Welcome to my blog, A place where I can share my ideas with you. From great tips on entertaining to tasty cocktail recipes that make it all easier for you to host with style in a flash. You’ll find lots of projects to inspire you for your home and garden, friends and family. Plus some kitchen gossip, for good measure of course, because everyone needs a little dish now and then.
So visit often!
Dining Al Fresco
Dining Al Fresco: The Essentials
Dining Al Fresco is the perfect way to enjoy a meal during the summer months. Chill some wine, whip up tasty summer dishes and enjoy the sunsets in the garden, by the harbor, or at the beach.
Here are a few of my favorites this season for stylish dining under the stars.
The Pour Rose's are the hottest thing from Cannes to California and its the perfect pour for warm weather Al fresco gatherings. My choice this season is Goldeneye 2011 Vin Gris of Pinot Noir. Crisp and delightful with hints of grapefruit, strawberry, and watermelon. Divine!
Casual and fun, these seagrass tumblers are a great way to jazz up your outdoor entertaining tableware. From Acme party box.
Table Talk Add a bit of cool tropic tones to your table. Perfect to dress up for a dinner party or for a casual afternoon by the pool. The best part; they are easy to wipe clean. Carousel Placemats Havana Placemat Tropic. From home James! Get the natural look with light toned Bamboo flatware. they add the perfect exotic touch to the table. Juliska Bamboo natural place setting.
Layer it on with this gorgeous eye-catching ikat is an optical feast for your party-before dinner is served! Melamine Ikat Salad Plate, CWonder.
Accent the blues and set your table with lush turquoise and rich colors of handcrafted ceramics without the worry of breakage. I like La Med Melamine Dinner Plates from William Sonoma.
Starry Nights I use these lights to illuminate they create a perfect ambiance, a wonderful golden glow. String them along and you'll linger outdoors all summer long. I like Terrazzo Outdoor Lights from Napa Style.
Mother's Day Brunch and Punch!
My Huffington Post Feature:
Take it Outside-Setting up a Chic Outdoor bar
Featured on iVillage.com:
Take it Outside: How to Set Up A Chic Outdoor BarHere's how to create the perfect outdoor design for your space
Springtime Saturday Cocktails
Colleen's Cocktails...as seen in the fabulous HuffPo Taste!
Spring Saturday Cocktails
featured on Huffington Post Taste!
Lights! Cameras! Oscar Party!
Fat Tuesday--Mardi Gras Cocktails on Huff Po Taste!
Fat Tuesday -- Mardi Gras Cocktails
Tropical Cocktails to Melt Winter's Chill on Huff Po Taste!
Tropical Cocktails For The Winter Blues
Super Bowl Cocktails
Super Bowl Cocktails on Huff Po Taste!Touchdown! The big game is days away and with the menu of wings, cheese dip, and taco bars all set, now you need cocktails that will have the crowd really cheering! This year, Super Bowl XLVII kicks off this Sunday in New Orleans, and for the first time in history, is the battle between two brother's who are the head coaches, (I'll pass on being their parent on Sunday!) ,in honor of the teams, I put together a festive line-up. So easy, they'll be no penalties, and to avoid a flag, keep it light on the sidelines. Blackbird Brew Or we could call it the Ray Ray! Light and citrusy, perfect for cheering on Baltimores' best! Make a big batch to ensure no pass interference. Serves 10 2 cups Lemon flavored Vodka 1 cup Limoncello 3 cups Blood Orange juice 3 cups Pink grapefruit juice 4-5 dashes Orange bitters 1 cup lemon seltzer Pink grapefruit slices for garnish In a drinks dispenser filled halfway with ice, pour vodka, limoncello, juices and bitters. Mix well. Top with seltzer and serve. Garnish with grapefruit slices if desired. Bay Bomber Just the right balance of sweet and sour, San Francisco style! Use crushed ice, a la the Kaepernick Krush! This cocktail will surely be making a run for the end zone fast, so mix up a big batch, no interceptions please! Serves 10 2 cups Pisco or tequila ¾ cup Grand Marnier 1 cup freshly squeezed lime juice 2 cups Pomegranate juice Lime wedges for garnish Mix all ingredients in a drinks dispenser or pitcher filled half way with crushed ice ice. Garnish with lime wedges and serve. Follow Colleen Mullaney on Twitter: www.twitter.com/lifemadestylish
New Year's CocktailsNew Year\'s Cocktails
- New Year's Cocktails --The Best on a Budget
Christmas CocktailsChristmas Cocktails
Tis the Season for Cocktails
Decorating Outdoor Planters for the Holiday SeasonHow to Decorate Outdoor Planters
Happy Holidays!As the holidays have us hustling and bustling around town, we need to find time to relax and enjoy the moments, start your season off right with a colorful cocktail, one of my holiday favorites, easy to mix up, and perfect for tackling the cyber shopping ! So, get your slippers on, and mix and click! Run Run Rudolph! serves 4 8 oz. vodka 4 oz. cranberry juice 2 oz. St. Germain liqueur 2 oz. lemon seltzer to top fresh cranberry sprig and cranberries for garnish Mix all into a pitcher and pour into glasses filled with ice. Enjoy!
Fabulous Fall Centerpieces
Crazy Pumpkin Decorating Ideas -- powered by ehow
Pumpkin Centerpiece Ideas
Pumpkin Centerpiece Ideas -- powered by ehow
Napkin Rings with a Seasonal Touch
DIY Napkin Rings -- powered by ehow
Wine bottle chic centerpiece
Tips for Table Decorating With a Wine Bottle Centerpiece -- powered by ehow
Easy Fall Video CenterpieceClick on the link below to watch my eHow video on making this quick and chic Fall Centerpiece ! Easy Fall Centerpiece
Fall Season Centerpieces for Table Decoration -- powered by ehow
Skinny Cocktails!! iVillage
Have Your Cocktail and Drink it Too -- 10 Skinny Cocktails (200 Calories or Less!)Have a healthier happy hour with these 10 tasty drink recipes! Made with ingredients like coconut water, fresh fruit and no sugary mixers, you'd never guess that these cocktails are low-cal (11 Photos)
Spring FlingSpring has sprung! It's the perfect time to have your friends in for a Spring Fling! Mix up a signature cocktail like this delicious libation, a light mix of vodka, a dash of passionfruit liqueur, and strawberry juice, stir it up and your good to go! I recently made a batch for a Sip & See, and the ladies were loving it!
Oscar Oscar!Oscar Cocktails Lights, Camera, Oscar! Create your own glamorous Hollywood-inspired Oscar night at home for this years 84th Academy Awards, complete with your Oscar inspired cocktails. The key to winning night? Making everyone feel at home and relaxed to take in the big show. The Artist With it’s stunning international cast, this modern day black and white film is a must see, with a classic cocktail, of course. The Starlet 1oz. orange juice 2 oz. peach liqueur 4 oz. champagne Lemon twist for garnish In a champagne coupe pour the orange juice and peach liqueur. Top with Champagne, garnish with twist of lemon and serve. The Descendents Set on the majestic islands of Hawaii, the scenery in the movie keeps your senses alive with the lush tropic landscape. This cocktail mimics that perfectly. Tropic Touch 2oz. light rum 1 oz. freshly squeezed limejuice ½ oz. agave nectar 2 oz. puree of tropical fruits Lime wheel for garnish Seltzer to top In a mixing glass filled with ice, combine ingredients and shake well. Strain into a glass filled with ice, top with seltzer, garnish with lime wheel and serve. The Help Set in Mississippi during the 60’s, the help is a collaboration of black women and their stories of working for white women in a small southern town. The messages in the movie are strong and pure, much like the flavors in this southern bourbon and sweet nectar cocktail. The Skeeter 6 mint leaves plus one for garnish 2 lime wedges ½ oz. agave nectar 1 oz. peach nectar 3 oz. Maker’s Mark bourbon Splash ginger ale In a cocktail shaker muddle the mint leaves, lime wedges, and agave syrup. Add ice, bourbon, and peach nectar. Shake well and strain into a glass filled half way with ice. Top with a splash of ginger ale, garnish with mint sprig and serve. Midnight in Paris Ooh Paris, in the morning, afternoon, or evening is splendid, but Paris after midnight is magical. This cocktail is a combination of Hemingway’s’ go to libations with just the balance of sweet and sour to get your create juices flowing. Hemingway’s Demise 2 oz. Gin 1 oz. Triple sec 2 oz. Freshly squeezed grapefruit juice Squeeze of fresh lime Money Ball Make sure you get all the stats before you mix up and serve this delightful cocktail. A sure hit, make a batch before this one is going, going, gone! Home Run 2 oz. Vodka 1 oz. Limoncello 2 oz. Pomegranate juice Ginger ale to top Lime wedges for garnish Mix all ingredients in a shaker filled with ice. Pour into glass, add lime wedges and serve.
Colorful, Tasty Punch, it's Like a Party in a Bowl !Punch is a definite party pleaser. A colorful batch of punch adds instant personality and a dash of panache to the party. Best of all, its economical, and self-serve, so it frees you up as host, so you can enjoy the party too! A sparkly favorite for any occasion, this punch has miles of style! Pink grapefruit juice gives the punch great color and sweetness, while the pear nectar balances, adding a smooth finish. Serves 10 8 oz. St. Germain Liqueur 2 cups Ruby red grapefruit juice, chilled 2 cups Pear nectar, chilled Two bottles chilled brut Champagne In a punch bowl or drinks dispenser, pour the liqueur, grapefruit juice and pear nectar. Slowly pour in the champagne and serve. Great for breakfast, brunch, or early afternoons, this tangy mango infused punch has a fresh exotic fruit taste. You can find the tropical juices in the international aisles of most major grocery stores. serves 10 3 cups pineapple juice 2 cups mango nectar 2 cups passionfruit nectar 1 cup orange juice 21/2 cups light rum 1/2 cup Cointreau 1/2 cup Apricot Brandy Orange slices 6 cups ice Mix all ingredients in a punch bowl or drinks dispenser and serve. This yummy gin punch is light enough to serve to the party crowd before, during , and after dinner! Serves 10 3 cups gin 1 1/2 cups orange juice 1 cup apricot brandy 8 cups chilled club soda 6 cups ice cubes 3 limes and lemons sliced 2 tangerines, sliced Combine the gin, orange juice, and brandy in the bowl or drinks dispenser and mix well. Just before serving pour in the club soda. Add the ice cubes, and fruit slices and serve. This winning combination of rum and tropical flavors will have you leaving the coffee behind! Serves 10 4 cups mango nectar 2 cups pineapple juice 2 cups dark rum 2 cups light rum 1 cup guava nectar or juice 1 cup apricot juice 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lime juice Orange slices for garnish Mix all ingredients in punch bowl or drinks dispenser and serve. Mary's Mess This is an old standard with a touch of fresh citrus to round out the flavors. I leave a bottle of hot sauce out next to the punch bowl for those more willing to fire it up! This Bloody Mary punch is full flavored and some say, the perfect hangover cure! Serves 10 8 cups tomato juice 3 cups vodka 3/4 cup worcestershire sauce 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice 1/4 cup fresh lime juice 1/4 cup horseradish 2 tsp. hot red pepper sauce 1 tsp. each, freshly ground pepper and salt 6 cups ice cubes 12 lemon wedges 12 lime wedges 12 large pitted green olives celery stalks, trimmed and cut lengthwise In a punchbowl, whisk together tomato juice, vodka, worcestershire , lemon and lime juices, horseradish, hot pepper sauce, pepper and salt. Add the ice cubes and stir. Garnish each glass with a citrus swizzle and serve.
Family Friendly Mocktails to match your Holiday MealThe Mayflower serves 4 8oz. Cranberry juice 8oz. Sparkling red grape juice 8oz. lemon-lime soda Pour all ingredients into a pitcher filled half-way with ice. Serve immediately. Appletastic Mocktail Serves 4 16oz. Apple cider 8 oz. Gingerale Dash of cherry juice Pour all ingredients in a pitcher filled half-way with ice. Stir well and serve. Pilgrim Sparkler Serves 4 16oz. Sparkling white grape juice 8 oz. Pineapple juice dash of freshly squeezed lemon juice Pour pineapple and lemon juice in a pitcher filled with ice. Let chill at least 10 minutes. Strain or remove ice cubes and add sparkling white grape juice. Serve immediately.
Halloween CocktailsBoo! Are you Ghost Hosting? Entertaining Trick-or-Treaters and their bigger goblins? Take a look at these fun and easy cocktails and pick your poison! Bloody Red Martini Vampires everywhere would kill for a sip of this tasty temptation, complete with bloody rim! Serves 4 80z. vodka 4 oz. triple sec 4 oz. pomegranate juice 20z. freshly squeezed lime juice ice Mix ingredients in a cocktail shaker. Strain into glasses. For Bloody Rims: In a shallow dish, mix 2 tablespoons light corn syrup, I tablespoon lemon extract, and 1 drop red food coloring. Turn glasses over and swirl the rims to coat the edges. Turn glasses up right and set aside to let bloody rims dry. Witches Brew Stir up a sinister batch of these colorful cocktails, they'll be no skeletons in closet after one or two! 8oz. Gin 2 oz. limoncello 20z. peach liqueur 20z. passionfruit nectar ice In a cocktail pitcher filled half-way with ice mix all ingredients, pour into glasses and serve.
Lights, Camera, Oscar! There’s still time to create your own glamorous Hollywood-inspired Oscar night at home for this weekend’s 83rd Academy Awards, with tasty cocktails, and an easy but divine meal, all for your guests’ viewing pleasure. Add a few stylish decorations and you’re sure to top the ballot for best host along with Anne Hathaway and James Franco.
Invite your Social Network over and open the curtain for a night of fun and partying Hollywood style. The key to a winning night? Making everyone relaxed to take in the big show.
Signature Cocktail: No event would be complete with out a signature cocktail. My Chocolate Martini, aka “The Black Swantini,” is delectable, easy to whip up, and has a dark and light side, just like Natalie Portman’s character in the film. It’s a winner for sure!
8 oz. Absolut Vanilla vodka
4 oz. Kahula
Chocolate shavings for garnish
Raw sugar crystals for garnish
Pour vodka and Kahula into a cocktail shaker, fill with ice and mix well. Wet rims of glasses and dip in sugar. Strain shaker evenly among glasses. Garnish with chocolate shavings.
Menu: Mini Crabcakes with Cajun dip, Beef Tenderloin, Fruited Wild Rice, Mixed greens with champagne mustard vinagrette, Chocolate Mousse Flutes, Fresh berries and Cookies will do the trick. Serve the food buffet-style, so guests can help themselves at commercial time. Most of the menu can be ordered in advance or picked up day of from your local market. I also make buckets of cheesy popcorn beforehand to put out on a snack tray with bowls of candy favorites like chocolate covered raisins, Sweedish fish, and non-pareils. This is a favorite with the Toy Storycrowd, Yum!
Invitations: Send out an e-mail invitation with attachments of some of the Best Picture nominees. Be sure to include the time, dress (I love “Red Carpet Relaxed” which means anything with sequins) and a ballot that they can print and fill out before-hand.
Décor: Go for a bit of glam with sparkles. Gold statues can be found at party stores, pick up a bunch and place them around for accents. This black and white setting tablescape takes a cue from old Hollywood and is suited for our Black Swan dancers or royalty like the divine Colin Firth. Add some feathers and send it twirling or mini gold tiaras fit for a King’s Speech.
Music: Download the soundtracks for the nominated movies and make a playlist to go from cocktails to coffee.
Ballots and Hollywood trivia: During the commercials, have trivia questions ready for the crowd, I had fun here with equations and data from The Social Network, (good luck my friends) fun prizes that are always welcome, a bottle of champagne or gift certificates to the local movie theater or a disc with the evenings playlist are all great choices.
Most of all, relax and enjoy, and you’ll feel like a star.
Love Potion #9
Love is in the air! It's all around us......and what better time of year to mix up a batch of these deliciously sublime cocktails, and drink to love.....lost, found, or yet to be discovered...
Love Potion #9
8 oz. Absolut vodka
1/2 cup frozen mixed berries
2 oz. limoncello
Prosecco to top
In a blender puree frozen berries. Strain into cocktail shaker or small pitcher. Add in vodka and limoncello, fil with 2 cups ice and shake or stir well. Strain evenly among glasses, top with Prosecco and serve.
Here's to love!
Hearts on a String
Hearts are all around in bright cheery colors to wake us from our winter blues. Craft them, hang them, watch them twirl....and behold the magic of hearts on a string.
The heart is our most resilient muscle, use it for good, for love, and for living a life made stylish!
Who has your heart on a string?
Happy Chinese New Year!
We were invited this past weekend to celebrate the Chinese New Year at the home of family friends. What a lovely time we had sharing in their festive, fun, and very colorful New Year. It is the year of the golden rabbit, who is supposed to saunter in quietly following the year of the ferocious tiger. But the energy at this party was like an oversized paper dragon, ready to roar!
Huge red lanterns on golden posts lined the driveway, like red balloons floating on top of piles of white snow. Red, the traditional color in Chinese celebrations, is said to ward off evil spirits, was everywhere! Red balloons lined the entrance and back lit by more red lanterns seemed to glow like a garden of lights in the moonlight.
Touches of Chinese culture were everywhere. A giant bonsai tree nestled under a group of red lanterns makes a dramatic centerpiece landscape, while blooming cherry blossom branches adorned mantles and tables.
Boxes of red carnations blooming from chinese take-out containers were my favorite! So easy, elegant, and inexpensive, a must-try at home.
A feast of seafood and dumplings, set out buffet style, all signified different good wishes; prawns for liveliness and happiness, dried oysters for all things good, dumplings for luck and good wishes for family, and fish dishes for luck and prosperity.
Lychee martinis were served and were the perfect cocktail to toast Gordon and Grace for welcoming us into thier home to celebrate with them. Here's to an illuminating start to the new lunar new year, the Year of the Rabbit!
Fall's intoxicating. Just when your flip-flops have fallen apart, it's time to return to grownup glamour and the colors of autumn. Dig out those great ankle boots, grab a scarf and your new military inspired jacket, and get ready to meet friends for cocktails!
- 4 oz. Belle de Brillet pear liqueur
- 1 bottle Prosecco
- Pear slices for garnish
Pick Your Poison!
As Willy Wonka says, "Candy is dandy but liquor is quicker!" So this year, add a stellar signature cocktail to your party to take it up a notch! Here are 10 tasty temptations to serve this Halloween. Pick your poison!
Bloody Red Martini
Vampires everywhere kill for just a sip of this stellar martini with signature oozing bloody red rim.
8 oz. vodka
4 oz. triple sec
4 oz. pomegranate juice
2 oz. freshly squeezed lime juice
1 cup ice
Mix first four ingredients in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Allow the mixture to sit for 1 minute, giving time for the flavors to marry. Strain into martini glasses and enjoy. Serves 4. For bloody rims: In a shallow dish, mix 2 tablespoons light corn syrup, 1 drop lemon extract, and 2 drops of red food coloring together. Turn the glass upside down and swirl the rims in coating well. Turn the glass upright and fill.
Can’t you just see Morticia and Gomez toasting the ghouls and goblins with one of these devilish champagne cocktails in hand? A whisper of black sugar on the rim makes it extra wicked. Be afraid, be very afraid!
2 cups ice
8 oz. St-Germain liqueur
4 oz. acai berry juice
4 oz. Absolut Citron vodka
Juice of 1 lime, freshly squeezed
1 bottle champagne, chilled
In a small pitcher filled with ice, mix together St-Germain, acai berry juice, vodka, and lime juice. Strain about 1-½ oz. to fill the bottom third of each champagne flutes. Rim the glass with black sugar (easy to make with black food coloring and sugar if you can find it in your local store). Top with champagne. Serves 4. Adapted from Show Stopper from The Stylish Girl’s Guide to Fabulous Cocktails by Colleen Mullaney.
No secrets are safe with this devilish concoction of gin, limoncello, peach and raspberry juice. There’ll be no skeletons in the closet after these, we promise!
8 oz. gin
2 oz. limoncello
2 oz. peach nectar
2 oz. raspberry juice
2 cups ice
Combine all ingredients in a shaker filled with ice and mix well. Strain into ice-filled rocks glasses and serve.
Dark and Stormy
The perfect potion for All Hollow’s Eve. Ginger beer and dark rum blend together for a killer good brew!
1 cup ice
8 oz. dark rum
Two 8 oz. bottles of ginger beer
Pour rum evenly among four glasses, fill with ice, and top with ginger beer. Serves 4.
Ghoulish Grape Soda
Goblins of all ages will swoon over this mocktail grape pleaser. Add in an easy-to-make foam ghost straw and sip to your devilish content!
2 cups ice
16 oz. grape juice
16 oz. lemon flavored seltzer
Mix juice and seltzer in a pitcher. Pour into ice-filled glasses. Garnish with ghostly straws and serve. To make ghosts, cut shapes from white foamy sheets. Affix googly eyes with tacky glue. Let dry. Use a hole punch to make the mouth and insert the straw. Makes a great kids’ activity during your party.
Get ready to rattle some skulls and bones with a few of these old school gelatin shots. One taste and you’ll be screaming for more.
1 3-oz. pkg. lemon flavored gelatin
1 3-oz. pkg. cherry flavored gelatin
8 oz. Absolut Citron vodka
8 oz. peach liqueur
Mix lemon gelatin with one cup of boiling water and 8 oz. of vodka. Pour mixture into shot glasses until each is ¾ full. Mix cherry-flavored gelatin with one cup of boiling water and 8 ounces of peach liqueur. Top off each shot glass with the cherry mixture. Can also switch the order, with the cherry on the bottom of the shots topped with lemon gelatin. Chill shots until just before serving. Serves 10.
Creepy Crawly Concoction
Kids will crave this delightful non-alcoholic bubbling brew of lemonade, mango and orange flavors. Add in some gummy worm ice cubes and watch their skin crawl!
24 oz. lemonade
8 oz. mango nectar
16 oz. orange flavored seltzer
Mix all ingredients together in a punch bowl. Add a scary touch with wormy ice cubes and serve. To make wormy ice cubes, cut gummy worms in half, place into ice cube trays, and fill with water and freeze. Serves 10.
Green with Envy Apple Margarita
Just a sip, my pretty! A jealously delicious twist on a classic with green apple liqueur and a ghoulish green salt rim your guests will covet. Just a drop of food coloring to your regular margarita salt is all it takes.
4 cups ice
8 oz. Blanco tequila
4 oz. Green Apple liqueur
2 oz. lime juice
2 oz. lemon juice
Combine the first four ingredients in a pitcher. Fill with ice and mix well. Salt the rims of glasses, and fill with cocktail. Serves 4.
Don’t be scared to try this easy to make, sinfully delicious sangria. It’ll rattle your senses for sure!
4 cups ice cubes
Two bottles chilled dry red wine (Zinfandel, Merlot or Pinot Noir)
8 oz oz. pineapple nectar
8 oz. Cointreau
8 oz. sparkling water
2 oz. fresh lime juice
2 oranges, thinly sliced
Combine the wine, nectar, Cointreau, lime juice and fruit slices in a drink dispenser. Chill for at least 30 minutes to let the flavors marry. Just before serving, pour in sparkling water and add the ice cubes. Serves 10.
All eyes will be on your table when you serve this bubbling cauldron of purple Witches’ Potion. The secret is in the smoke created from dry ice. (Note: please wear gloves and handle carefully!)
8 oz. light rum
8 oz. dark rum
4 oz. crème de banane
4 oz. blackberry brandy
24 oz. cranberry juice
24 oz. pineapple juice
2 oz. grenadine
6 cups ice cubes
Combine all ingredients in a punch bowl and mix well. Serves 10.
I do love parties, any type of party -- a holiday party, birthday party -- but in the summer, I just absolutely love any party outside. The pool, beach, patio or porch ... any fun place will do. The sunshine-filled days and lazy afternoons are perfect settings for hosting a pop-up party!
Last weekend I had a group of friends in for cocktails and snacks. We ending up chatting and dancing on the patio until midnight. Now that's a pop-up with staying power! For you own party, no formal invitations are needed. Just call around to get a group together at the spur of the moment, invite neighbors over spontaneously and host your friends with easy summer style. After all, it's not about being a perfect host. It's about having fun and great conversation. That's the kind of party everyone remembers.
It's easy. Just make a big batch of a crowd pleasing cocktail and let it go from there. I usually whip up a yummy punch and served it in a drinks dispenser, self serve style to quench any summer thirst. The rum mixes swimmingly with the fruit juices with just the right hint of blackberry and sure to help everyone beat the heat. So get up, get mixing and get dancing!
adapted from PUNCH
- 4 cups cranberry juice
- 3 cups pineapple juice
- 1 cup light rum
- 1 cup dark rum
- 1/2 cup creme de banane
- 1/2 cup cherry juice
- 1/2 blackberry brandy
- ice cubes to fill vessel
- Maraschino cherries and pineapple chunks for garnish
Combine all ingredients in drinks dispenser, add ice, let chill and serve.
Keep the scene and menu light, adding to the fun festive atmosphere. I love to set out cheese and fruit to pick on, or make a batch of fresh guacamole with lots of cilantro from the garden. If dinner is on the menu, grill something light, like fish and supplement with store bought salads and dessert. Keep it light and easy, it's summer after all!
Glass hurricanes cast a summer glow. Simply fill the bottoms with shells or sand for a beachy look that will also keep the candles secure. I put out a bunch of different sized hurricanes, grouping them together or lining steps to the patio.
Continue the soft natural tones with the table. Here, curly willow stands perfectly in glass vessels that have been wrapped in corugated paper. Raffia ties it all together for a chic, easy summer table, ready for a pop-up party anytime.
Keep the party going with fun dance tunes. I love George Michael, Black Eyed Peas, or Madonna. Grab a cocktail, strike a pose and party on!
4th of July--Party in the U.S.A.!
Party in the U.S.A.
You don't need fireworks to show your patriotic colors this weekend. At my house, cool drinks add just the right splash to our annual party. I love the long holiday weekends, and especially the 4th when the kids are done with school and ready to let summer really begin. Independence Day is all about family, friends, and neighbors getting together to celebrate country pride. So get hosting this 4th of July and create your own Classic All-American Bash!
It's easy ... No need for formal invites. Ask friends you see in the next few days or make a few quick calls. Then, mix up some chilled cocktails, set out an easy buffet, add a few fun projects for the kids, and you'll be off and running in Star-Spangled style.
This year I'm seeing stars! To add sparkle to my outdoor space, I'm adding star shaped lights in my shrubs lining the patio and red, white and blue paper lanterns hung in bunches from the trees and umbrellas to cast a soft glow and help light up the night. (Check www.pearlrivertrading.com or your local party supply store). Set a stylish table with bunches of garden flowers (my favorites are hydrangeas and zinnias) in low glass containers, and add hurricanes with pillar candles to illuminate your tabletop.
Set up a self-serve bar, with big ice-filled galvanized bins of sparkling waters and sodas, and drinks dispensers filled with lemonade for the little ones and Nantucket Lemonade for the adults! This frees you up as the host, allowing for more time to enjoy your party, and isn't that what summer entertaining is all about?
Serve the meal buffet style, so guests can help themselves whenever they want, and will feel instantly at ease. Keep the menu simple, and transportable to the patio, park, beach or wherever you might be going. Some of my favorites are marinated flank steak, which can be grilled and sliced ahead of time. I put out a basket of French rolls for a grab and go steak sandwich. Paired with potato salad and a simple mixed green salad with hearts of palm and fresh corn makes for an easy, fresh from the farmstand meal.
Desserts should be simple, have guests bring cookies or brownies, or pick up a trayful at your local market. I baked these star shaped sugar cookies and covered painted stripes of frosting with sprinkles in patriotic hues for a delish and colorful dessert, how easy is that?
Keep the little ones happy with foamy pinwheels that are perfect for any parade or patriotic bike ride. Set up a little crafting table and watch them go!! These have clothespin bases for easy clipping to bike baskets or wagons, or backpacks. For a hand held pinwheel, simply use a lollipop stick.
I hope these ideas inspire you to wave your flag high and enjoy the holiday. Not hosting this year? No problem, bring is a big batch of my delicious Nantucket Lemonade--just mix it up in a drinks dispenser...you'll be a star!!
5 cups lemonade
2 cups cranberry juice
¼ cup lime juice
3 cups vodka
2 cups ginger ale
4 cups ice cubes
Frozen cranberries and lemon wheels to garnish
Combine the lemonade, cranberry juice, lime juice, and vodka in the punch bowl and mix well. Add the ice cubes, pour in ginger ale, add the frozen cranberries and lemon wheels and serve.
Tip: For a picnic or harbor cruise, mix the punch directly in a small insulated cooler for instant and easy transportability.
Easy 4th of July Menu
Marinated Flank Steak
Mixed green salad with hearts of palm and fresh corn
Starry sugar cookies
Foamy star straws
Add a festive touch to a simple starw. Garnish summer drinks with starry shapes, and have a star spangled sip!
Red, white , and blue foamy sheets
Star cookie cutters in different sizes
Trace star shapes onto foam sheets using the three different sized cookie cutters. Cut out star shapes and hole punch the centers. Stack stars and push top of straw through holes.
Foamy Sheets in red and blue
WISHing for Cocktails in Rye!
It seems the stylish girl is very busy these days! I had a fantastic day in Rye at WISH signing my new book, The Stylish Girl's Guide to Fabulous Cocktails. There was all kinds of chatter going on about cocktails and entertaining, two of my favorite subjects! It was Thursday and everyone was gearing up for the holiday weekend, I was deciding whether to make a batch of Strawberry Mojitos or Mango Margaritas.....the Mojitos won...and they were divine I tell you......and yes, I will absolutely share the recipe. Thank you to all who came from near and far! Cheers! Colleen
Bubbles, Baubles, and a Book Signing for Stylish Girl's Guide to Fabulous Cocktails!
It was a perfect warm summer evening in Greenwich Wednesday for the launch of my book, The Stylish Girls Guide to Fabulous Cocktails. Generously hosted and by Dawn of Peridot Jewelry, and Serendipity magazine, Greenwich's new resource for the stylish family.
We cocktailed on the Ruby Slipper and the Love Hangover, 2 of my favorites from the book, and chatted about the summer, the SATC2 premiere and of course, spending more time with girlfriends, which is what the book, with lots of cocktail recipes and funny sidebars to boot, is really all about. Celebrating friendships and creating more intimate entertaining moments in a fast paced technology driven modern world.
and you know we do love parties! So, get your friends together and mix up a batch of cocktails and enjoy the time together!
Sex and the City 2 Premiere Party!
Get ready to Carrie on!
If the first movie is any indication of how fabulous this one will be, start planning your Sex and the City 2 Premiere Party now! While guys tailgate, this is our Super Bowl of fashion, flirting and fun! True fans of the fab foursome -- Carrie, Miranda, Charlotte and Samantha -- have circled the May 27th premiere on their calendar for months and advanced tickets are already selling at a hot pace (get yours now!).
Hosting a great party is easier than you think. Gather your Stylish Girlfriends for a night in and then out on the town! Start the festivities early with cocktails at someone's home to refresh everyone on where we left off with a pre-theater screening of the first movie(Carrie and Big eloped in case someone missed the first one ... gasp!).
Mix up a batch of Love Hangovers from my new book,The Stylish Girl's Guide to Fabulous Cocktails. These stunning champagne cocktails are the perfect pour - colorful, tasty, and stylish party starters. Take two and don't call him in the morning!
- 2 ounces passion-fruit nectar
- 2 ounces pineapple juice
- 1 bottle Brut champagne, chilled
Combine the juices in a cocktail shaker or small pitcher. Pour juices in champagne flutes to cover the bottom third of each glass. Top with champagne and serve.
Set a fashion-sexy mood with lots of candles and decorate your table with a batch of bright pink peonies picked up from your local market. Cut the stems short to let the blousy blooms show off. With blossoms this beautiful, any low vase is a fashion do.
The girls head to Morocco in this sequel, so set out a tableful of light bites, such as olives, dates, assorted cheeses and nuts arranged in small bowls. You can also add rice pilaf or couscous with saffron, chicken, beef or lamb kebobs. True foodies, now's the time to dig out your tangine. I'm happy to just cocktail!
Download the Sex and the City 2 movie soundtrack, sure to get everyone in a flirty mood. I can't stop playing Alicia Key's Empire State of Mind and Cee-lo'sLanguage of Love. Then, dish about old loves, new ones, and the ones that got away. Most importantly, wear something stunning -- shoes to die for, and your favorite dress and accessories, natch.
With coveted movie tickets in hand, take the party on the road. Dressed to the nines, you and your girlfriends will revel in the spotlight. Carrie & Co. would be proud!
THE PREAKNESS STAKES: Party for the People
On your mark, get set, let the party begin this weekend for the 135th running of the annual Preakness Stakes in Baltimore.
Called the “People’s Party” and “The People’s Race,” the Preakness is the middle jewel in horse racing’s Triple Crown, falling between the Kentucky Derby and the Belmont Stakes and with a storied history to rival them both.
The Preakness has the honor of bestowing the most expensive trophy in all of sports. Called the Woodlawn Trophy, it was created by Tiffany and Co. in 1860 and valued over $1 million shortly thereafter. Buried during the Civil War to prevent it from being melted down for its silver, the Preakness’ trophy is now on permanent display at the Baltimore Museum of Art. Each May, it’s traditionally brought to the track for a symbolic presentation while the Preakness winner takes home a $30,000 replica to keep.
Along with the trophy, the winning horse and jockey are adorned with a stunning blanket of Black-Eyed Susans, the official flower of the Preakness and the State of Maryland. Similar to a daisy, the colorful yellow and black flower has 13 petals, like the original 13 colonies, of which Maryland was one. It takes an impressive 80 bunches of Black-Eyed Susans and three people two days to make the vibrant flower blanket which is bestowed upon the winning horse. Since the flowers aren’t in season in Maryland until June, florists often dab black paint onto the centers of Black-Eyed Susans to make them more recognizable, then mist the blanket with water and keep it safely refrigerated until after the singing of “Maryland, My Maryland” and the race begins.
Immediately after the Preakness concludes, and the official winner is declared, a painter climbs to the top of the cupola and repaints the Old Clubhouse’s weather vane with the colors of the winning horse and jockey’s silks where it stays until next year’s winner is crowned.
The Preakness is a great reason to host friends and family on a beautiful sunny spring afternoon. Decorate with a simple Black-Eyed Susan wreath on your front door or garden gate to welcome guests. You can also casually display these sunny, cheery flowers in small vases around your home, or use the bright rainbow colors of the horses’ silks to set the perfect tone.
Traditional fare of a Preakness party is crab dip, Spicy Honey Toasted Pecan Shuckers (try Blue Crab Bay Co.’s), crab cakes or claws, oysters, and other Chesapeake Bay seafood favorites ordered in from your local seafood market. Or, mix it up with an infield buffet of comfort food such as potato salad, hamburgers and hot dogs for the landlubbers and little ones. Drinks should include the traditional Black-Eyed Susan Cocktail (made with rum or bourbon) or my twist on Bloody Mary’s – the Red Eyed Susan – and lots of cold beer. Grammy-Award winning Zac Brown Band is the featured guest on the Infield Stage this year, so load up your iPod with some fun favorites, don’t forget the racing forms for some friendly wagering and let the People’s Party begin!
EASY CRAB DIP
It’s a great dish to prepare ahead and pop in the oven when guests arrive.
6-1/2 oz. of canned or freshly chopped crab meat
8 oz. block of cream cheese softened
¾ cup of mayonnaise
½ tsp. horseradish
2 Tablespoons minced onion
1/4 tsp. salt
Dash of pepper and cayenne pepper
Cream mayonnaise and cream cheese together. Add remaining ingredients and bake in ovenproof serving dish for 15 minutes at 375 degrees. Can top with either silvered toasted almonds or fresh herbs such as chives or flat-leaf parsley and serve warm with crackers.
BLACK-EYED SUSAN COCKTAIL
This citrus filled libation is right up in the winner’s circle as it is light, refreshing, and a definite crowd pleaser!
4 oz. vodka
4 oz. light rum
2 oz. orange liqueur ( such as Grand Marnier)
8 oz. orange juice
4 oz. pineapple juice
Garnish with a slice of orange and cherries
Mix together all ingredients in pitcher. Pour into glasses filled with crushed ice. Garnish with orange slices and cherries, and serve.
THE RED-EYED SUSAN
Perfect to get the party started, the old bay seasoning on the rims and the over the top garnish give this cocktail an extra bite!
12 lemon wedges
12 lime wedges
12 pieces of fresh crab
8 cups tomato juice
3 cups vodka
1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce
½ cup fresh lemon juice
¼ cup fresh lime juice
¼ cup prepared horseradish
2 tbsp. hot red pepper sauce
1 tsp. freshly grounded black pepper
2 tsp. Old Bay seasoning
8 cups ice cubes
6 celery stalks, trimmed and cut in half lengthwise
Thread 1 lemon wedge, 1 lime wedge and a piece of crab on each of 12 cocktail picks or small skewers. Set aside. (These colorful garnishes can be made up to 1 day ahead and kept in the refrigerator covered with a damp paper towel.)
In the punch bowl, whisk together the tomato juice, vodka, Worcestershire sauce, lemon and lime juices, horseradish, hot pepper sauce, black pepper and the Old Bay seasoning. Add the ice cubes. Rub the top of each glass with a lime wedge and then rim with Old Bay Seasoning. Garnish each glass with a celery stalk and citrus-crab swizzle and serve immediately.
Cinco de Mayo: Get your Fiesta On!
Ay Caramba! This Wednesday is one of my favorite party days the year – Cinco de Mayo. This annual fiesta celebrates Mexican history and culture that’s played such an important role in enriching our nation with their colors, flavors, music and art. It’s a love song to our neighbors to the south. And I personally circle the date on my calendar. After all, no matter your background, everyone has a little fiesta in them.
My best Cinco de Mayo parties are the easiest to plan. Start with a too-die-for pitcher of Margaritas (my favorite recipes follow) and a colorful buffet of great snacks – crispy tortilla chips, salsa, chiles, guacamole, queso – and add in some of your favorite Mexican entrees either homemade or picked up from your favorite local restaurant. Hang some paper flowers or streamers in rainbow brights. Put on some Gipsy Kings and dance the night away.
I love a good margarita! I mean, any party is more festive with tequila. As a true cocktail aficionado, I’m known for my margs. Classic and mango are always staples in my party repertoire. This year, I’m all over the acai berry and its legendary healthy benefits. Mix that in and it’s like you’re drinking Botox in a glass – how great is that?!?
So call your amigos, pour a pitcher and let the party begin. Arriba!!
This classic margarita is filled with robust flavor, the addition of lemon juice completes its clean, crisp citrus tones. For a splash of sweet, try adding 2 oz. of pineapple juice.
8 oz. Tequila Blanco
2 oz. Grand Marnier
2 oz. freshly squeezed lime juice
2 oz. freshly squeezed lemon juice
4 cups ice
Coarse salt for rims
2 limes cut into wedges for garnish
Combine first four ingredients in a pitcher filled with ice. Salt the rims of glasses by first rubbing with a lime wedge and then dipping in a saucer of coarse salt. Pour margaritas and garnish with lime wedges.
Mango Margarita Madness
Using the above recipe, substitute 4 oz. mango nectar for the lemon juice
AY! Acai Berry Madness Marg
Using the above recipe, substitute 4 oz. of 4 oz. acai berry juice for the lemon juice
It's Derby Day!
The Kentucky Derby, or "Run for the Roses," is a perfect excuse (not that we need one!) to have your friends over. Besides being the most exciting two minutes in sports, it's the start of the warm weather social season. Hosting the party outside in the afternoon sun makes it a great family friendly event.
I've put together a few tips and recipes to get you off to the races in no time!
Get started by going to the official site of the derby, www.kentuckyderby.com, there you can order glassware, get a listing of all the contenders and their colors for some friendly wagering, and other Southern lore to entertain your guests this weekend.
Since the Derby is all about the run for the roses, I usually make a centerpiece of red roses. This year, I added whimsical glittery horses, (they are cardboard cut outs I found in the craft store and painted and glitterized them, is that a word?). The winning horse gets a garland of over 400 red roses, so I go with the red, and because its off season for red roses, they were under 10 dollars a dozen, seriously, I kid you not.
Other festive accents I put around are play horses, trophies and ribbons to help decorate your space. Anything colorful and festive works here, and don't forget, with the party outdoors, you have nature's beautiful spring backdrop to help you.
Continue your Southern hospitality with an easy buffet. Ham, cheesy biscuits, fried chicken, and slaw are perfect. Finish off with a Derby pie and some Bourbon balls (my girlfriend Alissa makes the best). The key here is easy, family friendly fare that is self serve and frees you up as host so you can enjoy the party!
On to the all important cocktails: For the traditional mint julep and my twisted peach julep recipes that I shared with iVillage, click onto this link and get mixing! http://www.ivillage.com/what-drink-kentucky-derby-day/3-a-154018
One of my favorite Derby cocktails of late is the Bourbon Slush. I have my fabulous friend, Kelle, to thank; she is a gracious, a true Southern lady, and by the way throws a Derby party to rival Louisville's best!
The slush has citrus overtones, with a refreshing bubbly finish, perfect a warm afternoon. Get your batch in the freezer now!
1 4oz. can frozen lemonade
1 4oz. can frozen orange juice
4 tea bags (Lipton)
1 cup sugar
3 cups Bourbon (Maker's Mark)
16 oz. lemon-lime soda
In a large saucepan, boil 2 cups water with 4 tea bags. Once water comes to a rolling boil, remove from heat. Let steep 15 minutes.
Add frozen lemonade,orange juice sugar, Bourbon, and 7 cups water. Bring to a boil. Let cool. Pour into plastic containers and freeze overnight or up to 48 hours.
Remove from freezer, let melt slightly until slushy, scoop into glass, top with lemon-lime soda, garnish with cherries and serve with a straw.
Derby Style is a must here. Hats are the tradition, whether big or small flowery or feather-topped, they are all fabulous. I love to give a prize for best Derby diva hat, a little competition on and off the track is a good thing.
Play a little country music to keep the party atmosphere festive, try Rascal Flats or Carrie Underwood. Make a playlist and make it easy!
To place bets, I like to have a silver ice bucket passed around filled with strips of paper with the horses names, guests put in money, and take out a contender. The guest with the winning horse wins the pot!
To entertain your little jockeys, have a crafts table set up with straw hats and faux flowers for the little ladies and caps with markers and paint pens so they can mimic their favorites. Afterwards, when the adults are still going strong, put a classic horse movie on and let them all be entertained. Black Beauty, or my favorite, Racing Stripes.
Most Importantly -- Have Fun!
Spring is the perfect time to entertain, and these gimlets are ideal from brunch, to afternoon entertaining, to evening cocktails. They are easy to mix, colorful, and very tasty!
I made a few batches last weekend for friends that popped in, I set out an array of light cheeses ( soft goat with fresh dil), put some music on ( John Legend), popped some fresh cut lilacs into a few vases (actually they were the kids watering cans- very garden fresh!), dusted off the croquet set and instant party! I must say my game improved after a few gimlets!
Need more stylish party ideas? Check-out my Easy Entertaining article in Westchester Magazine's May Issue!
12 oz. Lemon flavored vodka
2 oz. Raspberry Liqueur
1 cup fresh mint leaves, more for garnish
Juice of 2 limes
1 cup fresh raspberries
lime wheels for garnish
club soda to top
Wash and dry mint leaves. In a cocktail shaker pour vodka, add mint leaves and muddle together using a muddler or the back of a wooden spoon. Squeeze the lime juice into the shaker, add raspberry liqueur and shake. Pour into ice-filled glasses, garnish with lime wheel,fresh raspberries, and mint sprig. Top with soda and serve.
Spring Blooms for the Table
Brightly colored spring flowers are the ultimate decorating accessory. and paired with simple votive candles make pretty accents for your spring table.
I love to bunch a group of them in the center of my round outdoor table, and scatter them down the center of my kitchen table for a vivid tablescape.
I have also fashioned about sixty bright yellow ones for a wedding cocktail reception, they were gorgeousness! ( not to mention easy to make and very affordable)
These vibrant melon colored faux dahlias are perfect to welcome the new season. Dahlias are a showy flower, and available in a wide range of colors, so choose any shade that compliments your spring decor or party theme. These are made with faux dahlia blooms found at the local craft store, but other blossoms like large garden roses, peonies, and small cabbages would make fantastic flowery votives.
Faux Dahlia blossom
glass votive and candle
Cut the entire stem from the blossom snipping right under the bottom of the flower, so that it sits flat.
Remove the center of the blossom, glue layers of petals together in center,
Glue bottom of glass votive to center of blossom, add candle. Done! a vivid floral accent for your spring table!
How easy is that?
The sun is shining, time to get outside and enjoy the longer days. Get digging in the garden, plant some color to make your house, and you, happy.
St Patrick's Day Fun
St Patrick's Day
Red Rose Centerpiece
Red Sky Cocktails
Countdown to Christmas
Thanksgiving is such a wonderful time of year. So much to be thankful for...our friends, family, children all make our lives beautiful.
Let's thank them all with these easy, colorful, and tasty projects and recipes which will leave them thankful for you!
Tom Tom Turkey
I remember growing up making these pinecone turkeys with my brothers, and now I can't resist making them with my children! Make a bunch and use them for placecards at the table, or line them on a mantel or windowsill for a grouping of gobblers!
feathers in bright colors
red and brown chenille stems
orange fun foam
Glue the feathers into the back of the pinecone to create plume.
Step 2: Glue eyes on the pom-pom. Cut pipe cleaners and twist to make feet and gizzard. Glue on all turkey parts.
Colorful, and easy to make, and filled with lush autumnal ingredients, all of which were found at the local market or in the backyard, yes really!
Everyone at the table will be thankful you are so very florally fabulous!
I found the cabbages at the local market, but if they are not available, try the local garden center and buy potted ones, cut the stems and remove the lower leaves.
Skewer the bottom end of the pears so the pretty top side shows.
For a tablescape, toss chestnuts down the table and sprinkle in some pears for an organic look that would make any pilgrim proud!
block of oasis
My new favorite fall cocktail! It tastes like a carmel apple, with its vanilla and citrus tones, mixing deliciously with tangy sweet apple flavors in fresh apple cider.
Make a batch for your friends and family, and they will be very thankful for you!
6 oz. Absolut Vanilla
4 oz. Tuaca
8 oz. fresh apple cider
lemon flavored seltzer to top
apple slices for garnish
apple twists for garnish
In a pitcher filled halfway with ice, pour ingredients. Let the flavors marry and chill a few minutes. Strain into glasses, these are wine goblets, but I think they are perfect!
Garnish with apple wedge and twist, and serve.
Autumn Cheese Platter
Fall's cool days filled with brilliant color and crisp afternoons are perfect for having friends over for wine and cheese. This easy to assemble platter is bursting with color, texture and taste. Paired with my favorite Sangria, you have the makings for a fabulous autumn afternoon!
The key for creating a tasty cheese platter is variety, in taste, texture , and color.
For this platter I chose a creamy St. Andre, a nice big wedge adds height and shape. Next, a Huntsman for the unique combo of a tangy blue cheese and a sharp cheddar, it also is a great color addition. Goat cheese are among my all-time favorites, I add goat cheese to salads, toasts, and stuff chicken breasts, all delicious! Here, I added a nice round wheel to compliment the other cheeses.
For height and to mix it up, add a glass and fill it with nuts or dried fruit. I season and toast these pecans and keep them in my pantry in an air tight container. I love them in salads and just to snack on, yes, I do like accessories!
Next, place grapes around the glass, and then add crackers, again, variety in texture, taste, and color. I used a mix of hearty wheat, light water crackers, and mini cheese biscuits. To top it off I sprinkle on dried apricots and add a few lady apples for color and a little wow!
Add the wine and it looks like a party to me!
Look for a local cheese shop and don't be afraid to ask for help, just remember to get a variety, best of all, they give samples!
Go for a full bodied, fruity chardonnay, many of my favorites are from California.
Choose a lighter red, one that won't take over the flavors of the cheese, Chile has great offerings that are bursting with flavor and light on the wallet.
2 cups pecans
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ginger
In a shallow bowl soak pecans in boiling water for 15 minutes. Drain well. Place on a baking sheet and toast for 45 minutes at 300 degrees.
Remove from the oven, whisk together with remaining ingredients and bake for an additional 15 minutes.
Let cool. Pecans keep in an air tight container for up to 3 weeks.
Colorful, lively and full-flavored Sangria is a perfect compliment for the cheese platter.
Two bottles dry red wine, such as Pinot Noir
2 cups orange juice
1 cup Cointreau
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
2 each oranges,limes, and lemons sliced thin
2 cups chilled sparkling water
Combine wine, orange juice, Cointreau, lime juice and fruit slices in the pitcher and mix well. Chill for up to an hour. Just before serving, slowly pour in the sparkling water. Add the ice cubes and serve.
It's time to get ready for the ghosts and goblins! Here are a few easy ideas for tricks and treats
Light-up the night of fright with these easy to make boo-lights. Made from empty milk jugs with stick-on felt faces.
Perfect for adding a ghostly touch to the season.
Empty milk jug that has been washed and dried.
black acrylic paint
self adhesive black felt
strand of twinkle lights.
1. Cut out the back of the jug.
2. Paint the top of the jug black. Let dry.
3. Draw a face on the back of the felt, cut-out and adhere to jug. Fill with lights and enjoy!
Set a stylish scene with these creepy crawlers! Easy to make and looks spectacularly spooky on a front door, archway , or mantel.
14-inch foam ring base
3 3-foot long feather boas
8 black pom-poms
1 package black chenille stems
1 package 30mm google eyes
pearl head floral pins
decorative ribbon for hanging
1. Pin the end of one boa to the ring with the floral pins. Continue until ring is covered.
2. Cut the chenille stems in half and in groups of four twist centers. glue group on the back of a pom-poms. Glue eyes to center of pom-poms.
3. Glue spiders onto wreath in a pleasing pattern. Pin a length of ribbon to the back of the wreath to hang.
Boo! Tricks and Treats for Halloween
Festive, colorful cocktails with a light citrus tones, are sure to be a favorite among the older trick-or-treaters.
Make a back-up batch and be re-fill ready!
1 cup mandarin orange vodka
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup Grand Marnier
1/2 cup grenedine
seltzer to top
In a pitcher filled half-way with ice, pour all ingredients except seltzer. Let chill.
To sugar rims: rub rims of glasses with lemon juice, flip over and lightly rub rims into shallow bowl or plate filled with decorative black sugar.
Strain into glasses, top with a splash of seltzer, and serve.
Autumn in Bloom
Autumn in Bloom
To market to market, the local market that is!
These vibrant arrangements that show off the seasons best mix of texture and color, are fashioned with flowers found in the grocery store.
A cheerful mix of mums, sunflowers, roses, hydrangea, and dahlias all set the festive tone. Easy to make, and budget friendly as one bunch of each variety makes several arrangements.
I like to cut stems on the short side, as the blooms look cozy together and a low arrangement can be used pretty much anywhere, from a formal table to a bar.
These were made for a suprise birthday party, and accented with the cylinders filled with mini-pumpkins and pears, presented an elegant autumnal look.
For a stylish tablescape that brings it all together, scatter small gourds and votive candles down the table around the flowers. Gorgeous!
For a Holiday filled with more treats than tricks, these easy to make Halloween party pleasers.
Make a batch and keep your little trick-or-treaters ready for tons of spooky fun!
Unroll the fruit roll-up and cut into 6-inch lengths. Make cuts from the top down to create fringe.
Wrap the top of the strip around the end of a pretzel rod. Press roll-up into rod until it sticks.
Happy Fall / Summer Treasure
Happy first day of fall!
My little one's birthday is in August, usually when we are at the beach, so this year he decided he wanted a pirate party, so I orchestrated a treasure hunt on the beach, complete with maps, X marks the spot, and yes a treasure chest filled with treats!
This is a perfect activity for kids of varying ages, the big ones can help the little ones to decipher the clues, while the little ones dig with abandon!
I brought the treasure with me, and found a box suitable at the beach house. The kids had a ball and enjoyed the costumes as much as the treasure. This party is perfect for any time of year, you can use your local park, or back yard, or local beach to stage the hunt. Ahoy!
Fashion, Friends, and Cocktails!
All to benefit Maria Fiori's Children's Hospital in Westchester, New York.
After the gals from ETC clothing line gave their fall fashion basics, I shared my basics for entertaining with style. After all, you must look fabulous while mixing up a batch of Stardust's ( from Capetown, South Africa, from my book It's 5 o'clock Somewhere). You'll look on top of the trends wearing your touch of teal blue, stirring a batch of cocktails, sashaying about to the tunes from your playlist, admiring your flowers from the corner market you artfully arranged, nibbling on a cashew you set on in
pretty bowls, you know everything looks better dressed up in silver, and you'll think to yourself, I do entertain with style!!
One of my friends was back in town for a visit, she and her family had moved back to Australia last October, and my cocktail hours have been missing an element ever since.
So, I decided to celebrate her, and summer, and friends, that I would host a dinner party. A perfect reason!
I went to work, sending out invitations, setting a menu, and then setting the scene.
Vibrant tropical hues lined the table and were illuminated by the many candles sprinkled down the table.
We started with cocktails on the patio, since she is a fan of champagne, I made a mixer with fresh peaches and cherry liqueur, very delicious, and very popular with the ladies!
Dinner inside was spinach salad with spiced pecans, baked swordfish with crusted tops, rice salad, grilled vegetables, and mashed potatoes.
Dessert couldn't have been more spectacular, a chocolate raspberry cake, and chocolate covered strawberries, both made and brought by a few fine ladies.
All in all, a fine summer evening of friends, laughter, and bubbles!
Book Signing Party
What a great day today at WISH a most stylish home store in Rye, New York. The crowd was a happy one, cocktailing and retailing, a beautiful combination.
We served the Stardust, from Capetown out of It's 5o'clock Somewhere, and a refreshing Fruit Smoothie punch, from Punch.
We mingled and chatted about summer entertaining tips, why its so fabulous to have a signature cocktail at your party, in case you're wondering it adds instant personality, and gives everyone something fun to drink!, and why you should serve big batches of luscious libations, like a punch, and ok I'll tell you, it creates a self-serve bar and enables you to relax and enjoy your guests. But most of all we had fun!
See you at our next event. Life is short, must make time for sipping and shopping!
A special thank you to Denise for hosting the soiree, and if you are in Rye, you simply must stop by!
Set in a colorful rose blossom, these votives make perfect garden-party lights. Line a walkway, or set a bunch down the table and scatter extra petals for a chic tablescape that's all abloom.
I Don't Know How She Does It
I was the celebrated author at a book signing party last night, graciously hosted by the owners of a restaurant in town, it’s a great working relationship, she runs it, and he is the renowned chef. I was honored to be part of their “book and cook” series, featuring my latest book, It’s 5 O’Clock Somewhere, Your global guide to fabulous cocktails.
It was a beautiful spring evening, and the windowed room was glowing in soft green light. Cocktails from the book were served, Raspberry Dawa’s from Kenya, they were a bright pink in color, just perfect for the evening spring soiree, putting everyone in a festive mood.
As I made my way around the room, mingling and chatting, I was frequently asked, how do I do it--, write books and columns, and have to time for a career as a lifestyle expert, while juggling the demands of three young children and a husband and all that comes with it.
A group of women, other school moms who I see at drop-off and pick-up and school events, didn’t know I wrote books, or had a career, they were blown-away, at the secret life I had, as they called it, to be honest, I use my married name for family/school/life events and my maiden name for my career, but other than that I’m really not out to allude anyone…
They were perplexed and asked how do you do it? Waiting for an answer.
Baffled, I replied, I just do. Clearly not an answer they were looking for.
But, it got me thinking how lucky I am because I have found my passion in life, what makes me tick, makes me complete, besides my family of course. And I fit it in, because I have to. When? Whenever I can. In the mornings after drop-off, and after lunch when my preschooler is playing with trucks on the floor of my little office in the front of the house.
And I fit in after pick-up for the elementary school kids, and at night, when I am so very tired, I try to find some sort of energy to add something to what I’m finishing or working on, another thought, centerpiece, craft, recipe, something, anything to keep the wheels moving forward.
There are of course, days of shooting, projects to be made, supplies everywhere, and my house just works around my chaos, perhaps my children have realized by now this is a normal chain of events here, or they think they create enough chaos on their end, that I’m entitled to a little too.
I decided to make a change from full-time to dream pursuer when my middle one was born, I thought that its time now, to find out if you can go, make it on your own, I could go back to full-time, working for someone else, or I can challenge myself. Easy, no, but nothing in life ever is, and on top of the stack of rejection letters in my bottom right desk drawer, there are a few contracts and a few framed book and magazine covers on the walls of my office, making it all worth it. I don’t frame them for me so much as my children, so that everytime they come in, they see what I do, the result, it’s a very visual example of achievement that they had a role in, they are a part of. Looking around my tiny office, its good for me, no actually, it’s pretty fantastic.
So, I’m still not sure how I do it, but I do.
Spring is here, time to clean the patio furniture and have friends over for cocktails!
So, get sweeping, and then get mixing. A pitcherfull of colorful libation is always a crowd pleaser, whenever its served. One of my favorites for this time of year is the Lake Como, from my latest book, It's 5 O'clock Somewhere. These cocktails are ideal for an impromtu gathering, BBQ, or wine and cheese. The tangy juices blend perfectly with the vodka, and the citrus adds just the right finishing touch.
And while you're mixing, put on the tunes, try Rascal Flats new CD, Unstoppable, or if dancing is required, and it often is, download V Factory's, Lovestruck, (just invite the neighbors).
These cocktails are like the perfect pair of shoes, they go with everything!
8 oz. vodka
4 oz. red currant juice
4 oz. cranberry juice
1 oz. lime juice
2 tsp. brown sugar
Fresh lime wedges for garnish
Mix all ingredients in a cocktail shaker. Pour into ice-filled glasses. Garnish with lime wedge and serve.
Valentine's Heart Tree
A perfect project for all of your little valentine’s. What child isn’t excited about working with foamies? Soft, safe, and colorful foamy hearts look like works of art swirling from winter’s branches. Set in a glass cylinder in a bed of crystal beads, it is a welcome cheery accent, and a wonderful way to display your child’s work.
Foamy sheets in purple, pink, red, and white
Cut branches and arrange in the glass cylinder filled with glass beads.
Hosting a Holiday Cocktail Party with Style and Panache
While the economy has everyone watching budgets these days, you can still host a fabulous cocktail party by taking the smart and sassy approach. Here are a few tips you’ll need to kick off the holiday season in high style without breaking the budget.
Start with guest list
Set up stations
A colorful self-serve punch has great advantages:
It’s the holidays, so enjoy the bubbles on a budget!
Prepare a mixer that is festive and colorful, my favorite of the moment is the Ladies Blush from my book, It’s 5 o’Clock Somewhere, a delicious blend of vodka, lemoncello, and fresh raspberry puree. Set it out next to the chilling bubbles and you’re all set. Snacks
It’s easy to put together a party to remember…
This topiary is a perfect seasonal accent for your home. Great for out door entertaining, or indoors on a holiday table. Easy to whip up; make a pair to anchor a long hall table, bookcases, or dining buffet. The best thing about this colorful topiary is that it can go from year to year looking fresh and fantastic.
2 ½ inch foam ball
I thought of course my first dish would be just that, very dishy…..and there will be plenty of that. But as luck would have it, something happened that made me rethink my first entry here. Something I wanted to share.
Last week, I was running out the door to pick my daughter up from her friend’s house, she had gone over for a short while after school, and, just as I was walking out the door the phone rang…”do you have a daughter Grace?” Yes I said with caution. Was she playing on Elm Ave? Yes, I said, now my heart is racing so fast I am beginning to not think…she fell off her bike, her two front teeth were knocked out, and I have her here you need to come now…
You need to come now she said, this voice on the other end of the phone.
I jumped in the car, and drove to the house, not very far, and in a minute I was there, she was crying and covered in blood, and I had not a clue what to do, I gave her a hug and told her I had to call people to help, and as the world was spinning around me, a voice, the same voice from the phone, asked gently, is your doctor so and so? And I said yes, and then I heard the number, slowly from her mouth, she was telling me the number to dial, and when she saw my hand shaking too much to dial, she took the phone and dialed for me.
And I don’t know her, never met her, but she was there for me, and I was nothing to her. But, she was there for me.
And so I write this because we live our own lives and in our own worlds and perhaps we don’t let other people in enough, have them over for a bbq, or glass of wine or beer, but in reality, we should, because our neighbors are our community, the houses that surround us are filled with extra-ordinary people, the kind that will take in your paper when you’re away, the kind to pull in your garbage cans from the street, and the kind that will dial the number when you just can’t.
Lately I have been on a kick, an infusion kick, I have these fabulous glass containers with spickets on them, and I have been filling them up with vodka and fruit, any kind of fruit really. I am partial to berries, raspberries especially, their colors seems to explode and they give off a sweet taste that is just delightful. It’s like jello colored botox in a glass. Making infusions in large batches have many benefits, you throw everything in there and the flavors do the work for you, and they are perfect for entertaining especially in the warmer months, I just bring my latest infusion out to the patio, grab some glasses and presto-instant party!
Infusions are also great with a topper of champagne, because it’s really like adding another fruit, and we’re all after a healthier lifestyle here, so get going. I recommend a good quality vodka, I usually use a non-flavored one and them rely on what I add for the flavors, but go for it, the more flavors the better. Here are a few of my favorite combos:
Pineapple slices and mint
Strawberries and mint
Orange slices and basil
Lemon slices and mint or basil or sage
Lime slices with mint
Raspberries and blackberries
Pour the vodka into the glass container, and add the fruit, cover and chill.
How easy is that?
What is our fascination with shells? Perhaps it is their one-of-a-kind beauty. Each is unique-a tiny treasure sculpted and colored by nature, each one perfect in its own way. Shells have a soothing beauty. Looking at them calls up memories of lazy weekends by the sea, the warmth of the sun and the salty scent of an ocean breeze. Shells lend themselves to endless crafting possibilities. They can be scattered across tabletops, arranged in glass bowls, pressed into candle wax, or glued into intricate sculptures. No matter how we use them, shells are the perfect reminder of summertime.
Glow for it
At Your Place
I also love to put a collection of shells around a pillar candle in the bottom of a hurricane vase. These make for a nature –inspired table ready for summer entertaining. Easy-to-assemble, make a bunch and line a walkway or deck for a summer night sure to glow.
There is no end for what you can do with shells, and setting a shell seeking summer table tops my list anyday.
Entertaining: What’s on TAP for a great summer night
Taste**** Ambience***** Presentation
Summer is the best time for impromptu cocktail gatherings, the weather is warm, the night sky is bright, and life just seems to take on an easy air. So take advantage of it by having a few friends over for drinks! Mix up a batch of passionfruit martinis, and whip up these delectable pinwheels, serve them with a bowl or two of nuts and olives and your menu is complete! With Taste covered, add a little Ambience, If you’re hosting outdoors, I suggest twinkle lights (get yours out of the attic), simply strung up in trees, off an awning or an umbrella; or placed along the railings. Another option for lighting are lanterns, they can be found in most housewares stores and make great accents, while lighting up the night with style. Music is a must, so bring your ipod outside and let the music fill the air, you’ll be surprised at how fast a full-fledged disco will erupt. To finish the Presentation, Add a few flowers—anything in season—snapdragons or zinnias are great in short glasses, and add a dash of summer color while keeping the budget in check. And Presto! A Cocktail Soiree!
Blue Cheese and Fig Pinwheels
The best thing about these bad boys is that they are different, a fresh take on the trusty puff pastry bite, and tasty with the combo of the creamy blue cheese and fresh fig.
1 sheet frozen puff pastry
6 oz. Blue cheese, at room temperature--Roquefort
2 fresh figs, peeled and chopped
1 large egg, beaten
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F
Butter or coat with cooking spray a cookie sheet
Open the puff pastry sheet and flatten with a rolling pin. Spread the blue cheese crumbles evenly over the pastry, repeat with the fresh figs. Roll up the pastry the long way; cut into twelve or so ½ “ thick slices. Place the rounds onto the coated sheet and brush with the egg. Bake 12 minutes or until puffy and golden brown. Transfer to serving tray.
Its 5 o Clock Somewhere
Welcome to my new blog, It’s 5 o’Clock Somewhere, the global guide to fabulous cocktails. It is here you will find the worlds most popular cocktails, and the recipes to mix them in your own home, allowing you to host your friends in global style! I will be updating the cocktail with recipes and tips weekly, but for those of you who want the complete global guide, just click below and order the book, a supreme collection of tasty libations from the hottest spots around the globe. So, for all of us who can’t wait for Happy Hour, your time has come, because, It’s 5 O’clock Somewhere.
How it began... It all started for me at 5 o’clock on a trip to Paris a few years ago. I was sipping a champagne cocktail in a fabulous hotel lobby bar, listening to music and munching on delectable bar snacks. I suddenly thought, this is what we all need--to visit all the luxe and fabulous places around the globe and sample what they serve for their 5 o’clock cocktail. But then I thought, who but the jet set could manage this world tour of mixology?
At that moment, my quest turned into a more important one: Could I re-create this global cocktail experience and make it one that everyone could enjoy? It would have to include four most important details: exotic locales around the globe; the consummate local cocktail; snacks or nibbles; and of course, the music playlist-because it really isn’t a party unless there is music on the hi-fi, or, in this day and age, a docked iPod.
So, I set out to write a book that travels for you, complete with a playlist of world rythmns. After all, if it’s all about entertaining your friends why not do it with international flair!
And the book has transformed into a blog, a place where it’s always 5 O’clock Somewhere, find the perfect global libation to mix-up and have some friends over.
We’ll start in London as the book does, the home of Greenwich Mean Time and the first 5’oclock bell, tolled by none other than the worlds most famous clock, Big Ben.
So, take a look, get inspired and get mixing! And remember to visit often...because its 5 o’clock somewhere! Cheers! London, England
Always hip and happening, London is an ever-trendy destination for all the latest in fashion, music, and fabulous food. This tangy libation is fashioned after a version found in a sleek and stylish boutique hotel bar in the hub of the West End. Of course, this one is slightly lighter on the fruit and heavier on the passion, all good.
Mix up a batch, have some friends in, and see what a little passion can do for your party.
Serves 4 8oz./237 ml Absolut Mandarin Vodka 8oz./237 ml passionfruit nectar 8oz. 237 ml pineapple juice Pineapple chunks for garnish
Pour all ingredients into a shaker or pitcher filled with ice and mix well. Strain into glasses. Garnish each with a chunk and serve.
Serve with Huntsman cheese and water crackers
On the HI-FI Cold Play or The Style Council