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Tuesday
Dec222009

10 essentials: judy

1. Time off in Michigan, at the house and the Lake Michigan beaches. It re-energizes me and brings back memories of family vacations.

2. The change of seasons. I love the change in the light.

3. Throw pillows. A great inexpensive and quick update for a change of pace. I stock up with new ones every season. Favorites have been wave, seville, and puff.

4. Julius Shulman photography on Case Study Houses. Good design is timeless.

5. The Rolling Stones.

6. Our annual visit to Milan for the Salone. I love how art and design encompasses the entire city.

7. Everything about cars—vintage cars, Formula 1 races, horsepower… I’d be a gear-head if I was a guy.

8. TV marathons of Law & Order, Twilight Zone, and Bond movies.

9. Italian leather boots, preferably black, sexy and comfortable.

10. Hanging out with my husband Gus. He makes me laugh.

puff pillow
Milan 2009 1678
Thursday
Dec172009

10 essentials: the cocktail party

Whether “your place for cocktails” is the warm up act for guests heading to another event or staying for dinner, following are 10 essentials to get you through the party before the party.

1. Set a swanky mood with lounge music and soft candlelight.

2. Once you’ve greeted guests, invite them to the acacia mini bar for something to drink.

3. Chill a stainless cocktail shaker with ice from a stainless ice bucket.

4. Measure libations and bitters with a double jigger for proper mixology.

5. Serve tall tom collins or serious scotches in tambien barware.

6. And serve flirty cocktails in chilled libertinis.

7. Garnish cocktails with twists, olives or onions from a nagoya 3-part server.

8. Graciously present every drink on a restaurant cocktail napkin.
No cocktail party is complete without light appetizers.

9. Simple cheeses and crackers can be artfully arranged on plato with basic cheese cutters.

10. Lastly, stacks of white porcelain appetizer plates and mini flatware ready for use gives you more time to make sure everyone’s drink is properly refreshed.

Hint: be sure to cover all your bases by having plenty of non-alcoholic recipes and mixers.

Wednesday
Dec162009

recipe: easy champagne cocktails

Pour into a fluted glass:
1/2 jigger of St. Germain liquer
top with Champagne

Festive, sparkling, giddy.

Tuesday
Dec152009

3...2...1...happy new year!

Let’s get this party started!

Toasting the fresh start of a New Year is right up our alley so we’re ready to set-up the bar so everyone can raise a glass. The question is, which bar do you want to keep coming back to?

If you’re tight on space, a peekaboo console doesn’t create visual clutter and it can be multi-purpose. In an entryway, behind a sofa, as a desk or as a bar with all the necessities.

If mid-century is more your style, an acacia mini bar could fit right in—and store spirits behind closed doors during off hours.

If your existing furniture can mix with high-gloss, a halogen credenza would work now…and later as a media console for the big game.

The only thing left to ask is “what’ll you have?”.

hint: Try Raymond’s favorite “champagne” cocktail—procecco with a sugar cube and a dash of bitters.

Thursday
Dec102009

10 essentials: dinner at 8

Whether you’ve snail-mailed or e-mailed invites, your sit-down dinner starts at 8.

Following are essentials to set a casual mood that will relax guests so they can be themselves and linger over good food with pleasant company.

1. Set the mood with music and put it on long play so the rhythm of the party—and you—don’t get interrupted.

2. Let guests pick their seat and skip the place cards. They’ll most likely enjoy the conversation more if their neighbor was their choice.

3. Bring in some natural foliage as a centerpiece. A branch cut from the outdoors, or fresh lemons, are playful elements that make it casual.

4. A curve candleholder not only compliments the background jazz which keeps the party lively, it doesn’t get in the way of conversation.

5. Smart candles are reusable and create a glow as warm as a burning candle.

6. Ditch matching plates and create a softened, relaxed look by layering dinnerware colors and materials—such as green glass cayman with white porcelain plates.

7. Mix things up and layer table linens—such as rustle napkins with high gloss placemats.

8. Stainless pitchers of water keeps everyone hydrated—and keeps you at the table.

9. Think outside the box and mix up stemware. Think stemless wines as water glasses with shapely sophia stems for reds and whites. Together the organic shapes will compliment a relaxed mood.

10. Wine decanters allow wine to breath before pouring, add a sparkle to the table, and keep the tablescape neat and cohesive. Bonus is that you can serve less expensive, while no less delicious, wines without anyone being the wiser.

Hint: position your seat at the table closest to the kitchen for easy access since something’s always forgotten.

And for a neater, edited tabletop, plate entrees in the kitchen and present them to everyone at the same time. This saves the hassle of passing dishes and gives guests a chance to toast the chef!