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DIY Valentine’s Day Mini Bouquets

Flowers and Valentine’s Day just seem to go hand in hand, but the blooms below will surely get you a gold star from your loved one. They say good things come in small packages, and these itty bitty bouquets snapped up by Ruth Eileen prove that point in the prettiest of ways. Oh, and you can whip these up in no time. Promise.

MaterialsFresh flowers with small to tiny blossoms (think spray roses and wax flowers)
Fresh greenery
Pink striped treat bags (we found them at Michaels)
White paper cording or string (we found it at Michaels)
White paper
Scissors
Rubber bands
Red heart confetti
Copper wire
Needle nose pliers
Hot glue gun
Hot glue sticks
Double sided tape

instructions

step-1Cut a 4” piece of copper wire with the wire cutters on the needle nose pliers.

step-2Cut a piece of paper to 2” x 1”. Fold paper in at ¾” to form the bottom of the envelope. Fold down the remaining paper over the envelope bottom to form the top flap. Fold under the corners of the top flap to make a point. Glue a heart confetti onto the point of the flap.

step-3Cut a piece of paper to 1” x ¾” and write a teeny tiny note to your Valentine. Tuck the note into the envelope and use a tiny piece of double sided tape to close the envelope. Glue the copper wire to the back of the envelope.

step-4Trim the flower and greenery stems to about 3” long and remove any excess leaves from the flower stems. Gather a small bundle of flowers, mixing 2 or 3 larger blossoms with a few sprigs of greenery and several stems of smaller flowers. Arrange them in your hand and tie the bundle with a rubber band. Tuck the envelope into the arrangement.

step-5Tuck the flower stems inside the treat bag. At the bottom of the bag, take one corner of the bag and wrap it around the bag to form more of a cone shape and glue in place. Tie the bag with a bit of paper cording in a bow. Repeat steps 1-5 to make as many mini bouquets as you like, then hand off to teachers, coworkers, and all the special someones in your life!

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

Blushing, Dessert Filled Valentine’s Party at Home

We’re pretty sure that Valentine’s Day is Style Me Pretty’s signature holiday. Our colors are actually blush and bashful (or pink and pink!). But to us, sharing the love is more about the company you keep than anything else, whether that’s you and your hubs or a gaggle of your favorite girlfriends. So this V-Day is all about sharing the love. With a really pretty party and REALLY good food.

THEME

PINK! Okay, and gold and blacks and well, romance. We wanted to capture the sweetness of such a holiday with the luxury of throwing a little party at home, with those you love. So we wanted pure oppulance paired with whimsy, we wanted casual sitting pretty next to all out fancy pants.

DECOR

Matte champagne sequin tablecloths set the tone and were placed on the coffee table and dessert table. We had a fire in fireplace to set the mood. And a mini champagne tower on white tray on coffee table to set the glam factor. We swapped out our regular pillows with pretty pink varieties and sprinkled in our pink desserts everywhere we could find a flat surface.

FLOWERS

Our flowers were generously donated by FiftyFlowers. And while we did get them for free, there are no amount of amazing favors that could justify the crazy incredibleness of the blooms themselves and the gracious people who supplied them.

We went with roses of every variety we could think of from garden to spray, sprinkling in tulips and delicate greens along the way. We jam packed as many as we could possibly fit into black urns to up the organic glam factor and placed them around the room so guests could enjoy them from every corner.

FOOD

  • Chocolate Tarts…We whipped up these chocolate tarts, then poured some salted caramel sauce on top.
  • Gilded Chocolate Gems…We melted white chocolate, dyed it with a little food coloring, then set it in gem chocolate molds, topping it with edible gold leaf. YUM.
  • Rose Cupcakes. Instead of baking our cupcakes in a cupcake pan, we placed wrappers on a sheet pan and scooped an ice cream scoop full of batter into each. The batter pushed the wrapper out a bit so that we had a wider, slightly thinner cupcake, perfect for our rose frosting! Use a Wilton 2D tip to achieve the rose topper.
  • Cheesecake Mouse. We’ll have the full recipe coming up later today but think cream cheese, white chocolate, whipping cream and a heavy dose of pure yum.
  • Double Chocolate Cookie Cups with Milk. Full recipe coming up later but these were the star of the day FOR sure. We used silicone baking molds to create chocolate cookie cups. Then we dunked them in chocolate, then in toffee and finally topped them off with ice cold milk.
  • Ombre Meringue Kisses. Which are as delightful as they sound. Pillowy little nuggets of meringue that were a total breeze to make.
  • Chocolate Ganache Cake – A chocolate on chocolate orgy. Yeah, I said it. This was the best cake I’ve ever had (toot, toot) and is a combination of two different recipes that we’ll be sharing this week.

FUN

Every good party has a little activity to keep the mood festive. Not necessarily full on crafting, but just pretty cards set out so that guests could tackle their Valentine’s…writing sweet notes and hand addressing envelopes.

We had cocktails & desserts in the living room. Small “station” tables (desserts, valentines, and champagne/eating tables) were set throughout the house. And as our guests left, we gifted them with little watercolor boxes of homemade chocolates.

Photography: White Loft Studio | Design And Styling: Style Me Pretty Living | Event Planning: Amazon | Flowers: Fifty Flowers | Calligraphy: Becca Joas | Blush Linen Pillow: Wayfair | Champagne Coupes: ACME Party Box | Gold Cake Stand: Canvas Home | Gold Lumbar Pillow: Wayfair | Pink Ikat Pillow: Joss & Main | Pink Mohair Throw: Wayfair | Pink Pillow: Wayfair | Velvet Pillow: Joss & Main

Home 101: How to Style Bookshelves


One of the hottest topics these days is the #shelfie. We’re talking open shelving, decorative shelving, an isolated floating shelf, a bookcase all decorated with bits and bobbles of meaningful decor, pretty decor and, obviously, books.

This FEELS like a task that should be able to be accomplished in an afternoon… A little of this here! A little of that there! Some layering on this shelf, some layering on that shelf…. And at the end of all that effort, something feels off.

So what makes a good shelfie? We broke it down into a few core elements that compose a great shelf, and then adding a few extra tips and tricks at the bottom!

1. Collected Items

Some people collect pottery, others collect little bowls. Shelves are the PERFECT place to display your collections! After all, you want to display what you’ve worked so hard to assort, not hide it.

2. Horizontal Stack

One of the best tricks when it comes to displaying your books is to switch up the way they go on the shelf! This is especially useful when you’re working with books that are abnormally large. The “horizontal stack” allows for you to center up some books, place a nice vase or figurine on them and switch up how you read the spine.

3. Light Reflective Surfaces

When you’re dealing with a bookcase, chances are you’re dealing with a lot of soft, light-sucking surfaces. Giving a space “life” sometimes means giving it light, and in the case of styling, you’re shelf you’re definitely going to want to add a reflective surface or two. That could be a picture frame, small ornate mirror, metallic vase or anything that makes the light bounce around.

4. Storage

One of the best functionality elements of the shelf is sneaky storage. You can hide things in bowls, baskets bins, and cute cartons. Let your style serve a purpose for you too and you’ll be really happy with how well it looks AND how much it works for you.

5. Vertical Stacks

This is a given on a bookshelf as it is the standard way to display books, so think of this as your staple, anchored element. This is what the eye is trained to expect when approaching bookshelves, so keep this as a baseline standard peppered throughout your display.

6. Storied Items

Think of a shelf as a GREAT conversation starter and pepper in items with stories that you love and are great indicators of your personality. Don’t feel like this has to be exotic! It certainly can be, but stories of all location and price point are so fun here.

You could display a vase you got at a flea market while you were in Italy, or a vase you got for $. 50 and your bargain-hunting heart totally fluttered. You could display a camera that once belonged to your great, great grandfather, or the camera that was your first ever big-time investment… but is probably worth like $20 at most now. Whatever the story is, own it, and tell it!

7.Coordination Elements

This is where we get into layout. When you’re setting up your shelves thing of the whole unit as a scale — it requires balance. So if the top shelf has a squared basket on the left, consider putting your square bin on the right on the shelf right below it. Placement is by far the hardest part, but the best thing we can say here is to keep it balanced and to try out as many variations as your little heart desires until it feels *right,* and *right* typically means coordinating elements on different shelf levels.

8. Figurines

Since it is a bookshelf you’ll likely be dealing with a lot of absolute straight lines and squared up boxes. Figurines help to bring some more organic lines to the shelf-unit and help break up all those strict edges!

9. Natural Elements

A mixture of textures is important for balance, and being sure to add in natural textures is really important! Adding in natural textures is one of the quickest ways to bring in a “cozy” element to the shelves since you likely will not be fitting a textile :)

10. White Space

Many times the thing you’re missing most is the thing you least accounted for — blank space! You need to give your eye a place to rest. Everything doesn’t always need to touch and sequentially work perfectly together. A great collection of displayable items takes time! So you can breathe easy here knowing that your shelves won’t be perfect in a day, and in the meantime utilize that white space to your favor and let your eyes rest.

A Few Other Tips

-Be intentional about how you organize the books: You can organize by genre, size, color or author! You can seriously make a huge statement by choosing any of these options.

-Mix The stack: The traditional way to fill the shelves is to neatly stack your books vertically on the shelf one by one across the length. Mix it up! Add in some horizontal stacks, make smaller vertical stacks and every once in a while a tilted book looks a little chic.

-Pepper in other decor: Once you’ve mixed up how you stack your books, you now have new platforms for highlighting other elements. For example, a fun, collected figurine looks at home on top of a horizontal stack of books. A small, sturdy potted plant acts as a good bookend to hold up a vertical stack, and if you’ve got an area that needs attention, framed photos or peices of art always make a set of shelves look good!

curve ball

Now that you know the basic cadence of styling shelves, here’s where we really confuse you. KNOW the rules, then BREAK the rules — intentionally. A few of our favorite rule-breakers we’ve seen:

-Everything is filled with books. There are no figurines, greenery or vases. It’s a sea of books. It’s beautiful

-A sea of books TURNED AROUND so that you see the page side instead of the spine. Warning if you try to execute this one — it will be very difficult to find your books. It looked cool, but we can’t imagine it was easy to locate The Hobbit.

– Lots of figurines, a handful of books, some baskets, barely anything on the shelves. Sparce, sleek and ultra chic.

At the end of the day, the shelf is there to show off you and you’re style. So whatever YOU do is right for you. Happy decorating!

DIY Chocolate Wax Seals

As a follow-up to the super cute Galentine’s party, we wanted to share a yummy DIY perfect for sealing those Valentine’s treats and gifts. These Gold Chocolate Wax Seals crafted by Lauryn Prattes Styling And Events with the prettiest custom seals from Laura Hooper are a welcome addition to any pastry. And edible gold? Count us in! For the full party gallery photographed by Abby Jiu, click here.

Materials

Wax Seal
1 cup of Chocolate Chips
Parchment Paper
Gold Luster Dust

instructions

step-1Using a double boiler (or large pot and a metal bowl) place water in the bottom pot so it is just 1/2 inch below the top pan. Place 1 cup of chocolate chips in the top pan and place over low-medium heat. Stir constantly until chocolate chips melt. Water should not come to a boil. Remove from heat and let cool about 3 minutes.

step-2 Place wax stamper on ice in a small glass to allow it to get cold. Use a small spoon to place dime size dollop of chocolate onto a sheet of parchment paper. Remove the cold wax stamper from the ice, wipe dry and stamp down onto the chocolate, press down so the chocolate oozes around the side, forming the “seal” look. Leave the stamper in place for 3-5 seconds to allow chocolate to cool and remove. Repeat, placing the stamper on ice between seals.

step-3 Use gold luster dust to paint seals gold if desired. Place in refrigerator to chill prior to using. To adhere to pastry simply use a small dollop of melted chocolate or honey.

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Photography: Abby Jiu Photography | Event Design: Lauryn Prattes Styling And Events | Wax Seal : Laura Hooper Calligraphy | Desserts: Buttercream Bakeshop | Venue: Winifred Paper

Romantic Estate Inspiration Every Princess Bride Will Fawn Over

An estate fit for a princess, an enchanted garden, a lace dress and flower magic from Hanaki Floral Design – this stunning styled shoot from Jacqueline Rae Weddings is nothing short of a fairytale. It perfectly combines traditional elegance with romantic details, leaving no detail left unturned. Head on over to the full gallery captured beautifully by Kristyn Harder Photography to get seriously inspired for your big day.

From the Photographer… Built in 1911, Hycroft Manor is a breathtaking mansion that was once the center of Vancouver’s social scene. It was known for its parties, which were attended by the city’s elite. In addition to its rich history, the buildings architecture and surrounding gardens are a sight to be seen. This is truly a magical place, which is why it’s still a sought-after venue for weddings and events today. As a wedding photographer, I believe there are two keys to a beautiful wedding portrait. A couple whose love shines brightly, and a picturesque setting surrounding them in their bliss. Add in the stunning details such as florals, a classic car and designer wedding gowns, and even more magic is made.

This inspiration shoot at Hycroft Manor came together with the contribution of some of the best vendors Western Canada has to offer, and a crazy-in-love couple who was preparing for their own wedding day just one week later. During a trip to Vancouver, I visited Hycroft Manor and was blown away by how beautiful the mansion and the grounds were. The architecture is classic and detailed, with the view of the front and the grand back staircase stealing the show for me.

In one corner I found the Heritage garden, blooming with assorted flowers, falling vines, and adorned with sculptures. The view terrace was the perfect spot for a reception to take place, and the Juliet balcony would be ideal for couple’s portraits as the sun set. I knew I had to photograph here, and the words classic, elegant and heartfelt inspired what was to come. I met with Jacqueline Rae, a wedding planner based out of Calgary, who is inspired by French-European Design and classic details. She was the perfect person to bring my vision to life, and together we planned our trip to Vancouver a few months later.

From the Designer… Architecture plays a large role in our classic-focused designs and the Hycroft Manor provided a breathtaking aesthetic and history to build upon and complement. Combined with a curated team of valuing connection and utter-romance, our inspiration shoot came to life in the best-possible way. Emilee and Scott are two of the sweetest people we have ever had the pleasure of working with. They were so in love and looking forward to their own wedding day only a week later. We made the decision at the start to include a real couple as part of the project, since we valued real emotion, connection and joy to come through in photographs. Not only were Emilee and Scott easy to photograph because of their connection, but they made beautiful models too. Hanaki Floral Design created the most beautiful floral pieces, including the show-stopping bridal bouquet and the balcony adornment that provided the most beautiful backdrop for our bride and groom. A blend of centerpieces filled the tablescape with mercury glass compotes, added dimension and combined with delicate blooms and vines, added an organic and Ikebana approach to a classic design. Quaint place setting bouquets wrapped in cream-silk ribbon sat atop the guest menu and place cards. A custom car wreath was designed alongside a hand-calligraphed fabric banner from Debbie Wong Designs

Debbie created the most-romantic stationery and calligraphy suite including linen menus and hand-calligraphed silk-ribbon placecards that sat on top of the delicate place settings. Paper details included a hand-drawn sketch of the Hycroft venue columns on fine vellum with a calligraphy invite suite underneath. Complementing the paper goods was hand-calligraphy love notes to the couple. Stesha Ho is a talented couture dress designer based out of Vancouver who creates custom gowns for her brides. She contributed two stunning gowns incorporating only the finest European lace and silk as well as hand-sewn beading which featured intricate, feminine details. Our Menswear included a classic black tux with a shawl lapel by Black and Lee and was tailored to our tall Groom. Joanna Bisley Designs provided the exquisite bridal jewelry including a heirloom hair-pin with pearls and delicate jewels and delicate clear crystal earrings with light ivory pearl navettes in a gold setting. The tablescape and event rentals were provided by Pedersen’s Event Rentals and featured beautifully textured White Panama Linen, Bone Coupe Plates, soft Blush Napkins, and Gold Nova chairs which allowed clear sight lines through the cane-back glass. A champagne coupe tower placed on a Shant blush linen added to the classic details of the event. Our classic car provided by Ritz Limousine was a cream 1939 Cadillac Stretch Limousine with suede interiors and peekaboo back windows adding charm and elegance to sweep our couple away.

Photographer: Kristyn Harder Photography | Florist: Hanaki Floral Design | Wedding Gown: Stesha Ho | Stationery: Debbie Wong Design | Makeup and Hair: Alisha Hopps | Car Rental: Ritz Limousines | Wedding Venue: Hycroft Manor | Accessories: Joanna Bisley Designs | Menswear: Black & Lee | Planning: Jacqueline Rae Weddings | Rentals: Pedersen's rentals | Veil: Sara Gabriel

DIY Paper Covered Boxes for Storing or Gifting

Whether you’re working away on presents to sneak under the Christmas tree, or looking to gussy up gift boxes for your bridesmaids and beyond, this video tutorial is one to bookmark. In just a few easy steps, you can take your gifting game to the next level with a box that certainly won’t be tossed away. Thanks to Elysium Productions for filming the step-by-step below!

[iframe https://www.youtube.com/embed/RcNXLPqHYVU 600 355]

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Materials

Bowl
Sponge
Box
Ruler
Paint
Scissors
Spray Adhesive
Paper

instructions

step-1 Place some paint inside the bowl. Paint inside the box and lid.

step-2 Measure the box and lid. Width + 2x Height + 1 inch. Transfer measurements onto paper. Then cut a square piece for each of them.

step-3 Center the box on the paper, then fold all four sides up. Create creases at each corner. Cut slits at each four corners, stopping at the box perimeter. Spray adhesive onto the paper and place the box in the center. Cut the paper to match the shape. Spray adhesive on all four sides and fold the paper up against the box.

step-4 Repeat the same steps for the lid. Voilà!

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Film: Elysium Productions | DIY: Style Me Pretty

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MORE DIYS THIS WAY!

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A Galentine’s Soiree + Valentine’s Printables!

Gal + Valentine’s = Galentine’s! Clever, right? This party inspiration crafted by Lauryn Prattes Styling And EventsHolly Chapple Flowers, and Abby Jiu Photography is all about celebrating friendships this Valentine’s. Feasting on sweet treats, crafting love day notes with stationery by Winifred Paper + calligraphy by Laura Hooper and sipping bubbly sounds like a Vday spent well. Click here for more.

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Valentine’s Day Printables

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Cootie Catchers
Envelope Liners – Red Hearts, Be Mine, Red Dots, Red Stripes, Pink Stripes
Pop-Up Valentine Card

Host a Galentine’s Soiree for your girlfriends this year to celebrate your friendships. We designed our party around a playful and fun color palette of cherry red, blush pink, fuchsia, white and gold.

Sweet treats and desserts are not only the perfect bites for the party, but also double as Valentines Gifts. Using an edible marker you can write any message onto a macaroon shell, and package them in a pink tissue paper cracker for an extra special surprise. Another treat is a unique spin on Italian Rainbow Cookies – instead of the traditional red, green and white we made them more Valentines appropriate with pink ombre layers. Chocolate seals made using a wax stamper from Laura Hooper Calligraphy were dusted gold and “glued” to the top layer using melted chocolate. (See tutorial below)

Hand painted watercolor cookie hearts, X’s and O’s make for a Valentines surprise. We packages ours in vellum envelopes, tied with red and white twine and sealed with wax. But one of our favorite desserts was the adorable heart shaped S’mores. Why have white marshmallows when they can be pink marbled? Cut marshmallows out with heart cookie cutters and layer with white chocolate and a chocolate cookie – nothing says I Love You S’more.

The table for the party was set with acrylic trays, gold vinyl decals printed by Winifred Paper studio featuring calligraphy from Laura Hooper. The trays were then filled with all the paper, tape and crafting supplies needed for an afternoon of Valentine’s making delight. And one of our favorite Valentines is the adorable Cootie Catcher from Winifred Paper studio, package with a little crinkle paper and a pink box and it’s complete.

Pink champagne glasses and heart and arrow stir sticks made by Lauryn Prattes Styling and Events were the perfect touch for the table. Above the table we strung gold heart garland while greenery and flowers from Holly Chapple accented the chandelier. More beautiful blooms in shades of pink and red finished off the table.

Check out Laura Hooper’s Etsy shop for some of the details we used in the shoot available for purchase – like the heart coasters, cake topper and Valentine’s day prints.

Photography: Abby Jiu Photography | Event Design: Lauryn Prattes Styling and Events | Flowers: Holly Heider Chapple Flowers LTD | Stationary: Winifred Paper | Calligraphy: Laura Hooper Calligraphy | Venue: Winifred Paper | Bar Cart/Champagne Bucket/Gold Flatware/Cake Server/Cake Plate: Mintwood Home | Chalk Art/Heart Coasters/Cake Topper/S'more Bags/Art Prints/Wax : Laura Hooper Calligraphy | Desserts: Buttercream Bakeshop | Heart Garland: Pop Of Happy | Large Balloons: Stephanie Shives Studio

This Inspiration Shoot Will Make You Love Italy Even More

Italian wedding inspiration at a majestic villa in Apulia?! Yes, please! Come for the white stone architecture, and stay for the color palette highlighted by the beauty of the region. This destination wedding inspiration has us feeling the amoré! The genius of Joy Proctor Design and the desire of The Wedding Boutique Italy to produce exceptional and memorable events has come together in a harmonious collaboration that’s not to be missed. Join us in the full gallery for a closer look.



From Joy Proctor DesignWe must feel inspired in order to inspire, and when a seasoned designer and wedding planner embark on a spontaneous adventure through the tiny stone-walled roadways of Italy’s best-kept secret, its Southern region of Apulia, magical things can happen.



Discovering the beautiful gem that is Masseria Pettolecchia is like stepping through the looking glass into an other-worldly dimension where the largest, lushest vegetables you have ever seen grow proudly beneath the ancient olive trees that date back over 2000 years, stretching right out to the shores of the azure Adriatic Sea. The ceremony was set in an archway of the Pettolecchia with golden candles. Cocktails were set up in an adjacent archway with a beautiful stone bar and hand-painted bar sign.



I chose a color palette accenting the beauty of the region; the taupe from Apulia stone, the blue of the azure seas, the green of the olive orchards and the gold of the sky. The reception structure was set in the olive orchard amongst the ancient trees. We built a custom structure to hang more than 50 meters of thick garland and three beautiful Italian chandeliers. This collaboration was a true meeting of minds that conceptualizes and brings to life authentic visions to create meaningful and unforgettable events, offering services throughout Italy and Europe.



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Event Design: Joy Proctor Design | Flowers: Bows and Arrows | Gown: Chana Marelus | Cake: MonAnnie Cakes | Shoes: Bella Belle | Hair & Makeup: Alessandro Mancino & Marco Carpentieri | Venue: Masseria Pettolecchia La Residenza | Custom Linens: Allegoria | Digital Photography: Matteo Coltro | Earrings: Twigs & Honey | Film Photography: Gianluca And Mary Adovasio | Paper Goods: Shhh My Darling | Planning & Production: The Wedding Boutique Italy | Rentals: Corso Gaetano | Video: Matteo Castelluccia Videomaker | Welcome Bag: Sea and Grass

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The Only Chocolate Cake Recipe You’ll Ever Need

This cake is mind-blowing. Not looks-good-on-pinterest-but-doesn’t-taste-good-in-your-mouth kind of mind-blowing. The real, honest-to-goodness, your-friends-will-think-you’re-a-star mind-blowing goodness. It’s a dark chocolate cake with a rich, amazing ganache filling that will have you dreaming of throwing in the towel and opening your own bakery called The Perfect Cake. Just you wait.

Dark Chocolate Naked Cake with Ganache Filling

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CAKE

We used this chocolate cake recipe (doubled) which makes four 8″ rounds.

Butter / oil for greasing the pans
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pans **
4 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups good cocoa powder
4 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 cup buttermilk, shaken
1 cup vegetable oil
4 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cup freshly brewed hot coffee

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter or grease four 8-inch round cake pans. Line the bottoms with parchment paper, then butter/grease and flour the pans again.

Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, blending on low speed until incorporated.

In a separate bowl, combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry. With mixer still on low, add the coffee and blend until just combined, scraping the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula once or twice.

Divide the batter evenly (I like to measure as I go) into the prepared pans and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool in the pans for 30 minutes, then turn them out onto a cooling rack and cool completely.

GANACHE

We used this ganache recipe (doubled)

4 oz. (8 Tbs.) unsalted butter
2 lb. semisweet chocolate (55% to 65% cacao), chopped (6 cups)
1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
4 cups heavy cream

In a medium saucepan, cook the butter over medium heat, swirling every few seconds, until melted and the milk solids at the bottom of the pan turn dark brown, about 5 minutes. Immediately scrape the browned butter and milk solids into a medium metal bowl. Add the chocolate and the sale.

Bring the cream to a boil in the same pot over medium heat, and then pour over the chocolate and butter. Let stand 2 minutes, and then whisk until smooth. Cool at room temperature, stirring every 15 minutes, until thickened and spreadable, about 1 hour.

* Note – You will end up with extra ganache which is another total bonus…you can use the ganache to make homemade filled chocolates!

TO CONSTRUCT

1. Cut the tops of each cake with a serrated knife to ensure that they are all level.

2. Place a dab of frosting on an 8″ cake round and add your first layer.

3. Scoop 2 ice cream scoops full of ganache and use an offset spatula to push your chocolate just past the edges. You want to keep your layer of ganache as even as possible. Add more or less to your liking.

4. Add your next layer and repeat with the ganache.

5. Add your final level and repeat.

6. Using a bench scraper at a 90 degree angle while turning your cake as you go, scrape the excess frosting around the cake.

7. Once your cake looks fairly smooth, use your offset spatula to add a bit more frosting to the “in between” layers. It’s okay if it’s messy.

8. Use your offset spatula to again, pull the excess frosting until nice and smooth (and a bit messy looking!)

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NEED MORE CAKE INSPO? ANOTHER FAVORITE DOWN BELOW!

DIY Watercolor Cake

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Photography: White Loft Studio | Design And Styling: Style Me Pretty Living

Tour a Modern Home all Decked Out for Valentine’s Day

The home of blogger Leslie of The Leslie Style is the stuff of instagram dreams with that gorgeous white kitchen at the center. And when it’s all decked out for Valentine’s Day? Umm, consider our minds officially blown. Conversation hearts, heart decals and cake are just a few of the tricks up Leslie’s sleeve. Tour her modern abode made even prettier for love day festivities with images by Vicki Bartel.

From Leslie… This shoot was all about finding outside-the-box ways to bring in tons of hearts! 6lbs of candy hearts are tied in all over the house in terrarium flower arrangements and then also on the table and kitchen island as confetti. I always try to have a mix of modern elements juxtaposed against vintage. I feel like the candy hearts in the terrariums with roses and orchids really feel modern and nostalgic at the same time. 

My signature color scheme of pink, mint, and blue is in full effect through linens, art work, and florals. The blue floral runners were a DIY and made by cutting up a table cloth, I made the remaining fabric into dish towels and napkins to pull the color into other areas in our home.

Cupcakes and a naked cake act as centerpieces on the table and each guest has a super fun Kate Spade dish towel as their napkin, with a dessert idiom on them, as well as a personalized macaron as a place card. 

I made the patio doors into a quick DIY “Graffiti backdrop” by covering them in painted hearts. 

A super fun and affordable detail are the wall decals that I put on the kitchen hood vent.  

My favorite part of the party was how excited the kids got over seeing all the candy on display. I have two little girls, so having lots of different candy displayed on the table added so much whimsy to the party, especially when the kids who attended were given bags to collect the candy to take home at the end. 

From the Floral Design House… My inspiration was Leslie’s fabulous collection of kilim rugs & runners, the colors are to die for! Tiny clusters of the most amazing carnations (yes I said the “C” word) brought in the perfect shade of lavender and pink, they resembled little scoops of ice cream. Of course it wouldn’t be Valentines day without roses, a combination of hot pink spray roses and long stem red were used throughout the floral designs, but the icing on cake those Magenta Phalaenopsis orchids! The perfect color to tie it all together.

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Best Ever Valentine's Treats
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Best Ever Valentine's Treats
View Slideshow

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Photographer: Vicki Bartel | Desserts: Shelby’s Sweet Shoppe | Floral Design House: CJH Florals | Girls Dresses: Aggie and Francois | Design and Home of: The Leslie Style

A Valentine-Making Party for Kids

Here at SMP we know Valentine’s day is sweeter when you can share it with the whole family, so this pint-sized party is just for your little ones. A cozy afternoon  crafting handmade valentines for friends and feasting on pretty pink & red-hued treats. Thankfully, the fabulous Heidi of White Loft Studio was there to capture every adorable detail. Also, check out our inspiration, our ideas for fun-to-make valentines with rock candy or balloons, and our kid & mom-approved recipes while you’re at it!

Looking for more glittery, blushing Valentine’s goodness?  Head over to last Sundays’s Valentine’s Day bash for the grown-ups!

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Photography: Heidi of White Loft Studio  / Design & Styling: Style Me Pretty  / Location: Heidi of White Loft Studio‘s House  / Kids’ Table & Chairs: Pottery Barn Kids  / Vintage Pink Depression Glass Plates, Serving Dishes, & Coupe Glasses:  Style Me Pretty‘s Personal Collection  / Oversize Heart Balloons:  Balloons123  / Copper Confetti: Save on Crafts  / Copper Straws: Fun Paper Straws / Copper Tins: Jess’ personal collection  / Glassware: Crate & Barrel / Glass pitcher: Crate & Barrel  / Children’s Valentine Apron: Sur La Table  / Pink Rainboots: Zappo’s   / Mini Mailboxes: Tin Toy Arcade

A Romantic Wedding at the Oldest Hotel in Italy Complete with Thousands of Mauve Roses

It doesn’t matter how many times we run into a wedding at Italy’s oldest hotel, La Badia di Orvieto, that regal tower and unforgettable stone archway never cease to take our breath away. It’s the most perfect setting for a timeless, elegant affair. Pair that with an abundance of mauve and blush blooms from Janna Brown Design Co. and there you have it – the Italian countryside wedding of our dreams! Check out the full gallery captured by Katie Grant Photography to see why we’re so obsessed with this day, planned to perfection by CheChic!Weddings.

From CheChic!WeddingsSarah and Tom chose to have their stunning wedding at La Badia di Orvieto. “we must say, this may be one of the most beautiful venue we have ever seen” she said. “We never saw it, we arrived there the day before the wedding: our planner Alessandra made everything possible with us just staying at home in Australia” the couple said. “Planning a destination wedding had never been so easy”. 

The ancient walls around the property are all about history and art. Located amongst endless vineyards and olive trees , it set the perfect romantic tone for this wedding. Not to mention the incredible golden hour light the Italian summer blessed them with. Just wait until you see their couple’s portraits. Stunning.

From a dramatic ceremony arch composed by thousands of pale pink and mauve roses (“this is one of the best arch I’ve ever created” Janna said), to emotional speeches, followed by an amazing dinner reception under the stars into a party to end things off, this wedding was a pleasure to take part in. 

Inspired by the amazing surroundings we designed a beautiful tabletop here facing the magical backdrop putting together modern and traditional elements for the romantic set in our mind The table design we kept simple with a focus on the pretty flowers and the natural texture of the soft silk: The table was dressed with a floor length silk runner, warm blush-toned floral to go along with this romantic theme, ivory candles, lots of fruits to complete the décor and a modern calligraphy stationery set completed the table top.

“It was the best day ever!” Sarah said.

Our favorite area of the location is the crumbling gothic stone archway over looking the city or Orvieto, where the dinner took place, If ever there were a place that will make you stop & stare, this is the view. The ceremony location was something unusual to see and a great pleasure to built. “The symmetry between the chairs was perfect, we spent hours on it” Alessandra from Chechic! Weddings said.

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Photography: Katie Grant Photography | Wedding Planner: CheChic!Weddings | DJ: Pink Panther DJ | Celebrant: TUSCANPLEDGES | Bridal Dress Instagram: Miss Hayley Paige | Bridal dress: Hayley Paige | Celebrant Instagram: Jo Bertolino | Ceremony and Reception: La Badia Orvieto | Florist Instagram: Janna Brown | Flower designer: Janna Brown Design Co. | Graphic 2: Bee in Love | Graphic 2 Instagram: Bee In Love | Graphic design : Laura Stanbury | Lights : Central House | Muah Instagram: Ginelle Dale | Photography Instragram: Katie Grant | Venue's Instagram: La Badia di Orvieto | Video: Dear Vincent | Video : whitel ane | Video Instagarm : White Lane | Video Instagram: Dear Vincent | Video Instgarm : White Lane | Wedding Planner Instagram: Chechic!Weddings | lights Instagram : central house | muah : Ginelle Dale

Cheesecake Mousse Shots that you will Lick Clean

Truth: These pink shot glasses of heaven are the only thing getting me through Monday, albeit virtually. They’re just one of the sweet treats in our Valentine’s Day party lineup this year, and they’re genius. Not only do they have a through-the-roof cuteness factor (those little gold spoons!), but they’re super quick and easy to whip up. Bonus points. Grab the recipe below and head here for more Valentine lovin’.

Cheesecake Mousse Shots
prep time
5 Minute/s
cook time
5 Minute/s
total time
10 Minute/s
Serves 0Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips
  • 2 tbs butter
  • 1 package softened cream cheese
  • 1 vanilla bean, scraped
  • 1 1/2 cup whipped cream
  • 3/4 cup confectioners sugar
Instructions
  1. Melt white chocolate chips in a double broiler.
  2. Stir in butter. In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine cream cheese, vanilla bean and melted white chocolate until well blended.
  3. Add in the confectioners sugar and stir completely.
  4. Fold in the whipped cream.
  5. Add any food coloring and gently mix.

Photography: White Loft Studio | Recipe + Styling: SMP Living

Go-to Paint Colors for Pretty Blushing Walls

It’s official, after Pantone released their Rose Quartz Color of the Year, blush colored walls became more than just a nursery color of choice. From offices, to living rooms, and yes nurseries too, this color is trending like wild fire and we’re so on board. Click through some of our favorite spaces sporting the pink wall trend and their get the look paint matches

Go-to Pink Paint Colors
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Go-to Pink Paint Colors
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Speaking of Color, Get Inspired with these…

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The Best White Paint Ever | 12 Pink Chairs that Steal the Show | The Prettiest Pink Bedrooms

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This Light And Airy Desert Wedding Will Make You Think It’s A Mirage

We’re heading to the desert for this destination wedding that’s so good you’ll think you’re dreaming. Meg and Justin decided on Palm Desert for their special day, a locale the bride frequented with her family as a child. They transformed their desert venue into a dreamy oasis filled with a white, green, and dove gray color palette that will take your breath away. The event was beautifully shot by Brandon Kidd Photography. You might need to pinch yourself once you see all the special touches in the full gallery.



From the bride… I grew up going to BIGHORN in Palm Desert with my family so it already held a special place in my heart, and Justin is an avid golfer so getting married on the fairway of a golf course was a dream–– it was the perfect fit.



We went for a refined, elegant aesthetic in each element of our formal wedding. From our attire to the invitation suite, floral design and more, it was important to us that all details were timeless.




We chose dove gray and white as our color palette to create a cool, airy aesthetic to complement the modern design of our venue and stand out against the warm desert backdrop.



There’s a reason people say it’s the best day of your life–– we could relive this day over and over again! All of the effort and time that went into planning was so worthwhile when we had the opportunity to share this celebration with the people we love the most.



Photographer: Brandon Kidd Photography | Cinematography: ByDesign Films | Event Planning: COJ Events | Floral Design: Lotus Garden Center | Invitations: Swell Press | Bride's Shoes: Alexandre Birman | Jewelry: Gordon James Fine Diamonds | Bridesmaids' Dresses: Jenny Yoo | Hair & Makeup: Chelsea Dorris | Calligraphy: Letter Lane Design Studio | Lighting: Perfect Touch | Entertainment: Ben Mallare Events & Entertainment | Groom's Attire: Giorgio Armani | Groomsmen's Attire: The Black Tux | Transportation: Cardiff Transportation | Wedding Venue: BIGHORN Golf Club | Accomodations: La Quinta Resort & Club | Bride's Dress: Carolina Herrera | Bride's Veil: Carolina Herrera | Dessert: Exquisite Desserts | Rentals: Signature Party Rentals

These Vendors are members of our Little Black Book.
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Crazy Beautiful Interiors in Every Shade of Pink

Pink may be what little girl dreams are made of but Alyssa Rosenheck is here to show you that a pop of blush (or fuschia or bubblegum or rose or oh my…) is a gorgeous addition to any room, at any age. Check out our gallery of crazy beautiful interiors that aren’t afraid to let their pink hues fly. And if you’re as obsessed with those pink velvet sofas as we are, you can take the full tour right here. It’s a good one!

Pretty in Pink Interiors
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Pretty in Pink Interiors
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Alyssa Rosenheck is a nationally recognized Architectural and Interior Design photographer known for her crisp imagery and stylistic eye. Alyssa travels from coast to coast and is sharing some of her favorite soft pink hues from around the country to kick off this Valentine’s Day. Long before Valentine’s Day was all red roses and pink hearts, there were scholars and writers worldwide who waxed poetic words about their undying love. For me, the thought of going back to basics is as romantic as it gets. Figuratively, and quite literally, love used to be a lot more black and white (ink and paper) than these days of Hallmark cards, chocolate kisses, and chromatic bouquets. I’m all for grand gestures, but more often than not, I prefer the simple things in life and letting the walls do all the talking in my world as an interior photographer and stylist.

Whether you’re celebrating this holiday of all things love with your one and only or your trusty group of fabulous gal pals, here’s a way to infuse a little bit of sugar-free sweetness to the day. Each of these gorgeous sherbet-hued rooms—from a marbled wallpaper in a subtly gilded historic Tennessee bathroom to a pair of perfectly peach velvet sofas in a California living room—feature a sweet, and pared-down, nod to the color of love. These sophisticated shades prove the old adage is true, sometimes less is more and simplicity is love.

Photography: Alyssa Rosenheck Photography | Alyssa Rosenheck's Profile Image: Jane Kim | Brass Laundry Room : Lori Paranjape | Living Room with Paired Blush Couches: Amanda Barnes Interiors | Pink + White Hermes Office: Laura Burleson Interiors | Pink BunkBedroom : A Beautiful Mess | Pink Ceiling Master Bedroom: A Beautiful Mess | Pink Entry Door : A Beautiful Mess | Pink Floral Dining Room : A Beautiful Mess | Pink Light Fixture Kitchen : Laura Burleson Interiors | Pink Marbled Powder Room : Sarah Hill Interiors | Pink Oushak Bathroom : Amanda Barnes Interiors | Pink Planter: A Beautiful Mess | Pink Sunset Painting : Ed Nash | Pink Velvet Drape Bathroom: A Beautiful Mess | Pink and Blue Figure Painting : Teil Duncan | Sink Filled with Roses: Amanda Barnes Interiors | Soft Pink Book Shelves: Sarah Hill Interiors | Sophisticated Boutique : Taylor Anne Interiors | Traditional Kitchen: Sarah Hill Interiors | Traditional Master Bedroom: Katie Gibson Interiors

Breakfast Nook Roundup

The breakfast nook was seemingly a thing of the past, but recently we’ve seen such an inspiring array of cozy nooks that we rounded them all up in hopes that you, too, will carry on this time-honored space in your home. So grab a cup of your own coffee, cuddle up and take in all the cozy vibes from these examples.

1. Farmhouse Chic

This is a quintessential example of turning a potentially awkward space into a cozy corner. And this tile…. This tile is just straight dreamy.

from: Bedrosians Tile and Stone

2. Elegant with a killer view

Can you even imagine waking up to a view like this? Sipping some coffee and eating toast and jam while looking over the countryside is the NORM. Yeah, us either, but we dream about it. And just look at that lantern. That is all.

from: Grant Trick

3. Moody Chic with Bistro Chairs

We love when people go bold with their paint colors. This nook is so enhanced but choosing such a moody blue, and the delicate bistro chairs take us straight to Paris. (please read Paris as “par-ee”)

from: Heidi Caillier Design 

4. Architecture for the win

There’s a very, very fine line where architecture and design are interchangeable words, but this breakfast nook is a great example of it! Just look at that frame! And the windows! It’s a work of art.

from: Jeffrey Dungan

5. Pink and Plushy

This breakfast nook has a PINK bench. PINK. And look at how inviting it is! And so soft! We’d never leave.

from: Joe Fletcher Photo

6. Bright White with Lot’s of Light

This corner is everything you could ask for in a breakfast nook. It’s light, bright, has a HUGE bench and fabulous chairs with natural texture. And again with the lantern.

from: Julia Engel 

7. Golden Glow

It would appear that this breakfast nook is so perfectly located that it gets to participate in Golden Hour. Bravo is all we have to say about that. Bravo.

by: Kate Mark Interiors

8. Blue Velvet

The blending of styles that happens in this corner is one of our favorite elements about it. The art coupled with the chic blue velvet bench makes this one-of-a-kind set up so just friggin chic.

by: Shazalynn Calvin Winfrey 

9. Wallpapered and fabulous

Another great place to bring in bold wallpaper is the Breakfast Nook, ESPECIALLY when it’s so set apart like this one is.

by: Brooke and Lou

If you were particularly inspired by this round of inspiration, stay tuned for a 101 to create your own breakfast nook!

A Valentine’s Craft Party

Every year I get excited for Valentine’s Day to come around the corner – not just because of the romance, or the break from the winter blahs, but because it’s practically required to decorate in the prettiest manner possible. Well, lucky me! This year we decided to throw an SMP Valentine’s Day party to get the girls together and get crafting for our sweethearts. And lucky you! We got the fabulous Heidi of White Loft Studio to capture every gorgeous detail so make sure to check out the full spread right here.

Ready to start making this party come to life for your best gals? We’ve got the inspiration right here, the scoop on the DIY party invitations, great valentines to make (here and here), and all the recipes.

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Photography: Heidi of White Loft Studio  / Design & Styling: Style Me Pretty  / Location: Heidi of White Loft Studio‘s House  / Macarons: C.Crowell Confections  / Ruffled Cakes: Anisa Asakawa of Nonsense Institute  / Vintage Pink Depression Glass Plates, Serving Dishes, & Coupe Glasses:  Style Me Pretty‘s Personal Collection  / Copper Tray: Terrain  / Copper Flatware: Macy’s  / Copper Serving Tray: TJ Maxx   / Blush votive candle holders: Luna Bazaar  / Oversize Heart Balloons:  Balloons123  / Copper Confetti: Save on Crafts  / Vintage Copper Flour & Tea Tins: Jess’ Personal Collection  / Vintage Old Mr. Boston Cocktail Guide: Jess’ Personal Collection

Step Aside Neutrals This Bright And Bold Styled Shoot Will Make You Swoon

A neutral color palette seems to go hand-in-hand with an elegant estate wedding. That is until Events Held Dear and Nicole Clarey Photography teamed up to break the mold! They created a styled inspiration shoot filled with bright bursts of color that only add to the grandeur of the day. A pink gown, vibrant centerpieces, and an intricately designed floral cake prove that fun color pops can be incredibly chic. See all of the vividly designed day in the full gallery.



From Events Held DearWhile we love crisp whites and ivories and minimalistic design, we’re also color-lovers at heart and were wildly excited to bring some color into this estate in Northern Ohio.



We staged a small ceremony in the garden, had flower petals thrown as the couple was ‘married’, and Roots Floral Design took her floral concept to the ground – an installation we loved and would love to see brides do more of!



For the tablescape, we were ready to go with big color for the linen, so we settled on a velvet blue linen. It was the perfect shade and tied really well with all the pinks, creams, mauves and purples proving that color can be elegant!



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Photography: Nicole Clarey Photography | Cinematography: Anna Lord Studio | Event Planning and Design: Events Held Dear | Floral Design: Roots Floral Design | Wedding Dress: La Jeune Mariee Bridal Boutique | Wedding Dress: Monique Lhuillier | Cake: Miam Cake | Invitations: Victoria Fiaretti | Shoes: Bella Belle | Ring: Erstwhile Jewelry | Make Up: angie warren artistry | Tuxedo: Generation Tux | Vintage Car: Classic Limousines of Columbus | Wedding Venue: Kingwood Center | Linen: BBJ Linen | Models: Lola Laymon | Rentals: Event Source | Ring Box: The Mrs Box | Wedding Veil: Toni Federici

Dark Chocolate Cookie Shots Because Duh.

This chocolate lover was nothing but a million heart eye emojies for these dark chocolate cookie shots. If you think they look delicious, trust that they taste even better. The perfect little one stop shop for a Valentine’s dessert and even better when part of a whole delicious spread. Because the only thing better than chocolate is chocolate upon chocolate upon chocolate with a little sip of milk. YUM!

From Abby… I tried two different recipes. A roll out chocolate sugar cookie (the idea is that they don’t want to spread so this seemed perfect). AND a pre-made gluten free, chocolate fudge cookie from wholefoods. Both worked so-so but the one that seemed to have a slight edge? The pre-made gluten free variety!

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Dark Chocolate Cookie Shots – Two Approaches

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PopOver Pan

PopSugar has a great video using a pop-over pan!

Silicone Mold

We used this silicone mold!

1. Once you have your dough, you want to gradually fill your mold. Don’t overfill or stuff down but make sure that your mold is completely covered with no holes in the dough.

2. Bake about 5-10 minutes past the instruction time. We baked our first from-scratch recipe by about 8 extra minutes. Our gluten free variety needed about 10 extra minutes. You can gently touch the top to feel if they have set up

3. Allow to cool completely, then gently remove.

4. Once you have your cookie shots out and cooled, melt about 6-8 ounces of chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl (you might need more if you are making more than 10. Pour a small amount of chocolate into the bottom of each cookie, then turn your cookie allowing the chocolate to bleed up the sides as high as you can. Pour any excess chocolate out into a separate bowl. This will ensure that your milk has a sealed area to get cozy in.

5. Now, rim it. We used crushed toffee but anything goes here. Brown sugar, sprinkles, crushed dark chocolate, anything! You’ll want to dip your cookie shot into the melted chocolate first, then into your topping.

6. Finish with ICE cold milk (don’t skimp here with the cold factor) and pop a pretty straw 3’s and they were the perfect size.

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Photography: White Loft Studio | Design And Styling: Style Me Pretty Living