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Classic Manhattan with Bourbon Soaked Cherries

It is officially Fall on the calendar and that means we’re overhauling our beloved bar carts. Out with the fruity and light and in with the toasty warm sips. This Classic Manhattan with Borbon Soaked Cherries is exactly what i’m talking about. Whipped up by Jessica Camerata with photography by Jessica Smith, have a look at your new favorite Fall drink.

There’s nothing quite like a classic manhattan cocktail especially in the fall. With the warm flavors of whiskey paired with sweet vermouth, it’s really the best cocktail to curl up on a cool night. Your typical manhattan may usually be served up with a maraschino cherry, but this adult beverage deserves an adult garnish, bourbon soaked cherries of course! You can buy these already made, or choose to whip up your own at home.

Classic Manhattan with Bourbon Soaked Cherries
prep time
5 Minute/s
cook time
total time
5 Minute/s
Serves 0Ingredients
  • 3 dashes of bitters
  • 2 oz Makers Mark Whiskey
  • 1 oz of sweet vermouth
  1. Serve over an ice sphere
  2. Garnish with 3 skewered bourbon cherries

Photography: Jessica Smith | Recipe & Styling: Jessica Camerata

Backyard Baby Shower

There is no sweeter party than the baby shower. They are just so darn adorable, and the gifts? Don’t even get me started. So when a party planner is in charge of bringing such a day to life, that level of darling goes up about ten notches. Which is precisely what happened when Little Miss Party Planner planned her sister’s shower. With the help of Simply Beautiful EatingSweet Woodruff and Sandra Brzezinski, she hosted a backyard soiree that was just as sweet as they come.

From Little Miss Party PlannerWhen my sister Mandy told me she was pregnant I was over the moon with joy for her, our family and my two children would now have a new baby cousin. When Mandy told me she was having a baby girl I was even more excited. With two boys in the family, it was finally time to add some PINK into the mix.

I immediately started dreaming up her baby shower…and this time…I think I may have gone a bit overboard.
I have always wanted to throw a party in my Aunt Debi’s backyard. She has a perfectly flat piece of grass that screams PUT A TENT ON ME! I’m ready to party! She agreed to co-host the event with me so we could use her home for the venue and we began the planning. I wanted the shower to be different from the typical daytime brunch where you play games and open gifts. So we called the shower for a Thursday evening and the plan was to serve a family style dinner under soft bistro lighting.

To keep it light – I played off of my sister’s new married last name: Dick. That’s right, she’s having a baby dick. Luckily my sis has a great sense of humor and was more then happy to let me run with this as a theme. I used it subtly on the invite, menus and cupcake toppers. Everyone had a good chuckle from the moment they opened the envelope with their invitation.

The shower turned out exactly how I had dreamed it would and Mandy had tears of joy streaming down her face when she walked in. The guests were in awe and enjoyed the delicious food, company and beautiful weather.

Photography: Sandra Brzezinski | Flowers: Sweet Woodruff | Catering: L'Eat Catering | Aunt Debi's Backyard: Toronto, Ontario | Candles And Pink Glasses: CB2 | Chairs, Tableware & Tent: Exclusive Affairs | Custom Cupcake Toppers: All That Glitters | Invitations And Menus: Minted | Mini Cupcakes And Custom Cookies: Baked By Joy | Mini Donuts: Minilicious By Rachelle | Party Stylist: Little Miss Party Planner | Party Stylist: Simply Beautiful Eating | Wood Tables: Woodstock Rentals

DIY Halloween Costume: Circus Wagon

Our last stop on this incredible, fabulous Circus extravaganza is the DIY Circus Wagon. Wagons are great for little ones who can’t walk the whole time and it proves a great landing spot for gobs of candy. The Circus Trio can be mixed and matched – just the lion and the cage, just the ringmaster and lion or the whole shebang and it’s perfect for a sibling pair. Click here for even more Halloween costume ideas!

Check out the other DIY costumes from this series!

Circus Lion
Circus Ringmaster


(7) 48”x1/2” wooden poles
(2) 48”x1”x3” wood boards
Red spraypaint
Gold spraypaint
1 sheet 22×28” red posterboard
2 sheets gold glitter paper
5” letter stencils
1 9”x12” sheet red felt
1 9”x12” sheet white felt
16 ft white parachute cord

Double stick tape
Red duct tape
½” drill bit
Wood glue
Hay (optional)


step-1Have the hardware store cut the 48”x1”x3” boards to two 34.5” pieces and two 13.5” pieces. Have them cut the 48” poles in half to (14) 24” long poles.

step-1 Spraypaint the 14 poles gold, and the 4 boards red, on all sides of each piece. Let dry 1 hour.

step-2 Arrange the red boards in a rectangle on the floor, with the 13.5” pieces inside of the longer pieces. The final rectangle should be about 34.5” x 15” x 3”. Use wood glue to secure the boards together, let dry for 2 hours.

step-3On the top skinny 1” side of the two long 34.5” boards, mark the holes for the poles with the pencil. Mark the first hole in dead center of the board, and then the remaining holes will be 4.7” from each other until there are 7 holes. The last holes on each side should be about 1” from the end of the board. Repeat with the other 34.5” board.

step-4 On the top skinny 1” side of one of the 13.5” boards, mark 2 holes about 4.5” from each other and 4.5” from the edges of the board. Leave the last board blank, that will be the “door” to your circus cage.

step-4 Drill each hole, about ¼” deep. Insert each gold pole with a bit of wood glue and adjust their position until they are straight and perpendicular to the red rectangle frame. Let dry for 2 hours.

step-4 Wrap the tan base of the wagon with red duct tape until covered. Flip the gold cage & frame over and place inside the wagon to rest on the wooden lip. The cage “door” should be at the front of the wagon. Use red duct tape to secure the base of each pole to the sides of the wagon.

step-8Cut the posterboard to two 7”x28” strips. Tape a strip down the middle of each of the long wagon sides.

step-9Trace the letter stencils for “Circus” on the gold glitter paper and cut out. I found it easier to trace the letters in reverse on the un-glittered backside of the paper. Tape the letters on the posterboard on each side of the wagon.

step-10Draw out 3” x 12” strips on the red and white felt. Mark a small line every 1.5” down each strip line. Draw out 3” triangles in each strip and cut out. Hot glue the triangle pennants to the parachute cord. Glue the pennant garland to the red frame of the circus cage.

step-11Fill the bottom of the wagon with hay and add your little lion!

Photography: Ruth Eileen Photography | Design & Styling: Jess Blazejewski For SMP Living

These Vendors are members of our Little Black Book.
For membership information, click here
DIY Halloween Costume: Circus Ringmaster

In terms of Halloween costumes, this circus trio is bringing its A-game. First we had the fierce (read, adorable) circus lion and now the gold epaulettes adorned ringmaster. It’s a super simple DIY made from quick add-ons to all ready owned clothes making this a great money saver. And who knows, maybe your little one already has a top hat in their closet. It’s certainly a fashion must!

Red jacket
Black pants
White button down shirt
Black top hat
Gold duct tape
1 yard gold rope trim
1 yard gold tassel trim
1 sheet black stiffened felt
2 sheets black felt
14” embroidery hoop
Gold spraypaint
1 sheet of red, orange, and yellow paper
Hot glue gun
Safety pins
Glue sticks
Cuff, lapel, and epaulette templates


step-1 Tape a line of gold duct tape down the side of the pants and to form a stripe. Repeat on the other side. Tape a line on the arms of the jacket, from the cuff up to the collar.

step-1 Print out the templates. Cut out each shape. Trace 2 epaulettes on the stiffened felt. Trace 2 cuffs and 2 lapels on the soft felt. Cut out all the felt shapes.

step-2 Hot glue the gold tassel trim around the edge of the epaulettes. Glue on the gold rope trim on the top edge. Safety pin each epaulette to the shoulders of the jacket. Safety pin the cuffs on the sleeves of the jacket, and the lapels on the collar and body of the jacket.

step-3 Spray paint the interior circle of the embroidery hoop gold on all sides and let dry ½ hour.

step-4 Make the flaming ring. Cut flame shapes from the red, orange and yellow papers. Stack them together and hot glue to each other. Turn them over, and trace the rim of the hoop on the back. Cut along the traced line. Glue the flames to the hoop.

step-4Dress your child in the white button down shirt, black pants, black bowtie, red jacket, and top hat. Hand them the flaming ring and they’re ready to direct the circus!

Check out these other DIY Costume Ideas

Sushi Roll | Stormy Rain Cloud | Ice Cream Man with Faux Cones!

Photography: Ruth Eileen Photography | Design & Styling: SMP Living

These Vendors are members of our Little Black Book.
For membership information, click here
DIY Halloween Costume: Circus Lion

This cute little lion is perfect all on its own but when you add in a circus wagon and a fire loop wielding ringmaster (coming up next!), it takes this getup to a whole new level of awesome. Starting with a furry snowsuit, faux fur and a feather boa, this fierce little lion was born. It’s a show-stopper, costume contest winner kind of costume, which is totally the best kind. For more DIY halloween ideas, click here.


Furry snowsuit
Gold feather boa
Large chenille stem
Safety pins
¼ yard faux fur fabric
Black facepaint crayon


step-1 Make the mane. Fold the feather boa in half. Center it over the snowsuit hood, and position it to frame the edge of the hood around the face and slightly down the edge of the zipper. Safety pin it in place (I put all the safety pins from the inside of the hood so they were mostly invisible).

step-1 Add fur to the suit. Cut the fur fabric into 3” wide strips, one for the cuff of each arm and leg of the suit. Safety pin the cuffs onto the suit.

step-2Make the tail. Cut two small, roughly 3” triangles of fur fabric. Cut a 12” length of chenille stem and hot glue one end inside a fur triangle. Pin that triangle to the bum of the suit. Hot glue the other triangle around the other end of the tail.

step-3 Tuck your little one in their lion suit and zip it up to where the mane begins. Draw on a little black nose with the facepaint crayon before they wiggle away!

Check out these other DIY Costume Ideas

Stormy Rain Cloud | Ice Cream Man with Faux Cones! | Cotton Candy

Photography: Ruth Eileen Photography | Design & Styling: Jess Blazejewski For SMP Living

These Vendors are members of our Little Black Book.
For membership information, click here