Friday, December 28, 2012


Ojai Valley Inn

Beautiful sunset on Christmas Eve

A pretty pot | Staub Coq Au Vin from Williams-Sonoma 

Best Christmas present ever: Valentino Couture Bow d'Orsay Pump 

Voluspa Vermeil Collection Candle

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Real Life Father of the Bride

I can't stop looking through the photographs from this wedding... what a gorgeous event!  The bride's parents co-wrote the remake of Father of the Bride, and the bride was the flower girl in the film.  Her big day come to life in her mom's Pacific Palisades backyard.  I love the neutral colors mixed with a lush backyard and organic centerpieces.  Bring in linen, monograms, beautiful cocktails, meaningful accessories, and gorgeous little details and you have one stunning backyard soiree. 

Friday, December 21, 2012

Orange-Cranberry Gin & Tonic

One of my favorite cocktails is a gin & tonic.  While I love a classic one, I have no problem making it festive for the holidays.  This recipe looks delicious (and pretty!) and will sure to be a hit at any holiday party.  

Orange-Cranberry Gin & Tonic

1 (2-inch) orange rind strip
1 tablespoon fresh cranberries
1 teaspoon sugar
1 cup ice cubes
3 tablespoons gin
1 tablespoon fresh orange juice
1/4 cup tonic water

Muddle orange rind strip, fresh cranberries, and sugar in a cocktail shaker.  Add ice, gin, and fresh orange juice.  Cover & shake vigorously until thoroughly chilled.  Pour into a glass, top with tonic water & enjoy!

*frozen cranberries, thawed, can be substituted

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Saltine Cracker Toffee

My family has been making this really simple toffee for years, and I don't think I will ever get sick of it. The combination of salty saltine crackers with toffee and chocolate is simply perfect.  It is so easy to make and everyone loves it.  We make tons of batches every year both for our family and to wrap up in cello bags and give away as gifts.  
This recipe is also really easy to adapt, so have fun playing with new combinations.  Try white, milk, or dark chocolate (or a combination!) and top with whatever you want.  This year I've tried sea salt on dark chocolate and crushed peppermint candy on a swirl of dark and white chocolate.

saltine crackers
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 bag chocolate chips

Heat oven to 400 degrees.  Line a cookie sheet with foil, and then line saltine crackers over the entire cookie sheet.  Melt butter and brown sugar together over medium heat and stir until it boils.  Let boil for 3 minutes, and then pour mixture over the saltine crackers.  Bake for 5 minutes.  Let cool for 3 minutes and then pour chocolate chips over the crackers and toffee.  Let sit for a minute or so, and then start spreading the chocolate lightly with the back of a spoon.  The chocolate should start to melt and become easy to spread.  Once chocolate is spread smoothly, top with sea salt or crushed peppermint candies (or whatever else you chose!) and cool in refrigerator for about 2 hours.
Once hardened, take out of the cookie sheet, peel off the tin foil from the bottom, and cut into pieces.  I recommend keeping these in the freezer until you are going to serve them.  

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Chocolate Crackle Cookies

Martha Stewart's Chocolate Crackle Cookies

8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup Dutch cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/3 cups light-brown sugar, firmly packed
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup milk
1 cup confectioners' sugar, plus more for rolling

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. 
2. Chop bittersweet chocolate into small bits, and melt over medium heat in a heat-proof bowl or the top of a double boiler set over a pan of simmering water.  Set aside to cool.  
3. Sift together flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt.
4. In the bowl of a heavy-duty electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and light-brown sugar until light and fluffy.  Add eggs and vanilla, and beat until well combined.  Add melted chocolate. 
5. With mixer on low speed, alternate adding dry ingredients and milk until just combined. 
6. Divide the dough into quarters, wrap with plastic wrap, and chill in the refrigerator until firm, about 2 hours.
7. On a clean countertop, roll each portion of dough into a log approximately 16 inches long and 1 inch in diameter, using confectioners’ sugar to prevent sticking. Wrap logs in plastic wrap, and transfer to a baking sheet.  Chill for 30 minutes. 
8. Cut each log into 1-inch pieces, and toss in confectioners’ sugar, a few at a time. Using your hands, roll the pieces into a ball shape. If any of the cocoa-colored dough is visible, roll dough in confectioners’ sugar again to coat completely.  Place the cookies 2 inches apart on a Silpat-lined baking sheet.  Bake until cookies have flattened and the sugar splits, 12 to 15 minutes.

Monday, December 17, 2012


Poinsettias + Raindrops

Christmas decor

Twinkley Christmas Lights

Stockings + Lights

Practicing writing styles

Peppermint Plate! recipe via

Macarons from Bottega Louie, Downtown LA

Friday, December 14, 2012

French 75

French 75

3 ounces gin
3 ounces fresh lemon juice
4 teaspoons superfine granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups ice cubes
1 cup chilled champagne

In a cocktail shaker, combine gin, lemon juice, sugar and ice cubes and shake to chill.  Strain cocktails into 2 wineglasses and top off with champagne.  Garnish with a lemon twist & enjoy!

*Alternately, you can substitute simple syrup for the sugar and/or serve drinks over ice in highball glasses

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Dreamy Barn | Pippin Hill Farm

I have a slight (ok, maybe more than slight) obsession with barns.  They're rustic, yet can be so elegant and charming.  And, they're ideal for weddings and events.  This one above is one of the prettiest I have ever seen - what a dreamy venue to have right in your backyard!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012


Clusters of pink peonies, garden roses, ranunculus & dusty miller...