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Thursday, December 31, 2009

Reflection - A Good Year and More to Come

Image courtesy of Martha Stewart.

Time rarely stands still for me. Between running a business in fast-paced Manhattan, daily blogging, and taking care of my family, it is easy to get swallowed up in the moment and not take the time to reflect. I love this time of year because the clean break in the year provides me (sometimes forces me) with the much needed opportunity to reflect about the last year. 2009 has been an amazing year for us at Amy Atlas Events. We had the opportunity to collaborate with really talented people that we respect in the design, food, event, and publishing industries. I'm so thankful that we have had these opportunities. I'm also so grateful for all of the wonderful readers and supporters for stopping in everyday to check out what we are doing. It is my readers and supporters that inspire me, and it is because of you that I take the time to blog everyday.

2010 promises to be a very exciting year. I'll be sharing some very exciting news with you soon. It has been hard not to share with you, but soon enough I will get to fill you in. I'll also be updating the blog in early 2010 and I think you will be really excited about the changes. I'd love to hear your thoughts as to what you would like to see on the blog so please feel free to make suggestions. In the meantime, I want to wish you a wonderful New Year filled with good health, peace, and prosperity. Thank you for 2009 and I can't wait to continue the ride with you in 2010!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Black-Eyed Pea Decor for New Year's Eve

Black-eyed peas and other legumes have been considered good luck in many cultures. In the United States, many believe that ringing in the New Year with black-eyed pea dishes will bring prosperity for the year ahead. There are so many simple and inexpensive ways to incorporate black-eyed peas into your New Year's Eve decor. Here are a few ideas that we thought up for you to tie in black-eyed peas into your New Year's party:

Fill several glass vases like Pottery Barn's Ella canisters with black-eyed peas and attach a tag to each canister noting "Have a Prosperous New Year."

Use these black-eyed pea coasters for your New Year's drinks.

Attach black-eyed peas to several strings and create a homemade black-eyed pea garland to hang over your mantle.

Make this black-eyed pea pudding with coconut milk for your New Year's dessert.

Last, give your guests this recipe attached to cellophane bags filled with black-eyed peas.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Almost Midnight Cookies

New Year's Eve is quickly approaching and we are LOVING the Decorated Cookie's clocks on a stick. I get really excited when Meaghan of the Decorated Cookie sends me pictures of her cookie designs. Her designs are super cute and clever, yet very simple to make. These "almost midnight" cookies would be perfect for dessert as you ring in the New Year.

Here is the Decorated Cookie's recipe. Stop by her blog to see her very creative ideas.

dough and frosting
lollipop sticks
circle cookie cutters (you can use both 1 1/2 inch and 2 1/2 inch)
2 couplers
2 disposable frosting bags
2 rubber bands
2 number 4 tips
Americolor soft gel pastes (Bright White, Egg Yellow)
Americolor black gourmet writer

step one: bake your cookies
Roll out your cookie dough a little thick (about 1/4 inch), cut out circles, place on parchment paper lined baking tray and insert lollipop sticks about half way. Pat back in shape if needed. Bake according to the recipe (see the link above) and let cool.

step two: decorate your cookies
Prepare a frosting bag with 4 tip and fill with white frosting. Tie bag closed with a rubber band. Pipe a circle on the cookie. Let set a good 1/2 hour. Mix some white frosting with enough water (start with only a few drops) to thin to the consistency of syrup. Pour a little in the center of the circle and spread to the edges with the back of a spoon or small spatula. Let set another 1/2 hour at least.

Prepare a frosting bag with 4 tip and fill with yellow frosting. Close bag with rubber band. Pipe a circle on top of the white circle. Let cookies sit a good hour and draw the clock face (with the hands pointing to almost midnight) with your marker.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Countdown Decor

We're loving this countdown decor from Martha Stewart. Simply gather some vintage clocks and place throughout your New Year's decor with candles and a garland. How are you decorating your New Year's party? We'd love to hear!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Holiday Cookie Ideas

In case you are still baking for Christmas, here are some fun holiday cookie ideas from Readers Digest via the Decorated Cookie. Enjoy and Merry Christmas!

Holiday Desserts from Cannelle et Vanille

I'm loving the chestnut holiday desserts that Aran of Cannelle et Vanille
is baking in her kitchen for the holidays. Aran and I quickly bonded when we worked on this event together. She is a gifted baker, amazing photographer and stylist, and she happens to be as sweet as sugar. Lucky me, I am in Aran's area for the holidays and I get to see her again during the holiday break. Here are some of the fabulous treats that she created to give to her lucky friends for the holidays...

Chestnut macarons

Chestnut flan with double chocolate crystallized ginger biscotti

Another picture of her amazing biscotti

Pictures of Aran's food prep and the finished biscotti gift package

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Cake Box Party Favors

I just received an email from Party Starters about their adorable custom cake box party favors. Not only can these party favors be a cute centerpiece on a table, but they are also a sweet (and mess-free) way to bring home some cake after a party to a loved one. They even have seasonal cake boxes like Christmas cake boxes and gingerbread cake boxes. Check out their full line on their site here or their Etsy Shop here. Don't forget to save a piece of cake for me!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Better Homes and Gardens Shoot

I have to apologize for not blogging yesterday while at the Better Homes and Gardens shoot and O Magazine party. The events were back-to-back and both were extremely exciting and intense so we just couldn't blog while things were happening. But I am here now to give you the behind the scenes of the first event yesterday morning. It was a special shoot with Better Homes and Gardens for their May 2010 issue. I can't give away all the details yet {you'll have to check out the issue in May}, but here's a little scoop about the shoot.

At the shoot was a crew of brilliantly talented people. Photographer Francois Dischinger , who has captured Sienna Miller, Mariah Carey, Georgina Chapman, Frieda Pinto, and many others, photographed me for this feature. Fashion stylist Jonny Lichtenstein who has styled Brooke Shields, Jane Fonda, Meredith Viera, Emma Thompson, and many more, was there with his team to dress me up from head to toe in lots of frocks, shoes, and accessories. My makeup and hair stylist Valerie Velez curled my locks and painted my face to perfection. Other fab people included amazing prop stylist Marcus Hay and his team, the BHG editorial and art team, as well as many others! I CANNOT wait until this issue hits the stands in May so you can all see this great article! Okay, now on to some behind the scenes pictures...

Val curling my hair...

Val doing her magic while BHG Editor Kelly Phillips interviews me...

Val's makeup area

The racks of designer frocks..There were also tables of jewelry and tons of shoes!

Jonny picking out clothing for me...

Getting ready to get dressed...

Francois getting ready for the shoot..

The crew getting ready for the shoot...

Lots of candy jars for the shoot...

BHG Art Director Amy and crew looking at photographs onscreen...

BHG photo staffer checking color of pictures onscreen...

I'll fill you in on more of this issue as we get closer to May! Come back next week so I can fill you in on the O Magazine event!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Desert-Bound Bachelorette Party

Okay, if you are a regular on the blog scene, I am sure that you have seen this innovative desert-bound bachelorette party styled for Utterly Engaged by my fellow blogger, tweeter and friend Paige Appel of Bash Eco Events and her frequent collaborator Kelly of Yes, Please (who I just discovered!) But since some of you may not surf the net frequently, I couldn't let you miss the opportunity to see this. Besides, those who have seen it will NOT mind seeing it again! Invitation gurus Wiley Valentine contributed to this project as well. Seriously, these ladies rocked this shoot! Like many others, this makes me want to have a bachelorette party all over again. Awesome job, ladies! By the way, I met Paige at the Mindy Weiss event in LA and she is equally as sweet as she is talented!

I'll be back tomorrow with a real-time behind the scenes sneak peek into our shoot with Better Homes and Gardens and the set-up for the O Magazine holiday party. See you then!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Amazing Arrangements from Rountree Flowers

I've been speaking with Jessie Weidinger of Rountree Flowers about a special project we are working on. You may remember Jessie's amazing work from our Moroccan table with Sunday Suppers. Jessie pairs the beauty of classic, lush flowers with unexpected - but subtle - natural elements. Her arrangements are unique, alluring and inspiring. Check out Rountree's portfolio here. There are so many beautiful arrangements on her site so be prepared for loads of inspiration!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Eggnog Cannolis from Stuffed Artisan

I don't know how time is flying by so fast, but Christmas is just around the corner and it is time to start prepping your menus for the holiday. If you are looking for something special to serve for dessert, try out these eggnog cannolis from Stuffed Artisan Cannolis. Owners Anthony and Brielle have mixed American culinary concepts with the authentic Italian pastry filling and have mastered the twist on this traditional Southern Italian dessert. Some of their other unique flavors include french toast, red licorice, root beer float, and peanut butter & jelly cannolis. They also have all of the traditional cannoli flavors. Anthony and Brielle sent all of the flavors to me and they are delicious. Get them here!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Happy Hanukkah!

Hanukkah spirit is in our house today. Our house smells of sweet potato latkes, jelly doughnuts, and the cookies below. Our kids are singing hanukkah tunes, spinning dreidels and admiring the cookie menorah that we posted earlier in the week. Happy Hanukkah from our house to yours!

Photography by Allan Zepeda for Mel Barlow Photography.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Feature Dessert Table from a Flight Attendant

We're working on an event today with Preston Bailey today (I can't wait to see what he does!) and are a bit swamped at the moment to share what we're doing, so I thought I would share an interesting email that I received from one of my readers. I get A LOT of emails from people who are trying to create their own dessert tables. Often, they share pictures of their own dessert bars. I read one email yesterday from Australian corporate flight attendant Nicky McLauchlan and thought this one was an interesting story to share. Nicky creates "little events" while in flight and this was her attempt to do a dessert bar on-board. Great job, Nicky!

In Nicky's words....

"I work as a corporate flight attendant and have created many 'little events' on-board. I think I must be the luckiest flight attendant in the world because my bosses are extreme fashionista's. They love glamour, style and anything that's in vogue. Their love for style has enabled me to create some wonderful themed table display's for their flights, many of which I take inspiration from you!

As you can imagine the space i was working with was small...very small, (and it all has to be cleared away in record time as we taxi before take-off)... but it just goes to prove that 'big is not always better'.

My most recent theme was a mini Amy Atlas inspired Winter Wonderland Dessert Bar. I have posted some photos on my blog, Chasing Rainbows, Kissing Frogs. I would be honored if you stopped by.

Kindest regards,

Nicky McLauchlan

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Martha Craft Sale Part II

We are swamped getting ready for parties and photo shoots with O Magazine,
Better Homes & Gardens, and Preston Bailey, so I apologize for the delay in showing you some of the other goodies that I found at the Martha Stewart craft sale on Friday. Alas, here they are!

Adorable hairpins from Wren handmade. These would be so cute on a flower girl.

Mini notes from Love Teenie. These would be perfect thank you notes for just about anything!

Funky bowties from Aaron Caramanis. Your groomsmen will be stylin' in these..

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Hanukkah Cookie Bags

With Hanukkah quickly approaching, we wanted to give you one more fun baking and crafting project. We created little cookie bags, which we made look like mini shoe dust bags, by simply sewing paper that we found from Kate's Paperie. With these cookie cutters, we baked off a basic sugar dough , and then decorated the cookies with royal icing from here. We then filled our little cookie bags with the Hanukkah cookies! We hope you enjoy!

Here are the mini cookie bags...

An inside peek of the cookies...

Here is a better picture of the Hanukkah cookies..

Photography by Allan Zepeda for Mel Barlow Photography.
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