6 Unique Holiday Mocktails for Fall & Winter


With the holidays closely approaching the thought of some yummy traditional holiday beverages instantly come to mind. Tasty drinks like warm spiked cider, egg nog, hot toddy’s and more. Unfortunately not everyone can enjoy in boozy holiday cheer, especially mommy’s-to-be. But the flavors and special holiday drinks still sound amazing, and going to a holiday party and asking for “just a glass of water”, or tea doesn’t really do the holiday season justice.

So, I’ve collaborated with my lovely friend Joni, an owner of a local bartending service here in Portland, Oregon called Mint & Mirth. Joni is a creative born and raised in the Pacific Northwest. She and her team of traveling bartenders most commonly serve around Portland, Seattle, and San Francisco helping hosts throw the world’s best parties.

Once I told her my idea on holiday booze free cocktails, she and I got together for some fun and unique creating. I brought a few basic ingredients that reminded me of the holiday season, and her creative mind quickly went to work on not one, not two, not even three but six, holiday mocktails that you can try this season. We categorized 3 beverages for the Thanksgiving/Fall season and 3 for the Christmas/Winter season, a mix of hot and cold drinks, that you can switch up as you like.

We truly hope you enjoy some of these recipes as we did making and tasting them!


Pumpkin Cider

2 oz. Pumpkin syrup (recipe below)
4 oz. hot cider

Tools: barspoon
Glass: Irish Coffee glass or mug
Garnish: cinnamon stick

Combine all ingredients in a glass, stir and garnish.

Pumpkin Syrup

1 cup pumpkin puree
1 cups granulated sugar
1 cup water

Puree all ingredients in a blender.  Transfer to pot, then bring all ingredients to a boil.  Reduce to simmer, stir. Simmer for 20 minutes, cool to room temperature, then filter through a fine mesh strainer.


Apple Soda

2 oz. Apple syrup (recipe below)
4 oz. sparkling water

Tools: barspoon
Glass: Chimney glass
Garnish: apple slice

Combine all ingredients over ice in a glass, stir and garnish.

Apple Syrup

1/2 cup cane sugar
1 cup water
2 apples

Dice apple then puree all ingredients in a blender.  Transfer to pot, then bring all ingredients to a boil.  Reduce to simmer, stir. Simmer for 20 minutes, cool to room temperature, then filter through a fine mesh strainer.


Pomegranate Soda

2 oz. Pomegranate syrup (recipe below)
4 oz. sparkling water
1/4 oz. bee pollen

Tools: barspoon
Glass: Mason jar or chimney glass
Garnish: bee pollen

Combine all ingredients over ice in a glass, stir and garnish.

Pomegranate Syrup

1 cup cane sugar
1 cup water
3/4 cup pomegranate seeds

Puree all ingredients in a blender.  Transfer to pot, then bring all ingredients to a boil.  Reduce to simmer, stir. Simmer for 20 minutes, cool to room temperature, then filter through a fine mesh strainer.


Cinnamon Cranberry Soda

2 oz. Cinnamon Cranberry syrup (recipe below)
4 oz. sparkling water

Tools: barspoon
Glass: Chimney glass
Garnish: cinnamon stick

Combine all ingredients over ice in a glass, stir and garnish.

Cinnamon Cranberry Syrup

1 cup cane sugar
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
2 cups water

Puree all ingredients in a blender.  Transfer to pot, then bring all ingredients to a boil.  Reduce to simmer, stir. Simmer for 20 minutes, cool to room temperature, then filter through a fine mesh strainer. Let cool completely before serving.



Chocolate Hazelnut Toffee Soda

2 oz. cold Chocolate Hazelnut syrup (recipe below)
4 oz. sparkling water OR Hot water/Milk (for more of a hot cocoa finish)

Tools: barspoon
Glass: Chimney glass
Garnish: chocolate shavings

Combine all ingredients over ice in a glass, stir and garnish.

Chocolate Hazelnut Syrup

1 cup cane sugar
1/2 cup hazelnuts
1/2 cup chocolate toffee
2 cups water

Puree all ingredients in a blender.  Transfer to pot, then bring all ingredients to a boil.  Reduce to simmer, stir. Simmer for 20 minutes, cool to room temperature, then filter through a fine mesh strainer.  Filter through strainer again to remove all nut particles.  Let cool completely before serving.


Orgeat Steamer

2 oz. orgeat (almond syrup)
4 oz. almond milk

Tools: barspoon
Glass: mug
Garnish: Nutmeg

Combine all ingredients in a pot and simmer for 8 minutes. Poor into a mug and garnish with sprinkling nutmeg on top. Serve with a cinnamon stick for extra flavor and charm.


Chalkboard Art Time Lapse – “You are an incredibly and uniquely talented individual”

A Masculine Same Sex Marriage Inspirational Shoot

Our girl Brittany knocked it out of the park again with her amazing chalkboard work. An entire background on a wall. It was gorgeous! She constantly amazes me with the talent and creativity she has with her chalkboard art. This was a shoot from this summer, but I had to share all the paper goodies, gorgeous invitations and other amazing pieces that we were able to help with for this awesome shoot.

DreamBox at Jupiter Hotel | Alternative Editorial photography in Portland, Oregon www.BethOlsonCreative.com













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Great Expectations – The trends + expectations of social media and weddings


You’re engaged! Congratulations! Now it’s time to get engagement photos taken…those beautiful shots of the sunset glowing behind you as you and your new fiancé kiss and embrace each other in a golden wheat field or forest setting. The look of pure romance on both of your faces, almost as if you’re on the cover of the next romantic comedy to release next year. The pure glow and love in your eyes as you stare at one another…gives you goosebumps, it’s as if you’re alone…except…someone is there, directing you, posing you, telling you were to go, how to stand, when to smile or kiss, when to touch her hair, his cheek. SUPER normal, right?

Photographer: SMS Photography http://www.smsphotography.com/

Photographer: SMS Photography

Today, with the popularity of social media, inspirational blogs, Pinterest, Instagram and just the internet in general, Brides and Grooms tend to find themselves in a place where they can be or even feel “expected” to have photography taken of them that fits this perfect magazine photoshoot style. These types of photographs tend to be highly posed, unnatural, or seemingly forced. Photographs of this style have sort of become “the norm”, somewhat generic even. They are obviously gorgeous, and amazing, don’t get me wrong. But, ask yourself, how often do you and your fiancé go strolling in a wheat field at sunset embracing in trendy adorable clothing, perfect hair and makeup and happen to have a vintage chair in the middle of the field waiting for you to sit and pose on?

Photograher: Marcus Anthony Photographyhttp://marcusanthonyphoto.com/

There are obviously couples out there that have gone through and taken photos like this, that’s why they are out there. I’m sure many couples have no problem fitting into this mold and just being happy go-lucky, while taking romantic shots and being in front of the camera and strangers ready for their close-up. As if it were their calling. I also assume these people tend to be very into sharing photos of themselves on social media and Facebook on a more regular basis, and have no problem sharing their love publicly to everyone they know and even people they don’t.

However, there are people, and I could be assuming this, but my guess is probably men more so than women, that absolutely hate taking pictures of themselves. Especially in a forced posed manner. The idea of being romantic in public, showing their affections for the camera, it can be awkward an unnatural. It’s not what they would ever do on a normal day, so why would they do it now? They aren’t the type to take selfies and post about their morning latte’s from the hip coffee shop down the street, or a shot of their new shoes in the fallen leaves of Fall while walking their French Bulldog. Forcing someone who feels uncomfortable about getting their photo taken that way to take photos with their partner isn’t the right way to go about it. Their partner might be the social media person, that see’s all the trends and wants the trendy engagement shots with their fiancé. Forcing it might end up in arguing, disagreement, fighting, tears, and in the end not very good shots, that most definitely don’t feel romantic or any sense of the couples TRUE feelings for one another. So why force it?

Nothing is wrong with either of these types of personalities. People are different and feel different about being more public than others. Sharing their affections in front of people, being in the spotlight, even being apart of “the norm”. The things is, I see both sides of the spectrum, and though I see both sides and have been on both sides myself, I do have my own take on how to make engagement shoots for a couple more romantic and realistic with the couple involved, and less like they have all of a sudden become models for the trend setting Wedding or Bride magazine as the “perfect couple”.

So, how do you get engagement photos that are meaningful to the couple (both of them) not stressful, awkward, posed, and yet still “Facebook worthy” and won’t make you both feel completely uncomfortable, and won’t make the photographer want to pull their hair out?


  1. First, talk with your partner. Obviously having great non-wedding photos of the two of you is a great keepsake. But, how do you both feel? Expect there to be some disagreement and possible arguing. You might have an idea of what you want, but your partner might be completely uncomfortable with the idea of showing affection in public, especially in front of a stranger (photographer). Try to listen and come up with solutions instead of forcing them to do something that makes them uncomfortable.
  2. Don’t take their opinions personally, or assume that because your partner doesn’t want to be public with their affections for you means they don’t love you. Seriously, it doesn’t mean they don’t love you, or they are rethinking the whole marriage thing. It makes them uncomfortable, there is nothing wrong with that. Being photographed in this way is different then just randomly giving you a kiss in public. Someone is saying “kiss her on her cheek”. Its forced and awkward sometimes. So if someone already has a bit of an issue with public affections, try to find ways to make them feel comfortable so they cab be themselves. The person you love to be around and spend time with. They might just feel comfortable enough to do shots on their own without being asked. Its up to the photographer to pay attention and capture these candid moments.
  3. Do things you do on a normal day as a couple. Unless you spend your days rolling around the fields together and in perfect lighting (perhaps you sparkle?), taking shots in fields and in forests, though extremely gorgeous, aren’t really natural, or comfortable places to be in. Have your photographer follow you around where you live, or where you tend to hang out on any given Saturday, like a date.
    • Have coffee/pastries at your favorite shop.
    • Go to the local Saturday/Farmer’s Market and shop for a few things to make a lunch.
    • Go to your/his/her place and make lunch together.
    • Walk in the city/town you live in, window shopping or enjoying the sites.
    • Take your dog for a walk, maybe play fetch.
    • Read books together.
    • Watch a movie in the comforts of your own home, or at park showing.
    • Sit on the couch and talk.
    • Go to the city zoo or a museum.
  4. Capture the moments of your day together. It will feel less forced and more natural and not posed, if you just have your photographer kind of hide in the shadows taking cool shots in artistic ways of the two of you just being you. Sort of like a day-in-the-life of ______ and ______.
  5. You can’t avoid that someone else is there. Let’s be honest, your getting photos taken of the two of you. Either way, someone is going to be there, possibly 2 people, besides the two of you. You’ll be hearing the clicking of the camera and probably have some sort of white reflecting screen to help with lighting in some cases. But at least your not forced to kiss or do things in such a way that make it uncomfortable for you. And on top of it you’ll have memories of where you used to hang out and places you loved to go, things you loved to do when you were younger to look back on and share with your kids when you’re older. SO at some level, you’ll have to just pretend they aren’t there, and just focus on who you’re with, and what you’re doing. If you hire a good photographer, it shouldn’t be a problem to capture these candid moments and be yourselves.

Here are some awesome examples that are perfectly candid:
(Photo credits below the images with links to the photographers who captured these shots).

Getting ready together. Photograph from: Elizabeth Anne Designs http://www.elizabethannedesigns.com

Getting coffee at our favorite place. Photograph: Wandering Eye Photography http://www.wanderingeye.ca

Hanging out in the square, people watching and talking. Photograph: Donna Cheung www.donnacheung.com

Trying to make the bed in the morning. (obviously leads to pillow fights, lol) Photograph: Bridal Musings http://www.bridalmusings.com

Going for a walk down your favorite neighborhood. Photograph: Wood Note Photography http://www.woodnotephotography.net

In the end, you’ll capture some natural and really intimate moments that are probably more romantic than any staged kiss or wheat fields. Remember: You’re marrying your partner because you love each other and spending the time you spend with each other doing what YOU DO. So why not capture that. And why not make it more comfortable and a good experience for everyone involved.

I like to leave this with what to me seem’s like the perfect example of what I’m trying to explain in this blog post. Take a look at this couple below, which one of the two shots is the more romantic and intimate shot? Imagine all your photos having that same feel. Natural. Candid. Actions. The most important thing is to compromise, its the first thing you learn in a marriage. In the end you’ll have a keep sake that you’ll be able to cherish forever, and that is real. Be you. Not the trend.

Photograph: Graceology Photography www.graceology.com

“Ok hold the dog still, get his attention…ok good…everyone look this way, SMILE!”  verses “CLICK!” Photograph: Graceology Photography

Disney Predicted the Future Dress Battle

I made this, cuz I couldn’t help but picture Merryweather and Flora having a similar dress debate back in 1959…

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bridesmaids trailer photo

“Choosing Bridesmaid Dresses – Top 5 Tips”

Hollywood has made several movies where the dresses are a big part of the wedding story. Even the process of choosing can be quite interesting…(remembering Bridesmaids movie starring Kristen Wiig and Maya Rudolph). There is even the one friend who is always a bridesmaid, but never the bride (like in 27 Dresses with Katherine Heigl). What I think I’ve seen from these films is the crazy brides who just think that their 7 different bridesmaids from different ethnicities and shapes and sizes will ALL fit miraculously into the SAME dress. When have you EVER gone shopping with a friend, and you both got the EXACT same pair of jeans? Same size, length and wash? I doubt it, but if you happened, to…keep that friend, because it’s like a 2nd closet!

bridesmaids trailer photo


Maybe I’m just not getting it, or it’s maybe a cultural thing, but I never understand why brides choose the bridesmaid dresses they do sometimes. Here is sort of my take on how the process really should be, and what rules people set back, who know’s when, on what should or shouldn’t be done. Hopefully this will help guide you into picking the best dresses for your girls and avoid your bridal party looking like walking piñatas or bottles of Pepto Bismol.


Q. How do I get perfect bridesmaid dresses that all of my girls will like and be happy with?

A. You won’t. You are probably never going to find a dress that every one of your girls will be in love with, or love the color on them or cut. It just isn’t something that is likely. Here is why, your girlfriends are individual people. They have physical qualities about themselves that make them who they are. You want them to feel comfortable in what they have to wear all day long, in front of tons of possible strangers and stand in forever photos dressed in. If you’re bridesmaid are uncomfortable, you’ll see it in their pictures. You want to make your girls shine. It will only make you look better.


Q. What if my bridesmaids look hotter than I do, and steal the spotlight?

A. I mean…really? YOU my dear, are the bride. Unless all your girls’ names are on the invitations and you are all wearing a white wedding gown…I don’t think you’ll need to worry about that. If you look at the picture above as an example…who do you think is standing out? The Bride in a white dress or the NEON PINK  dresses in front of her that are blinding you? I’m sure the bride wanted to stand out there, but she failed in it. Instead it’s like a walking circus act.


Q. Okay…so they should have different dresses? What about length or colors?

A. Honestly…this is where YOU get to have more fun. I have 7 bridesmaid in my wedding. All different shapes, skin tones, heights and body types. I had one major thing in mind for my girls. I wanted them to feel like they were walking onto the Red Carpet! Straight out of Hollywood. So, they are getting dresses that have a similar amount of beading and design work, but all completely unique and different cuts, lengths and even different neutral colors! That may be the extreme to some, and I get that. So what I would do is pick a color pallet for your wedding, and then you can pick shades and tones of those colors. IF you only have 2 colors, and one is pink, then use shades of pinks that match. Length is all up to you. I have girls who love to flaunt their legs and others who’d rather hide under a rock then show their legs. So I offered both options because the length really didn’t matter to me. But thats up to you. Shorter tends to be more popular, and I have seen all long dresses before, but you’ll just need to see them on your girls to decide what you think will work best for your wedding and their bodies.


Q. But I’m buying the dresses, shouldn’t I decide?

A. Honestly, yes. If you are buying the dresses and they don’t have to pay a cent, they really can’t complain. However, if you are asking your girls to spend $50-$500 on a dress, and they will NEVER wear it again. I feel like you should probably consider that and find things that they’ll want to invest in and love for a long time, and not use in the future for a Halloween costume.

So, really that’s it.  Think about these main things:
1. Color – use neutral tones, or shades of one color or a few colors that are in the same tone. Patterns and Details from lace and sequins can add a bit of unique flair to make each dress similar but different while even being the same color.
2. Lengths – Choose what looks best on your girls and ask them what they feel comfortable with.
3. Body Types – Find dresses that flatter your girls. If a girl is uncomfortable with a certain part of her body, then find ways to help her hide those areas and flaunt the ones she’s comfortable with. This will ultimately make you both happy because she’ll look great in your photos and she’ll be happy that she has such a great dress!
4. Cost – Consider costs for you bridesmaids, can they afford what you are looking for? Are they paying? Are you paying? Splitting costs? Just pay attention this and you may find your bridesmaids happier that you considered them and their finances as well.
5. Cuts – Dresses can still look cohesive and “matching” without being identical. Cuts of dresses, necklines, designs etc. can be combined with using the same color palettes or even lengths. There are other ways to make them look as part of a group without being identical.

And if all else fails, and you want what you want, or you are the bridesmaid and your bride-to-be friend chooses something you absolutely loathe. Then take a chapter from the Confessions of a Shopaholic manual, and FLAUNT IT. Pretend you’re on a runway and own it, live in the moment, knowing you’ll never have to wear it again. Ultimately they are just dresses, and it’s not worth fighting over or losing friendships over.

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Hugs and Kisses Valentine Card Video Tutorial

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Hey everyone!

This is my VERY first VIDEO tutorial! I hope you like it. I created a cute valentine Hershey Kiss valentine card that is SUPER easy to make, and all you really need is paper and scissors.

Here is the FREE Downloadable PDF Template: CLICK HERE


XOXO Devan