Saturday, January 12, 2013

cheers to 2013

I've written about my love of champagne, but now it's time to write about champagne flutes.  I think they're the most fashionable glassware.  And yes, I think about these kinds of things.

Here are some of my favorite vessels for champagne consumption:

Robert Mondavi flutes by Waterford.  You can never go wrong with a classic crystal flute.  $50/pair.

Edge Flute from Crate and Barrel.  A modern twist on the classic flute.  $12.95/glass.

Larabee Dot Crystal Fete Mini Champagne Saucers from Lenox.  Oh, Kate Spade, I am so in love with you and these coupes.  These feel modern and vintage at the same time.  $80/glass.


Monday, December 24, 2012

favorite things swap

The worst part about Oprah being off the air is that we have to live without Oprah's Favorite Things.  ("You get a baby humpback whale!  And YOU get a baby humpback whale!")  So, in order to deal with this, we created the Favorite Things swap.  It's part Oprah and part White Elephant, so grab your Gayles and have fun!

Here's how it goes:

  • Everyone buys and wraps one of their favorite things.  It should cost around $15-$25 (You can choose the price range).  
  • Bring that gift to the exchange, and proceed with the White Elephant.
  • Choose numbers, or pick names out of a bowl to determine the order.
  • The first person unwraps a gift.  The second person can steal the first gift, or open a new gift.  The third person can steal one of the first two gifts, or open a new gift, etc.
  • Items can be "stolen" twice during the game.  There are no take-backs, and once it's been stolen twice, it's locked and cannot be stolen again.
  • At the end of the game, everyone can go around and say what they brought, and why it's one of their favorite things.

This year I brought a Kate Spade cosmetics case which was on super sale, and left with these adorable bowls from Anthropologie.  Or, as Oprah would say, "CUTE BOOOOOOWWWWWLSSS!"

tied with a bow

Wrapping gifts is one of my favorite things.  This year I had a little wrapping station with paper, ribbons, scissors, tape, tissue, gift tags, and a pen.  I would light my balsam candles, turn on the Christmas tree lights, light a fire, and go to town on some gifts.  Oh man, it was the best.

Here are a few gift wrapping tips:

Use real ribbon.  The holidays are not a time for curling ribbon or peel-and-stick bows!  I use grosgrain or satin ribbon and make sure each gift has a bow.  I tie my bows like this.

Use gift wrap tape.  This tape has a satin finish and disappears on most gift wrap.  I always use this when I wrap gifts in brown paper because regular tape makes it look too industrial.

Tuck a little gift into the bow.  I love when there are little trinkets attached to bows.  What's better than a gift?  More gifts!  I like attaching little ornaments, chocolates wrapped in cello, or mini bottles of booze.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

fresh balsam candles

I'm not a huge scented candle fan, but around the holidays, I always pick up this candle from Bath and Body Works.

It's the 3-wick Fresh Balsam candle by Slatkin and Co. and it is a-mah-zing.  It smells exactly like a fresh Christmas tree, and nothing like a pine tree air freshener.  I light it as often as I can before Christmas, because after the 25th, I don't want anything to do with the holidays.  I'm so fickle/interesting like that.

Fresh balsam candle, Bath and Body Works, $20

Friday, November 23, 2012

living christmas trees

Living Christmas is a great company in Southern California that allows you to rent a living Christmas tree!  Instead of having your tree chopped down, hauled to a tree lot, and then getting it home, you can use Living Christmas to have a LIVE tree delivered to you!

They don't chop down the tree, instead they deliver a live tree in a pot.  You decorate it, water it, and enjoy it.  When the holiday is over, they pick up the tree and it goes back to the farm to grow another year.  You can even request the same tree year after year, so you can see it grow.  

The trees are kind of pricey (not including delivery) and you have to reserve super early.  I missed out this year, but I'm definitely getting one next year, and the year after that, and the year after that.

personalized stockings

I can't wait to deck my halls this year.  It's my first year in an apartment with a mantle and a fireplace, so it has to be special.

I ordered these velvet stockings with ivory cuffs from Pottery Barn and had them personalized in red thread, so Santa knows which one belongs to who.  I can't wait to hang them by our non-existent chimney with care.

Velvet stockings, Pottery Barn, $19 (+7 for monogram)

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

dîner en blanc

Diner en blanc is like a sorority I'm desperately dying to pledge.

"What is dîner in blanc?" you ask.  Only the best thing EVER.  From
At the last minute, the location is given to thousands of friends and acquaintances who have been patiently waiting to learn the “Dîner en Blanc's” secret place. Thousands of people, dressed all in white, and conducting themselves with the greatest decorum, elegance, and etiquette, all meet for a mass “chic picnic” in a public space. 

Ugh.  I'm jealous just reading that.

If you sign up for Dîner en Blanc, you receive information about the day and time of the event, but they don't tell you the place.  When the day comes, you and your friends dress in white, pack a fabulous meal, and wait for the location to be sent to you.  When it does, you and thousands of other diners descend on the location and all have a fancy picnic.  It sounds incredible.

The only problem is there's a waiting list to become a Dîner en Blanc member.  Your membership can be expedited, but you need an existing member to sponsor you.  There are other organizations like this,  I want to be a part of this one.

If you are a member and you are reading this, please sponsor me.  I want nothing more than to attend your chic picnic.  I'd prefer Los Angeles, but if you can only get me on the Paris list, I'll make it work.

apothecary jars

photo courtesy of Pottery Barn

I love apothecary jars.  Whenever I see a gorgeously-styled living room, mantle, or kitchen, there's always an apothecary jar in the background filled with lovely things.   

Apothecary jars come in handy, especially when you want to decorate your home with seasonal touches.  You can fill them with fall-colored silk leaves, mini pumpkins, candies, jingle bells...anything! I'm seriously getting so excited just thinking about putting things into apothecary jars.  I'm weird.

The jars can be kind of pricey.  At Pottery Barn they range from $39-$69, but I recently saw some for $9.99 at a discount store.  If that's still too pricey for you, you can make one for a few bucks using items for the Dollar Store

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

kate spade idiom bangles

These bracelets are my new favorite gift to give.  They're cute, affordable, and come in a rainbow of colors.  Each color has a different idiom inscribed on the inside.  For example, the mint green one says "mint condition."  

I picked one up for a friend at the Kate Spade store and it was beautifully gift wrapped, saving me a trip to another store for wrapping paper and a card.  If Kate Spade sold wine and Lean Cuisines, it would be a one-stop shop.

Idiom bracelet, $32,

Monday, September 3, 2012

miso-sriracha glazed salmon

I hope you had a fabulous summer.  I spent some of my time being sometimes fancy at birthday parties, weddings, and baby showers -- but mostly, I worked late hours.  That's the thing about summer:  the longer the sun is up, the longer I spend at work.

Because of my schedule, my boyfriend is usually in charge of dinner.   Before we moved in together, he lived on Lean Cuisines and take out, but now he can follow a recipe and knows how to zest a lemon.  His signature dish is the miso-sriracha glazed salmon from The Sriracha Cookbook.  Here's the recipe:

Photo via


  • 3 tbsp sesame oil (After opening, store it in the refrigerator.  It spoils quickly.)
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce (we use reduced-sodium)
  • 1/4 cup white miso paste (we get ours from Whole Foods)
  • 3 tbsp Sriracha
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • nonstick cooking spray
  • 6 6-oz salmon fillets, about 1 inch thick
  • Steamed rice, to serve
  • Sliced green onions, for garnish (I love them, he hates them)


  • Preheat the broiler
  • In a small bowl, combine the oil, brown sugar, soy sauce, miso paste, sriracha, and garlic
  • Line the broiling pan with foil and spray it with nonstick cooking spray
  • Place the salmon on the broiling pan and baste twice.
    • He likes to keep a bit of the sauce separate so he can drizzle it on the fish at the end, but if you do this, make sure you reserve the sauce before you start to baste.  Cross-contamination is not fancy.
  • Broil until the fish flakes easily, about 9-10 minutes
    • Keep an eye on the fish.  The sauce burns easily.
  • Serve on steamed rice and garnish with green onions
And that's it!  We use the same sauce on shrimp, too, and it's just as tasty.

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