Hosting a Cocktail Party

7 Simple Tips for Hosting a Cocktail Party

I believe that the cocktail party has changed since I started hosting them 10-ish years ago.  Cocktail parties went from an event with great food and cocktails, to an event that is simply Pinterest/ Instagram ready. I always think that layout, the look and feel are important.  I feel that often times people are so worried about it looking “perfect” that they forgo the quality of the food and the drinks. While I do work on the aesthetics of the party, I will never forgo the experience of the party, like the ambience, music, cocktails and food. I believe that hosting a cocktail party is an art and a great host will take care of everything and make his or her guests feel welcome and comfortable. I learned how to host cocktail party from my sister-in-law. She is the consummate host and has legendary Halloween parties in New York every year, among others. She has a lovely New York City apartment and everything is always set up beautifully.  She pays most of her attention to the ambience, music, food and drinks, complete with impeccably appointed servers and bartenders that tended to your every need. While we don't have servers at our...Read More
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Spending the Day in Venice Beach

Los Angeles is synonymous with summer ... living in the Hollywood Hills means sometimes you just need to add the beach to the equation. One of my favorite day trips is Venice Beach. It's got a flavor all its own and only 30 minutes away ...when there's no traffic (which is never) ... or 2 hours when the I10 is bumper to bumper. Nevertheless its always worth the trip. Here are a few of the sights I like to hit to get the very most out of my visit. Let me know your favorites in the comments below. First stop (after searching for parking) is a great latte or cup of coffee, I love Menotti's.  I was strolling around checking out the little beach shops one morning when I smelled the delicious aroma of coffee in the air. I followed my nose and ended up at Menotti's. It's a small, charming and they know how to make a great latte, complete with latte art. There are tables inside but when it's not too hot I love to grab one of the little cafe tables outside and watch the people go by while I sip ...trying to decide if I can handle...Read More
Rose Sangria

Simple and Delicious Rose Sangria

Rose sangria is synonymous with summer for me.   That's why I love to make this easy and tasty summer drink every summer.  It's always a hit.  Specifically it reminds me of summers spent on Shelter Island, New York with my husband.  We spent many summers there and loved to go to the Sunset Beach Hotel.  They had a vineyard on the property and made their own rosè wine, called "Sunset Beach Rosé André Balazs" that would be used in the sangria and it was always delicious.  Since then I've been trying to re-create the sangria. The key ingredient in this Rosè Sangria is peach nectar, it really adds that extra bit of something special. I hope you like this recipe!  If you try it out please let me know in the comment below or use #livingwithclaire on Instagram. [caption id="attachment_2102" align="aligncenter" width="765"] Here is a photo of the famous Rosè Sangria taken at the Sunset Beach Hotel on Shelter Island, NY.[/caption]   To learn how to make the sangria, please check out the video below: https://youtu.be/XQMXG6BLLc8   Easy Rose Sangria 1/2 cup brandy1/4 cup orange liqueur½-1 cup peach juice1 orange (thinly sliced)1 pint raspberries1 pint strawberries1 peach1 bottle of...Read More
santa ynez wineries

Santa Ynez Wine Country Guide- Top 16 Places to Hit

If you’ve seen my Instagram account, you probably know that I like wine. One of my favorite places to visit is the Santa Ynez Wine Country, north of Santa Barbara. The first time we ever went to the Santa Ynez Wineries was in January 2015. My husband has always been enamored with the movie Sideways, so I decided to take him on a "Sideways tour". I got us a private tour of Sanford Winery; we went to dinner at the Hitching Post II and had breakfast at Succulent Café, all from the movie. These 3 are still on my go-to list, but that list has gotten MUCH bigger.  We go at least 2 times a year...probably more. In my experience, I always think that you should do no more than three wineries in a day.  After a certain number of wine tastings all wine tastes the same, and it can lead to some really bad decisions.  I know because I still have some crap sitting in my wine cellar.   Another one of my favorite activities is to get a picnic together and relax on the beautiful winery grounds. Picnics tend to slow things down a bit, just in case some...Read More