Friday, April 30, 2010

Happy Hardware

Home Decor.

I'm facing a daunting task right now. Furnishing a new apartment that is nearly 4 times the size of my previous Manhattan apartment. Needless to say, I am working any angle that will make a big impact at little cost.

My new favorite thing to do is change out hardware on some of my furniture pieces. Anthropologie has an amazing selection of door handles and knobs...and all at a very reasonable price. It's easy to switch out and requires no fancy tools.

So what did I do? I decided to add a little bling to my danish modern buffet cabinet. Simple crystal knobs added a whole lot of glamour to my straight-laced utilitarian piece. And it only cost me $32 bucks to create a total facelift!! What a steal.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Flower Power


One of my favorite restaurants in NYC and Chicago is Mercadito. It has an absolutely fantastic Hibiscus Margarita that makes me do a happy dance upon arrival to the table. The Hibiscus adds a subtle sweet flavor that is hard to explain, but quite addictive.

So imagine my excitement when I spotted this new beauty at the liquor store. Rosangel Hibiscus-infused Tequila. Yes, please!

They recommend the following recipe for a margarita, and I plan to take their advise for a little get-together this weekend.

Rosangel Margarita
1 1/2 oz Rosangel
1/2 oz Orange Liqueur
1 tbsp Agave Nectar
Juice of 1 lime
1 tbsp orange juice
1 tbsp cranberry juice

Shake together and pour into margarita glasses. Sip. Do happy dance.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Special Ingredient

Food Find.

I love when I walk into a Trader Joe's and it's unexpectedly not allows me to spend more time strolling down the aisle and filling up my cart with vast amounts of fun-sounding things.

My most recent trip yielded their Orange Muscat Champagne Vinegar. I'm a big fan of vinegars in general and love to make my own vinaigrettes and marinades, but this one is truly special. With a sweet citrusy flavor and the mild acidity of a champagne vinegar, there are so many things that you can do with this magic ingredient.

Last weekend, I threw together a big bowl fruit salad of sliced strawberries and blackberries and just topped it with a teaspoon of sugar (to sweeten the strawberries) and about 2 tablespoons of this vinegar. Let it marinade in the fridge for a bit and serve with a slice of angel food cake, shortcake, or just by itself. Give it a's delish!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Link Love

Tuesday Inspiration.

Oh Hello Friend
Seriously adorable idea for a bedside table.

Seven Spoons
Simply lovely chocolate cake. I bet it tastes great too!!

Hey Susy
I’m loving this fresh new design by Susy Jack. And you can download and print the card right from her site.

The Sartorialist
I have been so inspired browsing through all of the entries of this fashion blogs “Vintage Photo Contest.” Don Draper has nothing on these guys…

Monday, April 26, 2010

Hip Hostess Expansion

Big News and a Fun Find.

A couple of months ago, my husband was offered an amazing opportunity in Chicago. Fantastic for him...scary for me and Hip Hostess. So Brandi and I put our heads together and decided that we could make this a win/win situation. The result...Hip Hostess is expanding to service both Chicago and NYC!!

As of May, we'll be working with clients in the Windy City and establishing relationships with all of the talented local vendors. So, if you are based in Chicago, don't be shy...we want to hear from you.

In the meantime, I'm trying to get acclimated to my new town. I've lived here before, but time has changed this city quite a bit. I now live in Wicker Park/Ukrainian Village...which I had never even been to when living here previously. So, I've make it my personal mission to explore all that my hip neighborhood has to offer.

I wasted no time getting to know the local grub. We dropped off our suitcases at the new place and immediately headed to The Smoke Daddy. Smoked meats covered in homemade sauces. Brisket, pulled pork, and ribs...oh my. If you live in or around Chicago, check it out.

If you live elsewhere, you can experienced this tasty BBQ deliciousness as well by ordering their homemade sauces online. Your grill, a rack of ribs, and one of these sauces is all that you need for a tasty meal. good.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Invitation Box

Recently a lot of people have been asking. “How do I start the party planning process?” In my experience the easiest thing to do is to find one thing that you love. It could be a color, flower, antique, pattern…really anything. If you have a focus point then it becomes a natural starting point and things start falling into place. This also helps you avoid the trap of buying a little here and there and then ending up with way to much stuff that doesn’t really present a cohesive theme.

If you have been doing a little brainstorming and that one item seems to be escaping you, then start perusing some invitations. Invitations are a great source of inspiration.

I recently opened the mailbox to find a package from that contained a colorful array of cards for all different occasions. If you have a party in your near future, this could be a great place to start!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Crispy Roasted Chickpeas

It’s funny how when sitting through an all day seminar or meeting your meals become like a life line. In my normal routine I don’t generally have a 3pm snack, but for some reason when in a meeting I check my watch every 10 minutes just waiting for that break. I actually convince myself that my focus will become greater when I get that bag of pretzels.

That being said, one of the things I love about Hip Hostess is that I get to design menus that include those 3pm ever-so-important snacks. I like to put out a mix that includes some old standby’s (some people just don’t like change), healthy snacks and some fun and unexpected items. I challenge myself each month to try new recipes or look for fun and unusual beverages or products.

This month, I decided to focus on the healthy and try the crispy roasted chickpea recipe I saw in Better Homes and Gardens magazine. It looked really simple and chick peas are delicious, vitamin-packed and inexpensive. The recipe called for an olive oil, salt and pepper mixture. I was pleased with the results of the chickpeas but felt that the flavor needed a little kick.

I searched the web and found exactly what I was looking for at Kalyn’s Kitchen. The Moroccan spice mixture provided a hint of hot and sweet at the same time. This is a great, healthy recipe for movie night, cocktail gatherings or as a snack in your child’s lunch box. Plus the attendees at the Hip Hostess event will be bright-eyed and bushy tailed after all that protein!

1 can chickpeas
1 T. olive oil
1/2 tsp. Moroccan Spice Mix
¼ tsp. kosher salt

Spice Mix:
2 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. ground coriander
½ tsp. chile powder (the spicier the better)
½ tsp. sweet paprika
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
¼ tsp. ground allspice
¼ tsp. ground ginger
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
Pinch of cloves

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Drain chickpeas into a colander and rinse well with cold water until no more foam appears. Let beans drain for 5-10 minutes, then pat dry with a cloth or paper towel.

While beans drain, make spice mix. The leftover spice mix can be stored and used for additional veggies at a later date.

When beans are well drained and dried, toss with olive oil, spice mix, and salt. Arrange in single layer on baking sheet. Roast 35-40 minutes or until they are slightly browned and make a rattling sound when you shake the baking sheet. Serve warm or let cool.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Spotted-Farmer's Market Baskets

Just in time for Mother's Day. These porcelain farmer's market baskets make the perfect gift.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


Recently, many of the trendy restaurants have started serving homemade lollipops in fun flavors in lieu of the after dinner mint. Some of the flavors include: three pepper and fennel, basil and vanilla and ginger. Since Hip Hostess hasn't yet mastered the art of lollipop making we decided to give you an alternative for your next gathering.

Gin and Tonic is a classic cocktail that is great as a refreshing, summer cooler. Look for a lime flavored green lollipop to not only punch up the visual but add a little burst of flavor.

Gin and Tonic
4-5 cubes made with tonic water
3 oz. gin (spring for the good stuff as it makes a big difference)
4 oz. tonic water
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
Place tonic cubes in glass. Add gin, tonic and juice. Stir and enjoy!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Link Love

Create My Event
These cute markers are a must have for your herb garden.


For my next party trick...I will make a rose from a straw wrapper.

DIY vases...just in time for Spring.

Monday, April 19, 2010


Who needs pin the tail on the donkey when you can have The Great Animal Hunt wall decal from The Blik Team? I love this idea for a children's party. The decal is $40 and has 53 hidden animals within the puzzle. The decal can be purchased here.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Read This - Part 6

Blog Love.

If you are getting married, you must take a gander at Grey...Grey Likes Weddings, that is.

The fact that this blog writer does set and still life styling for photographers, designer, and venues is no surprise at all when you look at her blog. Every image is inspiring and lovely. Grey is definitely worth a trip during your daily blog browsing session.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Read This - Part 5

Blog Love.

Cake Journal. This blog is sweet. You can find loads of inspiration, clear-cut tutorials and more than enough tips on how to “ wow “ your guests at your next get together. All it takes is one look and you’re hooked!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Read This - Part 4

Blog Love.

Today I'm giving kudos to Lovely and Gracious. Not only is Hilary a fantastic graphic designer with some really fun ideas, but she also pulls together lots of wedding inspiration on her blog that is equally unique.

If you're looking for a different perspective on things involving weddings, make sure to check out L&G!!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Read This - Part 3

Blog Love.

One of my favorite daily reads is The Party Dress. I am constantly intrigued by the fabulous inspiration and photos from the girls around the globe. You will find new ideas for theme parties, children’s birthdays, weddings and ways to add little special touches to your everyday life. Check it out, you won’t be disappointed.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Read This - Part 2

Blog Love.

Oh how I love a gorgeously designed space. And if you ever need some interior design inspiration, look no further than Desire To Inspire. Kim and Jo amass an amazing collection of photos that will give you such wonderful ideas. I love to tune in on a daily basis to get my fix of all thing beautiful with the home.

And did I mention how adorable their "Pets on Furniture" series is? Readers can submit pics of their pets lounging on furniture. If you are a pet-lover, you understand how the furry family members in our lives can quickly take over your space!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Read This - Part 1

Blog Love.

Amber and I are headed to sunny Puerto Rico to coordinate a wedding for a lovely couple. We have been busy for over a year creating unique graphics, DIY projects and making sure that the overall theme is spread throughout the wedding weekend. We are very excited to see the finished products in action.

That being said, our attentions will be focused on the bride and groom over the next week. We decided to share a few of our favorite blog sites. We sat down with our list and realized that it was massive, so we decided to go with blogs that you may not already have on your reader.

For the first blog I want to profile Stylish Events. April does a fantastic job of putting together inspirational ideas and budget friendly tips as well as giving advice and helping you choose the perfect outfit for any event. I can get caught up on what’s hot in a matter of minutes.

April’s list of must-see wedding resources and blogs is priceless. Not only does she break down the resources into categories but she also gives a run-down of what to expect from each blogger.

If you are not already a fan of April’s and Stylish Events…you soon will be.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

National Holiday

Fun Fact.

I decided I should get my normal errands done a few days early this week. I’m afraid the banks, grocery stores and department stores will be closed on Monday for National Licorice Day. Yes, that’s right a day devoted to everything licorice. I don’t know who made an official day just for licorice…but I think I love them.

Licorice dates back to the early times of man. Many pharaohs and prophets were recorded enjoying licorice as well as soldiers who used licorice to quench their thirsts on long marches. Licorice comes from a plant called Glycyrrhiza meaning ‘sweet root’ in Greek. During the middle ages, crusaders brought licorice to England where they began producing candy where it made its way to America with the early settlers.

This is a great little fun fact that you can use to brighten people’s day. It’s easy to slip a packet of Twizzlers into your child’s or significant other’s bag lunch. Licorice assortments not only taste delicious but look beautiful as well. Your co-workers would appreciate a handful to celebrate the day as they cruise past your desk. It is such an easy way to add a little knowledge an excitement to a regular Monday!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Snack Attack Solution


With March behind us and Spring marching right along, we’re now in the build-up for Summer. We can look forward to baseball, BBQ’s and bathing suits…eek!!

My Springtime dilemma is that it can still be cool enough to crave comfort food but I have to get rid of the “comfort” around my midsection before it’s time to hit the beach. Since my weakness is sweet treats, I try to find alternatives that make me think I’m cheating when I’m really being good.

I found this recipe for a creamy Pumpkin Pie Yogurt in Shape magazine and I’m so excited to give it a try. It sounds filling, delicious, and healthy. Sweet!

Creamy Pumpkin Pie Yogurt

¼ cup Canned Pumpkin
½ cup Nonfat Greek Yogurt
1 tsp Maple Syrup
½ tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Spotted: West Elm Birdcage

What I love about this simple, modern bamboo birdcage from West Elm is that it can work in so many ways.

It's a cool piece for decorative interest in your home. It would make a great "collection box" for cards at a wedding. Or even add some flowers inside and place it directly on a table or hang above for an out-of-the-box centerpiece at any party or wedding. The options are endless.

And did I mention that it's only $39? Love it.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010


If the Easter Bunny dropped off more Peeps then you know what to do with then this book is for you. This adorable book written by Charity Ferriera will have you making Frosty Peepsicles to refresh on a hot summer day, making a Peeps holiday Wreath to brighten your doorway and with Cinco de Mayo right around the corner a Peepinata.

The book is wonderfully illustrated with simple step-by-step instructions that explain the how-to. It’s a great way to extend the family fun. Pick up a copy for $12.95 at your local bookstore.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Link Love

Tuesday Inspiration.

Cup of Jo
Love this underwater wedding shoot! Tyra would be so proud.

Secrets of Domestic Bliss
This little home bar vignette is so lovely. The green cabinet, the blue printed drapes, the lemon tree, and airy white. Perfect!

This old image of Natalie Wood in Manhattan is just one of many inspiring photos featured on this blog that instantly make you want to be more glamorous.

Bunting made of British Stamps adorning a wedding cake. Cool.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Leftover Easter Eggs


Easter is over and the baskets are stored away for next year, the grass is cleaned out of every nook and cranny and the ham has seen its last omelet. But wait…what is all that color in your refrigerator? Oh yes, the hard boiled Easter Eggs. They served their purpose as decoration and a few hunts but now it’s time to reclaim your space.

Chow website has a great article on what to do with leftover Easter Eggs. They share 8 great recipes that I thought looked inspiring and delicious. Here are a few of my favorites, but check out this link for the full list.

Crisp Pancetta and Egg Salad Sandwich

Asparagus Mimosa

Classic Cobb Salad

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Flowers Rock


I’m absolutely loving this fresh new take on an indoor plant from VivaTerra!

Using Hawaiian Volcanic Rocks as an anchor, the assortment of exotic plants has been blessed by a Kahuna (Hawaiian Spiritual Leader) and are said to bring joy and prosperity to a home. The rock itself acts like a sponge to water, so you just need to place in on a little plate shallow bowl to protect your counter. Occasionally add water and supply indirect sunlight and you are all set. Joy and prosperity here I come!

Friday, April 2, 2010

A Southern Delicacy


Recently I found myself at a happy hour in Brooklyn that served boiled peanuts. I have heard of boiled (bawled) peanuts but I don’t actually remember ever eating them. My perception was always, “Why would I want to eat a soggy, wet peanut?” Wow was I mistaken, in a word they are “delicious”. I made quick work of the pile in front of me and a mental note to tell the readers about this Southern delicacy.

Although the process is quite easy you will have a small investment in the time it takes to boil these tasty morsels. The boiling process takes from 6-8 hours. But luckily you can make a large batch to store in the fridge and either serve them cold or reheat in the microwave when the craving hits. So anytime you find yourself with a few hours at home why not throw on the stockpot and boil away.

I plan to keep a stockpile of boiled peanuts in the fridge and pull them out for game nights, cocktail hours, movie nights and anytime I want a healthy snack.
Boiled Peanuts

4 quarts of water
½ cup salt
2 pounds of raw peanuts

In a large stockpot bring the water and salt to a boil. Add the peanuts and stir to “settle” peanuts. Cover and reduce to a slow boil/simmer. Check water level every hour and check for doneness. Add more salt if desired. Total cook time could take between 6-8 hours.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Elegant Easter Egg DIY


In case you missed this DIY on Design Sponge for how to make Ukrainian-style Easter Eggs, go here immediately. These are just so chic and deserve a place in your table decor this weekend!