Red Carpet Ready Cocktails posted in: Entertaining Essentials, Food and Beverage, Recipes

With only one day til The Academy Awards, we’ve compiled a list of a couple of our favorite Oscar’s inspired cocktails that are both easy to make and extra delicious!

The Moët Golden Glamour (created in 2010 for the Academy Awards as Moët & Chandon is the “exclusive champagne” for the parties). This Celeb-worthy champagne cocktail  can quickly become a favorite for any occasion, but it is very elegant and fitting for an Oscar viewing party. The mix is really pleasant and the flavor combination of passion fruit and vanilla is one that will please any palate.

 Moet Golden Glamour


4 oz Moët & Chandon Imperial Champagne
1/4 oz
 Navan liqueur
1 1/2 oz Passion Fruit Juice

Combine all ingredients in a champagne coupe.
Top with fresh sprig of
 mint for garnish.


Red Carpet

This cocktail is only around 158 calories per serving – to ensure that you look fab on the red carpet!


2 oz Raspberry Cocoa
1 oz POM
1/4 Lemon Juice
½ Packet Sweetener
2 Blackberries
2 Raspberries

Shake all ingredients and strain. Garnish with berries.

As always, please drink responsibly and be sure to provide your guests with non-alcoholic choices as well.

Have other fab cocktail recipes you’d like to share? Leave us a comment!



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Last Minute Oscar Party Ideas posted in: Entertaining Essentials, Entertainment, Party Ideas

Wanna turn up the fun for this year’s Academy Awards but feel that you’re out of time? It IS possible to throw together a fun and entertaining Oscar night party that your guests will remember – you just need a few tricks! And best of all – these ideas will add some glamour to the evening…without bruising the bank account.


Dressed up Décor
Purchase inexpensive costume jewelry (or check out what’s in the toy department) to incorporate in your décor. Think oversized cocktail rings for napkin rings, strands of pearls wrapped around the base of candles. Pickup a package of flat-bottom rhinestones and add a little bling to your food station menu item cards, trays and beverage coasters! Use golf card stock or paper to cut out star shapes (of varying sizes), attach the cut outs to fishing line, and hang them from the ceiling. The shining stars will add the perfect glitz to your party. To keep with the theme, create a red carpet for your spread using a red runner on your tabletop. Add gold confetti to give some sparkle to your own lil’ version of Tinsel Town.

Bring out the Bubbly

Champagne is a must for this celeb celebration. Pop the top of a quality golden champagne, dress with a fresh raspberry (for a pop of red), and toast to good friends and good times. You can also opt to serve up a champagne cocktail for the evening. Visit our facebook page today for a few of our fave recipes!

Pop It Like It’s Hot

For food – keep it simple and serve up some easy snacks. Think cupcakes (topped with edible golf flake confetti or a star), and big trend this year – popcorn. Setup a popcorn bar! Provide plain popcorn (buttered and non) and serve in paper top hats. Turn the hats upside down, line with gold paper and fill to the brim. Set out a variety of seasonings and toppings that guests can use to create their own signature gourmet popcorn. Yum!

Guessing the winner is a favorite pastime of Oscar-watchers. Make your awards night party memorable with DIY vote ballots that allow guests to pick their winners. The 
official Oscars site has printable ballots with the nominee names and categories, so your guests can play along with the event as it plays out. To make your ballots standout, stuff them in gold envelopes!

Picture Perfect

Hang a black or gold curtain to create a backdrop area to take photos of you and your besties all dressed to the nines. Set out fun accessories such as boas, costume jewelry big sunglasses….even add an Oscar statuette for some extra fun! Upload all the images of the evening to dropbox so everyone can have a copy of their favorite photos from the evening, or post an album on facebook (with your friends OK of course) and allow people to vote on best dressed – fun!

Regardless of how you decide to watch the Academy Awards this year, remember that what matters most is having fun and of course, feeling fabulous! Enjoy!

Tanja Lynn, The Party Maven

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The Oscars: Black Tie Affair Anywhere! posted in: Entertaining Essentials, Entertainment, Events, Food and Beverage, Uncategorized

There are many awards shows today but none compare to The Academy Awards with all their glitz, glamour and of course, gold! From decadently dressed stars to sentimental speeches, the Oscars are a favorite among movie buffs and fashionistas alike. This year, don’t just watch this 85 year old tradition alone in your PJ’s-have a glamourous black tie party with your friends instead!

It’s All in the Invite

Setting the mood for any party starts with the invitation. Show your guests what to expect by incorporating your color theme and any specifics like what to wear or bring. Get them excited with your choice of words and attention to detail.

MFC-Solid-Gold-CompositeDress To Impress

Encourage your guests to dress for the occasion! That means suits for the guys and cocktail dresses or evening gowns for the ladies! State in your invitation that you will be giving a “Best Dressed” award to get the excitement going and allow your guests to vote. Who doesn’t love a little friendly competition?



Red Carpet Ready

Whether you live in a million dollar mansion or a quaint little condo, welcome your guests in Hollywood style by having a red carpet at your front door! These can be rented from party supply stores or can of course be purchased if you plan to make your Oscar parties a tradition. If you REALLY want to go all out, hire a professional photographer and have them snap pictures of your guests as they arrive like the paparazzi. This will instantly set the mood and have your friends feeling like they are the true stars of the evening!

And the Winners Are…Red and Gold!

Continue the theme of your invitations throughout the party by adding decorative touches of red and gold everywhere. This color combo is very Hollywood and will instantly transform your home from homely to glamorous. Use red roses for centerpieces and gold place settings and napkins to tie it all together. When paired with inexpensive sparkly fabric and your best china and crystal, the glitzy atmosphere will be sure to impress!


Eat, Drink & Be Merry!

Now that you’ve wowed your guests with gorgeous invites, decorations and a red carpet, keep the surprises coming with the perfect treats and drinks. Since you want the focus of your Oscars soiree to be on the Oscars themselves, keep your cocktail and drink menu simple with decadent finger foods and a signature drink. And if you really want tokeep the theme going, name the drinks you serve after the evening’s nominees. After all, who wouldn’t want a tall glass of Bradley Cooper? 😉

Here’s one of our favorites that’s both simple to make and gold in color to blend perfectly with the rest of the decor!

brandy-cocktail-ck-1853933-l (1)

Gingered Pear and Brandy Cocktail


  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 cup chopped peeled fresh ginger
  • 3 cups pear juice
  • 1 cup cognac
  • 10 lemon rind twists


  1. 1. Combine 1/4 cup water and sugar in a small saucepan over medium-high heat; cook until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat. Add ginger. Cover and let stand 15 minutes. Strain sugar mixture through a fine sieve. Discard solids. Chill sugar mixture 30 minutes or until ready to use.
  2. 2. Fill a large martini shaker half full with ice. Add sugar mixture, juice, and cognac; shake until chilled. Strain 1/2 cup mixture into each of 10 martini glasses. Garnish each serving with 1 lemon twist.
Have other party ideas you’d like to share? Feel free to leave us a comment!

Tanja Lynn, The Party Maven


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NYC Fashion Week (Pre-Fall Trends) posted in: Uncategorized

With New York fashion week coming to a close, we thought it only appropriate to share some of our favorite trends from the runway with you! From fabulous florals to fresh warm hues, 2013 appears to be taking on a more ladylike and muted demeanor. While bright, neon colors will still be prevalent throughout spring and summer, the brightness will soon be replaced by  richer, deeper hues this fall.

Fabulous Florals 

Ladylike silhouettes with big, bold floral patterns will be all the rage this fall as seen on the runways of Oscar De La Renta and Carolina Herrera. While some designers choose to keep these petaled prints more muted with neutral shades of gray and black on white, the most impressive designs were those with lots of deep, saturated hues as seen in the dresses below.

And if patterns (especially florals) aren’t necessarily your forte, have no fear! It’s easy to wear this trend by using it in more sparing ways like with a scarf or on a blouse that peeks out slightly under a denim jacket.


Shrug Your Shoulders

While capes, fur bombers and pea coats have always been a staple in every socialites closet, 2013 ushers in a new addition to the coverup family. Enter the fresh and fun bolero-part shrug, part wrap. Traditionally a more formal garment, the boleros of 2013 will be seen paired with everything from evening gowns to jeans and a cute top. From leather, to fur, to lots of different fabrics in-between, these ladylike additions will be the icing on top of any chic outfit!


Warm Welcome

When we think of fall we traditionally think of deep colors like burnt oranges and crimson reds. However, fickle fashion doesn’t always lend herself to these conventional color stories, thus leaving us looking for a little more warmth as the air gets cooler. For instance, last fall was full of color but all a bit more bright and less rich. Fortunately for 2013 and all you autumn gals out there, it looks like this fall and even late summer will give way to a color palette with deep browns and burnt oranges topping the list. Perhaps one of the most striking hues was the burnt orange seen below. Providing a stark contrast from the basic black and white patterns we were used to last season, this fresh new color looks great when paired with everything from black to light blue. How will you incorporate this hot new color into your wardrobe this year?


From Fashion to Fabulously Formal

So how do these new trends translate into event designs and decor? Easy! Take cues from those floral prints and use them as accents throughout the room. When used as table runners, napkins or tablecloths, this kind of pattern can make a big statement and leave a lasting impression!

As for the new coverup for 2013-the bolero, we are seeing the same kind of trend used as chair covers! How chic and non-traditional! This kind of accent can turn any cold fall or winter event into a cozy soiree in no time and will have your guests begging you to tell them how they can score a few of their own!

Last, when it comes to that gorgeous color palette that was seen all over the runways this past week, let your imagination run wild! When paired together, deep oranges and plums instantly warm any space and add a romantic feel that can’t be denied.

fashion event collage

Have other top trends you’d like to share? Please leave a comment below!

Tanja Lynn, The Party Maven

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Wedding Wednesday: The Colors of Love posted in: Uncategorized, Weddings

With Valentine’s Day only a day away, the Party Maven has been working overtime to bring you a Wedding Wednesday complete with all things love inspired and effortlessly romantic. Deep reds and and bubblegum pinks need not be restricted only to Valentine’s Day! When paired together, these colors instantly evoke sentimental feelings of charm and passion. What could be more perfect on the day you say “I Do” to the love of your life?

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Cupid’s Cues: Valentine’s Day Etiquette posted in: Etiquette, Events

Unsure how to handle Valentine’s Day dating and gift etiquette? Fear not, we’re here to help with advice for gift giving and celebrating this day of love in such a way that would make Cupid proud.

They Call it Puppy Love There is nothing wrong with giving someone a Valentine’s card or even a small gift of friendship on this day. The key is to keep the card light-hearted and the gift appropriate – nothing extravagant or too personal. A simple gesture of friendship shows you care, think candies a something small that they might find useful or fun in day to day life. This is not the day to confess your undying love. Your sentiment could be taken as creepy rather than caring.

We’ve Only Just Begun
When getting to know someone, it’s OK for one person  ask if the other would like catch a movie or try the new bistro in town. If the other person accepts, great! ”However, if the other person stalls, let them off the hook easily, and schedule a date for another day (could be as  simple as they already have plans). If they say “yes, what about the gift? It’s fine to give something small. For example, if you know your date has a ridiculous sweet tooth, a bag of their favorite candy would be appropriate, or if they love butterflies, a small crystal butterfly would be thoughtful. And remember, you shouldn’t give a gift with the expectation of receiving one in return. Be prepared for the possibility that the other person may not have a gift for you, and make sure you can handle that before offering up your gift.

Love is in the Air
If you’ve been together for a few months, it is reasonable to expect that you’re going to make plans for Valentine’s Day. Broach the subject lightly, you could say something like, “Valentine’s Day is in a couple of weeks, would you like to do something, or would you prefer to pretend the day doesn’t exist?” The person’s response will tell you all you need to know (and will take the temperature of your relationship). It may be a beloved holiday for your sweetheart, or just another day on the calendar….and should you have differing views, compromise out of respect for one another. If you feel like giving a gift, choose something meaningful but not extravagant. A nice idea would be to think on the path of experience. Something such as tickets to an event or concert – something you know they like and that you also enjoy together.

Steady Rockin’
A funny thing happens as the years go by in a relationship— people tend to take the emphasis off of holidays such as Valentine’s Day…not taking time out to remind that special someone just how special they are, but rather treating it just like any other day. However, it is my personal belief (and studies back it up) that this is where we can go wrong in our relationships. Not making an effort to do something special is a mistake. This is a perfect time to share words of love and affirmation – to remind that special someone just how much they mean to you. Take the opportunity to celebrate together. It doesn’t have to be a candlelit dinner or a grand gesture…though a romantic weekend getaway would be nice. Maybe it’s a hike to your favorite spot and a picnic (if you’re somewhere warm) or a quiet evening cozied up by the fire with champagne and chocolate truffles. Plan whatever suits you as a couple so long as the time is about enjoying each other’s company. The etiquette here is to remember that this is not the day to discuss your relationship and what isn’t working well.

When Considering Popping More Than Just Bubbly
Probably the biggest landmine of all? Proposals. When couples have been dating for awhile, the questions running through many a lovers mind is whether or not to get engaged on Valentine’s Day. While it is a popular time for ‘popping the question’ along with some bubbly, a word of caution – If you know you’re with ‘the one’ for you and are feeling the time is right, then by all means, make the day extra special. However, if there is any doubt in your mind about whether or not proposing is appropriate, choose another day to ask this question. And if you’ll be on the receiving end of the proposal, do not become too focused on the possibility…so much so that if it doesn’t happen, the evening is a disaster and you end up in the “where are we’ conversation. Just because the love of your life didn’t choose to get down on bended knee on this day, is not a reason to doubt your entire relationship and love. So be prepared for a wonderful time together regardless.

Above all, however you celebrate the day, do it with full consideration, respect, and honesty. This is what etiquette is all about.

Do you have a tip to add to the list, or a great and/or horror story to share about any of your own Valentine’s Day experiences? We’d love to hear – leave a comment here.


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Lots of Love: Gifts for Valentine’s Day posted in: Great Products, Uncategorized

Whether you’re looking for gift ideas for yourself or looking for that perfect gift for a special friend or loved one, we’ve got you covered with lovely gifts that are sure to make an impression!

Voluspa Candle in Champagne This is my FAVORITE candle…EVER. This is the modern luxury candle redefined. With striking packaging and extraordinary scents, Voluspa candles are handcrafted and poured with a luxurious, clean-burning coconut wax blend. The classic Maison Noir candle is a story of fragrance written in wax and poured into a glowing noir glass. Sparkling brut champagne mingles with hints of vanilla and barrel oak, a scent sure to set the mood for any Valentine’s Day celebration!

(12 oz, $27.99 available at Nordstroms)

Chocolat? Oui! Oui!
Haute Chocolate Truffles
or other chocolates and candies are always a nice gift for Valentine’s Day but why settle for store-bought brands that lack style, taste and sophistication?  This year, try giving confectionary treats from Haute Chocolate, the premiere chocolate shop in Winston-Salem, NC. Everything they make is done on-site and is all handcrafted from the finest ingredients available. And if that weren’t enough, every chocolate they make is also hand-dipped and hand decorated, giving each savory treat its own custom look.

Individual : $1.85

4 ct box : $7.25

9 ct box : $15.99

18 ct box : $26.95

Oh So Smitten
These sweet treats are guilt-free  – an indulgence any girl would love….and won’t add to her waistline!  These solid moisture rich feeling smitten cupcake bath bombs soften the water, moisturize the skin, smell delightful and add bubbles-all while soaking up the many relaxing natural salts in your bath. Original cupcakes are the same size as real cupcakes and weigh approximately 4.5 ounces. If you want to savor it, break it up into pieces and enjoy two baths out of one. Peel wrapper and drop a few pieces under running bath water.

Mini Cupcakes (shown here) weigh approximately 1.2 ounces and can be used as one single serving or two for extra sweetness.

Haute Lips
What better way to show someone you care than by giving them a great big KISS?  Available in nude or hot pink, this fun handbag can be found  at Zappos…and it’s currently on sale for only $35. Now that’s how you steal a kiss!

(Image by Studio 109

Amore Amore
Kenzo Amour Perfume, the bottle’s design alone is worthy of mention – alluring in its own right, it displays as art.  But it gets even better inside this sexy silhouette, as the scent is a gentle, sensual aroma that begins with notes of the Frangipani blossom, a very fine almond-like aroma. Next, your senses travel down into the gorgeous base of woodsy, balsamic, and musky notes, and vanilla. It diffuses on the skin with all of its nuances: mysterious, sexy and alluring. Perfect for the free-spirited romantic!

(Image by Studio 109

Tickle Me Pink
This beautiful marabou body duster is a delicious indulgence and oh so feminine -who wouldn’t love to have one? Feel like a movie star as you pamper yourself with your after shower body powder. Even better? Heighten the senses and make date night even sexier, delicately dust kissable body shimmer over the skin -a lady will shimmer like diamonds and taste like spun sugar Delicious!

(Image by Studio 109

A shoe-in
These comfortable ballerina flats have serious style, come in a rainbow of colors and are a must-have for any ladies fashion arsenal. Tieks are made of top grain leather, boasting a cushioned heel, and designed with a fab Tiek blue split sole, these slippers fold neatly into their tiny little travel pouch and can be easily dropped into most any handbag. (Insider info: Tanja is typically rocking fab shoes with a 5″ heel so we were a little surprised by this one! However, Tanja loves her Tieks and swears by them!)

(Image by Studio 109

Have other ideas? We’d love to hear. Leave us a comment!

& Co. team.

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All the Single Ladies posted in: Entertainment, Events, How To, Uncategorized

Valentine’s Day is NOT only a day for couples. Being single doesn’t mean you’re alone! Celebrate some of the best love you’ll ever know with your best girlfriends, or take time out to love yourself!

1. Hit up your besties and head out to a hotspot. Enjoy an evening at your fave lounge,  restaurant, bowling lanes, etc.-whatever suits your fancy. Let your hair down, kick up your heels and revel in your ability to be yourself and have an amazing time in the company of good friends – no men needed – thank you!

2. Organize some Secret Valentine fun: Gather up a group of friends, draw names and then deliver Valentine’s chocolates,  flowers, and  pamper me pretties to each other  -so fun! And don’t girlfriends always give such fun gifts?!

3. Spend the evening with your celeb crush. Whether it’s George Clooney or Ryan Reynolds, rent a handful of his movies, mix your favorite cocktail, cozy up next to your tele, and treat yourself to an eye-candy filled evening!

4. Treat yourself. Give yourself recognition for just how amazing YOU are. Schedule a spa treatment….or three, make an appointment for a blowout and have your make-up done…then hit the town with your BFF!

5. Party at your place! Invite friends over for cocktails, canapés and conversation. Creative a festive atmosphere by throwing a theme party, which could be anything from an all Pink or ‘Pear’fect Lady party to Holding out for a Hero (everyone can have a laugh sharing their worst date ever story, or most embarrassing moment with a guy!).

Have other ideas? We’d love to hear! Leave us a comment.

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What the Trend – Top Wedding Trends for 2013 posted in: Events, Trends, Weddings

It’s out with the old and in with the new! If  there’s bling on your ring finger and wedding day designs on you mind, read on for the skinny on what’s hot in weddings for 2013. Here are some of the top trends for the coming wedding season.

Return to Elegance. We’re seeing a return to elegance this year in wedding trends. Inspiration will be drawn from old world glamour – think The Great Gatsby and the roaring 20s – decadence and romance. Weddings and receptions will return to more sophisticated affairs. Plated dinners and more elaborate place settings will be all the rage. Expect to see rich fabrics, gold flatware, elaborate jewelry, ornate detail and more formal receptions.

Local Yocal. You needn’t look too far past your wedding destination for fresh bounty from area farmers. We’ll see a continued increase of thoughtful, locally sourced menus showcasing the best of what’s to offer in the region. Imagine giving guests an incredibly unique experience using a local apple cider for a fun approach to a toasting beverage, or having your planner to work the chef to prepare root vegetables in an elevated presentation.

Flower Power. This season is all about opulent looks – lush, oversized blooms. Vintage is still popular, the look has moved away from the feel of countryside fields and more toward a just picked from an elegant English garden. Oh, and garlands are back – in a big way.

2013 Floral Trends

Tantalizing Textures. Being one who is totally into texture, I’m over the moon that it has hit its stride as a trend. The combination of fabrics, or even the same fabric used different ways to create pleats, ribs, or a confection of ruffles. And then there’s the use of delicate appliqués and beaded embellishments – swoon. There’s just something about seeing a look that at first glance seems ordinary, but upon closer appreciation has so much definition, dimension and detail that the fabrics alone are viewed as works of art.

Let Them Eat Cake. Tall and slender is the look du jour, made modern by using a mix of single and double-height tiers. Two different design styles are sharing the spotlight year – the first cake that dominates right now is clean and modern with just one amazing pop of embellishment such as a bow, monogram or flower; the second looks takes is on the opposite track, using eye-popping color or all-over appliqués or lace design that mimic the bride’s wedding gown. Having different flavors for each tier is still in style, but the cherry on top regarding cake style? Look to see something unexpected nestled among the flowers like fresh fruit or mini sculptures such as butterflies or hummingbirds for a personal touch.

She’ll have Him in Her Pockets. Cue applause all across the globe – finally, the wait is over!  Functional fashion is in. Designers are adding well placed pockets to traditional and modern bridal wear.  And word is, that we can expect to see some high-profile celeb brides donning dresses with pockets season. A design element that the fellas will appreciate.

Prints Charming. From stripes and chevron to delicate florals and bold graphics, prints reign supreme. Expect to see them used in everything from napkins and table runners to bridesmaid’s dresses and groomsmen’s ties, pocket squares and even shirts.

Music Mashup. If you would like a more customized and unique music experience, this hot new trend is for you.  A mashup is a blend of live musicians that play along with the DJ. Totally cool, and all the rage – period.

Picture Perfect. The trend of the photobooth is still going strong and the name of the game here is – be playful. Use fun props and have a customized backdrop, such as one using different patterned fabrics.

Lounge Out. More and more bridal couples are going with the planner’s recommendation to add lounge areas to the wedding layout.  Not only will we see more and more of the lounge as an essential element this year but expect to see the incorporation of more inventive furniture.  Think tree trunk accent tables, hammocks, swings, grass sofas.

It’s Eclectic. Combining juxtapositional elements to create a truly unique feel – glam elegance paired with organic outdoorsy elements, or modern elements expertly blended with antiques. Think sleek leather lounge furniture set off by the soft glow of simple candlelight in show-stopping vintage chandeliers.

2013 Wedding Trends Designing with juxtaposition - contrast in elements

As far as style in trends with taste and serious  staying power – the time to be married has never been more in fashion!


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Serve with Love: Valentine’s Day Cake Recipe {In loving Memory of Heidi Peterson Brown} posted in: Entertainment, Food and Beverage, Recipes

My friend Heidi Peterson Brown sent this post to me for one of her favorite holidays. She was always sharing her heart…her love, of  life, for family and friends, and of food with others. Anyone who had the good fortune of knowing Heidi knows that among her many admirable qualities and talents, she truly had a servant’s heart, serving God and everyone she encountered with love.  So today, this post is shared in memory of a beautiful soul who truly knew how to love.

Valentine’s Day gives us so many opportunities to love! It is the only day set aside in the year for us to show those who are special to us how much we care. What better way to show someone you love them than showing them your heart?

We found a wonderful recipe for a strawberry heart cake. It is beautiful and oh so delicious!. Whip it up and set the table with red dishes and pink napkins. Use the cake as your center piece.  It will make a beautiful dinner event that will not be soon forgotten.

And neither will you dear friend. Love you to the moon and back.

Strawberry Heart Cake Recipe

1 package white cake mix
1 (3 ounce) package strawberry gelatin
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/3 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs
1 package (10 pounces) frozen sweetened strawberries, thawed
½ cup cold water
1/2 cup butter, softened
5 to 51/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
Red hot candies, optional

In a mixing bowl combine cake mix, gelatin and flour. Beat in oil and eggs. Drain strawberries reserving ½ cup syrup for frosting. Add berries and water to batter; mix well. Divide batter between two waxed paper lined 8 in baking pans, one square and one round. Bake with love at 350 degrees for 30 -35 minutes (square) and 35-40 minutes (round) or until cake tests done.

Cool for 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks to cool completely. In a small mixing bowl combine butter and reserved syrup. Gradually add in confectioners’ sugar; beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Place square diagonally on a 20 inch board. Cut round cake in half. Frost cut sides; place frosted sides against the top two sides of square cake, forming a heart. Frost sides and top of cake.  Decorate with red hots if desired. Serve with love.

Yeild: 12-16 servings


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