Friday Link Love + Last Minute Olympics Party Ideas

Sooo, is anyone else really excited to watch the Olympics opening ceremonies tonight? Sure, sure. Technically the festivities are already over in Russia time, but I live in New York time so I’m still living in the glory of the anticipation. The weather here is certainly beyond wintery (another 2+ feet and counting since last night) so it seems appropriate tonight to bunker down inside in front of the television and watch the athletes do their parade thing. Also, if I never have to shovel again it will be too soon. So, basically, I’m going to leave you with a few last minute Olympics party ideas (perfect for tonight or any evening during the games) and a handful of favorite links from the week and then, you know, go shovel. Because that’s how I do. Happy Friday, friends! xoxo

Olympics Party Ideas

For the record, I’m ‘fessing up right now. I have no idea if either the Moscow Mule or the White Russian have anything to do with Russia whatsoever (aside from the vodka), but I don’t care. Because I’m cheeky like that and I still think they make the perfect cocktails for an Olympics party. Paired with cookies and cake, of course.

[Ski mountain cake | Drink stirrers | Moscow mule | Olympic ring cookies | Gold medal cookies | White Russian.]

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Tips + Tricks: How to Keep Flowers Fresh

How to Keep Flowers Fresh

I’m back today with another of my favorite go-to tips! Seeing as though Valentine’s Day season is officially upon us and there’s a good chance many of you will be receiving flowers at some point in the next week, the timing is pretty perfect for this one. Namely, we’re talking about how to keep flowers fresh longer. Whether they be plucked off the lilac bush in the backyard or picked up at the market on the fly, I love having fresh flowers around the house. What I don’t love? Sad, saggy blooms just a few days later. Or when someone is sweet enough to bestow you with a big bouquet of roses or daisies? Well, of course you want those beauties sticking around for as long as possible. So after years of trying out those little packets of flower preservative and every other trick in the book, here are my tips – it’s surprisingly easy but so effective!

How to Keep Flowers Fresh How to Keep Flowers Fresh


The first step to keeping your cut flowers fresher longer is making sure that all leaves and greenery are above the water line. Simply put, leaves hanging out in the water will decay quicker, thus muddying the flowers’ chances of staying perky and happy. Strip all the leaves from the stems before placing them in your vase and be sure to clean out any leaves that fall. In the photo above you’ll see how there are some dried out leaves on a few of the stems, and I try to go through and pluck those before they have a chance to fall off into the water and get all yucky.

How to Keep Flowers Fresh


Next up, be sure to change the water in your vase daily. I usually try to just make it part of my morning routine by pulling the flowers out of the vase, dumping the water and giving the vase a rinse with cool water and then filling it before putting the flowers back inside. It only takes a minute at most, but it’s a major key in keeping those flowers looking pretty for a good long while. You’ll find that after a day or two, the water in your vase will start to look murky like in the photo above. That’s the sign that your water definitely needs changing! So to review, clear water = happy flowers. Happy flowers = happy people. See where I’m going with this?

How to Keep Flowers Fresh

And that’s it, folks! You can see that I don’t usually worry about cutting the stems at an angle and I don’t use those flower packets if they come with a bouquet. I don’t worry about cutting the stems under running water, either. I’m a rebel. Or, really, I’ve just never personally found that those things work for me whereas keeping the water fresh and leaf-free seems to be where it’s at in the flower longevity game. The flowers in this post are the same flowers I purchased for our DIY mini bouquet tutorial, which was photographed over two weeks ago and they’re still going strong. Using these two easy tips I’ve had cut flowers (depending on variety, etc.) last for as long as 3 – 4 weeks in a vase. Unreal. Let’s just say, I’m a believer!

[First + last photos by Alice G. Patterson | All others by Cyd Converse for The Sweetest Occasion.]

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Raspberry Rose Tarts

Raspberry Rose Tarts

We have one final recipe today from the festive pink party that was yesterday’s Valentine’s Day girl’s night bash. We’re talking raspberry rose tarts that would be darling to serve up on Valentine’s Day whether to your kiddos for an after lunch treat or to your better half alongside a glass of bubbly. (Or your girlfriends, of course.)  Samantha is sharing the recipe, but I’m the one chomping at the bit to give these a try!

by Samantha Sanford

Tart Crust

  • 250 g all purpose flour
  • 80 g powdered sugar
  • 120 g butter at room temperature
  • 2 egg yolks
  • Zest of one lemon
  • Pinch of salt

Mix flour and butter with your hands until combined, it should look like little crumbles. Create a hole in the center and add the sugar, egg yolks, zest, and salt. Using your hands, mix all the ingredients together. Shape into a ball, place in cling wrap and chill in the fridge for about an hour.

Raspberry Tart Filling

  • 500 g frozen raspberries
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons of rose water
  • 25 g corn starch
  • 110 g granulated sugar
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 50 g butter

Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Roll out the dough on a clean surface press it into the corners of the pie pan. YOu can make one large tart, or if you have an individual mini pie pan, use that! Place parchment paper over the dough, with some hanging over the sides and pour pie weights or dry beans in the middle, bake for 25 minutes. Remove parchment and weights, and continue cooking the dough 15 minutes or until it’s golden. Meanwhile, place the raspberries in a pot and bring to a boil along with rose water, starch, and 80ml of water. Once it’s boiling, add the lemon juice and sugar, turn to low and cook for about 4 minutes or until the mixture is smooth. Temper the egg yolks with about a tablespoon of the hot raspberry mixture before adding them to the boil. Add the butter and melt, then remove from the stove and let cool completely before spooning the mixture over your pre-baked pie crust.

post-line-before-credits

[Recipe: Samantha Sanford | Styling: Gray Harper Event Maker | Photos: Jade + Matthew Take Pictures.]

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Chocolate Cake with Rose Buttercream

Chocolate Cake with Rose Buttercream

Yesterday’s Valentine’s Day girl’s night is just my kind of party. We’re talking the prettiest blood orange cocktail, fabulous stationery, the perfect flurry of confetti and pink, and this. A stacked chocolate cake loaded with rose buttercream frosting. Delicious! Luckily for all of us, Samantha is sharing the recipe so we can all make our own and gobble up every last bite with our gaggle of girls!

by Samantha Sanford

Chocolate Cake

  • 4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
  • 1/4 cup lightly packed unsweetened dutch processed cocoa powder
  • 3/4 cup boiling water
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 3 egg yolks at room temperature

Center the oven rack and preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Put the unsweetened chocolate and the cocoa in to a small bowl. Pour the boiling water over the chocolate and let sit for about a minute. Stir until completely melted and combined. Whisk in the sour cream and vanilla, set aside. Sift together flour, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and both sugars on medium-high speed until light, about 3 minutes. On a low speed, drizzle the oil into the mixture until blended. Turn the mixer to medium-high again and bet until the batter is fluffy, about 3 more minutes. Blend in the eggs and egg yolks one at a time, adding the next as soon as the previous is mixed in. With the mixer on a low speed, add the flour mixture in 3 parts, alternating with the chocolate mixture. Stop the mixer before the last of the flour has been incorporated and compile the mixing by hand so you don’t over mix. Divide the batter between 3 8″ cake pans that have been rubbed with butter and sprinkled with flour. Once poured, smooth out the top of the batter and bang the cake pans a couple of times to get out the air bubbles. Bake for about 20-25 minutes, or until set in the center.

Rose Buttercream

  • 1lb unsalted butter
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon rose water (add more to taste)

Cream the butter in a stand mixer using the whisk attachment. Add sugar one cup at a time, start on a low speed and gradually get up to high, allowing the sugar to be whipped completely into the butter. Add the rose water, and maybe some pink food coloring.

[Recipe: Samantha Sanford | Styling: Gray Harper Event Maker | Photos: Jade + Matthew Take Pictures.]

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Nice Stems: DIY Succulent Boutonnieres

by Chelsea Costa

DIY Succulent Boutonniere

Happy Valentine season, lovebirds! Are you celebrating this year? We’ve put together a quick and simple little floral project for you, perfect for whipping up if you’ve got a special date or just want to be a little extra festive. And of course we know that boutonnieres are for fellas, but I wouldn’t hesitate to wear this on my own sweater, scarf, or just my bag. These little DIY succulent boutonnieres are fast and easy, so let’s do it.

DIY Succulent Boutonniere

Supplies -

  • small succulent cuttings
  • complementary filler florals (freesia goes beautifully with succulents!)
  • scissors
  • floral tape
  • twine or ribbon
  • glue gun
  • straight pin

Begin by trimming the succulent cuttings and freesia stems so that they’re about 3 inches long, with no greenery along the bottom of the stem.

DIY Succulent Boutonniere

DIY Succulent Boutonniere

Choose a succulent and pair it with one or two other stems – maybe another succulent, or some pieces of freesia that frame it nicely. Be creative! Bundle them together and arrange them to your liking; then, wrap the stems together tightly with floral tape. Trim the ends of the stems so that they’re all even and have a fresh cut.

DIY Succulent Boutonniere

DIY Succulent Boutonniere

Over the floral tape, wrap twine or ribbon so that it hides the tape. Start at the top end, wrapping around itself so that the top end is held in place.

DIY Succulent Boutonniere

Continue wrapping all the way to the bottom of the stems. Hide a tiny dot of hot glue on the back of the wrapped stems and sink the tail of the twine or ribbon into the glue. Trim the end.

DIY Succulent Boutonniere

Attach the boutonniere to a lapel, sweater, or scarf with a straight pin and go out to celebrate! Wishing you lots of love this Valentine’s Day! xoxo

DIY Succulent Boutonniere

DIY Succulent Boutonniere

[Photos by Lovely Indeed for The Sweetest Occasion.]

Sources -
Scissors from Pearl River Mart
Twine from Knot and Bow

The fine print: Please link with love! As with all of our posts, DIY projects featured on The Sweetest Occasion may not be copied, distributed or reproduced without permission. Love and links are always appreciated! If you’d like to share this post, please link to this post directly for the DIY tutorial and do not include the instructions in your own post. Thanks so much! xoxo

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