Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween

After a yummy dinner with my cousin Kristen,
I'm going Trick or Treating with
a Grecian Princess, a little Purple Witch and
gaggle of other little goblins.
What are you going to do for Halloween?


Saturday, October 30, 2010

Never fear, pumpkins are here!

Flash back to a year ago and you were probably scrambling to find canned pumpkin. Or else you were hoarding it. Last year, bad weather led to a major shortage in the pumpkin supply. People were selling cans of Libby's pumpkin on ebay at amazingly inflated prices, sometimes at 3 or 4 times the actual value!

Luckily, my mother had a hearty supply of pumpkin and Halloween and Thanksgiving were a success with delicious pumpkin pies!

Mother Nature looked favorably on the farmers and their pumpkin crops this year, and cans are in stock at stores after nearly a year's absence. If you can't find canned pumpkin in stores yet, don't worry! It's on the way and there is plenty available this year.

Here's a secret family recipe for Pumpkin Pie that will delight your Thanksgiving guests.

1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
4 heaping TBS Coffee Mate (original flavor)

4 large eggs
1 can (29 oz) Libby's 100% pure pumpkin (orange label ... never the brown label)
2 cans (12 fl. oz.) Carnation Evaporated Milk

2 prepared pie crusts in 9" pie plates - deep pie plates, not shallow
PREHEAT OVEN TO 425 degrees.
1. Mix: sugar, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and Coffee Mate in a small bowl until blended well.

2. Beat eggs in large bowl. Stir in pumpkin and blend. Add sugar/spice mixture and blend well.

3. Gradually stir in evaporated milk. Blend well after each addition of milk.

4. Pour pumpkin mixture into prepared pie shells.

5. Sprinkle tops of each pie with cinnamon ... just enough to give it a few dashes here and there on the top of each pie.

6. Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes. Reduce temperature of oven to 350 degrees and bake for an additional 45-50 minutes. (You will know they are ready to remove from the oven when you can insert a sharp knife into the center of each pie and the knife comes out clean.)

7. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack for at least 2 hours. The best pumpkin pies will have slight cracks on the top of the pumpkin pie and also moisture beads will form on top of the baked pie while it is cooling.

This recipe won 1st place at the Frederick County Fair,
a blue ribbon, in the pie category several years ago.


(via and via)

Friday, October 29, 2010

Liberty of London at Target

Earlier this spring, the Liberty of London flew off shelves
in some Target stores on the same day it was released.
Online, the popularity of this fantastic collaboration was also a huge success.
Many items were out of stock within minutes or hours.

So imagine how excited I was not only to find a good selection of Liberty of London items,

but to find these items on sale.

Liberty of London Dunclare tumblers are lovely for a pink themed party.

In Shakespeare's play 'Anthony and Cleopatra',
Cleopatra says “My salad days, When I was green in judgment”.
Enjoy youthful innocence while eating your salad from this plate.

Here's my theory on toys in children's rooms. . .
If it's in a bin or a bucket, it's cleaned!
Pretty and organized.

Check out the fabulous collection from Liberty of London
online at before it is gone!


Thursday, October 28, 2010

Decoding the Dress Code

You probably will attend a myriad of holiday events in the next few months. It's that time of year when every weekend seems to have some kind of social event planned. Knowing how to decode the dress code for each event allows you to plan your ensemble and feel comfortable at the event. Wearing nice clothes makes any occasion special, even if it is dinner for two at home. My own two children seem to stand taller and behave better in dressy dresses.

Considerate hostesses make the dress code clear to guests and considerate guests show the hostess respect by dressing appropriately for the event.

Poor Elle Woods was not dressed like everyone else at the Halloween Party in Legally Blond, but she made the best of it in a lighthearted way. But ideally, your outfit will match the level of formality of the party.

Here are some guidelines to consider and some of my favorite options.

Black tie and white tie  For ladies, there is not much variation between Black tie and white tie.
Of course, white tie mandates a floor length formal gown.   Lately, I've seen many women attending Black tie events in cocktail dresses,  but I'm old school on this one.  To me, this means a floor length gown. Feel free to wear color in the sea of black dresses, too!  I love this dress from Badgley Mischka and the blue color is stunning.

After the two most formal types of dress, the lines slightly blur, but don't worry.
I have some advice and options for you!

Black tie optional
Seriously, this should not be an option, but you'll probably receive an invitation to an event like this. There will be women in floor length gowns, cocktail dresses, evening separates, and anything else you can imagine.  You'll be perfectly dressed in this Galleria Bette dress with bow from Kate Spade. The color is gorgeous!

Semi formal
Of course, a long formal gown is not appropriate at this event, but how do you give a degree of formality to the event without looking overdressed. My mother, who is of course, very, very wise, always says that it is better to be slightly underdressed than to be overdressed. Cocktail dresses, black dresses, and dressy separates are fine, but I'd stay away from overly sparkly, more formal fabrics. My recommendation is to play it safe with a Little Black Dress. This ruffle collared dress from Milly is ladylike and elegant, without being over the top.

Dressy casual  Yes. I have seen this on an invitation. What does it mean? Is it an oxymoron? Interpretation of this dress code could vary tremendously, but you're always safe with a cute little dress or skirt with nice shoes. I'd avoid jeans, even if they are your nice jeans worn with a dressy top. Wear the Connie sweater dress from the newest Lilly Pulitzer resort and you'll be comfortable playing cards with friends or mingling with the crowd at a party. For this type of occasion, shoes, jewelry, and accessories can make the outfit more or less formal, depending on the situation.

Festive I can't believe I'm saying this, but this is one time I'd love to be a guy. How much fun would it be to wear some crazy uber preppy GTH pants to a holiday party? Big plaids and embroideries are perfect festive attire. These pants from Orvis are fabulous!

Next weekend, I'm going to a black tie wedding and am going to wear a one shouldered full length gown. The color is somewhere between a deep burnt orange and red and the fabric is cut on the bias and is multilayered. It's difficult to describe the dress, so I'll be sure to take lots of pictures to share with you. Now, I'm just hoping the Kenneth Jay Lane jewelry I ordered from Rue La La last night arrives on time!

Have a beautiful day!


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Everyone needs an Elsa!

Lilly Pulitzer Resort is popping up all over the internet! C. Orrico wins the prize for being the first to have the collection online. How thrilled am I to see the Elsa top for resort?

There are not enough words to say how incredibly versatile this top is! It can be worn practically year round and looks fantastic dressed up or dressed down with jeans. The neckline is also fabulous.

So, how many Elsa's does a person need?

You know what Lilly says, "Too Much is Never Enough."

I'm going to adhere to that motto with some stellar repeat styles in the Resort line.

(Image via C. Orrico)

What is at the top of your wish list for Resort?


Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Kids Euro Festival

Recently, the girls and I enjoyed a show called "Twice Upon a Time." This performance from Austria is one of over 200 free events scheduled in Washington, DC from October 14 - November 10 as part of the Kids Euro Festival. Workshops, performances, and special events are held in many public locations. You can see a full schedule of events at the festival website. What a fantastic way to celebrate the culture of more than 27 European countries!

The Maison Francaise at the French Embassy was the venue for this show. In Twice Upon a Time, the very talented Karin Schäfer and Peter Hauptman delighted the audience with this puppet show that makes you wonder what would happen if someone really were "pulling all the strings." The show was very entertaining and fun to watch. Natalia especially liked the piano playing marionette who really appeared to be playing a masterpiece! Alexia's favorite was the skateboarding teenage marionette. A variety of musical selections set the different moods of the show. The underlying theme and message of the show touched the girls deeply. You can see a clip of the performance here.


Take advantage of these unique cultural activities before the festival ends in mid-November! It's such a fantastic opportunity.

Of course, Alexia had to blow some bubbles while we were waiting for the show to begin.


Monday, October 25, 2010

Perfect Party Props

Sometimes I see something so creative an unique that I want to organize a party just to be able to use it! Aren't these monogrammed stirrers fantastic?

And guest towels with your monogram are so preppy and can be a constant in your guest bathroom.

But my favorite has to be disposable party cups with a monogram or other personal touch. Of course, I'm old school and would get the monogram!

Now, I just have to think of what to the meantime, I'll get the cups and guest towels for the next time!


PS Many of you lovely ladies have requested the link where you can find these goodies. Here it is! And here's the best news of all! From now until October 29, take 20% off these items and get free shipping with the code TABLE. Happy Shopping!!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Preppy Favors and Decoration

As I mentioned earlier this week, my cousin is getting married today. I'll also be attending two more weddings in the next month and a half in addition to Courtney's wedding!

You probably guessed correctly that I really love a good party, especially a wedding. At baptisms, birthdays, anniversaries, and holiday parties, I enjoy seeing unique decorations and favors. Little details like favors or candy buffets make events so special!

At my wedding, guests received little pewter trinket boxes with candy in them. Traditional Mexican shawls called rebozos were tied in bows on the chairs and were later worn by party guests. Are you surprised that you don't see pink and green?

Here are some unique party favors that I found that have a preppy flair. Not just for weddings, these would be fantastic goodies for any party! The location, degree of formality, and season of the event all influence party favor choices. These preppy plaid mint tins are personalized and come in a variety of plaids to suit any theme.

Etsy always has amazing options and I love the idea of supporting small businesses. This wine bag is a unique way to display table numbers. It serves a purpose while adding beauty and originality to the event.

For beach weddings, a centerpiece also serves as a favor for guests.

In today's wedding, the minnies are flower girls. They are beyond excited and are taking their job so seriously! Last night at the rehearsal dinner, Natalia was getting autographs from the wedding party in a book that my cousin gave to her! Too cute. I'm going to wear a black Lilly Pulitzer holiday dress called Holly and a pink pashmina and huge Wilma Flintstone pearls that tie with a pink ribbon.

Have a beautiful day!


Etsy, Nautical

Friday, October 22, 2010

Friends & Family

If you ever needed an excuse to shop, I have one for you today. If you need someone to enable your shopping habit, here I am! Many stores offer Friends and Family sales once or twice a year. It's a great opportunity to pick up items that never go on sale or to purchase sale items with an additional discount. Right now, you can take advantage of two fantastic sales at Sephora and Saks.

Sephora is one of my favorite stores. I could spend hours in the store, playing with all of the lotions and potions. If you've been itching to buy a T3 dryer or Clarisonic, now is the time to buy it. From now until November 3, take 20% off your purchase with the code FF2010. Stock up on your favorite cleansers or products at a fantastic price. Here are some of my top picks from this sale.

The Smashbox instant eyes shadow and liner is a limited edition set that has a value of more than $60. Right now, it is available for $15 and the additional discount. You'll end up getting a total discount of about 80%! Sounds good to me!

Anything from Clarisonic is an absolute miracle worker, but the price is often a deterrent. The Opal Sonic Infusion system helps fine lines around the eyes. Why not take the plunge now with a discount?

As always, there is free shipping over $50 from Sephora and lots of free samples. Be sure to join their Beauty Insider program for additional benefits. What are you going to get from Sephora's sale????

At Saks, use the code FRIEND7 for 20% off your purchase including sale items through October 24.

The Katia wrap from Lilly Pulitzer is a fantastic transition piece for fall and is perfect to extend your warm weather favorites for a few more weeks. With the current sale price and extra friends and family discount, it's like getting a 40% discount on this fantastic piece.

Tory Burch is another one of my favorites! Saks has the Ivette silk interlock dress at an already amazing price that turns into a 68% total discount. So pretty!

Kate Spade jewelry is so fresh and fun. Don't you love this flower bracelet? It's yours at 65% off retail until October 24.

Let me know what your favorites are and what goodies you find during these special opportunities. Happy Friday and Happy Shopping.


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Pink Halloween

Can you believe it's already Thursday? This week had gone by so quickly and I'm glad that tomorrow is Friday! At my house, we're ready for Halloween and are practically counting down the days. Natalia is going to be a Grecian princess and Alexia is going to be a purple witch. Here is some inspiration for cute, funny, and just plain strange costumes...all in pink! Enjoy!

Everyone at the party will go WILD over this costume.

What could be sweeter than a little girl in a pink tutu? This costume would be in heavy rotation in the dress up box!

When we went to Disney last year, I don't know who was more excited about meeting the pink Power Ranger, the minnies or me!

This little pink poodle will be nice and warm to Trick or Treat on even the coldest night.

As a little girl, I had some major super hero fantasies! I wanted to be a cross between Wonder Woman and Jamie Somers with a car just like the ladies on Charlie's Angels. How cute is this minnie super hero??

And these ladies are just plain cute! I'm waiting for the age when I can do and say whatever I want and get away with it!!


Have a fantastic day!


6 Tips for a Tear-free Halloween

As a mom of twins, I quickly learned how to be organized and efficient about things and tried to avoid meltdowns and tantrums. There was really no other choice!

Certain holidays that are supposed to be fun for children actually end up being stressful for parents and little ones, often with both parties wanting to cry!
Luckily, I have some easy steps you can take to make your Halloween free from tears this year, no matter what age child you have. Here are my top tips from my years in the Halloween trenches:

* Keep Halloween fun. Participate in age appropriate events. The earlier in the evening you go trick or treating, the better. Pre-schoolers and trick or treaters in strollers will feel more comfortable while it is still early and won't be tired. You'll also avoid the teenagers, often in scary adult sized costumes, who come out later in the evening.

* Know the turf. Trick or Treat in a neighborhood where you know the people. This seems like a no-brainer, but it will make a child feel good to see familiar faces. Of course, everyone who is handing out treats loves to see the children, too! My Dad is so cute; he even keeps a tally of how many children visit his house.

* Special Events. In many cities, children can Trick or Treat during the day or early evening in a safe and exciting environment. Shopping centers, zoos, and parks often sponsor Halloween celebrations. If you're in Washington, DC, consider Boo at the Zoo this weekend on October 22, 23, and 24 from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. On Halloween weekend, The Maryland Zoo is hosting ZooBOOO! in Baltimore. This is a fantastic opportunity for the littlest people since it is held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. In addition to a huge bag of candy, you'll enjoy different experiences at these events!

(Photo courtesy of FONZ)

* Prepare the team. Warn children about "scary" costumes in advance and let them know that it is just pretend. Allow small children to see, touch, and feel "scary" masks at a costume shop if they are comfortable so that they can see these things before Halloween night.

* Work through it. Or not. If there is a meltdown on Halloween, work through it as best you can. But as a parent, sometimes you just have to know when to call it quits. If a child is tired or scared, it may be time to stop the trick or treating for this year. You'll certainly have many more Halloweens to celebrate!

* Enjoy your candy in moderation. Luckily my daughters don't read my blog, so they won't find out my secret. Little by little, I take Halloween candy to school to give to my students as prizes. Or the candy simply disappears. (And that's not because I'm eating it!) There's always so much candy, that it just seems excessive.

More information about Boo at the Zoo or ZooBOOO!

What are you doing for Halloween? Where are you going to Trick or Treat?


Images via and via


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