This Valentine season I curated packages of homemade goodies to hand out to some of my favorite people. Last night I baked, crafted and sipped on a little red wine while watching Netflix. Let's just say I was in my personal heaven! Ryan was out of town on business which meant I was left alone to do all things girly ;).
The red velvet cookie recipe I found on the box of red velvet cake mix. Instead of making the mix true to the cake instructions you add the cake mix, two eggs, six tablespoons of melted butter and two tablespoons of lemon juice. (I omitted the lemon juice, and the cookies came out great).
I added white chocolate chips to my cookie batter mixture. During this step, you can get creative. Add your favorite chocolate chip, sprinkles, nuts or candy. You can also keep it simple and just bake the red velvet cookie mixture by itself.
Once the cookie dough is mixed, use a spoon or your hands to roll the dough into small balls. Place on a cookie sheet.
Insider Tip: to prep your cookie sheet pan, line the pan with foil and spray Pam or spread your personal choice of oil (olive, coconut, vegetable or even butter). Once the cookies are done baking, clean up is simple, just toss the foil and you are done!
Get Your Craft On
To package the cookies I used the following craft items:
Step 1 - From patterned craft paper cut out hearts and squares.
Step 2 - Use a glue stick to apply your cut out pieces to the paper bags.
Step 3 - Fill with your favorite goodies.
Step 4 - Roll the top of the bag, fold and secure with wasabi tape.
Step 5 - Hand them out to your fav peeps and love ones.
Have a great Valentine's Day and make sure to spread some love!
Tin & Twine
This NYE, we decided to throw a Great Gatsby inspired party and have a few of our closest friends over to ring in the New Year. I threw this party together in about a week and had way too much fun redecorating the house! I always start my planning process by collecting creative ideas and this ritzy affair was no different. By creating a New Year Pinterest board to gain inspiration, I was able to plan out my food menu and decor details. I also took inventory of what I had!
Since, I recently got married, my inventory of decor is currently overflowing our garage (which my husband isn't too keen on). I decided to use a white chalkboard I had on hand and wrote a quote from The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerlad. The Cheers sign I made for our engagement party and was excited to reuse it during the New Year to decorate my mantel. The paper lanterns I found at Beverly's. We received the crystal vase as a wedding gift, which added a hint of art deco. The black mirror was purchased from Ross years ago but makes for a great accent piece.
All the lovely blooms are from Trader Joe's, which is a great place to pick up flowers, they always have a fresh in season assortment and tend to be less expensive. I picked out 2 bouquets, a couple of green leafy stems and several bunches of white flowers to assemble my own arrangements throughout the house. I used a few black feathers to add a 1920's twist to a more modern arrangement.
One of my favorite spots in my house is our bar, which is conveniently located when you enter our home. Most guests are greeted with a cocktail ;). The picture frame was spray painted gold and the chalkboard was stapled onto the back for a quick DIY glam piece. I went back and forth on what to write but eventually decided on Speakeasy. I looked up fun fonts on Pinterest and mimicked this art deco font. Fortunately, I have fabulous friends who threw me a gorgeous Great Gatsby styled bridal shower back in June. I was able to use a lot of the decor including these adorable vases and stackable hat boxes. Pearls are essential for any 1920s themed event, I found a bag of long strands on Amazon.
Insider Tip: You can spray paint almost anything gold to make elegant accent pieces. For example, my friend Monica simply spray painted these inexpensive vases from the dollar store and Michaels. The hat boxes were brown craft boxes before and she painted them black and gold to give it a 1920's glam feel.
I am obsessed with photo booths and couldn't help myself for this event! I used black paper to create a solid backdrop and pinned a strand of gold streamers over it. The 2016 glitter sign tied it all together for a NYE photo op.
Our Great Gatsby Attire was pretty inexpensive. I got my dress and headband from Amazon. Ryan was fortunate enough to receive a free suite from Men's Warehouse because his groomsmen rented a certain amount of tuxes. Who knew it'd come in handy so soon!
One of my favorite things to do is cook for a crowd. Guests never leave my home hungry. For this event I made the following items:
Sausage Puff Pastries
Wedge Salad Bites
Champagne Cake Balls
No party is complete without some adult beverages! My husband and his friends are all about whiskey gingers, so, of course, we stocked up on ginger ale and Bulleit Whiskey. I personally sipped on champagne all night.
We lucked out on weather that night, it didn't rain and it wasn't too cold. Thankfully, we have a patio heater which kept us girls toasty in our dresses. The party was able to go in and out of the house comfortably. All in all, it was a lovely evening shared with great friends. We wish everyone a Happy New Year and we can't wait to see what 2016 brings us!
Cheers and blessings,
Tin & Twine
This past September, Ryan and I got married in Fresno, CA. We chose Fresno for several reasons. 1) His parents had recently moved to the area. 2) The Fresno area is much cheaper than the San Francisco Bay area. Which meant, I got to stretch my wedding budget a lot further. 3) We genuinely fell in love with our venue!
Holland Park West offers a beautifully landscaped outdoor ceremony and reception area. All food is prepared onsite in a buffet setting. The reception area has an overhang with fans to help cool down guests during the summer months. What really sealed the deal for us was all the unique rustic pieces throughout the property. A wood and metal shack stands in the back reception area, adding a bit of charm. Hidden to most guests, an old train car sits in the back parking lot, it's perfect for taking photos. We used the enclosed rock area for our dance floor. All our guests could not stop talking about how great our venue was. 9-5-15 went by WAY too fast, but for Ryan and I it was the best day ever! We can not wait to see what our future holds.
Shannon McAlister | Educator, wifey and conscious mama who is practicing mindful living + appreciating the everyday magic!
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