Category Archives: winter

On the Twelfth Day of Christmas (not precisely, dear reader)…

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So much to tell of this last 6 months, but in the meantime, I want to blow the stardust off those awfully unwieldy gift guides by giving you 12 days of fabulously practical (yet glittery) ideas, tips and tricks to prettify your home, self and friends/family.

Holiday parties?  Hostess gifts?  Vessels for libations?  I have you covered with three of my favorites.  The beauty of all of these selections is that all of these cocktail glasses can hold a wine, mixed drink, eggnog, sparking water or other hard or soft beverage with equal aplomb!

From BHLDN (a F4 favorite!):  combining my love of rose gold and the look of vintage coupe stems, this is the Rosy-Cheeked Coupe.  So Gatsby.  Image

Next up, a sure-to-be new classic with a twist from perennial fave Serena & Lily.  We present the more affordable, chunky, hefty and gold-bottomed “Coro” tumblers, in a set of 4.  Fabby! Image

And, finally, these more budget-friendly but oh-so-lovely all-purpose glasses from Crate & Barrel.  Stock up while you can on the “Cora” wine glasses in 2 sizes.  Also great for that souffle, mousse or ice cream dessert.  Beautiful. Image

Cheers!

Bridal Beauty Resolution #1 – Dry Brushing

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No, not your hair, sillies.  Dry body brushing.

Years ago, with no kids and much more time on my hands, I was (and still am, really) a beauty product and regimen addict. I recently resurrected one of these practices, mostly for research purposes and in doing so, realized that dry body brushing is more than just beauty folly.  The health benefits of dry body brushing are legion and, if you will be marching down the aisle this year, it’s a must for glowy skin, which, by the way, is our biggest organ.  So, go beyond your face and neck and think “whole body”.

So, in full disclosure, I actually thought to myself one day “hmmm…what happened to that body brush I had from ______?”  I think it was from The Body Shop or Bath and Body Works.  A quick Google search, and I brushed up (pun intended) on why I had begun the regimen in the first place.  Body brushing not only exfoliates, but it revs up the lymphatic system, improves circulation and blood flow, defeats cellulite, eliminates toxins and helps whatever product you use to sink in more effectively.  A total win.    I wear a lot of black sweaters and darned if I didn’t notice with the winter cold (and dry heat indoors) that errant flakes were adorning my cashmere.   Gross.

So, off to drugstore.com, where I found a terrific body brush.  Now, it’s not for the fainthearted, as it’s a tad painful, like whisking steel wool across your skin.  Start slowly and gently, maybe three times a week pre-shower or bath.  Work in small areas, from the feet up and always brush towards your heart.  Pay extra attention to elbows and knees.   Here’s a good primer from Livestrong.org.   I swear on a stack on Vogues that flakes were a-flying the first time I did it in three years.  And you know what?  One month later and my skin is glowing, soft and noticeably improved in texture.  I usually follow up with some essential oils in the bath and a great body butter like Kiehl’s Creme de Corps, Sephora‘s Body Butter, Chanel No. 5 Body Milk or, a seasonal favorite, Origins’ Ginger Body Soufflé.

So, brush away – your body (and anyone who touches it) will thank you, as will your general health.  And that wedding gown – strapless, backless, plunging – will highlight the gorgeousness of healthy skin.

You can use natural bristle or a loofah-based brush.

Woe is Me Wednesday – Easy Homemade Chicken Soup for the Sickies.

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If you are like most of us, the weather is wreaking havoc on your skin, hair and immune system.  The F4 family is riddled with the cold to end all colds.  What to do?  Homemade chicken soup, just like Bubbe made.  Here’s a quick way to cheat the “from scratch” – don’t ever go for something in a can.  Processed foods bloat, drive up bp and have nasty additives – if you are a bride in training, you certainly don’t need THAT.  And besides that, chicken soup has restorative properties that not even antibiotics can mimic.  Here’s our take:

Cheater Chicken Soup – serves 4

2 boxes of low sodium chicken stock – we like College Inn

1 bay leaf

fresh cracked pepper, to taste

1 cup small pasta – can be orecchiete, ditalini, egg noodles

1/2 teaspoon freshly grated ginger

1 star anise

1 teaspoon lemon zest

1/2 teaspoon minced garlic

squeeze of fresh lemon

Optional (if you feel like cooking):  1-2 carrots, sauteed in olive oil to soften beforehand.  Another option:  pick up a cooked rotisserie chicken at the market, shred and add the meat to the broth as well.

Directions:

Take a large saucepan and pour in the low-sodium chicken broth (we call this “cheating” since we aren’t using real chicken bones to make a stock).  Heat on low until simmering.

Add all ingredients, except for the pasta and lemon juice.

Simmer, covered, on low for 20 minutes.

Uncover, add pasta and cook on low for an additional 10 minutes.   Before serving, add a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.  Ladle into bowls and enjoy.  If you like, add some red chile flakes, fresh chopped basil or flat leaf Italian parsley.  You can also substitute orzo, broken spaghetti, rice, udon noodles or even barley for the starch.  The flavors will be sharp, mellow and piquant all at once, but you will have made enough delish soup to last the life of your cold.  Slurp.

Lovely Linkage – Holiday fun to tide you over.

Liz's own J. Crew pave link bracelet.

So, apparently book clubs and wine clubs are passé – it’s time to put on your heels and lipstick and play bridge!  My neighbors and I are starting in January.  Here is Ina Garten’s recipe for insane truffled roast beef sandwiches – perfect for bridge.  Again, I stalk that house in East Hampton (23 Buell Lane, people!)  Oh, and if you, too, want to “fix” Ina’s show, read this blogger’s take.

Refinery 29 (an F4 favorite) taking the arm candy story and blowing it up.

What’s more luxurious than a Snuggie?  Why, a Nuddle of course.  That Kelly Rutherford of “Gossip Girl” made me buy a few on Open Sky.  All kidding aside, The Joyful Heart Foundation, an organization near and dear to me,  has a shop.  Buy your Nuddle here and one will go to a sexual assault or domestic violence survivor.

Even a trip to Whole Foods is glamorous for my fashion/art girl crush, Jenne Lombardo.

What do YOU think of the Kardashian’s Khristmas Kard?  Here’s Michael K’s hilarious take.

Swoon – check out this fabulous wedding at San Ysidro Ranch.  One of our favorite venues to plan weddings – you should check it out.  The cake! The bride’s chunky jewelry!  All of it.  Courtesy of Style Me Pretty.

Happy Hanukkah from all of us and Mrs. Lilien.

Wednesday Winesday – Mulled Wine is not for movies.

We usually think of mulled wine as some tired, dusty libation like sherry or Port (um, neither of which is, by the way).  So, we gave a mulled wine recipe a try (am drinking it now, instead of TheraFlu – much tastier!) in order to get all of you home entertainers in the mood for the holidays with something warm to welcome or, bid fair adieu to your guests.

Editors’ note:  You can do this in a slow cooker for two hours.  Or, just do this thing.

2 bottles dry red wine – I used 2 giant bottles of Cavit red.  Dry, dry, dry.

4 ounces port, brandy or Armagnac

10 whole cloves

cinnamon sticks

1 large orange, zested and quartered

1 nutmeg – for zesting/garnish

Combine ingredients in a large pot – like a stainless steel stockpot or a Dutch oven and bring to a simmer. Do not allow mixture to boil. Heat for 20 minutes and serve in a large, heat resistant punch bowl.  Ladle into mugs (Irish coffee or beer mugs work very well) and garnish with a slice of orange, cinnamon stick, zested nutmeg – whatever you choose.  But not whipped cream.  This is wine, people.

MERRY MERRY!

Mulled wine with cinnamon stick stirrer. As if you need to stir.

Monday Funday – Candy Cane Martini

So, we were trying to come up with a “candy cane” themed-drink for the December holidays that didn’t taste like mouthwash – too minty, with alcohol, sort of “sharp”.   And here is what the mixologists came up with.  The best part is bashing the candy canes (mini) into a salty/sugary sort of grainy dust beforehand.  It’s very cathartic and refreshing in a way.  Drink up!

Candy Cane Martini

Candy Cane Martini

Ingredients:

1 oz. Vanilla vodka

1/2 oz. Peppermint Schnapps (so vile on its own, but here – a star!)

1/2 oz. simple syrup

Shot grenadine for color
4 candy canes

4 miniature candy canes (crushed in a Ziploc bag or between tea towels into fine sugar-like grains – nothing sharp!)
4 Maraschino cherries

Directions:

Bash the mini candy canes – once you’ve done this, dip the rims of the martini glasses in a little lemon juice or lime juice and coat with crushed candy canes.

1. Pour all of the liquid ingredients into a shaker 1/2 full of clean and square ice cubes, cracked if you have ’em.
2. Shakety shakety shake shake!
3. Strain and pour into chilled martini glasses.

Garnish with  a candy cane and a maraschino cherry with stem on.

Holiday Color Wheel. Red.

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Campari - for that refreshing red cocktail.

Photo Credit: b-Glowing

Z Gallerie's Hanging Red Starbursts

Baccarat "Hayon" crystal cocktail shaker

Iomoi red herringbone matches - hostess gift.

Kate Spade "Scottie" in red satin

A Royal Red pet bed - maybe for my new little boy, Jingles

Tom Ford - perfect red lipstick.

Tory Burch limited edition red suede 797 Madison Satchel bag in Suede - want!

Red Anemones - making a statement

Natalie P - ravishing in red at the Venice Film Festival

Shopping Guide to “RED”:  Butter London nail enamel in “Come To Bed Red”, Tom Ford Lipstick in Scarlet Rouge, Kate Spade “Scottie” shoe in red satin, Iomoi matches (currently on backorder), Baccarat cocktail shaker, Campari at all major liquor stores, Tory Burch 797 Satchel, Z Gallerie hanging starbursts (on sale).

Tomorrow – choose your color – weigh in on comments.  Turquoise OR Emerald?

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