TheScoop

The Scoop

The Scoop - Volume 4, Issue 2, 2013

Colour Your World

Embrace colour as the theme for your next Gala, up-coming wedding or Bat Mitzvah. When the design team at
Simply Elegant

idea generates for an event, we derive all sorts of ideas from the most unusual places! These ideas percolate from trips to the super market (orange fruit theme), architectural magazines (stylized earth tone decor), music on the radio (blue for a Blues theme), a horseback riding hobby (pastel country wedding theme) and the list goes on…

 

Special Event Decor Stresses Themed Environments Today
Today’s best theme decor engages guests’ senses — all of them.
May 1, 2012 Natasha Garber | Specialevents

Breaking Dawn

Big theme events are back in a big way. With clients returning, albeit slowly, to financially flusher times, event designers are getting the go-ahead to dream up innovative and intriguing themes. And they are taking the initiative to transform them into complete event environments. Doing this requires carrying the theme through every element, from food to entertainment — and yes, most of all, dazzling decor.

 

Undead ringer: Chad Hudson Events creates a perfect replica of the wedding scene from ‘Breaking Dawn’ for the movie’s premiere. Photo courtesy Chad Hudson Events.

ON COLOR
Miami-based DMC and event production firm DECO Productions has seen a big jump in color-based themes, which offer ample versatility and appeal to diverse guest groups. A black-and-white-theme fundraiser DECO staged at the InterContinental Hotel Miami is a perfect example. For the bicolor bash — inspired by Truman Capote’s 1966 Black and White Ball at New York’s Plaza Hotel — DECO president Sharon Siegel and team brought in geometric patterns from floor to ceiling — and them some. “We designed and built out a white bar, manned with
Black and White

entertainers dressed in black-and-white checks, showing that we took the theme through to the smallest details,” she notes. Black-and-white-swirl table linens and two big black-and-white murals — DECO employs in-house graphic designers who draw, animate and either project or print thematic “wall decor” — “spoke to the need for movement, which abstract geometric patterns naturally create,” she adds. “One might think a meld of various black-and-white patterns would ‘fight’ each other. But in fact, what they do is create a synergy and an energy that keeps the theme fluid.”

“Today’s themes are less about props and more about creating environments that will transport guests into any location around the world with the use of color, fabrics, textures, lighting and aromas,” Siegel says. Along with that, she sees corporate clients asking for branding-based themes and environments where logos and company color schemes dominate, along with interactive seating areas. “Communication and networking environments are the goal of today’s company,” she notes. “There is a message that needs to be communicated, and it needs to be done so in a fun and smart way.”

 

Diffa’s Dining by Design in New York

Purple 1

At Gensler and Herman Miller’s vignette, the dining table was surrounded by walls covered in thousands of Hershey’s Kisses wrapped in purple foil. Attendees were invited to take one as a symbol of the “many hands it takes to spark positive change.”
Photo: Nadia Chaudhury/BizBash

 

 

 

Red Boots 2

Maya Romanoff and the Rockwell Group collaborated with the producers of Kinky Boots to create a dining environment that would celebrate the April 4 opening of the Broadway show. A chandelier of patent leather boots interspersed with red lightbulbs floated above the red tabletop, and the wall panels were designed to resemble laced-up corsets.
Photo: Nadia Chaudhury/BizBash

 

 

Blue 4

Beacon Hill conceived a Midnight Garden vignette, which was hidden behind walls of boxwood shrubs draped in patterned fabric. The moody setting included an arrangement of twinkle lights, moss, orchids, and silk butterflies.
Photo: Nadia Chaudhury/BizBash

 

 

 

Red 5

The New York School of Interior Design led by Marc Blackwell set up a table that paid tribute to the fight against AIDS with a table runner composed of hundreds of red ribbons.
Photo: Nadia Chaudhury/BizBash

 

 

 

Pink 6Resembling a canopy bed, Croscill’s table was covered in a bright pink quilted tablecloth and surrounded by clear Chiavari chairs.
Photo: Nadia Chaudhury/BizBash

 

 

 

 

Colour 7

David Stark returned to create an installation for paint company Benjamin Moore. The entire room—from the floor to the chandeliers—was painted in a kaleidoscope of colors, and on the back wall, an LED screen looped a video montage of Stark’s team designing the space from start to finish.
Photo: Nadia Chaudhury/BizBash

 

 

White 8

Working with Jes Gordon, students from the Fashion Institute of Technology composed a black, white, and gold look. Overhead, black-and-white portraits hung from a circular, glowing chandelier.
Photo: Nadia Chaudhury/BizBash

 

 

 

 

 

Spring Green Risotto

Ingredients

1 1/2 tbsp (22 mL) olive oil

1 1/2 tbsp (22 mL) unsalted butter

3 cups (750 mL) chopped leeks, white and light green parts only (about 2 leeks)
Spring Green Risotto

1 1/2 cups (375 mL) arborio rice

2/3 cup (150 mL) dry white wine

4-5 cups (1 to 1.25 L) simmering chicken stock

1 lb (500 g) asparagus, cut diagonally in 1 1/2-inch (4 cm) lengths

10 oz (300 g) frozen peas, defrosted

1 tbsp (15 mL) freshly grated lemon zest (about 2 lemons)

kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 tbsp (25 mL) freshly squeezed lemon juice

1/3 cup (75 mL) mascarpone cheese

1/2 cup (125 mL) freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving

3 tbsp (50 mL) minced fresh chives, plus extra for serving

Heat the olive oil and butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the leeks and saute for 5 to 7 minutes, until tender.

Add the rice and stir for a minute to coat with the leeks, oil and butter. Add the white wine and simmer over low heat, stirring often, until most of the wine is absorbed. Add the chicken stock, a soup ladleful or two at a time, stirring often.

Most of the stock should be absorbed before adding another ladleful. This should take between 25 and 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, blanch the asparagus in boiling salted water for a few minutes, until just tender. Drain and cool in ice water.

When the risotto has been cooking for about 20 minutes, drain the asparagus and add it to the risotto with the peas, lemon zest, 2 teaspoons (10 mL) salt and 1 teaspoon (5 mL) of pepper. Continue cooking and adding stock, stirring almost constantly, until the rice is tender but still firm.

In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice and mascarpone.

When the risotto is done, remove from the heat and stir in the mascarpone mixture, plus the Parmesan and chives. Taste and adjust seasonings as necessary.

Sprinkle with chives and more Parmesan to serve.

Serves 4 for dinner, 6 as an appetizer.

grichards@calgaryherald.com

The Modern Groom

By Sharon Barwick, CSEP| Simply Elegant| April 11, 2013

 

Wedding Planning-Dance

An interesting trend is starting to emerge in weddings. Once strictly a bride’s domain, wedding planning is increasingly involving both the groom and bride. In fact, according to Bridal Guide Magazine, more than 80 per cent of grooms are involved to varying degrees in the planning of their weddings. That’s a significant shift from, say, your parents’ wedding.
And why not? Weddings are a HUGE amount of work – infinitely more work than most brides realize when they start down the path of wedding planning. If you’re doing it yourself, there is plenty of stress to go around, meaning having a good, strong extra pair of hands to help may not just be a nice thing to have, it could be downright essential.
Besides, a wedding is about two people celebrating their new beginning together. It may be your day, and of course you want it to be perfect, but here’s the thing – having him help with the planning doesn’t have to change any of that. In fact, it could make your life a lot easier.

 

Groom-Beer Mug-Gift

Planning a wedding is a lot like a marriage. It involves communication and compromise.
When a groom and bride co-plan a wedding, it’s important to determine right up front who is in charge of what tasks. You can decide by consensus (all choices must be co approved by both but are sourced by the one or the other) or by absolutes (the groom and bride each have final say over their tasks). You see a themed candy bar and the groom has already decided that he wants a funky donut bar…
As a rule, men are more interested in certain areas of wedding planning (hello food and music) and are often more than happy enough to stay well away from other areas (hello flowers and decor ).
Your groom may be passionate about a particular choice or direction regarding the wedding planning, and if that’s the case, you need to assess if taking it the direction you’d originally planned is really that important. That, really, is between the two of you – but even if you’re not crazy about his choices, do enjoy the fact that he wants to be part of the wedding and not just some guy who shows up on the big day in a tux with a ring.

 

Bridal-Cufflinks-Gifts

Okay, sure, often enough the groom’s involvement in wedding planning has a lot to do with his type of personality. And there are guys out there who just don’t have the “wedding planner” gene. But even the ones who are ready to jump in are also willing to leave most final decisions to their future brides. Chances are, they have not grown up with the same expectations of what their wedding will be as you have – and they know that.
But there’s no reason why your groom shouldn’t have some fun too. In fact, a site called The Man Registry that launched a number of years ago is getting a lot of buzz because it specializes in all things pertaining to grooms, including gifts for groomsmen, bachelor party planning and gifts that go beyond traditionally bride-centric gifts.

Whether it’s dessert choices or picking the first dance song, remember that a wedding is a wedding for two. No wedding is as beautiful as that of a a groom and bride who have worked together for a day that is special for everyone. Pull off a great wedding day that reflects both of you as you’d like it to, and you’ve taken a great first step to a wonderful, long and happy life together.

Other wedding articles:

http://www.simplyelegantcorp.com/the_scoop/a-simply-elegant-proposal/ http://www.simplyelegantcorp.com/the_scoop/wedding-trends-for-2013/ http://www.simplyelegantcorp.com/the_scoop/big-food-small-bites/ http://www.simplyelegantcorp.com/weddings/tips-for-a-green-wedding/

5 Manly Wedding Cocktails

The Best of the Web for Grooms – November 4, 2011

Man Holding Cocktail

If watching ‘Mad Men’ has taught us anything, it’s that cocktails and men go hand-in-hand. They also tend to go over very well at showers, rehearsal dinners and wedding receptions. In fact, going with a signature cocktail as opposed to an open bar is one of the best ways to reduce your budget. A fun and increasingly popular concept is to opt for two cocktail selections, one selected by the bride and another by the groom. This way, you can have the best of both worlds. For the guys, here’s a few cocktails to consider.

 

vesper-martini

Feeling like an extra stealthy groom? The Vesper is famous for being James Bond’s drink of choice.

Ingredients – 3oz. Gordon’s gin, 1oz. vodka, 1/2 oz. Lillet Blanc

Preparation – In the words of Bond himself, shake it very well until it’s ice-cold, then add a large thin slice of lemon peel.

mahattan-whiskey-martini

It doesn’t get any more manly than the Manhattan. If you’ve never had one, you’d be doing yourself a huge favor ordering one the next time you’re out on the town.

Ingredients – 3/4 oz. sweet vermouth, 2 1/2 oz. whiskey (pref. bourbon), 1 dash Angostura bitters, 1 maraschino cherry, 1 twist orange peel

Preparation – Mix the vermouth, whiskey, and bitters with three ice cubes in a mixing glass. Gently stir the drink. Place the cherry in a chilled cocktail glass and strain the whiskey mixture over the cherry. Rub the cut edge of the orange peel over the rim of the glass and twist it over the drink to release the juice.

rusty-nail

Trust us, it’s not as bad as the name implies. And did we mention, its main ingredient is scotch?

Ingredients – 1 1/2 oz. Scotch whisky, 1/2 oz. Drambuie Scotch whisky, 1 lemon peel twist

Preparation – Mix the Scotch and Drambuie together over ice and stir. Use the lemon twist to garnish the glass.

tom-collins

If you’re having a summer wedding and want a classic drink that’s perfect for a hot day, look no further than our old friend Mr. Tom Collins.

Ingredients – 1¼ oz. Tanqueray gin, 1 oz lemon juice or lime juice, 1 tsp sweet and sour mix, 1 splash club soda, 1 maraschino cherry, 1 orange slice

Preparation – In a shaker, mix the Tanqeray, juice and sweet/sour mix over ice. Shake well and then strain into a Collins glass that’s pre-filled with ice. From there, add the club soda and garnish with the orange slice and cherry.

sidecar

Another classic cocktail that fits in great at weddings. It’s origins are French, France is romantic, you do the math…

Ingredients – 3/4oz. Cointreau, 3/4oz. brandy, 3/4oz. lemon juice

Preparation – Fill a mixing glass with ice and add in all three ingredients. Shake heartily and pour into a cocktail glass. For added taste, wet the rim of the glass and coat with a thin layer of sugar.

DIY Fishbowl Centerpiece

By Sharon Barwick, CSEP | Simply Elegant | April 18, 2013

Want a cool idea for DIY centerpiece décor? Fishbowls, or any other see through vessels, offer you endless opportunities to capture your event theme in an inexpensive way.
Simply Elegant Decor

does not recommend using real fish however, skip the real deal and have some creative fun!  The options are almost endless ranging from florals to candles to jewels to…?

 

Miniature terrariums

For the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center’s gala, held in Miami in December, Shiraz Events designed miniature terrariums in fishbowls, that were placed on highboy tables during cocktail hour.

Photo: Courtesy of Shiraz

 

 

 

 

Marbles and Ducks

For the Clean the World gala, held at the Peabody Orlando in 2011, Special Event Floral filled fishbowls with blue marbles, then added battery-operated lights. The Peabody Orlando’s duck soap appeared to float on top of each centerpiece.

Photo: Mitra Sorrells/BizBash

 

 

 

Candles in Fishbowls

David Monn decorated the Park Avenue Armory in New York for the 2012 holiday season. Monn used candles housed inside glass fishbowls to line the baseboards inside the ornate space.

Photo: Courtesy of the Park Avenue

 

 

 

 

Stacked fishbowl

Held on March 9, the Patricia and Phillip Frost Museum of Science’s annual Galaxy Gala had an aquatic theme inspired by the museum’s new facility now under construction, which includes a 500,000-gallon aquarium. Produced by Jose Dans and held at the JW Marriott Marquis, the various centerpiece designs by Wow Factor included stacked fishbowls filled with sand, lichen, pincushion proteas, and red branches.

Photo: Meg Pukel

 

Red napkin

For New York Design Center’s table at Diffa’s Dining by Design in New York in 2011, Coffinier Ku Design folded red napkins into flower shapes and topped each one with a flower- and water-filled glass bowl.

Photo: Emily Gilbert for BizBash

 

 

 

 

Space Fishbowls

Dinner at the California Science Center’s Discovery Ball, held in Los Angeles in March, took place underneath the wings of the Endeavour space shuttle. Reflecting the space theme, illuminated tables were topped with mini solar systems and tropical flowers in glass bowls.

Photo: Nadine Froger Photography

Fresh Ricotta & Fava Bean Bruschetta

yield: Makes 8 (appetizer) servings

Slightly sweet, fresh ricotta, which can be found in many Italian markets, makes this starter especially delicious. Regular ricotta also works well.

Fava Bean Bruschetta

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups shelled fresh fava beans (from about 1 1/2 pounds) or 1 1/2 cups frozen baby lima beans

8 4x3x1/2-inch slices country-style bread, cut in half crosswise
8 garlic cloves, cut in half crosswise
15 ounces fresh ricotta cheese or whole-milk ricotta cheese
Extra-virgin olive oil
1/3 cup thinly sliced fresh basil

Preparation:

Cook fava beans or lima beans in medium saucepan of boiling salted water until just tender, about 1 1/2 minutes for fava beans or about 4 minutes for lima beans. Drain. Rinse under cold water; drain well. Peel fava beans if using; set aside. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)

Preheat oven to 375°F. Arrange bread pieces on baking sheet; toast in oven until light golden, about 12 minutes. Rub 1 side of each bread piece with cut side of 1 garlic half, pressing firmly to release juices into bread. Top each bread piece with 1 heaping tablespoon ricotta cheese, then fava beans, dividing equally. Place 2 bread pieces on each of 8 plates. Drizzle lightly with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Garnish with sliced basil and serve.

Courtesy: Epicurious

Making the Most of your Flowers

By Sharon Barwick, CSEP | Simply Elegant | April 25, 2013

Flower Delivery

You have just received a gorgeous bouquet of flowers! Don’t watch your hand delivered flowers fade away, and look droopy and tired after only a couple of days. Fresh flowers will eventually lose their bloom, but with the proper care you can keep them looking beautiful for a lot longer than you may think.

Here are some tips that for a few moments each day, will keep you enjoying the scent and beauty of your flowers.

 

 


Trim flowers

Trim Flower Ends
Your fresh flowers will be thirsty and need to absorb water and nutrients through their stems, so it’s important to keep stems as open and clear as possible. Forget the scissors and use only a sharp knife or pruning shears to cut the stems along a slant. Scissors will pinch the stems and potentially block the absorption of water and nutrients.

 

 


Flowers in water

Water Flowers Properly
Remove all leaves below the water level to minimize the growth of bacteria. Trim the stems with a knife and replace the water daily. Use warm to hot water for hollow stemmed flowers such as roses and Gerbera daisies to blow out any possible air pockets.

 

 

 


Rannuculous

Feed Them Well
Pop, pennies, and sugar do not destroy the bacteria in water as well as professional plant food does. Food made specifically for flowers is your best bet for keeping your blooms looking fresh and lively. Your florist can provide commercial flower food for you to add to the water.

 

 

 

 

 
Tulips in clear vase

Keep Flowers Cool
Place your flowers in a cool area so that they last longer. Heat from windows and TV’s will steal the life from your blooms.

 

 

 

Wedding Flower Tips
Plan your date carefully if you are on a budget and have a large wedding party. Flowers may cost 30% more during peak seasons such as Easter, Valentines and Mothers Day. Local, seasonal flowers are your best bet for a DIY wedding.

Grilled Lobster Tails with Herb Butter

Courtesy: Food Network Canada

Grilled Lobster Tails

Ingredients
1 stick salted butter, at room temperature
2 tablespoons chopped chives
1 tablespoon chopped tarragon leaves
1 clove garlic, minced
Dash hot sauce
Freshly ground black pepper
4 (7-ounce) lobster tails
Olive oil
Kosher salt
Lemon wedges, for garnish
Chive sprigs
Special equipment: 4 metal skewers
Directions
Preheat your grill to direct medium-high heat.

In a small bowl blend butter, chives, tarragon, minced garlic, hot sauce, and black pepper with a rubber spatula. Blend thoroughly. Cover with plastic wrap and reserve.

Using kitchen shears, butterfly the lobster tails straight down the middle of the softer underside of the shell. Cut the meat down the center without cutting all the way through. Insert a metal skewer down the lobster tail so the tail stands straight. Brush the tails with olive oil and season with salt, to taste.

Grill lobsters cut side down over medium high heat about 5 minutes, until the shells are bright in color. Turn the tails over and spoon a generous tablespoon of herbed butter onto the butterflied meat. Grill for another 4 minutes, or until the lobster meat is an opaque white color.

Remove lobster tails from the grill and serve with more herb butter and lemon wedges. Garnish with chive sprigs.

Herby Lamb Burgers with Beetroot Mayo

Herby Lamb Burgers

Ingredients
400g lamb mince
1 small red onion , ½ grated, ½ thinly sliced
handful parsley , roughly chopped
handful mint , roughly chopped
1 tsp olive oil
3 tbsp mayonnaise
2 cooked beetroot , finely chopped
4 bread rolls
couple handfuls watercress

1.Mix the lamb, grated onion and herbs in a bowl with some seasoning, then divide the mix into 4 and shape into burgers.
2.Heat a griddle pan until hot, rub the burgers with oil, and cook for 5-6 mins on each side, or until cooked through.
3.Meanwhile, mix the mayonnaise and beetroot; season to taste. Fill the bread rolls with some watercress, a burger, a dollop of beetroot mayo and a few onion slices. Serve immediately.

Corporate Workshop / Team Building

Culinary Team Building

Team Building is all about building communities within your work force, and helping employees manage stress by ensuring all staff members are maintaining a work-life balance which can create a greater sense of well being and provide the feeling of being part of the workplace. Team building connects, rewards and educates employees. These group activities range widely from artistic creativity, outdoor activities, culinary sessions, Cirque shows and white water rafting adventures. Designed to be experiential, these activities specifically target solidarity, a fun teamwork engagement and staff initiative. The skills learned by your team are designed to transfer back to the workplace. When faced with a challenging scenario, team members are encouraged to recognize their own strengths and weaknesses, and ideally, share these with their team. The challenges, and thus the resolutions, are remembered far beyond the team building day. Here are some examples of great some great Canadian team building ideas:

Cirque Hanging

Cirque Activities

Cirque focused Corporate Team Building programs provides your employees with an opportunity to try amazing circus feats in a safe, non-competitive environment. Corporate Team Building exercises feature a variety of circus skills and can include static trapeze, trampoline, juggling, tight wire, acrobatics, flying trapeze and more. Using an action-based model, these signature workshops enable your team to reach new levels of communication, cooperation, and trust, all while having the time of their lives. Your guests will try things they have never imagined trying, achieve things they have never imagined achieving, and learn skills they will never forget.

http://www.a2d2.ca/content/corporate-workshops-team-building

 

Scavenger hunt

Scavenger Hunts

How about a Scavenger Hunt your staff will talk about for years? Looking for a tropical experience? The Destination Africa scavenger hunt will take your team through both the African Savannah and the Amazon Rainforest in search of crocodiles, gorillas, hippos and more. This hunt is mostly indoors and perfect in late fall to spring. The Calgary Zoo offers a tremendous range of possibilities for your group, ranging from 30-minute Zoo-Mixers to half-day Zoo-wide adventures.

www.calgaryzoo.ab.ca

paddling

Outdoor Activities

“Inside Out” Experience combines programs that provide challenging team activities and fun experiences with powerful training in the areas of group/team learning, leadership/management skills and communication. Your program can be organized and operated throughout Kananaskis, Banff, Canmore, Elbow Valley, Bragg Creek, and Calgary. Experiential programming requires people to learn by doing using carefully designed “experiences” (activities, exercises, tasks) in which participants are required to use skills of communicating, decision making, effective planning, problem solving and more. The experiences are conducted within an atmosphere of community, dignity, well-being and fun. Outdoor corporate team building experiences can include white water rafting, hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, cross-country skiing, and snow-shoeing.

http://www.insideoutexperience.com/teambuild.html

Party Hats

Creativity
Need a new icebreaker or a non-traditional team builder? Your guests become creative artists and decorate colourful hats with all sorts of fantastic trimmings. The fun and excitement continues as they wear the hats throughout the event and take them home as a souvenir. This activity is enjoyable regardless of age, gender, or occupation. With no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way to create a Party Hat, it is a great way to get your team thinking creatively and working cooperatively to realize their vision. Party Hats can be themed to your event with matching colours, assorted decorative materials and customized styles. Bright Ideas’ Party Hats are a fabulous photo opportunity and bring lots of laughter as your guests compare their latest creations!

http://www.brightideasevents.com/services/partyhats/

 

Drumming 1

Drumming
Experience the rhythm and power of group drumming. A team of master facilitators and musicians entertain and teach your staff how to play to the same beat, and how to make music as a group. Why Drums? Drums and drumming are a great way to break down barriers, create common ground and teach people the value of listening and learning together. Companies are made up of different rhythms; those rhythms may be various departments such as sales, marketing, administration, development, accounts, operations or management. It helps to build community and create unity within your group. Drumming helps reduce barriers of age, culture, language and gender. The power of a truly synchronized team has great benefit for any business. When those different rhythms play to the same beat they can also share the same goals and visions. This team builder is a unique and highly memorable experience that will set a high energy tone and create an excellent group atmosphere.

http://drumcafe.ca/

Shark & Beach Cupcakes

Shark Cupcakes

Happy times with kids call for cheerful cupcakes. Easier to serve than cake, cupcakes require no slicing, no plates, and no forks — and every child gets her fair share of icing.

The designs on this page start as Chocolate Cupcakes or Vanilla Cupcakes iced with Swiss Meringue Buttercream — perfect for spreading in thin layers or sculpting into thick mounds (and licking from the bowl).

The cupcakes can be baked a week ahead and frozen, but decorate them no more than a day before serving. Set up an assembly line, and put kids in charge of affixing candy eyes, gumdrop cheeks, and other trimmings. Pack the cupcakes in a shallow plastic container, and stuff crumpled waxed paper in between. Then dole them out and watch kids marvel for a second before opening wide!

Shark and Beach Cupcake How-To
In June, look out for blue paper fins slicing through icing waves. Some might prefer a sandy beach, so stand a drink parasol in a dune of icing dipped in finely ground graham-cracker crumbs.

Martha Stewart Kids, Fall 2003

Penny Pinching Kids Beach Party

Ever wonder how you can create a great party that is fun and safe for your children for less than $60 including gas?

Tropical Kids Party

Considerations for age appropriate parties:

  1. Invite a maximum of children to match the age of the child. An easy guideline is to invite only as many children as your child’s age, plus one. This keeps the party small with young children reducing the opportunity for them to be overwhelmed. Each year your child learns to emotionally handle a larger group of children.
  2. Have the child choose a theme. It makes your job easy (a favorite book, sport, movie, or a TV show. Then they can further help with the planning plus make decorations.
  3. Keep the party simple.
  4. Focus on structured group activities. Individual games focuses on a winner which leaves children out – maybe even the birthday child.
  5. Always ask parents about food allergies.

Ways to cut birthday party costs without cutting the party experience:

  1. Hold the party in your home
  2. Avoid traditional meal times by holding the party between 2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. and serve snacks & dessert.
  3. Bake your own cupcakes and let the kids decorate their own cupcake for a fun activity.
  4. Make and hand deliver your own invitations, or “be green” and send e-vites with an RSVP date.
  5. Resist hiring an entertainer or bouncy castle! Kids only remember the fun activities and birthday cake.
  6. Make it a family affair and ask family members plus the guests parents to assist with activities.
  7. Source theme decor from your own home first, then purchase the rest of supplies from economy stores.

Grass Skirt Table

ACTIVITIES FOR A BEACH PARTY (GEARED TO 5 YEAR OLDS)

We chose a beach theme to counter against our snowy Calgary weather. Collect all your colourful beach towels to cover your
party table and inflate all beach air mattresses and balls to decorate the party room.
Welcome each guest at the door with a lei and a tropical sun visor (can be part of their take home goody bag).
Encourage everyone to dress the theme (beach shorts, T shirts, flip flops, sun glasses and visors)

Simple party activity starters:

  1. Decorate the birthday cupcakes (while the children are calm) using an assortment of frostings and toppings.
  2. Do simple crafts (stickers, buttons with yarn, straw crafts, using little sea shells with beads and pebbles etc. Glue these onto mini frames or juice-cans. You can even use lids and add a magnet on the back.
  3. Save time and purchase simple craft kits for only $1-$2 at the numerous economy stores.

Shark Watermelon

Games for children with energy:

  1. Fill balloons with small treasure based on your theme before you blow them up. For beach we used mini fish, wiggly worms, costume jewelry. The children then pop several balloons and gather their treasures. You can hang, hide or put them in a large garbage bag or box.
  2. Group hunting games (same as Easter egg hunts) This can be treats, treasure chest items or even a puzzle piece to a treasure map that all the children work collectively to put together.
  3. A circle dance of ”Hokey Pokey” works great and is completely non competitive.

Move into quiet games:

  1. Hand make Lei Necklaces made from yarn, drinking straws, and colored crinkled tissue paper.
  2. Simple relay races such as potato-on-spoon using a beach water toy.
  3. Pin the “crab on the beach”. No winner needed here too!

Holding the party mid afternoon reduces the cost on food. Create a mock tail with juice and give it a beach name. Snacks can
include vegetable sticks and dip, seasonal fruit kabobs, mini pita pockets or bagels and finish with the individually decorated
cupcakes.

Umbrella

BEACH THEMED GOODIE BAGS

For less than $9, our goodie beach pail was equipped with a shovel had a snorkel face mask strapped to the outside of the pail
and was filled with a house safe beach sponge ball, squiggly florescent worm, a motorized bathtub sail boat plus a colourful
slinky. The children go home in their colourful foam visors (we collected a mixture sharks, butterflies, monkeys and pink
flamingos) Always make a few more in case extra guests arrive – yes this often happens!

THANK YOU NOTES

It is never too soon to teach etiquette to children. Create a list of the guests’ names before the party, and then jot down each gift
beside the giver’s name as they are opened for thank you cards.
Take photos of the children dressed in theme or put them in front of a prop. Download the photo onto your computer and
colour print them into thank you cards.

The party is a quick two hours, organized with a logical rhythm for child interest and safety and it was super inexpensive. Plus
why not forget our Calgary snow for awhile and transport yourself to the beach? Happy Birthday!

Corporate Workshop / Team Building

Culinary Team Building

Team Building is all about building communities within your work force, and helping employees manage stress by ensuring all staff members are maintaining a work-life balance which can create a greater sense of well being and provide the feeling of being part of the workplace. Team building connects, rewards and educates employees. These group activities range widely from artistic creativity, outdoor activities, culinary sessions, Cirque shows and white water rafting adventures. Designed to be experiential, these activities specifically target solidarity, a fun teamwork engagement and staff initiative. The skills learned by your team are designed to transfer back to the workplace. When faced with a challenging scenario, team members are encouraged to recognize their own strengths and weaknesses, and ideally, share these with their team. The challenges, and thus the resolutions, are remembered far beyond the team building day. Here are some examples of great some great Canadian team building ideas:

Cirque Hanging

Cirque Activities

Cirque focused Corporate Team Building programs provides your employees with an opportunity to try amazing circus feats in a safe, non-competitive environment. Corporate Team Building exercises feature a variety of circus skills and can include static trapeze, trampoline, juggling, tight wire, acrobatics, flying trapeze and more. Using an action-based model, these signature workshops enable your team to reach new levels of communication, cooperation, and trust, all while having the time of their lives. Your guests will try things they have never imagined trying, achieve things they have never imagined achieving, and learn skills they will never forget.

http://www.a2d2.ca/content/corporate-workshops-team-building

 

Scavenger hunt

Scavenger Hunts

How about a Scavenger Hunt your staff will talk about for years? Looking for a tropical experience? The Destination Africa scavenger hunt will take your team through both the African Savannah and the Amazon Rainforest in search of crocodiles, gorillas, hippos and more. This hunt is mostly indoors and perfect in late fall to spring. The Calgary Zoo offers a tremendous range of possibilities for your group, ranging from 30-minute Zoo-Mixers to half-day Zoo-wide adventures.

www.calgaryzoo.ab.ca

paddling

Outdoor Activities

“Inside Out” Experience combines programs that provide challenging team activities and fun experiences with powerful training in the areas of group/team learning, leadership/management skills and communication. Your program can be organized and operated throughout Kananaskis, Banff, Canmore, Elbow Valley, Bragg Creek, and Calgary. Experiential programming requires people to learn by doing using carefully designed “experiences” (activities, exercises, tasks) in which participants are required to use skills of communicating, decision making, effective planning, problem solving and more. The experiences are conducted within an atmosphere of community, dignity, well-being and fun. Outdoor corporate team building experiences can include white water rafting, hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, cross-country skiing, and snow-shoeing.

http://www.insideoutexperience.com/teambuild.html

Party Hats

Creativity
Need a new icebreaker or a non-traditional team builder? Your guests become creative artists and decorate colourful hats with all sorts of fantastic trimmings. The fun and excitement continues as they wear the hats throughout the event and take them home as a souvenir. This activity is enjoyable regardless of age, gender, or occupation. With no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way to create a Party Hat, it is a great way to get your team thinking creatively and working cooperatively to realize their vision. Party Hats can be themed to your event with matching colours, assorted decorative materials and customized styles. Bright Ideas’ Party Hats are a fabulous photo opportunity and bring lots of laughter as your guests compare their latest creations!

http://www.brightideasevents.com/services/partyhats/

 

Drumming 1

Drumming
Experience the rhythm and power of group drumming. A team of master facilitators and musicians entertain and teach your staff how to play to the same beat, and how to make music as a group. Why Drums? Drums and drumming are a great way to break down barriers, create common ground and teach people the value of listening and learning together. Companies are made up of different rhythms; those rhythms may be various departments such as sales, marketing, administration, development, accounts, operations or management. It helps to build community and create unity within your group. Drumming helps reduce barriers of age, culture, language and gender. The power of a truly synchronized team has great benefit for any business. When those different rhythms play to the same beat they can also share the same goals and visions. This team builder is a unique and highly memorable experience that will set a high energy tone and create an excellent group atmosphere.

http://drumcafe.ca/

Herby Lamb Burgers with Beetroot Mayo

Herby Lamb Burgers

Ingredients
400g lamb mince
1 small red onion , ½ grated, ½ thinly sliced
handful parsley , roughly chopped
handful mint , roughly chopped
1 tsp olive oil
3 tbsp mayonnaise
2 cooked beetroot , finely chopped
4 bread rolls
couple handfuls watercress

1.Mix the lamb, grated onion and herbs in a bowl with some seasoning, then divide the mix into 4 and shape into burgers.
2.Heat a griddle pan until hot, rub the burgers with oil, and cook for 5-6 mins on each side, or until cooked through.
3.Meanwhile, mix the mayonnaise and beetroot; season to taste. Fill the bread rolls with some watercress, a burger, a dollop of beetroot mayo and a few onion slices. Serve immediately.

Grilled Lobster Tails with Herb Butter

Courtesy: Food Network Canada

Grilled Lobster Tails

Ingredients
1 stick salted butter, at room temperature
2 tablespoons chopped chives
1 tablespoon chopped tarragon leaves
1 clove garlic, minced
Dash hot sauce
Freshly ground black pepper
4 (7-ounce) lobster tails
Olive oil
Kosher salt
Lemon wedges, for garnish
Chive sprigs
Special equipment: 4 metal skewers
Directions
Preheat your grill to direct medium-high heat.

In a small bowl blend butter, chives, tarragon, minced garlic, hot sauce, and black pepper with a rubber spatula. Blend thoroughly. Cover with plastic wrap and reserve.

Using kitchen shears, butterfly the lobster tails straight down the middle of the softer underside of the shell. Cut the meat down the center without cutting all the way through. Insert a metal skewer down the lobster tail so the tail stands straight. Brush the tails with olive oil and season with salt, to taste.

Grill lobsters cut side down over medium high heat about 5 minutes, until the shells are bright in color. Turn the tails over and spoon a generous tablespoon of herbed butter onto the butterflied meat. Grill for another 4 minutes, or until the lobster meat is an opaque white color.

Remove lobster tails from the grill and serve with more herb butter and lemon wedges. Garnish with chive sprigs.

Making the Most of your Flowers

By Sharon Barwick, CSEP | Simply Elegant | April 25, 2013

Flower Delivery

You have just received a gorgeous bouquet of flowers! Don’t watch your hand delivered flowers fade away, and look droopy and tired after only a couple of days. Fresh flowers will eventually lose their bloom, but with the proper care you can keep them looking beautiful for a lot longer than you may think.

Here are some tips that for a few moments each day, will keep you enjoying the scent and beauty of your flowers.

 

 


Trim flowers

Trim Flower Ends
Your fresh flowers will be thirsty and need to absorb water and nutrients through their stems, so it’s important to keep stems as open and clear as possible. Forget the scissors and use only a sharp knife or pruning shears to cut the stems along a slant. Scissors will pinch the stems and potentially block the absorption of water and nutrients.

 

 


Flowers in water

Water Flowers Properly
Remove all leaves below the water level to minimize the growth of bacteria. Trim the stems with a knife and replace the water daily. Use warm to hot water for hollow stemmed flowers such as roses and Gerbera daisies to blow out any possible air pockets.

 

 

 


Rannuculous

Feed Them Well
Pop, pennies, and sugar do not destroy the bacteria in water as well as professional plant food does. Food made specifically for flowers is your best bet for keeping your blooms looking fresh and lively. Your florist can provide commercial flower food for you to add to the water.

 

 

 

 

 
Tulips in clear vase

Keep Flowers Cool
Place your flowers in a cool area so that they last longer. Heat from windows and TV’s will steal the life from your blooms.

 

 

 

Wedding Flower Tips
Plan your date carefully if you are on a budget and have a large wedding party. Flowers may cost 30% more during peak seasons such as Easter, Valentines and Mothers Day. Local, seasonal flowers are your best bet for a DIY wedding.

Fresh Ricotta & Fava Bean Bruschetta

yield: Makes 8 (appetizer) servings

Slightly sweet, fresh ricotta, which can be found in many Italian markets, makes this starter especially delicious. Regular ricotta also works well.

Fava Bean Bruschetta

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups shelled fresh fava beans (from about 1 1/2 pounds) or 1 1/2 cups frozen baby lima beans

8 4x3x1/2-inch slices country-style bread, cut in half crosswise
8 garlic cloves, cut in half crosswise
15 ounces fresh ricotta cheese or whole-milk ricotta cheese
Extra-virgin olive oil
1/3 cup thinly sliced fresh basil

Preparation:

Cook fava beans or lima beans in medium saucepan of boiling salted water until just tender, about 1 1/2 minutes for fava beans or about 4 minutes for lima beans. Drain. Rinse under cold water; drain well. Peel fava beans if using; set aside. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)

Preheat oven to 375°F. Arrange bread pieces on baking sheet; toast in oven until light golden, about 12 minutes. Rub 1 side of each bread piece with cut side of 1 garlic half, pressing firmly to release juices into bread. Top each bread piece with 1 heaping tablespoon ricotta cheese, then fava beans, dividing equally. Place 2 bread pieces on each of 8 plates. Drizzle lightly with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Garnish with sliced basil and serve.

Courtesy: Epicurious

DIY Fishbowl Centerpiece

By Sharon Barwick, CSEP | Simply Elegant | April 18, 2013

Want a cool idea for DIY centerpiece décor? Fishbowls, or any other see through vessels, offer you endless opportunities to capture your event theme in an inexpensive way.
Simply Elegant Decor

does not recommend using real fish however, skip the real deal and have some creative fun!  The options are almost endless ranging from florals to candles to jewels to…?

 

Miniature terrariums

For the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center’s gala, held in Miami in December, Shiraz Events designed miniature terrariums in fishbowls, that were placed on highboy tables during cocktail hour.

Photo: Courtesy of Shiraz

 

 

 

 

Marbles and Ducks

For the Clean the World gala, held at the Peabody Orlando in 2011, Special Event Floral filled fishbowls with blue marbles, then added battery-operated lights. The Peabody Orlando’s duck soap appeared to float on top of each centerpiece.

Photo: Mitra Sorrells/BizBash

 

 

 

Candles in Fishbowls

David Monn decorated the Park Avenue Armory in New York for the 2012 holiday season. Monn used candles housed inside glass fishbowls to line the baseboards inside the ornate space.

Photo: Courtesy of the Park Avenue

 

 

 

 

Stacked fishbowl

Held on March 9, the Patricia and Phillip Frost Museum of Science’s annual Galaxy Gala had an aquatic theme inspired by the museum’s new facility now under construction, which includes a 500,000-gallon aquarium. Produced by Jose Dans and held at the JW Marriott Marquis, the various centerpiece designs by Wow Factor included stacked fishbowls filled with sand, lichen, pincushion proteas, and red branches.

Photo: Meg Pukel

 

Red napkin

For New York Design Center’s table at Diffa’s Dining by Design in New York in 2011, Coffinier Ku Design folded red napkins into flower shapes and topped each one with a flower- and water-filled glass bowl.

Photo: Emily Gilbert for BizBash

 

 

 

 

Space Fishbowls

Dinner at the California Science Center’s Discovery Ball, held in Los Angeles in March, took place underneath the wings of the Endeavour space shuttle. Reflecting the space theme, illuminated tables were topped with mini solar systems and tropical flowers in glass bowls.

Photo: Nadine Froger Photography

5 Manly Wedding Cocktails

The Best of the Web for Grooms – November 4, 2011

Man Holding Cocktail

If watching ‘Mad Men’ has taught us anything, it’s that cocktails and men go hand-in-hand. They also tend to go over very well at showers, rehearsal dinners and wedding receptions. In fact, going with a signature cocktail as opposed to an open bar is one of the best ways to reduce your budget. A fun and increasingly popular concept is to opt for two cocktail selections, one selected by the bride and another by the groom. This way, you can have the best of both worlds. For the guys, here’s a few cocktails to consider.

 

vesper-martini

Feeling like an extra stealthy groom? The Vesper is famous for being James Bond’s drink of choice.

Ingredients – 3oz. Gordon’s gin, 1oz. vodka, 1/2 oz. Lillet Blanc

Preparation – In the words of Bond himself, shake it very well until it’s ice-cold, then add a large thin slice of lemon peel.

mahattan-whiskey-martini

It doesn’t get any more manly than the Manhattan. If you’ve never had one, you’d be doing yourself a huge favor ordering one the next time you’re out on the town.

Ingredients – 3/4 oz. sweet vermouth, 2 1/2 oz. whiskey (pref. bourbon), 1 dash Angostura bitters, 1 maraschino cherry, 1 twist orange peel

Preparation – Mix the vermouth, whiskey, and bitters with three ice cubes in a mixing glass. Gently stir the drink. Place the cherry in a chilled cocktail glass and strain the whiskey mixture over the cherry. Rub the cut edge of the orange peel over the rim of the glass and twist it over the drink to release the juice.

rusty-nail

Trust us, it’s not as bad as the name implies. And did we mention, its main ingredient is scotch?

Ingredients – 1 1/2 oz. Scotch whisky, 1/2 oz. Drambuie Scotch whisky, 1 lemon peel twist

Preparation – Mix the Scotch and Drambuie together over ice and stir. Use the lemon twist to garnish the glass.

tom-collins

If you’re having a summer wedding and want a classic drink that’s perfect for a hot day, look no further than our old friend Mr. Tom Collins.

Ingredients – 1¼ oz. Tanqueray gin, 1 oz lemon juice or lime juice, 1 tsp sweet and sour mix, 1 splash club soda, 1 maraschino cherry, 1 orange slice

Preparation – In a shaker, mix the Tanqeray, juice and sweet/sour mix over ice. Shake well and then strain into a Collins glass that’s pre-filled with ice. From there, add the club soda and garnish with the orange slice and cherry.

sidecar

Another classic cocktail that fits in great at weddings. It’s origins are French, France is romantic, you do the math…

Ingredients – 3/4oz. Cointreau, 3/4oz. brandy, 3/4oz. lemon juice

Preparation – Fill a mixing glass with ice and add in all three ingredients. Shake heartily and pour into a cocktail glass. For added taste, wet the rim of the glass and coat with a thin layer of sugar.

The Modern Groom

By Sharon Barwick, CSEP| Simply Elegant| April 11, 2013

 

Wedding Planning-Dance

An interesting trend is starting to emerge in weddings. Once strictly a bride’s domain, wedding planning is increasingly involving both the groom and bride. In fact, according to Bridal Guide Magazine, more than 80 per cent of grooms are involved to varying degrees in the planning of their weddings. That’s a significant shift from, say, your parents’ wedding.
And why not? Weddings are a HUGE amount of work – infinitely more work than most brides realize when they start down the path of wedding planning. If you’re doing it yourself, there is plenty of stress to go around, meaning having a good, strong extra pair of hands to help may not just be a nice thing to have, it could be downright essential.
Besides, a wedding is about two people celebrating their new beginning together. It may be your day, and of course you want it to be perfect, but here’s the thing – having him help with the planning doesn’t have to change any of that. In fact, it could make your life a lot easier.

 

Groom-Beer Mug-Gift

Planning a wedding is a lot like a marriage. It involves communication and compromise.
When a groom and bride co-plan a wedding, it’s important to determine right up front who is in charge of what tasks. You can decide by consensus (all choices must be co approved by both but are sourced by the one or the other) or by absolutes (the groom and bride each have final say over their tasks). You see a themed candy bar and the groom has already decided that he wants a funky donut bar…
As a rule, men are more interested in certain areas of wedding planning (hello food and music) and are often more than happy enough to stay well away from other areas (hello flowers and decor ).
Your groom may be passionate about a particular choice or direction regarding the wedding planning, and if that’s the case, you need to assess if taking it the direction you’d originally planned is really that important. That, really, is between the two of you – but even if you’re not crazy about his choices, do enjoy the fact that he wants to be part of the wedding and not just some guy who shows up on the big day in a tux with a ring.

 

Bridal-Cufflinks-Gifts

Okay, sure, often enough the groom’s involvement in wedding planning has a lot to do with his type of personality. And there are guys out there who just don’t have the “wedding planner” gene. But even the ones who are ready to jump in are also willing to leave most final decisions to their future brides. Chances are, they have not grown up with the same expectations of what their wedding will be as you have – and they know that.
But there’s no reason why your groom shouldn’t have some fun too. In fact, a site called The Man Registry that launched a number of years ago is getting a lot of buzz because it specializes in all things pertaining to grooms, including gifts for groomsmen, bachelor party planning and gifts that go beyond traditionally bride-centric gifts.

Whether it’s dessert choices or picking the first dance song, remember that a wedding is a wedding for two. No wedding is as beautiful as that of a a groom and bride who have worked together for a day that is special for everyone. Pull off a great wedding day that reflects both of you as you’d like it to, and you’ve taken a great first step to a wonderful, long and happy life together.

Other wedding articles:

http://www.simplyelegantcorp.com/the_scoop/a-simply-elegant-proposal/ http://www.simplyelegantcorp.com/the_scoop/wedding-trends-for-2013/ http://www.simplyelegantcorp.com/the_scoop/big-food-small-bites/ http://www.simplyelegantcorp.com/weddings/tips-for-a-green-wedding/

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