How to Throw a Cinco de Mayo Party

The holiday of Cinco De Mayo, “The Fifth of May”, commemorates the victory of the Mexicans over the French army.  Why not throw your own Mexican theme party? When you are doing a Mexican theme, think vibrant and vivacious. The colors should be bright, loud and excessive. The music should be upbeat and fun.

The Invite

Get the fiesta started!  Send out colorful invitations asking friends to join you for Margaritas and Munchies.  Like this one here. Spice up your Cinco de Mayo fiesta party with these fun invitations featuring a chili pepper border.

 The Look

Layout Mexican blankets, sombreros, dolls or any other souvenirs you’ve collected from Mexico.  Incorporate them into your decor. Decorate with lots of colorful streamers using colors mainly such as red, green and white.

Decorate the room with colorful, oversized paper flowers and make smaller flowers for the female guests to wear in their hair.  Tutorial here.

Don’t forget to hang a pinata!

 

Margaritas!

As your guests arrive, have a cold margarita ready to hand out. Hint: Give your glasses an edge by rimming them in lime juice and rock salt or sugar first.  Try this “guilt-free” Partida Margarita here.

 

Make a Create-Your-Own-Taco Buffet or Burrito Bar

Keep it simple.  Make two DIY main course meals out of the same ingredients. Place shredded chicken, lettuce, tomatoes, beans, cheese, sour cream, guacamole and pico de gallo in serving bowls; then arrange hard and soft shells on a platter. Layout burrito sized tortillas.  Encourage guests to pile up their tacos and roll up their burritos…and come back for seconds!

 

Music

Play Latin tunes like  Mariachi music.  Just hook up your iPod to a small set of outdoor speakers and you’re ready to jam.

 

Dessert

How about serving up these Corona Popsicles with a slice of lime.  Maybe Strawberry Margarita popsicle sounds better.  Keeping it really simple…no recipe!  Just pour and freeze. Instructions courtesy of Bakers Royale

 

 

 

  • Dixie cups, popsicle sticks and Mike’s Hard Lemonade Strawberry Margarita. As a side note, the traditional margarita made with Tequila needs a much colder temperature to freeze than the traditional home unit allows, so that’s why something like these Mike’s Hard Lemonade is better suited for making these popsicles.
  • To assemble: Pour and freeze the Strawberry Margarita for two hours then insert the popsicle sticks in the middle. Freeze for another two hours or until the Strawberry Margarita Popsicles solidify. Garnish with a lime and serve.
  • Small note, do not rim with salt until serving time as the salt will melt the pops. Alternatively, you can rim the Strawberry Margarita Pops with chunky crystal sugar for an aesthetic effect without worrying about the melting factor.
  • To keep popsicles chilled as long as possible, place the serving tray in the freezer and then top  the tray with a layer of crushed iced.

 

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{Love Notes}

 

{Love Notes}

 

 

 

Love is forgiving time and time again,
sometimes against better judgement.
Love is what can drive us to do things
we would never once consider.
~ Anonymous ~

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Vintage Inspired Lace Wedding Cakes

Wanted to share with those planning their weddings some of the wedding cake trends I am seeing today. Many of these mimic the bride’s lace on the cake or even use an applique of the lace (good way to save money on the cake!) – show your baker your dress or a piece of lace and let them be inspired by it with a lace pattern on your cake.

https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Sweetest-Thing-Cakes/74905017574
The Sweetest Thing Cakes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 If only I were able to go back in time I think I would want this as the style of my wedding…intimate, detailed inspired, and a touch of vintage…love, love, love it!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Click images for direct link

Wedding Wine Guide

Primer for Buying Wine

An easy manual for making one part of your own special day forgettable

 No, we’re not encouraging you to serve cheap tasting wine to your guests.  We’re providing  you with an easy guide that will make selecting your wines an easy task. One you can quickly check off from your to-do list.  So relax, pour a glass of wine and browse through these tips for a successful celebration. Make your choices and forget about it!

Where Do I Begin?

Start out planning to stock one white and one red, plus a sparkling for the toast.

How Much Should I Plan to Buy?

Typically, the rule is two glasses of wine per person one glass of sparkling wine for the toast and additionally a glass of wine per hour after the first three hours.

Generally servings of sparkling wine are less than when serving red or white wine.  You can plan on getting 8 glasses from sparkling wine and typically six glasses from a bottle of red or white wine.

 How Do I Calculate What I’ll Need?

Let’s use a round number. {It’s easier that way} Round your number up or down accordingly.  We’ll go with 20 guests.

Remember you can expect to get 8 glasses from a bottle of sparkling wine and 6 from the table wine.

Let’s start with sparkling wine used for the toast:

20 guests x 1 glass per person =  20 glasses/8 glasses per bottle = 3 bottles

Now let’s calculate the table wine:

20 guests x 2 glasses per person = 40 glasses/6 glasses per bottle = 7 bottles

Plan to purchase 3 bottles of sparkling, 7 red and 7 white bottles of wine.

Do Your Friends Like to Drink?

You’ll need to take this into consideration.  The younger the crowd the more alcohol is consumed.  If this is the case consider bumping up the minimum:

Sparkling wine:
(20 people x 2 glasses per person = 40 glasses/8 glasses per bottle = 5 bottles)

Table wine
(20 people x 3 glasses per person = 60 glasses/6 glasses per bottle = 10 bottles)

Using this revised formula plan to purchase 5 bottles of sparkling, 10 red and 10 white bottles of wine.

But What About The Other Alcohol?

An open bar is important in factoring how much wine you’ll need for your party. That earlier figure could very well drop by more than half.  On the other hand, if you’re only serving beer, wine and champagne and you have bunch of drinkers, that figure could increase by 25% to 50%.

How Do I Account for the Open Bar?

For an open bar you might want to include .75 glasses per hour as the consumption rate.  If you’re party will last longer than the initially calculated three hours consider this as well.  Let’s bump up the party duration to five hours. You’ll need an extra 5 bottles added to the total calculated above.  This would bring your total to 10 bottles of table wine.

Your formula would look like this:

(20 people x 2 extra hours x .75 glasses per person = 30 glasses/ 6 glasses per bottle = 5 extra bottles)

If you’re not having an open bar but serving a thirsty crowd consider using 1.25 glasses per hour as your consumption rate. You’ll need an extra eight bottles added to the total calculated.  This would bring your total to eighteen bottles of table wine.

Your formula would look like this:

(20 people x 2 extra hours x 1.25 glasses per person = 50 glasses/ 6 glasses per bottle = 8 extra bottles)

Remember, all you need to figure out how much wine to buy is a basic math formula and calculated guesses. 


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{Color Inspiration) Purple, Platinum & Blue

Purple and silver are oh so pretty!

 

You can choose to pair rich purple hues with silver and blue as in this color inspiration board.  Purple can work for a summer wedding. You can go with light purple tones for summer (lilac, lavender, or orchid) or you can go with a deeper purple and lighten it up with lighter accent shades in white or silver.

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{Blunders to Steer Clear Of} Offering to Cover Wedding Related Expenses

We’re back today with a continuation of our series on: Blunders to Steer Clear of After Getting Engaged.

Today we evaluate a mistake that is huge.  Staying within your wedding budget is difficult enough.  If a bridesmaid agrees to be in your bridal party make sure you don’t assume she understands what her responsibilities are.

This may be her first time participating in a wedding.  She may accept your invitation if she is under the impression that you are covering her costs.Creative way to ask your BFF to be in your wedding. (if you have not seen these you need to check them out.) Put your own spin on asking your girlfriends the oh-so important question. Will you Be My Bridesmaid?

Don’t Go There

Don’t offer to pay for something you can’t afford. You may have the very best motives but you have your own budget to consider. Being asked to be a part of the wedding party is an honor.  Be clear about your expectations and her level of commitment. Lay out what her responsibilities are as your bridesmaid.

Money talks are a somewhat complicated subject to address.  Talk to her and be honest.  Let her know she’s one of your top choices but you understand if she has other commitments that make it difficult for her to take part.

While you may not be obligated to pay, you should be considerate of how your decisions will affect your bridal party. At the very least, make their financial obligations clear as soon as possible and try to make choices that don’t place too much burden on them.

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{DIY} Grapevine Lighting

* Use them in  outdoor dining areas for soft low lighting

* Set them on poles in the ground or on columns for ambience

MOST IMPORTANT PART OF WHAT I REMEMBER IS THESE LIGHTS WILL HIDE ALL YOUR WRINKLES.

You will look gorgeous in such low lighting, and all wrinkles will be out of sight.  

My kind of decorating!!

 

SUPPLIES :

1.  Grapevine Balls (one or two different sizes for visual effect)

2.  Twinkle lights- You know the kind. The small lights  with a GREEN wire will camouflage best.  One box of 50 white mini lights is a good amount to use per ball.  If you decide to spray paint your grapevine balls white then go ahead and  use the white to help camouflage the cord.  Either way..it’s your preference.

3.  Extension cord

4.  Chain to hang the grapevine lights.  General utility use, not requiring high strength. Something equivalent to fixture and novelty suspension.

5.  Electrical Tape

DIRECTIONS :

Wrap the mini lights around the balls.  You can be quite random.  There aren’t any twinkle lighting police, the last time I checked.  No rules here.

Add a chain to hang your balls.

Attach electrical tape to secure the mini light plug to the extension cord.  This would also help to  keep it free of rain and creepy critters.

Options to consider –

~ Fill grapevine balls with moss to help disguise the cord (This would probably work best using the lights with a green cord.

~ If you don’t have chain then use twine or rope to hang them.  Get creative.

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{Perfectly Paired} Honey-Wine Smoked Ribs and Zin

Eventually, the rain and cool weather will fade and the sun will come out. Here in Bakersfield it will come out blazing!. When it does, we will make the best of it and shift cooking to the outdoor grill. Barbecue season is coming and it’s time to make plans with friends and get together. Some may shift their wine selections to whites when the heat comes to town. However, those of us that are red diehards will want something more substantial with our messy rack of ribs and grilled steaks. I present you with four excellent choices and a recipe to try.  Any of these would make great but inexpensive hostess gifts for your next party.   Enjoy!

1. Layer Cake Primitivo 06 (aka Zinfandel)
From Apulia region, Italy

Warm and rich in the mouth; the ripe fruit is well supported by the depth of the structure, great finish, and not overpowering.

Notes on the name from the maker;

“My grandfather made and enjoyed wine for 80 years,” said Jayson Woodbridge.
“He told me the soils in which the vines lived were a layer cake.
If properly made, the wine from these vines was like a delicious cake layered with fruit, mocha, chocolate and hints of spice – and rich, always rich.
‘Never pass up a good Layer Cake,’ he would say, I have always loved those words.
Now I get to apply this knowledge to my own experiences in these various lands.”

 

 

 

2. Earthquake Zinfandel Lodi 06
“It will Rock Your World !!”

What Makes You Quake?
Juicer plum, spicier clove and fuller in body than ever before!
Your taste buds will be in upheaval over the suede-like tannins churning together with vanilla and toasted raspberry cobbler. The loooong, smooth finish will leave you in a state of aftershock!

 

 

3. Christine Andrew Old Vine Zin 05

Lodi, California is otherwise known as Zin country.
Christine Andrew’s Old Vine” Zinfandel is made from fully mature grapes, from 70-year-old vines, It’s loaded with rich juicy berry flavors. The finish is smooth and elegant.

The Kautz Family are the owners and operators of Ironstone Vineyards.  The wine is named after the great-grandchildren from the family’s fourth generation.

 

 

 

 

 

4. Marietta Old Vine Red
Marietta Cellars, Geyserville, CA
Predominantly Zinfandel, more than half of the blend.
From the owners:

“Rich, ripe, dense, lush, jammy, juicy, lots of blackberry fruit and hints of pepper and spice a balanced, approachable, lip-smacking red wine ready to drink full of fruit with just enough tannins to make things interesting”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Honey-Wine Smoked Ribs

Ingredients

SAUCE

  • 2  cups Zinfandel wine
  • 1/3  cup honey
  • 1/4  cup Dijon mustard
  • 1  tablespoon finely chopped onion
  • 2  tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1  tablespoon lemon juice

RIBS

  • 4  lb. fully cooked smoked pork loin back ribs, cut into serving-sized pieces

Directions

  1. GRILL DIRECTIONS: Heat grill. In medium saucepan, combine all sauce ingredients; blend well. Cook over medium-high heat for 25 to 30 minutes or until sauce is reduced by half and slightly thickened, stirring frequently.
  2. When ready to grill, place ribs on gas grill over medium-high heat or on charcoal grill 4 to 6 inches from medium-high coals. Brush ribs with sauce; cook 15 to 20 minutes or until ribs are thoroughly heated, turning and brushing frequently with sauce. Bring any remaining sauce to a boil; serve sauce with ribs.
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{Love Notes}

“When you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible.”
~ Harry (Billy Crystal) to Sally (Meg Ryan),
When Harry Met Sally
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