22 December 2011

A Few Elegant Rules

A few guidelines from The Martini Diet by Jennifer 'Gin' Sander to keep in mind while indulging during the holidays. To put it simply is to practice "Indulgence with restraint".

The basic rules of The Martini Diet are:

Rule #1: Eat Only the Very Best

Rule #2: Eat Somewhat Less of the Very Best

Rule #3: Eat the Very Best Only at Mealtimes

Maybe you'll want this recipe from The Martini Diet...

I hope the entire recipe shows...if the bottom is cut off, basically you just put the mixture over the toasts, put them in the oven and flip after 5 minutes and bake until lightly browned. Arrange these with the rest of the cocktail treats.

Enjoy and have a wonderful holiday! xo, Alicia

recipe image from books.google.com

21 December 2011

Frugal Daily Luxuries

Who says frugality can't be luxurious?  Although a few of the ideas will require a small investment at first, overall, they are eco friendly, money saving, and just plain indulgent...spoil yourself, you deserve it!

  One: Cloth Napkins

{Rachel Ashwell Shabby Chic Couture Crown Linen Napkin $15...machine washable!}

Two: French Press Coffee & Homemade Yogurt

{Pressing your own coffee daily and making a batch of homemade yogurt is endlessly frugal and decadent...Try a Bodum French Press & a Donvier Yogurt Maker}

Three:  Homemade Soap

{A few simple ingredients in various scents to suit your mood. Try this soap 'recipe'}

Four: Homemade Candles

{Unbelieveably gorgeous. How-to details here}

Five: Homemade Bread

{A carb counter I am not and will never be...SIMPLE recipe here}

These are just a handful of ideas to get you started.  I hope you'll try some of them and if you do, let me know how it goes! xo, Alicia

photos: one  two  three  four  five

Blue Christmas

There's something calming and serene about blue or turquoise Christmas decor.  Although I love it, I always worry in my home that it will create a 'cold' look; living in chilly New York, this is the last feeling I want to create during such a warm, jolly season.  Below are some images of blue holiday decor done just right:

{via Country Living}

Stuff Beautiful Blue Color for Christmas Decorations
{via webhomedecorating.com}

{via inspirationforhome.blogspot.com}

{via hardhatshighheels.com}

{via dennicemankarious.blogspot.com}

{via designbykelli.blogspot.com}

{via gracie-senseandsimplicity.blogspot.com}

I am completely in love with images one, two, and five!  Bookmarking these for next year!
xo, Alicia

19 December 2011

Posh Christmas Wrapping

A few last minute gift wrapping ideas...


{via simplemom.net}

{via designlinesltd.com}

Happy Wrapping! xo, Alicia

Café Au Lait Pudding

I hope you'll join me in trying this recipe for the holidays.  It looks delicious, decadent, and elegant...let me know how it turns out for you!

Cafe Au Lait Pudding
Courtesy of acozykitchen.com

Per Adrianna of A Cozy Kitchen:

If you like things on the sweeter side, I’d advise upping the sugar to 1/2 cup.  If not, then stick with the 1/4 cup sugar.

2 cups whole milk
2 tablespoons instant coffee granules
1 teaspoon of Dutch processed cocoa powder
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoon cornstarch
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoon sugar, divided
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract, divided
Cinnamon for sprinkling

Do a little prep action by making your ice bath first. Grab two metal or glass bowls, one slightly smaller than the other. Fill the larger bowl with ice and a bit of water and place the smaller bowl inside it.

Whisk together milk, coffee granules, cocoa powder, 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract, cornstarch, 1/4 cup sugar (or 1/2 cup of sugar–your choice), and a small pinch of salt in a heavy medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally, then boil 1 minute, whisking constantly.

Adrianna Note: Be sure to scrape the corners of the pot with your whisk to ensure all the cornstarch is properly combined.

Transfer the pudding to the smaller bowl in your ice bath so it can cool, stirring often, about 10 minutes. If there are lumps in the pudding, simply run it through a sieve or strainer. Then pour the pudding into cups or ramekins and chill for 20 minutes. Since I really despise any skin on my pudding, I placed a piece of Saran wrap on the surface to stop that from happening. If you’re a freak and love it, then by all means keep it uncovered.

While the pudding is chilling, beat cream with 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla and remaining 2 tablespoon sugar using an electric mixer just until soft peaks form. Spoon whipped cream onto puddings and dust cream lightly with cinnamon.

If you keep the pudding in the fridge overnight or even for a few hours, I’d take it out of the fridge 15 minutes before serving. I found the consistency was the best when it wasn’t super cold. Enjoy!

xo, Alicia

14 December 2011

Winter White

Dreaming of some snow for the holidays, but until then, these winter white images from Pinterest will have to do...

Pinned Image

Pinned Image

xo, Alicia

13 December 2011

Holiday Decor: From my home to yours

A soft focus glimpse of what's in progress for holiday decor at our home this year (this is an unusually sunny day for December in New York, so my apologies for the lighting)...

{Our dining room buffet with handmade paper chain and snowflakes..so easy yet pretty!}

{A close up of this paper project}

{Apoethcary jar filled with moss and silver christmas ornaments}

{Had a mishap with my manger but was able to save my figurines..my girandole stands in for the manger...a bit fancy I know, I know}

{Our front porch}

{Pointsettia adorned tree}

{Pine cone and holly berry accented garland}

{Close up view from down the street}

How is your holiday decorating coming along? xo, Alicia

12 December 2011

Wish List: Anthropologie

A quick visit a few days ago to Anthropologie left me dreaming of these home items:

{Chantilly Spoon Rest $20}

{Farmers Market Basket Small Square $14...perfect for berries next summer!}

{Piecrust Dinner Plate in Cloud $20}

{Ladies in Waiting Dinner Plate $24}

{Tattered Lace Bowl $10}

{Fleur de Lys Cup & Saucer $10...j'adore the entire Fleur de Lys line at Anthro}

{Trussed Pot $32-38}

{Ruffled Sheet Set in Grey $128-168}

{Georgina Duvet Cover $328-398...I know my husband would never go for this!}

{Sculpted Mums Shower Curtain $128}

{Perpetual Blooms Towels in Light Grey $8-62}

xo, Alicia

11 December 2011

Christmas Inspiration

Fabulous festive photos to start off the week...

{via Southern Living}

{via County Living}

{via Southern Living}

{via Southern Living..a great idea to use an apothecary jar for cookies!}

{via Southern Living}

{via blondiensc.typepad.com}

{via freshome.com}

{via Elle Decor}

Happy Monday... xo, Alicia