For some the Labor Day holiday means getting ready for back to school or a nice 3 day weekend. Well, that is not the case for me. I consider labor day the start to football season and the kickoff to fun Saturdays tailgating with friends and family. So the only thing I am doing today, and what most other die hard southern football fans are doing, is getting ready for the tailgate season to kick off tomorrow morning! This pinwheel cookie recipe is a staple for all events with my family as it is easy to make and you can coordinate the colors for any school! 

Sugar Cookie Recipe from Alton Brown
3 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 tablespoon milk
Powdered sugar, for rolling out dough

First sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt then set aside. Next place the butter and sugar in a large bowl and beat until light in color. After that is combined beat in the egg and milk. Finally put your mixer on low speed to gradually add the flour. Beat until mixture pulls away from the side of the bowl. Divide the dough in half, wrap in waxed paper, and refrigerate for 2 hours.

Now it is time to make your colored dough. For a JMU tailgate I take one of the balls of dough and use gel food coloring to turn it purple and color the other ball of dough yellow. Work with one ball of dough at a time (lightest color first) and thoroughly kneed the color into the dough. Once the color is fully dispersed, wrap the dough back up in wax paper and stick in the refrigerator for at least 5 minutes.  

Once the dough has re-hardened you are now ready to make your pinwheels. Take each ball of dough and roll it out until it is approximately 1/4 inch thick. I have found it is easier to roll out the dough between two pieces of parchment paper. Once your dough is rolled out place one of your sheets on top of the other and gently roll your rolling pin over the two to help them adhere to each other (below left). Next roll the dough up into a log (below right), wrap it back in wax paper and place it in the fridge for 15-30 minutes.
While the dough is in the fridge preheat the oven to 375 degrees. When the oven is ready take the dough out and cut the log into 1/2 inch slices. Place your pinwheels about 1 inch apart on the cookie sheet and bake for 10-13 minutes. 

You now have a delicious gameday treat! And don't forget to pack all your tailgate essentials! I cannot wait for tomorrow to go up and see the JMU Duke's season opener! What is your favorite tailgating treat to make?

xoxo
Megan

You can also turn these tasty recipes into fun gameday themed treats...
 
 
Hosting a wedding in the south is filled with tons of traditions and southern charm. Everything from choosing the location to the end of the night sendoff is based off of the classic traditions that even our great-grandparents took part in. Now you may be thinking I don’t want a wedding similar to one from the 1800’s. Today’s traditional southern wedding has its roots in the traditions but filled with today’s southern charms. So without further introduction here is the last segment in my wedding themes post from The Hook that will help you in creating the perfect traditional southern wedding.

The Venue
When it comes to choosing a venue for the traditional southern wedding look for a location that will provide your guests with the same southern hospitality that you grew up with in your home. Southern mansions, like the Historic Mankin Mansion in Richmond (above), are filled with true elegance and beauty and are the perfect location for the southern couple’s wedding day.
The Bride and Groom
For the southern bridal you can’t get more traditional than a classic white Vera gown with a statement making white veil and bouquet filled with a variety of white flowers. And without a second thought, this southern belle will be wearing her mother’s or grandmother’s pearls as her something borrowed on her wedding day. The southern groom will look like the perfect gentleman on his wedding day dressed in his traditional black tux. And you will be able to spy his southern trademark on his colorful box tie and personalized cuff links. 
The Invitation
The southern wedding invitation is and always will be a statement piece. This is the first thing that your guests will see so choose something elegant and classic that will let your guests know that your wedding will be the southern event of year. This one from Grey Likes Weddings is the perfect example!
The Music
No traditional southern wedding can be complete without a harpist. A harp player is an elegant touch and provides the perfect amount of ambiance to the ceremony and reception.
The Sendoff
After you and your guests have been celebrating all night at your southern mansion you will want a sendoff as statement making and glorious as your invitations. The sparkler exit is perfect for this type of wedding as your venue provides enough space outdoors for your guests to have fun with the sparklers and be able to send the happy couple off on their first night together.

My favorite part about any traditional southern wedding? The monograms that will be on everything! What is your favorite part about a traditional southern wedding?

xoxo
Megan

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This time of year is filled with tons of back to school commercials and sales getting everyone ready for the upcoming school year. Even if you are personally not headed back to the classroom that doesn't mean that you can't take part in the fun. For some back to school means that the kids are finally out of the house, others are counting down the days that they can be back with their friends in college, and then you have those who just love shopping for school supplies even when they are no longer heading back to the classroom. (The last one is me and I have to stop myself when I see back to school ads as I currently do not need anymore markers, pens, sharpies, sticky notes or anything else to fill my crafting containers.) To get you organized and ready to go back to school (or back to the office) in style I have put together a list of ten back to school essentials for you. 
1. Vinyl Stickers. Best way to stay organized? Add vinyl labels to everything!
2. Decoupage Supply Tin. Turn those simple school supply containers into personalized colorful containers with a simple DIY decoupage project.
3. Personalized Clipboard. For the girl on the go personalize your own clipboard with mod podge, scrapbook paper and ribbon.
4. Planner. Keep all your classes, appointments and parties in line with a new planner. I can’t live without my Lilly planner!
5. Decorative Ruler. Turn your basic dollar store ruler into a cute desk accessory by customizing it with cute scrapbook paper.
6. Personalized Pens & Pencils. Keep your pens and pencils from walking away by getting them personalized with your name or a cute saying.
7. Monogrammed Travel Mug. The one must-have item for those who can’t seem to function without their coffee in the morning (or other morning beverage). Marley Lilly has tons of prints to choose from!
8. Washi Tape Supplies. Add color and personalization to all your school and office supplies with washi tape.
9. Label Your Cords. At home or at school trying to remember which cord goes to what can get tiring. Organize your cords with cute labels so you never have to wonder again!
10.Personalized Note Pads. Make sure you are ready to take notes on everything with your own personalized note pads like these from b invited.

What is on your list of essentials for back to school? 

xoxo
Megan

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Happy Monday! Last week the girls and I got together for our girl's night dinner after taking the summer of and had so much fun coming up with our down under themed menu. So with dishes in hand we all headed over to my friend Emily's house and prepared ourselves for a delicious 5 course meal (more or less because we didn't have anything actually ready at the same time) along with some great New Zealand red and white wine. Here was our menu for the evening along with the recipes so you can host your own New Zealand themed dinner.
Course One: Down Under Cheese Puffs
I made this dish and besides how easy they are to make they also disappeared so quickly that I barely had time to take a picture of them before they were gone! I also made a second batch this past weekend and found out that they reheat wonderfully in the toaster oven. Here is the recipe I used to make the down under cheese puffs.
Course Two: Marinated Mussels
Besides the yummy mussels, that we all dove right into, you can check out our beautifully set dinner table (first time ever!). Most of us grew up enjoying freshly caught seafood so this was a 5-star dish in our books! Here is the recipe on how to create the marinade for the mussels.
Course Three: Lamb Chops with White Wine Sauce
Some of us may have been licking the sauce up after we ate all our lamb. But no worries, we really did enjoy the lamb too! The lamb was cooked in a frying pan with a hint of olive oil, once crisped on the outside the pan was put into the oven until done. And here is Emily's recipe she used to make the sauce:
  • 1 1/2 cups white wine (I used Chardonnay)
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 1-2 shallots, diced
  • any herbs you might want, although I couldn't taste what I put in there.
  • 1 tablespoon heavy cream
  • 12 tablespoons butter (1.5 sticks) cubed and COLD
Heat everything but the butter and cream in a saucepan over high heat.  Boil until reduced to about two tablespoons.  (She strained off the shallots at this point, but it's not necessary). Add cream and reduce to low.  Add the butter 2-3 cubes at a time, whisking the whole time until it is all mixed in.  
Course Four: Sausage Roll
This was another simple recipe on our New Zealand menu as it is basically sausage rolled up in a pastry puff. Instead of the individual rolls like this sausage roll recipe called for, two larger rolls were made. The only downside to this was that the rolls took forever to cook. (oops!) Once it finally cooked it was beyond delicious and there wasn't much left even after we had already had three other courses!
Course Five: Pavlova
This delicious New Zealand dessert specialty was completely homemade (except for the strawberries) and tasted so light and fluffy! Here is a great pavlova recipe from Martha Stewart you can use to make your own. However, you can also add a graham cracker crust to the base as well as top your dessert with any kind of fruit that you like. Somehow after four other courses we all managed to enjoy a nice slice of this heavenly meringue dish.

By the end of the fifth course there was not an empty stomach in the house! We officially declared the meal the best girl's night dinner menu ever. Next month we are heading south to Chile! Do you have any suggestions on a good recipe for me to try?

xoxo
Megan

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Whenever I need some party inspiration I love to browse through the Martha Stewart website and Pinterest boards. They have great ideas for any kind of occasion you could think of! The other day while browsing on Pinterest I came across a great red, white and blue treats. When I was in school I always loved when parents would send in these treats and still enjoy them when they show up at events I attend now. This is the perfect treat to make for the upcoming Labor Day celebrations and if you have a few left over are the perfect chocolaty treat to take in for lunch the next day. Here is what you will need to make your own red, white and blue pretzel sparklers.

Ingredients (makes 2 dozen sparklers)
  • 24 pretzel rods
  • 4 ounces chopped semisweet chocolate
  • red, white and blue sprinkles

Instructions
  1. Place 4 ounces chopped semisweet chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water.
  2. Stir occasionally until melted then remove from the heat.
  3. Dip the pretzel rods or use a pastry brush to coat the upper third of each pretzel rod in chocolate. 
  4. Decorate the chocolate parts with sprinkles.
  5. Stand the pretzels in a glass, or lay on a cookie sheet, and stick in the refrigerator for 5 minutes to harden.
  6. Enjoy!

These pretzel sparklers are easy to make and can be customized for any holiday or event. What is your favorite red, white and blue treat to make?

xoxo
Megan

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The summer really is winding down with the last of the red, white and blue summer holidays coming up in a week. Labor Day "traditionally" marks the end of summer but I just consider it the kickoff to football season! This summer I have shared tons of great red, white and blue party ideas for Memorial Day and 4th of July and have one more patriotic post to share with you until next summer! So without further ado here are some great red, white and blue party crafts that you can make for your Labor Day Party celebrations!
Stars and Stripes Garland
This is an easy craft to do and can be displayed on food tables, over doorways or on railings. Alternating your stars and stripes pieces of paper when making your garland and just make it as long as you would like. If you have kids that want to help get ready for your Labor Day celebration this is the perfect craft for them! If you can’t find any stars and stripes paper you can download a free paper chain print from Love the Day
Flag Table Runner
I have really been in the crafting mood lately with decorating my new apartment and ran across this great DIY flag table runner project while looking for cute table decorations. Bliss, Bloom, Blog provides a great tutorial on how she painted hers bamboo table runner but you could also make yours with a piece of canvas or a cloth table runner. 
Star Yard Painting
This popped up earlier this summer and I love how easy it is! You can make your own stencil from a large piece of cardboard and then take flour or washable spray paint and decorate your lawn. I saw everything from lawn games painted on grass to monograms as well as these patriotic stars along the walkway. You can use this trick for any party where you want a creatively decorated walkway.


There are just so many great red, white and blue crafting ideas when it comes to party decorating! What are you doing to celebrate the end of summer/Labor Day weekend?

xoxo
Megan

For more great red, white and blue party ideas you can check out this posts…
 
 
There are so many different wedding styles to choose from for one's wedding day. Over the past few weeks I have been sharing some great wedding day themes based off a wedding article I read from Charlottesville's The Hook. This week I have the perfect wedding theme to share with you for the bride and groom that are really looking at trying to create the most unique wedding they could. This hip wedding theme features tons of authentic and original wedding touches that makes this wedding one-of-a-kind!

The Venue
The best location for a hip wedding? The ultimate hideaway! Look for a location that is authentic, a little rustic, offers amazing views and a little off the beaten path. If you can find a bar out in the country with a wildflower field and you won't need to worry about decorating!
The Bride and Groom
The hip bride will be looking for a unique dress to wear on her wedding day. The dress will feature lots of details as well as a one shouldered accent piece. A vest with no jacket and rolled sleeves is perfect outfit for the hi groom on his wedding day. This "cool guy" style shows he is laid back and ready to have fun on his wedding day. 
Wedding Day Accessories
When it comes to the bridal wedding day accessories the more colorful, the better! Have your bouquet made from a variety of seasonal wild flowers, maybe even made by you. And have fun with the mani/pedi color choice as well. You won't see a hip bride with the french tip on her wedding day as she will be showing off some fun colors instead.

Reception Music
The true "Hip" bride and groom will have at least one great friend who plays in a band. This is the perfect occasion to redeem that friend favor and ask them if they could play at your reception.
The Maids
There is no right or wrong way when it comes to choosing the dress for your maids. Let your girls choose their own dress in the color of your choosing. Having multiple shades in one color is totally ok as well. Now all of your bridesmaids will have a dress that they will love to wear again and again!

A hip wedding is at its best when the bride and groom really allow their creativity to flow. With so many authentic touches like the barn venue and wild flower bouquets your wedding day will truly be one-of-a-kind! What is your favorite hip wedding day detail?

xoxo
Megan

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So yesterday I may or may not have spent a few more hours that I planned on stalking the Lilly Pulitzer online sale and didn't get around to the post. All the times I have seen their "Oh Shift!" page it really is a love hate feeling as I think that is the cutest sign ever but it means that their site is down. It is always good to be prepared though for anything to happen on an event day! Anyways, now that my orders are in and on their way to me (so excited!) I have a great post for you today. So here we go!

Last January I shared with you the top ten Pantone colors for the upcoming Spring and Summer season. Now that summer is coming to a close and fall is just around the corner it is time to update that color palette. Fall event colors and decorations will have some great rich tones to them. The familiar color of the year, Emerald, is front and center along with 9 other amazing fall colors. Your fall events will be clothed in rich and dramatic tones, perfect for any fall occasion! So without further ado, here are your top ten event colors for fall...
1. Emerald
2. Linden Green
3. Samba
4. Mykonos Blue
5. Acai
6. Deep Lichen Green
7. Turbulence
8. Koi
9. Vivacious
10. Carafe

I am just loving the acai color for fall. However, that may just be because I associate fall with football and football means JMU, but that is just me! What do you think will be your go-to color choice for your events this fall? 

xoxo
Megan

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It's finally Friday! Since I started out this week and the beach and then worked the other half of the week I could not wait for the weekend to arrive so that I could enjoy a little more fun in the sun before my fall schedule kicks in. Yesterday I shared with your some great tips on how to host your own Gatsby themed party and mentioned that when it came to the food and drinks just make sure to have a lot of champagne on hand. However, this doesn't mean that all your champagne has to be served straight up. There are tons of recipes that incorporate a bottle of the bubbly into the ingredients including this champagne sorbet from Yeah. We Bake. It is perfect to serve at an end of summer Gatsby gathering or anytime you would like to serve a bubbly dessert (for those that are 21 and over please)! Here is what you will need:

Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 cups champagne or sparkling wine
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp light corn syrup
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • juice of 1 grapefruit
  • juice of 2 lemons 
  • water

Instructions
  1. Pour the champagne, sugar, corn syrup, and zest into a saucepan and bring to a vigorous boil so that the sugar completely dissolves then remove from heat. 
  2. Juice the grapefruit and lemons into a measuring cup and add water so that the total liquid level is 1 3/4 cups. 
  3. Strain the champagne mixture into a bowl along with the grapefruit juice, lemon juice, and water. 
  4. Place the mixture in the refrigerator overnight to chill.
  5. The next day take the mixture and follow the instructions that came with your ice cream maker. Once done, transfer the sorbet to a freezable container and let firm until the desired consistency is reached. (For those without ice cream makers you can try using a food processor, blender or this recipe from Food.com.)
  6. Now you are ready to serve!

Do you have a favorite Gatsby inspired recipe? Share your favorites in the comments section below! Have a wonderful weekend!

xoxo
Megan

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One theme that has been very popular this year is "The Gatsby." Yes, the Roaring Twenties are back and bigger with the help from the new Gatsby movie from this past spring. The Gatsby party feel includes tons of glitz, glamour and classic decadence touches and is the perfect end of summer party idea. After all Mr. Gatsby was known for his crazy summer night parties! To help you create your own Gatsby Gathering I have put together a few ideas that are guaranteed to turn some heads. 
Party Decorations
Since this is the time of glitz and glam go all out with your glitter and gold. From metallic table cloths, glittered candle sticks and gold rimmed table settings nothing is considered gaudy with this party theme. Adding tons of extra candles (the battery ones work great if outdoors) along with fake jeweled stones will help in adding extra sparkle and glow to your decoration selections.
Party Music
The Gatsby story takes place during the rein of the Jazz Age. So, for your party you will want to go hunting for some great jazz tunes to get your guests swinging out on the dance floor. This could include classics from Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington as well as tunes from over the past century. 
Food and Drinks
Don't worry, even though this theme was during the age of prohibition you don't have to setup your own speakeasies at your party. Just remember every great Gatsby party begins and ends with champagne!
Dress Code
What's a 1920's Gatsby party without a dress code? You don't have to go all out with the men in tuxes and the girls in flapper dresses but do encourage your guests to get into the 20's spirit. Women can wear lots of pearls, sequins and feathers and the men can wear fun shoes, ties and hats with slicked back hair. You can also give a prize to the most authentic dressed guests to spur a little competition.

What is your favorite book themed party idea?

xoxo
Megan

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