happy halloween!


{pictured above} Blue Cheese Ricotta Dip and Mummy Dogs from bhg.com, and Pumpkin French 75 and Blackberry Widow cocktails from cocktailtimes.com.

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nantaka joy website launch!

A big congrats to Joy of Oh Joy! on the official launch of her website featuring her gorgeous new stationery line: nantanka joy. Beautiful work!

nantanka joynantanka joy

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the blog has a new look!

Hostess with the Mostess BlogIf you’ve been here before, you might notice that the blog has undergone a mini-makeover today! In addition to a roomier layout and an updated header, here are a few totally NEW things you’ll now find at Fabulous Finds & Inspiration:

• Categories {right side-bar, top}
At long last…all of the posts have been labeled and categorized by subject matter to make it easier for you to find exactly what you’re looking for!
• Fabulous Reads {right side-bar, below archives}
Find great entertaining-related posts and articles from around the web. Updated weekly!
• On the Menu {left side-bar, under wishlist}
We’ll feature yummy recipes here for everything from drinks and appetizers to main courses and desserts. Updated weekly!

We really want the HWTM blog & website to be a great resource for you – so please let us know what your feedback is and what else we can do to continue to improve. Thank you!

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pretty little bowls

These ceramic graphic bowls from Urban Outfitters are pretty sweet. Available in 4 different patterns for only $6 each or 4/$15!

Urban Outfitters Graphic Bowls

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Heaven & Hell Party – by Erika Lenkert

Heaven and Hell theme party

The October 07 issue of Everyday with Rachael Ray has a fantastic article by cooking/entertaining author Erika Lenkert on how to throw a “Heaven & Hell” party (and a very chic one, I might add!). This theme is of course appropriate for Halloween, but definitely not limited to this one occasion – it’s a fun excuse to party at any time of the year!

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after the fires…how we can help

San Diego Fire Images
San Diego FiresAs a resident of San Diego, the recent fires have obviously hit close to home for me, but I’ve also been pleasantly surprised at how many emails have been sent in from readers all over the country asking if there’s any way that they can help too…which is so amazing…thank you!

The volunteer efforts in San Diego county thus far have been pretty incredible – at several of the evacuation centers there were at times as many volunteers as evacuees – which is saying a lot considering how many people were displaced! However, as the immediate/emergency relief efforts wind down, the road to recovery for hundreds of families is going to be very long, and financial donations are honestly probably the best thing we can do right now in order to help rebuild the lives of the fire victims – several of whom were uninsured and lost everything.

If you’d like to make a donation, The San Diego Foundation’s After the Fires Fund 2007 is a great effort to support. Other great choices include the San Diego chapters of The Red Cross and The Salvation Army, and the San Diego Human Society. You can also donate to the entire California Wildfires relief effort via Red Cross.

And if you’d like to check out a truly AMAZING story – click here to read about how one San Diego couple survived the fire that engulfed their house by huddling in their pool as they actually watched their home burn down around them. A power line near them fell and started a fire that surrounded their house within 5 minutes, so they didn’t have any notice to evacuate. This is a truly incredible story!

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A Very Martha Stewart Halloween

Martha Stewart Halloween

Martha Stewart has a special Holiday Halloween magazine out right now that has tons of fantastic ideas if you’re looking for some last-minute Halloween inspiration. (The ideas would work just as well next year, so it’s worth picking up and saving for later too!) Added bonus – see Martha decked out as both a “glampire” and a “goddess” on this double-cover “150 bad things” and “150 good things” issue, with details on how to recreate both costumes inside! A few of my favorite entertaining-related snippets from both sides are below…

Martha Stewart Halloween{pictured above} A creepy bug made from a pitted Kalamata olive, rosemary needles (for legs) and snipped chives (for antennas) crawls along the edge of some “eye-popping soup“. And frozen blueberries in boiling water help turn carefully cracked hardboiled eggs into “spiderweb eggs“. (see magazine for full recipes & detailed instructions)

Martha Stewart Halloween

{pictured above} I LOVE this pumpkin cooler idea for a Halloween or harvest party idea!

Martha Stewart Halloween{pictured above} “Mashed Boo-Tatoes” and “Sweet Potatoes Pumpkins” (Potatoes and yams never looked so cute!)

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there’s no place like home…

We’re home! They lifted our evacuation and – aside from the smoke – things are looking good in our area! Thanks so much to everyone that posted and emailed such nice comments & messages – it honestly meant a lot to hear from you :) There is still so much devastation going on in other parts of the county though because the fire just keeps moving from one place to the next, so San Diego in general is definitely not out of the woods. It’s been hard to watch the news, but thank God for the firefighters – I don’t think anything would be standing at this point if it weren’t for them…seriously!

So we’re getting settled back in and I think life will be back to normal for us by tomorrow. I would say it would be back today – but somehow of all things I managed to end up in the emergency room today :0 I’m obviously fine since I’m posting this right now – but while trying to re-hang a painting above our bed, the corner of the painting hit an iron wall sconce (quite heavy, I might add!) that hangs next to it and knocked it off the wall and square onto my head. After the initial flash of pain I actually laughed because I was thinking how completely ridiculous what had just happened was – seriously how often does one knock a wall sconce onto their own head?! – but then realized it was bleeding pretty badly and I think I gave my husband a heart attack when I went downstairs. So back into the house then back out with a big gash in my forehead…go figure! You just never know what the day will bring, I guess…

Anyways, posting will return to normal tomorrow – and we have some fun surprises, giveaways, and charitable events happening here very soon too! So please stay tuned…

See you soon!
Jenn :)

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san diego fire update

Hi Everyone –
Sincere apologies for the lack of regular posts the past couple days. We got evacuated from our house yesterday afternoon because of the fires and went to stay with friends that lived in a different area of San Diego, then got evacuated AGAIN from that area and are now in our third location. (I’m borrowing a friend’s laptop to post this message real quick.) Not sure how much of this is showing up on national news, but it’s pretty crazy down here – and in Malibu, San Bernadino, and several other areas of Southern California. So far there have been over 300,000 mandatory evacuations!

Anyways, hopefully things will be back to normal soon and that includes posting on happier things too! Thanks so much for your patience…and for all the kind comments and emails…

Talk soon,

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not a good start to the week

San Diego Fires
In the course of less than 24 hours, San Diego has gone from it’s usual beautiful self to a frightening picture of devastating fire and smoke. The images you see above are all that we’re seeing on our local channels, and an unprecedented evacuation has already been ordered – even compared to the horrible 2003 Cedar Fire that burned 280,000 acres, 2,232 homes, and killed 15 people. The fact that this fire is already being described as “worse” – and it started less than 24 hours ago – is terribly concerning.

The biggest problem firefighters are battling is the wind. To give you an idea of how windy it is here, I was driving home with a couple friends yesterday from a baby shower about 90 miles north-east of San Diego, and the wind was so bad it literally felt like we might be blown off the road. At some points cars were going only about 15 miles per hour on the freeway because of the wind – and we saw several street signs bent in half, traffic lights shaking, and dust storms that blinded us for a few seconds. Same thing continued all through the night – howling wind, tree branches banging hard against house all night long, and ashy air that just makes your eyes constantly water. Pair this wind with fire and it’s about the worst possible combination. It’s too windy for firefighters to use their air support and the wind is carrying the fires at lightning speed. In the course of about 8 hours, we went from 2 major fires burning in SD County to 8!

Anyways, I know this is way beyond the normal scope of this blog, but I wanted to let people in other areas know what’s going on here too – and ask you to keep San Diego – and actually Southern California in general – in your thoughts & prayers. Several residents here lost their homes only 4 years ago, and it’s horrible to watch people going through this again. You could tell that one of the anchor women we were watching late last night was even having a hard time fighting back tears while she was giving updates. So if you can take a minute, please say a prayer for both the residents and the firefighters (some of who have already been severly injured). Many thanks…

SD Local News Updates: Fox 6 | NBC 39 | KUSI

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yes, please…

Modern Wedding InvitationsMartha Stewart is hosting a sweepstakes right now for a chance to win a block party for you and your neighbors (up to 100 guests!), not to mention a Toyota Highlander for all your neighbors to ooh and ah over at the party ;)

Click here for all the details – and hurry! – you have to send in a 3-minute or less video or DVD to enter, and the video has to be postmarked by Friday, October 26th. You’d definitely be the talk of the block if you won this one :)

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fabulous fall wedding invitations

There are so many great custom invitations out there, but once in a while a design is so fantastic it still manages to stand out from the crowd. Case in point – these ultra-mod wedding invitations from flickr member/web designer chocosaur. I think I’m in love too :)

Modern Wedding Invitations

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cake and milk paperie

Angeline recently emailed me about her super-cute paper shop – Cake and Milk Paperie – which offers handmade, personalized stationery & paper goods created with ribbon, felt, and cool vintage graphics – not to mention fantastic color and font options!

Cake and MilkI’m especially loving the the sweet “love birds” design. You can choose from several different color combinations for the felt birds and customize the names of your own little duo. Adorable wedding or engagement gift idea!

Cake and Milk
Visit www.cakeandmilkpaperie.com to check out all the goods! And don’t miss the very amusing “cheeky” collection – a line of notecards with fun sentiments like “haha I’m younger” “the world needs more people like you”, and “better not catch you regifting! happy birthday” :)

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skull chic for your party

I’ve been eyeing this cool “Last Meal Flatware” set from Urban Outfitters for a while now…and judging from all the other fantastic skull products that have been popping up around the web (many thanks go Halloween!) – it looks like the “fashionable skulls” trend is just as strong as ever! Here are a few fun picks for your party…

Skull Silverware and Skull Plates=

{pictured above} Last Meal Flatware Set ($38/20-pc set), and DL & Co. Porcelain Skull Plates ($180/set of 4

Skull Tray and Skull Martini Set=

{pictured above} Jeweled Skull Tray ($12.95) and Skellington Cocktail Shaker & Glassware Set (sold separately) – both from Z Gallerie. And if you can handle spending $200 on cocktail stirrers (!!) – these silver Skull Swizzle Sticks from Dean & DeLuca are pretty slick.

Skull Hand Towels=

{pictured above} Spruce up the guest bathroom at your Halloween soiree with some mood-setting candles and a couple of these ultra-mod Skull Hand Towels ($20/ea).

To check out more fun entertaining-related skull products, check out the “No Bones About It” post on Toast and Tables!

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SURPRISE GIVEAWAY: Erin Condren Design

Erin Condren DesignErin Condren Design
Okay, I have to admit I’m already envious of whoever wins this surprise giveaway…because they’re going to win a $100 gift certificate to Erin Condren Design – which is a line of some of the most adorable & contemporary personalized stationery, cards & organizers you’ll ever lay eyes on!

Erin’s super stylish family calendars & life planners were featured on both Daily Candy and Ellen. With everything from weekly calendars & to-do lists to inspirational quotes, “call-me” cards, bright stickers to highlight important dates, and lots more, Erin’s calendars & planners provide the perfect solution for managing your busy life in style. (and of course, they’re also personalized just for you!) And don’t forget to check out the super-cute holiday cards, baby announcements, notecard packs, and personalized gift labels (pictured below) – which are perfect for customizing wine bottles or holiday gifts.

Erin Condren Design
Ready to throw your name in the hat for this giveaway? Just make any comment on this post before Friday, October 12th at midnight PST for your chance to win! *Remember that anonymous comments can’t be counted – so please use your blogger login or first name/last initial. Good luck!!

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C&B Halloween

A few Halloween favorites from Crate&Barrel: Black & White Stripe Bowls, Pumpkin Scoop, Halloween Runner (spiderweb print), Halloween Dishtowels, and Lumi Candleholders.

Moonstruck Halloween Chocolates

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Halloween treats from Williams-Sonoma

These adorable kids’ skeleton aprons ($19 as shown or $24 personalized), oven mitts ($13/set of 2), and halloween spatulas ($9) are perfect for pint-sized Halloween bakers – or for keeping pumpkin carving messes or craft project spills at bay!
Williams-Sonoma Halloween

And some tempting WS treats (available online only!) for kids and adults alike…The BIG Halloween Carmel Apple with Nuts ($22), Jack-o-Lantern and Creepy Spiderweb Caramel Apples ($16.50/set of 2), and hand-crafted Halloween Truffles by celebrated Oregon chocolatier, Moonstuck ($15/set of 4)…

Hostess with the Mostess™ Halloween party ideas

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Halloween Update

Hostess with the Mostess™ Halloween party ideas4 of the new Halloween party themes are now live on hwtm.com! Still have 2 more to go…but it’s looking like they won’t be up until this weekend now unless I can figure out how to make time stand still for a few hours today (wouldn’t that be nice!). In the meantime, you can click on the image above to check out Spooky Chic Dinner Party, Modern Midnight Madness, Playful Mod Halloween (for kids & adults) and Ghoul’s Night (just for the girls!)…hope you like!

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Halloween Sneak-Peek!

New HWTM Halloween party themes will be live on hwtm.com tomorrow! (around 1pm PST) Here’s a sneak peek at 2 of the 6 new themes: “Ghoul’s Night” and “Modern Midnight Madness”…

Hostess with the Mostess™ Halloween party ideasHostess with the Mostess™ Halloween party ideas

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HWTM in InStyle Weddings!

hwtm.com got a mention in the new issue of InStyle Weddings! We’re under “Z” in The Best Wedding Websites, from A to Z! I don’t think I’ve ever gotten so excited over one sentence in my life :)

InStyle Weddings

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Inspiration Tuesday: 25 Great Cakes

…and speaking of InStyle Weddings, there are some great articles in the new Fall issue with lots of inspiring ideas. I’m especially loving these creative cakes from their 25 Great Cakes article, which you can also view online!

InStyle Weddings

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dry bones salt & pepper shakers

I’m seriously loving these dry bones salt & pepper shakers…perfect for your halloween table! $24/set at A + R)

dry bones salt & pepper shakers

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hip halloween treats

Happy October! Halloween is coming! Here are some fun ready-made treats and themed recipes to help put you in the spirit…

Pumpkin Chocolate-Chip Cookies from Michael’s Cookies…

Michael's Cookies - Pumpkin Chocolate Chip
Cute, cool & creepy halloween recipes from Martha Stewart: Ladies’ Fingers , Chocolate Cupcakes with Orange Sprinkles , Ghoulish Petite Fours , and Tombstone Cupcakes

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