Fall Harvest

Fall is one of my FAVORITE seasons!

What better way to celebrate then to host an autumn dinner with family & friends.

Let these thoughts inspire you.

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If you have the space I encourage you to use it!

Design a centerpiece with candles, berries and greenery.  Use mix and match dishes & cutlery and place bottles of wine throughout the table allowing guests to serve themselves.

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Fill a wheelbarrow or bucket with ice and add favorite drinks.

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Provide cozy blankets for your guests if the weather permits.

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Kentuckians LOVE beer cheese and what better way to

celebrate it than to make a beer cheese soup!

If you haven’t tried it, y’all are missing out!

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S’mores remind me so much of cool autumn evenings.

If you don’t have access to a fire, create a marshmallow toasting centerpiece.

Sit back, relax & enjoy this time reconnecting with those you love!

-XOXO

Summer memories

I adore summer!  I mean, who doesn’t?  The smell of freshly mowed grass, steaks on the grill and children giggling while running through sprinklers.  Summer certainly provokes wonderful memories.
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 Summer weddings are possibly my favorite, except the ones set outside when its stifling hot. 

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Now, for those of you who aren’t from the south, the definition of the word describes summers here to a tee!

Definition of Stifling (of heat, air, or a room) very hot and causing difficulties in breathing; suffocating.
“stifling heat”
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Now throw in a candy buffet…you can only imagine how I cringe when a client is insistent upon on having an outdoor candy buffet in the middle of summer!  It makes me sweat just thinking about it.  I had a couple come to me with just this idea and at first, I must admit, I was dreading it, not the candy bar…the outdoor part.  But the more that I got to know this couple and their amazing love for one another, the more I was willing to do whatever needed to make this work. 

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The bride lost her mother at a young age and as a mother of two daughters, my heart immediately ached for her.   I think it’s most mothers dream to watch their beautiful daughter walk down the aisle, so I wanted this small part of their day to be as beautiful as possible. 

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Her mother’s favorite candy were circus peanuts, so we decided to incorporate them into her pink & white themed buffet, which turned out to be a beautiful addition.

The rest of the candy bar was filled in with white & pink candies along with champagne truffles.Maness_0759 Maness_0761

The day finally arrived and don’t you know that right smack dead in the middle of summer we had a front move in that provided that particular day with an abundance of beautiful sun & cool temperatures!  It was like magic or maybe an angel looking over this sweet girls day.  It was truly amazing…what a wonderful memory!

When creating the perfect candy buffet for your event, be sure to display an array of different candies….a little something for everyone.  Plan for 1/4lb per guest; remember, it’s a guestimate as some guests will take more and some will take less. 

Here are a couple of websites I recommend ordering your bulk candy.  Remember, if your event is in the summer, you will need to make sure they are delivered with cold packs and shipping can be more expensive. Candy Warehouse, Sweet City Candy!

Overload your summer with beautiful memories! 

XOXO

Robin

May parties are abundant!

May certainly has a number of reasons to celebrate…

Derby, Mother’s Day, & Graduations are just to name a few.

Last weekend I had the pleasure of creating a wonderful day for a graduating 5th grade young lady.

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The focal point for this party was the desert table.  It was packed full of sweet treats. 

Everything from flavored popcorn to gumball necklaces.

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I love using unique party favors, so we displayed necklaces for the girls made of

shiny gumballs & clips! 

As you can imagine…they were the hit of the party!

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Small boxes are perfect for filling with treats.  Don’t forget to provide cute containers for guests to fill up!

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  The desert table was filled with sixlets,

Hershey kisses that were adorned with “Congrats” labels, Swizzle sticks tied with ribbon &

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Pink candy coated popcorn all kept with our over the top theme!

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This gorgeous cake was created by Martine’s.  Her work is amazing & never disappoints!

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Macaron’s & cookies gave something for everyone to enjoy! 

Ok, so maybe the macaron’s were more for the adults! 

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And of course the photo booth!  This is an easy way for your guests to have fun & get goofy! 

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Spray paint wooden frames from Hobby Lobby or Michael’s for adorable photo frames. 

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Until next time…..

XOXO,

Robin

The Kentucky Derby

You may not be from Kentucky but most likely know what happens in Louisville on the first Saturday of May.  Some say it’s “The most exciting two minutes in sports” but to true Kentuckians The Kentucky Derby is so much more.

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In 1872, Col. Meriwether Lewis Clark. traveled to England, visiting the Derby, a famous race that had been running annually since 1780.  After returning home to Kentucky, he organized the Louisville Jockey Club for the purpose of raising money to build a racing facility.  That track would become Churchill Downs, named for John and Henry Churchill, who provided the land for the track.

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The Derby is thick with southern tradition from the famous Mint Julep to hats of all shapes & sizes.  Kentuckians love to throw a good party & the Derby is no exception.  Horse farms throughout the bluegrass state throw elegant soiree’s in honor of well dressed thoroughbreds & their riders.

In honor of My Old Kentucky Home, I share with you some Kentucky inspired Derby treats…enjoy!

xoxo

Robin

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Woodford Reserve Classic Mint Julep

2 oz. Woodford Reserve®
1 oz. water
1 t. sugar
4 sprigs fresh mint

Muddle three sprigs of mint, sugar, and water in the bottom of a julep cup or highball glass. Fill glass with crushed ice. Add Woodford Reserve and stir. Dust fourth mint sprig with powdered sugar for garnish.

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Flowers by Jessica Jones

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The hat is the center of Derby outfits for most women

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The Kentucky Hot Brown & Kentucky Burgoo

The Legendary Hot Brown

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons salted butter
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup Pecorino Romano cheese, plus extra for garnish
  • Pinch of ground nutmeg
  • Salt and pepper
  • 14 oz. sliced roasted turkey breast, slice thick
  • 4 slices of Texas toast (crusts trimmed)
  • 4 slices of bacon
  • 2 Roma tomatoes, sliced in half
  • Paprika
  • Parsley

In a two-quart saucepan, melt butter and slowly whisk in flour until combined to form a thick paste or roux. Continue to cook roux for 2 minutes over medium-low heat, stirring frequently. Whisk heavy cream into the roux and cook over medium heat until the cream begins to simmer, about 2-3 minutes. Remove sauce from heat and slowly whisk in Pecorino-Romano cheese until the Mornay sauce is smooth. Add nutmeg, salt and pepper to taste.

For each Hot Brown, place one slice of toast in an oven safe dish and cover with 7 oz. turkey. Take the two halves of Roma tomato and two toast points and set them alongside the base of turkey and toast. Pour half of the sauce over the dish, completely covering it. Sprinkle with additional cheese. Place entire dish under a broiler until cheese begins to brown and bubble. Remove and cross two pieces of crispy bacon on top. Sprinkle with paprika and parsley and serve immediately.

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Country Ham & Biscuits & Benedictine Finger Sandwiches

Benedictine Spread

by Chef Mark Williams for Brown-Forman Corporation

This spread can be used as a dip or a sandwich & canapé ingredient. It was made popular at Louisville’s Benedict’s restaurant earlier in this century.

  • 1 large cucumber
  • 12 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 2 tablespoons grated onion
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
  • Pinch of cayenne or tabasco dash
  • Green food coloring (optional)
  1. Pare, grate, and drain cucumber.
  2. Combine with remaining ingredients in food processor.
  3. Serve as is or as a sandwich or canapé spread.
  4. Thin with sour cream to make a dip for vegetables.

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Kentucky Derby Pie

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Famous Ruth Hunt Bourbon Balls & Kentucky Pull Candy

Get outside of the lines!

Recently, while researching fresh Derby party ideas, I came across these beautiful creations by artist Shannon Kirsten and had to put Derby on hold so I could share…

Derby isn’t for another couple of weeks anyway!

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I LOVE all things outside the lines!  When I got married, the first time around, there was a system…pick your dress, choose a cake, and select a “catalog” invite.  There was nothing special; actually, it was very UNspecial.  Nothing about any part of that wedding defined me or my style.

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Shannon Kirsten is a Florida based illustrator and photographer. She is inspired by bright colors, patterns, quirky design, vintage, and the seaside town she calls home. 

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Her designs are far outside the lines from the “catalog” wedding invitations. 

These invitations are so incredible that I would plan a wedding around them!  I love her technique, design & their uniqueness. 

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Her wedding design packages begin at $425.00 & includes a set of 50 formal invitations and 50 RSVP cards with white standard envelopes.  She also offers additional inserts, table numbers, envelope liners, place cards, escort cards, signage, etc.

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You can check out her designs at….

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photo credits: Best Photography

Food & Libations!

“To share food is to share your heart.”

I believe there is nothing more true than that statement.  Some of my most fond memories are ones with family when I was young.  The food was cooked and served with love & usually consisted of something with a whole lot of butter or fried, which is how us “southerners” learn to eat at an early age.

For Drew & Anne’s engagement party we’ve decided to serve cocktails & light hors d’oeuvre’s for an early Saturday evening cocktail hour.  We wanted to make sure our guests were able to enjoy Keeneland’s last race day for spring meet.  Located in the heart of Lexington’s horse farms, Keeneland plays an important role in both Thoroughbred racing and breeding and hosts meets during April & October.

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Keeneland Horse Track Lexington, Kentucky

For casual gatherings, try using small flowers or herbs in ice cubes to create beautiful additions to drinks.  If you’re planning on serving a “signature” drink, coordinate your flowers with drink colors or use herbs to add some flare.

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One of my favorite appetizers, is a cheese & meat platter.  Investigate local cheese & wine stores for unique meats & cheeses.  Follow these simple thoughts to have your guests coming back for more.

  1. Different types of cheeses. Everyone loves their cheese for a specific reason, so think about it this way: something classic, something spicy, something aged, and something goat.  Place labels in each of the cheeses so it wont leave your guests guessing.
  2. Crunchies. Use a combination of pita chips, French bread, and crackers. My future daughter-in-law is gluten-free, so I would add mini rice cakes & gluten free crisps!
  3.  Don’t forget the spreads. I really encourage you to use jams & preserves; they are absolutely yummy on crackers with cheese & meats.  My favorite is apricot preserves…give it a try.
  4. Extra, extra. Always incorporate mixed and specialty nuts, fruits, and olives.
  5. Meat. Jazz up your platter with a fine selection of meats such as salami, pepperoni and prosciutto. Be sure to try something different.

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Use shot glasses for fresh vegetables and creamy herb dressing.  You can purchase small shot glasses at local grocery stores & places like Target, & Bed, Bath & Beyond.  Make sure they are big enough to fit a good sized portion in each.  Place on platters using different heights; I am a big believer of PRESENTATION, PRESENTATION, PRESENTATION!

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We are true Kentuckians so we will use bourbon barrels to create food tables & bar tops located throughout the garden.  I love the texture they add to our soft theme.

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& DON’T forget the sweets!  My husband is one of those people who looks at the desert menu before the rest of the menu so we will, without question, share a yummy treat with our guests. How precious are these cupcakes?  A wonderful DIY!  Pick up some miniature cupcakes at your local bakery, lightly spritz flowers with water, sprinkle with sugar & place on top of cupcakes…BAM!  A beautiful addition to ANY party!

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Sweet Love,

Robin

I’m back & sweeter than ever!

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I am happy to say that I am back….& sweeter than ever!

The past year was extremely challenging as well as exciting for our family.

Last June I began having symptoms that led us to a wonderful neurologist at Lexington Clinic.  Numbness, tingling and pain began to determine how my day was going to go.  We chose not to say much until we received a diagnosis but soon realized, after a lot of research, that a diagnosis may take years.  And when it became too much, Herb and I decided it was physically impossible for me to carry and set up large displays of candy and we closed shop….that was such an incredibly hard time for me.  I have always had a huge love for planning and designing events & it always brought joy sharing that love with others so not being in that world created an incredible void!

But as they say, the positives sure out weighed the negatives!  Emily, my 19 year old artist, was accepted into SCAD (Savannah College of Art & Design), one of the most prestigious art schools in the world and has blossomed into a beautiful young woman.  She currently resides in Savannah and has no plans to return to Lexington other than the occasional visit.  I certainly miss her but have never been so proud!  It’s that point in your life when you realize as a parent that all the fighting and screaming was worth it!!!

Drew, my 25 year old, decided to take a leap and propose to his beautiful girlfriend last November so we are engulfed with all types of celebrations.  And last, but certainly not least, our little red head turns the big 13!!!!  How is that even possible?  It seems like just yesterday we were bringing her home and Emily was “in charge” of who was allowed to hold her.  WOW how I miss those days.

After much thought and prayer, I have decided to create a place to share ideas, & thoughts on party planning and event etiquette.  I would love to help you create a perfect moment at your next event.  Please, If you have questions or suggestions, reach out!

Sweet Love,

Robin

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