Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Add a Little Sparkle to Your Next Event

For a wedding last summer, the bride and groom did not want to be pelted with seeds, as tradition calls for. Instead, I suggested that their guests wish them good luck with sparklers - Double the fun and a fraction of the mess!

If you're considering sparklers at your next event, I recommend reading for safety and information tips. You can buy sparklers there too. Enjoy!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Food Presentation: Transforming the Ordinary into Extraordinary

Presentation of food is just as important as taste. How food is arranged and garnished figures prominently into a person's reaction to it. A tray of crackers can be pretty boring, but when placed on an attractive tray or platter and garnished nicely, it becomes an appetizing hors d'oeuvre.

Three factors to consider when presenting food are color, shape, and texture.

As you know, a box of crackers is boring. It's just one bland color. Presenting food with to or three colors is visually more interesting and enticing. I dressed up the crackers with a splash of red from the strawberries and a touch of green from the parsley sprigs. The tarnished silver tray presents an elegant backdrop.

The crackers I bought came in a variety of shapes. I recommend looking for packages that offer different shapes and different textures as well, such as the ones pictured above, The bulbous strawberries offer a nice contrast to the flat crackers.

Texture appeals to the visual senses as well as the sense of touch. Foods of varying texture give the eye more to take in and the stomach more to look forward to.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

White Sangria

Sangria, which is named for it's blood-red color, is a delicious addition to any party, but in the Summer something a little lighter and more refreshing is in order: white sangria. It's as beautiful as it is tasty.

This festive thirst quencher is easy to make, and will be sure to delight your guests. Here is one of my favorite white sangria recipes:

Prep time: 15 minutes

Prepares: 8 glasses

1 bottle of dry white wine, such as Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc
1/2 cup of Peach Schnapps
1 lime, sliced
1 lemon, sliced
3 ripe peaches, cut into wedges
2 Granny Smith apples, seeded and cut into thin wedges
1/2 Liter of sparking soda
1/4 cup of sugar
1 pint of raspberries (for garnish)

Combine apples, peaches, lemon, lime, sugar, and Peach Schnapps in a large pitcher. Add wine and stir gently. Let this mixture chill for at least an hour before serving.

Add sparkling soda just before serving for a fizzy kick.

To serve, scoop fruit into glasses first, add a few fresh raspberries, then top off with wine mixture.

This is a great recipe to get creative with. Experiment with different fruits such as starfruit, melon, and blueberries. Substitute Peach Schnapps for a fruit brandy. You can also use flavored sparkling water for an added burst of flavor. Have fun with it!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

My First Time at the Maine Wedding Association Expo

It was my pleasure to participate in the Maine Wedding Assosiation's expo this past weekend at Spectacular Events in Bangor. I was able to meet with many other vendors who offer all kinds of wedding services. My sister mansion, The Brewster Inn had their booth right next to mine, and we were able to assist many brides and grooms in finding the perfect venue for their wedding day.

Once again the lollipop bags came in handy as I gave away little favors with my new business cards. I ordered the cards online through a company called Moo. What is unique about moo cards is that every seventh card is different, so I was able to showcase many photos of The Mansion all at once. I used butter mints that were wrapped in bride/groom wrappers and cherry-flavored candies decorated with wedding bells. Oriental Trading has become my new favorite company for candy.

The booth was decorated with all the special touches The Mansion Event Home has. My personal favorite is the Laurel garland, representing triumph! But the mercury glass heart always takes center stage. I designed my new logo with the heart in mind. The heart is crowned with a fleur de lis and encircled with a laurel crest - Love, triumplently crowned with perfection. All of these symbols are representive of what The Mansion Event Home is all about.

My thought for the day: In serching my core and getting in touch with my true values, I feel love! I strive for perfection in each task I take on and I love that about myself. What truth do you find when you look within yourself?

Monday, June 22, 2009

Party Favors on a Budget

I found a great way to save money when packaging a party favor - use lollipop bags!

At the last event I held, the guest of honor was a very spirtual person. As a party favor, I purchased mints from Oriental Trading Company called "Testamints". Each mint comes in a wrapper with a Bible quote on it. I purchased lollipop bags (used for homemade candy) to put the mints in. The bags were much smaller than standard sized party favor bags and came with a fancy twist tie. Twenty bags were only a dollar! Gift bags are usually very pricey, so using the lollipop bags cut costs big time. The ribbon I bought was on the discount rack at a local store - the perfect color by luck - two rolls were also one dollar. I made up forty favors for under fifteen dollars. Wow!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Recipe: Baked Brie with Apricot Preserves

Baked Brie

Plan on preparing this dish 1 hour before serving, as it needs to cool.

What you will need:
1 wheel of Brie cheese
1 stick of butter
1 cup of apricot preserve
1 package of defrosted frozen filo dough (at least 6 sheets of dough)
Oven-safe serving dish
Fresh fruit for garnish
Preheated oven at 375 degrees

Take a large wheel of brie cheese and spread apricot perserves generously on top.
Melt one stick of salted butter.
Take several sheets of filo dough (already defrosted) and brush butter on each one. I used six sheets.
Place the brie in the middle of the first sheet and wrap it and fold it until the whole wheel is covered. Flip the cheese and repeat this process until the cheese is totally encased. Make sure that when you put it in the oven, the side with the perserves is on top and that the filo dough is smooth on top.
Place brie in the oven-safe dish you will be serving it in. I usually bake and serve this delicious treat in a low CorningWare French white platter. Bake in a pre-heated oven at 375 degrees until the filo dough is light brown, about 20 minutes. Be careful not to over-bake it or the cheese will run out.

Garnish with green grapes and strawberries and serve it with ritz crackers. Yum!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Goal Achieved!

While looking through what I call my "life list", I flipped to a page where I read that I had listed my goal for my first hosted event to be achieved in June. I am happy to say that on June 7th I held a surprise party for a friend and was able to get him to the house by telling him it was a fundraiser for Our Lady's Kitchen. Its funny how things work out!

One day after church, I had mentioned to his wife that I knew his birthday was coming up, and I offered to do a party in celebration. When she asked how we would get him to the house, I told her about the fundraiser. She liked the idea so much that she requested the guests to donate to Our Lady's Kitchen in lieu of gifts. The really funny part was that she only wanted wine, cheese, and cake. Almost exactly what my first blog back in February said! The wine and cheese soiree was a hit.

I prepared my favorite baked brie, a recipe I seem to recall getting from my idol: Martha Stewart. We celebrated with about thirty people and raised a good amount of money for a wonderful community charity. When the party was nearing the end a small group of us gathered on the veranda and shared laughs about some of the questions I had asked about the birthday boy. His wife admitted to not knowing what his favorite pie was or his favorite scent. Luckly she knew his favorite color, so the banister in the grand foyer was draped with laural garland and teal ribbons. Later he told me that he noticed the color right away, that is after he got over the surprise of his young and gifted grandson playing "Happy Birthday" and all of us singing. I just love the feeling of achievement.I feel like I'm at the top of my game, and yet, this is just the beginning.

Thought of the day: Arriving at one goal is the starting point of another. Goals keep us in motion and moving towards our dreams. What goals have you set for yourself? How challenging is the climb to reach your goal?

P.S. Stay tuned for my baked brie recipe!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Continuing the Climb.

Salutations! For the last three weeks I have faced a number of challenges that lead me to believe that the climb is a little more difficult than I had originally anticipated. I have put several things needing attention aside to get caught up on some paper work. I am very much relieved that it is all accomplished for now. 

I spoke to the health inspector three times last week, what a nice and helpful person! We have made plans to meet so we can go over exactly what will be needed in order for the Mansion to obtain its licenses. This time I am doing my homework! I finished reading a ream of food codes and feel very much that I am now aware of what it will take to get The Mansion up and running.

I am excited about my upcoming trip to L.A. to see Breaker live! Talk about rock n' roll culture, wow, this band will put a new branding on the meaning of it. The lead singer is a chip off the old block. I anticipate this to be the best show ever and I long for their new music to be released. Watching Liz Granite grow this band has been an incredible experience for me. I realize what tenacity it takes to do what she has achieved in just a few years. I derive pure motivation from her energy.

I am looking foward to returning with even more power to achieve what I have conceived: The Mansion Event Home! Cool, isn't it?

My thought for the day: Challenging situations can ultimately lead to huge accomplishments. It's all about how you face the challenge. Do you tend to let your dreams pass you by because the climb is too hard? Or do you embrace the challenges and rise to the occasion?

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Rock Me Gently.

The past two days have whizzed by at light speed, and I'm still spinning from all that has been accomplished. 

I experienced my second meeting with the the Comprehensive Planning Committee for Dexter and was invited by a lovely lady (from N.Y.) to join her at the Kiwanis meeting. The next morning at 6:00 a.m. I enjoyed breakfast with a group of faces known throughout the community for their visionary leadership. Kiwanis is a global organization of volunteers dedicated to changing the world one child and one community at a time. "Wow", I thought "I'm in the right place!" Once again I feel blessed and guided to be able to support in an area that I value the most: Children! 

Many of the people that were at the meeting the night before were at the Kawanis meeting and I would like to acknowledge them. First off, Mark from The Brewster Inn. Arriving from England just a couple of years ago, this man has taken on Dexter fast and in a big way. Always upbeat, all inspiring and so welcoming to all. Thank you Mark for inviting me to be on the Comprehensive Planning Committee for Dexter. 

K, thank you for asking me to join Kiwanis, I look forward to being inducted to this wonderful group. 

As I left the Comprehensive Planning Committee board meeting the other night I had the opportunity to chat with the town manager and another lady that I have known since I moved here several years ago. We are so on the same page! We share many of the same hobbies: gardening, a love for the arts, and also the potential for growth and vision. She was
born in the Dexter area, then moved away, and has since returned. As we walked up the quiet snow filled street of Dexter, pumped up and excited, I laughingly said "we're gonna rock this town" She smiled broadly, took my arm and said "rock me gently". Thank you, I will remember those words.

All the skills that were taught to me in the PSI Women's Leadership class flashed before my eyes as I stood in the snow with my new friend. We said "good night" and I felt that peacful feeling as I remembered gently rocking to repell myself off the cliff that I had fearlessly leaned over of just one year prior.

My thought for the day: Though the climb may be steep and challanging, I find peace in my rock. What may seem to be insurmountable is accomplished easily and gently through peace and love. Where do you find your peace and what will it help you accomplish?

Monday, March 2, 2009

Living on the Edge!

Exciting news! I have been asked to join the Comprehensive Planning Committee in Dexter. This group of visionary leaders will be responsible formulating a plan for the development and revitalization of Dexter for the next ten years.

There are times when I feel as though I am leaning over the edge and pushing just a little too far. It might be family issues, feelings with friends, or the overwhelming scope of what I am envisioning to accomplish in the quiet town of Dexter. 

When pondering my life on the edge, whatever it is I am going through, I remember my mantra as I stood on my tip toes leaning over a very real edge: "I trust myself!" So this is me! Up front and real. I like to go a little too deep and blaze a trail where no one ever dared to walk. Fear has a way of intimidating us to set limits or boundaries. My answer to that thought is that we are the only ones that set boundaries, and we often choose to set them on our potential. It is all a choice; and we can choose to be guided by whatever it is that is important to us, or we can choose to be guided by fear.

As I have always said, "when in doubt, be bold and brazen". Yes, this is me hanging over the edge of what's said to be a 200 foot cliff. I think of several things when I look at this photo. I remember that I felt quiet, calm, and relaxed doing an event that most people were fearful of. I remember that I trusted the man holding the harness, and most of all I remember that I trusted myself.

My thought for the day: In trusting myself to forge ahead, I will help others to walk their path with greater ease. How do you feel when you trust yourself and face your fears?

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The Universe is Aligning for My Vision.

Today was a challange to say the least. 

I felt like I needed three of me to do what all was submerged in urgency. One of my other businesses is apartment rentals on properties we own. I have a grand shift of tenants upsizing to one of our houses and another downsizing to one of our smaller apartments. 

During this aray of coordinating I was introduced to a very nice young man who proceeded to tell me about his catering company. Chef Richard Le Rosa attended culinary school in New York (where I'm originally from). As luck would have it, he lives here in Dexter and is always looking for new clients. As it's always nice to have an extra set of skilled hands here at The Mansion, I am looking forward to sampling some of his wonderful foods!

It's always nice to run into someone from "away" as they call it here. They always seem to understand what it means to do things at lightspeed pace. That's the way New Yorkers operate. I constantly must remind myself that I moved here to slow down the pace. So far its not working. So, I have surrendered to the fact that I love to create a lot of things going on all at once. I thrive on multi-tasking. I am in constant growth. It's all good...

I love when the universe sends me what I need to carry out my vision.

My thought for the day: When I ask the universe for what I want, I get it. It would be more effective if I was clear about what I want before asking. What are you asking the universe for?

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Charity Starts in the Home.

Over the past few days I've been contemplating how I can make my first event at The Mansion Event Home a memorable and positive experience for the community of Dexter, Maine. I came to the conclusion that hosting an event to benefit those who serve our community  would be a great way to begin.

"Our Ladies' Kitchen" is a group of approximately 20-25 volunteers from members of Our Lady of the Snows cluster of Catholic churches in Dexter, Milo, Dover-Foxcroft, and Pittsfield. Each and every week, these volunteers prepare a delicious and nourishing meal for those in need, completely free of charge. Anyone is welcome to come and enjoy the meal, hosted Sunday afternoons from 1:00-2:00pm at St. Anne's Parish Center in Dexter, Maine.

"Our Ladies' Kitchen" works to help anyone faced with life's challenges by offering a little assistance in the kitchen once a week. This group of dedicated volunteers has raised funds from many local businesses and relies solely on donations to keep their organization running and provide meals and community  to those in need. 

It is my goal to support "Our Ladies' Kitchen" with a fabulous "wine and cheese soiree" fundraiser that will give members of the community the opportunity to get together and have a good time all for a good cause. I invite you to partake in this event!

The date has yet to be set, but let me give you a little something to look forward to:

  • A delicious selection of cheeses from around the world
  • Appetizers and hors d'oeuvres 
  • A variety of wines, as well as non-alcoholic beverage
  • Delectable desserts
  • Musical entertainment provided by a talented local harpist
  • The opportunity to mix and mingle with members of the community
  • The chance to have fun while making a positive difference in the community!

  • I plan to price the tickets at $25.00 per person and will offer seating for forty to fifty people. I'm excited to begin The Mansion Event Home with a charity event and have several ideas rolling around in my mind about how to make this event an extra special hit.

    Be well,

    My Thought for the Day: One of my favorite quotes is "Giving liberates the soul of the giver", by Maya Angelou. I truly believe that "givers gain" and in giving to others, I feel blessed and centered. How do you feel when you are giving?

    Thursday, February 19, 2009

    Welcome To The Mansion in Maine

    Hi, and welcome to The Mansion in Maine! 

    This blog will include everything you've ever wanted to know about party planning and event planning based on my firsthand experience at The Mansion Event Home in Dexter, Maine.

    I will share with you my unique ideas about party planning. I pride myself on creating one-of-a-kind gatherings that keep your guests surprised and excited throughout their party experience, making your event an affair to remember! You can look forward to reading about special recipes, design tips and tricks, and creative ideas for your own party planning. 

    In this blog, I will dicuss thoughts and ask for your feedback and support in making this venture at The Mansion Event Home fun, charitable, and a wonderful experience. 

    Be well, 

    My Thought for the Day: Since "To think is to create", I've got a lot of great things to look forward to! Embarking on this wonderful journey with The Mansion Event Home has inspired me to think abundantly, positively, and creatively. It is with our thoughts that we create our realities. What are you creating?