The cookbook every hostess needs

Kitchen Revelry by Ali Larter
Kitchen Revelry by Ali Larter
Kitchen Revelry by Ali Larter
Kitchen Revelry by Ali Larter

“A Year of Festive Menus from My House to Yours”

I’m more excited than I probably should be about Ali Larter’s cookbook, Kitchen Revelry! It’s amazing! If you like entertaining, and agree that presentation is just as important as taste, than this cookbook is for you. Ali Larter fills the book with so many great recipes. The book is organized by month and category –  which means you get food and cocktail recipes for nearly every event you can dream up from Christmas Eve to July BBQ’s to movie night meals. If you love to entertain, love to cook and are keen on trying new things … get this book!

The Hostess Hat: I love/ hate these straws

Ready for the most random, most insignificant thought of the day? I have a beef with party paper straws. I told you, this was dumb. But it’s really bothering me!

On one hand, I think they are super pretty. They jazz up any cocktail and in fact – I bought some for my office kitchen and use them more as decoration than anything else. But, lately – I use them and I hate them.

The tip gets soggy after a certain amount of time and actually “pinches in” or rather starts to dissolve so you can’t use it anymore. And, if you put ice in your drinks (and who doesn’t), the straw will start to dissolve in the area where the ice surrounds it most. Annoying, right?

It’s a straw! It should work. This post really has no relevance to your life but seriously – these things bother me! I keep using them because I love them (and they are crowd pleasers) but then I curse them out and throw a fit every time they “close up” on me mid-sip. I can’t quit these.

paper strawsImage via

The Hostess Hat: Breakfast Baby Shower

I’m going to host an itty bitty baby shower for my friend in the next few weekends. I say “itty bitty” because it’s her second baby and we want to keep it very small, very low-key and simple. Just a few friends. Nothing too elaborate. And it will be from 9am – 11am so the babies can play before nap time.

My problem is breakfast food isn’t the most attractive. I didn’t want to just do bagels – so, I did a little research online to see what kind of breakfast foods would be great for a small party. I came across this charming farmhouse brunch party from Hostess with the Mostess. I stopped in my tracks when I read this sign.

The quote is from one of my favorite books (here). I challenge you – any of you – to read this children’s storybook and not cry. It gets us every time. Besides the melt-your-heart-quote – isn’t the rest of the party charming? I love the french toast samples.

I had no clue what a “chummie” was – so I did a bit more digging. These are actually hand-dipped decorated Oreo cookies. A little too creative for my tastes, but darling nonetheless.

Did you know the “milk bottles” are actually Starbucks Frappuccino bottles with the label torn off? Frugal, crafty and creative – my kind of party. You can read more about the party here.

Now that I have my inspiration, it’s time to start planning!

{images via Hostess with the Mostess}

The Friendship Hat: Ashley’s Baby Shower

Yep. Ashley looked like a Princess, even three months shy of giving birth. Her baby shower was remarkable. Beautiful. Stunning. Sophisticated and full of heart. Just like she is. Ashley spoke about God, family, love and her soon-to-be son. I had tears in my eyes as she shared her love with us.

This baby is a blessing for her and her husband and I know – without a doubt – that this child will be born into a world of love. She would give her all for him, and it was so great to see, celebrate and laugh at her baby shower. Congratulations, Ashley. You make one beautiful mommy.

The DIY Hat: Party Favor Prototype

I am making party favors for my sister-in-laws baby shower tomorrow. I’m sure you do this too … before you make 30+ favors, you make a prototype. Meaning, you create one favor to see how it looks. Make edits accordingly, then when you are satisfied, you begin to mass produce.

Well … before I order 125 mini “chippers” from Paradise Bakery, I wanted to see how many I needed to stack up to create a cute tower. My plan is to put little cookies in baggies, tied with ribbon and twine, make mini labels with cut-out butterflies (her shower theme), topped with a purple rhinestone.

Last night, I purchased a few mini cookies to make my tower. Come to find out … my husband ate all but one cookie (why do they leave just one? to be nice?). Thus, leaving me with one sad little cookie to make my prototype. So, it’s a gamble, but I put in an order for 125 cookies, estimating 5 cookies per tower and I’ll start assembling tonight.

Here’s how it looks with one sad cookie thus far. Ugh. MEN!!!

click to enlarge

The Hostess Hat: Outdoor Cinema Party

I’ve always wanted to do this! Since the weather is amazing where I live in the winter, I think a kids version of this outdoor cinema party is in order. Perhaps a little Disney movie, while the kids kick back in the backyard.

Hmmm … the wheels are in motion.

Photo credit: Brandon Kidd Photography / Design Sponge

The Hostess Hat: 1st Birthday Party Planning

Her birthday invitations have been ordered. I’m visiting the bakery this weekend for couture cakes. The “Happy Birthday” banner has been made. The colors and theme have been decided. And now, I’m pacing around the house trying to figure out where to put what. Some people My husband keeps telling me that I’m going overboard. He recently asked, “Stephanie, are you planning this party for her … or for you? 
Am I going overboard?
Not possible. You can never go overboard when you’re planning an event/party for the one you love. Ever! Less than 30 days from now, we’ll be celebrating a one-year-old birthday extravaganza! This mom is very excited.
Here is a peek into one gift that we’re giving her. Baby’s first jewelry box. It’s a green jeweled box lined with velvet and graced with a faux crystal butterfly. Adorned with a pretty pink ballerina, of course. I can’t wait to give it to her!

Image from Pottery Barn Kids.

The NYE Hat: Baby, You’re a Firework

Last night, we hosted a small New Year’s Eve poker party. It was the perfect way to celebrate 2010 and toast to 2011. Nothing beats surrounding yourself with great friends, all of whom mean the world to us.
The night started by showing Kelsey her first firework. Along with our friends, we went into the backyard and lit one sparkler. The babies didn’t know what to think – I think the dog was more interested than she was. But nonetheless, it was a great joy to witness baby seeing her first sparkler. After tucking Kelsey and two of her friends into bed upstairs, the party officially started … we kicked off the night with cocktails in the “fireplace” room before migrating into the dining area for a competitive game of poker.
I had no idea what I was doing, and that was evident with how I played the game. Dan ended up winning the game (if you know anything about this guy, you’ll know why we won. He’s freakishly talented at any sport and can claim the trophy of nearly every game he plays. Expect Fantasy Football. Sorry, dude).
Then, we all braved the fra-eezing weather and went outside to light some fireworks. We had firefighter, Brandon on board so we felt safe. Our mini fireworks display put on quiet the show! I gave Julia a couple sparklers to light, only to realize (just in time!) that they were bottle rockets not sparklers. Oops! That could have been a disaster.
After we lit up the night, we retreated inside to watch the Times Square Ball Drop and have a midnight Champagne toast. It was a great way to kick off the new year, thank you to all our friends who came. The best part? The kids slept soundly upstairs and didn’t make a peep until morning.

Here’s a little peek into our night.