Turkish Towels For The Win

Image from Bath Style.

Image from Bath Style.

I have never uttered or written the phrase “For the win” until now: I was saving it for something special. And that something special has presented itself in the form of Traditional Turkish Towels.

Turkish Towels are also known as Pestemals and Foutas, which sound like delicious snacks. (fast forward to 1:14 – you won’t be sorry)

Not sure where I have been since the 18th Century when such towels first made their appearance, but I purchased them on a whim a month ago and they’ve made an awesome addition to my already fulfilling life.

Photo by Bathstyle.

Image from Bath style.

They’re…

handsome

reasonably priced

super absorbent

super soft after a few washings

quick to dry 

lightweight for travel

naturally smell and mold resistant

easy to conceal in your luggage if you visit a friend who owns questionable towels, or visit Your Hometown.

Photo courtesy of SNL

Photo courtesy of SNL.

 You can use them for…

Awesome & affordable gifts

Sarongs or scarves

Tablecloths

Beach-ing

Pool-ing

Gym-ing

Shower-ing

Trips to Turkey

They are much sexier to wrap around your post-swim body than a bulky Pedestrian Towel. Just ask these sexy beasts:

Image from Turkish-T

Image from Turkish-T.

Image from Turkish – T.

And, they have been known to make frequent appearances on world-famous beaches such as St. Tropez and Cannes, where people apparently aren’t allowed to carry their own umbrellas. 

Asshat.

Asshat.

On a recent yoga retreat to Maya Tulum, (no words) the beach towels we were advised to bring took up about 50% of our suitcases. For shame!

 Here is where I bought mine. Depending on the day, they are as low as $10 each.

After reading this, you are probably wondering how you have survived thus far without Turkish Towels in your repertoire. I’m not sure either. (slowly shakes head)

Image from Burke Decor.

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Posted in Favorite Finds, Party Planning

Rockstar Feta, Sundried Tomato & Rosemary Spread

Photo by Julie Maigret

Photo by Julie Maigret

I don’t use the word “Rockstar” lightly, people. I should be charging thousands of dollars for this recipe but, no, it’s yours for free.

It’s so good that when I dropped and shattered a freshly made jar all over my kitchen floor the other day, I literally jumped up and down screaming, “NOOOOOOOO!!!” and felt murderous the rest of the day.

Ingredients:

Olive Oil
Balsamic Vinegar
handful of fresh Rosemary
lemon or orange slices – 2 to 3
Feta cheese – about 5 ounces
garlic – about 3 cloves
sundried tomatoes – about 4 ounces
salt (optional)
crackers

Getting started:

I recommend using a Swing Top Glass Jar with a rubber seal and clamp lid, but if you don’t have one handy, a simple Mason Jar will do. Mason jars are so in right now, that they’re not even in any more. So they are totally cool again.

The Swing Top Glass Jars really present well, and we all know how important it is to awe your dinner guests with your impressive kitchen prowess. They will be talking about you for weeks!

This is Trader Joe’s Spanish Olive Oil, which was written up in Bon Appetit as their #1 best tasting reasonably priced olive oil. It was in their steamy “Supermarket Standoff” expose from ‘11. Also shown is my favorite expensive olive oil, Ardoino Extra Virgin Olive Oil from Italy. Use only for visits from Barack Obama or Timothy Olyphant.

Photo by Julie Maigret

Photo by Julie Maigret

And Trader Joe’s Julienne Sliced Sun Dried Tomatoes In Olive Oil.

Photo by Julie Maigret

Photo by Julie Maigret

Grab some orange or lemon slices. This orange is from our tree that I almost asked my gardener to cut down last week WHAT WAS I THINKING?

Photo by Julie Maigret

Photo by Julie Maigret

I swear by Pink Himalayan Sea Salt, and it is rumored to be the healthiest of salts.

Photo by Julie Maigret

Photo by Julie Maigret

Can’t recommend these crackers highly enough. They are gluten free and will knock your socks AND your shoes off. Well worth the $8 price tag, imho.

Photo by Julie Maigret

Photo by Julie Maigret

Process:

Fill jar about 1/3 full with Olive Oil
Add 1 tablespoon of Balsamic Vinegar
Add freshly chopped Rosemary
Mix well
Add 2 citrus slices
Add finely chopped Feta cheese
Add chunky crushed garlic pieces
Mix well(er)
Add sundried tomatoes with some of the olive oil from the jar
Add about 1/2 teaspoon of salt (optional)
Mix well(est)
Fill the rest of the jar with Olive Oil, and additional Rosemary and citrus slices for effect

Photo by Julie Maigret Photo by Julie Maigret

It’s ready to serve right away, as it seems to instantly marinate.

Photo by Julie Maigret

Photo by Julie Maigret

Look at this gorgeousness:

Photo by Julie Maigret Photo by Julie Maigret

As long as the liquid covers everything, this should last in your fridge for a few weeks. The oil gets a bit congealed, which makes it less pretty, but makes it taste even better. Lose/Win.

And, did you know that sheep and goat’s milk cheese are often well tolerated by our lactose free friends? And enemies, too, I suppose. But screw them, am I right?

The gorgeous cheese board was made by my friend, C.C. Boyce. Her Etsy shop is here, and its spectacular.

And stunning plates are by Kate Spade.

Photo by Julie Maigret

Photo by Julie Maigret

Hope you like!

xoJ

All photos by Julie Maigret.

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Posted in Food, Party Planning, Recipes

Favorite ETSY Finds, Part 1

I so enjoy Etsy. You never know what you might find inside this Cyber Den of Uniquity.

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Like these 2 barstools I purchased last year and re-upholstered in this gorgeous slate grey leather. Wait a minute? (Shameless Bragging Alert) Are those the same barstools that reside in the Draper Residence? Why yes, they are.

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Just look at Don being a shitty father to Sally & Bobby & Gene as they breakfast on these super stylish stools.

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And being a shitty husband to Megan, as said barstools silently judge him. (This is not representative of what goes on in our house, btw.)

As much as I love Etsy, I do not, however, enjoy doing a search that yields 4,291 results to labor through. No matter how solid my resolve, I usually make it through about 1% of the results before getting distracted by something sparkly out of the corner of my eye. And I suspect I am not alone. So allow me to make things easier for you by sharing some of my über groovy finds in a series entitled “HJM’S Favorite Etsy Finds”. I realize I am not traveling uncharted territory here, but there are enough things on Etsy to keep hundreds of bloggers busy all year round. Some of my current faves:

Twiggy Watercolor

Twiggy Watercolor

Encouraging Print

Encouraging Print

Perfect next to your biggest mirror. I especially love that they used “You’re” properly because WHAT THE HELL PEOPLE?

Gold Faux Deer Antlers

Gold Faux Deer Antlers

Gold Table Top Rhino

Gold Table Top Rhino

FAUX TAXIDERMY!

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This adorable saying, of course, runs the risk of going the route of “Keep Calm and OMG I AM SO SICK OF EVERY INCARNATION OF THIS” but that’s what makes it cool.

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These Hooligan Pug and Hooligan Cat T-shirts. So damned cute I can barely stand it.

There you go. My Christmas List 2013. Stay tuned for more. xoj

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Posted in Favorite Finds

Look what’s back!

When the folks at Shu Uemura stopped carrying their amazing eyelash curlers in the U.S., I was sad. Very sad.

Image

But look what is back with a vengeance….the best eyelash curler ever.

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And I am not kidding. I curled my eyelashes last night around 8pm, and when I woke up this am, it was if the Eyelash Fairy had visited me in my sleep and bestowed her bountiful blessings upon me.

Creepy-cool.

It truly puts other curlers to shame. Even the highly rated Kevin Aucoin curler, which used to be great, but then one day became not good – like they suddenly moved production to China or something.

Side note alert:  check out this fascinating article about make-up artist Kevin Aucoin’s life and death.

I’m hoarding a few Shu Uemuras in case they discontinue them again. (Shudders.) You can find them on Amazon.

Good luck and happy curling. WE ARE ALL GONNA LOOK FABULOUS.

* SIDE NOTE: Just want to make sure everyone knows that eyelash curlers need to be replaced about every 2 months or so. I know, terrible for the environment. Terrible.

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Posted in Favorite Finds

Detroit Trash is my new… um… Treasure. God, that’s bad.

Sam

This is Sam. I met her at her booth at the Silver Lake Farmers’ Market held on Tuesdays at Griffith Park/Sunset.

Department of Water

She has a family business called Detroit Trash, offering jewelry created using tiny pieces of American history.

Knives

Much of their stuff is from the 20s through the 50’s … little tchotchkes such as antique bullets, clocks, keys, mini harmonicas & whistles (that work!) and hotel room tags….so every piece used for each necklace has a story. So cool.

Check out these1950’s pocket knives that Sam told me used to be given away as carnival prizes. Carnival prizes have fallen VERY FAR SINCE THEN, in my opinion. And probably yours. I bet not one carnival prize from the last decade can be used to clean your nails or mini-shiv someone. Not one. Unfair.

Ford Keys and watches

Keys Watches

You can even build your own necklace with hundreds of these super cool items to choose from, like vintage curiousities from Ford Motors, mini bullets & guns, typewriter keys, and high school locker tags …. what can be more American than that? You owe it to yourself and your country to check them out.

Malibu

I built my own necklace using, among other things,  a vintage tag from the Ford factory in Detroit, mostly because my first car was a 1967 Ford Mustang. Except that my first car was actually a hideous 1975 Chevy Malibu that had been virtually destroyed by my mom and never been fixed. A horrible cross for a 17 year old to have to bear, in my opinion.

Say Anything

Except that it did mean that I had something in common with Lloyd Dobler.

Mustang

But my second car was a 1967 Ford Mustang. Except that the car was technically my parents’ and I drove it once in a while. In any event, my new necklace could make a nice conversation piece. Or a terribly boring one. Sorry.

Peachey Chewing

And after you pay (most necklaces go for $20 – $40), you think you are done being charmed but IT’S NOT OVER YET because they hand you your loot in a Peachey Chewing Tobacco stash bag. Peachey indeed.

You can purchase their loot online here. But if you are lucky enough to be in the LA area and can get your butt to the Silver Lake CFM on Tuesdays or the Melrose Trading post on Sundays, I highly recommend.

Americans, represent!

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Posted in Farmer's Market, Favorite Finds

The Bestest Gluten Free Pancakes *

This is the best recipe in the world. It will make all your wildest dreams come true, much like Voting For Pedro did back in ‘04.

Pancakes

I use Fage Greek Yogurt instead of the soy yogurt the recipe calls for. Because soy creeps me out. It’s the most genetically modified food, you know. Despite what your uncle who is President of Soy tells you.  And I suspect they are better this way. You can also use almond milk (I do) and probably almond yogurt (haven’t tried yet).

I also add blueberries while they are cooking.

HOLY HELL, THEY COME OUT CRISPY.

Don’t send me hate mail if you deviate from my tips above and waste 25 minutes of your life that you will never get back. I accept no responsibility for your actions. Also, this might be a good time to ask yourself why you feel the need to shake things up all the time.

These are excellent with Trader Joe’s Chicken Breakfast Sausage…. and, btw, I am no longer a vegetarian.

Here’s the original recipe:

http://allrecipes.com/recipe/dairy-and-gluten-free-buttermilk-pancakes/

And here is my modification. Pick me, Pick me!

1 cup sweet rice flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs, beaten
1 1/4 cups Fage Greek yogurt
1/4 cup homemade almond milk (not as difficult as it sounds)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
(funky) fresh blueberries

Whisk the rice flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt in a larger bowl. In a smaller bowl, whisk together the beaten eggs, yogurt, milk, and oil until its well blended, and pour into the flour mixture. Stir briefly just to combine.

Heat a generously oiled frying pan over medium-high heat. MAKE SURE IT’S HOT, PEOPLE. Scoop about 1/4 cup of batter per pancake onto the pan, sprinkle generously with blueberries and cook for about 2 minutes, until sizzling. Flip the pancake and cook about 2 minutes more, until the pancake is golden brown on both sides and you are dying of hunger.

Enjoy,  y’all!

* These are actually the first Gluten Free Pancakes I have made. But I am already sure they are The Bestest.

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Posted in Recipes

How To Throw A Kick-Ass Bridal Shower!

The most important thing to remember when throwing a bridal shower is to pick a bride who has at least 10 close girlfriends who are all incredibly talented and willing to work their asses off for the cause.

This rag tag group of girls will be very easy to meld into a team of Bridal Shower Planning Badasses.

(Note to self: write script about rag tag group of girls who are melded into a team of Bridal Shower Planning Badasses.)

FOOD

Food1 Food and flowers 1

Look at the colorful food we made. The matchy-ness wasn’t even planned.

Food2

We apparently thought we were going to be feeding about 200 people with all this food. Overindulgence such as this is the reason The Taliban hates us.

Julie1

And look how happy I am to be holding this bouquet of tomatoes.

Tomatoes

You know what makes gorgeous accessories for your party table? Preserved roses that look exactly like fresh roses and last for years. So after your party you can display them in your house and not have to go to the Flower Mart until 2016. It’s a good way to save money, time and effort.

They can be found at Save-On-Crafts. Despite the terribly unimaginative name of the company, they have fantastic stuff. I dare you not to click on that link and get so lost in their offerings that, before you know it, it’s 3 days later and you’ve been fired from your job and all your plants have died due to gross negligence.

Donuts

I highly recommend Baby Cakes vegan and gluten free donuts for any and every occasion. Like to celebrate Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and/or Sunday. Salted Caramel, Coconut, Coffee Crunch. Those donuts are so good they could broker world peace. And make a vegan-donut-eater out of even the toughest meat-eating cynic (who is most definitely my dad).

Cake Pops

And cake pops are trending right now.

Photos by Bethany Nauert.

DRINKS

It’s also super trendy to feature something called a “Signature Cocktail.”

Drinks 1

And, with a little imagination, having a Signature Cocktail can make you feel like you are the purveyor of a secret underground club with no sign outside.

Drinks 2

We featured a “St. George Gin & Fever Tree Tonic”.

Joy and Drinks

It’s also a good idea to choose your tallest friend to bartend, so attendees can spot her and the bar from across the room.

Photos by Bethany Nauert.

ACTIVITIES

It’s a good idea to make sure no one gets bored, or you will quickly become known around town as a “Failure.”  So plan a few interactive activities for your guests.

LASH BAR

Lashbar 1 Lashbar 3

If one of the bridesmaids is a make-up artist, you should set up a lash bar for her to (wo)man.

Lashbar 2

Photos by Bethany Nauert.

COCKTAIL RINGS & PARTY FAVORS

Cocktail rings 1 Cocktail rings 2

If they can tear themselves away from the donuts, your girlie guests will enjoy making their own cocktail rings. Scenic view optional.

Party Favors

And little ring dishes to house said cocktail rings make excellent party favors. Look how beautifully these dishes were wrapped in kraft paper & pages from a book adorned with buttons. I wish I could take credit for these but they were made by another Badass Team Member.

DRESS UP

Ask your guests to dress for a daytime cocktail party.

Lady shoes

Yes, I am 100% certain that at least one guest did not show up because she did not want to dress up. But, MORE FOOD FOR ME, I say.

Many of the dresses that were worn were purchased from Shareen Vintage in downtown LA. Otherwise known as ‘Store I Am Obsessed With.’

Photos by Bethany Nauert.

PHOTO BOOTH

Photo Booths have become de rigueur for parties these days.

Photobooth 1

I highly recommend Incredibooth for your iPad. It’s only $9.99.

Photobooth strip 1 Photobooth strip 2 Photobooth strip 3

Design Sponge turned me on to it right here.

Gold Gun

One Bridal Shower Planning Badass contributed a boat-load of props –  her dad’s vintage hat collection, princess hats,  pirate eye patches, feather boas, etc.

I contributed my trusty gold faux handgun. It looks like it’s right out of “End Of Watch”, right?

Photo by Bethany Nauert.

No Shame - Strip

And some of us had absolutely no shame and acted out scenes we made up. Scenes in which the hostess is shot by an old timey scoundrel she obviously thought was her friend.

Michelle and Jack

It was also discovered that, along with your jaunty vintage hats, it is sometimes a good idea to use an amicable cat as a Photo Booth prop. Look at him hamming it up.

Right after this, he scratched her eyes out.

Just kidding.

He is so amicable.

MISC TOUCHES

Have a really good photographer (ME) take Engagement photos of the happy couple.

Misc Touch 1

Guests will be impressed by your technological savviness when you feature shuffling photos from the shoot on your tv. You may or may not reveal that it was actually all your tech-savvy husband’s doing because you’re kind of a boob about stuff like that.

Photos by Bethany Nauert.

This way

You can also use photos from the Engagement Shoot to make signs directing attendees to the party.

Engagement photo by Julie Maigret.

Guests

Also, take a group shot. True, hardly anyone ever really looks good in a group shot, and at least 20% of the people will have their eyes shut, but take one anyway because they are nice to have around. And you never know when one of the attendees will become famous and you can sell the photo on Ebay for millions.

Photo by Bethany Nauert.

Captain and Julie

Finally, marry an awesome man who will stick around for the entirety of the shower and replenish cocktails and wash all the dishes for you. This really happened…. I know, right??

Thanks, Handsome Rob, Captain to my (Bandita) Tennille.

And thanks to the Bridal Shower Planning Badasses for making it such a pleasure to honor our beloved friend.

xoj

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Posted in Bridal Shower, Food, Party Planning

Totally Stealing This Idea Next Time I Design A Key Store.

How cute is this display I happened upon at Stripe in Santa Cruz? I never knew keys could be so cool. Before this, they were just things I lost all the time. Just kidding. I’m way too Type-A to lose things. Except, on occasion, my marbles and temper.

The store is a little gem in an otherwise standard downtown shopping area. And my friend’s awesome book practically slapped me in the face on my way in. That is Lizzie Garrett Mettler’s “Tomboy Style” and it’s a supercool read. Buy it now.

Let’s talk about all the detail in the dressing room…a “Ring For Service” cowbell? Vintage postcard wallpapered ceiling? Soothing green tone that cushioned the blow when I tried on those jeans that made my ass look big(ger)? Yes, please.

Well done, Santa Cruz. Well done.

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Posted in Favorite Finds

Love For The Love Print

Check out this fabulous LOVE print by Jen Ramos from Made By Girl. I mean, REALLY?

Love-1

Yes, really.

Jen was nice enough to donate one of these prints to the homeless shelter where I co-designed a few rooms. All I had to do was ask.

So she is kind AND talented. My kind of girl. Or, the kind of girl I strive to be. With mostly tenuous results.

Love-2

Need a groovy gift for the bride-to-be? Look how happy by BFF was when I gifted her with this. Right after this photo was taken, she started doing backflips all over the room.

(Photo by the fabulous Bethany Nauert)

And notice how pleased I look with myself for giving her the best gift in the world.

Lips

Natch, she has other cool prints, like these lips. Gotta get me some of these lips. And more wall space. And liposuction. But that is neither here nor there.

Merci Oui

And what about these French-themed prints?

We all need more French things in our lives, if you ask me. French fries. French Bulldogs. French Doors. French Laundry. French Kissing. French Horns. French Wine. French Exits.

FrenchStewart

And, heck, why not more French Stewart?

All these prints (except for French Stewart – insert sad emoticon) can be found here.

Get some now, and help me thank Jen for her generous donation for homeless women!

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Posted in Affordable Art, Bridal Shower, Favorite Finds

Congratulations Are In (Short) Order

On March 30th, my best friend got married. I was the Matron of Honor, requiring me to do a toast in front of her 100 guests. Me. Microphone. 200 eyes. 200 ears. 1 chance.

For the weeks leading up to that day, I was a wreck. I, admittedly, was consumed by my own fear of impending public humiliation instead of thinking of the bride. I so should have been fired. Which is why I didn’t tell her this until after the wedding.

I get nervous even being in the audience of an improv show. You know, for the performers. To make these total strangers more at ease, I like to have a steady stream of nervous laughter dribbling from my lips throughout the show, regardless of where it falls on the hilarity spectrum. I am an improvisational actor’s best friend. You’re welcome.

The last time I had to speak in front of a large audience was in 5th grade.  I managed to inexplicably nab a small but coveted speaking part in our school play, which found me depositing two sentences into a microphone in a rapid whisper that absolutely no one heard. And I did it twice, the same way, in the morning show and the nighttime show. I like to tell myself that I was aiming for consistency. Nailed it!

How was the ceremony? I heard it was lovely. I dunno. I was rehearsing the toast in my head while I stood next to the bride. Over and over and over again. Until I wanted to throw up.  I fear watching the wedding video, as I am quite certain my lips were moving the whole time. As if I was perhaps putting a voodoo curse on the new couple. (I wasn’t.)

But somehow, I managed to pull it off, and, according to some, deliver the best toast they have ever heard. In their ENTIRE LIVES.

So yesterday, exactly 6-1/2 weeks after the wedding, I thought about the toast. And realized that I did a really good job. Wait… an EXCELLENT job.

This is both awesome and tragic, because I clearly focus too much on the things I do wrong, and not enough on the things I do right.

Time to change that. So basically, I wanted to ask if I could publicly toast you. Please?

Just kidding. Don’t ask me to do that. Don’t even joke about it. Because I will cut you.

Ling-Ka-and-Michael1

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Posted in Wedding Toasts