Tables That Are Tops

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

One of my FAVORITE events to drool over is kicking off this week – DIFFA’s Dining by Design. DIFFA aka Design Industries Foundation Fighting Aids created this annual event that puts tables designed by artists, students, fashion & interior designers and architects on display. The tables also travel throughout the U.S. (you can find the schedule here).

I love this event because the table entries really push the creativity bar and can be used as inspiration at your next dinner party or event.

As Biz Bash points out, one key thing missing from this year’s event – flowers! Designers used crazy objects in place of overpriced florals!

Here are some of my favorite tables!

Love this David Stark table for Benjamin Moore. I adore the butterflies cascading from the ceiling (which I’d imagine are made from paint chips) and the colorful books at each table setting.

I’m personally dying to spray paint (I need my own yard) wine bottles to create a look similar to this one

Speaking of my empty wine bottles, mad props (do people say that?) to Libby Langdon for the chandelier of empty wine bottles. Divine!

Neon ribbons. Enough said.

I mean – how awesome is a centerpiece of laser beams? (the guests at this party are a bit freaky lol) 

Okay, so I’m not in love with this table, but I wanted to show you how a colorful table cloth can add the punch of pop to a table without flowers.

This Ralph Lauren table? I mean how does this become my future home! This table / room is the most inviting of the bunch!

Preppy? Yes. Beachy? Yes. Pink? Yes. LOVE this table from Ethan Allen. Great bridal shower inspiration!

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From Runway to Table Top

Monday, March 26, 2012

There is a famous movie scene from Devil Wears Prada that I tend to reference a lot at work. Here it is courtesy of IMDB:

Miranda Priestly: [Miranda and some assistants are deciding between two similar belts for an outfit. Andy sniggers because she thinks they look exactly the same] Something funny? 

Andy Sachs: No. No, no. Nothing's... You know, it's just that both those belts look exactly the same to me. You know, I'm still learning about all this stuff and, uh... 

Miranda Priestly: 'This... stuff'? Oh. Okay. I see. You think this has nothing to do with you. You go to your closet and you select... I don't know... that lumpy blue sweater, for instance because you're trying to tell the world that you take yourself too seriously to care about what you put on your back. But what you don't know is that that sweater is not just blue, it's not turquoise. It's not lapis. It's actually cerulean. And you're also blithely unaware of the fact that in 2002, Oscar de la Renta did a collection of cerulean gowns. And then I think it was Yves Saint Laurent... wasn't it who showed cerulean military jackets? I think we need a jacket here. And then cerulean quickly showed up in the collections of eight different designers. And then it, uh, filtered down through the department stores and then trickled on down into some tragic Casual Corner where you, no doubt, fished it out of some clearance bin. However, that blue represents millions of dollars and countless jobs and it's sort of comical how you think that you've made a choice that exempts you from the fashion industry when, in fact, you're wearing the sweater that was selected for you by the people in this room from a pile of stuff. 

Miranda has a point – runway fashion really does influence everything – even parties.
Lately I’ve been seeing a few, what I’ll call runway to tabletop fashions that I thought I would share for inspiration!

Note that I clearly know that some of these aren’t “runway” (i.e. GAP) but rather store ; ) Runway to Tabletop was just the a clever name!

·          Runway (or Met Ball 2011): Brooklyn Decker in neon pink
·         Tabletop via Brooklyn Bride
·         Neon DIY vases via Green Wedding Shoes
·         Cotton Candy on a Glow Stick? GENIUS!

·         Dress – Badgley Mischka via
·         Leave it to Martha (her peeps) to take ombre to another level with this party! Via Martha
·         Balloons via Little Green Notebook
·         Table via Ruffled
·         Cake via Glorious Treats

Polka Dots
·         Runway: Marc Jacobs via Harper’s BAZAAR
·         Wedding via Style Me Pretty
·         Balloon via Shop Sweet Lulu
·         Party via TomKat Studio
·         Invitation via Etsy

Black & White Stripes
·         Runway: Gap Dress
·         Chair covers from Wildflower Linen
·         Lanterns via Paloma’s Nest
·         Cupcakes wrappers via Tomkat Studios
·         Stripey Straws via Shop Sweet Lulu
·         Cake via here
·         Tabletop via 100 Layer Cake

·         Dress – Elie Saab
·         Silver sparkle table cloth
·         Table Runner
·         Sparkler Send Off
·         Black Sequin Table
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Sundays with Sue: Grandma's Chocolate Chip Cookies

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Shot of Mom is in the process of collecting recipes for a family cookbook that will be produced for her family’s annual reunion. This reunion is a big deal. We are talking people from all across the country gathering together for games, prize raffles, food, etc.

Guess the baby...can you find me? 

The family is trying to track down a recipe similar to my great-grandma’s homemade chocolate chip cookies, and here is one that’s close from All Recipes. While I never had a chance to enjoy one of these, Great-Grandma B used to make these every Sunday for family dinners!

Angel Chocolate Chip Cookies:
1 cup shortening
2 cups white sugar
4 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
6 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
2 cups milk
2 cups semi-sweet chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Blend shortening, sugar, eggs & vanilla until light and fluffy.

Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and cream of tartar. Add flour mixture alternately with the milk to the shortening mixture. Fold in the chips. Drop onto lightly greased cookie sheets. Bake at 350 degrees 10 mins. or until barely light brown at edges.
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Thursday, March 22, 2012

Bubba's  Delicious Green Waffles

The hubs and I celebrated St. Pat’s last week with a little Irish Breakfast. And while I won’t share some of the goodies with you because they won’t be relevant until next year, I will share one snack that I’m looking to incorporate into year round entertaining – Irish Pudding Shots!

I’ve wrote about my love for pudding shots last year, but these ones  were delish. They were so easy to make and tasted more like a Frosty than a chilled Irish coffee.

I copied this recipe from – I wish this little blog would update itself more!

Irish Pudding Shots (Or you could probably call them Frosty Shots)
·         1 small package of Instant Chocolate Pudding
·         3/4 cup of Milk
·         1/4 cup of Vodka
·         1/2 cup of Irish cream (Baileys)
·         8 oz of Extra Creamy Cool Whip (I just used regular)
While the Cool Whip was defrosting a bit, I mixed all ingredients into my electric mixer and then folded in the whip. Once the mixture formed a liquid, I scooped it out into mini plastic shot cups (with lids) and then froze.

These suckers really get hard (that’s what she said), so you may need to defrost them a bit before serving – or give people a spoon! 

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Fashion Friday: Dashing in Denim

Friday, March 16, 2012

The official wardrobe stable right now is a denim shirt. In fact, as I pen this, I’m sporting one.

I’m so ecstatic that denim or chambray shirts are in style right now. They are so versatile that it almost demands that you keep more than one in your closet.

Here are some ways to rock this look. PLEASE just be careful of the denim tuxedo! You need to be really hip on how you rock denim on denim.

Oh and let me apologize for some AWFUL editing below. LOL. I'm very JV. 

Featured in every pic is a Denim or Chambray Shirt from Old Navy

·         Black Jeans (these are J Brand) or Leggings (make sure they cover your butt and vag!). Ignore these shoes. Pair with riding boots or flats – weather pending!
·         Candy Colored Jeans. Match your shirt with any color – blue, green, mint, yellow… I’m lusting over Gap Fuchsia
·         Shorts – I personally like denim and green and also the idea of pairing the denim shirt with shorts – so these from Anthro rise to the top as an option.

·         Leather Skirt – This one is pricey, but you can find some faux leather at H&M. Oh and leather is in for spring!
·         Sequin Skirt – I love the idea of using something as basic as a denim top with a sequin skirt. It’s very J. Crew and also helps balance all of the fun going on at the bottom of this look.
·         Pink Pleated Skirt – This look - a pink pleated skirt with a denim top and leopard shoes worn by Sterling Style made me realize that I NEED a chambray shirt in my closet.

·         Here’s a look from J. Crew pairing a striped maxi skirt with a denim top.
·         This mini from Free People is way mini, but you get the gist of how to pair this with a skirt for a fun summer look.
·         I forgot to make this blog official, but Anthro and I are back together. Yep. I’m back in shopping love with their clothes. So of course I like this look mixing the denim with printed pants. 
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Get Lucky with a Cup of Joe

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Who’s pumped up to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day on a Saturday!?! This girl!! I’ve got my sequin vest ready (true story) and have been St. Practicing for weeks. One thing on the Smithkowski party menu? Irish Coffee.

When doing my research, I found that there are several recipes for this Irish delicacy. I’m going to go with my friends at Wikipedia – because their recipe comes from the people at the International Bartenders Association.

(pic and drank by me)

Irish Coffee (via Wikipedia)
·         40ml (2 parts) Irish whiskey
·         80ml (4 parts) hot coffee
·         30ml (1½ parts) fresh cream
·         1tsp brown sugar

Heat the coffee, whiskey and sugar; do not boil. Pour into Irish Coffee mug and top with cream; serve hot.

A bit of trivia to help you sound awesome at your St. Pat’s Party – The original Irish Coffee was created by Joe Sheridan, a chef in the County Limerick, Ireland. Joe created the drink when a group of American passengers got off of a flight during really cold weather in the 1940’s, so Joe added whiskey to the cup of Joe (haha – pun intended) to warm up the passengers.  

(sources: Wikipedia
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Umbrella, ella, ella, a

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

I think because I receive the Crate& Barrel and CB2 catalogues, the company just signed me up for the Land of Nod book as well. I’ll take it – I’m part 4-year-old anyways!

In the last issue, I found this fab entertaining idea for your next luau – a cocktail umbrella wall! Wouldn’t this make an awesome photo background?

Here’s a link to some directions to make this. Land of Nod just uses sticky putty and a wall! Crazy easy! If you want to do this outside, I’d suggest some Styrofoam! 

Oh and I'll also take this outfit too, please. Yes. 4-year-old. 

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Monday, March 12, 2012

·       I have a sweet tooth – that’s no lie. I tend to go through intervals of things that I crave. Right now – POPCORN is at the top of that list. I’m not discriminating between sweet or savory and right now my dealer of delicious popcorn crack is Pittsburgh Popcorn. This.Stuff.Is.Amazing. They ship nationwide too friends!

·         Louis Vuitton Fall 12 Paris Runway Show was just SO freaking awesome and SMART. The models come off of a train and there are bell hops carrying their LV bags…which some were adorned with GLITTER. And then the CLOTHES! Amazing colors and patterns and beautiful buttons. Sky high heels and hats with feathers. I just want to climb all aboard that train, have a cocktail with Marc Jacobs and swim in all of those clothes and accessories.  (photo source)

·         The new DVF Kid’s line for Gap comes out this week. While all of the looks are adorable and leave you wishing they were available in big kid sizes, I, lover of all things office supplies, of course loved the DVF School Kits. This delightful accessory includes paper dolls (gasp!), stickers, a coloring book, confetti (double gasp) and a roll of “decorative tape.” This may be mine. Don’t judge.

·         I started to see a frightening trend in my closet. Stripes and dots. A number of my recent purchases have included stripes and dots. So of course I fell in like with this J. Crew clutch.

·         I’ve always wondered why they make coolers so manly. Us ladies like to get our outdoor drinking on too. Enter All For Color. They make these charming roller coolers in pretty patterns and colors!

·         Remember when I said that I go through food obsessions. This one time, in college, I ate soft pretzels for dinner for a semester (thanks to the hubs for snagging me some bball leftovers during our Hogwarts, I mean WVU years). Therefore, I LOVE this idea – a soft pretzel bar via Biz Bash!

·         This seriously may be the one of the most clever company names that I’ve  ever seen – Bitches in Pearls. Not to be confused with the name you may have given a rival sorority, Bitches in Pearls makes pricey, little necklaces for your bitch…er dog.

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Shot of Mom Girls Weekend: Part 2 - FOOD.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Shot of Mom’s girls’ weekend recap continues!

Below you will find one recipe that Sue made during her Chicago trip, while the other she cooked up for Pap’s 82nd birthday. While I didn’t have a chance to sample the first one (and me + pork aren’t friends), the brussels sprouts are AMAZING.

Rosemary-Scented Pork Loin Stuffed with Roasted Garlic, Dried Apricots and Cranberries and Port Wine Pan Sauce (reposted via All Recipes)

·         3 tablespoons olive oil
·         16 whole peeled garlic cloves
·         2 tablespoons minced garlic cloves
·         1 (8 pound) whole boneless pork loin,
·         patted dry, at room temperature
·         Salt and freshly ground pepper
·         3 tablespoons minced fresh rosemary
·         (snip with scissors), divided
·         16 dried apricots (or similar amount of
·         your favorite dried fruit)
·         1/3 cup dried cranberries
·         Heavy kitchen string or twine
·         1/4 cup apple jelly
·         1/4 cup port
·         1/2 cup chicken broth
·         2 tablespoons apple jelly
·         2 teaspoons cornstarch

Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 250 degrees. Heat oil in a small skillet over medium-low heat. Add whole garlic cloves and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and golden, about 5 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon; reserve oil.
Turn pork loin fat-side down. Slit lengthwise, almost but not quite all the way through, to form a long pocket, leaving a 1/2-inch border of unslit meat at each end. Brush cavity with some of the reserved garlic cooking oil, and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper and 1 Tb. of the rosemary. Line cavity with sauteed garlic and apricots; sprinkle in cranberries. Tie loin together with kitchen twine or heavy-duty string at 1 1/2-inch intervals.
Brush with remaining oil, and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Set roast, fat-side up, diagonally or curved (so it fits) on a large, lipped cookie sheet or jellyroll pan. Warm 1/4 cup apple jelly along with the minced garlic and remaining rosemary. Brush mixture onto meat.
Roast until a meat thermometer stuck into the center registers 125 to 130 degrees. (Start checking at about 1 1/2 hours.) Remove from oven; raise oven temperature to 400 degrees. Brush loin with pan drippings, return to oven, and continue to roast until the loin is golden brown and a meat thermometer stuck into the center registers 155 to 160 degrees, about 20 minutes longer. For even more attractive coloring, broil until spotty brown, 3 to 5 minutes.
Let roast rest 15 to 20 minutes; transfer to a carving board. Stir juices around pan to loosen brown bits. Pour through a strainer into a small pan, and stir in port, chicken broth and remaining 2 Tbs. of jelly; bring to a simmer. Mix cornstarch with a couple of tablespoons of cold water; whisk into sauce. Simmer until lightly

Brussels Sprouts with Bacon (reprinted from Rachel Ray)

·         3 slices bacon, chopped
·         1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, 1 turn of the pan
·         1 shallot, chopped
·         1 1/2 pounds Brussels sprouts, trimmed, small spouts left whole, larger spouts halved
·         Salt and pepper, to your taste
·         1 cup chicken broth

Brown bacon in a medium skillet over medium high heat. Remove bacon to a paper towel lined plate. Add extra-virgin olive oil to the pan, 1 turn. Add shallots to the pan and saute 1 to 2 minutes. Add Brussels spouts and coat in oil. Season with salt and pepper. Cook Brussels sprouts 2 to 3 minutes to begin to soften, then add broth. Bring broth to a bubble, cover and reduce heat to medium low. Cook 10 minutes, until tender. Transfer sprouts to a serving dish with a slotted spoon and top with cooked bacon bits. 
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Come Classy, Leave Trashy

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

First there was the Redneck or Hillbilly wine glass...

Now, there is the classy Red Solo Cup! 

And who can forget the Woozie. J Bo was the lucky winner of one of these from this gal for Christmas!

March Madness starts in less than two week and there are only 178 days left until college football is back!! The perfect excuse for this purchase!
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Succulent Succulents

Monday, March 05, 2012

There is a plant out there that is having a moment. A moment where this plant is being integrated into a number of weddings, parties and home decorating.

That plant is the succulent.

What is a succulent? According to my friends at Wikipedia, a succulent – not to be confused with a cactus – is a plant that stores water it its leaves, stems and in its roots. They come from dry areas of the tropics and subtropics (think deserts).

I love the color of succulents and their natural feeling. I also am a fan of using a plant as a party favor! 

Seating Cards

As favors


WITH Chevron!!!


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Sundays with Sue: Drink Up Yinz Bitches - It's Girls' Weekend Part 1

Sunday, March 04, 2012

Shot of Mom has been busy in February celebrating her birthday and traveling to (sweet former home) Chicago and Seven Springs (a ski resort outside of Pittsburgh) for a few girls’ weekends!

So for this edition of Sundays with Sue, she wanted to share some of the recipes that she’s been mixing up for both weekends! Enjoy!

Pomegranate Martinis - Note for this recipe, Sue smuggled the vodka to Chicago in bubble wrap in her checked luggage. However, they should sell Pama and the Three Olives in the Windy City.
·         2 oz Pama Pomegranate liquor
·         1 oz Three Olives Pomegranate vodka
·         2 oz Pomegranate juice
·         Splash of sparkling wine or champagne

Seven Springs Hot Chocolate  (while waiting out in the cold for the drunk bus)
·         1 cup hot chocolate
·         2 oz marshmallow vodka

Chicago and Seven Springs Bloody Mary
·         1 46 oz tomato juice (or v8)
·         1 tsp pepper
·         1 tsp salt
·         1 tbsp worcestershire sauce
·         1 lemon juiced
·         1 tbsp celery seed
·         1 tsp seafood seasoning
·         Shakes of hot sauce
·         Dash horseradish
·         Minced garlic
·         Top with celery and olives

No – both of these trips just weren’t liquid diets. Next week, Sue will share some of the yummy food recipes! Stay tuned!
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