and the oscar goes to…

YOU for throwing a fabulous party!

I have to say, although “Oscar season” is totally overplayed in the media {with all that we have going on in the world} and the show can be a bit boring, I enjoy the show just to see what people are wearing! I love the fashion that the night brings, and as a party girl, I love the excuse to invite some girlfriends over and watch the Oscars! With these tips. your Oscar party {Sunday, February 26} will be red-carpet worthy.

Kathleen at Twig and Thistle created an ENTIRE SET of Oscar party printables. From the invites, to the voting ballots and place cards – she’s got your covered and they are all for FREE here. Thanks, Kathleen. I based my party inspiration on her classic black, white, gold and kraft paper.


For the table, find a sparkly gold table cloth, or if you don’t have one, find a white table cloth and add a black and white chevron runner down the middle of the table.

Add and light lots of votive candles. Love me some candle lighting.

Place a ballot from Twig and Thistle at each place setting and a gold pencil for guests to fill out at the beginning of the night.

Cut out white stars from cardstock paper, write best actress nominations {Glenn Close, Viola Davis, Rooney Mara, Meryl Streep and Michelle Williams…if you have more friends than nominees, add best Actress in a Supporting Role Nominees} and attach via black and white twine to champagne flutes. Your girlfriends can be a nominee for the night…and keep track of their cocktail.

For the centerpieces, spray paint wine bottles with chalkboard paint and use chalk to write down all Best Picture nominees {Hugo, The Descendents, The Artist, Moneyball, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, War Horse, The Tree of Life, The Help, The Artist and Midnight in Paris}. Complete with look with a white flower inside the wine bottle centerpiece.

Hang black, white and gold poms above the table.


I think it would be a blast to pay homage to all the year’s best nominated films by serving foods inspired by the movies. Epicurious had some fantastic ideas…so I picked what I thought would be delicious to try.
Deviled Eggs and Chocolate Cream Pie {The Help}
Hot Dogs and Beer {Moneyball}
Cranberry Apple Crisp with Oatmeal Streusel Topping {War Horse}
Cherry Tomato Pizza Margherita {Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close}
Twice Baked Potato with Goat Cheese and Chives and Creamed Spinach {The Artist}
Crab Cakes with Creamy Chili Sauce or Coconut Shrimp {The Descendants},
French Champagne {Midnight in Paris}
Skillet Corn Bread {The Tree of Life}
Oven Baked Chicken and Slow Roasted Tomatoes on a Baguette {Hugo}

If all that is too fancy for you, I think Moneyball inspired food – peanuts, hotdogs, beer, Coca-Cola and CrackerJack boxes would be lovely…and of course some French Champagne for a little fabulousness!

{images via Twig and Thistle, Snippet and Ink, MaryJane and Galoshes, The Glitter Guide, Reasons to Breathe, Pinterest, Lindsey B Photography and Rue}

lauren + greg

Every girl dreams of her wedding day and beautiful Lauren was no exception. As a girl growing up, Lauren attended the sanctuary of Montview Boulevard Presbyterian Church in Denver, Colorado and dreamt of the day she would say I do to her prince charming below the vaulted ceilings and in the light streaming through the beautiful stained glass windows.

So, she found herself a handsome groom {the love of her life}, Greg, and Lauren made her way down the long aisle to the sound of a graceful organ on August 14, 2010…just like she always imagined.

The bride was stunning in her ivory organza, overlaid with Alençon lace gown. In Lauren’s words: I wanted to look romantic, so I wore side-swept bangs and a pinned low-chignon. My mom found a custom-made flower comb and I also wore a cathedral-length veil.

My sister and Maid of Honor picked out black, cap sleeve cocktail dresses for the bridesmaids that coordinated really well with the details and colors of the day. Since the wedding was black tie, I wanted everything to be black and white and champagne colored. In keeping with the white floral, I wanted them to carry bouquets of white hydrangea and roses. There are so many details we love about this wedding and one of them is Lauren’s bouquet. We L.O.V.E. her peony bouquet. Lauren carried a hand-tied monochromatic bouquet of blush peonies {her favorite flower}, which are rare and usually not available in August. But, she received a special delivery on her special day. “It was a huge special day-of surprise that my florist was able to get peonies in. I wanted the blush pink to be the only splash of color among all the other white flowers and decorations,” said Lauren.

Jenna McKinlay {yours truly} helped Lauren with the invites and additional paper products on their wedding day. The beautiful invitations were traditional and simple, yet elegant. From Lauren: I love the feel of letterpress on ecru paper, and the fonts and design of our invitations really appealed to us. We sealed each invitation with hand-dripped wax and a custom postage stamp. The ceremony programs, cocktail napkins, menus and other wedding materials showcased our wedding logo, designed by my friend, Sara. It was inspired by the theme of keys and “locking in love” – like the traditional {we all love and believe in} on Ponte Vecchio Bridge in Florence, Italy.

Oh and let’s not forget the DIY details and unique touches that we all love! In Lauren’s words: Our guests’ names were hand written in calligraphy and attached to antique skeleton keys, which went along with the logo and the idea of the Ponte Vecchio bridge in Florence where I studied and Greg visited. I really wanted to give our guests a better sense of who we were as a couple. So we named the 20+ tables with places and things that were important to us and our relationship. For example, where we met, where Greg first said “I love you,” our favorite restaurant, how we wrote our vows, etc. We had our calligrapher draft paper that featured our wedding logo, wedding date, and fun phrases such as “cake,” “kiss,” “toast,” “dance,” “I do,” “happily ever after,” and others so we could fold and make “cootie catchers” at each place setting.

My mom and I spent many nights on DIY projects like signs that sprinkled the event, fashioned out of ribbon and lace. We also hand crafted heart-shaped confetti out of old Italian novels.

And for a late night treat, our guests were given paper cones made of music sheets and filled with Greg’s favorite snack: kettle corn.

A special moment of the day Lauren loved was her gift for Greg: For my letter to Greg, I knew I couldn’t say everything I wanted in just one note. So, instead I wrote him eight poems and 14 memories to coincide with our wedding date, 8.14.11. Then I sealed each note with the wax and stamp we used for the wedding invitations. With his groom’s gift, I enclosed the stamp saying, “Here’s to making many more wonderful memories in the years to come.”

Another highlight of the day was the married couple’s getaway car. As they exited the church they were showered with white rose petals and stepped into a classic…an antique Rolls Royce. Then, the couple made their way to their beautiful reception at The Ritz-Carlton, Denver, Colorado.

During cocktail hour, Lauren and Greg wanted their guests to be greeted at the Ritz-Carlton with a signature drink, “Strawberry Kiss,” made of champagne, vodka, and strawberry purée. The drink is one of my favorites and I think provided a pop of color for the evening.

Our first dance was to Pat Green’s “Crazy,” performed by the seven-piece band. The song is especially important to us because it is the song we fell in love to. Also, the year of our engagement, we had the absolute privilege of having Pat Green dedicate the song to us at his local concert!

I wanted the cake to kind of mirror my dress features. It was all-white, four-tier, and was adorned with white fondant and decorated with ivory satin ribbon, little sugar buttons, and sugar lace appliqué to match the dress. The cake alternated between red velvet and almond with toffee filling layers and was topped with fresh, white hydrangeas.

Photographer: Lindsay B Photography
Reception Venue: Ritz-Carlton, Denver; Elizabeth Brady
Band: Moments Notice/Jerry Barnett Entertainment, Marla Gifford
Florist: Kimball Floral
Bridal gown: anna bé
Makeup: Laura Mercier, Mindy Waite, 303.990.2466
Ceremony Music: Doris Merritt, Pianist, 303.761.6242
Ministers: Montview Boulevard Presbyterian Church, Cindy Cearley and Angelic Healing Associates, Gina Fenske

{images via Lindsay B Photography}

halloween treats


Caramel Popcorn
{family recipe}

1 cup butter
1 1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup popcorn

Before making the caramel sauce, pop the popcorn {air-popping is best} and put into a large mixing bowl. Leave off to the side.
Cover an area on your counter with wax paper {I use about 4-5 wax sheets}.

Heat the butter, sugar and corn syrup on medium heat until it boils.
When boiling, keep on medium heat for approximately 3 minutes. Consistency should be thick and gooey.
Turn heat off and add vanilla. Add food coloring {use 1 drop red and 2 drops yellow to make orange}. Mix well.
Drizzle caramel sauce over popcorn, and mix evenly. Immediately, pour the popcorn on top of the wax paper to keep it from drying into a large clump.
Let cool for 2-3 minutes and enjoy! Makes 2 quarts.

Pumpkin Cookies
{recipe by Becky}

pumpkin cookies and milk

My fabulous boss, Becky, brought homemade pumpkin cookies to work last week and they were to die for! So, we made them for our Halloween bash tonight for our family to enjoy.
{Shh…don’t tell – Jess made them three nights ago too and ate them all!}
Thanks, Becky, for sharing your delicious pumpkin cookie recipe with us!

1 can pumpkin {pie filling}
1 cup sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 cups flour
1 cup quick cooking oats
1 egg
1 cup butter {softened}
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 ounces chocolate chips {Becky said she puts in more. we put in 8 ounces}

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
Cream the butter and sugars together. Mix in vanilla extract and egg.
In a separate bowl, combine and mix flour, oats, cinnamon, baking soda and salt.
Alternate adding the flour mixture and the pumpkin to the creamed sugars and butter bowl. Beat until all is added and mixed well.
Stir in chocolate chips. Drop dough in tablespoonfuls 2 inches apart on a greased cookie sheet.
Bake for 10-13 minutes or until golden brown. {it usually takes more time, about 15 minutes, or make the cookies a bit smaller than tablespoons}
Let cool and enjoy! Makes 4 dozen.