#12…Done

So based off of DUO’s “12 For ’12” list of goals for the new year, looks like we can cross off one of them:

12.  Finally get an iphone.

 Cassie & I crossed over into the light and ditched our Blackberrys over the weekend.   {Hallelujah!}   Only hours in, we’re getting ourselves acquainted and are not quite used to having sooooo much at our disposal from jump street.  And let’s not talk about the set up.    But we’re happy overall, I’m glad we finally got it done!  No ‘Crackberry’ withdrawals… yet.

  If anyone out there is a fan/expert of the iPhone 4S, drop us a line or two.  Any advice or quick tips would be wonderful!

Oh and by the way…

WAY TO GO HOUSTON, TEXANS!

Texans 31  Cincinnati Bengals 10

The team’s first playoff win like, EVER.   Now let’s go take down Baltimore…or at least make it competitive!

Advertisements

No Fuss Party Nights

Breathe in, breathe out.  2012 has just begun!    We don’t want you to go overboard and indulge the same time & energy exerted this past holiday season.  Instead, we are aiming for no fuss, no stress.    It’s time to relax. 

With that said, we all need an excuse to get together and have simple fun as good post-New Year’s therapy.  With 2011 behind us, why not start the year off with some uncomplicated ideas for the perfect, casual Saturday night?

The following trio of ideas come courtesy of the January, 2012 InStyle.   

 

___________________________________

Idea #1

Host An Unfussy Wine Tasting. Susan Kostrzewa, an editor at Wine Enthusiast, recommends Beaujolais, a light-bodied red that’s rarely more than $15 a bottle.  Serve in short juice glasses, which are less likely to spill than those with long stems.

For the eats, it is suggested to nix the cheese platter and stock the cookie jar.   In fact, Botanical Bakery shortbreads are made to pair wine. {$7 each; botanicalbakery.com}

For the fun:  Vinodote {$12; thespitbucket.com}, a Mad Libs-style game.  NOTE: Their website as of tonite, 1/3, appears to be down, but hopefully you’ll have luck accessing it soon.    Till then, head on over to their Facebook fan page.

 

Idea #2

Stylish Game Night.    To liven things up, excite ’em all with the classic bourbon punch.  The easy-to-follow recipe:

12 chamomile tea bags

1 package (6 oz} raspberries

1 bottle {750 ml} bourbon like Blanton’s

2 liters cranberry juice

12 tbsp sugar

3/4 cup fresh lemon juice

Steep tea bags in 3 cups hot water. Mash berries. Combine all ingredients & serve over ice in a collins glass.

For the eats:  Caterer Peter Callahan suggests checking out the frozen food section of your local gourmet grocery before cracking a cookbook.  Fun options: bite-sized pizzas, empanadas or sliders.  DUO also thinks that mini spring or egg rolls served with a variety of sauces is perfect for this occasion.    Try gluten-free Danielle Chips in pumpkin and okra for healthy options.  {You can find them for $3/bag as available on amazon.com or at your local Whole Foods.}

For the fun, the options are limitless.  Instyle suggests card games like gin rummy hearts, old school board games…and for the techies, the Wii games.  All  are awesome and addictive.  And don’t forget prizes for the overly competative!    Reese Witherspoon’s event planner, Yifat Oren, gives practical prizes, like Starbucks gift cards.

NOTES

*A few months ago, we did a post on a game night decor themed around scotch + chocolate that still remains one of our faves.  Check out the details here.

*For an easy DIY game night invitation printable, click here. Courtesy of the Lily Jane Inspiration and Design Blog.  

 

Idea# 3

Indoor Campout.   A neat spin on the age-old tradition of roughing it, except this scenario is far from primitive!  Consider this idea for particularly cold weather nights.  To start things off, serve your guests spiked hot chocolate with rum or butterscotch schnapps or warm a bottle of merlot in a skillet with whole cloves, cinnamon sticks and cardamom pods.

A s'mores bar. From weddingwindow.com

For the eats: Assemble a grown-up s’mores bar stocked with graham crackers; gingersnaps; lemon wafers; white, dark and milk chocolate; and marshmallows. No fireplace?  Use your oven’s broiler. 

For the fun, there is the Ouija boards, according to Oren. {You can download the Ouija Board app for $2 on iTunes}.    If that’s not your speed,  DUO suggests good old-fashioned story telling.  Nothing like the old school stand-bys!

Be sure to check out Instyle for more details.

Breathe easy & good luck!

…oh and by the way, we will be posting  helpful ways to simplify your life this early 2012.  Paring down + organizing:  Two of DUO’s goals for 2012 and we hope you try it out as well!

12 For ’12

We here at DUO don’t necessarily subscribe to New Year’s Resolutions… but we do like to have some goals.    They give us something to aim for, even when life throws us a curveball {or two}.

Here is DUO’s list of 12 for 2012:

12.  Finally get an iphone.   DUO has been Blackberry, aka ‘Crackberry’ addicts for too long.  Now we’re finding ourselves more and more obsessed with all things Steve Jobs-related.

11.  Find a new office space.  We are in love with the inner loop of Houston, Texas.  We’re on the hunt!  Look out!

10.  Be a blogger.  Since we started this blog this past summer, it’s been touch and go.  We want to be more engaged. As writers AND as readers of other blogs.

9.  Broaden our design knowledge.  Make every day an education.

8.  Become more charitable.  No cliches. No excuses.

7.  And speaking of which…Firmly realize our dream of starting a non-profit mentoring program for young people.

6. Be more eco-friendly.  2011 was a bit wasteful in the office, we’ll be honest.  More recycling is a MUST.

5. Continue investing tons of face time with our Clients!

4.  Exercise and stick to it!

3. Travel to a new city and actually vacation there!

2. Stay spiritually whole.  Count our blessings.  Keep family central. {Ok, that’s 3}

…and last but not least…

1. Make DUO Design + Events YOUR consulting biz of choice! {Cue the cheers & applause!}

The economy might be struggling with a roller coaster of uncertainty,  but we see better days on the horizon.  We hope that you help hold us accountable as we work hard on our goals; There’s nothing like getting that extra push!  We’ll keep you updated.

And hopefully in some way, we can help YOU realize YOUR goals!  We truly feel we’re all in this together.  So what are some of your to-do’s for the New Year?  Share away!

Color Wheel Thursday

“DUODays” is still a part of our blog, even though the updates haven’t come as  fast and furious as we’d wanted!   Be that as it may, we’d like to briefly pick back up on the series by recognizing Color Wheel Thursday.

Just yesterday, we posted on the Color of The Year, Tangerine Tango  and a few exciting ways that it can be used for your next event.     Today’s post will about the meanings of color.    As if there isn’t enough symbolism going on in this world!

For now, let’s focus on a few colors that are common to fall/winter:

Orange

Combines the energy of red and the happiness of yellow. It is associated with joy, sunshine, and the tropics. Orange represents enthusiasm, fascination, happiness, creativity, determination, attraction, success, encouragement, and stimulation.

Dark orange can mean deceit and distrust.  {Hmmm!}
Red-orange corresponds to desire, sexual passion, pleasure, domination, aggression, and thirst for action.
Gold evokes the feeling of prestige. The meaning of gold is illumination, wisdom, and wealth. Gold often symbolizes high quality.

Red

Red is the color of fire and blood, so it is associated with energy, war, danger, strength, power, determination as well as passion, desire, and love.

Light red represents joy, sexuality, passion, sensitivity, and love.
Pink signifies romance, love, and friendship. It denotes feminine qualities and passiveness.
Dark red is associated with vigor, willpower, rage, anger, leadership, courage, longing, malice, and wrath.
Brown suggests stability and denotes masculine qualities.
Reddish-brown is associated with harvest and fall.

Blue

Blue is the color of the sky and sea. It is often associated with depth and stability. It symbolizes trust, loyalty, wisdom, confidence, intelligence, faith, truth, and heaven.

Blue is considered beneficial to the mind and body. It slows human metabolism and produces a calming effect. Blue is strongly associated with tranquility and calmness. In heraldry, blue is used to symbolize piety and sincerity.

You can use blue to promote products and services related to cleanliness (water purification filters, cleaning liquids, vodka), air and sky (airlines, airports, air conditioners), water and sea (sea voyages, mineral water). As opposed to emotionally warm colors like red, orange, and yellow; blue is linked to consciousness and intellect. Use blue to suggest precision when promoting high-tech products.

Black

Black is associated with power, elegance, formality, death, evil, and mystery.

Black is a mysterious color associated with fear and the unknown (black holes). It usually has a negative connotation (blacklist, black humor, ‘black death’). Black denotes strength and authority; it is considered to be a very formal, elegant, and prestigious color (black tie, black Mercedes). In heraldry, black is the symbol of grief.

To read about more colors, go to Color Wheel Pro.com

St. Genevieve: DUO’s Holiday Mixer

DUO Design + Events confesses that this should have come WEEKS ago–but hey…better late than never!   We have been busy, busy, busy but we definitely did not want to neglect sharing a mid-week event which was just celebrated at the St. Genevieve  back on Dec. 14th.

Our Mix & Mingle reception just in time for the holidays.

Our Invitation:

The Venue:

Hosted in partnership with Elevate Staffing & Consulting and TRIO Marketing & Brand Management, we were able to meet and greet with those who are leaders within their personal and business lives:  Those who are decision makers, like to host parties, or know of those who do!  It was a fun, relaxed evening of appetizers, wine and cocktails.  A casual vibe of holiday cheer!

If you are in Houston, be sure to pop into this awesome, intimate venue for a few drinks and a lot of laughs!

Saint Genevieve is located in the heart of Houston at
2800 Kirby #A206
Houston, Texas 77098

www.saintgen.com

A Tangerine Tango Soiree

Earlier, we told you about Pantone’s® Color of the Year for 2012, Tangerine Tango.    Such a bright, cheery color definitely doesn’t go unnoticed;  In fact, it’s naturally a nice mood lifter, all on its own!

We would like for you all to start thinking about possibly using Tangerine for your next affair.  Be it at a wedding, a baby shower or a birthday party, pair it with complementary pinks, blues, greens & creams…there are a plethora of possibilities.  

{Photo Source: Tissue Paper Pom Poms from Koyal Wholesale, Stunning Tangerine Wedding Decor Photography from Mary Basnight, Tangerine Cake from Yummy Cupcakes & Cakes, Orange Cupcake Wrappers from Koyal Wholesale, Tangerine Orange Wedding Decor from Michael Howard Photography, Silk Rose Petals from Koyal Wholesale}

 

 {From My Wedding.com’s Blog}

 

{From dawnypoo.blogspot.com}

 

{A baby shower idea from the Hostess With The Mostess Blog}

and finally…

{From The Prettier Party.com}

Drink & Be Merry

On New Year’s Eve, there is no denying that party drinks take on a special kind of personality!   Festive and fun, the accessories of the night are stepped up a notch and aptly meet the occasion with true, sparkling flair.    Whether you enjoy alcoholic or non-alcoholic drinks, 12/31 is the night to partake in unique twists on the classic champagne or cocktail.

{Courtesy of Imbibe Magazine.  Be sure to click the image for the recipe.}

Seelbach. A classic mix of bourbon, bitters and bubbly.

Limoncello Sparkler. Cocktail mixed with Cointreau and sparkling wine.
 
Spiced Pear Punch. Several different spirits, fresh citrus and prosecco.
 
Gin Punch. Loads of fresh fruit, gin and Champagne.

**

Here are some more ideas for drinks to ring in 2012:

{from drinkoftheweek.com.  Click on the links for their mixology details.}

Death in the Afternoon ~ Absinthe and champagne, a simple and sophisticated combo

Sparkling Hibiscus Champagne Cocktail ~ Drop a hibiscus flower into your Champagne for a beautiful presentation and light floral flavor

Lemon Herb Sparkler ~ Galliano liqueur and Meyer lemons make for a slightly sweet and dry cocktail

Poire William champagne cocktail ~ Light and fruity with delicate pear flavor

Shrinking Violet ~ Creme de Violette gives you a lovely lavender-colored cocktail with the taste of violets

Cocktail Maison ~ Campari and orange give your sparkling wine a little extra zip

The original Champagne Cocktail ~ Let’s not forget the simple pleasures of the first drink to be called a Champagne Cocktail

More champagne cocktail recipes

**

Non-Alcoholic Drinks

{Courtesy of marsh.net}

Shirley Temple

  • 1 jar maraschino cherries
  • 2 liter of Sprite
  1. Pour an 8 ounce cup of Sprite. Add 2 cherries and a Tbsp of cherry juice.

Roy Rogers
Same ingredients and process as a Shirley Temple only subsitute Coke for Sprite.

Sparkling Juice and Grenadine
Welch’s offers a wide selection of sparkling juice beverages that imitate champagne. Add a dash of grenadine to a cup of this non-alcoholic bubbly and enjoy a sweet and delicious New Year’s treat.

Sunshine Swizzle Punch

  • 3 qt (12 cups) cold club soda
  • 1 can (12 oz.) frozen limeade concentrate, thawed
  • 2 packets (makes 2 qt drink) CRYSTAL LIGHT Lemonade Flavor Drink Mix*
  • 1 qt (4 cups) raspberry sherbet
  1. Add club soda and concentrate to drink mix in punch bowl; stir until mix is completely dissolved.
  2. Scoop sherbet into punch just before serving.

Non-Alcoholic Pomegranate Margarita

  • ¼ cup KOOL-AID Lemonade Flavor Sugar-Sweetened Soft Drink Mix, divided
  • 2 cups pomegranate juice
  • 2 Tbsp lime juice
  • 2-½ cups ice cubes
  • ¼ cup pomegranate seeds
  1. Spread 1 Tbsp drink mix onto small plate. Moisten rims of 6 margarita glasses, then dip in drink mix to evenly coat rims.
  2. Blend pomegranate juice, lime juice, and remaining drink mix in blender until well blended. Add ice and blend on high speed until thickened.
  3. Pour into prepared glasses. Garnish with pomegranate seeds.

DUO wants you to have fun but above all else, be safe and responsible with your consumption.

Cheers!  We’ll see you soon with some more tips!

DUO Reminder: Holiday, 2011 Promotion

 Don’t forget, our Holiday Promotion is about to expire in a few days, so be sure to take advantage!   Hire us for your event consulting needs by December 31st and receive up to 100 free custom invitations to expertly coordinate with your party.

Whether your event is next week or next month, DUO Design + Events aims to be your source for planning.   Visit our website to book a complementary consultation or email us for more questions.

carla@duo-houston.com

cassandra@duo-houston.com

Looking forward to it!

DIY: New Year’s Eve

Hi, all!  Hope everyone is recovering from opening gifts, bargain shopping and cleaning house!  Yes, New Year’s Eve is right around the corner and there’s not a whole lot of time to rest up before the big countdown.  But please DO make time for yourself!

Today, someone shared with us that creativity gives her relaxed vibrations and more of a focus.   If keeping busy is YOUR way to make time for yourself, here’s some DIY sentiments:  For crafty breeders who will be doing the NYE bash-hosting,  this project would be nice to display at your drink table or where ever else needs a punch of color and whimsy.

{From Huffington Post’s StyleList Home}

Photo: Lisa Storms

Hanging Clocks

What You’ll Need
Construction paper
Hot glue gun
Tape
X-acto knife/scissors
Fishing wire

How To Make It
1. Cut construction paper into long strips that are half as wide as the circles you want to hang.
2. Accordion fold the strips, trying to keep the folds as even as possible.
3. Adhere two or more strips together using tape until you can form a circle.
4. Hot glue gun the center of the circle to keep the shape.
5. Cut 3, 6, 9, 12 and clock hands out of card stock.
6. Attach the embellishments with tape or hot glue.
7. Hang with clear fishing wire.

Cork Countdown

What You’ll Need
Craft knife
Card stock
Star hand-puncher (or different shape)
Scissors

How To Make It
1. Cut a slit in the top of a cork.
2. Cut the numbers 1-10 out of colorful card stock.
3. Punch the numbers with a star hand-puncher and then stick them in the cork slits.

**

No party is ever right without desserts.  Pair your clock decor with these dark chocolate champagne cupcakes and you’ll be good to go!

“Rich dark chocolate cake and light fluffy frosting, both spiked with champagne, transform an ordinary cupcake into a dessert that is simultaneously indulgent and playful. The cupcakes don’t taste overwhelmingly like champagne, but the addition of the bubbly makes them incredibly light and moist.  The real champagne flavor comes out in the icing.  It has the perfect little punch –and are so pretty they will fit right in at your New Year’s Eve party. “

Ingredients

  • 2 Cup white granulated sugar
  • 1 3/4 Cup unbleached all purpose flour
  • 3/4 Cup unsweetened dark cocoa powder (I use Hershey’s Special Dark)
  • 1 1/2 Teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 1/2 Teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 Teaspoon salt
  • 2 Large eggs (room temperature)
  • 1 Cup whole milk
  • 1/2 Cup vegetable oil
  • 2 Teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 Cup boiling water
  • 1/2 Cup champagne, sparkling wine or prosecco

Pink Champagne Frosting

  • 1 Cup unsalted butter (2 sticks)
  • 3 1/4 Cup confectioners sugar
  • 7 Tablespoon champagne
  • 2 Drops pink food coloring
  • Sugar crystals for decoration (because champagne sparkles)

Read more, including the step-by-step instructions: http://www.foxnews.com/recipe/dark-chocolate-champagne-cupcakes#ixzz1hm7VfWeU

Good luck!