FROLIC – Apple Mojito Mocktail

This week’s FROLIC inspiration is twofold; one we are still in apple season, two my little one is celebrating her 1st birthday!



100 ml Good apple juice
2 tsp Sugar or 20 ml of sugar syrup
15 ml Fresh lemon juice
15 ml Fresh lime juice
Soda water
10 – 12 Fresh mint leaves
Crushed Ice


Bash the mint and sugar in a bowl to release the taste. Add the crushed ice to high-ball glass, then add the lemon juice, lime juice and the mint. Pour the apple juice over the ice and top up with soda water. Garnish with a slice of a sprig of mint and a slice of lime



Featured product – inlaid cheese board

I love any excuse to have cheese parties.  And it is always more inviting when the cheese is laid out on great boards.  Our partner Sawbridge Studios has some fantastic wood boards, which make for great registry gifts

Meet our friends at Naturally Yours Events

Meet Carlene Smith of Naturally Yours Events the must go to event planner for any couple interested an eco-chic and green wedding. She knows all the great local vendors and has great tips and suggestions to keep the carbon foot print of your wedding down to a minimum.

What services do you offer? Full, partial, and day-of event or wedding planning, baby showers, bridal showers, bachelorette parties, birthday parties, anniversaries, mitzvahs

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Photos courtesy of Cage and Aquarium, Jeremy Lawson Photography, Julia Franzosa, Chrissy Deming

Tell us a bit about you and your team?

I am the owner and lead planner for Naturally Yours Events. I do have an extra pair of hands, the amazing Jessie, that helps on certain events.

What is the biggest lesson you learned working as a wedding planner?

I would say that nothing is black and white and sometimes things don’t go as planned. You have to be able to roll with it to have a successful event.

Is there a particular bride style you feel you cater to best?

I really cater to the non-traditional couple who wants their wedding to be tailored to them. My clients tend to value choosing smaller independent businesses to work with on their special day and many value having a greener event.

What is the first thing a couple should do after getting engaged?

It is very important to figure out what type of wedding they want to have, what’s the most important element, how many people they plan to invite, and how much they want to spend.

What are the best tools for a couple to use when planning for their wedding?

I love blogs and pinterest to figure out the style and design of the day. But the most important tool is a good, well-kept spreadsheet that has all the details- guest list, vendor information, budget, music and ceremony information, etc. These are all tools I provide my clients and we update them together.

What is your favorite part/moment of a wedding?

I love the moment the bride walks down the aisle. She looks at me with anticipation right before I signal her to walk down the aisle. With a huge grin she begins her processional and I end up crying, every time!

Can you give me 1-2 of your favorite requests/ ideas that a bride has come to you with?

I had a client who was very into music and we named each table after their favorite record and the escort cards were concert tickets. My client next year is doing an interactive S’mores bar with flavored handmade marshmallows. Super excited!

What are the trends you are seeing for 2013?

I am seeing a lot more mixing of platinum colors such as silver, gold, and coppers. I am also seeing couples choosing to do standing ceremonies for a more intimate setting.

Quick getting to know Carlene questions:

what is your rule of thumb you live by? I guess, I just try to do the right thing and live with integrity.

what do you do in your free time? Biking to new places, watching movies, and trying new local brews.

If you were to turn on the TV right now what would you choose to watch? I don’t watch a lot of TV, but I like Game of Thrones, Breaking Bad, and Parks and Recreation.

– what book are you reading right now? or what is the last book you read? Right before wedding season I finished “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children.”

Finally we have to ask but what is an item you would have on your wedding registry?

I would go for a good set of knives. Everyone needs the right tool to do the job

See a little video of one of Naturally Yours Events wedding

Find out more


Phone: 312 – 752 -5890

Election day products

Did you vote today?  Here are some election inspired products for your Chicago wedding registry!


Getting ready for the Turkey

Thanksgiving is around the corner we thought this week’s registry inspiration should help you prepare for the big Turkey dinner.  Find out here how some of our local Chicago partners can help you and your bridal registry have everything you need!  See how Northwestern Cutlery and Crosell & Co can help you out

Everything you need to cook the bird



Once the bird is cooked time to decorate the table



Don’t forget a great knife to carve the turkey!

FROLIC – Bourbon Cider

One of my favorite things about the fall is apples and with apples comes cider, so today’s inspiration


1 cup sugar
2 tbsp. whole cloves, crushed
1 3″ piece fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
1 cinnamon stick
3 oz. apple cider
1½ oz. bourbon
1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
Dried apple slice, to garnish


1. Boil 1 cup water in a small saucepan. Remove from heat; stir in sugar, cloves, ginger, and cinnamon; let sit for 1 hour. Strain and chill syrup.

2. Mix ¾ oz. ginger syrup, cider, bourbon, and juice in a shaker with ice; shake to chill. Strain into a martini glass; garnish with apple.


And here is a great glass to add to your registry to drink your new cocktail in

Meet our friends at Crystal Gardens at Navy Pier

We recently got to interview Sharon Plucinski, Catering Sales Manager handling the Social/ Wedding Marketer for Crystal Gardens to get her thoughts on Wedding Planning process and get her tips.

If you have not yet visited Crystal Gardens it is this amazing oasis in the middle of Chicago.   It is an incredible one acre indoor botanical garden, with over 80 beautiful palm trees,  lush foliage, hanging “twinkle lights,” and dancing “leapfrog” fountains, it makes an unbelievable setting for your special day.  With its location in Navy Pier it makes it a fabulous location for your quintessential Chicago wedding!  And of course lots of amazing places for great wedding picture opportunites

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For people who may not be familiar with Crystal Gardens can you tell us a bit about the location?

The Crystal Gardens is a perfect and unique location to host your event. The Crystal Gardens is a beautiful indoor, one-acre – botanical garden. This six-story glass atrium with a 50 foot arched ceiling holds over 80 live palm trees, lush foliage, hanging “twinkle lights” and dancing “leapfrog” fountains.

Sharon tell us a bit about you and your team?

I feel in love with the hospitality industry at an early age, I’ve always loved throwing parties and being creative. While studying Art & Design at Iowa State University, during the summer months I would come home and work as a florist. I got to see many different venues, set- ups and break downs and got to spend lots of time being creative surrounded by flowers! After my Senior year fall semester studying abroad in Italy, I figured out I wanted to go into events full time and learn the ins and outs. I was lucky enough to get connected to a lot of fabulous people in the city of Chicago. I started my career at the Sheraton Chicago as a Catering & Convention Service Assistant and then worked my way up to the Food & Beverage Sales Manager for all of our outlet spaces. After 4 years at the Sheraton I moved to our sister property The Westin River North as a Catering Sales Manager where I sold & serviced Corporate Events 0-100 people and Social from 0-175. I learned so much “growing up” in hotels, there is never a day that goes by that I don’t use the skills I’ve learned from hotels. I jumped at the experience to join the Phil Stefani Signature Events team this past July as their Catering Sales Manager, selling the Crystal Gardens at Navy Pier for all weddings. I love weddings and have had a love affair with everything weddings for many, many years. Down the road I do wish to own my own Bed & Breakfast…somewhere beautiful that I can also sell for social events For now, I’m in love selling & living the dream!!!

Our team at Crystal Gardens also comprises of 3 Sales & Catering professionals with over 20 years experience in creating an award winning events. It includes Kate Samuelson is our Senior Sales Manager handling the Corporate Market and our GM Pete Laliberte.

What services do you offer?

Full service catering and event space to service sit down events up to 525 guests and receptions up to 1,500 guests.

Is there a particular bride style you feel you cater to best?

The non-traditional, out of the box bride and the Foodie bride would be the style type we best cater too.

What is the first thing a couple should do after getting engaged?
After jumping up and down and telling all of your loved ones the next thing you must do is sit down and agree on a date/month/ or time of the year for your wedding. Then starting the selection process for venues, typically in Chicago if a Bride & Groom have a particular date or time frame in mind it’s best to book at least a year out if not a year and a half depending on venue.

What is your favorite part/moment of a wedding?
If we are hosting both the ceremony & reception my ultimate FAVORITE part is the VOWS, you feel so personally connected to the bride & groom by the time their big day gets here that it’s touching to hear what they are personally vowing to do for each other. If we are only hosting the reception my favorite part is when I ask the bride & groom how everything is going and they answer with “AMAZING!!!” I love making their dreams for the day come true!

Can you give me 1-2 of your favorite requests/ ideas that a couple has come to you with?
We get quite a few requests and ideas one that really stands out was….since it’s pretty much a jungle in here would it be alright if my dad rents a monkey for the night to swing from the trees, that takes the cake. Unfortunately, the request was denied….

What are the trends you are seeing for 2013/14?
Trends wise for 2013 -2014, Brides & Grooms are booking way in advance.
They are also way more educated on food trends and wine, we have quite a bit of “FOODIE” Brides & Grooms that we love to cater to and get creative with their menus.
Sweet stations are still all the craze and more and more couples are choosing to do Late Night snack comfort foods.
Colors wise we are seeing lots of the purple and silver moving forward I think we are going to get more of the yellows and greens.
Within our venue less is more on the décor side since the environment is already so unique so floral arrangements vary in color and texture and help to accent the final finishing touches with glowing candles and our hanging lights.

So who is Sharon when you are not at work:
– what is your rule of thumb you live by? “No Regrets”
– what do you do in your free time?  Go out to eat and hang out with friends, if I have lots of time CRAFTS
– If you were to turn on the TV right now what would you choose to watch? My DVR’d shows: New Girl, Nashville, Heart of Dixie and Walking Dead… I have A LOT stored on my DVR right now.
– what book are you reading right now? or what is the last book you read? I just finished a quick read: The Time Keeper, By Mitch Albom and started The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky (I love to read!)

Finally we have to ask but what is an item you would have on your wedding registry?
Since I currently am in the process of planning my own wedding and starting on my own wedding registry I personally have to say I LOVE the idea of being able to register for massages, they are my guilty pleasure I think something like that is a personal touch and a fabulous shower gift!!!