Category Archives: House and Home

Shortcut to Fabulous Holiday Decorating Tips

Holiday-Decorating_Image

I feel like every year I am running behind on the holiday rush. No matter how hard I try to order my holiday cards in September (which seems wrong by the way) and do my Christmas shopping throughout the year, I still a race against that Christmas clock. This year I went on a family vacay after Thanksgiving and came home to a city full of decor and a home that is decidedly unfestive. I am super busy with my work getting clients ready for the holiday rush and preparing for the huge Art Basel Sample sale I am co-producing, so this year I needed to find some Shortcuts to Fabulous festive feel with in under an hour. Here are my tips for holiday decorating in a hurry on a budget:

  • Stick with a theme and simple color palette. I have had the same decor theme for years. Creme, Gold and Silver. It is clean, classic, timeless and can utilize many year round decor items. This makes shopping for holiday decor easier and gives you a little flexibility to be sloppy because monotone color themes are more forgiving.
  • Get a pre-lit artificial tree. We bought one a few years ago and it literally changed my life. I promise you wont miss stringing lights. If you are one of those people who has to have a “real tree” why not have your large tree artificial and get a small real tree…imagine how much easier clean up will be! This year, I strung large ribbon around the tree, added gold, silver and cream balls and tucked sparkly sprigs I found at a floral shop in the branches and called it a day. The tree looks great and it was done in under 45 minutes.
  • Get Festive with your Soaps. This year I am putting my bathrooms in the holiday spirit with nothing more than holiday themed fancy liquid soaps I got at Marshalls for $4.99. They are really elegant soaps and that is just enough to let the world know I am not a grinch.
  • Choose Simple Swaps. Find simple pieces in your decor that you can easily swap out for a holiday themed items. Switch your everyday candles to holiday candles that match your holiday decor color scheme, wall decor for holiday themed decor or better yet holiday photos. I frame all of our photograph holiday cards from the last five years and replace the painting over our electrical box with that collage during the holidays. You can find something to swap in every room in the house. In the kitchen find a nice ceramic holiday themed cookie jar and lay on the counter….voila…your kitchen is decorated.
  • Find simple sparkly little trees that require no decorating. I am super in love with the Confetti System Twist Open trees above from West Elm on sale for $13.99 and $19.99. They abstract spin on the classic evergreen, these glittering Confetti System Twist-Open Trees are not only decorative, they also have something to hide—untwist their tops to open, fill with candy, jewelry or other treats, then re-seal with a twist. Buy a few of these, group them on your buffet table with some candles and voila…instant Christmas.
  • Tie a bow around it. I have some wide rim wire ribbon in my holiday themed colors and I tie robin in a nice bow shape around everyday decor items I already have display to add a festive feel.
  • Share/Bookmark

Shortcut to Fabulous Tips on Organizing your Beauty Products from @Glamourmag

Inexpensive easy ways to Organize your Beauty Products in the Bathroom

In the digital age, we are now bombarded with content whether it be from Twitter, Pinterest, websites, e-blasts…you name the source, we get info updates on a micro-second basis. With all of this information, you would think we would all have perfect homes, perfect hair and eat perfect meals. But alas….we get bombarded with information, but how much of it is just a load of rubbish or recycled information from 100 other websites? I really work hard to make sure that the content you receive on this website is unique and original and when someone else has a Shortcut to Fabulous living that tops anything I can come up with, I send you over to them for the day, hoping you subscribe to the old addage, “Make new friends, but keep the old”….weren’t we all Brownies at some point?!

Today, I made a discovery on Glamour Magazine’s blog that really had me in awe. They give you fab ways to organize the mess that has become our beauty products in the bathroom. Lord knows I have tried to tame that beast referred to as “War Paint” by the hubs, but every day my bathroom looks like Duane Read, Target and Nordstrom beauty aisles exploded on my vanity.  You really have to click here to check out Glamour’s clever ways to get whip your bathroom vanity into shape…on and these are tips you can do yourself…not the ones that require a ton of money or sleeping with a carpenter. Bravo to Beth Shapouri who wrote the article…I don’t know you, but I sure want to after seeing this!

  • Share/Bookmark

Shortcut to Fabulous Summer Cocktail and Easy BBQ recipes

Screen shot 2012-07-02 at 6.03.03 PM

I recently attended a fete sponsored by my friends at Stoli and had one of the best cocktails ever, aptly named Stoli Summer Punch. I begged the mixologist for the secret how-to and I have been on a liquid diet ever since. Here is how you make it:

Stoli Summer Punch

2 parts Stoli Vodka

1 part Pineapple Juice

½ part Grapefruit Juice

½ part Cranberry Juice

½ part Club Soda

½ part Lemon-lime Soda

 

Now that I have your signature cocktail taken care of, I will point you three oldie but goodie blog posts for your BBQ menu. Perfect grilled Churrasco (skirt steak), Easy Peezy Grilled Veggies and my 10 minute Semi-Homemade Strawberry Shortcake Trifle which can be made more festive for 4th of July by adding some blueberries on top.

10 minute Semi-Homemade Strawberry Shortcake Trifle

Perfect Summer Grilled Veggies

Grilled Skirt Steak

  • Share/Bookmark

Shortcut to Fabulous Small Space Entertaining- Serving Pieces

slate serving
I love entertaining and now that Summer is around the corner, it is time to start planning some fab summer soirees. Having lived in big cities for much of my life, I have always been a little short on space for entertaining. But with a little creativity, I have managed to throw some fun fetes and cram lots of friends and family into a small space. I have some tips on furniture arrangement for small space entertaining here. Today, I am going to focus on serveware. Having a nice arsenal of serveware that can serve double and even triple duty is really essential to pint sized Martha Stewart living. Here are my favorite must have serving pieces that are affordable, chic and can be used for a myriad of dishes.
These spreaders are great for dips, brunch jams and jellies or even a self serve sandwich bar $24.95 for a set of 4 from Crate and Barrel.

I love everything from the West Elm Hammered metal collection, but I have two of these hammered metal bowls and I love them! They are $24.95 a piece and can be used for cold and hot dishes and go with any theme or decor!

This $24.00 white platter from West Elm can serve triple duty as serveware for meats, bread and other foods and also as a tray for a mini bar or even to hold candles.

Crate and Barrel Mini Tongs can be used for everything from Salad to meats and bread! $9.99

This is a MUST HAVE!!! You can use the bowls and tray as separate pieces. Spread cheeses and crackers on the tray and put dips in the bowls for a great presentation. A total steal at $9.99 from West Elm.

I have about ten sets of the $2.95 sugar tongs which I never use for sugar. I use them for everything from Olives to cheese cubes to shrimp cocktail. They are the perfect pint sized tool for serving bite sized treats.

 

 

 

 

  • Share/Bookmark

Shortcut to Fabulous Figure Friendly Sweet Treats

ca-hc-mc

I am a cupcake and all-things-sweet addict. There. I said it. They say admitting you have a problem is the first step toward recovery, but since there are no cupcakes anonymous meetinsg in my city, I think I will be falling off the wagon in about 45 minutes (I have a meeting in Starbucks and they have those fun cake pops there…yes I plan my sweet fixes). Unfortunately, the more stressed I get, the more cupcakes and sweet treats I need and now I can’t even begin to zip up my skinny jeans…right before bikini season…ahhhhh!!!! So, I am have been on a search for some sweet treats that will satisfy my cravings, but reduce my sizable bum. I have three favorites and here they are in no particular order:

1. Skinny Cow Heavenly Crisp. Delicate wafers layered with delicious chocolate crème and covered in a milk chocolatey coating. These things are freakin’ fabulous. I love ‘em and buy them by the box. You can find them in the candy aisle in the grocery store. Each bar weighs in at 110 calories. I don’t need a regular chocolate bar when I have these…this is the closest thing I’ve come to kicking my Kit Kat-a-day habit.

2. Diana’s Baby Bananas in dark chocolate. These frozen mini bananas are dipped in dark chocolate and placed on a stick making the most decadent frozen treat.Who doesn’t love eating something on a stick (I just got a craving for a corndog and it is only 7 in the morning…eeek..I have a problem..but I digress). Weighing in at 130 calories, this wont break the calorie bank. Plus, you are getting a serving of fruits and veggies out of the banana! Click here to see what stores in your area carry Diana’s Bananas.

 

3. Dark Chocolate Pomegranate VitaBrownies. I know the name sounds a little crazy, but they are delish. VitaBrownies have real cocoa, pomegranate, whole wheat & organic sugar. Natural Brownies are 100 calories, low fat with 6g fiber.The fiber is what really makes these things special because they fake out the weight watcher points system!! Click here to get them.

 

  • Share/Bookmark

Shortcut to Fabulous Chocolate Milk Experience

zico

I have to admit I have not been a fan of the whole coconut water movement. The taste of plain coconut water is not market in my book and so I watched as all of my hipper than hip friends replaced their water bottled with the latest coconut water brand. Several months ago, I had the opportunity to try some free samples of Zico’s Chocolate Coconut water and it was love at first sip. This stuff tastes just like chocolate milk, but is healthy with only 110 calories for 14 oz. I have a bigger sweet tooth than Willy Wonka himself so this stuff is absolute Godsend when I have a chocolate craving. Plus it has lots of nutrient kinda stuff that is good for me like potassium and calcium…it even has some protein. They have other fun flavors too like Pineapple, Mango and Pomberry…other flavors have even less calories. Click here to check out the full line up. I am so in love with this stuff, I had some of my friends try and and now they are addicts too…my friends with kiddies have even purchased it in bulk for the kiddos lunch box! I just can’t wait to have a summer soiree so I can make some fun cocktail smoothies with the fruit flavors!! (hint: they have recipes for smoothies and cocktails here). You can buy the stuff by the case on Amazon by clicking here.

**Please note S2F is never paid for any of the products that I rave about. In this instance, I was given free samples, but no one asked me to write about the stuff, I just felt like it was a shortcut to a fabulous beverage experience so I did.

 

 

  • Share/Bookmark

Shortcut to FabWUlicious Candle!

Jason-Wu-Candle-450x300

You know you loved the title of this blog post….okay so maybe it is a little Manchego Cheesy, but I love it and I love this candle. 45 hours of burn time, just hit the market and can be purchased at Neiman Marcus. Yes I know $48 is a lot to spend on a candle, but we are not talking about a Glade candle here…this is Jason Wu people and after the Jason Wu for Target crazypalooza, I feel like spending $48 for a candle is a completely sane move….

 

Here are the deets about the scent:

 

Orchid Rain combines white orchid the Cattleya orchid with nashi pear, pomegranate and goji berry.

The fruity-floral essences are enhanced with blonde birchwood and hints of pink pepper and coconut. The sophisticated, custom-made porcelain candle vessel features a signature Jason Wu print in a bisque finish, and it is topped with an elegant, gold-plated lid.

  • Share/Bookmark