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Entries in holidays (61)

Tuesday
Jun112013

Father's Day Gift Guide

Men are so impossible to shop for! While we women (read: me) are happy to receive a pretty bauble or the latest "it" bag, the boys present all sorts of challenges. Does he really want another book or team jersey? Whiskey rocks or cufflinks made from old subway tokens? If you're stuck, I've compiled a few suggestions to get the creative juices/credit cards moving.

 

It's true — even the manliest of men like to be pampered! Whether or not yours will go to a spa is debatable, so bring the spa to him with this Daniel Buchler 'Hydro' Turkish Terry Cotton Robe and Agraria Balsam Luxury Bath Bar.

 

The Culinaire likes to whip things up in the kitchen, so give him a new challenge with a Molecular Mixology Kit. Post dinner, test his knowledge with Foodie Fight: A Trivia Game for Serious Food Lovers.

 

The New Dad is no doubt blurry eyed and perhaps slightly frustrated, so give him a laugh reprieve with Bill Cosby, Himself. 30 years later, Bill's tales of parenthood still hold up. Speaking of holding, do NOT make your man carry the baby's gear in some hideous Winnie-the-Pooh bag. This Jack Spade Waxwear Pocket Briefcase pulls double duty as a baby bag and work bag.

 

 

Pose, smile, click! If Dad loves to capture the world around him, capture his coffee in a clever Camera Lens Mug. Over coffee, he can brush up on his technique with Tony Northrup's DSLR Book: How to Create Stunning Digital Photography.

Saturday
Oct272012

EASY or ELABORATE? Last minute Halloween Pumpkins

Attention last minute gourd decorators! I found two how-to videos (well, one is a series) detailing how to make an easy - or an elaborate - jack o'lantern for Halloween. Scroll through the video bar below. The first is the easy Duct Tape Pumpkin. Sure, you could go nuts with the tape if you wanted (see the examples on her table), but I think one shown in the picture above will do in a pinch.

If, on the other hand, you want to get cuh-ray-zee with the squash, try the elaborate Skull Pumpkin detailed in videos 3-8). Yes, six videos. That should give you an indication of how involved it is, but look at the results!

Happy Halloween!

Monday
Oct222012

Stylish HALLOWEEN inspiration at FASHION FOCUS Masquerade

Well, look at that... Halloween's almost here! Do you have a costume yet? If you're still hunting for inspiration, I think I found it Saturday night at the Fashion Focus event, Via del Corso Masquerade, held at Fiat of Chicago.

While I was there covering the evening's festivities as the eyes and ears for The Printed Blog, I couldn't help but pick up some costume tips. Forget the pre-packaged Sexy Nurse/Devil/Schoolgirl from your local pop-up shop. The most stylish models (and guests!) at Via del Corso were sporting three things:

1) A mask. The more unusual, the better
2) Memorable hair, ranging from simple streaks of color to poofy wigs made of colored cotton.
3) A killer outfit. This is the time for something glam and over-the-top, yet comfortable, since Halloween celebrations have a habit of morphing into multi-venue nights.


A few of my favorites:

GUESS WHO, on the right? ;)

Besides the juicy people watching, Rosemary Fanti was on site creating her beloved fashion illustrations, and Das Foods set up a delicious candy bar, including their "Man Bait" bacon/maple lollipops. I admit, I took one for the road and had it for breakfast this morning.

And the performers! Just look at these costumes! Their detailed corsets (like the one shown above, from Romantika) and elaborate masks were so eye-catching. The trick to making a costume look expensive are the little details, like luxe fabric and lace.

As fun as the performers were, the highlight of the evening were the three fashion shows, hosted by Whitney Reynolds of NBC 5.


No, that's not Whitney's dagger - just a model who's prepared for an emergency.

 

Ok, is everyone seated?

 

Enough waiting, on with the show! I hope this inspires you as much as it did me.


photos: Dean Paul



bottom row of photos: Dean Paul


photo: Dean Paul


Happy Halloween!

Saturday
Oct202012

Three CRAFT Halloween COCKTAILS

Some people always order "the usual", no matter what the weather. Others (i.e. me) throw ourselves headfirst into the sips of the season. Floral in the spring! Fruity in the summer! And fall brings boots, scarves, and heavier cocktails.

These recipes are from Benny's Chop House appropriately named "Pick Your Poison" cocktail menu. They're hosting a (free!) North Shore Distillery Party on November 2. Passed apps, cocktails, and the usual merriment will ensue.

Should you want to try your hand at being a Benny's mixologist, the recipes are below. Some of these ingredients are on the exotic side, and unless you're a serious liquor aficionado, I admit they might sit on your bar cart for quite a while afterwards. But maybe you should invite lots of people over for cocktails before heading out to any number of Halloween events in the city ...most of which are not actually on Halloween, leaving parents and single-house dwellers free to do door duty on the 31st.

At any rate, you have November 1st to recover. I'll see you at Benny's on the 2nd!

Corpse Reviver #444

Rinse glass with North Shore Absinthe
-1 oz. North Shore Gin #6
-1 oz. Fresh Lemon
-1 oz. Combier Orange Liquor
-1 oz. Lillet Blanc
Garnish with Cherry


Gotham and Gomorrah

-2 oz. Willet Rye Whiskey
-.5 oz. Vanilla-Pear Syrup
-Dash Fernet Branca
-Top with Peychaud's Bitters

Headless Horseman

-.75 oz. Falernum
-.75 oz Sailor Jerry Rum
Top with O'Fallon Pumpkin Ale

Photo Credit: Cheston Boque

More Halloween tipples:

Silly/Sophisticated Halloween Cocktails

Fruity Cocktails for Fall

Pumpkin Chai Cocktail

Tuesday
Oct162012

HALLOWEEN Table: "Deserted DOWNTON ABBEY"

Halloween is such a theatrical holiday, don't you think? Sure, Christmas has the big tree and the carols, but Halloween is toothy pumpkins, dark vampire liars, mummy tombs, and all points in between.

Joanna of MommaCuisine.com recently invited me on her new show Momma Cuisine Live and asked me to conjure up a sophisticated Halloween tablescape. I had to look no further than my DVD player. My husband and I love PBS's Downton Abbey and have been making our way through season two (yes, we're late to the party).

Downton Abbey is set in the early 20th century and tells the story of both the aristocratic Crawley family and their servants "downstairs". The Crawleys weather life's curveballs yet Lord and Lady Grantham always manage to end their evenings with an elegant dinner...thanks in no small part to the servants' efforts!

But what if the Crawleys went mad? And what if the servants had enough of their shennanegans and simply left the estate? And furthermore, what if the Crawleys barely took any notice, and kept trying to entertain as per usual? These thoughts led me to...

Deserted Downton Abbey

Colors: Dark neutrals, tarnished silver, aged gold, and ivory (never white).
Style: Keep it antique, and slightly mis-matched. This is a great way to use incomplete sets of china. Borrow from friends or rent, as I did, from Tablescapes Event Rentals. Everything you see here, (with the exception of the flower vase and candleabra) is from Tablescapes!
Details: Crinkled placecards written in half-dry markers, bent forks as amuse-bouche servers, dripping candles, dry flowers

 

Below: Candles bend at precarious angles and drip freely. At right, these bent forks from Tablescapes are meant to be used as placecard holders, but I like them as amuse bouche forks. Placecards are crinkled and written with a half-dead marker, to add to the look of neglected elegance.


Silverware should be mis-matched, as seen here with Tablescapes' heirloom flatware collection. And did you notice that one place setting is gold-ivory, while the other is ivory-gold?

Don't polish the silver before this party! You don't want anything too bright on the table.

 

The overall look is coordinated, but not overly matchy. Note the complimentary crystal wine glasses.

 

A behind-the-scenes look! It doesn't look nearly so forboding in the daylight, does it? I recommend dark lighting and chamber music played on a scratchy record to set the mood. And feel free to dress in your moth-eaten finery!

Happy Halloween!

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