And nothing says Valentine's Day like chocolate-covered strawberries! Those red, heart-shaped fruits, that melted chocolate, together in one sweet, scrumptious bite. They're undeniable!!
You will need:
Approximately one pound of washed fresh strawberries, stems intact, dried thoroughly. 11-12 ounces of a good quality dark or milk chocolate. Chocolate chips can be used, Ghirardelli is a recommended brand. Try to avoid cheaper melting chocolate. A double boiler, or a glass or stainless steel bowl over simmering water, or a microwave safe dish. Wax paper and a baking tray
Line the baking tray with waxed paper, prepare strawberries. If the chocolate is in bar form, chop into small uniform pieces. If using the double boiler method, make sure the bowl is completely dry, and the bowl isn’t actually touching the simmering water. Stir the chocolate pieces until you have achieved a smooth and shiny texture with no chunks. If using a microwave to melt the chocolate, set the microwave on 50% power for 30 second intervals, stirring after every interval. Continue microwaving until the chocolate is melted and smooth. Generally, your chocolate will be sufficiently “tempered” when the bottom of the bowl it’s in no longer feels warm. Immediately dip the strawberries, one at a time, in the melted chocolate and transfer to the wax paper lined sheet. Serve as soon as the chocolate has set up a bit. (If you can resist!)
Skipping the salon can be a big money saver for budget-conscious brides, but how do you make a DIY 'do stand out from the every day?
Sarah Potempa, a New York hairstylist who coiffs models and celebrities for runway shows and fashion magazine shoots, describes how to glam up a tousled down-do and bring elegance to a classic bun — all by yourself (or with the help of trusty bridesmaids).
A word of caution: Always do a practice run before your big day, and take pictures, to make sure it's the look you want and that you can pull it off.
After washing your hair, figure out where you'll want your part. A middle part is more relaxed. A side part is more old-Hollywood glamour.
Loosely blow-dry (don't straighten) your hair, flipping your head down to get some volume at the roots. When it's 80 percent dry, use a brush to smooth down the ends. Optional: Apply a soft mousse while your hair is still damp (Potempa likes Aussie's "Catch the Wave Mousse and Leave-in Conditioner").
Once it's completely dry, separate the left and right halves of your hair and bring them forward, as though you're making pigtails. Starting on one side, separate the top 3/4 of your hair and clip it out of the way, leaving you with a row of hair at the bottom of your head. You will be curling by section, starting at the back and working your way forward.
Holding the curling iron upside down, so that the handle is pointing to the ceiling, clamp the first 1-inch section of hair at the base of the iron. Rotate the iron away from your head so that your hair forms a spiral up the shaft of the iron, stopping when you get close to the roots. Hold it for 10 seconds (up to 15 seconds if you have very fine hair), then pull the iron out. Do not run your fingers through the curl yet.
Repeat for each one-inch section of hair, working from back to front. When the bottom row is done (usually two or three curls), release the clip to separate the next row up (about 1.5-inch wide) and do the same thing. Then do the next row up, etc. Once that side of your head is finished, do the other side, always going from back to front, bottom to top, rotating the iron away from your face.
With the curls still intact, spritz your hair with a hair spray that is both flexible and strong hold. Then run your fingers through your hair. If you have hair that easily holds curl, you could run your fingers through before applying hair spray. If you have very fine hair, consider spraying before you start curling.
If you have kinks or frizz around your hairline, use a small touch-up straightening iron to smooth them out (and bring it with you for emergency touch-ups).
Save time: Save half an hour by using the Beachwaver, a new motorized rotating curling iron from Potempa. The Beachwaver does the rotating for you and has a switch that specifies whether you're working on your right side or left side, so that all the waves go in the right direction. $179 at qvc.com
(For hair that's mid-neck and longer)
Once you achieve beachy waves, pull your hair into a low ponytail, either at the back of your head or to the side, and secure with a rubber band.
Twist your ponytail and wrap it around itself, pinning as you go. Let wisps fall out. To create more wisps and texture, trying separating your ponytail in two and tying it in a knot before wrapping and pinning.
Save pins: A handy tool is Potempa's Wrap-up, which is like a stiff scrunchy. You slide it down to the bottom of your ponytail, roll it up toward your head, bend the edges to snap it into place, then pull your hair over the edges to make it disappear. $12 at sarahpotempa.com