Saturday, May 30, 2009

New Gift Wrap Idea


I'm kind of a geek about wrapping gifts. I LOVE IT. And I'm always looking for a new way to make it snazzy without the foregone conclusion of a bow.

So while trying to clear our some extra craft stuff that was piling up, I came up with a very easy bow alternative that I think is pretty cool and easy to do. Check it out:

Step 1.
Using leftover scrapbook paper (or any wrapping paper that is of a heavier stock), cut out the following three shapes (you may want to resize on your copier to make to the right scale for your package). I like to use a mixture of solids and patterns in coordinating colors.

Step 2.
Hot glue the clover-shaped cutout directly to the package or ribbon.

Step 3.
Hot glue the second flower shape to the clover cutout, offsetting the petals so that they do not lay on top of one another.

Step 4.
Hot glue the circle to the center of the flower. If you would like you could write a message on this circle before gluing (ie. Happy Birthday).

Step 5.
Fold up the top flower layer to create dimension. If you are traveling far with the package, you might do this at the last minute to make it easier to transport.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Summer Salads


There are many reasons to love Spring and Summer. Beautiful weather, blooming flowers, picnics and barbeque's are all some of my favorite things in the world. Another reason why I love this time of year is because of "Summer Salads."

I love Summer Salads because they are usually easy to make and can be made way in no slaving over a hot stove when you should be outside enjoying the beautiful weather. And of all of the salads that I have made over the years, Roasted Shrimp with Orzo is by far mine and my husbands favorite. Another Barefoot Contessa recipe (what did I do before Ina?), Roasted Shrimp with Orzo definitely needs to be added to your arsenal of go-to dishes.

Roasted Shrimp with Orzo
Serves 12

Kosher salt
Good olive oil
3/4 pound orzo pasta (rice-shaped pasta)
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (3 lemons)
Freshly ground black pepper
2 pounds (16 to 18 count) shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 cup minced scallions, white and green parts
1 cup chopped fresh dill
1 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 hothouse cucumber, unpeeled, seeded, and medium-diced
1/2 cup small-diced red onion
3/4 pound good feta cheese, large diced
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Fill a large pot with water, add 1 tablespoon of salt and a splash of oil, and bring the water to a boil. Add the orzo and simmer for 9 to 11 minutes, stirring occasionally, until it's cooked al dente. Drain and pour into a large bowl. Whisk together the lemon juice, 1/2 cup olive oil, 2 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon of pepper. Pour over the hot pasta and stir well.
Meanwhile, place the shrimp on a sheet pan, drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss to combine and spread out in a single layer. Roast for 5 to 6 minutes, until the shrimp are cooked through. Don't overcook!
Add the shrimp to the orzo and then add the scallions, dill, parsley, cucumber, onion, 2 teaspoons salt**, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Toss well. Add the feta and stir carefully. Set aside at room temperature for 1 hour to allow the flavors to blend, or refrigerate overnight. If refrigerated, taste again for seasonings and bring back to room temperature before serving.
**Note: Until you find the feta that you prefer, I would start by only putting 1 teaspoon of salt. I have tried some fetas that are unbelievably more salty than others, which can be overwhelming if you over season.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Cure for a dull day.

Photography and Music.
Well I woke up in a seriously blah mood. Thankfully I was able to find the perfect cure...The Flashdance. This collaborative of The Human Jukebox, Our Labor of Love, and Max Wanger is so freakin' talented that I dare you not to be impressed.

So I spent my morning listening to THJ's Songs for April and browsing some eye candy from Max Wanger's portfolio. And I find myself inspired and out of my funk. I give it a try if you need a little pep in your day as well.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009


Great Deals.

Hip Hostess is going to attempt a new feature called Spotted. Our plan is to check out department stores, antique shops, discount chains and any other place where inspiration may be hidden. Then we'll alert our readers to super bargains, unique findings and everyday items that can be incorporated into entertaining. We hope you find these features helpful and would love to hear any feedback or any findings you may run across.

Spotted…3 Tier Rustic Wooden display at HomeGoods for $29.99

The wooden stand is very similar to the one shown in the above photo. The stand comes in both rustic brown and rustic white. They also have a rectangular option available

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Link Love.

Dress. Design. Decor.
Because there are plenty of lovely home decor and clothing ideas, but this lion cub is the best accessory that I've seen all week. I want one!!

Butterfly Food.
Because I will gladly put a couple of extra minutes in on the elliptical to give these lemon coconut shortbread bars a try.

Duet Weddings
Because I have a weird love of interesting birdcages, and the fact that this bride used them in her wedding is awesome!!

Style Files
Because now I need to go to this former greenhouse turned restaurant in would be perfect for an event, yes?

Monday, May 25, 2009

Happy Memorial Day

Thanks to all of our citizens in the military both past and present. This day is for you.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

St. Clair Ice Cream

Fun Food.

Hip Hostess has shown you many ways to add personality and themes into your events, but did you ever think you could do it with ice cream? St. Clair brought back the art form of hand molding ice cream and kosher sorbet by using reproductions of antique pewter molds. The end result is lovely, delicious little delicate fruits, nuts, flowers and seashells.

The above is a hand crafted walnut made of creamy maple walnut ice cream; just two or three “nuts” makes a noteworthy dessert. One word of advice is that the serving of the luxurious dessert must be timed perfectly as it holds its shape for about ten minutes. The perfect amount of time to make a lasting impression.

St. Clair ships it products, packed in dry ice, anywhere in the continental U.S. They require 72 hours advance notice and have a special delivery price and service for NYC.

What a lovely little surprise if fruit salad was printed on the menu and this is what arrived at your table.

Friday, May 22, 2009


National Stationery Show Recap.

A couple of days ago we had the opportunity to go to the National Stationery Show here in NYC at the Jacob Javits Center. After many, many hours of being awed by the amazing talent in the world of all things paper, we were inspired to create our own Best of NSS awards. Our categories may be a little unorthodox...but that's how we roll.

You might want to save this page as a guide so that you can link to all of the vendor sites, because each company is amazing in some way.

We fell for T&F immediately. They came up with amazing slate framed invitation suite that would be a stunner for any bride to be. And we LOVE the felted mid-century modern furniture cards.

People were probably staring at us cracking up at these edgy and funny greeting cards.

It's no secret that we love O+D. They pretty much say what you are really thinking.

The sweet sense of humor and charm of these cards are infectious.

These folders would make me feel a lot better about paperwork.

I would love to receive this complete stationery set from anyone that needs a gift idea.

And I could take one of these too!

This company specializes in vibrant color, easy customization, and a fantastic price point.

What we liked most about JH is their bright foiling process applied to vintage lace patterns.

TTP has an edgy modern interpretation of some traditional invitation motifs.

Wonderful colors and a great dutch-country flair make this line stand out from other companies.

Smock has an amazing array of ink colors and motif options to create custom invitation suites.

Fresh new ideas in letterpress designs make Tiselle a stand-out.

Coloring book cards, cougar cards, and great notebooks had us ooing and aweing.

Everything at binth is frameworthy. Alphabet flashcards, city illustrations, and custom playing cards were knock-outs.

Loop's hand sketched designs make for amazing wrapping papers and cards that could be amazing at a minimalist wedding or party.

Bobbin uses felt made from recycled plastic bottles in their charming designs.

We loved the fabric gift wrap options by CTC. When tied correctly a message is displayed at the top of the gift.

Kate and Birdie use recycled papers and power created by wind energy.

Linda and Harriet don't let their misprints go to waste. They make these charming hangtags.

We both were saying "why didn't we think of this" all day after seeing these cookie invites. They can be personalized by pens filled with edible dye.

There about a 1000 times a day that I could utilize these "stop talking" cards...especially on the subway or at restaurants.

These great tape designs make it so easy to address your invitations. Just print out basic Avery address labels and apply to this template. No cutting. No pasting. No writing. Love it!!