Under Construction

March 10, 2012 § Leave a comment

SDB-custom-cookie-toolbox

“The JUICE” has been merged with our website at SweetDaniB.com. For future juicy posts on cookies, recipes, lifestyle and other fun and fabulous stuff, please bookmark our site and join us there!

Please click here to redirect… All good things! Xo Dani

Advertisements

A “Totally Rewarding” Evening

March 4, 2012 § 2 Comments

I was honored and excited when Caesar’s Total Rewards hired me as an “influencer” for their latest and greatest Total Rewards campaign. Their goal? To help you “Plot Your Escape” to all that is fun and fabulous in entertainment. Glad I could be of service!

Raos-family-shot

My Dad's retirement dinner at Rao's in Vegas

I had my first brush with Caesar’s (which is just one of the many casinos included in Total Rewards) years ago when my friends and I planned a vacation to Vegas around the opening of Rao’s. (Sidebar backstory: As an Italian girl and foodie, Rao’s in NYC is the stuff of Italian legend. It is impossible to get in to the NYC Rao’s so the opening of Rao’s in Vegas was the perfect excuse for us to take a vacation there!) We returned a few years later to celebrate my Dad’s retirement and had an amazing few days there- including another dinner at Rao’s!

Gotham-Hall-Stained-Glass

Gotham Hall, NYC

The kickoff of the new Total Rewards campaign began with a surprise concert at the amazing and beautiful Gotham Hall in NYC. Simultaneously across the country, three other concerts were bringing fun and fabulous music to other lucky fans. As my + 1 (KF of coarse!) and I made our way into Gotham hall Katharine McPhee was walking the red carpet! She is gorgeous and looks as sweet in person as she does in Smash. (I so wanted to get a photo with her when we were inches away from each other in the VIP lounge but my TV instincts kicked in and I just couldn’t ask. When you work in TV you learn never to bother the talent!).

Katherine-McPhee-Red-Carpet

Katherine McPhee looking beautiful in a green satin dress

We made our way in, got our bracelets and headed upstairs to the decked out “Diamond VIP Lounge” where Diddy’s CÎROC vodka was flowing!

This-way-to-the-VIP-lounge

This way to the VIP lounge!

Ciroc-Vodka-bottles

Oh, Hello! Ciroc and I made "eye contact" as soon as we walked in! 🙂

Most tables were reserved for “VIP VIPs” so KF and I grabbed a ledge and people and style watched as the delicious hors d’oeuvres were passed…

VIP-lounge-buzz

Kf holding our VIP ledge area while the Diamond Lounge buzz goes on around us- fun!

Petite-Crab-Cake

A delicious and cute crab cake...

Mini-Mushroom-Cannaloni

Petite Mushroom Cannaloni- I am totally making these... they are wrapped in wonton wrappers- brilliant!

SDB-petite-burger

and, my fave, the cutest petite burger ever! Delicious too!

Before we knew it the Total Rewards clock struck 9 and Mel B came out to kick off the show!

Mel-B-on-the-monitor

We watched Mel B's introduction and a few clips from other shows that were happening across the country on one of the monitors since VIP the balcony edge was literally packed to the brim!

Diddy-on-monitor

Then she introduced Diddy...

Once Diddy’s intro smoke cleared, I realized the monitor wasn’t going to cut it for us! KF and I quickly packed up our VIP ledge and headed down to the floor… The floor view was incredible- I have been describing it as feeling like we were just “across the street” from the performers! Diddy got the crowd going with his dj spinning a combo of current hits with some of his own.

Diddy-1

Diddy dancing

Diddy-2

Diddy rapping- "It's All About the Benjamins"! Woo!

Diddy-3

Diddy doing his Notorious B.I.G. tribute- the crowd goes WILD!

I was so excited when my Total Rewards ticket contest “winner” Sarah Polite found me in the crowd!

Me-and-Sarah-and-Diddy

Me, contest ticket winner, Sarah (AKA: @NYCFoodieFinder) and Diddy!

Mel B came out after Diddy finished to show us another clip of Sara Bareilles on the Chicago stage singing “Love Song” (love that song!)… after that we knew Mariah Carey was on the way!

Mariah-is-coming

Suddenly, Gotham Hall went dark and we knew Mariah was about the take the stage!

Mariah-wait

Mariah's back up singers walk out, cell phones go up!

Mariah-walks-out

Here she comes! (more cell phones)

Mariah-take-stage

With a fabulous, sparkling, diamond microphone in hand, Mariah strikes a pose

Mariah-strike-pose

Lights go up! Girrrrl, you still got it!

Her entrance was fabulous and she looked gorgeous in a black, one shoulder mermaid dress and her signature, shimmering butterfly ring. After the first couple of songs, she commented that she didn’t know “what the big deal was” about her return to stage after giving birth to “dem babies”. (It looked like a pretty big deal to me!) Her singing is so effortless yet her voice is so big it is incredible to see in person!

Mariah shake it off

A groovy new version of "Shake it Off"

Mariah-and-Trey

Mariah and backup singer, Trey Lorenz, do a sweet and beautiful version of "I'll be there" (yes, I got choked up)

Quick-hair-and-makeup-touch

A quick DIVA shoe change and hair and makeup touch up! (I was ready to change my shoes by then too!)

After “We Belong Together” the stage went dark but I knew she’d be back for an encore! I could not have been happier when that encore turned out to be “Hero”.

Me-crying-thru-Hero

Me crying through "Hero"!

The night could not have ended with a better vibe. The shows were a huge success and everyone had a fabulous time. (For some juicy details on the Chicago show- AKA: The I’m jealous cause Adam Levine was there show!- check out my foodie friend Susan’s blog at http://www.feedsusan.com/)

I was sorry to hear that KF and I missed the desserts that were served and the swag bags that were handed out in the Diamond Lounge, but for me, being able to experience the music that close was worth the sacrifice. (Besides, it’s not like they were serving milk and cookies! ;))

Please keep up with my posts about my Total Rewards adventure! Coming up in the next 2 months, the great chefs of Harrah and Caeser’s Entertainment will be sharing some of their favorite recipes with us! I’ll even be giving away the gorgeous coffee table cookbook “The Seven Stars Cookbook” which features recipes from their celebrity chefs as well as hosting and entertainment tips from some of the best hosts, hostesses, executive chefs, and bartenders in the biz!

It is with great thanks to you that I was offered this opportunity.  So thank you for following me here on “the Juice”, on Twitter and on Facebook (You do follow me on all 3, right? 🙂 Sweet! Spread the love)!

(((hugs)))&XXXXkisses! Xo Dani

*Next post up? A cookie inspired by Mariah! See you soon!*

An Open Studio Tour at Monroe Center

February 29, 2012 § 4 Comments

Monroe Poster

Monroe Center added me to the poster advertising this event- I was so honored!

I love the sound of an “Open Studio Tour”… It just sounds so artsy! That’s exactly what the goings on were at the Monroe Center for the Arts in Hoboken this past Sunday. The building opened its doors to welcome in the visiting public and each studio or suite had the option to open up their places and participate.

SDB in lobby of Monroe

Never one to "travel lightly" here I am admiring the art and waiting for the elevator

The lower level gallery was decorated with beautiful “action” photos of many of the studio owners. What a fabulous way to show off the talented members of Monroe!

Creativity At Work

"Creativity At Work" is on display in the lower lever photo gallery at Monroe Center

Coming off our successful Valentine Cookie Workshop at Urban Arts, I was honored to be asked to participate in the Open Studio Tour and hang out for the day.

Urban Arts Collage

Just a few of the amazing student projects on display at Urban Arts

I set up a little pop up shop where I sold my decorative cookies and also “tested” my new “line” of cookies I have been calling “Just add milk”! (So far so good- More about this later)

Sweet Dani B Frog Princes, Crowns, Owls, Lemon Lovies...

Sweet Dani B Frog Princes, Crowns, Owls, Lemon Lovies...

I also set up an “Ice with Me” demo where people were welcomed to join me in icing a cookie!

Come Ice with Me! A few of my favorite shapes set up with my Expert Icing Bottles

Come Ice with Me! A few of my favorite shapes set up with my Expert Icing Bottles

SDB private cookie demo 2

This little sweetie watched carefully before icing his heart half

SDB private cookie demo

Another fan of pink royal icing... this adorable expert icer caught on quick!

These sisters complimented their hearts with their fabulous outfits!

These sisters complimented their hearts with their fabulous outfits!

SDB demo sisters icing cookies

Whoooo said sisters?! These expert icers did a beautiful job with their owls!

Later on, I took a stroll down the hall and could not have been more elated that the Puppet Heap was open! In my next life, I want to come back as a puppet maker…

Puppet heap

I could have stayed in The Puppet Heap for hours- their work is incredible! They also sell a few of their puppet designs- some are sweet like the puppy and others are scary cool like the squid- what an amazing gift item! I'll be back!

I also was happy to pop in and visit my new friends at Botanical Design. I have been looking for a floral vendor to recommend and these guys are amazing! They have just the right taste level and they are warm and welcoming. I love their studio space which is a combination of a showcase of their work and a working studio.

Botanical Design

I loved that they were selling Spring Bulbs as well as welcoming guests into their studio- Sweet!

Tango workshop

How fun is this? A Tango workshop!

Charcoal Art

A piece I loved on display at Janet Greene Jewelry Design studio

After my walking tour, I stumbled upon “Rosie’s Weenie Wagon”, which was set up in the perfect spot- between the elevator and the live music! While loading up an order of nachos for me (yum), Rosie mentioned she is available for party bookings: how fun would it be to have her wheel her cart into your yard this summer?

Rosies Weenie Wagon

Rosie working her magic on an order of loaded nachos- mmmm!

Monroe hosts Open Studio Tours about twice a year but the building is always bustling and open to the public. It’s a wonderful place to visit and is a fast growing cultural center. I had a great time on Sunday and am looking forward to returning for our Spring Cookie Workshops March 31st and April 1st! Check out our Workshop Schedule and come join in the fun!   Xo Dani

 

Sweet Style Saturdays: An Ode to The Man Repeller

February 25, 2012 § Leave a comment

This past week I kept up with Fashion Week via Vogue’s amazing runway slideshows. I wish I had time to watch all the designers that have shown each day, but instead I rely on the Vogue Newsletter emails which includes fabulous summations of the day’s events. This morning while spinning (where I often do a lot of thinking to keep me distracted), I “challenged myself” to choose my top 5 fave looks from the week off the top of my head…

ralph-lauren-rtw-fw2012-runway-003_152715243894

Ralph Lauren does it again with this incredible pairing of colorful menswear prints + animal print! (YES, PLEASE!)

mary-katrantzou-rtw-fw2012-runway-09_104858665603

I had never heard of Mary Katrantzou before I saw this dress, now I can't stop thinking about it! Its a work of art! Glorious!

marc-jacobs-rtw-fw2012-runway-01_232949562960

Marc Jacobs entire RTW Fall12 line is so over the top... it is the chicest Dr. Seuss couture- LOOOVE!!!

One thing to note about my personal “dream looks” is that each one is, for the most part, a “Man Repeller”. This brilliant term is coined (and owned) by fashion blogger Leandra Medine, who’s blog The Man Repeller shot into the stratoshpere just last year. She is bold and adorable, super fashionable and writes with such humor that I often find myself nodding while chuckling with her blog out loud.

Sweet Dani B Plaid Vintage Coat

Here's me "Man Repelling" in the Meatpacking district... what the darkness hides are the neon colors of this vintage plaid coat

Thanks to Leandra, I realized that I have been “Man Repelling” for years and never knew it.

SDB Demos Kiddie Hat Craft

...doing some more "Repelling" in a patchwork Anthro dress while demoing a kiddie hat craft at a Princess Party...

Well, I kind of knew it… There’s a specific look of “question” on KFs face from time to time when I emerge from our room dressed for the evening. Or sometimes “the look” is an actual direct question:

“Are you are going to wear that- You know we are just going for a burger right?”

“Did you raid Mrs. Roper’s closet again?”

“Is that new?” (eyebrows raised)

SDB in Mara Hoffman muumuu

...and here's me texting "help, get my Mara Hoffman muumuu out of here" while "Repelling" in a bar filled to capacity with body con dresses...

My love for mumuus, patterns, patchwork, paper bag pants, and platforms runs so deep that its unlikely I’ll stop “Man Repelling” any time soon but thanks to Leandra, I now have a term for it!

Now, what in the world should I wear tonight? Happy Saturday!  Xo Dani

Hope Fiori and PJ look

"I'm not quite sure I get this "pajama look" trend"... says Hope Fiori

Oscar Owls… A “Wise” Solution!

February 24, 2012 § 3 Comments

“I’d like to thank the Academy for taking all the fun out of my Ocsar party dessert buffet.”  -Dani 

SDB Owl Custom cookie Red Carpet

No autographs please!

Well, maybe not all the fun… I was surprised to find out this year that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences banned and really cracked down on any reproduction of its trademarked materials. I discovered this fact when I wanted to make an Oscar statue cookie cupcake topper, and it was impossible to find a cookie cutter. It took a bit of time for me to come up with a “wise solution” but eventually it dawned on me! Instead of stiff statue cookies I turned to the fun and fabulous Sweet Dani B Owl! After icing, I topped them with gold coarse sanding sugar, gold candy bead feet and filled in their signature curious eyes with brown royal icing. Voilà! Here’s a cute and delicious cookie that is red carpet ready for Sunday!

Sweet Dani B Custom Oscar Owl Cookies Serving idea

For your consideration, the Sweet Dani B Oscar Owl Cookie! (roaring applause)

I always set up movie parties in a pretty casual way, so I love the idea of placing these guys placed on parchment paper and writing in Oscar questions around them. If you are having a sit down dinner, here’s a cute idea for a place setting…

SDB Owl Decorative Cookie Oscar Place Setting

You can easily write each person's name down the side here or add a cute place card tent to the plate

Take that! Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences! In my opinion, its a little over the top to ban Oscar cookie cutters, but I ended up appreciating the challenge… My Oscar Owls feel like winners already!

Happy Oscars! Go Uggie!  Xo Dani

PS. I’ll be selling my Oscar Owls, my Sweet Dani B Expert Icing Kit and many other delicious items this Sunday, February 26th from 1:00 to 4 p.m. at Urban Arts, Suite E206 in Monroe Center in Hoboken! Stop by and see us!

A Movie Party: May the Force Be With You

February 23, 2012 § Leave a comment

In our annual rush to catch up on the oscar nominated movies this past weekend, I noticed that the Phantom Menace in back in theatres in 3D. To most Star Wars die hards this movie could not have been more of a “menace” in the “perfect record” of the original Star Wars trilogy.

SDB-C3PO-and-Hope

C3PO and our Wookie

I grew up watching Star Wars over and over and over with my brother, “Bogues”, who loved the movie growing up and may be even more obsessed with it these days! He and KF quote Star Wars often, collect Star Wars “art” and even named their Tough Mudder team the “Nerf Herders”. I’m not sure they will never forgive George Lucas for Jar Jar binks, or for editing the scene where “Han shot first”.

For Bogues’ birthday last year and we thought a Star Wars movie celebration was in order. Hope’s adoption birthday is around the same date and since she is the perfect Wookie, we figured she would enjoy celebrating then too.

SDB-Hopey-Wookie

Obviously, Hope dressed within theme for the party

Of coarse a real Star Wars party involves having to watch the movie! I had a really great time creating a Star Wars inspired menu and signage- which I am more than happy to share!

SDB-Yoda-popcorn

What's a movie party without popcorn? We borrowed a "real" movie popcorn maker from a friend and used these Star Wars party picks from Williams Sonoma to add drama

SDB-Jedi-Juice

Jedi Juice (aka: Pom Margarita) was just the thing to quench our thirst! We also offered a non alcoholic option: "Yoda Soda"

Keeping the appetizers easy for handling while movie watching was key…

SDB-Black-Bean-hummus-2

I also made "Dark Side Hummus"with homemade Vader and Stormtrooper tortillas as well as "Asparagus Lightsaber Spears" (proscuitto wrapped, roasted asparagus)...

After movie watching we sat down for dinner and enjoyed my “black and white chicken chili”, grilled steaks and Amanda brought along “Aunt Beru’s Mac and Cheese” (really a Barefoot Contessa recipe- soooo good!).

SDB-Darth-spatula

Bogues was gifted both the Darth and Stormtrooper spatulas from Williams Sonoma- perfect for serving!

SDB-Leia-Kabobs-plated

I could not wait to reveal my "Royal Highness Kabobs" for dessert! AMAZING! These were made with munchkins (2 chocolate, one glazed) speared onto kabob sticks, tucked in sprinkle eyes, and a heart mouth attached with a dot of royal icing. Seriously cute!

SDB-Wookie-Cookies

Not to be missed... Wookie Cookies! Hopey loved these and was allowed to try them because they are really coconut macaroons

SDB-Light-saber-candles

Nicole made this delicious Neuman-O's ice cream cake. We served it in the springform pan for a more Star Wars spaceship effect. Also, two taper candles crossed imitated perfect sabers!

Of coarse it couldn’t be a party without a photo booth!

SDB-C3PO-group-shot

Everybody say "JEDI"!

This was a really fun and easy party to pre-prep party. (To make it even easier, download my Star Wars Menu signage here: Sweet Dani B Star Wars Party Food Signage)

It could be great to translate some of these menu ideas for Oscar viewing this Sunday! Or keep it real (AKA: anti Phantom Menace) and host a Star Wars party of your own! Look for my “Dark Side Hummus” recipe in an upcoming post… I’m also excited to share my “Black and White” chicken chili recipe with you!

In the meantime… May the Force Be with You!  Xoxo Dani

Where the Gnomes Live

February 21, 2012 § 2 Comments

SDB-Gnomi-cookie-and-Jar

Peek a boo!

I’ve definitely had the mushroom inspiration “bug” for a while. Aside from being a huge foodie fan of mushrooms (shiitakes are my fave) in the past few years, toadstool mushrooms have been popping up all around me…

SDB-on-set-MS-halloween

Me on the set of Martha's Halloween 09 'Wild Things' show sitting on a Toadstool stool crafted by Kristin St. Clair

SDB-custom-Gnome-and-mushroom-cookie

Mushroom cookies popping up with my Gnome Cookies on set at Martha

Around the holidays, I was so excited to find these adorable mushroom ornaments with wire spikes in the flower district one day and I just had to buy a box. As a craft hoarder I’m lucky to have a space to keep all my craft materials and these items pretty much magically found eachother just in time to make KF a totally excellent “Terrarium Valentine”.

SDB-glittered-mushrooms

I used Martha Stewart craft gel glue and both coarse and tinsel glitter to make the mushrooms shimmer

While my crafty ‘shrooms were drying, I cleaned out an antique ball jar (which I collect) and filled it 3/4 full with a combination of potting soil and horticultural charcoal.

SDB Terrarium Soil

Note: if you don't use the charcoal, mold will eventually grow in your terrarium!

SDB-moss

Next, I added reindeer moss- I love the bright green color of it!

SDB-adding-sign

I used a wooden spoon to press down the moss, then added my "We Are Magic" sign

We-are-magic-terrerium

I added a bit of tinsel to the lid for some extra sparkle!

I am so happy with the way my toadstool mushroom terrarium Valentine turned out! KF loved it and the reindeer moss does not require any special care. The sign has weathered a bit due to the moisture, but I love the way it looks (plus I can always replace the sign when needed). This would be a really fun project to do with your kiddies or with friends and family at a Craft Brunch not to mention, your Gnomes and Gnomis will love it!

Happy Crafting!  Xo Dani

P.S. Look for our March Gnome & Gnomi how to coming soon!