Easy Entertaining Recipe...One Bowl Chocolate Cake!

3:28 PM



I hosted book club last night and decided to make a cake. Before you get impressed I googled "easy chocolate cake recipe" and got a super duper easy recipe that came out GREAT. So great in fact that I had a slice for lunch (don't judge!). So if you feel the urge to invite some friends over tonight literally whip up this cake and impress them all. Don't worry I won't rat you out ;)
*Note: for a quick frosting I melted some semi sweet chocolate chips and butter and drizzled it on, or you can do in the picture and sprinkle powdered sugar on it.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup boiling water

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour two nine inch round pans.
  2. In a large bowl, stir together the sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add the eggs, milk, oil and vanilla, mix for 2 minutes on medium speed of mixer. Stir in the boiling water last. Batter will be thin. Pour evenly into the prepared pans.
  3. Bake 30 to 35 minutes in the preheated oven, until the cake tests done with a toothpick. Cool in the pans for 10 minutes, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.


Let the Fun Begin!

12:15 PM


This season Event Kings is proud and excited to produce the Sunday Fundays at Belmonts Race Track in Elmont, NY. Each week is a different theme with games, inflatables and entertainment that bring the theme to life. Its fun for all ages; adults can watch the races while the kids enjoy bounces, carnival booths, get their face painted and even a peting zoo! The best, BEST part? Its FREE!! So bring a blanket, pack a picnic and head on down to see us.
This Sunday we kick off the series with a Safari theme complete with reptile show and safari scavenger hunt (among other fun stuff for the kiddies).

Stay tuned for recaps of each week and for more information go to http://www.nyra.com/Belmont/GeneralInformation/Promotions/Promotions.shtml
Here are the dates and themes for the summer:

May 2: Safari in the Park on Opening Weekend!Face Painters, Ponies, a Reptile Show and a Safari Adventure
May 9: Happy Mother’s Day!Land of the Giants: Petting Zoo, Giant Bubble Station, and Inflatable Twister
May 16: A Day at the Races!Temporary Tattooist, BMX Slide, and Race Car Obstacle Course
May 23: Arrrr! Pirate Day!Henna Artist, Pirate Fun House, and Tropical Obstacle Course
May 30: Memorial Day at Beautiful Belmont Park!Tropical Theme: Jewelry, Hair Beading Station, Surf Board Simulator
June 13: Western Round-Up!Ponies, a Bungee Bull, and 500 Bandana Crafts
June 20: Happy Father’s Day!Sports Theme: Sports Obstacle Course, Multi-Talent Shows, and Tee Ball
June 27: Outer Space Blast-Off!Alien Laser Tag, Galaxy Explorer, and Craft Booths
July 4: Happy Birthday, America!State Fair Bounce, Carnival Booths and Games, and Rapid Fire July 11: Dime Savings Bank Presents: Join the Circus!Carousel Bounce, Petting Zoo, and Wild One Inflatable
July 18: Fiesta Fabulosa en el Parque!Human Piñata Ball, 500 Maracas Craft Booth, and Trackless Train

New Flower Find - Billy WHAT?

8:36 AM



In the flower market the other day I spotted these vibrant yellow Billy Buttons (or known as Billy Balls...imagine that google search). These versatile flowers are great to add depth and texture to any bouquet as well as a shot of sunshine. Best of all, they last a very long time and even dry beautifully, making them a great option for the ever wilting and dying boutonniere (my heart breaks every time I see a crushed rose on someone's lapel). Here are some great examples of how to incorporate these fun flowers into your next event. And with the name like Billy Balls let the jokes ensue.



Earth Day Entertaining

8:05 AM

In honor of Earth Day I wanted to show how you can reduce, reuse and recycle (more like up-cycle) for your next event. From the age old egg carton caterpillar (I wish I still had mine, I remember it has a masterpiece!) to truly awe dropping decor, here are some of my favorite Earth friendly projects. Maybe you will look at your water bottle a bit differently from now on.

The spin on the egg carton craft...a mobile!
Ditch the plastic cups at your next party and serve cocktails, mocktails or whatever beverage of choice in mason jars.
Vintage looking cans are a great centerpiece base, they add character to the table instantly.

Guilt free wine drinking when you know you are using those bottles for a grand centerpiece...drink up! (Do we really need a reason anyway?)
And finally, Pièce de résistance - a chandelier made entirely of water bottles! Can you imagine 5 of these hanging over a dance floor at your wedding? I can! So at your next event gather all those water bottles and start glueing!

Custom Invites that Won't Break the Bank

7:40 AM

There is nothing like a custom invitation to instantly set the tone of your event. But often times the word custom is synonymous with expensive, especially when discussing invitations. Luckily, there is Monica Rhines of mprintsdesign who offers creative, fun and beautiful invitations for any and every event. Check out some of my favorites...





Vendor Spotlight - Maui Wowi

1:14 PM

For any occasion freshly made smoothies will make it better! Really transport your guests to the Islands with Pina Colada or Daiquiri...YUM-O. Maui Wowi is a great and professional vendor to bring these scrumptious drinks to your next event, plus they are just fun to say. Best part, these are a huge hit for young adult parties as "mock-tails" which is a fun way to say virgin drink.



Fon-DO tonight!

4:39 PM

This Tuesday night Event Kings is part of LI Pulse's cover party at the fondue restaurant The Melting Pot in Farmingdale. Nothing makes me happy like melted cheese dipping sauce. Better yet, melted chocolate to dip pretzels, strawberries, your finger in (don't worry, I wont judge)... yum-O. Why not host a fondue party of your own tonight? Find some recipes here.

These great fondue sets are fun and reasonably priced from Target.
Other staples to have on hand is a nice Sauvignon Blanc or Chardonnay wine to compliment any cheese fondue you decide to make. If you go with chocolate fondue serve a port wine...one of my favorites and easy to drink is Duckwalk Blueberry Port. Add some 80's tunes to your ipod (as if you don't already have them) and have a fabulous time.

Sticks and Stones (and leaves) may break your bones...

2:28 PM

...but they make great centerpieces! I just love a bunch of leaves or branches in a oversized vase as a centerpiece. It looks so apropriate for spring and so lush (at a very affordable price, try FREE if you can snip some from your backyard).

Here are some great examples of using greens and branches to add drama at your event or your home.
This is from a wedding we did. For the place card table we took 4' tall curly willow branches in a vase and added white blooms all around it. The curly willow's height added drama and took up a lot of space resulting in less flowers (resulting in a great bang for your buck).

These orange tree branches give color and coordinate with the chairs - genius.
Perfect for Easter OR take birch branches and put ornaments on it for a Christmas look.
Look at that sea of candlelight - MARVELOUS!
I often buy a bunch or two of lemon leaves from the flower market and put it in a pretty vase. Its cheap, looks great and lasts a long time. (this fabulous home is not mine however).

Let the Festivities Begin!

7:19 AM

I am super excited for the weather forecast today, 80 degrees!! Hello summer, its been a while but oh how I've missed you! Yes, I know its only April but it has me thinking (more like yearning for) of great outdoor parties when the air is warm and the beer is flowing and the food is hot off the grill. Here are a few items that will get your space ready for festivities.


Celebrate color with Crate and Barrel's new line of entertaining accessories. (LOVING those dahlia napkin rings.)
To ward off the blahs of the same old paper plates use bold paper (yes these are paper plates) and blow those Dixie's out of the water. The site http://www.platesandnapkins.com has awesome and fun paper plates in fabulous colors and prints like:

Fabulous filagree.

Zebra print? How sassy is that?
Don't forget the beverages.

These beverage holders are both fun and a classic staple. Both from Pottery Barn.
And finally, lanterns always scream PARTY!



Last Impressions

10:01 AM

At lunch with some wonderful friends this weekend we discussed how fabulous their September wedding was and my friend said something very poignant: "we really thought about what people would take away from the night, what they would talk about after it was over." What a great approach this was to not only wedding but any event planning. It allows you put your budgetary and energy sources to that which YOU want the biggest impact to be. If you want people to ooohh and aahhh over the look then you will put more money into flowers, lighting, etc. If you want them to dance the night away make sure you get the best DJ or band. If you want the foodies to be satisfied then make sure you go to a venue that is known for their gourmet fare. Try to keep asking yourself this question throughout the planning process. It will put into perspective your splurges or your bargains.

Here are some other ways to leave a lasting impression on your guests:
For those with no budget, end with a bang.
For the sweet toothed, end with a classic.
For the young at heart, end with a fond memory.
Who doesn't like to be a kid in a candy store?
Again, relive those childhood memories...I can still hear the Mr. Softee jingle in my head. Double cone with rainbow sprinkles please!

On the Hunt

4:10 PM

This weekend is Easter and every Catholic remembers the joy of hunting for those treasure filled eggs on a spring Sunday morning. Mine were filled with jelly beans and maybe some change but nowadays I think parents are filling them with $20 bills! Oh to be a kid again! Anyway, I digress...for those of you who are not observing this holiday you can still go on the hunt, and have your kids do it too! Here are some ideas for simple non-religious scavenger hunts:

1. Spring Hunt: On a sheet of paper copy and paste pictures of spring things like tulips, daffodils, forsythia branches (the bright yellow ones), and other flowers you have in your garden or nearby park. In addition you can add plastic bunnies and/or squirrels (the live ones I find do not cooperate as well). Ahead of time glue printed numbers on mini stakes and place them in the ground near each object. When they find what matches the picture they write the corresponding number on their sheet. When they fill in all the numbers they get a prize.

2. Safari Hunt: This is a favorite of ours - buy safari themed stuffed animals like lions, tigers giraffes, and zebras and follow the same steps as above. The stuffed animals can even be given away as prizes.


3. Kid Program Hunt: Choose your child' favorite TV program (think Wonder Pets) and find pictures of the characters online. Print them out and glue them to stakes and follow steps from the first hunt.


All of these are simple, cheap and fun ways to get your kids out of the house this weekend, or any weekend when the sun is shining. Add some burgers on the BBQ, get some beer, juice boxes and a salad and invite the neighbors for an instant and entertaining party!

Dream Theme - Twilight Party

2:59 PM


I know the theme's been done before and quite well I might ad, but when my colleague suggested a Twilight themed party that reflected the misty forest scene I was intrigued. The previous Twilight themes I've seen out there all use the apple on the cover of the book as well as lots of black and fake (hopefully) blood. But a forest setting where Edward whispers into your ear? I'm in! So, for all you Twi-hard fans out there (or maybe just for myself) I put together a vision board for the decor. As well as an outfit that I would love the wear to such a fete.

The image on the upper left is a faux tree trunk base. Perfect to hold tons of curly willow and large fern leaves. On the bottom would have to be a lot of moss to reflect that Seattle forest feel. And no mystical setting would be complete without MIST. Fog machines create that look, however if you DO decide to reenact this theme double check with your venue on the fog/smoke machine...it can set off fire alarms.