Start to Finish: The Process of Changing Your Name After the Big Day

 Image Source: The Knot/Lens Cap Productions

Image Source: The Knot/Lens Cap Productions

The big day is coming up fast and you’re putting together your last minute to-do lists. One of the top items? How do you change your last name after the wedding? Well, if you’re going the route of taking your groom’s last name, it can be a lengthy process. You may not realize just how many things have your name attached to them that will need to be updated! It’s like when you get sent a new credit card and all your auto-pay purchases get angry… but on steroids. But have no fear, we’re reviewing both the process you’ll go through and our list of things you may not think of to avoid missing anything. As an added bonus, we did our best to add up the general fees associated with each step, so you can factor that into your budget to avoid being caught off guard.

Make sure you check your state laws for any additional regulations, but most states are pretty uniform when a bride is taking her groom’s last name. Some states do have different processes if you are:

  1. A man taking his wife’s last name;
  2. A couple choosing a last name different from either partner’s; or
  3. A same sex marriage partner changing his or her last name.

Step 1: Obtain Your Marriage License

 Image Source: Style Me Pretty

Image Source: Style Me Pretty

Obviously you need this to officially be married, but it will also serve as your official document to get the name change process rolling. You’ll need to use the original or a certified copy as documentation for many of the changes below. The cost of your marriage license varies significantly based on location, anywhere from $10 to $115. Obviously, this is a necessary expense as you’re not legally married without it!

Step 2: Get a New Social Security Card

Don’t worry, your number will stay the same. You’ll need to fill out a form to change your name and provide your marriage license as proof. If you go directly through Social Security, this one is free!

Step 3: Get a New License at the DMV

The dreaded DMV… unfortunately you’ll have to do this one in person. Bring your marriage license, new social security card, and your old license. This is one where you should definitely check your specific state laws!

Step 4: Get an Updated Passport

If you have any plans to travel in the near future, get this done ASAP! It can take a few months to receive your new passport, it’s expensive enough as it is without having to pay rush fees. If you already have or have previously had a passport, this will run you $110. If this is your first passport, it will be $145. There is one thing to note here: if your passport was issued in the last 12 months, you can apply for your name change free of charge! Definitely a bonus there if you fall in that category. Getting your new Social Security Card/Driver’s License before your passport application will also make the process move quicker and more smoothly. If you’d rather wait out the time on your current passport until it expires to change your name, make sure you book any traveling with your maiden name.

Step 5: Bank Accounts

Whether you’re transitioning your accounts to joint accounts with your new spouse (if you don’t already have joint accounts) or are keeping your accounts separate, it’s important to change your name here as well. Changing the name on your account shouldn’t cost anything, but being issued a new debit card could potentially render a fee. The process should be fairly simple if you visit your local branch with your marriage license and new ID.

 Image Source: Bridal Guide/Visionyard Photography

Image Source: Bridal Guide/Visionyard Photography

Step 6: Notify Employers and Update Payroll

This is an important step! Especially as you’ve transitioned your bank accounts, make sure you notify your employer of your name change for payroll purposes. This includes your direct deposit as well as any retirement accounts and benefits provided through the company. If you’re changing your name professionally, your employer should be able to assist you in transitioning into a new email address (if applicable) with your new name. Don’t forget to update your email signature, too!

Step 7: The Rest of the Puzzle!

There are so many things associated with your name. Below is a list of the most common places you’ll also have your name listed. They shouldn’t cost anything additional to change your name (other than credit cards -- there may be a fee in requesting a new card). Chances are, you’ll get some pieces of mail over time where you realize you didn’t notify the company of your name change. No biggie, just let them know as it comes! If you’re looking to be proactive, make sure you check on the following:

  • Post office
  • Electric and other utility companies
  • Credit cards
  • Landlord or mortgage company
  • Insurance companies (auto, home, life)
  • Doctors' offices
  • Voter registration office
  • Investment account providers
  • Your attorney (to update legal documents, including your will)
  • Phone/cable bills
  • Student loans
  • Voter registration
  • State tax authority (IRS is notified automatically through the SSA)
  • Professional licensing boards/associations
  • Magazine subscriptions

There are sites like Hitch Switch that will help you with the majority of the process for an additional fee. This can be helpful if you’re overwhelmed, but keep in mind that they can’t cover everything you need to switch, just the basics, so be sure to double check all the additional places even if you opt for a service!

Pack the Perfect Picnic this Memorial Day Weekend

With Memorial Day coming up quick and summer right around the corner, what could be a more perfect way to celebrate than a picnic? Here’s some of our favorite treats and tips for a beautiful Memorial Day picnic!

 Image Source: Amazon

Image Source: Amazon

A Picnic Basket

Not only will using a picnic basket make carrying everything so much easier, but it’s also super cute! This basket is the perfect size and has an authentic look to it. You can also pack ice packs in your basket to help keep your food cold.

 Image Source: Pinterest

Image Source: Pinterest

Now that you have your basket it’s time to pack it!

Deli Sandwiches

Sandwiches are a classic for a picnic. Deli meats are delicious and quick to make! Plus, there’s and endless number of combinations you can top your sandwich with!


 Image Source: Mom Loves Baking

Image Source: Mom Loves Baking

Fruit

Fruit is always perfect for a picnic on a hot day. This watermelon salad is refreshing and delicious, while also being red, white, and blue (perfect for memorial day)!


Water

It’s super important to stay hydrated in the heat of summer, and water is the best way to do just that! There’s lots of different ways to spice up this healthier alternative to soda to make it just as tasty. You can simply add fruit straight into your water, or try making ice cubes with fruit in them. Some good combinations to try are strawberry and blueberry, cucumber and mint, orange and blueberry, and cherry and lime!

 Image Source: Cascade Ice Water

Image Source: Cascade Ice Water


 Image Source: Dessert Now Dinner Later

Image Source: Dessert Now Dinner Later

Dessert

Lastly, but CERTAINLY not least is dessert. One compact but delicious dessert that’s easy to make is strawberry stuffed cheesecake! These bite sized treats are festive and the perfect way to end your picnic.

Our Favorite Functional Decor Additions to Any Home

Decorating your home is so much fun! We love switching out pieces for the holidays or as seasons change, but what’s most important is developing your “core” pieces that will remain year round. Our favorite pieces are decor are beautiful but also serve a purpose and have some functionality to them. With that in mind, we’re sharing some of those favorites that we feel work in any home to add a little extra pop to your space!

 Image Source: Buzzfeed

Image Source: Buzzfeed

Indoor Herb Garden

Kitchens are becoming more and more neutral in their coloring and styling (which, don’t get us wrong, we love!), but adding a nice counter top herb garden is a great way to add some color. The function in this is pretty obvious -- you always have fresh herbs on hand. Check out our post on how to create your own for some more inspiration to get started!


 Image Source: Etsy

Image Source: Etsy

Blanket Ladder or Basket

In most places, blankets aren’t needed year round, but they sure do look pretty if styled correctly. We love having a beautiful storage solution for your blankets. If you have room, we love love LOVE a simple ladder to hang blankets on in your living room. If space is more of an issue, grab a fun bin or basket to put on your fireplace and fill with your favorite throws. This will keep your couch looking more organized with the blankets being kept separate.


 Image Source: Etsy

Image Source: Etsy

Clocks

We love clocks! Wall clocks, tabletop clocks… you name it, we love it. The functionality of clocks is also clear: to tell time. Work a wall clock into your gallery wall or a tabletop clock into your shelves. There is a huge variety of shapes, sizes, and styles to select from, so it’s basically guaranteed that there will be one that matches your home aesthetic. We love a clock that adds a little pop of color to your space!


 Image Source: Runted Run

Image Source: Runted Run

Baskets

We use baskets everywhere. Here’s the thing about baskets, if you pick the right ones, they’re pretty BUT you can also use them to hide so much stuff! Little things you don’t want to be seen can easily slide into a basket. We love using them in closets, in the bathroom, and even in the living room. They’re a great organizational tool, but organizational tools can be pretty and functional!


 Image Source: Design Sponge

Image Source: Design Sponge

Wooden Cutting Boards

Wooden cutting boards are beautiful and add a rich pop of color to your kitchen. It also keeps them handy for when you’re prepping your food! We love wooden cutting boards because overtime, plastic ones can actually start to break down and pieces can end up in your food… ew! So, showcasing your wooden cutting boards adds some easy decor but also a safer alternative for chopping.

Sunless Tans: Top Picks and Tricks to Get Your Glow On!

 Image Source: @rahneebransby

Image Source: @rahneebransby

After a long, cold winter in New England and the weather finally starting to heat up, we’re looking to get that perfect summer glow rolling! With all the research done, we know that skin cancer is not to be taken lightly and laying out in the sun baking really isn’t a safe option. Instead, we’ve gathered some of the top sunless tanners to help you get your glow on this season, without those harmful rays and on an everyday girl budget!

Our Key Tips to the Perfect Tan:

Make sure you exfoliate beforehand! And after you get out of the shower, keep you skin clean, meaning no lotion, deodorant, or perfumes before applying your self-tanner. If you have an applicator mitt, great! Definitely use it. If not, moisturize only the palms of your hands and between your fingers right before applying your tan to avoid unwanted color from sticking! This will keep a more natural look as those parts of your body don’t usually tan, but are needed to apply your tanner without a mitt. Once you’ve reached your optimal color, use a more gradual tanner like Jergens Natural Glow Daily Moisturizer for subtle maintenance glow.

The Healthier Alternatives To Your Favorite Foods

 IMAGE SOURCE: @LIFE.OF.CHA

IMAGE SOURCE: @LIFE.OF.CHA

Our favorite foods tend to be full of unhealthy sugars, fats, and carbs, but it doesn't have to be that way. There are tons of healthier alternatives to our favorite foods that taste as good and are full of the nutrients we need. To help you lead a healthier lifestyle, we are sharing our favorite alternatives to otherwise unhealthy foods that you can implement into your every day routine!


Pasta Alternatives

Most pastas are made of starchy grains with low nutrition value, and it takes more than the recommended portion size to fill you up. So, to make sure you are eating more vitamins and minerals, we love using zoodles (zucchini noodles), spiraled beets, or spaghetti squash instead of pasta. Zucchini is full of vitamins A and C, is low in calories, and has many essential minerals. Beets are full of folate and vitamin C, and is known for its anti-inflammatory and detoxification properties. Spaghetti squash is high in Vitamins A and B-6 and is very low in carbs and calories. Click the images below for our favorite zoodle, beet spiral, and spaghetti squash recipes!


Red & Fatty Meat Alternatives

Red meats are high in iron, B-12, and protein; however, too much red meat can lead to heart disease because of it's fat high content. To help reduce the amount of red meat you consume, we have come up with three delicious alternatives! Tofu is a staple in the vegetarian world. Tofu is made of soybeans and contains all the essential amino acids you need! It soaks up the flavors of sauces extremely well and can be used in many different ways. Jackfruit is used heavily in vegan recipes and is native to India. It's texture is similar to cooked chicken, and is readily available in canned form. Fish is our favorite alternative to red meat for those of you who are not vegetarian. Fish is full of healthy fats, is tasty, and there are so many different kinds and ways to prepare it!


Sugar & Sweetener Alternatives

Refined sugars, such as sugar from cane or sugar beets, are high in calories and can become extremely addictive. Limiting the amounts of refined sugars we eat can help boost metabolism, burn more fat, and lower risk of sugar related diseases like diabetes. Our favorite alternatives to refined sugars are natural sugars such as coconut sugar, stevia, maple syrup, honey, or dates! Next time you reach for a sugar packet to put in your coffee, try adding coconut sugar or honey instead. Dates are perfect for sweetening soups and sauces, just puree a few and add to your recipe while cooking!


Rice Alternatives

Like pasta, rice is healthy when eaten in correct portion sizes, but in excess is high in calories and carbohydrates. To add more nutrition to your rice-based dishes, we want to introduce you to the growingly popular alternatives: cauliflower rice and quinoa. Cauliflower rice can be tedious to make at home, so for on the go or quick meals pick up a bag of frozen cauliflower rice at your local grocery store. Cauliflower rice is great at absorbing liquids such as curry and adds lots of nutrients to your dish like vitamin C and K, folate, and omega-3. Quinoa is an excellent source of protein and fiber. It comes in a few varieties and colors and is super easy to make. You can even make a large batch and store in the refrigerator!


Those Pesky Sweet Cravings Alternatives

Sweet cravings are wrench in anyone's healthy lifestyle. We all get them and we all cave. To help you make healthier decisions when it comes to your sweet cravings, we have a few alternatives that will kick cravings in the butt! Pickles, believe it or not, are a great craving quencher. Pickles, an other fermented foods, increase the immune system which helps regulate appetite and reduce sugar cravings. And at 5 calories per pickle, you can manage to indulge a little. Try to buy pickles with little added sugars (look near the deli refrigerators instead of down the condiment aisle). Fruit is an obvious alternative, because it is naturally sweet (think natural sugars over processed sugars), and is full of antioxidants and vitamins. If you want chocolate, try eating a few pieces of dark chocolate. Most dark chocolate bars have yummy and healthier flavor options such as orange or ginger! Got soda cravings? Try zero calorie seltzers. Seltzers satisfy your carbonation craving and come in a variety of sweet, but no sugar added, flavors.


What to Expect in This Weekend's Royal Wedding

 Image Source: Daily Telegraph

Image Source: Daily Telegraph

We can hardly believe we are just days away from the Royal Wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle! While many details are still shrouded in secrecy, there are a few things we can be certain of. Today, we’re breaking down what you can expect to see for the big event.

First off, let’s look over the when! The wedding will take place this Saturday, May 19th. The ceremony will take place at St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle, starting at 12pm GMT (7am ET) and will be followed by a carriage ride through Windsor at approximately 1pm GMT. Coverage of the event will be available on a number of stations, including NBC, PBS, CBS, BBC America, and E!. The ceremony will be officiated by Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby and the service will be led by David Conner, Dean of Windsor. There are 600 guests expected to attend the ceremony, which may seem large, but it actually much smaller and private than the usual royal wedding.

 Image Source: Wikipedia

Image Source: Wikipedia

Following the ceremony at St. George’s Chapel, the 600 guests will transition to St. George’s Hall (also in Windsor Castle) for a large lunch reception to honor the couple. Later on in the evening, the Prince of Wales will host a private reception at the Frogmore House with around 200 guests. Breaking somewhat of tradition, it’s expected that both Harry and Meghan will be making speeches at their reception, where usually it’s only the groom. It’s at this second reception that we expect to see an outfit change for Meghan, featuring a second dress for her big day that will allow her to enjoy the festivities and move more freely than her dress for the ceremony.

Speaking of dresses, the mystery behind Meghan’s dress is immense! Kensington Palace has done a phenomenal job of keeping the designer and style of the dresses under wraps. While there has been an incredible amount of speculation and betting, we won’t know for sure who designed the dresses or what they look like until Meghan makes her debut.

 Image Source: People

Image Source: People

Both Harry and Meghan have noted that they want and will be having family play a large role in the day. Meghan’s parents are scheduled to arrive on Friday to meet her future in-laws, the royal family. Meghan will arrive at the Chapel with her mother, and is expected to be walked down the aisle by her father. However, there has been much speculation this week over whether or not her father will be in attendance between tabloid issues and a reported heart attack. You can plan on seeing Harry’s niece and nephew Prince George and Princess Charlotte as page boy and flower girl. Prince William will act as his brother Prince Harry’s best man, another break in royal tradition. Additionally, the couple will honor Harry’s mother, the late Princess Diana, by inviting all of her siblings - Lady Sarah McCorquodale, Baroness Jane Fellowes, and Earl Spencer. Jane Fellows will be give a reading.

 Image Source: Violet Cakes London

Image Source: Violet Cakes London

More highly anticipated details include the cake and flowers for the day. We know the couple requested a lemon elderflower cake. This also breaks tradition as royal weddings are usually celebrated with a fruit cake. The cake has been commissioned to Claire Ptak of Violet Bakery and will be covered in buttercream and fresh flowers. In terms of flowers, we don’t have too much detail too. They’ll be arranged by London-based florist Philippa Craddock. At a minimum, Meghan’s bouquet will include myrtle, an evergreen shrub, as it’s a tradition for every royal bride. Other than that, we know the flowers at the wedding will include white garden roses, foxgloves, and peonies. One of our favorite parts of royal weddings is that after the ceremony, all of the flowers are donated to charity!

All in all, while there will be some non-traditional aspects, we can expect to see a traditional ceremony on Saturday. As with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, the royal family will pay for the festivities. The final question lies with what title Meghan will take after the wedding. Most likely, the couple will be named Duke and Duchess, and bets are on Sussex… but we’ll have to wait and see to find out for sure! No matter what, we know it’s going to be an event to remember.

Ultra Violet: The Pantone Color of the Year in Tablescapes

Are you sick of seeing Ultra Violet yet? Neither are we! This deep, romantic color is just perfect for your big day. We’ve shared a general inspiration board, some ways to work it into your groom’s look, and now we’re looking at how to incorporate the color of the year into your tablescape!

There’s a wide variety of ways you can feature ultra violet in your wedding tablescape -- regardless of how intensely you want the focus to be. Whether it be a small accent, or the main color, we are loving these beautiful shots. Simple small stems entwined with silverware, ultra violet menus, tablecloths, napkins, candlesticks… sky’s the limit! What’s your favorite?

How to Style: Classic Little Black Dress

Little black dresses have been a wardrobe staple for years, and chances are, you’ve got one stuffed in the back of your closet somewhere. It’s the easiest thing to revert to when you just don’t know what to wear - ask anyone, and they’ll tell you to go with a classic LBD. They're eternally chic! But what most people don’t acknowledge is that there’s different kinds of LBDs - you wouldn’t wear a slinky satin one out to brunch, and you definitely wouldn’t wear a casual t-shirt dress to work! We’re here to break down some of the cutest LBDs on trend this season and help you style each one for the right occasion.


For an Easy Summer Look

 Image Source: The Penny Closet

Image Source: The Penny Closet

On a breezy summer day, there’s nothing better than tossing on a comfy dress with some sandals and leaving it at that. This dress is an absolutely necessary summer piece, especially with the added off-the-shoulder detail. Your look doesn’t have to end there, though! If you’re headed to a brunch date on the water with some friends, prepare for a little breeze and throw on a denim jacket. Add some more color into your look with these adorable tassel earrings in red, or keep it simple with a black pair. Accessorize some more with a fun reflective sunglasses. Pair it with some sneakers, or ditch the everyday flip flops for some strappy sandals to dress up your look without overdoing it!


For A Day at the Office

 Image Source: Hi Sugar Plum

Image Source: Hi Sugar Plum

There’s nothing more powerful than a girl in a little black dress, so take advantage of that confidence and rock one at work. There are tons of options with more modest cuts that are suitable for the office, like this one from Express. The pinstripes give off professional vibes and the high neckline is appropriate for any work environment, but it’s still a trendy piece you can wear out to drinks after work, too! If you’re not into patterns, opt for any loose, simple black dress. Go with an easygoing makeup look for this one and super tame hair in a slicked back pony. Make sure to pair it with some comfortable closed-toe heels, too, but mix it up a little with a white pair!


For A Girls’ Night Out

 Image Source: Express

Image Source: Express

When you think little black dress, you think girls’ night out - it’s a popular staple piece for a reason! Pair any LBD with a bold pair of heels and hoops and you’re ready for a night out in the city, but we especially love this one for a flirty take on the look. The ruffles are super feminine, the length is perfect, and the satin is just glam enough for a bar, nightclub or event. Keep it simple with a pair of strappy black heels like these ones and go all out with your makeup look. The dress is gorgeous, but sometimes the beauty of a little black dress is that you become the focus, not your outfit!

Elevate Your Tablescape With These DIY Marble Dishes

 Image Source: Lydi Out Loud

Image Source: Lydi Out Loud

Whether you’re serving up a three course meal or a buffet full of tasty appetizers, presentation is key at any event you’re throwing. Bringing some color into your tablescape isn’t difficult! You can incorporate pops of it through decor, fabric and florals, but that can get one-dimensional pretty fast. You want your tablescape to be as festive as the party you’re throwing, so mix it up with this simple but gorgeous DIY!

This affordable project first captured our attention on LydiOutLoud’s insta feed, but we’re seeing the paint pouring trend everywhere right now. Paint pouring, or “flow painting,” requires very little artistic experience or talent and only a few supplies, so it’s the perfect beginner DIY with a guaranteed flawless result. The marble look is so on trend at the moment, and so are bright pastel colors and rich, deep tones. Why not incorporate the two trends together with these gorgeous, one-of-a-kind marbleized plates?

 Image Source: Mark Montano

Image Source: Mark Montano

 Image Source: @pmqfortwo

Image Source: @pmqfortwo

The best part about this DIY is the low-end cost, but high-end results. You can go out and buy all new clear glass plates if you’re looking to make an entire set to store away at home (any Dollar Store is perfect for this), but you can also just thrift some old glass pieces, too! A vintage-turned-colorful marble charger would be the perfect staple to keep on your dining room table during the spring season. Go the classic black and white marble look for everyday decor, or you could even get super creative for a baby shower or gender reveal and paint pour some gorgeous pink and blue plates. We also love the look of adding in some metallic gold and white paint to your color scheme and complimenting the look with gold silverware - the end results are stunning!


ALL YOU NEED

 Image Source: Maison Numen

Image Source: Maison Numen


HOW TO

  1.  Using a ratio of 1:1, mix each individual paint color with the Pouring Medium in their own separate cup.
  2. Layer each mixture in another cup, but don’t stir them together.
  3. Elevate the plates you’ll be decorating face down on a cup or stand so that any extra paint can drip off onto the surface below.
  4. If you want that extra pop of metallic paint, LydiOutLoud has an awesome suggestion: splatter some on before you pour your colors!
  5. Pour the cup of layered paint all over each dish as evenly as possible. Pick up the plate - and yes, this will get a little bit messy, so grab some gloves! - and tilt it so that the paint becomes more marbled and swirls together.
  6. Let the paint dry for 24 hours, then peel off any extra paint that got on the edges or serving side.
  7. Pour a layer of the Clear Pouring Top Coat evenly over the painted bottom for a high-quality and vibrant look. Dry this coat overnight, too!
  8. If you want to make sure your paint stays perfect over time, add two coats of Dishwasher Safe Decou-Page. This doesn’t make your new dishes dishwasher safe, but it does make sure that chipping is minimal, so it’s a great extra step to take!

WOW Your Mom by Making These Delicious Vanilla Tea Cakes from Pete's Sweets!

 Image Courtesy of Pete's Sweets

Image Courtesy of Pete's Sweets

We’re so excited to share a delicious recipe made by our wonderful friend Peter Gray of Pete’s Sweets! These tea cakes so so light and yummy and are sure to be a crowd pleaser.

Tea Cake Ingredients:                                                         

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1½ cups pure cane sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 3 ¼ cups cake flour
  • 2½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1½ cups whole milk
  • 2½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Instructions:

 Image Courtesy of Pete's Sweets

Image Courtesy of Pete's Sweets

  1. Preheat the oven to 350° F. Line a 9 X 13 cake pan with parchment paper, making sure the paper hangs over the sides of the pan. Grease and flour the parchment paper and set aside.
  2. In a mixing bowl of a stand mixer, combine the butter and sugar and beat at medium speed until light and fluffy.
  3. Add the eggs, one at a time, and scrape the bottom of the bowl to make sure all the ingredients are well combined.
  4. Place the cake flour, baking powder, and salt in a mixing bowl and stir to combine.
  5. Combine the milk and vanilla in a measuring cup. Alternate adding the milk/vanilla mixture and the dry mixture to the whipped butter/sugar mixture. Beat on medium speed for 1½ minutes, scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl, add the remaining milk mixture, and beat for another 30 seconds.
  6. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth with a spatula. Bake 30-35 minutes or until the cake is golden over the entire surface and a toothpick comes out free of batter or crumbs when inserted into cakes center.
  7. Cool cake completely before assembling tea cakes.

Vanilla Buttercream Frosting Ingredients:

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 3-4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2-4 tablespoons whole milk or heavy cream

Instructions:

 Image Courtesy of Pete's Sweets

Image Courtesy of Pete's Sweets

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer (or with an electric hand mixer), beat the butter at medium speed for 2-3 minutes, or until pale in color and fluffy.
  2. Add 3 cups of powdered sugar and turn your mixer on the lowest speed (so the sugar doesn’t blow everywhere) until the sugar has been incorporated with the butter.
  3. Increase mixer speed to medium and add vanilla extract and 2 tablespoons of milk/cream and beat for 3 minutes. If your frosting needs a more stiff consistency, add remaining sugar. If your frosting needs to be thinned out, add remaining milk 1 tablespoons at a time. Optionally, you can add in a few drops of natural food coloring.

Assembling The Cakes:

  1. Once the cakes are completely cool use a serrated knife to carefully slice the cake lengthwise, to create 2 thinner cake layers.
  2. Using a 1 ½-2 inch round cookie cutter, punch out small cake disks. (Cut the disks out as close as possible, to maximize yield)
  3. Load the buttercream icing into a piping bag fitted with a star piping tip, or use a gallon size zip top bag with one corner snipped to pipe a small dollop of icing onto the top of one single cake disk, sandwich another cake disk atop the iced cake and repeat this process to create a small stack (3-4 layers of cake per individual Tea Cake).
  4. Top with icing and decorate with flowers, fresh fruit, or powdered sugar.

Dresses of Royal Weddings Past: Our Favorites!

It’s hard to believe that next Saturday is the next big royal wedding! We can’t wait to see what Meghan Markle is wearing for the occasion. Royal weddings are known for their fabulous fashion. To honor this, we’re looking back at some iconic and favorite looks from past weddings. What royal bride wore your favorite look?!

Queen Elizabeth II, 1947

 Image Source: Vogue UK

Image Source: Vogue UK

 Image Source: Good Housekeeping

Image Source: Good Housekeeping

 Image Source: E News

Image Source: E News

 Image Source: The Telegraph

Image Source: The Telegraph

 Image Source: Queens of England

Image Source: Queens of England

 Image Source: The Daily Beast

Image Source: The Daily Beast

How to Throw an Unforgettable Bachelorette Party On an Everyday Girl Budget

 Image Source: Two Twenty One

Image Source: Two Twenty One

Throwing a bachelorette party is just one more step in the expensive to-do list that comes along with wedding planning, but it’s a crucial one - the bride needs to celebrate with her closest girlfriends before the big day! It doesn’t have to be some giant, glamorous Vegas getaway that you need to spend every last penny on, but it can still be glamorous - just on a budget!

 Image Source: StyleMePretty

Image Source: StyleMePretty

First thing’s first: as always, set a clear budget. Be transparent with the entire bridal party and the bride - what’s everyone comfortable spending? This step should always come first, because it really helps you narrow down your options for the celebration! Once your budget is set in stone, organize a Google Docs sheet to keep everything as transparent as possible. Group texts and email chains can get confusing fast, so write out itinerary plans and expenses in a shared document so everyone can stay on top of things!

 Image Source: Brit + Co

Image Source: Brit + Co

Now’s the big question: what to do? The possibilities for a bachelorette party are endless, because the point of it all is to spend time with your girlfriends; chances are, you’ll have the time of your life together no matter what it is you’re doing!

                                                                          A great idea to save some money is to keep the celebration limited to one day or night. An entire weekend may sound like fun at first, but it can get drawn out fast and the costs really add up. Choose quality over quantity!

Instead, head out for a day trip with the bridal party or a one night stay somewhere relatively local. Some of our fave ideas are visiting a local winery for brunch over some rosé, renting a gorgeous suite in a nearby hotel for the night and opting for their spa package, having a slumber party girls’ night at home, or doing a bar crawl of all the places you frequented when you all first turned 21 - you could even add in a scavenger hunt for some added excitement! For the adventurous bride, a glamping trip could be the perfect girls’ night mixed with a little bit of outdoorsy fun, and for the artsy bride, a Paint n’ Sip night could be a relaxing celebration. Plan your event around the bride’s personality for a super unique party.

 Image Source: Something Turqoise

Image Source: Something Turqoise

Bachelorette parties wouldn’t be complete without the classic tiara and sash, but keep the other personalized gifts to a minimum to save some money in your planning. An adorable monogrammed wine glass or tumbler for each guest with the date would be a small but memorable gift, or save even more with some budget-friendly flash tattoos or hangover kits - you don’t have to go all out with expensive personalized t-shirts!


 

May Flowers: How to Incorporate Florals into Your Home

 Image Source:   Etsy

Image Source: Etsy

April showers bring May flowers… to your home decor! Are you a lover of florals? We are too! But when it comes to incorporating them into your home more than a vase of flowers here or there, it can get tricky to manage. What’s too much? Is there a such thing as too much? How will it fit in with my style? All are good questions! So today, we’re going over our five favorite ways to tie the floral decor into your home, whether you want something super bold, or more subtle.

Furniture

Floral patterned furniture can certainly be that “wow” statement piece you’re looking for! Brighten up your living room with a fun floral chair. Or, go more subtle with a floral painted dresser or end table. We love the huge range of styles and power that furniture offers. If you’re looking for a fun floral DIY project, try your hand at painting your own florals on an end table!

Wallpaper

Wallpaper also gives you the chance to really make a statement, or keep things more low key. We recommend selecting one or even two feature wall(s) versus wallpapering an entire room with your floral pattern. This really highlights its beauty without becoming overpowering. Easy to adapt to your current style, there are all sort of patterns and color palettes to choose from when it comes to floral wallpaper.

Wall Art

Committing to actual wallpaper giving you anxiety? No worries, it’s not for everyone! Lucky for you, there are so many beautiful ways to incorporate floral wall art into your home. Whether it’s a funky 3D frame, or more of a hanging piece, there’s something for everyone. If you’re looking to go even more relaxed and basic, hang some photographs in regular frames that highlight some of your favorite flowers!

Throw Pillows

Throw pillows are a really easy way to add in those floral accents. Mix in some bright and fun patterns with your regular throw pillows or switch out seasonally! There’s really no way to go wrong here. Who doesn’t love a good throw pillow?

Dishes

Dishes can be a fun and unique way to bring the look into your home! Whether it be for everyday use or special occasions, more and more companies are coming out with fresh, young floral dishes. These aren’t your Grandma’s beautiful China pieces, they have a very different feel to them. If the classic China is more your speed, we also love that look! It all depends on your style and how much of a pop you’re looking to add.

Honeymoon Hotspot: Bar Harbor, ME

 Image Source: @VisitBarHarbor

Image Source: @VisitBarHarbor

If you’re looking for an oceanfront retreat for your honeymoon, forget the hustle and bustle that comes with a pricey tropical vacation and check out some more local options instead - they don’t disappoint! Bar Harbor, Maine makes the perfect post-wedding destination because of its fun downtown vibe, miles of national park and oceanfront trails, and incredible food. Not to mention, it’s super romantic - what’s better than winding down seaside together after months of planning a wedding?

 Image: Ullikana

Image: Ullikana

 

 

The hotels in Bar Harbor are unlike any you’ll find at fancy resorts and spas, but they’re absolutely charming and gorgeous. For a super cozy and unique stay, check out the Ullikanna Inn, which is made up of adorable dollhouse-like cottages! If you want to be as close to the water as possible, though, book your stay at the most popular place in the area: the Bar Harbor Inn. Make sure to get an oceanfront room to enjoy your coffee on the balcony first thing in the morning! The AirBnB market in Bar Harbor is packed with quaint waterfront cottages for any budget, like this one. For about the same price as an inn, you get the entire place to yourselves and a waterfront campfire to enjoy!

 Image Source: @CassieeThompsonn

Image Source: @CassieeThompsonn

Don’t focus too much on where you’re staying, though, because the beauty of a trip to Bar Harbor is how much there is to explore outdoors. Nestled right next to Acadia National Park, the area’s riddled with hiking trails for any skill level. Take an easier beginner’s trail up Dorr Mountain or really challenge yourselves by attempting to hike the Beehive. If the weather’s a little too hot, drive up Park Loop Road instead!

You can’t leave Bar Harbor without watching the sunrise from the top of Cadillac Mountain, and you most definitely can’t miss checking out Thunder Hole. When the tide rolls in, the waves reach up to 40 feet high and sound exactly like thunder - it’s unforgettable!

 Image Source: @SenseOfTasteBlog

Image Source: @SenseOfTasteBlog

Most of Bar Harbor is scattered with gorgeous rocky beaches, but if you want to lay in the sun, check out Sand Beach - it’s the only sandy beach in the area, so be prepared for a huge crowd! After spending the morning in the sun, stop by Jordan Pond House for one of their classic popovers.

Make sure to head to downtown, too, and shop all the local storefronts. Parking in the summer is a bit of a hassle, so opt to bike or walk instead! While you’re exploring downtown, stop for some world-famous seafood at Galyn’s; there’s nothing quite like their mouth-watering lobster rolls.

 

Spoil Your Mom with This Delish Mother's Day Brunch Line Up

It’s hard to believe that Mother’s Day is right around the corner! While everyone celebrates in different ways, we love to host a good brunch. After all, who doesn’t love brunch?! This year, we’re serving up a nice variety of sweet and savory, with Lemonade and Blood Orange Mimosas, a Parfait Bar, a Frittata Bar, and some sweet Blueberry Cake to finish things off.

Blood Orange Mimosas

 Image & Recipe Source: Sugar and Charm

Image & Recipe Source: Sugar and Charm

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 1/4 cup fresh-squeezed lemon juice

  • 3/4 to 1 cup sugar or a sugar substitute (You can add more or less depending on how you like it!)

  • 6 cups water

  • 1 1/2 cups fresh blood orange juice

How to Make it:

Pour equal parts blood orange lemonade and Champagne into each glass. Garnish with a blood orange slice.


Your Parfait Bar

 Image Source: Mols Designs

Image Source: Mols Designs

What You’ll Need:

  • Various fruits, our picks are:
    • Strawberries
    • Blueberries
    • Raspberries
    • Blackberries
    • Bananas
    • Cherries
  • Granola
  • Yogurt (flavor and kind of your choosing)

How to Make it:

Provide bowls and spoons for everyone and let them go to town layering their yogurt and fruit for a light and healthy option.


Your Frittata Bar

 Image & Recipe Source: Family Fresh Meals

Image & Recipe Source: Family Fresh Meals

What You’ll Need:

  • 10 eggs (or for a lighter version – 6 eggs and 4 egg whites)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper (optional)
  • A variety of add-ins such as:
    • Diced Bacon
    • Sausage
    • Broccoli
    • Peppers
    • Spinach
    • Cheese
    • Tomatoes
    • Onions
  • Non-stick Spray

How to Make Them:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Prep any add-ins you are going to use. Make sure all meat is already cooked. It’s also best to cut things into small pieces so you don’t have huge chunks sitting in your frittata.
  2. Whisk together eggs, salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Spray muffin tin with non-stick spray. Fill each muffin tin 2/3 the way full with beaten eggs. Add in a couple teaspoons of your favorite add-ins.
  4. Bake at 350°F for 20 - 22 minutes (check them at 20 and then keep an eye on them) The frittatas should look puffed up, but set in the middle. Once you remove them from the oven to cool, they will flatten out.
  5. Note: These can be stored in the fridge for 3 days to be reheated for breakfast later in the week!

Your Blueberry Cake

What You’ll Need:

 Image & Recipe Source: A Spicy Perspective

Image & Recipe Source: A Spicy Perspective

For the Blueberry Cake:

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 3/4 cups all purpose Gold Medal Flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • Zest of 2 lemons
  • 1 pound fresh blueberries

For the Buttermilk Glaze:

  • 3 tablespoons buttermilk
  • 1 cup powdered sugar

For the Oat Crumble Topping:

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 2 tablespoons oats
  • 2 tablespoons sliced almonds
 Image & Recipe Source: A Spicy Perspective

Image & Recipe Source: A Spicy Perspective

How to Make it:

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Spray a standard 12-cup bundt pan with non-stick cooking spray and sprinkle lightly with flour.

  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Then beat in the eggs and vanilla.

  3. Mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a separate bowl. Turn the mixer on low and slowly add the flour and buttermilk, alternating each, until all incorporated.

  4. Finally beat in the lemon zest before turning the mixer off. Use a spoon the stir in half the blueberries.

  5. Pour the batter into the prepared bundt pan and sprinkle the remaining blueberries over the top. Bake for 60-80 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

  6. Remove the cake from the oven and allow it to cool for at least 20 minutes before flipping out onto a cooling rack. DO NOT try flipping the cake any earlier than 20 minutes, or the cake will stick. Promise! Waiting 30+ minutes is safer.

  7. Once the cake is cooling on the rack, mix the oat crumble. Add all the ingredients to a small bowl and pinch with your fingers to blend the ingredients and break into small pieces.

  8. Sprinkle the mixture over a baking sheet and bake in the heated oven for 5-10 minutes. Cool on the baking sheet before proceeding.

  9. For the glaze, whisk the buttermilk and powdered sugar in a small bowl. Drizzle the glaze over the cake and immediately sprinkle the oat crumble over the top of the cake before the glaze dries.