My cousin Amie just got married in the beautiful town of St. Helena in Napa. You may have seen on the news that they have finally gotten rain there, which is great for everyone except cousin Amie, and people below that broken dam. OK, so it’s worse for the people below the dam, but Amie did have to move her wedding indoors at the last minute.
It was still wonderful, and it was right there at the Southbridge Hotel, where we all stayed. Her beautiful dress was from Trudy’s Brides, and a local flower shop called Centerpiece did the most amazing floral displays, along with the bouquet.
Even with the rain, it was still a great weekend of wine tasting and spa treatments.
Me and Amie!
Somewhere between the realms of amusement and horror lies the wedding dress made out of Taco Bell burrito wrappers. In this case our creative seamstress, Diane Nguyen, used the stunt to win a wedding in Las Vegas from the restaurant chain.
In her words:
It’s time to spill the beans. We have been engaged for 4 years, and together for 10. Taco Bell has been there through the years, from the after school runs, to late meals after work (or a night of partying). Our love for each other is as cheesy as a quesadilla. We’re nachos getting married, it’s going to be a Las Vegas tacover. Lettuce celebrate our love at the Taco Bell Chapel in Vegas, cuz we are ready to guac and roll.
To be fair, she looks quite svelte for someone who ate that many burritos.
This past weekend (and I use the term very loosely since it was actually more like a Monday and Tuesday) we celebrated our wedding anniversary by eating and drinking our way through California wine country. I can’t believe it’s been two years since we were all like this:
Crazy how time flies, right?
We started out the weekend with lunch at Auberge du Soleil (because let’s face it, we’ll never be able to afford to stay there). The views were ah-ma-zing so obviously we had to take a selfie ;).
Next we moseyed on over to Healdsburg, CA where we made the first of two stops at Shed’s Fermentation Bar. I love a good kombucha, but this was my first trip to a bar dedicated to fermented drinks (think kombucha, shrubs, and kefir water). It was RAD!
With our bellies now full of good bacteria, we figured it couldn’t hurt to stop by Bear Republic for a little retox beer tasting.
According to Napa Valley Elopement, the average cost of a wedding is now $35000. It ranges from New York City at $78,000 to Arkansas where you can get by on $19,000, which is still more than the value of both my cars put together.
Just wanted to share a super quick kitchen decor idea with you. My kitchen was looking a little drab so I decided to line my exposed shelves with some Con-Tact paper that I picked up at Target. I figured it was a relatively inexpensive (and non-committal) way to add some cheer to my kitchen.
It took about fifteen minutes total, which is my kind of project. Simply measure the length and width of your shelves, cut your contact paper to fit, peel the back, and stick. Since I was working with rounded edges, I used a box cutter for the curvy parts (hold the flat side of the blade at a downward angle flush against the shelf and drag).
Quick. Easy. Lovely.
Just wanted to share a quick pic of my clothespin holiday card garland before I took it down (sniff, sniff). Since many of the holiday cards friends and family send these days are flat (I’m not complaining — I love all the fun picture collages), I wanted a simple/cute way to display those cards that I couldn’t stand up on the mantle. Since I already had a diy paper chain garland I made a few years back, I just added some twine and secured it with tape.
Who wants Jordan almonds anyway? When I go to a wedding, I appreciate being sent home with a thoughtful and creative favor that reminds me of the couple. Since my husband and I LOVE experimenting with well-crafted cocktails, we decided to make these homemade rhubarb bitters from Serious Eats (along with cedar, orange and lavender) to give to our guests.
Turns out making bitters is pretty simple. We had so much fun that we will definitely be experimenting with other flavor combinations to share with you.
First things first. What the heck are cocktail bitters?
Bitters are a high proof base alcohol that has been infused with various herbs, fruits, spices and roots (or any combination). They are used in small amounts (usually a dash or two) to finish a cocktail, often giving it greater depth. Think of bitters less like a garnish and more like adding a pinch of salt to your soup.
Finding the more obscure ingredients proved to be the biggest challenge. No worries, I’m here to share. We ended up finding everything we needed between the Spice Station, Herbs of Mexico and the Dandelion Botanical Company. You’re welcome ;).
After we had our final product, it was time to bottle. Since we were going for the vintage look, we ordered these 1 oz. amber bottles and decided to add our own monogram using Avery 8293 mailing labels.
We LOVED the way they turned out (sorry, we didn’t get a closeup of the rhubarb bitters) and got so many compliments from our guests.
What was the most creative wedding favor you’ve ever received?
If you’re looking for a light and refreshing cocktail, look no further. I’m not normally a fan of grapefruit on its own, but there’s something about the way the bitterness cuts out the overly sweet/floral taste of St. Germain (elderflower liqueur) that results in cocktail perfection.
I’d had drinks with St. Germain that I enjoyed before, but they were usually made with champagne or prosecco and much too sweet for my liking. When I tried something similar at the The Belmont while visiting a friend in Charleston, SC, it was love at first sip. I knew immediately that I wanted this to be one of the signature cocktails at our wedding.
Since I didn’t have access to the exact recipe, I searched online and found Chow’s version called the Bichon Frisé. It was close, but still a tiny bit too sweet for me, so I tried different variations until I found the combination I liked best. Since this was going to be served in mass quantity at a wedding, I tried several store-bought juices first, but nothing tasted as good as the fresh-squeezed stuff. Go figure.
I’ve included recipes for both large batch (see graphic below) and single serving quantities.
What you need:
1.5 oz. (1 shot) St. Germain
3 oz. (2 shots) vodka
4.5 oz. (3 shots) fresh-squeezed ruby red grapefruit (usually 1 1/2 grapefruit)
1. Combine St. Germain, vodka and fresh-squeezed ruby red grapefruit juice in a cocktail shaker (if you don’t have one, no worries, just stir it together) and shake.
2. Serve in a cocktail glass (or quilted mason jar if you have it) over ice.
3. Garnish with a grapefruit peel.
4. Drink and repeat
Let me know how you like it.