Category Archives: hosting

5 ideas to make your wedding rock

Recently I was asked to help coordinate a friend’s wedding. While very exciting, it’s an obviously overwhelming task for many brides. I’m so glad she asked for my help.

Here are some thoughts on how to keep it simple, and why you’ll be so much happier for it.

  1. Don’t be lured into DIY hell. With Pinterest and DIY craft magazines galore showing you just how “easy” it is to make everything for your day of, is it something you really want to do? You’re probably having friends and family from out of town visit for your big day, and the 24-48 hours before your event do you really want to be stressing out if all your special handwritten quotes are elegantly wrapped around each table setting? The thought is lovely, and I’m sure there will be a handful of people who will be delighted to unwrap their unique setting, but that extra stress isn’t worth it if you’re doing it all yourself. Instead sip cocktails by the pool and enjoy the friends and family you rarely get to be with.
  2. Comfort first, for you and your guests. Will you want to walk all night in those satin heels? Will your guests be warm enough once the sun sets? Are there enough places to sit before dinner is served? Is the setting inviting? Are the toilets easily accessible? Does the layout promote laughter among strangers. Will your guests feel comfortable if they don’t know anyone but you and their plus one? Small steps like providing guests blankets, fans, appropriate seating, and a welcoming ambiance go a long way to make sure everyone remembers what a fun party it was.
  3. Delicious goes a long way. Ok so you’re budget isn’t French chef worthy, that’s ok. Don’t try to do too much within a limited budget. Think about what’s really important to you. Would you rather serve special drinks or yummy champagne instead of a 3 course meal? No problem, select heavy pupus (appetizers) instead. No food budget? Thats ok, how about just cake and champagne? Or maybe having a live band is how you’d rather focus your funds. Whatever you serve, just be true to your intentions. Your guests are bound to have fun and leave with satisfied tastebuds.
  4. Logistics matter. The devil is in the details of the event, not the decor. Where will guests park? Does it make sense for folks to drive between the ceremony & reception if they’re not at the same place, or does a shuttle make more sense? Think through the timeline too. Add an extra 30mins at least to every activity to make sure you don’t rush the event. Welcoming guests, champagne toast, eating, cake cutting, dancing, everything takes longer than you think…unless you’re an experienced planner.
  5.  Take pictures before the ceremony, not after. Save your guests from that awkward 2 hour window where the whole bridal party is MIA from the post ceremony bash. You’ve got everyone together, so enjoy it. Either skip the posed picture setting and just hire a day-of event photographer, or do those posed shots the morning of. Save yourself a preventable headache.

Holiday dresses to whet your desire

Don’t blow the bank and let yourself be overwhelmed by holiday dress shopping. Even if you can’t drop by our Style Exchange tomorrow at R/D in Honolulu, here are some options we’re offering.

Not exactly what you had in mind? Let us know and we’ll offer personalized suggestions. We have a great collection of holiday worthy attire, let us help you find the perfect outfit keeping you looking your best.

A Stylish Wedding with Indian and Moroccan Influence

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Last weekend I had the honor of attending a best friend’s wedding in Pupukea, on the north shore of Oahu. Debbie and Kevin threw an all out glamourous affair that hardly represented so many “traditional” takes on a classic marriage ceremony. It was all at once unexpected, beautiful, enjoyable, and were were encouraged to party until the sun came up (well some of us did, I fell asleep before then). Inspiration was taken from many cultures and traditions the world over. During the ceremony sips of sake and wine were taken by the couple. The Moroccan theme extended itself most visibly with the plush pillows and low tables for lounging. It also made it tremendously kid friendly too.

The bride’s dress was incredible in person, with lots of layers of fabric in hues of warm oranges, yellows and reds. The skin on her hands and feet had been covered in Henna tattoos the day before akin to an Indian tradition. Bridesmaids wore sari’s, ring-bearers wore top hats, and shoes were optional. A tent that seemed to be plucked straight out of Morocco was the centerpiece for the post ceremony dancing. DJ Sole performed magic on the turntables for over seven hours, not even a Tsuanami warning could stop this party (which btw really did happen, and we were lucky to be high on the mountain should it hit, which it didn’t!).

Debbie and Kevin share a love of travel, fire dancing, and a great party. And of course that’s exactly what we got. It was an outrageously good time. Here are a few visual bites from the wedding…

How to throw a stylish cocktail party … in a small apartment!

‘Tis the season people come indoors to party. What better opportunity to have a fun time with friends than over simple nosh, great drinks, and introducing friends to new people.

Hosting takes skill to do it right, but with the right prep work you can throw an elegant, simple, and fun get-together everyone (even you) will enjoy.

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  1. Know your audience. Standing-room-only style parties are more intimate and ultimately more fun. Invite anyone you like, the more the merrier. On average if you invite 20 people maybe 8 will come. So invite more than you think you can comfortably fit in your apartment.
  2. Make it festive, dress it up. I always request my guest wear something chic or cocktail attire. Not everyone gets it, but somehow the more festive the dress code, the more amped up the party. I always buy sweet snacks based on how cute they look. A little bowl of colored ribbon candy does the trick.
  3. Nosh. Make it simple without being boring. I like the basics, a bowl of not your typical grapes or figs, some sort of homemade dip with pita chips, crudités that’s hand cut by me, and easy bruschetta. I love brownies or little sweet bites like macaroons too. Make sure if you’re serving drinks, that your bites are truly bite-sized. You can’t give guests a glass, a plate and a fork without it being awkward.
  4. Libations. Easy rule of thumb for drinks: supply the mixers, the garnishes, and one bottle of hard liquor like vodka or gin. You could also alternatively have a simple punch or sangria on hand too. Always have something special for those non-drinkers like pelligrino or lavender soda, you never want to add to the awkwardness. Having a couple bottle of prosecco or cava or white wine on hand is good too. Save costs by asking people to BYOB, it’s totally appropriate these days.
  5. Set the stage. The magic is in the details: lights, music, pretty. Make sure your place is clean, especially the bathroom. Add candles, and turn off the overhead lights. Think about where your guests will put their coats, bags, boots. Make cute signs if you have to, that way you’re not interrupted with the same questions over and over again. And don’t forget the music. Pandora works, but the commercials suck. Ask friends to bring their ipod or mix, and let the mood take hold.
  6. Remember whom your guests came to see: You. Don’t hide in the kitchen. Welcome each guest, introduce them to someone you’d think they’d find interesting and tell them why you think they should chat. The best hosts always make the party about their guests, not about them. Make sure everyone is having a good time. The rest is a piece of cake!

Secret Breakfast Weapon: Tartine’s Buttermilk Scones

I absolutely love breakfast. And I love hosting even more. Want to host a simple champagne breakfast? Make these scones and you’ll be one fashionable host.

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I’ve been fortunate enough to frequent Tartine bakery in the Mission in San Francisco on numerous occasions. It truly is my favorite place to eat, no matter what time of day. So when I came across Tartine’s cookbook I was overjoyed to try to make her delectables at home.

The first thing I tried was this recipe for lemon currant scones. More than any other pastry, I love scones. The trick is always cutting/mixing the butter with the flour. It is the #1 most important thing you do right to get the right texture. I find most scones at shops too cakey or too dense. These are more like sweet biscuits. Don’t like currants? No problem. This basic buttermilk recipe works fabulously with other tart dried fruit. I added hazelnuts and dried cherries instead. Go wild, here’s the basic.

Tartine’s Buttermilk Scones

makes 12 large scones

4 3/4 cups of flour

3/4 cup of dried currants
(or other tart dried fruit)

1 tablespoon of baking powder

3/4 teaspoon of baking soda

1/2 cup of sugar

1 1/4 teaspoon of salt

1 cup (2 sticks) very cold, unsalted butter

1 1/2 cups of buttermilk

1 teaspoon of grated lemon zest

Topping: 3 tablespoons of melted butter,
turbinado or demerara sugar for sprinkling.

Tools: A food processor, sifter or whisk, large bowl, wooden spoon, chef’s knife.

Prepare: You’ll want your butter as cold as possible. I like to cut my butter first, then wrap it in plastic and place it in the freezer while I prepare the rest of the ingredients.

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. Soak the currants in hot water for about 10 minutes or until they are plumped.  Drain well.

3. Sift together the flour, baking soda and baking powder into a large bowl. Alternatively use a wisk to aerate vs using a sifter. Add the salt & sugar and combine. Place ingredients into the bowl of a food processor.

4. Cut the butter into small cubes (or removed the cut butter from the freezer) and distribute them on top of the dry ingredients in the mixing bowl of a food processor. Pulse the mixer to combine, without breaking down the butter too much (you should see pea-sized pieces of butter). Alternatively you can cut the butter into the flour with a pastry cutter. Make sure you still see LARGE chunks of butter (this is essential to keeping the dough flakey).

5. Pour the mixture into your large bowl. Add the buttermilk, lemon zest and currants all at once, and mix with a wooden spoon until the dough just comes together (you may need to add a bit more buttermilk if too dry).

6. Dust a large cutting board with flour and place the dough onto it, shaping it into a long rectangle (about 5” wide, 1 ½” thick, 18” long) without handling it too much.

7. Brush the dough with melted butter and sprinkle with turbinado or demerara sugar. Cut the dough into 12 even-sized triangles and transfer them to your parchment-lined baking sheet.

8. Bake the scones for approximately 25 to 35 minutes (until the tops are lightly browned).  I’ve found that 375F convection for 25 minutes is perfect. However everyone’s oven is different.

9. Serve warm, with lemon curd or jam.

Adapted from the Tartine Cookbook