Category Archives: entertaining

August Must Haves: Color, Shine, Sparkle

August is here and it is a tricky style month; you have one flip-flopped foot in summer and the other booted up for fall.

Here are a few of my favorite, ooh and ahh worthy must haves for August!Shop: Sip/Stack 1/2/3/Strut

What to do this Weekend: See Moonrise Kingdom

On Tuesday night Mark and I went to the movies – our first in a while. We saw Moonrise Kingdom. If you need an idea to beat the heat for two hours, if you want to laugh, if you want to go back to camp without the big bites, if you want to be delighted – go see Moonrise Kingdom.

Moonrise Kingdom is the sweet story of Sam, a misfit orphan, who is a skillful khaki scout, and Suzy, a troubled and sassy oldest child from a loveless marriage and their journey to run away together and the town’s, her parents’, his fellow scouts’ quest to find them.

The movie tackles big issues and big adolescent milestones through the vivid scenery of a storybook and a 12-year-old’s perspective.

Share a popcorn, hold hands, go to the movies.

American Girl

Ever since I went to American University I have had a soft spot in my heart for this song by Tom Petty.  It is perfect for today.

Happy America Day to all of you American girls!

P.S. If you need some last minute holiday treat and snack inspiration, check out my Pinterest!

Setting A Spring Table

Whether your hosting an Easter or Passover celebration the start of spring certainly indicates the start of more family get togethers, late afternoon barbecues, midday brunches and time around a table.

My family’s Passover table is usually overwhelmed by food and people – normally 25+ people and quite a few briskets.  But, even with trays of food there is always room for flowers to brighten the table.

Here are some inspiring and fairly simple ideas to spring your table to life:

A Personal Seder from Martha Stewart

Veggies in Vases from Hip Hostess

An Egg-cellent Daffodil Centerpiece from Williams Sonoma

Garden Party Ready from Ritzy Bee

What I love about a spring centerpiece is the vibrancy of it.  These ideas all reflects the bounty of the season and are easy to do, inexpensively.

What will your table look like this season?

Holiday Party: Cookie Edition, Inspiration

I have actually never been to a cookie party, the making or swapping kind.  But, I do love the idea of it all.  There is something so nice and leisurely about meeting up with a best group of girlfriends, or Real Housewives cast mates (random parties seem to be their specialty these days), to bake, frost and eat as a way of celebrating the season.

Shop: Apron, Mixer, Bowls, Peppermint Cookies, Milk Bar, Baking Pans, Meringue, Santa Brownies, Rainbow Cookies

If you were planning a Cookie Party the basic items you’ll need for hosting are canisters of flours, sugars, and of course decorating items (sprinkles, sugars, candies), baking trays and measuring cups.

If you want to go all out and be extra holiday fancy, consider adding specialty molds, baking tins and cookie wrappers to make gifts with.

If you want to go the Real Housewives route, skip the champagne and offer your guests hot cocoa at the door.  Welcome them to the kitchen with personalized aprons, and then sit around and watch your personal chef make cookies and engage in some good old fashion gossip.

‘Tis the season, after all…

(Next) Weekend Wardrobe: Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is less than a week away!  It is actually my most favorite holiday of the entire year and for good reason.  If you’re lucky, like me, the food and company are both great.  I love the fall season because it is a perfect opportunity to entertain, cook great food, and look fabulous at the same time.

This week’s Weekend Wardrobe post gives you ample time to plan ahead for Thanksgiving, much like you would/should for your menu!

If you’re hosting Thanksgiving you have a serious job on your hands, and the day is definitely requiring of two looks: one for when your company is in tow and you are the “hostess with the mostest” and the other for when your home quiets down and all you hear is the quiet hum of a dishwasher.

Weekend Wardrobe: Thanksgiving Day and Night

Shop Day: Apron, Dress, Dish, Bracelet, Boots
Shop Night: Shawl, Leggings, Mask, Rolaids, Cup, Slippers

What is great about this set, if I do say so myself?  For Thanksgiving Day a printed wrap dress is a mask for all sins, including when gravy slips off your fork and onto your bust, and for that extra serving of pie.  Also, if you’re wearing a heel a thick and sturdy one like on these boots keeps you from teetering over.

For Thanksgiving Night, when the only thing left to do is watch the Dolphins and Cowboys game and sit with a cup of tea, the look is all about comfort.  However, comfortable can still be cute, especially with friends and family in town who are likely to stop by to say hello.

Wishing you a very stylish Thanksgiving!

Fall at Home

Believe it or not, this post has nothing to do with my clumsiness, we’re here to talk about capturing fall (the season) at home.

In a post-Earthquake, and post-Irene Monday the air was a little bit cooler, the sky a little bit more overcast, the realization that fall is near that much more real.

This fall, in addition to some swoon-worthy fashion pick-ups, I am thinking about decorating at home.  I am trying to strike the right balance between being seasonal and looking like I decorate for each season.  There will be none of the following: scarecrows, jack-o-lanterns, skeletons, candy corn welcome mats.  Come on, people, don’t we know each other at all by now?

This is the idea:

Pottery Barn

For the kitchen I am loving these lovely screenprinted tea towels.

Studio Patro Tea Towels

I love that these textiles really convey emotion and a tactile sensory experience.  Hi, I’m Veruca Salt, and I want all of them and would love to give these as gifts.

I think this is a very clever idea for lighting a Rosh Hashanah table:

Apple Core Candles

And at the end of the day, I’ll cozy up with this to keep warm:

Cashmere Throw Blanket, Williams Sonoma

Fall just seems like such a lovely, cozy season.  Are you getting anything new, or hoping to, for your home?

Hostess Gifts for Any Occasion

My mom raised me to be a good guest.  Whether we are going to a friend’s house for and impromptu BBQ, or a holiday cocktail party, I am bringing something.

Whether it is a small homemade affair or a catered event I think that guests should appreciate the effort made by the host by a. offering to bring something for the evening and b. bringing a gift for the host.

Texas Pecan Shortbread Cookies

Favorite recipes to bring: for a lunch Fresh Salsa and your favorite chips, Texas Pecan Shortbread Cookies, for a brunch some fresh fruit muffins or healthy banana bread, for a cocktail and hors d’oeuvres party some savory cookies, or for just about any time the Berry Harvest Cake.  Of course you also can’t go wrong with bringing a crowd favorite beverage.

For events where you can bring something to be shared, here are some tips:

  • if you’re bringing a food item, be sure to ask what the host is serving so as to not repeat a dish or clash with her menu
  • be aware of the host’s, and other guests’, dietary needs and restrictions
  • if you’re bringing a dish that requires platters or special serving utensils, bring them with you
  • if you’re bringing a salad, prevent it from getting wilted by keeping the salad greens, toppings and dressings in separate bags or containers
  • bring items that don’t require additional appliances; if the party is a BBQ – sure, bring items for  the grill, but don’t expect to bake that pie in someone’s oven

Sometimes it doesn’t make sense to bring something to be enjoyed during the occasion.   Those examples include: anything professionally catered, unless otherwise requested, or if the host declines the offer.

So, what to bring as a gift for the host?  This is tricky, as sometimes the hostess if your best friend, and sometimes it is the spouse of your boyfriend’s boss, who you have never met.

Try to do as much reconnaissance as possible, you want to gift something that they’ll appreciate.  If they are a oenophile, and you’re a connoisseur of Two Buck Chuck,  don’t bother to get a Merlot on the drive over.

Here are some favorite no fail gifts:

The Candle collection from Michael Aram is one part luxurious gift and another part art for the home.  The Lotus candle is great for your yogi-hostess, I am partial to the black orchid collection.

Michael Aram Lotus Candle

If your host is a foodie at heart treat them to a special series of oils or vinegars.  It is a thoughtful gift that most people wouldn’t pick up for themselves.  New, highly curated, food site Gilt Taste has a beautiful sampling of pantry items to use as gifts.  That is where I found these, the Sparrow Lane California Fruit Vinegar Collection.

Sparrow Lane Vinegar Collection, via Gilt Taste

Make your attendance a sweet memory with a gorgeous assortment of handcrafted truffles, like the Exotic Truffle Collection from Vosges.

Exotic Truffles Collection from Vosges

Another idea, for a host you know well, is to give them a fresh start in the morning.  If the host and hostess had a wild Saturday night party, make their Sunday morning easier with artisan coffees, a basket of fresh pastry/scones/bagels.  It will make waking up that much easier.  I love this gift from Zabar’s – mmm, bagels and lox!

Zabar's Morning Basics Basket

Other favorites for breakfast baskets include: Gourmet Gift Baskets, Wolferman’s, Stonewall Kitchen, and Zabar’s

Other easy gifts include a beautiful bouquet of blooms, an artfully wrapped bottle of wine, or the local favorite baked treat.

Red Velvet Cupcake from Georgetown Cupcake

Give a gift of relaxation with a beautiful bottle of bath bubbles like the Lollia Calm Bubble Bath from Anthropologie.  This is a perfect gift for the hostess, that you know well, and know that she’ll need to unwind when the party ends.

Lollia Calm Bubble Bath via Anthropologie

Of course the most important present you can give is your presence, and a thank you note!


I’ll Meet You at the Bar

I am not a big drinker, but I love a bar.  I love a cookie dunking, cheese cutting, drink making, ice cream cone stacking, pie slicing bar.  I love it so much that for our wedding I recruited family to make our favorite cookies which were artfully displayed in beautiful glass domes and trays.  

What inspired my cookie bar – Ariel Yve Wedding via
The Viennese table of my bat mitzvah youth, and the all-you-can-eat buffet of my worst nightmares have been elevated to a chic level of sophistication and grace.  You can blame it on food bloggers, food stylists, but Amy Atlas is the pro who has made it an art.  
Gone are over flowing trays of cheddar cheese cubs and sad excuses for French pastries.  In their places are authentic foods, comfort foods, real foods in smaller portions and beautifully displayed.
Ice Cream is amazing, but how much sweeter do you think it tastes when this is how it looks?  Probably a thousand times sweeter is my guess. 

Ice Cream Parlour Chic by Eat Drink Chic
I don’t know too many studs who would be plussed by a spud bar, but perhaps the happy homemaker in all of us would make this for her spud loving stud (or little spud stud baby). 

Spud Bar by Botanic Flowers, Photo by TinyWater
Ahh, the cheese plate has grown into a cheese table!  Is this not the most simple and elegant display of some of nature and man’s best creations (honey and cheese)?  

Cheese Table by Sunday Suppers
We see a lot of cookies, cakes and pies, but how absolutely delightful to see fruits and vegetables (and their favorite dips) all beautifully displayed and taking center stage?  This shows that eating whole and healthily is beautiful.   

Fruit and Veggie Bar at Ohdeedoh

As I menu plan for the upcoming Passover holiday I can’t help but be inspired by the creative presentations and artful edibles.

Pre-Game Snacks

I really do love football, but this weekend’s “big game” is not really luring me in.  I am not into the teams, and I’m not into the location being a snowy Dallas…

In any case, I am into making food for the “big game”.  Did you know that only NFL and the network broadcasting the game are allowed to use the term Super Bowl in a marketing context… little known fact!

If I was having a party for the Big Game I would serve up some of these healthy favorites!
Candied Pecans!
Stuffed Mushrooms!
Sweet Potato Chips and Spicy Arugula Pesto
For more inspiration and to honor the teams playing, The Greenbay Packers and The Pittsburgh Steelers, how about these recipes: