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
> 1 cup granulated sugar
> 1 teaspoon cinnamon
> 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
> 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
> 1/4 teaspoon cloves

Vanilla Bean Sugar
> 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

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