Category Archives: DIY

How to Create the Perfect Fall Cider Bar

Eastern Shore of Maryland Event Planner & Designer

DIY, Entertaining, featured, Studio, Styled Shoots

New season, new cocktail ideas! And this adorable Cider Bar recently featured on Style Me Pretty Living is perfect for fall entertaining. All you need is your favorite apple cider (served hot or cold), a sampling of dark liquors (we chose bourbon and rum), and lots of tasty garnishes—think honey, cinnamon sticks, apples and citrus. We even included some bottled hard cider selections for the less adventurous guest. Put it all together and you’ve got a display as adorable as it is delicious. We’re obsessed!


Photography: Elizabeth Fogarty
Design & Styling: Kari Rider Events
Florals: Crimson & Clover Floral Design
Calligraphy: Surcee Calligraphy
Spirits & Cider: Hair O’ The Dog


Kraft Paper Holiday Wrapping

Eastern Shore Maryland Event Planner & Designer

DIY, Studio, Styled Shoots

When you’re in the industry of making things pretty, the holidays can get out of control! Not only are you expected to buy the perfect gift, but you’re then expected to wow with its presentation. Honestly, who has time for that?! We’ve done it the hard way: up until 2 a.m. on Christmas Eve meticulously crafting bows and attaching handmade tags. (A bottle of wine later, it may or may not have looked like a child wrapped the last of the gifts!) But we’re ready to wrap smarter this year! Enter kraft paper. Versatile, affordable and available at most craft stores, kraft paper is a blank canvas for creativity. Letter it, stamp it, dress it with ribbon—the possibilities are endless. The best part? A little bit of decoration goes a long way. We recommend dressing up the smallest in your set of gifts and placing it atop larger plain-wrapped gifts. You’ll get the wow factor you want in a fraction of the time it would have taken you otherwise. So join us in wrapping smarter this year with these three tips for wrapping with kraft paper!


Letter It

Personal and delicate, hand lettering a holiday phrase like “Merry & Bright” on kraft paper is sure to impress. If you don’t have the hand for it, ask a friend or contact a local calligrapher like we did with Eunice of Surcee Calligraphy. Eunice recommends laying the kraft paper out flat and lettering on it prior to wrapping the gift to ensure consistency.


Stamp It

Gold or black ink show up well on kraft paper; white can be pretty temperamental. But if your heart is set on white, don’t shy away. We used the tip of an eraser to create the polka dot pattern on this package. The white ink was showing up too faint, so we traced over those dots with a chalk marker to help them stand out more.


Dress It

We love mixing different textures of ribbon to dress up kraft paper. Don’t be afraid to take an unstructured approach like we did here for a fun nontraditional look.

Photography: Karena Dixon
Styling: Kari Rider Events
Kraft Paper Calligraphy: Surcee Calligraphy
Calligraphy Gift Tags: Laura Hooper Calligraphy
Tree Gift Tag: Cara Smith Designs
Ribbon: Sugar Paper LA, Paper Source


Holiday Recipe: Cranberry Brie Croustade

Eastern Shore of Maryland Event Planner & Designer

DIY, Entertaining, Recipes, Studio, Styled Shoots

If we had to pick one thing we look forward to most around the holidays, it would have to be the steady stream of cocktail parties! Relaxed, low-pressure and full of our favorite things—drinks and mini bites—cocktail parties are pretty much the best thing that’s ever happened to entertaining! Whether hosting or attending, we’re always looking to spice things up with new bite-size recipes perfect for a cocktail party setting, and these tasty little cranberry brie croustades from Gourmet by the Bay have been our go-to this holiday season. Easy to prep ahead of time, these festive treats are sure to make waves at your next gathering! Happy entertaining! 


Sugared Cranberry:

1 bag of whole cranberries
Egg white of one whole egg

For the croustade:

White loaf bread
Olive oil
Salt and pepper


For the filling:

1 orange
1 lemon
½ whole vanilla bean


1 ½ cloves
2 cups sugar
1 ½ bags whole cranberries

For the brie:

Brie de Meaux, or other international brie
Cut into squares 


First, make cranberry orange relish. Zest the orange and lemon completely. Blanch the zest in boiling water, then cool. Caramelize the sugar and then add the vanilla bean, cloves and blanch zests then stir well. Add the whole cranberries and let boil on low until cranberries pop and it becomes the consistency of loose jam. Pour into metal container and refrigerate to cool. Should have a thick jam consistency once chilled. Store in airtight container and it will last for months. If you are unable to make cranberry relish, use a packaged version that provides a tart jam flavor.

Next, make sugared cranberries. (One egg white to one bag of cranberries) Put egg white in bowl and whisk until frothy. Toss in bag of cranberries and coat well. Remove from egg whites and roll in pan with sugar until coated. Let dry for 12 hours or overnight uncovered on baking sheet.

Cut white loaf bread into small squares without crusts (one slice of crustless bread makes 4 squares). Brush with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place into mini muffin tins so the center is on the bottom and the edges point upward. Bake at 300 degrees for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown. Cool. Can be held in airtight container for several days.

Cut brie into small squares so they fit into the bread croustades.

To assemble, place a dollop of cranberry relish in the bottom of the croustade. Top with brie. Bake at 300 degrees for about 2 minutes, until brie melts. Remove and top with sugared cranberry. Let cool slightly before serving.




Photography: Melissa Grimes-Guy
Styling: Kari Rider Events
Recipe: Gourmet by the Bay