Interview with Anne Nichols, creator of Favery.com

First, tell us a little bit about yourself and your background.

An entrepreneur by day, I am also a mom to two girls, a wife, and crazy about all things related to art, fashion and design.  Career-wise, I’ve managed e-commerce businesses for specialty retailers and brought new digital media products to market that have been leveraged by leading marketers including Pottery Barn, eBay, Amazon, Mercedes and Twentieth Century Fox.

Marrying my passion for fashion with business, I also launched a women’s handbag line with national distribution in specialty boutiques and coverage in InStyle and Lucky magazines.

How did you come up with the idea for Favery?

I was always looking for and discovering new ideas and inspiration online that I not only wanted to remember, but share with friends and get their feedback. On top of that, I had friends that had either just gotten married, or were bridesmaids and they told me they wanted a way to share their ideas with just their close circle of friends, or the people helping them plan their wedding. They wanted to get feedback on everything from dresses to hairstyles to what table setting to choose, and they didn’t have a quick, visual way to do that.

We work with a lot of brides in our line of work.  Do you think they will find Favery to be a useful tool?

We created Favery specifically with brides in mind. There are many details that go into creating an unforgettable wedding, Favery provides a way to not only collect ideas, but a place where brides can decide how they want to share (private, invite only or public) and ultimately a tool to help make final decisions on everything from dresses to invitations to flowers.

I’m working with a bride who has a ton of ideas for how she wants her bouquet to look on her big day.  How could she use Favery to help her make a decision?

For starters, she can gather pictures of bouquets or flowers that she loves, she can then share this inspiration with you, even going so far as creating a custom poll where she can ask you “Which flowers will be in season for my wedding date?”

What about the guys.  What kind of things could men find useful about this site?

Favery not only provides a great place for guys to save ideas for honeymoon destinations and get input from their friends, it also makes it super easy for brides to get their guys involved in the decision making process. They can simply invite their guys to a vote where they can help choose everything from suites to the the drink menu to the getaway car.

One of the things we love most about Favery is the ability to share ‘votes’ with friends and colleagues so they can weigh in on their favorite choices.  How have you used this feature to help you make decisions?

My husband and I just panned our anniversary weekend away and we shared a board on Favery to save ideas for everything from where to stay to where to eat. And when it came time to make the final decision on hotel, I created a vote and asked him to “Pick your favorite spot.” He in turn asked me “Which restaurant for dinner?”

What are some of your favorite boards?

A few of my favorites include:

The The Knot – Filmfemme Style

Tie The Knot

Future Mrs. Wakefield – Tie The Knot

Where are your hopes and dreams for Favery?

To create a community where people can not only find and share incredible ideas and inspiration, but to go beyond just posting cool stuff, to provide a place where they can easily get input from friends whose style they love and trust.

Our Favorite Thanksgiving Side Dish: Celery Root and Parsnip Mash

Thanksgiving is just a couple of days away, and if you’re anything like us, you’re still working out all the details to put together the perfect menu for your guests.  Check out Allie’s latest recipe, a unique dish that is bound to impress your guests when featured along with your own traditional spread.

parsnips

Roasting the vegetables first encourages the rich, inherently sweet flavors of the vegetables to shine in this one-of-a-kind side dish.  Just be sure you’ve made enough for leftovers!

celery root

Makes 6 side dish servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 celery root
  • 4 medium parsnips
  • 1 Tablespoon + 1 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 2 teaspoons white pepper, freshly grated
  • 2 Tablespoons + 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 medium leeks, white and light green parts only, diced
  • 2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg, freshly grated

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  2. Place a large metal roasting pan or sheet trays in the oven as it preheats – this will give the vegetables a nice golden sear when they are added to the hot pan
  3. Meanwhile, peel the skins off both the celery root and the parsnips with a vegetable peeler or large knife. Chop each vegetable into 1 inch sized pieces.
  4. In a large bowl, toss the pieces with the Tablespoon of salt, 2 teaspoons of white pepper and 2 Tablespoons of olive oil
  5. Carefully add the vegetables to the pre-heated roasting pan, stirring quickly to evenly distribute the pieces
  6. Roast for 30 minutes, or until the pieces are lightly browned
  7. When you are 20 minutes into the roasting of the vegetables, heat a medium sized saucepan and add the additional 1 Tablespoon of olive oil
  8. When the oil is hot, add the diced leeks and sauté until they are softened – about 5 minutes
  9. When the vegetables are finished roasting, add them to the saucepan and stir to coat them in the leeks
  10. Add the chicken or vegetable broth to cover the vegetables by ¼ inch. Bring broth to a boil and then lower the heat to a simmer
  11. Simmer until the vegetables are soft and falling apart
  12. Gently puree the mixture with an immersion or standard blender to desired consistency
  13. Season with the ¼ teaspoon of nutmeg and/or additional salt if necessary
  14. Transport to serving platter and dish up hot.

Roasted Sweet Potato and Cauliflower Soup with Cinnamon Dusted Pecans

Thanksgiving is right around the corner, and we’ve all got menu planning on our brains.  We wanted to share a recipe that Allie recently wrote which highlights some of the season’s tastiest produce.  It can be dished out into tall shot glasses and served as a passed appetizer, or plated individually and served to guests as a starter at the table.  Either way, this beautiful and hearty soup will be sure to impress your guests and whet their appetite this holiday season.

Makes 8 Starter Sized Portions

Ingredients:

  • 1 head cauliflower
  • 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled
  • 2 Tablespoons + 1 Tablespoon + 1 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 4 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 large yellow onions, diced
  • 4 Tablespoons + 1 Tablespoon of butter, divided
  • 6 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 teaspoon cumin, toasted and ground
  • 1 rounded Tablespoon ginger powder
  • ½ cup whole pecans (optional)
  • 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  2. Place a large roasting pan in the oven as it preheats – this will give the vegetables a nice golden sear when they are added to the hot pan
  3. Break off the cauliflower florets from the core and place in a large bowl
  4. Cut the peeled sweet potatoes into wedges of ½ inch thickness.  Add to the bowl with the cauliflower florets
  5. Toss the prepared vegetables with the 2 Tablespoons salt and 4 Tablespoons olive oil to coat
  6. Carefully add the vegetables to the pre-heated roasting pan, stirring quickly to evenly distribute the pieces
  7. Roast for 30-40 minutes, stirring once halfway through, until the pieces are lightly browned and soft
  8. When you are 20 minutes into the roasting of the vegetables, heat an extra large pot over medium heat and add the 4 Tablespoons of butter
  9. Next add the diced yellow onions and 1 Tablespoon of salt
  10. Sauté the onions until they become translucent
  11. When the vegetables are finished roasting, carefully add them to the large pot
  12. Pour in the chicken or vegetable broth, adding enough to cover the vegetables by ½ inch.  Bring to a boil and then lower to the heat to a simmer.
  13. Simmer for 20-30 minutes, until the vegetables are soft and falling apart.
  14. Puree the mixture with an immersion or standard blender, adding more broth if necessary to achieve desired consistency.
    • If you’re using a standard blender, work in batches ~ only filling the blender hallway as the hot liquid will expand while you’re pureeing the soup.
  15. Season with the cumin, ginger and additional salt to taste
  16. Meanwhile, toast the whole pecans until fragrant, then immediately toss with the additional Tablespoon of butter, ½ teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon.  Once they’ve cooled, chop finely
  17. Transport soup to serving bowls, garnish with a small amount of pecans and dish up hot.

Venue Spotlight: Palace Hotel in San Francisco

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Today we met one of our Spring brides at the Palace hotel for a breakfast meeting.  This opulent turn-of-the-century hotel is located right below Union Square on New Montgomery Street.  Built in 1875, the hotel features 547 beautifully appointed rooms in addition to their various banquet rooms, Pied Piper Bar & Grill, and their stunning Garden Court where they serve breakfast, afternoon tea, and Sunday Brunch.

The Palace has hosted quite a few Presidents through the years including Harrison, McKinley, Grant, Theodore Roosevelt, Taft, Harding, Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Clinton.  According the their website, actress Sarah Bernhard caused a stir when she arrived at the Palace with her pet baby tiger!
After meeting with The Palace’s Social Events Coordinator today, we are looking forward to seeing more of this venue as we move into our 2013 season.

Seasonality & Fall Menu Changes

Photo Courtesy of Courtney Campbell

This fall, San Francisco residents have been experiencing one of the best Indian Summers of all time.  We truly cherish eachand every sunny day and make the most of our precious sunny days.  As our Indian Summer comes to an end, we are anticipating some exciting changes to menus as chefs transition from Summer to Fall produce.

Here’s a list of produce we can look forward to seeing at Farmers Markets and on updated Fall menus in the Northern California area:

  • Apples
  • Pears
  • Artichokes
  • Winter squash
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Beets
  • Carrots

carrots

  • Chard
  • Broccoli
  • Spinach
  • Celery root
  • Grapes
  • Fennel
  • Cauliflower

    cauliflower

  • Cabbage
  • Dates
  • Figs
  • Pomegranates
  • Leeks
  • Mustard greens
  • Brussels sprouts

brussels sprouts

  • Parsnips
  • Radishes
  • Persimmons
  • Pomegranates
  • Spinach
  • Turnips
  • Kale

kale

One of the biggest shifts we see as planners in terms of Fall menu composition is a transition from light fare to hearty dishes.  First course offerings highlight soups in lieu of summer salads.  Vegetables are roasted rather than being served raw.  The truth of the matter is that the weather really does affect the way we eat: when it’s hot outside we tend to eat cold foods in smaller portions.

fall bounty

When it’s cold outside, we find ourselves craving foods which are going to warm us up and stick to our bones.  Therefore, caterers might suggest featuring a mashed potato bar instead of a sushi station at your wedding.

Summertime welcome cocktails such as lavender lemonade or minted ice-tea are switched out for apple cider or hot chocolate; a hot toddy takes the place of a mint julep. These are good things to keep in mind when you’re dreaming up the menu for your wedding or special event.  Bon Appetit!

Allie Phelps Joins the Team at Stacy McCain Event Planning

Greetings, everyone!

My name is Allie Phelps and I couldn’t be more excited to announce that I’ve joined the Stacy McCain Event Planning team.  I think we can all agree that Stacy’s reputation, taste, commitment to her clients and overall passion for her events are exceptional, and I am honored to be working under her leadership.

A little bit about my background: I was raised in the Napa Valley and attended Vanderbilt University for undergrad.  I’ve worked in various industries including Corporate Event Planning, Marketing, and Wine Hospitality & Production.  In 2010, I enrolled in Culinary School at The Art Institute of San Francisco.  I’ve also spent time as a culinary instructor at a local Bay Area Cooking School.  It’s always been a dream of mine to work in Special Events, and I can’t wait to get started.

During this post-wedding season breather, Stacy and I are busy getting our files in order, organizing the office and coming up with fun ways to inspire our fans and clients via our Blog, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Favery.  We’re excited about the direction in which Stacy McCain Event Planning is headed and hope you’ll continue to stay engaged.

Cheers,

Allie