Saturday, July 31, 2010

Berry Tempting French Toast Skewers


Looking for a fun addition to your brunch menu? How about French Toast Skewers? I saw this recipe on YumSugar and thought it not only looked beautiful but also guarantees portion control, something I need when it comes to French Toast. I also like the fact that it is served with healthy blueberry sauce instead of syrup. If you want to make an impression at your next brunch, check out the recipe here.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Naughty Betty

Snarky stuff.

My husband and I are slowly becoming the last couple standing...the last couple to be sans child. All of our drinking buddies are dropping like flies and becoming grown-ups! Oiy vey!

But I know that our buddies are still trying to get used to the different sets of priorities that come with being a parent. Instead of taking advantage of an unseasonably beautiful day to go drink outside (my favorite past time), they take their child to the park. But deep down, I know they'd like to join us for an al fresco cocktail hour.

So when I recently ran across a line of products from a company called Naughty Betty, I couldn't stop giggling. Started by two 30-something moms, Naughty Betty is a compilation of products adorned with snarky comments that hit right at the heart of what my group of friends is experiencing.

And I think this pretty much says it all:

But make sure to check out the Naughty Betty's chock full of some very clever stuff.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Light Lemon Bars


I have one heck of a sweet tooth...a trait that I know comes directly from my mother. Pies, cakes, ice cream, chocolate bars, cookies...they all make me very happy. But I'm always looking for a way to have dessert without the guilt afterwards.

Fitness magazine had a great recipe for lemon bars in July's issue. Each bar only has 100 calories and packs that deliciously tart-sweet punch that is so satisfying during the summer. And I don't feel the least bit guilty about eating them either.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010



If you have been looking for a bad-ass way to make an entrance into your next picnic…look no further. Boxsal has made it easy with their cool picnic boxes disguised as briefcases, boom boxes and works of art. Each box contains compostable dinnerware and utensils and is just waiting to be filled with the fun food items of your choice.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Link Love.

Tuesday Inspiration.

Z's the Day
Check out Cari's ice cream social birthday bash.

Don't let the wrong glass ruin your perfect summer drink.

Table 6 Productions
You are sure to find a flag style you love in this great compilation.

These tractor escort cards are the perfect touch to this fantastic farm wedding.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Ecojot Giveaway


Get excited, folks. We have a wonderful giveaway starting today and five lucky readers are going to win a wonderful product!

Ecojot is a Canadian based company that creates 100% post-consumer recycled products. As someone who loves a stylish product that is also earth-friendly, here are some other great stats about Ecojot:

* Acid-free, processed chlorine free paper & board is used.
* All inks & glues are vegetable based, therefore bio-degradable.
* No new trees are used to make the paper & the paper mill is powered by biogas harnessed from a nearby landfill.
* All of the protective packaging is corn-based.
* Their "Buy One Give One campaign" donates a school notebook to young students around the world for every jounal, jumbo journal, or sketchbook purchased.

And of course...their graphic prints are bright, cheery and fun.

So here's the contest skinny. Five randomly chosen readers will win (2) 5x7 journals. All you have to do is leave a comment telling us what you use your journals lists, random thoughts, whatever. You have until August 9th to enter.

As for me, I keep a journal with me always to jot down (1)blog ideas, (2)note cocktails and wine that I enjoy at restaurants, and since I'm trying to furnish our new apartment (3) furniture and room dimensions.

Good luck, all!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Carnival Cauliflower


Have you noticed the cauliflower bin is full of psychedelic colors lately? You use to find the orange, green and purple cauliflower mainly at the farmer’s market but Andy Boy jumped on the bandwagon and now you can find the different varieties at your local grocery stores. Don’t be afraid, in fact embrace them.

The different colors are not only a way to make an otherwise boring salad or veggie stir-fry pop with color but they actually include more nutrients. The taste is the same as the white variety but the orange is loaded with vitamin A and the purple has the extra antioxidants like the ones found in red wine, blackberries and blueberries.

My favorite way to cook cauliflower is to chop it up into thumb size pieces then toss with a bit of olive oil, salt, pepper and a touch of cayenne pepper. Then roast in a 450 degree oven until popping with flavor. It’s easy, nutritional and now beautiful.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Kate's Paperie

Party Supplies.

Kate’s Paperie is a place I walk by and stop to browse but I very rarely think of checking out their online store. Well times have changed and I will be sure to keep them as one of my frequent online stops. There line of cute napkins, recycled paper cupcake stands, candles and more is unique and perfect for your next party.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Buzz Off

Outdoor parties.

I am not someone that likes to be one with nature all that often. It's not that I don't love trees, flowers, lakes,'s that I hate bugs and pests. A lot. If you're having a backyard party, I'll be in the kitchen helping out with cooking.

So when I stumbled across the website for Real Goods, I was very happy to find a few things that might make me a bit more likely to partake in the great outdoors (or backyard) party.

1. Wasp Catcher. All you need to do is fill these lovely jars with sugar water and they'll attract any pesky (and painful) wasps or yellow jackets.

2. Poison Oak Soap. I am much more likely to go for a leisurely stroll in the woods with this weapon at my side. After being exposed to Poison Oak or Ivy, use this soap you won't develop any rash or the terrible itchy symptoms that come from those awful weeds.

3. Insect Repellent Bracelet. No need to smell like a chemical plant when you have these as accessories. Each bracelet contains an essential oil that wards off insects. And did I mention that it is odor free? Thank goodness!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Link Love.

My goodness…I love this kitchen. Rustic yet modern. Drool.

My Baking Addiction
Glazed Doughnut Muffins. Sold.

Oh So Beautiful Paper
Breathtaking laser-cut wedding invitations.

Sunday Suppers
Lavendar lemonade. Sounds so refreshing…

Monday, July 19, 2010


Fresh Herbs Info.

I think that there is simply no substitute for using fresh herbs in cooking. The fresh yet powerful punch of flavor that they can add makes any meal better. But when you've used your 2 sprigs of thyme, what are you supposed to do with the remaining 15 sprigs left in the package? Here's a few tips from Bon Appetit to make the most of your store-bought herbs.

1. Treat herbs like fresh flowers. Trim the stems on an angle and place in a glass with 2 inches of water in the bottom. Place an unopened plastic bag over the leaves and store in the fridge. They can last up to 2 weeks!!

2. Dry hardy-leaf herbs like rosemary, thyme, oregano, and bay leaves. These herbs are great when dried and used in stews during the winter (and I actually think oregano is a bit too strong when fresh). Work with one herb variety at a time and begin by washing and thoroughly drying the leaves. Lay a single layer flat on a paper towel. Microwave in 30 second intervals turning the leaves over for even drying. Continue until crisp and brittle. Each variety is different but the total time should be between 2 and 3 minutes.

3. Freeze soft-leaf herbs like dill, mint, parsley, basil, and chives. Place whole sprigs, chopped leaves, or even whole leaves in a tightly sealed plastic bag and store in the freezer for up to 6 months. When using later, there is no need to defrost. Just break of your needed amount and add to the dish.

Paper Gift Topper


Wouldn’t you love to get a gift wrapped like this? Talk about feeling special. You can check out Martha’s tutorial here that actually looks pretty easy for such a phenomenal result. Once you get the hang of it, you can surprise people at every occasion with your fantastic packaging skills.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Fashion Flashback


Frankly, this is not the kind of jelly that you are use to hearing about on Hip Hostess. It has nothing to do with cooking or baking but it will help you look super cute at your next party. I didn’t really like jelly shoes the first time around, aside from the fact that they were super comfortable. I very rarely like it when I see old trends come around again. I generally feel that you should learn from your mistakes and put them behind you…like leg warmers, extremely big hair and the Flashdance inspired one shoulder look. However, they brought the comfort of jellys back with entirely more style.

As of Saturday, I am the proud owner of the second shoe down and I have to day that I am digging the old jelly with the new look. What do you think?

Shoe #1

Shoe #2

Shoe #3

Shoe #4

Friday, July 16, 2010

Shrimp Cocktail Salad


The bad news is, the days of finding plentiful shrimp are soon to be over. The good news is we still have a little time to eat as much shrimp as possible. Shrimp cocktail is a classic appetizer, delicious shrimp dipped into horseradish-cocktail sauce. I wanted to capture that flavor in a dish that was a little more filling but still light and perfect for summer. The answer: shrimp cocktail salad.

Shrimp Cocktail Salad
4 main dish servings

4 large ripe tomatoes sliced
¼ c. prepared horseradish
2 tsp. packed brown sugar
3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. hot pepper sauce
4 stalks celery
1 Avocado
2 scallions
1 lb. cooked shelled and deveined jump shrimp, with tail part of shell left on

1. Set fine mesh sieve over medium bowl. Holding 1 tomato slice over sieve, scoop seeds into sieve. Divide tomatoes among 4 serving plates

2. Prepare dressing: Into bowl with tomato juice, whish horseradish, brown sugar, oil, lemon juice, hot sauce, and salt and pepper to taste until sugar dissolves. If making ahead, cover and refrigerate up to 2 days.

3. To serve, arrange celery slices, then shrimp, over sliced tomatoes. Stir dressing to blend, then drizzle over shrimp, celery and tomatoes. Garnish salads with diced avocado and scallions.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

A Tip on Tips

Good Idea.

It's time to give some much-deserved respect to Thomas Jefferson. Benjamin Franklin gets mentioned in all of those rap songs because he's on the $100 bill. But good ole Thom's paper is worth much more than $2 if used correctly.

A good friend of mine and my husband, Mr. Kovalcin, shared a little tidbit with us that I think is just genius. The next time you are at a crowded/popular bar or club and believe that you will be spending the majority of your time waiting for the bartender to notice you to take your drink order, try utilizing the $2 bill.

For your first round of drinks, tip the bartender using $2 bills. It always gets noticed, draws a comment, and makes them remember you. The rest of the night, your chances of being served before the other masses crowding the bar is significantly greater.

And seeing as how time is money...and you'll be saving all of that time just waiting at the bar...Thom's $2 bill is worth a lot more than 2 bucks to me.

Genius, Mr. Kovalcin. Just genius.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Come Together Studios

Photographer and an HH Destination Wedding.

We've mentioned a couple of times that Brandi and I were in Puerto Rico this past April to coordinate a fantastic wedding (if we may say so ourselves). Working a destination wedding brings a very unique set of challenges, one of which is finding a photographer that you trust to capture your most important day. Often times the best choice is to bring someone with you, rather than working with a local that you may never have a chance to meet before.

When our happy couple chose Come Together Studios, we were very happy with their portfolio. And as we worked with them during the wedding weekend we were happy with their work ethic and courteousness (no blocking the Mother of the Groom for "the perfect shot"). And now that we've seen the results of their efforts, we continue to have love for Come Together Studios.

So we thought we'd share some of the detail shots that they took during the Puerto Rico Wedding weekend. Getting those great detail shots is so important...I mean you didn't spend hours working on those programs and favors just to have them forgotten, did you?


PS. Congrats again to Mindy & Seamus! We hope that you look back on these pictures with much happiness as you remember your wedding weekend.

xoxo, A & B

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Link Love.

Tuesday Inspiration.

La Belle Bride
Fun packaging.

Dog N' Bird
Dyeables be dammed!

The Knotty Bride
Love a cake with a surprise center.

Style Me Pretty
Table for four please.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Winner Winner, Chicken Dinner

Contest Winner.

Today's the day when we announce our winner of a copy of "The Stylish Girl's Guide to Fabulous Cocktails." After a random drawing the winner is...

SingColleen, who said...

My favorite cocktail this summer is the lemon martini: 1.5oz Lemon Vodka, 1.5oz Vanilla Vodka, 1oz Lemoncello, 2oz FRESH squeezed lemon juice, 1/2oz (1T) simple syrup. The fresh lemon juice is essential - store-bought makes the drink too bitter. Be careful, though: two or three go down easily, and pack a serious punch!

Congrats, Colleen! Thanks to everyone for entering...and stay tuned for future contests.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

The Perfect Bite

Cake Shooters.

I'm always striving for the perfect bite - the correct ratio of ingredients on a fork, spoon, cracker, etc. that makes you do the happy dance. You know what I'm talking about. When you approach a cheese plate and carefully layer the appropriate amount of cheese, charcuterie, and perhaps condiment to make a little open face bite of delight on a Carr cracker. Or when you fight your way to the front of the line at birthdays to get an edge piece of cake. Not the corner piece, because that's too much icing...but the edge piece, because it's just right.

Well Sprinkles Cakes in Orlando, Florida has figured out how to fix this cake conundrum in a clever package. Cake shooters.

Each push-pop container has the perfect amount of icing and cake to assure the happy dance...without shoving and pushing in the cake line. Tori Spelling knew this was a good idea when she had Cake Shooters at her daughters birthday party...not a single tear in the bunch of little girls.

Though Sprinkles is located in Florida, you can order them from anywhere in the continental United States. They'll be delivered via second day air. You can reach them at 407.622.7202 to order. Yum, yum.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Last Day of Contest


Thank goodness it's Friday! Isn't it funny how 4 day weeks can seem even longer than the regular 5 day work week?

We don't want to add another task to your list of things to do before you can split from the office and hit the beach or bar (or both)...but don't forget to enter for a chance to win a copy of The Stylish Girl's Guide to Fabulous Cocktails! We're taking new entries through the end of the day, and the winner will be announced on Monday. Here are the details.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Medley of Mikasa

New Product.

As you may have noticed from past posts, I have a great love of candles. I think they are essential for setting ambiance for an event (or just an evening at home), they make great gifts, and you can never have too many laying around.

Apparently, my constant blabbering about wax and wicks caught the eye of the folks at Mikasa. They have a new line of candles and wanted my humble, independent opinion of their product. After testing out two samples in my apartment over the course of this weekend, here's what I think.

1. The packaging is bang on. The quality of the box and subtle print detail makes it gift ready for any last minute hostess gifts. Just add a ribbon and you're set.

2. The scents are lovely and not at all overwhelming. I tested the vanilla during a party with several guys in attendance to see their reaction. I find that often vanilla can be a little too sweet smelling and overpowering for some crowds. These candles were just the right subtle note to create a pleasant atmosphere.

3. The pricepoint is fantastic. You are getting quite a sophisticated product for the $14.99 cost.

4. The glass container isn't over adorned and is a lovely shape that works with any interior. I think that once I've burned the candles to the very end, I'll clean out the wax and use them for vases as well.

But don't just take my word for it, check out these new offerings on the Mikasa website. They have also recently started their own Facebook page, so consider becoming a fan of Mikasa to see what other new ideas they are brewing up over there.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Summer Lobstah Roll


In my efforts to have the “best summer ever,” I am logging all the beach time I can handle. This week we are staying all week at a beach house on Long Island. Since I knew this meant we would have several visits from friends, I wanted to make sure I had a special little treat to offer. I also wanted to make sure it was quick and super easy.

I decided on Lobster Rolls with Lemon Vinaigrette and Garlic Butter. Now that may not sound easy but everything can be prepped beforehand and then all it takes is a few minutes in the toaster oven and voila.

I saw this recipe in an old issue of Gourmet magazine (RIP) and liked the fact that it replaced mayonnaise with the lemon vinaigrette which makes for a healthier and more flavorful lobster roll. Judging by the oohs and aahs after every savory bite. I would say this is lobstah roll is a hit!

• 4 (1 1/4- to 1 1/2-lb) live lobsters
• 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
• 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
• 1/3 cup thinly sliced scallions
• 1/4 cup finely chopped peeled celery
• 1/4 cup celery leaves
• 1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
• 1/2 stick unsalted butter
• 3 garlic cloves, smashed
• 6 hot dog buns, preferably top-split

1. Prepare a gas grill for direct-heat cooking over medium-high heat; see “Grilling Procedure.”

2. Plunge 2 lobsters headfirst into a large pot of salted boiling water and cook, partially covered, over medium-high heat 8 minutes (for 1 1/4-lb lobsters) to 9 minutes (for 1 1/2-lb lobsters) from time they enter water. Transfer with tongs to an ice bath and let stand until completely cooled. Return water to a boil and cook and cool remaining 2 lobsters. Remove meat from claws, joints, and tails. Save carcasses, shells, and any roe for another use (see "To Make Lobster Stock" and "To Make Lobster Oil"). Coarsely chop meat.

3. Whisk together lemon juice, oil, and 1/2 tsp salt in a large bowl. Whisk in scallions, celery, celery leaves, and parsley, then add lobster and gently toss. Season with salt.

4. Melt butter with garlic in a small saucepan over low heat, mashing garlic with a spoon.

5. Brush inside of buns with garlic butter. Grill, buttered side down, until golden, about 1 minute.

6. Fill buns with lobster.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Link Love.

Tuesday Inspiration.

Oh Dee Doh
This DIY kids bed is made of recycled wooden pallets. Genius.

Black Eiffel
Now this is my kind of cabin.

Great Food Photos
This blog is chockfull of gorgeous food photos!

Something Old, Something New
Seriously…these are paper flowers.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Handsome Hanky

Manly Gift.

I loved these mustache handkerchiefs from Avrilloreti the moment that I saw them. Kitchy and fun, these handkerchiefs would be the perfect gift for those witty guys in your life. I mean, what guy wouldn't want to sport a Magnum PI mustache for the night every once in awhile?

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Independence Day Weekend

We hope you all have a wonderful holiday weekend with your friends and families. God Bless America!!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Creamy Guilt-free Dressing


I like a good balsamic vinaigrette as much as anyone. In fact, I should just buy Newman's Own Light Balsamic by the gallon. But I have to tell you that I often crave creamy ranch dressing...however my waistline does not.

I've tried every "light" ranch on the market and have never been satisfied. So when I found this recipe for a light creamy herb dressing in Fitness Magazine, I was unbelievably excited. It may not be ranch, but the mixture of fresh herbs, garlic, and lemon is just lovely and totally satisfies my creamy craving. And it's only 15 calories for 2 tablespoons! I am a very happy girl.

Creamy Herb Dressing

1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
2 cups non-fat cottage cheese, drained
1/4 cup fresh basil
3 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tbsp chopped fresh chives
1/2 tsp salt (kosher or sea is best)
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

In a food processor fitted with a metal blade, process all ingredients until smooth. Makes 2 1/4 cups and stores in the fridge for up to 1 week).