Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving! Whether you are hosting a feast in your own home or traveling out to family and friends, no Thanksgiving would be complete without some custom cocktails! How else would we survive this holiday??

DSC_0251 Partridge in a Pear Tree

This is one spicy and potent martini! The combination of spiced rum and cinnamon is sure to warm you right up.  Be sure to visit our Facebook page for instructions on making your own homemade pear vodka!

¾ oz pear vodka 

¾ oz spiced rum

¾ oz Amaretto (or other almond liqueur)

¾ oz vanilla vodka

1 oz pear nectar or juice**

pinch of ground cinnamon

Put all ingredients into an ice filled shaker and shake away. Pour into a chilled martini glass and enjoy.

*If you made home-made pear vodka, keep the pear you used for your infusion. Puree that pear and freeze it for a great substitution for pear nectar.

Autumn Apple

DSC_0221Recipe courtesy of Chef Paco Solano, Executive Chef & Owner of Solano’s Bistro in La Quinta, CA. Another libation with a cinnamon kick! This is Chef Solano’s take on an autumn mojito.

2 oz Fireball Cinnamon Whiskey

3 tbs diced apple (any variety works or substitute with 1.5 oz of apple juice)

¾ oz lemon juice

¾ oz honey or simple syrup

5 mint leaves

Club soda

In a shaker, muddle the whiskey, apple, lemon, syrup and mint leaves. Fill shaker with ice and shake away. Pour contents into an ice filled Collins glass and top with soda. Garnish with apple slices and mint.

Pumpkin Pie Martini

Thanksgiving isn’t complete without pumpkin pie! If you don’t have time to whip up a whole pie, these martinis can be made in a flash and are just as delicious.

1 tbs pumpkin puree

1 oz vanilla vodka

½ oz spiced rum

½ oz maple syrup

1 oz heavy cream

Pumpkin pie spice

Vanilla sugar or crushed graham crackers

Wet the edges of a martini glass and dip the rim in either vanilla sugar or crushed graham crackers. Put glass in freezer to chill while making martini.

Combine the puree, vodka, rum, syrup, heavy cream and a few sprinkles of pumpkin pie spice in a shaker with a few ice cubes. Really shake the contents with the ice to make the cream super frothy. Pour the mixture into the chilled martini glass. Put a final shake of pumpkin pie spice on the top of the martini.


Please enjoy these cocktails responsibly (no matter what crazy relative you are seated next to!). From all of us at CLD, no matter where you are or whom you are celebrating with, we hope you have a fantastic Thanksgiving!


Make Your Own Wreath for the Holidays!

So now that I am in this state of golden and crisp autumn beauty, I felt the need to venture out and use what nature gave me for my fall inspired craft. I decided to make a wreath from the branches and such that are scattered about.

Fortunately for me, I came up with this idea right before I moved into my new house and someone piled a boat load of branches around the corner. No lie.  It is amazing, I had to do zero work to get these branches but take a walk down the street. I’m sure most people see this pile and groan that it’s just sitting there, me? I was STOKED!
IMG_0620 So to start this sucker, I moved sorted through this stack looking for branches that were pliable, so I would be able to bend them in a curve.  This means I used a lot of the tall ends (I had clippers with me) so I could get rid of the thick stems of the branch.

I took some regular twine that I had at home and started tying pieces together. Do not get discouraged.  Even at one point I thought that I was a failure because it looked so measly and stupid.  But I kept adding tons of pieces together until I got a fairly round frame to work with.  Don’t worry about it being too thick, as you’ll bulk it up with leaves – unless you want a branchy look, then add more stems, just keep going around in circles.  Keep the twine taught and don’t worry about it showing here and there, as it will blend in.

IMG_0626Fortunate scenario #2: The gorgeous trees are in my backyard (also amazing because this means I don’t need to own a leaf blower!).  So I just hopped out back and clipped off so low branches.  I tried to get ones that didn’t have too much bulk around them, and then I cut some of the long ones into shorter pieces to make it easier to wedge into the sticks. IMG_0627 IMG_0629 I then stripped off some of the pines at the bottom so it would weave into the wreath nicely.IMG_0632 Wa-la!  Go around a couple times to fill in any gaps. I made all my branches go in one direction, but you could also do it 50/50.  So it is split in the middle going in different directions.  Does that make sense?  The right half goes down and the left half goes down, so the branches all fall down rather than in one direction.  Email me if not 🙂IMG_0631 Now, time to make it festive!  My intention is to make this an easy autumn wreath than can be switched right into a winter/holiday wreath.  So I grabbed some berries (yes, also in my yard) and just a few beautiful red leaves to tuck in for a pop of color.  I didn’t want to go crazy and get too festive, as it’s just a seasonal wreath, not a specific holiday wreath – I know, barely a difference, but just my opinion 🙂IMG_0619 IMG_0634 IMG_0637Feel free to get as creative and crazy as you want with your wreath trimmings!  I just put a little spot of both on the top right and bottom left quadrants.  Sprinkle it throughout, do none, do whatever you like! IMG_0636And you can have your beautiful homemade wreath!  The only thing I “bought” was twine, and I already had that at home!  A great conversation piece … stay tuned for part two so we can make it a little more “festive” for the winter holidays next month!

Venue Restrictions

It’s easy to fall in love with a venue.  It has the perfect ceremony location overlooking the ocean, or the most beautiful arches in the chapel … and when we’re quick to sign that contract, sometimes we tend to glaze over are what restrictions are included in the package. Like when I had a bride find out that she had to pay $11 plus a $3.50 set-up fee per chair – for chairs that were already in the restaurant!  Believe it or not, these crazy things exist out there and it’s up to your and your planner to read for these signs.

Restrictions vary depending on the type of location, whether it’s a restaurant, hotel, blank canvas or private estate.  There are different things you should look out for.  Just a few to consider:

  • Is there a noise curfew?
  • Will there be trash cans on that open ranch or do you or the caterer need to take care of it?
  • What about bathrooms – how many people can they hold?
  • Are tables and chairs included in the pricing?
  • What is the night like and will you need to bring in extra lighting?
  • Are there parking restrictions for guests?
  • Do you need a fire permit or insurance?

The list is quite varying depending on where you are, so be sure to ask all the questions and read all the fine lines.  These are completely standard items, however, you should make sure you know everything before signing in case there are any deal breakers.

Casa del Mar Amor

Sometimes love doesn’t hit us at first site, but friendship does.  Brittany and Chris met during work when Chris was an intern at Brittany’s office, and the two became fast friends.  It was only upon the end of Chris’s stint that they both realized it was so much more!  They have been glued at the hip ever since, enjoying trips out to Santa Monica from the East Coast with Chris’s family.  Once engaged, they knew this was the place they wanted to begin their life together.  The gorgeous Santa Monica surroundings tell the rest!

Reception Venue: Casa del Mar
Ceremony Venue: St. Monica’s Church
Wedding Planning: Christina Logan Design
Photography: Dennis Kwan Weddings
Flowers: Stephanie Grace
Rentals & Lighting: Luna Gardens
Cake: Vanilla Bakeshop
Hair & Make-up: Lux Lab

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