Monday, October 3, 2011

Trend Alert: Vintage Suitcases

I spy a new party trend: Vintage Suitcases!

That's right! Break out those old, dusty travel cases, give them a facelift, and you will have yourself a brand-spanking new party decor item that can serve many different purposes:

My daughter has been insisting that we need to have a picnic...wouldn't this be such a cool way to pack up the lunches and head to the park for a nice day out with the kiddos?!  (See how this vintage suitcase was transformed into this cute little party-in-a-box here).



What a fun and unique way to display drinks on a dessert table!


Poking holes at the top would allow you to be able to prop up your cake pops or other goodies-on-a-stick.

Want to do something different for the kid's table? This old suitcase goes perfect with this tea party set-up, and is just the right size for the kiddos!


A really popular idea is to dress up a vintage suitcase and use it as a card box at your wedding.  It can be decorated to match your color scheme or theme.


What I love most about this new trend is that it is so versatile.  If you are a frequent reader of this blog, you already know that I love, love, love the vintage style.  I am a big fan of re-purposing old items to give them a fresh, new look (not to mention, it is a great way to save money...which I am also a big fan of)!

Would you use vintage suitcases in your wedding/event decor?

 

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Dessert Wars: Are Macaroons the New Cupcake?!


We've spotted a new dessert trend on the party horizon...and it's waging a war on cupcakes!

Macaroons are the new rage!  It seems you can't find a dessert table without them!!!

But, just what are they...you may ask?

Originating from the French word Macaron, macaroons are meringue cookies filled with a buttercream filling.  They can best be described as a cookie that is crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside.






Mmmmm!!! I haven't personally tried one yet, but they look delish, don't they?!

Pop quiz time!!! (Well, not exactly...but play along, ok?!)

Now that you've got the low-down on the new party craze, I figured you might want to whip up a batch for your next party (or for yourself...hey, we're not here to judge)!

I found this recipe here.  There's also a sweet tutorial on Bakerella that shows you how to make the Macaroon pops (pictured above)

Ready...set...get to baking!!!

Ingredients
Makes about 16 filled macaroons
  • 1 1/4 cups plus 1 teaspoon confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) finely ground sliced, blanched almonds
  • 6 tablespoons fresh egg whites (from about 3 extra-large eggs)
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar

Directions

  1. To make the macaroons: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, whisk together confectioners’ sugar and ground almonds. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip egg whites with salt on medium speed until foamy. Increase speed to high and gradually add granulated sugar. Continue to whip until stiff glossy peaks form. With a rubber spatula, gently fold in the confectioners’ sugar mixture until completely incorporated.
  2. Line baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside. Fit a pastry bag with a 3/8-inch #4 round tip, and fill with batter. Pipe 1-inch disks onto prepared baking sheets, leaving 2 inches between cookies. The batter will spread a little. Let stand at room temperature until dry, and a soft skin forms on the tops of the macaroons and the shiny surface turns dull, about 15 minutes.
  3. Bake, with the door of the oven slightly ajar, until the surface of the macaroons is completely dry, about 15 minutes. Remove baking sheet to a wire rack and let the macaroons cool completely on the baking sheet. Gently peel off the parchment. Their tops are easily crushed, so take care when removing the macaroons from the parchment. Use immediately or store in an airtight container, refrigerated for up to 2 days or frozen for up to 1 month.
  4. To fill the macaroons: Fill a pastry bag with the filling. Turn macaroons so their flat bottoms face up. On half of them, pipe about 1 teaspoon filling. Sandwich these with the remaining macaroons, flat-side down, pressing slightly to spread the filling to the edges. Refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour.
Macaroon Filling:

Ingredients

  • 3 large egg wites
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into pieces

Directions

  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer, whisk egg whites and sugar. Set mixer bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and heat mixture, whisking often, until it feels warm to the touch and sugar is dissolved, 3 to 5 minutes.
  2. Transfer bowl to the mixer, and fit with the whisk attachment. Whip on high speed until mixture is stiff and shiny, 3 to 5 minutes. Add butter, one piece at a time, and continue mixing until butter is thoroughly incorporated. The filling can be kept, covered and refrigerated, up to 1 week. Bring to room temperature before stirring.
Have you ever baked/tasted macaroons?  Do you think they are the "new" cupcake?




Friday, September 23, 2011

Fall Dessert Ideas

I don't know about you, but I am happy that today marks the official first day of Fall!  I love this time of year because it means my three favorite holidays (Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas) are fast approaching.  I love to entertain, and this is when I feel I can get most creative.

Now that i've fallen in love with baking, I'm always on the search for new recipes to add to my collection.  This year, I would like to add a new, yummy dessert to our holiday dinner menu...something other than the usual Sweet Potato Pie and Banana Pudding.

Thanks to Better Homes and Gardens magazine's 31 Fall-Spiced Desserts, I think I have quite a few contenders:

Toffee-Pear Sticky Pudding

Honey Nut Crunch Pie

Apple Upside-Down Cake

Gingersnap Crumble Pumpkin Parfaits

Pineapple Upside-Down Cakes

Sticky Pecan Upside-Down Baby Cakes

Glazed Gingerbread Cake

These look absolutely delish!  Now comes the hard part: deciding which one to make!  The recipes for these desserts, along with 24 others, can be found on the Better Homes and Gardens website.

Do you have a go-to dessert for your holiday get-togethers?  Any new recipe's you'd like to try this year? 

All photos via Better Homes and Garden

Monday, September 19, 2011

Platinum Touch Events V-Log #1

Happy Monday everyone! I hope you had a wonderful weekend!

I've been entertaining the idea of doing a V-Log (video blog) for quite awhile now, but I never got around to it...mainly because (gasp!) I'm a little bit camera shy!  But, I have so many things that I've been wanting to share and a regular ol' blog post just won't do sometimes, lol!

Please excuse the fact that the video is a little off center (hey, cut me some slack...it's my first time for goodness sakes lol...but I promise, it's going to get better :).  I just wanted to take a moment to personally introduce myself to my readers...you know, so you can put a face/voice to the name.

So, without further ado...check out my very first V-Log post...


video


In future V-log entries, I will be answering all of your burning wedding/event planning questions and even providing a few how-to/DIY videos.  I'm very excited about this new aspect of the blog, and I hope you enjoy the content that I am working hard to bring you. 

To make this a truly helpful experience, I'd love to hear your feedback on my first V-Log post.  Please include any topics that you would like for me to cover in future posts.

Thanks for following along with me on this journey, and I'll see you on the next video!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Well, Isn't That PINTERESTING!!!

So I finally did it.   I really put up a good fight, but in the end I lost the battle.  Believe me when I say I tried oh so very hard, but I broke down.  I became a part of the masses and (wait for it!!!) signed up for PINTEREST!!!

You see, I am addicted to all things pretty and creative.  For this reason, I subscribe to several different blogs to get my daily "fix".  It is also the reason I started this blog...to share all of the creative things I come across in the wedding and party planning world.

So, why am I making a big deal out of the fact that I joined PINTEREST?!?! Well, because I now have a new obsession.  After browsing around for the very first time, I knew instantly that this would be a place that I could spend countless hours ooohhhhing and ahhhhing over all of the stunning imagery that has been pinned.

Now, this could be a totally GOOD thing (it is definitely the new go-to place for creative inspiration), or it can be a bad, bad thing (I have a tendency to get sidetracked when it comes to looking at the creations of such talented party professionals).

Sigh.

In all seriousness, I know I joined the party kinda late, but I officially LOVE PINTEREST.  Here are just a few of the images that caught my eye during my first log-in on the site:

How creative is this?!  What a perfect shot to remember beachside nuptials.


This HAS to be the SWEETEST (engagement???) photo I have ever seen.  Very unique.


I love how photographers find creative ways to capture ring shots.


I love, love, love these chair covers.  Absolutely beautiful. 


Great way to display a collage of photos! 


Can you imagine the ringbearers walking down the aisle with this stylish ring pillow?! Yes, please!!!


This cake is simple yet stunning.  It has that timeless, elegance.  Love!


This is too cool!  Not sure if the sparklers are real, but it's an awesome photo!


*All photos via Pinterest

Have you signed up for PINTEREST yet?  What has been your experience with the site?

Monday, August 29, 2011

Trend Alert: Ombre

Ombre (pronounced om-bray) is a French term that means "shaded".  This trend, that started out in the fashion world, has quickly gained popularity in the wedding industry.

I've been seeing ombre EVERYWHERE...

Most often on dresses and cake designs...




But i've also seen it incorporated in floral designs...


Linen...


Invitations...


and even nail polish...


I, personally, L-O-V-E the shading effect.  It's super cute and versatile enough to be used in any aspect of your event.

What do you think about the obsession with ombre? Two thumbs up or a big thumbs down?


Friday, August 26, 2011

Munaluchi Bride Magazine Fall/Winter 2011


Happy Friday Everyone!

Wow, this week went by incredibly fast!  Anyone have any exciting weddings or events lined up for the weekend?

I just wanted to take a moment to share the Fall/Winter 2011 cover of Munaluchi Bride Magazine, featuring the incomparable event designer, Mr. Preston Bailey!  His work is truly Ah-mazing, and once again, he doesn't fail to impress!
For this issue, Preston created a dress out of something he knows best: flowers of course!  Over 1,000 flowers were used to make this one of a kind floral dress: 250 white phalaenopsis orchids, 400 white hydrangeas, 300 white tibet roses, and 100 pink rosita vendela roses.

Could you even imagine wearing a floral creation like this?! O...M...G!!!

The new issue of Munaluchi Bride will be available on newstands on September 6th.  If you just can't wait, you can purchase it online now...with free shipping!

Here is some behind the scene video coverage of the shoot:



Have a great weekend everyone!  I'll be sending lots of prayers and well wishes to everyone on the East Coast that may be affected by Hurricane Irene.

Nikola Ahaiwe
Owner/Lead Coordinator
Platinum Touch Events
(310) 722-2873
email: info@platinumtoucheventsla.com
web: http://www.platinumtoucheventsla.com/
blog: http://www.platinumtouchevents.blogspot.com/
facebook: www.facebook.com/platinumtouchevents




Thursday, August 25, 2011

Decor Idea: Mason Jars


When you think of mason jars, the first thing that may come to mind are the old-fashioned jars filled with jams and preserves in your grandma's pantry. Mason jars, however, have a new purpose!  Many people are finding all sorts of creative ways to incorporate them into their wedding/party decor.  The great thing about mason jars is that they can be used in formal or casual settings.  There really are no limits, as there are so many ways they can be used.

Here are a few mason jar decor ideas:

Centerpieces 


Candle Holders 


Ceremony Chair Flowers


Favors/Take-Home Desserts

Serving Drinks

Mason jars are perfect if you're looking to add a vintage, "southern charm" feel to your decor.  They're also relatively inexpensive, especially when bought in bulk.  If you're up for a little DIY project, consider using mason jars to give your wedding/event a personalized touch!

What do you think of incorporating mason jars into event decor?  Is this something you would consider?

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Chalk It Up...

Looking for a fun and inexpensive touch to add to your wedding or event decor?  The answer you may be looking for may take you back to your elementary school days: Chalkboards!!!!

There are so many ways that chalkboards can be incorporated into ANY event:

Directional Signs...



Table Numbers...



Seating Charts...



Drink/Food Menu...



Photobooth Fun...



Can you think of any other creative ways that chalkboards can be used as event decor?


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Samoa Cupcakes {Recipe}



Recently, my co-worker asked me to make cupcakes for her birthday.  I knew she was in love with the Starbucks Mocha Coconut Frappucino, and she wanted something with a similar taste.  So, I did a little research and came across the recipe for a Samoa cupcake (you know, like the popular Samoa girl scout cookie).  When I mentioned it to her, she was excited...the flavors were exactly what she had in mind.  In my usual style, I decided I wanted to add a little twist to the recipe, so I tweaked it just a little bit, and this is what I came up with:

 Samoa Cupcakes (Chocolate Coconut Cupcakes with Caramel Buttercream)
Slightly Adapted from:  Sweet Little Details

Chocolate Coconut Cupcakes:
2 cups flour

3/4 cup natural cocoa powder

1 1/2 sticks butter, room temperature

1 3/4 cups sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/2 cup Malibu Rum
4 large eggs, room temperature

1 cups milk


Caramel Frosting:

2 sticks unsalted butter

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 cups packed brown sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/3 cup prepared caramel (recipe below)

3 Tablespoons milk

6 cups powdered sugar

1/2 cup Malibu Rum

1 cup sweetened shredded coconut

1/4 cup milk chocolate chips

Caramel recipe: found via Chockylit
1/4 cup water

1 cup sugar

2 tablespoons light corn syrup

1/2 cup heavy cream

1 tablespoon butter

Cupcake Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350 F. Line muffin pan with paper liners.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour and cocoa powder .In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter, sugar, salt, baking soda, vanilla, and Rum until fluffy and light, at least 3-4 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. With mixer on low speed add in the dry ingredients in three batches, alternating with the milk beating just until combined.

Fill cupcake liners 1/2 full, making sure that the batter is divided evenly. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until a toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean, 20-22 minutes. Tilt each cupcake in the muffin pan so it sits at an angle. Allow the cupcakes to cool in the pan at this angle for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.


Frosting Instructions:

Cream butter and brown sugar together in the bowl of an electric or stand mixer. Add vanilla, salt, caramel syrup, milk until combine. Begin adding in the sugar slowly and mixing thoroughly after each addition. Beat for about 4 minutes until smooth.  Add Malibu Rum and mix until incorporated.
To toast the coconut, spread the coconut onto a rimmed sheet pan. Toast in a 350°F oven, stirring frequently, until the coconut is an even brown color, about 10 minutes.

Transfer the frosting to a pastry bag fitted with a decorative tip. Pipe a spiral of frosting, beginning at the outer edge and working inward.
Heat chocolate chips in a double boiler or microwave for about 30 seconds or until drizzling consistency. Garnish the frosted cupcakes with toasted coconut and drizzle with melted chocolate.

Here are a couple of pics of the finished creation:









My co-worker absolutely L-O-V-E-D them (as did the rest of the people in my office)!  Although I'm not a big coconut fan (I made a few without it), I have to admit they were delicious and I can def see myself making these again in the near future!

Have you ever tried any other girl scout cookie-inspired cupcakes?




Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Back To School - Time to Party!

I don't know about you, but I feel like summer went by SUPER fast! I mean, it's almost like I blinked and we were smack-dab in the middle of August!!!  Well, you know what that means: it's almost time for the kiddos to head back to school!  My little ones haven't made it to school age yet, but I can only imagine the hustle and bustle that comes along with preparing for a new school year.  So, why not throw a Back to School shindig to get yourself and the kids all fired up for the chaos fun that starting school brings.

Check out this too-cute back to school party styled by Leoni of the Just Call Me Martha blog:







This is one of the most creative kids parties I have ever come across!  I love all of the little details, from the "chalkboard" backdrop to the mathematical equation cupcake toppers.  Now it's your turn to gather your little pupils and throw a Back to School party as they prepare for another year of learning and growth!
Until next time, happy planning!
Nikola Ahaiwe
Owner/Lead Coordinator
Platinum Touch Events
(310) 722-2873
email: info@platinumtoucheventsla.com
web: http://www.platinumtoucheventsla.com/
blog: http://www.platinumtouchevents.blogspot.com/
facebook: www.facebook.com/platinumtouchevents

Nikola Ahaiwe is a Los Angeles wedding planner and owner of Platinum Touch Events, a boutique event planning firm servicing southern CA. For more info on packages and services offered, please check out the Platinum Touch Events website http://www.platinumtoucheventsla.com/