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!

 

 

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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 info@socialbfly.com.

Bridezillas gone WILD!!

images (19).jpgAlthough I remember hearing about this story a few years ago, it can still be filed under: deplorable!   The young lady, who I think we can appropriately label as the victim, recalled a story of attending a wedding, and not too long after receiving a message from the Bride expressing her dissatisfaction with the $100 wedding gift she received from she and her date. You can read the message for yourself below, but we must warn you: Your blood WILL boil.

“Hi Tanya, how are you? I just want to know is there any reason or dissatisfaction of Mike’s and I wedding that both you and Phil gave 50$ each? In terms of the amount we got from you both was very unexpected as a result we were very much short on paying off the reception because just for the cocktail + reception alone the plate per person is 200$ (as per a normal wedding range with open bar is about) and Mike and I both have already paid for everything else including decor, photography, attire etc and didn’t expect we had to cover that huge amount for reception as well. As I know you both live together and work, so I did not see any reason for that amount, when it comes to your wedding hopefully you’ll know what I mean. I hope for the best as from what we receive is what we will give back. Anyways, good luck on everything.”

Now, I’m not sure if the Bride was aware but the young lady whom she is berating had recently graduate, was only working part-time and didn’t know the couple very well. Regardless, I think it goes without saying that this is a most inappropriate response to any gift.

But….just in case anyone reads this that is unsure, let me take this moment to clarify: there is no rule that states that a guest must give a gift to a party to which they are invited or what they should give. No, not even a wedding.  And as the recipient, it is just poor etiquette to question the amount of the gift that is given and you should NEVER rely on gifts to pay off the balance for your wedding vendors.

Thoughts….PLEASE!!!

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:

  • PLATEWARE
    • 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
    • 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.
  • NAPKINS
  • GLASSWARE
    • 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:

DON’T FORGET TO:
  • 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!

Guestiquette: 4 Tips for Being a Great Guest

Whoo-hoo!!  You’ve received an invitation to the party of the year but there’s more to do than just pick out your outfit.  I usually tell people that the best thing to do after receiving an invitation is to READ IT!  Seems silly, right?  But you can’t even begin to imagine how many people have showed up at the right venue at the wrong time totally under dressed.  It happens more often than you think so we’ve listed 4 tips that will not only make sure you get the the right event at the right time but will also have you considered for Guest of the Year Award.

Respondez S’il Vous Plait.

One of the greatest gifts you can give your hostess is the gift of an attendance confirmation.  While it seems a trivial act, your RSVP has a lot of power.  It helps your hostess figure out important event details like how much food or wine to buy, how much seating is needed, and how many party favors to provide.   It’s also a good time to let the hostess know if you are bringing a +1 or inquire as to whether additional guests are welcome.  Always respond  to an invitation and follow proper guestiquette by doing so within one week of receipt.

Honor the Dress Code.

If your hostess took time to specify a dress code requirement (ie All White, Black Tie, Beach wear),  just go with the flow.  Wearing red leather to the white linen garden party does not make you an individual.  It makes you a terrible guest who either didn’t read the invitation or just didn’t care enough to honor the hostesses request.

Arrive on Time.

I think everyone understands the unlikely awkwardness that is associated with being the first to arrive on scene but arriving “fashionably late” to a soiree where dinner is being served or someone is being surprised is NOT cool.  Always try to arrive within 15 minutes of the event start time and notify the hostess if you will be arriving any later.

Don’t Arrive Empty Handed.

Providing a small gift to your hostess is a small gesture that essentially thanks them for the time spent on providing a fun-filled gathering.  And these gifts do not have to be grand, sweeping, gestures of gratitude; wine, candles, books, or a dessert item, are all great ideas.