Archive for October, 2013

Mark Your Calendars for Marant

  • 30th October 2013

The hotly anticipated collaboration collection between Isabel Marant and H&M debuts in just 2 weeks on November 14th.  We already know it is going to be a sell-out courtesy of the look book and if you still have any doubts they can be washed away after seeing a star-studded lineup looking flawless in her attire.



Freida Pinto and Olga Kurylenko wear Isabel Marant for H&M.

Freida Pinto and Olga Kurylenko wear Isabel Marant for H&M. Photo Courtesy of: Getty Images



One reason why we particularly love this collaboration is that her collection for H&M actually looks like pieces we just saw in her 2013 Pre-Fall and Fall collection.  She has not dumbed anything down for the masses, and uses the same signature charcoal grey/bright red and white with a bohemian twist—bold combination.


If you missed these amazing jeans earlier this year (below).  You get a second chance at her winning color combo via her pièce de résistance jacket.


Isabel Marant jeans Song of Style

Photo Courtesy of: Song of Style.

Isabel Marant for H&M grey, white and red jacket.

Using the same basic colors and bohemian aesthetic.                                                                                          This jacket is available in stores and online for £199.99 on 11/14.









We featured this fabulous scarf straight off of the runway in our August 5, 2013 post.  Now you can get an almost identical version.


Isabel Marant Scarf. Photo Courtesy of: Vogue Collections Paris

Isabel Marant Scarf from her 2013 Pre-Fall Collection. Photo Courtesy of: Vogue Collections Paris

Isabel Marant Fall 2013 Collection

Isabel Marant Pre Fall 2013 Collection. Notice the thin scarf of the model on the right.



Isabel Marant Metallic Scarf H&M

This scarf reminiscent of the two above is available at H&M.



Metallic scarf available at H&M will retail at a very affordable  £29.99


Studs and grommets which factored heavily in her Fall Collections are also beautifully incorporated into the H&M line.



Isabel Marant Elvis Leather Sandals

Her studded Elvis Leather Sandals caused a stir earlier this year.

Studded Pumps Isabel Marant for H&M

In the same vein, her studded pumps for H&M are already adorning the most fashionable feet.



Studded pumps available at H&M on 11/14 retail for  £99.99.


Buy two or three pieces from this line and you will easily hit on major trends of the season as well as (and most importantly) her very signature style.  This element stayed truly intact with her H&M collection.  The pieces are cutting-edge enough to very easily slide right into all of next year’s seasons.



Her lace up leather pants capture a trend that has been brewing and picking up momentum since Fendi and DKNY last spring.  At this price point they will make a very big splash.


White Leather Lace Up Trousers Isabel Marant for H&M

White leather lace up trousers. How can you go wrong?

Black leather lace up trousers Isabel Marant for H&M.

Perfect for any evening soirée.


Leather lace-up trousers available at H&M on 11/14 retail for £179.99



Lace up leather trousers and sheer shirt Isabel Marant for H&M.

A sleek, sexy and perfect look all from the line. Photo courtesy of: Getty Images.




Marant insists she designs for everyone, which means you!  So get ready to switch on your lap top at 12:00 pm or head to your local store at 8:00 am on 11/14 and claim your favorite pieces.


Here are a few more favorites of ours:


Isabel Marant for H&M black and white trousers.

Again a signature look available for £59.99

January Jones in Isabel Marant for H&M.

January Jones in trousers and a sheer top from the H&M line.



Two cute, too cute kids accessories from the line:


Greek Fisherman Cap for Kids Isabel Marant for H&M.

Marant offers a chic cap to kids via the Greek Fisherman (check out our 7/18 post for how au courant it is).

Slouchy Suede Boots for girls Isabel Marant for H&M.

Slouchy suede boots for your girls from the Marant H&M line.



One of the coolest and most unique jumpers of the season:


Black and White Loop Jumper Isabel Marant for H&M.

Loop Jumper Available for £69.99



Perfect Wardrobe Capstone Pieces:


Fringe Scarf Isabel Marant for H&M.

Fringe Silk Scarf

Sequin Trousers Isabel Marant for H&M.

Sequin Trousers retail at £149.99



YOU MISSED THESE PANTS.….And are still longing for something out of the ordinary sequin, try this sequin blazer from Boden!


Sequin Blazer from Boden




Boden Sequin Blazer
Boden Sequin Blazer


Sequin Blazer,, $171.00



Boden Sequin Blazer



(Now, back to Marant…..)


Beautifully Bohemian:


Black and White Dress Isabel Marant for H&M.

Dress available for £69.99.

Strapless Dress Isabel Marant for H&M.

Strapless dress available for £69.99.



Behind the Scenes Isabel Marant for H&M photo Courtesy of: Vogue Italia

Behind the Scenes Isabel Marant for H&M photo Courtesy of: Vogue Italia


Autumn’s Best Cupcake

  • 23rd October 2013

We made this cupcake twice already this month.  The first time was purely decadent with its rich buttery frosting and cheesecake like filling.  Relishing them for the second time, we substituted in wheat flour that perfectly complemented the moist cream cheese and pumpkin purée.


Cheesecake-Filled Pumpkin Cupcakes with Brown Sugar Frosting


Cheese-cake Filled Pumpkin Cupcakes

Photo Courtesy of: Rachael Ray Magazine


Cheese-cake Filled Pumpkin Cupcakes

A dollop of cheesecake in the center makes all of the difference.



If you love pumpkin, this is a dessert you cannot miss!  If you love cheesecake too, even better!  It comes to us via Rachael Ray Magazine.



Halloween Pumpkin Cupcakes

Dressed up for Halloween, but they work throughout the Fall.



You already have your vegetable within, but for a healthier twist and graininess that offsets the cream cheese and purée, substitute in wheat flour.



  • 1 8 ounce package  cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 large eggs, plus 5 large egg whites
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • Simmering water
  • 3 sticks (12 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into tablespoon-size pieces and chilled




Pumpkin Cupcakes

Fresh out of the oven, pre-frosting


Place a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees . Line a 12-cup muffin pan with baking liners. Using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and confectioners’ sugar for 3 minutes. Beat in 1 egg white and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla.




Cream cheese filled cupcakes




In a bowl, whisk the flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon salt. In another bowl, mix the pumpkin puree, 2 eggs, granulated sugar, oil and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Whisk in the flour mixture.




Brown Sugar Frosted Cupcakes




Layer each muffin cup with some of the pumpkin batter, then the cream cheese mixture, then more of the batter. Bake until springy to the touch, 25 minutes.  Let cool.



Pumpkin Cheesecake Cupcakes

Vanilla bean paste was substituted for extract.




Using the electric mixer, beat the brown sugar, remaining 4 egg whites and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt. Fill a medium saucepan with enough simmering water to reach a depth of 1 inch; place the mixing bowl on top. Whisk the mixture until it registers 160 degrees on an instant-read thermometer.


Transfer the bowl back to the mixer and beat at high speed until fluffy; lower the speed and beat to roomtemperature, about 5 minutes. Add the butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, then beat at high speed for 5 minutes. Beat in the remaining 1/2 teaspoon vanilla.



Brown Sugar Butter Frosting

The frosting is buttery magic



Transfer the frosting to a pastry bag; pipe large rosettes on top of the cupcakes.

(You can also spread the frosting with a knife and decorate the cupcakes in any other manner).

Serve and enjoy!!!


Halloween Pumpkin Cupcakes

Decorated for Halloween




The Spooks are Loose!

  • 19th October 2013

Whether you’re throwing an impromptu Halloween fete or just looking for a few super easy holiday-themed crafts and decor to do with your mini goblins at home, these simple activities are fun for all ages, even the youngest in the bunch.


We’ve combed through idea after idea to find the easiest crafts for little kids (and time-stressed parents) which do not require numerous unique supplies.


Halloween Fun!



French Pumpkins


Des Citrouilles  (French Pumpkins)


This idea, courtesy of Rachael Ray Magazine is uber cute and easy to create using black felt, pom-poms or pipe cleaners, a black sharpie and black mustache stickers (optional).  Kids 4+ are easily able to make it on their own.  Group (des hommes) in a bunch and they look especially fun!

• Cut a circle out of black felt to make the beret.  Glue a pom-pom or a loop out of black pipe cleaner onto the top.

• Place your mustache, or create your own with sharpie.

• Sketch on a fanciful face



Vampire Pumpkins


Vampire Pumpkins



For these little blood-suckers white pumpkins typically work best.  The idea comes courtesy of Martha Stewart Living and requires little to nothing.  Carve out a small mouth.  Have a little friend decorate the vampire teeth and a pair of googly eyes with a red sharpie.  Pop them in and glue them on respectively.  Eyelashes optional!




Coy Cat


Cat Pumpkin



Again, courtesy of Martha Stewart Living, this is the easiest of the bunch.  The trick is in picking the right pumpkins.  One should be a shorter, flatter, almost disc like pumpkin and the other a taller, thinner pumpkin with a well defined stem.  Cut the stem off of the shorter pumpkin and flip it onto its bottom.  While you paint a cat face, have your little one paint the stem of the tall pumpkin black creating a tail.  Black ears made from thick construction paper are the finishing touch.



Take the More Elegant Route


Metallic Pumpkins



Simple hardware store metallic silver spray paint and a sheet of Martha Stewart Line stickers transforms pumpkins elegantly.  You do the spraying and let the kids do the sticking.


Spider Attack! 



Spiders attacking pumpkin



Again, a flat disc like pumpkin makes the spider infested look easier to achieve.  Wipe the pumpkin clean first with a wet paper towel and using plastic spiders and glue dots the mock siege is easy to create.


Black & White Centerpieces


Black and White Halloween Centerpiece





Black & White Halloween Centerpiece




A pure white arrangement with black plastic spiders and black spray painted mini pumpkins.


Sneaky Mice Infestation


Mice Silhouette Halloween





Mice Silhouette Halloween



These templates are also available at Martha Stewart Living.  You can trace them onto black construction paper or just cut out the mice printed directly from your computer.  Let the kids stick them along the baseboards of a staircase and scattered running throughout the house!



Vamped Up Straws


Vampire Straws




Template for the straws are available at Rachael Ray Magazine.



3 Easy Party Crafts:


White Chocolate Dipped, Halloween Sprinkled Pretzels


Halloween Themed Sprinkled White Chocolate Pretzels




Dip the pretzel in white chocolate




Sprinkle Pretzel on parchment paper or paper plate





Add pretzels to the decorated bags





Send white chocolate dipped pretzels home in goody bags



Fun, delicious and a take-home treat, these Halloween spirited pretzels are easy for all guests.  You will need a bag of pretzels, white chocolate baking chips (the better the brand the better the taste), Halloween-themed sprinkles, paper plates, (clear bags and halloween stickers are optional).


Melt the chocolate in the microwave for about 1.5 minutes, stir and repeat until the chocolate is smooth.  Have sprinkles and paper plates at hand.  Dip the pretzels in half-way one-at-a-time and transfer to the plate.  Sprinkle and pop them into the freezer for 10-15 minutes.  Let sit 5 minutes and transfer to clear bags or your mouth!



Candy Filled Witches Brooms


Candy Filled Witches Brooms



This cute craft triples as a favor and/or centerpieces.  Amazingly easy to make they require minimal supplies.  Grab sticks from the park or your backyard.  Any candy will do as a filler.  (Idea courtesy of Martha Stewart Living)


Two lunch size paper bags are required for each broom.  Unfold one bag, push it out of its base while folding in the left and right sides.  Cut the bag into thinnish strips stopping before the base.  Cut thin strips as well into the top inch of the second bag.  Open both bags, and place the second bag inside the shredded one, then fill with candy.  Put a small twig about one inch into the bag and cinch the tops of both bags with pipe cleaners, black twine, or black twisty ties.


Your supplies:

All you need to make witches brooms




Pasta Skeletons


A little more time intensive, this is a great craft for a play date or a rainy afternoon.  Any pasta you have in the house can be substituted in and broken up to make different sizes.  Glue dots are easier and faster to use than craft glue for this activity.   (Idea courtesy of Martha Stewart Living)



Pasta Skeleton Mandible





Pasta Skeleton Humerus





If You’re Heading to….Santa Barbara

  • 8th October 2013

A walk through Lotusland is not far away…..



The iconic Blue Garden in Madame Walksa's Lotusland.

The iconic Blue Garden in Madame Walska’s Lotusland.


Lotusland, close to Santa Barbara, was once home to Madame Ganna Walska, a renowned Polish opera-singer, who upon moving to California devoted more than 40 years to amassing the most unique collection of plants from all corners of the world.  In order to allow them the presentation they deserved, she commissioned the most innovative designers to help her with the more than 15 individual gardens within.


Spanish Moss adds silvery elegance to many trees.

Spanish Moss adds silvery elegance to many trees.



Lotusland is in the heart of a residential area, so reservations are required to visit.  Even if you cannot plan your trip for when the legendary lotus’ are in bloom in early summer, there are many many spectacular plants that are well worth a trip.





If you are not heading to the Santa Barbara area anytime soon, here are some of our favorite tips we discovered at Lotusland, that could even apply to a backyard (with a few fewer than 3,000 plants).


The Beauty of Spanish Moss:

Also called ‘Air Moss’ this air plant can hang from anything from trees to statues.  It takes all the substances it needs to survive straight from the air with specialized hairs called trichomes. Their beautiful silvery leaves are thin, elegant and threadlike.



Air Moss decorates a tree in Lotusland.

Air Moss decorates a tree in Lotusland.




Lion statue with a Spanish  Air Moss Mane.

A lion guarding the house gets a unique mane.



Nonconventional Arbors:


Veering away from the traditional (Grapes, Wisteria, or the climbing rose), two arbors at Lotusland celebrate the more atypical starting with Austalian Tea Tree and then citrus.


The Australian Tea Tree Arbor at Lotusland.

The Australian Tea Tree Arbor at Lotusland.



Australian Tea Tree works beautifully because it can be easily trained into many differing formations.  Young plants can be planted very close together and lower growth easily pruned away.  It does best in full sun to partial shade.  Once established it is both drought tolerant and salt tolerant.  It’s weeping branches and shaggy trunk offer both texture and personality to the garden.



The citrus arbor at Lotusland.

The citrus arbor at Lotusland.




Citrus trees can work beautifully in an arbor because they are medium to small trees and can also be trained.  Beyond providing an abundant supply of succulent fruit they add the most beautiful pop of color.  Citrus trees require frost-free climates with rich and loamy soil, full sun and regular water.



Hang an Orchid Cactus in Dappled Shade:



Orchid Cactus hanging in the shade at Lotusland.

An Orchid Cactus hanging in the shade at Lotusland.



The Orchid Cactus is native to the tropical forests of Mexico and Central America.



Orchid Cactus Blossom up close.




They make beautiful hanging baskets especially from other trees and many varieties flower often throughout the year.


Orchid Cactus at Lotusland.



They like filtered sunlight with heavy morning sun that is bright but not as strong as afternoon sun.  The Orchid Cactus is an Epiphyte, meaning they can grown on other plants directly.



In Part Two we will delve right into Madame Walksa’s Blue Garden….



Ganna Walksa






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