Monday, April 7, 2014

Unique Ways to Ask Your Bridal Party to Be in the Wedding - Part One: Wedding 2014

When I jumped the broom (got married), almost 22 years ago, I treated my sister and sister-friends to a Chinese lunch with the sole purpose of asking them to share in my day.  

We definitely need our girls as back-up on this lane-changing moment in our lives.  Our wedding day is when we nervously approach the two lane highway in hopes of making an easy transition to sharing the marriage road.

Thinking back on it, I'm relieved I took them out to lunch.  But it would've been nice to have added an extra special gesture, a personalized invite. 

When you break it down, you're asking them to purchase a gown, which in New Millennium standards, most stylish gowns start at $180 with $200 and over now being the norm. 

You're also asking them to talk you off the ledge on more than one occasions, and remind you why you said "yes" to the cute guy holding the bling. 

Tori Poulsen
(Jumpin-the-Broom Pinterest)

Tori Poulisen, of  Hey, Let's Tie the Knot, had the right idea when she created wedding party boxes as Will You Be My Bridesmaid invites.  They incorporated the feel of her wedding and were filled with fun things she purchased at Target:  pencils, bubble gum, chocolate kisses, nail polish glitter, etc.  

After a trip to A.C. Moore, she handcrafted the boxes with her mom, adding all the personal touches and just the right amount of glitter and tulle.  You can never have too much glitter or tulle in my book.

(Hey Let's Tie the Knot)

"Teach a child to choose the right path, and when he is older he will remain upon it." Proverbs 21:6

Miracles and Blessings ... Kiki here at iCafe Woman Moderne, our virtual cafe for inter-generational women and girls, with today's exciting text-webisode:  Four Unique Ways to Ask Your Bridal Party to Be in Your Wedding - Part One:  Wedding 2014.    

(Vintage Charles Eames-Herman

I'm so glad it's Spring and the beginning of the busy wedding season.  My husband is also a mobile DJ, so this is a busy season for us.  

(E-How - How to Make a Plumeria Bouquet)


Christmas, New Year's and Valentine's Day are big wedding proposal days, so maybe you took a few months to let the engagement sink in before you got down to the serious business of planning a wedding.  Picking your wedding attendants is high on the wedding-to-do list, next to selecting the gown. 

Idea One - Bridal Party Boxes

You can get wood boxes from craft stores e.g. JoAnn Fabric, A.C. Moore ...and personalize them collectively or individually to your prospective attendants' taste and mix it with your wedding theme.  Don't forget to include one for your flower girl, even if she's just learning the alphabet. 

Idea Two - Knit, Crochet or Sew Change Purses

Are you a knitter, crocheter or seamstress?  Knitting, crocheting or sewing change purses is a great option and useful on a daily basis.  You can select yarn and fabric for the purse and lining in your wedding colors.  Also include a touching note with your request.  You may have room to include a bottle of nail polish, a file and a couple of Starlight mints or tootsie rolls ... just go crazy!

Idea Three - Authentic Cigar Boxes

Now let's get the groom-to-be involved in the fun. Yes, men are invited to our virtual cafe, so lead them here.  He has to ask his attendants too.  Why not use actual cigar boxes, or vintage ones, even better.  

I'll direct this portion to you, Mr. Groom-to-Be.  You can find a whole sleuth of authentic wood cigar boxes on Ebay at affordable prices.  Or you can bid within your budget. They go from a couple of dollars on up.  You can purchase ten for as low as $17.
Above right, are four wood cigar boxes - special collectors set - designed to look like books.  Very clever!  Your groomsmen don't have to be smokers to enjoy this unique gesture.   This set is $20 on Ebay. 

Appeal to a Hobby... 
Perhaps your attendants golf, you can put inside the cigar box: tees, golf gloves, a cap, lip balm, sunscreen, a pack of chewing gum or lifesavers.  Don't forget to include a note:  Will You Be My Best Man?

Say it with a Shaving Kit?

Turn the cigar box into a shaving kit with the following:  (a) shaving brush, (b) shaving soap, (c)aftershave lotion.  

Say it with a Car Cleaning Kit?
Make a car cleaning kit that most of your buddies would appreciate, include: (a)wool mitt, (b)tire brush, (c)dry cloth, (d)Rain-X Glass Cleaner and a pack of chewing gum. 

 (Brighton Car Wash Kit)

If you have more than three attendants, you can get the items in bulk at a big box store like Costco.  And if you have some time, and your nickname's Frugal Fred -- collect coupons, while keeping an eye on the sales.  I'm frugal too and completely understand.

Rain-X 5080217 X-treme Clean Glass Cleaner - 12 oz.

Now, back to the girls...

Idea Four - Childhood Girlfriends
You grew up together playing Barbies and jacks, so use a childhood memory to make your invite even more memorable.  

You can write, Be My Brides Maid on the box flap, if there's enough room.  Or make a pink scroll and slip it in the box or tape it to Barbie's hand so it looks like she's holding it up for your friend to take. 
(The Berry)

I don't know about you, but I kept my precious ball and jacks in a small drawstring bag.  You can find them at a dollar store or A.C. Moore and JoAnn.  Again, make a cute scroll with your bridesmaid request on it.

Need More Ideas for Asking Will You Be My Bridesmaid?

Check out 24 Insanely Creative Ideas to Ask Will You Be My Bridesmaid?  

Well, that's it for now, but here's a teaser for our next text-webisode.  Stay Tuned!

Wedding 2014 - Part Two:  Straps are Back! Speaking of the back, this year's wedding gowns are making an elegant statement from the front and the back.  



Thursday, April 3, 2014

So Orange is the New Black ...Since When?

Since its new fashion cred skyrocketed orange from the most under-used color on the color wheel to topping the 2014 trend-setting A-List.  

That's what fashionistas-in-the-know and design prognosticators call the latest color trend, cropping up in clothes, accessories, cosmetics, home decor, graphic design, marketing, etc.,  It's big, bold and daring.  (Elle - left) 
I doubt the perfect little black dress has anything to worry about.  Especially since this fashion staple has stayed in women's closets since the twenties roared.  But in this era of microwave success, orange is indeed the new black -- ready to accent more colors than you think.


Poppy here, I send you greetings from Kiki Kearse, the owner of iCafe Woman Moderne, a virtual cafe for inter-generational women and girls inside an Art Moderne home -- and the host of our text web series.

Yes, Poppy is my real name, like Actress Poppy Montgomery, star of the CBS drama series, Unforgettable.  If only my parents could've seen past my first birthday into my awkward adolescent years.  Sue or Jen would be talking to you now.  It was a given that I'd host today's text-webisode:  So Orange is the New Black ...Since When?


Speaking of bold and daring, The Cartoon Network jumped on the orange bandwagon years ago with its hit animated show, Annoying Orange.  Not surprising, since orange brings vibrancy and rejuvenation to many areas of our lives.  And like everything else in our society, colors have meanings with a cause and effect.

I see you frowning at the orange lips on the model in green.  Orange lips say I'm confident and determined to get where I'm going.  On the flip side, it can create unwanted attention if that wasn't your goal.  There's a psychology of color that gives orange big bragging rights.   

Empower Yourself with Color (EYWCP) says, orange promotes happiness by combining the physical energy of red with the cheerfulness of yellow.  That's a wonderful thing.  Orange is optimistic and uplifting and why EYWCP suggests we find ways to incorporate orange into our daily lives.

You may not want to commit to orange kitchen cabinets.  But how does starting each day full of optimism and energy sound, as you scoff down a bowl of Honey Nut Cheerios?  Not bad, huh?  Keep in mind that orange stimulates, especially your appetite.  A second color may balance it out and stop you from eating a second bowl.
Orange also helps us stay positive and motivated during tough economic times.  You may want to keep a selfie of yourself dressed in orange, where you can see it daily.

Five ways you can incorporate orange into your daily life.

1.  Plant Orange Flowers - 
Perennial Echinacea
This sturdy perennial can bloom from early summer until the first frost.  Very low maintenance, this perennial attracts butterflies and makes for a great cut flower garden.  Removing past flower spikes will promote re-blooming throughout the summer and fall.  You had me at butterflies.  It's no surprise that butterflies are attracted to this graceful flower.  Orange frees the spirit of its limitations.

2.  Handbags and Cell Phone Purses
You can't imagine living a day without your handbag or cell phone purse.  It's like having an extra limb that takes risks, inspires confidence and loves being the life-of-the-party.  An empowering glance may be all you need to turn a negative situation into a positive. 
 Mellow World Rosette Cell Phone Pouch (Orange)

Orange is the most rejected color on the spectrum.  Put the color orange on a stylish shoe, and then start counting how many times you're asked:  "Where did you get those cute shoes?"

(Orange Laptops)

4.  Orange Laptops
Home-based writers, artists, entrepreneurs, telecommuters ...benefit from the social interaction and creative drive that orange evoke.  


5.  Orange Home Decor Accessories
Sometimes you only need a dab of color to uplift you.  
Let's look at this scenario.  You've had a rough day at work, and desperately need a pick-me-up.  You head for the kitchen, but stop suddenly.  It wasn't the need to avoid those double fudge brownies you baked last night that stopped you in your tracks.  The orange dishes you purchased last vacation, now displayed in your china hutch, inspired another idea.  

Five minutes later, you're bouncing on your mini trampoline with a television remote in your hand.  Fort minutes later, you jump off the rebounder, grab a pen and paper and write down solutions to the work problems floating in your head.


Thursday, March 27, 2014

Coffee & Tea Styles Around the World

Love coffee?   Let's change that.  Do you LOVE GOOD COFFEE? Can't imagine living without that tasty dark brew and foamy cappuccino made to perfection?  You love everything about it ... the taste, smell and the sound of it brewing.   Even pictures of your liquid joy make you crave a cupDid I ring a familiar bell?

It doesn't take much for a cafe or coffee bar to draw you inside.   Nope, just the whiff of that robust java and gooey baked goods send you, or at least your eyes in their direction.  You're embarrass to admit that your local barista knows you on a first name basis and starts making your favorite cup without you uttering a word.  This happens to be sign #8 and #9 on Women's Health 16 Signs You're Obsessed with Coffee.   But we'll get to that in a moment.

Tea Please!
Coffee isn't your thing, but you have it bad for tea.   You even keep a small plastic container of tea leaves and a strainer in your purse, just in case.  You're convinced the British have the right idea.  It's always better to sort things out with a nice cup of Earl Grey and a scone.  Any problem can be solved with a pot of tea served in a proper tea set.


"Anything is possible if you have faith." Mark 9:23

Miracles & Blessings, Kiki here ...thanks for stopping by iCafe Woman Moderne, our virtual cafe for inter-generational women and girls.  We know a thing or two about coffee and tea.  

Today, we're taking an exciting quick look at coffee and tea styles from around the world in our text-webisode:  Coffee & Tea Styles Around the World.  It's interesting to see how other countries and cultures prepare our favorite brews.   

Our iCafe Woman Moderne divas are having a blast sampling our around-the-world coffee and tea concoctions and enjoying a delicious spread of coffee and tea favorites:  scone, muffins, croissants, tea sandwiches, etc.,  They were more than happy to be our guinea pigs.

But first, let's take a look at Women's Health 16 Signs You're Obsessed with COFFEE.  If you nod, "yes" to more than five of the signs, you may want to skip the rest of our text-webisode.  Just kidding, we're hanging out with tea too, so you'll be fine.   But you may want to try half caf and limiting the amount of days you drink. That's what I did. Thankfully, I only nodded to only one sign. Whew! 

Here are eight of the signs:

1. Your family and friends avoid you before you've had your coffee.
2. Don't try to pass off decaf for regular.  One sip and you can tell.
3. You never, ever drink decaf.
4. You take more coffee breaks than bathroom breaks at work.
5. You've paid more than $5 for a cup.  (And you'd do it again.)
6. Your barista knows you by name.
7. Your favorite barista knows your order by heart.
8. You never order coffee with less than two shots of espresso.

Coffee Styles from Around the World

1. Vietnam - Vietnamese Iced Coffee with 
Sweetened Condensed Milk
Vietnamese iced coffee, also known as ca phe sua da,  is made with coarsely ground Vietnamese-grown dark roast coffee individually brewed with a small metal French drip filter (cà phê phin) into a cup containing about a quarter to a half as much sweetened condensed milk, stirred and poured over ice.

(Travel Vietnam)

2. Brazil -  Single Ristretto Brazilian Espresso Shot

A ristretto means restricted.  You send a restricted amount of water through the grinds (about .75 ounce instead of 1 ounce) —also called a short pull.

A single-origin Brazilian coffee tastes full and sweet, with a richer, earthier taste than its neighboring Latin American coffees.



Pull the shot to about ¾ volume. Serve with a small chunk of dark chocolate and a single hazelnut. - January 11, 2010

3. USA - American Version of the Vietnamese Iced Coffee from Alida Ryder at Simply Delicious

Alida starts with strong black coffee and uses the sweet condensed cream.  But to avoid the ice cubes diluting the ice coffee, she makes coffee ice cubes.  Ingenious!

Alida Ryder's Perfect Iced Coffee

Total time
Serves: 1
  • strong black coffee
  • sweetened condensed milk
  • coffee ice cubes

  1. Allow the coffee to come to room temperature.
  2. Fill a glass with coffee ice cubes and pour in the coffee.
  3. Pour in a generous amount of sweetened condensed milk, stir and serve.

4. Italy - Affogato 
An affogato (Italian for drowned) is a coffee-based beverage or dessert.  Affogato style refers to the act of topping a drink or dessert with espresso, and may also include caramel sauce or chocolate sauce.

5. Thailand -  Black Tie

A traditional Thai Iced Tea, it's a spicy and sweet mixture of chilled black tea, orange blossom water, star anise, crushed tamaraind, sugar and condensed milk or cream, with a double shot of espresso.

6. Valencia, Spain -  Café Bombón 

Popular in Valencia, Spain, it was modified to suit European taste buds as well as Malaysia, Thailand and Singapore.  In Malaysia, it's a popular drin in "mamak" stalls.   

Café bombón uses espresso served with sweetened condensed milk in a 1:1 ratio whereas the Asian version uses ground coffee and sweetened condensed milk at the same ratio.  In a café bombón, the condensed milk is added to the espresso.

For visual effect, a glass is used, and the condensed milk is added slowly to sink underneath the coffee, creating two separate bands of contrasting color.  But these layers are commonly stirred together before consumption.  Some cafes simply serve an espresso with a sachet of condensed milk for customers to make themselves.

7. Switzerland - Swiss Cafe Crema

Caffè Crema refers to a long espresso drink, popular since the 1980s in southern Switzerland and northern Italy.  It consists of a running 180 ml–240 ml (6–8 oz) of water when brewing an espresso, primarily by using a coarser grind. 

It's similar to an American or a long black, except that the latter is diluted espresso, and consists of making ("pulling") a normal (short) espresso shot and combining it with unbrewed hot water.  Caffè crema extracts differently, and has a different flavor profile. 

8. Pakastan - Pakastani Masala Chai Tea 

Pakastan tea known as Urdu aka chai, is popular throughout the country and has a major role in local culture. It's one of the most consumed beverages in Pakastani cuisine.  Pakastan is the seventh largest tea-consuming country in the world.  

9.  China - Chinese Tea

Chinese tea can be classified into five distinctive categories:  white, green, oolong, black, yellow, puerh, flower and post-fermented tea.  Others add categories for scented and compressed teas. All come from varieties of the Camellia sinensis plant.  Green tea is the most popular type of tea consumed in China.

Chinese Tea Ceremony 

The ceremony should be carried out in an appropriate space. A table large enough to hold the tea-making utensils, the drip tray, and the water is the minimum necessity. Ideally the surroundings should be peaceful and conducive to relaxation and socialization. Incense, flowers and low, soft, traditional music add to the ambience.  

Modern culture

In 2014 China, virtually every dwelling — even down to the simplest mud hut — has a set of tea implements for brewing a hot cup of tea. These implements are symbols of welcome for visitors or neighbors. 

Traditionally, a visitor to a Chinese home will be expected to sit down and drink tea while talking.  Tea leaves are traditionally produced by constantly turning fresh leaves in a deep bowl. This process allows the tea to dry with its full flavor ready to be used.

10.  Tea in the United Kingdom
England has been one of the largest per capita tea consumers in the world.

(British Tea Party at Selfridges)

In England, tea usually is served with milk and sometimes with lemon.  Strong tea served with milk and occasionally one or two teaspoons of sugar in a mug, is commonly referred to as builder's tea.   Cream tea does not refer to cream mixed into the beverage, but to a meal in which tea is drank along with scones, clotted cream, and strawberry jam. 

(British Cream Tea)