Countdown Champagne Toast!

Champagne Toast CountdownI saw this coundown champagne flutes idea on yesterday and just thought it was the cutest idea for New Years! Just attach self-stick numbers (available and craft and office supply stores) to the flutes and you’re all set! (another cute idea would be to arrange champagne flutes in groups of 4 displaying “2007” with each grouping). And for a super easy decorating idea, check out this cool noisemaker centerpiece.
{images from}

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Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!It’s the time of year when everyone seems to be buzzing about the new year and how they’re going to ring it in this weekend! Whether you’re going out on the town, toasting at a big house party, or just having an intimate celebration at home with your family or a few close friends, there’s just something exciting about counting down those last few seconds of year and thinking of all the fun moments that the new year will bring!

And speaking of last seconds, I’m a little behind on posting ideas for New Years parties this year (promise next year will be way in advance! already have the ideas going…) – but I thought I’d throw in a few cool things for anyone out there that’s in a bind and still planning to run to the store or deal with overnight shipping fees! My favorite thing about New Years parties is the excuse to go all out with as much glitz and sparkle as you can find – so what could be a more fitting choice for dessert than a sparkler cake! (see below) There are a few stores online and even on eBay that offer overnight shipping of these sparkler packs, so if you’re game, here is a link to some google search results that should help you on your way.

Happy New Year!And don’t forget to pick up some mod party poppers, new years hats, festive cocktail plates, and shimmery appetizer picks and drink stirrers – such as the products shown below from (Pier 1 actually has some fun sparkly drink stirrers in store – and on sale – right now too!) Happy celebrating, everyone!

Happy New Year!Happy New Year!Happy New Year!

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happy holidays!

Hi Everyone – I’m in Northern California celebrating with family for a few days so I’m off the computer through Wednesday, but please check back Thursday and Friday for some fun New Years party ideas! Hope your holidays have been very merry so far!
Jenn :)

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HWTM on NBC San Diego!

NBC San DiegoThanks so much to NBC San Diego for featuring Hostess with the Mostess in a segment on creative host & hostess gift ideas that aired this morning! Everything that was displayed on the segment is shown below and can be found at the following stores: perpetual kid, crate & barrel, and one of my favorite new online shops: zanisa. (Also – a special thanks to my husband Sonny – who woke up with me at 4:30 in the morning to help – much appreciated!)

perpetual kid{shown above} lift & shake salt and pepper shaker, frog and dog hot heads oven mitts, hop n’ pop bottle opener, and wine lines.

zanisa{shown above} peppermint & spicy little pumpkin holiday soap set, fruit and nut chocolates, aluminum squirrel opener, and the beautiful cooks gift set (featuring a hand-crafted bowl and hand-printed fig towel!)

crate & barrel{shown above} Terra Medi™ Balsamico Vinegar and Olive Oil, modern white deep sauce dishes, snowflake soaps, and snowflake guest towels.

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holiday treats

These holiday goodies are almost too cute to eat! Scroll down for a {very yummy} visual feast to tempt your sweet tooth this holiday…

penguin cake{shown above} This Martha Stewart igloo cake with marzipan penguins is just about the cutest thing I’ve ever seen…

peggy porchen holiday{shown above} Seasonal treats from cake designer Peggy Porschen…

holiday treats{shown above} candy ornaments from, whipped cream candy cane cake from Sunset Magazine, and holiday cookie gift tins from Eleni’s NYC. (also shown below!)

holiday treatsholiday treats

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holiday apple delight

Hot apple cider has always been a holiday tradition, but here are a few savory ways to get even more creative with apples this holiday season…fun recipes from Rachael Ray – who seems to be taking over the world lately – and yummy spiced apple cocktail mix & rimmer from Stirrings.

holiday apples{shown above, clockwise from left} Apple Pie Shooter, Buttered Spiked Cider, Relax Already Apple Tea ( take a break from holiday stress!), and Caramel Apple Turnovers. {images from}

holiday apples

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bumble ink holiday collection

Looks like Santa is all holiday-partied out! I love these holiday cards by bumble ink – fun and different with a very modern twist…sure to bring a smile :) Click here to check out their entire holiday collection! {via Poppytalk}

bumble inkbumble inkbumble inkbumble ink

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Would you ever guess that a coffee table could be the life of the party? Well…check out these fabulous creations by designer Jennifer Ramos – “MadeByGirl” coffee tables that display a unique mix of modern and traditional style – and you’ll understand what I’m talking about. If you’re looking for a great conversation piece…this is it! Beautiful work, Jen! {be sure to check out the MadeByGirl blog too!}


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let it snow!

…as in snow & graham! I’m dreaming of a white Christmas with lots of snow & graham goodies like these in Santa’s {hostess} gift bag…

snow & grahamsnow & graham{shown above} japanese blossom candle ($22), coral blossom gift wrap ($3/sheet), and coral blossom boxed notes ($17/set)

snow & grahamsnow & graham
{shown above} blackberry candle ($22), blackberry gift wrap ($3/sheet), and blackberry boxed notes ($17/set)

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super cute cups…

These darling cups make me so happy just looking at them…great gift idea if you want to make someone else happy too! (top) French Bull Espresso Set – $38/set of 4. (bottom) Active Imagination Mugs from Anthropolgie – $10/ea.

cute cupscute cups

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cocktails by jenn: chocolate peppermint!

Cocktails by JennReasons why I love CBJ: 1. The obvious: they even spell “Jenn” with 2 “n”s!! 2. The individual little bottles are just way too cute. 3. Adorable packaging with built-in carrying case (no gift wrap needed!) 4. Chocolate + Peppermint = YUM. Cheers! {available at most grocery stores for around $14.99/4 pack}

Cocktails by Jenn

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last day for recipe sweepstakes!

Sweepstakes ends Friday, Dec 8 at midnight! Of course your recipes will still be welcome after the 8th and posted on – but if you can get them in by midnight tonight (PST), you’ll be included in the “What’s Cooking” drawing too – one entry for each recipe you submit – so don’t be shy! Click here to visit the original post/details. Thanks, everyone!

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HWTM Holiday #3 – Gold & Silver Shimmer!

Gold and Silver ShimmerPlanning to host a fancy-schmancy holiday dinner party? Don’t stress! Here’s an elegant, yet surprisingly easy-to-pull-off tabletop idea…mix your good china with a few shimmery, sparkly, affordable holiday decorations, add a little candlelight…and voila – easy modern elegance! Click here to download the detailed pdf.

Gold and Silver ShimmerGold and Silver Shimmer

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holiday gift ideas for the gourmet cook & contemporary entertainer

Need some gift ideas for your favorite people that love to cook and entertain? Then check out the gift guide below for some fun, useful, and out-of-the-ordinary ideas that are sure to unwrap a smile…

holiday gift ideas{shown above} You just can’t miss with personalized coasters from iomoi! Tons of hipster designs available – all of which can be customized with your favorite phrase, monogram, or name.
($90/set of 4)

holiday gift ideas{shown above} convertible colander, coral bowl, folding cutting board, vin eau carafe (with 2 red cups that fit in the top!), and salad song oil & vinegar cruets…all from the moma store.

holiday gift ideas{shown above} festive peacock tableware from Kate Spade: cups & saucers ($75/set of 4), tidbit plates ($50/set of 4), and cake plate ($100).

holiday gift ideas{shown above} Talk about affordable entertaining! I’m loving the sleek & modern Csquared product line from Colin Cowie…elegantly designed and perfectly priced. Favorites shown here: modern ice acrylic napkin rings (set of 4), modern ice 12-piece cheese set, modern ice 2-tier buffet server, and modern ice decanter & wine glasses.

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hot hostess gifts under $20!

The hours somehow got away from me today – but just in the nick of time (at least PST!) – here is the "Under $20" Hostess Gift Guide ! There are a lot of items so I’ll list the product info beneath each photo. Hope you find something you like!

hostess gift ideas {shown above} faux crocodile shaker & faux crocodile bar accessories , beer bands drink markers , & "cool cocktails " by ben reed.


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modern holiday – *pier 1*

Ohhh….Pier 1 is making me SO happy right now! I’m overwhelmed every time I visit them lately because there’s too much great stuff to make a decision…and all of their holiday merchandise – decor, gift wrap, stocking stuffers, etc – is 25% OFF right now! Here are some images to inspire you…

First up, gorgeous blue & green:

pier 1 holidaypier 2 holiday
Next up, sparkly gold & silver:

pier 2 holidaypier 2 holiday
And last but not least, festive fuschia & red:

pier 1 holidaypier 2 holiday{images from}

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modern holiday – *cb2*

Christmas doesn’t get much more mod than this! Visual treats from cb2

cb2 holidaycb2 holidaycb2 holidaycb2 holiday

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call for recipes!

HWTM is looking for some oh-so-yummy recipes to share with readers on the new website! If you have some favorites that you just love, please send them to us along with your name, country, city & state – and we’ll post them on and credit you for the recipe! Just shoot an email to and send in as many as you like – we’re looking for all categories: appetizers, desserts, main dishes, side dishes, soups, salads, cocktails…you name it!

All recipes sent in by Friday, December 8th will be entered into a random drawing to win one of 5 retro-mod “what’s cooking” recipe boxes! (comes with 50 classic recipes, divider tabs, and blank cards for your own favorites – all packaged in a cute metal box)

what's cooking!*Please note that duplicate recipes will be credited on a “first come” basis! If you’re copying a recipe verbatim from another publication, please let us know and include the name of the publication. Thanks!

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Sonya from stüsh recently sent over the link to her freshly redesigned website – which showcases her hip home accessories, original magnetic greetings line, and new line of contemporary, eco-friendly cards, dubbed “in[framed] greetings”. The envelope doubles as a standing “frame” for the message sheet! (see 2nd pic below, bottom left) How clever :) Click here to check them out for yourself.


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cocktails for coffee-lovers

Get your Starbucks™ fix in a whole new way for the Holidays! Here are some yummy holiday cocktail recipes – and fun signature drink ideas for your next party – using Starbucks™ Coffee and Cream Liqueurs. I have to say the Coco Café sounds particularly good now that the cold weather is here! (yes – sometimes it even gets cold in San Diego!)

starbucks holidaystarbucks holiday
1 part Starbucks Coffee Liqueur
1 part Starbucks Cream Liqueur
1/4 part DeKuyper Peppermint Schnapps
Shake and strain into martini glass.
Garnish with a sprig of mint.

The Candy Cane Martini

1 part Starbucks Cream Liqueur
1/2 part DeKuyper Peppermint Schnapps
1/2 part DeKuyper White Creme de Cacao
1/4 part Grenadine
Shake with ice, strain and serve in a martini glass rimmed with crushed peppermint

CoCo Café (Warm up!)
1 part Starbucks Coffee Liqueur
1/2 part DeKuyper Peppermint Schnapps
Hot Chocolate
Serve in an Irish coffee mug and top with whipped cream!

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hospitality under the influence

amy sedarisFunny-girl Amy Sedaris recently penned a much-publicized book on entertaining called I Like You (Hospitality Under the Influence)– which I finally got around to ordering last week and received in the mail yesterday. After less than 5 minutes of flipping through, it was obvious that Amy’s quirky (think “Strangers with Candy“) sense of humor is definitely not lost in this book :) It seems to be just as much about entertaining the reader as it is about instructing readers on how to entertain others.

With clever, tongue-in-cheek copywriting and kitschy 1970’s-looking imagery that is just about as un-Martha Stewart as you can possibly get – for example, Amy in a very yellow polyester jumpsuit and side ponytail, doing a toe-touch near a few potted plants – one of which is labeled “weed” – I Like Youdefinitely sets itself FAR apart from most entertaining books…so far apart it’s in it’s own genre – and I have to say I’m a fan :) Great holiday gift idea! For more info, check out the reader reviewson Amazon.

amy sedarisamy sedaris{images via}

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modern menorahs

Shraga Landesman’s beautiful menorahs are truly works of modern art! Each piece is handmade and signed by the artist. Prices range from $78 – $175 for Pewter menorahs and $220+ for solid brass. Click here to check out the entire collection. {via thisnext}

modern menorahmodern menorahmodern menorah

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french rabbit

Boxed wine has never looked so good! These adorably-packaged premium French wines by French Rabbit come in an eco-friendly Tetra Pak™ container – so they’re environmentally friendly too – I’ll toast to that!

french rabbitfrench rabbit{via fishtank}

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stylish stockings…

holiday stockingsBold, cheery stockings are a must-have holiday treat for design-lovers! Here are a few favorites that I stumbled upon recently…with patterns so cute & modern, not even a lump of coal could ruin them! Pictured above: Bull’s Eye Stockings and below: Hable Christmas Stockings – both available at Garnet Hill for $28/ea.

holiday stockings
Sooooo cute from Sprout home (pictured below) – Xmas Stocking Red/G/W & Xmas Stocking Brown/B/G. Don’t miss the white version either! ($40/ea)

holiday stockings
Bring in some serious holiday sparkle with Chunky Sequin Stockings from West Elm ($19/ea)…

holiday stockings
And last but not least, adorable stockings by Ahna Holder make me oh-so-happy! ($45 ea at 2modern)

holiday stockings

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HWTM Holiday #2 – Green & Serene

Green & Serene Holiday
Here’s the second official HWTM™ holiday tabletop! We just hosted Thanksgiving dinner at our house and this is the theme that I used…my family seemed to love it – hope you enjoy it too! This design works well for Christmas parties or non-denominational holiday celebrations too…click here to download the detailed pdf.

Green & Serene HolidayGreen & Serene Holiday

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adorable measuring spoons

bird spoons
I just can’t get enough of all the cute bird designs out there right now – and these charming little bird measuring spoons are no exception! Everything is handmade using traditional metal smithing techniques – which makes for a beautiful gift… ($85/set – includes 4 pewter spoons and copper display rack)

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designer sandwich bags

Make lunchtime more fun with these adorable designer sandwich bags from Mobi! Ten fun patterns to choose from – including dots, pink camo, stars and more. (these would also be cute little wrappers for your party favors!) $5/pack of 20 at

designer sandwich bags

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HWTM Holiday #1 – Berries & Branches

berries & branches
Hi Everyone –
We’re still working away on the main website…It’s proving to be more of a daunting task than I anticipated as the workload seems to just grow and grow – but the progress is exciting and can’t wait to share it with you when Phase 1 is ready!

In the meantime, I wanted to give you a sneak peek of what the site is all about, so I’m planning to post a few official Hostess with the Mostess™ holiday tabletop designs this week. The first design – featured today – is called "Berries & Branches " and is more of a playful design. I’ve posted a few images here, but you can get full details of how to create this tabletop by downloading the pdf (3.1 M) – which has some tabletop tips and more extensive imagery. The pdf actually follows the website template – so it should give you an idea of what’s in the works – and even more details will be available for each party theme when the website launches – including coordinating recipes & signature drink ideas for each theme.


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simrinI got my first peek at the fabulous simrin textiles collection from Grace at design*sponge a couple months ago and was thinking about them again recently, so I thought I’d share these beautiful images from their catalog with you. How often do you see tabletop linens – including coordinating table runners! – that are this fun and modern?! Their pdf catalog lists some sales and contact reps – so that might be a good place to start, but I’m having trouble finding retail locations that sell them. I’ll do some investigating in the next few days though and let you know if anything pops up…or if anyone already has some tips on this, please do share!


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rockett st. george

Ummm…!! Many, many thanks to Holly for recently sending over info on Rockett St. George – an amazing British-based design retailer. Their selection of products are a modern-design-lover’s dream! Of course I’m especially loving the entertaining products – as you can see from the fabulous dishware pictured here! – but Rockett St. George offers everything from furniture and home accessories to clothes and gifts. Click here to visit their website and experience eye-candy overload for yourself!

rocket st. georgerocket st. georgerocket st. georgerocket st. georgerocket st. georgerocket st. george

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