Wedding Entertainment for Kids

Kids love weddings. There’s loud music to scream over, centerpieces to be knocked down, napkins to be thrown around and tables to run under. Plus there’s cake!

Jokes aside, we feel that children absolutely deserve to celebrate your wedding day with you if you so choose. However, we also know that kids sometimes have a short attention span and need to be entertained during long events. So where’s the happy medium? Enter My Fair Nanny.

My Fair Nanny is a “special occasion nanny service” founded by Kimberly Martir in October 2010 after she became engaged. While planning her own wedding, she realized she needed to keep her flower girl and ring bearer entertained the whole night. A former nanny of eight years, Kimberly thought it would be easy to find qualified sitters to watch the kids at her event. Wrong. She decided to give future brides one less thing to worry about on their wedding day by founding My Fair Nanny. Her January 2012 wedding was staffed by her very own My Fair Nannies!

My Fair Nanny founder and CEO Kimberly Martir with flower girl Hayden on her wedding day.

My Fair Nanny founder and CEO Kimberly Martir with flower girl Hayden on her wedding day.

Here’s how it works: My Fair Nanny throws an age-appropriate party for the little ones at your celebration. Kimberly’s staff of qualified professionals bring along age appropriate books, games, toys and non-messy crafts, as well as some blankets in case they have a little too much fun and need someplace to snuggle up. My Fair Nanny also employs behavioral specialists and counselors for children with special needs, enabling families who normally stay home because they can’t find a sitter to attend an event.

My Fair Nanny serves the New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania areas. Stop by their website, and be sure to tell them Allison sent you!

Host an Oscar Party

We’re in the midst of award season, which means we’ve spent the last few weekends obsessing over the latest red carpet fashion and discussing who won what. But everyone knows the best part of any award show is sharing it with a few friends—we love any excuse for a party! Celebrate the Oscars this Sunday by hosting a gathering at your house. Here’s a few snapshots from a party Allison hosted during last year’s Oscars that was originally featured in the Star Ledger. Bring on the glamour!

Oscar5The invites: If you have the budget, custom invitations are a great way to set the tone for an award party. Hand-making them is also an option—incorporate red and gold to fit the Oscar theme. Take it a step further and request formal attire or a color dress code.

Oscar4Go gold: Gold spray paint, glitter glue and adhesives are your friends! Glam decor doesn’t have to be expensive. Check out a dollar store for inexpensive stem candles and votive candles.

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Use what you have: Borrow a family member’s china, pull out your fancy cloth napkins and some of your old Christmas decor. Fresh flowers are a good way to add interest to the table.

Oscar1Plan your own award ceremony: Engage your guests with games. Hand out prizes for the person who guesses the most winners or is best-dressed.

Tell us—will you be throwing an award show bash? Share your tips on Twitter @ASargentEvents.

Fireplace Friday

A nicely decorated fireplace can transform any room into a beautiful, artistic space. However, not all fireplaces are created equally. An intricately carved oversized mantle won’t suit a sleek apartment, and a modern, minimalist fireplace won’t fit in well in a charming farmhouse. But that’s the beauty of these pieces of interior eye candy; the right design will tie a room together.AeroStudiosAgedAndGilded CabbageRose ConnellInteriors Elle HomeStoriezAtoz MocoLoco ThisOldHouse

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ASE’s Top Picks for Valentine’s Day

The countdown to Valentine’s Day is on! Not prepared? No problem. We’ve gathered our top picks for favorite bakeries, chocolatiers, coffee shops and more in the northern New Jersey area.

Favorite Bakery: Jarets Stuffed Cupcakes

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What’s a stuffed cupcake, you ask? Picture a fluffy, cake-exterior literally stuffed with your favorite filling—chocolate, peanut butter, vanilla mousse—topped with thick frosting. Find these miniature cakes of joy at Jarets Stuffed Cupcakes in Nutley. Originally sold at the Petite Cafe on Franklin Ave., these baked goods have escalated to national fame and have been featured on the Huffington Post and O Magazine.

Favorite Chocolatier: Godiva & Chocolates With Love

We had to choose two favorites for this category because we take our chocolate very, very seriously. When it comes down to it, it’s a matter of personal taste. If your valentine has a taste for rich flavor and handsome packaging that looks kind of like this:

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…then by all means, head straight to Godiva. We love their boutiques in the Willowbrook Mall in Wayne, Garden State Plaza in Paramus, Riverside Square Mall in Hackensack, and the Short Hills Mall in Short Hills. Any chocolate-loving man, woman or child will be delighted when they receive a pick from their beautifully packaged Valentine’s Day collection.

However, if your girlfriend rolls her eyes at heart-shaped packages, or your husband claims Valentine’s Day is for the birds, consider Chocolates With Love in Ramsey. The family-owned business creates their own chocolate creations. There’s something about hand-dipped chocolate covered pretzels and every flavor fudge that name brands just can’t match. Plus, the staff at Chocolates With Love is friendly and patient. Trust us—you won’t leave the store anything less than satisfied.

Favorite Coffee Spots: Rockn’ Joe Coffeehouse and Bistro & The Fine Grind

Looking for a place to hang out with a friend, or an after-dinner cafe to chat with a new date? Try Rockn’ Joe Coffeehouse and Bistro in Caldwell. They offer a variety of coffees and have live entertainment most nights.

FineGrind

The Fine Grind in Little Fall is another ideal casual date spot. We know it’s cold outside, but we recommend the frozen hot chocolate! The coffee bar is also featuring special Valentine’s Day drinks that sound equally tasty.

Favorite American Fare: George and Martha’s American Grille

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Picking a favorite restaurant in north Jersey is impossible. There are too many to choose from. However, we just can’t get enough of George and Martha’s in Morristown. The restaurant offers a cool atmosphere—no violin serenades here. Instead, you’ll find a well-stocked bar and an affordable menu. Check out their Valentine’s Day specials.

Favorite Homemade Recipe: Spaghetti and Meatballs

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Sometimes understated is better. Less is more. A homemade dinner of spaghetti and meatballs, some breadsticks and a bottle of wine is can be more meaningful (and much less stressful!) than waiting an hour to get into your local chain restaurant for half-off appetizers while listening to terrible music. Light a few candles and try this recipe from Martha Stewart.

Favorite Date Idea: Dinner Cruise

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Board the Spirit of New Jersey on New York Harbor from Lincoln Harbor in Weehawken. Enjoy a night of dancing, sipping champagne, star-gazing while you cruise on the water while New York shines in the distance.

What are your Valentine’s Day plans? Tell us on Twitter, Facebook or in the comments!

Savory Snacks for Super Bowl Sunday

Super Bowl Sunday is about two things: football and snacks. While our favorite team didn’t make it to the Superbowl (there’s always next year!), we’ll still be watching while munching on these savory recipes.

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mini deep-dish pizzas from e is for eat

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buffalo chicken dip from table for more

HealthyGreenKitchen

guacamole from healthy green kitchen

PipAndDebby

ham and cheese pretzel bites from pip & ebby

Neurotic Kitchen

bacon jalapeno poppers from neurotic kitchen

And what’s Superbowl Sunday without a brew—or dessert? Check out these beer cupcakes from Erica’s Sweet Tooth.EricaSweetTooth

What’s your go-to Superbowl snack? Tweet us your menus at @ASargentEvents or drop a line in the comments!