Archive for December, 2013

For years, I was extremely intimidated by the kitchen.
I would take a look at a recipe, see the list of ingredients, read through all the steps and become too overwhelmed to even try it.
I was convinced I would screw it up somehow.

Over the past few years, however, I began to crave the ability to cook.  And not just a quesadilla on the stove, but really cook.  My husband also began feeling the same way and slowly but surely, we took to the kitchen, sometimes working alone, sometimes working together, to create things that really, I never thought we would be able to make.

Whether the hubby was frying fish tacos for dinner, or I was making baked croissant French Toast for breakfast, we began to notice how much we both enjoyed being in the kitchen.  What I thought was going to feel stressful and overwhelming actually brought extreme calm and enjoyment.  For how crazy our life can get, cooking seems to always slow down life for a moment.  Now when we have people over, we will sit and talk menu, creating the perfect combination of flavors for our friends and family.  Whether it is as simple as an All American menu to a more complex French menu, we have so much fun cooking, baking and setting the scene with friends.

This holiday break has given us the gift of time and it has been the perfect excuse to try some new things.  I made my first French Onion Soup on Christmas, the hubby has been putting his new deep fryer to work on beignets and frites, and I finally attempted risotto, something the hubby has always made incredibly well but I have never attempted.  The hubby also made this Eggs Benedict for the first time and it was a dream come true.

I just finished reading Bread and Wine: A Love Letter to Life around the Table, a book of essays by the author followed by some of her favorite recipes.  Throughout the book she focuses on the importance of gathering around the table with friends and family and the memories that are created.  I just loved the entire book and it has motivated me to take my cooking one step further.

My resolution for 2014 is to create more time to cook for friends and family.  Every year our calendar gets booked with parties, galas, events, meetings, sports and dinners.  What is lacking is the more casual moments; the dinners at our home with the people we adore.  No matter how fun a party or event can be, it does not compare to the intimacy of a group of people around a dining room table, eating and drinking for hours.  So, that is my plan.  A little less over booking, a little more personal entertaining.

And on that note, can you believe this is the last day of 2013?  It really was such an incredible year and I feel so very blessed.  I can only image what amazing things are to come.  This life is pretty incredible isn’t it?  Have a wonderful celebration this evening and I look forward to sharing more with you in 2014.

Happy New Year.   
December always seems to exist in such a blur doesn’t it?  

Thanksgiving hits and then it is as if the fast forward button is pushed and without a second to breathe, Christmas Eve arrives and we begin to wonder what just happened.

Being my favorite time of year, the only thing I end up regretting at Christmas time is how fast it came and went.  It bothers me that such an amazing time could be over so quickly.  This year I took a different approach and decided to leave the stress behind, simply trying to enjoy the season.  Because isn’t that what happens?  We get caught up in all the planning and preparing that we forget to embrace the beauty of it?

This year I laughed, hugged, drank, ate, smiled, and celebrated with family and friends.  I listened to Christmas tunes, I decorated a tree, I watched Baby Girl play with our Nativity, and I read Christmas stories.  I hosted friends, cooked, attended mass, went on walks with the family, attended parties and enjoyed some down time with the hubby and kids.
Some things I didn’t do was visit a mall (thank you Amazon Prime and the greater internet…oh yes, and my UPS man), make Christmas cookies, worry about a clean house, get dressed some days, worry about calories, over-commit ourselves, worry about a properly decorated dining room table and many other things that just seem to cause a lot of stress over the holidays.

The outcome was a holiday season that I can say, for the first time in a while I TRULY enjoyed.  It is the first time in a while that I am not sad to see it end because I know I did everything I could to make it memorable.  I loved this year and learned a valuable lesson that I plan to carry on in years to come.  Christmas is not about what needs to be done but the joy and hope of life.  

When you take a moment and look back at the Christmas memories that are created every day, it is not the details that you ever remember.  
It is the smiles, the hugs, the laughs of your family and friends.  
Nothing more.  Nothing less.

“For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord” –Luke 2:11

May we forget all that is wrong with the world and embrace all that is good.
May we forget all the stresses life brings and appreciate all our blessings.
May we hug those we love and feel the presence of those who have passed.
May love and laughter fill our hearts.
May we always remember the true meaning of Christmas and the sacrifice that was made for us.

From my family to yours,
Merry Christmas.

A Merry Christmas to you!

I am so excited that it is the weekend before Christmas.  The kids are out of school, our Christmas cards have been sent, Christmas shopping is complete and all that is left is preparing our menu, baking some cookies and spending some quality time together.  The best two weeks of the year!

There are many who will be running around for some last minute gifts so I thought I would pull together some quick suggestions to help check these individuals off your list!

For Her

For Him

For the Kids

Don’t forget the gift guides I did for the hubby and girlfriends too!

In totally unrelated news, did you hear about this guy?  I mean, really?   

Next week I am going to be taking it easy, popping in and out so the posting will be light but don’t worry, I am not going on “vacation” just yet.

Happy Weekend.  
Is anyone else having as much trouble as I am remembering to move this guy?

I tend to run around like a maniac in the morning, hiding him under my robe until I get him in a new spot before the kids see.

And when they find him first and realize he hasn’t moved, I come up with the crap excuse that they must have not been very good yesterday and he didn’t want to give a bad report to Santa so he stayed put.  

Because why not instill fear in your children at Christmas time?  

Completely makes sense.
It is the final week of school before Christmas break and I could not be more thrilled.    
Nothing sounds better than two weeks off of our schedule to relax and spend time celebrating the holidays with the family.  
The countdown is on!

As I mentioned Friday, we had a crazy weekend but I am happy to report that it was all executed brilliantly if I do say so myself.  One of my favorite parts of the weekend was hosting the Bardot Holiday Event.  It has been YEARS since I worked retail and I have missed the fun of helping others shop for beautiful clothes.  The hubby may never allow me to do it again because spending 5 hours at a boutique with 5 trunk shows meant I perhaps came home with a few too many things for myself but I had a blast!

One of the trunk shows at Bardot was Hudson+Bleecker, a collection of luxury travel and lifestyle accessories.  The line includes cosmetic cases, pouches, cosmetic bags, and weekender bags in a number of styles.  I was aware of the line but had never been able to preview the entire collection in person.  Eram, the designer behind the line, was also in attendance at the event and was able to walk me through all the items, the functionality of each piece and how they are made.  It is a beautiful collection of prints, fabrics and yet are incredible versatile for the woman on the go.  I also love that for ever accessory purchased, Hudson+Bleecker donates a percentage of the profits to support local and national charities and philanthropic causes.  I have so much respect for those who give back.  These are some of my favorites and I am still kicking myself for not coming home with the garment bag.    

Orient Express Pochette / Basel Shoe Bag / Capri Berry Mini Dopp Kit

Vienna Voyager Toiletry Bag / Labyrinth Gold Wayfarer Garment Bag
The Hudson+Bleecker collection is available locally at Bardot or online here.  The perfect Christmas present for those last few women on your list!

Where have I been you ask?  Hmmm, not sure.  It seems everywhere lately.

I know my posts have been EXTREMELY limited lately but there are very valid reasons for this.

One of my dear friends from college came to visit with her family on Saturday and stayed with us until Wednesday.  I don’t know about you but it is MUCH more fun sitting on the couch, sipping wine and chatting until the late hours of the night than it is putting together a blog post by yourself.  Sorry, as much as I adore my blog, this is true.  

On top of that, it seems the holidays have taken a hold of me and I am trying desperately to stay ahead of the crazy without much success.  Last night began the three day event of four holiday parties, four games, three practices, three children, two birthday parties, two parents and one blog event.  This exciting endeavor is running from Thursday to Saturday and the hubby and I are focused on simply keeping our head on straight.  I LOVE LOVE this time of year but man it can be CA-RAZY!

In the mist of the crazy, I am also trying to keep some perspective.  The above gifts are donations for those families in need this holiday season.  If you have the means, think about donating to someone else’s Christmas this year.  There are so many families struggling and every child and parent deserves to feel the magic of Christmas.  If you follow me on Instagram I know that you have already heard this but it is just so important.  

This week I was unsuccessful in creating a number of posts but I did have a chance to share some style inspiration and some Christmas picks for the hubby.  I am also EXTREMELY excited for THIS Saturday’s Bardot Holiday Event that I am hosting and will be styling at ALL DAY (well, from 11am to 5pm)!  I would love to see you for shopping (the list of trunk shows is insane!), drinks and some girl time.  Bardot is located at 2043 Westcliff Drive, Suite 103,  Newport Beach, Ca.

Happy Weekend. 

When it comes to Christmas shopping, as much as I would love to walk leisurely through the mall with a latte in hand, slowly taking in all that is available, that is just not real life for me.  The majority of my shopping is done online through specific online retailers that I know can deliver the quality of gifts I am looking for in a timely manner, wrapped and ready to place under the Christmas tree.  There just does not need to be stress over Christmas shopping!

My favorite online retailer that makes shopping for the hubby EXTREMELY easy is Mr. Porter.  They have an incredible selection of designers, numerous gift ideas for the guy who is hard to shop for and they offer free express shipping.  There is nothing better than your package arriving in 2-3 days, boxed and ready to go right under the tree.  

Mr. Porter offers a range of items from tech accessories to socks to incredible coats.  There is something there for everyone.  These are some of the products I love that I am eyeing for the hubby.

Saturdays Surf NYC Sweatshirt
Aesop Athlete Grooming Kit
Beams Plus Socks
Rag & Bone Herringbone Jacket
J. Crew Cashmere Beanie
J. Crew Abingdon Waxed Cotton Carryall