March 1, 2016 | by Cyd Converse
In case you blinked and missed it, today marks the start of March! We’re just over two weeks out from St. Patrick’s Day, which means it’s officially fair game to start talking about all things green and stocking the fridge with the requisite supply of Guinness. Speaking of Guinness, have you seen the number of ways the genius people of the internet are working stout into everything from cupcakes to brownies to beer nuts? It’s true and it’s so so good. In honor of your Irish heritage (because everyone is Irish on St. Patrick’s Day), I’ve rounded up 17 ways to get your fix with some seriously delicious Guinness recipes.
1. Double Chocolate Guinness Muffins [above]
2. Guinness Chocolate Cake
3. Baby Guinness Jello Shots
4. Black and Tan Brownies
5. Guinness Beer Nuts
6. Chocolate Guinness Cake
7. Homemade Stout Marshmallows
8. Guinness Beer Battered Onion Rings
9. Chocolate Guinness Floats
10. Guinness and Pretzel Truffles
11. Double Chocolate Chunk Guinness Ice Cream
12. Guinness Barbecue Sauce
13. Beef and Guinness Hand Pies
14. Guinness Crinkle Cookies
15. Sweet and Salty Guinness Chocolate Pie
16. Dublin Iced Coffee
17. Guinness and Pretzel Caramels
February 26, 2016 | by Cyd Converse
This post was sponsored by Dr. Oetker Ristorante Pizza. Thank you for supporting
the sponsors that help make The Sweetest Occasion possible!
This time of year is right around the time where I start getting a little antsy for spring. The glimmer of the holidays has long since faded, but warm weather still feels so far off. If the last few weeks have been any indication, we still have more than our fair share of big winter storms to get through before there is any sense at all in talking about spring, which I think is true for many parts of the country. All of that said, the timing couldn’t be more perfect to team up with Dr. Oetker Ristorante Pizza to bring you your official survival guide for impromptu snow day entertaining. And what better way is there to entertain than with pizza and board games? Precisely. There is no better way.
Let me set the scene. It’s snowing and freezing cold, the roads are sketchy and you’ve officially had your Netflix and chill fill for the week. There’s no way you’re wandering too far from home, but you’re starting to enter the early stages of cabin fever. That, friends, is when you text your neighbors and friends who live close by and invite them over for an impromptu board game party! Crisis solved. Having experienced many such days myself considering we live in the direct path of Lake Ontario’s world famous lake effect snow storms, I’ve got this down to a science.
Critical to any gathering of any size? The food. In this case, it couldn’t be easier. Pull a couple of your favorite Ristorante varieties from the freezer and pop them in the oven! I’m personally partial to the Pizza Spinaci and the Pizza Mozzarella, but the Pepperoni Pesto and Pollo varieties are also big hits around here. They bake to crispy perfection in about 12 to 14 minutes at 425° so you can keep a stash on hand at all times and easily entertain on the fly. (Check out the store locator to find where Ristorante is sold or put in a request with the manager at your favorite store!) The thin, crispy crust and the gourmet flavor pairings (there are nine to choose from) are sure to impress. (Even when your friends show up wearing yoga pants and snow boots.) Have your pals grab whatever beer they have sitting in the fridge on their way out the door and you’re officially good to go.
We have a pretty extensive collection of board games at the ready at all times because we tend to have a lot of game nights at our house. That said, you can start your stash with just a few favorites if you don’t have many. We find that old school games tend to be a hit with any crowd. Everyone loves the classics! If all you have is a deck of cards, you’ll be set, too. (You know, because it’s a snow storm and you’re not running out to shop at the moment.) A good Rummy grudge match will keep a crowd entertained for hours. Bob and I have played countless hands of Rummy over the years and he still likes to play even though I always beat him. (True story. My grandmother played a wicked game of Rummy and she taught me all of her strategies.)
For the ultimate snow day vibes, amp up the coziness by pulling out stacks of throw blankets, lighting a few candles and making sure things are feeling warm and toasty. Also, don’t forget the music! A great playlist is simple to pull together while your pizzas are baking and your visitors are en route and it will create an instant party atmosphere if your guests are greeted with music in the background as they make their way in from the cold. You can take up residence at the dining room table or toss a bunch of pillows on the floor and cozy on up around the coffee table in the living room. Feeling fancy? Serve your pizza up on a pretty cutting board and set out a few mini notebooks and a bunch of pencils for score keeping. You are now officially the ultimate snow day hostess.
For more recipes, tips and entertaining ideas, be sure to give Dr. Oetker a follow on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest! And I’d love for you to share your favorite snow day pastimes with me! Binge watching Gilmore Girls? (Been there, done that.) Baking? Crafting? Watching Dirty Dancing for the hundredth time? Share with me! Something tells me we’ve got a few big storms left before this winter is in the books.
[Art direction + styling by Cyd Converse | Photos by Alice G. Patterson for The Sweetest Occasion.]
This post was sponsored by Dr. Oetker USA LLC. I received compensation for this post, but all opinions are my own. Read more about our editorial policies.
February 25, 2016 | by Cyd Converse
I’m pretty sure we just stopped crafting Christmas ornaments and somehow, we’re creeping up on St. Patrick’s Day. Is anyone else feeling that way? Luckily, I love St. Patrick’s Day if for no other reason than it means that spring is near. Also, Irish coffee. No complaints there. I’ve gotten a few requests already for a round-up of St. Patrick’s day recipes and cocktails, which tells me that we’re all starting to think about our annual Guinness binge fest. Ask and you shall receive! I’ve got the traditional fare, the cocktails, the beer and the sweets all right here for you. Consider this your menu guide for bringing the Irish pub into your home this year.
Click through to check out 12 must-try St. Patrick’s Day recipes!
February 24, 2016 | by Cyd Converse
I can’t tell you how honored I am to get to share another gorgeous baby shower with you today! Showcasing real parties and celebrations has always been at the heart of The Sweetest Occasion and to have so many new moms and soon to-be moms sharing these treasured moments with me is a truly incredible feeling. Today we’re talking about Heather Johnston (the event planner and designer behind HRJ Events in Leavenworth, Washington) and a truly beautiful whimsical woodland baby shower fit for a little babe being born in the Pacific Northwest. From the most incredible naked cake to a build your own waffle bar that instantly made me hungry, this celebration has it all. (Complete with a cute animal themed DIY onesie station!)
Heather and her husband both love tackling a good DIY project so daddy got involved, cutting all of the wood rounds for the calligraphy place cards and chargers, as well as the wood candle holders. The Belgian waffle breakfast? Yup, he cooked that, too! (How stinkin’ adorable is that? Love!) Heather created the sweet little straw flags, sewed bunting and made all of the stencils for the onesie station, making it a truly personal and heartfelt celebration.
Isn’t this shower just great? I can’t get enough of that cake and the little moose and the deer on top! Many many thanks and big hugs to Heather for sharing!
Vendors + Sources –
Photography by Nicole Conner Photography | Event design + styling: HRJ Events | Chalkboard art + calligraphy: Chalk Chic Mama | Naked cake + deer cookies: Cupcake Blues | Floral design: Full Bloom Flowers & Plants | Invitations: Tiny Prints | Watercolor prints: Susan Windsor
[Photos by Nicole Conner Photography.]
February 23, 2016 | by Cyd Converse
Baby E is three months old today, which honestly hardly seems possible. She’s hitting such a fun stage right now, learning to play and growing increasingly verbal. (She can’t stop won’t stop with the ridiculously cute cooing at the moment. So sweet!) At the moment she is currently sitting right next to me, hanging out in her bouncer while batting at her toys and babbling away. I wish I knew what was going on in that little head of hers because she just seems so happy and content with nothing more than a couple of little toys and her own imagination. Which brings me to today’s round up of the coolest things ever made from cardboard. I couldn’t resist pinning these DIY cardboard wings when I saw them and that somehow led me down a bunny trail of homemade cardboard toys. Guys, cardboard! A bit of paint. A few big pieces of tape. A smear of glue. Approximately $0 if you use stuff you have lying around the house. Playtime just officially went analog [and awesome] again.
Photos [from top]: DIY Cardboard Wings | DIY Cardboard Television | DIY Cardboard Castle | DIY Cardboard Crown | DIY Cardboard Brownstone Dollhouses | DIY Cardboard Kitchen | DIY Cardboard Houses | DIY Cardboard Dollhouse | DIY Cardboard Food Truck | DIY Cardboard Camper