Baby It's Cold Outside

Be stylish even when it's cold outside! 


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Happy Holidays!

Photo Courtesy of Ginny Au. 

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Wedding Planning 101: Wedding Traditions

When planning your wedding, a tradition is always a major part of the day. Whether you have had one in your family for ages or you are starting one for your children/grandchildren/great grandchildren to use, a tradition is meaningful and could be a huge part of your day. Here are some wedding traditions from around the world.


The “Date”: Usually early Sunday morning. Saturdays were reserved for widows getting hitched to husband number two {or three, or four..} :)
The Brides’ Attire: The blushing bride would be wearing pure white. Along with a veil that hid the brides face. For when the rising of the veil, instead it would be torn by the groom for good luck.

Special Activities: The Italian bride and groom would walk on foot to the chapel. After the ceremony, the smashing of the vase would take place (doing their best to shatter the vase, since the numbers of broken pieces are to be represented on how many years they would be happily married).
The food: Even many years ago, food at an Italian wedding is a huge and important deal. Course after course of antipasti, calamari, pasta, fish, pork and more were accompanied by a liqueur or wine.
Added Perks: $$$$$ {and that’s supposed to mean a lot}. Guests would place cold, hard cash in a satin bag called la borsa carried by the bride.


The “Date”: Usually spring or fall {Due to the Climate}
The Brides’ Attire: The Japanese bride-to-be is painted pure white from head to toe, which is a white kimono and an elaborate headpiece covered with many ornaments to invite good luck to the happy couple. A white hood is attached to the kimono, which the bride wears like a veil to hide her 'horns of jealousy' from the groom's mother, who will now become the head of the family.

Special Activities: As the couple exchanges their wedding vows, the families face each other instead of facing the couple. After the couple is done with their vows, the newlyweds and families all drink 9 cups of sake {this is a sign that the family in now united as one}.
Added Perks: The Reception is a huge part of the day. The bride can now change out of her all white gown into a fiery red kimono and then again into a western-style gown. The wedding party and guests are highly encourage to engage in karaoke, games and skits at the reception. Money freely given to the newlyweds, is also highly encouraged {show me the $$}.


The “Date”: A summer evening {aka in paradise}
The Bride’s Attire: The bride's attire would vary greatly depending on the region, from simple white cotton to a colorfully embroidered huipil. Spanish-inspired mantilla veils were common as well. She might also wear a blue slip or sew three ribbons (one yellow, one blue and one red) into her undergarments to symbolize food, money and passion in the years to come. The groom would usually wear a lightly colored guayabera, a loose-fitting shirt perfectly suited for the Mexican sun.

Special Activities: During the ceremony, the groom would give his bride 13 gold coins, called arras, which symbolized Christ and his apostles. Following the vows, the priest would wrap a lazo/lasso {a large rosary}, in a figure eight around the couple's necks to represent their eternal unity.
The Food: Spicy rice, beans and tortillas. The traditional Mexican wedding cake is made with nuts and dried fruit and soaked in rum {yummy}
The Music: A mariachi band would provide the day's music. La Marcha -- a dance similar in appearance to an elaborate game of Follow the Leader – would serve as the couple's reception entrance. Two lines, each led by a family elder, would weave around the room, eventually meeting to form a bridge with their arms before breaking apart to form a circle around the bride and groom for their first dance.
Added Perk: Bridal attendants called madrinas {godmothers – a high role in Hispanic culture} helped the bride by making the plans, arranging bouquets and keeping a general handle on the day's events.

As you can see traditions have played, and are still playing, a huge part in weddings. Since these traditions are centuries old, of course they have been tweaked and twisted to be more “up to date” and “in-style” {leaning towards the style of the dress & reception} with today’s outlook.  

Section One: Photo & Info
Section Two: Photo & Info
Section Three: Photo & Info
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An Unplugged Wedding

What is an Unplugged Wedding? It's where you (the bride) ask your guests to not use any electronic device (smartphone, camera, etc) during the ceremony.

While planning the wedding of your dreams, having an unplugged wedding might be a bright idea. Especially, since almost everyone that you know loves social media, I mean who doesn't?! Considering the idea doesn't make you sound prejudice or have unfounded hatred towards Facebook. It's only convincing your guests to have respect for you and your significant other on your wedding day! Besides, we don't want to see iPhone in the gorgeous wedding pictures, now do we?
Your ceremony is the most intimate part of your wedding. Its the glue that holds the whole day together. This is where you and your significant other are becoming one. Sooooooo, technical devices need to be silenced and to be put away during this time. Your guests need to have their full attention on the stars of the show. A super easy way to get your point across for devices to be put away, is by adding a sweet and simple line in the invitation. This shows each of your guests this is something you expect and wish for them to respect! Then on the day of the wedding, if you have programs, just simply add a reminder. If you don't have programs, just let the officiant announce the expectation you have from your guests.
The reception is the time where you celebrate and have fun! Transitioning from ceremony to reception can be super easy. There are creative ways for your etiquette request to smoothly shift gears and for your guests to still have their technical devises out!
Here are some examples:
1. Create a Sign that your guest will see entering the reception area. Many many cute ideas could be found on Pinterest.
2. Place a note on the tables! You could say something along the lines like, Thank you for being present for the this special time in our lives! Please feel free now to bring out your technical devices and continue celebrating with us by taking pictures and using the hash tag, #oliviaandchriswedding.
3. Let the DJ/Musician announce the request! Sometimes, people just aren't visual learners :)
Either you are for an unplugged wedding or not, this is all your decision. Your wedding day is all about you, just really consider all the details (with the wedding and with guests) that come along with it.

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Food Corner: Holiday Treats

Halloween is over, which means the Holidays are right around the corner! Here are a few simple recipes that we thing will help put you in a festive mood! 

1. Mini Brie and Apple Quiches

  Ingredients - 
     30 mini phyllo shells
     1/2 medium apple, peeled and finely diced
     5 large eggs
     1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
     1/4 teaspoon salt
     1 pinch freshly ground pepper
     1 pinch ground nutmeg
     1/2 of small wheel of Brie, cut into 30 squares
  Directions - 

     1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
     2. Arrange phyllo shells on a large parchment-lined baking sheet. Divide apple among the shells.
     3. Whisk eggs, mustard, salt, pepper, and nutmeg in a large measuring cup. Pour the egg mixture
         over the apple (do not overfill the shells). Place a Brie square in each shell.
     4. Bake until the egg is set, the Brie is melted, and the phyllo is starting to brown around the edges,
         about 15 minutes. Let cool slightly before serving.

2. Jumbo Pumpkin Pecan Muffins

  Ingredients - 
     2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
     1/2 cup sugar
     1/4 cup packed brown sugar
     2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
     1 teaspoon baking powder
     1 teaspoon baking soda
     1/2 teaspoon salt
     2 eggs
     1 cup canned pumpkin
     1/2 cup buttermilk
     1/4 cup canola oil
     1 teaspoon vanilla extract
     1/2 cup chopped pecans
     1/3 cup packed brown sugar
     1/3 cup finely chopped pecans
     1/4 cup all-purpose flour
     1/4 cold butter, cubed
  Directions - 
     1. In a large bowl, combine the first seven ingredients. In another bowl, combine the eggs, pumpkin,
         buttermilk, oil and vanilla. Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Fold in pecans. Fill six 
         greased or paper-lined jumbo muffin cups three-fourths full.
     2. In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, pecans and flour; cut in butter until crumbly. Sprinkle
         over batter.
     3. Bake at 375° for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool
         for 5 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack. 

3. Cranberry Walnut Biscotti

  Ingredients - 
     2 cups all-purpose flour
     3/4 cup sugar
     1 teaspoon baking powder
     1/8 teaspoon salt
     3 eggs
     1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
     1 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
     1 cup dried cranberries, chopped
     1/2 cup milk chocolate chips
     1 teaspoon shortening 
  Directions - 
     1. Preheat oven to 350°. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. In a
         small bowl, whisk eggs and vanilla; add to dry ingredients just until moistened. Fold in walnuts
         and cranberries (dough will be sticky).
     2. Divide dough in half. On a greased baking sheet, with lightly floured hands, shape each half into 
         a 10x2-1/2-in. rectangle. Bake 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.
     3. Carefully remove to wire racks; cool 10 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board; cut diagonally with 
         a serrated knife into 1-in. slices. Place cut side down on un-greased baking sheets. Bake 8-10 
         minutes on each side or until lightly browned. Remove to wire racks to cool completely.
     4. In a microwave, melt chocolate chips and shortening; stir until smooth. Drizzle over biscotti. Let 
         stand until set. Store in an airtight container. 

1. Recipe & Photo 
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