If Joan Crawford Cooked…Red and Golden Beet Feta Salad



While not quite wire coat hangers bad, I pretty much suck at everything else parenting…my kids watch way too much TV, my 5-year old still hasn’t slept through the night, English is my 2-year old’s second inferior language, by 13 months, they could both work an iPad like a pair of toddler hackers…but by the grace of God…miracle of miracles…I’ve managed to raise up 2 kids who actually eat vegetables.  Even better, actually request vegetables.   Amen.

This gorgeous Red and Golden Beet Feta Salad is one of my 5 year-old’s favorites.  A great summer or winter dish to slide into the lunch/dinner repertoire.  Beets last forevvvvvvver and feta runs a pretty long shelf life also, so they are two staples we almost always inevitably have around the kitchen.

Great tasting and good for your mind and body: Potassium, magnesium, fiber, phosphorus, iron; vitamins A, B & C; beta-carotene, beta-cyanine and folic acid are  some of the nutrients, vitamins and minerals that can be found in beets and beet greens.  Added bonus? They also help with the seasonal sads/parenting soul slumps:  beets contain betaine, the same substance that is used in certain treatments of depression.  It also contains tryptophan, which relaxes the mind and creates a sense of well-being.  Yummy, simple and good for you…unforced smiles all around.


  • 2 red beets and 1 golden beet (greens removed, wash thoroughly under cold water)
  • 1 cup of feta cheese, crumbled
  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • salt and pepper to taste

(Serves 6 as a side dish)


Boil beets in a large pot until soft enough to stick a fork through (30-60 minutes, depending on size).  Let cool and then peel.  I like to wet my hands repeatedly over running cool water sink and just pull skin off easily with my fingers.  Chop beets into chunks and place in mixing bowl.  Add olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste.  Mix thoroughly.  Add crumbled feta, plate and serve at room temperature or refrigerate and serve cold later.

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Salma Hayek: Spring 2014 Nuance available exclusively at CVS






unnamed-4Age Affirm Firming Eye Balm_OutI’ve been a huge fan of Salma Hayek’s Nuance line since I first gave her BB cream a try last year.  With its amazing silky texture, blissful aromatics and excellent price point, it soon became my daily go-to for light gorgeous coverage.  I was really excited to check out the latest and greatest Spring 2014 premium beauty line exclusive to CVS/pharmacy®.  Nuance combines exotic, natural ingredients, ancient beauty secrets and advanced science to create amazing skin, hair and cosmetic products designed to enhance the nuances that define every woman’s individual beauty.  On a recent and bitterly cold Winter day, CVS and Nuance converted a bright and airy NYC loft into a natural springtime oasis.  The lovely new product line surrounded by gorgeous spring floral blooms of delicate roses, violet and lavender greeted us alongside a rockstar vegan chef turning out delicious and healthy treats.  Now this is how you spoil a clean-eating girl sequestered in a endless polar vortex!  My top picks for standout products from the new line are: 1) the super rich and hydrating Age Affirm Firming Eye Gel ($16.99 for 0.5 fl. oz) which targets the delicate eye area with Rose Petal Complex: botanical extracts derived from rose petals, violet leaf, and lavender flower.  The calming extracts help reduce both inflammation and redness and the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.  Smells divine and goes on like silk.  2) Age Affirm Firming Neck & Chest Balm ($21.99 for 1.7 fl. oz)…because I’m currently obsessed with the skin quality of my neck and chest.  I curse the careless days I would naively lay in the backyard sun drenched and slathered in baby oil…sigh, sucker, sigh.   Again, the Rose Petal Complex acts as a key ingredient in this firming cream which supports aging skin exhibiting a visible loss of density and moisture.  Umm, yeah, that would be mine.  Non-greasy in texture, it glides on smooth and a noticeable softening was apparent the next morning after my evening application.   3) Soy Protein Primer Spray ($9.99 for 3.4 fl. oz)  this light primer formula smoothes hair,  improves hair elasticity and allows for even distribution of styling products. By sealing open cuticles, the primer creates a faster drying and longer lasting style.  After a quick home blow dry, my hair looked vibrant, healthy and super shiny.  All fabulous new additions to a great line that successfully utilizes natural ingredients in ever-expanding beauty science.  


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Roasted Tomato, Carrot & Red Pepper Soup



abovetomato.jpgroastedvegclose.jpgroasted veg.jpg

A New York blogger’s frigid, polar vortex-y February food posts are either:  a) hardy (Tundra mountain man inspired) fare, b) gluttonous (F-it  and your scale) debauchery or  c) belly-warming wholesomeness that hints of restraint in knowing that you’ll soon retire the spandex leggings in a few weeks.  C, Si, I choose C! I choose hope of an early spring, hope of sexy sleeve-less sheer blouses, ridiculously thin denim fitted jeans and a sweet pair of totally un-sensible shoes–void of any and all ice traction.  While absolutely rich and filling with roasted/caramelized veggies and a whole milk, this delicious soup is light enough to help inch you back into your layer-less wardrobing.  Yummy, good for you and aspirational…what more could you ask for in a soup?

Serves 6


  • olive oil 2-3 tablespoons
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 pounds roma tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 1 pound carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 2 1/2  cups of whole milk
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced fresh basil

How To: 

Preheat oven to 400°F. Generously grease cookie sheet with olive oil.   Top with red pepper, onion, tomatoes, carrots and garlic cloves and drizzle with more olive oil.  Add salt and pepper, as desired.   Roast until vegetables are tender and brown, turning occasionally, about 55 minutes. Cool slightly.  Put vegetable aside and then add 1 cup of water to baking sheet, scraping up browned veggie bits.  Add half the vegetables to blender and puree with the baking sheet water bits until smooth. Transfer to soup pot.   Add remaining vegetables and 1 1/2 cups water to blender and puree. Again adding to soup pot.   Pour in 2 1/2 cups of milk to soup to thin to desired consistency (can add  bit more, if you like a thinner soup).  Mix in 1/4 cup of basil. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 10 minutes. Season with more salt and pepper.


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Mercedes Benz New York Fashion Week! Alon Livne Fall/Winter 2014 Backstage with Per-fekt Beauty and Tigi Hair


Drum roll…..my very first Mercedes Benz New York Fashion Week show and backstage preview!  I live only a few blocks away from Lincoln Center where fashion’s biggest behemoths gather in a design tribute to all things fabulous and chic.  Fashion Week has always held this mystique for me …the tents, the celebrities, the long-limbed models, the flashing frenetic press.   Besides, what could be more quintessentially New York glamour than a runway show?  Calling my inner Carrie Bradshaw, I jumped at the opportunity to attend Alon Livne’s Fall/Winter 2014 show with a special backstage invite to see Per-fekt Beauty and Tigi Hair perfect amazing hair and makeup looks.


1920’s delicate femininity inspired Alon Livne’s Fall/Winter 2014 collection presented at The Hub.  Breathtaking were the looks, especially the heavy beaded designs.   Before ultimately launching his own chic and well-tailored line, the talented young Israeli designer trained with Alexander McQueen in London and at just 22, was appointed to the evening wear and couture department of Roberto Cavalli.


Founder of Per-fekt Beauty, Richard Anderson was on hand insuring a “naturally enhanced” version of each of the stunning models.

Backstage leading up to the show was perfectly executed controlled chaos.   Hair and makeup’s finest achieving that understated 20’s glamour and feminine appeal with Per-fekt Beauty and Tigi Hair products playing center stage in the amazing transformations.  Turns out, models look a lot like “us” sans professional makeup and hair–okay, on average, they are about 21 years old and need a lot less shellacking than a 3o-something Mom…nevertheless, watching the transformations was very cool.


Per-fekt skin perfection gel, concealer and cheek perfection gel played center court at the makeup tables.  The products look absolutely amazing and apply with an incredible ease and ultimate smoothness.  I’m head over heels impressed with the texture  of the skin perfection gel and the amazing pigment of cheek perfection gel–check out my own filterless pic featuring the products below!  Per-fekt’s collection of innovative products can be found in the U.S at Sephora, Henri Bendel, www.perfektbeauty.com and are regularly featured on QVC.   



Per-fekt Skin Perfection Gel, Luminous and Cheek Perfection Gel, Blushed


Livne envisioned hair for the show as a clean short look with symmetrical lines and high gloss and shine.  Inspired by Livne’s direction and the delicateness of the elegant collection, Tigi’s global creative director Nick Irwin created stunningly polished hairstyles with modern sophistication.  Catwalk by Tigi Your Highness Weightless Shine Spray and Catwalk by Tigi Session Series Finishing Spray helped shape these sleek and ultra polished looks.


The dazzling show and cool backstage pulse make for one of my best New York moments yet!

Thank you Per-fekt Beauty and Bold PR!


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Cue the Boom Chicka Boom Boom–Kid-FREE Valentine’s Day Inspiration


Photo Credit: http://www.nativeoutdoors.co.uk

I’ll be the first to admit that this is super corny…but this entire post is–essentially–my personal romance vision board…hope of all hopes that if I build it…the sexy will come.  2 kids under 5,  a geriatric cat, a shoe-box New York City apartment and basically…well, I’m romance (et al) starved.  The following is my sweeping romantic Hollywood movie vs. the reality of urban foot soldier meets frayed Mommy influenced ideal of what’s super hot and would be wholly embraced in the impossible dream: a child-free weekend.


Nothing says liberation like romance in the great outdoors (even if it’s just the empty backyard) and a cozy comfy tent made for two.


Here’s a sleek and uber sexy modified living room number for those of us living in a bee hive centrally located in the polar vortex.


The film The English Patient ruined me.  No man will ever live up to Ralph Fiennes as Count Lazlo de Almasy…and the desert will forever be the most romantic and excruciating place on earth.


Photo Credit: http://fancycribs.com/35802-31-romantic-valentines-day-design-ideas.html

Because I’m a chick and strewn rose petals, good booze and down-filled throw pillows get me every time.

Out-of-Africa-005 hair washing hair wash

Be still my tachycardic heart…Out of Africa (maybe the most beautiful movie ever made)…Robert Redford intimately washing Meryl Streep’s hair.  Sud up my locks and I’m yours forever.


Again with the outdoor liberation…just add water and preferably a claw foot tub.


Photo Credit: http://persephonesunset.tumblr.com/post/228886192

Few things in life are this perfect…especially if there is a large glass of good champagne just out of this camera shot.


Photo Credit: http://www.flyertalk.com/the-lobby/the-second-most-romantic-hotel-in-the-world-is-a-safari-adventure

My personal heaven: Africa, a tent and a claw foot tub…kill me now.


Photo Credit: http://madikwe.safari.co.za/madikwe-game-reserve-honeymoon.html

Sigh…a table for two…not four…or a begging dog…nor shreiking cat…two and only two.  Candlelight, of course.


Photo Credit: http://www.southboundbride.com/honeymoon-inspiration-top-10-super-romantic-tables-for-two/


Photo Credit: http://www.brit.co/romantic-tables/

Reality Bites…and Africa requires shots and anti-malarial drugs…sweet consolation prize in this lovely setting for two.


Photo Credit: http://www.brit.co/romantic-tables/

Glucose buffet, sepia pics and a bad ass tablescape…keys to my heart…and what I imagine life with a hipster lover might be like.


Photo credit: http://athometn.com/food-entertaining/romantic-dinner-for-two/

My husband would hate this ornate and gorgeously adorned table…mostly because he’s a big fan of elbow room and–as the proud owner of two cracker eating mini terrors–knows first hand that vacuuming shag carpet is a pain in the ass (20 minute–minimum–battle with the Dyson, right there) but I couldn’t help myself…the damn petals get me every time.


Photo Credit: http://fancycribs.com/35802-31-romantic-valentines-day-design-ideas.html

I love soft boiled eggs…so the floral homage is perfect…cupid’s arrow right through my belly.


recipe at: http://whiteonricecouple.com/recipes/drinks-cocktails/blood-orange-margarita/

“Alcohol is like love. The first kiss is magic, the second is intimate, the third is routine. After that you take the girl’s clothes off.” Ahh, Raymond Chandler, pure Casanova.  Here’s to magic in this super sexy blood orange spicy margarita.  

Strawberry Ombre Cake-5

Photo Credit: http://www.krissys-creations.com/2012/04/celebrating-my-1-year-blogiversary-with.html

You had me at frosting…and the pink ombre layers say you absolutely adore me.

Strawberry Ombre Cake-7

Photo Credit: http://www.krissys-creations.com/2012/04/celebrating-my-1-year-blogiversary-with.html

Did ever a more perfect slice of perfection exist?

top ten

All the highly stylized, romantic saccharine nonsense (though much mourned) in my head? Blame Hollywood, blame everything on the movie-magic-make-believe.  Below, the ultimate propaganda tools:  My  TOP TEN PICKS OF THE SEXIEST MOVIES…per a tired, romance-starved housewife.   Happy brainwashing (:


2. SECRETARY Unknown-6


3. OUT OF SIGHT Unknown-1

4. 9 1/2 WEEKS Unknown-4

5. UNFAITHFUL Unknown-2

6. THE LOVER Unknown-10

7. LUST, CAUTION Unknown-9


9. WILD ORCHID Unknown-5

10. Y TU MAMA TAMBIEN Unknown-3

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Anti-YOLO Bolo-gnese

bolognese2bolognese 1

The Anti-YOLO bolognese.  Let’s call it bolognese for the moderates.  And while, yes, you might only live once…chances are, you’ll most likely be around awhile.  Turns out gluttony is the short game.  Boo.   As my hilarious friends CN & SD cleverly exclaimed (post-holiday-end-of-the-world-inspired food frenzy): I need insulin…a sponsor…and Jesus.  All great exemplary things…as is this delicious and savory turkey bolognese.  Packed full of vegetables, lycopenes, antioxidants and surprise, surprise…BACON! (disclaimer: turkey bacon, but still), while no means low-calorie it is a more sensible alternative to the more traditional pork or beef-centric sauces and will help keep you in line with your New Year’s ressie to get fit and eat better in the 20-14.

While I’ve plated with the sinister gluten-packed plain penne pasta (bwa ha ha ha ha!), you could easily substitute with the protein or fiber-full wheat pasta varieties or go caveman/paleo style and eat it with a big spoon.   My kids also love this recipe as a sloppy joe filling…slice up a baguette and they’re soon unlocking their little jaws around it.  Rounding out the total win-win of this hearty family dinner, it freezes awesomely.


  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 6 slices of turkey bacon
  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped
  • 4  cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1 cup of chopped bella mushrooms
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 3 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 lb. of lean ground turkey
  • 1 can (14.5 oz) of diced tomatoes
  • 1 can (14.5 oz) of tomato sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of tomato paste
  • 1 sprig of rosemary, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon of oregano
  • handful of chopped fresh basil
  • 1/2 cup of red table wine
  • 1/2 cup of half and half
  • 1/2 cup of milk (low-fat, whole, whatever is on hand)
  • 1 cup of grated parmesan cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste


First, in a large cooking pot, add olive oil and saute chopped bacon to a crisp.  Then saute, garlic, onions, celery, carrots and mushrooms along with cooked bacon.  Add ground turkey and cook until slightly browned.  Add cans of diced tomatoes, tomato sauce and paste.  Then add chopped oregano and rosemary.  Stir in red wine, half and half and milk.  Mix in grated parmesan cheese and bring to a boil and immediately reduce heat to a slow simmer.  Let simmer for 1 hour minimum. Salt and pepper to taste.  Serve over pasta and top with more shredded parmesan and a sprig of fresh basil.






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Why Yes…More Holiday Tablescapes! (X-Mas Stylee)


Photo Credit: http://homemadechristmas.blogspot.com/2011/09/finished-2010-christmas-tree.html

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas crafting time…and I’m inappropriately obsessed with cranberry garland.  While, yes, a wee bit mindlessly time consuming, they are a simple and  affordable way to bring some holiday cheer to your tree, mantle piece or table setting.  By the way, totally dig the popcorn addition.


Photo Credit: http://www.stylisheve.com/rustic-christmas-table-decorating-ideas/


Another fun and creative way to usher in the festivities: decorative chair backings. These angel wings are perfectly spectacular.


Photo Credit: http://weheartit.com/entry/42831249/via/weddbook

I happen to own acrylic chairs and love this darling mistletoe wrap.  The kids’ table is also amazing…adore how everything is just a miniature replica of the grown-up sector.

Easy-peasy paper snow flake ornaments add a darling touch.

The bows are the perfect simple pop of red on the white chairs.  I’m a huge fan of monochromatic tablescapes and  these festive paper balls add playful whimsy.

Ruby red fire ice dining room at Christmas Dining Table Decorations

Photo Credit: http://www.freshomedecor.com/10-ideas-christmas-dining-table-decorations/

Love this super easy monochromatic buffet.


Photo Credit: http://www.homeizea.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/christmas-dining-table-decorating-in-modern-minimalist-concept.jpg

Another awesome use of inexpensive items you already have boxed about.  Hanging ornaments are magical and impactive.


Photo Credit: http://homestylediary.com/2012/12/02/beautiful-christmas-table-settings/

More hanging ornaments…LOVE.  These carnations in reused bottles are absolutely splendid and completely budget friendly.  This is indeed my personal frontrunner table inspiration.


Photo Credit: http://www.onewed.com/fall-and-winter/blog/best-holiday-wedding-inspiration-from-around-the-web

Perfect Arizona or Palm Springs X-Mas.  Succulents and Stars.


Photo Credit: http://www.blovedweddings.com/rustic-christmas-inspiration

Homey plaid runners accented with rustic wood accents.  Al fresco perfection.


Return of the pinecone coupled with the retro straw.

Natural Woodland Christmas Tablescape-21

Photo Credit: http://www.domesticfashionista.com/2012/12/natural-christmas-tablescape.html

More use what you got.  Trim loose branches from your tree to make a fragrant organic runner.


Photo Credit: http://inspiredlivinghome.blogspot.com/2012/12/christmas-tablescape.html

Absolutely heart the simple candy cane inspired runner here.


Photo Credit: http://www.weddingomania.com/46-beautiful-christmas-wedding-table-setting-ideas/pictures/19843/

Personalized place settings take the cookie.  These are super sweet.


Photo Credit: http://www.thesweetestoccasion.com/2009/12/holiday-winter-wedding-tablescape-inspiration/


Simple and elegant.  Delicate velvet string and mini ornaments.  Dreamy.


Photo Credit: http://www.weddingomania.com/46-beautiful-christmas-wedding-table-setting-ideas/pictures/19862/

Modern meets whimsy genius…and I MUST do this table.

Dainty and inviting personal mini presents place settings.


Photo Credit: http://www.weddingomania.com/46-beautiful-christmas-wedding-table-setting-ideas/pictures/19836/

My Mom bought me these adorable stocking silverware holders a few years back and they’ve since headlined two years in a row.


Hope some of these creative designs have inspired the inner magic maker in you!  Happy Holidays!


–Mommy Despot

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Thanksgiving Tablescape Ideas…Because Your Mother-In-Law Judges You



Yep.  Less than 2 weeks out until Thanksgiving.  While NYC is magical with its wide-eyed parade and Central Park spectacular as an autumn hued stunner, I’m actually bouncing this year.  Flying South with the geese to Mexico to celebrate my big 4-0 before it gets entirely eaten up by the holiday season (curse of the December babies).  Despite ushering in middle age with the requisite sun-soaked tequila shooters, Thanksgiving remains one of the top spots on my fav holiday list. Even more so than stuffing myself into a turkey coma, I love a great TG tablescape.  For so many, it is really that one time of year to gather with those you adore and really give thanks for the blessings and good fortune of loving family and loyal friends.  Gratitude totally earned this formal.  I’ve pinned and pasted my favorite designs.  From rustic to modern, most are really easy to implement.  I personally favor a table styled simply and elegantly with organic elements playing center stage.



This design from Simply Grove is fabulously simple and probably the easiest to execute.  All you need is butcher block paper as your runner or table covering and inexpensive daises, mums or wild flowers in repurposed wine bottles (f**k me, I just used “repurposed” in a design post, apologies) or mismatched vases.  I especially like the mixing of patterns with the whimsical polka dot napkins and country inspired plates.  Ikea meets Little House.


More butcher block.  It makes for such a fun table covering…this is a kid’s table from Simplified Bee but could easily work for a great, smaller hip gathering.  I’d totally top with a bucket of markers or crayons so guests could write down what they’re especially thankful for…or the kids could write “poopy head” with pointing arrows.


Another great option is chalkboard paper as a table runner or whole tablecloth.  The above is from Anthropologie and makes for the coolest buffet or sit down dinner.  You could seriously freak out your diet obsessed cousin and jot down the calorie content of each dish or an all caps “CARBS”!!!! over the potatoes.


Here comes the foliage…this is such a simple design but adds so much impact to a table.  I love the bold pop of purple…but really this pic had me at the Malbec.


Again super easy example of bringing the outside in.  Autumn leaves make for great runners and place settings.  Remember to gently wash and debug though.  Nothing makes for more awkward a dinner than an infestation…well, maybe a sloppy sauced uncle…though a sloppy sauced uncle covered in weevils might be good fun…cue the Robin Thicke.



Pinecones also do the trick.  Organic elements make for natural and almost effortless design…though would disclaim, not so much with the older crowd.  Pinecone on your great aunt’s plate=deep, white-of-the-eye roll.


More leaves, gourds…oh, and your brother’s wife thinks that individual soup terrines are pretentious and you’re a stuck up poser bore (sticks and stones, bitch)…but you, me and Martha love them, so that’s all that matters.



This sprig of rosemary is an elegant and rustic touch…all you need is a plan napkin and pretty bow…and some serious Mom game face that warns in one effective glance, “Don’t mess with the napkins, kid or Momz will lose her shit.”



More inexpensive seasonal flowers.  I like the uniform design and repetition…super elegant and one easy trip to (shout out) Trader Joe’s Flora section.


Wood slabs make great organic impact. Pictured here as votive tiers but I also love to use them as plate chargers.  Though would caution to go either/or…a table full of tree stumps dangerously ventures into Lord of the Rings Shire territory.  Lots of great options available on Etsy.


Sunflowers are still readily available in the Northeast and as cut flowers go, I realize they’re a step above the much maligned carnation…but screw it, they’re nicely priced and I dig ‘em!   Combined with my love of mason jars, this is another simple and pretty design.


The Marie Antoinette of table design…the decapitated sunflower and votive runner.



More elaborate design, but I love the color scheme and the gratuitous use of albino pumpkins.


Seasonal fall fruit act as lovely place settings.  The tall leaf table arrangements add height and grandeur to an otherwise minimal “apple strangely sitting center stage on my plate” design.


Love the pumpkin centerpiece, the simple but striking personalized place mats (though this particular font is a bit passive aggressive, no? BRADFORD, you money squabbling piece of sh**…) and the sweet (and psychotic) touch of the mini pecan pie individual place settings.



Former graffiti artists take note: if you have the time and fortitude to spray paint a dozen mini pumpkins…gold or an unexpected bold color like fuchsia make for an impressive table piece…though your FIL will subliminally but effectively channel that you have waaaaaay too much time on your hands.


Gold and Burlap…and so my obsession with burlap runners begins…see below…



Confession: I store yards of burlap under my bed…which oddly sounds fetishy.  No kink here,  just a great fabric that provides a ton of versatility in table design.



I absolutely love this design from Southern Vintage Georgia . It incorporates so many of my favorite things: wood slabs, burlap and mason jars…and acorns and faraway barns that I’ll absolutely never visit.



K, I’m hating on the flowers, chargers and napkin rings (case in point: Homegirl’s living at HomeGoods)…I actually like how she’s mixed a chevron runner with plaid napkins…I’d personally would have gone less organic meets modern blend and more modern meets quirky combine.


Lordy, if you live somewhere warm enough to eat al fresco…for the love of God, please do. Could this rustic table be anymore divine?



Okay, okay…when I initially saw this pic, my brain went to Lyme Disease (seriously, that looks like a bacchanal for ticks) but it sure does photograph super romantic.  Why yes: TG for two can be uber intimate and beautiful.  And while the wilds of Connecticut might be over-the-top for some, this can totally be toned down for a sweet little backyard or tick free nook in your own outdoor area.



Saving the best for last: I love this little al fresco lounge…and hey, If you have the space, the muscles to move your furniture outside and a pile of hay lying around…could this be anymore perfect?  Dream big and give thanks and remember to clean out your medicine cabinet (your SIL totally beelines for the bathroom)  Happy Thanksgiving!

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Cue the Adam Sandler…Chanukah Party Roundup



Yep…Eight Crazy Nights kickstarting on Thanksgiving Eve this year.  I was raised culturally Jewish and have the most awesome memories celebrating the wondrous Festival of Lights.  Dreidel, dreidel, dreidel…okay, we didn’t quite make ‘em out of clay, but we played our little hearts out…staring down a mountain of chocolate gelt–winner takes all.  The best thing about Chanukah?  Well, besides, fried food, fire starting and family…you have a week and some change to bring your best party to the tablescape.  Here are some cool and creative designs to inspire:


For more great photos, inspiration and design directions visit: http://www.houzz.com/projects/118623/Hanukkah-Table



Love the Chanukah dessert bar from the Sucre Shop. Focusing on dessert makes for an easier shin dig that still affords plenty of lee way in creativity and whimsy. blue-ombre-cupcakes

How cool are these ombre cupcakes!


To purchase: http://www.etsy.com/listing/85064613/hanukkah-dreidel-paper-garland?ref=sr_gallery_6&ga_search_query=dreidel+garland

I heart garland and streamers year round.  From birthday parties to the majors, they add a simple festive touch that packs a ton of impact to your decorating.


Tablescapes are another obsession.  I love this simplicity of this six seater round from Design Megillah.  The Gelt garland over the mantle piece is clever idea and adds awesome texture to an already beautiful setting.

Of course, Martha is the master of combining  whimsy and elegance.  Great way to incorporate the dreidel into the evening with these playful dinner or dessert napkins.

lined up 2

cones in a row wtih type

More napkins! Again from Design Megillah, custom 1 through 8 Chanukah napkins and these sweet favor cones.






To purchase: http://www.quickcandles.com/Set-of-72-Luminary-Bags-and-72-LED-Tealights-p/lum_set_72_led.htm

All about the luminaries…it is–after all–the festival of lights.  I love these varied ideas for incorporating candles to your design.  The mason jars are rustic perfect…ditto the branch shaped menorah.  At the opposite end of the tablescape spectrum, the mirrored tier coupled with dozens of votives lends itself to an elegant and beautiful adult evening.  Which brings me to the luminary paper bags:  I have young kids who will more likely burn my house down than not.  LED votives and these simple paper bags make for a wonderful alternative to a visit from the fire department.

For recipe visit: http://www.mybissim.com/2010/12/potato-latkes-for-hanukkah/#sthash.YzkzHfbp.tkgtsD93.dpbs


For recipe visit: http://www.greenprophet.com/2011/11/recipe-baked-sufganyot/

Food, food, yummy fried food! It ain’t Chanukah with latkes and donuts.  Above are two delicious links to savory latkes and less guilty (yet super tasty) version of the Sufganiyot.

Have a Happy Happy Happy Happy Chanukah!



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Bad Ass Bundts: Pumpkin Cranberry Chocolate Chip Bundt Cake

Pumpkin Cranberry Chocolate Chip Bundt Cake

Moist and Delicious

Moist and Delicious

Yep, Bundts are bad-ass.  Seriously the easiest cake in my dessert arsenal.  They look beautiful and are pretty much fool proof… as you can always slice them up and dust with powdered sugar if things go lopsided or the with bated breath, pan-to-plate flip leads to dreaded breakage bummer.  Split the wet from dry ingredients, mix everything up, fold in the extra yummies–you can even add walnuts, if they float your boat–and pour into one decorative bundt mold.  See, easy and delicious.  This Pumpkin Cranberry Chocolate Chip Bundt is a seasonal rockstar.  Bake one up for Halloween, a cozy autumn dinner or to add to a fabulous Thanksgiving buffet.

10-12 slices


  • 2 cups of sugar
  • 1 cup of canola oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon of orange zest
  • 3 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons of baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 cup solid-packed pumpkin puree
  • 1/4 cup of cranberries
  • 1/2 cup of semi sweet chocolate chips
  • powdered sugar for dusting


Preheat oven to 350°. In a larger mixing bowl, combine sugar and oil and blend. Add eggs–one at a time–beating well, followed by vanilla extract, orange zest and pumpkin puree.  In separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice and salt; add to egg mixture and mix well.  Fold in cranberries and chocolate chips.

Pour into to a greased 10-inch bundt pan.  Bake 60-65 minutes or until toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes before flipping over onto a wire rack. Remove pan and cool completely. Dust generously with powdered sugar.




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