Lunch with Lidia

“Food, you know, tells us who we are, where we come from. It connects us, it expresses emotion. It expresses care, it expresses love.”   —Lidia Bastianich

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Food is such an important part of every event and celebration. In these past 18 years, I’ve learned to appreciate the role of food in special events, gained an entire food vocabulary, expanded my palate and become less culinarily challenged (although I still have a ways to go in that regard). I’ve enjoyed some amazing meals in great company along the way, but none more meaningful than last week’s “Lunch with Lidia”. This event, honoring women in culinary, was presented by the Austin Food and Wine Alliance and Les Dames D’Escoffier, Austin Chapter. Lunch with Lidia Matticchio Bastianich was truly magical.

The event was held at 7co, one of Austin’s newest near-East-side venues and sister property to 800 Congress. This eclectic space was a real treat, and the meal prepared by Shawn Cirkiel, Chef/Owner of Parkside Projects, was nothing short of inspired. From the Antipasti, to the Primi, Secondi and Dolci, every bite was divine . . . as was every sip! Guests were greeted with refreshing Aperol Spritz Cocktails, and the wines served with lunch (La Mozza Cabernet Sauvignon and Bastianich Sauvignon Blanc) were stellar. These special offerings can be found at Whole Foods and soon will be offered at Twin Liquors.

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When the program began, guests were welcomed by Mariam Parker, Executive Director of Austin Food & Wine Alliance. Mariam explained the purpose of the occasion and thanked the generous event sponsors. Kendall Antonelli, cofounder of Antonelli’s Cheese Shops and President of the Austin Chapter, Les Dames d’Escoffier, took the stage, made some brief and entertaining opening remarks, then invited us all (in Italian no less) to partake of the feast before us.

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While it’s hard to top the setting, the meal, the crowd and the cause, when the post-meal portion of the program began Chef and Restauranteur, Cookbook Author and Emmy award-winning host of Lidia’s Kitchen, Lidia Matticchio Bastianich, was the real star of last week’s show. Chef Lidia answered questions posed by Cathy Cochran-Lewis, Communications and Operations Director for Whole Kids Foundation. Cathy did a wonderful job of keeping the “On-stage Conversation with Lidia” warm, informative and enlightening. Through their exchange, we all learned how Lidia came to America, her views on living the American Dream, her insights into work, motherhood and balance and her very great love of food and hospitality.

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Ms. Bastianich was engaging, endearing and enthusiastic. I was fortunate to be seated at Lidia’s table and to observe her interactions with others. I found her authentic and outgoing. Throughout her exchanges with event guests, she was patient and intent. And while I didn’t stay for the book signing (My American Dream – A Life of Love, Family and Food) or the silent auction conclusion (for a list of generous donors, please visit the Austin Food and Wine Alliance Website), I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of this memorable lunch with a delightful star in the culinary universe. Special thanks to Mariam Parker for the invitation and the opportunity.

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The sweet life: dessert displays

Because today is National Doughnut Day (did you know?), we decided to focus on the sweeter side of things: dessert displays. Couples these days are doing more and more for their dessert options than just your classic cake. From doughnut walls, to candy bars, to a mix of all of the couples favorites, there are so many different sweets to choose from for your big day, and even more ways to display them creatively!

So where do you even begin? Start with your favorite. Is it cupcakes? Pies? Hershey’s Kisses? What about your partners? Do they have a favorite dessert that is the same or different than yours? Is there a way to incorporate both of them into your big day? Or maybe you want to go the classic route with a “his and hers” (or his and his/ hers and hers) cake. We can never get enough cake and love this classic route too.

Once you’ve figured out the dessert(s) you want to focus on and serve, you can begin brainstorming ways to display it/them. If you’re going a cake route, you could dress up a cake table or even suspend the cake on a swing(!).

If you’re doing cupcakes, how about different cupcake stands that match your theme? If you’re doing doughnuts, how about a doughnut wall? Or perhaps you’re doing something completely different than all of these- we’re all about that!

Need some inspiration to get your sweet, creative juices flowing? Check out some images of weddings and events we’ve helped out with with different dessert displays:

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Jerry Hayes Photography; The Cake Plate

This party opted for a little bit of everything for their dessert table. When you can’t choose what sweet to serve, and want to appeal to everyone’s taste buds, this is the way to go.

And is it just us…. or would anyone else take one of literally everything?

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Addison Jones Photography; Tiny Pies

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Addison Jones Photography; Tiny Pies

This couple opted for Tiny Pies instead of a cake or cupcakes. These tiny pies are just so dang cute and are the perfect size for a sweet little nibble. You can get them in a variety of different flavors to appeal to your and your honey’s sweet tooth.

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Jerry Hayes Photography; Simon Lee Bakery

For this ten year anniversary, the couple opted for a few different options for their guests, with a traditional French cake serving as the dessert displays focal point.

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Jerry Hayes Photography; Polkadots

For this wedding showcase, the designers chose a doughnut display with doughnuts that matched the wedding table’s colors.

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Haley Rynn Ringo Photography; Michelle’s Patisserie

This couple decided on a mix of the classic cake with a unique take on the dessert display. There’s nothing better than the cake cutting, is there? This couple got the best of both worlds with their beautiful tiered cake as well as some other sweets for guests to nibble on, if they’re not the biggest cake fans.

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Rachael Hall Photography; Westwood Country Club

These desserts were made for a party we hosted themed “Lady in Red.” Because red was the leading color for the evening, Westwood Country Club’s chef created various red desserts for guests to sample. We love desserts that play into a color or theme!

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Jerry Hayes Photography; Simon Lee Bakery

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Jerry Hayes Photography; Simon Lee Bakery

This couple decided they wanted their “classic” tiered cake to stand alone. They created the most beautiful set up for the cake with draping, a sequin linen and flowers that matched the rest of the wedding.

For their groom’s cake, they opted for a cake that would excite any Longhorn fan. To accompany the UT Tower cake, they offered popcorn and other small sweets for their guests. Thank goodness they had some other options, because we really wouldn’t want to cut into either of these cakes!

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Jerry Hayes Photography; Polkadots

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Jerry Hayes Photography; Polkadots

We shot this dessert set up for a dessert styled shoot to feature one of our new cupcake stands. For this dessert display, we opted to display various petit fours on our brown cupcake tree. Let’s just say we’re looking to do more of these dessert styled shoots because those leftovers were the BOMB.

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Jerry Hayes Photography; Root Cellar Bakery

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Jerry Hayes Photography; Root Cellar Bakery

This dessert display took the rose gold glam to a whole new level. Root Cellar Bakery made truffles, cupcakes, cake, popsicle-styled cake pops, among other things. We love that the modern, rose gold theme was carried throughout the entire display.

 

Need even more dessert inspiration? Grab a tub of ice cream to fill that sweet void and head on over to our Pinterest page for more!

Feeling inspired? We want to see what you come up with! Share your pictures with us of what you’ve done or what you’re going to do for your dessert display!

 

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Trend watch: low florals

We’re back with another trend watch! We’ve been keeping our eyes and ears open to see what will be popular among couples and event holders for 2019 and we’ve come up with a trend that’s been very popular this year and won’t be going anywhere come the new year. And we’re okay with it because this is one of our favorite trends for a number of reasons.

What is it, you might be asking? Low florals and floral table runners. This has been popular this year and we’ve just loved all of the different ways couples have incorporated this into their big day.

The perk of doing low florals or a floral table runner? Your guests will be able to see each other from across the table. These lower centerpiece trends mean no more dodging and bobbing when trying to speak with someone who is across from you at your table, yay!

We also love how this looks on long tables with the floral runners going all the way across. It gives the illusion of one big table that goes on for miles.

Not sure what we mean? Here are a few pictures from weddings and events that have low centerpieces or floral table runners:

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Michael Schaffer Photography, Bouquets of Austin/ Stems Floral

For this set up at The Winfield Inn, the Winfield team designed a table that had a woodsy vibe. They used a wood table with our Madeline chair and wood chargers. They opted for a clean and classic look with the greenery and white flowers sprinkled in. The green napkins complimented this perfectly and really helped to give an earthy vibe to the table.

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Pamela Hults Photography, Exquisite Petals

This couple opted for a gold, white and green look. Their green floral runner on some of the tables, and tall centerpieces on others, with classic candles in votives gave an incredibly fresh and romantic feel to this wedding.

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Haley Rynn Ringo Photography, Wildly Cultivated Florals

This couple opted for low sitting centerpieces on their banquet tables. They brought in deep reds that complimented both the wood tones of our beechwood chairs and the walls of Barr Mansion. These centerpieces are a perfect height for conversation and sight to continue flowing without any issues for guests.

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High Beam Events

This image was taken from a styled shoot that we partnered with High Beam Events for. They designed the table and opted for a floral garland on their banquet table. The flowers in the floral runner both complimented and contrasted the orange and purple used as the main color for the table. We loved this fall set up and how the candles brought in height to the table without blocking the views of guests.

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Jerry Hayes, The Flower Girl/ Stems Floral 

This couple opted for the floral runner feel for their sweetheart table and we LOVE it. Doing this, especially for a head table or sweetheart table (whatever you decide to do) keeps the centerpieces from blocking the couple. Because let’s be real, everyone who is there is there to gush, ooo and ahhh over the newlyweds. The last thing you want is a massive centerpiece that blocks you from all of your guests. Or maybe it is what you want, we’re not here to judge :p.

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Jerry Hayes Photography, Clementine Botanical Art

For this event, they opted for all black table top and pops of green with the low centerpieces. They used several rows of long tables, as this was a big fundraising event, so they wanted to be sure guests could socialize with each other. We loved the simplicity and cleanness of this whole look.

Two Pair Photography http://twopairphotography.com/

Two Pair Photography

This couple opted for a boho look with their succulent centerpieces. These centerpieces were all low as well and strategically placed along their banquet tables. We loved the color pop from the terracotta pots and the southern feel the succulents brought to the overall look of this wedding.

Want even more low centerpiece and floral table runner inspiration? We’ve got you covered. Head on over to our pinterest page to see more of what you can do with this trend!

Whatever you decide to do, look-wise and color-wise with this floral trend, will be beautiful and unique because it is your day and your vision, and we just can’t wait to see!

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Spooktacular Halloween inspiration

Halloween is officially nine days away. That’s right, you have a little over one week to get your costume figured out, purchased and ready to go, buy your candy AND get your Halloween decor up and on point.

Sounds like a lot to do in not a lot of time, doesn’t it? Don’t worry. We are here to help. While we can’t pick out your costume for you (although, we do have some pretty good ideas for that, if you need a little inspiration holler at us), we CAN help you with your spooktacular decor.

We did a Halloween inspired styled shoot and teamed up with Jerry Hayes Photography and The Flower Studio at Brodie Homestead to bring you all of the eerie feels you could ever need for your Halloween decor.

Check it out below:

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We opted for a round table with a mango bengaline linen. Black chiavari chairs brought in the spooky and classic Halloween feel. Orange and black, you can’t go wrong, right?

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For our tabletop, we used our Heirloom Charcoal buffet plate as a charger, our Lime Zeus salad plates, Hunter Green economy napkins and our Lime Lido Goblets to bring in in a bit of that “Halloween” green (a unique take on a classic Halloween color combo, you might say). We finished the tabletop with the (new) Black Lucca flatware to bring the black up to the table from the chairs and to tie in the Heirloom Charcoal buffet plates.

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The Flower Studio tied it all together by delivering a beautiful floral arrangement with deep color tones to bring in the dark, moody feeling we so often associate with Halloween, while also bringing in some of the lighter tones of the orange and green in our tabletop decor.

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We, of course, finished off the look with alternating bone figurines to give it that perfectly spooktacular look we all want for Halloween. Because… Would Halloween really be complete if you didn’t have some kind of spider or gargoyle at your dinner table? We sure don’t think so.

 

Feeling inspired? We sure hope you are! We’d love to help you put your Halloween decor together for your upcoming ghostly gathering.

Give us a call or stop by one of our showrooms to let us know how we can help!

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10 ways to stay warm during your outdoor event

It seems winter has hit the Austin area. But who knows how long it will be here? With Texas weather as unpredictable as it is, it could be here until March or it could be here for just the next two days.

Because of the sudden weather change, we decided to take this time to chat about staying warm at your outdoor events.

The Austin area has so many beautiful outdoor venues and because of the {extremely} unpredictable nature of Texas weather, you may not have been anticipating cold weather on the day of your event. What do you do to keep your guests warm?

Well, we’ve compiled a list of ten things to help you stay prepared for a cooler temperature change, should it happen to you.

 

  1. Rent a tent and tent heater. If your event is strictly outdoors, you’re going to want a weather contingency plan from the get go. Renting a tent with a tent heater creates what feels like an indoor space for your outdoor venue. Check out our guide to renting a tent if you need helping figuring out where to start. Window Sidewalls
  2. Place blankets on chairs. We’ve seen couples do this with their winter outdoor weddings quite a bit. If your wedding ceremony is outside, you could place a basket full of blankets for guests to take as needed. If your reception is outside as well, perhaps a few blankets placed on the backs of chairs will do the trick! Your guests will think it’s the cutest thing ever and thank you for the extra warmth.
  3. Warm specialty cocktail. If you are planning on doing a signature cocktail for the evening, doing something that is warm or will warm guest’s bellies (our minds immediately go to whiskey here) is a great way to knock two birds out with one stone. Just be sure that’s not the only things guests have as a warming option or you may have to cut some folks off before the night really even gets started.

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    Sophie Epton Photography

  4. Serve coffee or hot chocolate. If the temperatures are low, warm drinks are a good way to keep your guests’ bellies and hands warm. And really, is there anything better than a cup of coffee or glass of hot chocolate when it’s a bit chilly? You could have a coffee station or hot cocoa station set up for guests to help themselves to throughout the night.
  5. Fire pits. If your venue allows it, fire pits are a great way to get guests warmed for the night. And seriously, who doesn’t love a good campfire!? Just be sure to double and triple check with your venue that they allow it and there aren’t any local burn bans before committing to this idea.
  6. S’mores station. S’mores stations are a great way to get your guests a sweet treat and warm them up a little bit at the same time. Standing around a fire (whether it is a propane controlled set up or a wood burning campfire) will give your guests a short reprieve from the cold. Plus, if you have any little guests in attendance, this will be the highlight of the night (or year!) for them.
  7. Patio heaters. If tenting isn’t an option, or it’s not ridiculously cold outside, renting patio heaters to place throughout your outdoor space should be sufficient for your guests. These typically heat a 15 foot radius around each unit. Keep in mind, that radius will likely go down the colder the weather is or if it is particularly windy that day.

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    Sophie Epton Photography

  8. Hand warmers. Have you ever been camping and used the personal hand warmers? Weren’t they fantastic? You can use them for your hands or even put them in your shoes to keep your toes from going numb. Set up a bucket with a cute little sign for your guests to take a few as needed. Your event staff will also love you endlessly for this if you give them their own stash.
  9. Serve a warm food, like soup. If you’re having an event during the fall or winter months, you will likely choose your menu from a list of seasonal options. If you anticipate that it might be a little cooler on your event date, something like a soup appetizer (or main dish) will be welcomed by your guests in attendance.
  10. Dance it out. Get your guests moving and grooving. One of the best ways to defeat the cold is to get up and move. If you’re having dancing at your event, this is a great way to combat the chills. Get the tunes pumping and your guests out of their seats. They won’t even remember it’s cold after a couple of songs!

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    Ben Porter Photography

We hope this list helps inspire you and makes you feel a bit better about the weather change! We are always happy to help brainstorm with you about whatever you might need for event. Give us a call or stop by one of our showrooms today to meet with one of our event consultants to get all set for your event!

 

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Trend watch: Engagement Moon

With more and more couples paying for at least a portion of their wedding day, if not all of it themselves, less couples are turning toward the “traditional” honeymoon. What we mean by traditional honeymoon is this- picture it if you will…

It is the night of the wedding. The couple has said their “I do’s,” danced their last dance and been sent off by their friends and family. They hop in their getaway car and head straight to the airport (or a hotel or where ever they will sleep) and jet off on their honeymoon.

This just isn’t happening as much as it used to. Couples these days are footing the bill for at least a portion of their wedding day, and because of that, are pushing their honeymoons back. Or the trend most recently? Pushing them UP!

That’s right. Couples know going into  wedding planning that it can be expensive to have your dream wedding. Instead of paying for a wedding and a honeymoon at the same time, couples are opting for an engagement moon, and we have to admit, it’s quite genius.

Think about it….. Before you get into the planning and stress and check writing that often comes along with wedding planning, you take a trip with your brand new fiance(e). You get to celebrate one of the most exciting times of your lives by getting away just the two of you (or you could even make it a group thing, if you’d rather more people join in on your love celebration!).

Whether you decide to go on a trip right after your wedding, months after your wedding or you opt for the new engagement moon, we think going some place (or even doing a stay-cation) with you and your honey is a great way to celebrate this next step in your lives. You certainly won’t regret spending that time together before (or after) the madness of wedding planning!

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Trend watch: orange is the new black

Recently, and perhaps that is because it is October and fall feelings are in full swing, we have been seeing a lot more orange in weddings and events. Couples are replacing pinks with oranges and we are loving it! Whether it is your main color or one of your accent colors, there are so many different shades of orange to use,  you can’t go wrong.

Colors like burnt orange, terracotta, copper and tangerine are perfect orange tones if you are wanting to add some warmth to your event.

Colors like peach, apricot, true orange and coral are perfect if you want to add some coolness or lighten up your event.

Regardless of which color route you choose, orange pairs well and compliments an array of colors, while also adding a pop to others.

Need to see what we mean? We understand. Check out some images of weddings and events we’ve been able to play a hand in below for your orange inspiration:

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Brio Weddings

View More: http://francephotographers.pass.us/givingtree

France Photographers

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High Beam

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High Beam

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Gourmet Gals

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Lisa Hause Photography

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Rachael Hall Photography

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Rachael Hall Photography

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Jerry Hayes Photography

Two Pair Photography http://twopairphotography.com/

Two Pair Photography

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Jerry Hayes Photography

Need more? Follow us on pinterest to see our latest board with all of your orange wedding and event inspiration!

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