Thursday, September 30, 2010

Pint-sized Pretties

Tiny jewelry.

Lucky Magazine did a small feature on mini pendants that they spotted on some fashionable folk. I like the idea of a having a delicate everyday necklace that has a special meaning that only I might know...whether it be sentimental or silly.

I did a little surfing on CHARM Co and found lots of fun items. These are some of my favorites...they're just so stinkin' cute!!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Hair today, gone tomorrow?

Beauty advice.

To our hip readers, I need your help.

I may have very well been hiding under the proverbial rock of beauty, but I've only just learned about Moroccanoil in the last few months. In fact I've practically been hit over the head with constant mentions in all of my usual beauty mags.

So has anyone tried this so-called wonder product? I've used and do use an oil/gloss in my daily routine and consider it to be essential. But what I'm hearing about this Moroccanoil is that it's a wonder product. Normally I'd just dive right in and buy it, but at just under $40 I can't justify buying a bottle without firsthand accounts...especially because I recently shelled out the same amount for my existing gloss.

So tell me ladies...what do you think about this wonderstuff?

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Link Love.

Tuesday Inspiration.

Garance Dore
Reasons why I think this woman is chic. She’s wearing the perfect blue for her coloring. Super long sleeves on her gorgeous sweater. And fancy shiny pants that I could NEVER pull off. I’m kind of jealous.

These lovely lilac inspiration photos make me happy.

Design Sponge
DIY herringbone wall. Love it.

Oh Joy
Beautiful cake with such lovely touches.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Chocolate Covered Figs

Dessert Recipe.

At Hip Hostess we always try to use ingredients that are in season and full of flavor. That being said, I always look forward to the late summer crop of figs. A super easy way to make a delicious beautiful dessert is to dip some figs in chocolate. A little Hip Hostess secret is that if you buy a variation of figs such as Calimyrna, Green and Black Mission it will give you a colorful array of figs for your platter. Figs are highly perishable so it is a good idea to buy them no more than one day prior to use.

Chocolate-Covered Figs
1 cup semisweet chocolate
12 figs
¼ tsp. coarse salt

Place chocolate into microwaveable bowl. Microwave on high for 30 seconds then stir. Microwave on high for 30 seconds more and stir again until chocolate is completely melted.

Holding fig by stem end, dip in melted chocolate and set on wax paper lined tray. Sprinkle with salt. Let stand until chocolate is set.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Patio Punch

Drink Recipe.

Well I am certainly not going to complain about the unseasonably warm weather that we're having here in The Windy City. In fact I want to take advantage of it and continue to drink light and refreshing libations as long as I can. And for parties, I love to do big batches of a signature drink so that everyone can just pour off their own glass and I'm not stuck manning a cocktail shaker all night.

When I think about the first parties that my husband and I used to throw right out of college, it almost always involved "Trash Can Punch" served in a gigantic mason jar with a terrible plastic ladle. We convinced a local bar to give us their recipe and we used it over and over and over. Unfortunately, the thought of serving that same recipe a decade later makes me a bit nauseous. As a 21 year old, the fact that it contained 3 entire bottles of rum (one being 151) didn't phase me at all. Now...that would keep me in bed for at least 48 hours after consumption.

When I saw this recipe for Patio Punch in InStyle Magazine, I knew that I had a worthy and much more palatable substitute for our former elixer of death. I cannot wait to give this puppy a try at another al fresco evening with our friends.

Picture courtesy of Lumberg the Loquacious Llama.

Patio Punch
Serves 6 (2 glasses each)

1 1/2 cups light rum
1/2 cup Navan vanilla cognac
3 oz. amaretto
1 cup strawberry syrup (recipe below)
1 1/4 cups fresh lemon jice
1/2 lb fresh strawberries, sliced
lemon wheels and rosemary sprigs
1 bottle chilled prosecco

In a punch bowl or beverage dispenser, combine all ingredients except prosecco. Pour into ice-filled glasses, top off with prosecco.

Strawberry Syrup
1 1/4 cups water
1 cup strawberries
1 1/4 cups sugar
fresh lime juice

Bring water to a boil, add strawberries and sugar, lower to medium heat and stir occasionally for 5 minutes. Strain and add a touch of lime juice to make the flavors pop.

Friday, September 24, 2010

One Disappointed Charlie Brown

The great pumpkin has run into some bad luck this year and if it is true what they are predicting then there will be no pumpkin to be had for our Thanksgiving feasts. The word on the street is that Libby only has 30 cans in their whole factory. So, while this is a little sad, we should look at it as an opportunity to stretch our culinary wings and palates.

If your claim to fame is the mouth-watering pumpkin pie that makes people weep every Thanksgiving then it is time to start practicing for an equally delicious dish. I think we can overcome one year without pumpkin at the very least we get to taste test all the contenders!

Smitten Kitchen-Sweet Potato Buttermilk Pie

Simply Recipes-Caramelized Nut Tart

101 Cookbooks-Heavenly Pie

The Pioneer Cooks-Scrumptious Apple Pie

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Playing with Paper


Now I don't think that I'm letting any big secret out when I say the Paper Source is pretty much da bomb when it comes to beautiful paper products. But when I walked into my local store a couple of weeks ago and saw this paper wreath below...I just had to chat about PS a little bit.

I'm definitely someone who loves to go to paper source and looks at the raw materials and try to think of a way to create a masterpiece a la MacGuyver with paper, tape, and possibly glue. But some days, I just want to create something cool and impressive for a party without using that much of my brain or patience.

Which is why I love the Paper Source craft kits! With all of the materials and detailed instructions in each package, you are sure to be able to create something cool that will have your friends calling you the next Martha Stewart!!

So I'm thinking about using the wreath kit above, but deconstructing the wreath. I think the blooms will make a gorgeous substitution for the typical bow on a gift. And I have to say that I absolutely love the vintage look of these blooms below too. Wouldn't they be so cute on top of a party favor?

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Bottle Art


My favorite section of the Sunday paper is the Relish Magazine insert. It is chock full of interesting facts and fun new recipes. This weekend I was excited to see an editorial by Teresa Blackburn about cream glass etching.

Hip Hostess is always showing you ways to use your interesting leftover glass bottles like here, here and here. Now with this tutorial from Teresa you can take it a step further and personalize them for whatever event you are hosting.

This is an inexpensive way to add creativity and personalization to your tablescape. All it takes is a few household items and some etching cream, which Michael’s and numerous craft stores carry for around $12 for 3 oz. This is a project that is best left for after the kids go to bed as the cream can burn if not used properly. However, they can definitely help with the prepping and will be very excited with the cool outcome the next morning.

I plan to stock up on my bottles and add a cool effect to my holiday tables. I have yet to come up with the perfect phrase that adds a “wow” factor and festive touch at the same time. Any ideas are welcome.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Link Love

Tuesday Inspiration.

The Neo –Traditionalist
This custom pup portrait is just too stinkin’ cute.

Colors of Honey
Love the dress. Love the suit. Love the lilac. Love everything.

Not Your Average Ordinary
The barstools in this kitchen are crazy cool…

Seven Spoons
Blackberry Cream Pie…get in my belly!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Guest Blogger: Casey Armijo

Guest Blog.

Do you have a "lust list"?? Items--big or small--that you're saving your pretty pennies for? For some girls, it's all about the designer handbag or those lovely red label stilettos. Now don't get me wrong, I can crush hard on accessories, but artwork is what really makes me swoon.

Upon moving from the midwest, I vowed that when I officially "made it" in New York City, I'd graduate from the ubiquitous Z Gallerie prints to the real deal: a one-of-kind piece of artwork. So when I landed a big girl job, I did just that. And like a good shoe collection, a girl can't settle for just one piece. So imagine my delight when I stumbled upon the work of artist Jennifer Sidel. She not only creates stunning abstract pieces with vibrant colors, she also specializes in custom digital art. Send her an email with some of your favorite pics, a list of your likes, and voila, she creates a custom one-of-a-kind piece of artwork made especially for you. The best part? Her unique pieces are easy on the wallet, so artwork can move from your lust list to your must list.

Saturday, September 18, 2010


Guest Blog & Kitchen Gadget.

Brandi's sister decided to get in on the Hip Hostess blogging fun and tell us about something new that's she's disovered. So tell us, Hip Sister, whatcha got for us?

I have a horrible problem following recipes. For some reason I just can’t seem to keep myself from pouring in my favorite spices of the moment (I’m discovering cumin works on anything, including vanilla ice cream).

This is really only a problem when I go to recreate the dish after my love affair with that spice set is over and I can no longer remember how I made that perfect dish. Thinking back on it, I wonder why didn’t I make life easy and jolt down a couple notes on the recipe as a reminder of how I got creative, I simply can’t give an answer besides, I didn’t think about it at the time. Then I set my eyes on this puppy

How could I ever forget to take down those all important notes when there is a pencil staring back at me from the end of my spoon?!? I just have to remember to write carefully and not spray food all over my kitchen.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Fruit and Flower Power


I just saw this lovely idea for a place card holder from Martha Stewart. I've always loved combining flowers and fruits in centerpieces (my wedding was chockful of berries and lemons and flowers), and this just proves how well it can work.

The easy step-by-step is right here. And what's great is that your guests can take these little beauties home as a favor too and they'll continue to look great for days!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

papernstitch: carrie strine

Fun Site/Fun Find.

I love that websites like Etsy, Big Cartel, and Dawanda allow artists and crafters to showcase their wares to a larger audience. But do you ever get a little overwhelmed now by the sheer volume of items on these sites?

Don't get me wrong...there are definitely days when I have the time and attention span to spend a good hour or two just surfin their crafty wares. On other days...not so much.

That's why I'm intrigued by papernstitch. They pull from all of these sites to create an online exhibit of the best on the web. They curate their offerings monthly, so you know that you are seeing the best of what's new. So for those days when I don't have that extra digging around spirit...I head straight to papernstitch.

And what's new this month to love? Carrie Strine.

Carrie's shop is diverse for sure, offering everything from quilts to coasters to table runners. But I'm loving her fabric party wares. She takes what is normally a disposable item (likely the basic paper streamer) and recreates them in a more permanent, sustainable option.

And don't even get me started on this kit below. It is customized for each individual with everything you need for your party. So easy. So put together. And so adorable!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Incredibly Interesting Ice Cream


Labor Day may have already passed, but that doesn't mean that I'll stop eating some of my favorite summertime treats - ice cream, gelato, and sorbet.

I was pretty thrilled when an amazing new gelato place, Black Dog Gelato, opened within walking distance of my apartment. Specializing in unique flavor combinations like Caramel Cashew Goat Cheese, Banana White Chocolate Curry, and a Salted Peanut that will kill your sweet and salty cravings in one package, Black Dog may have single-handedly torpedoed my summer diet...and I've loved every minute of it. Unfortunately I can't share this experience with my out of state friends because Black Dog Gelato just has the one bustling store thus far.

Luckily, I might have found a solution. I spotted this fantastic packaging at our neighborhood store, The Goddess and Grocer.

Then this weekend, I was watching the Best Thing I Ever Ate Hot & Spicy and Jeni's got a mention for their Queen City Cayenne - a chocolate concoction with a spicy finish. Well I had to check these people out even further. Jeni's sources all of their ingredients from local farms and dairies to create ice cream that is completely out of this world. And the flavor combinations that they've created (ex. Bangkok Peanut, Wildberry Lavender, Goat Cheese and Roasted Red Cherries) will most likely not be found in your local grocer's freezer.

But not to worry...they ship these lovelies directly to your home!!! You can either choose your own combination of 4 or 6 pints or go with Jeni's picks of their 9 best flavors. Don't you think this would be a fantastic gift?

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Link Love.

Tuesday Inspiration.

Eat Drink Chic
Check out these adorable DIY hankies.

Two of my favorite things...cupcakes and jewelry.

Sweet Paul
You have a couple more weekends to fit in this simple yet beautiful tablescape before fall arrives.

Smitten Kitchen
Healthy and delicious.

Monday, September 13, 2010


Shopping source. has joined the private sale craze and launched a new website called Eziba. The selection is more upscale than the usual Overstock inventory. The items aren’t necessarily overstock but most are new and affordable.

If you already have a user name and password for Overstock then it will transition over to Eziba. If not, sign up as a new member and start shopping. The name brands already on board are KitchenAid, Lenox, Cybex and Calyps

Check out some of the items they have up for grabs below

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

We'll be back next week

Due to the fact that Hip Hostess has been fortunate enough to say “yes” a lot lately we are taking a week to concentrate on September’s events schedule. But we will be back with plenty of tips next week.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Eat Your Words

Party theme and supplies.

If you have been trying to come up with a cool theme for your next children’s party, check out Spy Museum Store. They have all kinds of neat gadgetry including edible spy paper, invisible ink, top secret folders and all kinds of cool favors.

This could be an entertaining party with a few items from Spy museum and a little creativity on your part. Each child could get fingerprinted upon arrival and then receive a secret agent badge. The entertainment for the day could be a ready to solve mystery where you provide clues for the children to find in order to solve the mystery. Also, every spy needs a disguise kit, so don’t forget the fake mustaches.

Also, forget the kids, If you are looking for some inspiration to get through your to-do list faster, the promise of a tasty snack could do it.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Saison Dupont

Belgian Beer.

Last night I went in search of some blog inspiration. I dragged my husband around Brooklyn just begging something to jump out and inspire me. Luckily, our first stop drew my eye to a special beer bottle behind the bar. The Saison Dupont bottle not only had a cool label that looked classic and very Belgian but it had a cork to boot. I was sold immediately.

The beer did not disappoint. It is light and refreshing with some fruity undertones. If I said anymore that that I would officially be a poseur as I am not a beer connoisseur and I don’t exactly understand hops and yeast. But I will tell you that it would make a wonderful presentation at your next get together and pair it with a big pot of mussels and some fresh baked bread and you will definitely be a Hip Hostess! A little fun fact to add to your dinner party is that legendary brewmaster Garrett Oliver said that Saison Dupont is the “desert island beer” of many men. Pop a cork, guys, I think you’ll feel the same thing

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Household Tips

Reader advise needed.

Last night I saw my husband about to commit a serious kitchen crime. He was about to throw out the Dijon mustard bottle which had a tablespoon or so left in the bottom. As I cried, “No!”, slid across the kitchen table and promptly rescued the bottle just as it was about to drop into the trash can.

You see the reason that last drop of mustard was so important is because it makes my life easier. I eat a lot of salads for lunch when I am working from home and it is so easy to mix a little olive oil and balsamic into the jar with the tablespoon of mustard and voila you have no mess-no fuss salad dressing.

When I was thinking about how crazy yet totally practical this was, I wondered what little tips other people have to make my day easier?

Come on people…in the name of making me feel a little less neurotic plus gain some great tips, let’s hear ‘em.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Shameless Plug

Votes needed.

For those of you that have followed our blog, you know that I have recently moved to Chicago from NYC. I'm now faced with a lot more square footage to furnish...a task that is both fun and daunting. So when I saw this contest from CB2, I jumped on it.

A chance to win 10K in CB2 cash and be photographed by Todd Selby (whose blog and photos I absolutely adore). Sign me up!!

So I did...and now I need to drum up some votes. I hate to beg for votes on our Hip Hostess blog, but mama needs some furniture. PLEASE vote for me!!! Our space is titled Sleek and Modern.

Shameless Amber

PS. And please feel free to pass the word along to your closest 300+ friends :)