It’s a Surprise Party!

 Surprise!! Did I get you?! I hope so!


I am SO excited to welcome you to the “Surprise Party” I am throwing today as a co-hosted blog event with my good friend Katie from The Pink and Blue Blog!


Today we are launching our brand new website Blog Brunch, and since we both love a good party we thought it only fitting that we launch our new venture with a giant celebration with lots of other bloggers! 






What is Blog Brunch You Ask? 

Blog Brunch is a community created with design/food/lifestyle/creative bloggers in mind. Katie and I first came to work with one another because of our love for what we do, and we find many bloggers share that same sentiment. As Katie and I bonded over our passion for blogging and creating, we had an urge to grow our circle and learn other tips and tricks fellow bloggers had mastered. Once these new relationships were formed we both felt a shift in our blogs in the best way! We were improving our blogs, brands and networks  so quickly. The idea of sharing and growing as a group planted a seed in our minds, and after months of planning (and skyping) we chose to create a special place for other bloggers and host free events for everyday bloggers like you and me. This is a formal invitation to our first live Blog Brunch October 1st, 2011 hosted on twitter with the hashtag #blogbrunch. Ideally we hope you can wake up on a Saturday morning, grab a coffee or mimosa, log on to twitter and follow along with that month’s topic of discussion with bloggers all over the world with varying degrees of expertise. From there you can “follow” and connect with other like-minded bloggers.
What better way to launch our new site than to bring together over 40 of some of our favorite bloggers we have gotten to know between our two blogs (check over at The Pink and Blue Blog for More fun!)  Below you will find some of our most inspiring, creative and talented bloggers we been fortunate enough to read. Please take time to visit all of them and feel free to pin, tweet and facebook whatever you see that inspires your appetite to blog, after all that’s what Blog Brunch is all about! 😉 

**As a special thank you for stopping by our Surprise Party please enjoy some party favor giveaways during the “dance break” midway through the post***





A Blog Party wouldn’t be complete without some fun and stylish games to play. As I would bring to the table, my personal ‘Some Kind Of Style’ DIY Fashion Memory Game. On one side with my Blog Header Icon and on the other side images I took of Fashion Week Shows or other fashionable events. Now all you gotta do is memorize them and find the pairs.



Everyone can do it under their own Blog Themes and exchange them amongst each other. 

Have fun and play with style. 


Make sure to check into Camilla’s blog Some Kind of Style and let her know how awesome her DIY is. Also keep up with what is happening on her Facebook and Twitter as well. 

 

Nectarine Buttermilk Cupcakes with Honey Whipped Cream
Adapted from Super Natural Every Day by Heidi Swanson

These are not your average cupcakes. Almost a hybrid between a cupcake and a muffin, they won’t leave you with a toothache. Although they’re made with whole wheat flour and significantly less butter and sugar than most, they make delicious, celebration-worthy late summer treats. Heidi’s recipe called for plums, but I found some ripe nectarines that were too pretty to pass up. Peaches would work just as well. Top each cupcake with a dollop of homemade, honey-sweetened whipped cream, which is surprisingly easy to whip up. Enjoy!

Cupcake ingredients: 
2 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 cup raw (turbinado) sugar, plus more for dusting
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups buttermilk (make your own by adding 1 tablespoon and two teaspoons of lemon juice or vinegar to milk. Let sit for 5 minutes.)
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
Zest of 2 large lemons, or 3 small
4 nectarines, thinly sliced, then cut each slice in half

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees with a rack in the top third of the oven. Line your muffin tin with cupcake wrappers. in a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt). In a smaller bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, eggs, melted butter and lemon zest. Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry mixture and stir just until it’s mostly combined. Stir in your sliced nectarines, saving about 18 slices to place on top of the cupcakes before baking.  Spoon your cupcakes into the prepared muffin tin. Top each one with a slice of nectarine and a light sprinkle of raw sugar. Bake for 16 to 20 minutes, just until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Yields approximately 18 cupcakes.

Honey whipped cream ingredients:
1 cup chilled heavy  cream
1 tablespoon honey

Place a mixing bowl in the freezer for about ten minutes. Once it is chilled, pour in the milk and honey. Using an electric mixer, eggbeater or a whisk, whisk the milk until it has doubled in volume and holds its peaks. 

For more awesome recipes head over to Kate’s blog, Cookie and Kate. Also keep up to date with her blog and follow her on Twitter and don’t miss her pins on Pinterest


When I received the invite to the biggest surprise party to hit the web, I knew I had dress to impress! Any excuse to play dress up and mingle with the girls, I’m there! I love the idea of mixing this simple, yet elegant Alice + Olivia dress with glamorous accessories. You can’t go wrong with a little bling, bling from Dannijo and bejeweled heels are always fun and flirty. Add a glitter clutch to the mix and you’re set for a fabulous night out.

Let’s not forget the party players. What better way to celebrate a project unveil with blogger gals than with confetti bags, sweet treats, and a bottle of Pinot?!

A big toast to Katie and Megan on their new project, congratulations!
Make sure to check out more Crystalin’s awesome style and inspiration boards over at her blog In the City with Crystalin. Follow all her updates by following her on twitter and facebook as well.

Image source 1/2/3/4 


Funky vs. Fabulous {Surprise Party}

Funky
-Being late for the “surprise…”
-When the surprise isn’t a surprise.
-Yelling “surprise” at the wrong moment.
-Playing secret agent leading up to the actual surprise.
-Those people who hate surprises.
-How many times I’ve used the word surprise in this post.

Fabulous
-The excitement and anticipation of the surprise.
-THE ACTUAL SURPRISE!!!
-Being surprised by the surprise.
-Meeting tons of cool people at the party.
-Balloons, cake, confetti.
-SURs and PRIZEs

-Double duty dressing for the party & workout! 


{sweatshirt} F21 {shoes} Betsy Johnson {Dress} thrifted {glasses} drug store {tank} ? {leggings} ?

Get more of Emily’s adorable style that easily goes from gym to glam over at Pushups with Polish. Also keep up with her daily doings with her twitter, facebook, and pinterest


Hey there! My name’s Jacquelyn. By day I’m an Interior Designer in Toronto, by night I moonlight as a design blogger. You can find me over at lark & linen for your daily dose of all things pretty. When Megan and Katie first approached me requesting to help them announce their amazing venture I jumped at the opportunity. Being an Interior Designer, I don’t often get to work within the realm of surprise parties; suffice to say that I had a lot of fun putting this moodboard together. My theme revolved around a perfecly pink shin-dig, suitable for such an event. Is it even a party if champagne, ruffle cake and confetti aren’t invited? I certainly didn’t think so!



Catch more of Jacquelyn’s great style over at Lark & Linen. Also make sure to keep up to date with her twitter, facebook, and pinterest



 Hi there! My name is Kate of With a Heart Full of Daisies

I can’t tell you how stoked I was to get this invitation to Megan and Ms. Pink’s blog party.  Both of their blogs are truly inspiring and I’ve loved following them on their beautiful journey in life.  Since I have a variety of passions and hobbies, choosing a post to “bring” to this party was pretty challenging for me.  I figured I’d share with you all my favorite pastime – finding hidden treasures! 

 Now, these treasures do not resonate with everyone; for they usually are unwanted, overlooked, or just tossed aside.  But it is these pieces that are the best, for when they are taken into a loving home they can be transformed.  From garage sale shopping, searching bins at thrift stores, dumpster diving, curb finds, and scaling any antique shop remotely close by…treasures are truly everywhere. It just takes the right eye, lots of patience, and the willingness to put time into each piece.  

When I was a little girl, I often felt ashamed for having to shop at thrift stores.  Growing up on a small farm, we didn’t always have the means to spend money freely on clothing, furniture, or anything else for that matter. Looking back, it probably was one of the best lessons of my life.  It is through this way of shopping and searching that I’ve saved money, come to appreciate the beauty in things of old, and have acquired some amazing, one of a kind, pieces.  So today I’d like to share three of my latest repurposed treasures. 

While I was engaged and searching for ideas for my wedding decorations, I came across this extremely old traveling trunk. I decided to refinish it inside and out and give it a shabby chic look, in hopes of using it for a card box at our wedding. It will forever hold our wedding day memories every time I see this piece in our house.  Check out this post to find out how I made it! 


Since we recently bought a fixer upper and have literally no furniture, my mother and I have been scouring antique shops and garage sales for pieces to transform. She was lucky enough to find this unique chair for me and right away I knew I wanted to find this chevron fabric that I had pinned to reupholster it with.  With my styling and her sweat equity, we were so happy to bring this beauty into my house. 
See this post for more photos.


After having one of my vintage books rebound into a wedding guest book by Windy Weather Bindery, I became inspired to find other uses for these lovely old novels.  The end result… vintage book timepieces.  My hope is to continue making more of these in the future and to sell them to those who share my love for hidden treasures. 



I hope you’ve enjoyed  reading about my love for finding and repurposing treasures.
Feel free to stop by my blog and say hello or follow me on Twitter and Pinterest, I love meeting new folks! 

-Kate

 I love surprises. I guess I should say I love being the one providing the surprise, rather than receiving it. I love the planning, the sneaking around, but mostly that the look on the surprisee’s face when he or she has the “oh-my-gosh!” moment and is all smiles and laughter. At the start of summer, I pulled off a surprise visit to Philadelphia for my best friend’s graduation and I still get the happy feelings in my belly when I think about sneaking up on her at the airport that night. These Maple Cardamom Macaroons are perfect bites for a surprise soiree because they’re easy to prepare, not too sweet, and can fit in your palm without overpowering the conversation. A touch of cardamom gives them a uniquely spiced oomph at the end. You may need to double the batch, these tend to go quick. 



Maple Cardamom Macaroons from Happyolks on Vimeo.


Recipe: 
4 Egg Whites 
1 cup Pure Maple Syrup
1 tsp Vanilla 
3 cups of Shredded Coconut 
4 tbsp brown rice flour 
1/2 tsp Ground Cardamom 
1/4 tsp Sea Salt 

Preheat the oven to 325. In a large bowl, combine egg whites, maple syrup, vanilla, and salt. Whisk until frothy. Add coconut, flour, and cardamom, and combine with a fork. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and scoop mixture into small balls about half an inch apart. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden. 


Catch more by Kelsey at Happy Yolks and make sure to find her on twitter, facebook, and pinterest





It wouldn’t be a party without a dance break! If you know either of us you know we never say no to a good beat. We are about half through the posts, so turn on your favorite jam, throw on some sequins and glittery heels and get down! After that, enter these amazing giveaways we have for you today!


Visit Windy City Glassblower, Piktorama, and Just Noey and leave a comment below on this post with your favorite items from one or all the shops for your chance to win! 

For extra entries, tweet or facebook me (hitchdesign) with your favorite moment of the #surpriseparty or if you will be at the first #blogbrunch October 1st! For even more points follow Blog Brunch on twitter and facebook

Now back to the rest of the party!











When I received my invitation from Megan + Katie to this exciting surprise blog party, I instantly knew what I wanted to share. I had visions of confetti, bright colors, tassels, sweets and all around merriment dancing around in my head.  Won’t you join me in making a little DIY Tassel Cake Garland to celebrate? We have to hurry though, I think our guest of honor is almost here!

Materials:
Cutting mat
Rotary cutter
ScissorsTissue paper
Double sided tape
Bakers twine (or any ol’ twine or string will do!)
Wood skewers

Instructions:

Wheee, here we go! First off, I was inspired by this amazing DIY from Jesyka D’Itri Marés. I adapted her method a bit (meaning I made it messier and less precise) and I think Jesyka would be proud!

Step 1: 

Unfold one sheet of tissue paper until it only has one crease in it. Place the crease to the top of the mat. Using your scissors, cut a 4 x 12″ strip (roughly). As you can see, mine is not completely straight. No worries! You’ll take care of that later.

Step 2:

Using your rotary cutter (or scissors if you don’t have a rotary cutter) cut strips about 1/4″ wide. 

Step 3:

Place the strips over your finger with the crease on top.

Step 4:

Holding the strips firmly with both hands, twist the center of the strips until you have about an inch of twisted tissue in the middle. 

Step 5:
Fold the tissue in half at the center of the twisted section, creating a little loop. Wrap double sided tape around the base of the loop and then wrap a strip of tissue paper over the tape.

Step 6:

This is the fun part. Trim the tassel! Or don’t; it’s totally up to you how messy you want your tassel garland to look!



Step 7:

Thread your twine through the loops and tie ends to the tops of the wood skewers.


Grab a balloon, slap on a party hat, and throw some confetti up in the air, it’s time to celebrate!



Shhh…I think I hear someone coming through the door…

SURPRISE!!!!!

Catch more of Laura’s great ideas over at You Stir Me. Make sure to check into her twitter, facebook, and pinterest as well. 

At Maggie Rose Interiors, I approach a party from a furniture standpoint. Every party needs a quieter space for guests to escape for intimate conversation… but that doesn’t mean the furnishings have to be quiet! Glam touches and classic shapes make for a party lounge your guests won’t forget. And be sure to keep that bar stocked for refills! (Resources here).

Don’t miss any of Maggie’s interior design ideas! Catch it all over at her blog and stay up to date with her twitter, facebook, and pinterest

Whenever I go to a party, one of the first things I think about is food. Sigh, it’s true, I will forever and always be a foodie … there’s just no way around it! So, just like any other shin dig, when I first hear about Megan and Ms. Pink’s party, it was no surprise to me that I instantly wanted to contribute some sort of delicious treat ideas! Something salty, sweet, + a drink, to be more specific. The perfect combo.


I would start my snack list off with the salty item: rosemary infused dark chocolate & salt popcorn. Phew, what a title! But a nummy one. It’s a little exotic, yet full of tastes everyone would recognize at the same time. Way to go, salty popcorn, for kickin’ things off!

Then, I would introduce: cake batter truffles. I mean, what would be better after having a handful of popcorn? Something sweet! It’s a really simple recipe filled with rich flavors. My favorite part is the almond bark coating (tasty) topped with fun sprinkles. Plus, the sprinkles can match the decor, of course!

And finally, what would a party be without drinks like: summer fruit sangria. It doesn’t matter what season you’re in, fruit is always a winner! It’s light, tasty, and compliments everything quite successfully! Not to mention, it’ll make you feel a tad healthier about what you’re eating.

So, cheers to Megan and Ms. Pink for gathering everyone together! I couldn’t imagine anything more exciting.

xx BRE

Find more of Breanne’s lovely posts over at Moxee (a blog you will get lost in in the best way possible!!!) and make sure to follow her twitter, facebook, and pinterest

I absolutely love parties. I love planning parties. I love decorating for parties. I love baking for parties! You absolutely cannot have a party without some chocolate. You also cannot have a party without some brownies! Although these brownies can be considered to be in my safe zone, my chocolate and peanut butter safe zone since those are my go-to ingredients, they really weren’t safe at all. With 3 different desserts in mind, my decision to put it all into one was risky, however this was… this was like a present on Christmas morning; surprising and absolutely lovely.



With a dark chocolate fudge-y brownie bottom, and a homemade peanut butter fudge layer topped with sea salt, these brownies will be my new favorite food. Yes, food. Not the healthiest of the bit, so I suggest cutting them into bite size so the guilt isn’t too heavy on your shoulders when you have 5+. I’m kidding. Not kidding about the 5+, but kidding about the guilt. these are too good to feel guilty about. 🙂

Still wanting more? Please visit my recipe blog at www.withloverachel.com or facebook page, where there are plenty more recipes you will just drool over. 🙂 I know I do. 

Peanut Butter Fudge-Layered Brownies with Sea Salt
1 1/4 stick butter (10 tablespoons)
1 cup organic sugar
3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons Double-Dutch dark cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cold large eggs

1/2 cup almond flour


Preheat oven to 325F. Line a 13 by 9-in baking pan with parchment, leaving an overhang on two opposite sides. Spray the parchment with just a small amount of pan spray.

Combine the butter, sugar, cocoa, and salt in a double broiler (using the glass bowl over pan of simmering water method). *Be sure the bottom of bowl does not touch the water.

Stirring occasionally, when butter is just about melted, remove from sauce pan and let residual heat continue to melt the butter. Stir until smooth. Touch to check for temperature. It should feel warm, if HOT, wait until warm to add the eggs. Then, proceed to add eggs one at a time. Make sure that each egg is fully incorporated before adding the next. Once mixed and looks shiny, stir in the flour. Stir until flour is incorporated, but do not over stir.

Spread the batter evenly in prepared baking dish. The key is to bake this for only 20-25 minutes, allowing there to be few moist crumbs on the toothpick after a toothpick test. You want your brownies to be fudge-y. Let the brownies cool completely on a wire rack, removing by gripping parchment edges. (let it sit on parchment on top of wire rack)

Once cool you can layer the peanut butter.

Peanut Butter fudge layer:
6 tablespoons butter (3/4 stick)
1 cup peanut butter
1 cup confectioners sugar
pinch of salt

Sea Salt for sprinkling


Cream butter and peanut butter until combined. Slowly stir/fold in the confectioner’s sugar until incorporated. The fudge should be thick, and will get a little arm work out mixing in the sugar. This is GOOD! It should be of a fudge consistency. Spread the peanut butter fudge layer evenly over the COOL brownies with your hands. Sprinkle with sea salt.



Summer is ending and the worst part is this transitional season! What to wear becomes a whole new challenge, especially when it’s for a party or special occasion. Do you wear a dress? A jacket? What the heck is going on with this season? Is it even a season? It’s so confusing! So, this is my version of a transitional surprise-party outfit 🙂 



Catch more of Sarah’s great style and taste over at Design Me Daily and follow her twitter and pinterest.

What’s a good party without some delicious finger food? Now that fall is around the corner, we’ve been in the mood for comforting flavors like apple and sage. Here’s our new favorite appetizer, with farmer’s market apples and sage from our garden. Enjoy! 



Apple Cranberry Sage BitesMakes about 24 appetizer bites



What You Need4 medium apples (about 5 cups chopped)
1 large red onion (about 1 cup diced)
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup fresh chopped sage (or 4 teaspoons dried)
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons brandy
Kosher salt
Parmesan cheese (or your favorite cheese – bleu, aged cheddar, Brie, or cream cheese would be good options)
Crackers, bread, or pita wedges for serving



What To Do
1  Finely chop the red onion. Core the apples, and chop them into bite-sized chunks. Chop the sage.
2  Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add red onion and saute for 2 to 3 minutes, until softened. Add apple, sage, and cranberries. Cover and cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the apples are soft.
3  Remove from the heat. Stir in the 2 tablespoons brandy.  Let cool slightly. Add a bit of kosher salt to taste.
4  Serve over crackers or bread, garnished with shaved Parmesan cheese.


Find more awesome recipes from Sonja and Alex at A Couple of Cooks. Make sure to also follow their facebook and twitter



When Megan and Katie first suggested the idea of a surprise party, my creative little brain was abuzz with possibilities. But after some thought, I decided that nothing could make for a better surprise than being whisked away to somewhere fabulous! And so I put together my idea of the perfect getaway ensemble for a fun-filled weekend, complete with a rockin’ piece of luggage for which I must implore you to dream up the contents for!



Here’s hoping this one comes to fruition sooner than later. Cheers! And big congrats to Megan and Katie on all of their hard work! Hope you two get some downtime soon!


Catch more of Tobe’s great style and taste over at Because it’s Awesome and follow her twitter, facebook, and pinterest.  




Stay tuned for more to come about our personal thoughts and ideas on Blog Brunch. We hope you stick around to read both the posts!

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