Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Holiday Gifts: Wine Wednesday!

Add a little extra to your bottle of wine gift with these two fabulous wine accessories.  First, enhance the way you think about wine with these TableTopics To Go wine conversation cards.  It's a great conversation starter for your next wine party.  We also highly recommend the Vinturi Essential Wine Aerator.  My husband and I were given it as a gift a few years ago and since then, at least a handful of friends that we've hosted have gone out and bought one and I've also gifted it several times.  

TableTopics To Go wine conversation cards, $9, amazon.com
Vinturi Essential Wine Aerator, $40, Bed Bath and Beyond
Cheers!
Ana

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Holiday Gifts: $25 and Under

You don't have to spend a lot of money to give a fabulous gift.  We've rounded up some gifts under $25 that we know many of you would love to see in your stockings.  

First, pretty much everyone you know is in smart phone mode right now.  Why not give a new phone case?  We love the case by Kate Spade that states what is almost always on my annual New Year's resolution (and accomplished) list - plan an adventure.  We love this not so subtle reminder!  We also love this glittery iPhone case from J. Crew. 

Left: J. Crew iPhone case; Right: Kate Spade Blackberry case.  $25 each

Next is the gift of custom letter press stationery.  To me, nothing is more formal than a gorgeous letterpress card with your personal name or note on it, and it's such an easy and thoughtful gift to give as well.  Letterpress stationery is pretty pricey, but we've found a gorgeous design on Etsy by Grayton Press to fit today's budget.  We love it. 

Personalized Letterpress Stationery Card, $25 for a set of 10 cards, Graytin Press
Next up is the gift of salon hair every day!  Seriously, this Coconut Milk by Organix hair products is one of my newest obsessions and I'm so happy I caved in to my impulsive desire to try this product out.  The shampoo and conditioner leave a clean shiny head of hair that smells better than salon products.  I love it. 

Organix Coconut Milk shampoo and conditioner, $7 each, drugstore.com
Another favorite stocking stuffer I love to give and receive is Essie nail polish.  With so many colors available, stock up on a few and package them up nicely for a colorful surprise. 

Essie Nail Polish in Trophy Wife, $8, beauty.com
And last but certainly not least, someone on your list is going to LOVE these conversation cards.  "If you could have any view from your back porch, what would it be?" "What was the most ridiculous but very cool fashion trend you ever followed?" These are the types of questions that are on these TableTopics conversation cards and they are so fun to bring to dinner parties or small get togethers.  Below are the original cards, but you can also have fun with topics narrowed by categories, such as 80's, Travel, Dinner Party, etc.  

Original Edition Table Topics, $25, amazon.com
Cheers!
Ana

Monday, December 19, 2011

Holiday Gifts: Under $50

Happy Monday!  Today we've gathered up a few favorite gifts, all of which are under $50.  We think some of these make the perfect last minute gift or stocking stuffer and we know yours truly (whomever that may be) will surely enjoy them!

Our first pick is for the athlete or runner that you know.  Designed to boost circulation and increase oxygen flow through the legs, runners are going wild for compression socks.  We've found a pair for under $50 for anyone you may know that is training for a race or just likes to be active.

SLS3 Compression sleeves, $44.95
For the globe-trotting fashionista that you're secretly afraid to shop for, you'll score big with the new book, The Eye Has to Travel.  Famed socialite and fashion editor to powerhouse publications Harper's Bazaar and Vogue, Diana Vreeland is once again immortalized through photographs and fashion spreads from the icon's most famous works.  The collection remembers the legendary editor's impact on fashion, her influence in photography, and her incomparable vision. 

Diana Vreeland the Eye Has to Travel, $35, amazon.com
Who doesn't appreciate a perfect morning brew?  For the coffee lover in your life, give the gift of Illy coffee.  Trust us, they will love you.  Visit www.illyusa.com for gift ideas or to purchase ground or whole bean coffees and espressos.  As a bonus, they offer free shipping on any and all orders!

Illy 8 oz. ground espresso cans, $29-$32 for a set of 2. 

I know the three of us greatly appreciate cosmetics in our stockings.  It saves us from having to buy them ourselves, and the products generally last us the year, which means we can look forward to refills each Christmas.  This year, we've spotted the perfect eye color palette that includes colors appropriate for both work and play.  

Laura Mercier Baked Eye Color Palette, $48, Nordstrom
And last but not least, a man in cold weather must absolutely have a warm cashmere scarf.  I bought this for my husband on our first anniversary and he looks so sharp when he wears them.  Whether for your husband, boyfriend, brother or father,  have them looking just as sharp in this ultra warm and stylish scarf.  

Men's 100% cashmere scarf, $49.99, Land's End

Cheers!
Ana

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Holiday Gifts: Under $100

I was perusing my latest issue of People Magazine and they had some featured holiday gifts. I spotted this Tory Burch Foundation Studded Cuff and thought I’d visit one of my favorite designer’s website to check out what other lovely gift ideas she might have to offer. Well, I pretty much fell in love with everything, but here are a few of my favorite arm candy pieces under $100.  

Photo: Tory Burch Skinny Woven Turnlock Cuff in Navy. www.toryburch.com

Photo: Tory Burch Patent Bow Cuff in Blood Orange www.toryburch.com
Photo: Tory Burch Foundation Studded Cuff in Red. www.toryburch.com 


 
Cheers!
Cristi

Friday, December 16, 2011

Holiday Gifts: Under $100

Happy Friday!  I know many of you will wrap up your gift buying this weekend, so today we bring you our top five gifts under $100.  Without further introduction:

For a friend in cold weather give a gift of function and luxury.  I have cashmere lined gloves in every color and can't speak enough of their comfort and warmth.  The fact that they look sharp too is just a bonus.  

Cashmere lined leather gloves, $55, Lord and Taylor
For the friend who loves a morning latte, mocha, or cappuccino, the espresso experts at DeLonghi have an espresso machine that can brew espresso and froth and steam milk for a daily fix at home.  Got a 20% off coupon?  Go in store and order a machine to save an extra $20

Espresso machine, $100, Bed Bath and Beyond
For the accessory lover, nothing is more craved right now than smooth, polished faux tortoiseshell so we've found the perfect bangle to sport this trend.  I may have to gift this one to myself! 

Michael Kors Slender Hinged Bangle, $95, Nordstrom
Ask any person who enjoys spending time in the kitchen and they will tell you a non-stick griddle is a must-have.  This double-burner griddle by All-Clad will last a lifetime and also comes with a free cookbook!

Griddle, $100, Williams-Sonoma
And last but not least, for the music lover, these high quality headphones with a V8 sound engine by Sol Republic will refine any listener's experience. 

Sol Republic headphones, $99, Best Buy
Cheers!
Ana

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Holiday Gifts: Under $100

On Wine Wednesday we bring you another wine-themed gift suggestion.  Our friends at wine.com have put together a collection of gift sets and gift baskets for giving to the wine lover in your life.  Your recipients will think of you when they open these bottles on their next special occasion.  Personally, I think wine is an underrated gift.  People dismiss it as too corporate or impersonal, but between us good grape lovers, bring on the wine!  Please! 

This gift set offers two spectacular reds from famed winery, Silver Oak. $99.99

Know anyone going to Italy soon?  Even if not, give them the wine tasting and culinary experience of the famed old-world wine producing country.  $99.99
Today only, enter code 1CENT49 on any order over $49 and pay only one cent shipping.  If you miss the deadline, visit the wine.com Facebook page for a $0.01 email shipping offer and save a fortune on shipping your wine gift this holiday season!

Cheers!
Ana

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Holiday Gifts: Under $100

Okay, for those of you who don't like so much 'junk' (what guys call 'guy stuff') in the home, I've found a little product that takes up only a teeny amount of space in your closets/homes/drawers/garage... wherever it is you stash stuff that you're not sure of.  This modular pocket knife comes with a set of 18 attachments and has a function for almost everything.  Flat head or Phillips head?  This nifty tool has both.  You know those mini screwdrivers used for eye glasses?  This tool has those too.  Various blades and a woodsaw can be found here.  Wire stripper, scissors, nail file and of course a bottle opener!  We love this gift!

Switch Modular Pocket Knife, $79, quirky.com
I also wanted to share with you a fun little idea I saw in this month's InStyle magazine.  Inspired by my favorite designer, Valentino, InStyle thought it would be adorable to incorporate lace into your gift wrap this year.  Nothing's better than a sexy looking present!


images via Google
Cheers!
Ana


Monday, December 12, 2011

Holiday Gifts: Under $100

Today's gift is for your favorite host or hostess.  All around the world, whether a large dinner party or a small get together, we look forward to the toast and the chance to look our company in the eye and say, "cheers."  That's why we think this stemware that says it in six languages is just perfect for giving to that special someone who always  loves to include you in whatever is being celebrated. 

"Cheers" flutes, set of six, $70, Neiman Marcus
"Cheers" stemless wine glasses, set of six, $65, Neiman Marcus
Cheers!
Ana

Friday, December 9, 2011

Holiday Gifts

Remember how I told you I’m obsessed with photography? Well I found the perfect gift  for the avid photographer! These days people are snapping pictures more with their phones than with their expensive SLRs so check out these AMAZING lenses for your smartphone camera. I am obsessed. Strap these on to your smartphone camera and your photography range will grow exponentially. Literally!

Photo: PhotoJoJo.com
Cheers!
Cristi

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Holiday Gifts

Let’s face it…nobody likes to drink alone! But sometimes you just need the solo glad of wine so we’ve found a drinking buddy that’ll never leave your side—or your glass! These ADORABLE drinking buddy wine glass charms and wine bottle topper will not only give you a drinking buddy but also help you keep tabs on your own glass when you ARE drinking with buddies. Another perk? Oprah loves them too! She featured them in this month’s issue of O magazine as one of her favorite things!

 

Cheers!
Cristi

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Holiday GIfts

Today's gift is for the quintessntial and well-groomed gentleman, the one who appreciates a little splurge, but won't quite ever spend it on himself.  As simple as it is elegant, the shaving set we've selected is a beautiful classic, made by the shave experts at The Art of ShavingShaving sets start at $195.  At $450, the set we've selected also comes with a complimentary shaving set, an $82 value. 

Power Shave Collection with fine badger brush, $450, The Art of Shaving

Free gift with purchase of Power Shave collection
Cheers!
Ana

Monday, December 5, 2011

Holiday GIfts

Today's gift is for the person who has everything, the one on your list that is hard to shop for.  Giving the gift of a luxurious home scent goes a long way.  A lovely home scent is thoughtful and is often an expense that is overlooked or simply not prioritized, making it the perfect gift for just about anyone.  

We put our heads together and came up with our own favorite home scents.  We love each of these because they beautifully change the air in an entire room and lend a magnificent scent that lasts for hours.  

Various candles and diffusers, $16-$99, Nordstom

3. Michael Aram offers diffusers in many of his most popular collections.  'Lemonwood' Fragrance Diffuser, $99

Cheers!
Ana

Friday, December 2, 2011

Holiday Gifts

Today's gift is sure to add some sparkle to your wardrobes.  We love the combination of elegant and geometric shapes in this pair of earrings and think the color can play  up almost anything in a woman's closet.  The fact that they can be paired with a cocktail dress or a plain tee and jeans makes these a winner in our book!

Oscar de la Renta Drop Earrings, $295, Neiman Marcus
Cheers!
Ana

Thursday, December 1, 2011

{Thrifty Thursday} Holiday Gifts

Happy First of December!  For the next 30 days, we will feature a gift of the day, kicking off with this week's Thrifty Thursday series.

Our first gift can be used in a variety of ways.  A perfume caddy for her, a bar tray for the home or a shaving kit and accessory caddy for him.  For under $40, we think this gift is not only sexy, but also a welcome addition to any home. 
Mirrored serving tray, $39.99, Target
Cheers!
Ana

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Food is Love!

The other day, my friend and TGG reader sent me this bumper sticker.  She said she thought of me when she saw it and I am flattered!  Food is love.  I know this now but maybe I didn't when we were younger.  Sometimes we dismissed my mother's efforts to make a delicious meal and requested sugary cereals and soft drinks - items she forbade in the house - instead.  When asked why not she'd simply say, "Because I love you, that's why."  My father is just as loving.  Every morning, as he still does today, he is up at dawn cooking a breakfast feast for the family.  It was our greatest lesson: family first.  We started the day at the table together.  It was brain food, he called it.  It was last minute test prep and extra encouragement to begin the day.  It was our only time at the table as a family once our over-scheduled extra curriculars took over.  It was, and still is, love. 

Cheers!
Ana

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Housewarming Success

Remember Itold you I recently moved into a new place? Well a couple of weekends ago LC and I hosted our housewarming party and it was a total success! We served up a full bar and some easy and delicious hors d’ oeuvres to our friends and family that came to the party. Remember that hosting should be enjoyable and not stressful. Pick some easy recipes that won’t take long to prepare and spend the rest of your day lounging waiting for your guest to arrive. Here are some pictures of what I chose to serve to up to our guests.  

Photo: Grab some smoked sausage and puff pastry dough for some super easy and delicious pigs in the blanket.
Photo: I admit I did a subpar job but take your pastry dough, cut it into squares, place sausage in the middle, egg wash the corners of the dough, wrap in a "taco" form and egg wash the top of the dough to keep it sealed. Bake at 425 for 10-15 minutes.
Photo: My pigs in the blanket turned out to be more like pigs on a bing bag but they were delicious nonetheless. Serve with some spicy stone ground mustard and viola, your guests will LOVE them.
Photo: Harry & David Pepper and Onion relish is one of only three ingredients for my next recipe. Easy crock pot meatballs!
Photo: Add 1 can of madarin oranges (only drain 1/2 the juice), a can of Harry & David Pepper and Onion relish and some meatballs (I opted for Turkey meatballs to save some fat and calories) and place in crockpot on low for 4-6 hours. Super easy and super delicious!
Photo: Okay, I cheated here and served a store bought spinach and artichoke dip, but it was on sale! Serve with tortilla chips.
Photo: Last but not least is my favorite, we pairs a goat cheese, roasted red pepper, pesto and pine nut torte with Manchego cheese, Boursin garlic & herb and Boursin Shallot and chive cheese with various salamis and Italian meats. Add some Carrs water crackers and you've got the perfect meat and cheese platter.
Photo: The whole spread!

Cheers!
Cristi

Monday, November 28, 2011

{We’re Obsessed} Pettigrew Associates

Two weekends ago I had the pleasure of attending the Catholic Charities of Dallas Hope for the Holidays event with some of my closest friends. My friend T’s parents recently purchased a design, furnishing and lighting business and they hosted the special night at their new Dallas showroom. I initially attended the event to support a good cause and because I’m always looking to expand my philanthropic horizons (okay, the open bar and catered dinner didn’t hurt either) but was treated to so much more. It’s no secret I am a lover of d├ęcor so when I stepped into the Pettigrew warehouse I was literally breathless as I scoped out all of the custom furnishings and the amazing chandeliers. I managed to snap a few photos of some of my favorite pieces but check out more of their amazing stuff here and DEFINITELY take a visit to their showroom. All of their pieces are unique designs and perfectly crafted. Seriously, I can’t get over how beautiful their stuff is! Wait! Did I mention they also have an amazing selection of fabrics and wall coverings for all your DIY projects? Seriously, they can do it all! It’s no wonder why we’re obsessed. 


Photo: Amazing chandelier with pink, amber, clear and emerald colored crystals.
Another amazing chandelier with blue and white colored crystals.



Photo: Furniture Makeover. Before & After accent chair.
Photo: The finished product! Amazing grey and white chevron patterned chair.(sorry so blurry)
Photo: I was DROOLING over this desk and chair set. SO elegant.

Cheers!
Cristi

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thanksgiving Recipe: Brussels Sprouts Four Ways

A favorite fall vegetable of ours is Brussels Sprouts and they are a healthy, hearty addition to any meal.What's better is that there are multiple ways to prepare them so I will go ahead and share my personal favorites.  For each variation, you will need a 2-3 pound bag of Brussels Sprouts, stems removed, rinsed and halved.

1.  Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Sprinkle sprouts with a pinch of Kosher salt.  In a small bowl, combine 3-4 tbsp. olive oil, a pinch of Kosher salt and black pepper to taste.  Mix well.  Pour over sprouts, tossing to coat.  Place on foil-lined cookie sheet and roast in 375 degree pre heated oven 30-40 minutes, turning once.  Remove from oven when lightly browned.

I just roasted balsamic-glazed sprouts this weekend
2. Balsamic Glazed Brussels Sprouts
Use same method of preparation as in version 1, only add 3 tbsp of Balsamic Vinegar to the olive oil mix.  Pour over sprouts.  Roast 30-40 minutes, turning once.  They are ready when lightly browned. 

3.  Lemon Brussels Sprouts
Follow directions in version 1, with the exception of adding 3 tbsp. fresh lemon juice to the olive oil mixture.  Lemon juice can be added to the Balsamic version as well, using equal parts lemon juice, Balsamic vinegar and olive oil. 

4.  Doctored Brussels Sprouts
Pick your favorite method of preparation above (roasted, Balsamic or lemon), and add either pancetta or sliced bacon pieces, half of a Julienned red onion, and a 6 oz. container of rinsed button mushrooms.  Toss ingredients in a large bowl with Brussels Sprouts.  Pour olive oil mixture over vegetables (add extra olive oil if needed).  Pour onto foil-lined cookie sheet and roast 35-40 minutes, until sprouts and bacon have lightly browned.

Cheers!
Ana

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Thanksgiving Entertaining: Selecting the Menu

We will be hosting my in-laws this week and last week we decided on what is sure to be a delicious menu.  We will be preparing:
  • Maple-Bourbon brined turkey
  • a small ham
  • stuffing
  • roasted sweet potatoes
  • green beans
  • gravy
  • cranberry sauce
  • macaroni and cheese
  • handmade dinner rolls
  • dessert
foodnetwork.com
It is sure to be an eventful day in the kitchen, and that is one of the things I love most about the holiday!  We will also be serving wine, tap and sparkling water.  To start, I'll be stirring up a pomegranate-champagne cocktail.   For parties, I like to make a little beverage station near the dinner table and put out a spread of options, both alcoholic and not.

My iced beverage glasses with sparkling water and a pomegranate for decor
Pomegranate Cocktail recipe:
fill each fluted champagne glass with 1 oz. pomegranate juice (the 100% POM bottles are best)
top with 4 oz. champagne
garnish with orange peel and pomegranate seeds

Cheers!
Ana