Monday, October 28, 2013

November is Craft Fair Month!

Mark your calendars, because November is craft fair month! That's right, crafters work hard all year, but most especially in October prepping for those local craft fairs.

You'll find plenty of unique and special items at these fabulous shows! Here are some of my favorites for the month...

Saturday, November 2nd: 

Arts and Crafts Fair at Orlando Grace Church

  • 9am - 2pm at 650 Maitland Ave, Altamonte Springs
  • Vendors include handmade creators, vintage collectors, and home business owners 
  • Local Christian radio station, Z88.3 will be there!
  • My very on Etsy store will also be featured! Check out the Lilac & Lovely booth while you're there! 
  • I'm excited for this event because it promises to be a venue where there'll be less crowds. This gives you the opportunity to talk with your artisans and crafters to get their story behind their items and why the love what they do!

43rd Annual Fall Fiesta in the Park

  • Both Saturday and Sunday, November 2nd and 3rd from 10am-5pm at Lake Eola in Downtown Orlando
  • With over 300 artists and crafter booths, this is the mecca of all Orlando craft fairs!
  • They will also have a kid's play area and tons of tasty food options.  
  • Daniel and I went to this one last autumn, and while it was a lot of fun- be prepared for the crowds. I also wasn't as thrilled with how little booths were actually crafters. Not another booth with pretzel dip! C'mon people! You can check out some my photos from that event in this blog posting. Also-be prepared to pay for parking!

Saturday, November 9th: 

40th Annual Great Day in the Country Arts and Crafts Festival

  • 9am to 4pm located on the grounds of Lawton Elementary School, 151 Graham Avenue, Oviedo, FL
  • Free parking and shuttles to the event
  • Promising over 350 vendors, live entertainment, children's play area, and tasty food!
  • This is the craft fair I've heard amazing things about- I'm definitely saving this date! 
  • With Ovideo's quiet, small-town charm, I'm sure the Great Day in the Country won't disappoint! I see some yummy buttered corn in my future!

Saturday, November 23rd: 

  • 9am to 5pm, both Saturday and Sunday the 23rd and 24th, in downtown historic Longwood, near W Warren Ave
  • Always the weekend before Thanksgiving, there will be artist's and crafter's booths along the tree‑shaded streets of Longwood's charming Historic District. 
  • Free admission and free parking immediately adjacent to the event. 
  • Daniel and I went to this one last year. It was definitely a smaller event than Fall Fiesta, but had some great vendors! This is very close to our house, so it was nice to walk around for an hour or so and then head home.

Happy Fall Craft Fairs, Ya'll!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

How to Eat Your Way Through the Countries (with a Skinny Wallet)

Living in Orlando, we are privileged to be able to have Disney World right around the corner. Every autumn Epcot showcases their International Food & Wine Festival, and it is pretty spectacular! 

This being our second year at Food & Wine Fest, I thought I'd share some tips on how to eat your way around the world on a budget! 

Chef Remy posing with Beer Flight #1 and Cheese Trio (Artisan cheese served with honey, La Bonne Vie Triple Cream Brie served with apricot jam, and Wijngaard Goat Gouda with Craisin bread)

1. Eat breakfast. Yep, sleep in and eat breakfast before heading out the door. The countries and food stands do not open until 11am, so no need to rush to the park.

Chef Remy & I posing in France

2. Do not feel like you have to stop at every stand. There are 30 (yep, thirty!) food stands sprinkled throughout the park. You can still buy from 4-5 stands and feel like you had an amazing experience. This year we stopped at the Cheese, Craft Beers, Greece, Brewer's Collection, Desserts & Champagne, Florida Local, and Belgium country marketplaces, and that was plenty!

Trying beer flight #1

3. Go splitsies!  Split food items with your spouse or friends to really get a great tasting experience! You'll just get a few bites of it, but you'll get a ton of variety!

Dessert Trio of: Chocolate orange cupcake,
Hazelnut chocolate cheesecake, Morello cherry pistachio mousse

Belgium waffles with berry compote and cocolate ganache and whipped cream 

4. Know your budget. This one might be obvious, but talk with your spouse or friends that you'll be going with, to keep accountability on your budget. For last year's Food and Wine Fest, Daniel and I brought $20 per person for food and drinks. This year, we doubled (that's $40 per person) and really got to purchase lots of food during the day, souvenirs, and even a Starbucks on the way out of the park!

Starbucks within Epcot

5. Bring cash. It makes things so simple for purchasing food all day. Most food and beverage prices are a whole dollar, or quarter amount (ex: $3.25, $2.00), so you won't be stuck with lots of coin change.

Tasting the berry Belgium waffle... delish!

If you want to check out the menu of food and beverages before you go, here's a link to Disney's list of country Marketplaces (bonus- prices are listed!). 

Happy tasting everyone!

Chef Remy & I near the cheese menu kiosk

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Top 10 Things to Know When Planning a Shower

After throwing three showers within the past three weeks, I think I'm starting to get the hang of this! Here are some of my tips for putting together a fabulous bridal, baby, or engagement shower! Enjoy! 

  1. Make sure you've got the essential decorations- personalized banner (they're hot these days!), photos of the guest of honor, candles, flowers, and of course a theme! For this shower (I had a week to pull together! Eeek!), we went with a play on words for "falling in love". I used tons of fall decorations I already had at home to help make this theme come together quickly. 

  2. Write down your budget and stick to it! You can definitely throw a nice shower within your budget. Just remember to borrow party items from friends, enlist help of others with food, and plan ahead! 
  3. Shop around and don't be afraid of returns! Between the power of online shopping, big box stores, and specialty stores, you've got options. Save all your receipts in case you find something cheaper elsewhere, for quick and easy returns. Also if you have extra (paper plates for example) after the shower, you can also return (provided it's not opened). 
  4. Don't forget the drinks! I don't know how many showers or parties I've been to where there was only one or two options for drinks. People like soda, tea, lemonade, and alcohol! Seriously people! Food to feed everyone is important, but please don't skimp on the beverages. Stock up on BOGO's a few weeks leading up to the big day.
    Here we've got coffee, milk, water, and lemonade for our dessert bar

  5. Thrift It- I've found more unique and fun items at thrift stores, garage sales, and Walmart then I know what to do with! They make for great conversation pieces at your shower. I found a pair of glass cappuccino mugs at Goodwill, which was adorable at our "love is brewing" shower. 

  6. Set-up the night before! My mother-in-law taught me this trick. It saves so much time and headaches if you just set up the decorations, plates, chairs, serving dishes the night before. 
  7. Don't forget your gift! Along with drinks, here's another item that often gets thought of last. Just because you help or host a shower, does not mean you should skimp on a gift. Consider thinking of your gift first before thinking of all the details of a shower. Here are two gifts I put together for under $20 each: baby girl diaper cake and an engagement gift basket. Too cute!  
  8. Personalize your games! It is so sweet to have shower games that let guests get to know the couple better. Google search them- there's tons out there! Here are a few of my favs: The Newly Wed Game, He Said vs. She Said.
  9. Be Hipster. That's been my favorite buzzword of late. What I mean is, include something that's trendy in your shower. Right now printables are hot. You can find tons of cutesy sayings on Pinterest. Print them out (or create your own!) and put them in with your decorations. You never know what's trendy or hot right now, so search around. Things like printables or a photo booth give your shower a fun, trendy vibe. Fabulous! 
    "love is sweet... help yourself to a little treat" for our dessert bar
  10. Lastly, HAVE FUN! Remember that even though you're working the event (set-up, greeting, photography, hosting, tear-down), it's still supposed to be a party. Enjoy yourself before you have to start on dishes!