Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

I hope you all are having a wonderful Christmas!  Here's the Christmas card I designed for us this year... sorry I couldn't send it to each and everyone of you... so I hope this will do!

I'll be off the grid for the next week, enjoying a little break with family and friends!

Have a happy New Year!

all i want for christmas...

... Well, I just finished my Christmas shopping tonight, yes if you're thinking, "wow, that's pretty last minute Blair," well yes my dear readers it is! But I have good reasons for it... the first is that I've been swamped with orders for my other business Joie de Vie, and second is that more often than not my most brilliant ideas come in the final 20 minutes before Target closes.  Maybe it's the thrill of knowing I'm racing the clock, but I can honestly spend the next 12 months thinking up gifts for my loved ones for Christmas 2011 {wow, 2011's around the corner}, and I most likely will still need that 4th quarter shopping to come up with some gems.

Anyhow, I know lots of bloggers create Holiday shopping guides well before Christmas eve, but I am not them and even though I've been thinking about this post for a few weeks, I thought what the heck it'd be fun to share my "wish list/favorites" from 2010.  If Christmas were all about shopping for myself, which it so is not, I would spoil myself with these fun things, but Christmas isn't about these things or me, but just because... I'll go ahead and share a few of my favorite things. =)

These dern {yes I said dern} baked goodies continue to elude me, I can't seem to master them, so why wouldn't I want a book full of inspiring photos, tips, and tricks to try and master these puppies!

:: the Ford Edge ::
A new crossover to help with lugging my props and other various business things to and from events, and hey maybe one day soon it'll come in handy for driving around a little one or two.....

Hey! wait a second, Christmas came early and I am the proud new owner of this very Ford Edge as of a few weeks ago! And the people rejoice... or maybe just me...

:: a super cute, super girly workspace ::
 No description necessary, now if only I can remember where I stumbled upon this photo in the blogosphere....

Now this one's really a gift to my stand mixer, not me, I would just gladly reap the benefits of seeing if ingredients were stuck to the sides, would love the measurements on the side, and oh my gosh there's a lid!  Because goodness knows I... I mean my stand mixer... 
who am I kidding, I can't stand using saranwrap!

:: silicon scraper blade ::
This would be SO handy, I can only dream of a day baking where I don't have to flip up my stand mixer to scrape down the sides like 5 times... hmmm that'd be so nice!

......and the creme de la creme.....

:: the ever amazing iPad 2 ::
Yeah, you read right the iPad 2, not this one, but the next one... my pops and brother talked me off the ledge of jumping to buy this generation for business purposes.  They convinced me to wait for the second generation which most are hoping will be announced by Mr. Jobs in January... PLEASE!
This would make client presentations so seamless, I can't wait =)

   Well that concludes this tour of my favorite things from this past year... by now most of you probably have visions of sugar plums dancing in your heads... I guess I should hurry up and get to bed too!

And to all a good night!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

{inspiration} black, gold, & white wedding

This week was our floral meeting for my upcoming January Bride's wedding... I love when we do the floral meeting because I believe that the floral design elements play a huge role in communicating what the overall personality of a wedding will be.  In the case of this wedding it will be a sleek black, white and gold affair with elements of timeless glamour... with some hints of the show Mad Men to further communicate this wedding vibe.

After the meeting I pulled together a lot of the eye candy the bride, her mom, and I have been sifting through and here's what I've put together!

Just to give you a little bit more of a sneak peek at this wedding I'll share with you the wedding invites, which were created by my sister business Joie de Vie Paperie.  They're keeping the event primarily black and white with touches of gold, so we did the same for the invites.

 The monogram tag shape was a last minute change up, we had originally planned to use a circle shape, and then I realized this bracketed frame die shape would be far more swanky... and then their monogram was stamped onto it.... I just love the way the gold pops off the black!

And here's the whole suite laid out... sorry these photos are just from my digital camera right after production.... I really need to have them professionally shot to do them justice!
Their invites were initially inspired by Kristina's invites {of Lovely Morning and 100 Layer Cake}... but we made some modifications and voila!

Now I don't want to spill all the details about the event, but I really am falling hard for this wedding style... the floral designer said it best the other day...

"I seem to fall in love with the wedding I'm currently working on"

.... and I am falling hard for this one!

:: :: photo credits :: :: left to right, top to bottom
{2, 5-6, 8, 10-14,} Jl designs  
{16} Ikea

Monday, November 22, 2010

thanksgiving sweet potatoes

So our family does Thanksgiving and Christmas meals in a sort of potluck style... my brother and sis in law host since they have a great house for our whole family to gather together in.  The usual Thanksgiving protocol is they do the turkey{s} and host, then we all sign up to bring the rest of the goodies... this year I volunteered to change up my usual green bean casserole and unicorn casserole {it's a cornbread casserole that has been dubbed unicorn in my family, but that's a story for another time}... so this year I opted to step outside my comfort zone and do the sweet potato casserole and dessert.  I did a scouring of the internet and here are the potential candidates that intrigued me....

hmmm... can we just eat sweet potatoes for thanksgiving this year?... This'll be a touch choice, but it think I'll go with the last recipe as that photo speaks to me most... It's all about the presentation on what recipe I'll try! =)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

come see me this weekend!

I know i've been pretty quite on the blog front recently, but that's because I've been busy prepping for an event this weekend... Just wanted to let you all know that I {and my other business, Joie de Vie} will be selling my jewelry, accessories & paper goodies {think event banners & cupcake flags} this weekend and the holiday boutique being hosted by Eva of the Wedding Pantry... here are the details!  Hope to see you there! =)

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

{baking adventures} pistachio french macrons

I posted this past month on my BBE Facebook page about attempting these amazing little cookies, and I realized after making my third batch yesterday that I never posted about the outcome of my first attempt... well, I'm happy to report that my first attempt was pretty good for a so-not-professional baker!

If you'd like to try these out as well, here's a tutorial of how I baked mine. . . . 

Here's a shot of everything I needed corralled
{I like to get everything organized before I start baking} things move along quicker when I do this!  

Pistachio Cookie recipe:
*3 egg whites {from large eggs} 
aged in fridge seperate from the yolks for a few days
*205g of powdered sugar {grams are more precise}
*115g of shelled, unsalted almonds
*65g of shelled, unsalted pistachios
*30g granulated sugar
{optional - green and yellow powdered food coloring}

:  :  : note about egg whites :  :  :  most recipes say to let the whites "age" separate from the yolks for a few days in the fridge, and then when you're ready to bake, pull them out and let them come to room temp on the counter for up to 5 hours... I have cracked my eggs and gotten to work right there without "aging" them and it appears to not really matter... so it's really up to you!

Pistachio Cream Filling:
*45g shelled, unsalted pistachios
*1 cup powdered sugar
*6 tablespoons of butter
*1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract

Now onto the production and assembly!

Combine the almonds, pistachios, and powdered sugar in a food processor and blend them together LIKE CRAZY!  ... and I really mean it, most recipes call for almond and pistachio flour {which is way too expensive for me to justify buying} so this step is essentially "creating" the two flour elements and mixing it with the powdered sugar.
 Once you've ground the heck out of the nuts and powdered sugar, make sure you sift the combined ingredients into another container {the finer the dry elements the better your cookies will turn out... and yeah... don't worry about my broken plate {broke it getting it out of the cupboard, sad}  and the mess: let me just warn you, all the powdered elements sure do make a mess, which I hate creating when baking, but these are SOOO worth it!
Once you've sifted those, if there are any larger chunks left, process them again and sift again, repeating until you've gotten it totally smooth and powder-y!

OK, now grab your egg whites and dump them in your mixer and beat them on medium to high speed till they look foamy and frothy... then add your granulated sugar and it's time to start creating a meringue!
 You'll notice the whites will start beating and rising into a fluffy texture, you'll want to beat them until they create "peaks" - basically to the point you can stop the beater and pull it up and the white will form a peak that doesn't fall... if it falls, keep mixing!

Next you'll want to add your food coloring {I will say that I just made these again, and you really don't need to add the coloring, they will have a pale greenish-white color if you don't add it} If you do add coloring, be careful not to add too much, like I did, and making it look Slimer green... Like below =)
 After folding the food coloring into the meringue, add your dry elements by folding them gently into the meringue till it looks like the above photo.

 Next you want to add the batter to a piping bag... I use a freezer size ziplock bag with just the connector piece from a piping tip {you want it to have a decently large opening}.  To use a ziplock, just snip a small part of the corner off the bag and insert the connector, and you're ready to fill your "piping bag."

 Go ahead and cover your baking sheet with parchment paper, and then pipe 1-ish inch circles {yeah, these were my first attempt, kinda sloppy looking} be sure to leave space between the circles, as this batter will spread once it's on the paper... which I wish I had known that ahead of time.
 After piping the cookies, preheat your oven to about 310* and let your cookies sit out for about 20 - 45 minutes to sit prior to baking... doing this will allow the cookies to develop a "skin"... sounds odd, but you want this... I usually wait about 20 mins, since I get pretty antsy to want to eat them!

Give them about 11-14 minutes in the oven, I'd start checking them at 11, you don't wan to overcook them, but you don't want them to be underdone either... basically you want them to look like this...
 You want them to pop, and have what are called "legs" thats the part that's below the shell of the cookie - where it looks cracked-ish... but you do want to make sure that the tops are not browned... finicky little cookies I know! =)

 Let them cool on the paper completely before you pull them off the sheet, if you don't they WILL stick to the sheet and you'll loose some of the undersides... Once you pull them up, match them up according to size, like you see below.

To make the filling - food process the pistachios to a fine powder again and set aside.  Next you want to cream the room temperature butter you have set aside by beating the butter and powdered sugar, and then combine the vanilla extract and the pistachio and continue mixing it all together.

Once that's finished, go ahead and spread it on in the middle of the cookies and then store them in the fridge in an air tight container, and good luck not eating them all in a few days! =)
About the filling, it's said that the perfect macaron you need to spread the filling from edge to edge, or coast to coast as I've come to know it... and it should be able to stand on it's edge without the filling running out... I'll keep dreaming and keep making this, and as long as they taste good, that's all that matters to me! 

Good luck baking everyone,


Monday, September 27, 2010

la vita e dolce

.... the sweet life or life is sweet ....

I have to say a big thank you to Carlie of gabriel ryan photographers for posting the photos from last month's wedding, they just made my day!  Meagan {the bride} is a long time friend of mine, who married her knight in shining armor on 8.28.10... I had the honor of being one of her maids for her wedding day, but I just couldn't help myself, my design business did their paper goods for the big day, and you know I had to assist in throwing in a little event design love too!

So here's the dessert table we did for their big day

The overall wedding look was very classy and elegant, and since Meagan had spent a summer in Italy, she really wanted to bring a few touches of Italy to their day.  So JDVpaperie created the banner, which we attached to the frames, along with photos from Meagan + Erik's {sweet} lives, and then of course the table was finished off with the actual sweets!  

And since I can't just post about the dessert table, here's one of my favorites of them...

a big shout out goes out to
 * Lisa of Double Take Interiors/ jomestic doi for creating the gorgeous silk overlay 
{she's my fabulous SIL and interior designer}

* also, to Collette's Catering for the sweets and pretty cake!

And if you're ever in need of some awesome and large vintage frames I have both of these babies {and one more} available to be rented for your upcoming event! =)

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

{DIY} another man's trash is my treasure

Hello, I'm here, trying to come out of blogging hiding... this has seriously been quite a summer!

I thought I'd come back with something I have been wanting to share with you for a long time... if you've been keeping up with the sweet blog features showing Marci + Josh's wedding dessert display {amy atlas, wedding chicks, and jay's catering}, you'll remember there was a cute shabby chic-y desk at the center of that design... now if you haven't seen those posts,
this is the cute little desk I'm talking about:

Now, would you believe that this is that same desk... the day I found it calling my name in a local antique store!

{sorry for the shot from my camera phone}

Even with all the junk piled on it, I new that it was special and that it could serve a very important purpose in the upcoming wedding dessert display.  So, I called my mom over to the shop for a second opinion {she's my shopping buddy and confidant}, and she saw the potential that I did.  After mom's approval it was time for the real critic, my pops to come check it out.  He and my mom used to deal antiques in the early days of their marriage, so I knew if he thought it was tacky, I just wouldn't go there.  I also wanted him to kinda assess all the work we would need to do clean it up... as you can see it was in need of some MAJOR TLC and maybe even a tetanus shot!

After some back and forth, a little price haggling, we got a great deal and she was mine.  Here it is right after clearing away all of the junk.

So upon getting the desk home to work on it, my pops said we needed to take the desk totally apart so we could stabilize it. We took a leg off, detached the hutch, sanded, painted, sanded some more, nailed, painted and then sanded some more.... I think you get the gist =)

Here's the desk in the middle of the process laying in the driveway, missing limbs and it's hutch...

Getting fairly close to finishing up the TLC process my engineer{dad} and I decided to add this fun little contrast detail to the back edge of the desktop, just incase I ever wanted to use it without the hutch 
{you can see it's the only part not painted white yet at that point.}

I will tell you that when I bought this desk, I hadn't planned on keeping it, but after the labor of love it was to work on and dress up, I couldn't bear to part with it, after all, as a friend said "she does have nice legs!" =)

Here's the desk again at bridal shower, being used with out the hutch for a totally different look... {yeah, and if you're wondering what the banner said... "showered with love"}

If you're looking for a fun prop like this for an upcoming event, I'd be happy to rent her out to you for a day, evening... er, wow this sounds like a escort service... but, seriously if you are looking for a rental piece like this and you're in the LA, OC, SD areas, feel free to email me and you can rent her for your special event - BlairBrittEvents{at}

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

i want my old layout back...

so the other night i accidentally messed w/ my template design... now i can't get my old layout back... i know it wasn't much different but now all these dumb thin lines appeared around the different sections of my blog... so lame! wish could get it back to the way it was before!!!

in reference to: Blogger Template Designer - Blogger Help (view on Google Sidewiki)

Thursday, August 5, 2010

cheers to 2 years!

Well, I'm a little belated on blogging this, but ehh, what's new, I'm not a very regimented blogger, 
but I'm trying =)

This past weekend, my husband and I took a much needed stay-cation in Newport Beach, we hung out by the pool, went to two great anniversary dinners, and just kicked back a little.  It really is hard to believe these first two years have flown by so quickly, so much has changed, and we have both grown so much... I don't want to bore you about our lives, but I did want to say that to all you newly engaged couples, newlyweds, and those planning on wedding someday:

*take the time to stop an smell the roses, enjoy each other's company, 
and really, I mean it, really don't sweat the small stuff*

As cliche and common place as that advice sounds, take it to heart, this is the person who's in it for the long haul with you! Cherish them, because they will be your best friend, confidant, advisor and a great many other things through out your marriage - don't take them for granted for one second of your life together! =)

And since I'm big on before and afters, haha, joking... 
Since I can't stand blog posts without photos, here's a photo from our day on 8.2.08 and us on 8.2.10.

Stoked{dot}com... Wedding Chicks feature!

Wow, so stoked to see our clients, Josh + Marci up on the Wedding Chicks blog today! I really can't begin to describe how much I enjoyed working on their wedding, and now to see Hugh Forte's images gracing the first page of one of my favorite wedding sites today - that took my wow to another level, so flattered and so beyond blessed!

I was also so happy to see that they posted Aqua Vivus' work too, seriously, if you haven't considered having a videographer... go take a gander at their work - whatever your thoughts were, you'll not only want a videographer... you'll want them! 

What a great day!

Friday, July 16, 2010

exciting times

Sorry I've been so absent this past week... lots of new things going on right now in my personal life and my business life.  While things are really busy and exciting right now, I do need to say a huge thank you to Amy Atlas for the wonderful blog features last week!  No doubt some of you reading my blog have found us because of seeing my dessert feature on Amy's blog.  So, welcome to my blog!... feel free to visit us on our facebook page... as well as my other FB page for my jewelry, accessories & paperie.

Last weekend we attended a family wedding in Park City, UT and {don't get me wrong} I love being a part of the behind the scenes of weddings, but it was such a treat to be a guest last weekend! Looking forward to being a guest again at a friend's wedding this weekend at the Four Season in Santa Barbara... as guests we're totally getting spoiled! =)

Be back soon with some fun things to share!


Wednesday, June 30, 2010

{real wedding sneak peek} marci + josh 6.26.10

Ok folks, this past weekend I had the honor of designing and coordinating this wedding for a couple who is very special to me... here are the newlyweds
Josh + Marci
I can't even begin to tell you how much I enjoyed planning their big day with them... they are so mellow, easy going, and fun; which made them a dream to work with!  Josh + Marci are college sweethearts who were looking for a very Anthropology and eclectically inspired day... I'm happy to say we succeeded in that! They were married at Rancho Capistrano in San Juan Capistrano on a gorgeous day here in So Cal, and we were blessed with such beautiful weather! 
{none of the june gloom we've been having here recently}

Anyhow, while we're waiting on the no doubt amazing photos from their photographer Hugh Forte, here are some sneak peek shots captured from their day.  I hope you enjoy these glimpses of their wedding!

gorgeously eclectic bridesmaid bouquets
{dusty miller. cabbage, wild peonies, painted scabiosa, hydrangea, and many other wonderful blooms}

Marci's monique lhuillier dress was gorgeous and so was her bouquet filled with ruffled tulips, dusty miller, freesia, garden roses, peonies {just to name a few} =)

and LOOK at these phenomenal shoes!!! 
I melt just looking at them...

the centerpieces incorporated 5-6 different containers filled with all sorts of florals, and the centerpieces sat on piece of burlap to anchor them - all the tablescapes really were a feast for the eyes. 

We used three varying sized vintage frames, which we attached chicken wire to and painted white, 
then clipped on the vintage shipping tag escort cards with painted mini clothes-pins.

This is one of their 3 cakes, Jay's catering did such a wonderful job implementing the style we were going for.. we gave them burlap to cover the cake bases so that it would coordinate with the burlap on the tables and to echo the brown tones from the wedding invite envelopes {which were made from kraft paper}.  Also, the crocheted ribbon was a used to secure all the pieces of the invite suite, so we used it again to help add some interest to the satin ribbon wrapped around the base of each cake tier!

Don't you just love that sugar flower peony?!?

Here's a little look at some of the mini desserts that were served in addition to the cakes!
Jay's really outdid themselves with the color coordinated lollicakes, petit-four-esq cheescake bites, and chocolate covered cream puffs!  Trust me, they tasted just as yummy as they look - yep, 
I had to sample of course!

And here's a glimpse of the sweetheart table - we used the "M and J" initial mugs as containers for their table... We also plopped these amazing dinner plate dahlias around to help give texture and color to the table... I also added this pedestal & cloche to give them their own little dessert display, that way they could have their sweets without having to leave their table!

Well, that's all for now, but I hope you enjoyed this glimpse of the wedding... I still can't believe how wonderfully well all the details pulled together for such a truly beautiful day! 

Big thanks go out to the following wonderful vendors I was so blessed to work with that day!
Catering & desserts: Jay's Catering
Photos courtesy of Mary Lallande
Paper goods, jewelry & bridal accessories: Joie de Vie
Floral Design: Jayne Hallaian of Bits of Whimsy
DJ: Tony Boldi of Goodtimes Entertainment
Cinematography: Aqua Vivus Productions
Professional Photography: Hugh Forte

Sunday, June 27, 2010

{sneak peak} 6.26.10 - Rancho Capistrano

Ah... I'm still so overjoyed with the way yesterday's wedding turned out, and how we made the bride & groom's vision come to life, but for now I'll leave you with yesterday's {love story} created by the amazing Tom of Aqua Vivus... I think this sets up and introduces yesterday's couple so perfectly...enjoy, I know I did and so did the rest of last night's guest!  I'd like you to meet this wonderful couple... Josh + Marci

Thursday, April 15, 2010

"oh boy" baby shower - 3.10.10

So this past Saturday was the "oh boy" themed baby shower for Wendy who is a very special friend of mine... she also happens to be the first to become a mommy of all of my close friends!  You can view the invitations and the inspiration used to help plan and design this event in this previous post.

We had been experiencing some great weather prior to the weekend we had scheduled the "oh boy" shower... But became a little nervous with the looming, gloomy weather forecasts for the weekend.
However, we were truly blessed with perfect weather for our event! 

We hung light and airy lantern and tissue pomander decor from the patio covering
for additional bursts of  the blue color scheme.

Here's the mommy-to-be modeling the "oh boy" drink flags 
and coordinating mason jars for shower beverages.

I also created this banner using complimentary cardstock and my handy cricut machine. 
We displayed the banner near the area where Wendy opened the gifts 
she had been showered with.

Another view of some of the decor details - you might notice the various children's books displayed... we surprised Wendy by asking all of the guests to bring a favorite book to help stock their nursery for future story time.  For an extra special touch, we asked the guests to write a special note in their book that Wendy & her hubby can read to their son in the future! {sigh}   =)

Here are the florals we put together for the event - they sat on a gingham fabric square with a pinking edge.  I had originally planned to have 3 components - but after finding these daisies with 
blue centers{of all things} I scrapped my idea to fill the galvanized buckets with white carnations and decided to use these cute daisies, paired with some vintage bottles filled with white ranunculus, bud vases with fresh picked sweet peas, and grouped with the ribbon tied hurricanes 
topped with a button mum pomander.
We also incorporated some of the smaller books in each table grouping.

Here's another view of the tables, I just love those little daisies!  You probably will also notice there are silverware rolls at each place setting, we wrapped those with a striped band 
{which actually happened to be the striped pattern from the shower invitations!}

Lots of love... and LOTS of gifts!

Grandma-to-be saying hi!

Two of the three games are shown below:
At one point we passed around a ball of yarn and asked each guest to guess/cut a piece that they tought equaled the circumference of Wendy's tummy!  Below: Wendy with the winner and one of the other soon-to-be mommies using her tummy to help!
We also purchased a variety of baby items and played "the price is right." We gave out game sheets and asked everyone to guess 
the prices and the closest without going over the real price won.

We also created these coordinating pennant banners which hung at the dessert table and near the gifts.  We also chose a burlap fabric as the backdrop to help ensure the banner colors would stand out.

Wendy's a big fan of sweets, so we made sure there was an ample amount of goodies!

We served brownies, Chicago carmel corn {her mom brought those as a treat as her parents currently live there}, red velvet mini cupcakes, lemon bars, coconut blueberry cheesecake bars, wite chocolate dipped pretzels, animal cookies, and the desserts wouldn't have been complete without.....

the "oh boy" cookies from Ethel O's... Loved them!

Gift time! This will be the baby's USC exit outfit from UCLA Med Center, where she will be
 having the baby. Being a fellow Trojan, I just think that's hilarious =)

Testing out her new rocking chair which had been re-upholstered in her nursery 
colors and given to her by her sis-in-law & mom-in-law, so sweet!

I have to say a big THANK YOU to my friends, fellow hostesses, and soon to be aunties...
Thank you gals for your help assembling and setting up this shower for our friend, thank you
so much for helping to make this event a reality - we make such a great team! Love you girls =)

Also, thanks go out to Shayna of Huff Photography for the photos, thanks for capturing the event lady!