Saturday, December 31, 2011

Resolve & Refresh with New Year Sunday Brunch

Resolved! 2012 will be the year of "Responsible Luxury"--and let's start with New Year's Sunday Brunch. Whether it's just for you, a table for two or the whole block, there's no better way to kick off the new year than with a fresh, festive gathering. Need some inspiration? Here's some of our healthy favorites to wash down that hangover.

Photo: Real Simple
Fresh & White
Start the new year out with a true blank slate. Set your table with plain white dishes, crisp white linens and decorate with lots of white pottery and glass accents. Paperwhite bulbs do double duty as decor and gifts for your guests. Buy bunches of forced paperwhite narcissus and display as is. Or cut them to different heights, tie bunches at the base, and arrange in identical containers. Scatter loose bulbs about like au naturel and send them home in burlap bags for guests to plant before Spring.

Bloody Mary Bar
Nothing whispers Sunday Brunch like welcoming guests to your home with a Bloody Mary bar. If you've been reading the Chandelier blog, you know I'm the champion of themed bars. Not only do they free the host up from mixing drinks for each and every guest, they allow guests to customize themselves--and give the impression that you're as prepared as the Barefoot Contessa. Themed bars can also be an affordable option for someone who wants to stick with a case of a single type of liquor vs. stocking a entire bar. For a Mojito bar, a single bottle of rum can be customized with different flavors from coconut to mango. For a Margarita bar, stick with a good tequila like Patron, and mix it up with blackberry or strawberry.

Eggs Benedict Florentine
Leave the Hollandaise sauce in 2011 (or, serve it on the side). Nothing tastes more indulgent without the guilt than poached eggs over steamed spinach and an English muffin or a single slice of toasted stoneground sourdough. This is my go-to breakfast to satisfy the morning munchies--without packing on the carbs. Here's a great recipe for Eggs Benedict Florentine that punches up the flavor with a little EVOO, ground nutmeg, and lemon juice for a guilt-free 256 calories.

Golden Delicious Salad with Apple Vinaigrette
I stumbled upon Mrs. Talbot's Apple Vinaigrette salad dressing when dreaming up my contribution to Thanksgiving Dinner. It was the absolutely perfect complement to mixed greens (or, as pictured above, baby arugula & fennel), thinly sliced golden delicious apples, candied pecans, red onions, and sliced mushrooms. Want to add a bit more flavor? Crumbled gorgonzola would be an ideal match.

Donut Holes & Latte Art
Somehow a single donut hole can satisfy my sweettooth for the whole day. Whip up some donut holes at home and serve with super-frothy skim cappuccinos with a design (yes, there is such a thing as Latte Art and you can do it, too. YouTube has some awesome Latte Art tutorials) In writing this post, I have potentially found the holy grail of sweet treats in the form of Holey Donuts! These light, fluffy delectables come with little as 3-4 grams of fat and 150-250 calories in a huge assortment of flavors, from Cinnamon Strudel to Boston Cream Oreo Cookie, Chocolate Chip, Caramel Apple and Original Glazed. Wish it wasn't Sunday tomorrow-I'd have them overnighted!

Happy New Year!!!!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

New Year's Eve: Go Ahead, Indulge Yourself!

Table Designed by Amber Karson Events

Whether you're out painting the town red (or gold), or snuggling up at home to watch the ball drop, I am a huge fan of forgoing the "rules" on this one night of the year. So, for my last post of 2011, here's a countdown of "rules to break" when ringing in new year--and indulging yourself one last time before your real-life resolutions set in. 

  Miu-Miu Glittered T-Strap d'Orsay Stiletto

NYE Rule: Wear your highest heel
Even if you're taller than your date, leave the flats at home! New Year's Eve gives us an instant permission slip to pull out those five-and-a-half inch sparkly stilettos (like this Miu-Miu pair that makes us swoon!).  And, psst! we've heard from our brides that popping a few Advil keeps the swelling down. Go ahead, dance all night. New Year's Day is a Sunday this year (which means that some of you have an extra day--Monday--to start feeling your toes again.) 

NYE Rule: Mix Metals!
Never mix silver and gold? Whoever made up that rule is seriously stuck in the past. Not only am I an advocate for mixing up metals, textures, designs on NYE, I am all for it all year through. The trick is to edit. Group metals together in stacking rings, bangles or necklaces--but chose one place to do it or you'll risk looking like a human Christmas tree (and, we all know that holiday was last weekend!) I am dying to do an event with the color palette above--silver, gold, rose gold, platinum, titanium--bring it on, baby!

                                                                                              Designed by Amber Karson Events

Who says you have to drink Champagne "straight-up"? Yes, bubbly is amazing as it is. But, it's totally okay to punch it up a bit. I'm all over this "Smirnoff No. 21 & Champagne Sparkler" on that adds Vodka to the mix--it's totally pretty, it's pink, and it sounds like I could have more than one.  Looking for more inspiration? Check out fifty recipes for champagne cocktails here.

 Designed by Amber Karson Events

NYE Rule to Break: Eat Dessert (First)
Calories don't count on December 31. So go ahead, go for seconds on the smores you can't stop staring at on the dessert buffet. If you're in New York and putting together a dessert buffet of your own, Chandelier highly recommends you stop by Baked in Red Hook for decadent desserts straight out of Brooklyn (they ship!), Lulu's Cake Boutique in Chelsea for chocolate-covered twinkies; and Levain Bakery on the Upper West Side for the most delicious cookies known to man. Looking for seriously delicious recipes? Hit up Serious Eats: Sweets.

Wishing you all of the indulgence you can find this weekend--and health, wealth, happiness and best wishes for the New Year! May your dreams come true (and your feet, recover).

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas, Bright Lights!

We've all about eaten our way through the chocolate Santas, candy canes and Reeses pieces. We hope Santa was as sweet to you as he was to us this year. (Yes, he comes to us too!)

In case you're curled up by the fire, reading this post on your new Kindle Fire or iPad -- we thought we'd pop in a few of our favorite Christmas inspirations this year! After all, it's "The Most Wonderful Time of the Year"--isn't it?!

Love the simplicity of this color palette and design. From the hanging paper stars and snowflakes, to the plush pillows on the Parson chairs, it says "Holiday" in a fresh, yet totally inviting, approachable, cozy voice. I plan to add pillows to my tablescapes for holidays to come--and perhaps even use them as an alternative to a place card. 
As Seen in Gift Guide "Season's Greetings" dozen, $29,

Going to a dinner tonight and need to dress up a hostess gift?

If you have some extra tissue paper left over from this morning, whip up a gorgeous (eco-friendly) presentation like this last minute DIY gift wrap.
Here's the How-To at! 
 Champagne Bar, Southern Living 
Brooklyn Supper's Eggnog Milkshake
Host a Last Minute Toast & Dessert Hour

It's easy to dress up holiday usuals like champagne or prosecco and iconic egg nog. Set up a champagne bar with a few extras like berries, chambord, St. Germain elderflower liquor. 
And, all you need to whoop up that egg nog into a knock-your-socks-off milkshake is vanilla ice cream, vanilla extract, bourbon and nutmeg. Check out the Brooklyn Supper recipe from!

Merry Everything!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

8 Crazy Nights! Happy Hanukkah, xo Chandelier

Hanukkah has officially begun at our house--and somehow, this year, it feels more festive than ever. Perhaps its having two children bursting at the seams to celebrate: spinning the dreidels, downing latkes, cheering as I placed the last-minute pennant banner on the mantel, it's definitely the festival of lights around here.

So, though it may sound cliche, I have to say that the world looks totally fresh and new through the eyes of my children. And, though I never really thought Hanukkah was that a big deal (perhaps its because it is just weeks after the mega-birthday bashes we throw around here), I am learning that holidays can be as festive as you make them. No matter how small they may be, I learned yet again that the littlest touches make the biggest smiles. What a gift.

Here are some of the sweet treats and crafts, plus some gorgeous inspiration, I've found along the way!


Who says it's too cold for ice cream? The jewish-inspired flavors of Chozen's all-natural ice cream--Chocolate Gelt, Babka, Matzoh Crunch, Coconut Macaroon, Apples & Honey and Ronnie's Rugelach-- give me the warm and fuzzies! A favorite of celebs like Gwyneth Paltow, Jon Stewart, and Andy Samberg, pints of these delicious confections are sold in New York City and--direct to your door, anywhere via online purchase for $25 for a 5-pint pack. I'd say this doubles as the perfect gift for your mishpucka (that's yiddush for "family") or the mensch in your life!

I'm totally recycling this recipe from my Passover post as it is a huge hit around here. Attending a dessert swap? I'd say this totally qualifies as a knock-out entry!

Setting your table for a Hanukkah dinner party is as simple as adding some gorgeous blues, silver, and crackled clear glass through a charger, candles and stemware.  It's not too late to hit Homegoods and Pier One, who has these gorgeous glasses for $7 a piece and I happen to *love* the idea of floating candles in (or serving teensy-eensy latkes) on this sea urchin platter ($44.95, Pier One).

So Christmas has spiked egg nog and mulled cider, but certainly Hanukkah should share the season of creative libations--shouldn't it? I'm obsessed with the idea of serving up cocktails like this one, appropriately named "The Dreidel" (made up of Slivovitz plum brandy, cherry liqueur, Angostura bitters and egg whites). This is just one of "Eight Cocktails of Hanukkah" recently published on the Smithsonian blog. From Manschiwetz Sangria to the Hanukkah Gelt Martini! Add a little more sass with these vintage paper straws ($4 for a pack of 25 on Etsy).

Last night, I realized that something was missing around here. The menorah felt a little lonely, so I created a pennant banner for our mantel--and voila! The kids started to jump for joy that their house was "decorated" for the holiday. I can get into this! So, needless to say, I love a free printable when we see one. These cutie pies are yours to download courtesy of The Party Dress blog. Use them as placecards at your table or send guests home with wishes inside for a fabulous 2012!

Wishing you all eight wonderful nights, and a fabulous Christmas weekend! In the words of my cousin's facebook status, "May your lives shine as brightly as our menorah".

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Chandelier's Five Favorite (Affordable-Chic) Holiday Gifts

Chandelier has wrapped up some incredible events this year--and now we're finally getting down to planning for our own parties--and all the gifts in between. Here are some of our favorite gift picks under $100--we just HAD to share! 


Whether she's a classic prep or Brooklyn hipster, these signet rings are a no-brainer accessory. Available in script or block print engraving, a variety of monogram styles from a single initial to a trio of letters, and silver, gold or rose gold, this everlasting gift reads trendy-but conservative enough to become a year-after-year staple.  

FOR YOUR FOODIE:  Matryoshka Doll Measuring Cups Set, Sur La Table, $12

Need a stocking stuffer for your next dinner party hostess? These Russian Doll-inspired measuring cups look as cute on the counter as they are usable in the kitchen. This set of six dry-measure cups accurately measures ¼, 1/3, ½, 2/3, ¾ and 1 full cup, and nests neatly inside each other (space-saver, yeahy!). 

FOR YOUR FAVORITE GIRLFRIEND: Skipperling Mirror, Anthropologie, $42

Propped up by delicate brass butterfly wings, this little mirror is the perfect touch to dress up an vanity. It says sweet but not saccharin--and that's what we like most about it. 

FOR YOUR FAVORITE NEIGHBORSnowman Family Kit, L.L.Bean, $29.95

We are totally head over heels for this make-your-own snowman kit--complete with a wooden carrot nose, eyes, and buttons wrapped up neatly in a burlap sack--this is the gift that keeps on giving. I am planning on ordering a bunch of these for upcoming holiday parties! Add a cute tag and you've got an instant hostess gift for the neighborhood holiday potluck.

FOR YOUR GADGET GURU: Mophie Juice Pack for iPhone 4,, $79.95

This one is DEFINITELY on my list (ahem, hope you are reading this!). If your Apple addict is anything like me, he/she will be overjoyed to have 5 battery lives available at the flip of a switch on this nifty iPhone case. 

Happy holidays and shopping to you.