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

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

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

Garden Engagement Party

After the last couple weeks of record breaking snow totals and arctic temperatures, I thought I would share some thoughts for a lovely spring garden engagement party we will be hosting for my son & future daughter!  They were engaged last November at Woodford Reserve in Versailles, Kentucky.  For those of you who aren’t familiar, Woodford Reserve is one of the top bourbon distilleries in the world.  It’s landscape is beautiful no matter what time of year but if you plan a visit, I suggest spring or early summer.

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Woodford Reserve Distillery Versailles, Kentucky

We opted out of throwing a celebration right away due to the holidays.  My husband and I have 5 children, 1 daughter in law, and one amazing granddaughter between the two of us, and only one who lives in Lexington, so you can imagine how festive our home becomes between Thanksgiving & Christmas!  We decided to break the traditional engagement party timeline and wait until we could take advantage of my father and stepmother’s incredible garden.  The garden is an amazing backdrop for any party but we knew right away it was THE spot for this celebration.  Tall mossy brick walls surround the garden and nestled among the ivy and beautiful spring flowers are statues, water ornaments and all sorts of lovely surprises.  I am a huge fan of using your own space if you can; backyards, kitchens, & gardens all provide space that allows you to create memories & at the end of the day, isn’t that what life is truly about?

IMG_1285[1]I love to find unique ideas and items to incorporate into my events.  Whether it’s a theme, color, or particular object, I like to design around an idea to create a true ambiance & feeling that thought and love are the center of the occasion.  For this event, I wanted to really focus on the natural beauty of the garden.  One particular element that I am completely in love with is watercolors & invitations created through watercolor has to be on the top of my all time favorite list.

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Find these beautiful designs on Yao Cheng Designs at

http://www.yaochengdesign.com/wedding/

These invitations would really set the theme for the evening.  Their beautiful colors and hand painted designs would make me want to frame it if I received one!  It is so important that we support artists; they allow us to be individuals and to showcase our own styles and vision.  I encourage you to always research for local artists and incorporate their talents into your event.

When it comes to flowers there is no contemplating my favorite….PEONIES, PEONIES, PEONIES!  Their beauty and elegance is simply amazing.  They come in different colors and varieties and you simply can not go wrong.  Here is the tricky part of peonies….May and June are really the months you can get these without taking out a second mortgage.  So, if you are planning a Derby party take advantage of their small window.

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Now that you’ve had a sneak peek of whats to come of our garden party planning, I hope you will follow us on our journey to celebrate two amazing people!  Next we will share thoughts on food and libations….one of my favorite topics!

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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