Dress of the Week: Acacia by Anne Barge

This week we bring you a dress from Anne Barge’s 2014 Spring collection. This season Anne was inspired by the romance of the past. The soft pastels and sense of lightness as evoked by the Impressionist painter, Claude Monet was Anne’s muse. She was particularly inspired by Monet’s vision and breath-taking interpretations of his opulent gardens at Giverny, France. Thus, the gown Acacia was designed! This strapless corset is made with beaded Chantilly lace and silk organza. The mermaid skirt is accented with gorgeous cascading ruffles.

Acacia

Acacia_B

Acacia_Detail

Photos courtesy of Anne Barge
Let us know what you think!
Xoxo,
Sheri
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Dress of the Week: Monique Lhuillier

Spring is in the air – and it’s one of the primary sources of inspiration for many designers when creating their new season’s line. Monique Lhuillier beautifully incorporates springtime themes in her Spring 2011 line up. This is one dress that caught our eye!

Lhuillier appropriately names this wedding dress “Precious” to perfectly complement your precious moment. Donning this dress will be the icing on the cake for your springtime wedding. This masterpiece is detailed with cascading butterflies and a draped bodice trumpet.

Check out more of Monique Lhuillier’s dresses at moniquelhuillier.com!

xoxo,
Kiki

Oscar Inspiration

Oscar Night. An evening of beautiful gowns, celebrities, high anxiety, excitement and, of course, partying. This lavish night doesn’t need to be just an evening of stars, but an opportunity to bring life to your next party.

First, let’s take a look at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ Governor’s Ball. This party, boasting a central palm tree with Swarovski crystals covering the trunk, towering tropical blooms, and a delicious menu by Wolfgang Puck, was inspired by music and vintage nightclubs.

 83rd Academy Awards, Governors Ball Press Preview

Courtesy of BizBash.com



Courtesy of BizBash.com

This is a fantastic party idea, because it can be taken in so many different directions. Your club atmosphere can be as grandiose or as simple as you want it to be.  Start with brightly colored linens to introduce your color palate to your guests instantly. With the dominant table colors established, you can pair them with contrasting napkins and china.

Next, consult with your event planner to find out which lighting vendor can create a  design that will complement your overall aesthetic. In general, large splashes of color on the walls can create a warm ambiance even in a neutral space with blank white walls.

Then, kick your party into high gear with a live band. Choose either a large brass band to create that old-time feel or, on a smaller scale, consider a jazz trio to play a few sets alternating with a DJ. Like any live show, the performers provide an extra boost of energy by connecting personally with audience members and getting them excited for the dancing to come. The bands are well versed in many different genres of music and are able change gears and cater to the mood of the guests and/or host.

Finally, round out the look and feel of the evening with a variety of centerpieces. Contrasting looks can add extra flair to the room. Tall center pieces with large plumes of feathers and bright floral bouquets establish a dramatic upward movement to the room. Also have your designer create a look that is closer to the table. By pairing a small floral centerpiece with surrounding votives, you can add a touch of light that will produce a more cozy, intimate atmosphere.

By using these basic steps you can replicate a night of classic entertaining.

Enjoy!

Meredith

Valentine Inspiration

As the smell of chocolates, perfume, and candy fill the streets this Valentine’s Day take a few minutes to step back and simplify yours. Here are a few tips to inspire you.

If you have kids, do what Danielle is doing and throw a Toddler Valentine’s Day Extravaganza! Find fun activities for the kids such as arts and crafts or baking cupcakes!


Instead of going out to an overbooked restaurant, eat in! Nothing is more romantic than having a secluded, candle lit dinner cooked exclusively by you. Spend the evening proclaiming your love for one another without any interruptions from a waiter eager to bring the check and get the next tip-payer seated.

It’s easy to run into a store and pick up yet another generic gift. This year, to give that special someone something truly original and from the heart, try making something yourself. Find out what they like and work from that. Here is an idea we spotted from a crafter online who loves cherry blossom trees:

craftster.org

The girls at CUE hope these ideas help spark your own romantic creativity and wish you a very Happy Valentine’s Day!

xoxo,
Kiki

Dress of the Week: Douglas Hannant

This week our dress comes from designer Douglas Hannant. Danielle, CUE’s Founder and Creative Director, had the pleasure of seeing his 2011 designs in person at the Gabriella New York Bridal Salon (http://www.gabriellanewyork.com/). She marveled at how this designer, in particular, caters to all types of women regardless of style or size.

 

Courtesy of http://www.douglashannant.com

 

This week’s gorgeous dress bolsters Hannant’s commitment to creating unique yet traditional gowns. The strapless bodice, empire waist, and mermaid style train are very conventional elements. However, the addition of the beautiful blue embroidery on the bust, skirt and train makes this gown an eye-catching standout. Hannant states, “I really know my customer,”  and poignantly adds, “I didn’t have her when I started. She found me. She is exactly who I wanted her to be.” Well, who is she? “She loves fine things in every facet of her life. She loves luxury. She wants modern, fresh and new, yet it isn’t big news in the sense that she is never going to be wearing the splashiest, trendiest, most overexposed thing of the moment.” We applaud this great designer and look forward to keeping our eye on his style.

{CUE Real Wedding}: Rani + Jay

Many people dream of having a New York City wedding, so why not do it in style? Rani and Jay held their unforgettable wedding at Gotham Hall and totally transformed the space into one of the most festive weddings we’ve seen! By incorporating their Indian heritage into all the fine design details of the ceremony and then proudly displaying their New York attitude in a rocking club-style reception, Rani and Jay treated their guests to two stunning and completely contrasting experiences – and made turning over the space an ambitious but fun adventure for the CUE girls. From setting up the programs and escort cards to inflating a giant monkey, all while directing over five hundred guests, this event was one that will surely be remembered.

Ceremony and Reception: Gotham Hall

Floral Design: Martin Jobes

Photography: Jenny Ebert

Lighting: Bentley Meeker

Coordination: Curtain Up Events

We can’t thank the vendors enough for all of their hard work, dedication and commitment in making this wedding so outstanding. Congratulations on another successful collaboration!

xoxo,
Kiki

Dress of the Week: Oscar de la Renta

When a planning a wedding, one of the most personal & exciting elements a bride considers is her dress. The CUE girls are here to help with some dresses we love to offer you some inspiration!

This is our pick for Dress of the Week.

This dress was designed by Oscar de la Renta himself. From his Spring 2011 collection, this beauty is a one-of-a-kind stunner wrapped in a sheath of lace that radiates elegance and grace. A unique detail that caught our attention is the train. For years now trains have been left entirely to personal preference and are not at all de rigeur. For those of you who are on the fence, Oscar de la Renta cleverly modernizes the train by adding a pop of color, fashioning it from a contrasting material and “attaching” it as a bow to the back of the dress.

Follow our new Dress of the Week series for our featured gowns including picks for the bride or her bridesmaids. We’d love to hear your thoughts as well as recommendations for gorgeous gowns that have caught your eye.

Happy searching!

Project Holiday Organization

The holidays have FINALLY arrived and there is still so much to do! It starts with brainstorming for those perfect gifts, then braving the holiday hoards of mall madness, and culminates in executing the most gorgeous gift wrapping since Buddy the Elf walked through the Lincoln Tunnel. Gifts: check! What did you forget?

Decorating. Some may ask, “What’s so hard about placing a little holly here, a few lights there, picking out a tree, setting out the menorah, or finding the right candles for the kinara?” Well, actually finding those decorations tucked way in the back of the closet, stuffed in a box with other holiday miscellanea, can be a bigger headache than hunting down that one bad light keeping half of your tree unfestively dim. Organization is key when tackling such a project because you don’t want to have to deal with a mess before and after you set up.

Lisa Zaslow, founder of Gotham Organizers, is known nationwide for her expertise in organization. She helps her clients find customized solutions that help them become more organized and, therefore, more productive. She shared some tips with the CUE team on how we all could be more organized throughout this holiday season.

Gather

Go through your house and collect all the different holiday items that you have stored in a variety of places: the jack-o-lantern cutting knives in the kitchen, the menorah in the hall closet, the ornaments in the basement. You’ll probably have to open a bunch of “mystery boxes” in the process. This is a good thing. Have a thick black marker handy so you can label the carton with your high school memorabilia when you come across it in the attic.

Prune

Now that you see your complete holiday stash, toss or give away the items that you’ll never use: the lady bug costume that your daughter wore four years ago, strings of bulbs tangled beyond any chance of liberation, impulse-purchase ornaments that you have never once displayed, and wrinkled wrapping paper that you wouldn’t use even for the anonymous office grab bag.

Contain and Store

Now that you know how much space your decorations take up, treat yourself to some new containers to store them in. Sturdy plastic bins that stack will save space and protect your decorations from dust, water and breakage. They even make color-coded containers for this purpose – orange for Halloween, red and green for Christmas, etc. Label the containers so that you can see at a glance what’s in each one.

Designate an out-of-the way place to store your seasonal stuff since you don‘t need to get to it often. The basement, attic, or garage is perfect, if you have one. Apartment dwellers can use a high shelf in a closet or under-the-bed boxes.

Congratulations! You’ve solved a major holiday headache. Now if there was only an easier way to deal with all those relatives who‘ll be visiting …

Thanks Lisa, for all of your wonderful tips! They have already made my holidays less of a mess and allowed me to spend more time on the things that are more important in life.

To find out more on how Lisa Zaslow can help your organizational skills, check out her website at gothamorganizers.com.

If some of you are still having difficulty finding time to juggle work or school, decorating, and holiday gift shopping, the CUE team is here to help YOU! We can take care of all your holiday decorating, home or office. Need inspiration? We have plenty! And don’t worry about the dreaded post-holiday undecorating. Not only will we set everything up, but we will also break it down and stow it all away again.

You can e-mail us at info@curtainupevents.com. We look forward with working with you soon!

Have a safe and happy holiday season.

Xoxo,
Kiki

Gobble Gobble Time!

Every year as Thanksgiving approaches, you begin to consider many things: “What do I do first? How should I decorate? What should be on my menu? Dare I attempt the Turducken?” With that in mind we at CUE thought it might be nice to offer a few suggestions to help you get in the Thanksgiving spirit.

First, let’s start with a craft project.  A cute way to spice up your Thanksgiving table is to create a Turkey Bread Basket.

Turkey Breadbasket Centerpiece

Courtesy of Familyfun.go.com

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Large wooden spoon
  • Tacky glue and a glue stick
  • Pair of googly eyes
  • Pencil and scissors
  • Construction paper in a variety of colors
  • Flat wooden craft spoon
  • Red marker
  • Colorful printed wrapping paper or pages from old magazines
  • Waxed paper
  • Thin wooden skewers (sold in the kitchen/cooking section of most grocery and department stores)
  • Basket to serve as the turkey’s body (it should be large enough to fit a loaf of bread or dinner rolls)
  • Florists’ foam or Styrofoam block (sold at many large craft or department stores) large enough to wedge into the basket
  • Cloth dinner napkin
Instructions
  1. To create the turkey’s head, turn the large wooden spoon so that the back of the bowl becomes the face. Use tacky glue to stick on the googly eyes. Then cut out a yellow construction paper beak and glue it in place.
  2. For the turkey’s wattle, use the marker to color the flat wooden craft spoon red. Glue the wattle onto the face at an angle so that the top slightly overlaps the beak. You can use a pinch-style clothespin to hold the pieces in place until the glue dries.
  3. From the construction paper, help your kids cut out lots of colored feathers that measure about 10 inches long and 1 3/4 inches across at the widest point. Cut out the same number of feathers from the wrapping paper or magazine pages, then trim them so that they are slightly smaller than the solid-colored ones.
  4. Cover a flat work surface with waxed paper (this makes for easier cleanup after applying glue), and you’re ready to assemble the feathers. For each one, place a construction paper cutout on the waxed paper and set a wooden skewer atop it so that the blunt end is just below the top of the paper and the pointed end extends about 3 inches below it.
  5. Next, use a glue stick to coat the underside of a printed feather. Then press it, glued side down, onto the construction paper feather, sandwiching the skewer between the 2 layers.
  6. Wedge the foam block into the basket (trim it first if necessary). Push the spoon handle into one end of the block deep enough to secure it. Stick the feathers into the opposite end. Cover the block with the cloth napkin, and the turkey basket is ready to fill with bread.

If you are  in the mood for a more elegant meal, then consider using a few leaves from your yard to create a subtle fall theme. Display autumn leaves beneath a sheer tablecloth and the dining room will look as brilliant as the trees in your front yard. First, place leaves between paper towels or waxed paper inside a phone book for a week to dry and smooth them. Next, if needed, use double-sided tape to attach foliage — in any grouping — to a standard white tablecloth. Then place a sheer cloth, such as organza, on top.

Courtesy of MarthaStewart.com

You might also want to use a leaf or a sweet-gum-tree spur as a place card. Just tie a name tag with a bit of ribbon to the stem of your chosen item.

Courtesy of MarthaStewart.com

Finally, no Thanksgiving is complete without a bit o’ Pumpkin Pie. It’s a guaranteed crowd pleaser. Follow the recipe below.

Here’s what you’ll need:

Ingredients

  • 1 (9 inch) unbaked deep dish pie crust
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 (15 ounce) can of 100% Pure Pumpkin or Pumpkin Puree
  • 1 (12 fluid ounce) can NESTLE® CARNATION® Evaporated Milk

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Combine sugar, salt, cinnamon, ginger and cloves in small bowl. Beat eggs lightly in large bowl. Stir in pumpkin and sugar-spice mixture. Gradually stir in evaporated milk. Pour into pie shell.
  3. Bake for 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350 degrees F.; bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until knife inserted near center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack for 2 hours. Serve immediately or refrigerate. (Do not freeze as this will cause the crust to separate from the filling.)

Libby's(R) Famous Pumpkin Pie Recipe

Courtesy of AllRecipes.com

But remember, no matter what decor you choose or how many delicious treats you taste, Thanksgiving is ultimately about being grateful for the ones we care about and the meaning they bring to our lives. So, this Thanksgiving make sure to put a little extra TLC (Tender Loving Care) into each project or dish and it will certainly shine through to your loved ones!

This Is Not The Career I Ordered

Many people grow up knowing exactly what they want to be, from doctor or lawyer to astronaut or actor. But what happens once you have lived your dream? Is it everything you imagined? Are you satisfied with reaching your goal or do you set a new one and do all you can to achieve that one, too?

Caroline Dowd-Higgins is the author of This is Not the Career I Ordered: Empowering Strategies from Women Who Have Recharged, Reignited, and Reinvented Their Careers. She focuses on female entrepreneurs, the unique challenges of their individual journeys and how they overcame obstacles along the way. For some of these women, a change of career meant a dramatic change of lifestyle – a transformation both daunting and thrilling, and a chance they were willing to take. All of these stories are empowering inspiration for women who, thus far, have only dreamt about taking that next step.

Danielle Bobish was honored when Caroline asked her to be featured in her book. Talking about her career and company, Curtain Up Events, Danielle speaks with Caroline about her path from  actress to event planner. The journey was not an easy one, but it was a sacrifice that has led to great personal fulfillment and success.

You can read Danielle’s story at Caroline’s blog, notthecareeriordered.com.

To read all of these women’s inspiring stories, This is Not the Career I Ordered can be found at Amazon.com.


Keep up with Caroline at her websites: notthecareeriordered.com and carolinedowdhiggins.com