Archive for the ‘life’ Category
It’s that busy ho-ho-ho! time of year. Last minute Christmas shopping, invitations to holiday parties, wrapping presents and preparing our home for entertaining. The holiday season inspires the entertaining spirit within me. For a casual get-together, I like to keep it easy without all the hustle and bustle. A simple Christmas party idea is to host a ‘Hot Cocoa Dessert Bar’ for family and/or friends! In today’s post, I’ll show you how you can turn your bar cart into a ‘hot chocolate & dessert bar station’. Who doesn’t love a hot cup of cocoa, right?! And for the adult version, make a spiked version. I’ll share later in the post, what I used to spike my hot chocolate.
For some holiday fun, you can coordinate this yummy holiday party idea by inviting your girlfriends over to wrap presents, or set a table and have a gingerbread making contest! Don’t forget to turn on your Christmas songs playlist and have your tree twinkling in the background.
What I love about this DIY is – it’s so easy, it’s self-serve (which saves a heck of alot of time on your part) and it’s inexpensive! All the items you see are all store-bought. Between the holidays and the cold weather, this is the time of the year where all the grocery stores and home stores have so many festive gourmet confections and speciality food options from candy cane marshmallows, chocolate dipping spoons, and peppermint everything!
Let’s start with the hot chocolate, shall we? While it may be easier to have individual hot chocolate packets available, I like to step it up notch and offer a decadent tasting hot chocolate. My newest favorite is Sarabeth’s Hot Chocolate Parisienne that I picked up at HomeGoods (found it online, here). It has semi-sweet Belgian chocolate morsels inside the dutch cocoa, and pure white cane sugar. All I have to do is add milk and boil! I love the brand’s preserves, so I knew this had to be good too!
So how did I spike this hot chocolate, you may ask? Well, I used my favorite creamy liqueur…RumChata! I simplied followed the directions on the back of the hot cocoa tin can, poured the hot cocoa in my mug, added 1 ounce of RumChata and stirred. Your guests will have the option of pouring their desired amount into their mug of hot chocolate.
These festive wooden ‘holiday cheer’ stirs from Laura Hooper are perfect for guests to use when stirring their spiked hot cocoa. Or an alternative, are these chocolate spoons.
These creme filled rolled Pepperidge Farm Piroutte wafers are perfect on its own or to use as a garnish for your mug of hot chocolate.
I scored these jumbo candy candy dipped marshmallows at Walmart. To satisfy your guests preference, you can display both large flavored marshmallows and plain mini marshmallows. Check out these green and white puffy poles marshmallow twists and these flavored Irish Cream marshmallows. Target also has a variety of holiday marshmallows like these dark chocolate peppermint marshmallow pops, these festive snowflake marshmallow hot chocolate toppers and these assorted hot chocolate toppers in peppermint, salted caramel, or chocolate chip.
Since sprinkles are just for garnishing the top of your hot chocolate, you don’t need a lot of it. So I decided to use my mini salt and pepper shakers that I had extra pair of. I adhered my gold foil alphabet letters to identify the contents inside…’p’ for peppermint and ‘c’ for cinnamon. The chocolate shavings were a bit thicker in texture, so I housed that in a small glass votive candle holder – alongside an appetizer-sized spoon.
I purchased this pretty calligraphy ‘Hot Chocolate bar’ stand, back in January from PS Weddings and Events. This Etsy store owner offers many color options. I went with the rose gold color option that mimics the hue of hot chocolate. I love that I can reuse this sign many times!
How to use your bar cart to create a DIY Hot Chocolate and Dessert Bar Station:
- Create, purchase or download a Hot Chocolate bar sign. There are so many free downloadable hot chocolate bar printable options on Pinterest. Not only is having a sign fun and festive, a sign will also allow your guests to easily identify your hot chocolate station.
- Use a carafe to hold your hot cocoa. Have your hot chocolate already prepared, hot and ready for your guests to self-serve.
- Set of Mugs. I used my vintage milk glass mugs but you can use any type of mugs you have.
- Store your sprinkle garnishes in a shaker. No need to buy special shakers – if you have an extra pair of salt and pepper shakers, use those to house your ground cinnamon, nutmeg, chocolate shavings, and/or peppermint dust sprinkles.
- Store your liqueur in a glass carafe or decanter. Optional if offering spiked hot chocolate. This is not entirely necessary but since I like to style items in a cohesive look (wink, wink) so I prefer to pour some of the liquor out of its original bottle. You can use adhesive alphabet letters or print labels.
- Use platters, cake stands and/or footed bowls. When using a combination of platters, cake stands or footed bowls, you are giving dimension and height to your display.
- Use your glassware. House your dessert treats in individual glasses. Whether it’s champagne or martini glassware – anything goes!
- Festive Beverage Napkins. I collect all kinds of seasonal, holiday, birthday, and cheeky bev naps so luckily I had the perfect pink color to coordinate with colors in the Christmas tree.
- Appetizer plates (not to be confused with dessert plates). Perfect size for personal tasting dishes.
- Pair your decadent and rich hot chocolate with delicious confections. I displayed a variety of six dessert treats that included cookies, chocolates, madeleines, and macaroons.
- Some garnishing and/or toppings suggestions would be ground cinnamon, crushed or crushed or dusted peppermints, chocolate shavings, whipped cream, marshmallows, and caramel.
- Since our bar cart is a two-tier, I prefered to keep all the dessert treats on the top tier since guests are more likely to revisit the hot chocolate station to nibble on a few more treats.
- I used the bottom tier to hold the hot chocolate, liqueur, mugs, stirs, and additional marshmallows.
- Keep it festive and style your bar cart with holiday decor. A few items I used are a couple of tree ornaments, some fresh greenery, and twinkly LED fairy lights.
I hope you are inspired to create your very own DIY hot chocolate and dessert bar party and may you enjoy this season, creating new memories.
-Photos + Styling by Rose Angel Lopez
When it comes to fall, we find ourselves celebrating the season by adding festive decor, florals, and flowering plants that reflect our style in the interior and exterior of our homes. This season is also the beginning of many upcoming holiday gatherings. Inspired by this, I wanted to create 3 different looks using the same type of florals and incorporate pumpkins as a fall accent!
I purchased two bunches of eucalyptus and six stems of hydrangeas from the grocery store and only spent $24.00… it’s an inexpensive way to accent areas of your living space! Eucalyptus has that earthy, natural texture to it and hydrangeas have the largest blooms that when grouped together, they reflect an abundance look! The colors I chose are neutral and therefore, would showcase well in any decorated space.
Keep scrolling to see the 3 looks I created using the same items…
Look #1. Fall Floral Table Runner
This floral table runner was so easy to create and it’s perfect to incorporate as part of your Thanksgiving tablescape!
- Step 1: Starting at the center of your dining table, take the first bunch of your eucalyptus and lay it on the left side of the table.
- Step 2: Flair out your eucalyptus to your desired width and repeat on the right side of the table. You will want both ends of the eucalyptus branches to meet at the center of the table.
- Step 3: Cut your hydrangeas stems at your desired length and insert each stem in a water tube. This will keep them fresh for the duration of your dinner party.
- Step 4: Concentrate on the center of your floral runner when tucking your hydrangeas in between the eucalyptus branches.
- Step 5: Cover up any open areas of your floral table runner with small pumpkins. Add mini pumpkins throughout your floral runner for scale.
- Step 6: Complete the look by adding some ambiance with candlelights! I used my crystal candle holders and long white taper candles.
Look #2. Floral & Festive Fall decor for the Fireplace Mantel
Using the same concept as the floral dining table runner, I recreated the same look on our fireplace mantel. Remember my DIY message pumpkins I had created in this post? I used them here. In order to create a focal point, I placed my ‘happy fall’ message pumpkins on the center of the mantel. My mantel was not large enough to tuck six hydrangea stems, so I only used four.
Look #3. Fall Floral Centerpiece
If you have a small dining table or are looking to dress up your entry table or buffet, I created this simple but elegant floral centerpiece. I used a floral foam wet brick and had it soaking in water before inserting it in my vase. Using a foam brick made designing the arrangement easier because I was able to create my desired look, stem by stem. When re-creating this centerpiece, start out with your hydrangeas. You will want to cut each of them in various heights, as shown in the picture above. I inserted eucalyptus branches to fill in the gaps of the arrangement. I didn’t want the floral arrangement to look too structured, so I didn’t cut all the eucalyptus branches….I like the appearance of free flowing movement in an arrangement. In order to add that festive fall touch, I clustered my mini pumpkins in front of the arrangement. By placing this floral centerpiece on your buffet table, this would coordinate so well with the floral table runner in look #1!
I hope you have enjoyed the 3 different floral looks and it has inspired you to want to recreate one in your home this fall season!
-photos + floral design by Rose Angel Lopez
In our kitchen, we have two large open wall spaces and it was just last year when I had tackled what to do with one of them. I had installed a gallery wall filled with white-framed herb prints (you can see that post, here). I wasn’t sure what to do with the other empty wall – that was until recently when I noticed the corner of my kitchen counter was filled with cookbooks as well as a stack of more cookbooks on top of my fridge!
Since I love to cook and bake, I enjoy trying out different recipes, hence why I own quite a few cookbooks! I wanted a space saver from the counter and get rid of the clutter on top of my fridge. I decided to utilize my empty wall efficiently by showcasing my cookbooks and installing floating wall picture ledges that I had purchased a while back from Ikea (similar ones, shown here). I had originally mounted these in my home studio but since I needed that wall space to hang my two new fabric pin boards, I had to take them down and so glad I was able to reuse them in another space in the house.
I didn’t want the cookbook wall shelves to look like a library of sorts, so I incorporated some kitchen items like a marble mortar & pestle, a rolling pin, and a marble & wood cutting board onto the ledges. I also added various gourmet and speciality oils & vinegar bottles that were taking up too much space on my kitchen counter. I moved my prayer framed print from our dining room and centered it onto the top floating picture ledge.
With holiday entertaining season soon upon us, I’ve added a few new cookbooks to my collection for some holiday inspiration, like The Forest Feast Gathering filled with vegetarian menus, The Year of Cozy that contains recipes, DIY crafts and other homemade life adventures to create. For mouthwatering finger foods and bite-size party snacks, I purchased Milli Taylor Party-Perfect Bites. I’m loving the seasonal Farm-To-Table Desserts cookbook too! All the organic recipes are organized by season – everything from desserts and brunch food items to cocktails.
We are really happy how it turned out and whenever friends or family members stop by the house, everyone comments on how they really like the wall of cookbooks and what a great idea it is! Not only did I save space on my kitchen counter but the large wall display inspires me to grab a cookbook and try out a delicious new recipe! A win-win!
How do you store or display your cookbooks? Would you consider creating a wall display of cookbooks in your home? Leave a comment in the comments section below and let me know! Also, I’d love to hear what you’re recommendations are for your favorite go-to cookbooks! Luckily, the pictures ledges are deep enough to hold two cookbooks back-to-back in the event I purchase more…wink, wink!
-Pictures: Design by Occasion
I am chasing moments in nature’s treat.
That is what I did last week when we packed our luggage and drove to our favorite beach in Delaware. We decided to take our summer week vacation and return to a favorite place that we know and love. We have visited this beach every year for the past seven years. It started back in May of 2010 when I had just finished my last cycle of chemo. After undergoing six months of this treatment, we needed to go to a place that was within driving distance and wanted to feel calm and relaxed, yet still experience new places to eat and shop. When we return to that place, specific memories feed our anticipation for the trip. Whenever we arrive to the beach, we still have that feeling of it’s still “our” place, there are familiar spots, due to the connection we made.
Since I had a procedure in late July to remove a cancerous tumor that grew, we knew it would be beneficial to go back to our favorite beach…behind every storm is a little bit of sunshine. The beach for us is a place for recharging our body, mind and spirit. What better way to start the day then by heading to the beach in the early morning hours, before the crowd arrives and having time for yourself to take in the beauty around you. Living in the moment and living the simple pleasures of putting your toes in the sand, feeling the warm sun rays on your face, and listening to the soothing waves crashing, brings a sense of tranquility. Peace fills my soul of being hopeful for better tomorrows.
One of the items I had on my bucket list was to watch the sunrise over the ocean. I was happy to have checked that item off my list a few years back – it was one of those not-to-be-missed experiences. As you know, since I love to style tablescapes and create sets, another item on my bucket list was to create and capture an intimate beach imagery. While I envisioned something on a larger scale and have it photographed by a professional, I took the opportunity to go for it, on a more intimate level.
Surrounded by nature’s inspiration, capturing the perfect moment was influenced by sitting on the stretches of sand, gazing over the infinite ocean view and exploring the beach sunrise. I created a table for two and the ocean was truly a fascinating backdrop. The tablescape was a small table for two that was low enough to be seated directly on the sand. I used a color palette of creamy neutrals that mimics the color of the sand, a soft peach that resembles one of the colorful hues seen as the sun rises, and aqua blue drinking glasses resembling the ocean water. I used natural elements for the table decor like seashells and driftwood. For a relaxing, yet romantic feel, I paired vintage brass candlestick holders and chose grey-colored candlesticks that echo the color of beach pebbles.
As you scroll through the pictures below, you will notice I was able to capture the stages of the sunrise. Viewed in person, it is one of the most scenic, and breathtaking sight you will see!
Sun peeking over the horizon.
Illuminating golden glow.
Have you seen a sunrise yet? What is at the beach too or somewhere else? Let me know in the comments section below what place you experienced in, I’d love to know!
-Photos by Rose Angel Lopez