As much as I love fashion, beauty is a close second in my list of obsessions. Luckily, the fabulously informative beauty blog Beauty Bets makes me feel like I’m not alone in this addiction. That’s why I was thrilled when blogger Elizabeth Dehn asked me to provide my top picks for the Real Beauty series. This was harder than I thought, as there are countless products I would not be able to live without, but after close consideration, I was finally able to narrow it down.Visit the feature at Beauty Bets to see what made the cut, and why!
Last week, I had the pleasure of sitting down to a phone interview with Mimi from the Twin Cities branch of CRAVE, the ultimate resource for local women-owned businesses. The CRAVE: The Urban Girl’s Manifesto guides, which celebrate stylish women entrepreneurs, started in Seattle in 2002 and are quickly spreading to major cities all over the world. I am thrilled and honored to be included in the Los Angeles and Twin Cities batch of ladies, and can’t wait until the books launch this spring!
In our interview, Mimi asked me all sorts of great questions on how to keep a well-organized closet. Check out the article in the CRAVE Crush blog, and find out how your closet can help you towards your best style!
Some girls were just made to party. If that’s you, do you really need a reason? You can always create cause for celebration: your birthday, your Chihuahua’s birthday, a new job or promotion, a recent break up with a boyfriend, the purchase of a fabulous new condo. Whatever you want to celebrate, you can.
A Fire girl is the life of the party, so why limit your guest list? Use this shindig as a chance to meet more people in your area. I suggest throwing a party of this nature at a restaurant, bar, or outdoor location, so you do not need to be concerned about space. Many bars will offer you a private room just for guaranteeing a number of patrons for the night.
The mood in the room should feel fun and flirty. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box and use a dual-purpose centerpiece like a mad hatter cake. It makes a great conversation piece and can be served to all of your guests later in the evening. Bright pink and teal contrasted with black accents, such as a black lace runner, will set the stage for a fun evening. Adding diamond shaped ice cubes to your display and using ostrich feathers to identify your appetizers are just a few fun ways to bring your personality into your party.
Speaking of dancing, suggest a playlist to the DJ that includes artists like Lady Gaga, Rihanna, Jay-Z or old school classics like Bon Jovi, Salt ‘n Peppa (who doesn’t like to Shoop?) and AC/DC.
Ditch the every day jeans and throw on a bright colored dress with some lace tights to be the belle of this ball. It’s not about how your feet will feel in the morning – strap on a pair of high-heeled peep toe boots to dance the night away. Coordinate your look with some playful jewelry and feather handbag and glam up your makeup to let everyone know that this is your night to celebrate!
More dancing, less eating. This type of party should not be heavy on the food. Some great finger foods and colorful candy buffet will keep your guests fueled and excited all night long. My menu would include:
Shrimp Cocktail in Pink Martini Glasses
Roasted Tomato Bruschetta
A cheese, cracker, and fruit display
Spinach and Goat Cheese Quesadillas
A candy buffet filled with pink, silver, and blue candies such as bubblegum, Hershey’s Kisses, Jelly Beans, Sweetarts and M&Ms.
The Signature Drink:
Rest assured this will not be the only drink served at your party, but a signature shot to honor the lady of the night is a welcomed addition to any party. Name the shot after the reason for your celebration. Perhaps, “The Birthday Girl Shot” or “Single and Fabulous.” Be creative.
“Pick a Reason” Shot
One part X-Rated Fusion Liquor
One part Chambord
Pink sugar to coat rim
Mix X-Rated Fusion Liquor and Chambord with ice in a martini shaker. Pour into shot glass. Enjoy!
Most of all, you want to relax and have fun. Take care of the details before this event and let the party run itself. You will not be disappointed.
We hope you enjoyed this week of marathon partying with the girls of Haute Apple Pie! If you didn’t get a chance to see my HAP guest entries on each of the girls’ essences and elemental home décor, check them out via the links below.
Who needs a fancy dinner when the great outdoors are calling? Nothing is more appealing to an active Wood than a party that involves “doing” so turn your outdoor activities into a special occasion with a little extra planning. I’d plan a picnic shore lunch for a sunny summer day spent floating down a river casting for fish with my husband or a handful of adventurous friends.
Don’t have a canoe or fishing rods? Just check the Internet for canoe rental vendors (usually for a specific river) or an outdoor goods store, such as REI, where you can rent gear for the day. You can also always just go for a hike in local nature preserve if your party is more impromptu than planned.
You’ll need to be able to easily trek along with items in tow or consolidate space in your canoe so that you have room to snag a few fish. A collapsible picnic basket and fold up “furniture” make it easy to pack in and pack out. Eco-friendly water bottles and plates let you eat lunch with ease and style. Don’t forget to bring a compass or map in case you take a wrong turn!
Let’s be honest…you don’t need a playlist when you have the sounds of water rushing and birds chirping.
Wear a preppy but comfortable combo of tank top and button down shirt plus a change of shoes to ensure that you’re ready for whatever weather the day holds. Opt for a stylish and funky head scarf, like this now-iconic Alexander McQueen, instead of a hat and trade your purse for a fold up tote to stash away those spare clothes. Sunglasses and sunscreen are a must!
With no refrigerator and no serving trays, you’ll have to be simple and sensible about food. Since you don’t want to carry around extra garbage when you’re done, food that requires minimum wrapping is ideal. Your picnic lunch might include:
Thai Peanut Chicken wraps
Crunchy Asian slaw
Sliced apples and watermelon
Home made trail mix
The Signature Drink:
Besides packing plenty of water, you’ll want a refreshing bev for lunch and maybe for the canoe too (I mean, this is a party afterall). A fusion of mojito-meets-marg-meets-G&T fits the bill:
Watermelon Gin Fizz
1 1/2-2 shots gin
6-8 chunks watermelon, pureed
1 tsp sugar
1/2 of a lime
handful of mint leaves
splash of seltzer
Place mint, sugar and water in the bottom of a glass and muddle well. Squeeze excess liquid from mint leaves and discard. Add gin. Puree watermelon in a food processor or blender and add puree to the glass. Squeeze in the lime juice and add a splash of seltzer. Add ice if you’re at home.
NOTE: Recipe is for one but you can multiply it for a group and taste test. You’ll want to prepare this ahead of time and put it in a Thermos without ice. If you have a cooler with ice, it should chill itself but if not, try partially freezing it the night before you leave to keep it cold and slushy. You could also freeze the watermelon before you puree them to create “ice” that won’t water down your drink.
Dinner parties are a great way to reconnect with friends and family and hosting it outside in the late summer months gets rid of any space restraints you may have in your home. Having an outdoor dinner party gives the hosts more space to accommodate all of their guests.
The rustic wood table can be set with natural colored linens and neutral plates and napkins. Guests can sit on long benches or a variety of different chairs you have in your home. Because the party will be held at dusk, your light can come from candles and lanterns hung from the trees. Late summer evenings can sometimes be cool, so a fire pit and extra blankets would be a special touch for your guests.
Laid back and casual music is a must at this outdoor dinner party. Think of tunes that will be fun to listen to and have that nostalgic feel. Look back at your old CD collections and pull some old Counting Crows and Dave Matthew’s band songs, mixed with some music by The Fray and Kings of Leon.
Because earths crave comfort, I would choose a casual yet chic outfit for this party – a cozy tunic, comfortable boots in a rich brown color, some earthy statement jewelry, and an oversized bag.
The menu can be simple and delicious. As appetizers, guests can snack on pita chips and crudites with garlic white bean dip. For the main course, I would serve:
Beef and Chicken Satay with Peanut Dipping Sauce
Black Bean Couscous
Seasonal Green Salad
Homemade Dinner Rolls
Free Form Apple Tart with Caramel Ice Cream
The Signature Drink
This cocktail called Autumn’s Cup is an all-organic recipe from Paul Abercrombie’s book Organic, Shaken and Stirred and is an amazing blend of apples, bay leaves and herbal liqueur.
1 ½ ounces Calvados
¾ ounces Benedictine liqueur
5 thin organic apple wedges, unpealed
2 organic bay leaves
3 whole organic cloves
Splash of club soda
Pinch of freshly graded organic nutmeg
Combine the first 5 ingredients in a tall ice cube filled glass and stir to combine. Top off with club soda and a light grating of nutmeg.
As a Metal, you’re probably already the quintessential hostess – thoughtful, glamorous and appearing to do it all effortlessly. For your next party, put a vintage twist on things with a Gatsby-esque theme that highlights your stellar taste. Keep things clean and simple so that you can be detail-oriented without stressing yourself out.
Start with a luxe neutral palette of milky creams and rich charcoals that automatically say expensive (shh, we won’t tell if they’re not!) and then dig out your best china to set a perfect table. This is the perfect time to use those heirloom pieces from Grandma or that pricey wedding set you never use. Since Metal detailing is all about elegance, take a page from Gatsby with art deco inspired accents like crystal goblets and geometrically cut napkin rings. Add that last bit of polish by filling the table, hidden corners and the bathroom with ladylike blush-colored peonies and plenty of candlelight.
Stick with Jazz Age classics like Miles Davis and John Coltrane during dinner but mix things up a little for cocktails with Bebel Gilberto, Michael Buble, Madeleine Peyroux or Ingrid Lucia.
As the hostess, you’ll look like your classy self wearing a simply cut but richly detailed cocktail dress. Layers of pearls contrasted by stacks of brushed metal bangles create a perfect mix of modern and elegant and tie into the art deco theme. And of course, nothing says timeless like a signature scent from Chanel.
Upscale food doesn’t have to be complicated if the flavors are great. Make the bisque in advance and re-heat and order desserts from your favorite bakery. If you’re having a larger party, hire a server or two for the night from a catering company or from the pool of willing teens that live down the block and consider turning your menu into passed appetizers, such as soup shooters or risotto cakes. Other menu items could include:
Roasted red pepper bisque
Petit filet mignon and/or pecan crusted salmon
White wine and mushroom risotto
Haricot verts with slivered almonds
Assorted petit fours and tartlettes
The Signature Drink:
Gatsby would have nothing less than a fully stocked bar with favorite liquors and plenty of good quality champagne. Bring things into 2010 with an interactive station allows guests to customize your signature champagne cocktail to their taste.
Raspberry Pomegranate Sparklers
2 parts champagne or sparkling wine
1 part raspberry pomegranate juice
1 part real lemonade or orange juice
frozen pomegranate seeds or raspberries for garnish
Pour champagne into flutes and add pomegranate juice. Garnish with frozen fruit. Display orange juice and lemonade in pretty carafes and allow guests to finish off the cocktail with their juice of choice.
Welcome to Party Week on The Life Styled with special guests, the girls of Haute Apple Pie! They’ve created five exclusive shindig concepts, for each of the elements! Need to brush up on your Fashion Feng Shui? Check out any of these posts from our archives. First up, enjoy the eclectic Water party by Stef (a Water herself)! - CS
When a small group of foodies are getting together, an international tapas party is a great way to create a relaxed atmosphere and provide an intimate environment for personal conversation about food, politics, religion and a bunch of other topics you aren’t “supposed to talk about.”
Due to the amount time needed in and out of the kitchen when preparing these small dishes, a tapas party is best thrown with a smaller group of 5-10 people. Allow your kitchen to be a place of conversation (as we know, people tend to congregate in the kitchen anyway). A tapas party should not be a “sit-down dinner.” Prepare dishes at different times of the night, allowing your guests to nibble and mingle all night long.
To create an international feel to your party, dress your table with metallic linens and serving dishes incorporating copper, bronze and gold with dark hued colors such as deep reds and blues. Adding some animal prints, such as the zebra print serving tray, will emphasize the unique style. Simple floating candle centerpieces with colored stones resting on the bottom soften the lighting and add a calming effect to the room. Easily handled appetizer plates allow for your guests to move freely throughout your space without having to sit with a plate on their laps. Pier One is a great place to find some eclectic, affordable knick knacks to spread throughout your home to create the perfect “water” look.
Download iTunes Essentials Global Celebration for a funky mix of music from around the world.
A true water personality has a flair for the eclectic. Show it off with a pair of dark skinny jeans, flowing shirt and animal print heels. Top of the look with some stone jewelry and a pair of thick framed black glasses.
Though tapas originated in Spain, any of your favorite dishes from around the globe can be served as one of these tiny dishes. I suggest making a few cold dishes that can be prepared the night before or before the party begins to cut down on time and stress. A sample menu may include:
Melon, Chorizo and Artichoke Salad
Lime Drizzled Shrimp
Roasted Asparagus with Serrano Ham
Tres Leches Cake with Strawberries
Chocolate Fondue with Angel Food Cake
There are a lot of great tapas cookbooks on the market. Many of these recipes come from Tapas by Susanna Tee (a personal favorite). Or try Tapas: Small Sensational Tastes from Spain by Joyce Goldstein.
The Signature Drink:
What says tapas better than sangria? Sangria is a great option for a less stress party as you are able to make it ahead of time and have guests pour for themselves.
Traditional Red Sangria:
2 bottles of red wine, like Rioja
1 C brandy
1 C orange juice
¼ C sugar
2 oranges, cut into thin rounds
2 lemons, cut into thin rounds
2 limes, cut into thin rounds
2 Golden Delicious apples, cored and cut into small chunks
2 C Club Soda
In a large pitcher, combine wine, brandy, orange juice and sugar until dissolved. Add fruit and refrigerate 3-4 hours or overnight. Add club soda before serving.
Impress your intellectual friends by telling them this fun fact. The word tapa means lid. This refers the piece of bread that innkeepers would place on top of a glass of wine to keep the flies out. From there, the idea of placing small food on top of bread to accompany your wine glass was born. Cheers to the innkeeper!
Extra! Extra! I am so excited to announce that we have some very chic guests joining us next week on The Life Styled! The domestic goddesses at Haute Apple Pie will be showing us their unique ideas for five elemental parties! Even though February tends to be the season of hibernation, it’s a great time to break out of your sweatpants/reruns of Project Runway routine and make up an excuse to connect with friends. Or even if it’s not the right time, you might as well start planning for a spring bash. Whether you’re in the mood for hunkering down with some Earthy comfort with close friends, or going all out with a loud Fiery bash, the girls will have your bases covered from your signature cocktail all the way down to, of course, the hostess duds!
Written by three fabulous Milwaukee girls – Stef, Anne, and my good friend Katie, Haute Apple Pie is your go-to guide for all things home, kitchen, and garden – not in a “oh I guess I have to make dinner” way, but in the “look how fabulous I am while I make this effortless gourmet dinner” way. It’s like having Martha Stewart as a best friend, only without the temper tantrums.
Ever since I was a little girl, I have never been able to get enough of the hills, Maria, Georg, and the Von Trapps – and after our “Choose the next Channel It” poll, I see that I am not alone! The Sound of Music won by a landslide, and I have to say I was hoping it would! While Maria certainly knows how to rock her bowl cut, burlap dresses, and single handedly turn those drapes into seven different outfits (some of which might even translate into today’s fashion – check out the strong shoulders on Brigitta’s drape dress!), I can’t help but picture what they might be wearing if the film took place in the 2010’s, while of course still maintaining their classic signature looks.
I Have Confidence
I’d like to think that on Maria’s trek from the abbey to the Von Trapp estate, she would stop for Starbucks for a Skinny Vanilla Latte – extra hot. She deserves a little treat after all that time she spent around women who see her as nothing but “a problem.” When she finally arrives to meet the family, there’s no way the captain would have anything bad to say about this little getup, especially when he feasts his eyes on the perfectly draped top after she removes her Topshop boucle jacket. And you know Liesl would be eyeing her Burberry bag…
We all know how things end up with Leisl’s first boyfriend. Dating a Nazi almost never works out, and she knows that now. But oh that lovely dress she got to wear when prancing around the gazebo with Rolfe! Had she known he was going to show up, perhaps she might have brushed a bit of NARS Orgasm blush and Turkish Delight lip gloss on before the impromptu date. It also may have been suitable to grab a silk Chanel umbrella before she slipped out, considering that her soaking wet hair and chiffon dress were a dead giveaway of her shenanigans after getting caught in the rain. And I know what you’re thinking – why are a 16 and 17 year old drinking champagne in this scenario? It’s Austria, people. They don’t really have a drinking age, and no one is driving…. unless you count Rolfe’s bike.
When I was little, I wanted nothing more than to be included in Maria and the childrens’ daily jaunts around Salzburg, singing and having a marvelous time. Maria of today might not be able to compete with the amazingness of the original drape clothes (plus, that was a special situation that required her to be creative with what she had), and I’d like to think the children’s outfits would coordinate rather than match exactly, or else they’d likely attract quite a few stares. Luckily, nowadays they’d be able to capture all their memories and musical rehearsals on their trusty Flip camera. Something tells me Kurt would be in charge of that. He’s so incorrigible, that one.
Especially at this time of year, there’s no better daydream than the one where you’re frolicking in the hills and singing at the top of your lungs like Maria. And who says you can’t actually make it happen? Just find the nearest hill, and make sure you dress for the occasion.
Everyone’s got an opinion about Valentine’s Day. Whether you love it or hate it, it’s certainly a holiday that’s hard to avoid. As we come down off of the December madness, we can’t go to a drug store without being bombarded with visions of pink, red, and conversation hearts (which are actually quite stale and gross tasting, no?). Even though V-Day has earned itself the label of “the Hallmark Holiday,” it’s hard not get into a day that’s devoted to love – not just love for a special someone, but love for your friends, your family, yourself. In the midst of the winter blahs, it’s nice to have an excuse to plan something fun, whatever that may be: an anti Valentine night out with your girlfriends, a hot date with your true love, or even a day of pampering at home. Why not think of it as a chance to enjoy yourself?
No matter what you’re doing this 14th, you’ll need something to wear. From a fashion standpoint, it’s convenient that the colors of V Day are pink and red – just when we’re getting sick of the drab colors of mid winter. While it may seem a little cliché to actually wear these colors on the day, I say why not? It’s meant to be fun, if even a little cheesy. Here are just a few ideas of how you can dress for the occasion, whatever it means to you.