Merry Christmas …

2013 Xmas Tree[photo credit: photo by adza ]

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Men’s Style: Out & About In Winter White …

I think one of the reasons I have had such a hard time getting into the holiday spirit is because I have not been dressing the part.  It’s hard to be full of Christmas cheer when you are sweating in short sleeves and flip flops. The mild climate is one of the many wonderful things about living in Northern California but the East Coaster in me prefers my Christmas season to be cold, snowy and blanketed in white.  Evidently Mother Nature heard my silent pleas and sent a cold snap across the country.  While this cold front caused a major case of the “bah humbugs” among most people, for me it was a welcome icy kick in the bum to knock me off my grumpy perch.

Inspired, I quickly pulled together a new set of looks for my annual Men’s Style series that celebrated the emergence of wintery holiday season but with my unique (and at times warped) take on dressing.  Kicking things off, I am doing the unthinkable – championing Winter White.  For some reason this hue (or lack thereof) seems to scare almost everyone but one I find incredibly chic.  Winter white is the perfect base upon which to layer a fun coat and pile on the accessories.  Paired with a pair winter boots and you may have the perfect out to run errands or deliver your perfectly wrapped gifts to family and friends who are too afraid to venture into the frigid holiday wonderland…….

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[trenchcoat: black fleece for brooks brothers//turtleneck: ralph lauren purple//pants: kenneth cole//boots: coach]

Jonesing for your own winter white outfit?  See below for a modified twist on what I consider to be a holiday [outfit] classic…….

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Check back next week for a special edition of Men’s Style: Holiday Edition talking to the point of what to do when the invitation states “black tie”…..

[photo credit:  aubrie pick//styling: courtney lake]

Check me out on PinterestTwitter and Insta.gram for more musings on design, food and just plain randomness. You can also find me at my online shop for Joy & Revelry.

Hosting Guests For the Holidays….

I am lucky enough to have a guest room to host out of town guests.  It’s a luxury I don’t take for granted having myself spent many a night on a blow-up mattress or a pull-out couch.  However, with real estate prices skyrocketing and new construction being slim on square footage, the “guest bedroom” is a quickly going the way of the dodo bird.  So for my SheKnows.com column, I show how you can give a room dual purpose with a few simple items and a little forethought……

Dual Use Room

The room may look familiar because it is what we use to call the “Music Room” at the house.  Well it now subs as the “headquarters” for the growing business and an overnight guest if we happen to have two guests staying at the same time which oddly we have on more than one occasion!

More changes coming to the house and to the business that I can’t wait to fill you in on.  But until then, check out how to make the most out of the space you have when guests are in town!

[photo credit:  photo by adza//styling: courtney lake]

Check me out on PinterestTwitter and Insta.gram for more musings on design, food and just plain randomness. You can also find me at my online shop for Joy & Revelry.

Motivational Monday: Holidays…

Shaw Holiday Quote

It’s the beginning of December and I can feel the “bah hum bugs” starting to erupt.  One of the things about being the occasional stylist is that I find myself more often than not thinking about holidays several weeks if not months before they actually start.  Christmas planning started in September and decorating commenced in October in tandem with Halloween and Thanksgiving.  The poor kids that visited my house on Halloween were confused as they saw a house with split personalities – garland on the staircase, pumpkins on the stoop and a horn-of-plenty on the kitchen island.  It all read like a case of Hoarders: Holiday Edition and I am positive I may be the source of one child’s “decor PTSD”.

It all came to a head during Thanksgiving when I found myself in a post- turkey haze thinking about Valentine’s  Day decorations.  WHAT?!?  I am in a perpetual state of “holidaze” and it needs to stop for my creativity and sanity!  So I am front loading the blog up with some amazing posts on food, decorating, holiday gifts and some very special libation made exclusively for me by two fantastic mixologists (check by tomorrow).  In addition, I have a special holiday fashion feature I will be sharing to ensure that the man in your life stays on your nice list this year!

I am pushing hard to ensure that when Christmas does roll around, I will be all set and ready to kick-back and relax.  And that is what I wish for each of you this season, the opportunity to sit back and relax!  Cheers…..

[photo credit: courtney lake]

Check me out on PinterestTwitter and Insta.gram for more musings on design, food and just plain randomness. You can also find me at my online shop for Joy & Revelry.

 

Recipe: Green Bean Saute ….

We are going to take a bit of a break from Motivational Mondays as we enter the holiday season.  I figured why serve you up some inspirational sayings about the holidays and keeping calm when I can show you how to do it!

I stress out about many things; work, relationships, global warming, will Olivia on Scandal ever find true love….you know, those important things in life.  However, one thing I don’t stress out about is holiday meals.  Maybe it’s because I spent years planning corporate events or my brief stint in culinary school but I created some “rules” to insure I don’t end up in some corner clutching a turkey crying.  I mentioned last week that I was lucky enough to share those rules with the ladies at Joyus.com in a video segment on how to host the perfect party.

One of the questions during the show was about how to handle ensuring that food comes out at the same time and is still warm.  Unless you have a commercial size kitchen, it can be difficult to time it perfectly to ensure that all your food comes out precisely 5 minutes before dinner begins.  I recommend you invest in a good quality chaffing dish and think about what items can be served at room temperature.  I love making side dishes that can be served hot or at “cold” for a meal.

I recently perfected my recipe for green beans with mushrooms and roasted red peppers and couldn’t be happier with it.  Fancy enough to serve during the holidays yet super quick to put together.  However, the best part is that it tastes even better at room temperature or out of a fridge for a late night ‘nosh fest……

Green Bean Saute #2

Ingredients

  • 1 pounds green beans, trimmed and cut in half
  • Coarse salt
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 Portobello mushroom caps, halved and thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup dry sherry
  • 1/4 of a cup jarred roasted red pepper slices*

Directions

Blanche green beans in salted boiling water for approximately 4 minutes. Drain green beans and place in sauté pan on moderate heat. Add oil and butter to the pan. Add garlic and sauté for 4-5 minutes. Add mushrooms and season with salt and pepper. Saute mushrooms 3 to 5 minutes and add green beans back to the pan.

Add sherry and simmer for 2 minutes. Transfer green beans to serving bowl and add roasted red pepper slices. Lightly toss and finish with salt and pepper.

*Feel free to substitute home-made roasted red peppers but be sure to add 1 additional tablespoon of olive oil.

[photo credit: photo by adza //recipe & styling: courtney lake]

Check me out on PinterestTwitter and Insta.gram for more musings on design, food and just plain randomness. You can also find me at my online shop for Joy & Revelry.

Thanksgiving Help from SheKnows.com & Joyus.com ….

Can you believe that this time next week that it will be Thanksgiving?!?  Kinda crazy right?  Well don’t stress out because I teamed up with two different partners to show you how to avoid the Thanksgiving “craziness” ……..

Joyus Screenshot

The online retailer Joyus.com invited me onto their web talk show to discuss my short cuts and tips on throwing a stress-free holiday party and creating beautiful holiday tablescapes.  In the segment I show three different table settings that can take you from Thanksgiving all the way through New Years without breaking the bank or you in a cold sweat!  It’s all about creating a fun and easy approach to decorating.

Courtney Lake Thanksgiving Buffet

For my monthly column at SheKnows.com, I am talking about how to set up a Thanksgiving Buffet.  Whether you are opting for a more relaxed holiday this season or a simply don’t have the room in your abode, I show how you can create a beautiful buffet that will wow your guests and leave you with time to still enjoy the meal!

And next week for all you procrastinators still in need of a menu, I break down my picks for simple, quick and yummy Thanksgiving dishes!  So relax I got you covered this holiday season!  Now I just have to follow my own advice and get started!  Sometimes the “teacher” is the worst pupil.  Now if you will excuse me, I need to start planning own menu…..

[photo credit:  joyus.com//photo by adza]

Check me out on PinterestTwitter and Insta.gram for more musings on design, food and just plain randomness. You can also find me at my online shop for Joy & Revelry.