Pumpkin Creme Brulee, serve this thanksgiving

Time Saving, Stress Reducing Tricks for Thanksgiving

So next week is Thanksgiving…..have you figured out what you’re going to do? Are you going out to eat or cooking in? If you’re cooking, are you making all the food or getting some help?  As a kid we always went out to eat for most holiday meals, so I love to cook at home now.  That said, making a whole meal can be a very daunting task.  Therefore, I like to get a little help when I can.  If you have family or friends that are coming over, ask them to bring a side dish or dessert.  If that isn't an option or you want to manage all the food, I like to get some items pre-made to help me out on the day-of. Here’s a round-up of my favorite time-saving and stress reducing tricks that help me look like I can do it all on Thanksgiving, I hope it helps you figure out what to serve this Thanksgiving too: I like to order some food items for Thanksgiving, and make the rest. I will usually order a pre-made turkey that I can just reheat day-of, sometimes I’ll also order veggie sides and potatoes. My go-tos are Whole Foods catering or...Read More

[Updated] Summer Picnic Essentials- Picnic Tips You Can’t Live Without

Did you know that July is National Picnic Month?  I love a good picnic, so I thought this would be the perfect time to share some of my summer picnic essentials.  My first memories of picnics were with my parents in Ghirardelli Square in San Francisco with some fresh sourdough and salami.  My idea of a picnic has changed a bit since then, but it’s always about good people, good food and good drinks.  I believe you can have a picnic almost anywhere, whether it's on the roof of your home or apartment building or at a local park like the La Brea Tar Pits.  I do believe in brining a few of my favorite items to make sure that the experience is perfect though.   [caption id="attachment_3647" align="aligncenter" width="900"] Roof picnic: I always like to have chilled bubbly and something to keep it cold on hand.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_3648" align="aligncenter" width="900"] Roof Picnic: with the right accoutrements, you can have a picnic anywhere.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2221" align="aligncenter" width="900"] Picnic in the park: Just grab a friend![/caption] [caption id="attachment_2220" align="aligncenter" width="900"] What can I say, I like color, especially in the summer![/caption]   Here are my Summer Picnic Essentials: Make sure that all...Read More
How to Pack a Wine Picnic

How to Pack a Wine Picnic- My Favorite Essentials

If you've seen my Instagram, you know that I love going wine tasting and I love a good picnic.  If you've ever been wine tasting, you probably noticed the strange phenomenon that wineries rarely have food.  If they do have food, they usually don't have much variety and it won't be gluten free (I'm gluten intolerant).  Therefore, I'm in the habit of packing a wine picnic when we go wine tasting.  I've packed quite a few at this point, so I know what works and what doesn't, so I'm pretty much an expert on how to pack a wine picnic.   Here are my Wine Picnic Essentials:     I decided that instead of buying a picnic table cover that I would simply re-purpose one of my Turkish beach towels.  It can be very windy on a vineyard, so these colorful cloth napkins come in very handy. I love these great melamine salad plates and they all fit in the picnic basket.  Pack an all purpose cutting board I love to bring music with me too, but make sure that you're not bothering other people.  I love this Beats Pill. I also really love my insulated picnic basket.  Not only...Read More
Tips for Hosting a Cocktail Party

Cocktail Party Etiquette for the Host and Guest

For this week's blog, I'm getting some help from my friend, Modern Etiquette Coach, Maggie Oldham. My husband and I attended one of Maggie's dining etiquette classes last year and learned so much. She really has a great knack for making etiquette modern and relevant in today's world. That's why I asked for her help when I had some etiquette questions for my cocktail party that I had last month.  We chatted on the phone about some of my questions and I thought it would be a great idea for an upcoming blog post.  So here are the Maggie's Modern Cocktail Party Etiquette Tips for the Host and Guest:   Cocktail Party Etiquette for the Host: How do you gently ask people to leave? A great way to signal that the party is coming to a close without having to directly and verbally ask guests to leave is to gradually start turning on lights, turning down the music and beginning the cleanup. Guests will get the hint that it's time to leave when they see you putting dishes in the sink or tying up the trash. This, in addition to the lights, will give guests a visual clue while the music...Read More
Tips for 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.  They went from an event with great food, cocktails and friends to an event that has the only main purpose of being Pinterest/ Instagram ready. I always think that layout, the look and feel are important, but 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: the ambience, music, cocktails and food.    I learned how to host proper 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, but 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 cocktail parties, we always have a bar with a bartender to help out and add to the experience. I always...Read More