Who Doesn’t Love Cake Pops?

Remember last year when I was ranting and raving about the cake-pop and how it would be the biggest thing in wedding desserts since cupcakes stole the show about three years ago? Well, turns out I was right. Not only that – this little gem has inspired many to start an entire business catering to and serving only cake pops.

For those of you who missed my introduction last February to the darling of the dessert world, I would like to introduce you to the ” Cake- Pop”. For those of you who were with me while I extolled the virtues of the delightful smidgen of cake on a stick, lets re-familiarize ourselves with the cake-pop.

Cake Pops were ‘invented’ in 2011 by a woman who goes by the name ‘Bakerella’. On her website you will see a very happy young woman who says she was inspired to start blogging about her baking attempts after taking a cake decorating class.  I saw her website, I hope she got an A+. Maybe she didn’t invent them but she certainly is credited with bringing them into everyday conversation and to wedding sweet tables everywhere . Thank you, Bakerella.

In my quest to find out everything there is to know about cake pops I found that there are two different kinds:

1) Traditional cake-pops are made by crumbling an entire cake with some frosting into a bowl, smashing it into balls, inserting a popsicle or lollipop stick and dipping in hardening chocolate.

2) The newer version of the cake pop is made with a special baking pan that you fill with cake batter and cover with th accompanying  lid that completes the sphere to bake a  perfect circle every time. Insert stick, dip in chocolate and voila!

Of course cake-pops are not intended to replace the traditional wedding cake (but you could), they are adding another layer of deliciousness and pizazz to the sweet table (which they will). You can dip them in all kinds of toppings, sprinkles or have a great time decorating them. They are small and easy to work with, because they are on a stick and they are just the right shape. No mess, no fork, no plate, these little wonders will have you wondering…. what will they come up with next?

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

It was just last year that the biggest trend on wedding sweet tables and at receptions was the cupcake. The cupcake was the hippest, hottest must-have for weddings in 2011 and I thought there couldn’t possibly be anything more fun or festive for a wedding sweet table. Guess what? I was dead wrong. I would like to introduce you to the ” Cake- Pop”.

Take a good look at this sweet little gem, you are going to be seeing a lot of it.

Cake Pops were ‘invented’ in 2011 by a woman who goes by the name ‘Bakerella’. On her website you will see a very happy young woman who says she was inspired to start blogging about her baking attempts after taking a cake decorating class.  I saw her website, I hope she got an A+. Maybe she didn’t invent them but she certainly is credited with bringing them into everyday conversation and to wedding sweet tables everywhere . Thank you, Bakerella.

In my quest to find out everything there is to know about cake pops I found that there are two different kinds:

1) Traditional cake-pops are made by crumbling an entire cake with some frosting into a bowl, smashing it into balls, inserting a popsicle or lollipop stick and dipping in hardening chocolate.

2) The newer version of the cake pop is made with a special baking pan that you fill with cake batter and cover with th accompanying  lid that completes the sphere to bake a  perfect circle every time. Insert stick, dip in chocolate and voila!

Of course cake-pops are not intended to replace the traditional wedding cake (but you could), they are adding another layer of deliciousness and pizazz to the sweet table (which they will). You can dip them in all kinds of toppings, sprinkles or have a great time decorating them. They are small and easy to work with, because they are on a stick and they are just the right shape. No mess, no fork, no plate, these little wonders will have you wondering…. what will they come up with next?

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

 

Over The Top Proposals – Enough or Too Much?

How far is too far when it comes to orchestrated proposals? Just ask “Hector ‘Tank’ Martinez, who proposed to Paige Hernandez in front of his family and friends,” the description on the YouTube video reads. “Big ups to the 710 Bikerz and everyone else who took part in this event.”

The California Highway Patrol said on Wednesday it is investigating the incident and that felony charges for impeding traffic could be filed.

To view first hand – click here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mWGlqmrGQ44.

Think that’s the worst? Oh, no…..

How about Ryan Thompson who pretended the tiny little plane he was piloting with his GF Carlie Kennedy as the only passenger was about to nosedive into Lake Shore Drive. There are a lot of words I would have for him, if I were her… “YES” is not one of them. She probably said yes from being nervous ( I hope). Personally,  I don’t want to be married to someone who thinks its funny to scare me to death. You can see his (awesome) sense of humor in this video. For me, it is hard to watch.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=kxTAjVGN4CE

Last but,  not least there’s the one  guy ( who wishes to remain anonymous) who decided to stage a ‘kidnapping’ to propose to his girlfriend. Well, it seems his friends who were roped into helping him got a bit carried away and police were called by a woman walking past, who saw a bunch of young men pull a young woman out of a van and into another car.

 

I get it. You want to be funny and clever, and original…women love that kind of stuff. But, eventually women want the kind of guy they can really count on. Someone who doesn’t think a practical joke is cutting their brake lines or filling our gas tank with explosives.

Gentlemen, please remember that this is not a competition, you don’t have to have the biggest, baddest,  proposal of all time. Just be sensitive, kind and if you have to do a public proposal, try your best to make sure you are not breaking the law.

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

 

Have Your Cake and Enjoy It!

Deciding on your wedding cake sounds easy, right? WRONG!  Between the look, the taste and of course – what type of frosting… you will want to pull your hair out!  There are dozens of choices and endless combinations, not to mention that the cake and the frosting you choose will depend on a lot of factors; the location of the wedding, the outdoor temperature, what style of cake you want… and (of course) your taste. Having a great looking cake that tastes bad is  just as much of a disaster as a delicious cake that looks awful.

For me , the most important part of the cake is the frosting so I have broken it down into three main types:

Buttercream frosting is made from butter or margarine combined with powdered sugar, flavorings, and liquid. This is by far the most popular frosting because it is easy to work with and very adaptable, plus it holds up well to humidity and temperature variations. These characteristics are especially important in the case of an outdoor wedding where there is an uncontrolled environment. If you love the look of fondant but can’t live without  buttercream frosting, relax…. a skilled baker can replicate the look of fondant with buttercream.

Whipped Cream frostings are made from powdered sugar, flavorings, and whipped cream – what could be simpler? Unfortunately the whipped cream is sometimes a problem since this type of frosting requires refrigeration and does not hold up well to heat or high humidity. However, this is the sweetest and fluffiest of all frostings and is a real treat  if the conditions are right. As far as the design is concerned, the possibilities are endless with a talented baker.

Fondant creates a very smooth and elegant cake covering but is less sweet and more dense than other frosting types which have lighter whipped textures. The main benefit of fondant is that, unlike buttercream frosting, in a fairly short amount of time you can have a silky, perfect-looking cake. In just a matter of minutes you can roll out your fondant, cover your cake, and smooth. You can also use fondant to create interesting shapes and figures for your cake that you wouldn’t be able to do with plain frosting. Accomplishing the same thing with buttercream frosting can be nearly impossible, even for the most dedicated cake decorator. However, fondant doesn’t always taste as good as buttercream.

There are no clear-cut rules  but, consider the taste and temperature to be the deal breakers. You absolutely cannot have a cake with whipped cream frosting in the middle of July in Louisiana and you will never get the same texture and taste of buttercream frosting using rolled fondant. Figure out what is the most important thing to you and use your baker’s expertise and advice to  accomplish your main goal – having a beautiful cake that holds up at least until it is cut.

Last but certainly not least – arrange to taste cake samples together. Finding a cake you both love will be a lovely memory.  This is definitely the best part of wedding planning!

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

 

 

 Tipsycake, Chicago,IL

 

Leeson’s Cakes, Tinley Park, IL

Sharon’s Custom Cakes, Crete, IL

Oak Mill Bakery Chicago, IL

 

 

Red Carpet Roundup – 2013 Sag Awards

At the Screen Actor’s Guild awards last night, there were a slew of stars gearing up for the Oscars. But,  with a massive outbreak of the flu nationwide, more than a  few big names were left at home with the sniffles.

Did you see Justin Timberlake debut his professorial look?  Talented? YES! Funny? You bet! This suit is a moderate loser but, he is getting more and more adorable with age! Oh, wait – Jennifer Lawrence is in this photo with JT and Bradley Cooper? Let’s just think about how that feels for a moment….. nice.

 

In the Navy:
Amanda Seyfried rocked the red carpet in Zac Posen. Love the hair on one side, love the necklace, love the pose… “My hand on my hip says I’m sassy- but, my head is tilted (slightly) down so I am humble about it!”

 

Nicole Kidman in Vivienne Westwood. Love is a strong word and so is hate. This look makes me feel ambivalent, nothing particularly striking but not a  mistake. “I’m a mom, I’ve had work done – but, here’s my leg.”

Nicole Kidman - SAG Awards 2013 Red Carpet

Jennifer Lawrence – The best thing about this gown is that there is not one detail other than the cut and fit of the garment itself. Plain? Yes… but, beautiful because of or in spite of the fact! Although her hand is perched gently on her hip and her head is tilted in an ‘ever-so-sweet’ fashion, I would not want to get on her bad side. She exudes confidence and a badass quality I cannot even fathom.  ” I am posing, I am sweet ( see my head is turned ) but, do not make me mad. I will rip off this couture gown and chase you in high heels!”

ps – Not a wardrobe malfunction, the gown is made in layers to eliminate bulk. The underlayer is attached to  silk chiffon so,  when she walked/lifted the top layer to take a step/ caught her  heel on the gown,  the chiffon peeps through and it make the gown appear to have been ripped.

 

Jennifer Lawrence, SAG Wadrobe Malfunction

Jessica Lange wore a beautiful gown by  J. Mendel. Soft, flowing and her hair and makeup were flawless. Really a great look for a lady of her … (whats the word?)…. talent. 

Back in Black:


Sigourney Weaver, are you high on cold medicine?  I get it – you aren’t a size 2 anymore  and maybe you want something a little more loose fitting… but, this is a disaster. Who you gonna call? A stylist!

Jane Lynch must have been taking the same cold medicine as Sigourney Weaver – this  looks like something that she might have found in the back of Madonna’s closet. She has a terrific figure but this dress is all wrong for this occassion. Maybe Halloween in the Village. Maybe.

Best of Black:

Tina Fey in Osacr de la Renta and Amy Poehler in Zuhair Murad, our favorite funny gals from the Golden Globes were spot on with their fashion choices last jnight. Wit, looks and good taste … those girls are on fire! Sizzle!

Amy Poehler & Tina Fey - SAG Awards 2013 Red Carpet

Did you have any favorites from last night’s SAG awards?

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

Choosing The Right Photographer

Your wedding pictures are the most important thing you will have to remember your day.  Choosing the right photographer is as important as having the right gown, or venue, or (dare I say) spouse! When making your selection, price shopping is the worst mistake you can make. There are many factors that go into the cost of your photography package; experience, skill, training, overall quality of the product and the overall style of pictures you want to express your wedding.  

First, you should define the style of photos you prefer:

Photojournalism is a style of photography that captures the events of the day   truly candid style.  Very few, if any, of the shots are posed. This is by far the most popular style of photography according to market trends. There are some drawbacks involved – especially if your photographer is inexperienced in this field. Make sure  the photographer has ample references and photos for you to check before you even consider wedding Photojournalism. In addition, without some of the posed shots you may wind up with a wedding album where  quite a few people are missing.

Traditional Wedding photography is exactly what it sounds like. All of the shots are posed, there is very little creativity involved with various settings and events. There is usually a ‘shot list’ and every detail must be mapped out in advance; lighting, background, placement of flowers, etc.You will have an album that your parents will love: filled with photos of your entire bridal party, family and guests but, you might not have that one beautiful photo that is found so often in a candid moment.

Artistic Photography (also illustrative Photography) is a great mesh of the two other styles. Some candid shots, some posed. Many of the shots are ‘staged’ in various places to look candid – but, are in fact posed. The Artistic Photographer will not be cheap since you are paying for an artistic vision which requires more time and work than snapping photos.

Before booking your  wedding photographer:

-Make sure the photographer you hire is the one who will be at your event.

-Do not accept a substitute unless you have seen examples of his/her work.

-Always remember to get everything in writing!

Bridal Expo Chicago is home to dozens of the finest photographers of all styles. For 4 complimentary  tickets to a show  in your area where you can see example of their finest work ,  log on to www.bridalshowexpo.com or call our office @ 847-428-3320 today!

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

Timothy Whaley photography

Carasco Photography

Angela Swan Photography

Destination Weddings – More Popular Than Ever!!

It only takes a few days with single digit temperatures for couples to open up to the idea of a destination wedding.

For many years,  destination weddings have been on the rise.  Usually held at tropical locations, they combine the honeymoon with the wedding itself. Guests travel to the location and can spend up to a week celebrating with the couple.

 There are several reasons that couples opt for a destination wedding… one of which is  to save money! Believe it or not, couples who  have destination weddings typically spend less overall.

According to Travel & Leisure magazine, the top wedding destinations are as follows:

1) Mexico. No surprise here. Mexico is close and  entices couples with its warm, sunny weather, colorful culture, extensive coastline, spicy cuisine, and wide choice of accommodations. You will not be disappointed.

2) Jamaica. A lush island, Jamaica has beaches, waterfalls, mountains to explore. With more all-inclusives than anywhere else in the Caribbean and a reggae beat, and it’s no wonder it’s so popular!

3) Dominican Republic. With fine boutique hotels and price-competitive all-inclusives, this is a wonderful place to begin your lives together.

4) Bahamas. Just off the coast of Florida you can find everything you want whether you opt for developed Nassau, Freeport, Paradise, and Grand Bahama Island or one of the low-key Out Islands.

5) Hawaii. You don’t have to bring a passport to enjoy a tropical paradise, just ask anyone who has ever been to Hawaii.

Honorable Mention goes to any of the U.S. Virgin Islands. Whether you choose St. Thomas, St. Croix or St. John, you will not have any problems except deciding which of these islands is best for you. They are all magnificent and they are all U.S. territories so there are no legal hassles.

No matter which destination you choose   it is important to use a reputable Destination Wedding Specialist. They will know all of the in’s,  out’s and pitfalls of the particular resort you have chosen. They will also more than likely be able to get you a better deal and more extras.  You can do it all by yourself but, it can be quite a bit of stress.

Better to sit back, relax and stick a little umbrella in your drink!

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

 

A Color For All Seasons – Chartreuse!

Few colors can transcend seasons  like Chartreuse. Bold, Bright, Chic, Lively and Elegant, this is one of the most overlooked and misunderstood wedding colors!

 

Chartreuse  can freshen up any room and goes well with most interior decor. Bonus: It is a great color for a signature cocktail, even if your cocktail is simply Chartreuse.

 

 

 Chartreuse and Teal make a bright, bold statement when paired together.

Pinned Image

 

Chartreuse and Platinum make a sophisticated and more serene combination.

Pinned Image

Chartreuse and Honeysuckle is light, whimsical and well suited for a summer wedding. 

Pinned Image

 

Chartreuse and Ivory is elegant and chic.

Pinned Image

 

Chartreuse and Fuchsia is hot for spring.

Chartreuse and Plum make a luscious combination for a winter wedding.

Black and White with Chartreuse accents is the perfect choice for any season!

 

How do you feel about chartreuse?

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

Hoping For The Best & Preparing For The Worst

No one begins the wedding planning process worrying about every single detail that could go wrong. Correction, most people don’t plan this way, I’m sure that there are those rare exceptions.  At the risk of frightening potential brides and grooms, there are about a million things that can go wrong on any given day much less the day or week of your wedding. Being prepared for a disaster is different than planning for one or even expecting something bad to happen, being on top of every detail is not Obsessive-Compulsive, it is responsible and requires clear thinking and adult decision making.

A disaster is defined a  sudden event, such as an accident or a natural catastrophe, that causes great damage or loss of life.

Just so we are clear; a disaster is not when it rains on your wedding day, when the color of the napkins doesn’t exactly match the bridesmaid’s gowns or when you have a head cold the day before your wedding. These are minor inconveniences. Of course a sudden illness ( however short term or curable)  can be a disaster;   a burst appendix, or  chicken pox. A disaster can be a blizzard that closes airports and roads for travel, stranding  invited guests wherever they may be for days. A disaster can be the reception hall burning to the ground three days before your event.

Although there is no way to prepare for these sudden and completely inconceivable forces that could turn your life upside down at a moment’s notice, there is a way to make them less devastating.

Take care of your health – Without over-reacting, pay attention to any changes in your body. See your doctor and ask him or her to update your vaccines and if you have never had chicken pox, mumps, rubella or measles – get the necessary vaccine(s)  far in advance of your wedding date.  This also might be a good time to think about multivitamins. If you are taking any prescription medications, you must be diligent about dosage and watch for possible side effects.

Travel Plans – If you are having a destination wedding, are traveling any distance or expect out-of town guests, check weather reports in the area where the wedding is planned and if there are any severe weather alerts (blizzard, tornado, hurricane) begin to think about alternative plans.  Remind everyone who is traveling by air to book their flights well in advance, purchase the traveler’s insurance and pay the small amount extra to book a flight they can cancel or alter at a moment’s notice, it will pay for itself if needed.

Overall Insurance – Many companies offer wedding insurance; comprehensive insurance that covers the entire cost of the wedding in case of disaster or emergency. Be careful, though,  and make sure you use a reputable  and reliable carrier. Always read the fine print and make sure you are covered for specific situations indigenous to your area.

Without obsessing, without spending every waking minute worrying and driving everyone (including yourself) nuts –  simply remember the Boy Scout credo: Always be prepared.

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

 

2013 Golden Globe Awards – Best & Worst

It’s finally here! Awards season is officially in full swing and I couldn’t be any happier. It’s like the playoffs for sports fans… just one delightful event after another! Much like sporting events – we have our favorites, there are clear winners and losers and sometimes the underdog wins. And sometimes the event just takes on a life of it’s own – like last night! My winners and losers are broken down into slightly different  categories:
“Most Adorable” – Amy Poehler. I give Ms. Poehler this title because a) the porn joke b) her side updo was infallible and c) her boobs were perkier than Honey Boo Boo at a county fair. ( Had to get that in before the Honey Boo Boo train left the station). Also, this little black pantsuit by Stella McCartney was darling, sexy, sassy and completely sophisticated, all at the same time. You GO, girl!

 

 

Strangest  Fit: These 2  piece outfits seemed to be a bit off for me, Sienna Miller’s weird pink ensemble by Erdem and Anne Hathaway’s chest flattening device by Chanel. Okay, whatever.

Best Color Statement: The critics are hating but, I am loving Lucy Liu in this print ball gown. Prints are risky, google ‘golden globes tye dye disaster’ and you will see why. But, I  think that Carolina Herrera nailed it with the right color, pattern and positioning of the floral pattern on the gown itself.  The wedgewood blue background was perfect on Ms Liu’s skintone… just magnificent!

The “Look at Me” award goes to Jennifer Lopez. Beautiful, sexy, and by all accounts one of the most talented ladies in Hollywood, Ms Lopez always turns heads with her provocative fashion choices and this see through lace number by Zuhair Murad is no different. I don’t think she would have it any other way!

Special Effects Award: Halle Barry and Jessica Chastain both had gowns with serious bosom challenges. Jessica’s Calvin Klein gown was saggy and perky at the same time. For future reference:  blouson halter is never a good idea.

Halle’s Versace gown was high and flat on one side, low and full on the other. Forget about the print, I can’t get past this odd bustline thing…..Huh?

 

halle berry golden globes 2013 red carpet 05

 

Rambling Rose award goes to Jodie Foster who seemed overly giddy and oddly nervous at the same time. The Cecil B Demille award is a big deal – but save the rambling speeches for the retirement home. Unlike the off-screen persona she has spent a lifetime protecting, she was blabbering like a teenage girl at a slumber party.The giggly thing was way out of character for her. Although the context of her words may have been  emotional and heartfelt, she lost me somewhere around Honey Boo Boo. The gown – another odd choice, I think Ms. Foster who looks fabulous in nearly anything, appears more  comfortable in tailored, simpler gowns rather than pageant beading. The only thing missing was the empty chair. 

Jodie Foster - Golden Globes 2013 Red Carpet

 

Best Trend Personified … It’s a three way tie! All three of these ladies rocked the subtle blush trend in their own way. Although none of them seemed to take home a trophy, they were all winners in my book.

Amy Adams in Marchesa

 

Megan Fox in Dolce & Gabanna

Hayden Panettiere in Roberto Cavalli

Favorite Actress in Everything – Julia Loius Dreyfuss is funny, charming and a knockout in this illusion over lace custom Vera Wang.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus - Golden Globes 2013 Red Carpet

Best Overall Performance goes to Ms. Tina Fey. Channeling the late Rita Hayworth, Tina took the stage in va-va-va-voom fashion and never let up. She switched effortlessly between comedy and glamour and her Taylor Swift joke was not only the best one-liner of the night, she was dead right! “Take some ‘me’ time”… indeed!

Tina Fey and Amy Poehler

Ladies, you have set the bar very high – hoping to see you back again next year!  This was my favorite Golden Globes in a long time!

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

Ghosts of Golden Globes Past

Tomorrow the awards season officially kicks off with the 70th Annual Golden Globe Awards. Both movie and television stars come together for one night of fun, fashion, frivolity and fierce competition to decide who wins, who loses and give us a hint of what to expect at the Academy Awards next month. And for the first time ever, the show will be co-hosted by our favorite female SNL weekend update alum.

The Hostesses with the Most: Tina Fey and Amy Poehler will certainly be on cloud nine tomorrow night. According to all reports, they have promised a night of fun, frivolity and a certain amount of cynicism. Both beautiful and equally smart,  these two  pose a double threat (squared).

Amy Poehler, left, and Tina Fey get ready to host the Golden Globes

NOMINEES:

One of my Red Carpet favorites  is Emily Blunt. Last year, as  a presenter, she wore this  golden, shimmering,  Elie Saab Couture gown. This year as a nominee for Salmon Fishing In The Yemen, she will definitely bring her “A” game … although I don’t know how it could get much better than this!

Emily Blunt in Elie Saab | 69th Annual Golden Globe Awards

There are many red carpet looks of Jennifer Lawrence – nominated for her role in Silver Linings Playbook. You only need to remember this one from the 2011 Academy Awards, and that’s when hardly anybody even knew who she was. 

Julianna Margulies, consistently one of the most beautiful ladies on television is once again nominated for her role in The Good Wife. Note to Julianna:

More of this

and less of this

Nicole Kidman, nominated for her role in The Paperboy and for Hemmingway & Gellhorn, has a slew of jaw-dropping red carpet moments but, this pale pink Chanel from 2002 is my favorite!!!  It is soft, dainty, feminine and timeless. Since she is a double-nominee, expect her to pull out all the stops!

Meryl Streep, nominated for her role in Hope Springs, also has a slew of red carpet moments but, unfortunately for Ms. Streep, jaw- dropping isn’t always a good thing.  Where is the stylist  from The Devil Wears Prada when you need her? Meryl Streep is one of the most beautiful & talented actresses in the world. What gives?

Michelle Dockery of Downton Abbey has really honed her red carpet style since last year’s Golden Globe disaster. Compare this  Ralph Lauren gown at the Met Gala later in the year. Michelle Dockery - Celebs on the Red Carpet at the Met Gala in NYC

to last year’s frumpy, wrinkled, blue, ball gown… yikes

 

Julianne Moore gave an incredible performance as the former governor of Alaska  in Game Change. Definitely my pick for best actress in a television movie!  Although she doesn’t have the best track record on the red carpet, there is hope. Maybe she picked a stylist who will give her a little better shoe advice than she had in 2012. This gown is terrific – the shoe is a drag.

Whoever wins or loses, there is always a lot to see on the red carpet before, during, and after the show. Check back Monday for our Best & Worst picks from the 2013 Golden Globes Red Carpet!

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago