Thursday, October 29, 2009

Dinner date

As much as I love my girlfriends, in a city this big and busy, it's hard for us all to get together. If we're out at night, it's too loud to catch up and dinners at restaurants add a stressful high bill to the night of fun. So last night, my friends and I began our now monthly tradition of coming together for a potluck dinner.

A different girl offers up her apartment each time and the host cooks the main dish. Everyone else is assigned the right accompanying pieces from appetizer, to sides to dessert and drinks.

Our first try at it was at my apartment and I was so excited to host. I love playing host and my collection of vintage aprons definitely came in handy in the preparations.

For the main dish I made chicken stuffed with mozzarella, basil and tomato ... a recipe I found here on Martha Stewart's Web site. I substituted sundried tomatoes for canned diced tomatoes with olive oil and garlic for a more bruschetta-esque flavor. I also kept the ingredients on top of the chicken instead of stuffing it, this way the mozzarella got a nice brown crust in the oven. I'm sure the stuffed-version would give it another fantastic spin.

All of my friends really came through on their ends. Jess was in charge of the appetizers and in addition to some always-yummy edamame, she introduced to a fantastic new combination - hummus mixed with pomegranate. We ate it with some pita chips and I was practically stuffed before dinner even began!

Jen brought a delicious dish of brussel spouts which she cut, rubbed individually with garlic and cooked with fine chopped pancetta. Her dedication paid off, the flavors were incredibly delicious!

Gena showed up with tons of fresh asparagus which she drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with garlic and pepper. Always a simple, great side!

Lauren made a delectable salad with spring greens, cucumbers, pears, feta cheese and topped off with creamy maple balsamic dressing from Stonewall Kitchen. It tasted restaurant-quality good!

The dessert girls made sure our sweet cravings were well-fed. Amanda made fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies and bought four (yes four!) types of Ben & Jerry's ice cream to pair with them. Justine stopped by Crumbs for a scrumptious assortment of mini-cupcakes from M&M to Cookies & Cream to Coconut.

And Sam, Jenni and Michelle kept the wine flowing.

I was having so much fun I forgot to take any pictures of the night! There was lots of laughter, tons of great food and so much warmth in my tiny home!

I highly recommend trying this out with your own group of pals. Email me for tips on recipes, table arrangements and more!

Images from top to bottom: Vintage dinner party from, Chicken from, Pomegranate from, Sprouts from, Asparagus from, Salad from, Crumbs from

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Although Halloween is the holiday that is right around the corner, Christmas decorations have already started springing up in many stores, and I can't lie, it's already got me excited about the impending winter season.

And if the stores are going to start wrapping gifts, I may as well get in on the action and right now I'm loving hats with bows. Here are a few of my favorites under $50.

Hats clockwise: Cream felt bow beret, Debenhams, $13; Kate Landry Tweed Cloche hat, $28; Lilah pull-on cap,, $35; Chunky bow beret, Urban Outfitters, $34; Red hat,, $43; Wine satin bow ribbon hat, Debenhams, $28.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Yesterday I showed you how to use orginal pieces of photography from Etsy to cover your walls in seasonal looks for fall and winter. Today I've found you the best pieces for spring and summer!

So pine for warmer months, go pick up a few inexpensive frames and start shopping on Etsy!

Spring clockwise: Pink Magnolia Bloom by NatureMandalas, $24; Spring Bloom by NatureMandalas, $14; Oh for Spring Again, by BucksCountyFrames, $35; I would follow you anywhere by ZuppaArtista, $24.

Summer clockwise: Beach Day by Urban Pink Photography, $24; Feel the sun by Arialmages, $25; Palm Springs Swimmer by LunaParkProductions, $25; Ferris Wheel II by Blissful Colors, $35.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

I've always been pretty non-committal, so the thought of investing in one piece of art for my apartment to last me years to come isn't exactly appealing.

Enter Etsy into my life. This one-stop-shop for everything homemade is the perfect spot to get an original piece of art for a fraction of the price at a fancy gallery.

Many of the unique creations are under $30 and a purchase from the site means you're supporting a budding artist!

The prices are so great, you can change the look of your walls as often as the seasons.

Try picking four pieces of original art of photography that go with your current mood. Right now I'm totally falling in love with fall so this creation from four separate artists' work is the perfect compliment for my decor.

When the seasons change, I'll save the frames but switch my art out for a wintry look that will bundle my home in a silvery glow.

Each of these pieces is under $30, so a set of four will only run me less than $100 a season and a few frames from Michael's will round out the look.

Check-in tomorrow to see my picks for spring and summer.

Fall clockwise: by Nature and Art, $12, by OlgaStudio, $20, by Lynda Naranjo, $22.
Winter clockwise: by Nature Mandalas, $24, by Diana Pantz, $15, by Memento, $30 by Sparke, $20

Monday, October 19, 2009

Fresh Picked

Happy autumn! What sweet fall activities are on your October calendar?

All images from Flickr: From bottom Midnightoilspill, Duckwizard

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Made for walking

If you're like me, you can wear a pair of boots down to the bone in one single winter. A solid re-heeling by a good cobbler is one way to keep your worn-out boots in walking condition, but I'm too fickle to let the same pair stick around for too many seasons. The solution? Finding affordable winter weather footwear that won't leave your wallet feeling cold.

Here a the top five places to find deals on boots, right now.

1. Kohls

Kohls has some pretty high quality merchandise and with fashion icons Elle McPherson and Vera Wang stocking their shelves, you're sure to find something stylish.

Use the coupon code SPECIAL20 to get an additional 20% off and HOME50FREE to get free shipping on orders over $50.

2. Newport News

This store stays under the radar but has some overwhelmingly good prices. All their boots are currently on sale and you can use the coupon code 548 for 25% off and L25 for free shipping.

3. GoJane

Where this shop falters in quality it makes up for in trendiness. You can find some pretty dazzling footwear here and for the low, low prices, it's OK if you only wear them once or twice. Use GJSHIP50 for free shipping on orders over $50.

4. Target

Target is always spot on when it comes to affordable fashion. Drop in your local store and try a few pairs of boots on for size or buy online right now with free shipping for orders over $50.

5. Payless ShoeSource

Payless is stepping up their game with collections from designers like Abaete and alice + olivia. If a local store doesn't have what you want, their Web site will ship it there for free.

Thursday, October 15, 2009


Want superhero powers this winter? Be a superhuman fashionista indestructible against the cold in an otherworldly winter cape. Pair a cape with some skinny pants for an earth-shattering look that is sure to stop any criminal cold in his path.

Clothing clockwise: Plaid cape, $45, ; Cape jacket, $49,; Knitted Cape, $88, Anne Weuburn,; Fur Neck Ponch, $138, Kimchi Blue,; Madras Canvas Cape, $200, A.P.C.; Tartan Cape, $282, Mbym,; Tweed Military Cape, $5,780, Balmain, ; Silver Fox Jacket, $7,199, Fendi.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Take it easy

It's time you pampered yourself. Yes, go ahead, it's OK to think it. You've been working hard and so have I (apologies for the blogging absence) so it's time you treated yourself to a little spa time.

And don't worry about it, I've got you covered on the costs. From now until October 18 it's Spa Week across the country which means high end treatments at the blanket cost of $50 and discounts across the boards.

I think the 60 Minute Harvest Facial with Enzyme Pumpkin Peel or Microdermabrasion with Customized Mask at Nina's Day Spa in Manhattan or the 45 Minute Chocolate Truffle Body Massage or Microdermabrasion at DeNova Beauty Spa also in Manhattan sound absolutely delicous.

Check out the Web site, for a list of spas and treatments in your area and start relaxing.