Oh baby

As many of you may have figured out, I’ve disappeared from the blogging world for over a year. It’s terrible. But I do have an excuse. After many years of trying to get pregnant, I finally did, and in March of this year, gave birth to two beautiful babies. Yes, twins! A boy and a girl. I’m thrilled. But life has changed and I just don’t have time for writing at the moment. In fact, event planning has been temporarily put on hold. But I’ll be back! I’m holding myself to it. Until then, happy planning and if you need a quick bit of advise or suggestions, don’t hesitate to write or call.


Cupcake Mama

We couldn’t resist giving a little plug to Cupcake Mama on Mother’s Day. Not only do we love the company name, but her cupcakes are divine. You can even send an adorable box of twelve cupcakes to a special friend. I sent a “masculine” box of these to my husband many years ago and they were a MAJOR hit with he and his buddies. Check out Mama’s website at www.cupcakemama.com.

Fancy Feet

In honor of my mother, who always taught me that a great pair of shoes can make an outfit simply spectacular, we’re spending this lazy Sunday compiling a montage of photos of our favorite footsie finds. Whether you’re going to your best friend’s house for a dinner party, going to a glitzy city wedding, or picnicking on the beach, every event deserves YOUR best foot forward. So, enjoy.

Derby Days

Talk about class, fashion, tradition, and proper southern hospitality–the Kentucky Derby is the epitome!  It would be a mistake for us to not showcase the Derby–a party in and of itself.  From wide brimmed hats, to red roses, to divine cocktail dresses, speeding horses and delicious libations, the Kentucky Derby is a fantastic representation of a well planned, well executed, and entertaining event.  If you’re watching the Kentucky Derby today, you may be hosting your own themed party.  So we thought we’d post two of our favorite recipes to kick-start your day.

Start with Bobby Flay’s modern twist on the traditional Derby drink…the Mint Julep. We think his “Blackberry Bourbon Julep” is a party must-have.  Here’s what you need:  1 pint fresh blackberries (washed and drained), 8 tablespoons super fine sugar, 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract, 1 big bunch of mint leaves, crushed ice, 1 cup bourbon, and cold club soda. Mash together the blackberries, sugar and vanilla extract in a bowl and let macerate at room temperature until juicy, about 20 minutes. Strain the mixture through a sieve, into a bowl, pressing against the solids with a spatula, and discard the seeds.  Place 1 1/2 tablespoons of the blackberry mixture into a mint julep glass, add 8 mint leaves and muddle together. Fill with crushed ice and 1/4 cup of bourbon and a splash of club soda. Garnish with sprigs of mint and repeat this process to make 4 drinks. Sip and savor!

If you drink your way through these events, you might be in need of some food.  Our favorite Southern bite is a tea sandwich.  We love Martha Stewart’s fancy and unique twist on this traditional treat.  What you need: 3 one-pound loaves of white sandwich bread (unsliced, if possible), wasabi/lemon and salmon cream cheeses, tea poached chicken, 1 large seedless cucumber sliced thinly, 1/2 pound sliced smoked salmon, 2 1/2 ounces fresh salmon roe, 1 ounce black caviar (optional), 3 to 4 ounces of baby leaf lettuce (shiso or other), 1 bunch fresh dill, 1 bunch fresh chives, 2 to 3 tablespoons black sesame seeds, 2 to 3 tablespoons white sesame seeds.  Trim crusts and slice into 1/2 inch think pieces. Spread each slice with cream cheese. Arrange ingredients on the bread in a decorative pattern. Use the small greens to tuck in between layers. Sandwiches look best with salmon, chicken and cucumber on the outer edges of the bread, overlapping slightly. Get artistic with your creations…and then savor and enjoy!

For more fun Derby party finds, go to www.kentuckyderbyparty.com. Enjoy this year’s “Run For The Roses.”

Wedding Showcase


We want to invite our friends, followers and fans to start submitting wedding photos.  If you are interested in having your real wedding featured on Cocoa Belle Events, please email me at vanessa{at}cocoabelleevents{dot}com and include the following:

  • Your name/Your fiance or husband’s name/Wedding date and location
  • A short description of your wedding and your inspirations. Tell us about any do-it-yourself projects you incorporated into your wedding details and how you infused your own sense of style into your big day.
  • A list of wedding vendors (photographers, catering companies, florists, etc.).  Photographers are especially important to include so we can give proper photo credit if we choose to publish your event. 
  • A series of 10-15 of your favorite wedding photos. Photos should be submitted as jpg’s or via a web link. Please be mindful of our email server and yours, and send larger photos in smaller groupings. If you are interested in submitting photos via DVD, please let us know.

We look forward to seeing your submissions.

Oh baby, baby!

We’ve had a few requests to write about baby showers, so we’ve finally caved.  I mean, how can you resist babies?  Here are a few fun ideas.

A fun invite…








 Pick a colorful invitation on a simple card stock. Wrap a corresponding ribbon around the card and tie a bow. Go to your local craft store and pick up some simple kraft brown boxes, fill with a layer of candy–bright colors preferred.  Place the invite on top of the candy, place the lid on top and wrap with another bow, if desired. It’s best to hand deliver these invites due to the sweet treats, which will either shift or melt…not so cute.



 Blume Box has some adorable favor ideas.  Some are even multi-purpose (place card and gift).  They are colorful and fun. Purchase various sizes at www.blumebox.com.




Darling gift for the mom-to-be…










We’ve seen some diaper cakes, but this one topped the list–it’s so colorful and coordinated. Take note!

Super cute centerpiece…









Isn’t this centerpiece fabulous? And even better that it’s easy to assemble, right? Take flower foam, soak it–but not too much– and stick on your favorite flower. Wrap it like a gift with a coordinating ribbon and you’re done.

Irresistible food service idea…









Ok, isn’t this the most adorable, creative idea? We thought so. Just hollow out a watermelon and fill with your favorite fruit salad. Pin the wheels (orange slices) on with a grape tipped toothpick.

Great games…

One of our new favorites is “bottle bowling.” All you need is a long hallway, ten empty baby bottles, a tennis ball (pink or blue if you can find them), and a scorecard. Strike, spare, who cares? This interactive game is a hoot!

Another favorite is “bottle chugging.” Yes, that thing you did in college. This game might be a great option for a co-ed shower, where some bottles could even be filled with beer (for those NOT expecting, of course). Fill baby bottles with milk, juice, sparkling cider–whatever your fancy–and have everyone stand in a line with their bottle (with nipple attached). Yell “go” and the person who finishes first, wins!

And finally, “spit the binky,” another interactive humorous game. Have your friends form a line and give each one a pacifier to put in their mouth. You guessed it…see who can spit their binky the farthest wins.

Happy Easter

Happy Easter to our Cocoa Belle Blog followers.  We hope you have a wonderful weekend with family and friends.  Happy Hunting (for Easter eggs, of course)!  But if you’re hunting for simple, easy-to-assemble centerpiece ideas, check out four fun ideas below from Martha Stewart.  We think they’re fabulous, and even the kids can partake in the creation process! Photos courtesy of www.marthastewart.com.