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Personalized Cookbooks from TasteBook

Personalized Cookbooks from TasteBook

So everyone has probably been invited to at least one kitchen shower in their lifetime right? Bring a gift and also fill out this retro recipe card and bring a kitchen doo hicky (mine= corkscrew, spatula, wooden spoon) that you can’t live without to throw in the doo hicky basket when you get there. Right?

Let me just preface this by saying I have nothing against the kitchen shower. In fact I rather like the kitchen shower. HOWEVER, the recipe cards could use a kick in the pants. I mean. I’ve tried the recipe card thing and they always end up falling between my stove and the counter. By the way they’re not very helpful down there and I’m currently waiting for “Braised Brussel Sprouts” to catch on fire down there…

Ok. So, my cousin got an invite to participate in a modern day kitchen shower where instead of bring recipe cards, everyone collaborates prior to the shower to create a personalized recipe book for the bride-to-be from all of her favorite ladies in waiting on one site.

Personalized Cookbooks from Tastebook

Personalized Cookbooks from Tastebook

TasteBook, has turned the recipe card concept on its head and given it a modern day spin.  It’s a site that offers personalized, hard back, cook books with personalized recipes.  There are over 100,000 recipes from top sites, cookbooks and magazines to choose from OR you can input your own to make this a very special collaborative shower gift.

There are instructional videos on the site to help you figure out how to get started, but here’s a quick breakdown on starting your group gift for the bridal shower. First, choose a point person. You are in charge.

1. Go to the site and click Join (It’s FREE)

2. Click “Create a TasteBook” on the left hand side

3. Choose your cover- These are some pretty awesome photos, and you could do a few if you wanted to (Cupcake themes, Cookie Themes, Locally Grown, Vegetarian etc.)

4. Name your TasteBook  (Sara’s Cookbook: Recipes for a Lifetime, Erin’s Seasonal Cookbook, Meghan’ and Jon’s Newly-Wed Cookbook)

5. Now, you can either drag and drop recipes from existing TasteBooks, or import your own

I suggest importing your own, you can type it in right there and add your own personal photo. OR. You can choose from hundreds of recipes that are already available from Cooking Light, Coastal Living, Food & Wine, Epicurious and more!

Or you can import your own. (can you tell which I prefer?)

So once you have imported your recipe. Share it with the other people who will be attending the shower.

Send an email to the friends you want to help you collaborate, with your sign-in and password information. Everyone can then sign in and add a recipe to the TasteBook and personalize it by clicking on the “Create” “Recipe Page” Tab.

Once everyone has input their favorite recipes with photos, you (the responsible one) will go back in and order the TasteBook, adding a dedication page and forking over your credit card number.

The books start at $19.95 (those include 25 recipes) and range to $29.95 (50 recipes) and $39.95 (100 recipes). Someone pay for it or split it. Trust me this is pocket change in the grand scheme of your bridesmaid bank account withdrawals.

Once you have created and ordered your book, you can share it with all of the attendees via email, so everyone then can keep a copy of said TasteBook on file in their account on the site.  Here’s how you SHARE.

6. Click on the “Share” tab on the top

7. Select the TasteBook you want to share with friends and then import your address book from your e-mail account.

8. Click “Share TasteBook” and an email will be sent out to all of your friends!

Now, if you’re short on time and you waited until the last minute to do something cool for your bride-to-be you can always purchase a TasteBook that has already been created. Click “Shop TasteBooks” and you’ll see a whole bunch of organized books with titles like “Mostly Mediterranean, Classic Cocktails, and Stealthy healthy.

OR

You can search by the recipient, buying items…for the Organic and Healthy…for the Perfect Hostess or … for the Dessert Maven.

Also, you can keep  Grandma’s old shortbread recipe with the new digital version, by ordering recipe sleeves (Pack of 10- 7 x 10 for $4.95) to keep everything together.

Then….click the gift box box and get FREE GIFT WRAPPING with a personalized sticker. SO great!

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My friend Lisa is getting married in November of this year, and marks my 8th and final wedding of 2008.  Because many of her friends live out of town, she opted to have both her shower and bachelorette party the same weekend, therefore cutting back on travel for her friends, and the expenses that come with traveling far distances multiple times. (Which, by the way is awesome.)

 

 

In lieu of the paparazzi of peen, feather boas and bar games, Lisa opted for a party bus field trip to the Finger Lakes vineyards with 28 of her closest friends and family.

 

Lisa and the girls heading to the Wineries

Lisa and the girls heading to the Wineries

 

May I reiterate…this is such a great bachelorette party alternative. It’s so much fun, and it’s a great way for the bride and her girls to have one last hurrah before married life intervenes.  I’m told that’s when you’re not allowed to hang out with the girls anymore. (Although, I’ll go out on a limb here and say that actually hasn’t happened since 1954).

 

Getting a party bus is really the best way to do this.  Having a driver is absolutely worth it when you’ve tasted your way through half of Cayuga Lake.  If everyone chips in you can have quite the day trip underway.

 

Lisa and the girls tasting award winning Red Cat Wine at Hazlit Vineyards  

 

Lisa and the girls tasting award winning Red Cat Wine at Hazlit Vineyards

 

 

Lisa and some of her friends

Lisa and some of her friends

 

We kicked off the day with mimosas and a variety of food was on hand for later in the day.  We made our way through Cayuga and Seneca Lakes to four of the Finger Lakes wineries.  

 

Thirsty Owl Winery

Thirsty Owl Winery

 

 

Tasting at Thirsty Owl Winery

Tasting at Thirsty Owl Winery

 

 

Her shower was the next day, in the afternoon, which gave everyone substantial time to recuperate from the previous days “tastings”.  Paving a modern day bridal trail, Lisa opted for the display shower, and guests brought unwrapped gifts to her outdoor shower. I will reiterate again, how I love display showers. There is no watching the opening of gifts for hours upon hours as you sit, stuck to your seat, golf clapping along to every blender, ice cream maker and serving tray that pops out of a box.

 Guests could walk in and see EXACTLY which gifts Lisa received and move along to mix and mingle with other guests.  Some of Lisa’s more “risqué” gifts were left wrapped, which was wonderful, because Lisa was still able to open some gifts, and it added an extra element to the shower. IMPORTANT: Hand guests an envelope to fill out as they’re arriving at the shower, to address to themselves.  Then tape the envelope with their gift so it doesn’t get lost among the others.  You can also leave a pile of envelopes with pens at the door with instructions on fun paper as well.  

 

 

Yay for Display Showers!

Yay for Display Showers!

Lisa’s sister filled luggage for the honeymoon with super cute gifts like Mr. & Mrs. coozies, lingerie, flip flops and champagne. Such a cute idea! 

 

Decorating without wrapping!

Decorating without wrapping!

You can still decorate your gift without wrapping paper! Here Lisa’s wine glasses, a bottle of red and white wine tied together with matching bows let the bride know that the gift goes together.  Plus it’s decorate with these FABULOUS poofs– They’re Martha’s brilliant idea, and I’ll have a whole post dedicated to all the wonderful things you can do with them soon. But you can click the link and get the directions on how to make these wonderful decorations.

The thing with display showers is you really need to fill the time with other things to keep guests engaged in the shower. Lisa’s bridal party led a few games, which kept everyone involved.  One I had never played before was writing captions for 6 randomly selected photos of the bride.  Lisa then had to judge the captions and then give the winning table a point for each picture. It yielded some pretty funny captions and we managed to embarrass the bride a bit, which lets face it…is always one of the days objectives.

 

Other things to keep in mind when you throw a display shower is to make sure there is music somewhere flowing, add a personal touch somewhere in shower, whether it is in the menu, the cocktails or the décor.  Make it personal, keep it simple.

 

I hate to disclose this and let it go mainstream… but it’s too good not to share. There are some really beautiful lines of china, glassware and tableware out there that is actually affordable, modern and really great if you’re looking to stray from the world of ice cream makers, food processors and coffee pots in the land of registries.  Juliska has some of the most beautiful tabletop items on the market today. And, in comparison to what’s in the market, it’s pretty affordable.

It looks a little bit vintage, is definitely a little bit different and makes for a really beautiful table.  It’s not your mama’s china, and it’s certainly not something you can buy all at once, but it’s a collectible line of beautiful vases, serving platters, candle sticks and glassware. I love the glassware, but they also have beautiful ceramic place settings in four different designs.  My personal favorite is the Petit Singe.  Although, I kind of feel like it’s better as a baby shower gift, it’s still so cute. The Berry & Thread line is really special too.

You can find it at specialty stores around the country, and department stores often have them on sale. Michael.C.Fina is a great place to look online for gifts too. They often carry Juliska and Mariposa on at discounted rates, as does Barneys, believe it or not. Plus they come in super cute colors like pistachio, vintage pink, butter yellow, cappuccino brown and ice blue.

Mariposa also has some really beautiful gift ideas.

Their stuff is really cute and again, pretty affordable.  There are several different lines, and the napkin weights vary from literally everything from artichokes to tennis rackets to Santa Claus.  It’s kind of great.

We’re grown ups… they say… sooner or later you’re gonna need some of this stuff.

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