In case you missed yesterday's post, tomorrow is National Coffee Day!! To go along with your day of celebration I found these adorable coffee inspired cupcakes. The original blogger, Kim's Kitchen, created these sweet treats for her brother-in-law's rehearsal dinner as he met his bride-to-be at a Starbucks. Now how cute is that themed rehearsal dinner idea?

These sweet treats are created with inspiration from the Caramel Frappucinos from Starbucks. Enjoy!!

Cupcake Batter:
3/4 cup whole or low-fat milk
1/4 cup sour cream
1 package of Starbucks Via Instant Coffee
1 tbsp vanilla
3 cups cake flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons of another pack of Starbucks Via Instant Coffee
2 teaspoons unsweetened natural cocoa powder
3/4 cup butter at room temperature
1 1/2 cup white sugar
4 eggs, yolks and whites separated

1. Heat the milk in the microwave or on the stove until hot – stop short of a simmer. Stir in the instant coffee until well blended. Add the vanilla and set aside.
2. Sift together the cake flour, baking powder, soda, salt, ground coffee and cocoa.
3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter and sugar with the paddle attachment until creamed. It should be slightly fluffy. Beat in the egg yolks one at a time.
4. Add 2/3 of the flour mixture and the sour cream. Add the remaining flour mixture and milk. Beat until smooth. Scrape all the batter out into a separate bowl and wash the mixer bowl thoroughly.
5. Switch to the whisk attachment and beat the egg whites until stiff but not dry. They will hold a stiff peak but they will still slip around a little in the bowl.
6. Fold the egg whites into the cake batter gently, folding the batter around until well combined.
7. Fill cupcake liners with batter and bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes (they baked up surprisingly fast).

Coffee Mousse: (the yummy filling!!)
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
6 large egg yolks
1/3 cup water
1 package of Starbucks Via Caramel flavored coffee  (You can find this at Walmart in the coffee aisle for about $7 a bag – so make sure you make these cupcakes to make that one ingredient worth this one expense!) 
2 1/2 cups chilled whipping cream

1. Whisk sugar, yolks, water and Starbucks via in large metal bowl.
2. Set bowl over saucepan of simmering water (do not allow bowl to touch water); whisk until candy thermometer registers 160°F, about 8 minutes.
3. Remove bowl from over water. Using electric mixer, beat egg mixture until cool and thick, about 5 minutes.
4. Beat cream in another large bowl until stiff peaks form.
5. Fold cream mixture into egg mixture.


Swiss Meringue Buttercream:
3/4 cup sugar
4 egg whites
3 sticks unsalted butter (at room temperature)
1 tbsp vanilla extract

1. Heat sugar, egg whites, and salt in a heatproof mixer bowl set over a pan of simmering water, whisking until sugar dissolves and mixture registers 160 degrees on a candy thermometer.
2. Return bowl to mixer, and whisk, gradually increasing speed from low to medium-high, until stiff, glossy peaks form, about 10 minutes. Reduce speed to medium. Add butter, a few pieces at a time, whisking well after each addition. Whisk in vanilla. Switch to a paddle attachment and beat until air bubbles are gone, 2 to 3 minutes more.

Now it is time to put it all together!!! 

To assemble the cupcakes:
1. Once cupcakes are cool, core out the center of each one. Using a pastry bag, pipe a small amount of caramel sauce, then pipe coffee mousse until the center is almost full, and then top with another piping of caramel.
2. Once all cupcakes are filled, pipe swiss meringue buttercream onto each one using a pastry bag fitted with a large star tip.
3. Lastly, use a sturdy plastic freezer bag or disposable plastic pastry bag with a small hole cut out of it and drizzle caramel (you can buy this in jar at the store) on top of each cupcake.

Now for the special part, take some Starbucks straws, cut them down and add the decoration to your cupcakes! 

These look too delicious to pass up, just don't try to drink them through the straw!! What is your favorite coffee time treat?

xoxo
Megan
 
 
Did you know that Saturday is National Coffee Day? There are quite a number of different places that will be offering great coffee deals that day. Where I live you could go to McDonald's, Dunkin Donuts, Krispy Kreme, 7-11, or Einstein's Bagels and get a great deal or a free coffee on Saturday, and that is just to name a few! If you search "national coffee day" online you can find what deals are good where you live.

With that in mind, today I have put together a great coffee themed party. This party should really get you in the mood for your free cup-of-joe on Saturday! To get this coffee party brewing think theme color of varying shades of brown and an accent of dark green (very Starbucks-ish). These invitations would be perfect for the occasion  You can even scent them with a coffee smell before sending them. Invitations from Brooklyn Limestone
Next comes the decorations. You can use coffee beans and coffee decals in your table decorations like these below. The coffee bean centerpiece idea came from Better Homes and Gardens and is super easy to put together with a bag or two or beans and some candles. The coffee decor on the right came from none other than one of my favorite blogs, Hostess with the Mostess. She used green and brown labels for all the food and drinks to create a lovely table display.
And you can't leave out a coffee tasting at a coffee party. Create a cozy seating place for each of your guests using coffee stains on the table and providing them with an easy to fill out coffee rating sheet. This DIY table setting came from Design Sponge and could not be more adorable!! 

Now all you need to do is go pick out your favorite coffees and some new ones to try, grab some delicious scones, biscotti and muffins, round up a few of your coffee loving friends and you are ready to host your coffee party!
No matter whether you love your coffee iced or steamed, whipped or black this coffee party will have something for every coffee lover. What is your favorite way that you like your coffee? 

xoxo
Megan
 
 
Happy Wednesday to you all! Today I thought I would switch things up a little and instead of my normal Wedding Wednesday post I would share about what I am doing with my office today. Growing up I have always loved participating in events that help the community. Whether it be through a food bank fundraiser, raising money through taking part in sporting events, or building a home I find that the community events are some of the most fun to take part in. 

Today, I am participating in the United Way Lawrence E. Richardson Day of Caring in Charlottesville. The organizations that need help in the area are giving the opportunity to submit their need to the local United Way. After all those organizations have submitted their needs local organizations can signup and select which project they would like to help with. This is a great way to bring so many local businesses and groups together on this one day. 
We couldn't participate on the actual date, so we are all venturing out to complete our project today. My office is going out to help out at a local middle school. We will be clearing a hiking path behind the school so that all the kids can go out, safely, and get some exercise while learning about nature. 

Want to find an event like this in your area? You can contact your local Big Brothers Big Sisters, United Way, Food Bank, Habitat for Humanity or other local organization asking for when they have events or projects that you and your friends could sign up for. One of my friends, and sorority sister, has decided her way to helping the community and giving back is by running the New York Marathon this November. She is running to raise money for the American Caner Society, and to top it off this is her first time running a marathon! (yea Taylor!!!) If you would like to help her accomplish her fundraising goal of $3,600 please go to her personal fundraising page to learn more and give

No matter if you are helping to build a house for a family in need, clearing a trail for kids or running a raise to raise money for cancer research, don't forget to have some fun!! What kind of events have you taken part in to help others where you live? 

xoxo
Megan
 
 
Part of the fun of picking a theme for your party or wedding is getting to find adorable coordinating decorations. Today's Tuesday Ten is a group of ten amazing table number ideas. There is at least one idea here that will make the perfect addition to your party decor. Everyone from the teacher, the nautical enthusiast, the western lover, and the music lover will find something they love in this list of creative table numbers.

1. For the crafty one: DIY Flag Table Number from Ruffled
2. For the teacher: Chalkboard Easel Table Numbers from Millwind
3. For the garden lover: Potted Plant Table Numbers from Martha Stewart
4. For the nautical enthusiast: Sailboat Table Numbers
5. For the traveler of life: DIY Map Table Numbers from The Knot
6. For the lover of sweet & simple: DIY Paper Word Table Numbers
7. For the memory creators: DIY Photo Table Numbers from Martha Stewart
8. For the cowboy or cowgirl inside of us: Cowboy Hat Table Numbers from Style Me Pretty
9. For the wine connoisseur: Wine Label Table Numbers
10. For the vintage music lover: Record Label Table Numbers from Intimate Weddings
No matter what your party theme is you can come up with some amazing table number decor for your next party. What kind of table numbers would you want to create for your party or wedding? As I like to say, the more creative the better!! Find these and other great table number ideas at my Pinterest page @PreppyPlanner.

xoxo
Megan
 
 
Every month my BFF Emily and some of her friends get together for a fun girl's night dinner. Instead of doing a traditional potluck they give their dinners a little twist by choosing a different country to theme their meals around. I have been hearing about these dinner nights for quite a few months now, and as I most recently moved to Charlottesville, could not wait to get to go to one!! 

For September the theme was Brazil and I had desserts. As amazing as this sounds let me just tell you, finding a dessert recipe from Brazil was not very easy. I searched all of the places I could think of when it comes to party planning recipes: FoodNetwork.com , Recipes.com, AllRecipes.com, Food.com and even ran a basic google search. There was one common dessert that stood out but I was not about to make it; flan. Even the name sounds silly. 

Finally, I came across something that sounded good enough that I thought I would give it a to try. The dessert was called brigadeiro. These desserts are a traditional Brazilian candy that is typically served at parties.
 Since the recipe didn't sound too complicated I decided to go for it. So I printed off the recipe, got all the ingredients and whipped up a batch. They were amazing!!! I would have to describe them as something that slightly resembles a Tootsie Roll but a lot creamier and has a richer chocolaty taste.  
Since they were out-of-this-world I just had to share them with you! To make these amazing treats you will need 1 - 14oz can of sweetened condensed milk, 1 tablespoon butter, 3 tablespoons cocoa and sprinkles. To make them all you do is put all the ingredients (except the sprinkles) into a pot set over medium-low heat. Continually stir the ingredients until the mixture thickens enough to show the bottom of the pan (aka looks like Tootsie Rolls that have melted). Pour the thickened mixture into a greased glass dish to let cool. I stuck mine into the fridge to help speed up the cooling process. Once cooled, roll the candy into 1to 1.5" balls and then roll in the sprinkles to decorate. I kept mine in the fridge up until I wanted to serve them so that they would not be too sticky when we wanted to eat them.
delicious recipes for a Brazilian themed dinner party #PreppyPlanner

Along with the dessert we also had a delicious Brazilian stew called feijoada and melt-in-your-mouth Brazilian cheese bread called pao de queijo. There were not too many leftovers from our evening as everything was so good. 

I love getting together with the girl's for a night of fun, and designating a fun theme for the evening makes it even better! What kind of fun theme nights have you participated in with your best girlfriends? Share your favorite themes and what you do for them in the comments section below!

Have a fabulous Monday:)

xoxo
Megan

 
 
For today's Friday foodie post I had a hard time trying to choose just one football themed food or drink item to share with all of you. So instead of featuring just one amazing football themed recipe I have three!! (By the way I also made the above funfetti stadium cake to look just like the old JMU Bridgeforth Stadium before all the renovations. All that needed was just a basic cake mix, a stadium cake pan and some decorating icing.)

The first football treat I found were these ice cream football pops from Rust and Sunshine. You take your ice cream and spread it in a pan and then refreeze. Once frozen, take a football shaped cookie cutter and cut out your ice cream footballs. Take your popsicle stick and insert it into the ice cream. Place all your pops back into the freezer. Next its time to melt your chocolate. Once melted dip your ice cream pops into the chocolate and let harden. Take some white frosting and add the football lines. Enjoy!!! 
My second football treat is this peanut butter football dip from Crazy for Crust. This is so easy to create. First you take your store bought peanut butter cookie dough and form it into a football shape. Next cover it in chocolate sprinkles and add some white frosting laces. Serve your peanut butter football dip with pretzels, cookies, or just hand out some spoons. 
And last, but not least, these football rice krispies treats. To make these you will use coco krispies, butter and marshmallows to make your original rice krispies treats. Once all mixed together shape the rice krispies into football shapes. After formed take some icing and draw on your football laces. I have made these for a tailgate before and there was not a single one left over by the end of the tailgate!
Each of these treats looked too delicious to pass up sharing! For more great football themed and tailgating treats check out this Pinterest page, Fall is for Football. What is your favorite tailgate or football themed treat?

xoxo
Megan
 
 
In case you haven't yet realized, I love football and all the fun options you have when it comes to getting tailgate ready. I have attended football games since I can remember and half the fun was always the pre/post-game tailgate parties.  

When it comes to throwing a tailgate or football party the first step is always making sure that you have taken care of the tailgate essentials. Once that is done it is always a great ideas to add a little creative touch to your tailgate/football party. For this football party I have found some amazing DIY crafts that will make your party the VIP of this football party game.

One simple DIY are these silverware holders. I found this great idea from Rust & Sunshine blog. To make these all you need to do is find two cans (these are tomato cans), wash them out, and then paint the label to look like a football. Once dry you can display your silverware or anything else at your football party.
Another great DIY craft are these customized wine glasses. I ordered vinyl decals and dots from Mary, etsy shop owner of We Speak Vinyl (who is amazing!!), and then applied them to these gold acrylic wine glasses. I have a few more easy DIY creations that I am currently working, which will require another purchase from We Speak Vinyl, as I am now addicted to how easy it is to customize any item with vinyl stickers. We all loved using these at the JMU tailgate a few weeks ago and will be reappearing at the rest of the games this season.
Now these DIY projects might take a little more time and creativity (unless you want to find someone to make them for you). One DIY project, for those that can sew, are these customized koozies. One of my mom's friends made a set of these koozies as they all graduated in 1980. If sewing isn't for you you can always try your hand at painting your very own cornhole set. I painted this JMU cornhole set for my family. And you can't forget the cornhole bags in your team colors. One of my friends actually started an amazing business, Sam's Cornhole Bags, where you can order a set of bags in whatever colors you choose. 
There are so many different ways that you can add some personalized creativity to your football or tailgate party. Have you made any amazing DIY creations for a football or tailgate party? I would love to see what you have created. Link to a picture of your creation in the comments section below. You can find these and more great football party ideas on my Pinterest page @PreppyPlanner

xoxo
Megan
 
 
For some couples football was how they met, what they argued over or was their everyday job. For those in the south, this could not be more true of a theme for you. Many fans plan their entire fall season around their team's schedule to make sure they don't miss a single game.  Some couples take that bond they share with the sport and turn it into their wedding theme. Though, I would have to guess that these wedding football fans are either getting married during their team's bye week or during the off season. 

With every guy having a favorite college or pro team, this will be one wedding theme that will have the guy gearing up to get involved. From the invitations to the dessert this will be one wedding that will win the Heisman! 

What better way to start incorporating the football theme than the invitation. Find a ticket from a game the two of you attended and create your own ticket to send to your guests. Even better, find a picture of the happy couple to put in place of the athlete on your original ticket. 

When planning the rest of your wedding the colors and decorations should be the easiest to select. Your favorite team already figured out what colors your wedding will be and the football is so common that you can find almost anything with a football theme. Most teams have jerseys, jewelry, garters, ribbon, and spirit wear that you can purchase all for your wedding day.

When it comes to the location that can sometimes create a challenge. For the true fan they would love to get married right on the field. If you get married during the off season this might make it a little easier to possibly get some kind of access. If you can't have the ceremony or reception there maybe you can try to arrange some group shots instead.

When it comes to decorating and picking out the small touches you can't go wrong with including a football into just about everything. During the ceremony have your ring bearer carry a football down the aisle instead of a pillow. He won't want to let go of that! Once you get to the reception have your guests add their pro signature to an autograph football instead of a guest book. After the wedding you can put your game ball on display in your new home. Want to show off some team spirit on your wedding day? When you are being announced, step out in your team's jersey. Want a little more team spirit? Buy a team ball and garter for the groom's garter toss. And you can't forget about the food. Serve tailgate favorites and football themed desserts at this wedding function. Get your cake baker to decorate your wedding cake with a little football mishap or bite into one of these delicious chocolate dipped football strawberries.
One of my favorite football themed ideas is this seating chart. Name your tables after players on the bride and groom's team and then with the white laces write down each guest's name. This is such an easy DIY project and will easily score you that PAT in this game. Don't forget about the favors.! When it comes to your favors give your guests ribbon wands or spirit poms. They can also use these to cheer the bride and groom when they depart for the evening.
Would this wedding theme score a touchdown in your book? If so what team would you choose for your wedding? Let me know in the comments section below!!

xoxo
Megan
 
 
It's football week for The Preppy Planner!!! Ever since I can remember my family has attended football games, at James Madison University, multiple times each fall. With these gameday excursions have come many a pre and post-game tailgate that has truly evolved and grown since the standard cooler and popup chairs from long ago. For some tailgating has turned into a party unto itself as people travel with their own RV's, team tents, tables, chairs, games, and so much more. 

For my family's tailgate at JMU we always go above and beyond when it comes to hosting our tailgate party. No matter who or what you are tailgating for (concert, baseball, or football game) you will find all of these on your list of must-haves to make your tailgate a success. 

1. A Car/Tailgate. You can't really have a tailgate without a tailgate now can you? 
2. A Tent. This was the best investment that my family has ever made. The tent helps keep you cool on hot days and keeps the rain off of you on rainy days. It is also a great way to show your support of your team on gamedays.
3. A Table. Just like the tent, you can now buy a team's playing field as your tailgate table. When it comes to decorating this makes it easy and you don't need to buy a tablecloth!
4. A Grill. A newer addition to our tailgating standards is our tailgate grill. It hooks onto the back of the car, for easy transportation, and we have cooked everything from grilled cheese and chili, pizza, and ribs on ours.
5. Festive Cups, Napkins, Plates, etc. You can't just get the standard white paper plates, red solo cups and napkins for a true gameday tailgate. We stock-up on school colored items and custom JMU cups.

6. Games. I custom made a cornhole set for my family to use at tailgates. If you don't want to make your own you can buy a basic set at most any sporting goods store.
7. Music. What's a party without some good music? So you don't kill your car battery use a portable speaker and plug in your ipod with a fun mix. Don't forget to include your school's fight song in the mix!

8. Decorations. To really have a fun tailgate you need to include some fun decorations. I have used and seen others use everything from lights, plants, table decor, streamers, garland and more used to add team decor to the tailgate. Depending on how much space you have at your tailgate spot will determine how much decorating you can do. 
9. Food. With all the normal tailgate activities that go one it is really important to make sure you have some food. Everything from finger foods to full out catered meals are acceptable tailgate foods, though I always like the fun football themed items. These adorable JMU cookies were made by Kooking in Kate's Kitchen.
10. Drinks. And last but not least, the drinks. We always have a wide variety of drink options on gamedays with our marked adult and non-adult beverage coolers as well as tailgate bar set-up. Don't forget to enjoy your gameday beverage in a fun glass!!

For more great tailgate ideas you can checkout this Fall if for Football Pinterest board and by visiting my Pinterest page @PreppyPlanner.  What is a staple that you have at your tailgate on gameday? Share your tailgate ideas below!! 

xoxo
Megan   

 
 
Happy Monday to everyone and I hope each of you had a wonderful weekend! This past weekend I got to check off one event from my list of Ten Must-Attend Fall Events in Charlottesville by going to the Charlottesville City Market Saturday morning. It was so much fun to go and see the different vendors and all the people that come out to the market.

The Charlottesville City Market takes over an entire parking lot and side street each Saturday morning from 7AM until noon April through December as vendors from all over the area come into town. One of my favorite booths was a woman that made jewelry that looked had a fruits and vegetable theme. They were too cute!!

I have learned from visiting farmer’s markets that if you are new to one, the best way to find which vendors you can’t pass up are the ones with the really long lines. One that I spotted right away was the Bageladies. There tent area smelled delicious as they were making bagel sandwiches as fast as they could. That will be one place that I will make sure to stop at every time I go to the City Market from now on! You can learn more about the Bageladies by visiting their Facebook page; Bageladies Cafe.

If you are ever in Charlottesville on a Saturday morning you will have to stop by the market and check it out. Did you go to a farmer’s market near you this past weekend? What is your favorite vendor that you make sure to visit every time you go?

xoxo
Megan