Archive | December, 2011

New Year’s Appetizers

30 Dec

We’re having some friends over to ring in the New Year tomorrow night.  And instead of a sit down dinner, everyone is bringing a few appetizers and sweets so we can casually eat all night!

I’m heading over to City Provisions Delicatessen tomorrow morning to create the ultimate local artisan cheese and charcuterie platter.  Next stop will be Chicago’s Downtown Farmstand for fresh bread, local crackers, and veggies for dips.  Chris is still deciding on what sweet he’s going to make but whatever it is, I know it will be awesome!

For the dips, my absolute favorite is Buffalo Chicken Dip.  My old colleague, Brett, from Prada gave me the recipe years ago.  He brought the dip to a party and I was immediately hooked!  It’s definitely decadent but so worth it on special occasions!  I serve it with tortilla chips, celery, and carrots.  And I’m also going to try my friend Dru Ann’s go-to Pan-Fried Onion Dip recipe from The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook for the veggies and crackers.  I’ve never made it before, but it sounds so darn good! Here are both recipes, in case you’re looking for a good dip for tomorrow night or the football games on Sunday!

Happy New Year!!  Here’s to all of us having the best year yet!


Cozy Chic Favorites

22 Dec

This holiday season, I’m all about being comfortable but stylish.  A shimmery, smokey eye, rosy lips, and a great fragrance complete your overall look.  Check out some of my favorite finds for a comfy look with a lot of style.

1.  Knitted Faux Fur Placket Coatigan, TOPSHOP  2. Sakie Cloak & Nylon Down Jacket, MONCLER  3. Donegal Wool Shawl Cardigan, J.CREW  4. Flat Faux Shearling Boots, STELLA MCCARTNEY  5. The Evening Duo Eyeshadow, CHANTECAILLE  6. Grey Felt Shopping Tote, CHANEL  7. Carnal Flower by Dominique Ropion Parfums, FRÉDÉRIC MALLE  8. Charcoal Mukluks, MANITOBAH  9. Lip Chic in Calla Lily, CHANTECAILLE  10.  Long Sleeve Maxi Tee Dress, HEATHER

Explore the Store: Tory Burch Chicago

20 Dec

I live practically around the corner from the new Tory Burch store on Oak Street.  The other day I was walking by so I thought that I’d pop in and check out the new space.  When I walked in, I felt like I had entered Tory Burch’s home.  The navy lacquered walls, gorgeous upholstered furnishings, and gold painted ceilings made the shopping experience feel intimate and glamorous.  I seriously didn’t want to leave and I’m sure the store’s fabulous manager, Amy, could attest to that!  I think I explored every nook of the store my first time through!  And I’ve been back twice since then picking up pieces I couldn’t stop thinking about!

Below are some of the standout items I saw and a few things I purchased over the last couple of weeks that I now covet.  If you’re shopping the Mag Mile this holiday, do not forget to pop into Tory!!

Reviving Family Traditions

19 Dec

With the pending arrival of our first child sometime within the next six weeks, Christmas has taken on a few new meanings this year.  Chris and I have both become very nostalgic for holiday traditions our parents carried out when we were kids. And we’ve both been sharing warm memories of holidays past.  It’s crazy how memories can flood your mind when triggered in a moment!

Before Thanksgiving, Chris started searching the web for the above Christmas tree ornament, which he finally found on Ebay.  They were called “Elf Balls” in his house growing up but we’re both trying to come up with another name for it…  The red line is a seam that opens the ball in two, leaving a hollowed out section in the middle of the ornament for gifts.  Every year, Chris’ mom and dad would fill his Elf Ball with little token presents leading up to Christmas.  It was one of the things he most looked forward to every year and now we’re excited to start the tradition with our son next year!

Since we have the Elf Ball on our tree, I have a feeling the Elf knows and may visit our apartment this year for Chris…and maybe even today!


Holiday Decorating with Design Guru Mark Sikes

16 Dec

Mark Sikes (left). The front door wreath (right) was fragrantly designed with evergreen, eucalyptus, & bay leaves. Inset- Mark's home on the cover of the December/January issue of House Beautiful magazine.

I’ll never forget my first day of work at Banana Republic corporate in San Francisco.  I lived in Pacific Heights on Broadway and Gough and had to walk down a hill to Union Street to catch a bus to work.  Having just arrived from NYC and having never been to SF before, except to find an apartment and interview, I really didn’t understand what it meant to walk down a hill in 90 mm Manolos!  Let’s just say, I learned real quick and the hard way to never do that again!!  I nearly broke my neck toddling down the hill, picking up waaay too much speed in the end!  Fortunately I didn’t fall!

My heels went into my bag until I arrived at work after that.  My impetus to continue to wear my Manolos, Louboutins, and Pradas to work was purely to see the look on Mark Sikes‘ face when he’d see my shoes.  Seeing as I was an Accessories Editor at Vogue and Marie Claire in NYC before moving to SF, I had fantastic shoes! The conversation usually started the same when Mark would spot my shoes.  Mark’s head would tip back a little and he’d shout, “Doll!”  I always felt better getting Mark’s seal of approval on my shoes or bags or clothes because he’s always had incredible and impeccable taste!

Mark launched his blog,, a few months ago and it’s now one of my go-to sites for home and fashion inspiration.  The December/January House Beautiful features Mark and his partner, Michael Griffin’s gorgeous Los Angeles home on the cover and inside, which they decorated themselves. The three of us worked at Banana together for several years.  Michael and I were on the Women’s Merchandising team and Mark was on the Visual team, building out all of the product vignettes and décor for the stores.  Michael is now the EVP of Lucky Brand overseeing the Design, Product Development, Marchandising, Planning, Distribution, Wholesale and Outlet teams and Mark is a Retail Consultant, Interior Designer, and Blogger extraordinaire.

Mark and I were catching up a few weeks ago and I wanted to know how he decorates for the holidays so he graciously agreed to share some gorgeous photos of their home and decorating tips with OnMyPlate.

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