Social Events

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.


Star Hansen Events Team Holiday Celebration

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2017 was an incredible year!  We planned and executed the most beautiful events and were lucky enough to watch fourteen couples tie the knot this year.  My Star Hansen Events team has stood by me at each and every event and I couldn’t do what I do without them by my side.  Although fun and exciting, our work can sometimes be stressful, exhausting, and far from glamorous.  My girls have cleaned up spills, moved furniture, picked up rose petals one by one post ceremony, called cabs for guests, mopped dance floors, carried bridesmaid’s phones, run out for pre-ceremony snacks when the Champagne hit a little too hard a little too early, and fixed linens in windy weather over and over again; however, they work their tushies off on event days with enthusiasm and smiles on their beautiful faces.  This work is so worth it though – we all love it and agree that it is incredibly rewarding.  I am grateful to have found such an amazing team of women to work alongside me!

From left to right: Candace, Laurie, Star, Kelly, Elaine, and Zoie

To thank my team of “SHE (Star Hansen Events) Babes” for all of their hard work in 2017, I treated them to a little holiday celebration earlier this month.  I had lots of fun designing this event for these gals who appreciate all that goes into designing and planning a Star Hansen Event (of any size).  I went with a moody wintery color palette of black, cream, blush and mixed metallics.  I shared the mood board for this party earlier this month as part of my Monthly Mood Board series.  Click here to view it.  I paired luxurious velvet with edgy leather and feminine florals for an unexpected and interesting combination.  The gold rimmed plates and lacy chargers added a bit of glam and elegnce to the table and the floral napkins were perfection.  The dinner took place at one of our team member’s (Laurie) home.  She has the most beautiful home in Malibou Lake that served as the perfect backdrop for our party.  She is an incredible cook and spoiled us with delicious appetizers and dinner that we paired with Cielo wine.  The table top pieces were provided by Premiere Party Rents and we were excited to debut some of their newest pieces.  Maximum Bloomage adorned our table with the most beautiful blooms and Cecile’s Paper Co. created coolest leather name tags that we used as place cards.  Brandon Aquino captured the entire night so beautifully for us – below are a few of my favorite pics!

We started the party out at Dry Bar – because every special night should begin with a blow out – where we got gussied up and then headed to Laurie’s for diner.  We reminisced about what fun we’ve had this year and chatted about what is ahead in the coming year.  We made many toasts and “cheers-ed” all night long.  We told stories, danced, made sparkly star crowns, and at the end of the night I surprised them all with a few little gifts including jean jackets with their names painted on them (a la Kelly Patrice) and one of my favorite books (Big Magic)!  Below are some more of the sillier photos from our night including shots from Dry Bar.  It was certainly a night to remember!

Cheers to 2018!

Vendor Credits

Design and Planning – Star Hansen Events

Florals – Maximum Bloomage

Invitations and Name Tags – Cecile’s Paper Co.

Napkins – CB2

New Years Tags and Jacket Customization – Kelly Patrice

Photography – Brandon Aquino

Rentals – Premiere Party Rents

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

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!

Festive Blush Pink and Gold Holiday Table For Luxe Linen

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Luxe Linen is a fine linen rental company based in Southern California.  They manufacture their own linens and create custom linens for any occasion, always offering the highest quality!  I’ve worked with Luxe at many events and their gorgeous linens add such a glamours touch to all types of events.  Their showroom is located in Beverly Hills and it is filled with such a stunning collection of linens for clients’ viewing pleasure!  I am always so inspired when I visit their showroom.  Gorgeous luxury linens have become one of my favorite elements when designing a table top which is why I was so honored when Luxe Linen asked me to design a display table for their showroom in the month of December.  I was excited by the opportunity to design a festive table and knew I wanted to do something a little different from what we often see this time of year.  I chose to use an unexpected combination of festive blush pink and gold holiday decor.  Luxe Linen‘s Blush Monaco overlay with a gold underlay is a combination I’ve been eager to use.  I paired it with their Snow Iridescence napkins to add a touch of simplicity to the elegant design.  XO Bloom designed a gorgeous mix of blush pink roses, festive greens, holly berries, and pine cones nestled in glamorous mercury glass containers.  Dish Wish provided the gorgeous burgundy and gold rimmed dishes, gold rimmed crystal glasses, and gold flatware that tied the colors in so beautifully.  The floral bread and butter plates were the perfect touch and one of my favorite pieces on the table!  Kelly Patrice hand lettered the place cards in her gorgeous calligraphy.  We placed them on top of the napkins along with some festive berries to complete the look.

I am so grateful for this opportunity to work with amazing vendors and design this table top for Luxe Linen in their gorgeous Beverly Hills showroom.  It was so fun to see it set up amongst their collection of beautiful linens.  Thank you to Jenny Quicksall for the lovely photos!

Vendor Credits

CalligraphyKelly Patrice

Designer – Star Hansen Events

FloralsXO Bloom

Linens/Venue  Luxe Linen

PhotographyJenny Quicksall

Table Top RentalsDish Wish

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.


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