Pink Champagne Cake For Valentine’s Day

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I love to bake, especially during the holidays.  I started making Pink Champagne Cake about ten years ago when one of my dear friends gave me the Booze Cakes cook book as a birthday gift.  When I saw this recipe in the book I knew I had to try it out – it is made with Champagne, it is pink, and it is beautiful – pretty much perfection on a plate!  I have made this cake over the years for many different celebrations including milestone birthdays, New Years Eve, and of course, Valentine’s Day!

My hubby is traveling for work this Valentine’s Day but I’d been craving this cake and decided to make it for a gal pal and I to enjoy.  It is quite convenient when your “Galentine” is the talented photographer Katrina Jayne of Katrina Jayne Photography and she offers to shoot you baking and decorating the cake.  Thanks Katrina, I am able to share the step-by-step process with all of you!  I am no professional when it comes to baking but I do enjoy it, as well as the end result no matter how perfectly imperfect it can sometimes be!  While I baked, Katrina and I had so much fun sipping Champagne and chatting about weddings, blogging, and Kitchen Aid mixers!

Using the recipe below I was able to bake up a small three tiered cake as well a a dozen cupcakes.  Katrina and I noshed on the boozy cake and I whipped up a batch of pink tinted frosting (sans Champagne) for the cupcakes so I could share them with my kiddos.  Daxton and Heidi enjoyed them and Dax pointed out that since Daddy isn’t home, he is my Valentine! I think he is  the perfect stand in while my husband is away.  I’m so grateful for my little loves, my husband, and for all of the sweet “Galentines” in my life.  Happy Valentine’s Day all!

There is quite a bit of Champagne in this cake (almost a whole bottle) but thankfully there is enough for a couple glasses of Champagne to enjoy with the cake… or while you are baking it!  Cheers to that!

Sip some Champagne while your cakes are in the oven – then make the frosting!

I topped my cake and cupcakes with my absolute favorite brand of sprinkles – Sweetapolita!

Photos Courtesy of Katrina Jayne Photography

Pink Champagne Cake Recipe

From Booze Cakes by Krystina Castella and Terry Lee Stone



  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 6 egg whites
  • red food coloring
  • 2 cups Champagne


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease and flour two 9-inch round cake pans.  Alternative use three 6-inch round cake pans and a dozen cup cake liners.  In a bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.  In a mixing bowl, beat butter and sugar 3 to 5 minutes, or until light and fluffy.  Add vanilla and beat in egg whites one at a time. Mix in food  coloring (until it is your desired shade of pink).  Beat in flour mixture and Champagne in three alternating additions, starting and ending with flour to prevent curdling.  Pour batter into pans and bake appx. 35 minutes (rotating pans half way through cooking time), until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.



  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 4 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/2 cup Champagne
  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • red food coloring


In a mixing bowl, beat butter 1 minute.  Gradually add the confectioners’ sugar, Champagne, milk, vanilla, and food coloring (until it is your desired pinkness); beat until smooth and creamy.


The Apple of Our Eye Turns Two!

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Our Heidi is turning three next week and I am busily planning her little birthday party.  I feel like I’m so behind this year but it is tough to plan a party in the middle of wedding season!  Thankfully she is forgiving and will be happy with just about anything as long as she has a pink cake!  This year she has decided on a unicorn theme which works out nicely for me since I designed and planned a unicorn themed birthday party for a client earlier this year so it is fresh on my mind.  Although unicorns are anything but unique nowadays, I think they are popular for very good reason.  Who can resist pastel rainbow colors, sparkles, and magical mythical creatures?!  I’m having so much fun with this theme and am excited to share details and photos with you all!

As I’m in the middle of planning this year’s party, I am realizing that I never shared photos from her party last year.  Since September is in full swing and the kiddos have all just started to school, it is the perfect time to share her apple themed 2nd birthday party.  As you probably can imagine, when I plan a party for a family member or friend, it is always quite different than when I plan an event for a client.  I have to work with a smaller budget so I end up DIYing most of the decor and even baking most of the desserts myself (which I love doing).  For Heidi’s apple party we kept things pretty simple but it was still super cute and she had a blast!

Heidi’s invitations read “Sweet as Pie, the Apple of Our Eye” and set the tone for the party.  The color palette included various shades of greens and reds with a bit of pink mixed in and there was apple decor everywhere!  We scheduled the party for late morning and served brunch style food – yogurt parfaits, doughnut holes, pumpkin bread, fruit, and breakfast burritos as well as juices and coffee.  We had apples of all colors and varieties all over the place and the kids noshed on them throughout the party.  We even set up an apple peeling station where kids could use a really cool contraption to peel and spiralize their apples.  I made cinnamon play dough and put little pie pans and cinnamon sticks out for the kids to “bake” apple pies.  I also had a build your own candy necklace station where the kids could string their own necklaces of rainbow cereal, yogurt covered pretzels, and gummy apple Os.  For dessert I made caramel dipped apples and cinnamon vanilla cupcakes topped with super cute fondant apples.  We also served a selection of pies and sugar cookies decorated like apples.  Our little guests received apple shaped apple cinnamon play dough as a favor when they left.  All in all it was a really fun day and our little Heidi definitely enjoyed being guest of honor (and having free reign of the dessert and juice bars ;).

I SO enjoy planning parties for my littles!  Can’t wait for the next one in a couple of weeks!

Vendor Credits

Cookies and Cupcake Toppers – Kirsten’s Danish Bakery

Design and Planning – Star Hansen Events

Invitations – Pristine Print Co.

Photography – A Pocket of Time

Ice Dying – My Favorite Way to Tie Dye!

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This summer has flown by!  We’ve executed a handful of amazing weddings and are in the process of planning many more that will take place this fall.  Although the summer has been busy, we’ve definitely enjoyed this lovely season!  My kids are at such a fun age (my son is 5 and my daughter is almost 3) so I’m grateful for the time I got to spend with them this summer.  We checked almost all of our “Summer Bucket List” items off the list including making homemade ice cream, going to a water park, hosting a summer bbq/pot luck, checking out a few local museums we’d yet to explore, and of course, tie dying (still need to have a lemonade stand, and grateful that we technically have a few more weeks of summer to fit that in)!  

Anyone that knows me well knows I love to tie dye and we’ve done it every summer for the past couple of years.  To me, it’s not summer until you tie dye, so to celebrate the end of the season, I want to share with you one of my favorite ways to tie dye.  Earlier this summer I invited some other moms and their kids over for a tie dye party!  We used a few different techniques including spray dying, a vat of indigo tie dye, Rit dyes, and of course the classic tie dye kits that you can pick up just about anywhere in the summer.  One of the things I love most about tie dying is that no matter what materials you use or how you do it, the outcome is always so cool!  It is really hard to mess up tie dye.  I enjoy all of the different materials and techniques but I have to say that ice dying is my all time favorite!  I only learned about this style of tie dye last year and it has quickly become my obsession and I fear that soon, I will own nothing white (since it will all be ice dyed!).  It is unbelievably simple and you only need a few things.  This method often goes unnoticed, but it is SO entertaining and enjoyable – and it is probably the most kid friendly way to tie dye so big yay for that!!

I know there are plenty of tie-dye instructions floating around, but let’s face it – sometimes we just want to get to the basics! So, below you will find a few simple steps to the art of ice dying.

What you’ll need:

  • Powdered Rit Dye 
    • This kit can be bought at any craft store – Joann’s, Michael’s…even Amazon!
  • Fabric
    • T-shirts, towels, cloth napkins, bed sheets maybe…anything white!
  • Ice
  • An open space to get messy!
    • I let my kids do this on our grass in the back yard, but others do it over a bucket or a foil pan!

Step 1: 

Choose your fabric!  

We’ve  ice-dyed t-shirts, towels, table cloths/runners, cloth napkins (one of my favorites), and kitchen hand towels!  The world is certainly your oyster with this decision and anything and everything goes!

Step 2:

Wash your fabric in soda ash! (Suggestion)

It’s suggested that before you ice dye, the fabric that intends on being dyed should be washed in soda ash before-hand. However, if you barely have enough time to breathe (like me!), there is simply no way we can get around to do this – so I’ll let you in on a little secret…my dye turned out just fine without the soda ash!! 😉

Steps 3 and 4:

Wad, Fold, and Scrunch…then add the ice!

Once you have your fabric and space for magic, it’s time for the fun part!  You are going to want to wad up your fabric and bunch it in any way you please. (Somewhat like the picture below!) There’s tons of folding techniques for indigo tie dye and traditional methods, but when ice dying, this good ol’ crumple method is best!

No rubber-bands are needed with this technique mostly because the natural melt results in the watercolored effect that is desired when ice dying.

After you have wadded up your fabric, it’s time to cover it inch by inch with ice.  The more ice, the greater effect you will see in your dye. Go ahead and pile it on!

Step 5:

Sprinkle the Dye!

Once the fabric is covered with ice, sprinkle the powdered Rit Dye all over the ice and fabric – cover pretty much every part of the garment (using as little or as much as you’d like).

*TIP: I wouldn’t go crazy with a rainbow assortment of colors… (I know this might be tough with kids who would love to sprinkle every color in sight!) But instead, try and pick a palette of colors that go well together so your fabric doesn’t end up turning brown.  Think blues, purples, and pinks or maybe some yellows and oranges!

Step 6:

Let it melt!

Last but not least, its time for the ice to melt and for the masterpiece to come alive!  Now, you can either let the ice melt naturally in the sun, or for a more fun and interactive way for the kiddos (or if YOU just can’t wait!!), you can use a squirt bottle filled with water to speed up the process.

Step 7:

Wash the fabric!

Before you throw the fabric in the washer, be sure to RINSE first with cold water until the water runs clear (if you are dying outside on the grass, a hose works great for this). When washing in the machine, I would highly recommend washing the pieces of fabric separately for the first couple washes to avoid any color bleeding!

Step 8:


Now that I’ve shown you the steps to Ice Dying, it should be made clear that this new trend is certainly not just for children or a wacky t-shirt!  The result is really beautiful and the watercolor effect is anything but psychedelic.  Ice dyed pieces can be incorporated into special events including baby showers, birthday parties, even weddings!  If you just pick the right color palette (maybe grays and whites) this tie-dye DIY can be super chic and absolutely gorgeous.  Trust me when I tell you that all this fun can be used for unique occasions, as I have done it myself!  Click on this link which showcases ice dyed table cloths I made for a baby shower I designed last year – told ya this tie dye can work wonders!!  Before summer officially comes to a close, I encourage you to give this technique a try!


Below are a few photos from our tie dying party.  The kids chose different techniques and they enjoyed showing off their masterpieces.  My son and I made matching indigo tie pieces for our little family because a family that tie dyes together, stays together, right?!  My husband is a really good sport – don’t you think?

Photos courtesy of Jenny Quicksall Photography

Welcoming Baby Easton | Baby Shower At Malibou Lake

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Planning a social event such as a baby shower honoring someone close to you can be intimidating!  You want everything to be perfect and to encompass all of the things they love.  The details, games, food, and decor all add up to create such a special day for the expecting mommy to be.  I recently had the opportunity to assist in planing an intimate baby shower honoring Jeanette and her baby Easton.  The shower took place at a private home in Malibou Lake with gorgeous lighting and views for days!  We knew we wanted to incorporate lots of blue in honor of baby Easton and also wanted to incorporate a bit of boho flair in honor of the Jeanette who loves that style.  The hostess wanted to add her own personal touch so she hand made dream catchers for each and every guest – they doubled as chair decor!  As you may know, I love crafting and was excited that she was open to lots of handmade decor elements.  I ice dyed the table linens using various shades of blue and hand painted the napkins to create a watercolor ombre affect.  Pretty Vintage Rentals‘ blue goblets added the perfect pop of blue to the table and Letter Bliss created some gorgeous signage to help personalize the event.

Jenny Quicksall photographed the event and she captured some amazing moments!  Some of my favorite photos from the shower are of the gorgeous mama to be and her cute bump, the tablescape, and the delicious food and sweets.  We were honored to have this baby shower featured on both Popsugar Moms and Rustic Baby Chic.  I will be sharing a few more DIYs from this shower in the next couple of months.  Please subscribe to see when they are posted!

Watercolored Easter Eggs with Gold Leaf | DIY Tutorial

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Watercolored Eggs with Gold Leaf | DIY Tutorial

Anyone who knows me well, knows I love to craft and create.  Before I had kids I went to Michaels, JoAnn’s and/or Paper Source on a weekly basis and I was always crafting and DIYing – anything from embellishing or transforming household items, to handcrafting holiday and party decor, I tried it all… and who can forget that phase when I stamp embossed everything?! I still love creating things with my own two hands though I can’t devote quite as much time to it nowadays.  Holidays and my kid’s birthday parties are when I manage to make time for fun crafty projects.

Dying eggs has become one of my favorite holiday projects.  I love that it is something that allows for complete creativity and that it is generally a very kid friendly activity that my kiddos love!  No matter how you decorate an egg, it always looks pretty right?!  Over the years we’ve tried many different techniques from all natural dye where we used things like red cabbage, onions, and beets to dye the eggs, to shaving cream marbling, to Sharpie tie dying to sponge painting.  This year we kept things simple, coloring our eggs with liquid watercolors and embellishing them with gold leaf for a little extra bling.  I love how they turned out and I’m so glad we use faux eggs so we can enjoy them year after year!  Isn’t the pink egg with the gold lettering so pretty?!  My friend and colleague Kelly Patrice is an uber talented calligrapher and worked her magic on it!  These would be so fun as place cards at an Easter celebration.

I hope you enjoy this project.  It really is quite easy and the outcome is so lovely!  See below for step by step instructions.


Part 1

  • White eggs (hard boiled or faux craft eggs)
  • Liquid watercolors (diluted a tiny bit) in spray bottles – I used pink and turquoise

Part 2

  • Zig glue pen – I purchased mine from Amazon
  • Gold gilding flakes – I purchased mine from Paper Source


First off – be sure to lay down paper or a plastic table cloth as the first part of this project is quite messy!  Take an egg and begin to spray it with your liquid water colors.  If you like the speckled look, spray the eggs from far away.  Let them dry, then spray the other side.  If you like the marbled watercolor look, roll the eggs in your hands (gloves optional) or around in the liquid watercolor that will eventually form on your work surface.  There is no rhyme or reason – just color them until you are happy with the result.  Let them dry.

Once your eggs are dry, use your glue pen to apply glue all around the egg.  Again, no rhyme or reason to this – just dot it on and then pat it all around the egg with your fingers.  Let the glue dry for a few minutes until it is tacky (do not let it completely dry), then apply bits of your gold leaf to the tacky areas – eventually rolling the egg around in your hand to apply the gold foil to all of the places with glue on them.

It’s as easy as that!  My favorite thing about this project is that there are no rules – you just do your thing with your watercolors, glue, and gold leaf and play around until you are happy with the result.  It’s the perfect project to do with little ones (my four year old enjoyed helping – that is his little hand below) or with a glass of wine by your side, since it doesn’t require too much concentration.  Happy spring!

Need an Immunity Boost?! Homemade Elderberry Syrup to the Rescue!

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Photo courtesy of The Kitchen McCabe

I woke up this morning feeling a little under the weather… not sick, just a little off.  My throat was scratchy and I felt a little more tired than usual.  I know its cold and flu season but I wanted to nip whatever might be coming on as quickly as possible!  My kids and I take elderberry syrup almost daily this time of year but I ran out a few days ago.  Waking up with this feeling, I knew I had to make up a new batch right away – not only to help me fight this sickness off but also to hopefully protect my kids from getting anything.  Elderberry syrup is an excellent immunity booster and it tastes great (which is a plus when you are trying to get your kids to take it!).  In addition to boosting your immunity, it is also said to shorten the duration of colds and the flu.  I do lots of natural remedies to keep my family as healthy as possible – especially this time of year – and I do think that elderberry syrup really helps!  We typically take a teaspoon each on a daily basis and we up it to a teaspoon two or three times a day if someone in the house is sick.  Upping the amount helps the person who is sick to recover more quickly and helps those who aren’t sick to stay healthy.

I’ve had many people ask me for my elderberry syrup recipe so I figured I’d share it here.  I use Mommypotamus‘ recipe which is listed on her website.  Check it out her site for more detailed information about the benefits of elderberries as well as lots of other wonderful natural remedies.  I typically double the recipe because between the three of us, we go through it pretty quickly and it keeps well in the fridge for a few months.  It really does taste great – my kids would drink a whole glassful if I’d let them!  I encourage you to give it a try.  It really is super easy and is a great thing to have on had when you feel something coming on!

Elderberry Syrup Recipe


  • 1/2 cup dried elderberries (find them here) or 1 cup fresh elderberries
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup honey (I recommend using local honey)
  • 1 cinnamon stick (optional)


1. Add water, elderberries and cinnamon sticks (if using them) to a pot and bring to a boil.

2. Reduce heat and simmer until liquid is reduced by half. This should take around 45 minutes.

3. Strain to remove berries. Allow liquid to cool to room temperature, then stir in honey.  Makes about 2 cups.  Store in the refrigerator – keeps for a few months.  NOTE: Because this recipe contains honey, it should not be used in children under the age of one.

Heidi Turns One – Oktoberfest Style!

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The first day of fall is just three short days away and Oktoberfest, one of the world’s most well known fall traditions, has just begun!  At noon on September 17th, the Mayor of Munich had the honor of tapping the first keg of Oktoberfest beer and so the festivities began!  Millions of people travel to Munich, Germany every year to attend the world’s largest beer festival which includes rides and games, traditional Bavarian foods and most importantly, drinking large amounts of Oktoberfest Beer!  Although I’ve traveled to the beautiful city of Munich, it wasn’t during Oktoberfest – it is definitely on my bucket list!

Many of my extended family members are from northern Europe and I’ve always enjoyed the cultures of these regions.  I named my daughter Heidi after the classic novel of the same name by Johanna Spyri.  When I planned Heidi’s first birthday, I used her traditional European name as inspiration for her party.  I wanted to incorporate many of the elements that make the northern European region unique and special and since it is September, I thought it would be fun to include a bit of Oktoberfest as well!  I chose a bright color palette highlighting pinks, yellows and blues.   Flowers were a primary theme and used in various ways, from flower garlands, to a flower embellished “H” in honor of Heidi, to oversized handmade paper flowers used as a background for Heidi’s smash cake.  Flower crowns are traditional accessories at Scandinavian festivals so we encouraged the girls at Heidi’s party to wear flowers in their hair by decorating their own flower crown at the DIY flower crown bar.  Oktoberfest props were available to guests at the “selfie station” and guests giggled while adorning themselves with jumbo pretzels, steins of beer and funny hats.

Guests enjoyed a spread of European inspired cuisine including  Bavarian pretzels, sausages and a selection of German beers served in our “Biergarten”.  Aebleskiver, which are round Danish pancakes topped with powdered sugar and served with jam, were cooked onsite and offered to guest throughout the party.  This was a highlight as many guests had never tasted a delicious fresh Aeblesiver before!  For dessert, we served a variety of sweets including cupcakes, Danish Kringle, and sugar cookies iced to look like Dalah horses.  Sweet little Heidi was dressed in a pink pinafore dress with a white apron and she wore a special felt flower crown handmade just for her.  She was most comfortable in Mama’s arms for most of the party but did enjoy eating the sprinkles off of her birthday cake!

Vendor Credits

Event Design & Decor – Star Hansen Events

Photography – Jenny Quicksall Photography

Signage – Gumma Gubba Stationary Studio

Sugar Cookies & Kringle – Kirsten’s Danish Bakery

Fresh Yellow Watermelon Margaritas

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The end of summer is always bittersweet.  Summer is my favorite season and I’m sad to say goodbye to warm nights, sun dresses and my all of the amazing produce that is in abundance right now.  However, I must admit that a part of me is excited about cozy sweaters, pumpkin candles and comfort food!

Since we have a few weeks of summer left, I’m going to soak it in and continue to enjoy all of the wonderful things the season has to offer!  One of my all time favorite summertime treats is watermelon.  My family and I eat it all summer long and I love to incorporate it into salads, desserts and beverages.  I always get so excited when I come across yellow watermelons at the store or farmer’s market.  Yellow watermelons taste just like regular watermelons but are a beautiful pastel yellow inside!  When deciding on the perfect cocktail for a recent “girls night in” I decided to make fresh watermelon margaritas.  I love a good margarita – especially one that incorporates lots of fresh fruit juices (instead of sweet and sour), and this one fits the bill.  The ingredients are simple and high quality so the drink is wonderfully refreshing and as healthy as a cocktail can be 🙂  This cocktail can obviously be made with any kind of watermelon but I was lucky enough to have a yellow watermelon on hand so I used it in place of the traditional watermelon I typically use for this recipe.  The result was a unique and delicious beverage that we all enjoyed.  I garnished the drinks with a slice of yellow watermelon and a succulent cocktail stirrer which I thought complemented this drink so beautifully.  The succulent stirrers were super simple to make – keep an eye out for a blog post showing how I made them!

Fresh Yellow Watermelon Margarita Recipe


  • Juice from one large lime (approximately 4 ounces)
  • Juice from half a medium lemon (approximately 2 tablespoons)
  • Juice from two large oranges (approximately 4 ounces)
  • Juice from 1/2 of a small watermelon (approximately 8 ounces)
  • 6 ounces of high quality silver Tequila
  • Simple syrup* to taste (I used 1/3 cup) or sweeter of choice

Instructions: Combine all ingredients in a pitcher and stir.  Take a taste to ensure it is perfect – adjusting juice/sweeteners as needed.  Pour over ice into four pretty glasses (salt the rims if you’d like) and garnish with a slice of watermelon.  Succulent stirrer optional 🙂  Makes about 4 cocktails.

*Note: To prepare simple syrup, heat equal parts water and sugar in saucepan over low heat, stirring occasionally until sugar has dissolved.  Let the syrup cool and then add desired amount to your margarita mix.


Are you thirsty yet…