Monday, November 30, 2009

Hot Cocoa

Nothing gives that warm fuzzy feeling like a mug of hot cocoa. It is one of my favorite things to offer guests on blustery days. If you have a large group coming over for a gift exchange or cookie exchange it is always fun to create a hot cocoa bar. You can offer two or three different kinds of cocoa and some fun toppings. The food network has some great recipes with varied sweetness. If you have a couple of electric urns this process can be done ahead of time, if not all the ingredients can be mixed and all you have to do is heat at the last minute. Here are a couple of variations.

Variations of hot cocoa:
Perfect Hot Cocoa
Mexican Spice
White Hot
Cocoa Colada
Layered Mocha

Garnish your cocoa with the following:
Peanut butter cups on skewers
Candied orange peel on skewers
Cinnamon sugar donut holes on skewers
Whipped cream topped with crushed candy canes

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Cute Corn Cookies


When I saw this cute cookie idea from Party Blog, I immediately thought this could be a little time consuming. Then the light bulb came on and I said what a cute, fun idea to keep the kid’s entertained on Thanksgiving Day. You could easily bake some sugar cookies a couple days ahead or throw some store bought sugar cookies in the oven early in the morning. The same goes for the frosting. Then let the kids loose with some Reese Pieces and Green fruit leather (I just saw some at Trader Joe’s). This is a great way to make the kids part of the special day by lending a hand with the desserts. What better incentive to get them to eat a healthy Thanksgiving dinner, so they may indulge in their own corn cookie creations.


1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
Vanilla frosting
Green fruit leather
M&M's or Reese's Pieces candies


1. Using an electric beater, cream the butter and sugar in a large bowl. Add the egg and vanilla extract and mix well. In another bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix in the flour a little at a time until the ingredients are well combined. Chill the dough for several hours or overnight.

2. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Divide the dough into 3 parts. Working on a floured surface with one part at a time, roll out the dough to a 1/4-inch thickness. Using a knife, cut out corncob shapes about 4 inches long. Place the cookies on ungreased baking sheets and bake for 9 minutes or just until the edges brown. Let the cookies set on the sheets for about 2 minutes, then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.

3. Frost the cooled cookies. Next, use kitchen shears to cut husks from the fruit leather to fit the sides of each cookie. Press the husks in place atop the frosting, with the tips down a bit. Now fill in the middle with candy kernels gently pressed into place. Makes about 1 1/2 dozen cookies.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Link Love.

Tuesday Inspiration.

This princess tea party is every little girl’s (and maybe some big girl’s) dream. Precious.

Design Sponge
A new twist on a flower girl basket makes for an easy and beautiful DIY.

The Cupcake Company
Lovely, lovely, lovely layers of beautiful flower topped cupcakes.

Haute Design
Wow…this would be a show stopping wedding dress for a total fashionista.

First Milk
These paper cuts of Lower Manhattan are whimsical and wonderful.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Holiday Decorating Tip

DIY Decor.

I love the modern take on this beautiful bespoke menorah. It could very well be done with any size vase or vessel that you have in your home. The vessels used here are the standard glass vase that you get with flower delivery. If you don’t have a full set then chances are neighbors or friends might have a few to help you complete your look. You will need eight glass votives or vessels, one slightly taller to hold the center shamash candle. Tiny stones or and nine slender candles or white tapers. Fill vessels two-thirds full with stones; then position candles, using the rocks to anchor them so they stand straight. Arrange in a line and light according to tradition.

My holiday décor consists of a tree, garland and usually some type of berries or holly. However, when having holiday get-togethers I am always looking for ways to represent other holiday traditions and religions. This could be displayed very easily on a mantel as a focal point, on the coffee table in the middle of the room or an entryway. It is a beautiful, welcoming, ambient piece for your décor or as a special touch for your holiday event.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Letters Lubell

Chic Paper.

If you enjoy shopping for office supplies as much as I do, then this post is for you. I can’t wait to share these fabulous composition notebooks from Letters Lubell. Each book is 4.375 x 5.5 and letterpress printed front and back in black soy ink on recycled brown board stock. Each book contains 50 blank pages and, drum roll please, is only $7.00.

Not only is this a chic notebook great to throw in your bag and carry to meetings but also looks beautiful setting around your home when you need to jot down the occasional note. They also make a fantastic gift for anyone who loves office supplies (clearing throat), needs some organizational help, poetry writers or even school aged kids.

My suggestion is to order now because I’m sure they will start flying off the shelf.

Friday, November 20, 2009


Holiday Gift Idea.

We've all had it happen to us. After years of trying on every shade of lipstick in existence, you finally find the perfect shade in the perfect formula...only to have it discontinued shortly there after. All of those hours of searching and dollars spent just go *poof*.

Enter you solution: This company can take leftover lipstick, lip gloss, or nail enamel and create a perfect match. Genius!! What could be better than that? How about giving your BFF the gift of what she thought was a lost make-up treasure? Now that is an original holiday gift that keeps on giving. After girls have to stick together.

Photo courtesy of

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Good Housekeeping - December Issue

Good Read.

Okay…so I read A LOT of magazines each month. I have subscriptions to a choice few and the rest I have fun perusing at magazine racks. I like it because it is inspirational and relaxing but still technically work related. So, when my husband sees me in the afternoon with a glossy and a glass of wine lounging on the sofa, it is all in the name of research and I don’t have one ounce of guilt.

Magazines seem to go through dry periods occasionally like anything else. Lately nothing has been making me say “wow” until at the grocery store, in a last minute snag, picked up Good Housekeeping. Now Good Housekeeping is an occasional read but it is very family oriented and so the cover doesn’t always call to me like some of the others. But I will tell you that my December issue has almost every other page dog-eared. It is full of inspirational Holiday advice on decorating, gift-giving, etc. It is definitely worth picking up.

It is difficult to show you all of the exciting things because a lot of the images are not on their website. But one of the highlights is Gifts of Time which in an online, easy to customize, holiday coupon booklet. If you have decided to cut back on costs and not exchange gifts with your significant other, this could be a way to have something to look forward to and a little holiday fun. What better way to get your spouse to think about household chores and what he or she could do to help.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Lunchboxes You'll Love

Great Find.

I think we are all trying to find ways to be frugal and healthy whenever possible. One easy way is by bringing your lunch to work or school every day. But if you are anything like me, you find it difficult to "mix things up" and maintain a well-balanced menu when you have to transport it from home to office. I mean...changing from Doritos to Tyrell's potato chips still means that I'm eating chips.

So when I first spotted these amazing lunchboxes from PlanetBox, I was SO excited. These metal lunchboxes are non toxic, easy to clean (you can put them in the dishwasher) and the multiple compartments mean you won't have a squished sandwich greeting you when hunger strikes. And maybe I'll actually include a side salad or fruit in one of the smaller compartments...much better for my waistline than the Doritos.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Link Love.

Tuesday Inspiration.

Pretty Little Things
This table setting is all wrapped up with a pretty bow on top.

I never tire of looking at the lovely creations by Saipua.

Let's Entertain
I will be scouring the flea markets in hopes of finding some classic pewter mugs like these for my white hot chocolate.

Little Brown Pen
Whoopie Pie Gift Kit…Adorable.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Oh AquaOvo!

Home goods.

Remember when we were kids and we used to just drink water straight out of the tap? Those days are long gone.

A couple of years ago, we used to buy cases and cases of bottled water. Then we felt guilty about all of the waste. So then we went to Brita or Pur filters to refill our reusable water bottles...but refilling those pitchers over and over became cumbersome.

Now it's time to graduate to a larger purifying system. This equaled ugly in my mind, until I came across AquaOvo. These filter systems are so gorgeous that I would gladly have it out in the open. And with a few different base and basin options, you can easily customize it to suit your home decor. Now isn't that refreshing?

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Ferm Wall Decals

Home Decor for Children.

As a lot of my girlfriends are starting to have children, I've been thinking a lot about their home decor decisions. The nursery is pretty easy and fun to do, because...well...the baby has no say in it. When the tot hits 2 or3, you have to start managing the ever changing tastes of your growing child. We've all been there. My mom weathered the change from Holly Hobbie to Strawberry Shortcake and many other "phases" with a stunning amount of patience.

So when I ran across Ferm Wall decals for kids, I instantly thought this was the perfect solution for the growing boy or girl in your life. These amazing decals are easily applied and easily removed. So when Tommy decides that owls are a thing of the past, you just peel it off the wall and start all over. Mom's time and patience is saved and you keep Tommy happy. Brilliant.

*** And for the indecisive adult in your household (like me!!), Ferm also has an amazing line that is perfectly suitable for every other room in your house as well. Check it out.

Friday, November 13, 2009

The Dessy Group - Pantone

Wedding Wear.

The Dessy Group teamed up with Pantone to form a partnership that will make your life much easier. Gone are the days when you had the perfect style dress in mind but could never quite get the right color. The Dessy-Pantone partnership provides style tools that allow you to achieve a color-coordinated event easily.

Their website has been newly designed to allow you to play with inspiration boards, order pantone swatches for vendors, and coordinate a style of dress that is pleasing to all in the pantone color of your choice.

The site is wedding focused, however, if you have a vision of sweeping into your holiday party in a beautiful strapless dress in the perfect shade of blue, this site ensures you don’t have to toil away in a mall for countless hours.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Spotted: Coupon Craze

Money Saving Source. Hip Hostess loves a deal. So we were super excited to receive an email from a great company called Coupon Craze. This one stop spot is filled with tons of online discounts to choose from. So we asked the powers that be at Coupon Craze to send us some ideas of how our readers could save on entertaining ideas for the upcoming Thanksgiving holidays. Take a look below at their recommendations and start clicking to save...

Disguise a cash-strapped budget! Coupons from merchants like will let you throw a champagne party on a beer budget. There’s nothing worse than serving cheap wine at a classy holiday shindig.

Time is money. Cut your cooking time down by ordering gourmet, yet cheap, after dinner treats using coupons from retailers like and Godiva.

Put the finishing fall touches on your home before guests arrive. By searching through the Flower Store category on Coupon Craze you can freshen up any room in the house on the cheap. Retailers like ProFlowers are offering deals on seasonal bouquets and Thanksgiving centerpieces.

Seasonal Decorations:
Don’t forget that the whole house is on display during a dinner party not just the dining room. Find coupons for Bed, Bath & Beyond on Coupon Craze to get holiday appropriate linens, soap dishes and more.

Don’t carve that turkey without the proper tools. Use coupons from Dean & Deluca or to update your kitchenware so you can prepare the perfect Thanksgiving meal.

Holiday Outfit:
Whether you’re a host or a guest, you will need to update that holiday wardrobe. Visit Coupon Craze and you can find coupons for your favorite online stores like and get that perfect Christmas cocktail dress.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


DIY Dream Product.I think you know how I feel about chalkboard paint…love it! Now you can take the creativity one step further and also get Dry Erase Paint.

IdeaPaint is a single-coat, roller applied paint that can turn any paintable surface into your very own dry erase board. It is also half the cost of a traditional whiteboard and better performing.

It is great for walls but could also be used on countertops to create fun buffets or unique welcome signs. This product could have kept me out of a lot of trouble when I was a kid, as I spent a lot of time locked up in my room for writing on walls.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Link Love

Tuesday Inspiration.

Canadian House & Home
These DIY blackboard place cards are both darling and easy to make.

I didn’t know that I needed to visit Kuala Lumpur, but after seeing this house…

Holy deliciousness…Salted Butter Caramel Ice Cream.

A Field Journal
These sugared pumpkins make a beautiful and unexpected centerpiece for any Fall table.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Easy and Delicious


It is the time of year when your social calendar starts filling up before your very eyes. Dinner parties, family get-togethers, holiday soirees or an unexpected visitor. So, what is a gracious host to do? What else, make crostini.

Crostini can be gourmet, Fig and Goat Cheese or Proscuitto basil. They can also be simple like Fresh-Herb Tomato or Wild Mushroom. The point is with just a few ingredients, you can easily assemble an impressive appetizer and control the expense by choosing less expensive toppings.

They are also, easy to transport and hosts everywhere will appreciate that their first course or cocktail hour appetizer is simple, freeing up time to spend with your guests. Those unexpected guests will be quite surprised when you can make a delicious nibble with a few ingredients that you have stocked in the pantry.

Whatever the scenario, one of these delicious recipes should do the trick.

Apricot and Chicken

Carmelized Pear and Sage

Olive Tapenade

Saturday, November 7, 2009


Cold Weather Drink Recipe.

Knowing cold weather is right around the corner has me searching wildly for a few fun beverage solutions to warm my bones. With the wind whipping around, I always find my mind drifting towards thoughts of hot coffee, or wait, maybe hot chocolate. When I saw the Bicerin (beech-eh-REEN) a traditional hot drink native to Turin, Italy, made of espresso and drinking chocolate, I knew my days of having to decide where long gone.

Don’t fool yourself into thinking that this simple drink is, well, simple. It’s a work of art. It’s an exercise in contrasts (hot/cold), textures (rich and full/light and airy), and flavors (dark and bitter/sweet and creamy).

If you are anything like me and a tasty hot beverage at the end of a brisk winter day makes you a little giddy…try this.

1 part freshly made hot coffee or espresso
1 part freshly made hot chocolate
1 part heavy cream

Place a cocktail shaker in the freezer until well chilled, at least 10 minutes. Fill a large heatproof glass with very hot tap water and set aside.

To serve, empty glass and dry out. Layer ingredients in the glass by placing a shot of espresso or coffee in the bottom and then, while slightly tilting the glass, slowly pouring in hot chocolate. Remove shaker from freezer, add cream, and shake vigorously until frothy, at least 20 times. Spoon shaken cream on top of hot chocolate and serve immediately.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Good as Gourd

DIY Gourd Bowls.

Just like cooking, decorating can be about using what is seasonally available to you. At Halloween, you use pumpkins. Christmas calls for all things pine. For the in between month of November, I'm giving gourds a try.

If you google "gourd bowls", you'll see an assortment of arts and crafts/country-looking specimens, but this image from an old Blueprint Magazine made me realize how modern they can look too. And lets not forget how easy and affordable they are to make too. Looks like I have some crafting to do this weekend!!


1. Trace a line around the gourd.

2. Cut gourd in half with saw.

3. Discard seeds and dried membrane, then place gourd in bowl of warm water. Allow gourd to soak for about 20 minutes.

4. Scrape away remaining pulp using metallic pad or an ice cream scooper.

5. Sand gourd.

6. Apply a coat of primer and let dry.

7. Paint bowl with high-gloss craft enamel.

8. Fill bowl with natural, textured accents such as acorns, dried pomegranates, fresh rose petals, mini dried gourds, and thistle.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Winter Berries

Flower Arranging Facts.

As you have probably figured out I am a sucker for an easy flower arrangement. Naturally, winter berries are my favorite go-to décor for fall and winter. The bright colors are amazing and arranging couldn’t be easier. They add a great wintery feel to mixed flower arrangements and also make a majestic statement in large groupings all by themselves. Best of all, they are hearty and will last an extended period of time making them the perfect holiday arrangement since you can arrange them long before your event.

One thing I have always struggled with is, knowing the proper name of the berries. When Hip Hostess has an event we head to the flower district in Manhattan. For those of you who have not been to the flower district it can be a little overwhelming. The morning rush could be likened to the trading floor at the New York Stock Exchange. The above photo from Martha Stewart Living is going to ensure we get the right berries every time and will have Hip Hostess yelling Red Deciduous Holly…buy buy!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Spotted: Beverage Dispensers that Delight

As you can probaby tell from our blog, Hip Hostess loves a specialty cocktail at any kind of event. The trick with serving special drinks to a large crowd is having a visually appealing way of serving mass quantities without too much hassle. So imagine my excitement when I spotted these amazing beverage dispensers from Z Gallerie. Each one is equally fab and would be a very welcome addition to your next party.

Three Tier Dispenser
Variety isn't a problem with multiple layers to work with.

Apothecary Dispenser
This lovely has plenty of room to elegantly display any beverage.

Empire Dispenser
With a smaller basin for the liquid, a potent drink like premixed martinis would be perfect with this option.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Link Love.

Red Book
Love the idea of winterizing your home by making cozy corners to curl up in.

I Love Lolliblog
Sweet potato gnocchi with fried sage and shaved chestnuts…enough said!

Pretty Chicky
Check out this vintage style engagement photo session.

This cork placecard DIY could be a cute accessory for your Thanksgiving table.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Contest by Favor Affair


Hip Hostess loves to start the month off with a new contest for our readers, and we have a fantastic one to bring to you for November! Our friends at Favor Affair are offering one of our readers a $25 gift certificate towards any of their many fabulous products.

What I love about Favor Affair is that while they have a lovely selection of items appropriate for weddings, they also have a vast amount of options for the other celebrations in your life. Baby showers. Birthday parties. Thanksgiving. You name it, and they have it. In fact, here are some of my favorites to show you just some of the potential the Favor Affair has to offer...

Chinese Takeout Tealight Holders
Weddings, parties, bookclubs

Mini Piggy Bank
Baby showers, children's birthday parties

Park Bench Placecard holder
Weddings, outdoor garden parties/showers.

Two Peas In A Pod Salt and Pepper Shakers
Baby showers for twins, wedding showers, weddings.

Mini Maple Syrup
Thanksgiving/Fall Party, wedding showers, brunch party

Now it's your turn to tell us what you like. Take a trip over to Favor Affair and browse their selection. Leave us a comment with what tickles your fancy and why. And for a second entry to win, you can also head over to Favor Affair's Facebook page and sign up as a fan ...just leave them a comment letting them know you came over from HH. You have until November 30th to enter. Good luck!!