Thursday, July 31, 2008

thom, please invite me over

I usually cringe while watching home makeover shows...sometimes the 'after' is much worse then the 'before.' But I'm addicted to Thom Filicia. I adore him, and if I could choose any TV interior designer to redo my home it would be Thom (or Sarah Richardson of Design Inc). I'm so sad that Thom passed me over for the living room decorating contest he had a couple of months ago...I was hoping he would redecorate and we would hit it off, then we would become BFF's and he would want to have me up to his lake house. I just found this post on Domino's website- a great video with Thom describing how he entertains for friends at the cabin. Thom- I'm still available, if you'd like to have me over. 

To see, click here.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

cuteness at anthropologie

Oh Anthropologie, how I love you so! Today's mini-trip to the store was especially inspiring with so many fun things to look at. If I had lots of storage and lots of money, I think I would have entertaining closets full of their wares. Above are some favorites.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

the best laid plans

Today is my husband's birthday and I had big plans to make an ice cream cake for him. He is one of those rare people that doesn't like birthday cake- HATES icing, and apparently always has, even since he was a wee one. I had planned on getting an oreo pie crust, stuffing it with his favorite Edy's Grand mint chocolate chip ice cream, donning premium chocolate wafers in the center, and topping it with Camembert chocolate shavings. My plans literally started to crumble last night when I attempted to take the pie crust out of the aluminum casing, and it fell to pieces. His mom then upstaged me this morning by delivering a coffee cake. So this evening I ended up fixing him an bowl of ice cream with some Magic shell on top, with a lame birthday candle in the middle. C'est la vie. 

The thought of birthday cakes, however, got me thinking about my favorite bakeries in NYC- Magnolia Bakery, and its rival, Buttercup Bake Shop. The two bakeries carry the exact same items that taste the exact same. They are both amazing. It is simply a matter of proximity for me when I'm in the city. I don't know what happened between the two owners to cause a rift, but lucky for us, that means there are more locations to choose from. I've just added both of their cookbooks to the Party Perfect Favorites book shop. I own both, and have made the cupcakes from the Magnolia cookbook and the banana pudding from the Buttercup one. If you had to choose just one, I would go with Buttercup, since the banana pudding recipe they are famous for is only shared in theirs. 

photo courtesy of Magnolia Bakery cookbook

Monday, July 28, 2008

party pennant how-to

Party pennant how-to spotted on Purl Soho. How lovely!

benjamin's hash browns

The Sohr's had us over for brunch a couple of weekends ago. Benjamin, the cook of the house, made the most amazing meal- including hash browns that were to die for! When I asked him how he made them, he said 'like everybody else does.' Ummm...I don't know about you, but I don't make hash browns that often, and if do, I am a by-the-book recipe cook. So I made Benjamin write down the recipe. Stupid me forgot to take pictures of our brunch together, so instead, I'm including an old picture of Benjamin from their old store, Favorite (see above). Thanks, Benj!

25 small yukon gold potatoes (cleaned with skins on and cut into quarters)
4 T butter
3 T olive oil
2 T minced garlic
1 carrot (cleaned and cut into tiny cubes)
1/2 large vidalia onion (diced tiny)
1 celery stalk (diced tiny)
rosemary to taste
salt to taste
pepper to taste

step 1: Place quartered potatoes in pot of boiling water. Cook until slightly tender. Drain water and set aside.

step 2: In a cast iron skillet melt butter over low heat. Add olive oil. Add onion and cook until translucent. Add garlic and cook 2 minutes. Add carrot and celery and cook 2-3 more minutes.

step 3: Add cooked potatoes in skillet with carrot, onion, and celery. Add rosemary, salt, and pepper to taste.

step 4: Begin to prepare the rest of your breakfast and let potatoes cook another 30-40 minutes so they get a little brown and crispy, making sure to keep heat low. Add a little extra butter to the pan if they are looking dry. 

Friday, July 25, 2008

party of four

My mom just returned from a cruise around the Baltic, and sent me this great shot from her stop in Copenhagen. Can you imagine pedaling around these four? They've got their own little party happening in the back, with lollipops and snacks. Seems like a great concept that will hopefully find its time here in the States. I can't imagine it is too far off, given our gas prices!

Thursday, July 24, 2008


this 1950's vintage party photo via Habitually Chic.

P.S. doesn't that look like a short-haired Clay Aiken in the center?

naomi stalker

Hello Naomi! (via Flickr) must think I am stalking her. I am obsessed with all of her gorgeous cupcakes! I only wish she lived close enough for me to taste the goods (she's an Australian). Above are some photos from her first wedding cake creation. Bravo, Naomi!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

for the love of pennants (and banners)

I heart pennants.

from top: banners from Loulou Addict; pennant/birthday set-up via Desire to Inspire (I think from them, but can't remember!); pennant and banners from Loulou Addict; mini-pennant (below tattooed arms) from Renegade Craft Fair via SfGirlbyBay; mexican flag pennants from Plum Party; customizable MDF pennants from damboisedesigns; long line of fabric pennants from PaperFish; report card pennants from somethingshidinghere; vintage craft book from YouAreYou; fabric pennants from m*o*m at 42nd and Orange.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

bring back Budget Living!

Given the current economic condition, it seems fitting that we should bring back Budget Living! I loved their motto of 'Spend Smart. Live Rich.' While I wasn't always so thrilled with some of the photography (a bit too 'retro'-feeling at times), they jam-packed so many ideas into each issue. I just picked up the BL 'Party Central' book last week, and love it! The book includes themes, recipes, and best of all- the receipt total of what the party will cost. Above are a couple of snippets. From top: New Year's party with 'hangover helpers' in a pinata; Kentucky Derby party; recipes for a Camp party.

Also to note: the Party Perfect Favorites book store is up and running. Here you will find all of my recommendations for party and entertaining books, host/hostess gifts, and book favorites for kids and babies. I will keep updating the site, so you can refer to it at any time.

Monday, July 21, 2008

alfresco dining

In warmer weather, I often have visions of setting up a table in the yard or on the deck for meals with friends.I love the idea of having really beautiful linens and candles placed on an 'inside' table in an outdoor setting. These tables, styled by Brian Adriola, are great inspiration!

Friday, July 18, 2008

ann wood

I have been obsessed with Ann Wood's gorgeous creations for some time now. However, I can't figure out what kind of occasion can justify a purchase. The birds make great cake toppers- and while a wedding is an obvious choice (except I'm already married), I'm trying to think outside the anniversary party? maybe a single one for a baby shower? The expense makes me feel as though it would need to have multiple uses. I'm definitely not the only one who is a fan. Ann's creations usually sell out the same day they are listed in her etsy store. For those who are interested, her website states that she is now only taking limited orders, so plan ahead!

Thursday, July 17, 2008


Almost lost among the wedding-related ads, I spotted these amazing suckers on a third browsing of the Summer '08 Martha Stewart Weddings (top photo). The letter lollipops look impeccable, thanks to the help of the Weddings stylists, I'm sure!

The lollipop website, however, leaves a lot to be desired. But if you don't mind navigating through the poorly designed site and some very oddly shaped 'pops, there are some real gems in the mix. My favorites: horse head, Texas, letters and numbers (some much better then others), a strawberry and a butterfly. These could be used as favors at a number of occasions!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

fruit salsa & cinnamon chips

Looks perfect for a summer soirĂ©e! Via One More Moore (recipe right here).

miracles do exist

I just about cried when I found a water glass, left by a house guest on top of a computer printout, had made a bright pink ink stain on my Saarinen marble top table. I had saved up for the tulip table for a verrrrry long time, and had only recently indulged...telling my husband it would be an 'heirloom piece' we would have for years.

He quickly realized how dire the situation was and jumped on the internet to search out some options. Many of the sites we found offered little hope, until we found some powder solution that I am now deeming 'miracle paste.'

I was concerned anything we used might take the clear coat finish off of the table, or do some additional damage that made the stain look even worse. However, after mixing the powder with water, covering it in plastic wrap, and letting it sit overnight- the paste worked its magic. The next morning I scraped off to discover the stain was completely GONE, with no damage done to the table!

So I must give five stars to Stone Care International Ink Stain Remover, IPP Poultice Powder. They also have formulas designed for food, oil and grease stains. Hallelujah!


The latest issue of Cookie (with Amanda Peet on the cover) has a very interesting article in it called 'Party Police.' I am guilty of at least one of the sins it describes, including often putting the tag line 'no gifts' at the bottom of an invitation I've sent out. Sally Schultheiss, the author, makes quite a strong argument against this practice, along with her two other pet-peeves...those who put 'no candy' and those who put 'no siblings' on the invitation. While I don't necessarily agree with her point of view, it will definitely give me pause for thought the next time I consider a 'no-gift' party! It's actually quite an entertaining read.There are also a couple of other good (non-party) articles in the mag, including one on Amanda Peet (who voices strong support of vaccinations), and an article profiling four different women who made different child bearing choices. 

Monday, July 14, 2008

source: PLASTICA

Plastica, a store based in L.A.'s Silverlake neighborhood, houses all sorts of cool and one-of-a-kind items. Plastica is the perfect place to find unique partyware, gifts and practical everyday items that are durable and affordable, as well as design savvy. While many of their items are plastic (the material that inspired their name), they feature items made out of a variety of other materials as well. Lucky for us, we don't have to live in L.A. to enjoy their wares, since they have a great online store as well!

Some favorites pictured above: recycled plastic tub (perfect to keep drinks cold for a party); bento box (great for party leftovers or a picnic); Marimekko serving tray; thermos with a built-in spoon; set of white coffee cups (I'm in love with these, even though I don't drink coffee!); and a washing up bowl- pretty enough to keep out in the open and practical enough to wash your most fragile items in.