Monday, June 30, 2014

Serve It Up!

Every once in a while I come across something amazingly creative on the internets and I have to stop myself from shouting "WHY DIDN'T I THINK OF THAT?!" out loud. I literally want to smack myself for not coming up with it on my own.

This is one of those things!!!!! I cannot get over it. It's genius.

I came across this company called Nora Fleming - their motto is "revolutionizing the art of entertaining." They sell plain white serving pieces - platters, plates, cheeseboards, you name it - and each one has a tiny hole drilled into the side. Separately, they sell what they call "minis" - tiny ceramic charms that fit perfectly into that little hole on each platter, which allows you to customize your serving platter for each occasion! 

All of the serving pieces are white, and the little "minis" add an adorable whimsical touch to each platter or plate. So basically, it cuts out the need to have special "themed" plates or platters - the plain white serving pieces match everything, and you save room in your kitchen cabinets by not needing to buy serving pieces for Halloween or 4th of July or Christmas or Hanukkah that only get used once a year. All you need to do is swap out the cute little "mini" charm!

This is an absolutely genius idea and so, so perfect for someone like me (or my mother - AHEM Martha Jewart) who loves to entertain and loves having special serving pieces for different events and holidays. 

Here are some of my favorites serving pieces and minis - SO freaking cute!

Minis: Jewish Star (so cute for latkes!) - Sombrero (lay out all the fixings for build-your-own-tacos!)
 Watermelon - Carrot - Gerber Daisy - Red Heart - Artichoke (serve a hot spinach artichoke dip in an NF bowl) - Cheeseburger - Grill (so cute with grilled vegetables on the big platter!) - Cupcake

This would be a FABULOUS bridal shower or wedding gift - I'm drooling over the possibilities already. I could also see it being a great gift for moms or grandmas - too bad Mother's Day just passed! As soon as I can find a good reason to buy some, you better believe some of these adorable pieces are coming home with me!

Note: this post is in no way shape or form sponsored... I came across Nora Fleming's website over the weekend and just had to share!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Had To Have It: The Perfect Summer Tank!

Ladies, it's summer. It's hot. You want something cool, something comfortable. I feel you.

I spied this breezy little tank in Nordstrom a few weeks ago and had to have it! I don't know about you, but I often layer up on tanks - a tighter one to hold the goods in, you know, followed by the looser, usually cuter one on top. This tank does the job for me - it's two layers, one tighter and longer, topped with a sheer overlay, and it could NOT be softer.

The first one I bought was the white one, but I confess I've already gone back for the royal blue - I'm wearing it as we speak! Trying to hold off on completing the trio and nabbing the mint color, but I doubt I'll be able to resist much longer. And for less than $40, why the heck not, right?!

(Let me also say that usually, I find the reviews on Nordstrom's website to be pretty spot-on, but I'm puzzled by this one - I find it runs true to size, not too big at all...)

As I mentioned, I am wearing it to work today, paired with skinny black pants, leopard flats, and a white cardigan. I walked in this morning and my colleague immediately followed me into my office and demanded to know where it's from, so I knew I had to share with all of you too :)

Monday, June 23, 2014

Showered With Love, Round One!

Yesterday I had my very first bridal shower - Rami's mom's friends came together and threw me a gorgeous luncheon and it could not have been more beautiful!

I wore a white dress from Topshop, my trusty nude Pour La Victoire wedges, borrowed my mom's J.Crew crystal necklace, and got my hair and makeup done too :) #GIRLYGIRL 

Posing with the mamas :)

The party was at a little Italian restaurant called Ca De Sol, in a private room that opened to a beautiful courtyard. Each table was set so beautifully with gorgeous pink and white flowers inside white ceramic vases (that I got to keep!) with little bowls of candy, personalized menus, and the cutest party favors - pink chocolate dipped fortune cookies with a little message inside that said "Rami & Jordan: Lucky in Love!"

Here I am with all the hostesses. Ladies, if you're reading this, THANK YOU AGAIN!!! 

The food was delicious - we had roasted tomato soup drizzled with basil oil, grilled chicken salad with shaved artichokes and parmesan, sage & pumpkin ravioli, and chocolate cake for dessert. YUM!

My sis came in from New York for it! #maidofhonoroftheyear. Would not have been the same without her.

With two of my best friends/bridesmaids - so glad they were there!

Silverladies :)

How cute is this? The theme was "Recipes for Bridal Bliss" and all the guests submitted their favorite recipe ahead of time - the hostesses compiled them into a beautiful scrapbook. I can't wait to start cooking some of them!

Rami and his dad came for a bit at the end to open presents... Ram loves opening presents. He got very into it, cheering for things he liked/remembered registered for. Such a ham.

Okayyyyy I'm a ham too:

At the end my friend Blair turned all the ribbons and flowers from the gift wrapping into a gorgeous "bouquet" for me to carry down the aisle the day before my wedding during our rehearsal! Wish this wasn't so blurry... I love this picture :)

Not a day goes by that I don't think about how lucky I am... both to have such wonderfully generous family and friends, and to have such an adorable fiance! My shower was so beautiful and I will remember it forever. I have another one coming up in August... I'm so excited to do it all again! 

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Perfect Potato Salad

Just in time for all your summer BBQs, I'm here with what is quite possibly THE most delicious potato salad recipe in the entire universe. You are welcome. I hear the applause already. Just thank me later.

While I was in New York over the weekend, my family was busy getting ready for their Father's Day Barbeque. I wanted to contribute something, so my aunt suggested pasta salad. Eh. Meh. Feh. Despite my intense love for pasta and nearly all carbohydrates in general, pasta salad actually does nothing for me. I suggested potato salad instead, she agreed, and I set about the internets to find the best one.

For almost seven years now, I've been reading the food blog Orangette, written by the extraordinarily talented Molly Wizenberg, and as it happens, on the plane to NY, I was reading her first book, "A Homemade Life," which contains her father's recipe for his famous potato salad. It was a sign! I had to make it. Never you mind that literally WHILST cooking the potatoes, my mother realized that our flight actually was going to be leaving hours earlier than she had thought, and as such, I would not even get a single bite of my own contribution to the BBQ. 

No worries, I made it for Ram last night... and it was PHENOMENAL.

Here is the recipe, taken from Molly's wonderful book, which I highly recommend, with just a couple of minor changes, listed in pink. I can never leave well enough alone :)

Burg's Potato Salad

2 pounds of small red potatoes
4 large eggs  I'm not the biggest fan so I didn't use them
1 spoonful of capers (sans brine)
8 scallions (white and pale green parts only) thinly sliced
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup mayonnaise
4 tbsp Hidden Valley Ranch dressing
2 tbsp dill, finely chopped
Fresh ground pepper

Slice the raw potatoes into similar-sized chunks to cook evenly. Put the potatoes in a large pot and add cold water to cover by 1 inch. Add a dash of salt, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to maintain a gentle simmer and cook, until the potatoes are fork-tender, about 15 minutes. 

Drain them and rinse with cold water. Put them in a large bowl and set them aside to cool. (I stuck them in the fridge for about ten minutes to cool them off just a tad, since I like warm potato salad). 

In a small bowl combine the ranch dressing, mayonnaise, scallions, capers, and dill. Pour the dressing over the potatoes and mix, coating all over. Add fresh ground pepper to taste. Serve and enjoy! We had ours with grilled chicken apple sausage and roasted asparagus and it was fantastic.


"Babe... A+!"
"Best potato salad of my life."
"Makes all other potato salads look like GARBAGE!"

Apparently Rami liked it :) I hope you will too!

Monday, June 16, 2014

Life Lately!

Hi friends! Totally didn't mean to disappear again for weeks. Things have been crazy around here - very busy with wedding planning, last week was my HUGE 300+ person gala event that I have been planning for months (it went very well!), and in the middle of everything I hopped off to New York for a couple days. I'm exhausted just thinking about it... isn't summer supposed to be relaxing?!

Are you familiar with Lulu & Georgia? It's a home accessories, furniture, and gifts website with a fantastic selection of products - I love their stuff. They recently held a "pop-up shop" in West Hollywood for a few days and you better believe I was one of the first ones in the door... their prices were slashed from 20-70% and I made out like a bandit! I left with this 5x8 rug, this Mexican serape (to be used as an outdoor tablecloth), two  bathmats, a couple picture frames, a thermos or two, some trays... Literally only the size limitations of my SUV's trunk kept me from buying more!

Last week Ram and I finally got to go to our wedding CAKE TASTING!!! We brought our moms and the wedding planners and had a grand old time. I'll say this, The Four Seasons knows how to present a pretty plate of cake! Clockwise from top left we tried Bananas Foster, Red Velvet, Chocolate Raspberry, White Chocolate Crunch, and Funfetti.. Any guesses which we chose!?

Speaking of weddings, one of my best friends, Julie, got engaged last month and this little surprise showed up in my mailbox a couple of weeks ago... filled with "Will you be my bridesmaid?" M&Ms! Delicious and adorable. My answer was OF COURSE :)

As I mentioned earlier, I just got back from spending a long weekend in New York with my family. My trip coincided with my little cousin's prom - we spent the whole day getting her all dressed and fancied up with her hair, makeup, and nails done. Her adorable boyfriend came over with his parents to take photos before the pre-prom party and since my aunt and uncle are not exactly professional photographers if you know what I mean, I grabbed the cameras and started art-directing like a PRO, if I do say so myself :) This is my favorite shot of them... how freaking CUTE are they?!

If you're in LA, I have a new-ish restaurant recommendation for you... Wexler's Deli! I know the chef/owner, Micah, from childhood, and have following his impressive career for years. He recently opened this tiny deli downtown in the Grand Central Market and I finally made it out there to try it. His bagels, lox, and sturgeon were all homemade and FANTASTIC - I gotta get back over there for some of his homemade pastrami next. Don't miss the black and white cookie :)

And finally.... my fifteen minutes of fame... I am (kinda) featured in this month's Glamour Magazine! A few months ago, they ran an interview with Sophia Amorusa, the CEO of NastyGal, who just came out with a new book, "#GIRLBOSS". I loved the article and her smart, to-the-point tips for young women, so I emailed Glamour to tell them so. Cut to me in the airport on Thursday browsing through the magazine rack at Hudson Books... I saw my name in their "Letters to the Editor" section and couldn't stop laughing hysterically! (Sidenote: I read #GIRLBOSS in a single day while we were in Scottsdale and the book was great! I highly recommend!)

Anyway. That's what's going on in my neck of the woods. I've got some other fun stuff coming up too... my first bridal shower is this weekend, my sis is coming into town for ten days, my bachelorette party is just a couple weeks away... lots to fill you in on in the coming weeks! XOXOXO 

Monday, June 2, 2014

Arizona, I Love You

Memorial Day Weekend in Arizona was awesome. Relaxing, restful, gorgeous weather, no real plans... exactly what we needed!

We arrived late Friday night and after a couple issues with the rental car place (I will never use Fox Rent-A-Car ever again! Grrrrr...), we hustled off to find some food. Owning to the fact that it was late and we were tired and hungry, I knew just the place... OREGANOS! This is one of my absolute favorite restaurants from my college days and I knew Ram would love it. We snarfed up some pesto bruschetta and of course, their famous pizookie = high fives all around.

This year, we decided to try a new hotel. We usually stay at The Four Seasons at Troon and while absolutely beautiful, it's very far from town and the fun restaurants and stores we like to visit. I did a fair amount of research - there are a ton of beautiful resorts in Scottsdale. We ended up at The Omni Montelucia and I highly recommend it - it was absolutely stunning, with gorgeous Mediterranean architecture and features. 

The room was spacious and the air conditioning was a real champ :) (very important to me... I have packed up and left hotels in the middle of the night when the air conditioning was not up to par!) When we made the reservation a while back, we mentioned that we were newly engaged, and when we checked into our room, there was a bottle of champagne and chocolate-covered strawberries waiting with a personal note of congratulations!

I particularly appreciated that their adult pool was extremely large and had plenty of chaises, towels, umbrellas, etc, and I was also pleasantly surprised by their cafe menu. Usually food served to you by the pool is mediocre and just "eh," but the Montelucia's food was delicious and always served hot, while the drinks were refreshed often and always ice cold. The service was great, too. It was just a very pleasant experience all three days we were there, since the only thing we did was lay on our chaises, read, apply sunscreen, and occasionally hop in the water to cool off!

On Saturday we were joined by our friend Rachel, who in a happy coincidence was also visiting Scottsdale that weekend. She hung with us by the pool for a bit, then the three of us headed out to see X-Men in what is possibly... the nicest movie theater I've ever been to? We thought it was just a regular AMC but it had recently been upgraded with those amazing couch/recliner chairs... let me tell ya'll, I didn't hate it! 

Saturday night the three of us dined at an old standby, Cowboy Ciao. It was good, but not great - I think if you're planning a trip to Arizona, there are plenty of better places... like the place we went to Sunday night! Esquire Magazine chose Virtu as one of its 2013 Best New Restaurants in America, and let me tell you, it did NOT disappoint! In a fantastic bit of luck, we happened to be visiting AZ over Restaurant Week, and as a result, had an absolutely fantastic meal at Virtu consisting of most of their "greatest hits"...

Behold: buratta with proscuitto and pickled peaches, grilled octopus with seared chickpeas and chile butter, grilled asparagus with feta, bacon, and a truffle hollandaise, a beautiful fresh duck egg pasta, and a ridiculous porkchop with an heirloom tomato salad:

We were sad to leave on Monday... we caught a couple more hours of sun by the pool, hit up Barrio Queen for some tiny tacos (another strong recommendation!) and then it was off to the Apple Store as Ram's phone accidentally fried itself in the hot AZ sun, this time for good :( He is now the proud owner of a new iPhone 5S and I am the proud owner of a medium base tan. Win win for everyone! 

Scottsdale is very special to us because it was the very first vacation we took together as a couple. I love going every year during Memorial Day Weekend and hope we continue doing it for a long, long time - I already can't wait to go back!