Friday, December 30, 2011

Keeping Cashmere Clean


The feel of cashmere is something quite special indeed. And I've long read that one of the essential 10 (or so) items that every woman should have in her closet is a black cashmere turtleneck. Always in style. A classic iconic piece.

Well I fully intend to check that item of my wardrobe to-do list this year, but I have a feeling that I'll be wearing this soft piece of luxury an awful lot (ie. my winter uniform). The thought of adding yet another regular item to my drycleaning bill is just nauseating.

Which bring me to The Laundress Wool and Cashmere Shampoo.

I have heard wonders about this product and just read in Lucky that you really can wash your cashmere and wool with it. But I'm a bit hesitant to take the plunge with my soon-to-be coveted clothing essential.

Has anyone tried it? Did you end up with a barbie sweater or were you just as happy as some people claim?? This inquiring mind desperately wants to know.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

2012 Food Trend Report

This is my favorite blog to write every year. I love getting the foodie predictions for the coming year. Without further it is...drumroll please.

Wine in bulk-Think beer growlers but with wine.

Hamburger Helper-More restaurants are reinventing the blue collar money savers like meatloaf, sloppy joes and chili

Good Beer Tall Boys-Craft beer in 16 ouncers.

Scotch Eggs-Yes, hard boiled eggs wrapped in sausage, breaded and fried.

Scandinavian Comfort Food-Look out for something called the Lefse wrap?

Carbonated Cocktails-Think French Spritzers packaged in cute bottles.

New Ethnic Street Food

Filipino Food-I've never had this but I would definitely give it a try.

Upscale Mozzarella Sticks-Random

Juicing-Healthy dietary regimens. Word on the street is that even Starbucks is getting into the action.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011


If one of your goals for the New Year is to hone your culinary skills to utter perfection then this food blog is for you. I recently came across Roost and have been checking it out daily for the inspiration and sheer beauty of photos. Trust me you’ll be whipping up Spiced Ginger Cakes with Rosemary Apple Butter in no time.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Link Love

Cupcakes and Cashmere
Snowflake cookies are good all winter long.

This is so fun!

Koko Cooks
Great dinner on a cold, snowy evening.

Martha Stewart

Looking for a cool champagne cocktail for the New Year…here are 12.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Sweet Caviar


I think this is one of the coolest fruits that I've ever seen, Finger Limes.

Originally grown only in Australia but now available out of California, Finger limes contain little caviar-like capsules of lemony-lime juice that would be absolutely fabulous as a garnish on desserts...or as some have recommended, raw oysters. Yum.

Talk about being fancy schmancy without much effort. I am definitely employing these little guys during my next cocktail party!!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Happy Holiday's

hip hostess wishes everyone a healthy, happy holiday filled with fun, family, friends and plenty of eggnog!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Oh My Pie


When I saw the teaser photo from Refinery 29 for this turtle pie, I couldn't get my fingers to click on the link fast enough.

Seriously...I'm pretty sure that this is worth ever minute of time that I'll spend on the treadmill burning it off. YUMMMMM!!!

Check out the recipe here.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Lemon and Lime Ice Cubes

When preparing holiday dinners let’s face it the food always takes center stage and the beverages sometimes take a back seat. I always make sure that I have a couple nice bottles of wine to go with dinner but often in the cooking frenzy I forget about my non-alcoholic guests. Probably because there is only a very few!

But I always have a twinge of gilt when all I have to offer is water as an alternative. This year I’m going to kick it up a notch with a lovely pitcher of water with lemon and lime ice cubes. That way, even my water will have a special touch. Check out the easy tutorial here…all it takes is muffin pans and 3 minutes.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Link Love

Tuesday Inspiration.

Cannelle et Vanille
Beautiful winter berries against a clear blue sky. Lovely.

Heart of Light
I am absolutely loving the rainbow of streamers for the backdrop of this dessert buffet.

What an adorable DIY Christmas Card.

Seven Spoons
Who says you can’t eat ice cream in the Winter? Honey and Toasted Nutmeg. Mmmm….

Monday, December 19, 2011

Holiday Flowers


Last weekend my husband and I threw a holiday party in our apartment lounge. The room was really large so I wanted to make a visual impact, so I decided that bold pops of red would be best. I fell in love with some absolutely stunning ranunculus from France at our flower market. But at a hefty price tag of $62 PER BUNCH...I had to say hello to my little friend, the carnation.

Yeah...I said it. The carnation. He gets no respect. This flower is dense and hearty and can look quite rich if you use it in monochromatic arrangements. To bump up the monochromatic factor, I also wrapped very simple vases with red satin ribbon. The result was quite bold. And did I mention CHEAP?!?!?!

SO if you are looking for a punchy arrangement for your holiday parties this week, give the carnation a look.

And don't worry if the blooms at your store aren't totally opened. Forcing them open is as easy as 1,2,3. Here's a video that shows you how.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Holiday Tablescape Tips

The holiday's can make it feel like you are being pulled in a million different directions. Here are a few cute ideas for your holiday tablescape that you most likely have around the house. So pull one of these together in a few minutes, cross that off your list and spend some time sipping a glass of wine and enjoying the season.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Ornament Wreath


So...last year I talked about making an ornament wreath, but sadly it did not happen. I ran out of time, got scared, or perhaps was just a little lazy. But I'm happy to say that this year I tackled the project and I'm quite happy with the results...

I actually did this project a bit different than what I had originally read in Good Housekeeping. I bought all supplies from Jamali Garden in NYC, but you could probably shop your local craft store, floral supply, or hardware store.

I used a pre-formed wire wreath (intended for floral designs). I then hot glued the tops onto all of the ornaments so they wouldn't pop off. And then started wiring the ornaments to the wire form.

For me, it was easiest to create 3 "quadrants" with my largest ornaments (mine are the mercury glass balls with texture). And then I filled the space in between them in the most balanced way. To keep everything secure, I then hot glued some of the clusters together so they wouldn't roll around along the wire form. The whole project took about an hour...and that is for an OCD person like myself.

I hope to use this in our holiday decor for many years!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Peace, Love & Reindeer Hugs

Why buy gift tags when Amy Moss of Eat, Drink, Chic has made these adorable and downloadable gift tags for free. Who wouldn’t want a reindeer hug?

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Link Love

How About Orange
Instead of a cookie exchange…how about an ornament making party?

Eggnog Truffles, not only yummy but great for gifts.

Jones Design Company
Adorable and I just happen to have a chalkboard with a vintage frame.

Sweet Paul
Check out this modern spin on the Advent Calendar.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Ona SLR Bags

Photography and Fashion.

Recently my husband and I have jumped into the world of "fancy" cameras by upgrading to a Cannon DSLR. To protect this expensive investment, we ran out immediately and bought a camera bag. But I wish that I hadn't been so quick to do so, because I just ran across Ona Camera bags. *Sigh*

Isn't this just gorgeous? Love love love. And this bag isn't just about beauty, check out the inside of it and how organized your camera supplies could be:

Again...sigh. And the man in your life don't need to be left out either. They have really stylish options for him as well.

So now I have a new deal with the hubby. He and I will work very hard to become really good at using our "fancy pants" camera, and then we will reward our hard work with a "fancy pants" camera bag :)

Friday, December 9, 2011

Soup for Supper


Have you ever had a craving for homemade soup for dinner, but realize that you don't have the time to let it simmer for a couple of hours...or you didn't plan it in advance enough to put in the crock pot before you leave for work? It happens to me all of the time in the Fall and Winter.

Luckily, I've started using this recipe for Chicken Tortilla Soup from on of my favorite cookbooks, The Bride and Groom Cookbook. You can whip this together in 10 minutes and it tastes like you've worked a whole lot harder and longer than you did. yay!

picture courtesy of the fabulous blog, Eat Live Run.

Chicken, Chipotle, and Tortilla Soup
Serves 2

14 oz can Chicken Broth
14.5 oz can Stewed Tomatoes
1 small can Chipotle Chilles in Adobo
1 Deli Roasted Chicken
Shredded Monterey Jack or Cheddar Cheese
1 Avocado, diced
Tortilla Chips
Cilantro, chopped
1 lime

Chop up one or two of the chiles and combine with the broth and tomatoes in a small saucepan. Simmer over medium heat for 5 minutes. Shred 1 cup of chicken and divide into 2 soup bowls. Top with a handful of the shredded cheese and diced avocado. Pour broth mixture into bowls. Squeeze the juice of 1/2 a lime in each bowl. Top with chopped cilantro and tortilla chips.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

DIY Felt Garland

I love the idea of a Christmas tree filled with decorations that have a special memory behind them. I went through a phase in grade school where I made pod ornaments by collecting seed pods from our yard and then glittering the inside and putting a hook through them. Now those are not even close to as cute as this felt garland. But when I see them I still remember the newspaper spread out on the table and the laughter and the pride I felt in placing them on the tree. You have to give props to my mother who was willing to have the ugliest tree in town by letting her grade schooler express her artistic creativity with seed pods!

To make your own special memories check out the tutorial for felt garland here.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Turducken of Cheese Balls

When I saw this article over at Chow it really cracked me up…the Turducken cheese ball. It took a group of people armed with cheeses, spices and determination many hours to figure out the perfect combo. The winning combo turned out to be the following:

Washed rind cheese
Spanish Chorizo
Manchego Cheese
Dried figs
Emmentaler cheese
Chopped Chives and Parsley
Cheddar Cheese
Asian Pear
Blue Cheese
Toasted Walnuts
Goat Cheese
Sliced Almonds, pecans and bacon

I saw on the reviews that someone commented that it was not the best way to eat cheese. Indeed they are probably right, but I love the novelty of the idea and the “wow” factor that goes along with it. Bringing a turducken cheese ball to a get together is a sure way to get people laughing and talking. Plus who wouldn’t want to try all those delicious layers? It’s a memorable holiday treat that everyone will appreciate!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Link Love

Tuesday Inspiration.

Stone Studio Textile
These pillows, throws, and all other things textile are the perfect blend of cozy and classy.

What Katie Ate
Lamb, beer, and roasted garlic are all combined to make this delicious tapas dish. Wow!

This is Glamorous
Now this is my kind of water cooler!

Glorious Treats
Just because your little one has a birthday in December doesn't mean they have to have red and green for their birthday party. Take a look at this adorable pink, purple and penguin party!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Whitehurst Winner


We are so thrilled at the wonderful response for this fabulous giveaway from The Whitehurst Company. We loved your comments and wish that everyone could win (including us!).

But our one lucky reader is...

bbard, who said...

My husband, children, and I are so excited this year to have my parents visiting for Christmas! Both my family and my husband's family are on opposite ends of the country (Maine and Louisiana), and we usually aren't able to spend Christmas with them. This year will be different and wonderful! My younger sister is getting married in April of next year, and she is currently living with her fiance in Oklahoma away from family as well. This will be the first year she and her fiance will be putting up a tree in their home, and they would love having a beautiful start to their decorating (as I would send this giveaway as an early Christmas present). Thanks for the opportunity!!


Friday, December 2, 2011

DIY Ruffled Tree Skirt

If you can’t find the perfect tree skirt then this step-by-step tutorial on how to make this cute ruffled number is for you. Check out My Crazy Life for details.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Winter Aromatics

I like to change my scent at home with the seasons and the winter scents are by far my favorite. Here are a few to make your home smell delicious .

Rosemary Tree

Linnia’s Lights Fir Tree Candles

Burning Leaf Home Spray

Fir Fragrance Log