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Cookies for Kids’ Cancer: Best Bake Sale Cookbook’s Bake Sale Tips

30 Sep

September is National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month and, as it comes to a close, the need for people to continue to help support children’s cancer research is imperative.  My dear friend, Michelle Rotman Jassem,  styled the photographs for the fantastic cookbook, Cookies for Kids’ Cancer: Best Bake Sale Cookbook by Gretchen Holt-Witt. Michelle agreed to share some of her favorite tips and products for a perfectly styled bake sale with OnMyPlate.

In 2007, Gretchen Holt-Witt and her family’s life changed forever when her then 2 1/2 year son, Liam, was diagnosed with pediatric cancer.  After successfully seeing Liam through chemotherapy, radiation, a nearly 12-hour surgery, and antibody therapy in the Fall of 2007, Gretchen turned her sights on finding a way to support the doctors and researchers who needed help funding clinical trials to aid families like hers so children and families had more hope in finding cures. Hence, Cookies for Kids’ Cancer, a 501(c)3 non-profit, was born.

With the holidays coming and school activities in full gear, this is the perfect time to do your part.  The Cookies for Kids’ Cancer website gives you step-by-step instructions on how to register your bake sale, along with great tools and tips to create a successful event.  And they even sell hand baked cookies to order if you’d like to send a friend or family member a birthday, holiday, or any day treat for an exceptional cause!

Check out Michelle’s great tips and tricks below.  And don’t forget to pick up Gretchen’s Best Bake Sale Cookbook (#1 below) for awesome sweets recipes for your bake sale…or anytime!


Heritage Bicycle General Store

14 Jun

I haven’t ridden a bike in probably 20 years.  Having lived in New York City and San Francisco for the majority of my adult life, I never felt compelled to battle the streets on a bicycle.  That said, my feelings have completely changed now that I’ve met Melissa and Mike Salvatore and live across the street from the beach here in Chicago!

Melissa and Mike recently opened Heritage Bicycle General Store, a locally handcrafted bicycle store, repair shop and café extraordinaire!  Regardless if you ride a bike or not, you will want to go there for the Stumptown Coffee (one of Portland’s finest!) and delicious sandwiches and sweets.  OnMyPlate had a few questions for them…


Flower Power: Fill It With Flowers

13 Feb

I recently attended a dinner at the home of Cindy Galvin, the owner of the MAZE Home store and Bardes Interiors, in Winnetka, Illinois.  The dinner was hosted by Cindy and one of my clients, Kelly Golden, of neapolitan collection to celebrate the launch of the Paris-based fine jewelry brand, Eternamé, at neapolitan collection.  When I walked into Cindy’s house, I was absolutely blown away by the floral designs throughout her home.  I literally gasped when I walked into the dining room, the flowers and décor were so spectacular.

Cindy created all of the special décor elements for the dinner from her store, MAZE Home, which included Astier de Villatte tabletop, Vagabond Pewter tabletop accessories, Buccellati flatware, and hand-blocked printed table linens.  She worked with Sarah McCool and Nancy Chase, the dynamic duo behind Fill It With Flowers, a local floral design company, to create exquisite floral designs.  Sarah and Nancy launched Fill It With Flowers in 1998 and specialize in traditional and European style arrangements.  For this event, they used a myriad of flowers such as hyacinth, hydrangeas, ranunculus, tulips, freesia, and rose varietals and focused on European style arrangements as well as French Modern Mass (color-block) arrangements, for Cindy and Kelly’s Paris boudoir inspired dinner.

Here are some photos from the dinner featuring Fill It With Flowers’ floral designs.  I hope you are as inspired as I am for your next dinner party!


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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