Thursday, November 27, 2008
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Weddings make you think long and hard about topics that you never thought would warrant hours of deliberation. I think that a lot of brides (and their grooms) never imagined that paper would be a hot topic...but it is. Anyone that has ever been to a wedding where all things paper are done to perfection, know that it makes such a difference. Thoughtful design in an invitation or save-the-date can really set the tone for how your event is going to be perceived. And then if you carry those elements through in other areas (programs, table numbers, favors, etc), you can add so much personality to your big night.
Monday, November 24, 2008
I read an article on Slashfood.com about one company taking a socio-economic situation and turning lemons into lemonade and I immediately started doing back flips in my head. Recession Chardonnay, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon from California sells for around $5 a bottle. The company says they taste like $10 wines, explaining that the value comes from using lighter-weight glass bottles, saving on shipping costs and using a recycled synthetic closure instead of a cork.
I recently tried the wines and would venture to say that they taste just as good as most $15 dollar bottles, especially the Merlot. Here is a Hip Hostess suggestion so you don’t have to cancel your holiday get together with friends or family because of the economy. Make the economy work for you. Serve Recession wines in nice decanters and whip up some of Hip Hostess’ suggested appetizers and enjoy. --b
Saturday, November 22, 2008
So my afore mentioned dislike of weather other than 75 degrees and sunny forces me to be a bit more creative during these winter months. Whereas I would normally be trekking all over the city in search of anything unexpected, I now hunker down and become one with my bear-like hibernating instincts. That's why this time of year is perfect to start a book club. Because reading a book on the weekend makes the fact that you never left your apartment all day seem less lazy...you are broadening your literary horizons...
Friday, November 21, 2008
With the onset of chilly weather I can’t help but start to think about soups, stews and hot beverages. New York City is a walking city which is great for getting your daily exercise but a little tough in the winter months when you are forced to schlep bag after bag along snow covered streets. The thought of something toasty to warm your chilled bones makes moving through the hat and scarf crowds a little easier.
With Thanksgiving right around the corner it is a great time to start to peruse the aisles for ingredients to make scrumptious liquid refreshments. My sister is in charge of the beverages for our holiday gatherings simply because all she can make for food is reservations. Last year we had Apple Pie Martini’s this year I am going to suggest she stop by Amai’s and try their Salted Caramel Apple Cider (hint, hint).
Although I don’t see any official recipes online it looks like they pour half a cup of Hot Apple Cider and then rest a teaspoon full of caramel sprinkled with Fleur de Sel and let that dissolve for a minute or two and then pour the remaining Apple Cider over the spoon. They do froth it a bit and offer whip cream as an option. I am a sucker for the sweet and salty combo and this drink doesn’t disappoint. --b
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Are you stressing over the family coming to your house for the holidays and you don’t have the money or time to buy matching China & silverware let alone gravy boats? Well Hip Hostess is here to show you how to take the focus off of what you don’t have and spend a minimal amount of money to make an impression.
The solution is PopMat Placemats by Publique Living. You can bring the focal point to the center of the table with these cute placemats. Then it won’t matter if your plates and cutlery don’t match because you have one common theme on the table that will pull the odds and ends of your dinner collection together.
We at Hip Hostess like to try to keep the wow factor of the event a secret until the last minute. So, if possible, keep the masses away from the dining room until it is time to be seated. Not only will you get the first ooh’s and aah’s of the day but you will secure the topic of conversation for a brief period instead of the fact that you left out the pearl onions in Uncle Fred’s favorite peas and carrot dish. -b
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
The best thing about bad weather during the weekend is that it removes all guilt associated with watching "trash tv". You all know what I'm talking about. Those shows that may not make the A-list on your TiVo, but you record them just in case. Well I hit the jackpot recently. VH1 replayed their viewers picks for the Top 100 songs of the 80's. I was glued to the TV and would only get up from the sofa to grab another bottle of Bartles and Jaymes. And when it was finally over, my Hip Husband decided that it should be renamed "the Top 100 Songs of All Time."
1. Bon Jovi / "Livin' on a Prayer" (1986)
2. Def Leppard / "Pour Some Sugar On Me" (1987)
3. Duran Duran / "Hungry Like the Wolf" (1982)
4. Michael Jackson / "Billie Jean" (1982)
5. Prince / "When Doves Cry" (1984)
6. Hall & Oates / "I Can't Go For That (No Can Do)" (1981)
7. Guns N' Roses / Sweet Child O' Mine (1987)
8. Madonna / "Like a Virgin" (1984)
9. Run-D.M.C. / "Walk This Way" (1986)
10. AC/DC / "You Shook Me All Night Long" (1980)
11. Journey / Don't Stop Believing (1981)
12. Whitney Houston / "How Will I Know" (1985)
13. U2 / "With Or Without You" (1987)
14. The Bangles / "Walk Like an Egyptian" (1986)
15. Van Halen / "Jump" (1984)
16. INXS / "Need You Tonight" (1987)
17. Whitesnake / "Here I Go Again" (1982)
18. Dexy's Midnight Runners / "Come On Eileen" (1982)
19. Cyndi Lauper / "Time After Time" (1984)
20. Rick Springfield / "Jessie's Girl" (1981)
21. Michael Jackson / "Beat It" (1982)
22. The Cure / "Just Like Heaven" (1987)
23. Cyndi Lauper / "Girls Just Want to Have Fun" (1984)
24. A-Ha / "Take On Me" (1985)
25. Go-Go's / "Our Lips Are Sealed" (1981)
26. Guns N' Roses / "Welcome to the Jungle" (1987)
27. Kajagoogoo / "Too Shy" (1984)
28. Wham! / "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go" (1984)
29. Talking Heads / "Burning Down the House" (1983)
30. Pat Benatar / "Love is a Battlefield" (1983)
31. Queen and David Bowie / "Under Pressure" (1981)
32. Night Ranger / "Sister Christian" (1983)
33. Soft Cell / "Tainted Love" (1981)
34. Poison / "Every Rose Has It's Thorn" (1988)
35. Phil Collins / "In the Air Tonight" (1981)
36. Tommy Tutone / "867-5309/Jenny" (1981)
37. Aerosmith / "Janie's Got a Gun" (1989)
38. U2 / "Pride (In the Name of Love)" (1984)
39. Modern English / "I Melt With You" (1982)
40. The B-52's / "Love Shack" (1989)
41. Mötley Crüe / "Dr. Feelgood" (1989)
42. The Clash / "London Calling" (1982)
43. ABC / "Look of Love" (1982)
44. Bananarama / "Cruel Summer" (1984)
45. Janet Jackson / "Nasty" (1986)
46. The Police / "Every Breath You Take" (1983)
47. Twisted Sister / "We're Not Gonna Take It" (1984)
48. Bruce Springsteen / "Born in the U.S.A." (1984)
49. Beastie Boys / "Fight For Your Right" (1986)
50. Eurythmics / "Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)" (1983)
51. Ratt / "Round and Round" (1984)
52. Dead or Alive / "You Spin Me Round (Like A Record)" (1985)
53. Billy Idol / "White Wedding" (1988)
54. Salt-N-Pepa / "Push It" (1986)
55. A Flock of Seagulls / "I Ran (So Far Away)" (1982)
56. Bonnie Tyler / "Total Eclipse of the Heart" (1983)
57. Toni Basil / "Mickey" (1981)
58. Culture Club / "Do You Really Want to Hurt Me" (1982)
59. John Mellencamp / "Jack & Diane" (1982)
60. Young M.C. / "Bust a Move" (1989)
61. Styx / "Mr. Roboto" (1983)
62. Berlin / "Take My Breath Away" (1986)
63. Devo / "Whip It" (1980)
64. Paula Abdul / "Straight Up" (1988)
65. Foreigner / "I Want to Know What Love Is" (1984)
66. Depeche Mode / "Just Can't Get Enough" (1981)
67. REO Speedwagon / "Keep On Loving You" (1980)
68. Public Enemy / "Fight the Power" (1988)
69. R.E.M. / "It's the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine)" (1980)
70. Joan Jett & The Blackhearts / "I Love Rock N' Roll" (1981)
71. Rick James / "Super Freak" (1981)
72. The Fixx / "One Thing Leads to Another" (1983)
73. Nena / "99 Luftballons" (1983)
74. George Michael / "Faith" (1987)
75. Prince / "Little Red Corvette" (1983)
76. Thomas Dolby / "She Blinded Me With Science" (1982)
77. New Edition / "Candy Girl" (1983)
78. Blondie / "Call Me" (1980)
79. Human League / "Don't You Want Me?" (1981)
80. Rob Base & DJ E-Z Rock / "It Takes Two" (1988)
81. Cameo / "Word Up!" (1986)
82. Squeeze / "Tempted" (1981)
83. Prince / "Kiss" (1986)
84. Lionel Richie / "All Night Long (All Night)" (1983)
85. Robert Palmer / "Addicted to Love" (1985)
86. Bow Wow Wow / "I Want Candy" (1982)
87. Falco / "Rock Me Amadeus" (1986)
88. Chaka Khan / "Ain't Nobody" (1989)
89. The Pretenders / "Brass in Pocket" (1980)
90. Tone-Loc / "Wild Thing" (1989)
91. Katrina and The Waves / "Walking On Sunshine" (1983)
92. New Kids on the Block / "You Got It (The Right Stuff)" (1988)
93. Gary Numan / "Cars" (1980)
94. Rolling Stones / "Start Me Up" (1981)
95. Debbie Gibson / "Only in My Dreams" (1987)
96. Men at Work / "Down Under" (1982)
97. The Romantics / "What I Like About You" (1980)
98. Bobby Brown / "My Perogative" (1988)
99. Wang Chung / "Everybody Have Fun Tonight" (1986)
100. Loverboy / "Working for the Weekend" (1981)
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Monday, November 17, 2008
Most people will be feeling the economic crunch this year and worrying over how to keep the holidays special and not have to dip into savings. Well Hip Hostess is here to tell you that it can definitely be done, it is just going to take a little creativity. The collage of photos below came mainly from Etsy.com which is an excellent source to get one-of-a kind gifts that are economical and fun.
Please keep in mind that the best present is something that shows you put a little thought behind the gift. For instance, the mixed tape note cards on the upper left hand corner are a sure way to bring a smile to anyone who grew up in the 80’s. The mini diaries are a cute way to acknowledge your introspective friend and as a bonus it is small enough to tuck into a purse or wallet.
To bring you the best gift options, we do extensive searches of interesting websites daily. If you have someone that is impossible to buy for and want us to give it a go, drop us a comment and we will be happy to help. --b
Top Row: Mix tape Stationery - heatherjeany, Cleo Bird Pocket Mirror - Madison Craft. Second Row: Jagmin Collection Mugs - MXYPLYZYK, Custom Gift Bag - Palomas's Nest, Kenneth Jay Lane Cocktail Ring. Bottom Row: Mini Diaries - The Mini Mart, Holiday Body Butter - Savvii
Saturday, November 15, 2008
Friday, November 14, 2008
Definition: Hot Toddy - a name given to a mixed drink that is served hot, believed to have originated in the 18th century to make the taste of whiskey more palatable to women.
I reject the idea that only women need help making the taste of whiskey more appealing. While I personally like it "as is", I have watched many a grown man do the shiver shake after sipping some of Kentucky's best bourbon, Tennessee & Canada's whiskey, or even Ireland's aged Scotch. Straight up whiskey is certainly not for everyone.
So the idea of a hot toddy should be appealing. Besides the fact that I think it has a cool retro sound to it, the Hot Toddy is the perfect way to cap off an evening. Here's a simple recipe for a Canadian Coffee that would make anyone feel very good about whiskey. --a
1 oz Canadian Whiskey
1/2 oz + 2 teaspoons Grade A Maple Syrup
4 oz hot brewed coffee
1/2 cup heavy cream
Combine whiskey, 1/2 oz of maple syrup and coffee in an Irish coffee mug and stir. For garnish whip together heavy cream & 2 teaspoons of maple syrup.
Note: The whipped cream could be prepared in advance to save time with your guests.
Photo courtesy of Lakeland. Recipe courtesy of Imbibe Magazine.
Thursday, November 13, 2008
Some of you may have noticed that Brandi and I both have a bit of a cheese addiction. Over this past summer, neither of us would even step foot into a restaurant unless they had a cheese platter on their menu. Both of us have since loosened up our restaurant menu restrictions, but we still talk about cheese an awful lot on our blog.
Well the people at President Cheese took notice of our yappin', and shared their newest product with us - The Brie Log. I have been a longtime fan of President Brie...it has a mild, buttery flavor that is perfectly lovely by itself or as a base for all sorts of accoutrements. The beauty of the Brie Log is that it takes that same signature flavor, but makes it much more party friendly. Whereas a typical wedge of brie needs to sit at room temperature for quite some time before you can even think about spreading it on a cracker, I actually found that it was easier to have the brie quite cold (I put it in the freezer for 15 minutes). Then you can slice off the individual servings and create the wonderfully easy recipes that President suggested below (FYI...the rind is very thin so it is completely edible and unnoticeable). Then you just let them sit at room temp while you freshen up before your guests arrive. How easy is that? --a
Brie, Apple, Walnuts, Cinnamon and Honey
Place President® Brie slice and a thin wedge of apple on cracker
Top with walnut half
Sprinkle with cinnamon & drizzle with honey
Brie, Fig and Orange Marmalade
Place President® Brie slice on a cracker
Top with a small wedge of fresh fig
Add a dash of orange marmalade
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
In order to use their beta program, you have to apply to participate. It takes about a week to get accepted. So, please head on over to Spoonflower and sign up. This is another great way to carry an aesthetic from invitation to table runners to out of town bags. --b
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
As a transplanted Midwesterner in NYC, I know all too well how difficult it can be to make it back home for every holiday. You might not have enough vacation days at work or the extra cash to pay for your travels. So you pick one of the "major" holidays - Thanksgiving, Hanakah or Christmas - to be with your folks...and you are on your own for the other.
I think a lot of us choose Thanksgiving to be our DIY holiday. But I don't think that means that you should miss out on having a really good home-cooked meal. Sure a 20lb Butterball might be a bit of overkill for you and your honey, but I have the perfect solution - Cornish Hens. They may sound fancy, but don't be intimidated. Cornish Hens are the perfect size for one person (think of it as your own mini-sized turkey) and are super easy and fast to cook.
Here's a recipe that I love from my favorite cook, Ina Garten. This recipe is designed for 4-6 servings, but you can definitely cut down the recipe for fewer people (I have). Besides loving the Cornish Hen, you'll devour the cornbread stuffing. --a
Cornish Hens with Cornbread Stuffing (serves 4 to 6)
For the stuffing:
1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 cup chopped yellow onions
1 1/2 cups medium-diced celery (3 stalks)
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
5 cups (13 ounces) coarsely crumbled cornbread
1/2 cup chicken stock
For the hens
6 fresh Cornish hens (1 1/4 - to 1 1/2 - pounds)
2 cups sliced yellow onions (2 onions)
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
For the stuffing, melt the butter in a medium sauté pan, add the onion, and cook over medium-low heat for 8 minutes, until translucent. Off the heat, add the celery, parsley, cornbread, and chicken stock and mix well. Set aside.
For the hens, rinse them inside and out, removing any pinfeathers and pat the outsides dry. In a roasting pan that's just large enough to hold the hens loosely, first toss in the onions and then place the hens on top, breast side up. Sprinkle the insides of the hens with salt and pepper and loosely fill the cavities with the stuffing. (If there is stuffing left over, bake it in a separate pan until heated through.) Tie the legs of each hen together and tuck the wings under the bodies. Brush with melted butter, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and roast for 50 to 60 minutes, until the skin is browned and the juices run clear when you cut between a leg and thigh.
Remove from the oven, cover with aluminum foil, and allow to rest for 15 minutes (very important!). Serve a whole hen per person.
Monday, November 10, 2008
Choosing presents is so complicated. What you like. What they like. What it says about you. What is says about them. What it says about what you think of them. Geez!
Hip Hostess would like to make your gift giving this season as easy as possible. We have decided to do gift giving blog entries that are broken down to categorize the different personalities in your life. The first go around is for the Domestic Diva. This person loves to entertain, cook, garden and has an eye for the perfect setting for every occasion.
The below photos are taken from the Farmhouse Wares website. What I love about their products is that the prices are fantastic and the wares are unique. Let’s take for instance the Le bon Lait milk bottle, this costs $11.95 and has limitless possibilities. You could actually use it for milk and put a little smile on your face every morning when you have your bowl of Cheerios. It could also be used for cold water or the last half of the wine you didn’t finish. A vase with fresh holly or a bouquet or better yet all of the above. If you package this in a nice paper box with a beautiful ribbon and fantastic card, my bet is that nobody will think you paid under $30. The same can be said for so many of their products which are versatile and best of all priced right.
Just when you thought it couldn’t get any better, Farmhouse Wares is offering Hip Hostess readers an additional 10% off through December 31, 2008. To receive the savings all you have to do is enter the code HH08 at checkout. --b
Saturday, November 8, 2008
I don’t have any tattoos, although I admire people that have the guts or the pain threshold to put beautiful works of art on their bodies. If I had a tattoo it would say, “Keep it simple but make it count.” This mantra works with most things. And being a Type-A personality, I have to repeat my mantra quite often.
The above photo is courtesy of La Tartine Gourmande, whose recipes and stunning photography never disappoint. In the upcoming weeks, you will probably be bringing a potluck style dish to an event - be it a family affair or corporate gathering. Rather than spend all day in the kitchen covered from head to toe in flour, why not throw a simple dish into cute individual ramekins like the ones above?
The pictured ramekins are available at a food shop in Paris. If you are on your way to the City of Lights, it is perfect timing. However if you’re like most, it just so happens that Spode is having a sale at Macy’s - 2 polka dotted ramekins for $7.99. That is much more affordable than a plane ticket to Paris. If you need to bring a lot of individual servings you could consider using your everyday white ramekins. And if you switch out various styles on a nice tray it will look very chic. Believe me, they will remember your simple Apple Crisp in the cute ramekins over Larry from accounting’s lasagna in a tin foil tray. --b
Friday, November 7, 2008
I believe that there are a few things that all people, no matter what their differences, can agree on:
#1. You will never be happier then when you are truly in love.
#2. Good music and good friends are the key to happiness.
#3. The most delicious meat that ever existed is bacon.
That is why I am very happy to announce that as of October 30, 2008, The Ultimate Bacon flavored spread was launched...Baconnaise. Yes. Spreadable bacon has arrived. I’d like to reiterate that this is spreadable bacon, people! This is not designed for direct jar-to-mouth-via-spoon consumption, so avoid temptation. You can purchase a three pack for $14.99.
There is one catch. When entertaining, the Baconnaise should probably be left in the cabinet. However, when it is just you and a couple of buddies with a Kitty Keg of Heineken there is no better pairing. --b
Thursday, November 6, 2008
12 large eggs
1. Place eggs and water to cover in a saucepan; bring to a boil. Remove from heat, and let stand, covered, 10 minutes. Drain eggs, and rinse with cold water for several minutes. Peel eggs, and cut in half lengthwise.
Makes 18 deviled egg halves
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
My husband accuses me of being a cold-blooded animal...not because I'm a terrible person, but because I cannot properly regulate my own body temperature. If it is hotter than 75 degrees, I'm roasting. If it is colder than 75 degrees, I'm freezing. I can't help it.
During the Fall and Winter I turn into a coffee fanatic, because no winter coat that I have ever owned is enough to sufficiently keep me warm. Last year, I would have just drank whatever brew was available at my office. This year, since embarking on the Hip Hostess adventure, I am on my own. Armed with a coffee press, I am in search of the perfect coffee for me. Luckily I stumbled across the most amazing coffee site - The Roasterie.
The Roasterie's "My Blend" option allows you to custom blend your own coffee to suite your specific taste. Genius! And it is so simple. You answer a series of 10 questions that guide you towards what you are looking for in a coffee...it's like an online dating service for coffee. And then - poof - you learn the identity of your one true coffee love. Mine is, "Vibrant and round with subtle nutty undertones." AND you can even customize the packaging. Not only will it taste exactly how I want, but it will also look the way I want. I can't wait! --a
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
I love to browse the make-up counters at department stores. I get sucked in by packaging, and then I stare at the vast array of color choices in lip glosses, lipsticks, blushes, eye shadows, highlighters, bronzers...OMG...there is too much to take in! I usually end up making a few impulse buys to add to my collection of products that I have no idea how to use. I'll try to "spice-up" my look for about a week and then revert back to my old routine. What's a girl to do?
Monday, November 3, 2008
A few things to consider when hosting a get together……
Recently, I attended a cocktail party thrown by a gentleman in his late thirties. Now, some would say that said party should get cut a little slack because he is a bachelor. No way. There is no excuse for random bottles of booze - college-style - with only a few cubes of stale ice still in the tray!
If you take the time to plan a party then you should take the time to prep so that guests feel comfortable and appreciated. When you arrive at a cocktail party, you shouldn’t have to make your own cocktail. Your host should give it to you within five minutes of arrival. Later in the evening, it’s OK if the bar becomes self service.
When a drink is made for you, it gives something better than a buzz…it gives you a feeling of being taken care of. This is important because the arrival at a cocktail party can sometimes be a little stressful. You could encounter people you don’t know or worse yet...people you don’t like. On top of that, there are many ways to become a little frazzled en route.
I am not saying that your first drink has to be a masterpiece, but it should be served pronto. Here are a few tips that without much effort make this easy to pull off.
1. Decant Booze and Mixers into Pitchers-This looks better and if you must is a way to disguise cheap liquors
2. Chill the drink ingredients
3. Prep Garnishes
4. Put the ice in a bowl
5. Premix a couple of standard cocktails so they are ready to pour
6. Make sure you clear space in the fridge for beer
Saturday, November 1, 2008
One idea: If you know that the bride registered for china or glassware that is in unique colors or patterns, use that as your cue for design and color. Below I’m working with the colors from a set of blown glass vases – purple and orange.
To pull in our bride's love for fashion, I chose a very contemporary invitation and I think that I would gift her the fun & fabulous fashion illustration by Bella Pilar (it will also double as part of the décor for the evening). Since our bride loves champagne, we’ll serve Mango Bellini’s so that it matches our colors but definitely suits her taste…and the cute tin of Bellini flavored jelly beans will be the perfect inexpensive favor for all that attended. To keep the cost of décor down, I chose a flower that has a lot of pop even in small quantity – anemones. And while there will certainly be other food options, I thought the blueberry cupcakes were a deliciously perfect desert.
And of course our bride needs the perfect outfit…I’ve personally been eyeing this Richard Nicoll dress for quite some time. And with a lovely orange hair accessory to drive our theme home, I think this bride will be pleased with her chic party. –a
First Row: Invitation by Fabulous Stationery, Beau-coup favor tin, dress by Thomas Pink. Second Row: Flowers by Brides.com, cupcake from The Casual Baker, Branch Home vases. Third Row: Mango bellini, Bella Pilar print, Hair accessory from The Foundling.