Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Tasty Tuesdays | Flavored Sugar


If you follow me on Facebook and Twitter, you have seen me share some hostess tips that I have learned by trial and error and by observing how others entertain guests. For example, never light scented candles around food; they mask the sweet and savory scents coming from the kitchen and mess with your taste buds. Another: always serve hostess gifts, especially if they're shareable. This means pop open that bottle of wine, cut into that tart and, by all means, plate that fine assortment of meats and cheeses!

As much as I love to help hostesses plan their fabulous fetes, today’s tip is for the guests who really make the parties come to life. Last year I put together a holiday gift guide to help partygoers say “thank you” to their hosts/hostesses with food. This year I want to show that you don’t have to spend much to make your friends feel special and appreciated. Just a spoonful of sugar is all you need to express gratitude for a sweet and special event.

Flavored sugars are such great gifts for foodies and ladies who love to customize every experience. And they're so easy to make! I bet you can find all of the ingredients in your spice rack right this minute. Mixing a little bit into your coffee or spooning some onto Greek yogurt can add a festive touch to any meal.








Pumpkin Pie Sugar
Ingredients:
> 1 cup granulated sugar
> 1 teaspoon cinnamon
> 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
> 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
> 1/4 teaspoon cloves

Vanilla Bean Sugar
Ingredients:
> 1 cup granulated sugar
> 1 vanilla pod, seeds craped; reserve pod

Place sugar and spices in a jar. Seal lid and shake or stir to combine. Top with spice garnishes. I used these jars and tied these spoons with twine and a festive tag for a personal touch.

Friday, December 21, 2012

What I Bought: ZARA A/W '12 Sale

What does an online shopping addict do when the threat of impending doom is looming over her head? She hits the web, of course, for a last minute fix! And whattya know, ZARA was right there to offer threads of comfort and security with its autumn/winter sale. Just in the nick of time, eh? In all fairness, I, in an effort to resist the wardrobe transition from California's perpetual summer to ice-cold temperatures, have only stocked up on a limited number of cold weather clothes. After spending more than I'd like to admit to support my aforementioned habit, I am now set for the season. See? There was a bright side to this whole Mayan apocalypse thing. Unless the sun starts hurling fireballs at Earth. Then those knit tops and leather leggings will do me no good.

Cowboy ankle boot

Knit top with leather sleeves

Cardigan with fringed ending

Peplum top

Leather-effect leggings (um, I need these boots)

Trousers with zips

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Saturday Style Envy - Favorite Looks of the Week


It's finally the end of the week and I can finally talk about all of the great looks I've seen from recent events! Needless to say, I've been consistently impressed. These looks include five of the top trends of the season: Olivia Munn in pastels at a Giorgio Armani event, Demi Moore in architectural details at the Chanel Beachside Barbecue/Soho Beach House event, Jessica Alba in leather accents at the 10th annual Video Game Awards, Emma Stone in neutrals at the Revlon Nearly Naked event and Samantha Barks in cut-outs at the Les Miserables movie premiere. The best part is that you can incorporate these trends into your everyday looks very easily. Try a sweater in a neutral colorblock print for work or a tweed romper with opaque tights and booties for date night. Tweet me at @_lapetitegigi_ with what you come up with!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Holiday Entertaining Essentials

I have the best intentions of entertaining more often. Entertaining marries all of my favorite things: planning, shopping, stalking food blogs and cooking. I just don't do it as often as I'd like, mostly because I don't have my own place and because my hopes and expectations far exceed any soiree that I can legitimately throw. My mother, on the other hand, was born wearing an apron and probably emerged from the womb with a wooden spatula in her grip. I believe I got her hospitable nature and my dad's lack of follow-through.

This winter I have decided to take the plunge and host a little get-together at my house and have already spent hours and hours poring over Pinterest, Tastespotting and Martha Stewart to come up with the best decor, menu and activities that will keep my guests satisfied. I have also identified some holiday entertaining essentials that will take your Christmas/holiday parties to the next level. Which of these could you see at your holiday table this year?

1. Gold Flatware Set | 2. Equestrian Tweed Placecards | 3. Holiday Cocktail Forks | 4. Oxford Serving Bowl |
5. CZ Guest Decoupage Tray | 6. Tinsel Drink Stirrers | 7. 12 Days of Christmas Dessert Plates |
8. Holiday Ginger Jar Pillow | 9. 12 Days of Christmas Party Crackers

Monday, December 3, 2012

Hella Good Houndstooth

Back in the late '90s/early '00s, houndstooth was my jam. My obsession with No Doubt and Gwen Stefani was at its peak and every store appropriately geared to my 13-year-old tastes was carrying the classic revamped print. Did you know its origin dates back to the 1800s? I bet my teenage self didn't appreciate its historical value!

The bigger, bolder, more graphic print of this decade kinda sorta reintroduced by Gwen & Co. is reminiscent of the checkers that the skater/punk scene adopted as their own back when Dave Grohl was a lowly drummer and Courtney Love was covering SPIN. Truth is, houndstooth has not and will never go out of style so long as designers keep updating and reworking its check pattern or reminding us how versatile it can be in every wardrobe. Coming up on what I'd like to call my 15-year reunion with my favorite band in the world (Dec. 6 @ Universal Amphitheatre, baby!), I've been spotting the print everywhere. I'd love to pay homage to the ska/punk genre's trademark print at the show. How do you think I should rock and roll my houndstooth? Help, please!

1. Sheri Bodell spiked houndstooth dress | 2. Vince Camuto houndstooth colorblock tuxedo pant | 3. Raoul ellipse leather-trimmed top | 4. Chloe Elsie leather and tween crossbody | 5. L.A.M.B. Oneida black houndstooth wedges | 6. MANGO metallic houndstooth jacket | 7. Case Scenario "House of Holland" iPhone 4/4s case | 8. Tibi houndstooth shift dress | 9. Madewell pleated houndstooth mini skirt

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Walk Like a Man | Tuxedo Stripe Pants

ONE | TWO | THREE | FOUR | Gwen Stefani


Ladies, it may seem counterproductive to look to the opposite sex for style tips, but I think this time they're on to something. After poring over hundreds of illusion/colorblock dresses and skirts last time, I thought my picks could have benefited from some two-legged selections. It wasn't until I saw a photo of Victoria Beckham leaving the Barbra Streisand concert in her loose-fitting tuxedo stripe pants that I was struck by the simple and sophisticated silhouette, yet modern asymmetry of the side seam. They were one part tailored trouser and one part tearaway track pant. I was hooked. The Joie "Katrice" style (number two) calls my name for its slight harem silhouette, versatile fabric and black/camel color scheme. Try this look in a less literal incarnation by scoping out a printed pant, a bold color or a wider leg.


Saturday, November 3, 2012

The Illusion Dress | Colorblocking

ONE | TWO | THREE | FOUR | FIVE

What's that you say? A dress that's actually cut to accentuate and flatter a woman's curves? I've never heard of such a thing! Sure, there are certain styles that we curvier girls have learned to embrace so as not to a.) look like hookers or b.) look like sausages stuffed into (albeit couture) casings. Finding the fine balance between sexy and sophisticated has alluded many a fashionista (see: Victoria Beckham, et al.). But, when I first got a gander at Kate Winslet's Stella McCartney "Miracle" dress last year, I thought, "I have a shot!" And then I noticed the pair of subtle black panels that slimmed her silhouette and gave her the figure that we all wish for and envy. Cheating? Hardly. Not only does this style taper your waist and frame your hips to give you that perfect curve, but it also falls into this season's colorblocking trend, of which I am a huge fan. I actually own two of these dresses and they flatter my figure like no other. So, next time you feel like your waist and hips look like they are one, try this trend. I dare you not to stare at your reflection wondering where that invisible belt cinching in your midsection is.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Another Year | The Meaning of 27

Through the years my birthday has become less and less exciting. Maybe it's because I'm getting older (sob), maybe it's because it's the end of an era, maybe it's because that stubborn wrinkle on my forehead keeps getting deeper and deeper and no amount of miracle cream or laser beam will rid me of this mark of old age. Though I am approaching the end of my twenties (cue the tears), I still feel like a little girl finding my footing. I'm still a little bit awkward, a bit loud at times, self-centered, unsure, naive, and quite, quite optimistic. Maybe this will be the year that I will embrace these qualities that might be a little bit less endearing as the clock ticks on, but are the characteristics that have peppered the more mature aspects of my personality. 

So, as I embark on the beginning of the end (too dramatic?), I have to figure out how I want to proceed. Twenty-seven is certainly not a universal milestone as far as birthdays are concerned, but as far as my faith is concerned, 27 is revelation. Perhaps this year will reveal things that will help me grow and progress. Its impending arrival has definitely required me to reflect on my 26th year, which was not without its own growing pains. While my insides are dying for retrospection, introspection and some deep, dark soul-searching, my outsides are looking forward to celebrating this great transition with some cake and champagne. The brooding and sulking must wait, I suppose. But of course!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween

Are you digging the Dia de los Muertos/Day of the Dead makeup? It was the first time I painted my face for Halloween and I loved every minute of it! Hope you're getting up to no good tonight! 
[Special thanks to my awesome photographer, Tamar!]

Monday, October 29, 2012

Bunny Bunny Bunny Bunny Hoppin' Everywhere

1. Topshop | 2. Madewell | 3. C. Wonder | 4. ASOS | 5. TBD

What the what? I leave the blogosphere for a split second and, all of a sudden, the graphic bunny print is back in style? Either I've taken the blue pill and am spiraling down the rabbit hole or designers are finally tapping into that sense of humor they usually reserve for things like Crocs or gaucho pants (I can keep going...TOMS, ponchos, those ridiculous piercings that go from earlobe to nostril). I'm assuming this trend is for real and, as a faithful fashion devotee, will attempt to pull off the whimsical look for however long the fad lasts. Just one question: how do you suggest I wear my hare?

Monday, August 13, 2012

Apres Weekend - Summer Nights

[Making a bold statement in a summertime print at the Sunset Marquis -- West Hollywood]

 It has been scorching hot in Los Angeles these past few weeks and it has taken everything in my power to not venture outside air conditioned spaces, despite the temporary relief they provide. This weekend was no exception, as temperatures reached triple digits and piggybacked on suffocating and relentless humidity. I had a couple chances, however, to take advantage of the cooler evening weather by dining with my nearests and dearests and discovering the beauty right in my own backyard (literally). How did you beat the heat this weekend?



[Kumquats are coming in!]


[Stuffed French toast at Charlie's Pantry for Sunday brunch]

[The hydrangeas in full bloom!]

[A seriously stiff latte at Comme Ca]

Friday, August 10, 2012

Voyeur Fridays - Kelly Wearstler in Elle Decor

Since the issue hit newsstands and filled up mailboxes a couple weeks ago, the blogosphere has been buzzing about Reese Witherspoon's charming and rustic Ojai ranch-style retreat featured in the September issue of Elle Decor magazine. It's gorgeous, homey, and, more importantly, where Robert Pattinson has been holing up since Kristen Stewart publicly shamed him.


But I'm not here to talk to you about Reese's home away from home. I'm here to inquire as to how the intelligent, style-obsessed, impeccable-taste-possessing bloggers missed the other, monstrous feature in the magazine. I'm talking about the Mercer, Washington, home of Lara and Jeff Sanderson that HRH Kelly Wearstler designed in her signature Mid century style. Oh, my word. That staircase (designed by Ms. Wearstler herself)...those tricolor marble floors...the purple venetian glass chandelier...the brass island in the kitchen...the onyx fantastico bathroom walls. I tried to edit the list of photos, but each one is absolute perfection.















all photos: Elle Decor

Friday, August 3, 2012

Voyeur Fridays - Inside Rachel Zoe's Debut Jewelry Line

Hello there, Jewelry Collection of My Dreams. Please make yourself comfortable stacked on my wrist, perched on my finger and draped around my décolleté. Just one question: where have you been all my life? Once forced to choose between classic, practical pieces and exuberant costume jewelry that I daydream about layering on the daily, Rachel Zoe's debut jewelry line will now let me (and you) have the best of both worlds with its swoon-worthy baubles.


The sprightly designer, who is no stranger to the retro-glam movement, has become a jewelry godmother of sorts, granting us with whimsical yet wearable pieces that are mod, glam, art deco and neutral enough to complement any piece in your closet. I'm out of breath just thinking about the ways I would adorn myself with the 14 karat gold-plated tassel drop earrings, showstopping architectural cocktail rings and stunning necklaces. Zoe mentioned that the pieces would debut on the Spring 2013 runways when she pairs the jewelry with her line's upcoming collection. This news has me even more impatient for September.




Images via: Neiman Marcus

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Thursty Thursdays - Toasted Marshmallow Cocktail

credit: La Petite Gigi
I consider myself a classy broad. The words "bistro," "patisserie," and "boulangerie" always draw me in quicker than "pub," "shack," and my all-time favorite, "pit." However, I'm not a snob. No, in fact, I'm a pretty down-for-whatever type of chick. This was proven last weekend as I accompanied my sister on an impromptu foodie field trip to Bigfoot Lodge in Los Feliz. It was her second time and she couldn't stop raving about the inventive yet uncomplicated cocktails on the extensive menu (I hear the Culver City location has a longer list). I was more concerned with everything that comes with a lodge-type ambiance: mullets, lumberjacks, a potpourri of LA's most precarious patrons. I was wrong.

Known for their vast selection of bourbon, it was hard not to risk the coma that would have no doubt incapacitated me had I ordered off of the intimidating menu. Instead, I decided to indulge my sweet tooth and childlike curiosity by ordering the Toasted Marshmallow, a Bigfoot Lodge specialty. A potent yet surprisingly smooth mix of the creamiest liqueurs ever produced made me a very happy camper. The kicker? The bartender impaled a fluffy marshmallow and set it on fire, allowing it to crackle, burn, and boil into toasted perfection. I judged everyone at the bar who didn't finish their marshmallow. How could you leave that treat untouched? Go to Bigfoot Lodge. Try the Toasted Marshmallow cocktail. Eat the marshmallow. Try to walk out of the bar in a straight line. Or make it at home. Do I smell a backyard outdoor movie night coming up? Recipe below!

credit: La Petite Gigi


________________________________

Bigfoot Lodge Toasted Marshmallow Cocktail [adapted from this recipe]

Ingredients

Serves 1

> 1 oz vanilla vodka
> 1 oz butterscotch schnapps
> 1 oz Frangelico hazelnut liqueur
> 1 oz Bailey's Irish Cream
> 1 marshmallow
> Kitchen torch

Instructions
> Combine vodka, butterscotch schnapps, Frangelico, and Bailey's in a cocktail shaker with several ice cubes.
> Shake and strain into a cocktail glass.
> Toast marshmallow, place on skewer, light it up (blow it out)!


credit: La Petite Gigi


credit: La Petite Gigi

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Room Re-do: Distressed Wood Floors

Remember this post where I expressed my fascination with whitewashed wood floors and their French country feel? A year-and-a-half later, I am finally taking the plunge and stripping my white carpeted floors and installing beautiful, distressed, rustic, romantic wooden (laminate) planks. I am unbearably perfectionist when it comes to the things that I wear or surround myself with, but I knew that these floors (they look less orange streaky in person and more like the swatch below), Pergo Boathouse Pine Laminate that I found at Lowe's, were meant to be when I spotted them in the store. They have the weathered look that I have longed for, but are stylish enough to complement the chic and elegant tufted and mirrored furniture that I bought to replace the pale oak furniture that has decorated my room since my early teens (eek!). I look forward to taking you through my room re-do and hopefully wrap it up with a room tour that is long overdue.



Here are some other examples of the flooring look that I have had in mind to achieve the shabby chic, French country feel that makes me feel fuzzy inside. Hope it helps make your decision-making a much more speedy process than mine has been!










 
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