Monday, November 25, 2013

{gift guide: for the mixologist}

Next up in the gift guide series for the holidays- a fun variety of items for the cocktail enthusiast in your life.  Links to all gifts below and on this pinterest board along with the past guides! 

1. Sphere Ice molds  |  2. A traveling cocktail Bar  |  3. Champagne Print (also my life motto  |  4. Set of copper Moscow Mule Cups  |  5. Festive versions of the MR & MRS glasses  |  6. Sugar Paper LA coasters  |  7. Gourmet Cocktail syrups  |  8. Vintage glassware from Etsy  |  9. Gold Monogram bottle stopper & gold cocktail accessories  |  10. Society Social Bar Cart  |  11. Cut crystal Decanters - ON SALE!  |  12. Monogrammed Drink Stirrers

Friday, November 22, 2013

{what i loved this week}

on instagram: Love the printed paper under the whiskey tasting glasses at Bar Nova- would love to try to re-create something like this for an intimate wine tasting party.  A simple tied bow and rosemary sprig make for a quick napkin setting that I think I'll be using as inspiration for thanksgiving dinner next week.  Over a thousand balloons adorned a ceiling for this party- yes. 

on pinterest: I try to wait til after Thanksgiving passes to start playing Christmas music, but I might start a little early this year with this classics playlist.  Love this dramatic yet simple tablescape using a long line of thick pillar candles.  

on the blogs:  Even though this is an old blog post from This Time Tomorrow, I still love the way she styled a plaid shirt three ways for the holidays- especially the the option with the feather skirt.  A delicious Thanksgiving Punch recipe from this book would be the perfect cocktail to take some work away from the hostess duties on turkey day. 

on the internets:  Cheree Berry Paper can do no wrong for me- I absolutely adore this invite for a stock the bar engagement party.

on my wishlist:  Winter is coming - I need this jacket.  Fun vintage inspired glassware from Zara Home would add a great texture for a holiday table. 

{friday cocktail: the prism}

This past summer I got the chance to dream up a fun cocktail to be served as the signature drink for one of our clients at Bliss Weddings & Events.  Ashley & Johnny worked with Cheree Berry Paper to create a beautiful coral colored prism pattern that adorned their invites, welcome bags and day of paper goods which is what prompted the name for their signature cocktail.  They also wanted something colorful, refreshing and vodka-based.  The recipe we ended up with isn't the quickest cocktail to make, but it is well worth the effort!

{photos via Avery House}

Cheers and congrats to the newlyweds Johnny & Ashley!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

{gift guide: for the hostess}

With Thanksgiving next week and Christmas coming up in 36 days, it's about time for some gift guides around here!  Let's start out with some unique hostess gifts to bring to along to all those parties and gatherings crowding your social calendar.  Links to all products below or see the round up of all the gift guides and gifts this season by following this pinterest board.

4.  Fresh flowers:  you can never go wrong with a simple bouquet of fresh flowers- I love to buy flowers from the super market, take them out of their tacky plastic wrap and re-wrap them in kraft paper tied with some fun ribbon. 

5. Champagne: any time. any reason. always a good idea.

Monday, November 18, 2013

{thanksgiving menu}

We will be hosting 13 of our family and friends here in Chicago for Thanksgiving dinner next week which gave me a mild panic attack when it came to starting to devise a delicious menu!  This past weekend, armed with the latest issues of our favorite food magazines and pinterest, we worked out our entire menu and the subsequent shopping list of over a 100 items!  So to save you a little time with your menu planning or selecting the dish to bring for your Thanksgiving pot luck, I gathered our entire menu and links to the recipes (with some modifications) right here:

Charcuterie & Cheese Tray: after enjoying a morning with this decadent french toast and a dozen mimosas we will put a big spread of charcuterie and cheese for guests to graze on during the cooking.

Batch Cocktails:  I'll whip up a batch each of The Bee's Pajamas & The Brown Derby for our guests to sip on along with the appetizers.

Kale Caesar Salad:  This is a classic salad in our house.

Shaved Brussels Sprouts: This will serve almost as another "salad" option and we will be adding a few cups of brown rice and pancetta to this recipe.

Simple Green Beans: because not everything can be drowning in cream or butter.

Braised Short Ribs on a bed of sweet potatoes:  I love turkey, but I love red meat more and so does most of my family so we will be braising a big batch of short ribs and serving them over sweet potatoes.

Classic Stuffing: most of our guests are coming from out of town, but the one couple coming locally will be bringing their favorite stuffing recipe.

Pioneer Woman Mashed Potatoes:  We have made this recipe a few times in the past and the best part of it besides the fact that its super tasty is that you can make them the day before!

Gulliver's Corn:  This dish is definitely more cream and cheese than corn which seems perectly appropriate for Thanksgiving- plus it's a recipe we have made for the past 20 years of Thanksgivings in my family.

Alton Browns Turkey: because Chris is obsessed with anything Alton Brown does.

Pumpkin Cheesecake with Sour Cream Marshmallow topping:  this sounds like the fancier more decadent version of pumpkin pie. I'm in!

Friday, November 15, 2013

{what i loved this week}

This week both flew by and felt like it took forever to get to Friday!  The What I Loved posts have been absent from the past two weeks because I have been insanely busy, but today it's back full of tons of good stuff for your internet viewing pleasure.

on pinterest:  This bold tablescape's color scheme would be amazing for a bright Thanksgiving table or a fabulous birthday dinner party!  I have never really loved the use of vellum in paper goods, but it is so chic used as a menu here- especially since you can see through to the amazing black/white striped plate.

on instagram:  Genius idea to re-purpose old office files to serve cakes and brownies at a party.  Love this cozy styled nook- especially the feminine floral pillow.  I think I need this print in my life- actually I know I do.

in real life: As you might have seen on Instagram, I was in NYC for a hot minute last week shooting some fun holiday videos with Glam Media. This photo was taken by my amazing make-up artist for the two day shoot, Roberto, of the amazing production team!

on the internets:  A Christmas Vacation drinking game- who wants to come over for a little viewing party?!?!

on the blogs:  A gorgeous gold DIY magnolia wreath for the holidays that I would probably leave up long after New Year's Eve.  These matte black painted vases are so chic and could turn any array of thirft store vases into a modern tablescape.

on my wishlist: Well it's freezing in Chicago so I guess I'll shop for a new summer kaftan- this beautiful Mara Hoffman one is one sale from $350 to $99!!!!  I would love to cluster 5 or 6 of these geo pendants over a dining table.  A fun holiday bracelet that reminds me of a glitzy bow-tie.  Last year I fell in love with the brand Three Floor when I bought this dress and I think this black lace one would be the perfect frock to add to my collection of one!

{friday cocktail: the bee's pajamas}

If you are an avid reader of 100 Layer Cake (my all-time favorite wedding blog) then you have for sure come across the beautiful cocktail creations of Pharmacie LA plus you might remember Talmadge's guest post on this blog last winter.  Recently Pharmacie gave away a few of their classic cocktail recipes to Refinery 29 and I just knew I had to try The Bee's Pajamas.  Not only because it sounds delicious and refreshing, but I am always on the look out for new ways to use our bottle of Green Chartreuse.  I also love any cocktail that uses the exact same amount for every ingredient to make it easy to remember when in a pinch away from home!


Thursday, November 14, 2013

{new additions}

It's about that time again for a little round up of some new additions around our place and my closet! Check out previous round ups right here.

 {Target has a whole line of jewelry boxes like this one in a variety of patterns and sizes.  This one is the medium sized one of the bunch and I love that the gold is more subtle against some of the more metallic gold pieces in our home}

 {hard to see in the photo, but another great find from Target (seriously so much good home stuff in stores right now!) this glass bottomed black lattice tray.  We previously used a solid white tray from CB2 in this spot, but I really like how this one allows you to see through to the bottom shelf of our coffee table} 

 {while I would loooove to own a Chanel 2.55, the price tag is just insane to me at this point in life.  This purse is a great alternative that I stumbled upon randomly while shopping on Amazon and the affordable price doesn't make me terrified to bring it out of my home-plus its genuine leather! With Amazon's generous return policy I decided it was worth a shot to check it out and I was extremely surprised at how well made this purse is. }

{I am obsessed with bright pink lipstick and finally treated myself to this YSL one I have had my eye on for some time}

 {a vintage cocktail napkin holder my mom found for me in the estate sale wonderland that it california wine country}

{muji's new bowls from C. Wonder. dogs gotta get fancy too right?!?}

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

{party inspiration: VS fashion show viewing party}

For years now I have always loved watching the Victoria's Secret Fashion show on TV every holiday season- it's just the epitome of girly silliness plus the musical acts in the past shows have only gotten better and better! Back when we were living in LA, some of my girlfriends and I got together to have a little viewing party for the fashion show with a "sweatpants & jewelry" theme showing up in our comfiest yoga pants, but wearing layers of our most fun jewelry.

In honor of the VS Fashion show taking place this evening and airing in a few weeks, I thought I would put together a little party inspiration board for this exact theme as I am hoping to host this party again this year.  So grab your ladies together for a fun girly night in their chic-est sweats dripping in their most over-the-top baubles!

PS- this post is not sponsored by Victoria's Secret- I really am just that obsessed with watching their fashion show every year! :)

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

{an orchid arrangement for the holiday season}

This holiday season is already looking scary busy between hosting our families here in Chicago for Thanksgiving, holiday parties, some travel, lots of work and flying home for Christmas.  While I love to put together fresh arrangements for our dining table (like this one), I decided to take a little work off my plate for the coming weeks by putting together an orchid arrangement that I hope to last well through Christmas morning!

I have always loved the look of 4 or 5 smaller orchids planted in a large footed vase (like this or this) and while we do have the perfect vessel to achieve this look from ZGallerie I have never wanted actually fill it with dirt since we do use it often for champagne bottles at parties.  Last week on a Home Goods trip, I came across this silver metal drink bucket for a mere $29 (similar one here) and knew it would be perfect for making my orchid arrangement vision into reality.

I picked up a few different smaller orchids from my local Trader Joe's (you can also find these at your local flower store or even Home Depot for around $6 to $9 each) and a bag of orchid potting mix.  You will also need to pick up a small pack of stones (or steal them from your neighbor's yard- I won't judge) to allow for drainage at the bottom of the bucket.  I also topped the arrangement with some bright green moss- this part is totally optional, but I do think it brightens the arrangement while also hiding the unattractive orchid roots and weird look of the potting mix!

Whenever I buy orchids for our home they last for at least a month and I am hoping this arrangement will go for even longer.  I love the luxe look of the silver bucket and clean white orchids alone, but if you wanted to make it feel more "holiday" appropriate you could add a simple holiday ribbon around the rim of the bucket tied in a festive bow.  How amazing would this arrangement be as a special gift for a hostess or your family this Thanksgiving?!?

Friday, November 8, 2013

{friday cocktail: rose derby}

I have yet to drink an herbal based cocktail I didn't like especially anything with lavender, but rosemary as an ingredient comes in at a close second!  We happened to have a ruby red grapefruit and fresh rosemary on hand so I whipped up a quick gin cocktail based off of a Brown Derby cocktail.  I added in some honey syrup since it's the best part of my favorite cocktail (the very first cocktail post on this blog!) and muddled in the rosemary to give it an interesting herbal note. 


Wednesday, November 6, 2013

{fall boots round-up}

I just spent the last month and a half searching for the perfect brown leather fall boots to fill a void in the boot line-up in my closet.  I thought my weeks-long search was over when I made this purchase last month, but I actually returned those after my shoe repair guy candidly told me they weren't worth the price tag by a long shot.  I only had a couple criteria I was trying to fulfill in a pair of boots: they needed to be brown leather (I already own these black boots which I loooove), they had to be flat, and they had to be something that would last me for years to come.

In this search, I probably tried on at least 20 different boots across multiple shopping trips not to mention the amount I looked at online and I ended up pulling the trigger on these Frye polished leather riding boots (pictured above).  Saying I'm obsessed with these boots would be an understatement- I have paraded them around for every house guest we have had in the past couple weeks, already worn them out ten times or more and refused to store them in the closet opting to have them displayed near the front door so I can stare at them.  In the interest of saving you some shopping time, I created a little round up of my favorite fall boots (most of which I have either tried on, already own or have analyzed in person!).

Also- in other news, I am currently in New York City to shoot some fun video segments so make sure you are following me on instagram to get some behind the scenes sneak peeks!

1  |  2  |  3  |  4  |  5  |  6  |  7  |  8  

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

{one bar cart, three ways}

I know that bar carts are insanely trendy right now and have been for a few years, but I still really love them a fun decor piece and believe they are here to stay- especially since they add a fun glimpse into the owner's personality based on how they style it!  Target gave me this amazing brass and wood bar cart from their newest Threshold collection.  I thought it might be fun to play around with different ways to use the bar cart beyond its traditional use a cocktail station.

First up- how I would use this cart if we didn't already have our current bar set up.  I like to keep all of our alcohol bottles visible for cocktail inspiration so I used the entire bottom shelf to display our various options.  On the top shelf I picked out some of our bar accessories including our extensive collection of stirrers/straws, custom coasters leftover from our wedding and these new brass coasters.  I also placed a small sampling of our go-to cocktail books that are normally hidden away in our bar credenza.

{our full alcohol line-up excluding bitters}

Next up- using the bar cart in the office as an extension of my desk.  I already have a pretty spacious desk, but I constantly find myself using up every inch of available space on it while I am working on different projects.  Using the bar cart alongside the desk under the inspiration board gives me even more free room on the desktop.  Besides the overflowing inspiration board, I try to keep the surfaces in my office clutter-free, but it's still helpful to have a few crucial items at my fingertips rather than hidden away. 

{stationary boxes from this post, brass tray, acrylic desk accessories, vintage milk glass, magazine files from Ikea}

Last up, I turned the bar cart into an old school dessert cart like the kind you would see trolling around a nice restaurant back in the day.  Wouldn't this be so fun to surprise dinners guests with at the end of the meal?!?  I used the top for a dessert spread included a raspberry tart, french macarons, a selection of cookies and mini vanilla bean cupcakes.  On the bottom I placed serving utensils and napkins alongside a selection of after-dinner drinks with brandy snifters and whisky tasting glasses.

{vintage jadeite cake stands also leftover from our wedding- you can find them on Etsy or here}

I hope this post inspires you to think of new and creative ways to utilize a bar cart in your home.  Are their any really unique ways you have seen people style a bar cart? Please share!

Disclosure: Compensation was provided by Target via Glam Media. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of  the opinions or positions of Target.

Monday, November 4, 2013

{my new favorite fall salad}

In the past few weeks, we have eaten some variation of this kale salad at least 3 or 4 times and it is quickly becoming my favorite warm fall salad for weeknight dinners.  While it isn't necessarily a "light" salad seeing that it includes bacon and buttery croutons, it is quite delicious and filling while not feeling overly heavy.  And let's not forget it is topped with an egg so how could it be bad?!?  I'll also let you in on our secret to perfectly poached eggs- it's this tool from Sur La Table.  It works so well that for the month after I brought two of them home we were topping practically every we made with a poached egg. Full recipe at the bottom of the post:

{french tin egg poacher- best tool ever!}

what you need:

  • 1 Apple
  • 1 bunch of kale or collard greens
  • 4 strips of bacon
  • 1 slice of french bread croutons
  • 1/4 cup of slivered almonds, lightly toasted
  • balsamic vinaigrette (I love the one from Trader Joe's)
  • 8 oz of mushrooms
  • salt & pepper
  • paprika
  • 2 eggs

  1. Cook the bacon in a large pan until crispy, chop into small pieces and set aside. 
  2. Saute the mushrooms until they are nicely browned and set aside. 
  3. Toss the bread with oil and toast in the oven until crunchy. 
  4. Slice the apple into small pieces and place in cold water with lemon juice to avoid browning.  
  5. Saute  kale in large pan until lightly wilted.  
  6. Combine Kale, Apple (removed from water), chopped bacon, the croutons, almonds, mushrooms and vinaigrette in a large bowl and toss to combine.  
  7. Split between two plates and top each salad with a poached egg.  
  8. Sprinkle the top of egg with a pinch of paprika.