Tag Archives: vosges

get gifting: foodie finds

If there’s anything I love as much as shopping, it’s food. Eating out, cooking in, buying totally unnecessary specialty equipment (wait, that’s technically shopping…) – however you slice it, I have a serious culinary side. So I like to think I have a special knack when it comes to picking out gifts for the foodie on your list. Believe me when I tell you there’s not a thing on this list I wouldn’t swoon to see under my tree. Except possibly that Shun knife, but only because I already have one (trust me: it will change your life).

Read on

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my big fat birthday list

Friends, it’s my birthday week! (Yes, I get a whole week – I’m that girl, and I’m not even sorry.) This is a milestone birthday for me, and it’s the first one that’s made me squirm in my seat a little bit. Do I dare even tell you my age? Let’s just say I’m switching boxes on the ol’ “how old are you” survey question, and I am not at all happy about my new box.

Shoving aside the thoughts of impending age, a birthday is still big news in my house, and I’ll take any excuse to make a wishlist. Sure, it’s 90% pure fantasy, but you’ve got to dream big to win big, am I right?

For my bod: Printed pants are falling all over themselves to get into my closet, but I love that these Rag & Bone Raja jeans are a bit different than the standard-issue fare. I think they’ll last a bit longer, and be more wearable too. And it’s no big surprise that a Vince cardi would make its way onto my list, but this especially splurge-y, leather-trimmed version is making me so happy this fall. There are actually two styles floating around out there (here’s the second), and I’m torn. What’s your fave?

For my jewelry box: My earring collection has stagnated in a big way. I need some color in my life! Okay, these Pade Vavra druzy studs aren’t technically color, but I think sparkle should count, don’t you? If not, these sweet little gold-dipped studs from A Merry Mishap are an easy bargain and

For my arm: A major item on my list is a new bag for fall. Don’t get me wrong, I swoon for my Chanel. But she’s not exactly an everyday bag. I’m thinking either navy or grey for my fall addition. Dream version? Lanvin’s For Me, a navy/black combo I’ve been swooning over for months. Reality version? I’m still dreaming about Gryson’s Ruby satchel, and crossing my fingers a navy version will appear.

For my toes: Still stewing over the latest from Pied Juste (a new line by the ousted Sigerson & Morrison) – just can’t decide where to start. Oh-so-on-trend ankle strap oxblood flats, or a cutout suede mini-wedge? Decisions, decisions.

For my belly: What girl doesn’t want candy for her birthday? Vosges is so my jam when it comes to splurging on sweets – I’ll take a box of caramel marshmallows and one of their new Wink of the Rabbit caramels, please.

Happy (almost) birthday to me!

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the how-to: easter for grown-ups

I’ll be traveling for Easter this year, but it’s a crying shame. Lately, I’ve been seeing so many ideas for an adult-friendly Easter fête that I’m wishing I had the chance to host a swanky brunch soirée.

It all started when I spied these fantastic egg-shaped placemats from Chilewich (who else?). They say Easter without screaming it from the rooftops, and  would be the perfect nod to seasonal décor without going overboard: elegant, easy and still right on message for the season. Plus, they’re subtle enough to be useful throughout the summer, instead of being relegated to the back of a drawer.

I’d add an oversized bunny – in deep dark Vosges chocolate studded with pink Himalayan sea salt – as a centerpiece (just be prepared with a tiny hammer when it’s time for dessert)…

And maybe a grown-up version of an Easter treat for your guests (sold out online, but still plentiful in stores)…

That’s it – a celebration that’s perfect for all of your childless friends. To make my life even easier, I’d pick up a spiral-sliced ham, soft-boil some eggs (leave them in the shell, and they’ll also look gorgeous on the table), whip up an easy hollandaise (I spilled all my secrets at Shelterrific last year), and have everyone make their own Eggs Benedict. Add a bit of roasted asparagus and some bakery-grade English muffins, and you have the world’s easiest party in the bag.

Of course, if you’re up for a lower-key version of the festivities, you might consider wrapping up one of Creature Comforts’ spot-on Easter basket ideas for grown-ups. They’re exactly what I’m hoping the Easter Bunny brings me!

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get gifting: the foodie

For the friend who reads cookbooks like they’re novels, thinks Dean & Deluca is the mother ship, and is always dragging you to the new fusion restaurant in town or making you her guinea pig for the secret ingredient du jour (this month, I hear it’s harissa).

  1. Foodies rarely need an excuse to party, but a subscription to a champagne club should secure your seat at his next dinner party. Henri’s Reserve champagne club, from $600
  2. Who isn’t chasing the next best caffeine fix? For tea drinkers, Harney & Sons makes my favorite holiday blend – warm and cozy, with just a hint of holiday spice. And for coffee lovers, choose a bag or two from Ristretto Roasters (based here in Portland) – it’s simply the best I’ve had. Holiday black tea blend, Harney & Sons, $15; Ristretto Roasters, from $14 for 12 oz
  3. Nothing transforms ordinary cooking faster than good salt and great olive oil. Get them one of each, and they’ll eat well all year (or until they run out). Olive Oil – 2011 Blend, McEvoy Ranch, from $22; Finishing salt starter set, The Meadow, $38
  4. I’m always looking for rectangular bakers in just the right size – this set gives you all the options you’ll need. 3-piece potluck baker set, Crate & Barrel, $30
  5. Maybe more of a stocking stuffer than a full-fledged gift, but I’m on a perpetual quest to find the perfect spoon. These two are high on my wish list this year. Silicone batter whisk, Tovolo, $12; Acacia wood paddle, Michael Ruhlman, $25
  6. Vosges Haut Chocolat is the gold standard for foodie treats. Their exotic truffles are perfect for a gourmet, but my heart belongs to the Toffee Trifecta hat box, packed with 3 varieties (including bacon caramel!). Vosges Toffee Trifecta, $58 and Exotic Truffles, from $26
  7. A cookbook is a no-brainer gift for a foodie, but you need one that suits their style to a T. For casual home cooks, I love me some Paula Deen, but hardcore food lovers will be more enamored of Michael Ruhlman’s latest. Paula Deen’s Southern Cooking Bible, $17; Ruhlman’s Twenty, by Michael Ruhlman, $22
  8. Hands down, the most stylish way I’ve ever seen to BYOB. Felt wine tote, Graf+Lantz, $79
  9. Adapted from an illustration in a 1927 Parisian book on wine appreciation, this apron is the perfect addition to any foodie’s kitchen. L’Art du Vin apron, The Met Store, $30
  10. Foodies are forever chasing the “next big thing” in culinary creativity. A set of exotic spices will get their creative juices flowing, and keep them ahead of the pack. Spice kits, Williams-Sonoma, from $40
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get gifting: the gourmand

at first glance, the gourmand might look a bit like a martha’s apprentice, but don’t be deceived.  this girl doesn’t care a bit about how glam her house looks for the holidays, or whether her ‘winter fir’ candle blends perfectly with her cinnamon-scented pine cones.  no, this is the friend that only has eyes for the holiday’s best eats.  she knows her himalayan pink from her smoked gray sea salt, swirls her wine with finesse, and welcomes her “food snob” label with a smile.

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left to right, from top: oneida cia cookware 7-ply clad copper saute pan, $140; vosges haut chocolate holiday gift box (eggnog truffles and gingerbread toffee…need i say more?), $86; harney & sons red gift box (you’ll want this set just for the hot cinnamon spice tea), $29; salt and pepper cellars by rae dunn, $44; james beard’s american cookery (just re-released), $23; moonstruck chocolate crescent moon truffle collection, $33; food network magazine subscription (my personal favorite), $15/year; magnetic spice kit from purpose design, $33+, 479 popcorn foodie sampler, $35.

{FTC disclaimer: some product samples were provided to help me compile this guide, but as usual, there’s no pay-for-play here.}

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get gifting: on the cheap

happy hanukkah, everyone!  for those of you not frantically rushing around to find a gift before sunset, tonight is the first night of hanukkah.  and so, in honor of the festival of lights, today’s gift guide is full of ideas perfect for friends, loves, and family, but the common thread is that each and every one is under $30…and that’s a list i’m guessing you’ll want no matter what holiday(s) you’re celebrating this year.  because if you thought christmas left you feeling broke, just imagine stringing it out for eight craaaazy nights!

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left to right, from top: angela adams address book and notepad sets (so, so beautiful in person), $14-15; postcarden “season’s greetings” pop-up card, $13; clinique “connect the gloss” interchangeable lip gloss set, $25; cast iron owlet (literally impossible not to love), $18; tocca crema mani viaggio hand cream trio, $18; vosges bacon chocolate chip pancake mix, $12; michelle armas signed antonia 2011 calendar, $30; allo-allo french tea towel, $15; origins “peace of mind” on-the-spot relief (great for men and women – i’m obsessed!), $10; international rescue committee blankets, school supplies or first aid kits, $20-28; happy socks (!), $10; modern madness moustache mug, $14.

{FTC disclaimer: some product samples were provided to help me compile this guide, but as usual, there’s no pay-for-play here.}

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because easter really is all about the candy, right?

(editor’s note: ooh, looks like vosges is on sale at gilt groupe this morning.  so, um…hop to it! grab an invite here, and the sale’s right here.)

you know how most people complain about weight gain over the thanksgiving-christmas-new year’s eve time of year?  personally, i have no trouble passing up yet another plate of fruitcake or turkey.

but easter.  ohhhh, easter.  ’tis the season for chocolate, hot cross buns, and all of those yummy egg-shaped candies (cadbury, i’m looking at you!).  plus all of those macarons (and macaroons) being baked up for passover (oh yes, i’m an equal opportunity binger).  and everything’s so cuuuuute!  pink speckled eggs, little bunnies and lambs…it’s too much to resist.  most of these fabulous treats are only around once a year, so naturally, i start stockpiling like a squirrel in winter as soon as the valentine’s day candy leaves the shelves.  my house right now is a diabetic coma waiting to happen.

but even with my extreme expertise in the realm of easter treats, i’ve come up with some new loves this year.  most of them are from vosges, whose chocolate is wonderful any time of year.  but when besides easter can you get bacon and eggs in candy form?

yeah, they’re at least as good as they look.  okay, who am i kidding….they’re way, way better.  if you’re skeptical (as i was, believe me), just remember how good bacon tastes dipped in maple syrup.  now imagine it’s caramel instead.  with a chocolate shell.  i know.

and i can’t really be expected to resist bunnies stuffed with toffee and pink himalayan sea salt either, can i?

then there are the absolutely adorable little truffles my mom sent me (how cute is she for sending me an easter basket?) from another favorite chocolatier, moonstruck chocolates, based right here in portland.

i haven’t been able to bring myself to eat them yet…in person, the cute factor is just overwhelming.  but don’t fear…i’m sure my sweet tooth will win out.

you’re totally craving chocolate now, aren’t you?  yeah, sorry about that.  my advice is to just give in…after all, easter only comes once a year.  grab any (or all…hey, it’s the holidays!) while you can!

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