Signature Cocktails: Beer Float

Don’t tell anyone – It’s a surprise – but, tomorrow I’m throwing my husband a 30th birthday party with around 65 of our closest friends and family members. He’s internet-averse, so I have no problem posting about it here.

And you know what? Throwing a party for a dude is HARD. Flowers? No. Pretty things? No.

I decided to base the theme around a few of his favorite things. Specifically beer, cheese, and chocolate. So In the spirit of tomorrow’s man party, and upcoming posts about the challenges and joys of throwing such an event, I give you a cocktail that is beer-based. With chocolate. And because it’s me writing this post, the cocktail also contains ice cream.

I’m sort of a recovering beer snob, so I’m not used to putting things in my beer, but I thought I’d give it a shot. This was dessert for me last night, and I was pretty happy with it.

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Chocolate Milk Stout Beer Float

  • 1 12 oz bottle Milk Stout (I used a bomber of a local brew, but I think Left Hand’s version would actually work better)
  • 2 scoops of chocolate ice cream (I used a local-ish ice cream that claimed to be the best?)
  • OPTIONAL dash or two of the liqueur of your choosing (I used Kahlua Cinnamon Spice)
  • Chocolate syrup

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Drop a scoop of ice cream into the bottom of two glasses. Top with liqueur. SLOWLY pour in beer (about 6 oz). Drizzle chocolate. Sit back and marvel at the fact that you are an adult and can add beer to your ice cream. So good.

Next Friday we will kick off our Christmas Cocktail series. We have a pack of 12 of them on the ready for you, so get your liquor cabinets stocked and keep checking back! Cheers!

Internet Beauty Test Subject: DIY Chocolate Face Mask

Gone are the days that chocolate was thought to be the cause of acne problems. In fact, many spas are offering their clients expensive chocolate facial treatments. After all, cocoa has natural antioxidant properties, as well as shea and cocoa butters, which are naturally moisturizing. I’ve been seeing the single treatment face masks at my local grocery store for months. They sell different masks for less than 2 dollars (!!). So, I bought the Montagne Jeunesse Chocolate Masque (pictured below). You can also buy the mask here. I also kept coming across DIY chocolate face masks on the internet. I thought it must be a sign. So, why not compare a store-bought chocolate mask and a DIY chocolate mask?

I found the DIY chocolate face mask on this website, but you can find them all over the internet with various recipes.

This particular recipe combines:

·      1/3 cup of dark coach powder
·      1/4 cup organic honey
·      3 tablespoons of heavy cream
·      2 tablespoons of powdered oatmeal

 Question: Does the DIY chocolate face mask have the same benefits as the store-bought mask?

Hypothesis: The anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties in chocolate, as well as the benefits of the other ingredients, will make my skin soft and smooth.

Prediction: I predicted they will both make my skin feel lovely because of their ingredients – the store bought face mask will probably be easier to do, but the DIY mask also has the potential to be easy if you already have the ingredients in your kitchen. I knew I had to keep in mind that the  ingredients of the store-bought mask are a little different than the DIY mask.

Test: I did this test in a span of about 2 1/2 weeks, since it is suggested that you don’t use a facemask more than once a week. I tried the store bought mask first.

I put the contents of the package into a bowl and washed my face with warm water (open those pores!). Using a foundation brush, I applied the mask evenly to my face (see awkward picture below). I left it on for about 15 minutes, rinsed it off, and applied a small amount of moisturizer.

The next week I tried the DIY face mask. I already had honey and oatmeal, but I had to go out and get cocoa and heavy cream. Once I had the ingredients, I mixed them together in a bowl. This is where things got a little hairy. It was supposed to be turning into a paste… and it wasn’t. 1/3 cup of cocoa seemed like a lot, so I had to add quite a bit of heavy cream to the mixture. Finally, after mixing for a while I had somewhat of a working paste. Using a foundation brush to apply was out of the question -it was too chunky. So, I used my fingers.  I ended up getting chocolate mask on my sleeves and all up my arms and neck. This recipe also made WAY too much mask (pictured below). Anyway, I left the mixture on my face for 15 minutes and then rinsed with warm water. Again, I applied a small amount of moisturizer to my face.

Suggestion: There was an option online to substitute plain yogurt for heavy cream. So I decided to give it a try a few days later. Instead of using 1/3 cup cocoa I decided to use a little less. The mixture still made way too much of the mask, but the yogurt made it a much smoother consistency. It also felt nice and tingly on my face.

Analysis: The store-bought mask was easy: no prep, easy application and no mess. After using it my face felt like butter. So soft and smooth. Magical. The DIY mask was more of a project. If you already have the ingredients in your kitchen then it would be a fun pampering idea on a Saturday morning. For anyone who wants to do the DIY face mask, I would suggest using a lot less of each ingredient and substituting plain yogurt for heavy cream. Both masks made my face feel amazing afterwards.

Ratings:

Cost: You can feel like you’re getting a spa treatment for less than $20.00 – in the comfort of your own home. Possibly in sweat pants.

Store-bought: $1.60

DIY: $15.00 or less (depending on what you have in your kitchen)

Time Consumed:

Store-bought: 20 minutes

DIY: 30 minutes

Pre-Event Feasibility: I think both of these masks are a great idea before any wedding or event. It’s an inexpensive way to really take a moment for yourself without going to the spa. I would suggest doing this a few days before the event for silky, smooth, glowing skin.

End Result: My skin felt wonderful after both treatments – but the store-bought mask was a much more enjoyable experience. Have fun with it!

Do you have any DIY masks that you swear by? Or any that you’re not sure about? I’d love to try some out for you. Leave a comment below!

Mood Board Monday: Boston Public Library

Inspiration for a party can come from all sorts of places. Sometimes the venue is so unique that it begs you to work around the already existing details to create something spectacular.  The Boston Public Library is definitely one of those venues.  College students and families make use of the BPL on a daily basis to read and study, but they likely never knew that the library rents their facilities – and their facilities are stunning.

We looked at this venue two ways.  While we designed these themes specifically around the BPL, these mood boards can be used for any library – and they are well-suited for any sort of fairy tale themed or bookish event.

1. Overgrown Fairytale

A color palate of greens and neutrals combined with woodsy details and loads of texture could transform the already beautiful Abbey Room into an overgrown castle scene that could be straight from the pages of a fairy tale.  Natural elements like the tree branch candelabras, mossy escort card frame, and vine covered lanterns bring the outdoors in, while the mirrored table numbers add a touch of “who is the fairest of them all” whimsy. This is a good library theme for someone who doesn’t want to take the setting too literally – you can add stacks of books if you’d like, but it’s not necessary to drive the theme.

1. Boston Public Library photographed by Shang Chen Photography  2. Style Me Pretty  3. Bella Flora  4. this is glamorous  5. Belle 6. Style Me Pretty  7. Small Place Style  8. Style Me Pretty  9. Coco + Kelley  10. Etsy (no longer available. find similar by searching “firefly lantern.”)

2. Loose Leaves

Drawing inspiration from the kelly green lamps on the reading tables in Bates Hall, we’ve put together a color palate of deep purples, greens, and blues that easily complement the neutral tones already present in the room. Books are featured prominently in the decor (it is a library, after all), but the rich colors are the main focus. Book pages are used creatively in several capacities, but we particularly loved the book-printed seat covers. From that same shoot, we see teal textured linens – the rich color and texture make for an extremely dramatic effect – almost as dramatic as that ceiling.

1. Boston Public Library  2. Green Wedding Shoes  3. My Sweet and Saucy  4. Ruffled Blog  5. Boston Public Library  6. Erin McFarland Photography  7. i love this and that  8. White Iris Designs

You can find more of our inspiration for these boards on Pinterest! The Overgrown Fairytale board is here and the Loose Leaves board is here!

Laurie will be bringing you more mood boards every Monday. Want us to pull one together for you? Leave us a comment!

Giving Thanks for Favorite Day’s Favorite Recipes

At Favorite Day, we are pretty big fans of Thanksgiving. The entertaining… the family….

And the food. Definitely the food.

We decided to put together some of our favorite recipes for you! We hope you enjoy them as much as we do!

Laurie’s Favorite:  Sausage Stuffing

I’ve made this stuffing (or dressing if you prefer) for the past few years instead of the traditional bread stuffing.  The flavors may seem unusual, but they work.  Seriously, it’s amazing.  I got the original recipe off of the All Recipes web site a few years back, but I’ve made  quite a few alterations since then.  The initial recipe called for homemade bread crumbs and chicken broth, but honestly, I’m far too lazy busy for that.  I’ve found that canned broth and boxed stuffing work just fine.  Also, the added benefit of using boxed stuffing is that it’s already perfectly seasoned.  This recipe is really forgiving and quite adaptable to your own personal tastes.  If you don’t like onions (I don’t), leave them out.  If you LOVE apples and cranberries (I do!), then add more.  If you’re looking for extra texture you can throw in some walnuts or pecans.

Apologies  for not having a fancy final product photo to show.  The stuffing is best right out of the oven so I won’t actually be making this until Thursday morning.

Ingredients:

1 lb ground sausage (I use pork, but turkey sausage would work too)
5-6 cups boxed dry stuffing mix (I use Bell’s)
1 can chicken broth
1/2 cup chopped celery
1 onion, chopped
1 tart apple, chopped
3/4 cup dried cranberries
4 tablespoons butter, melted
sage, rosemary, thyme, parsley -to taste

Tip: If you want to jazz things up a bit to impress your friends/family you can rehydrate the cranberries in a bit of brandy or rum beforehand to give them a little extra kick.

Ingredients at the ready!

Preheat the oven to 350.  In a large pan on the stove top cook the onion and sausage, stirring to break up lumps, until the sausage is browned.  Pour off some of the grease if there is an excessive amount.  Add celery, apples, and cranberries and cook for a few minutes to heat everything through.  Season the mixture to taste with the above spices, but remember that the dry stuffing is also seasoned so you don’t want to over do it.  Pour the dry stuffing mix in a large bowl and add the sausage mixture, butter, and enough chicken broth to bring the stuffing to your desired consistency. How much you use will depend on how much sausage grease you left and how much juice your apples gave off.  I find that I often use about 3/4 of a can of broth.  You do want the stuffing to be a bit on the moister side as some of the liquid will evaporate in the oven.  Spread the stuffing mix in a baking dish and cook for 20-30 minutes or until the top is nice and crispy.  Dig in!

Sarah’s Favorite: Butternut Squash Soufflé

My family has made this dish for years. But, I can’t lie, this isn’t my recipe. It is my mom’s (shout-out to Momma Sue). This sweet and savory dish is my favorite part of Thanksgiving. Enjoy!

Ingredients:
3 or 4 cups cooked, mashed butternut squash
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
4 tbsp melted butter
2 large eggs
1/4 tsp cinnamon

Topping (in a separate bowl):
6 tbsp soft butter
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/3 cup flour
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

Preheat oven to 350. Remove stem from squash, cut the squash into 4 pieces; remove and discard seeds. Cook squash in boiling water to cover in a large saucepan over medium-high heat 10 to 15 minutes or until tender. Drain well; and let the squash cool. Remove and discard peel and mash up the squash. Next, beat eggs until frothy and add remaining ingredients. Pour the ingredients into greased casserole dish and cover with topping. Bake for 35-40 minutes. Voilà! Butternut Squashy goodness!

Renee’s Favorite: Gingersnap Pumpkin Pie

I love pumpkin flavored anything, but for me, pumpkin pie is usually just TOO much pumpkin and not enough texture. Also I love gingersnaps. So when I found a recipe for gingersnap pumpkin pie awhile ago on the internet, I had to try it. The result was a crunchy, spicy crust with the sweet and creamy pumpkin filling. So good! Over the years have adapted it to fit my taste, so it’s now an amalgam of probably 5 different recipes, and I have no idea where they came from.

Crust:
2 Cups Ground Gingersnaps
3tbsp Butter, melted
2tbsp sugar

Filling:
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp ground cinnamon (I like cinnamon. You can cut down to 1 tsp if you’re not a huge cinnamon person)
1/2 tsp ground ginger 
1/4 tsp ground cloves
2 large eggs
1 15 ounce can pumpkin 
most of a 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk (use the whole thing if you like things sweet. I usually cut it to about 3/4 of the can.)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine ingredients for crust in a bowl. Mix together until everything is well combined and JUST moist. If the crust is too dry and crumbly, add more butter. If it’s too wet, add more crumbs. Press into a pie pan. I press it in so there’s a pretty thick crust. Put the crust only into the oven and bake for about 5 minutes.

Keep the oven on. Combine ingredients for filling. Pour filling mix into the prepared gingersnap crust. Bake for around an hour, or until filling is set.

If you’re feeling fancy, serve with homemade whipped cream (a cup of VERY COLD super heavy whipping cream and 2 tbsp of sugar, whipped real good). If you’re feeling SUPER fancy, add a little bit of whiskey – or brandy, or whatever you’d like- I like whiskey – to the whipped cream (only 1-2 tbsp, so it doesn’t weigh it down too much).

FUN TIP! If you pre-chill an aluminum mixing bowl in the freezer and use it to make your whipped cream, it will come together more quickly and produce more volume! I’m sure science has something to do with it. Yay science!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Have you tried one of these recipes? Let us know how it went! Leave us a comment!

Giving Thanks for Inspiration

Burnt orange, brown, gold, red… These are the classic colors of fall. But why not infuse an unexpected color into your Thanksgiving table? Here I chose purple and green. I got my inspiration from a grape centerpiece that Martha did, and it was reinforced by some purple mums on my neighbors front porch. Purple can most definitely be a fall color. Pair deep eggplant with lilac and green and add some natural fibers to achieve this look.

1. Martha Stewart, 2. HGTV, 3. Roberta Maria Atti Picable.com, 4. 100 Layer Cake, 5. Craft & Couture, 6. Martha Stewart

We’re still playing around with the format of our mood boards, but I think this will be the general look. The color scheme can be found along the top, the inspiration at the left, and the sources underneath. Let us know what you think!

You can find more mood boards every Monday. Have an idea you want us to flesh out for you? Tell us in the comments!