Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Totally Delish Thanksgiving Recipe: Herb-Roasted Turkey with Apple Cider Gravy

So it's not very often that we post recipes on our blog, after all we design and produce events for the most part. However, planning life's celebrations does include some of the planning at home for the holidays. My favorite is definitely Thanksgiving!

For that, today we are posting quite possibly the greatest turkey recipe ever! Not exaggerating here people, this recipe is extraordinary! It actually requires days of prep, thus today is the day to start if your interested in trying something new this year. Not sure how I make the time to do it, but I have and I will continue to, as it really is totally worth it.

After making this recipe for the past 3 years, receiving all the rave reviews from family and friends, all over my amazing skill to pretty much follow the Bon Appetit recipe, I've decided to share it. Now you can enjoy all the compliments that follow this bird and eat the best turkey ever, all in the same night.

So... without further adieu, here is my all-time favorite recipe from the lovely Epicurious website.

Herb-Roasted Turkey with Apple Cider Gravy

Brining the turkey in the refrigerator for two days ensures an incredibly moist result. We do not recommend stuffing brined turkeys because the brine can make the stuffing too salty. A do-ahead gravy base eliminates last-minute stirring and thickening. Look for fresh bay leaves in the produce section.

Yield: Makes10 servings


8 quarts cold water
2 cups coarse kosher salt
8 large fresh or dried bay leaves
2 tablespoons black peppercorns
2 tablespoons whole allspice
1 16- to 17-pound turkey; giblets removed, neck reserved

Herb butter and gravy

3 tablespoons minced fresh Italian parsley
3 tablespoons minced fresh thyme
3 tablespoons minced fresh sage
3 tablespoons minced fresh marjoram
1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature

4 cups low-salt chicken broth
2 cups apple cider
3 tablespoons all purpose flour
1/2 cup whipping cream
2 tablespoons Calvados (apple brandy) or other brandy


2 large Granny Smith apples, quartered, cored
2 large onions, quartered

1 cup apple cider

To brine the turkey:

Line extra-large pot or bowl with two 13-gallon (or larger) plastic bags, 1 inside the other. Combine 1 quart water, salt, bay leaves, peppercorns, and allspice in large saucepan. Stir over medium heat until salt dissolves. Remove from heat. Add 1 quart cold water and cool to lukewarm. Pour into plastic bags; mix in remaining 6 quarts water. Wrap turkey neck and refrigerate. Submerge turkey in brine to cover completely, gathering bags tightly to eliminate any air; tie bags closed. Refrigerate turkey in brine in pot at least 18 hours and up to 20 hours.

Line large roasting pan with 4 layers of paper towels. Remove turkey from brine and drain well; discard brine. Place turkey in prepared pan. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

For herb butter and gravy:

Mix parsley, thyme, sage, marjoram, rosemary, and nutmeg in small bowl. Transfer 1/4 cup herb mixture to small bowl; mix in 1/2 cup butter.

Combine broth and apple cider in heavy large saucepan. Boil until reduced to 3 cups, about 20 minutes. Pour broth reduction into bowl. Melt remaining 1/4 cup butter in same saucepan over medium-high heat. Add flour; stir 1 minute. Whisk in broth reduction, then cream, Calvados, and remaining herb mixture. Bring to boil; reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until gravy base is thickened and reduced to 2 3/4 cups, whisking often, about 20 minutes. Cool gravy base slightly. (Gravy base and herb butter can be made 2 days ahead. Cover and chill.)

To roast the turkey:

Position rack in bottom third of oven and preheat to 350°F. Remove turkey from roasting pan; drain any accumulated juices from main cavity. Discard paper towels from roasting pan. Melt herb butter in small saucepan over medium heat. Brush bottom of roasting pan with some of herb butter. Return turkey to prepared pan. Tuck wing tips under; tie legs together loosely to hold shape. Place some apple quarters and onion quarters in main cavity. Brush remaining herb butter over turkey; sprinkle with pepper. Scatter remaining apples and onions around turkey in pan. Add reserved turkey neck to pan.

Roast turkey 1 hour. Baste with 1/2 cup apple cider. Roast turkey 30 minutes. Baste with remaining 1/2 cup cider. Roast turkey until thermometer inserted into thickest part of thigh registers 175°F, basting turkey every 30 minutes with pan juices and covering breast loosely with foil if browning too quickly, about 2 hours longer (3 1/2 hours total). Transfer turkey to platter; let stand at least 30 minutes before carving (internal temperature will rise 5 to 10 degrees).

Discard apples, onions, and turkey neck from pan. Pour pan juices into large glass measuring cup; spoon off fat from surface. Pour degreased juices into gravy base and bring to boil over medium-high heat, whisking occasionally. Boil until gravy thickens enough to coat spoon and is reduced to 3 1/2 cups, about 15 minutes. Season gravy to taste with pepper.

Serve turkey with gravy.

So there you have it, my secret weapon for the holidays is officially out.

Couple quick things I always modify with this recipe...
* I always make double herb butter and place it under the skin of the bird, before it goes in the oven.
* I always double the gravy recipe so you have extra for your guests.
* I always baste with extra cider after that first initial hour.
* I always cook my bird at 500 degrees for the first half hour to get a nice color than I drop it down to the 350 degrees. If during the cooking process, it becomes to brown, you can always cover it with foil over the breast portion.
* Lastly, I always serve with my signature cranberry sauce...

Happy Cooking!

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Too sweet not to share: An iPhone Proposal

Every now and then we come across something too sweet not to share. This morning it was this video...

Now as most of you know iPhone's are one of the hottest things in technology right now. Being die hard blackberry fans, we still had to share this as more than ever you see iPhone's being used so frequently with regard to a wedding. We see Best Men using them to give their speeches, Brides using apps to keep track of their planning and now, a proposal!

This video was too creative not to share. One of the most special parts of a proposal is your fiance coming up with the idea, the moment, the story of how he asks you to be his wife. We love that story and love when our grooms go that extra mile to really create something extraordinary. Hope you enjoyed this one as much as we did...

Happy Day!

Monday, November 08, 2010

Sterling Engagements Wishes: Happy Anniversary Amanda and Luis!

Today is the 2nd anniversary for a very special couple, Amanda and Luis! The Barrios' were married 2 years ago today at Agoura Bible Fellowship and had their reception at the Westlake Village Inn.

Here is a recap of their special day thanks to the lovely Charles Lauren Films. To date, this is one of our most treasured highlight reels ever! So sweet!
To see special details from this day, visit the original blog post!

Happy Anniversary!

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Sterling Engagements Buzz: Leslie and Earl featured in the LA Times!

Back in September we had the pleasure of planning Fantasy Frostings owner, Leslie Maynor's wedding to Earl Anderson aka Mr. Frostings. For those of you who don't know these two, you should! They run one of the best cake and dessert bakeries in town and are deeply loved by all!

Photo courtesy of the lovely Holly Steen of Cakes and Kisses Photography

Leslie and Earl wanted a simple and kitschy backyard bbq bash and we planned just that. Stay tuned for a featured post with all their wedding day details. In the meantime, check out this awesome article published in today's issue of the LA Times.

Happy Reading!

Friday, November 05, 2010

CASTING SEARCH: Disaster Weddings! WE TV wants past Brides and Grooms for a new hit series...

Today we received a call from the lovely Danielle Gervais in regards to WE TV's newest show. Below is the casting notice on a new series giving disaster weddings an amazing redo. Check it out and if you know anyone please pass on this info.

While we do know our Sterling brides have never faced disaster on their special day, our hope is reach out to all and hopefully help a deserving couple get one more chance on another big day!

Happy Redo!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Sterling Engagements Featured: On The Bridal Bar Blog!

We're so excited that our Victorian Chic Event on Halloween was featured yesterday on The Bridal Bar Blog. Please take a peak at this stunning event which actually was planned as a wedding but closer to the date transitioned to the bash of the season!

Check out our featured post from this highly stylized affair too!

Happy Halloween! (almost)

Monday, October 18, 2010

Sterling Buzz: We've Joined The Bridal Bar!

We are so excited to share with you our latest and greatest of news. As of this past Friday, we are an official member of The Bridal Bar! We could not be happier and are so grateful to be a part of this incredible resource library amongst some of the top wedding vendors in Los Angeles. Not to mention the awesome perk of being able to work with Harmony Walton more is equally exciting!

We cannot wait to do more with The Bridal Bar and start to assist Bridal Bar Brides! Stay tuned for additional buzz and updates coming soon!!!

Happy Day!

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Featured Wedding: Sneak Peak! Kimberly + Marcus

This past July we had the pleasure of planning the wedding of Kimberly and Marcus. While we came into the picture so close to the date, we made up for lost time in no time and before we knew it July 31st was here then gone.

For the past month and a half we've waited patiently for a highlight reel from this day, knowing it would be magical. Today we received an email from Kelsey and David of Charles Lauren Films. They created an amazing preview of what truly was an incredible day.

We adored the couple and their very special family. Marcus' speech at the reception was actually one of the best speeches from a groom that we've ever heard, it was a real tearjerker! We love that Kelsey and David edit in some of the special words from the day, it adds so much to this one.

Special shout out to Kim's mom, Kathy, who really went above and beyond for her, we loved working with you! You will forever be one of our favorite Mother of the Brides!

Happy Viewing!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Groom Love: Introducing Tuxedo Tuesdays by Whitney!

Hello Everyone! My name is Whitney Brianna Boyle. As many of you may know, I am the Production Coordinator for The Sterling Team. Here’s a little more about me! I’m basically just a California girl! A native Los Angelina, who loves the outdoors, beach, forest, city life and desert! I’ve always had a passion for culture and the arts, from theater, to fashion, to travel, to music. I have a bit of a wild side too, I’m very adventurous, and would try almost any food or ritual if in the right place, at the right time. I have a lot of energy, and love to be active; like surfing, bike riding, snowboarding and swimming. My favorite thing to do is to laugh, and make others laugh! I like to keep positive and enjoy my family, friends, work and travels.

Photo courtesy of Callaway Gable Photography

I’m writing to you today to tell you about a new edition to our blog that I’m so thrilled about doing and hope you will be to! This is my first contribution to The Sterling Engagements blog and I can’t wait to begin this new and exciting journey with each of you!

As I continue to work in the Wedding industry, I consistently tend to notice that a significant amount of everything wedding is all about the woman. Now, don’t get me wrong, a bride on her wedding day is one of the most important parts of any wedding! There are just so many fun parts of a wedding that include the groom, or from the male’s side of things, that we are dedicating our Tuesdays to blog about all things Groom!

Introducing, Tuxedo Tuesdays! Special thoughts, advice and tips for all the F.O.G.’s, G.O.G.’s, and of course, the very important “G”. Take an adventure as we explore shoes, accessories, tuxes, ties, BM tributes, Groomsmen gifts, parties, advice, and inspiration, unique and original style. So, Grooms and Brides, and everyone in between; join us weekly as we honor of all the boys to men and toughen up the wedding world with a some manly love for roles they play on the big day!

Photo courtesy of Austin & Dara Photography

So, why is a girl blogging about all things Groom?!

Growing up in the Boyle household- sports and ESPN were 2nd nature and Super Bowl was as big as Christmas. Being a Daddy’s girl and having two athletic, macho brothers gave me many insights on the male species-from habits to likes & dislikes to behaviors, attitudes and thoughts. I always had a handful of great girlfriends, and have definitely had my girly moments; what woman doesn’t like to dress up and go shopping, right?? However….I always tended to gravitate to the boys! Sure, some called it boy crazy; after all, I AM a Libra ruled by Venus- the planet of love. Whatever the reason, I tended to relate and hang better with the boys. Whether it was guy friends to watch sports with, give the “girl” perspective to, or play the wing girl, I was a girl in boy’s world and I loved it!

Anyway, I'm very excited for our first official post starting next Tuesday! Be sure to check it out and comment to let me know what you think and what you want to see!


Monday, August 30, 2010

Red Carpet Fashion: What Caught our Eyes at The Emmy's!

The ladies of the Emmy's were looking gorgeous last night! We saw a significant amount of navy blue, grey's and jewel tone color gowns. Here are a handful of the ones that caught our attention!

Stephanie Pratt

While watching E!'s Countdown to the Emmy's we saw a chic makeover segment transitioning the lovely ladies of The Hills', Lo Bosworth and Stephanie Pratt into Mad Men 1960's bombshells! Stephanie Pratt's makeover was absolutely gorgeous and truly is a red carpet fave for us for the day. The long sleeve short dress is so sexy and the lace detail just takes it to another level! This would be an incredible rehearsal dinner ensemble. Believe it or not it was by Guess by Marciano which makes it an affordable dress as well, maybe that means you can splurge on the shoes!

Photo Courtesy of Sheknows.com

Lea Michele

Lea Michele wore a stunning navy blue Oscar de la Renta gown and looked like a Hollywood starlet. She looked insane, her jewels by Lorraine Schwartz were dazzling and so complimentary to her gown. This fit and flare dreamy gown was absolutely captivating.

Photo Courtesy of Modoration.com

Tina Fey

Tina Fey looked so sophisticated and elegant on the carpet. She also wore an Oscar de la Renta and it was a nice change for her as she often times wears black. While this dress was a layered black and what looked like silver gown, it was beaded, two-toned from see-through overlay and just lovely. This gown would look gorgeous on a youthful Mother of the Bride looking to not be so traditional by solely wearing a solid color.

Photo Courtesy of JustJared.com


Jewel stole the show with her angelic Zuhair Murad gown. In a blush palette with beading encrusted below and an adored bow embellishment. This gown was so sweet and pure yet elegant. Definitely a favorite from the night, she glowed! Jewel was there to preform the In Memoriam tribute and she was incredible!

Photo Courtesy of JustJared.com

The men were looking good too! Here are a couple favorites...

Ty Burell

Ty Burell's tuxedo is definitely a favorite! We adore the grey color palette and incorporating it with a white shirt is so sharp! This would look stellar on a groom for a spring or summer wedding. We only wish his wife's dress wasn't what it was, she may have put herself on the list for worst dressed wearing a gown like this!

Photo Courtesy of TheFrisky.com

Neil Patrick Harris & David Burtka

These men looked Sharp!!! The charcoal suit and the black tux together was smashing and contrasted so well together! Neil was wearing Calvin Klein and he did wear it well.

Photo Courtesy of JustJared.com

Our favorite couple of the night was definitely this hot pair! They compliment each other so nicely and really are adorable together!

Tony Parker and Eva Longoria-Parker

Together these two stood out from one edge of the carpet to the next showing how in love they are! Tony was even caught affectionately kissing her forehead at one point. They both looked impeccable with Eva in Robert Rodriguez and Tony in Brooks Brothers.

Photos Courtesy of JustJared.com

It was quite an afternoon on the carpet and most looked stunning!

Worst Dressed definitely had to have been January Jones in Atelier Versace!

Photo Courtesy of JustJared.com

Happy Day!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Shoe Shot Sunday: Joanne + Vincent

In honor of the Emmy's today, we wanted to pick something a little extra sparkly for our shoe shot today! All the ritz and glam that's about to be on TV we got a wee bit excited and decided to partake in featuring a red carpet worthy shoe!

From the moment we saw these precious ivory shoes on Caroline Tran's website we fell in love. They are the epitome of old Hollywood Glamour and their blue counterpart, the Something Blue Manolo Blahnik heels are just epic. This pair is actually just an interpretation of the Manolo's but we love it anyway. They are called the Zenith Ivory Bridal Shoe and can be found on the Perfect Details site. Check them out!

Joanne wore them for her special day as captured by Caroline and we loved that her gown had a sash which complimented the color of the buckle on the heel. Such a stunning look!

Happy Feet and Happy Red Carpet Day!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Festive Fridays: Fun and Colorful Bouquets to Brighten your Day!

This week we wanted to focus on something festive with flowers. As we began searching for some inspiration, we came across this amazing yellow bouquet! It's so happy and feminine, we just love it! After knowing we had to include this in our post, we decided that today's Festive Friday will be all about bouquets and the magic color brings to them!

Photo Courtesy of Wedding Flowers

One of our favorite color combinations is whites with greens. There is something so fresh and clean about them together yet at the same time whimsical and garden like. This next bouquet combines succulents with green cymbidum orchids for the green element and then uses white calla's for the white elegant contrast. This is one of the prettiest, yet still colorful and fun bouquets! Adore it!

Photo Courtesy of Santa Barbara Chic Blog

This pink bouquet is sweet! We love the texture and the combination of pinks used to make them all pop. It's festive and vivid and still very bridal.

Photo Courtesy of Flower Arrangement Adviser

Sunflowers are one of our most favorite flowers. Sometimes just looking at them brings happiness. They are so bright and vibrant plus BIG!

Photo Courtesy of Delightful Wedding Flowers and Decor

In May we designed a peacock inspired wedding. While our images are not back just yet, this bouquet represents the colors we were inspired by. They were so well together and are bold! Completely pops in photographs, stay tuned for the feature of our peacock inspired wedding!

Photo Courtesy of Black Door Floral

Happy Bouquet Friday!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Words of Wisdom Wednesday: The Importance of Videography

Cinematography happens to be one of our favorite elements from a wedding. While a picture is worth a thousand words, there is nothing more powerful or emotionally riveting than the story a wedding day video tells. There is something truly magical about reliving the most special of moments, being able to hear vows and speeches all over again and simply just viewing the day, after it happens. Your wedding day goes by so quickly and so much is happening at once that many often overlook things large or small. Having the peace of mind in knowing you will have a keepsake to hold onto and experience everything all over again is priceless.

Unfortunately, video tends to be one of the first vendors our clients seem to want to omit, for budget purposes or they just don't think they need it. We always encourage them to reevaluate this decision based on prior experiences with past clients. For quite some time clients have chosen to go without a video and to this day it tends to be one of their number one regrets. We now suggest at the very minimum having someone document the raw footage from the day. In the past several years, clients have taken our advice, hired a videographer for the day and have been beyond pleased in their decision.

One thing to note, their is a substantial difference between a wedding video and a cinematography styled wedding film. One of our favorite companies, Charles Lauren Films, recently spoke on some of the major differences between the two styles and why your video really is an investment for your future. In the video below, Kelsey Pluskat explains how the post-production process is truly what separates a cinema film from what she calls "your mother's wedding video".

Another incredible element to add to your wedding video is a highlight reel or even better yet the signature "same-day" edit created especially by Mr. Daniel Boswell of Imagique Cinema. Both the highlight reel and the "same-day" edit capture the most memorable moments of your day and feature them in an edited version synced to music. Sometimes they can also take words from speeches or vows or just special things said and edit those in as well.

The primary difference between the highlight reel and the "same-day" edit is the date it's shown. A "same-day" edit is created and shown live on-site at your wedding! Yes, this is actually possible and truly amazing. Guests are shocked and ecstatic to see all the details behind the scenes they didn't get to see during the day like getting ready moments or the minutes leading up to the ceremony. Typically we like to schedule the "same-day" edit for immediately following the cutting of the cake. This usually gives pros like Daniel ample time to setup an edit station in private and really go above and beyond with the cutting and mixing to your preselected song.

Here is an example of one of those magical "same-day" edits by Imagique Cinemafrom our Platinum Wedding. This happens to be one of our most favorite of all time! Not only do we love Alicia Keys but we also adore Kristel and Jason!

If you have additional questions in regards to Wedding Videography and the difference between Cinematography, please don't hesitate to ask.

If you are in search for a stellar videography team here are three of our personal favorites.

Daniel Boswell
of Imagique Cinema

David and Kelsey Pluskat
of Charles Lauren Films

Jason Garner Young of Garner Films

These companies are the best of the best and working with any of them will present you with an amazing video!

Happy Viewing!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Shoe Shot Sunday: VIcky + Mike

We have only one picture for this weeks shoe shot but we absolutely adore this image taken by Rob Greer Photography. It's such a timeless pair, that one image is just enough to capture how magical this shoe truly is!

These amazing Manolo Blahnik's are oh so elegant, and really are a favorite! They are so sleek and classy, we love the shape and way it frames your foot!

Happy Feet!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Festive Fridays: Celebrate your love with Confetti!

Super busy around the office today as we have our final wedding of the season tonight. Before we left, we wanted to shower you with a little paper magic... Confetti!

Such a fun and festive way to celebrate! Amy and Jamie did this right and this photo makes you feel like we are there too! Photography courtesy of Peter Kelk Photography!

We love the expression on Susie's face on this confetti filled photo by Chris Giles Photography too!

Happy Confetti Friday!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Shoe Shot Sunday: Helen + Danny

It's no secret we share a secret love for shoes, especially hot pink ones!

Check out this totally sparkling set from Helen's Big Day! Furious photographers captured the day and we love some of the other details posted from this wedding at the Universal Hilton. Check out their blogto view more!

Happy Feet!

Friday, August 06, 2010

Festive Fridays: Something Sweet for Two Sweethearts!

We totally fell in love with these images when we saw them on Jenny Evelyn's blog! Adding festive and fun things to your special day representative of your personality are always the best details!

A few other sweet shots we found that we had to share were these ice cream truck themed shots by Solar Photographers!

After finding those we got a wee bit curious about what other couples can do with ice cream and came up with these awesome photos by Hope Photography!

Anyway, just a couple festive shots that can be done with everyone's favorite frozen treat!

Happy Frozen Friday!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Shoe Shot Sunday: Danielle + Glenn

It's no surprise that we've been crushing hard lately over Natalie Moser and her creatively unique style. Her photography has a certain flare that just leaves you wanting more. We skimmed through pages and pages of her awesome blog and this was one of our favorite shoe shots to feature! But something tells me we'll be posting more to come, as her brides tend to have great taste in not only selecting their photographer but also their shoes!

Check out these incredible shoe shots from Danielle and Glenn's special day! Danielle's entire ensemble is just breathtaking!

Glenn has great taste in shoes too!

Their entire bridal party played the part too, it looked like they were all really just having an amazing time!

We had to include this final picture too! While it's more Bride + Groom then the shoes, it does shows them and this couple was too adorable in this image not to show it!

Happy Feet!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Art Deco Love at Union Station: Carrie and Michael

Today is Carrie and Michael's wedding day at the amazing Union Station. We are thrilled for the day to begin. Carrie's family has put so much time and effort into designing amazing wedding stationary and incredible details for this Art Deco day! With our amazing photography duo Callaway Gable capturing the day, stay tuned for some extraordinary pictures too!

Check out this perfectly stylized vintage pictures from their engagement shoot!

Brian and Allie really outdid themselves for this shoot! So sweet!

Happy Wedding Carrie and Mike!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Shoe Shot Sunday: Judith and Mike

We've been wanting to post a swanky pair of red shoes for a while now. When we saw this gorgeous set on Jessica Claire's blog, we knew it was love at first sight!

Check out the bows! The red is the perfect color too, not overly bright but just right.

Don't you just love how Bride Judith's shoes match the Bridesmaids dresses too! Too sweet not to share!

Happy Feet!