Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Sterling Buzz: Sterling Engagements Turns 7!

Today is such a special day here at the office for myself and our entire Sterling family.  So excuse the very personal post but I do hope you understand it and maybe enjoy the background history a little.

I'm ecstatic to share that today marks the official 7th anniversary for Sterling Engagements.  I couldn't be more proud and elated with how far we have come as a company.  I'm so grateful for our incredible dream team of vendors and resources, amazing production team, and of course our supportive and loyal clients.  As we continue to grow, I look forward to sharing many more anniversaries with you! 

This photo was taken on the closing night from a series of corporate events from last month

For those of you who don't know our story, I felt compelled to share it today on such a special day.  I founded Sterling Engagements in my townhouse bedroom in college on April 18th, 2005.  It was the 3-year anniversary after I lost my father.  Thus, today is a bittersweet day for me, 10 years since my father passed away and 7 years for Sterling Engagements.

I made the decision in March of that year to start my business and I remember driving around and doodling in class for weeks with what I was going to name my company.  My Dad's nickname was Sterling and everyone called him that, including himself, so early on I knew this would be part of the name.  I remember being a broken record for weeks on end, Sterling Weddings, Sterling Events,  Sterling Occasions, Sterling Fairytales, well no, not really that one...  The process really was exhausting though, but being the perfectionist that I was, I just kept going.

Finally on this day 7 years ago, April 18, 2005, I remember driving on my way to CSUN and it just came to me.  Sterling Engagements!  Aha, magic in the air, choir sings.  It was a special moment and I loved it instantly.  What I love about it most is its uniqueness.  I'd like to say my planning and design style is versatile. We do weddings, corporate events, social affairs and beyond.  Plus, every client is different thus no two events we produce are ever the same.  However, each event we work on is consistently special, personalized and handcrafted with an abundance of love.  Most importantly though, we always engage our clients, guests and even our production team.  That magnetic energy is what I continuously try to transcend with each and every event we work on from start to finish.  And with that... Sterling Engagements was born.     

This was from our very first wedding at The Hollywood Roosevelt on March 25th, 2006.  It was an Indian Wedding and Bride Firdose and Groom Amir were also our first out of state clients!

As I celebrate Sterling Engagements today a.k.a. the second love of my life (my husband comes first of course), I also am still mourning that 10 years ago today I unexpectedly said goodbye to my father.  However it truly is bittersweet as I've reached for the stars to live on his legacy. Honoring his name in my company, I really feel I've been blessed with nothing short of extraordinary opportunities.  So cheers to my father and cheers to an infinite number of more successful years of business to come!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

DIY with Star: Rose Infused Sugar Cubes/Hearts

I'd like to share with you one of my fun new kitchen purchases: rose water.  I've been drinking a lot of tea lately and have been enjoying a certain rose flavored loose black tea my mother gave me over the holidays.  Unfortunately, I've run out of it and plain black tea lacks the rose flavor I've come to love.  While perusing the Internet recently, I came across a bottle of French food grade rose water.  I purchased it with the intention to add it to my tea.  I've seen recipes for homemade sugar cubes on Pinterest and thought rose flavored sugar cubes would be the perfect addition to my tea.  Alejandra Ramos, author of food blog Always Order Dessert has posted a rose water infused sugar cube recipe which I used as my base.

Photos courtesy of Always Order Dessert

Here is the recipe:

Homemade Flavored Sugar Cubes


1.5 cups granulated white sugar
2 teaspoons flavoring such as rosewater, orange blossom water, or fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons plain water 
1-2 drops food coloring of your choice (I used 3 drops red to get this bright pink color, 2 drops yellow for the yellow, and 2-3 drops each red and blue for the purple)

Pour the sugar into a large bowl. In a separate small cup, combine the rosewater, water, and food coloring. Pour the rosewater mixture into the sugar and mix thoroughly until evenly combined. The texture should feel and look like wet sand with a bit of fluff to it. If the mixture is too wet, add granulated sugar by the tablespoon until the texture is right (this might be the case if you live in a very humid climate). If it's too dry, add a bit more water. 
Pour the sugar onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and use your hands to pack into a flat, compact rectangle. Use a bench scraper or knife to cut the block across in rows and then again in perpendicular rows, creating approximately 1/2 inch cubes. Leave the cubes to dry for about 30 minutes, before separating gently and letting dry an additional 20 minutes. 

To make molded cubes: pack the wet sugar mixture tightly into a small (about 1" to 1.5") cookie cutter on a piece of parchment paper. Gently lift the cutter off and let the sugar dry for 30 minutes before moving onto a drying rack and letting dry on the reverse side. Repeat for each cube until completely dry (about an hour).
When completely dry (you should be able to squeeze a cube gently without it breaking apart, you can serve in a regular sugar bowl, or store in an air-tight container.

My DIY Tutorial

I made the cubes as well as molded hearts and both turned out great and were so fun to make!  Below is my tutorial for the molded hear shaped ones (my method differed slightly from the above).

I started with the ingredients listed above (I mixed red and blue food coloring to get the purple color below).  Once mixed together, it was the consistency of wet sand:

Rather than packing the sugar into the cutter, I pressed it down on a sheet of parchment paper and used the cutter to cut out heart shapes - like you would sugar cookies:

I let them dry for about 30 minutes, then flipped them and let them dry over night.

These little babies were delicious in my tea and added just the right amount of rose flavor.  If you try this recipe with rose water, make sure to start with just a bit as a little goes a long way and the flavor can quickly become overpowering.  Alejandra Ramos, of food Always Order Dessert suggests adding a few to a glass of Champagne or white wine which I think sounds lovely!  I recently made delicious vanilla cupcakes with vanilla butter cream (recipe to come) and topped them with these sugar hearts.  They were a big hit!

Think of the color and flavor combinations you could try!  These cubes or hearts would be so cute at a wedding, shower or just for you for your afternoon tea.  I think I may have to try making these with orange blossom water or lavender syrup next!


Thursday, April 12, 2012

Bold, Chic, and in Love: The Perfect Strapless Bridesmaid Dress

Every bridesmaid has an opinion about their dress. Whether they voice it to the bride or just each other, they have something to say! The color and the cut are the main things to perfect in order to have happy friends that look beautiful for your photos.

Spring colors like blush, eggplant and charcoal are getting all the attention! With these strapless dresses, your bridesmaids will adore their dresses so much they may want to wear them over and over again!

Photos courtesy of Nordstroms

1. JS Collections Strapless Chiffon Dress

This dress is great black option that is still very appropriate for spring. The floral detail and sweetheart cut is absolutely stunning and feminine. The black color gives it a bit more edge. 

2. Jenny Yoo Collection Convertible Strapless Chiffon Gown
This dress is simple and chic. Great option for a beach wedding. The light gray is subtle but would really pop with a bright floral arrangement or statement necklace!

3. Adrianna Papell Tiered Iridescent Chiffon Dress
The ruffles in this dress are very forgiving, which is never a bad quality. Not only is this dress flattering but it is very flirty and fun! 

4. Amsale Rosette Trim Strapless Chiffon Gown
This dress is absolutely gorgeous. It has a very flattering cut. No jewelry required, the two roses steal the show.

5. Donna Morgan Strapless Silk Chiffon Dress
This is a very sweet, innocent color and cut. Another flattering option! You can give your girls the freedom to dress this one up by adding a statement necklace that represents their style, as the dress is so simple.

6. ML Monique Lhuillier Strapless Chiffon Gown
Oh Monique, you are an absolute genius. The color, the length, the ruffle detail. Could not be more perfect. No bridesmaid would complain when getting paired with this dress!

7. ML Monique Lhuillier Strapless Ruched Cationic Chiffon Dress
This dress is extremely sexy! The eggplant color really pops. The ruching makes the dress classy, even if it is very form fitting.

With the detail and flattering cut of these strapless dresses, your friends will be ecstatic to walk down the aisle before you! Have any questions about how to choose the right dresses? Email me at


Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Sterling Buzz: Featured on Bizbash, Jet Fete and Style Me Pretty!

 We're on the front page of Bizbash and I couldn't be more thrilled!  Bizbash is one of my all time favorite weekly reads and the opportunity to have one of our events covered is so special. 

It's been quite some time since I've updated the blog with some recent press and this post happens to include some of my all time favorite buzz to date!  Having a degree in Journalism where my emphasis was in Public Relations makes any feature or spot we receive extra exciting for me. It makes me feel as though I'm putting that education to good use!

First, I'd love to share an article we were able to be a part of written by Mitra Sorrells.  I was so excited to share my opinions on Pinterest and how I've been able to use my boards in my day to day activities.  This article focused on what event pros are using this mega site for and Mitra even featured one of my boards!  So neat and such a good surprise!      

Next, I was so honored to have the opportunity to share some of the details about a massive series of corporate events we recently produced.  This project is something I'd worked on for months and months and the design truly came together to perfection.  While this article covers the final closing event, there were two additional events that week which I'll be sharing hopefully soon!

Be sure to read the beautifully detailed article written by the always amazing Alice Dubin!

Next, I was so thrilled to have our very first destination wedding featured on The Bridal Bar's Jet Fete blog.  Have you been there and seen how amazing this blog is, it's dedicated to all things destination and a favorite read of mine, especially when I'm looking to escape!  Check out Brandie and Ede's featured Parker Palm Spring's Wedding!

Last but not least, I was ecstatic when dear friend Holly Steen of Cakes and Kisses Photography had her wedding featured on another favorite blog, Style Me Pretty!  We helped Holly last year with her Dodger Stadium 4th of July Wedding and couldn't be more thrilled for her and the wonderful detailed post they did on such a special day.  Check out this Baseball Love Story!  

As you can see it's been very busy around the office and we've had so many fun and exciting projects we were honored to be a part of.  I love sharing them with you and hope to update you with more fun things in the next few weeks.  So stay tuned!