‘app-oholic’ best bets: recipe apps

This is the eighth post in the “App-oholic’ Best Bets Series, where I fill you in on my obsessive app-hoarding behavior. I want to share some of my favorites with you, and maybe I can save you some time or money searching through the thousands that are available.

If you missed the previous posts, see: Best Bets for

Eye Candy Food Apps,
Food Content,
Event Apps
Travel Deals
Dining Reservations
Photo Editing Pt. 1
Photo Editing Pt. 2

‘app-oholic’ best bets: Recipe Apps can be very helpful. I think they would be helpful on the phone during shopping for ingredients, but would think that the phone would be too small to follow along and would want something larger like an ipad on a stand.

There are many category of recipe apps available. There are Celebrity Chefs, Retail Stores, Food Boards (Pork, Lamb, ect), cookbooks turned into Apps, Single Subject, Paleo, Healthy… You name it – there are many out there. I am only going to offer three.

NYT Cooking – Recipes from The New York Times


The NYT Cooking App is free and totally loaded. Not only are there thousands of phenomenal recipes here, you are able to sign in and save them to your own collection. You will find prominent, well-published cookbook author’s recipes here as well as many of the New York Time Food Writers that have contributed to the paper for decades.

Some of my favorites include David Tanis, Florence Fabricant, Mark Bittman, Joan Nathan and Sonoma’s local Paula Wolfert. Recipes are searchable, and set up in all sorts of collections.

nyt1  nyt6 nyt8

Recipes are rated, they have nutritional information, and many of the recipes include photographs. The only problem with this app is that you won’t have time to cook up all of the amazing recipes that are available!

At this time it is only available for Apple products.

Allrecipes Dinner Spinner


Allrecipes was one of the first on the web offering member shared recipes and has a huge following of over 30 million people. This app is also free and, again, there are thousands of recipes to browse through. I don’t find them quite as organized as the NYT app, and, unless you know what you are looking for, you could spend more time than you want sifting through lists of similar recipes to find the one that you want. On a positive note, many of the recipes have lots of reviews and will give you an idea of the the successes and failures that others have had before taking the recipe on yourself.

ar1  ar4  ar3

Recipe of the Day from Williams-Sonoma


Williams Sonoma doesn’t take shortcuts when they are creating something new, and this app is no different. Released back in March (I think), they offer you a recipe a day, but they come on the app each week on Monday, giving you a chance to possibly plan your week.

Many recipes have beautiful photographs, and the recipes are easy to understand. There are a few of the extra bells and whistles, including timers within the recipe when you need them, and a clickable shopping list to get you organized. A year subscription is $11.99 or $1.99 per month which makes breaks it down to about .03 cents a recipe (if you were to make them all).

ws1 ws3 wsa

At this time it is only available for Apple products.

These apps should keep you cooking through the fall and the winter. We know that we will be doing some cooking on our end as we start getting ready to work through some of the recipes for the girl & the fig Chronicles.

Keep us posted as to what you are cooking! We would love to know!

Planning a Wine Country Wedding: Finding the Dress

(This is Part 6 in a series. Did you miss Part 5? View the post here!)

One of the best things about Wine Country is that we have a wide variety of gorgeous settings for any event: rolling vineyards, pastoral farms, dramatic redwood forests, and breathtaking coastal landscapes. There’s always something that will fit your style, including the perfect dress.

Finding the dress seems a little daunting at first. It’s important to every bride to find a dress that is truly an expression of themselves while staying appropriate to the venue and style of the wedding day. Classic lace dresses accented with boots and whimsical bouquets may be perfect for a rustic farm or ranch wedding, while a gauzy, flowy dress works well with the delicate light in the redwoods or along the coast. Ultimately, finding the dress is really about your vision for a perfect day.

Here are two tips that I found to be most important for me when searching for the dress:

Do Your Research

I started off by looking for the different dress styles that would be most flattering for my body type. Everyone has different criticisms about their own body, and finding a style of dress that will be flattering will make you feel that much more confident on a day that can already be overwhelming. For some quick style guides to get you started, check out these articles from The Knot and Real Simple.

You’ll also need to decide on the bridal shops that you’ll be visiting. Once you know where you’re going, you can start looking at the designers that they carry and choosing the style of dresses that you like. I used Pinterest to save my favorites, and the stylist was able to pull specific dresses from those designers that I had pinned and other dresses that were similar in style for me to try on. If you’re not sure where to start, check out these Pinterest boards by The Knot and Wedding Wire.

Don’t Limit Yourself

Try on as many dresses and visit as many shops as you need or want to. I read so many different articles all with different advice on how many shops you should visit and how many dresses you should try on that I was worried I would be overwhelmed. I wasn’t. The dress I chose was the third dress I tried on at the second bridal shop I visited, but I tried on at least 15 more dresses after that and a handful of dresses at the first shop. Trust yourself. You’ll know when you’re tired of trying on dresses.

Quick tips:

  • Don’t forget that you should be ordering your dress within 9-12 months of your wedding date. Check with your bridal shop for an exact timeline so it’s not a last minute rush.
  • Don’t be disappointed if you don’t have a “Say Yes to the Dress” moment. I didn’t cry when I found my dress, and neither did anyone I brought with me. It’s different for everyone, and it doesn’t have to be emotional to be right.

Happy Planning!

Next post: Seasonal Colors



Kate Harrison, Kate Harrison Photograhy
Imagen Photograhy

Many thanks!!


Planning a Wine Country Wedding: Firsthand Advice from the girl & the fig CATERS!

(This is Part 5 in a series. Did you miss Part 4? View the post here!)

Of course, working at the girl & the fig, I am little biased in regard to who the best caterer in Wine Country is. I see firsthand the passion that all of our chefs, managers, and service staff have for amazing food and outstanding service, and I absolutely believe that passion is a large part of what makes the experience of dining with us so magical.


Photo by Ken Viale (kenviale.com)

That magic is definitely in abundance at the girl & the fig CATERS! From the carefully crafted food served at each of our events to the service itself, each piece is planned, created, and presented with the same passion that you can see at each of our restaurants. All of our staff at CATERS! have a hand in this, but our event managers work the closest with their clients to make sure that their event is perfect from start to finish. Who better then to ask for insight on the catering process?

Two of our amazing event managers, Laura and Kathryn, took a short break during one of our busiest months to talk with me about their favorite moments and share their advice for new couples looking for a caterer.

“There is nothing I love more than the process of planning an event with a client. It’s almost like starting with a blank canvas and then creating a masterpiece,” Kathryn told me. “Once you really pinpoint what their vision is for the event, it’s such a thrill to work through the planning, have a bond with the client, see it through on the night of the event and then finish off the process. Seeing the smiling faces at the end of the event and creating special memories is definitely what keeps me passionate about this area of the business!”

“Meeting the client, getting to know them, and then seeing the look in their eyes when they see the venue with all the set-up done on the day of are some of my favorites things about the process,” Laura said. She also spoke about her love for the creativity that goes in to each event: building a menu and creating a table top with a style that speaks to and represents each couple. “The worst part is saying goodbye!”


Photo by Ken Viale (kenviale.com)

I also asked Laura and Kathryn what they think is important to know before looking for a caterer. Here are some things they recommend to keep in mind:

  • Have your venue selected and know if they have tables, chairs, glasses, a full kitchen, and anything else that would need to be rented.
  • Have a budget, but keep an open mind. Catering can be costly, but every proposal is workable for what you need.
  • Have an idea of what you want on your menu. From hors d’oeuvres to dessert, there are a lot of choices to make.
  • Find a caterer that best represents your style.
  • Don’t stress! Your event manager is on your side and has your best interest at heart.

If you’re thinking about the girl & the fig CATERS! for your own wedding, visit us online to find out more about what we do. You can also follow us on Facebook to see what we’ve been up to and get inspiration from our recent weddings and events.

Still needing some food inspiration? Check out our Pinterest boards:

Happy Planning!

Next post: Finding the Dress

Planning a Wine Country Wedding: Tips for Choosing a Caterer

(This is Part 4 in a series. Did you miss Part 3? View the post here!)

If you’re a follower of our blog, you know that Sonoma County is a region that’s bountiful in local, seasonal, amazing food. From farm fresh produce to grass fed meats and artisan cheeses, this area is a culinary playground and a haven for those who seek out the best epicurean adventures. The possibilities are endless!


Photo by Ken Viale (kenviale.com)

I can’t wait to share the best and most delicious parts of Wine Country with my family and friends. Thinking back to weddings I’ve attended, some of the most memorable parts have been the food and the service. You don’t want your guests to walk away with a memory of how hungry they were at your reception because the food was inedible or the service was too slow. For me, this is one of the most important parts to get right.

So, how do you choose a caterer that will get it right?

Know your style. Decide on what the most important things are for you. Is it your budget? Style of food? Style of service? Is there something from a friend’s wedding that you loved or hated? Make sure you know what you want so you know what to ask for.

Know your budget. Knowing your financial limit will help you to know what things you need to eliminate from your proposals, what things you can keep, and ultimately whether or not a caterer can work with your needs.

Do your research. Check online reviews, ask for testimonials from previous clients, and get recommendations from friends and family as well as your other vendors.

Once you have your ideas in place, you can begin to eliminate your choices, get proposals, and make appointments for tastings. It’s a lot of work, but it will be worth it!


Photo by Ken Viale (kenviale.com)

My next post will be insight directly from two of our amazing event managers from the girl & the fig CATERS! Be sure to subscribe to the blog so you don’t miss it!

Quick Tips:

  • Make sure you know the caterers policy for tastings. Some may offer free tastings, while others may charge a fee that may or may not be refundable if you decide against using them for your event.
  • Don’t be caught off guard by a high priced proposal. Regardless of your budget, the caterer will most likely be one of your bigger expenses. Not only do they handle the food, but they provide the service and most likely your rentals as well.

Check out some of our other blog posts for seasonal food inspiration:

Happy Planning!

Next post: Firsthand Advice from the girl & the fig CATERS!

Planning a Wine Country Wedding: Setting a Timeline

(This is Part 3 in a series. Did you miss Part 2? View the post here!)

Now that a venue has been chosen and a date has been set, the real planning begins! With so many details to think of, how do you know when you need to get things booked, fitted, ordered, and tasted?

There are plenty of suggested timelines online already that will help to get you organized. A quick search will give you plenty to choose from, and you can tailor those suggestions to your own timeline, while eliminating things that you are not choosing to do for your own wedding.

Instead of contributing another planning timeline to those already out there, here are some of the things I’ve found to be helpful in creating my own personal timeline:


(12+ months) Popular venues book up quickly, so the sooner you can choose a space the better. Most venues we looked at still had plenty of dates available at a year and half out, but there were a lot of temporary holds already placed by other couples. Looking for venues within a year or more of your dream date will give you the most choices. You may have to compromise if you start any less than 12 months out. You may also want to consider scheduling your wedding day for a week day; these days are less popular and your venue may even offer a lower fee for these days.

See my previous post about choosing a venue.


(10-12 months) Caterers can book up quickly also and should probably be the first thing you look at after the venue is booked.  Most catering companies limit the number of events they do per day, and they also do a multitude of other types of events. You are not just competing with other weddings for a date, you are competing with private parties, rehearsal dinners, corporate events, and so on.

(I’ll be writing about choosing a caterer next month. Be sure to subscribe to the blog so you don’t miss it!)


The Dress and Bridal Party Attire

(Bride 9-12 months) I was advised by my bridal shop that it usually takes 3-5 months for ordering a wedding dress, and alterations begin 8-12 weeks out from your wedding date. This may vary between designers, but in general starting your search 9-12 months prior to your date is a good idea.


Photo by Sylvie Gil http://www.sylviegilphotography.com/

(Bridesmaids 6-9 months) You have a little more time when it comes to bridesmaid’s dresses. I was advised that bridesmaids’ dresses take about 3-4 months to arrive. Alterations will most likely not be as intricate as any that have to be done for the bride’s dress, but you’ll want to be sure that all of your bridesmaids have enough time if they need it.

(Groom/Groomsmen 3-6 months) Once ordered, tuxedos typically arrive the week of the wedding. You’ll still want to give yourself some time to make your style decisions, get all of your groomsmen’s measurements in, and allow for any last minute fixes.

Be sure to check with your bridal shop for their specific ordering and alteration timelines.


(9-12 months) A good way to try out a photographer is to book an engagement photo session with them. This way you can get a sense for the photographer’s style and whether it fits with your own vision. If you go this route, you’ll want to get started sooner rather than later to get those engagement photos done and out with your announcements, save the dates, and posted on your wedding website.

I’ve heard from various photographers that couples book with them at different stages of planning, so there’s no definite timeline on booking. However, photographers tend to book up quickly, especially on popular dates, and may only do a limited number of weddings per year.


(9-12 months) If you’re choosing to have a DJ, you’ll want to make sure that he or she is a good fit with your style, personality, and the flow that you want for your event. You are really hiring the person just as much as you are hiring the service. If you’re going with a band, keep in mind that good talent books faster than not-so-good talent. It’s also a good idea to give yourself time to see your band play live at a show or private event (if allowed) to check them out in person.

Quick tips:

  • You will want to book the bigger vendors and the things that are most important to you as soon as possible to make sure that you get exactly what you want. If you’re not willing to compromise with a second or third choice, book now.
  • Event planners do this for a living! They have the experience and connections to know when things need to be done and followed up on. All of the advice I’ve received from recent brides has been in praise of having a planner, at least for day-of coordination to make the day go smoothly.

If you’re looking for a place to get started, take a look at the vendors that we recommend.

Happy Planning!

Next post: Choosing a Caterer