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.


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!




Guestiquette: Honor vs. Pleasure

wedding-invitations-flowing-calligraphy-5680I was recently asked a question that I think a lot of people may have had confusion over. Recall, if you will, an invitation that you’ve received for a wedding or other formal event.  Chances are it opened with the line “request the honor of your presence” or “request the pleasure of your company” as part of the wording. Believe it or not these phrases actually have etiquette guidelines on when they can each be used and are not entirely interchangeable.

The phrase “…the honor of your presence…” is reserved for wedding ceremonies taking place in a house of worship, be it a church, temple, mosque, synagogue or another religious institution.

Meanwhile the phrase “…the pleasure of your company…” is used to invite guests to a wedding ceremony taking place anywhere else. Examples of this would include a country club, resort garden area, the beach, etc.

This rule does not take into consideration a religious ceremony, but rather the location. So if you have a Jewish ceremony, complete with a Chuppah, at a resort, you would still request the pleasure of your guests company.

If you want to stick with tradition in this area though, then each has an appropriate and specific use.

Is this etiquette rule breakable without being totally faux pas? I say, yes! Only the trained eye will notice that you used “…the honor of your presence…” to invite them to your beach front wedding. After all, God is everywhere and one could argue that the beach front is just as sacred as the Chapel. I personally believe that God is not limited to a building and that many things can be sacred, so I would have no problem using “the honor of your presence” to invite people to an outdoor wedding.

Do you have wedding questions that you need answers to? Email us at

Cupcake Bouquets & DIY Tutorial

When I first heard about the cupcake bouquet, I wasn’t too sure what to expect.  But a quick google search led me to this beautiful creation and I’m hooked!  There are endless ideas for this perfect marriage of flowers and cake and who doesn’t love anything that does double duty!

The “florist bakery” featured in the video is Baked Bouquet and they’re located in Verona, NJ. Their creations “offer customers a gift that is new and unique: baked cakes, truffles, ganache, and drizzled chocolate designed and arranged in the form of beautiful flower bouquets…made daily for pick-up and hand delivery”.

I don’t know if anyone is wondering, but I wouldn’t mind getting one of these in the mail tomorrow.

Check out their very mouth-watering website at

Feeling adventurous and wanna try this at home?  Here’s a quick tutorial on how to recreate these beauties for yourself:

And as always, you know we wanna hear about your Cupcake Bouquet Experience so let us know!

Until further notice…celebrate everything!


Easy Party Appetizers: Goat Cheese Bruschetta

Photo credit:

I love hosting a dinner party! Many people look at me with the side eye when I say it but I get a total kick out of setting up my home for an evening of good company, laughter and vino.  Dinner parties also afford me the opportunity to play around with food and drink recipes that I usually wouldn’t consider.  I recently hosted a girls night in and included on the menu were these tasty goat cheese bruschetta.  I found the recipe online (sorry, can’t recall the site) and after a trial and error batch I was well on my way to making what ended up as the most popular option on the menu.  Ahhh, success!!  Needless to say, it will now be a staple on the dinner party menu and if simple and easy recipes make you happy, I’m recommending this one for you!

Bruschetta with Goat Cheese, Figs and Honey

The Ingredients:

  • Half loaf (5 oz.) baguette, cut into ½ inch slices
  • 4 oz goat cheese
  • 2 ripe figs, diced
  • Clover honey to drizzle

The Raw Materials:

  • 1 Baking Sheet

The Instructions:

  • Preheat oven to 400°F
  • Place baguette slices in single layer on baking sheet.
  • Bake 8–10 minutes, turning each slice until both sides are crisp and golden around edges
  • Let cool
  • Spread cheese on toasted baguette slices.
  • Top with figs and lightly drizzle with honey.

You can substitute Crostini’s for the baguette.  Either way, this recipe is worry-free and easy enough to make for your next bridal or baby shower.  This recipe makes 13–15 slices.  Bon apetit!

Complimentary Party Printables from HGTV

I stumbled across these pretty party printables while seaching the HGTV site. This particular suite includes 17 printables that are fun, colorful, and rather stylish.  They offer an array of options for various party types, including weddings, baby showers, and summer gatherings.  Best part…THEY’RE FREE!!  They’re also very easy to use – each download is an edittable PDF so all you’ll need is ADOBE to edit.

Download Easton Place Designs’ Pink and Yellow Floral Invitation

Download Jayme Marie Gonzalez’s Floral Party Invitation

Download Paper & Pigtails’ Table Setting Party Invitation

Choosing to use printables as your invitation template is a budget saving idea that doesn’t have to look cheesy – the  magic is in the paper.  By using quality stock paper and pairing your invites with matching envelopes, you end up with an invitation that looks like it just stepped out of a printing press.  Your guests will never know the difference.

Don’t forget you can see the entire suite of printables at HGtv and if, by chance, you use one for your next event, let us know which one!

Happy Planning!

Hostess How-To: Setting The Perfect Table for A Dinner Party

November marks the unofficial beginning of the holiday season and that can only mean colder weather, overcrowded malls,  and parties.  Lots and lots of parties! For me, I prefer the intimacy and warmth of private dinner parties to celebrate the chilly winter season with family and friends.  And the only thing better than being a guest at one is being the apron-donned hostess – experimenting with my version of gourmet dishes and whimsical holiday decor.

As the hostess, it’s important to remember that All Postswhile the lit tree, mistletoe, and pine cone ornaments are important in providing a festive feel, the focus of the celebration will reside mostly in the dinner so you’ll want to ensure this, too, is decorative and appealing to the eye. Starting with the foundation – a properly set table and there are 4 basic elements you’ll want to apply in order to achieve a fabulous dinner party:

    • Start by setting out the dinner plates.  You’ll want to make sure they are evenly spaced and far enough apart that guests have ample elbowroom on either side – that usually measures 2 feet from plate center to plate center. Once you’ve set your plates, use them to balance the rest of your settings.
    • When serving bread, place a butter plate above the forks to the left of the plate and include a butter knife or spreader.
    • Silverware is typically placed in the order of its use – from the outside in, first course to main course.
    • Forks should be placed to the left of the plate while knives and spoons are placed to the right.  The only exception to this rule is if you are using a cocktail fork, in which case it would be placed at the outermost right side of the plate.
    • Knives should be placed with the cutting edge facing the plate and all of the handles of the forks, spoons, and knives should be in alignment.
    • For super formal dinner parties, such as for a wedding reception, remove the used utensils after each course is completed
    • When it comes to dessert, you can be fancy and place the silverware above the plate with the fork handle to the left and the spoon or knife handle to the right (the cutting edge should face down) or you can also just bring out dessert silverware with the dessert.
    • Glasses should be placed above the knives in a straight row, slanting downward from the upper left, going from biggest to smallest. Make sure smaller glasses aren’t hidden behind larger ones. An example of a proper arrangement would be a water goblet in back, wine glass, then a dessert glass closest to your guest.
    • When it comes to serving coffee with the meal, you can place the cup and saucer to the right of the setting, with the coffee spoon on the right side of the saucer or just bring the coffee out with dessert.

Use the diagram below as your visual guide when arranging the place settings for your next dinner party:

  • Get a final headcount. Knowing how many guests to expect is essential to knowing the amount of food you’ll want to prepare as well as the number of settings that will need to be placed.  When inviting guests, set a date for them to RSVP by so you are not scrambling to finalize a guest list at the last minute.
  • Add the accent! Figure out if you want to use a cranberry tablecloth or wintergreen place mats, or both.  What about place cards?  Sparkly napkin rings? Tealight candles? Shiny charger plates? Stores like HomeGoods (my personal favorite) are perfect for finding simple enhancement options that can add a little pop to your party decor.
  • Give yourself time. While it may look easy, preparing for a dinner party takes time – even for the more advanced of party hosts. Prep food ahead of time and survey your kitchen to make sure you have amble bowls, warming trays, and serving utensils.  Your goal should be to have the food and yourself guest ready no less than 90 minutes in advance of the start time.
One more thing you must include at the table of your dinner party is laughter.  After all, it’s the holiday season and family and close friends are the best gifts any season can offer. Happy holidays!

Creative Wedding Bouquets and DIY Ribbon Bouquet

Who says your bridal bouquet must consist of flowers?  From seashells to lollipops to jewelry and fabrics, there are so many chic options that are not only beautifully unique but many will last much longer than the evanescent flower bouquet. Check out all of these stunning, out-of-the-box bouquet options, that we’ve found across the web and tell me which is your fave.

Don’t you love this ribbon bouquet?  It’s surprisingly easy to do yourself with these simple instructions found on BurdaStyle: DIY: Ribbon Bouquets

Chocolate Covered Strawberries

I tried my hand at chocolate covered strawberries a few weeks ago after deciding to include them as one of many surprises awaiting my newly married couple upon their return to their bridal suite.   Now, if you know me then you know that I am not a gourmet chef but every once in a while I get the urge to whip up something new.  Sometimes, it works out perfectly…other times, notsomuch.  Luckily, this time my curiosity landed on something so easy that I’m actually a little frustrated that I’ve been paying bakery prices all of these years.  See for yourself…

Chocolate Covered Strawberries

The Ingredients:

  • 1 pound strawberries with stems (about 20), washed and dried very well
  • 6 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped

Raw Materials:

  • 1 Heatproof medium sized bowl
  • Parchment or waxed paper

The Instructions:

  • Put the semisweet chocolate into a heatproof bowls
  • Fill a medium saucepan with about 5 inches of water and bring to a simmer over medium heat
  • Turn off the heat then carefully set the bowl of chocolate over the water to melt and stir until smooth
    • IN A HURRY? Melt the chocolates in a microwave at half power for 1 minute. Stir. Heat for another minute or until melted.
  • Remove the chocolate from the heat once it had fully melted
  • Line a sheet pan with parchment or waxed paper
  • Holding the strawberry by the stem, dip each on into the chocolate using a lift and twist motion.  This will allow any of the excess chocolate to drip back into the bowl
  • Place the strawberries on the parchment paper and when finished let sit for 30-45 minutes to allow the chocolate to set.
    • IN A HURRY? Place the strawberry lined sheet pan in the refrigerator for 15 minutes for a quick set.

Now, I didn’t try these enhancements this time around but I imagine you can follow up the first chocolate plunge with a dip into coconut, chopped nuts, or even white chocolate for a little something extra. You may even want to try other types of fruits. It’s quick, easy and simple enough to try for your next baby shower, engagement party or girls night in and since not many people are going to say no to chocolate covered strawberries, they’re certified PARTY-FRIENDLY! Bon apetit!