the dress sessions!  This couples looks like too much fun!
Beautiful and fun photograph!
To view more photos taken by Erin and her team, be sure to head over to the Erin Johnson Photography blog.  You will also find more information on the workshop she offers for learning the ropes of running a wedding photography business.  You can also become of fan of them on Facebook, which I highly recommend because they run some fun contests on their page!

Thank you Erin for allowing us to feature your business and learn more about you!  It was great fun to learn more about you and to see your work!

If you are interested in being a feature vendor, or would like to recommend a business to be featured, please contact us today!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Link Love: lillimandrill

I honestly just came across one of the cutest Etsy shops... with one of the cutest items EVER! Wait for it... wait for it... custom hand-carved rubber stamps... of you, or you and your man {or woman}!

How cute would these be to put on your Save the Data cards?  Or stamped on pages of your guestbook?  Or even the cover of your thank you card!  Seriously, there are so many great ways to use portrait stamps for your wedding day!  And they are pretty affordable - this double face stamp sold for $50!

Interested in getting a solo head shot for just you, too?  Use these for your custom stationery or for your birthday party - people will be sure to know who the letter or thank you came from!  This single face stamp sold for a cheap $28!

Seriously, how fun, huh!  Make sure you head over to the lillimadril Etsy shop right away and check out the great stamps, along with the other merchandise!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Simplest DIY Place Card {and I mean SIMPLE}

If you have a large family like I do, you know seating at the dinner table for holidays and family get-togethers can get hectic.  I found this simple, but fun place card idea on the Rachael Ray site and thought it was adorable... and cheap... and like I said already, SIMPLE!


Seriously... easy, right?  Most guest like dinner rolls, so hey, they'll already have one in their spot - one less thing to pass around the table(s)!  Make cute little cards that match the theme of the event your hosting, and VOILA - you have your place card!  How fun would it be to create the little place cards for the kid's table!?!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Real Wedding: Stillwater Library in the Fall

This weeks Wedding Wednesday feature is a Minnesota couple who hosted their wedding on the rooftop of the Stillwater Library on a beautiful fall day {Stillwater is a suburb of St. Paul and has amazing views of the St. Croix River).  The brilliant photographer who capture these photos is Erin from Erin Johnson Photography {you may remember we featured their work a couple of weeks ago for the Harry Potter inspired wedding - if you haven't check it out you must! You can find it here.}. The photos for this wedding are just gorgeous and the style of this wedding is so different than the Harry Potter inspired wedding.  I love how Erin and her team capture the each couples personality so well in all of their photos.

Isn't the bride just radiant?!?
I always love the photos of the grooms expression while waiting to see his future wife!

What a gorgeous wedding party!
Such a beautiful fall day for a wedding!  I love this ceremony location - such a gorgeous background for photos... and guests.
Beautiful downtown Stillwater, right on the St. Croix River
One of my favorite set of photos for this wedding - I just the love the architecture!
The reception turned out just as beautiful as the ceremony! You have to love the classic white scheme.

Congratulations to the beautiful couple!

To view more pictures from this gorgeous wedding, as well as other great weddings and events, head over to the Erin Johnson Photography blog.  And if you are interested in learning more about this great photographer and her team, be sure to check out her Featured Vendor post next week!  There is going to be some amazing photographs you won't want to miss!

If you are interested in having a wedding you planned, attended or were in, please contact us today!  We're always looking for great weddings and events to feature on the blog!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Featured Vendor: A Milestone Paper Co.

Some of you may remember reading my post last week regarding our new series that will feature a new vendor each week whose work we adore!  Because invites and other paper items can totally set the mood for an event, and are one of my own favorite elements to a party, I thought we would kick off our first feature with A Milestone Paper Co., located here in Minneapolis.

Meet Sarah from A Milestone Paper
I came across Sarah's (the creative mastermind behind A Milestone Paper Co.) work at the Twin Cities Bridal Fair last week and loved it!  I must admit, I really loved her business card, too - what a great piece of business marketing material she has!!

With that said, read below to find out more about Sarah and A Milestone Paper Co.

After designing her own wedding invitations, in addition to several friends and family members invites, Sarah and her two sisters, Sue and Kate, started A Milestone Paper Co.  They wanted to start a business that allowed people the opportunity to purchase reasonably priced custom designed invitations.  A Milestone Paper Co. focuses on the customer's individual interest.  They make sure the style and design of the order fits the personality and style of the client, which makes every stationery or invitation set unique.  They also offer services at multiple price-points, making their services available to fit into any budget.

I'm always curious to hear where people get their inspiration, and Sarah says her number one source of inspiration comes from her clients.
"Just this week I worked on Minnesota Twins ticket wedding invitations, tropical invitations for a wedding in Grand Cayman, Art Deco 1920s-themed invitations, vintage-inspired Save the Dates and formal elegant invitations.  This job is never, never boring!"

In addition to her inspiring clients, she finds inspiration on the many wedding blogs, online fabric shops and on Design Sponge for graphic design inspiration.  For business related inspiration, she turns to the vendors she's come to know and work with.

If there was one thing Sarah wishes every client knew to make her job easier to assist them is that she always wants to know their story!
"I really want my clients to share as much of their story/vision/style as possible.  The more I know, the more I can reflect in the projects I create.  I love hearing about little details that are meaningful and finding ways to incorporate those bits and pieces into the designs".

So where does Sarah hope her business is headed in the future?  Well she hopes to continue to meet with clients face-to-face and create custom designs for them.  In addition, she hopes to work collaboratively with other like-minded entrepreneurs in a loft-type space - "there's a lot of positive energy when you gather together people doing what they love to do".  She also wants to share her story in hopes of inspiring others to find a way to do what they love {like me!}!

Because a lot of my readers, and myself included, have hopes of starting their own small business ventures, I wanted to know what advice Sarah had for those starting.  What did she find helpful and difficult when starting her journey as a small business owner?
"Most of all, go for it!  Hone in on what you love, find a way to market it and take the leap!  Reach out to others in the industry who are farther along in their business adventure and ask questions.  Have faith in your unique set of skills and heart and put it out in the world.  Also, I think it's important to identify the things that are holding you back or causing fear.  Then face those things head on - realize that fear is in your own mind and work through it.  For me, I knew the money/business side would be a challenge for me, so I found a good accountant and bookkeeper as soon as I could.  My most important advice though is always BE YOURSELF!"

Fun facts about Sarah:

1. What are 5 things she can't live without:
- Family
- Wine drinking, laughing and chatting with her favorite girls
- Faith
- Challenge
- Chocolate

2. Favorite color scheme right now:
- Deep purple and lime green

3. Favorite time of year to design invites/stationery for:
- summer because of the bold bright hues that are used

4. Trends in the invitation/stationery industry right now:
- a lot of acrylic and laser cutting

Check out some of Sarah's favorite items from past client's events...

super adorable set!

Here's an example of a laser-cut invite - adorable!

To check out more products offered by A Milestone Paper, check out their web site here or become a fan of them on Facebook!  Thank you, Sarah, for allowing us to interview you for our first Featured Vendor post!

My hope for my featured vendors is for my readers to get to know other professionals in the industry, getting them some exposure and allowing me to get to know them better, too!  If you are interested in becoming a feature vendor, please contact us today by sending us an email today!