Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Star's Favorite Things: "Buttered-Popcorn Ice Cream Sundae" recipe

Hello All.  I've been on a popcorn kick lately and recently tried the Buttered-Popcorn Ice Cream Sundae recipe I came across in a few months ago in my Bon Appetit magazine.  It was absolutely fabulous - the perfect combination of sweet and salty!  If you are a popcorn/carmel corn/kettle corn fan, this recipe is a must try.  The ice cream is flavored with real buttered popcorn and topped with carmel sauce, whipped cream and chocolate covered kettle corn!

One thing to note, you do have to have an ice cream maker for this recipe.
Photo courtesy of Bon Appetit

The recipe called for peanut butter-chocolate halvah (the recipe was included); however, I skipped the halvah and topped mine with this delicious Cocoa Drizzled Kettle Corn I'd picked up from Trader Joe's.

Photo courtesy of Trader Joe's

Here is the recipe:

Caramel Sauce Ingredients

1 cup sugar

2 tablespoons light corn syrup

1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar

2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter

1/2 cup heavy cream

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Buttered-Popcorn Ice Cream Ingredients

2 cups popped popcorn

1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided

2 cups whole milk

2 cups heavy cream

1/4 cup light corn syrup

5 tablespoons sugar, divided

8 large egg yolks

Caramel Sauce Preparation

Combine sugar, corn syrup, cream of tartar, and 1/4 cup water in a medium saucepan. Stir over medium-low heat until sugar dissolves. Increase heat and cook without stirring, occasionally swirling pan and brushing down sides with a wet pastry brush, until dark amber in color, about 7 minutes.  Remove from heat; immediately add butter and stir until melted. Slowly add cream (mixture will bubble vigorously). Add vanilla and salt; whisk until smooth. 
DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 month ahead. Let cool completely. Cover sauce and chill. Rewarm slightly before using.

Buttered-Popcorn Ice Cream Preparation

Set a strainer over a large bowl; set aside. Place popcorn in another large bowl. Drizzle butter over and sprinkle with 1/2 tsp. salt; toss to coat. Add milk and cream; cover and steep for 10 minutes. Stir in corn syrup and 1 Tbsp. sugar. Working in batches, purée popcorn mixture in a blender until smooth. Transfer to a large saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat.  Using an electric mixer, beat yolks, remaining 4 Tbsp. sugar, and remaining 1/2 tsp. salt in a large bowl until thick ribbons form. Gradually whisk hot popcorn mixture into yolk mixture. Return to saucepan and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until custard is slightly thickened, your finger leaves a path when drawn across the back of a spoon, and an instant-read thermometer registers 175°, 3–4 minutes. Pour through strainer. Cover and chill overnight.  Process in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer's instructions. Transfer to a container, cover, and freeze. 
DO AHEAD: Can be made 2 days ahead. Keep frozen.


Spoon some caramel sauce into tall, decorative glasses or serving bowls. Add 2 scoops buttered-popcorn ice cream. Drizzle more caramel sauce over. Sprinkle some Cocoa Covered Kettle Corn (or halvah) over. Top with a spoonful of whipped cream. 

I hope you enjoy!


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Words of Wisdom Wednesdays: New Postage Rates for 2012!

On Sunday The USPS rolled out new postage rates for 2012.  As you and your loved ones prepare to send out your event stationary, whether it is your save the dates, shower invitations, wedding invitations, thank yous and more it's important to know how these increases will affect you.  

Photo courtesy of Oh So Beautiful Paper

If you're working with an invitation designer they often times are in the know.  If you're not, the old fashioned way of visiting your local USPS with a sample of your stationary is always effective.  The USPS website does have a helpful postage calculator as well, it can assist you in getting an idea of what your looking at rate wise.  However, I do feel that sometimes in person is the safest bet when it comes to something so important as an invitation.  

In researching for this post I found an amazing cheat sheet created by the awesome Erika of Delphine Press.  Check it out!

All this stamp talk also makes me feel like sharing some of my favorite stamp designs for wedding invitations.  If you don't want to spend the cost associated with using Zazzle to customize your look, here are the best of the best when it comes to wedding and/love themed stamps.  

The cake is of course a very common selection and often paired with the rings.  I however adore the king and queen.  I love the heart detail with the flowers plus something about the pair when often used together seems lucky.  
I also love the garden of love sheets.  Filled with bright colors and hearts, these ones are so festive!  They're perfect for a shower, the response card envelop or even a thank you post shower or wedding.  Speaking of festive, how great is the celebrate in the neon lights?  It's the perfect stamp for a rehearsal dinner invitation, bachelor or bachelorette or even an engagement party!
Be sure to visit the USPS Shop to purchase these LOVE-ly designs.  What do you envision on your envelopes?  Isn't something wedding themed, a photo, something sentimental?  If you're already hitched, what did you opt to do?  So curious, let us know!                                                                                                                                                                                            Happy Stamping! 

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

DIY With Star: Paper Hearts

I originally learned to make these paper hearts while studying abroad in Denmark almost ten years ago.  I haven't made them in a really long time but thought I would make some to decorate for Valentine's Day.  They are perfect for Valentine's Day, but would also be lovely at a wedding, bridal shower, or birthday party!
This is truly a simple project.  All you need are strips of paper and a stapler!  I used pale pink and cream paper but any color combination would work.  Below is the tutorial to make five paper hearts:

Step 1 - Cut thin strips of paper in the four sizes listed below.  Each paper heart will use one of the longest strips and two of each of the other size strips.

  • Five 11inch strips (shown in pink)
  • Ten 8 1/2 inch strips (shown in cream)
  • Ten 7 1/2 inch strips (show in pink)
  • Ten 6 1/2 inch strips (shown in cream)

Step 2 - To make your first heart, fold one of the longest strips in half and place in the middle. Line the strips longest to shortest on either side of the folded strip.

Step 3 - With the fold of the folded strip facing up, add the two longest strips on either side, leaving about an inch or two of the fold sticking out the top.  Continue with the next two sizes on either side.

Continue with the next two sizes on either side.

Staple all of the pieces together at the base.

Step 4 - Starting with the outside strips (the shortest strips), bring each strip down to the lower part of the folded strip.  Once both sides are brought down you will have your first heart shape.  

Continue with the next two sizes.  Staple at the base.

Step 5 - Cut the extra paper off the bottom of the folded piece.

Ta da, your first heart is complete!

Repeat by making four more hearts.  You can then thread ribbon or string through the loop at the top.

I used white twine to string them together and hung them above my kitchen window.  Love them!

I've found these available for sale all over Etsy.  Some sellers have gotten really creative, using bold colors, sheet music and maps... but why buy them when you can make your own?!  Try making your own paper hearts with different types of paper.  Check out some of these ideas.

Photo courtesy of Etsy

Photo courtesy of Etsy

Photo courtesy of Etsy

Happy crafting!


Monday, January 16, 2012

Red Carpet Fashion: Favorite looks from the Golden Globes!

It's no secret that I absolutely love award season.  The amazing fashion, red carpet interviews and of course the parties!  Last night there was a definite trend for the navy and blush!  Here are my top fave looks from the night!

Charlize Theron in Dior
Definitely my favorite for the night, just love this! Especially the bow...  Soft and elegant, timeless and so very sophisticated.  Headbands were also all over the carpet but she definitely wore it best!

Debra Messing in Monique Lhuillier
Debra Messing always does it right, maybe because she has the amazing help of Rachel Zoe.  I don't know, regardless, so many wore black but she wore it best!  I also love that she always adds a hint of green somehow...

 Elle Mcpherson in Zac Posen
I just love this look, the texture, the structure, all of it!  It's so unique and it really takes a certain  of body type to pull it off and Elle did it well!
Claire Danes in J. Mendel
I was on the fence with this one initially and then after watching an interview fell more and more in love with it.  It's truly stunning, so simple yet sophisticated.  The detail is to perfection and Claire really wears it right, it just flows effortlessly on on her.  

Laura Dern in Andrew GN
I didn't see Laura Dern on the carpet but the second she came out during the show I was blown away but how stunning she was.  This dress looks like a vintage dream.  I adore the low v-neck and the slim belt on her waste line.  It's gorgeous and she really works the emerald color too.  Definitely one of my favorites from the night!

 Kate Beckinsale in Roberto Cavalli
The dress looks so simple at first glance but look closer, the structure at the top, multiple textures and intricate detail really wowed me.  Kate of course is stunning on her own but this gown wowed me!  

Jessica Alba in Gucci
Not only do I adore the lilac gray color but I love the diagonal detail by her rib cage and the chiffon train.  This dress is very romantic and it's just angelic.  

Paula Patton in Monique Lhuillier
Paula Patton already has a smile that is like a ray of sunshine but this gown takes it to a whole other level.  She shines inside and out in it!  It's impossible for Monique Lhuillier to ever do anything I don't love but combine it with one of my favorite faces and you just have the ultimate package!  

Sofia Vergara in a custom Vera Wang
I'm still in love with shades of Peacock Blue and Navy from last fall. I don't think our affair will end anytime soon.  Because of this I gasped at this texture rich ensemble.  It's just breathtaking.  Especially the V right before you get to the skirt.  The fabric, the neckline, everything... I'm sold!  
All photos courtesy of my favorite red carpet website Just Jared

Who were your favorites on the carpet?  What color do you think will be hot next at the SAG awards?  I'm thinking Purples, Greens, Grays and Charcoals but we will see on the 29th!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Star's Inspirations: Smitten with Ribbons!

I am completely smitten with ribbons!  They set the tone for a variety of events depending on the texture, use and color palette of the ribbons used.  There is just something so playful and romantic yet chic about ribbons.  They are fresh and unique and seem particularly perfect for spring and summer events.  I am dying to try some of these looks for upcoming parties; I may even use them around the house for spring time decorations.  I have recently come across the most amazing photos which showcase ribbon use for weddings and parties - I am completely in love!

So colorful and whimsical!  Love the chandelier hanging in the middle.
Photo courtesy of Style Me Pretty

Ribbons hanging in trees!

Photos courtesy of Intimate Weddings

Uber romantic... This has to be my favorite one!

Photo courtesy of Left Over Lemons

Gorgeous for a photo booth!

Photo courtesy of Lovely Little Details

What a great idea for after a couple's send off after their ceremony?

Photo courtesy of Style Me Pretty

This would be adorable for a shabby chic wedding or bridal shower.

Photo courtesy of The Hvidstens Blogspot

So many ways to use ribbons!
Photo courtesy of Hands Occupied

Sterling Engagements recently coordinated a colorful ribbon wedding for Melissa and Tim.  We thought we would share a sneak peek.  More photos to come!

Photo courtesy of Picotte Photography

Hope you have become smitten with ribbons too!


Monday, January 09, 2012

Sterling Buzz: Sterling Heads to Dallas

Happy New Year!  I'm thrilled to share with you that our first wedding of the year was spent in Dallas for Sarah and Matt's big day!  Their gorgeous ceremony took place at a beautiful church nearby where the reception was hosted at the uber chic W Dallas Victory Hotel.  All in all it was a perfect southern fairytale and I'm so grateful that the Sterling team was a part of it.  Stay tuned for professional photos to come but in the meantime here is a sneak peek from the end of the night send-off finale right before Sarah and Matt jumped onto their horse drawn carriage. 

Monday, January 02, 2012

Star's Inspirations: Best. Wedding Video. Ever.

Today a friend shared with me an amazing wedding video she found on BrideFinds.com.  Bride Finds titled it  the "Best. Wedding Video. Ever".  The title intrigued me, and although it was 15 minutes long I decided to watch it.  From the moment it started, I was glued.  This video is unique, artsy and cool, yet so sweet.  Beautiful Bride Victoria and Groom Jason were married on August 27th, 2011 in Moorpark, California.  Their wedding was beautifully hippie-chic and full of love, tenderness and fun!

Video courtesy of Bride Finds and You Tube

I absolutely love how they used a combination of photos, video from the wedding, and clips of love scenes from famous old films.  I knew I had to share this video with all of you because it is so much different than any other wedding video I've seen.  I realize it may not be everyone 's "style" of wedding video, but one must admit, it is unique.  I hope you enjoy it!

Happy New Year,


Sunday, January 01, 2012

First Post of 2012: Happy New Year!

Hi Friends!

Happy New Year!  Hope each of you had an amazing holiday and extra special New Year's celebration.

Photo Courtesy of Daily Cool Pictures

As we say goodbye to 2011 and welcome in 2012, we just wanted to take tonight's post and dedicate it to all of our amazing 2011 events.  A heartfelt congratulations to all of our 2011 newlyweds and a big warm congratulations to all the newly engaged couples who are just beginning the planning process.  Whether you just said yes, have waited a while or are partially through the process, we cannot wait to meet you and look forward to learning more about your vision! 

Looking back on 2011, here are some of our favorite moments, designs, photos and overall events from this past year. We look forward to creating new ones with YOU and YOURS in 2012!

How amazing is this composite bouquet by Shawna Yamamoto Event Design?
 Photo courtesy of Ashleigh Taylor Photography

I absolutely adore this candy station not only because Stephanie and Darren reinvented it by making it their own using Gummi's only... yes, that's right, we had gummi worms, gummi lobsters, gummi clownfish, it was truly AMAZING!  Plus, how fun are these extremely tall initials! 
 Photo courtesy of Ryan Phillips Photography

There's nothing like a holiday weekend wedding at the lovely Bacara Resort and Spa!  This beach view speaks for itself.
 Photo courtesy of Chris Schmitt Photography

Casey and Cricket's romantic summer garden wedding was flawless, one of my favorite moments was their sparkler sendoff!  What a perfect way to end the night...
 Photo courtesy of Christine Farah Photography

This holiday party was a true holiday dream, nothing says dream better to me than various sizes of oversized textured glitter balls over a white seamless dance floor. 
 Photo courtesy of Ashleigh Taylor Photography

A photo shoot at Dodger Stadium the day before your Dodger Wedding is what Holly and Jeff were blessed with.  Having Fantasy Frostings put together fun phrases on their yummy sweets was just the icing on the cookie if you ask me!
Photo courtesy of Becca Rillo Photography

The tablescape for our Alexander McQueen inspired photo shoot!  Love this texture heavy look.  So funny to dream up with Shawna Yamamoto Event Design!
 Photo courtesy of Ashleigh Taylor Photography

An extra special dessert buffet by Fantasy Frostings using clever words and sayings for my very own engagement party.  
Photo courtesy of Ashleigh Taylor Photography

In our world of ongoing chaos, nothing stops two people in love, even in Las Vegas!

 Photo courtesy of Callaway Gable Photography

Our first sporting event hospitality suite at the LA Galaxy game!
 Photo courtesy of Sterling Engagements

In love with this moment... such a special photo!
Photo courtesy of Next Exit Photography

One of our favorite designs all year!  Amazing couple, full of life, love and creative genius!  This end of the evening toast and kiss was one of my favorites!
Photo courtesy of EPLove Photography

Our first event at the Gene Autry Museum, such a neat space!

 Photo courtesy of Sterling Engagements

The most colorful wedding we've ever done, for one of the sweetest of couples with a fun, fabulous and ultra vibrant design! 
Photo courtesy of Picotte Weddings

Adore this candy sweet moment from Sarah and Matt's engagement shoot.  Looking forward to their Dallas Winter Wedding this weekend to kick off our 2012 year!

Photo courtesy of Vis Photography

And of course... since it's Sunday, I could not leave you without not one but two 2011 shoe shot favorites.  The first is from photographer Holly Steen's, of Cakes and Kisses Photography, wedding at Dodger Stadium.  The second photo is from Brandie and Ede's Parker Palm Springs wedding.  Both weddings very unique in style and creativity plus extra special to our team!
Photo courtesy of Adrienne Gunde Photography

Photo courtesy of EPLove Photography

Hope you enjoyed taking a journey back through our year!  2012 is going to be another extraordinary one and we cannot wait to share it with each of you!

Once again, a very Happy New Year to you, your family and friends!