The Ultimate Valentine’s Brunch

Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day. I could pretty much eat it for every meal with all the savory and sweet offerings. So celebrating Valentine’s with my loved ones with a celebratory brunch seems like the best way to show them how much I adore them! Here are my perfect details with my sample menu:

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Ina Garten’s French toast bread pudding recipe is for the sweet lovers

Mario Batali’s Chorizo and Monchego strata recipe is for those that want to start with a savory treat

Valentine’s tablecloth, Sears, $62

Flower burst mug, Tenereze, just $8.40 through Valentine’s Day!

Foil dot napkins, Anthropologie, $24

A luscious red velvet cake, Williams-Sonoma, $70 *You could make one yourself too!

Personalized cylinder toasting flutes, set of 2, Tenereze, $25

Unique Weddings : A Life Less Ordinary

I’ve seen some incredibly unique real wedding ideas this week and I had to share. Have a wonderful, warm and safe weekend, everyone!

mwd104082_sum09_77_xlFloating butterflies – how brilliant is that? Image via Martha Stewart

wedding-guests_300Wedding rings passed around for guests to pass on well wishes. So sweet! Image via Real Simple

multicultural-diy-pub-wedding-karolina-juanA whimsical and absolutely original backdrop for the dining area. Image via Rock N’ Roll Bride

viewfinderinvitationRemember the Viewmaster? A wedding invitation unlike any other. (Darn, I wish I still had mine)! Image via Bridal Musings

il_fullxfull.337394331Probably the most original engagement ring I’ve seen in a while. Even for a black diamond – look at that chunky setting! From Art Masters

blogIt’s hard to believe this sculpture is edible but it’s a wedding cake! Image via 100 Layer Cake

The Sweetest Valentine’s Gifts + Activities for Kids

One of my favorite holidays when I was a kid was Valentine’s Day. I relished writing out each person’s name and dropping them in the little makeshift “mailboxes” we made for the special day. I excluded no one (that would be cruel!) and adored getting little hearts and treats in return. What better way to encourage acceptance, love and friendship with a kid than through Valentine’s Day? I don’t see any reason to fret or feel left out – ever.

I love making Valentines with my niece and I always get her a little treat to celebrate the day. Here are some of my top picks!

bubble-gum-machine-pillowTotally custom! Bubble Gum Machine Pillow, on sale now for $18.90

mla102749_0207_candy_bag_xlWe love custom projects. Include a cute photo of your little ones and make a sweet custom tag for candy-giving.

Valentine-heart-cookies-5Help them make something sweet like these iced heart cookies from Cake Journal

Screen shot 2013-01-17 at 10.22.35 PMChocolate hearts from Dylan’s Candy Bar, $18

frames_horizontal_vday2I Love You frame, on sale now for $16.80 (and it’s made in the USA!)

1Let them pick an adorable Valentine’s Day card from Tiny Prints or make your own!

Five Easy DIY Projects You Do with String, Ribbon and Paper!

I am a craft and art supply hoarder. I can’t help it. I have two entire closets and two bins in the basement of items that I think I will need someday. Because what happens when I need something and don’t have it? I kick myself for not having bought it off the clearance rack. One of the things that you can never have enough of is various strings, ribbons and yarn types. See five great examples of what you can do inexpensively with string!

ombreweddingchairVarious grosgrain and satin string tied around a simple chair achieve a fabulous ombre effect via Wedding Ch

267763Wide, varied and fanciful ribbon make a grandiose backdrop via Style Me Pretty

73563A rainbow of colored ribbons and tissue poms make a real statement against nature via Wed Over Heels

big-fringe-garlandsCut your own crepe paper sheets for fringy fun via Oh Happy Day

mwd106482_win11_bowondress1_xlWho says a corsage has to be floral? Tie on a velvet ribbon corsage via Martha Stewart Weddings

10 Sweet Gestures for Valentine’s Day | Print Out List

I love to plan surprises. Parties, gifts, anything. So with under a month left, Valentine’s Day is the perfect opportunity to plant lots of surprises and little goodies for my husband to discover. I’m hoping to pull off at least five of these!

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Wedding Tip: How To Choose a Florist that Works for You

Many of you will want to find a florist that fits your budget. But what factors go beyond that when you’re deciding on how to choose the right florist for you?

Know what you want. First and foremost, talk to your partner about what’s important to you. Will you be using the same florist for all the boutonnieres and corsages? Will there be any extras tossed in like little bud vases at the entry table? Draw up a list of wants and then see where the florist can meet you in terms of expectations within your budget.

succulent boutonniereImage via The Brides Cafe

Is that in season? When I was planning my wedding in June, I didn’t realize that many peonies would have already bloomed or would be a premium that late in the season (they generally bloom in late May or early June but we had a warm spring that had peonies wilting by then). Talk to your florist in advance about not only colors but specific blooms you may have in mind. There are greenhouses that can grow your variety any time of year and your florist should be able to give you a ballpark idea on pricing.

189260Image via Style Me Pretty

What’s your style? It’s important to be able to describe what kind of style you’re going for. Even though these are both purple bouquets, there’s a big difference between them. Ask the florist if they can do either and specifically how they’ll go above and beyond for your bouquets and arrangements.

purple-wedding-bouquet-2Image via Wedding Chicks

touchdownImage via Wedding Bee

Rolling out the red carpet. Like any vendor you’re going to work with, the florist should be able to show you samples of their previous work. If they can’t take the time to give you an initial consultation, chances are they’re not going to be very patient throughout the process. It doesn’t matter how highly they come recommended or if they’re the “must-have” florists in town. If they’re not taking care of you now, they won’t be reliable down the line.

Too Cute DIY! Valentine’s Day Crackers via Not Martha

I walked into the grocery store the other day and there was Easter candy. Yes, Easter candy out on the shelves already! I thought, “what happened to Valentine’s Day?” Low and behold, I made my way into the center of the store where an explosion of red and pink was awaiting me. Whew! My hubby and I don’t go out on Valentine’s anymore (we had our share in 2006 when balloon and curly string ended up in our coq au vin…) but we do like to give little gifts to one another.

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For a loved one, colleague, kid or just a kid at heart, here’s a do-it-yourself that’s going to knock your socks off. It takes a little dedication but these Valentine’s crackers are just too adorable to ignore. Thanks to Not Martha for the complete instructions here.

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A Short List of Things to Do Before Getting Married via Simply Bridal

There are so many things to think about when you’re planning a wedding from taking care of the guests, to getting all the logistics right to making sure you look your best. Thanks to Simply Bridal for sharing their essential list of 5 Things to Do Before Getting Married. Have a great weekend everyone!

5 Things To Do Before Wedding Planning

What Beauty Moves *Not* to do Before Your Wedding Day

It’s tempting to try out a new hair color or do something extra special to look your best to walk down the aisle. But I’ve heard enough tanning nightmare stories to know better. Here’s a great list of 11 things not to do before the big day via Brides.

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Got Milk? Three Holiday Cookie Recipes I *Have* to Try

Every Christmas, my aunt from Iowa sends a beautiful fruit cake and/or cookies. It’s something that I look forward to all year. From the powdered melt-in-your-mouth chocolate pinwheels to the buttery pecan half moon delights, I don’t know what’s my favorite. My mouth is watering just thinking about it. I don’t dare ask for the recipe though, because I’ll never be able to live up to it. But a girl can dream. And eat lots of cookies in the meanwhile. Here are three that I’m going to try. Happy baking!

gingerbread-cookies-473-mld108759_vertA variation on a good thing, Gingerbread iced cookies via Martha Stewart

RX-JIF_Chocolate-Hazelnut-Peanut-Butter-Pinwheel-Cookies_s4x3_lgThey use JIF peanut butter, perhaps a plug? Chocolate hazelnut pinwheels via Food Network

29089_chocolate_crinkle_cookies_3_620This looks simply decadent! Chocolate crinkle cookie via Chow