Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Sock Bun

I have gotten several requests for a blog about my fabulous hair secret....so here goes!

I have very long hair, and sometimes I just don't have the energy to dry it, curl it, straighten it or do much of anything with it, so it ends up in a ponytail or bun. My buns, however, look like tiny little knots at the nape of my neck, or messy nests on top of my head with strings of hair sticking out all over the place. I used to flip through magazines and secretly curse the celebs with the perfectly round ballerina buns, or the messy but pretty and flirty buns...no wispy hairs sticking out, no bulge on one side and barely any hair on the other...just a perfectly round, voluminous bun. I credited their rich and famous lifestyle...if I could afford fake locks to add to my own, or a stylist to do my hair for me every time I left the house, surely my hair would look like that, too...

...until recently, when I came upon this wonderful little gem...the sock bun! This is the easiest hair fix you'll ever find. Whether you need a quick 2nd day hair-do or you are just looking for something different to do with your hair, anyone can do this without the assistance of a professional. This is a great idea for your rehearsal dinner or post wedding brunch. Who wants to wake up the morning after their wedding and fuss with curls or bobby pins or hire a hair stylist for more than one event in a weekend? Leave it loose and messy, or sleek and polished, dramatic or casual...can't go wrong.

Here's how you do it:

1. Put your hair in a low, mid or high ponytail.

2. Find a tube sock that is close to the color of your hair (or just light/dark for blond/brunette) - I use a black sock and I have dark brown hair. Cut off the toe so that the sock is literally a tube.

3. Begin rolling the sock into a donut, starting on one end and rolling until the entire length of the sock is inside the donut.

4. Put the donut sock on the end of your ponytail with your hair in the center of the donut, then wrap the end of your hair around the sock to start the bun.

5. Using both hands, and holding the hair you started with in place, begin rolling the donut slowly so that your hair continues to wrap around the sock donut. Your hair will start to cover the sock, but you'll want to use your fingers to spread it around the entire circle so that the sock is completely covered. If you want a messy bun, pull some pieces gently to loosen them - if you want a clean bun, roll slowly and tuck all pieces evenly around the sock.

6. Once your bun is against your head you are done! You don't need bobbypins, but I used one or two to secure the bun just in case. Add a ribbon, headband, funky clip, etc. or wear it simply as is!

Click on the photo below to view Three Pink Dots' Blog for more photos and tips - this is where I found this incredible trick!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thanksgiving Leftovers

This year, I am lucky enough to be able to enjoy Thanksgiving Dinner (my favorite foods all in one meal) twice in one week! This past Sunday, my boyfriend and I celebrated with his cousins and all of their adorable little ones, as everyone is going to be away on the big day. We had all of the traditional foods...Oven Roasted Turkey with Homemade Gravy, Stuffing with Crumbled Bacon, Sweet Potato Casserole with Candied Pecans, Macaroni and Cheese, Green Bean Casserole with Mushrooms and Crunchy Onions, Mashed Potatoes and Sweet Corn...OMG, my mouth is watering again!! Even with all of us eating ourselves into a food coma by 2pm, we still had a TON of leftovers, which I happily took home with me to enjoy for the rest of the week. Last night, I decided to try something a little bit different in an attempt to get rid of all of this food without wasting anything, before our 2nd feast tomorrow in New Jersey with my family! I am by no means a professional chef, but I have to say I am pretty proud of this concoction - it was very tasty! Below is my make-shift recipe for a simple, yummy Thanksgiving Wrap. I hope you'll be inspired to try out this recipe, or a combination from your own leftovers on Friday night!

First, I heated a little olive oil in a pan, then added shredded butternut squash to the oil, along with a spoonful of brown sugar, a few sprinkles of cinnamon, some S&P and a few thin slivers of white onion. I sauteed this on medium heat for a few minutes, until the squash was soft, mixing every few minutes and adding oil here and there to keep it from drying out and sticking to the pan. Once the squash was done, I added some diced up leftover turkey and sauteed for a few more minutes, just to heat the turkey and allow it to absorb some of the spices. While this was cooking, I microwaved some leftover stuffing and mashed potatoes. Then I poured the butternut squash and turkey mix onto a wrap (I used spinach because that was all I had, but I think a white flour, whole wheat or tomato wrap would be better), and added stuffing and mashed potatoes. If you have extra sweet potatoes, gravy or cranberry sauce, I think any of these would add to the flavor as well. I folded up all sides of the wrap like a burrito, then placed the whole thing back in the pan with a little olive oil and cooked on high heat, just for a few minutes on each side, to toast the outside of the wrap and seal everything together. Delicious!

Happy Turkey Day!

Monday, November 21, 2011

My Favorite Little Fashion Secret

So, as I might have mentioned in one of my previous posts a while back, everyone I know is getting married...I mean everyone. In total, I attended 10 weddings this year, about half a dozen bridal showers, a handful of bachelorette parties and engagement parties, rehearsal dinners and brunches. That is a lot of events....and a LOT of outfits! Thankfully, at my best friend's engagement party last January, I discovered my NEW best friend...Rent the Runway. The Bride-to-Be wore an absolutely stunning purple Yigal Azrouƫl dress that retails at $1,100, which she rented for $150. My BFF happens to be a barbie doll and would look amazing in a paper bag, so I was skeptical about trying out the service myself, but I have to say, I have not been disappointed!

Anyone who has had the fortune of running into me while I am wearing one of my rented emsembles has probably already gotten an earful on how much I love this website. In all honesty, I might have to write to Jen and Jenny from RTR and ask for a referral fee! Now it's your turn to hear my schpeel...

Rent the Runway offers a variety of designer dress, handbag, shoe and accessory rentals for 4-8 days, perfect for a short trip, Wedding or event! Some of these dresses retail for big $$$, but can be rented for as little as $50!!! Not sure of your size? Read the reviews from other women who have rented the specific dress you are interested in, then rent the size that you think you'll fit into (and be honest with yourself about your true size!), plus a second size for free, plus a completely different back up dress for as little as $25, in 2 sizes as well! Nothing from your order fits? Mail it back within 24 hours and RTR will give you a credit for your next order. The orders are mailed to you in a garment bag (which you can keep), and they are drycleaned, and ready to be worn. After you've worn it/them, just pop the dress in the mail in the pre-paid envelope and you're all set! How can you beat that?!

If you are like me, you never wear the same dress twice, so spending a lot of money on something I'll only wear once makes me cringe. This site allows me to spice up my wardrobe without spending a ton of money. Next time you have an event to go to, and nothing to wear, check out this site. I hope you all love it as much as I do!

Here are a few of my favorite rentals so far:
-This gorgeous teal draped dress from Theory - wore this to a Bridal Shower in late Spring with black tights and a black cardigan.
-Form-fitting Gold Nicole Miller dress - wore this to a formal Rehearsal Dinner in NYC and received a ton of compliments on it!

Happy Renting!

Vineyard Weddings

This October, Coastal Gourmet hosted two beautiful Autumn Weddings at Stonington Vineyards. Happy and Nick Smith, the proud owners of this Connecticut Vineyard took a hiatus from Weddings for about 5 years to focus on their winemaking business. Last winter, we were asked to take on the role of exclusive caterer for the vineyard and couldn't be more excited about it! Stonington Vineyards is a rustic winery with acres of rolling hills and vineyards, the perfect backdrop for an outdoor wedding. Here are some photos from our recent weddings, courtesy of Leslie Dumke Studio!

Congratulations to Nellwyn and Craig, and Carly and Tim! Thank you for allowing us to be a part of your Wedding Day!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Corporate Team Building Ideas

In need of a team building activity at work? How about a “cooking” class event?  Coastal Gourmet designed a class where the guest actually partook in the cooking.  We designed a menu, spilt the group into groups of threes, supplied them with the recipe for each station and the next thing you know…they were racing to the finish line, competing against each other, laughing and having a great time!  It was fun, entertaining, and the meals actually turn out delicious!  Great way to work as a team!

Fabulous Fridays

A Little Sparkle Popping Out From Underneath that Wedding Dress??

YES, Please!!!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Setting the Stage

Here at Coastal Gourmet, our mission is to provide our customers with the finest gourmet food, artistically prepared, using the freshest ingredients. We consider our creative presentations to be our signature. I've always been in love with the "details"- I love when food is presented in a way that not only the aromas make your mouth water, but it's visual appearance makes you hungry. Beyond what our phenominal chefs do in the kitchen, I love working with my clients to find the very best stuff to serve their menu items on and to set the venue with to really wow them and their guests.

Keri Gannon & I were recently at an a great event co-hosted by Rentals Unlimited & AFR Event Furnishings at the State Room in Boston. The food was yummy, but the focus wasn't on the food. Being that a rental & furniture company was hosting the event, the overall constant theme throughout the evening was the fact that setting the stage for your event is paramount. Everywhere we looked, guests were "ooing" and "ahhing" over different linens draped over tables with various china sets & silverware that Rentals Unlimited offers. There were various lighting areas set up with chic sofas and comfy chairs, and everywhere we looked, we kept whispering "how cool is that?!" or "Our clients would love this" It was all about setting an inviting atmosphere that was appealing.

Here are some of AFR's Set Ups:

Some things I'm loving from Rentals Unlimited Right Now:

Clockwise: 13" Copper Glass Bloom Charger Plate, Demitasse Sippers (Perfect for soups for a passed hors'd during cocktail hour), Martini Glass with Blue Side Stem, Tea & Toast Set (Great for salad & soup combinations for dinner service!)

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Great Idea of the Day

Brides & Grooms put love letters to each other and a bottle of wine in a box and nail it shut.

Reopen it on your 25th wedding anniversary.

A love time capsule!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Survive Thanksgiving With A Smile

Who can believe that Thanksgiving is only a week away?! The air has gotten coolor- the leaves are falling off the trees and dispite that freak snow storm a few weeks ago, it definitely FEELS like Fall! Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays- it revolves completely around eating all of my favorite foods with none of the hassel of last minute gift shopping and the never ending gift wrapping. I am lucky enough to have someone else cook my Thanksgiving meal this year, for which, I am very thankful for! When somone else is cooking, that means that pretty much my only jobs on Thanksgiving is to lounge on the couch, watch football and of course, EAT.
This is a vast change from my Thanksgiving last year, which I hosted. For all of you out there brave enough to host your own Thanksgiving this year, I wanted to offer a few bits of advice to DE-STRESS your Thanksgiving, while you still have time!

* PLAN AHEAD: What is going to be on your menu? Now is the time to figure that out, if you haven't already. Gather up your favorite family receipes, as well as those yummy new receipes you've been eying in food magazines and on your favorite celebrity chef's blog. Knowing what you are making now is going to help you make a shopping list and prioritize what needs to be put in the oven first once the big day comes.

* TAKE INVENTORY: Do you have all of the extra ingregients you may need (cinnamon, etc)- or do you need to add that to your shopping list? What about pots, pans, strainers, etc? Do you need to borrow anything from friends or family? Find this out now. Don't forget to check garbage bags, extra tin foil and storage for leftovers!

* DELEGATE & ORGANIZE: (This is my favorite part, In my family, they call me Miss.Bossy... apparently I like "delegating" a little too much!!).... Figure out who is bringing what- the holidays are about everyone coming together, and what better way to discover a new potential favorite receipe then everyone bringing their own?

* PREP: Prep the little stuff the day before- Iron the tableclothes & napkins, stack and count plates, set the table if you can. Anything you do today will make your Turkey Day that much easier. In my family, we like to have a little "Thanksgiving Eve" Party with all of the girls, where we drink some wine and get all of this stuff together. (Who said you can't have fun while working?!)

*DAY OF: Smile! You've made it! The best kept secret of a good event planner is to know when to ask for help. You want this to be a great day, and usually guests are looking for something to do to help you with. Don't be afraid to pull someone away from the tv to help you in the kitchen, and alternatively, don't be afraid to let your guests know if you need some space in the kitchen to concentrate. Tip: Keep the bar in another room, so that guests don't have to keep interrupting to you to re-fill their cocktail.

Finally- it's ok to cheat a little!!! Mystic Market offers awesome Thanksgiving options for you to order & pick up ahead of time. You can find the menu online here. This way, you get to spend the entire day OUT of the kitchen and with your guests. Most importantly... HAVE FUN & Be Thankful for the people who surround you!

PS. Want to Raise Some Eyebrows at the Dinner Table This Year?

Cut out aluminum foil and place on the turkey to make a bikini...

Roast the way you usually would and take the foil off

once you take the turkey out of the oven and voila!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

What a Great Idea!

Many couples are trying to find new and fun ways of incorporating unique details into their big days. Here's one for you that I absolutely love!

Hire a live event painter to do a day of painting of your wedding.

It's a fabulous keepsake of your special day and a great conversational piece for your guests.
Not only do you have a framed piece of personalized art, but often they can be reproduced as thank you cards or postcards. That way, all of your guests can receive a personal reminder of your celebration.

Here is one resource for the New England couple to work with:
Gail Fitzpatrick
Live Event Paintings
218 Bedford Road
Carlisle, MA 01741
tel: 978.369.6292

Visit Gail's website for her portfolio and videos of her in action. Such a treat!