Lately…

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 {A shot of our famous glitter bottle.  How rad is this thing?!  AND each one provides 15 healthy meals to a child fighting hunger}

Hey there!  No matter how prepared we feel for the holidays at work, it’s always insane in December and blogging just falls by the wayside.  November and December are the two months when over 70% of our business for the YEAR occur and we trade our spaces behind the computer to high-tail it to the warehouse to help with fulfillment.  I realized it had been a few days since I last posted so I wanted to drop by with a note to say hello.  Check out a few of the things I’ve been working on and be sure to follow me on Instagram for more realtime updates :-)

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{Sneak peek at a fun new project I’ve been working on with my mom.  Pillows galore!  I’m dying over the colors!}

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{The 31 Bits holiday party is always an absolute blast.  How dreamy is their space with those lights and balloons?}
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{Finally found a few hours to put up our tree :-) Half of the lights weren’t working, Target didn’t have any white lights in stock and the process took a million times longer than I expected, but her glow makes me SO happy.  And kitty is clearly enjoying it too.}Screen Shot 2014-12-09 at 12.57.59 PM

{Behind the scenes at yesterday’s NYE shoot featuring our glitter bottle with Zoom Theory!  By the end of it we were covered in confetti and champagne, but I’m stoked at how this turned out and can’t wait to share the final images.}

Cheers!

Fall Entertaining

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Hip hip hooray!  It’s October 1st and I’m so excited to finally get to share the shoot I styled for ONEHOPE’s 2014 Fall Entertaining Guide perfectly captured by Brian Tropiano Photography. At work, I feel like we’re always flying by the seat of our pants and putting together content like this ahead of time has been a struggle.  This year, however, we managed to stay ahead of the game and shot everything in July to use for the remainder of the year.  Trying to determine what is going to be “in” before anything holiday related is even advertised or released in store is tough so instead I just decided to stick with my gut and curate items and elements that I really, truly love.  I wanted the room to feel like a forest so I incorporated a lot of wood textures, ferns, (faux) antlers, geodes and quartz tea lights down the center of the table.  On the wood backdrop behind the wine, was a wreath with an antler to tie the look together with an additional leather fern garland with bistro lights strung above the table.  We brainstormed for days on what to do instead of traditional place cards before we finally decided on stones – gold calligraphy on stones – to keep with the forest theme while adding a touch of elegance to each setting.  The overall messaging behind the day was “Hope, Thanks and Dreams” so Beth hand crafted an amazing dream catcher where guests’ thanks, hopes for the future and dreams were shared and attached with tiny clothes pins.  Menus were printed on archival matte paper with hope, dream or thanks hand inscribed on the top and florals were kept to a minimum with wooden vessels and a casual/handpicked mixture of dahlias, garden roses, viburnum berries, artichokes and greens.

Since the entire purpose of the shoot was to show how to integrate wine into your fall, Thanksgiving or holiday gathering, the day wouldn’t have been complete without some absolutely delicious and gorgeous fare crafted by 24 Carrots Catering.  24 Carrots is one of the biggest catering companies in the business and their food has never, ever disappointed at any event I’ve ever attended.  I was so impressed that they took our direction (a classic Thanksgiving meal) and creatively modernized it a bit while still staying in theme.  For example, I loved the juxtaposition of a modern beet dish served on a raw wood platter that you’ll see below.  Lastly, each of their dishes paired perfectly with one or more of our wines so find pairing suggestions and a few wonderful recipes below!  CHEERS!

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DECOR TIP:  Chairs can make or break a look.  This shoot took place in our conference room and it’s usually filled with white task chairs that are functional for work, but we opted to replace them for this shoot and I’m so happy we did.  Using these metal industrial chairs from Found Rentals kept the look casual, but also uniform, which I loved.

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DECOR TIP:  When designing a table on a budget, not only are garlands beautiful and always on trend, but they’re also the best bang for your buck. Seeded eucalyptus, lemon leaf, leather fern and bay leaf are all great options to consider.  Contact a flower mart or district in your area for bids, but depending on the greens you go with, garlands can run as little as $2.50-$7.00 per foot!

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DECOR TIP:  Menus aren’t always necessary, but they really add to a place setting and are so simple to create.  We whipped this one up Illustrator (but can easily be replicated in MS Word), printed it on nice paper and applied it to a piece of recycled kraft/corrugate paper that we picked up at Michael’s to tie in with the rest of the theme.  Menus are not only great for making pairing suggestions, but they are also the perfect place to tie in your theme or messaging of the evening.  Beth hand wrote thanks, hope or dream at the top of each menu to reiterate why we were all gathered that day.

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DELICIOUS Sauvignon Blanc can be found here.

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Fall-Entertaining-Turkey-2PAIRING NOTES:  Pinot Noir and Turkey are a natural pairing.  The savory herbs and spices on the roasted turkey are complimented by the spice-infused influences of the French oak in our Pinot Noir.

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DECOR TIP:  Since turkey is usually the main food element during Thanksgiving meals, I love that 24 Carrots used this legged platter to give it some height.  Pieces like this are readily available at Cost Plus, Pottery Barn or can be rented for the day from Found Rentals.Fall-Entertaining-Dream-Catcher

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PAIRING NOTES:  The creamy texture and toasted oak notes of our Santa Barbara Reserve Chardonnay pair perfectly with the rich butter and cheddar cheese of this twice baked potato.

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PAIRING NOTES:  Eggs and Pinot Noir are a guilty pleasure not to be missed and Pinot is the perfect partner in crime for ham.

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PAIRING NOTES (recipe below): The rich fruit and lively spice of our Pinot Noir adds some brightness to the earthy quality of these savory vegetables.

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Thyme Infused Roasted Root Vegetables by 24 Carrots Catering

Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients

2 lbs mixed root vegetables (we use baby carrots, the smallest parsnips you can find and a mix of yellow and red beets)
Olive oil, to taste
Salt + pepper, to taste

Balsamic Thyme Vinaigrette Ingredients

2 tablespoons olive oil
6 tablespoons thyme minced
2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons minced parsley
1 teaspoon cumin, toasted and ground
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons miso paste

Directions

Gently peel the carrots and parsnips. Leave them whole if they are all the same size – if not, chop the larger veggies to equal the size of the smaller ones. Peel and chop the beets into rough cubes, about 1-inch all around.

Place all the vegetables onto a baking sheet. Season with salt and pepper and drizzle lightly with olive oil. Place in a 400°F degree oven and bake for about 20-25 minutes, shaking them periodically for even cooking. Remove from oven when soft, slightly brown and caramelized.

Meanwhile, prepare the balsamic thyme vinaigrette. Place all the ingredients aside from the oil in a mixing bowl. Drizzle in the oil while whisking to combine. Season to taste.

Drizzle dressing all over the vegetables to coat, return to the oven and caramelize for five more minutes.

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PAIRING NOTES: The savory, meaty essence of the sausage pairs perfectly with spicy and herbal characteristics of our Zinfandel.

Apple Sage Cornbread Stuffing by 24 Carrots Catering

Yield: 6 to 8 servings

Ingredients

Cornbread, recipe follows
10 slices oven-dried country white bread
8 tablespoons butter
2 cups celery, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
2 granny smith apples ¼ inch, diced
1 lb apple sausage
7 cups chicken stock
1 cup Heavy cream
1 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons sage
1 tablespoon thyme
5 eggs, beaten

Cornbread Ingredients

1 cup self-rising cornmeal
1/2 cup self-rising flour
3/4 cup buttermilk
2 eggs
2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F

In a large bowl, combine crumbled cornbread, dried white bread slices and set aside.

Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the sausage and brown, then add the celery, onions and apples and cook until transparent, approximately 5 to 10 minutes.

Pour the mixture over cornbread mixture. Add the stock and cream, mix well, taste, and add salt, pepper to taste, sage, and thyme.

Add beaten eggs and mix well. Pour mixture into a greased pan and bake until dressing is cooked through, about 45 minutes. Serve with turkey as a side dish.

Cornbread Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Combine all ingredients and mix well. Pour batter into a greased shallow baking dish. Bake for approximately 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool.

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Cranberry Lemon Herb Butter by 24 Carrots Catering

Ingredients

1/4 cup mixed herbs, such as flat-leaf parsley, chervil, tarragon, and chives, chopped
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup cranberries, dried
1 teaspoon cranberry sauce
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest

Directions

Chop cranberries then add herbs on a work surface. Add butter cranberry sauce and lemon zest. Finely chop together until well combined. Season with salt.

Transfer to a sheet of parchment paper, placing on edge closest to you. Fold paper over and roll into a cylinder, twisting the ends; wrap airtight in foil. Chill until solid.

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DECOR TIP:  Use as many potted plants as possible to achieve your look.  Mixing in small potted ferns, rosemary plants or succulents to your tablescape will keep the look interesting and will also make great favors to your guests.  While fresh cut flowers are always beautiful, they’ll also perish a few days later while a potted plant will flourish and will serve as a happy reminder of your gathering with loved ones.  While not for everyone, trees also make a huge statement.  The cedar tree pictured behind me in the photo below was purchased from a local nursery for $20!  Fall-Entertaining-Beets-3

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PAIRING NOTES: The earthy tones of the beets and the tartness of the goat cheese are complemented by the lush, dark berry fruit of our Cabernet Sauvignon.

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PAIRING NOTES: The candied red fruit characteristics and the bright acidity of our Merlot help cut through some of the richness of this luxurious pie.  The bright acidity and zesty citrus notes of our Sparkling Brut would be a fantastic match for the rich, sweet character of the pie.

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DECOR TIP:  To keep your look interesting and “collected” opt for pieces that still fit your aesthetic, but aren’t too “matchy matchy”.  I love this vintage galvanized pie/cake stand 24 Carrots used for their Pecan Pie.  That tiny hint of metal tied in perfectly with the iron chairs we selected from Found Rentals.

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Photography: Brian Tropiano Photography
Calligraphy & Dream Catcher: Beth Phillips
Rentals: Found Rentals
Linen: La Tavola
Styling, Florals & Decor: Yours truly :-)

Apple Cider Mimosa

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Happy, happy Friday!  I hope you had a wonderful first week of fall – yay!  After a long weekend in Michigan and then a short week of playing catchup from being gone for a few days, I’m more than ready for a weekend at home to do a few projects and test out some new recipes :-)

One of the major things I was hoping to do while visiting the family was to take a trip to the cider mill because those just don’t exist in California.  Unfortunately, while enroute to the mill, it started POURING and we had to turn around and call it a day.  We picked up some fresh apple cider from the market the following morning and whipped these up to sort of ease the blow of not being able to partake in one of my favorite midwestern traditions.  Just in time for the weekend, I wanted to pass along a super fun fall spin on the classic mimosa :-)  They are SO good!  I promise you will love them!

Apple Cider Mimosa

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total: 10
Serves: 1

Ingredients

1 tsp brown sugar
1 ounce scotch (optional)
2 ounces fresh apple cider
4 ounces ONEHOPE Sparkling Wine
Apple slices for garnish
Caramel sauce & brown sugar for rimming (optional)

Directions

1.  If rimming your flutes, dip the rim of the glass into caramel.  Using a small plate or bowl works best for this.  After coating the rim, dip your glass into brown sugar.
2.  Combine brown sugar, scotch and apple cider in a flute.
3.  Top with ONEHOPE Sparkling wine and garnish with fresh apple slices.

Recipe adapted from here.

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Wine Wednesday | Radiant Orchid Granita

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Happy #WineWednesday! You know those projects that come across your desk and you just cringe at the thought of having to tackle them?  This one was it for me. I honestly can not remember being so stuck creatively – ever. When Pantone announced its color of the year for 2014, a part of me died inside. To go from Emerald Green (hello, best color EVER), to a bright purple hue inspired by my least favorite flower on the planet, seriously bummed me out. Fast forward a few weeks into 2014 and our PR firm was asking for us to whip up some sort of Radiant Orchid concoction. WHY.

I spent forever trying to figure out a way to make this happen.  I knew whatever wine we used needed to be virtually colorless (Sparkling) and that there needed to be some sort of mixer that was a borderline unnatural shade of purple to make the entire look come together.  I can’t say I’ve ever tested, tried and mixed so many ingredients in my life to make it happen, but it finally worked and I was floored with the results.  Of course the primary ingredient ended up being one simple, pretty natural thing – Blueberry Lemonade.  Seriously?  After all of that?!

You know how they say your greatest challenges often wind up being your biggest rewards?  This one was it.  I could not be happier with how it turned out.  Thank you, amazing PR firm for challenging me to think outside of the box… you girls absolutely rock :-)

Check out a few of my favorite outtakes from the shoot and the full recipe below.  Cheers!!!

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Prep: 5 minutes
Total time: 3-6 hours

Serves: 8-10 (depending on glass size)

Ingredients
1 (750ml) bottle of ONEHOPE Sparkling Wine
1 liter blueberry lemonade

Directions
1) Pour blueberry lemonade into an 8″ x 8″ glass baking dish and freeze for 1-2 hours.
2) Carefully remove freezing lemonade from freezer. Using a fork, scrape the mixture until the consistency is slushy throughout (lemonade will be more frozen toward the outside edges of the dish when you start).
3) Put the mixture back in the freezer for 1-2 hours and repeat two more times. Scraping the mixture prevents it from freezing into a solid brick of ice and maintains the slushy, icy consistency that is so delicious about a granita :-)
4) Scoop granita mixture into glasses (we used champagne coups) and top with ONEHOPE Sparkling wine. Cheers!

Apple Cider & Thyme Sparkling Cocktail

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Whew!  What a week already!  We’re cranking out so many packages at work (several thousand since black Friday) and I’m dying for some downtime, a cocktail and a lots of Christmas baking.  Last year the holidays were here and gone in the blink of an eye so I’m hanging on to them with all my might and I’m making sure I don’t miss out on my favorite part of the year.  On the topic of all things festive, I created an Apple Cider & Thyme cocktail for work as a part of our Fall/Winter cocktail shoot and this one was one of my favorites from a taste profile perspective as well as aesthetically.  I love the added layer of complexity the Thyme makes (I’m huge on herbs in cocktails) and the Sparkling Brut combined with fresh apple cider keeps things just slightly sweet without going overboard.  We only have a few weeks left of fresh cider so make sure you’re taking full advantage of it now :-)  Cheers!

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Prep time: 10 minutes
Total: 2 hours
Serves: 6

Ingredients
8 ounces dark rum
1.5 ounces lemon juice
4 ounces thyme simple syrup (2 cups sugar, 1.5 cups water, 10 thyme sprigs)
12 ounces apple cider
8 ounces ONEHOPE Sparkling Wine
4 dashes Angostura Bitters
Sprigs of thyme for garnish
Apple wheels for garnish

Directions
1. Combine sugar, water and 10 sprigs of thyme. Heat in a medium sauce pan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and let simmer for 5 minutes or until sugar is completely dissolved. Place in the fridge to cool (1-2 hours).
2. Combine all ingredients (except sparkling) into a carafe and stir.
3. Fill glasses with crushed ice and fill half with mixture.
4. Top with ONEHOPE Sparkling and garnish with sprigs of thyme and sliced apple.

Cheers!

Recipe adapted from here.

Summer Saturdays

Last week was completely chaotic and while it wound up successful, I was a little unprepared for the famous “6 Man” tournament/celebration to sweep the beach on Saturday.  Instead, we played it a little more low-key with some much-needed rest and recovery and by hitting up a few of our favorite restaurants.  Martha’s in Hermosa Beach definitely tops our list of favorite breakfast eateries in the LA area and this weekend (as always) it did not disappoint.  With a stunning beach view, we sipped on mimosas and split our two favorites: The Montecristo and Stuffed French Toast special… just what we needed to put an end to the week.

{Delightful beach-side mimosas}

{Before Martha’s, I’d never had a Montecristo… I was really missing out!  Layered sliced turkey, sliced ham, melted cheddar and swiss on grilled egg-dipped sour dough.  Served with raspberry preserves and syrup for dipping. Aaaaamazing!}

{The Stuffed French Toast special varies from day-to-day.  Saturday’s was stuffed with peaches and cream cheese and served with a side of chicken jalapeno sausage… an utterly perfect combination of sweet and spicy}