Tuesday, March 31, 2009

A Lighter Cocktail


Are you becoming bored with the same old vodka or rum drinks? Looking to mix up your summer cocktails? We suggest trying a classic Japanese liquor called Shochu.

Shochu is a Japanese alcohol typically made of distilled barley, sweet potatoes or rice. Not to be confused with sake, Shochu has a higher alcohol content (about 25 percent by volume) and an earthy taste. Also, it has a lower calorie content then most other liquors.

Besides being easy on your waistline, Shochu also appeals to the health-conscious. Research at Miyazaki Medical College showed that while all spirits provide an enzyme that dissolves blood clots, Shochu provides far more of it than any other spirit tested -- more than twice as much as wine, and 80 percent more than sake, which came in second.

Try it out. Here is one of Hip Hostess’ favorite Shochu creations and it only has 100 calories per glass! In this recipe we use Tombo Shochu for its hints of plum but any Shochu will work.

Tombo Shochu ($15; www.tomboshochu.com to find distributors)

Pour 3 oz Tombo Shochu in a cocktail shaker with ice, 6 raspberries, 2 teaspoons of simple syrup and juice from ½ lemon. Shake and strain.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Spring Break

Hi Everyone!

The ladies of Hip Hostess are taking a week off to spend with our families and re-energize for what is looking to be a busy Spring season. Make sure that you enter both of our wonderful March contests - Superior Wedding Rings and Outfit Additions by March 31st. We'll be back with the contest winners and lots of new great ideas and inspirations the first week of April!

This is an uber-glamorous photo representation of Brandi and me on our respective Spring Breaks. Brandi entertaining at a country side manor and me on a road trip. Trust me...this is completely accurate :)

Photos courtesy of This is Glamorous.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Rubber Stamp Labels.

Etsy Find.

I am probably not alone in the fact that I find paying bills irksome. There are certain bills like cable (what is with all those taxes) that actually make me cranky for a few seconds after I hit the send key. Then there are those bills that don’t give you the option of paying online, don’t get me started.

I ran across Sweet Paperie’s Etsy shop and started perusing the address label stamps. I actually thought this could lessen the bill paying pain. Not only do the stamps offer a modern aesthetic, which is almost non-existent in the address label world, but the extensive collection makes it hard to choose from all the fun offerings. If you find yourself not being able to pick only one, the great prices allow you to buy more.

Also, personalized address labels would add a special touch to a gift for a bride and groom or to welcome someone to the neighborhood. They are good for the environment as there is no waste. Best of all, as I slam down my Sweet Paperie rubber stamp on the corner of my payment envelopes, the bill paying tension begins to disappear.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Imagination Station.

NYC Tour for Kids.

As Midwestern transplants in NYC, my husband and I love to have family and friends visit us. We have the standard sightseeing tour down to an art form. But we aren't so good at accommodating for young children. NYC can be too loud, too crowded, and too overwhelming for some children to take in all at once. So I was unbelievably excited to stumble across a hidden gem in my neighborhood: Little Airplane Productions.

Little Airplane Productions creates and produces preschooler programming favorites like "The Wonder Pets!", "Go, Baby" and "Oobi!". They have a charming studio and general store located on Front Street at the South Street Seaport. At 11:00 AM and 4:00 PM every Tuesday and Thursday (as well as one Saturday a month) they do guided tours of their Studio showing exactly how children's television comes together - from writing, to animation to voice-overs. The tour is only $10 per person and limited to 10 people at a time.

If you live in NYC and need a kid-friendly destination or if you are planning a visit to NYC, I would highly recommend checking out Little Airplane. The kids will be engrossed in their favorite characters, you will love this amazing loft space, and everyone will enjoy a break from the hustle & bustle of the NYC streets.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

DIY for the Birds.


Check this great idea out at Mint Design Blog...it's fabulous and easy!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Snog me..I'm Irish!

St. Patrick's Day Slang.

You know that they say everyone is Irish on St. Patrick's Day...now it's about high time that you started talking like an authentic Irish person. The guy next to you at the pub may be faking a accent like he's Lucky the Leprechaun, but if you throw out some of these key words and phrases you'll sound like the real deal.

Ask me arse (v)(rhetorical): What do you take me for, an idiot? (usage) "Lend you a fiver? Go and ask me arse!"

Bags (n): A botched job. (usage) "The hairdresser made a right bags of me perm."

Black Stuff (n): Stout. (usage) "Nine pints of the black stuff and a gin and tonic please"

Doss (on the) (n): Failure to attend work/school during specified hours. (usage) "I swear I wasn't on the doss. I really did have the mumps yesterday."

Fluthered (adj): Very drunk. (synonyms are Bollixed, Gee-eye, Langered, Ossifed, Paralytic, and Rat-Arsed)

Ganky (adj): Repulsive or ugly.

Holy Joe (n): Self-righteous, sanctimonious, hypocrite.

Jacks (n): Toilet, restroom.

Jar (n): Pint of beer or stout. (usage) "I'm dying for a jar so I'm leaving at 11 to have a liquid lunch."

Kip (n): Bed. (usage) "I stayed in my kip until lunchtime."

Manky (adj): Disgustingly filthy. (usage) "The jacks at the petrol station was manky."

Mot (n): Girlfriend

Nip (in the) (adj): Nude. Naked.

Rapid (adj): Great. Fantastic. Amazing.

Spondulicks or Spondooleys (n): Money.

Shrapnel (n): Coins. Lots of change.

Shower of Savages (expression): Loud, ignorant, unsophisticated crowd of people. (usage) "We are bound to look like a shower of savages by the end of the night, but I have lots of spondulicks and I'm dying for a ton of the black stuff."

All words and phrases were from our Irish friends or "The book of feckin' Irish Slang that's great craic for cute hoors and bowsies" by Murphy/O'Dea.

Monday, March 16, 2009

The Ribbon Jar

Craft Supplies.

If you have been having difficulty finding vintage, funky, classic ribbon, Hip Hostess has found a solution. The Ribbon Jar is an online treasure chest of all types, sizes and collections of ribbons. If you have been searching for something a little edgy and keep running across the same things at every craft store then take a look at what they have to offer.

The website is easy to browse and organized by color, ribbon type and special collections. My favorite thing about The Ribbon Jar is if you order 15 yards or more can it comes packaged in a custom jar!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Et tu, Hip Hostess?

Food for a famous day.

March 15th - also known as "The Ides of March" - is most famous for being a very unlucky day for Mr. Julius Caesar. This important day in Roman history is overlooked by most, unless you happen to have studied Latin/Ancient History or have a love for useless trivia (both of which describe me).

This year I am going to give Julius Caesar some much deserved recognition with a couple of brunch recipes in his honor. One is an easy authentic Ancient Roman Recipe the other is just named after him...but both should make my lazy Sunday afternoon just delightful.

Ova spongia ex lacte

Eggs with honey

For those of you honing your Latin translation skills, here's the recipe in Latin from Apicius' De Re Coquineria:

Ova spongia ex lacte: ova quattuor, lactis heminam, olei unciam in se dissolvis, ita ut unum corpus facias. in patellam subtilem adicies olei modicum, facies ut bulliat, et adicies impensam quam parasti. una parte cum fuerit coctum, in disco vertes, melle perfundis, piper adspargis et inferes.

3 tbsp honey
4 eggs
4 T milk
1 T butter
1 tbsp olive oil
Twist of black pepper
Salt to taste

Beat together the eggs, milk and oil. Pour a little olive oil along with butter into a frying pan and heat. When this is sizzling add the omelette mixture. Agitate with a fork until the mix starts to solidify (this will make for a lighter omelette). When thoroughly cooked on one side turn the omelette over and cook on the other side. Fold in half and turn out onto a plate.Warm the honey and pour over the omelette. Fold this over once more and cut into thick slices. Sprinkle with salt an black pepper.

Bloody Caesar Cocktail

1 oz Vodka
Celery Salt
2 Dashes Worcestershire (you can add more to make heartier)
2 Dashes Tobasco (you can add more for extra spice)
Clamato Juice**
Salt & Pepper (to taste)
Olives (optional)

Rim tall glass with celery salt, fill with ice and ingredients. Garnish with a celery stick and lime.

** Don't be afraid of the Clamato juice. It adds a certain addictive kick that will make you forget about your regular Bloody Mary's.

Friday, March 13, 2009



Does anyone else have a love/hate relationship with the arrival of Spring? I really love the warmer weather, but I hate the transition between my Winter to Summer wardrobe...probably because it's pretty non-existent.

I recently read the newest issue of Glamour, which had a great idea of creating a weekend uniform - something that you don't have to think about too much that works every time. They suggested a great pair of jeans, form fitting t-shirt, and fashionable sneakers. This all sounds well and good, but when I put that on I look just like I did in high school and not like a savvy downtown girl. In order for me to pull this look off, it is also key to mix in some very "now" accessories - lightweight scarves, sunglasses, a cute little clutch.

So I took a weekend trek to Soho, searching for unique pieces that I could mix into my "uniform." Apparently, these boutiques do not realize that we are in a recession. Hello! My investments are taking a nosedive, couldn't you just take off at least 20% for sympathy?

Demoralized, I headed to Target to buy not-so-exciting things for the home. What I ended up with was a treasure trove of accessories at amazing prices. Everyone knows about the designer collaborations with Target (Hayden-Harnett, Sigerson Morrison, etc), but I'm here to tell you that their usual brands have stepped it up a notch as well. Here are some of my favorite finds:

Converse kicks for $34.99. These pics don't do them justice. The wedge shoe is adorable in person.

Xhilaration clutches all under $12.99. The website has a fraction of what I found in the store. BTW...a little Soho boutique that I visited wanted the exact same thing (same quality and all) for $75.

Sunglasses and Scarves - all under $20. I've long been a fan of their shades because I refuse to pay too much for an accessory that I am definitely going to break or lose within 6 months. Plus they don't have obnoxious blaring logos on the side.

And not to forget the gents. Converse kicks at $34.99 and retro looking t-shirts for under $15...because I am WAY over Ed Hardy.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

TCHO Chocolate

Fun Food Find.

I had a love-at-first-site moment when I saw the TCHO fun packaging. Then as I researched further this chocolate isn’t your Grandma’s chocolate bar!

The TCHO mission goes something like this:

TCHO is serious about chocolate, we aren’t just re-melters (like the majority of people who work with chocolate), we are manufacturers, with our very own factory capable of producing 4000 metric tons per year – joining only a dozen other major manufacturers in the US.

TCHO was founded by a Space Shuttle technologist turned chocolate maker and a grizzled industry veteran who set up chocolate factories for 40 years from Costa Rica to Germany.

TCHO’s team has deep experience from Silicon Valley to Berlin, from Fair Trade to Ferraris, from chocolate start up to Web start up.

TCHO is funded by friends and families brought together to invest in a dream. And every employee is an owner.

TCHO is scrappy and high tech – recycling and refurbing legacy chocolate equipment and mating it with the latest process control, information, and communications systems.

Wow…and if that is not enough they offer a fun chocolate wheel that corresponds to their packaging so that you always get the chocolate that satisfies your inner chocolate demon.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Rhubarb Cocktails


When I think of Rhubarb, I instantly think Strawberry-Rhubarb pie. I don’t believe I have ever used Rhubarb in any other form. Well it is time that changes because Rhubarb is making a name for itself with fun cocktail creations. Ironically, it is the same bitterness that chefs have tried to cover up for centuries that bartenders are finding so appealing in cocktails.

Juicing rhubarb might seem like a bit of a hassle but it’s actually very easy. You cut the rhubarb into one inch pieces, add water, cover, simmer it down and strain out the resulting juice. You also may want to add a bit of sweetener, such as sugar, honey or Splenda. Note that you want to cut low on the stalk where the skin is the reddest to achieve the bright pink or ruby red coloring. If you cut to high you will get a brown/green coloring.

As an added bonus, rhubarb is rich in potassium and dietary fiber. You can check out some rhubarb concoctions at savor-the-rhubarb.com.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Right Kind of Light


Lighting is so important to creating a mood in an interior. Anyone that has stepped into a government building or doctor's office that is blanketed with terrible fluorescent lighting, knows that not all lights are created equal.

So when I saw this brilliant DIY in Time Out New York magazine, I had to share it with you. The owner of Abilene in Brooklyn used this idea to create the coral-like fixtures...and I think it would be equally fab in an apartment.

15–20 Y-shaped socket adapters (a.k.a. “splitters”), $2.79 at Home Depot (various locations throughout the city; go to homedepot.com for info)
15–20 small round standard-base lightbulbs, $15.53 for ten at acehardwareoutlet.com

* Make sure your ceiling has a standard-socket light fixture into which you can screw the chandelier.

1. Take a Y-shaped socket adapter and screw two more Y-shaped socket adapters into each of its ends.
2. Then screw two more socket adapters into each of those ends and so on, until your chandelier has split out enough to the desired size.

3. Next, screw the lightbulbs into the empty socket ends.

4. Attach the completed chandelier to the ceiling by twisting the original Y-shaped adapter—which is now the chandelier’s base—into your ceiling’s light fixture. Seriously, that’s it!

Monday, March 9, 2009



Holy Contests, Batman!

Hip Hostess has another great opportunity for one our readers to win a fabulous prize. The folks at Outfit Additions will give one lucky reader a $50 gift certificate to use towards any of their products. To enter, check out their site and leave us a comment telling us what you love. The last day to enter is March 31st and we'll announce the winner by Friday, April 3rd. Good luck!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Mulled Hard Pear Cider

Cocktail Recipe.

I was just about to dust off the spring recipes when I heard the weather man say that we could be in for another 15 inches of snow. This was disappointing news to say the least since I have been having a bout of Spring Fever lately. Well in a case such as this, what is one to do? Drink!

My husband and I have tried quite a few Apple Cider concoctions since the beginning of winter and decided to mix it up with a Pear Cider. My pear cider of choice is Doc’s which is from Warwick Valley Winery in upstate New York.

What do you do to beat the winter blues?

Mulled Hard Pear Cider

4 (22-ounce) bottles hard pear cider
Zest of 1 medium orange, removed in large strips
1 (3-inch) piece ginger, sliced into 1/4-inch-thick pieces
1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped (optional)
1/2 cup brandy
1/2 cup honey

Combine cider, orange zest, ginger, and vanilla bean and seeds (if using) in a large pot, stir well, and bring to a simmer over high heat. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let steep for about 20 minutes.

Stir in brandy and honey, pour into heatproof mugs, and serve.

**The cider will keep up to 4 days in the refrigerator in a covered container.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Reuse, Recycle and Drink Up!


If you are anything like me, you’ve drank enough wine to accumulate quite a few corks. On one hand they are a reminder of the good times, but what are the chances you can remember those good times after all those bottles of wine. I think that I will do something good for the environment and at the same time get rid of some of the overwhelming evidence of all those good times.

My mom mentioned she saw an article in the Kansas City Star with info on what to do with old corks. After perusing the article my favorite project is the cork coasters. These coasters are so versatile. If you’re having a wine tasting or an event where a specific wine is the guest of honor, it’s a great way to pull together the theme. These coasters would also make adorable and inexpensive parting gifts or wedding giveaways. Check out the How-to.


Start with a square cork coaster from a craft store. Then look for corks that are near the same size, and cut each in half lengthwise with the knife (a band saw will work for more experienced crafters). Arrange in any pattern you want, as long as they fit on the coaster. Excess coaster can be trimmed once the corks dry.

Put a liberal drop of glaze or glue on the flat side of each cork, and press to secure on the coaster. Repeat until space is covered. Cover with a heavy book that can lie evenly on the coaster, and let dry for at least two hours.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Lovejoy Vodka


Check out the hip packaging for Lovejoy Vodka- by ID Branding.

Here’s the deal: except for the Hazelnut Vodka, the rest are all the same vodka inside, just different labels to suit your personal taste or even better match your event theme.
I often hear people say they can solve their problems with a bottle of vodka…who knew they were talking about design problems.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Easy Potato Leek Soup


Okay guys, so I am going to let you in on a little Hip Hostess secret. Let me start by saying that in almost every case I believe in using fresh herbs and ingredients in every recipe. The taste cannot be beaten and it helps cut down on preservatives which is better for your health.

However, there is one exception in my household where I believe the end result is just as good and you save yourself about 1 hour prep and cooking time. This potato leek soup recipe is our go-to in a last minute guest situation and also our “I am so tired that I just want to curl up on the couch and watch mindless television” evenings.

The secret is that you use Simply Mashed Potatoes instead of cutting, boiling and food processing your potatoes. We have tried many different combinations of specific brands and the below is the one that would stand up to a blind taste test against Grandma’s homemade.

Easy Potato Leek Soup
4 servings

1 package of Knorr Leek Recipe mix
2 cups of Progresso Chicken Broth
1 cup of milk (we use Simply Smart Fat Free but any will do)
1.5 or 2 cups of Simply Mashed Potatoes depending on what consistency you like
Salt and white pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients together on stovetop in a sauce pan. Bring to boil and then reduce heat to low for 10 minutes while stirring to break apart potatoes. Add salt and white pepper to taste.

* You can serve hot as Potato Leek Soup or cold as Vichyssoise

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Wedding Ring Set Contest


You met the right person. You're going to tie the knot. It's going to last forever. Make sure you pick a wedding band that will stand that test of time as well.

I was recently introduced to a new trend in jewelry - Tungsten. Though the name may sound a little intimidating, Tungsten Carbide rings have some major benefits.

1. They are virtually impossible to scratch.
2. They hold their shine for decades.
3. They are 10 times stronger than 14K gold and 4 times stronger than platinum.

As someone who has only had her wedding band for 6 months, let me tell you...this is a big deal. I would be the last person that you would consider "rough"on her possessions, and I have sizable dings and scratches on my platinum rings and I am constantly polishing them.

So when Superior Wedding Rings offered us the opportunity to offer our lucky contest winner any 2 tungsten rings that are priced at $120 or less, we were thrilled. To enter, check out their site and tell us what styles you like the best in our comments section.

If it were my choice, I would take advantage of the strength of the metal and chose this clean lined beauty. Clean, elegant, and bold. Love it!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Kelly Christy Winner


First let us say how pleased we are with your overwhelming response to this contest! Thanks so much for your requests for how we can make the Hip Hostess blog best meet your interests as well.

Now for the winner of our Kelly Christy custom millinery piece. After a random drawing, our winner is:

k_darling said...
I love the start-to-finish party ideas. Having food, theme, entertainment and design all tied together is great inspiration, and makes it easier to either throw something together with your instruction, or create something new with your ideas as inspiration.Also, her pieces are incredible. Incredible. There, I said it twice.


Look for details on another exciting Hip Hostess contest this week!
note: winners have 14 days to claim their prizes.