entertaining

Pro-Tip #34: Buy Coasters That Actually Absorb

Coasters are seen as a really adult purchase, and probably the cheapest one you can make. You use them under your drinks to protect the furniture you didn’t garbage pick or buy on clearance at the local supermarket. I fully endorse the purchase of coasters, they’re useful and they have all kinds of art options that can make fun little accents to your decor. 

But here’s the thing: lots of coasters are really terrible at what they do. Don’t just get a little square with a cute design and think that’s it, because most of those will either get ruined by moisture (why) or block out so much moisture that the liquid runs all over your table anyway. Do yourself a favor and spend a few extra dollars and buy thirsty stone (or any similar brand) coasters. They look great and actually absorb the moisture without compromising your great woodwork. And how adult will you feel when you buy not just coasters, but good coasters? Your parents might even be envious.

DIY: Cupcake Bouquet

For the cupcakes, I used Cupcake Project’s ultimate vanilla cupcake and vanilla bean buttercream (I substituted vanilla extract for bean in the frosting so it wouldn’t have flecks in it), which were met with rave reviews:

Seriously, I can’t recommend these recipes enough: the cake is fluffy with a nice vanilla flavor and the buttercream frosting pipes perfectly and tastes like melted vanilla ice cream.

YOU WILL NEED:

Materials:

  • Cupcakes
  • Frosting 
  • Piping bag
  • Green tissue paper
  • Clear tape
  • Flower pot
  • Styrofoam ball
  • Toothpicks.

All of these things are available online or at craft stores such as Michael’s (that’s where I found the adorable polka dot flower pot).

             

Bake cupcakes and make buttercream frosting. To pipe a cupcake rose, fit a piping bag with a 1M tip and fill with room temperature frosting. To pipe a rose, hold the piping bag perpendicular to the surface and start in the center of the cupcake. Gently squeeze the bag and pipe frosting around in a spiral until you reach the outer edge, then let go. 

Place cupcakes in fridge while you prepare the styrofoam so the frosting becomes firm.

Place styrofoam ball into flower pot. Place two toothpicks in each area where you want a cupcake.Note: around the sides, insert toothpicks at 45° angle, otherwise cupcakes will fall off after a while.

Slide a cupcake onto each pair of toothpicks, adjusting toothpicks as needed to place cupcakes close together. Cover as much of the styrofoam as you can. (My styrofoam ball had a 5″ diameter and fit 10 cupcakes.)

Cut green tissue paper into small strips.

Fold strips into accordions.

Pinch the bottom of the accordion fold

Place a piece of clear tape at the pinched part of the tissue paper and stick it to the exposed styrofoam in between the cupcakes. Make more tissue paper “leaves” until you cover all the uncovered areas.


*** Special thank you to 52 Kitchen Adventures for sharing this fun tutorial and photos with us. 

Vegetable Spiral Mini Tarts

Inspired by this Food Republic post and this post from Baked to the Roots, I made these vegetable mini tarts with a miso-walnut filling:

I can easily eat about 5 or 6 of these things by myself because they’re pretty addictive: the savory creamy filling works really well with the tender textures and earthy flavors of the zucchini, carrot, and eggplant swirls.

As for the tart shells, I used refrigerated pie crusts for recipe writing simplicity. They’re really just vessels for carrying the tart innards anyways so the brand and pastry type is not that important. Feel free to use a substitute, like a vegan pie dough (if you want to veganize it), or something fancy like a homemade pâte brisée (if you want to show off). If you want to be an overachiever, make your own pâte feuilletée.

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Outdoor by Day & Night

We have a confession to make: we are outdoors obsessed… >

Outdoor by Day & Night


We have a confession to make: we are outdoors obsessed. The second the weather warms up, we grab our nearest and dearest, park ourselves on our lawns, decks and porches, and make merry. Oh, that glorious fresh air! That sweet summer breeze! We simply cannot get enough.

You feel exactly the same way, you say? Perfect. Gather ‘round, grab an adult beverage, and peruse our tips for making the most of your outdoor space from sunup ‘til sundown.

Daytime

01: In the quiet cool of the morning, take a few moments to string up your twinkle lights and strategically place votives—once the sun’s rays kick into high gear you might prefer to stay supine.

02: Be sure to give your plants plenty of refreshment during high noon so that they look lush and vibrant when your guests arrive.

03:Get your chopping, prepping and mixer-making done ahead of time—when the clock officially strikes party time, all you’ll need to do is pour and sip.


Evening

01: Bring all your libations, glasses and finger foods outdoors to prevent any unnecessary trips inside (i.e., away from the festivities).

02: Cozy is the name of the game once the sun starts to sink—place groupings of pillows around your space to encourage comfortable conversation.

03: There’s nothing sweeter than the evening breeze that comes after a long, hot day. Curl up under a lightweight throw with a beau or best pal and share stories long into the night.


Lantern String Lights


Metalwork Hurricane


Shibori Accordion Rug


Anta Herb Pot


Opalescent Tumbler


Marbled Cheese Board


Brass-Capped Decanter


Champagne Bubbles Glasses


Mercury Bar Cart


Pushkar Pillow


Moroccan Wedding Throw