Happy Hour: Kentucky Derby Edition

Known as “the most exciting 3 minutes in sports”, the Kentucky Derby is the perfect excuse to throw a party!

Must Haves
A Big Hat!
Fun Fact: Wearing a hat to the Kentucky Derby is believed to bear good luck!
Expert Tip: Consider having a Best Dressed hat contest. Celebrate your guests efforts with the following categories:
Biggest Hat
Best Derby Inspired
Best Men’s Hat
Mint Juleps
Expert Tip: Add fruit puree for a twist. We recommend strawberry or mango puree.

Speaking of Mint Juleps…
Classic Mint Julep
From Southern Living
3 fresh mint leaves
1 tablespoon Mint Simple Syrup
Crushed ice
1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons (1 ounce) bourbon
1 (4-inch) cocktail straw or coffee stirrer
1 fresh mint sprig
Powdered sugar (optional)

Place mint leaves and Mint Simple Syrup in a chilled julep cup. Gently press leaves against cup with back of spoon to release flavors. Pack cup tightly with crushed ice; pour bourbon over ice. Insert straw, place mint sprig directly next to straw, and serve immediately. Sprinkle with powdered sugar, if desired.

Note: For testing purposes only, we used Woodford Reserve Distiller’s Select Bourbon.

Note: Leftover simple syrup keeps refrigerated about one week and perfectly sweetens iced tea.

Moonshine-Cherry Blush – Infield Punch
From Southern Living
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup loosely packed fresh mint leaves
1/4 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves
1 cup Basil-Lemon Moonshine
1 cup grenadine
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
8 cups sparkling water
Garnishes: lemon slices, fresh basil leaves, maraschino cherries

Process first 3 ingredients in a blender about 20 seconds or until herbs are minced. Stir together moonshine, next 2 ingredients, and sugar mixture in a pitcher until sugar dissolves. Gently stir in sparkling water. Serve immediately over ice.


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Hello, My Name Is: Julie Shanklin


Name: Julie Shanklin

Title: Principal

Years at Syzygy: I am the founder of the company: This April we have been in business for 9 years

What is your event expertise? I have over 20 years of experience in event décor.  The product has grown and transformed over the years.  With my team of amazing designers we can create any event given to us!

Where are you from?  Lived in Maryland my entire life

What’s your favorite color?  Yellow has always been my favorite color

What’s your go-to color palette for 2014? Gray is one of my favorites as a base color because you can pop so many bright colors off of it

Tell us your craziest or funniest behind-the-scenes event story:  Once when I was 9 months pregnant I had to get into a fountain to get the flowers placed for an event.  The water was extreamly cold so I had to wear Hip Waiters:   Hip Waiters pulled up over a Big 9 month Belly is very sexy!

Advice to brides planning their own wedding: Relax and let the professionals take care of it!

Favorite Syzygy event so far: I loved the event we did in the Bahamas for the grand opening of their new stadium.  Outside in the sunshine always makes me happy.  We did a card stunt at the stadium and the organizers said the people would never do it. ( A card stunt is where you give each person a big card and you have them hold them up with a message or colors or what every you want.  We did Bahamian flags)  The people not only did the stunt they loved it and did the wave and held the cards up long after they could have put them down.

What’s your event mantra:

“Be Amazing”:  I live by it everyday and try to teach my crew to do the same


Let’s Talk Oscars Party with Let’s Talk Live!


We had a great time today with the girls at Let’s Talk Live! We want to extend a big THANK YOU for inviting us to talk with them.

Smile for the camera!

Smile for the camera!

As promised, we have additional information to help you make your Oscar Party A-List worthy…

Focus on items that are easy to make and present, so you can enjoy the show too!

For an outside-the-box Cheese display, check out the photo gallery – we found those cheese stands at our local Home Goods store.

Popcorn –  Who doesn’t love popcorn while watching an awards show!  We got these great flavors from Al’s Popcorn.  They have every flavor imaginable!

Today we featured the following cheese pairings…

  • Manchego with Quince paste and Salty Date Crackers
  • Brie with Marconi almonds, Organic Fig spread and natural crackers
  • Piave with Orange Blossom Honey, Caramelized Pecans and a Baguette

If you’re looking for more great suggestions visit Joana  in the cheese department at the Whole Foods in Georgetown

Keep the bar simple & stick with what you like.  We are big fans of anything with bubbles….

Sparkling Rose makes a great alternative to champagne.  On today’s segment we featured Billecart magnum, Rose Moet, Pommery Pink Pop.  If you want a little help choosing a champagne or rose that’s right for you head over to Macarthur Beverage.  Their team is so knowledgeable they will be sure to help you find the right match!

Dessert! – Godiva of course!  As a major sponsor of an after party in LA, adding some Godiva to your party is a way of bringing a little of the AList to your guests.

Creating a Red Carpet Backdrop that doubles as a photo wall/step & repeat – take advantage of the opportunity to capture some fun images of you with your friends.  Using a few props and you iPhone camera and you can be ready to go.

SPECIAL NOTE:  Use the Slow Motion camera option on your iPhone for some really hilarious images.

With these tips you’ll be able to throw together an A-List viewing party in a flash!

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