Super Bowl XLV posted in: Entertainment, Events


One week from today is Super Bowl Sunday. Whether you’re a die-hard football fan or just eager to check out the commercials, Super Bowl Sunday is a great time to host a party. We have you covered with fun party ideas. What you’ll need:

A Super bowl Party has a built-in theme. Just keep it simple and make it fun.

*Invites: Be creative. Write (a sharpie will do the trick) the party details on inflatable footballs and send to guests. Invitees inflate the football for the game day party run-down.

*Dress the buffet. Cover the tabletop with indoor/outdoor carpet (you can also use a green linen) and present eats in creative serving pieces. Think tortilla chips in a football helmet, wings on a football shaped platter, etc. Accent with a floral centerpiece designed in a toy megaphone and sprinkle some pompoms about the display.

*Asking guests to dress in team colors is a great way to add to the party vibe and is sure to ignite a competitive spirit!

*Noise makers: There are many options available at your local party supply store, but I find that a handful of passionate fans more than does the trick.

*Be sure that all TVs are on and tuned into the game

*Use disposable plates and cups for this occasion for easy cleanup. You can order official Super Bowl XLV supplies from  —– or use a combination of theme colors items purchased from your local party store.

Go with what everyone craves at this type of party.

*Serve up a healthy portion of wings – kick it up a notch by serving a few varieties such as regular, southwest and Thai offered with a variety of dipping sauces. Assorted pizzas, chili, and tortilla chips with salsa and guacamole area also popular game day faves.

*To enhance the festivity and show off your party prowess, include food from the teams’ home cities. For Packers fans, add brats and a fresh cheese board (using Wisconsin cheeses) or a beer-cheese fondue to the menu. For Steelers fans, French fries with a variety of self-serve spice enhancements offered with Heinz ketchup of course.

*For something sweet, theme cupcakes add a festive touch. Serve basic chocolate and white cupcakes with creative décor accents – Green icing with an edible football (aka: chocolate covered almond). You can again give a shout out to Pittsburgh fans, by adding two sweets that got their start in Pittsburgh – the Clark Candy Bar and Klondike Ice Cream.

You can recover from most any party sin as long as the drinks are flowing.

What should you have on “tap”? Well it goes without saying that beer shoudl be included in your bev menu (Yuengling’s made in PA).Offer a theme cocktail (leaded and/or non-alcoholic) such as the First and Ten which can be pre-made in advance. Be sure to stock up on soft drinks and water as well.

Wanna bet?

Wanna put a little skin in the game? Place a friendly wager on your team to take home the trophy. Add more fun contests such as a point spread and over/under. During halftime play Super bowl trivia. Prizes can of course be moo-la, but you can also be creative and have a jersey, movie tickets, etc as prizes too.

As long as there is plenty of food, drink and fun, your party is sure to be a hit!

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  • : Really great post, thanks!
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Super Bowl Party Cocktail Recipes posted in: Recipes

Here are a few drink recipes that would be great to serve at your upcoming Super Bowl Party.

The Touchdown
2 oz bourbon
4 oz lemonade
4 oz iced tea (unsweetened)

Combine bourbon and iced tea in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Strain into a hurricane glass filled with ice. Top with the lemonade

Incomplete Pass
This one’s about as simple as they come, and it’s tasty, too. Chase with a chunk of pineapple, if you so choose.

 2 oz. bourbon
1 oz. pineapple juice

1. Mix bourbon and pineapple juice in a shaker.
2. Strain into two shot glasses.

First and Ten
Another refreshing football-themed drink. It is a bit more complicated to make, so I recommend preparing a pitcher or two in advance of a party. 

3 oz. gin
2 oz. pineapple juice
2 oz. orange juice
2 oz. cranberry juice
2 oz. grapefruit juice
2 oz. lemon juice
2 oz. lime juice
Dash of grenadine
Splash of club soda
Float dark rum
Garnish with orange slices and Maraschino cherries


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Inspiration: Black Swan on the Dark Side posted in: Weddings

Take a walk on the dark side. Darren Aronosfky’s Black Swan is a hauntingly beautiful tale of the price of perfection.With Black Swan as your muse, explore the dramatic.  Think the bold shades of night, highlighted with hues of twilight. A pop of  vibrant red (inspired by Natalie Portman’s pout) for added effect. 

Black Sawn Inspiration - The Dark Side

{Credits: Wedding Gown -Vera Wang Spring ’11; Shoes – Christian Louboutin; Linen – Wildflower; Floral image: Jen O’Sullivan; Black Sawn – Fox Searchlight Pictures}

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Entertaining Etiquette: How to be the happy hostess with the mostess posted in: Entertaining Essentials, Etiquette, Events

 Opportunities to entertain come all year ’round–from casual gatherings and summer barbecues to formal cocktail parties and milestone celebrations. Here are my top 5 tips to remember when hosting a party:

1. The Guest List
When selecting guests for your event, be mindful to choose an interesting mix of personalities. However, make sure that all invitees get along. No one wants tension at the party – it should be lively and upbeat, stress-free. It’s in the best interest for all not to invite people who are known to clash or the friend that has a reputation for starting heated debates. Rather choose guests who are good conversationalists and be sure to include those that will bring along a good sense of humor.

2. Invitations
Include necessary information for your guests in the invitation.  Is the party a casual get-together or a formal affair?  What is the dress code? Be sure to include a start and end time for the party. Send out invites four to six weeks in advance of the party to allow guess sufficient time to check calendars, arrange childcare, etc.

3. Proper Planning  
Hosting a party can be enjoyable, but planning is key.  Get help if necessary. Keep it simple, and do as much as you can ahead of time. To lower stress and help you on time, serve items that you know will work and that can be made in advance. Keep the bar simple. Provide  simple drinks such as wine, beer and soft drinks, and add a signature cocktail or two for a festive touch (drinks that can be prepared in large quantities and made ahead of time work great -for example sangria or strawberry lemonade). Plan to have everything ready at least an hour before guests are expected to arrive. Allow time personally to get ready – no one wants to look like the harried host when greeting guests.

4.  Gracious Greeting & Send-off, Happy Host Throughout
Ensure that guests are warmly greeted. Take coats and/or umbrellas (or have staff to do so) upon guests arrival, and graciously accept any hostess gifts that guests may present to you.  A good host/hostess will spend the evening with guests, not behind the scenes. Encourage guests to mingle, and be sure to make introductions and help to facilitate conversation. Thank people for coming as they leave the party. And remember to again express your appreciation to anyone who brought a gift.

5.  Be flexible and gracious.
Entertainment didn’t show? Have a fallback plan – an appropriate CD or playlist on standby. Have a no shoes policy?  Provide a basket of slippers by the door. And if you don’t know a guest well, or someone seems particularly uncomfortable, be flexible for the evening. Uninvited guest?  As discourteous as it is for someone to spring a surprise on you, be gracious.  No polite host would ever send an uninvited guest away.

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Not your average red carpet posted in: Entertainment, Events, Fashion, Great Products, Uncategorized

Need a FABULOUS feature for your next special event? One that will have your guests abuzz with excitement upon arrival?  Kick your entrance up a notch 10 notches, by adding a red carpet. Now ladies and gentlemen, I am not talking about your average red carpet. No, I’m referring to a Live Red Carpet….. A Live Red Carpet?

Yes, A Live Red Carpet!!!

 Guests walk the “red carpet” before realizing that it is part of a surreal, couture gown! Talk about adding WOW! and surprise to your event – this will do the trick.  Add a Live Red Carpet to the main entrance of your event, or use it an exclusive VIP access.  This stunning feature can be up to 130  feet in length and is available in various colors! Maybe what your event entrance needs is a pink carpet… a la Sex & The City.

So who is behind this amazing idea? The brilliant minds at Champagne Creative. They have served up yet another over-the-top feature for special events. In addition to this new highlight, they also offer other fabulous event services (of which I have been a long-time fan) such as Strolling Hors D’oeuvres table , 9 foot Glamazon Greeters, and a Champagne Chandelier!

I LOVE it all day long! If you are planning an event, and this feature is for you, let’s be in touch to design a spectacular event that will be sure to be talked about for years to come!!



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  • Megan: Your blog rocks. I will come to it over and over because I love it so much. You are a blog ruler!
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The Top 11 Wedding Trends for 2011 posted in: Food and Beverage, Society News, Weddings

Weddings in 2011 will bring about lots of fun! Expect weddings this season to incorporate new ideas while still including some favored traditions.

1. Get Personal
While many traditions for the big day still hold true, more and more personal touches of the bride and groom are shining through in the elements of the wedding day – think décor, menu, etc. Couples are focusing on their own personal interests first to set themes revolving around them.

2. Get Cultured
This trend plays off of personalization and encourages couples to incorporate influences from different cultures into their wedding day. This may be natural for couples with a strong heritage. However, you can also embrace this trend if you and your fiancé share a love of Italy or perhaps you met in Monaco – how romantic!

3. Color your world
Cheery and fun colors are all the rage for 2011 – honeysuckle (a gorgeous pinky-red and the official color of the year), brilliant blues, and apple green to name a few.  Slate grey will be a popular anchor to many color schemes. And to add even more interest to the color palette, some brides are combining two and three colors into their wedding day décor and fashion!

4. The man cave
This is a cool idea, and the gents LOVE it! The cave can be so much fun during a wedding reception- create an area for men to include a cigar bar, poker tables or maybe even a retro arcade.

5. Video Booth
This idea builds on the wedding photo booth, but takes it up a notch. A space is created as a place where guests say a few words about you to the camera – a living well wish!

6. Put it On Paper
Paper products are all the rage – invitations, printed menus, place cards, pew cards, etc., and  are continuing to be an increasingly significant expense of a wedding. Utilizing paper products provides great opportunities for personalization of your décor.

7. Social Butterfly
We will continue to see social media playing a part in weddings. Increasing numbers of couples are keeping guests informed through wedding websites, and are posting updates on facebook and twitter such as “we just reserved the most awesome band for the reception!”. Social networking sites saves time, money, and gives guests a ton of information while allowing them to feel included in the planning, but the couple must also make sure they do not overstep wedding etiquette in the process.

8. Digital Registry
An emerging techno-trend is dressing up your iPad as a guest book. This is the newest way for guests to register and also write well wishes. Bonus of incorporating this trend?  You can easily share your guest book online via YouTube, Facebook, and twitter – if you are the above said social butterfly, then this trend is totally for you.

8. Mix-n-Match
While it may not be for everyone, some people will be mixing it up by incorporating different table sizes and shapes into their reception décor. The setup creates a unique visual interest, and may be the answer to maximizing the use of available space.

10. Mini Snacks
On the sweeter side of things, some couples are foregoing the traditional wedding cake and opting for other alternatives such as strawberry towers or even assorted pies that cater more to their personal tastes. In addition, many couples will also be serving up mini snacks later in the evening such as custard shots and cake pops!

10. Vintage
This trend still going strong. Expect to see everything from vintage inspirations incorporated into fashion and décor such as great grandma’s vintage brooch as the accent on the bride’s bouquet and old family photos as a backdrop to a milk and cookie station to all out vintage themes.

11. Outdoor and natural settings
While many weddings are still formal, some also have casual undertones or are hosted in natural settings. The thought here is to create a very comfortable and at times “at home” atmosphere.

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Etiquette for today posted in: Etiquette

The primary purpose of any advice or instruction on etiquette is to provide guidelines about the how, what, where, when and how of social graces. Arming yourself with this kind of knowledge provides you with confidence and security- an assurance that your behavior is appropriate to the situation.

It is important to first understand the difference between etiquette and manners. By definition, etiquette is a set of rules that outlines socially appropriate behavior according to contemporary conventional norms within a society, class or group of people observed in social or official life. Manners on the other hand are a characteristic or customary mode of acting; deportment – and one can have either good or bad manners. Simply put, etiquette is a ceremonial code of polite society and manners are an expression from the heart that reflects how much or little your care about and value the feelings of others.
Some people may regard etiquette as elitist and unnecessarily refined, but this is certainly not
the case. Knowledge of etiquette is never wasted.  Having a basic knowledge and observance of proper etiquette will mark someone as cultured, polite company, and so often in many cases opens doors of opportunity and serves as your “first class” ticket to success.
It is safe to assume that there is proper protocol for most every situation one might encounter, from meeting the President of the United States to understanding proper protocol in this electronic business age. The consequences of a lapse in etiquette may vary. At the very least, someone may feel awkward, and/or those present at the time of the blunder could form an unfavorable impression of the offender. At worst, a lapse in etiquette could cost you a friendship or a job.
Many people study etiquette to sharpen their social and business skills to ensure that they do not cause offense or embarrass themselves. Though etiquette is protocol, a set of behavior rules that can be memorized, our society is constantly evolving. We are here to keep you updated on the changing face of etiquette ensuring that you can face any situation with aplomb. We will share etiquette tips with via facebook and twitter, and sometimes dig a little deeper by blogging about etiquette topics such as tipping, weddings, travel, etc. Want more? Consider our etiquette presentations for your organization or business. For information on courses available through Tanja & Co. Academy of Etiquette, visit our program listing, or contact us by phone.

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Hit Me With Your Best Shot: Series on Wedding Photography posted in: Weddings

Society, We’re pleased have Amanda Reed of Amanda Reed Photography with us this month to share insight and information regarding engagement photos. Welcome Amanda.

Thanks Tanja and Hi Society!

Once you have chosen your photographer it is time to schedule your E-Session!

The E-Session or as your mother may call it, the engagement session, used to be a time in a couple’s relationship when they got the official engagement portrait for the newspaper to announce their upcoming marriage and while that still may hold true, e-sessions have gotten a lot more interesting!

Engagement Photos

The engagement session should not be just about capturing that ¾ portrait for the Sunday paper or your grandmother’s 8×10 table top frame. Engagement sessions are fun- liberating in fact! Never before have you flaunted your love for another person in front of a viewing audience like you are about to. Sounds kinda scary right? This is where your photographer plays a critical role.

Ask your photographer about what to wear for your session. Most engagement sessions are shot on location -everywhere from country barns to an urban alley. Many of my clients assume you just pick a location and shoot, but that is not always true. The most important thing to think about is light. Full sun and no clouds in a field or an alley can spell disaster for your session as can grey skies without a dot of light. Be sure to ask your photographer what times and locations they recommend.

Speaking from experience, my job as an engagement photographer is to find out what makes you tick. I am genuinely invested in the relationship of my clients and its future success. I want to know how you met, about your first date and future plans. Getting to know is vital to what I am able to capture in both your e-session and wedding day images.

We love clients with personality, so bring yours! Are you football fans? Maybe you love to cook together in the kitchen or spend afternoons on the river. Have a vintage flair? Ask your photographer about working these things into the session. We won’t know you want something different unless you tell us J Also, don’t be shy to ask your photographer for ideas. Show up to your session with an open mind and most importantly be ready to have fun!
The session is shot…now what? Be sure to ask your photographer just that. If you have your engagement session with my studio for example and we are in peak season it may
be up to 4 weeks before your images are ready to preview. Keep in touch with your photographer. Some clients feel that they are bothering the photographer to see how the process is going. I for one love that you are excited to see your images and want to stay informed of the progress.

While your images are in post production, be thinking about what products you are interested in. My most popular product for engagement sessions is the Guest Sign in Album. We take 20-30 images from your session and incorporate them into a lovely album. Your guests sign the book, may write a best wish and also see beautiful images
of the engagement session. Other items to consider are Save the Date cards or magnets.
I love the idea of creating a backdrop to your Bridal Shower with enlargements or photo favors. Pictures are not just for frames anymore. Think about metal prints or gallery float wraps for your walls. Ask your photographer about bouquet charms and custom jewelry made from your images.

I hope this gives you a little bit of insight on the photographer – client relationship and how to make that a success. In my next featured article we are going to talk Boudoir Sessions- the gift every groom looks forward to!

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You’re Engaged! posted in: Weddings

This year, the holidays were the best ever for many of you newly engaged brides!

You're engaged!!! Best wishes!

Now that you’ve rung in the New Year and shared the news, the reality of planning your big day is beginning to sink in. You are no doubt excited and nervous all at the same time. With all the choices to be made – style of wedding, invitations, flowers and a million other things, it can be overwhelming. But don’t let all the details and dollar signs stress you out.

Let us help you navigate the engagement waters. Want to be the happy and savvy bride who makes it look effortless – the one who enjoys every moment leading up to and including the wedding day? Here’s your guide: Follow these five steps to set you on the best path to planning the wedding of your dreams.

1. Begin with what is most important to you
Determine your wedding style and set your priorities. Dream, scheme and talk about your wedding – what elements can you simply not live without?  What aspects of the wedding day are most important to you – the ceremony itself, fabulous photos, amazing atmosphere, fabulous food?  Defining the elements most important to you will begin to shape your wedding day and will make the planning process flow more smoothly.

2. Get inspired!
Find photos, items and articles that inspire you, and keep these inspirations organized in an easily accessible place. Create a wedding folder or bookmark sites and pages that appeal to you. When you find elements and ideas that you like, save them. These things will help tremendously in designing your dream day.

3. Hire a Wedding Planner
Having a seasoned professional by your side can prove to be invaluable. And the sooner a wedding planner is brought into the picture, the better. There are many benefits of having a professional by your side during the planning process. Experienced planners bring with them a wealth of knowledge and know-how. We know what’s new and now, can infuse energy into the process, inspire you, and help you steer clear of common pitfalls.

4. Set a Budget
Budget is a critical foundational element of the planning process, but also the aspect of the wedding that people most often shy away from discussing. However, without a budget (and furthermore, a realistic one), it is difficult to plan much of anything. If you are uncertain of all associated costs, your wedding planner will be able to offer guidance. Determining from the start what resources you have available to invest will make for a smoother planning process.

5. Remember to include time for yourself
With the added pressures and time demands that come along with planning for a wedding, it can be easy to forget to allow yourself and your fiancé down time. It is important to schedule time to enjoy favorite activities and time together aside from time spent planning for the wedding.

Best wishes! to you, the bride regarding your engagement and congratulations! as well to the groom.

May you enjoy every moment of your engagement.

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Happy New Year & A New Company! posted in: Etiquette, Events, Society News, Weddings

Hello and Happy New Year!!! We’re ringing in the New Year with exciting news – we have        re-branded the company!

A new year, a new name, a new brand and a fresh new look! We are delighted to introduce …. Tanja & Co.!

Special Events ~ Weddings ~ Etiquette

Special Events ~ Weddings ~ Etiquette

We are still planning fabulous weddings and events. However, we are very pleased to announce a new development in our offerings. We now also provide etiquette consulting services. From children’s etiquette to business protocol and dining tutorials suitable for all, allow us to customize a program custom tailored to meet the needs of your organization or business. Etiquette is so important to one’s success from both a personal and business perspective and is always in style.

As for the blog and other social media here’s what you can expect – even more fabulous news and updates!
We will continue to share the scoop on what’s now in weddings and events, cool party planning tricks, etiquette tips and any other craves and cool news on people, products and places that capture our attention.

Here’s the skinny on our social (media) calendar:
Mondays – Monday Manners
Wednesdays – Wedding Wednesdays
Fridays – Fetes & Fabulous Finds

This news and info may come to you via our blog, facebook, and twitter, so be sure to connect with us on all outlets so you don’t miss one tip! Oh, and please add our blog to your RSS feed so you will get the dish as soon as it’s served on the worldwide web.

Thank you very much for your support. We look forward to continuing to engage and share with you!



P.S. I’d love to know what you think of the new brand and services. Please post comments. I look forward to hearing from you!

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