Friday, October 31, 2008

A Novella Idea


Vino Novello wines are on their way to a liquor store near you. They usually arrive sometime in early November (around November 6th).

To break it down, it is an inexpensive wine limited in quantities, only available for a short time and must be partaken of immediately. Don’t wait for New Year’s Eve to toast to the new and fresh. Throw together some pasta with Italian bread and your new found bubbly wine and you have the perfect reason to get the party started.

All YOUNG wines, regardless of where they are created, are made by sealing uncrushed grapes in large vats with carbon dioxide to facilitate fermentation within the grapes themselves. This process creates wine that is slightly bubbly. If you want to sound ultra chic you can throw around the term Frizzante which is Italian for half the bubbles of a full sparkling wine. The above result is a fresh but transient wine that is limited in quantity and doesn’t improve with age. Novello wines are meant to be enjoyed before December 31st of the harvest year.

Best part, you can do it all over again in a couple of weeks when Beaujolais Noveau hits the stores. Just insert cassoulet in the place of pasta. --b

Thursday, October 30, 2008

I need a second house…

Registry and gifts.

So if you are anything like me, you receive enough magazines and catalogues in the mail to start your own wing at the local library. I usually dog-ear all of my pages of interest, and then go back later to tear out those pages and catalogue them by category…because you never know when you will want to refer back to something.

Well I’ve been going back through my dog-ears of the last few months, and I keep coming across the same name – Rosanna, Inc. Her collections of tableware and glassware are amazing! Whether you are beachy, earthy, worldy, or dramatic, Rosanna has unique and lovely pieces to suit your taste.

If I had known about this website before my wedding in August, my registry might have looked very different. The Rococo Noir collection has my name written all over it. If I only had another 100 square feet of space… --a

From Top: Mondo Collection, Cin Cin Collection, Rococo Noir Collection

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Chalk it up!

Fun Idea.

As a Hip Hostess, I'm always looking for items that can be purchased and then reused in different ways. This helps me justify the dollars spent and is better for the environment.

I found the ultimate reusable item, the chalkboard…it’s not just for classrooms anymore. Whether you use these little beauties in your household or at events they make an impact time and time again. What a nice gesture to arrive in someone’s home and have a personalized welcome message on a fragrant candle. It also puts a cute spin on the little message you leave your significant other. You thought I was going to be romantic but really I was thinking, “Please clean the bathroom.” At an event they are great for directing people to areas that are a little difficult to find or you could put your favors in the chalkboard bins with a special message for your guests.

The best part is that if you love DIY you can buy Rust-oleum’s chalkboard spray or paint and make your own at a substantial savings. --b

Candles by Adore at Red Envelope. Napkin rings from Museum of Modern Art. Chalkboard trugs by Smith and Hawken. Slate Gray Chalkboard 4 sheets by Wallies. Maison blackboard Oilcloth by Bell’Occhio.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Damn Good Cookies.

Food find.

I'm having a hard time writing this post today because I'm hungry. Just like you should never go to the grocery store hungry, you should never try to write a post about food when you are hungry. But as a Hip Hostess, I must share this amazing find with all of you other Hip Hosts and Hostesess in the world. So I'm going to try my best to describe these treats to you despite my rumbling stomach and drool...

Chocolate Gourmet is a Chicago-based purveyor of deliciousness...more specifically truffles and cookies. I just received their most recent catalogue, and I'm overwhelmed with all of the delicious choices. Add this company to your arsenal of gift ideas - be it a "get well soon" or "thank you" gift - everyone loves cookies! --a

Monday, October 27, 2008

Last Minute Guests


I love entertaining guests. Expected or unexpected it really doesn’t matter to me. With the holiday season fast approaching we get more traffic than usual. I like to think that this has to do with people having the holiday spirit and remembering how important family and friends really are. But the cynic in me thinks that they just want to be anywhere but home where there are presents to wrap, shopping to be finished and holiday baking to be completed.

Even though you will hire Hip Hostess to take away your stress and host your large dinner parties, I want to make sure you are prepared for the drop-in guest. I have a list of items that I keep on hand to make sure that I don’t have anxiety over these situations or leave my guests feeling hungry.

If possible, make a trip to a specialty store that you usually wouldn’t frequent, to find interesting packaging or exotic variations.

Parmigiano-Reggiano and a few other hard cheeses
Top-of-the-line olive oil and vinegar
Quality Dried Pasta and Pasta Sauce
Bottle of wine
Crusty French Bread (you can freeze)
Good Chocolate Bars or Tea Biscuits
Piquillo Peppers

The above selection doesn’t take up much space, the ingredients compliment each other and can be used separately or together to achieve quality appetizers or a hearty pasta if needed. You can even add a touch of honey and some nuts to the Parmigiano Reggiano and have an easy dessert.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Sweet Memories


When I was a kid it was a special treat to stop by the local A&W for a Root Beer Float. Thinking about this led me to my next thought, “Why haven’t I had a Root Beer Float in over 20 years?” I believe the answer is that it is not readily available at most places we frequent as adults. Sure we could make one easily enough at our home but usually after a hard day’s work it is all I can do to throw something in the microwave.

All this thinking about Root Beer Floats made me wonder if I was the only one who had not indulged myself in a decade? So, I began bringing the topic up in various conversations. The surprising thing is that I almost always got the same response, “Root Beer Floats, why haven’t I had one in such a long time?” This was usually followed by a twinkle of the eye and a faraway look with a silly grin.

Well it is high time we brought back the joys of yesteryear. The RBF has many different variations you could adapt to your event. If you were having a bit of an upscale gathering, why not try Root Beer Granita topped with a scoop of ice cream and drizzled with Root Beer Syrup. If you wanted a more adult version, you could always throw in a little Bourbon. If you are having passed hors d’oeuvres try a miniature version to be served as a sweet treat at the end of the night.

At your next social gathering break out the Root Beer and Vanilla Ice Cream and watch them smile. --b

Friday, October 24, 2008

Kwak ain't Whack...

Belgian Beer.

In yet another installment of the I Love Belgian Beer series, I must talk to you about a delicious choice called Kwak. I first came across this gem at a little unassuming watering hole in Red Hook, Brooklyn. Being that it was Happy Hour and that the beer menu was filled with a plethora of brews with fun names, those in our party decided that we would never order the same kind of beer twice...thankfully Kwak was part of my beer rotation.

First, the beer is served in quite a peculiar glass. The glass design is said to come from the 18th century when Pauwel Kwak designed it to be used by coachmen, who hung the glass on what I would describe as the world's first cup holder. This was all so that the coachmen could enjoy the tasty brew while driving...sounds safe, huh? I digress.

Now as for the taste...amazing. Kwak embodies what I love about Belgium Beer: sweet malt, caramel and maple richness, with a toastiness that warms you right up. And the beauty of this selection is that even with the complex flavor, it still manages to have a high level of drinkability and a very smooth finish.

So when you are at Happy Hour tonight with coworkers or at home this weekend preparing to have some friends over, consider giving Kwak a's whiggety whiggety whiggety whack. --a

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Don’t invite the Five-O


You know it’s not a party until somebody busts out the illegal substance. Why not let that somebody be you.

Sure, you could bring a bottle of wine, a candle or some homemade cookies which is always appreciated. But if you want to establish yourself as an awesome gift giver with a flare for style, savvy and underground resources, then I’m here to tell you how to score some illegal cheese. This is the kind of young cheese that has layers of flavors which melt in your mouth!

Like any gift worth giving, illegal cheese takes some effort to procure. They are illegal in the U.S. because they still have all the bacteria’s that can cause some issues such as E. coli and Salmonella. However, the French have been eating this way for hundreds of years without much consequence. Due to the small factor of contamination you should always let people in on the specifics of the contraband.

I have found that if you visit your local cheese monger and throw around a couple of choice words such as: barely legal, raw-milk cheeses and French Style you will be led in the right direction. Never use the phrase “illegal cheese” and you may try to visit the store a couple of times to build a rapport before pulling out the big guns.

The reward for your hard work will likely not be forgotten. --b

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Photo-coaster...of love.


So you finally got all of your digital proofs from the photographer. Now you have 50 pictures that you simply can't live without. But what are you supposed to do with all of them? It's kind of hard to pull off dedicating an entire wall to your wedding photos without looking a bit narcissistic...unless you are Kimora Lee Simmons.

So here's a new idea that will allow you to incorporate your pics into your home in an unexpected way - cute cork coasters.

It's really simple.

1. Take your favorite photos (we recommend doing a variety of pics - mix a couple wedding, with nature photos, or architectural photos) and format them in whatever picture manager program that you have so that they are 4x4 in size.

2. Cut them out to size.

3. Adhere them with a craft glue to 4x4 cork coasters (available at Ikea or craft stores).

4. Cut a 4x4 square section of self-adhering laminating sheets and apply over the photo

Voila! Now you can admire your pics every morning while you enjoy your coffee. --a & b

Special thanks to Karen O'Neill for loaning us her wedding pic for this project.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Mums the word.


So I was in a pinch last weekend. Work ran pretty late on Friday, and I had 2 wonderful house guests that would be arriving in just a couple of hours. Besides the last minute tidying, appetizer preparation, and freshening up, I really wanted to get a couple of flower arrangements for the apartment. I just think it makes all of the difference in the world to make any space - and especially my small Manhattan space - look more fresh and inviting.

The problem was that my neighborhood flower shops were already closed...and our grocery store and bodegas had some pretty lackluster options. Normally I go with a monochromatic look - one color and hopefully only one or two types of flowers. I was not that lucky. Instead, I grabbed the last two bunches of yellow chrysanthemums, one bunch of greenery, and one bunch of berries. I thought I would channel my inner Ariella Chezar and try to do something very natural and organic - believe me, she has nothing to worry about.

But I did learn a nice little trick. My goal was to create one large arrangement, but I had so many short lengths of mums that had to be cut from the main arrangement (because they would have fallen below the water line) that I was also able to make 6 "mini" arrangements. I placed the main arrangement in our entryway so that it was the first thing you would see, then I created small clusters of the "minis" throughout the apartment. The repetition on the theme created a lot more impact and turned out even better than I thought. My guests complemented me on the flowers right away (success!).

So next time you are putting together a flower arrangement, don't toss the scraps. Use these short stems to create mini arrangements...then share the love with the rest of you space. --a

Monday, October 20, 2008

Break Out the Vino


Wine makes a great gift. It’s portable. It’s festive. It’s appreciated. Wine can be quickly gift-wrapped and tied with a bow. And best of all wine is easy to find.

But how do you pick out just the right wine for a gift, here are a few guidelines.

$10-Casual Acquaintances.
Co-workers, Dry Cleaners, Housekeepers, Dog Walkers, Friend of a Friend
This might sound cheap, but buying wine for a few dozen people adds up to several hundred bucks. White wine is usually a safer bet than red. Look for wines from countries where quality and value go hand in hand. A couple examples of this would be Pinot Grigio from Italy or Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand.

$20-Good Friends
People you enjoy spending time with or your boss.
Bottles that cost around $20 are about right, which means you can find wines that are new, exciting or not your ordinary Cabernet. You could try a California Grenache Blanc or Malbec from Argentina.

$30-Intimate Friends
People with whom you would want to share a bottle or three.
Give wines you wouldn’t pay the extra dollars to buy for yourself and that everyone would enjoy trying. On this level you can definitely get personal, such as, choosing a year with special significance or labels that reminds your friends of an inside joke. --b

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Mies Please.

Inspiration Board.

Mid-century modern architecture and furnishings are a favorite of the ladies here at Hip Hostess. The clean, sculptural lines of the works by Mies, Bertoia, Eames, and Saarinen always bring inspiration to us. So today's inspiration board is going to be based around a wonderful Mies van der Rohe building - the Farnsworth House. What is wonderful about this residence is the dichotomy between the structure and it's rural setting. I think that a wedding that takes it's cues from this could be very interesting. Clean, crisp details set in an earthy, organic, Autumnal surroundings. --a

First Row: Farnsworth House, Dress by Matthew Christopher via Gabriella New York, plum tart by cannelle et vanille. Second Row: Flowers by Saipua, Favors from, glasses from Crate and Barrel, Flowers by Third Row: Groom attire from Project Wedding, Invitations by Twig and Fig, Earrings from Erica Bapst, cake by Collette Foley.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Outdoors brought indoors


As soon as you start feeling that slight chill in the air, when the crisp mornings put an extra pep in your step, decor changes. All around you see warm, earthy colors: rust, pumpkin, brown, gold. Often these colors are used in arrangements of flowers during events. But I like the idea of trying something that is truly earthy - terra cotta.

The place where I was married in Chicago adjoined to a flower shop and garden. Along one wall in the garden were stacks and stacks of terra cotta pots lined up and ready to use in arrangements. It makes for a very dramatic backdrop with greenery all around it. So I did a little searching to find interesting terra cotta pots and planters that could be used in centerpieces and focal points at events, and I found a wonderful company, Seibert & Rice.

The pieces by Seibert & Rice are outstanding. You could easily use a few very large pieces for architectural interest, or go very bold with combinations of small & medium as centerpieces and buffet displays. And the beautiful natural color of the products works so well with an Autumnal color palette. --a

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Belgian Beer.

Don't snub your nose at beer, folks. It is high time that beer came out from behind the shadows of Merlot & Cabernet or even Martini & Sidecar. How many times in my life have I heard, "umm...I'll just have a beer." Just? Just? We must change our attitude.

I have the perfect cure for those of you that doubt me. Belgian beers. Often touted as the finest beers in the world, they are likely very different than most beers that you may have tried. Because they continue to ferment after being bottled, Belgian beers are usually cloudy and may sometimes have a bit of sediment in the bottom...not unlike wine. This doesn't make the beer bad, it actually means that it can be stored longer and will often get better with age. There are many different types of Belgian beers. The most famous are: Pilsners, Trappist Beers, Lambics, Witbeirs, Abbey Beers and Saisons.

Today I am going to focus on an Abbey beer - Maredous Tripel. The Maredsous Monks of Devee, Belgium, entrusted their recipe to Duvel Moortgat in 1963. Of the three versions of Maredsous that Duvel produces, the Tripel is the strongest - clocking in at a whopping 10% alcohol. This is not the beer of choice for drinking games. But the taste is so good that I can't do it justice. Here is how a more qualified reviewer described it, "Pear slices macerated in Poire Williams and sprinkled with ground clove is present in each delectable gulp. Sipping doesn't cut it with beer this good."

So what are you waiting for? To be a true Hip Hostess, just prepare a big pot of steamed mussels & frites...then crack one of these puppies open. You won't miss having wine. --a

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Breathe some new life into an old standby


What is inexpensive, easy to prepare and even the pickiest of eaters enjoy?

The answer is fruit.

I hear a lot of comments about how fruit is unimaginative and boring. So let’s spice it up with a Chili-Salt rub! Three simple ingredients do amazing things to fruit: Fresh chilies, salt and sugar. The rub is best on fruits that are slightly acidic, the salt and sugar combo take on the acidity while the chili gives it a nice kick. My favorites are mango and pineapple.

This can be served a couple of different ways. Sprinkle the trilogy onto the cut up pieces of fruit or prepare cute individual bags that guests use to dip the fruit into. The latter practice is used quite often in Asian countries as the fruit is sold at roadside stands with paper packets.

Either way this fruit will not be boring….

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Food Inspiration!!


Anyone that knows me well know's that Ina Garten, a.k.a. The Barefoot Contessa, is my cooking and entertaining idol. I drool over her cookbooks and TiVo her Food Network show so that I can watch and perfect my technique. And I have never, I repeat NEVER, come across a bad recipe from any of her books.

So imagine my extreme excitement when I received an email today from the Barefoot Contessa crew with great news. Ina is releasing a new cookbook, Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics, on October 28th! The focus of this book is going to be taking very simple ingredients that can be found at most supermarkets and "unlocking the flavor." I know that I will be first in line at the store on the 28th to get my copy!

Also, check out her new show on the Food Network, also titled Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics. It begins airing on December 13th and will showcase her wonderful recipes and some exciting parties. --a

Stir things up.

Fun Idea.

I'm not a video game addict. I don't wait in line with teenagers for the newest version of Halo or Grand Theft Auto...but I love Guitar Hero & Rock Band. And I know that I'm not alone. What's not to love about jammin' out in your living room to your favorite 70's & 80's hair band songs? Awesome!

The beauty of this game is that it is also the perfect party game. Invite a bunch of friends over and have a "Battle of the Bands." If you live in an apartment, make sure to alert your neighbors that you will be having a concert in your apartment. And be prepared to be up until the wee hours because time flies when you are a rock star.

And I now I have one other piece of advise. Pick up the Cool Jazz ice cube stirrers by Fred & Friends. It doesn't matter if you only serve pizza out of the box. This will be the one food & cocktail detail that everyone remembers. --a

Monday, October 13, 2008

LOVE Candy


When planning wedding décor, brides often get frustrated with the idea that they are throwing a lot of money into items that will just get pitched after the reception has cleared. Whether it was a pricy item that you purchased or the DIY project that you spent a whole weekend putting together…by the end of the planning journey, many brides (and their grooms) find it hard to rationalize spending time & money on the “visual punch.”

But who says it must be disposable décor?

Enter the stylish products of Made by Girl. Designer Jennifer Ramos uses bold color and typography to make a lasting impression in both her stationary and prints. What we love about Jennifer’s work is that the colors are vibrant and would add a great pop of color to any event. Although the colors are bold, they are simplistic enough that you could add a corresponding pattern or texture and still have an interesting cohesive look (note how nice the patterned wall paper looks behind her prints in these photos).

And the best thing about this wonderful art is that it will look just as fabulous in your apartment/home as it did above your candy bar. – a & b

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Purple Reign...

Inspiration Board.

You don't have to walk by many store windows to see that purple is in - be it plum, violet, or even magenta. Since purple is associated with the color of royalty, doesn't it seem appropriate that it would be used in a wedding...the day when many brides' only wish is to feel like a princess?

So today's inspiration board focuses on varying shades of purple, with ecru, and white. How glamorous... --a

First Row: Domino Magazine photo, Lilac escort card from Martha Stewart, photo from Whitebox Weddings. Second Row: Shoes from JCrew, Violet bouquet from Little Winter Bride, Tie by Gucci, Dress from Monique Lluillier via Kenzie Kate. Third Row: Necklace from gurlygirl, boutineer from Easter Yu. Fourth Row: Setting from Martha Stewart, Invitation from Ceci NYC, Cake from Le Cupcake.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Small Plates, not Small Taste


There is a new dining experience making its way into restaurants throughout NYC. It is the concept of “small plates”. It is based on appetizer-esque portions, you can mix, match, and taste with each portion costing less than a main course.

Many cultures have been using this dining method for years such as tapas, dim sum, meze from Mediterranean and Japanese izakaya. The chef’s opinion on small plates is that the palate gets fatigued when eating a large main course and the consumer is more satisfied with a variety of flavors. I am the first to say that I love a steak and potato dinner, however this is a great way to try a little of everything while keeping your fork on your own plate.

This concept is one of the easiest to parlay into a successful dinner party. There are a ton of recipes out there for small plate dishes that can be prepared ahead of time and are still delicious. Most of the items could even be pre-plated giving you maximum amount of time with your guests.

Michele Humes of Fine Furious Life came up with an excellent way to make a comfort food into a small but delicious portion. --b

Meatloaf Cupcakes with Mashed Potato Frosting


For the “cupcake”:
1/3 lb. ground veal
1/3 lb. ground chuck
1/3 lb. ground pork
1 small carrot, roughly chopped
1 small onion, roughly diced
2 stalks celery, roughly diced
3/4 cup breadcrumbs
1/3 cup milk
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1/4 cup shredded parmesan
2 eggs
Salt and pepper

For the “frosting”:
7.2oz box instant mashed potatoes
Milk, per package instructions
Butter, per package instructions
Beet juice from canned beets

To garnish:
Green pepper, very finely diced


For the “cupcake”:
Preheat oven to 350F.
Soak the breadcrumbs in the milk and set aside. Saute the vegetables in olive oil until softened. Transfer to a deep bowl and use an immersion blender to puree; alternatively, puree in food processor. Mix the three meats, eggs, breadcrumbs, parmesan, parsley and vegetable puree in a large bowl until an even consistency is reached. Place meat mixture in greased muffin tins and bake until brown and shrunken away from the sides, about 20-25 minutes. Remove from tin and cool on rack.

For the “frosting”:
Prepare one sachet of instant mashed potatoes according to package instructions. To prepare the other, substitute beet juice from canned beets for the water called for in the instructions. Allow to cool. Transfer each batch of mashed potato into a separate pastry bag (or Ziploc bag with a snipped-off corner) with your favourite pastry tip. Pipe onto cupcakes and decorate with diced green pepper.

Reheat in oven or microwave before serving.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Meet Celebrity Hair Stylist-Frank Arcabascio


For those of you who don’t know me personally, I don’t have the best track record for lengthy relationships with the opposite sex. But I can now say proudly that I have three exceptions to that statement; my husband, my dentist and my hair stylist.

My hair stylist, Frank Arcabascio is one of those true hidden gems that I consider myself extremely lucky to have happened upon. Seven years ago I lived in Astoria, Queens, and decided to stop into the salon on the corner called The Saloon. Without an appointment or a clue, I was fortunate enough to get Frank’s chair. Frank promptly received a consult, advice and then one of the most meticulous hair cuts of all time.

I didn’t find out until at least a year later that not only is Frank the proprietor of The Saloon but also a trusted stylist to the likes of Rosario Dawson, Paula Abdul and The Gastineau Girls to name a few. What I love about Frank is not only do I get star treatment without the attitude but he is always searching for the latest and greatest, whether it is trend, equipment or products.

That is why Hip Hostess is very excited to introduce Frank as a guest blogger on our site. Frank will be giving tips about products, styles, trends, color and helpful hints such as when and how you should start preparing your hair for the big day.

Stay tuned for Frank’s blog entry in the next couple of weeks… --b

Photo Source:

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Get out your color wheel...

Inspiration Board.

When planning the color scheme for an event, it is often most comfortable to pick a neutral and mix it with one or possibly two similar colors. Chocolate brown with pink. Charcoal grey with yellow. Black & white with red. There is absolutely nothing wrong with going this route...but you also shouldn't be afraid to mix it up a bit. Having an unexpected color scheme makes an event feel special and personal right off the bat.

So how do you pick a fun color combo without ending up with something that looks like it might be inspired from your recent trip to visit gram & gramps in Boca? Go to the color wheel. Yup...that same color wheel that you learned about in elementary & middle school. The colors on the wheel are laid out in a way that can help you see what colors work together.

Today I'm going to use complemetary colors - or colors that fall directly across from one another on the wheel. I chose orange & blue. And you don't have to go with primary versions of these colors...we're working with the Crayola 64+, not the basic Crayola 8. So to finesse the look, we'll do aqua blue with a marigold orange. Doesn't that sound fun already? See what you think... --a

First Row: Room from Domino, Cake from Vanilla Bakeshop, bouquet from The Knot. Second Row: Whitebox Weddings. Third Row: Groom attire via, Mini Gumball macine via Beau Coup, Necklace from Luxe Deluxe, Invitation via Bird & Banner. Fourth Row: VW Bug from Flickr, Bottles from Terilyn Fisher, Dress via The Satorialist, Martini photo from Whitebox Weddings.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Fruits of your Labor


Flavored vodkas have become a popular ingredient in mixed drinks. I say, shake things up and save some cash while you’re at it by infusing your own vodka. This has been an experiment that I have been waiting to try for quite some time. I was always hesitant imagining myself in the kitchen with a lab coat, rubber gloves and many glass beakers.

Imagine my surprise when after researching I found it literally takes 3 simple steps. Buy airtight containers, buy half decent vodkas and infusion ingredients, mix together and let set for approximately 5 days.

This is a Type-A personality’s dream. You can choose the vodka, the infusion ingredients and then the container to display your vodkas. In my opinion, it is always a good idea to give your guests something new and exciting to try, plus it is always a conversational ice breaker. --b

Monday, October 6, 2008

Green Goods.


Registering for shower and wedding gifts can be really fun and exciting...and a bit intimidating. My registry consultant from a certain department store (who will remain nameless), looked at me a like I was a crazy lady when I said that I wasn't going to register for fine china & sterling silver. The fact that I didn't have room in my apartment to store 12 sets of both everyday and fancy-schmancy dinnerware was apparently a ridiculous notion. Evs...

So instead of making sure that you have the proper amount of tea cups, gravy boats, and rice makers (really?? is that necessary), register for some fun things!!

Here is a perfect example of an item of distinction that I doubt you will find on any registry list. Esque, by Andi Kovel & Justin Parker, is a line of one of a kind pieces of functional art that are made from recycled glass and processed in an electric furnace that is powered by wind energy. I particularly like the "Jute Cozy Carafe + Glasses." Good for the earth and good for you tabletop, yes? --a

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Hello Gorgeous.

Design Crush and Inspiration Board.

As a kid, I loved watching old black and white movies. Fred and Ginger gliding across a glossy, black, Art Deco floor in Shall We Dance. Rita Hayworth flipping her famous red locks in Gilda. Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman saying their unforgettable goodbye in Casablanca. It all just oozed "Glamour."

Now that I am older, I still ogle at glamorous eye candy in any form that I can find it. A couple of years ago, I stumbled across the fashion illustrations created by David Downton, and absolutely fell in love. He does the most amazingly beautiful illustrations for many major fashion houses as well as portraits of celebrities. Alas, I am not a famous supermodel, so I have all but given up hope that I could have my likeness glamed up by Mr. Downton. You can purchase prints of his work (definitely on my wish list)...but in the meantime, I have created this inspiration board based one of his dramatic illustrations. --a

First row: Bank of Italy, Judith Leiber clutch, Murano glass chandelier. Second Row: Jewelry from Instyle Weddings, cake from Jen's Desserts, invitation source unknown. Third Row: Cocktail from, sparkler picture from Fourth Row: Bouquet from The Green Vase, Veil from Instyle, illustration from David Downton.

Friday, October 3, 2008

A picture is worth a thousand words….


I was having trouble expressing the importance of hiring a professional with a fine eye for detail when writing my latest blog entry. I couldn’t seem to make the prose strong enough without sounding preachy or pushy. That is when I came across the perfect photo, supplied by one of my favorite bloggers, Michele Humes of Fine Furious Life. I think this speaks for itself…look closely. --b

Thursday, October 2, 2008

A New Twist on an Old Favorite

Food & Favors.

Over the last year there has been a huge craze for candy buffets but the time has come to consider an alternative. October is the perfect time for this since it is official “National Popcorn Poppin” month.

That’s right, why not replace the candy with different flavors and colors of popcorn. You can get really crazy with this idea because you are not limited to only sugary flavors. For instance, you could throw in some Jalapeno-Cheddar or Hot Wing Popcorn for those who prefer salty over sweet.

Popcorn also allows you to have control over your budget and time management. If time is of the essence, then you can choose from an array of ready made popcorn. If budget is a priority, Make Your Own Popcorn night could be a fun way to spend some time with your girlfriends, family or significant other. --b

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

The Scarf: A New Kind of Uniform


While walking down the streets of New York I couldn’t help but notice that everyone was wearing a scarf…and it’s not that cold yet. I asked myself “Did I miss a huge sale at Barneys or did the high schools enforce a new kind of uniform?” Turns out scarves are the new winter accessory.

So, what’s a girl to do? What else…get a unique, one of a kind, fun scarf. Luckily, I had received an email from Jodie Lyn Kee Chow showcasing her talent in scarf making. The pieces are original and made from unused fabric remnants. Not only will you be the most stylish scarf wearer in NYC but also doing your part to save the planet.

Don’t forget with the holidays fast approaching, you have to plan those holiday events but also shop for the perfect gift. We can help you with either. Who doesn’t love a scarf? --b