Summer Nights by the Fire

Sitting by the campfire is, hands down, one of my favorite things to do.  So it shouldn’t be a surprise that when I moved to a home with a backyard, one of the first orders of business was a gardener and a fire pit.

Summer Nights by FireI’m sitting by it as I type this post.  Lol.  That’s right.  Regardless of what you’ve heard, crackling wood is just as perfect on a summer night (or rainy day as is the current situation) as it is on a cool fall night.

And it’s even better when shared with loved ones.  When you need an easy way to keep the party going past twilight, take your circle of friends into the yard for cocktails, conversation, and a cracking fire!

A portable fire bowl brings instant ambiance to outdoor parties – I love my Hampton Bay fire pit which was a permanent loan from my parents house but I recently spotted it at Home Depot for $89.00.  As host or hostess, here’s how to play it safe:

  1. FirePit Sign2Check local laws. Contact your community fire department to find out what types of fires, if any, are allowed. Some cities require permits for fire features. Others burn all open burning.
  2. Select a safe site.  Codes vary, but the general recommendation is to locate a fire feature at least 10 feet from structures and trees. Set fire bowls on a nonflammable surface, such as concrete, stone, or gravel.
  3. Ignite it right.  Burn only dry wood and kindling that’s no more than three-fourths the bowl’s diameter.  Fatwood is a good fire starter.  Don’t use lighter fluid or gas and cover with a domed screen to keep the sparks in (fyi, the Hampton Bay fire pit I mentioned earlier comes with a dome).
  4. Snuff it out.  Campfire Rules 101 state you NEVER leave a fire unattended.  Let the fire ebb slowly, then drizzle water on embers until they’re no longer smoldering.  Keep a fire extinguisher on hand for emergencies.

For other camping/campfire recipes, games, and entertainment ideas, check out our Pinterest board A-Camping We Will Go!

Here’s to warm summer nights with family and friends!

Lavender Infused Lemonade with Honey – the ONLY Summer Lemonade Recipe You Need!

Though I’m born and raised as a city girl, my roots trace back to the deep south and (in my Phaedra Parks’ voice) everybody knows it’s impolite to not have a cold glass of homemade lemonade or sweet tea at-the-ready for guests in the hot summer months.

Though southern belle at heart, there’s no better joy than discovering a remix on an “oldie but goodie” and this home-brewed Lavender Infused Lemonade with Honey hits the spot with a distinctive, refreshing taste and plenty of Vitamin C. Not to mention, it’s vegetarian, paleo safe, and gluten free – if you’re into those kind of things!

Your INGREDIENTS include:

Lavender Lemonade with Honey

  • 1 cup raw honey (local if you can get it)
  • 5 cups purified water
  • 1 Tbsp. dried, organic culinary lavender (or 1/4 cup fresh lavender blossoms, crushed)
  • 1 cup fresh-squeezed, organic lemon juice, strained
  • Ice cubes
  • Lavender sprigs, for garnish

Once you’ve gathered your ingredients:

  • Bring 2 1/2 cups purified water to boil in a medium pan
  • Remove from heat and add in honey, stirring to dissolve
  • Add the lavender to the honey water, cover the pan, and let steep (at least 20 minutes or up to several hours) to taste.

You can put the lavender into a tea infuser or reusable tea bag for easier clean up. Otherwise,

  • Strain mixture and either compost or discard the remaining lavender
  • Pour infusion into a glass pitcher
  • Add lemon juice and approximately another 2 1/2 cups of cold water, to taste.
  • Stir well.
  • Refrigerate until ready to use, or pour into tall glasses half-filled with ice, then garnish with lavender sprigs.

Lavender Herb

Okay, so listen closely! Use of lavender essential oil in this recipe is NOT recommended.

Seriously!

Consuming lavender oil can be toxic, cause allergic reactions, as well as contribute to hormone imbalances in men and boys. Signs of lavender oil toxicity include abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, blurred vision, burning pain in the throat, difficulty breathing and skin rash.

If you suspect you have an allergy to lavender or decide to use essential oil – although we suggested against it – and start to exhibit any of these signs, please call Poison Control immediately!

Otherwise, step 8 is to simply, ENJOY!

Cheers to the summer!  Happy planning!

 

 

Music Mondays: I’m Sure It’s You

Music MondayEvery once in a while a song is released that reminds you why love is so awesome.  And I’m Sure It’s You by Shelea is another one of those songs to make our #MusicMonday list and our growing list of SocialBFly Love Songs on Spotify.  Don’t believe me?  Listen for yourself and keep it in mind when considering songs for your walk down the aisle.
It’s just the little things that tell you
That you are right where you should be
And whether we’re in love or out of it
There’s something deep inside my heart that tells meI’m sure it’s you, I’m sure its you
None could ever change my mind
Or convince me otherwise
My heart belongs to you
I know we’ll make it through
I’m sure it’s youIf we could do everything over
I wouldn’t try to change a thing
Coz every inch has made us stronger
I’m glad we took the time to wait for God’s sign

I’m sure it’s you, I’m sure it’s you
None could ever change my mind
Or convince me otherwise
My heart belongs to you
I know we’ll make it through
I’m sure it’s you

Today I’m standing here without any fear
You see every moments lead me right to you
But when the cares of life make it hard to believe
I’ll remeber you were meant for me the one to set me free

And I’m sure it’s you, I’m sure it’s you
No one could ever change my mind
Or convince me otherwise
My heart belongs to you
I know we’ll make it through
I’m sure it’s you

Oh baby
I know in my heart it’s you
That’s why I’m gonna say I do
I’m sure it’s you

Event Reminder: 10/29 ‘I Do’ Bridal Networking Brunch

You Are Cordially InvitedThis is a quick reminder that Wedding Professionals (and those looking to enter into the wedding industry), Creative Entrepreneurs, and Brides/Nearlyweds have an open invitation to join us at the 1st installment of ‘I Do’ Bridal Brunch and Networking Event.

This is a FREE vendor networking event where we bring together bridal and creative professionals over coffee and light fare to connect, converse, and exchange ideas and it all takes place this Sunday, October 29 from 11am – 1pm at Rock n Joe Union (900 Green Lane, Union, NJ).

For more information and to confirm your registration. visit us on FaceBook.

See you Sunday!!!

 

2018 Travel Update: Nine States Will Require Passports For Domestic Flights

travelHeads up! Travel and Leisure recently announced that gone are the days when a passport was reserved for international travel.  Beginning January 22, 2018, that will change for residents of nine states who will no longer be able to get past TSA security checkpoints with their state issued driver’s licenses to travel domestically but rather will need a passport, permanent resident card/green card or a military ID.

It’s called the Real ID Act of 2005, and apparently it states that state-issued IDs from these nine states do not meet the minimum security standards of the federal government:

  • Kentucky
  • Maine
  • Minnesota
  • Missouri
  • Montana
  • Oklahoma
  • Pennsylvania
  • South Carolina
  • Washington

With just a few months until the Real ID Act goes into full effect, it is time to start planning now and look into getting your passport, especially if you have honeymoon or travel plans on the horizon.

Some states have started working on offering federally approved issued IDs that would not require a passport for domestic air travel but you’ll certainly want to check with your local government office to see if there is a different type of ID you can apply for.

So consider this your official PSA, if this applies to you and start applying for a passport now!  2018 isn’t too far away and there will be a last-minute rush for sure.

Music Monday: Why I Love You

Every once in a while a song is released that reminds you why love is so awesome.  And Why I love You by Major is one of those songs.  Don’t believe me?  Listen for yourself and keep it in mind when considering songs for your walk down the aisle.

I found love in you

And I’ve learned to love me too

Never have I felt that I could be all that you see

It’s like our hearts have intertwined and to the perfect harmony

This is why I love you

Ooh this is why I love you

Because you love me

You love me

This is why I love you

Ooh this is why I love you

Because you love me

You love me

I found love in you

And no other love will do

Every moment that you smile chases all of the pain away

Forever and a while in my heart is where you’ll stay

This is why I love you

Ooh this is why I love you

Because you love me

You love me

This is why I love you

Ooh this is why I love you

Because you love me

You love me

This is why I love you

Ooh this is why I love you

Because you love me

You love me

The stars have all aligned

And right now is the perfect time to say

I love you, I love you, I love you

I love you, I love you

This is why I love you

Ooh this is why I love you

Because you love me

You love me

This is why I love you

Ooh this is why I love you

Because you love me

Me

I found love in you

And no other love will do

That’s why I love you

Old, New, Borrowed, and Blue…wine?

blue-wineWhen it comes to weddings, if safe to say that Brides are leaning further and further away from tradition and as a result, I’ve been challenged by my brides to provide alternative (sometimes, OUTRAGEOUS) takes on various wedding traditions, including “something blue” and well, get ready to imbibe because while the wine world is full of choices – red or white, sparkling or still, refreshing rosé or spritzy vinho verde – I’ve discovered there’s yet another trend on the horizon and it’s blue!  And, if you’re like my brides, you may want to consider the following liquid libations for your upcoming wedding or blue-inspired event.

Blanc de Bleu Cuvee Mousseux is a non-vintage Sparkling Chardonnay wine from California with an added hint of blueberries. It offers seductive flavors and fresh aromatic effervescence – vividly pasteled with blueberries and contained in an impressively sexy bottle.

Gik Bue WineGik wine is made using red and white grapes from vineyards in La Rioja, Zaragoza, León, and Castilla-La Mancha, Spain. Gïk blends different varieties of red and white grapes with two organic pigments to turn it blue: anthocyanin, from the red grape skin, and indigotine, an organic compound commonly used as a reddish-blue food dye. The resulting flavour is enhanced with non-caloric sweeteners to create a product that is cross between a wine, a wine cooler and a cocktail mixer, with a mellow, sweet, slightly syrupy mouthfeel.

The company faced backlash in Spain for labeling the product as wine but after weathering regulatory hurdles, Gik is finally bound for retailers in Miami, Boston, and Texas, New York, Michigan, New Jersey, Nevada, California and Washington.

blumond-socialSaraceni Blumond Blue Bubbly is made in Italy and noted as being seductive and flavorful, sweet, light (containing only about 7.0% in alcohol), and bubbly!  I’ve actually had the pleasure of tasting this wine at a recent bridal show and I can confirm the reports – it’s delicious! And even better, they sell mini-blumond bottles which, in my opinion, is a perfect favor idea!

When talking about wine, the next question I almost always receive is, “how much will I need to purchase?”, because, let’s face it, there really is nothing worse than running out in the middle of a celebration! You typically want to give each guest 5 ounces and most standard bottles are 750ml, which pours about 5 glasses. Always account for the occasional spill and definitely expect a few guests to want a refill so I highly recommend 15 bottles for every 50 guests.

So what do you think?  Are you brave enough to try blue wine?