Monthly Archives: April 2014

DIY Favor: Tea Bag Cookies

diy tea bag cookies
Photo courtesy of Elegant Affairs

Ingredients:

¾ pound unsalted butter at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3½ cups all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon salt
3.5 ounces dark chocolate broken into small pieces

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350°F.

2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix together the butter and sugar until they are just combined. Add the vanilla.

3. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour and salt, then add them to the butter-and-sugar mixture. Mix on low speed until the dough starts to come together.

4. Empty mixture from bowl onto a surface dusted with flour, and shape into a flat disk. Wrap in plastic, and chill for 30 minutes.

5. Roll the dough ¼-inch thick, then use a tea bag-shaped cookie cutter to cut out your cookie shapes (cookie cutter can be found online for a very low price). Make a small hole at the top of each cookie using a skewer. Place cookies on an ungreased baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

6. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the edges begin to brown. Allow to cool to room temperature.

7. Put 2.5 ounces of chopped chocolate in a glass bowl, and microwave on high power for 20 seconds. Stir with a wooden spoon. Continue to heat and stir in 20-second increments until the chocolate is just melted. Add the remaining chopped chocolate and stir until the residual heat in the bowl melts the chocolate completely. Allow it to sit at room temperature, stirring often, until it’s completely smooth. (The more you stir, the glossier the chocolate will get.)

8. Dip each cookie half-way through in the chocolate, and set it on parchment paper to dry. It will only take a couple of minutes for the chocolate to set. After it’s dried, string a thread through the hole.

diy tea bag cookies
Photo courtesy of Elegant Affairs

DIY Favor: Tea Bag Cookies

diy tea bag cookies
Photo courtesy of Elegant Affairs

Ingredients:

¾ pound unsalted butter at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3½ cups all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon salt
3.5 ounces dark chocolate broken into small pieces

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350°F.

2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix together the butter and sugar until they are just combined. Add the vanilla.

3. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour and salt, then add them to the butter-and-sugar mixture. Mix on low speed until the dough starts to come together.

4. Empty mixture from bowl onto a surface dusted with flour, and shape into a flat disk. Wrap in plastic, and chill for 30 minutes.

5. Roll the dough ¼-inch thick, then use a tea bag-shaped cookie cutter to cut out your cookie shapes (cookie cutter can be found online for a very low price). Make a small hole at the top of each cookie using a skewer. Place cookies on an ungreased baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

6. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the edges begin to brown. Allow to cool to room temperature.

7. Put 2.5 ounces of chopped chocolate in a glass bowl, and microwave on high power for 20 seconds. Stir with a wooden spoon. Continue to heat and stir in 20-second increments until the chocolate is just melted. Add the remaining chopped chocolate and stir until the residual heat in the bowl melts the chocolate completely. Allow it to sit at room temperature, stirring often, until it’s completely smooth. (The more you stir, the glossier the chocolate will get.)

8. Dip each cookie half-way through in the chocolate, and set it on parchment paper to dry. It will only take a couple of minutes for the chocolate to set. After it’s dried, string a thread through the hole.

diy tea bag cookies
Photo courtesy of Elegant Affairs

Camping-Themed Engagement Photos

By: 
Kristen Klein

Since Megan and Dakota love indulging in outdoor activities together, they decided to give their engagement photos a camping theme. They pitched a tent in Glacier Park and got cozy for this sweet session!

Photography by Kristin La Voie Photography.

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camping engagement photos
Camping
 

childhood favorites theme engagement photos
Childhood Favorites

circus theme engagement photos
Circus
 

water balloon fight engagement photos
Water Balloon Fight

carnival engagement photos
Carnival
 

school theme engagement photos
High School
 

On Your Mark, Get Set, Go! Running-Themed Engagement Photos

By: 
Kristen Klein

After snapping some gorgeous photos around their college campus, Amber and Michael kicked off their dress shoes and re-created one of their first dates: going for a run together.

Photography by Kristen Marie Photography.

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running theme engagement photos
Running

baseball theme engagement photos
Baseball

hockey theme engagement photos
Hockey

rock climbing engagement photos
Rock Climbing

snowboarding engagement photos
Snowboarding

skeet shooting engagement photos
Skeet Shooting

Super Mario Bros. Engagement Photos

By: 
Kristen Klein

Nathan and Jessica crafted quite the elaborate scenario for their engagement photos! After dozing off in the park, Nathan wakes up alone — dressed as Mario. Jessica is missing, and he quickly realizes she must've transformed into Princess Peach. He sets off on a long journey to rescue her, but he gets a little sidetracked along the way. When he finally reaches her, she's angry that he took so long — but he knows exactly how to cheer her up! He proposes, and the two run back to reality together. 

Photography by Christina Truelove Photography.

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super mario bros engagement photos
Super Mario Bros.

zombie engagement photos
Zombie Invasion
 

bear costumes engagement photos
Bear Costumes
 

american gothic engagement photos
American Gothic
 

underwater engagement photos
Under Water
 

facebook theme engagement photos
Facebook

 

Throw a Cinco de Mayo-Themed Bachelorette Fiesta

joanne barken the bach


Guest blogger: Joanne Barken
Joanne Barken is the CEO of The Bach, the first online platform for planning bachelorette parties. Joanne, who lives in New York City — one of the country's top choices for a special night out with the girls — has helped plan over a dozen bachelorette parties before launching The Bach.

 

Nothing says “Fiesta Time” quite like Cinco de Mayo. So if you and the girls are looking to throw a true party for the bride-to-be, there’s no better theme. Here’s everything you need to pull off a fabulous event.

Send Out Fiesta-Inspired Invitations

Let your guests know the theme in advance so that they can plan accordingly. A fun invitation helps to get everyone excited for the event.

cinco de mayo party invitation
Photo Credit: Etsy

Decorate With a Vibrant Color Scheme

Set the party mood with brightly colored flowers, balloons, and streamers. Think vibrant pinks, oranges and yellows for your decorating pallete.

cinco de mayo bachelorette party decor
Photo Credit: Eat Drink Pretty

cinco de mayo bachelorette party decor
Photo Credit: Eat Drink Pretty

Prepare Strawberry Margarita Jell-O Shots

Get creative and try out this fun spin on the traditional margarita. It's a tasty way to get the celebration started!

strawberry margarita jello shots
Photo Credit: That's So Michelle

Indulge in Margarita Cupcakes

When it comes to Cinco de Mayo, everyone thinks of margaritas. Turn this classic Mexican cocktail into tasty cupcakes.

margarita cupcakes
Photo Credit: Created by Diane

Sip From Mustache Straws

A Cinco de Mayo-themed bachelorette bash is the perfect occasion to use the trendy mustache straws. Just remember to snap lots of fun pictures!

mustache straws
Photo Credit: Etsy

Break a Piñata

Celebrate love with this heart shaped piñata. Fill it up with the bride’s favorite candies, and let everyone have a go at it!

cinco de mayo bachelorette party pinata
Photo Credit: Etsy

Sport Festive Sombreros

When your group hits the bars, be sure to make a statement. Sombreros will certainly do the trick!

cinco de mayo bachelorette party sombreros
Photo Credit: Jordan Weiland Photography on Every Last Detail via Lover.ly

—Joanne Barken

Changing Your Last Name: How to Decide What’s Right for You

By: 
Danielle Tate

i stole her heart so im stealing his last name sign
Photo Credit: ChicBridalBoutique/Etsy

Name change after marriage is a big decision. While most women anticipate getting married someday, very few of us give much thought to the concept of name change. If you do opt to change your name (and 88.6% of you will), the change is permanent unless you divorce or petition the U.S. court system for a legal name change order, which is about as fun as it sounds. It is wise to fully understand your feelings on name change, as well as your options before making the switch to Mrs.

When I got married, I gamely tossed my maiden name and took my husband’s. Now, nine years later, I wish that I would have researched my name change options a bit more before taking the name change plunge. So, here’s the scoop on married name change and the multitude of options available today. Please take a moment to read this article and make an informed decision; you’ll thank me later!

Option 1: Keep your maiden name

If your profession is closely tied to your name or if you are the last member of your family to carry your name, keeping your maiden name is a logical choice. It’s also the choice that results in zero paperwork!

Option 2: Hyphenate your name with your spouse’s

Most popular in the 1970s, hyphenation allows you to keep your maiden name while still adding your spouse's. It also makes it easy for colleagues, clients, and friends to follow you and your work post-marriage.

Option 3: Take two last names sans hyphen

This name change option allows you to have both surnames but use them interchangeably. You will need to sign all legal documents with both names, but you can introduce yourself with one last name, thus forgoing the mouthful that hyphenated last names can create.

Option 4: Take your maiden name as a middle name and your spouse’s last name

This is one of the most popular name change trends today, as women can take their spouse’s last name but still keep their maiden name. Maiden to middle name change holds even more appeal for women who were bestowed with horrible middle names! This can be done in all states except California (unless you list your maiden as your middle name on your marriage license), Ohio, New Jersey, and Washington. If you live in New York or Pennsylvania, you'll need to follow a specific order when filing your forms to achieve maiden to middle name change (get more info on MissNowMrs.com).

Option 5: Take your spouse’s last name

Many brides are ready to axe their maiden names completely and take their spouse’s last name. Reasons range from having unpronounceable maiden names to wanting their future children to have a last name towards the front of the alphabet.

Option 6: Create a blended last name with your spouse

This concept is very new on the name change scene — Mr. Goldberg and Miss Bernstein become Mr. and Mrs. Goldstein. *Please note that this option is only available to California couples, and they must write their blended last names on their marriage license.

Option 7: Have your spouse take your name

If you love your last name and your spouse doesn’t have major ties to his, consider having him take your maiden name as a new last name. Certain states — California, Georgia, Hawaii, Iowa, Illinois, Lousiana, Massachusetts, New York, and North Dakota — recognize a man's right to change his name on the basis of marriage.

Still unsure of the best name change option for you? Play the Married Name Game. This interactive quiz boasts a patent-pending algorithm, which was created by analyzing the name change choices made by the 200,000+ MissNowMrs.com customers and the key influencers of their decisions. It weighs and factors in things like your age and education, along with your personal style, to suggest the name change option(s) most in keeping with your selections.

Throw a “Down and Derby” Bachelorette Party

joanne barken the bach


Guest blogger: Joanne Barken
Joanne Barken is the CEO of The Bach, the first online platform for planning bachelorette parties. Joanne, who lives in New York City — one of the country's top choices for a special night out with the girls — has helped plan over a dozen bachelorette parties before launching The Bach.

 

The Kentucky Derby, taking place on May 3 this year, is known for more than just the exciting two-minute thoroughbred horse race. With its own fashion style and signature cocktail, it always makes for a great party. Whether your group actually attends the races, like Miranda Lambert’s bachelorette crew did, or just wants to throw a themed event at home, here’s how to Get Down & Derby at your next bachelorette party.

Set the Tone with the Right Invitations

Give your guests a heads up on the Kentucky Derby theme with these adorable invites.

kentucky derby theme party
Photo Credit: Etsy

Rock Floppy Hats & Preppy Dresses

The Kentucky Derby is famous for its hat parade, and women routinely play it up even more with brightly colored dresses or preppy patterns, like seersucker. It’s the perfect excuse to show off that fun new party dress and express your inner Southern Belle!

kentucky derby theme bachelorette party
Photo Credit: Classy in the Classroom

kentucky derby theme bachelorette party
Photo Credit: Lauren Smith

Toast the Bride with Mint Juleps

The Mint Julep has been a staple at the Kentucky Derby for nearly a century. Take part in this time-honored tradition, and mix up a few drinks for your gals.

mint julep cocktail
Photo Credit: Foodess

Try Out Some Lawn Games

The Kentucky Derby often goes hand in hand with classic lawn games — think corn hole, viking chess, and croquet. If your group feels confident with your skills, why not challenge the bachelor party to a competitive game?

kentucky derby theme bachelorette partykentucky derby theme bachelorette party
Photo Credit: The Young Affiliates of the Mint and Tatyana Photography

kentucky derby theme bachelorette party
Photo Credit: The Young Affiliates of the Mint and Tatyana Photography

Horse Around With a Photo Booth

Set up a photo booth and use fun props to complete your Kentucky Derby theme. Jockey hats, roses, and trophies all make for great props, and the bride will love the final group photos.

kentucky derby theme bachelorette party
Photo Credit: Etsy

kentucky derby theme bachelorette party
Photo Credit: The Young Affiliates of the Mint and Tatyana Photography

kentucky derby theme bachelorette party
Photo Credit: The Young Affiliates of the Mint and Tatyana Photography

kentucky derby theme bachelorette party
Photo Credit: The Young Affiliates of the Mint and Tatyana Photography

kentucky derby theme bachelorette party
Photo Credit: The Young Affiliates of the Mint and Tatyana Photography

Hand Out Cute Favors

Keep the theme going with these “Talk Derby to Me Buttons.” It’s not a bachelorette party without a few raunchy jokes!

kentucky derby theme bachelorette party
Photo Credit: Caufield's

—Joanne Barken