March 17, 2016 | by Cyd Converse
Happy St. Patrick’s Day, friends! Did you remember to wear green today? Baby E has the cutest little shamrock headband she is going to be wearing! If I can get her to cooperate long enough I’ll share a photo with you over on Instagram a little later! I’m actually still somewhat covered in green paint from a project I was working on yesterday (stay tuned for that) so I’m pretty sure that counts, right? In the meantime, it’s time for the 2016 reader survey! Every spring I like to poll you guys to see what you’re loving and what you could live without and I take that feedback into consideration when plotting out content for the year. This year, perhaps more than any other year before, I would really really love your participation! I am about a month or two out right now from launching all new branding plus the biggest site redesign in The Sweetest Occasion’s eight year tenure on the world wide web. With that in mind, and having taken a lot of time while I’ve been hanging out with the baby and working a little less, I’m considering making some fairly big changes to how we do things around here.
The heart of what I babble about will always be the same (entertaining, home, food, DIY, etc. etc.), but I am contemplating packaging it all up a little differently. I want to make the work I do more useful for you but also more inspiring. I want you to come here and really feel empowered to host a fun dinner party or overhaul that room in your house that has been driving you nuts. I think the journey is too short not to make the most of every day and every stage of life. In my own life I am committed to living in a way that celebrates every day and I consider it my mission to help spread a little joy in the form of a well mixed cocktail and glittery craft projects. So, I want to know what you love. What you need more of. What you’re totally over. What am I not writing about that you’d like me to write about? What posts do you skip right over? Dish it all out by taking the survey. If you complete the survey (and be sure to provide your email address) you’ll be entered to win a $100 gift card to your choice of J.Crew or Anthropologie! (Or get crazy and take $50 to each – your pick!) If I could, I would give you all $100 to take the survey, because I am sincerely that interested in your thoughts. Alas, I cannot so one winner it shall be, but please know I am so grateful to you for taking the time to be here, supporting The Sweetest Occasion and generally just being awesome. I can’t wait to read all of your responses! (Take the survey right here!)
The fine print: The survey will be open through Wednesday, March 23rd at 8:00am ET. One winner will be selected at random and announced on Instagram and Snapchat later that day. In order to be eligible for the giveaway, entrants must complete the survey and be sure to include their email address for the purposes of contacting them about their prize. (Your email address will never be shared!) Any questions? More feedback to share? Email Cyd at email@example.com
March 14, 2016 | by Cyd Converse
With Easter early on the calendar this year, it’s officially coming up quick! Which is why, even though it’s not yet St. Patrick’s Day, we must discuss cake. There is something about Easter that I have always loved. Perhaps it’s the association with spring or that being an early April baby (April 1 to be exact), typically Easter falls somewhere around my birthday so it all just feels celebratory. Either way you slice it, I think that cake is perfectly befitting of the occasion. (Pun absolutely intended.) With that in mind, today I’ve rounded up 15 truly gorgeous Easter cakes to help inspire your confectionary aspirations! I’ve skipped the ubiquitous bunny cakes this time around in lieu of macarons, flowers and fruit, but if a bunny cake is more what you’re after, check out this one!
1. Vanilla Ombre Cake with Macarons [above]
2. Orange Sherbet Cake
3. DIY Sugar Flower Cake
4. Strawberry Banana Milkshake Cake
5. Toffee Bundt Cake with Mandarin Oranges
6. Cadbury Mini Egg Cake
7. Naked Cake with Flowers
8. Italian Rainbow Cookie Cake
9. Watercolor Buttercream Cake
10. Sky High Raffaello Cake
11. Pink Velvet Cake with Edible Flowers
12. Pear and Poppy Seed Cake
13. Naked Strawberry Raspberry Shortcake
14. Dulce de Leche Cake
15. Speckled Egg Cake
March 11, 2016 | by Cyd Converse
This post was sponsored by Simply Orange. Thank you for supporting
the sponsors that help make The Sweetest Occasion possible!
There are few things that say “spring” to me quite like brunch! After long months hidden inside, getting together with friends for brunch feels like such a joy. Today I am teaming up with Simply Orange as part of their nature-to-New York campaign to bring you my tips for hosting a sweet and simple farm to table inspired spring brunch! The star of the show? Mimosa popsicles made with Simply Orange® Pulp Free that are sure to wow your gal pals. That’s right. Mimosa popsicles. I’ve just gone and upped your brunch game from here on out. You’re welcome!
When styling a simple brunch like this, keep a light, neutral color palette in mind. It will make it really easy to use basic, white everyday plates and bowls while still looking really chic. A light colored tablecloth, a touch of metallic gold here and there and everything looks really elevated and elegant while honestly taking only a short while to pull together. Pro tip: Things like fruit and danishes look gorgeous plated on little white trays or set out in a cool colander or bowl. You don’t need to buy a bunch of new stuff nor do you have to spend three hours cooking before everyone shows up. A few little details can translate to a lot of wow factor!
For this brunch I really wanted to keep the focus on simple, spring dishes inspired by nature. I made little individual frittatas with farm eggs, fresh asparagus, tomatoes and radishes. You can even bake them the night before and just warm them up right before guests arrive! Fresh fruit, extra veggies as crudite and a few pastries were all that was needed to round out the menu. Too often I think we tend to overcomplicate things and that makes entertaining feel a bit daunting. I’m here to make it easier for you – keep it simple, fresh and loaded with seasonal spring flavors and you honestly really can’t go wrong!
The Mimosa Popsicles
The undisputed life of the party though has to be the mimosa popsicles. Your friends will think you’re a genius, but in reality this is as easy as can be. The day before brunch, fill a popsicle mold with Simply Orange®. (I like this mold the best!) I like that Simply Orange® Pulp Free is never frozen, never sweetened and never concentrated, making it seriously delicious for sipping or for popsicle making. Once your molds are filled, pop it into the freezer without inserting the popsicle sticks. After about 20 minutes or when the juice is starting to get a bit slushy, insert your sticks and then freeze overnight. Come time for brunch, serve each popsicle in a stemless wine glass. Pour bubbly over top and prepare to impress everyone you know!
For my New York readers, get your name in the hat to score prizes and coupons to inspire your own spring party at Gotham to Grove. For more details and to check out additional Simply inspirations and recipes, like the Simply Facebook page or visit the official website!
[Art direction + styling by Cyd Converse | Photos by Alice G. Patterson for The Sweetest Occasion.]
This post was sponsored by Simply Orange. Read more about our editorial policies.
March 10, 2016 | by Cyd Converse
I had my first Irish car bomb in college, as I’m sure many of us did. Let’s be real classy here for a second and allow me to admit that I love a good Irish car bomb. If you’re not familiar, a car bomb is essentially a shot of 50/50 whiskey and Irish cream that is dropped into a pint of Guinness and chugged straight down. While not very dainty, they are actually seriously delicious. Enter the Black Velvet. It’s very definitely my favorite of all the St. Patrick’s Day drinks and I choose to think of it as the older, more sophisitcated sister of the car bomb, made with stout and champagne. It’s a cinch to make, it looks super elegant served up in a champagne flute (aka you’ll impress your guests) and it could not be tastier. Hosting a St. Patrick’s Day shindig at some point in the next week? Keep scrolling because a bunch of my best blogger buds and I have teamed up for a little drink swap today! I’m linking to all of their recipes at the bottom of the post so be sure to click over and check them all out. Bottoms up!
- Stout (I prefer Guinness)
- Champagne or bubbly (I prefer a brut)
- Champagne flutes
Begin by filling a flute half full with bubbly. It’s easiest if you pour slowly so you don’t overfill the glass or spill over the top. Then slowly top off with Guinness to finish filling the flute. Ideally you’re looking to achieve a good head on the glass, similar to if you just pour a pint glass of Guinness. And that’s it – clink glasses, sip and enjoy!
Don’t forget to jump on over and pin the rest of the drink up concoctions! Whether you’re a party of one or hosting a whole crew this St. Patrick’s Day, we’ve got you covered. Join in the fun and show us what you’re mixing and shaking this weekend at with #partybloggerbash!
Inspired by Charm’s Leprechaun Kiss Martini
Freutcake’s Lucky Leprechaun Rum Punch
Sugar & Cloth’s Marbled Creme de Menthe Ice Cream Shots
Lovely Indeed’s Irish Mule with Edible Gold Ice Cubes
Studio DIY’s Rainbow Cereal Milkshake
Pizzazzerie’s Mojito Sherbet Punch
Sugar & Charm’s Irish Pear Mule
Julie Blanner’s Shot of Gold
[Art direction + styling by Cyd Converse | Photos by Alice G. Patterson for The Sweetest Occasion.]
March 9, 2016 | by Cyd Converse
Little Baby E has been fighting a cold for about a week now (and/or possibly we have some early teething going on) so she has been needing some extra hugs and snuggles this week. I’ve got a really great cocktail recipe coming your way tomorrow in plenty of time for St. Patrick’s Day, but in the meantime I wanted to go old school today with a quick little post sharing some of the things I’ve been recently pinning. Pinterest is still my go-to social media platform and I admit that if I’m going to open an app on my phone and just scroll, scroll, scroll it’s almost always going to be that. Do you follow me there? Here’s a little peek at some of the pretty in pink things I’ve been pinning lately, plus you can follow me on Pinterest to keep tabs on everything I’m loving in the moment!
[Row 1: Roasted strawberry smoothie bowl | Gorgeous white kitchen | Row 2: Enjoy today | Blackberry lavender chevre ice cream | Row 3: Champagne raspberry popsicles | Dining room.]