{Tiffany’s Tips} Chocolate: It’s Not Just for Dessert!

Happy Tuesday Peeps!

It’s hard to believe we are at the end of July!  But, in the illustrious words of Steve Urkel, “Don’t sweat, my pet” because the end of the month marks some delicious days on the calendar—like today, which is National Milk Chocolate Day or Thursday, July 30th, which is National Cheesecake Day.

Who says a national day to celebrate chocolate must only be reserved for Valentine’s Day?!  What’s really great is that it doesn’t have to be confined to the dessert menu only.  So, if you’re trying to come up with last minute ideas to celebrate the day, try creating a delicious combination menu of sweet and savory nuanced with the flavor of chocolate from start to finish.

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For example, you could create a menu that starts with an appetizer of eggplant caponata, continues with a delicious dish of chicken mole, spanish rice and refried beans, and concludes with a decadent chocolate dessert.  If this is not to your liking, there are several recipes available from which you can make your selections.  So hop to it, and in no time you’ll be creating a fabulous meal that will satisfy the chocolate lover in you.

Best!

Tiffany Chalk Signature

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{Tiffany’s Tuesday Tips} It’s Almost That Time of Year!

Hello My Sweets!

Like all good things, summer is quickly coming to an end and many parents will soon be singing, ‘It’s The Most Wonderful Time of Year!’—and they’re not singing about Christmas.   As August approaches (next week—yikes!) it will be back to school time for many of the kids here in the U.S.   Plus, the last holiday of the season, which is Labor Day will be just around the corner.  This makes for a very busy month as families prepare to head back to their normal school year routine, AND try to celebrate what is traditionally known as the end of summer over the Labor Day holiday weekend.

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A combination Labor Day/Back To School celebration would definitely alleviate the post-summer, pre-school year activity burnout that so many parents fall into before mid-September.  Use this as a way to have fun while getting the kids excited about school.  It could be at the beach or in your backyard.  To take the fun to another level, make sure to invite family and friends with young, school-aged kids and have them make drawings about the upcoming school year prior to coming to the party.  You can use the drawings as part of the decor.  Want to party with a cause?  Have your guests pick up school supplies from your neighborhood dollar stores and collect them to donate to families who may need help purchasing these items.

This time of year can be quite hectic as families try to enjoy the last days of summer and prepare to go back to school as the same time.   So, no matter what you do to celebrate, make sure it’s fun, and as labor-free as possible!

Best,

Tiffany Chalk Signature

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{Tiffany’s Tips} Take A Midsummer’s Reflection!

Happy Tuesday Peeps!

Hope all is well and life is treating you good.   Speaking of life, today’s tip is a little more inspirational than instructional.

It’s hard to believe, but we are already passed the first half of 2015.  When your busy living, time surely flies.  As an event designer, I am always looking in the future—my job requires it.  Therefore, I am constantly aware of the date on the calendar.  As such, I realize that this would be a good time for many of us to take stock in where we are, both personally and professionally.

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If you are in between summer vacations or if you are planning on an extended ‘staycation,’ use the time to re-evaluate your goals for 2015.  Are you able to check some items off as completed?  Or, did you burn out after April?  Now is a great time to dust yourself off and get inspired to finish your year strong.  One way to do this is to embark upon a pre/post-season inventory project.  Just take a note from retailers, as most are already stocking their floors with pre-Fall clothing.  July is a good month to start sifting through closets and preparing for the next season since many kids are heading back to school next month.

Does your business need an inventory check-up?  Start reviewing receipts and other paperwork that may need to be shredded or filed away.  Maybe you need to review your relationship with your vendors, or consider over-hauling your company’s brand/image?  Finally, you can’t forget the most important item of all—you.   Many of us may have given up on our New Year’s resolutions to get fit even before the month of January ended.  However, the summer is a great time to get a workout routine started (again) and to take advantage of the fruits and veggies that are in season.

Remember, the only one you are competing against is you.  So, take some time this month to reflect and repurpose 2015!

Best,

Tiffany Chalk Signature

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{Tiffany’s Tuesday Tips}: DIY Jewelry Display

Hey Peeps!

Happy Tuesday! I want to give a DIY quick-tip for the ladies who may have a bedroom or closet flooded with jewelry boxes.   Take a beautifully-shaped, full-length mirror and glue decorative wall hooks to the glass!

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By doing this, you’ve created your own unique jewelry storage!  Plus, your baubles are openly displayed for easy reach and visuals.  The mirror also serves double-duty, so you can view yourself as you decide which piece of accessory to wear with your outfits.

If you are interested in embarking upon this DIY project, just remember a few things: 1.) Invest in decorative hooks with a smooth backing, as this will help when applying the glue and attaching to mirror; 2.) Make sure to get the appropriate glue (multi-purpose, transparent); 3.) If you want the mirror to hang on the wall, then hang it before you glue the hooks to the glass; 4.) Practice on an inexpensive, hand-held mirror before starting on the real project.

Of course, don’t forget 5.) Be creative!

Best,

Tiffany Chalk Signature

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{TCEntertaining} Barbecue Breakfast for Independence Day!

Happy Friday Everyone!

Hope your week was a good one—and your weekend even better.  We’ll be honoring dads this Sunday here in the U.S.; however, the nation’s birthday is just around the corner.   Since some of our pockets may be feeling a pinch during this season of celebrating grads, dads, brides and grooms, I wanted to offer some budget-friendly ideas for the 4th of July like breakfast at the beach, park or backyard.   Outdoor grilling and the U.S. Independence Day holiday go together like franks and beans, Sonny and Cher and dare I say, eggs and bacon!

So, if you want to partake in the time-honored tradition, but your funds are a little fickle right now, try hosting a midday breakfast on the grill before the nighttime fireworks!  Almost everyone loves a hearty breakfast and the fixins are less costly than your standard barbecue menu.

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Eggs, breakfast meats, breads and even pancakes are great items that you can cook over an open fire.  If you want to get a little fancy, you can make a breakfast soufflé to impress your guests.

On days like this, many folks like to sleep in a little longer than usual.  So, offering to host a late morning breakfast (or midday brunch) may be the perfect way to start a day of fun and festivities.  If you want, you can even include some sparklers for your decor to whet everyone’s appetite for what will come later in the evening!

Best,

Tiffany Chalk Signature

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{Wedding Wednesday} SJP Bridal Shoe Collection!

Happy ‘Wedding’ Wednesday!

Most people who know me, know that I have an absolute, life-long romance with shoes.  Wait a minute, is a romance with shoes even possible?!  Anyhoo, another die-hard shoe fan was Carrie Bradshaw of Sex and the City fame, played by real-life fashionista, Sarah Jessica Parker.

Sarah took her love for footwear and launched her own line, the SJP Collection.  Last fall, she announced she was going to design a line of bridal shoes for the SJP Collection, and they are now available.

sjp bridalThe collection offers brides a choice of traditional white or a pop of color for a non-traditional look.  They’re fashion-forward, with the right mix of couture and femininity.   Customers are encouraged to visit the collection’s Instagram account to view more photos of the line, as they are made available in the days to come.   The shoes will be available at Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus and Zappos Couture.

I’m always excited to see more choices become available for my brides-to-be.   For so long, the wedding dress was the star of the show—-and it still is—-however, bridal shoes are no longer relegated to a supporting role.  They too are now celebrated as a co-star.

Best,

Tiffany Chalk Signature

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{Tiffany’s Tips} Finger Foods For The Fourth!

Hey Peeps!

Hope you’re enjoying the season of barbecues, beaches and beautiful sunsets.  As we continue to celebrate grads and prepare to celebrate dads, we can also look forward to honoring America’s birthday here in the U.S. in a couple of weeks.  If you’re looking to do something a little different without totally nixing the grill, try grilling a menu of finger foods, tapas or savory hors d’oeuvres in the shape of muffins!

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m224602584Yes, muffin-shaped foods are still high on the popularity chart.  Plus, it makes it more fun for the little ones to wrap their hands around.  Not sure of what to serve?  Try taco bowls with flour or wheat tortillas, ground beef (or turkey), refried beans, and cheese.  Serve with all the fixings like sour cream, guacamole and salsa.   You can also make muffin-shaped, stuffed burgers, crab cakes—and even hotdogs.   However, this will require a little creativity, as you will need to substitute bologna for the hotdog.   If you really want to get adventurous, try a pizza recipe with pre-packaged, refrigerated biscuits, mozzarella cheese, mini pepperoni (or sausage), and store-bought pizza sauce.

 If you think you can’t make these on the grill, think again.   Just find a sturdy muffin pan (of various sizes) and make sure you have a non-stick cooking spray.  Plus, you can definitely practice on the family before your July 4th celebration.  Tis the season for grilling, but you don’t have to settle for the typical fare for when cooking outdoors.

Best,

Tiffany Chalk Signature

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{TCElebrations} Father’s Day!

Happy Tuesday All:

Hope your Memorial Day was joyously memorable.   As we chug along through late spring, the next stop on the celebrations calendar is Father’s Day.  In the midst of bride and grad season, dads can sometimes feel like a second thought when it comes to their special day.   Unlike mothers, choosing how to celebrate fathers can be a little more challenging.  However, it doesn’t have to be.

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As I previously suggested for Mother’s Day, you can’t go wrong with using your dad’s most favorite things as a theme for his celebration.  Does pop like to hang out at some of the big box hardware stores during his free time?  Is he a tool lover or enjoy working on small projects around the house?  Have a ’tool time’ theme for his celebration.  Serving hors d’oeuvres in a toy tool chests and candies in the shape of his favorite hardware accessories are some ideas you can incorporate.

 

If he is a golf fan, set up a mini putt-putt course in the backyard, along with a fabulous barbecue and a cake to complement the theme.

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Honoring dads is not as challenging as we think it is.  The most important thing to remember is that most guys like to keep it simple.  So, if  a day of lounging around in his robe while watching a marathon of his favorite sport will make him the happiest, then so be it.   Just remember, father knows best.

See ya,

Tiffany Chalk Signature

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{Tiffany’s Tips} Feast of Americana

Happy Tuesday Everyone!

Here in the United States, the Memorial Day holiday weekend is the official kick-off to the summer season.  Hosting a crowd for the holiday?  Instead of the usual backyard barbecue, have a celebration of American cuisine!

Treat your guests to a buffet of favorites that originated in the U.S.  Delicious items like fried chicken, corn on the cob, Smithfield ham and Maryland crab cakes will surely put a smile on even Uncle Sam’s face.  Of course, you can’t stop there.  Top off the celebration with homegrown desserts like apple pie, banana splits and Twinkies.

A smorgasbord of Americana is a fun way to celebrate the patriotic day of remembrance.  It provides an instant theme, plus you can have your guests participate by contributing their favorite entree to the menu.  Enjoy!

Best,

Tiffany Chalk Signature

 

 

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{Tiffany’s Tips} Merry Memorial Day!

Hey Peeps!

Right now, I’m enjoying beautiful summer-like weather in my part of the world.  Hope you’re just as fortunate.  Speaking of summer, in just a couple of weeks, we’ll be kicking off the season with Memorial Day weekend (here in the U.S.).   In addition to Memorial Day, July 4th and Labor Day are patriotic holidays we also celebrate during the summer.  Need a quick decor tip?  No problem.

 

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Let’s start by pulling out some of those Christmas decorations that you packed away a few months ago—or maybe just yesterday.   Yes, you heard me—Christmas decorations—particularly those in the color scheme of red, white (or silver) and blue.

The sight of bulbs, tinsel and lights will have your guests checking the calendar on their phones.  However, this is a fun, creative and cost-effective way to celebrate our veterans or Old Glory.  Therefore, if you are hosting everyone for any of these holidays, you can put most of your budget towards your food and beverage, and serve delicious fare like steakhouse bruschetta with italian parmesan roasted potatoes and a white wine sangria.

So pull out those decorations and start decking the ha—backyard!

Best,

Tiffany Chalk Signature

 

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