Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Link Love.

Tuesday Inspiration.

It's a Jaime Thing
I love the detail on this cake.

These DIY soaps are so cute!

Broke Ass Bride has started a new website that helps brides and grooms share ideas and expenses.

Planning a picnic or bbq? Check out these backyard games to keep the guests entertained.

Monday, June 29, 2009

It's like Butta


Ah...I can almost smell the charcoal grills already. Fourth of July weekend is one of the biggest grilling weekends of the year. Steaks, burgers, chicken, hot dogs - you name it and it's thrown on the grill. Food from the grill is always amazing, but it is easy to get stuck in a rut. I have an easy way to spice up one of my favorite grilled treats, corn on the cob, with different kinds of compound butter.

Compound butter may sound a bit scary, but it is so easy that it can hardly be considered cooking. But it will add that extra zing that you're looking for. Check out some of my faves below to give a try over the weekend.

Basil Butter
(also great on grilled steak, chicken,white fish, and potatoes)
2 sticks room temp unsalted butter
1/2 cup chopped basil
Kosher Salt and Pepper (to taste)

Garlic Butter
(also amazing on steak, grilled hamburger buns, potatoes)
1 stick room temp unsalted butter
4 cloves finely minced garlic
2 T chopped flat leaf parsley
1 T lemon juice
Kosher Salt (to taste)

Savory Chive Butter
(try on grilled poultry or fish and cooked veggies)
2 sticks of room temp unsalted butter
2 T fresh chives (or more if you like)
8 drops of Worcestershire
Kosher Salt (to taste)

Mexican Herb Butter
1 stick of room temp unsalted butter
2 T minced fresh cilantro
2 t ground cumin
1 t fresh lime juice
Kosher salt to taste
**kick this one up a notch by topping the hot buttered corn on the cob with grated Cotija cheese.

For all of the above recipes, combine ingredients in a medium sized mixing bowl.

Transfer to a serving bowl and refrigerate until needed (you may want to bring it out about 10 - 20 mintues before to soften slightly).


Transfer to a sheet of parchment paper and roll into a log approximately 2 inch in diameter. Refrigerate until very firm (2 hours). Unwrap and cut slices for individual portions.

All butters can be frozen and saved up to 3 months in freezer safe plastic bags.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Spotted: Sale on Lillian Vernon’s Candle Carver $9.98

The candle carver gives you a perfect excuse to play with your food. This little tool will not only save you money but time and headache as well. It allows you to create an inexpensive centerpiece at a moments notice.

All you have to do is use whatever you might have on hand such as lemons, limes, apples, pears, etc give a twist and insert a tea light. At first glance you might think the finished look is a little rustic but you could definitely make it more modern by placing the fruit in straight rows on a contemporary platter or tray. You could also give it a couple extra twists to make a cute vase or insert chocolate or caramel for mini individual fondue holders.

The best part is that you won’t have to clear out a corner for you latest gadget it will fit nicely right inside your silverware drawer.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Easy as 1,2,3

Fast Food Tip.

Hip Hostess loves to share easy, tried and true, entertaining tips with our readers. This past week we found ourselves planning a corporate event that required high volume turnaround of food and beverage, in a very restricted workspace. We decided on a mix of appetizers, some were prepared from scratch and some just needed a couple of store bought ingredients but still had that homemade taste.

We realized we had a clear cut winner when the servers were asked if Hip Hostess also had a bakery because the lemon tartlets where so fresh and delicious. If they only knew it was a very simple 3 step process. We purchased three ingredients; tartlet shells from savorypantry.com, English Traditional lemon curd and a blueberry garnish. Next we loaded the lemon curd into squirt bottles to make the assembly quick and easy for the sous chef. A tray of 25 tartlets took between 3-4 minutes to assemble, looked elegant and tasted delicious.

The great thing about this tip is the ingredients, with the exception of the garnish, have a long shelf life. You could put these items in your pantry and the next time you are invited to or hosting an event you know an easy, tasty dessert is at your fingertips. Since the filling and the tarts are about the same color they do require a garnish of some sort to bring a pop of color. You could use a number of things you have on hand such as blueberries, raspberries, mint leaves, whip cream or whip up a quick meringue.

I love it when a few items from your pantry can be easy, delicious and inexpensive not to mention rave worthy!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Destination Bridal Shower and Beyond

Living hundreds of miles away from engaged friends can make it difficult to be involved in all of the showers and parties that lead up to their big day. But I wasn't about to let that stop me when my friend Jade got engaged last year. Instead, I decided to get in cahoots with a couple of her local Chicago friends and create a shower/party extravaganza all in one day. That way I could still be involved, but I wouldn't have to offer my first born to American Airlines.

So we planned a late afternoon couples shower and an evening karaoke bash. And to keep the overall day cohesive in theme, I designed the invitation suite below.

With help from an amazing group of Chicago friends, I arrived in Chicago with all of the groceries purchased, all of my supplies safely stored from shipment, and a beautiful home ready for us to take over.

To go with our picnic theme, we created individual picnic baskets by lining wood berry baskets with inexpensive gingham fabric. We then filled them with chinese take-out containers filled with orzo salad, mini sandwiches on challah rolls, and fresh cherries. Plastic forks were rolled in red napkins with a contrasting band of tissue paper and twine tying it together.

For drinks, we used a GIGANTIC mason jar as a punch bowl to hold my new favorite summer drink - lemonade with sweet tea vodka.

And the sweet thing that topped off our day was Hip Hostess's signature chocolate cupcakes with vanilla buttercream icing. To make our cupcakes look like flowers, I dyed the icing green and topped it with a lollipop. Then using double sided tape, I adhered little green leaves that I had pre-cut from cardstock.

For decorations, we filled the space with lots of tissue "poofs." They are super easy and cheap to make. Here are the instructions.

Both the shower and the karaoke party were a huge success. I'd love to show you pics from karaoke, but none of them passed my self-imposed censor. Just know that we were all Rock Stars.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Etsy Spotlight: Erin Leigh Heart


With the complete lack of shows on the tube during summer hiatus, I find that I have even more time to peruse my favorite websites. And of course, Etsy is at the top of the list.

I have a wedding or 10 to attend this Summer and Fall so I've been looking at dresses of all sorts to mix things up. But I don't want to spend a fortune. And that's when I came across Erin Leigh Heart. She has some amazing pieces with fantastic details all under $100. And if you want a chance to see what inspires her, check out her blog as well. I think you're going to like it!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Link Love.

Tuesday Inspiration.

Sunday Suppers
Vintage wall paper, Saipua flowers, and fabulous food. Who could ask for anything more?
Mer Mag
I know this bag is supposed to be for men…but I kind of want one for myself!

Oh Happy Day
Globes as centerpieces…fabulous!

Seesaw Designs
I can barely do an origami paper crane…let alone these 2D architectural images by Simon Shubert.

Sweet Paul
This recipe for a Chocolate and Crème Cup got Paul out of a funk…and I think it could do the trick for me too.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Sweet Sushi!!

Fun Food Idea.

I saw this post on Mommy Knows and knew it looked like the perfect project for anyone with a children’s party in their near future. It looks super easy and there is no doubt every kid will be excited with this yummy mix of rice krispies, fruit leather, licorice and gummy worms. Not only is it a sweet treat but it is also a fun project to keep the masses entertained. Check out the how to right here.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Parker's Crazy Cookies

Fun Food Find.

While perusing the web I am always amazed and surprised by the talent and the creative ideas people come up with. Having said that, I believe this post may take the cake...or cookie in this situation.

Dave Parker can take a photo of you and turn it into a cookie. But wait it gets better…it is not the sugar cookie with photo film on it you are thinking. I would describe it as an animal cookie that very realistically captures your likeness.

All cookies come 6 to a bag with personalized labels. Parker’s has a 3-4 week lead time and cookies can be purchased in a small bag for $4.99 or large bag for $5.99. There is a $20 design fee and a minimum purchase.

I love this fresh, fun, unique concept.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Inexpensive Customizable Invitations

Well I know it seems like Hip Hostess has gone paper crazy recently, but I couldn't let that stop us from showing you another amazing invitation company. We'd like to introduce our newest sponsor, RS2GURU.

RS2GURU is a line of very inexpensive invitations with so many custom color options that it's mind boggling. And the best part is that customization of color, font, and even wording is absolutely free. And to ease your mind that you've made the right changes, you'll receive a digital proof to check for any errors at no cost.

And another thing that we love about RS2GURU is that they throw in a lot of extras for their already reasonable cost. Free envelopes. Free Return Address Printing. And an extra 6% more invites added to your order free as well (because it is way too easy to mess up addressing envelopes). With all of these deals, I feel like I've run across a really fantastic sample sale..only this deal won't have long lines or end in 2 days. Amazing.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Luna Bazaar

Decor idea.

I recently mentioned that I'd taken a quick jaunt to Vegas...and I always come back inspired in some way. For anyone that hasn't been to Vegas, forget all of those mental images of blaring lights, scantily clad women, and slot machines. I'm talking about the opulence of The Bellagio, The Wynn, The Venetian, and The Encore. It's truly magical...like a Disneyland for grown-ups.

This trip to Vegas I became mesmerized by all hanging decor - most notably the hot air balloon replicas at The Bellagio and the vibrant parasols at The Wynn. They were just stunning. The vibrant colors raised high above accented the tall ceilings and architectural details and immediately lightened the mood in interiors that might otherwise feel a little stuffy.

My favorite thing about these very elaborate displays is that I believe they can easily be translated into event decor by mere mortals such as you and I. Sure we may not have custom silk with hand sewn beading, but I don't think we need it. All you need is help from our friends at Luna Bazaar.

Luna Bazaar has always been a great resource for Hip Hostess with event supplies. They have an amazing assortment of paper lanterns and parasols in all colors and textures. I believe they would work perfectly well as an alternative as is...or if you are feeling extra crafty, they could easily be dressed up a bit to personalize.

And as for those balloons, I'm pretty sure that we could make a mean DIY out of turning a paper lantern into a hot air balloon if anyone would like to see us try...

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

DIY Chocolate Cups


When I saw the below dessert on Bell’alimento, I instantly fell in love with the elegant sculptural look. I decided to keep reading and find out where to purchase these lovely little bowls. Imagine my surprise when I found out it is as easy as purchasing a balloon and melting some chocolate. No really!

All you need is some good quality semi-sweet chocolate which you melt either in a double boiler or in the microwave. LET IT COOL. They warn that this step is not to be taken lightly. You must have the chocolate cool to touch or it won’t be pretty. .Then dip the bottom of your balloon in the chocolate, as high as you’d like your cups to be. Let harden and then poke the balloon just enough to let the air out slowly. Check out their website for a complete step-by-step.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Link Love.

Tuesday Inspiration.

Daily Inspiration for a Handmade life.

For more fun photos of this bride and groom's wedding check out PDX bride.

If I had this outdoor space...you would never find me indoors.

Check out the tutorial for this "too cute" headband.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Contest by Cambria Cove

A couple of months ago, we introduced our readers to an amazing new purveyor of all different kinds of home goods, Cambria Cove.

We loved them so much from our very first catalogue that it didn’t seem possible that it could get any better. And then they started introducing their Summer entertaining products…sigh! Picnics, barbeques, and rooftop parties are amazing on their own, but if you had some of these amazing wares to use to serve your guests you’d be a rock star hostess guaranteed.

So imagine our excitement, when Cambria Cove offered to sponsor an unbelievable contest for a $100 gift certificate! Go to the CC website and check out their new Summer Entertaining Products. Pick out a few things that you would definitely like to add to your collection and tell us what you’d use it for. You have until the end of the day on June 30th to enter and then we’ll pick a winner at random. Good luck!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Last Minute Father's Day Idea


One thing that all men have in common, without much exception, is that they love food. And in the case of mine and my husband's family, they especially love beef.

So if you are having a hard time figuring out something nice to do or buy for your Dad next weekend on Father's day, consider making him a delicious meal. It shows that you're all grown up. It shows that he raised a thoughtful person. And it's a much better gesture than buying an ugly tie that he'll never wear.

Here is my tried and true Steak Sandwich recipe. It's great served with herbed new potatoes or fries. It is sure to please and you won't spend the entire day in the kitchen preparing it when you should be catching up with Dad.

Steak Sandwich
(makes 3 large sandwiches)

1 New York Strip Steak (about 1" thick)
1 Large Spanish Onion, cut in rings
Olive Oil
Ciabatta or Focaccia Bread
Mustard Aoli (recipe below)

Using a good pinch of both, salt and pepper both sides of the steak. Let it sit out for about 5 - 10 minutes so that it isn't cold in the center when cooking. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a medium to large frying pan over high heat. Just as the olive oil is starting to slightly smoke, add the steak and cook for 1 minute without moving it. Turn it over and cook for another minute. Then turn down the heat to low-medium and continue to cook for 7 minutes (this should bring it to medium rare). Remove from pan and put on plate, covering with aluminum foil. Let it sit for at least another 10 minutes.

Using the same pan, add another tablespoon of olive oil and turn the flame to medium. Add the onions and cook for 10 -12 minutes, turning occasionally. The onions will be a caramel brown and soft when finished.

Thinly slice steak against the grain on a slight diagonal. Slices should be about 3/8" thick.

Spread mustard aoli on both sides of bread. Top with a layer of steak, caramelized onions, and arugula. Enjoy!

Mustard Aoli
1/2 - 3/4 cup Mayo (less make sharper tasting aoli...more is milder)
1 Tbsp Dijon Mustard
1 Tbsp Whole Grain Mustard
1/4 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp Pepper
2 Tbsp Sour Cream

Combine all ingredients together in a small bowl.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Whitten Grey

Kids clothing and a great cause.

Hip Hostess would like to introduce you to a wonderful little girls clothing line called Whitten Grey. This up and coming designer has really nailed simple, sophisticated and playful all at once.

This line would be perfect for flower girls who are headed to a laidback country or beach side wedding. The designs are cute enough to make everyone ooh and ahh. And the materials are organic and breathable, so your stylishly sassy flower girls will be comfortable. Trust me nobody needs uncomfortable flower girls right before the walk down the aisle.

Also a bonus program they call Project Grey Dress provides a dress, free of charge, to a girl in need with every WG dress bought. This is a triple deal: Adorable dress, give back to charity, happy flower girl. If only everything was this easy!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Uniquity Invitations


Uniquity Invitations is the perfect vendor for the budget conscious bride. Where else can you find a stylish and hip invitation suite that includes invites, rsvp, place cards, favor tags, table numbers, menus and programs for $79.00? Uniquity offers a variety of template choices that range from simple and elegant to modern and bold.

This is how it works. You check out the website and choose a style, once you have purchased the design you will receive, via email, the basic template. You are then able to adjust the font, color and size of text yourself. All that is left is printing, trimming and mailing.

Let’s say you are browsing through the templates and find something you love, but the color scheme is a little off or you need an insert. If you don’t see that option, no worries, just contact Uniquity and they will be happy to add some customization. Not only is this product easy on the wallet but it can also be a stress reliever. You don’t have to worry about knowing the exact amount of invites you will need right from the start. Let’s face it sometimes cousins, great aunts and family friends you never heard of suddenly show up on someone’s list at the last minute and just hitting your print button will solve this problem without any hassle.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Spotted: New Minis at Krispy Kreme

Looking for a super tasty yet inexpensive way to end the evening? Most people associate doughnuts as a quick breakfast in a cardboard box…but that’s enough of that. It’s all in the presentation. Mini doughnuts displayed on a cute cake stand are edible at any time of the day. You could also kick it up a notch like Martha and serve the Krispy Kreme mini’s already on the spoon in the cup or glass.

Also, talk about a super cheap alternative for after hour wedding snacks. Display the donuts next to a to-go coffee or hot chocolate bar. Leave some cute bags or boxes out for your guests to pack up their donuts before departing. The great thing about this is that they can eat them on the spot or in the morning. Who wouldn’t be thankful for a Krispy Kreme to fight off the morning hangover.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Link Love.

Tuesday Inspiration.

With This Ring I Thee Obsess
Because this calligraphy is elegant and edgy all at once.

Dress Design Décor
Because these light fixtures had me at hello…and the Lucite barstools just put me over the edge.

Cake Journal
Because petit fours don’t seem so scary to make after this tutorial.

Spruce Home Etsy Shop
Because pieces like this swanky red loveseat would inject some serious energy into any living room.

Twig & Thistle
Because a Stache Bash seems to be a genius way to get guys excited about a party. And it’s hilarious for the fairer sex as well.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Contest by Beau-Coup


What a month this is shaping up to be! We are thrilled to announce that Beau-coup has joined the Hip Hostess group of sponsors.

And to kick off this new relationship with us they are giving one of our lucky readers a $25 gift certificates to use on any of their products! To enter, just go to their site and pick out some of your favorite products, tell us about them in our comment section before July 1st, when we will select a winner at random.

Because the Hip Hostess gals have long been fans of Beau-coup's amazing products, I've taken the liberty to pick some of our favorites below.

Mini Topiary Place Card Holders
a classic choice that would go with so many different event themes

Mini Gumball Favors
who doesn't love old fashioned candy themes?

Mini Piggy Bank Favor
seriously...this is just cute

Mini Candy Jar Favor
a great take on the every popular candy bar

Embossed Favor Box
cute and inexpensive favor boxes are very hard to find. these are just lovely and the price is right.

Miniature Antique Chair Place Card Holders
these charming little guys would look fantastic in traditional, old-world type venue