Friday, July 31, 2009

This Project Rocks


When summer arrives everyone quickly moves the party outdoors and frankly, why wouldn’t you? It is relaxing, there is plenty of space, people can spill their red wine as many times as they want and the best is you don’t have to re-clean you house the next day after you spent hours making it look nice in the first place.

There are a couple of things that can be tricky about entertaining outside. One of them is that pesky wind. It can be disheartening to plan the perfect table setting with corresponding place cards only to see them blowing around the yard five minutes after placing them. Or what always seems to happen to me is, as the night winds down, there is always some board game or card game that everyone wants to try and the cards won’t stay on the table.

Well not anymore! This Hip Hostess is going to be prepared thanks to Poopscape Projects with a vase full of rocks that doubles as a cool centerpiece on the table or buffet. They could also do double duty and work as place cards with a purpose. Check out the tutorial here.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Spotted: 12 Little Gift Boxes by Semikolon

These little boxes are impressive all by themselves. I love to receive gifts or favors in a box that I can later use as a cute container for paper clips, jewelry, etc. and don’t mind having it displayed. The set of 12 is available for $25.00 and comes in red, yellow, blue, grey and chocolate. The great thing is that these little guys don’t need a lot of embellishment which will save you time as well as money on ribbon and paper. Each box measures 1" x 1.8" x 1.8" x 1.1". Not only are the boxes classic, but the sturdy construction will hold up well if you need to ship items beforehand. Also, if buying a large number it is always a good idea to see if the vendor offers an additional discount.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Summer Fruit Puree

Cocktail Recipe.

When entertaining it is always a good idea to use whatever produce is plentiful and in season. I can’t get enough of the delicious stone fruit and berries this time of year. The flavors are so vibrant that you have to do very little work to make something taste fantastic.

Many people associate fruit with pies, parfaits and fruit salads. Hip Hostess likes to mix it up a little and make a few fruit purees to serve with Prosecco or Cava. It is really easy and can be done 1 day ahead and the color combinations make for a great presentation. Plus all the flavor choices make for great conversation starters. The puree lowers the alcohol content of each drink making it perfect for brunch functions. For a non-alcoholic version you can use apple juice in place of Prosecco or Cava.

Ingredients (12 servings)
2 cups sugar
1 cup water
16 oz. of any stone fruit or berries
1 tsp. grated orange peel
4 to 6 bottles chilled Prosecco or Cava (less expensive than Champagne)

Stir the sugar and water in a large saucepan over medium hear until the sugar dissolves, about 5 minutes. Cool completely.

Puree the peaches or similar in a blender with ½ cup of the sugar syrup. Strain, cover and refrigerate. In a clean blender puree the berries with 1/3 cup of the sugar syrup. Strain, cover and refrigerate. You can repeat as many times as necessary with your assorted fruits. When you are ready to serve, place each individual puree into a clear glass bowl or small pitcher.

For each serving, pour 2 to 4 tbsp of fruit puree into a wine glass or flute. Pour enough Prosecco or Cava to fill, gently stir to blend. Garnish with the whole berries if desired.

***Note-You may also put out a pitcher of orange juice in case some of the guests don’t find the combination sweet enough.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Link Love

Tuesday Inspiration.

Pretty Chicky
Pencil skirts for bridesmaids...I love it!

Eat Drink Chic
DIY bubble bath for bridesmaids

13 ways to make your garden glow

These lentils were so tasty my husband didn't even realize he was eating healthy.

Monday, July 27, 2009

An obsession continues...

Fashion Illustration.

I know I have a problem. I don't think it is 12 step worthy yet, but I am obsessed with fashion illustrations! And of course I have another object of affection, Mats Gustafson.

His watercolor illustrations are completely drool-worthy. Moody and minimalistic, they are less about details and more about the overall sense of style that each designer is trying to portray with their collection. And having worked with all of the majors (Chanel, Commes des Garcons, Vogue and Harper's Bazaar just to name a few), he has had great material to portray.

His prints are a bloody fortune, but I really think that one day in the future I must have one of these lovelies hanging on my wall.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Sponsor Love.

Hip Hostess appreciates all of our sponsors...and today it's time to show them some love. Here's what new from some of our favorite vendors:

Wedding Paper Divas
New designs and color pallates for fall are up and running. This is one of my the charcoal and yellow combo.

Uniquity Invitations
Can you believe this is a print your own invitation suite?

Check out the new hand-drawn invitations…this one was created for a couple that wanted a Mr. & Mrs. Smith theme.
Looking for a customized save the date? We think this example is just fab.

So many great ways to make a big impact with any budget.

I can just see an event space filled with countless amounts of these adorable mini tea-light lanterns. The effect would be amazing!!

Friday, July 24, 2009

A cobbler by any other name…still tastes as sweet.


Summer fruit is in full swing: nectarines, raspberries, blueberries, apricots and cherries are all delicious and plentiful this time of year. It is a great time to break out the pie and cobbler recipes.

This reminds me of a conversation that took place awhile back. A group of us were hanging out when two of my favorite topics came up, entertaining and dessert. The group collectively felt that desserts are usually time consuming, difficult and on top of that, expensive. Being a Hip Hostess I offered my two cents which was, why not try a cobbler? Cobbler is easy, fast, inexpensive and delicious. Imagine my surprise when wrinkled up noses appeared around the table? Everyone felt that cobbler was a little to basic and boring when trying to impress guests.

Even though cobblers are a bit basic, they still make my mouth water. The next time you find yourself in need of a dessert to serve to guests why not try a Slump, Buckle, Pandowdy or Claufouti. These are some regional variations of the cobbler and still easy, quick and delicious. Check out some recipes below.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Iced Tea with a Twist

This summer I have been craving iced tea like crazy! And what I've learned about myself is that I'm a bit boring when it comes to iced tea...I really just like the basic, old-fashioned, non-flavored tea. Since I'm usually not that way at all, I went in search of a slight twist on iced tea that wouldn't offend my traditionalist taste. And I found a winner!

This recipe below is very simple and imparts a subtle apple flavor. And what I love about it most is that you don't use any refined sugar or artificial sweetener (because I'm also trying to lessen my dependence on Splenda).

So kick back and enjoy a lazy summer evening with a big glass of this refreshing brew. Ahh...

Apple and Honey Iced Tea

3 cups water, boiling
4 tea bags
1/3 cup honey
3 cups apple juice

Steep tea bags in hot water for 5 minutes. Strain out tea bags, and stir in honey and juice. Mix until honey is dissolved. Chill and serve over ice. Serves 6-8

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

DIY: Wood Chip Vase


I ran across a great DIY in Natural Home Magazine that I couldn’t wait to share. Not only is the end result beautiful but it will make you gung-ho to do a little pruning. With the green movement in full swing, this cute little number could add a natural, green aspect to any event or home d├ęcor.

Who knew that saving your leftover cans and using a little elbow grease on your outdoor branches could yield a phenomenal centerpiece for around $2.00.

Unfortunately, living in NYC we don’t have much access to small branches. But this might warrant a trip for Hip Hostess upstate with some pruning shears. Check out the how-to for this stunning wood chip vase

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Link Love.

Tuesday Inspiration.

Kiss the Groom
I love this new twist on a traditional photobooth.

A Glamorous Little Side Project
Love the shoes. Love the hair. Love the blouse. Love everything.

Four Walls and a Roof
I’m not much for roughin’ it, but this super chic tent in the desert could tempt me.

Broken Saucer
Attention all friends and family. If you get married in Napa or Sonoma or any other wine country…I would like an invitation like this please.

I never get tired of a seeing a cute cupcake design. And I love this version of a traditional Yellow Butter Cake.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Free Summer Music on Rhapsody

Deals Deals Deals.

Music is key to set the atmosphere for any party. In fact, the quality of a song list can make or break a party. I know that I've quickly exited many a drinking establishment based purely on bad tunes. Don't let your party be like that...

Starting today, Rhaspsody is offering a free music download every day until July 31st from their "Best of Summer" collection. I got a sneak peak of what they are offering and it is worth a quick jaunt over to download. There are some oldies but goodies from the likes of TuPac and The Go Go's and some hot new tunes from the Black Eyed Peas and Lady Gaga. Just what you need to get your party started...

Saturday, July 18, 2009

How to Make a Birdcage Veil


I recently utilized my craftiness to help a friend make a birdcage veil. I have to admit that I believed I could pull it off, but I was really concerned about making it look just right...I didn't want to mess up her wedding day look with my lack of skill. Luckily, I was able to pull it off and I thought I'd share with you how I did it and offer some pointers along the way.

What you need:
1 yd of 18" wide ivory/white Russian netting
1/4 yd each of ivory/white organza and organdy
1/2 yd of ivory/white tulle
Thread and needle
fabric glue
hair comb/clip
felt (optional)
white feathers (optional)

1. Take the 18" x 18" piece of Russian netting and trim according to the chart below. If you want the veil to taper more, start cutting closer to the halfway point of the sides. 2. Starting on the end opposite of where you trimmed, sew a running stitch along the entire side being sure to stitch through the little squares at each netting intersect.

3. Pull the thread taught so that you end up with a gathered end like this. Knot the end of the thread. Arrange the pleats as you like and sew the entire edge to a hair comb.

Now we move on to the flower. I used the Martha Stewart tutorial from her Summer '09 Wedding Magazine....with a twist. Here's how it goes.

1. Cut the following template from Martha Stewart Weddings. Using this template cut out the pattern in organdy, organza, and tulle. I used 4 each of organdy & organza, with 8 tulle.

2. Overlap the different layers alternating fabrics, staggering the layers so the petals don't perfectly line up on each layer. Now run a couple of stitches in the center to keep these all in place.

3. Fold the stack in half.

4. Fold this portion in half again, and stitch along the 2 edges that meet. You only need to sew about halfway up that edge.

5. Now you can move the petals around a bit to open the "flower" and form it how you would like.

6. Cut 2 small rounds of felt or left over organdy. On one of the cirles arrange the loose feathers so that they evenly extend outwards. Liberally apply fabric glue and apply the second fabric round. Allow to dry completely.

7. Now adhere the fabric flower to the feather base. Apply a small amount of the fabric glue to the center of the feather base. Position the flower on the base. Using just very outer petals of the flower add 4 - 6 stitches around the egde of the circluar base to further secure the flower and feathers together. Allow glue to dry.

8. Stitch the flower and feather to the edge of the comb above the Russian netting. Ta da! You have a birdcage veil.

A couple of things to note.
* I made the length of the veil fairly long. You can certainly trim it to be quite a bit smaller.
* If you would like to secure the tapered side with a comb, you follow the same steps as you would for the other side. The reason why I opted not to do so, was so that the bride could keep the veil on all night and simply flip the netting to the back out of her face.
* Organdy and organza are fairly expensive, which is why I used more of the tulle to create a full flower while lessening the expense.
* Total Cost for this veil was $4o (and that's with crazy NYC fabric store prices!)

Friday, July 17, 2009

Charitable Gift

Special Offer.

The Summer month's are filled with parties and barbecues and it's always a nice thought to bring a gift to your host/hostess in thanks for their hospitality. So why not give a gift that gives back?

Philadelphia's Flour Pot Cookies has teamed up with Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation with their new Lemon Cookie Gift Box. 20% of the proceeds from each box with go to Alex's Lemonade Stand, a foundation that raises money to find a cure for childhood cancer. And you simply have to read about this wonderful organization and it's's a touching story and I know that you'll be compelled to help out.

And all you have to do is order delicious cookies to help the cause! Each cookie box is contains 6 cookies and retails for $25 and they can ship nationwide. So what are you waiting for? This a purchase that you can definitely feel good about.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Julie & Julia Party

Movie and Party Idea.

I am on the edge of my seat waiting for the premiere of Julie & Julia. The movie stars Amy Adams and Meryl Streep and is based on two true stories. It intertwines the lives of two women; Julia Childs and Julie Powell, though they are separated by time and space both are at loose ends…until they discover that with the right combination of passion, fearlessness and butter, anything is possible.

This movie gives you the perfect excuse to create a fun, economical potluck party using Julia’s recipes. It is a great way to get everyone excited about the movie and the perfect way to relieve the stress of all the prep and expense from the host. The great thing is that with over 1,000 recipes to choose from, everyone should be able to find something in their culinary comfort zone.

Julia has provided many funny quotes over the years that could be used on place cards, trays or if you have a few extra dollars you could have t-shirts made up. Here are a few of my favorites.

* The only time to eat diet food is when you are waiting for the steak to cook
* In France, cooking is a serious art form and a national sport
* Life itself is the proper binge
* I was 32 when I started cooking; up until then, I just ate.

The great thing about a pre-movie party night is that you have a set block of time before everyone leaves for the main event. This is great when trying to keep the cost down because you know exactly how many hours to figure for adult beverages, which is one of the most costly parts of a get together.

The movie releases on August 7th…just enough time to get those invites in the mail.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Life Altering at $15 and Under?


Every once in awhile, the everyday ordinary things that we use have an extraordinary impact. Hence what I'm going to share with you today. In NYC our local convenience chain, Duane Reade, has given a face lift to some of its stores. Because of the new clean and higher-end look, I was compelled to peruse my usual store for a bit longer than I normally would...and I ended up with some amazing products that have knocked my socks off. Check these out:

I color my hair on a regular basis due to some pesky premature silver strands that keep sprouting up. So I try to deep condition on a weekly basis. I previously was using a fancy brand that I had to special order...not anymore! This product packs in an amazing amount of moisture without weighing my fine locks down. And the light coconut scent gives your shower a subtle reminder of a wonderful tropical vacation without leaving you smelling like a Pina Colada all day long.

Slipper Genie
Go ahead and laugh if you must, but these puppies are a multi-tasker's dream! Switch these out with your normal slippers every other day, and your wood floor will thank you. Plus, I don't have to bend over to pic up that scary dust ball that somehow appeared in the corner. The slipper can take care of that...

L'oreal Bare Natural Mineral Makeup
I know so many people that have been on the Mineral Makeup kick for awhile...and I've been skeptical. I didn't think there was anyway that it could cover occasional redness or the unexpected Mt. Olympus pimple. Scoffing at the more expensive options at department stores, I decided to take a less costly risk on the L'oreal option. Love it! The coverage is easily adjusted from light to medium. It actually stays on my combination skin when other foundations dissipate. And the color range worked on my fair and hard to match skin. This is a keeper!

Yes To Carrots Body Butter
Body Butters are great because they pack in so much moisture when lotions can sometimes fade into nothing. My only negative is that body butters can often be a bit greasy...especially in the Summer months. This particular brand combines the best of both worlds - intense moisturizing that leaves a non-greasy finish. And the scent is light and subtle so it won't compete with your perfume.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Link Love

Tuesday Inspiration.

Lobster and Swan
I love the look of this stunning ruffled cake.

My Island Wedding
This berry display is healthy and Cute!

Let's Entertain
Can't find napkins to match...tea towels will do the trick.

These are great for summer parties.