Tuesday, November 20, 2012

DIY With Star: Salt Dough Beauties

With Thanksgiving only a few days away and Christmas music playing in every store you go into, the holidays are clearly upon us!  Every holiday season I like to make ornaments for our tree. This year I plan to make two different kinds (I'll post the second one soon :).  In addition to adorning our tree, I often tie my homemade ornaments to holiday gifts to give the wrapping a little uniqueness.  This year I was inspired to recreate grown up versions of the salt dough ornaments I made as a child.  It's been years since I made anything with salt dough and I must say, it was a lot of fun.  There is something wonderfully nostalgic about getting your hands sticky, rolling out the grainy dough and utilizing your cookie cutters for something other than cookies!

As you can tell by the colors I used for the ornaments, I am super into metallics this holiday season.  I've purchased various types of metallic gift wrap and I think these ornaments will look beautiful with them.  I plan to tie them to gifts and write people's names on the back in lieu of gift tags.  I love that these ornaments are not holiday specific and can be used for friends and family that celebrate Christmas or Hanukah.

These are obviously holiday inspired, but the idea of these simple ornaments could also be used as cute favors for a rustic garden wedding or shower.  You could stamp your initials and wedding date on them and paint them in your wedding colors.  You could also write your guests' names on them and use them as escort cards or at place settings.

DIY Salt Dough Ornaments

- 1/2 cup salt
- 1 cup flour
- 1/2 cups warm water
- Rolling pin
- Cookie cutters
- Skewer, toothpick or chopstick
- Non-stick baking sheet or parchment paper lined baking sheet
- Rubber stamps and ink (optional)

Pre-heat oven to 250 degrees.  Combine water and salt, then add flour. Kneed the dough, adding more flour as needed.  Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface to about 1/4" thick.  Using your cookie cutters (or cups or jars for perfect circles), cut shapes out of the dough and place on the baking sheet.  Use your skewer to poke a hole in the dough (make sure it is large enough to thread ribbon or string through).  If you choose to make impressions on your ornaments, use a rubber stamp (use ink for a colored impression or without ink for an impression only).  You can also experiment with using a toothpick to write letters or draw images.  Place the ornaments in the pre-heated oven and bake for an hour to an hour and a half, turning half way through.  Bake until the ornaments are firm, the thicker they are, the loner they will take to dry.  Let them cool completely before decorating further.

I happen to like the organic, rustic look of the stamped ornaments unpainted so I left a few of them that way.  If you like this look as well, I still recommend you coating them with a layer of Modge Podge to seal them.  I chose to paint the majority of my ornaments.  I used Martha Stewart's Metallic Acrylic Craft Paint in Light Gold and Champagne as well as Martha Stewart's Coarse Glitter Acrylic Craft Paint in Sterling.  I used sheer white ribbon for the smaller ornaments and beautiful satin silver ribbon for the larger ones.  I LOVE the way the silver ribbon looks!

Salt dough is not just for kids!  Happy crafting :)


Sunday, November 11, 2012

Star's Favorite Sweets: Scrumptious Shortbread Cookies

It has finally started to feel like fall in So Cal and this weather puts me in the baking mood.  There are tons of new cookie recipes I am dying to try but I haven't had the chance to run to the store to buy the various ingredients.  So, on this crisp fall morning I decided to bake one of my most favorite old faithful cookies, shortbread.  I always have all of the ingredients for these cookies so they are the perfect treat to whip up when the urge strikes.  A friend of mine gave me this recipe a few years ago and it is so good, I've tossed all of my other shortbread recipes.  It is beyond simple (only four ingredients!!) and I bet you have all of them on hand on any given day.

I know you are probably thinking, "Shortbread?  Boring!" and I would have agreed with you until I tried this recipe.  It is honestly, simply perfect!  I've toyed with the idea of dipping these cookies in chocolate, but I've always opted against it... not because I don't think it would be delicious, but because I think they are absolutely perfect just the way they are!

This recipe is for a small batch and only makes about eight cookies (depending how how you cut them), but you can easily double the recipe if you need cookies for a larger crowd.  I always bring these cookies to the annual holiday cookie exchange my friends and I do and I've also made them for various other events.  They are perfect for showers and parties because they can be made a few days in advance and are pretty hardy and easily transported.


1 1/4 cups flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 stick of cold butter cut into cubes
3 tablespoons cornstarch
extra sugar and/or edible glitter to sprinkle over the top after the shortbread has baked


Combine all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until combined.  The dough will look and feel powdery and not doughy at all.  Pour the dough into a pie pan (or small square pan if you prefer square cookies) and press it until it is compact and flat.
In an oven that has been preheated to 325 degrees, bake the shortbread for 25-30 minutes or until it has just started to brown a bit.  I prefer my shortbread soft so I watch for the browned edges then quickly remove the pan from the oven.  As soon as the shortbread is out of the oven sprinkle it with sugar.  I also love to sprinkle my shortbread with clear edible glitter which I purchased from my local cake shop.

The shortbread is delicious with just plain sugar, but who doesn't love a little bling on their cookie?!  And believe me, offering your guests a glittery piece of shortbread will wow them and have them asking "is that glitter on the cookies?!"  So pretty and unexpected, especially during the holidays!  I am sorry that it is difficult to see the glitter on the cookies in these photos.

Once the shortbread has cooled for a few minutes cut into it like you would a pie and you'll have adorable little triangular cookies.  Note - you must cut into these while they are still warm.  If you cut into them when they have cooled they will crack and break apart.

These cookies pair perfectly with English style tea which is how I enjoyed mine on this blustery morning.  Such a delicious pairing and the perfect fall treat!
Happy baking!


Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Featured Wedding: Myesha and Craig at Cafe Pinot

Myesha and Craig met four years ago while working on the Obama campaign. They are a smart and sophisticated power couple but they also know how to have a good time! Myesha envisioned a clean, simple and modern wedding with pops of fall colors. She decided on an orange and gray color pallet which was the perfect choice for their September 29th wedding at Cafe Pinot!  Located in the heart of Downtown LA, across from the famous Los Angeles Public Library, Cafe Pinot was the perfect backdrop for this modern couple's nuptials to take place.  Adrienne Gunde did a stellar job documenting all of the wedding day details!

Myesha's gorgeous Watters gown was oh so chic and had ruffles in all the right places.  Her shoes were simply stunning and PERFECT!  We've featured them a few days ago via a Shoe Shot Sundays post!

Myesha and Craig's love for one another is quickly apparent to anyone who sees them together. They had such a heartfelt and even tearful first look - It is clear they were meant to spend their lives together. 


The Bride and Groom prepared for their big day at the Millennium Biltmore in Los Angeles which happens to be a few short blocks from their venue and one of our favorite getting ready locations. After their First Look, Myesha and Craig, along with their Bridal Party, headed to Cafe Pinot for their ceremony.  

I just loved Craig's light gray suit which was highlighted by his Groomsmen's charcoal gray suits!

Myesha's Bridesmaid's Jim Hjelm dresses were a stunning shade of charcoal - her "Bridesman" also looked quite handsome in a matching charcoal suit!

The Happy Couple moments before their ceremony.

We love the design of the rose petals on the isle, Inna with Butterfly Floral Design went above and beyond for the happy couple and we were so grateful. 

As we mentioned, this couple knows how to have fun! Myesha is Jamacian so they decided to tie their escort cards to mini bottles of Appleton Estate Jamaica Rum which allowed them to use them as favors. 

Together, Butterfly Floral Design and Designer Specialty Linens did a beautiful job of making the Bride and Groom's color palette of orange and slate come alive! The shantung linens in various shades of gray achieved Myesha's request for modern elegance while the bright florals added the perfect pop of color.  The design elements were so sleek and modern and so... them!  The paper lanterns strung over the dance floor were a great touch and looked amazing at night!  We can't thank Brad with Stagelabs enough for the amazing lighting contribution he added to this special day.  It sparkled to perfection!

Guests danced the night away to a variety of romantic tunes, popular dance music, sprinkled with a bit of Jamaican reggae.

Alex fell in love with these stairs and begged Adrienne to grab a quick shoe shot here... How fun are the different languages!

All in all it was a beyond successful day and we were so grateful to be a part of it.  Congratulations Myesha and Craig!!

Wedding Production Team Love 
Accommodations: Millennium Biltmore, Los Angeles
Bridesmaid Gowns: Jim Hjelm
Bride's Shoes: Christian Louboutin
Ceremony Music: Pacific Coast Strings  
DJ: Rich Sanders aka DJ Richy Rich
Event Design and Production: Sterling Engagements
Favors: Appleton Estate Jamaica Rum 
Floral Design: Butterfly Floral Design
Hair: Andrea Pezzillo
Lighting: Stage Labs
Linens: Designer Specialty Linens
Makeup Team: Fiore Beauty
Officiant:  A Ceremony of the Heart
Photography: Adrienne Gunde Photography 
Photo Booth: Snap Shotz Photobooth Rentals 
Rentals: Chivari Chair Rentals
Venue and Catering: Cafe Pinot
Videographer: New Classic Wedding Films
Wedding Gown: Watters
Wedding Invitations: Paperee

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

When you Vote...

Design by YAEL SARA

Monday, November 05, 2012

Sneak Peek: Amanda & Hal Say "I Do" at a Private Residence in Calabasas

Amanda and Hal were married at a private residence in Calabasas on a beautiful Sunday in September.  We were so honored to be a part of their big day which was so full of love, romance, and beauty!  Amanda, who happens to work in fashion, was one of those bride's that we knew early on was going to be just breathtaking from head to toe! We love this photo of her in her bedroom moments before her first look.  

The photos, captured by the incredible Allie and Brian Callaway of Callaway Gable Photography, are stunning and we can't wait to share some of them with you.  However, in the meantime, we thought we'd give you a sneak peek of their Same Day Edit highlight from the big day!  

Amanda and Hal fell in love with Daniel Boswell of Imagique Cinema's style and the SDE was shown via projector at the end of the evening!  Their love for one another and the gorgeous details of their day translate beautifully on film.  Guests were wowed by this video and we think you will be too - it is truly one of the best one's to date!  Check it out!

We cannot wait to share more with you from this incredible day soon! 

Sunday, November 04, 2012

Shoe Shot Sunday: Myesha + Craig

Myesha and Craig were married at Cafe Pinot in front of the historic Los Angeles Public Library on Saturday, September 29th, 2012.  Their wedding was modern and chic yet playful.  Myesha's shoes were absolutely stunning - no other word could describe their beauty!  These Loubis just melt our hearts and might have to be the most perfect wedding shoe ever!

Photos courtesy of Adrienne Gunde Photography

Adrienne Gunde did a stellar job of documenting these lovely shoes, along with all of the wedding day details.  We can't wait to share many more images from Myesha and Craig's wedding with you, stay tuned!  

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Bold, Chic & In Love: Ring Bearer Swag

Although a flower girl is extremely adorable, there is something about a tiny little guy dressed his best that warms the heart. A ring bearer is a very important job, as not much can happen without those rings! Why not make your little guy the perfect date for your flower girl?

Here are some options to make sure the little stud has enough swag for his partner down the aisle.

All photos courtesy of Macys, J.Crew, Sophia Styles, & Pinterest.

1. Four Piece Set from Macys

2. Little Boys Grey Stripe Suit from Sophia Styles

3. Slide Stripe Zipper Tie from Macys

4. Boys Driving Cap from J.Crew

5. Boys Stripe Silk Bow Tie from J.Crew

6. Boys Silver Tie Clip from J.Crew

7. Brass Button Blazer from Macys

8. Special Occasion from Sophia Styles

My personal favorite touch is the driving cap and tie clip. Accessories like this can really make the look stylish & modern, as opposed to a more classic option like the grey stripe suit. It's almost impossible to make the wrong choice on this outfit.

Want my advice on which bow tie your ring bearer should rock? Feel free to email me at jocelyn@sterlingengagements.com.

Hope you all had a fun & safe Halloween!