Tuesday, November 23, 2010

try succulents this season!

Instead of using traditional cut evergreens this year, try incorporating some living succulents into your holiday decor. These tough little plants are known for growing in arid climates, characteristically storing water in their leaves (think cactus, aloe plants, etc.).  Recently, I've been seeing them used in much more prominent ways and I think they offer such a fresh, unexpected touch to wreaths, indoor arrangements and table setttings.  A good family friend recently used them in arrangements mixed with amazing florals and other unique fruits and vegetables for a post-wedding celebration party - so elegant! (see picture below). The great thing about succulents is they aren't terribly expensive and last for up to three to four years (with a half to full day of sunlight)! Just look how gorgeous and different they are!

 Photo courtesy of Snippet & Ink

 Photo courtesy of Snippet & Ink 

 Succulent Wedding Favors from Martha Stewart Weddings

 Photo courtesy of Martha Stewart

Succulent wreath by Fiona Grubb via Design Sponge 

Photo courtesy of NK Photography

 How gorgeous is Anne's arrangement?!  This is only a portion 
of the whole thing which was about 4 feet long!  

Monday, November 22, 2010

a leftover makeover

As much as we all wait in heightened anticipation for the annual Turkey Dinner, the days following are often bittersweet. We are usually met with our faithful friend, The Leftover, a reminder of a fabulous meal that may have left us all a bit too full!  Since everyone usually sticks to their tried and true family recipes for Thanksgiving, I thought it would be best to offer some easy, yet refined leftover dishes for those looking to make the most out of their holiday meals. Although Thanksgiving usually leaves you "all turkey-ed out," these gourmet finds use traditional ingredients in creative ways so you can best disguise that leftover bird!

I've broken the ingredients into sections so you can choose dishes based on what you happen to have left over (all the recipes can be found under the "Bites" tab). Here's to making the holidays last just a bit longer! Enjoy!

Roasted Turkey, Avocado, Bacon, 
Onion Relish & Aioli on Ciabatta

Photo and recipe courtesy of Tom Colicchio's
'Witchcraft' in NYC
Turkey Potpie with 
Cheddar Biscuit Crust

Photo and recipe courtesy of Gourmet (Ruth Cousineau/Epicurious)
Cheddar & Mashed Potato Gratin

Recipe courtesy of Bon Appetit; 
Photo courtesy of 20 Min Supper Club

Pork Chops with Cranberry, 
Port and Rosemary Sauce 

Recipe courtesy of Bon Appetit;
Photo courtesy of Tina Rupp (Epicurious)

Porcini & Stuffing Strata

Recipe courtesy of Bon Appetit;
Photo courtesy of Laura's Best Recipes

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

place card perfection!

Looking to jazz up your place settings this Thanksgiving?  Wow your guests (and make them feel special!) with effortlessly chic place cards, sure to impress even the most discerning mother-in-law.  With all of the other Thanksgiving prep, its hard to fathom yet another element to assemble, however, place cards are the perfect "plan ahead" piece to accessorize a fabulous holiday table.  

Simple is always best, so keep it easy.  Using seasonal produce like pears, lady apples, or miniature pumpkins is an easy way to add a rustic, fresh touch to your table (not to mention you can grab them while shopping for your other dinner ingredients!).  For a touch of elegance, paint your produce ahead of time with metallic paints.  Or, for those of us who tend to wait until the last minute, send the kids into the backyard to gather some fun pine cones or fresh herbs. Tie a festive ribbon, and voila! a clever quick fix.  

The beauty of the well thought out place card is that often it can do double duty for a table and your guests. If you need a little extra time for the turkey, place cards can be the perfect way to distract guests and keep them satisfied.  Use food as an accessory and set out a little personalized cheese basket at each setting.  For the more indulgent crowd, try using wine tag place cards - they will look festive on the table, but also serve as the perfect way for your guests to keep track of their glasses during post turkey celebrations!

Whatever you choose, keep it simple - the fact that you are personalizing each place setting is a special touch in itself.

Here are some ideas to get you started....

 Photo courtesy of MarthaStewart.com
Photo courtesy of MarthaStewart.com

 Photo courtesy of MarthaStewart.com

Photo courtesy of Southern Living

Photo courtesy of MarthaStewart.com

Photo courtesy of MarthaStewart.com

Monday, November 15, 2010

glitz, glamour and wit! say hello to the divine style of mrs. lilien

Recently, one of my good friend's introduced me to this fabulous blog from designer and self-proclaimed "stylist extraordinista," Kelley Lilien.  I'm fully confident that if you are anything like me and adore 1950s-60s inspired glamour and colorful, cheeky design, you will be addicted to this blog!  As the namesake for Lilien's styling house, Mrs. Lilien, showcases a design aesthetic that is absolutely to-die-for! The blog uses playful rhymes to give inspiration on anything from the perfect "Mrs." cocktail party to chic accessories and styling ideas. Check out her blog for a taste of her whimsical genius (the fact that her blog rhymes, doesn't hurt either!).

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