Thursday, December 22, 2011

Last Minute Gift Idea

It never fails. You are running out the door to a party and your stash of hostess gifts is absolutely depleted. Has this ever happened to you? Especially this time of year? Well have no fear! I have the perfect solution to last minute hostess gifts, coworker gifts or even for a friend (who doesn't have a nut allergy!). This is super easy and chances are, you have all the ingredients in your kitchen right now.

I discovered this recipe a few years ago while thumbing through my trusty Williams Sonoma Holiday Entertaining Cookbook. I've made a habit of making up several batches of these and having them on hand during the holiday season. They look super cute in mason jars or canning jars with a beautiful Christmas ribbon tied around them. I grow rosemary year round and using your own, homegrown herbs makes recipes like this one, that much more special!

Here's the recipe:

The combination of rosemary, cumin and cayenne pepper lends an irresistible flavor to toasted nuts. Pack these savory gifts in small decorative tins or in cellophane bags tied with a ribbon.

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups mixed raw nuts such as pecans,
      walnuts and peanuts
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 1/2 Tbs. chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 Tbs. sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper

Directions:

Preheat an oven to 300°F.


Place the nuts in a bowl. In a small, heavy saucepan over medium-low heat, warm the olive oil. Add the rosemary and stir until aromatic, about 1 minute. Pour the seasoned oil over the nuts. Add the sugar, cumin, salt, black pepper and cayenne and stir to coat the nuts evenly. Transfer the nuts to a baking pan.

Bake, stirring occasionally, until the nuts are toasted, about 20 minutes. Transfer to a plate and let cool completely.

Store the nuts in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days. Makes about 2 1/2 cups.



Simple, yet thoughtful...and not to mention, delish! Have fun out there my little socialites!
Merry Christmas! :)

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Solid Gold Saturday Night

Now that the holidays are in full swing, I wanted to share with you my most favorite dress of the season! I spotted this dress at Michael Kors back in October and knew I had to have it, along with some gold peep toes also by MK. After checking the prices, I jumped into "justification mode" and starting making a mental list of all the places I could wear this beauty! I've worn it once already to the husband's Christmas party, I will be wearing it to our own Christmas party tonight and I have one more event lined up. I'd say I justified the purchase pretty well...don't you think???

Here's a picture from the husband's Christmas party. I nicknamed this my Solid Gold Saturday Night outfit. I am gold from head to toe! To break it up a bit, I coupled the outfit with a black Jones New York wrap and a black and gold python MK clutch to complete the look (which I found at TJ Max and Ross). I was in heaven with all this gold! I guess it goes back to my favorite color being sparkly...just a guess! :)




Here's wishing you a Solid Gold Saturday Night and a Very Merry Christmas! :)
Cheers!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Christmas Time in Tinsel Town

As you all know, I have been traveling a lot lately! I absolutely love traveling but I must say, I am so glad to be home for the remainder of 2011. With that being said, I did enjoy my time in LA and I'm grateful for the opportunity to travel. It was so refreshing to see a city decked out for Christmas while watching the palm trees sway. Definitely different than what we are used to here on the East Coast. It was a whirlwind trip but we hit up some great places for sure! We started out at Nic's Martini Lounge in Beverly Hills (which was just featured on the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills) where we had drinks before heading to dinner. Two rounds of drinks, a few great appetitzers and a trip to the "VODBOX" all before heading over to Bouchon Bistro for dinner. Geez! Please note that I was still running on Eastern Time at this point! Before I get to dinner, I must tell you about the VodBox. This is the coolest thing...literally! The VodBox is a walk-in freezer housing tons of vodka bottles. It is climate controlled and kept very cold so the Vodka is at optimal serving temp. Because it's freezing in there, guests are provided a very fashionable coat and hat before going in. Once in the VodBox, your eyes are met with hundreds of bottles of vodka from all regions of the world. The vodka expert points out a few notable ones, gives you some history on the vodka and then pours you a shot of your choosing. As you can imagine, we totally had a photo shoot in our fancy coats and hats while sipping our vodka shot. It was hilarious! If you ever have a chance to go to the "VodBox," do it!
In the VODBOX!

Next it was on to dinner at Bouchon Bistro in Beverly Hills.  I had an amazing roasted leg of lamb with spiced figs, toasted farro, rutabaga, and cavolo nero. It was seasonally appropriate and very savory. I chose a wine from the Cotes du Rhone region of France to accompany my dinner. I must say, it was the perfect pairing for my taste buds!
Delicious Dinner!
The following night we headed out to Santa Monica for girls night. Our first stop was Shutters on the Beach for a pre-dinner drink. It was beautiful but the Santa Ana winds were whipping and prevented us from taking any pictures. If you aren't familiar with these winds, let me just tell you...they are fierce! As an East Coast girl, the only time I've seen winds like that was when there was a hurricane passing off the coast. I'm talking 80-90 mph winds. It was no joke. After drinks we headed over to La Cabana in Venice, which was the cutest little hole in the wall Mexican joint recommended by a local. Great service and excellent food! We were starved so I didn't get a chance to snap a pic here. Following dinner, we headed back to the hotel in fear of getting blown away!

Our last night, we really lived it up! That afternoon we had headshots taken complete with hair and makeup. What girl doesn't love having her hair and makeup done? It was perfect for the evening line up...We all looked great!



Our first stop was Takami Sushi & Robata for happy hour. Rooftop seating provided amazing views and a prime location to watch the sunset.



Next up was The Edison for drinks with a vendor. I was super excited about going there especially since it was named "one of the best new bars in America" by Esquire Magazine. Formerly LA's first private power plant, it is now a speakeasy style bar, complete with a stage for live music and a 1920's theme. Much of the original architecture still remains which makes for an interesting ambiance. It was dark and cozy and therefore, my pictures didn't turn out, but visit their website to get a feel for this happening little joint. I adore this place!

Now onto to dinner at LA Live, the Times Square of LA. There was so much to see here but we were starving and quickly settled on dinner at Yard House. I had a grape martini for starters and for dinner, I had sauteed scallops with mushroom and sundried tomato rissoto. Delish!





We weren't quite ready to head back to the hotel and insisted on one more stop at the Ritz Carlton Los Angeles. We headed up to the top floor lounge, known as WP24 by Wolfgang Puck for a nightcap. Along the way we spotted some beautiful Christmas decorations.
Beautiful Christmas Tree in the lobby of Ritz Carlton

Our last day flew by and the next thing I knew, we were headed to the airport. I couldn't decide if I wanted to wear my sunglasses to imply I was someone "famous" or if I wanted to keep my eyes peeled for a star. :) I went with the latter and it served me well! I spotted one of my favorite Young and the Restless stars...Lauren Fenmore/Tracey Bregman. I saw her as we were going through security. To my surprise, she was on a flight out of my terminal so I had the opportunity to talk with her while we were waiting for our drinks at Starbucks. She was so nice and appreciative of my kind words. For those of you that don't know...I am a huge Y&R fan! Crazy, I know, but when you grow up in the South, Mama always has on her "stories." I grew up on CBS soaps and Y&R is by far my favorite...it's pretty much the only one left.  I totally DVR it during the day and catch up before the husband gets home from work! ;)

Well, there you have it, the highlights of my LA trip. Have you been anywhere fun lately? I'd love to hear about it!

The holidays are among us so don't forget to spread some Christmas cheer, and of course, Be Social! :)

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Spooky Good Times in Savannah!

Wow! My schedule has been super crazy lately with all the travel and therefore, I am just now getting around to my last Thanksgiving post. Sorry to leave ya hanging! I wanted to be sure to share with you a few more things about our visit back home to Savannah. We had a wonderful Thanksgiving (see Thanksgiving post here) and the weekend was certainly no exception. Friday night we had dinner at The Crab Trap on Saint Simons Island to celebrate a dear friend's birthday. I thought the over indulging stopped on Thanksgiving night but it didn't! The Crab Trap is known for their fried seafood and as someone who rarely eats fried foods, it's easier to justify it on the spot when the waitress asks "What will you have, ma'am?" I had a delicious combination of fried shrimp and oysters. I'm sorry I didn't snap a picture for you. We were chatting and visiting and it totally slipped my mind. Oops! Needless to say, we were all stuffed when we left!

The fun continued on Saturday night. After attending a family celebration, we decided to hit downtown Savannah for a Ghost Tour. There's nothing like being a tourist in your own town! Love it! Since my husband isn't from Savannah, he's ALWAYS up for anything "touristy!" We've now tried two of the tours and each one is unique in it's own way. I totally recommend any of the ghost tours in Savannah but especially Oglethorpe Trolley Tours! Be sure to ask for Joan's tour! She's awesome and she just so happens to be a cousin of mine! ;)

After the tour, we headed to the Bohemian Hotel and rooftop bar. It's the best view of downtown Savannah. We noshed on some amazing appetizers-Fried Green Tomato BLT's and Chicken and Waffles-and sipped some drinks while enjoying the view. Here are a few pics of the evening...

Mom and Me before the Ghost Tour. Do we look alike or what?

We had a mini photo shoot in front of this awesome tree. I will spare you and only share one of the pics!
I just couldn't get enough of this beautiful coastal tree! 
Mom and Me on the rooftop at the Bohemian. It was freezing up there!!!



If you are ever in my hometown of Savannah, please check out a ghost tour and if nothing else, the Bohemian Hotel. You will love it! It was an absolutely wonderful holiday weekend. I can't wait to see what Christmas brings!

Cheers, Everyone! Remember to Eat, Drink and Be Social this Christmas season!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Jet-setting Through Timezones

Happy Friday! This week I've been in LA and have not had a free second to blog. It has been a whirlwind trip and I am blogging from the plane right this minute (I splurged for the in-flight wifi!). I have tons of things to share with you from my trip and I'm hoping I can do that this weekend but, no promises! Christmas parties start tomorrow night and then on Tuesday, I am headed to the Northeast for a few days. It's going to be a busy month for me but I am so excited to experience it all. I hope y'all had a great week and I wish you a fun-filled weekend! 

Here's a little teaser of what's to come...



New Food and Drink Experiences...
Beautiful Christmas decorations...
Out and About in Tinsel Town...

The holidays are in full swing so...Eat, drink and Be Social! :)