Best Dressed of the Week: Kate Bosworth

Hugo Boss Prize 2014

Happy Sunday, doll. Come on in and join us. We were just sitting around nibbling on a brunch of buttermilk waffles with strawberries in honor of Kate Bosworth, the winner of this week’s Sally Award for the best party look of the week. What do waffles with strawberries have to do with Kate Bosworth in a chic black and white Hugo Boss dress, you might ask?  Sure, we may have waffled a teensy-weensy bit about bestowing this week’s prize upon Kate rather than Jennifer Lawrence whose Dior party dress had everyone talking, but it’s much more cardinal than that. What the 31-year-old actress proved as she walked the red carpet on Friday at the Hugo Boss Prize party in New York City is that, sometimes, a pop of strawberry-red color is all you need to transform something delicious into something downright delectable.

Kate’s bright red pout added the perfect pop of color to this understated and elegant look from Hugo Boss’s Spring 2015 collection. What a well-timed reminder of the power of a classic red lip as we head into the holiday party season. Inspired, doll? Just be sure to choose the most flattering shade of red for you: a blue-red lipstick like Inglot’s 230 Creme works best for cool skin tones and an orange-red color like Flame by Tom Ford complements warm tones. Mwah, darlin’. Well done.

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The Perfect Thanksgiving Playlist

Lauren Bacall

Play it, Sam. Play “As Time Goes By.”

Happy Thursday, doll. It’s a week until turkey day. If you’re hosting a Thanksgiving shindig, and have been using our Party Planning Checklist as a guide, you know that, this week, you’ll need to carve out some time to think about those other drumsticks, the tunes that will comprise your party day playlist. Looking for inspiration? Feast your eyes on what we call our Turkey Top 40, the 40 best songs for Thanksgiving entertaining. Like the banquet you’ll be serving, this musical cornucopia has a little something for everyone.

  1. Flying Home – Lionel Hampton
  2. Isn’t It a Lovely Day – Jane Monheit
  3. Thanksgiving – George Winston
  4. Thank You – Dido
  5. Glad Tidings – Van Morrison
  6. Carvin’ The Bird – Charlie Parker
  7. Roots and Herbs – Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers
  8. Count Your Blessings – Diana Krall
  9. My Way Back Home – Dawes
  10. Thank You For Being A Friend – Andrew Gold
  11. Autumn Leaves – Nat King Cole
  12. Our House – Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young
  13. Autumn in New York – Ella Fitzgerald
  14. Key Lime Pie – Kenny Chesney
  15. Baby, It’s Cold Outside – Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Jourdan
  16. Thanks For The Memory – Bing Crosby
  17. Cornbread Pudding – Cyrus Chestnut
  18. Harvest Moon – Neil Young
  19. Everybody Eats When They Come – Cab Calloway
  20. All That Meat and No Potatoes – Louis Armstrong
  21. What a Wonderful World – Louis Armstrong
  22. La Vie En Rose – Edith Piaf
  23. Pass The Peas – The J.B.s
  24. Bring It On Home To Me – Sam Cooke
  25. Stuffy Turkey – Thelonious Monk
  26. At Last – Beyonce
  27. Holiday – Madonna
  28. Sweet Potato Pie – James Taylor
  29. Lovely Day – Bill Withers
  30. Thank You – Bonnie Raitt
  31. Homeward Bound – Simon and Garfunkel
  32. Apples, Peaches, Pumpkin Pie – Jay and The Techniques
  33. Gratitude – Earth, Wind and Fire
  34. I Want To Thank You – Otis Redding
  35. Simple Gifts – Jewel
  36. I Thank You – Sam and Dave
  37. Grateful – John Bucchino and Michael Feinstein
  38. Harvest For The World – The Isley Brothers
  39. Thank You For The Music – ABBA
  40. Washing Dishes – Jack Johnson

Find it on our Spotify page at Turkey Top 40.

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Introductory photo: Lauren Bacall, Young Man with a Horn, 1950
Introductory quote: Casablanca, 1942

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Tête-à-Tête: Suze Yalof Schwartz

Suze Yalof Schwartz

Make yourself at om, doll, and let me introduce you to a model of mindfulness and style. You may know Suze Yalof Schwartz already from The Today Show, Good Morning America and The View, where she used to represent Glamour and Vogue magazines, giving helpful style advice. Today, this telegenic tastemaker is a spiritual entrepreneur, the founder of a chic meditation center in Los Angeles called Unplug Meditation that’s breathing new life into the age-old practice. A SoulCycle for serenity, if you will. Our gal discovered meditation in 2012 as a way to manage her busy life as a fashion editor and mother of three, and now she’s devoted herself full-time to taking it mainstream. We were just about to pick Suze’s tranquil brain about how to deal with the inevitable stress that comes with hosting a Thanksgiving or holiday fete for family or friends. Take a deep breath, darlin’. Hostess nirvana awaits…

The hour before a party starts can be so stressful as you put the finishing touches on things, deal with last-minute issues and anticipate the arrivals. What’s the best way to manage pre-party jitters? 

Know your mantra. Mine is, “If I have fun, so will everyone else.” Know that no one cares about the details as much as you do. So, one hour before, crank your favorite music. Take 15 minutes to look good so you feel good. And, the second the first doorbell rings, just let go and connect with people. Look them in the eyeballs and be present.

Is there a specific relaxation technique you recommend that can be done easily right before your guests arrive, even when you’re all dressed up? 

The good news is that, wIth meditation, you never have to worry about breaking a sweat, so you can even use the techniques while your first guest is walking to the door. Just deepening your breath will calm you down. At Unplug, we use a technique called the Breath of Five. Inhale for a count of five, hold for five, exhale for five. This is great to do right before an event. It will put you at ease and make you feel calm.

What if something goes terribly wrong during the party – like I drop the turkey? What’s your best tip for regaining one’s composure? 

When things go wrong, take three long and deep breaths. Then laugh it off or do your best to fix it. If the food comes out raw, just order pizza. I will never forget going to the editor-in-chief’s apartment for the launch of Domino. She served cold pizza and champagne. No one cared and everyone had the best time. It is never about the food and always about the vibe.

Hotel Costes

Hotel Costes, Volume 11

What’s the best way to ensure that guests feel relaxed and at ease?

You have to set the tone from within. Then look to music – Hotel Costes on Pandora is always a good go-to – and candles. My favorite candle of all time is Ralph Lauren Pied-a-Terre. It’s a blend of French tuberose, jasmine, geranium and orange flower. And never make them take their shoes off – that’s a party killer.

What are the signs that your guests are feeling at ease?

They’re smiling, laughing, drinking and not clinging to you.

Why is it so important to utilize tools for relaxation? 

We’re so hyper-connected to technology today that people can’t even look each other in the eye any more. Everyone is so busy running around that they’re missing out on life as it’s happening. I honestly feel that everyone needs to give themselves a time out for their health and well-being. And all you need to do to get into the present moment is access your breath. Experiencing your breath helps to anchor you to the present. You don’t even need to go into a studio to do that. It’s great when you do come here though, because we can help guide you, and it’s fun and inspiring. But, if you’re not close by, you can meditate with the masters online. Sharon Salzberg is incredible and has a ton of YouTube videos. I love Andy Puddicombe from Headspace and Deepak Chopra. Meditation is so accessible.

How did you get started in meditation?

I was feeling stressed out and my mother-in-law suggested that I focus on my breathing and learn to meditate. I felt so much better after I did a breathing exercise that I also wanted to meditate, and I realized that there was no place to just pop in and do it. Every place said you have to do the intro course or the eight-week program or pay $1,400. I was like, why is there no SoulCycle for meditation? I want to build it. I’ll do this. My husband said, “You might want to learn how to meditate first.”

Unplug Meditation
Good point. So how did you go about learning?

I took every single class I could. I did the 21-day meditation series with Deepak Chopra. I took the UCLA mindfulness course. I did Vedic meditation with a private teacher. I hired private teachers. I listened to every podcast and watched howcasts all over the internet. I read all the books and watched all the videos. Then I started dropping into all the meditation studios. That’s when I realized what was effective for me, what I liked and who I found inspirational.

What changes did you notice In yourself?

One, I became a nicer mom. I was able to press my inner pause button before reacting to things. So there is now space between when things happen and how I respond. I’m more focused. I’m nicer. And little things don’t bother me anymore. That’s what it does for me. But there are people with anxiety who say it makes them feel less anxious. And people who are depressed who say it makes them feel happier. I didn’t know half the stuff that meditation could do before I opened Unplug. I’m learning as I go along.

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Unplug Meditation Photos: Marc Leibowitz

Best Dressed of the Week: Julianne Moore

Julianne Moore

Morning, luv. We were just enjoying a brunch of savory scones and tea and talking about how fabulous Julianne Moore looked earlier this week at the world premiere of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 at London’s Leicester Square. Yep, she’s our Sally Award winner for the best party look of the week. Can you blame us, doll?

Julianne MooreOur gal looked fabulous in a fitted black sheath with sheer ruched panels from Balenciaga’s Spring/Summer 2015 collection. We particularly loved the intricately woven and beaded detail at the shoulders that created the illusion of a knitted capelet over an off-the-shoulder dress. That’s what we call fashion mirage at its finest.

Julianne Moore

Julianne completed the look with strappy black sandals, also from Balenciaga, Jessica McCormack jewelry and the most perfect ponytail we’ve seen on the red carpet in a long time. Well done, doll.

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Madame Geoffrin

84750467_132885177977 (1)

Madame Geoffrin

Join us, doll, as we reminisce about the grande dame of Paris salon society, Marie Thérèse Rodet Geoffrin.

This trailblazing gal was so influential during her lifetime that she is considered to be one of the leading figures in the French Enlightenment, that little intellectual movement in 18th century France that had everyone questioning just about everything. How did she do it? Our gal was the first to elevate the Parisian salon from a noble, leisure activity to a real working space. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves.

Marie Thérèse was born in June of 1699 in Paris, the first child of Pierre Rodet, a valet de chambre, and Angelique Thérèse Chemineau, the daughter of a Parisian banker. Tragedy struck when Marie Thérèse’s mother died giving birth to her second child, a son. Soon after, Marie Thérèse and her brother were taken to live with their grandmother on the rue Saint-Honoré.


A young Marie Thérèse

As if she hadn’t already experienced enough tragédie, when Marie Thérèse was 13, an arrangement was made for her to marry a 49-year-old widower named Francois Geoffrin. Monsieur Geoffrin was a colonel in the National Guard, a prominent director in the Saint-Gobain Venetian mirror company and rather financially endowed. Apparently, he married quite well on his first matrimonial go-round. Anyway, as you can imagine, there was very little rapport between the two, but they did manage to have two children together.

It was not until Marie Thérèse was in her thirties – after years spent attending Madame de Tencin’s salon – that our brainy and intellectually curious gal was inspired to create a salon of her own. She did so with the full support of her mentor, Madame de Tencin, but decided to change things up a bit. Marie Thérèse decided to cater her salon to a more philosophical “in” crowd and hold two salons per week – one on Mondays for artists like François Boucher, Maurice-Quentin de La Tour, and Jean-Baptiste Greuze, and one on Wednesdays, for writers like Voltaire, Diderot, and Montesquieu. She also opted to serve dinner at one o’clock in the afternoon so the full day could be dedicated to discussion. Clearly, our gal meant business.


A painting depicting The Republic of Letters

Madame Geoffrin’s salon grew quickly and became the basis for the Republic of Letters, a community of scholars and literary figures that stretched across national boundaries. While she was revered by most in Paris and beyond – no foreign minister or person of note arriving in Paris failed to call on her in the hope of receiving an invitation to her salon – she had her foes. Enter the aristocratic and educated Marquise du Deffand who considered Marie Thérèse a rival and took every occasion to snub her gal and remind others of her ignoble upbringing.

Undaunted, Marie Thérèse went about the serious business of encouraging the French Enlightenment and even found the time to mentor the best up-and-coming salonnieres, notably Julie de Lespinasse and Suzanne Necker. Madame Geoffrin died at the ripe old age of 78, but not without elevating the salonnieres in 18th century Paris from ladies of leisure to agents of change. Bravo, Madame.

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The 10 Best Thanksgiving Wines

 Joan Crawford

Bread, that this house may never know hunger. Salt, that life may always have flavor. And wine, that joy and prosperity may reign forever.

Howdy, sugar. Today’s Tuesday so you know what that means. It’s time to get tipsy! Today’s tips come from 10 of our favorite Master Sommeliers – the swankiest distinction a professional can get in fine wine service – and they’re telling us which wine they’ll be serving this year at Thanksgiving dinner. Way to go to the experts for a little party guidance, right, doll? Here we go. Ladies first…

Krug Rose Champagne

Andrea Robinson: Master Sommelier, James Beard Award winner, author and television host

I’ll be serving Krug Rosé, Champagne NV. It’s a major splurge, but this is my favorite meal of the year and, since I only have to share it with my husband John, one precious bottle will do the trick. And talk about romancing the bird – a dry-brined and smoked one, in our case – rose Champagne has red wine complexity with white wine refreshment plus scrubbing bubbles that make a great counter-foil to the lusty richness of the turkey. It’s among the most food-versatile wines out there.


Alpana Singh, Master Sommelier, restaurateur and Food Network television host

I believe in serving an all-American wine on a revered American holiday so I’ll be serving a 2013 Neyers Zinfandel, Sierra Foothills, California. Intense concentrated notes of blackberries and jam make for a bold wine that will stand up to a diverse array of dishes.


Pascaline Lepeltier, Master Sommelier and Beverage Director at Rouge Tomate in New York City

I’ll be bringing a magnum of Fetembulles 2013 made by Jean-Pierre Robinot from Domaine de L’Ange Vin. It is a 100% chenin blanc made with the méthode traditionnelle in the northeastern part of the Loire Valley. It’s a rich, very aromatic sparkling wine with a slight impression of sweetness, which is what you want for Thanksgiving. A chenin gives you a touch of tannic structure, which matches well with poultry but also with root vegetables like Brussels sprouts.

la dilettante

Brian McClintic, Master Sommelier featured in the documentary SOMM and co-founder of Les Marchands Wine Bar in Santa Barbara

I’ll be serving Breton Vouvray ‘La Dilettante’ Brut NV – biodynamic bubbles from one of the Loire Valley’s finest artisan families. It’s an all-purpose pairing on any Thanksgiving table.


Carlton McCoy, Master Sommelier and Wine Director at The Little Nell in Aspen

My Thanksgiving wine will be the 2005 Jean Foillard Morgon Côte du Py, Beaujolais, France. This is a medium-bodied red burgundy made with the gamay grape from the southernmost part of Burgundy. The landscape there tends to be more like the Rhone Valley, which lends itself to a more rustic style. It’s perfect with roasted chicken or turkey but can also stand up to any red meat. It also pairs well with the sweeter flavors on the table like cranberry.


Devon Broglie, Master Sommelier and Associate Global Beverage Buyer at Whole Foods

I see Thanksgiving as the start of the holidays, and there is no better way to begin a celebration than with Champagne!  I am enamored with Grower Champagnes. These are small production bubblies that are artisan-grown and produced in small quantities from the Champagne region of France. My fave for larger gatherings is the Gaston-Chiquet Brut Tradition Green Label. It is full and rich with all of the apple, peach, ginger and toasty notes of more well-known, mass-produced and more expensive champagnes, yet it has a real sense of place and purpose and goes with everything on a holiday table.


Matt Stamp: Master Sommelier, wine instructor at the International Culinary Center and education director at the Guild of Sommeliers

I’m looking forward to Alsatian white wines this Thanksgiving—rich, spicy, fall-weather whites with great texture, ripeness and body. Super-aromatic Gewürztraminer and honeyed Pinot Gris with a little residual sugar work well at a table covered in so many different sweet and savory Thanksgiving classics. And golden, oily, dry Alsatian Riesling has the acidity to cut through an intense meal but the density to stand up to it as well. Domaine Bechtold is a personal favorite especially the estate’s Pinot Gris and Gewürztraminer from the Silberberg vineyard. For a splurge, Bechtold’s dry Grand Cru Engelberg Riesling is amazing.


Tim Gaiser, Master Sommelier and wine educator, speaker, writer and researcher

My Thanksgiving white is the 2007 Robert Weil Riesling Spätlese from the Kiedricher Gräfenberg vineyard from the Rheingau in Germany. Riesling is arguably the best Thanksgiving white of all.  Many of the elements of Thanksgiving have a touch of sweetness and this wine, in particular, is slightly sweet in style and has low alcohol, very high acidity and no oak. It’s versatile, flexible with food and delicious.


Fernando Beteta: Master Sommelier and Co-Founder of Tenzing Wine & Spirits in Chicago

I’ll be serving Dashe Cellars, Les Enfants Terribles Zinfandel, Heart Arrow Ranch, Mendocino, California. This is a domestic wine, which I like to highlight on an American holiday. It’s ideal for hearty dishes but does not have all the oak or tannin to overpower turkey. It’s as close to Beaujolais as you can get, with a touch of ripe fruits, spices and decent acid.


Greg Tresner, Master Sommelier at the Phoenician Resort in Scottsdale

I’ll be serving Domaine Drouhin, Pinot Noir, Dundee, Willamette Valley, Oregon, 2012. It has elegant fragrances of strawberry, black cherry, tea, and red flowers. It is also not too dry with enough bright acidity to complement and support all the fruit, savory and garden vegetable flavors of Thanksgiving dinner. .

With that, I’d like to propose a toast to all you. Friendship is the wine of life. Let’s drink of it and to it. Thanks, dolls, for coming by.

Introductory photo: Joan Crawford
Introductory quote: It’s a Wonderful Life, 1946

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The Sally Award: Charlotte Casiraghi

2014 LACMA Art + Film Gala Honoring Quentin Tarantino And Barbara Kruger

You’re just in time for brunch, doll. We just popped our crespéou into the oven and now we’re chitchatting about all the fabulous party frocks we saw around town last week. Jennifer Lopez, Amy Adams and past Sally Award winners, Kate Hudson and Camilla Belle, looked lovely on the party circuit, but the dame who took our breath away was Charlotte Casiraghi in Gucci at the LACMA Art + Film Gala. Talk about art and film. This blue and green color-blocked gown with floral accents and contrast beading was fashion artistry at its show-stopping best.

Charlotte Casiraghi


Grace Kelly

With her hair pulled back in an elegant chignon, the 28-year-old daughter of Princess Caroline of Monaco channeled the classic elegance and sophistication of her movie star grandmother, the late Grace Kelly.


Charlotte added several on-trend touches to her look including a fun thumb ring and smoky teal eye shadow that matched her dress. Yep, doll. Matching shadow to your habiliment is back, and our gal showed us how to do it in a fresh and modern way. It’s no wonder Charlotte’s been signed as the face of Gucci’s new cosmetics line. This royal beauty is grace personified.

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Dinner Party for Neil Patrick Harris


Neil Patrick Harris with chef Lulu Powers (right)

The Party:  A dinner party for 20 with actor Neil Patrick Harris as the guest of honor

When and Where: November 2015 in Los Angeles

Caterer and Chef: Lulu Powers

The Details According to Lulu Powers: We made it elegant and simple by using copper ice buckets, trays, pitchers and bowls (yes, I’m obsessed with copper at the moment) down the bar along with our “barscape” of rustic cutting boards, cheeses, meats, gourds, pumpkins, grapes, figs, Persimmons and strawberries from Harry’s Berries at the The Santa Monica Farmers market, What a great way to make the bar come to life and look fun!

We used sprigs of rosemary from the hostess’s garden at each place setting. For dinner, we made roasted root vegetables, grilled miso cilantro Japanese eggplants, citrus chicken, Burrata adorned with golden cherry tomatoes and roasted beets, and roasted butternut squash with crumbled amaretti cookies, fried sage, malton salt and ground pepper. We also had a kale, spinach and mint salad with cashew cheese and fresh pomegranate seeds and skirt steak marinated in my Coco Lopez soy and fresh ginger marinade, which got rave reviews.


The marinade is a recipe I had forgotten about until a month ago when my cousin Terry called me to say he was a hit in the Hamptons with his skirt steak.  I asked him how he prepared it and he told me that he was cleaning out his kitchen drawer and found the recipe, which I had given him. I made it up back in 2005 with my good friend and fellow chef, Lisa Kurtzman.  Lisa and I always have fun creating in the kitchen especially after a few sneekys.

lulu powers

Neil’s partner, Jeff, tended bar and made zillions of spicy margaritas. We went through about 40 limes.

Lisa & Lulu’s Luscious Skirt Steak Recipe

Equal amount of Coco Lopez to soy (3/4th cup)

1/2 cup lime juice

1 tablespoon sesame oil

A squeeze of a medium size lemon

2 heaping tablespoons of fresh minced ginger

2 tablespoons of fresh minced garlic

Mix ingredients together, marinate skirt steak for 4 hours, the longer the better.


RSVP: Lana Ogilvie

Lana Ogilvie

Hey, doll, come on in and pull up a chair, eh? We’re just sitting here drinking a glass of champansky with our stunning Canadian-born friend, Lana Ogilvie. Surely you know – or at least have seen – the lovely Lana, darlin’. She’s one of the world’s top supermodels. In fact, she was the first black model ever to earn a major contract with Cover Girl. Way to break ground, doll. Cheers. Anyway, our gal has graced the covers or pages of magazines including Sports Illustrated, Elle, Vogue, Glamour, Mademoiselle, Essence, More and Harper’s Bazaar. As if that weren’t enough, Lana is also a talented jewelry designer and gem of a party hostess. Grab a glass and a serviette, doll, and let’s check out Lana’s portfolio of party tips, shall we?

Your entertaining style?
Both casual and formal but always comfortable – mi casa su casa

Signature party detail?
An eclectic, curated playlist that takes you through the evening. It always starts with soft, jazzy soul then moves into more funky upbeat tunes as the evening progresses and everyone is feeling more comfortable with one another.

Lana Ogilvie

Lana prepares the table for a recent dinner party 

Last party you hosted?
I’ve been traveling a lot this year so my New Year’s Eve party was the last big one I hosted. It was a last-minute thing for whoever was around, yet it lasted until 4:30 am. There were an incredible number of empty bottles to clean up the next day!

Last party you attended?
I went to an amazing dinner party recently at a friend’s apartment. They did a four-hour tasting menu themed around white truffles with exquisite wine pairings and lots of caviar.

Lana Ogilvie and Joan Smalls

Lana and fellow model, Joan Smalls Rodriguez, at a party honoring Bethann Hardison, a supermodel of the 70s and fashion activist

Most comfortable shoes for dancing the night away?
The last time I really boogied was at a party a few months ago that Iman, Naomi and Tyson Beckford threw for Bethann Hardison. I wore a pair of four-inch Jill Sander heels and danced for three hours. If you have enough cocktails, every pair of shoes is comfortable.

Best or most memorable party you ever attended?
Ron Perelman’s Apollo in the Hamptons fundraiser. Watching Colin Powell boogie onstage with Pharrell, Jamie Foxx and Lenny Kravitz was probably one of the most memorable things I will ever see.

Most fascinating person you met at a party?
Chuck Berry. We talked over cocktails on a flight from Mexico to New York. To me, that’s a party! Imagine, there would be no rock and roll without him!

Dream dinner partner?
Sean Connery in his prime – as 007!

Lana Ogilvie

A chef plates a course at one of Lana’s dinner parties

Trait you admire most in a guest?
The ability to make witty conversation

Getting ready ritual?
Rushing around with the contents of my closet on the floor

Best party make up trick?
An eye line à la Sophia Loren or Audrey Hepburn but in electric blue or violet and loads of mascara

What’s always in your evening bag?
Lip gloss, mascara, Altoids and band-aids

Lana Ogilvie

Lana Ogilvie

Let’s play favorites:

Cocktail :: vodka gimlet
Champagne :: Taittinger Comtes de Champagne Rose
Canape :: blinis and caviar
Color :: Deep violet
Flower :: Calla lilly
Party lip color :: Nars Stolen Kisses
Party nail shade :: Revlon Grape
Party dress designer :: I love Zero + Maria Cornejo and Sophie Theallet although, if I still had my 25-year-old figure, I would wear Azzedine Alaïa ALL THE TIME.

Lana Ogilvie

Lana wearing one of the handmade cuffs from her new jewelry line

Accessories :: my Sabre jewelry collection
Flatware :: Christofle Chinon
Tableware :: Tsé & Tsé associées – the bowls are beautiful with gold leaf on the inside
Glassware :: Riedel
Party resource :: Le Dû’s Wines on Washington Street

Three party pet-peeves?
Music that’s too loud for conversation, tepid food and people on their smart phones at the table

Three party must-haves?
Good wine, good music and good conversation

Thanks, Lana. You’re a doll for stopping by. 

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Photos: Lana Ogilvie

The Sally Award: Camilla Belle

Camilla Belle

Come on, in, darlin’. We were just mixing up some King Snake Flips for brunch – a girl’s gotta have her eggs, doll – and chatting about the best party look of the week.

While there were a number of gals who looked fête-chic this week (Jessica Chastain in Saint Laurent comes to mind), we’re giving our Sally Award for the best party look of the week to actress, Camilla Belle, at the 2014 amfAR Gala on October 29th in Los Angeles. .


Our gal was beguiling in this begonia pink piqué number from Carolina Herrera’s Spring 2015 collection. We especially love the raw-edged detailing, exposed back and clear plastic belt. Our belle of the ball accessorized the ladylike look with swingy Chopard diamond earrings.

While we love Chopard jewels as much as the next doll, we have this crazy desire to “psst” our gal and suggest she switch her earrings out for these Verdura rock crystal babies. They would play so nicely with the transparency of the belt and the ‘weightiness’ of the bodice seaming. But we’re splitting hairs here, doll.

Speaking of hairs, Camilla’s was sheer perfection. Pulled back in a chic and sleek chignon, Camilla looked positively regal. Her soft and neutral makeup ensured that we could enjoy the pretty shade of the dress without any competing hues. Très belle, doll.

What do you think of Camilla’s look? Grab your flip and join the party conversation on our Facebook and Twitter pages, won’t you?

Photos of Camilla: Getty

Marchesa Luisa Casati


I am…Dracula. I bid you welcome.

Happy Halloween, doll. There’s nothing like this bewitching day to put us in the mood for something a little, shall we say, hédoniste.

And they don’t come more so than La Casati.

Marchesa Luisa Casati

The toast of Venice long before the bellini was invented, Marchesa Luisa Casati (1881-1957) was painted by Boldini, photographed by Man Ray and Cecil Beaton, revered by Jean Cocteau and dressed by Poiret, Fortuny and Erté. Out of all these bold-faced names, no one, but no one, created more art with the Marchesa as muse than the Marchesa herself.

Nearly six-feet tall with brilliant red hair, Kabuki-white skin and enormous emerald eyes that she kept dilated with poisonous belladonna extract, the Marchesa held court at her various residences (including the Palazzo dei Leoni on the Grand Canal, now home to The Peggy Guggenheim Collection, and the Palais Rose, a red marble mansion outside of Paris) surrounded by a menagerie of lovers, artists and exotic animals like leopards and snakes of every stripe.

A painting of the flame-haired Marchesa by Augustus John

The deaths of her parents (her father was a cotton baron) when she was just a teen left the Marchesa and her sister the wealthiest heiresses in Italy. A marriage at age 19 to the Marchese Casati was loveless, but blended her immense wealth with his aristocratic credentials: a useful cocktail if you seek to be one of the most notable society hosts of all time.

A typical Marchesa party would… oh, well, there was no such thing as a typical Marchesa party. At one, there were servants, in powdered wigs and waistcoats, feeding the fireplace a steady stream of copper filings to keep the flames burning a vivid green. At others, she might paint herself in gold leaf, crowned with a headdress of stuffed snakes or gilded ram’s horns.

phot man ray 1924

A 1924 Man Ray photo of La Casati

She was nothing if not committed. She once showed up to the Paris Opéra in a white sheath, topped with the feathers of an entire white peacock and, just before coming in, she had her chauffeur streak her arm with the blood of a freshly slaughtered chicken. It was not uncommon to catch her swanning around the streets of Venice at night, wearing nothing but one of her signature headdresses and flanked by two cheetahs on jeweled leashes.

Sometimes, she’d sit stock still and silent next to a perfect wax replica of herself (yes, a doll, doll), leaving her guests to wonder which Casati was their actual hostess. She once locked a hapless guest in a powder room for daring to come to one of her costume balls in a similar get up to her own.

MarchesaGeorgina Chapman named her fashion company, Marchesa, for the avant-garde style icon. (photo of Georgina Chapman: Harper’s Bazaar)

If you get the sense that the Marchesa wasn’t the most gracious of hosts, you are probably right. Her fêtes were more about performance art than having a few friends ‘round to break bread. But that doesn’t make them, or her style, any less legendary. She is the namesake of one of the ultimate prêt-à-partay fashion collections, Marchesa, and continues to inspire designers, artists and, of course, hosts with her mad, bad ways. Rumor has it our gal even inspired Cartier’s famed Panther design.

boldini 1908

Portrait of the eccentric Marchesa Casati by Giovanni Boldini,1908

As so often happens when one makes a habit of throwing copper on fires, the Marchesa eventually burned through her money and spent her last years penniless in London. A dévotée of the occult, she died of a cerebral hemorrhage following a spiritual session, and was buried with custom-made, enormously long false eyelashes and a black and leopard funereal costume, with one of her beloved deceased Pekinese (taxidermied, of course) buried at her feet.

We doubt that resting in peace was exactly her style, so we will mix up a Chrysanthemum in her honor and hope that she’s at least resting in sybaritic splendor.

The Chrysanthemum

2 oz. dry vermouth
1 oz. Bénédictine
3 dashes absinthe
Stir ingredients with ice in a mixing glass untill well chilled. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with an orange twist.

Music to Channel Your Inner Marchesa

Season of the Witch – Karen Elision
Voodoo Lady – Ween
I Put a Spell on You – Screaming Jay Hawkins
People Are Strange – The Doors
Witchcraft – Frank Sinatra
Werewolves of London – Warren Zevon
Spooky – Dusty Springfield
Kooks – David Bowie
Jump in the Line – Harry Belafonte
Heart of Glass – Blondie

Click here for more information about the Marchesa.

Introductory photo: House of Dracula, 1945
Introductory quote: Dracula, 1931

RSVP: Cornelia Guest

Cornelia Guest

Doll, come on in. We’re dishing with party royalty – entertaining guru, entrepreneur and animal rights advocate, Cornelia Guest. It’s no surprise that the compassionate and comely Cornelia is known as one of the world’s great party hosts. Her mother was fashion icon, C. Z Guest, who was one of Truman Capote’s original swans along with Babe Paley and Slim Keith. Her father, Winston, an heir to the Phipps steel fortune, was a dashing polo champion who also happened to be Winston Churchill’s cousin and one of Ernest Hemingway’s best pals. Cornelia’s godparents were the Duke and Duchess of Windsor and the fabulous aesthete, Baron Alexis de Redé, who was once named “the best party host in Europe.” Stateside, a teenage Cornelia learned the velvet party ropes by joining family friends like Halston, Andy Warhol and Franceso Scavullo at New York hot spots Studio 54, Régine’s and Xenon. Today, Cornelia, the author of two books, runs a cruelty-free style empire that includes an event company with clients like Donna Karan, Bulgari and Estée Lauder, a vegan cookie collection and line of animal-free handbags. As if that weren’t enough, she and Project Gravitas, the socially-conscious fashion brand, have just launched a collection of party-ready, cruelty-free leather jackets that are as chic as they are kind. We’ve just popped the cork on a bottle of Perrier-Jouët Blason Brut Rosé – our gal’s favorite party drink – so grab a glass and listen in as we welcome one of our favorite guests, Cornelia. She’s even sharing her famous Shepherd’s Pie recipe.

Your entertaining style?
Classic with a twist.

Last party you hosted?
Sunday lunch at home for a few friends.

Last party you attended?
A friend’s dinner for our pal, Hamish Bowles.

Cornelia Guest

Cornelia prepares for a Halloween dinner party

How will you celebrate Thanksgiving?
In Rome with some great friends.

Most memorable party you attended?
Valentino’s anniversary party in Rome a few years ago.

Most fascinating person you met at a party?
Chuck Yeager

Dream dinner partners?
Winston Churchill and Michael Jordan

Party you wish you could go back in time to attend?
Truman Capote’s Black & White ball and any party in Paris thrown by my godfather, Baron Alexis de Redé

Cornelia Guest

Cornelia with her beloved dog, Cash

Best conversation piece in your home?
My donkey, Madonna, and dogs.

Most treasured thank you note?
From my father thanking me for a water-color I made for him…so sweet.

C.Z. Guest

One of Cornelia’s favorite photographs of her mother, C.Z. Guest

What did you learn from your mother about entertaining?
Have fun!

Winston Guest

Cornelia sitting at her desk beneath a portrait of her father

And your father?

Most treasured entertaining piece given to you by your mother?
Old plates.

Your go-to fall dinner party dish?
Shepherd’s Pie (see Cornelia’s recipe below)

Cornelia Guest Party

Cornelia designed the flowers and catered the party launching the book, Fashionably Selby 

You know you’re at a Cornelia Guest Events party when…
The food is delicious and the staff is gorgeous!

Greatest Cornelia Guest Events triumph?
A dinner for 300 at the New York Armory

Let’s play favorites:

Favorite color? White and silver

Favorite flower? Gardenia

Favorite cocktail? Rosé champagne

Favorite champagne? Perrier-Jouët Blason Brut Rosé

Favorite food? Raw chocolate

C.E. Corey

These Portugese made, ceramic plates from C.E. Corey speak to Cornelia’s love of animals

Favorite dishware? C.E. Corey

Favorite glassware? Old ones

Favorite linens? My grandmother’s old napkins


Dr. Bronner Hand Soaps

Cornelia keeps a colorful bottle of Dr. Bronner’s cruelty-free soap in her powder room

Favorite guest room hand soap? Bronner and Kiehl’s

Favorite party dress designer? Oscar de La Renta

Favorite source for party items? Thrift stores

Your three biggest party pet-peeves?
Late guests, people who move place cards and people who get up from the table to smoke. I always have ashtrays and cigarettes on the table.

Vanity Fair Oscar Party

Cornelia, left, at a Vanity Fair Oscar Party with Olivia Wilde, Maria Bello and Vanessa Getty 

Your three most important party must-haves?
Great food, wine and friends!

You have a birthday coming up next month. What will you wish for when you blow out your birthday candles?
That The Cruelty Free World of Cornelia Guest becomes a global success and people become educated about the plight of animals and make changes in their lives to help animals all over the world.

Cornelia Guest’s Shepherd’s Pie

Serves 4
Total time: 2 hours

2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes
1 large onion
2 large carrots
2 celery stalks
1 pound favorite mushrooms
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 leeks cut into 1-inch pieces
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
1 cup canned or fresh vegetable stock
2 pounds cubed seitan
2 (14.5 ounce) cans diced tomatoes
1 (10 ounce) box frozen peas or 1-1/2 cups of fresh peas, cooked

  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees
  • Peel potatoes and cover with water. Bring to a boil and cook until ready for mashing, approximately 30 minutes.
  • Coarsely dice onion, carrots and celery separately.
  • Remove stems from mushrooms
  • If you are making your own stock, take the onion, carrot and celery trimmings and mushroom stems, add a quart of water, bring to a boil and simmer down to a cup, approx. 45 minutes. Stain before using.
  • Lay mushrooms and carrots on a baking sheet, sprinkle with olive oil, salt and pepper and roast for 45 minutes
  • Lay onion, celery and leeks on another baking sheet and sprinkle with olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast for 20 to 30 minutes or when they are fork-tender.
  • Reserve a cup of the water the spuds were cooked in.
  • Mash the potatoes and add ¼ cup olive oil, a teaspoon of salt and pepper and the reserved water.
  • Combine the stock, seitan and diced tomatoes in a 4-quart saucepot and let simmer for 45 minutes.
  • Add the cooked peas and roasted vegetables during the last 5 minutes.
  • Transfer to a 10 x 14 inch casserole dish and cover with a 1-1/2 inch layer of mashed potatoes.
  • Roast in the top rack of the over for 20 to 25 minutes.
  • Put the casserole under the broiler for a few minutes to brown.

Photo credits: Harper’s Bazaar, Town & Country, Vogue, Matchbook Magazine, Vanity Fair

Not ready for the party to end, doll? Join us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

The Sally Award: Lily Collins

Lily Collins

Hi, doll. It’s Sunday and you know what that means. We’re serving up some Croques Madames and dishing about the best party looks of the week. This week, we loved Jessica Chastain in Givenchy couture and Kate Hudson in Jenny Packham at the American Cinematheque Awards, but the salliest party gal of all was English-American actress Lily Collins at the Rome Film Festival for the premiere of her new film, Love, Rosie.

Talk about love. What wasn’t to love about Lily in this black and violet Elie Saab number from the designer’s Spring 2014 Haute Couture collection? Now if this dress looks a bit familiar to you, doll, it’s because it’s the very frock that we suggested Sandra Bullock wear to the Oscars last year. Maybe Lily was eavesdropping.

Lily Collins

Anyway, Lily looked smashing in this strapless chiffon gown, which featured a belted black bustier, ombre chiffon skirt and elegant Watteau train. She added platform heels by Brian Atwood, diamond stud earrings by Norman Silverman and a fun mix of rings by Melissa Kaye Jewelry, Vita Fede and EF Collection.

Lily Collins

As if that weren’t enough to win this week’s Sally Award, Lily topped off the look with a side-parted, retro-glam bob styled by Ken O’Rourke. Collins’ makeup artist, Polly Osmond, gave Lily a pretty berry lip with Lancome’s L’Absolu Velours gloss in Violine, the perfect balance for her strong, signature brows. Well done, doll.

The Return of the Nightcap

Going so soon? I wouldn’t hear of it. Why, my little party’s just beginning.

“In Spain, it’s called ‘la ultima,’ and it’s for when you don’t want to let go of the night,” says Maria Trabocchi, co-owner, with husband, Fabio, of celebrated Washington, D.C. restaurants, Fiola, Casa Luca and Fiola Mare. “It is a way of extending the evening before you get back into your Uber or taxi and immerse yourself in looking at your phone.”

Arnaud Dissais of Daniel in New York

Arnaud Dissais, head bartender at Daniel, agrees, “Everyone is always working so hard all the time. To enjoy a nice meal and afterwards go to a place for a drink is an important moment. It gives you an excuse to change the environment and get into another conversation.”

We’re talking, of course, about the nightcap, that most seductive of moments when the crowd departs and it is just you and a close friend or two setting the world to rights. It’s back and in a big way.

Once upon a time, this little evening delight was strictly reserved for chic hotel bars and groovy Mad Men-era pieds-a-terre, but lately it feels more accessible: fresh and cool rather than just retro chic.

We asked Jeremy Buck, who bartends at the aptly named and recently opened Nitecap, a Lower East Side cocktail bar with the requisite seductive low lighting and squeeze-in red banquettes, if it’s another case of everything old being new again. “It never really went away,” he said.” It’s just that there’s more of a focus on it now.”

Gentleman's Table Guide

Jeremy Buck sent along this fabulous photo from The Gentleman’s Table Guide by E. Ricket and C. Thomas for historical reference.

Trabocchi and Dissais say that they often see diners from earlier in the evening return to their restaurants for the last drink. And Buck compares the bar Nitecap to a friend’s basement. The venue is less important than the vibe. “It’s a matter of striking the right balance between having some energy and being relaxing. No one wants it to be too stuffy,” he says.


 Nitecap captures the intimacy of the chic-all-over-again nightcap 

In fact, the at-home nightcap can be the most intimate of all. It doesn’t matter what you’ve got stocked in the bar. From a classic B&B to a Mexican beer with a shot of whiskey. Whatever your poison, darlin’, the contents of the glass are secondary to what’s all around it: the music, the conversation, the lighting. In fact, that goes double for lighting.


Amanda McCrossin of Rotisserie Georgette

“Everyone needs a real life Instagram filter,” says Amanda McCrossin, sommelier at Rotisserie Georgette and host of the web series UnWined with Amanda, who likes to end her night with a moody drink, like Amaro, in a moody room. “Dark lighting, with a flicker of candlelight is the perfect way to achieve that slightly haphazard ambience that proclaims, ‘I don’t know why I’m still here, but I’m surely not leaving before last call.’”

Santé, doll we’ll be right there with you. Read on for our three favorite fall nightcaps and a playlist that will ensure your soirée ends on the perfect note.

The Salonniere’s Favorite Nightcaps for Fall


1 ounce of your favorite brandy
1 ounce Benedictine

Pour the liquors into a brandy snifter and stir. Twist a lemon peel over the drink to release its oils then discard the peel.

Brandy Alexander

The Brandy Alexander

2 ounces cognac or other fine aged brandy
1 ounce dark crème de cacao
1 ounce cream

Add the ingredients to a cocktail shaker and fill with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with freshly grated nutmeg.

The Night Cap

The Night Cap

2 ounces white rum
4 ounces warm milk
1 dash cinnamon
1 teaspoon of sugar

Mix the rum, milk and sugar in a mug. Sprinkle cinnamon on top.


Billie Holiday

The Salonniere’s Nightcap Playlist

In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning – Frank Sinatra
Ev’ry Time We Say Goodbye – Lady Gaga
Cognac Blues – Dizzy Gillespie
It’s a Pity to Say Goodnight – Ella Fitzgerald
Night Cap – Charlie Parker
One for My Baby – Billie Holiday (photo above)
Au Revoir – One Republic
Straight, No Chaser – Thelonious Monk
Closing Time – Tom Waits
I’ll Be Seeing You – Tony Bennett

Introductory photo: Conrad Veidt and Vivien Leigh in Dark Journey, 1937
Introductory quote: The Wizard of Oz, 1939

Photo credits: Daniel, Jeremu Buck, Nitecap, Amanda McCrossin, The Hawthorne, Getty

Not ready for the party to end, doll? Join us for a nightcap on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

The Sally Award: Elizabeth Banks


Mornin’, sugar. What a week of parties and fabulously-frocked party hoppers. But this week’s soirée standout – and the winner of the Sally Award for best party look of the week – goes to actress Elizabeth Banks in a chic and ladylike Bottega Veneta dress at the Hammer Museum’s Gala in the Garden in Los Angeles.  Part of Bottega Veneta’s Fall/Winter 2014/15 collection, this gorgeous knotted crepe dress in green – which Elizabeth paired with Bottega Veneta suede pumps – gave a gracious nod to the event’s garden theme and its primary sponsor. Thoughtful, doll.


A finger-combed up-do by Christian Wood and soft and pretty make up by Georgie Eisdell – with perfect eyebrows, we might add – further define Elizabeth’s effortlessly chic and ladylike party look. Pitch Perfect, doll.

The tables at the Gala in the Garden 2014
Gala in the Garden 2014

Photos: Getty Images and Hammer Museum

RSVP: Danielle Rollins

Danielle Rollins

Hey there, sugar. You’re just in time to meet our glamorous and gracious gal pal, Danielle Rollins. Let me tell you, doll, this Dallas-born and Atlanta-based beauty epitomizes Southern hospitality. Her chic and thoughtful style of entertaining – this lady thinks of everything! – has even landed her a spot as the best-selling author of Soirée: Entertaining with Style, a must-have tome full splendid party pictures, including a dinner she hosted for Oscar de la Renta that launched her career. We can see why, darlin’. Anyway, when Danielle isn’t hobnobbing with designers like Mr. de la Renta and Lela Rose, who you met before at one of our parties, she’s serving as a contributing editor to Veranda. We were just about to pour Danielle a bit of bourbon so, come on in, y’all, and grab a glass and a seat. Let’s listen to the divine Danielle dish.

Your entertaining style?
Thoughtful, appropriate, relaxed and well planned

The definition of a good host?
One who is thoughtful and places a guest’s needs and comfort first and foremost

10402792_964650013560860_677437740483083951_nDanielle with celebrity chef, author and entrepreneur, Alex Hitz

Last party you hosted?
A cozy intimate birthday dinner for chef, Alex Hitz

Last party you attended?
Designer Lela Rose’s Tea & Tequila party to celebrate her new entertaining tome – it was held on Celerie Kemble’s gorgeous Central Park South rooftop terrace

Most memorable party you attended?
A good friend’s surprise 50th birthday party at Villa Ephrussi in Saint-Jean-Cap- Ferrat, France, overlooking the Mediterranean Sea

Most fascinating person you met at a party?
Henry Kissinger


After Danielle’s dinner party for Oscar de la Renta, he encouraged her to write a book

Party you’re most proud of?
The Oscar de la Renta dinner featured in my book because it was that dinner that launched my career

Party you’d like to go back in time to attend?
Elsie de Wolfe’s circus-themed party at Villa Trianon – I just know we would have been BFFs

How do you stay party ready? What’s always in your fridge and pantry?
Champagne, wine, good cheese, great bread, pastas, cream, butter, milk and bacon

Best tip for getting your house party ready?
Walk through your house as though you’re a guest experiencing the party from the time of arrival to departure. Then think like a server. That’s the best way you can tell what you need from both perspectives. For instance, is the bathroom clean and inviting with plenty of hand towels and fresh soap? Are extra supplies easily found? Will the server be able to walk between the tables and serve properly? Playing out all the possible scenarios is the best way to prevent a disaster.


Flowers by Danielle Rollins

Least expensive but most effective way to create an instant party ambiance?
Flowers! Using something seasonal and inexpensive but in abundance fluffs things up nicely.

Best way to make shy guests feel more comfortable?
Compliment them, genuinely, or ask them about themselves. That works for everyone!

Favorite hostess gift to give?
Flowers sent to arrive before the party, cocktail mixers and hard-to-find liquors with personally created recipes, and interesting olive oils, vinegars, honeys, spices or baking mixes.

Most memorable hostess gift given to you?
Personalized cocktail napkins embroidered with a cornucopia that were given to me by a friend visiting for Thanksgiving

Most treasured thank you note?
A handwritten note from Oscar de la Renta

Danielle Rollins

Let’s play favorites, doll…

Color: The turquoise of my book

Flower: Peonies

Cocktail: An Old Fashioned – I’m a bourbon girl!

 Champagne: Veuve Clicquot Rosé

Food: Caviar, crème fraiche and blinis, Dover sole and champagne


Sharyn Blond linens

Linens: That’s a tough one! Some people buy lipstick when they’re down. I buy linens! My favorite brands are Leontine, Julia B., Walker Valentine, Matouk, Porthault and Sharyn Blond.

Dishes: I haven’t met a piece of china I didn’t like but my favorites are Mottahedeh, Alberto Pinto and vintage pieces.

Glassware: William Yeoward, Dior and, for casual pieces, World Market


The Rooster motif from The Printery in Oyster Bay, New York

Party resources: World Market, Jamali, Williams Sonoma, Pottery Barn, Mark & Graham, Matouk, Ralph Lauren Home, Cut Flowers Wholesale, The Printery and Ginna Dunlap Emmet Calligraphy

Party shoe: Gianavito Rossi and Christian Louboutin

Party dress: Ralph Lauren, Oscar de la Renta, Lela Rose, Vito Emanuele or something vintage

Three party pet-peeves?
Bad manners, bad moods and bad attire

Three party must-haves?
Good food, music that fits the mood and a good attitude!

There’s certainly nothing old-fashioned about that, doll. Now, where were we? Oh, yes. Danielle was showing us photos of some of her fabulous parties…

Photos: Danielle Rollins, Sharyn Blond, The Printery

Jeanne Quinault


Portrait of Jeanne Quinault by Eugène Louis Pirodon 

Hi doll, come on in. We’re raising a glass in remembrance of a great dame who was born on this day back in 1699. Her name was Jeanne Quinault and she was a heckuva scribe and actress who advised Voltaire and Pierre-Claude Nivelle de la Chaussée on writing some of their hit plays. She also hosted a marvelous creative salon in Paris. She was something, darlin’. Let me tell you more about her.


The Comédie-Française

Born into a famous French acting family, Jeanne made her acting debut at the age of eighteen at the Comédie-Française, the only state theater in France to have its own troupe of actors. In December of 1718, shortly after her first bow, she was formally accepted into the company, becoming the sixth member of the Quinault family to be admitted.

Our coy Jeanne become known as quite the saucy soubrette. She befriended many of the most dashing playwrights of the day. Voltaire, who often wrote to Jeanne for advice, sang our gal’s praises to his friend Françoise de Graffigny in a letter saying that she “was constantly imagining subjects for comedies and tragedies and offered them to authors, urging them to work on them.”


Anne Claude de Caylus

In the 1730s, Jeanne became friendly with a gentleman by the name of Anne Claude de Tubières-Grimoard de Pestels de Lévis, comte de Caylus, marquis d’Esternay, baron de Bransac. Yes, gals, that really was his name, but whaddya say we call him Caylus for the sake of ease. Anyway, Caylus, a man of letters, and Jeanne soon became co-hosts of a laid back salon called the Bout-du-Banc, which translated means “end of the bench.” Always held on Mondays, the fare was simple but good and they entertained themselves by singing, acting in skits, reading works in progress and collaborating on anthologies of facéties, parodies of popular genres. Sounds like they had a grand ol’ time!


Jean-Jacques Rousseau

Salon regulars included the poet Moncrif, the novelist Claude Crébillon, the novelist and historian Charles Pinot Duclos, and the financier philosopher Claude Adrien Helvétius. Even philosopher rock star, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, attended a dinner once on rue Sainte Anne.

While our darling Jeanne hobnobbed with all kinds of dashing men, and even did some successful matchmaking, Jeanne herself never married. She did, however, become the guardian of her eldest brother’s orphaned children after his death in 1745. In 1758, she moved from her Paris apartment to the more rural Saint-Germain-en-Laye where she lived quietly and corresponded with friends until her failing health led her to return to the city in 1778. This chic and independent trailblazer died in Paris on January 18, 1788 at the ripe old age of 89. Here’s to our gal, Jeanne Quinault, for a life well – and artfully – lived.

The Sally Award: Emma Roberts

Emma Roberts

If you saw what I saw, doll, you know there were so many fabulously-frocked party girls this week, including actress Lily Collins in a lipstick-red gown from Solace London at the Love, Rosie premiere. But the soireé sally who took the party cake this week was actress and singer Emma Roberts at the Hollywood premiere of FX’s American Horror Story: Freak Show.


In this stunning and strappy floor-length Saint Laurent number, it’s hard to believe that our gal, Emma, ever starred in anything called Unfabulous.  With its daring thigh-high slit that showed off plenty of gam, this sexy frock is what you call stand-out style…literally.


Emma accessorized the winning look with a chic Edie Parker acrylic clutch, Casadei black suede kicks and subtle Derek Lam for Jame Wolfe earrings. Her soft side-swept bun, smokey eyes and dark nail color added just the right touch of casual elegance. In true Madison Montgomery style, you moved us, doll. Well done.

Images: Getty, Harper’s Bazaar and Tom and Lorenzo

Party Makeup Must-Haves

Jean Harlow

For beautiful eyes, look for the good in others. For beautiful lips, speak only words of kindness.

Sweet cheeks, a party-perfect ensemble without flawless skin and eyelashes worth batting is like a Manhattan without the Maraschino. It’s just not complete. To look and feel truly fête fabulous, you have to put your best face forward, doll. That’s why we’re opening the doors to our founder Carla’s top-secret cosmetic cache. On your maquillage, get set, go. It’s time to meet the Dollface Dozen, the 12 party makeup basics that Carla swears by and says every soirée-loving gal should have at her fingertips.

Dior Pore Minimizer

 Dior Pore Minimizer Skin Refining Matte Primer

This weightless skin primer visibly reduces pores and smooths and refines the skin’s texture, creating a flawless base for your party makeup.

Giorgio Armani

Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation

This award-winning formula has become the holy grail of foundations. Weightless and buildable so you can achieve whatever level of coverage you prefer, this breakthrough foundation gives the skin a polished, satiny finish that stays put for hours.

Cle de Peau

 Clé de Peau Beauté Concealer

A perennial makeup artist favorite, this award-winning spot concealer provides smooth, seamless and complete coverage without caking or settling into fine lines.

Touche Eclat

YSL Touche Éclat Radiant Touch

Another cult classic among makeup artists and models, this light-reflecting highlighting pen can be used to erase the shadows in the tear troughs and nasolabial folds. Place a slender, well-blended line down the center of the nose to make it look slimmer.

Beauty Blender

The Original Beauty Blender

Blend, blend, blend. This revolutionary sponge applicator is perfect for blending your foundation, concealer and highlighter seamlessly to create a party-perfect complexion.

Collyre Bleu

Collyre Bleu Eye Drops

A long-time secret weapon of models and celebrities, this blue-tinted eye drop from France removes the yellow in the whites of the eyes leaving peepers looking brighter, cleaner and more youthful.


Laura Mercier Eye Canvas

A creamy eyelid foundation best applied with a brush, this oil-absorbing formula neutralizes eyelid redness and provides a smooth, velvety and long-lasting base for eye shadow.


Kevyn Aucoin Precision Liquid Liner

This felt tip waterproof eyeliner delivers the blackest of black color onto your eyes without skipping or smudging, and the ultra-fine tip provides the ability to create every kind of look from natural to dramatic.



Lancome’s Hypnose Drama (top) and Definicils Mascaras

When it comes to mascara, Carla prefers a cocktail: one coat of Lancome’s Hypnose Drama for volume and one coat of Lancome’s Definicils for lengthening and to coat the little lashes in the corners.


Kevyn Aucoin Eyelash Curler

Sleek, slim and perfectly designed, this is the Ferrari of eyelash curlers. After applying your mascara, allow it to dry, clamp the curler on your lashes and apply a few short, gentle pumps from the base to the tip of the lashes to give them a dramatic curl.

Buxom lip gloss

Buxom Lip Polish in Dominique

This clear, high-shine lip gloss adds a festive sparkle to any lip color. Carla uses it on nude lips for every day shine, too.

Secret Brightening Powder

Laura Mercier Secret Brightening Powder

This lighter-than-air setting powder is the perfect finishing touch for your makeup: a quick dusting across the forehead, on the nose and chin brightens, lightens and boosts luminosity.

Introductory Mashup
Photo: Jean Harlow 
Quote: Audrey Hepburn

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Tipsy Tuesday: Host and Hostess Gifts


“Licorice, mmmm. If there’s anything I’m a sucker for, it’s licorice.”

Hey doll, it’s Tuesday, our favorite day of the week, the day we like to get…tipsy! Today, we’re offering up tips on choosing a memorable hostess gift – you can’t throw every party, doll – by letting 10 of the country’s chicest party givers spill the beans about the most memorable host or hostess gift they have ever received. Many a trinket has been bestowed upon these stylish social butterflies over the years, so you can bet that there’s a lesson to be learned from the goodies that stand out. Gather ’round, darlin’. Their answers prove that an inspired host or hostess gift doesn’t always have to cost a pretty penny. It really is the thought that counts.

Cornelia Guest, philanthropist, entrepreneur, author and animal rights advocate: Without a doubt, a treat for my dogs. And of course anything rosé!!!!


Cornelia Guest

Christopher Spitzmiller, designer and maker of hand-thrown ceramic lamps: Sinners & Saints cookies from Studmuffin Desserts are my favorite.

Christopher Spitzmiller

Christopher Spitzmiller

Carmen Dell’Orefice, supermodel: A six-pack of Fiji water. I am, above all things, practical and it was something I could actually use.


Carmen Dell’Orefice

Jaqui Lividini, philanthropist, luxury branding guru and entrepreneur: One dozen fresh eggs in a basket. They were gorgeous, exotic colors just laid that morning – so chic!

Lana Ogilvie, fashion model: A beautiful little drawing of the food we served the night before. It was really the most wonderful and original gift. I have it framed and hanging on our wall.


Lana Ogilvie

Lana Ogilvie

Lana received this lovely piece of art from a guest after hosting a 15-course dinner party

Natasha Bergreen, interior and floral designer: Friends from Maine gave me a hostess gift that was beyond…a beautiful willow basket filled with the most amazing collection of hand foraged chanterelle mushrooms and delicately wrapped soft shell lobsters presented on a bed of glistening seaweed.

Lauren Ezersky, fashion icon, philanthropist and television producer and host: A fabulous pair of sandals with 14 karat gold decorations. I occasionally use them as table decor!

Tata Harper, founder and creator of Tata Harper luxury skin care: For one of my dinner parties, a friend brought a delicious pie in a gorgeous pottery pie dish. When we finished dessert, she said I could keep the dish! I thought that was such a special thing to do.


Tata Harper

Gavin Phipps, owner and designer, Phipps Jewelry: Tickets to watch Sampras defeat Becker at center court at Wimbledon.

Carla McDonald, founder of The Salonniere: A basket of homemade breakfast treats for the morning. When you’re planning a big party, the last thing you’re thinking about is what you’ll have for breakfast the next day. I found it so thoughtful!

Introductory photo: Auntie Mame, 1958
Introductory quote: Adam’s Rib, 1949

The Sally Award: Amal Alamuddin Clooney


Doll, like Dino used to croon, When the stars make you drool like a pasta fazool, that’s amore. Well, last week, no star shined brighter in the party galaxy than gorgeous Amal Alamuddin Clooney at her Italian wedding. But, hold onto your grappa, doll, because the dress we’ve chosen as the best party look of the week might just surprise you. It’s not the striped Dolce & Gabbana dress she wore upon her arrival in Venice or the red Alexander McQueen dress she donned for the rehearsal dinner. It’s not even the Oscar de la Renta wedding gown – gorgeous as it was – or the ivory Stella McCartney pantsuit and matching hat that she sported to the civil ceremony. The party look that had us all clinking our glasses of Prosecco was the Gatsby-style Oscar de la Renta dress that she changed into for the reception. Covered in silver and pearl beads and featuring layers of beaded fringe, it was the perfect frock for loosening up and dancing the night away.


But here’s the best part: Amal’s splendiferous shift, part of Signor de la Renta’s Fall 2014 Collection, used to be an ankle-length gown. Our gal, Amal, had it shortened to make it the perfect, jazzy dress for sashaying. Way to make fashion work for you, doll. Back to our guy, Dino. When you dance down the street with a cloud at your feet, you’re in love. Signora Clooney, we sure were in love with your dancing dress. Brava, baby.

Amal and George Clooney

Top photo: Hello!

Giving Back: Pink October


I believe in pink.

We believe in pink too, doll, especially Pink October, also known as Breast Cancer Awareness Month. That’s why we want to give a whopping $10,000 to The Breast Cancer Research Fund, a non-profit organization committed to preventing and curing breast cancer by advancing the world’s most promising research. But we need your help. To honor Pink October, our philanthropic founder, Carla McDonald, has pledged to give $1 to BCRF for every new follower we can line up on our Twitter and Instagram accounts during the month of October. To thank you for participating, one lucky new follower will win this super soft pink robe with satin trimmed lapels and an embroidered remembrance ribbon with decorative rhinestone. What could be more perfect for getting party gorgeous?


Will you help us break the bank, doll? Clicking on the pink icons below will take you to our Twitter and Instagram pages. Easy breezy, baby, and thanks for participating.

instagram-6-xxl twitter-3-xxl

Official Rules: No purchase is necessary to enter or win. To be counted, you must be a new follower of The Salonniere’s Twitter or Instagram account between the dates of October 3, 2014 at 9:00 am EST and October 31, 2014 at midnight EST. You must still be following The Salonniere on November 2, 2014, at midnight EST. You must be a Twitter or Instagram user in good standing who is a legal resident of the U.S. and over the age of 21. Automated or robotic entries submitted by individuals or organizations will be disqualified.  Any attempt by an entrant to obtain additional entries by using commercial contest/sweepstakes subscription notification and/or entering services, will void that entrant’s entry and that entrant may be disqualified. The winner will be selected in a random drawing from all eligible entries received during the sweepstakes period. The random drawing will be conducted by November 2, 2014 at midnight EST. All decisions are final. The odds of winning will vary depending on the number of eligible entries received. The winner will be notified through Twitter or Instagram. It is the responsibility of the winner to check his or her Twitter or Instagram account to see if he or she has won. The potential winner must accept the prize by return message or email within 48 hours of notification. Any winner notification not responded to or returned as undeliverable may result in prize forfeiture. The Salonniere is not responsible for any problems or technical malfunction of Twitter or Instagram. No substitution or transfer of a prize is permitted. Employees or agents of The Salonniere and members of their immediate families and/or persons living in the same household are ineligible to win. The Salonniere reserves the right in its sole and absolute discretion to award a substitute prize of equal or greater value if the prize described cannot be awarded for any reason. The Salonniere makes no representation or warranty concerning the appearance, safety or performance of the prize awarded. The Salonniere will not replace any lost or stolen prize items. All federal, state and/or local taxes, fees, and surcharges are the sole responsibility of the prize winner. Failure to comply with the Official Rules will result in forfeiture of the prize. The charitable donation will be made up to a maximum of $10,000. Void where prohibited or restricted by law.

Introductory photo and quote: Audrey Hepburn

RSVP: Kimberly Schlegel Whitman

Kim Whitman

Darling, come on in. We’re just sitting here sipping bourbon with lifestyle expert and party planner extraordinaire, Kimberly Schlegel Whitman, as she prepares for a fabulous fall fete at her lovely Dallas home. An editor-at-large for Southern Living and a regular guest on The Today Show, our pal Kim has planned some sensational soirees for the likes of Bobbi Brown, Tory Burch, Louis Vuitton and one of our favorite party frock resources, Net-a-Porter. She is also the author of six lifestyle tomes including the The Party Planner: An Expert Organizing Guide for Entertaining that offers tips and worksheets on everything essential—from invitations to attire—for organizing a fabulous fete. Doll, we can hardly stand it. These details are right up our alley! Pull up a chair, and let’s get cozy as this affable salonniere and entertaining guru gets personal about her favorite party tips and memories—like the time she met the fabulous Anna Wintour in Paris.

Your entertaining style?

Ohhhhh….I love to mix it up…cocktail parties, dinner parties, pool parties but I always love to pay close attention to the details.

Irene Neuwirth

Kim designed this 60s-inspired table for a dinner honoring jewelry designer, Irene Neuwirth

Best or most memorable party you’ve ever attended?

Liaisons de Louvres in Paris several years ago was an amazing night put together by the incredible Becca Cason Thrash.

Most fascinating person you met at a party?

We met Mikhail Gorbachev and Anna Wintour at the same party in Paris several years ago – that was quite the night!

Dream dinner partner?

Dolly Parton – that smile and positive attitude could make any party a life-changer.

Dining room

Kim’s dining room is always dinner party ready 

Best conversation piece in your home?

Photos of friends, family and our travels. There is an amazing photo of my in-laws in Paris in the late 60s that always catches everyone’s eye. My husband likes to show off the photo that our friend, Buzz Aldrin, sent when our son was born – the iconic photo of his moon landing with a note that reads “To JR, Welcome to this world. Buzz.”

Party you’re most proud of?

Our wedding. We have so many special memories from that weekend. We hope our dearest friends had so much fun!

Party item you’re in the market for?

I’m always looking for great containers for flowers. I love to hunt at auctions, flea markets and estate sales.


Kim loves the idea of spray painting old glass bottles and using them as vases

Most memorable hostess gift you ever received?

Books and games for my children so that they were entertained while we were celebrating. It was so thoughtful.

Most memorable thank you note you ever received?

I have a scrapbook full of notes that are meaningful to me. One came from a “Grand Dame” of Dallas society and it was so special to me to get a note from a woman who I have such admiration for.

You know you’re at a Kim Whitman party when…

The napkins are monogrammed and my handsome husband, Justin, is playing DJ :).

How do you stay party ready. What’s always in your fridge or pantry?

Champagne, cheese and crackers. That is really all you need to throw a great night together.

Best tip for making your home a great entertaining space?

There should be lots of places to sit and relax and every chair should have a table within reach so that guests can set down a drink.

Kim Whitman

Kim has a small bar set up in her cozy library for impromptu entertaining 

Best tip for getting your home party ready quickly?

Put flowers everywhere. I always go overboard with flowers even though I always say that I am not going to! My sister, Krystal, just started a flower business and is putting what we learned at flower school in Paris to good use!

What would you buy if you only had $100 to spend on party décor?

A disco ball!

Your go-to conversation starter for a shy dinner partner?

I always ask about their travel plans and/or books they have recently read.

Three party pet-peeves? 

I have one major one—when it is too loud to have a conversation!

Three party must-haves?

Candles, champagne and interesting, friendly, smiling guests


Kim puts the finishing touches on an al fresco tabletop design

Let’s play favorites…

Cocktail – St. Germain Cocktail – simple and delicious

Champagne – Anything rosé

Food – French fries if I’m being honest. A beet salad if I’m trying to give you the impression that I only eat healthy!

Flower – Peonies or Pois de Senteur

Florist – My sister Krystal’s new flower business, Flowers by Krystal!

Krystal Schlegel

A floral arrangement by Krystal Schlegel from Flowers by Krystal

Dishes – Herend. I love the classics!

Glassware – Moser

Linens – Porthault

Porthault’s Papyrus collection of table linens 

Hostess gift – Geode candle holders or acrylic boxes from CJ Designs

Party dress designer – I like to mix things up with designers and try new things. My new favorite dresses are from Rosie Assoulin that I order on Moda Operandi

Party shoe – YSL Tributes are actually comfortable but I am usually barefoot or in flats when I entertain at home

Kim’s go-to party shoe…when she’s not barefoot, that is

What will you wish for this year when you blow out your birthday candles?

I’ll be thinking of the things I’m so grateful for this year and the goals that I’ve set for next year.

Fabulous, doll, thanks for having us.

To meet more of today’s top salonnieres, come on in and spend time here.

Introductory image: Beverly Drive Magazine

Tête-à-Tête: Maureen Petrosky

Bette Davis
Will you bring me five more martinis, Leo? And line them right up here.

Hey doll, grab your whisky flip and join us as we tipple and talk with our spirited friend, Maureen Petrosky. A cocktail expert who also happens to be a Culinary Institute of America grad and a certified sommelier through the Master Court of Sommeliers, Maureen is the author of a fabulous new giggle water guide called The Cocktail Club: A Year of Recipes and Tips for Spirited Tasting Parties. Full of beautiful photos of drinks and nibbles for every month of the year, The Cocktail Club is the ultimate guide to throwing a spirited soiree. You may also know Maureen from her regular appearances on NBC’s Today show and her popular column on Doll, with Maureen in the mix, finding inspired ways to serve the hard stuff has never been so easy.


Maureen, second from right, on the set of NBC’s “Today” show 

What are your three must-haves for a great cocktail party?

A pre-batched pitcher drink, plenty of ice and another set of hands. My darling husband is my right hand when we entertain. Don’t go at it alone, even if you prep everything ahead of time. There is always a lot to manage once guests arrive.

What’s the best way to stay cocktail party ready?

Always keep bourbon, a small batch gin, vodka, both sweet and dry vermouth, club soda, lemons and limes, and bubbly wine in the house. And, of course, polished glassware. Dry your glasses with a paper towel before you put them away so you’re not fussing with spotty glasses on the day of your party.

The Cocktail Club

Maureen’s new book includes cocktail party tips for every month of the year

What’s the perfect number of people for a cocktail party?

It depends on how intimate you want it to be. Twelve to 15 works for me because it creates a good mix of people, and I can talk to everyone at the party.

What are the hot cocktail trends for the fall?

Big batches and pitcher drinks. They’re perfect for hosts who want to be part of the party instead of spending all their time working it. I also crave beer and beer cocktails in the fall. I think it goes back to my college days.

Fish House Punch

Fish House Punch (recipe below) is the perfect batch drink for fall 

What’s the most underrated cocktail?

The Negroni, by far. Made with gin, Campari, sweet vermouth and club soda, it’s a cocktail that works in every season. I find that people who like whiskey like Negronis and people who say they don’t like gin also like Negronis. They are simply divine. (Recipe below.)

What cocktail is due for a comeback?

All the flips. That means there’s an egg in the drink. Flips are frothy, creamy and indulgent, like a nice full-bodied Cabernet as opposed to one that is flat and wimpy. Cocktail bars in the cities have been shaking these up for a while, but I think the rest of the country will catch on once they give them a try. They’re fun.

Apple Blow FizzAn Apple Blow Fizz is the perfect flip drink for fall

What are your tips for choosing a signature cocktail for a party?

Don’t over-think it. Make something you really like and chances are others will like it, too. Or, at the very least, you can use your enthusiasm and charm to convince them that they do. Pre-make more than one batch. When people are offered a specific cocktail upon arriving, they usually take it and stick with it.

What’s the best way to create your own signature cocktail?

Think seasonally. Right now, start with apple cider and bourbon and build on that. In the winter, I like to start with a batch of hot toddies on the stove. During the summer, it could be a white peach sangria or a blueberry lavender vodka spritzer depending on what’s in the garden. I always let the garden guide my bar.

What’s your go-to cocktail party hors d’oeuvre?

My tomatoes with vodka and sea salt. Pour a little vodka in the bottom of an olive tray and place a single row of tomatoes right on top. Serve them with toothpicks and a side of coarse salt in a small bowl. Guests should prick a vodka-soaked cherry tomato and then just barely dip it into the salt to coat the bottom. It’s simple, delicious, fun to eat and impresses every time.

Tomatoes vodka and salt

Where do you recommending shopping for party pieces?

I like estate sales and garage sales. I don’t like to have what everyone else has. I love to use vintage glassware and fun trays I’ve found along the way. Mismatched, but complimentary, linens and serving pieces let me share my style.

Maureen Petrosky

Do you recommend printed or emailed invitations?

Printed. Receiving a printed invitation in the mail is like spotting a rare bird. Chances are if someone mails me a nice invitation, I’ll be there. Unless it’s for another baby shower. Then, I’ll pour myself a cocktail and ponder the idea.

What’s the best way to avoid a hangover?

Don’t drink on an empty stomach. Pace yourself and drink water. Have a glass before you go to bed and put another on the nightstand. Believe me, you’ll want it.

Let’s play favorites…

Favorite vodka cocktail?

White Cosmo

Favorite gin cocktail?

Negroni (recipe below)


Maureen calls Negronis “the perfect sip”

Favorite tequila cocktail?

Margarita made with fresh lime juice – no pre-made mixers, please

Favorite bourbon cocktail?

An Old Fashioned

Favorite bubbly cocktail?

Aperol Fizz. It was the drink that started my cocktail club! We kicked off our monthly wine club with this darling, orangey spritzer and, from then on, it was au revoir wine club and HELLO cocktail club! One sip and you’ll see why. Pour one ounce of Aperol into a champagne flute and top it off with 3 ounces of Prosecco.

Favorite glassware?

Coupes. I’m so happy they’re back in style, although my husband would like to know why I need as many as I have. If anyone is throwing a party and needs to borrow 60 or so, you know who to call.

Monique Lhuil

Monique Lhuillier Waterford Coupes

Monogrammed. Whenever someone hands me a monogrammed linen cocktail napkin, I feel like the drink is going to be something special.

Favorite bar?

Usually the one I’m in.

We’ll drink to that, doll. Thanks, Maureen, for popping by.

Welcome photo: Bette Davis and Miriam Hopkins
Welcome quote: The Thin Man, 1934

Some of Maureen’s favorite cocktail recipes:


Fish House Punch

Serves 20
1 1/2 cups superfine sugar
6 cups water
1 quart of lemon juice
2 quarts dark rum
1 quart VSOP Cognac
1/2 cup peach brandy
Chilled club soda or Champagne to top
Ice ring or block

In a large punch bowl, combine the sugar and enough water to dissolve. Stir until dissolved. Then add the lemon juice, rum, Cognac, and brandy and stir to combine. Add the ice and top with the club soda or Champagne just before serving.


Classic Negroni Recipe

Serves 1
1 ounce Campari
1 ounce sweet vermouth
1 ounce gin
Flamed orange peel for garnish

Combine all of the ingredients in a short glass filled with ice and stir. Run the flamed orange peel around the edge of the glass, lightly squeezing to express the oils. Drop the peel into the glass and enjoy. A plain orange peel works just as well here.

5256b033697ab06b29002f97._w.540_s.fit_Smoked Maple Bourbon Chai Tea

Serves 1
6 ounces steaming hot water
2 chai tea bags
3 ounces Knob Creek Maple Bourbon
1 ounce half-and-half
Cinnamon stick for garnish

Pour the steaming water over the chai tea bags in a heatproof mug. Let steep for 3 minutes, then remove the tea bags. Add the maple bourbon and half-and-half and stir to combine. Garnish with a cinnamon stick. This recipe calls for two tea bags because I prefer stronger chai spice flavors with this maple bourbon, but feel free to scale back to one tea bag to suit your preference. Though not as creamy as half-and-half, you can also substitute Parmalat when camping. Parmalat is a shelf-stable milk product that is perfect for camping because no refrigeration is required.


Apricot Flip
From the PDT Cocktail Book by Jim Meehan; makes 1 drink.
2 ounces Cognac
3/4 ounce Rothman & Winter Orchard Apricot
1/2 ounce simple syrup
1 whole organic egg
Fresh nutmeg to grate as garnish

Add all ingredients to a shaker and dry-shake (shake without ice). Add ice and shake again until well chilled. Strain into a glass and grate some nutmeg on top as garnish.

The Sally Award: Nieves Alvarez

Nieves-Alvarez-In-Emilio-Pucci-Vogue-Italia-50th-Anniversary (1)

Ciao, bella. What a week for fabulously-frocked party gals, especially in Italy, But none dazzled quite like the striking Spanish model and actress Nieves Alvarez at the Vogue Italia 50th Anniversary party on September 21st in Milan. Nieves was positively aglow in a midnight blue sequined dress with thigh-high slit from Emilio Pucci’s Pre-Fall 2014 Collection. Let’s face it, doll, this is the perfect party dress: effortless, elegant and easy to wear but completely glamorous and sexy. Sleek, pulled back hair, smokey eyes, a nude lip and bejeweled Bulgari drop earrings added the perfect finishing touches. That’s what we call fashion amore, baby.

Marquise du Deffand

Marquise du Deffand

Marquise du Deffand (source: Eon Images)

Oh, doll, whatever you’re doing can wait. You simply must join our bunny about the Marquise du Deffand. Fiercely independent and quite flirtatious, she’s another of our salonniere gals who was far ahead of her time.

Marie Anne de Vichy-Chamrond was born into a noble family in 1697 at the Château de Chamrond in beautiful Burgundy. Smart as a whip, she was sent to study at a convent in Paris but her cynical turn of mind and freedom of views and spirit quite alarmed the abbess, so her parents decided the best thing to do was to get the girl hitched.

So, when Marie was 21, they arranged to have her marry a  gentleman 10 years her senior, the dull Jean Baptiste de la Lande, marquis du Deffand. It was not long before our gal decided she’d had enough of the old fuddy-duddy and ditched him for a duke becoming, instead, the mistress of the duke of Orleans. Our lady liked to play the field, though, and, in 1721, cultivated a friendship with Voltaire, perhaps even fancied the witty writer, who became her regular pen pal.

Portrait of Voltaire by Maurice Quentin de la Tour c. 1736, three years into his relationship with the Marquise du Châtelet. (Wikimedia commons)

A portrait of Voltaire by Maurice Quentin de la Tour c. 1736

You can imagine how charming she must have been to attract so many interesting men, and that esprit made her the center of a brilliant circle, her salon. With her notorious band of high-born débauchés, the Marquise’s salons were a welcoming place for the libertines and aristocrats of the day. Among her famous guests were Charles Henault (President of the Court of Inquiry and a close friend of the Queen), the writer, Marmontel, and the philosophers, Diderot and Montesquieu.

Another habitué of her salon who caught the Marquise’s eye – here we go, again, darlin’ – was Jean le Rond D’Alembert, a mathematician and the publisher of the Encyclopedie. They remained close until the Marquise started to lose her sight in 1754 and she brought in Mademoiselle Julie de Lespinasse to help with her salons. Lo and behold, the younger Julie went behind the Marquise’s back and charmed D’Alembert and, when the ladies had a quarrel and went their separate ways, Julie took D’Alembert with her.


Jean le Rond D’Alembert

Our matron may have been saddened to lose her literary clique and her beloved D’Alembert, but she wasn’t the type to cry over spilled Margaux. She soon found a younger man with whom to liaise, the British art historian and man of letters, Horace Walpole. Now 67, our Marquise developed quite a crush on Horace and, though he may not have encouraged her advances, the two did maintain a voluminous correspondence. Upon her death in 1780 at the age of 83, the Marquise left her precious papers and her precious pooch, Tonton, to his care.

Horace Walpole

A portrait of Horace Walpole by John Giles Eccardt, circa 1755

A book of the Marquise’s letters, Correspondance Inédite De Mme Du Deffand Avec D’alembert, Montesquieu, Le Président Hénault, La Dsse Du Maine, Mmes De Choiseul, De Staal, Le Mis … Lettres De M. De Voltaire À Mme Du Deffand, was published posthumously in 1809. What a  dame, don’t you think, doll? Until the end, this smart and sassy salonniere kept her mind and her options wide open.

10 Tips for Fall Entertaining


Even a man who is pure in heart may become a wolf when the autumn moon is bright.

Howdy, pumpkin. Grab your Sazerac because we’re toasting the Autumnal Equinox, the day when the sun shines directly on the Earth’s equator and starts heading south. In other words, it’s the first day of the fall party season, doll, and we’re feeling tipsy. Want to spice up your autumn soirée? Then feast your eyes on our 10 best entertaining tips for fall.

1. Choose a stellar date. Let’s face it, there’s nothing more festive than an autumn moon, so hold your party on or around an evening when the moon is full and bright. Full moon dates this fall are October 8th and November 6th. If it’s not too cool, serve cocktails or dinner outside. You can always drape pretty throws in seasonal colors over the backs of the chairs for those who get chilly.

Full moon fall dinner

A full moon is the perfect party light 

2. Harvest your guest list. Select your guest list carefully to ensure a fun, interesting and diverse mix of guests. Have a look through your social media feeds to see who had interesting experiences over the summer that you think others might enjoy hearing about.

3. Spice things up with a signature cocktail. Welcome your guests with a drink that puts them in the mood for the cool, crisp days of autumn. Try a Spiced Pear Collins, which is made with gin (you know we’re gin girls, darlin’), pear puree and rosemary.


Spiced Pear Collins

4. Prepare a seasonal feast. Serve warm, earthy nibbles with squash, pears, fennel, figs, apples and other fall flavors. Butternut squash soup served in shot glasses and garnished with fried sage leaves is a classic autumnal touch that looks beautiful passed on trays. Garnish your dishes and serving trays with edible fall leaves.

Edible fall leaves and flowers

Salads with edible fall leaves and flowers make a delicious seasonal statement

5. Fill the air with the sounds of autumn. Create a playlist that reflects the sounds of the season. It’s a subtle – but instrumental (pun intended, darlin’) – touch. Songs to consider are “Autumn Leaves” by Nat King Cole, “September” by Earth, Wind and Fire and “Forever Autumn” by the Moody Blues.

6. Bring a taste of autumn to your flowers. Reflect the bounty of fall with floral arrangements that include seasonal fruits, vegetables and herbs like chard, beets, purple artichokes, fennel blossoms, rosemary and purple basil.


Artichokes add wonderful texture to autumnal arrangements

7. Sprinkle seasonal touches into your décor. Serve your nibbles on leaf-shaped serving platters like those from Michael Aram and choose linens in autumnal shades like gold, rust and pumpkin. Sferra’s Festival collection offers an abundance of hues from which to choose.

Michael Aram

Serving pieces from the Michael Aram Botanical Collection

8. Stoke the embers of friendship. Use lots of candles to make everyone look and feel gorgeous. Place votives in groups on tables to draw people together as though they’re gathering around a hearth.

9. Gather the leaves. As each guest leaves your party, thank them for coming and send them home with a warm hug and an old-fashioned thermos filled with cider or a classic caramel apple – nostalgic touches always make people smile.

Caramel apples

10. Chill. Remember to relax and have fun. You know how it goes, sugar. If you don’t have a good time at your autumn fête, your guests won’t either.

For more fall entertaining ideas, have a look at our story about the 10 best new entertaining books.

Introductory image: Audrey Hepburn and Humphrey Bogart in Sabrina, 1954
Introductory quote: The Wolf Man, 1941

The Sally Award: Keira Knightley

9w4fxbw007y99940 Mornin’ darlin’, we’re pouring mimosas and dishing about the best party look of the week. Tell me, doll, did you happen to see Keira Knightley at the party for her new film, Laggies? It was at the Toronto Film Festival, and let’s just say Keira was looking positively sally. She was all dolled up in a stunning Michael van der Ham navy number that had a bodice with black and silver beading and a layered-tulle skirt. Leith Clark, who styled the look, accessorized the custom gown simply with a thin diamond bangle and a pair of elegant black suede evening pumps. Yep, that’s it. So refined. And, of course, you know how we feel about black and navy together – très sophisticated.


Gorgeous Keira completed the look with a bold red lip, gray-lined eyes and an effortless low pony. We hereby confer this week’s Sally Award for the best party look of the week on the most courtly of British beauties, Keira Knightley. Congrats, doll.

Tell us what you think about Keira’s look on any of our social butterfly channels:  FacebookTwitterInstagram and Pinterest.

RSVP: India Hicks

India Hicks HSN Habitually Chic

Doll, come on in and meet beautiful salonniere, India Hicks, who’s here to share her top hostess tips as she recalls attending two of the most famous royal parties in history. She is 678th in line to the British Throne after all. The daughter of David Hicks, the famed interior designer, and Lady Pamela Hicks, the daughter of the Earl Mountbatten of Burma, British-born India has blended her chic and royal roots to make a name for herself as the empress of island style. India has her own line of home products called Island Living by India Hicks, her own line of fine jewelry and her own isle-style blog. She has also penned three lifestyle books, built and restored five major properties, designed products for companies including Crabtree & Evelyn, hosted television programs, modeled for top fashion houses and, yes, run marathons. Given this beauty’s busy-bee propensities, it’s a good thing that she, her partner, David, and their five children have a Bahamian sanctuary to call home. Let’s jump in, doll, shall we? Bare feet first, of course.

Your entertaining style?
Barefoot under the stars with lots of candlelight, a mixed bag of guests and several snoring dogs.

Your favorite place to entertain?
On the top of the small hill in our garden, between the swaying palm trees, just as the sun sets and the sky turns blood-red.

India Hicks

India’s outdoor dining table in the garden of her Bahamian home

Tip for making your guests feel welcome?
Music, candles, flattering lighting and a tray of well-made cocktails.

Trait you most admire in a guest?

Go-to hostess outfit?
A long, silk kaftan, damp hair tied into a ballerina bun, gold bangles and bare feet.

India Hicks

What did you learn from your parents about entertaining?
A well thought out placement is essential.

Last party you hosted?
A mid-summer dinner on our terrace with a long table stretching from end to end, lots of teenagers, lots of friends, lots of family and several people being thrown into a warm pool.

India Hicks

India’s table at her recent mid-summer dinner party

How do you stay party ready?
I keep assorted cheeses and crackers on hand. David says cheese never goes off; it simply changes its name.

Let’s play favorites:
Linens—India Hicks for HSN linen sheet collection
Party dress designer—Ralph Lauren
Party shoe for all-night dancing—Haviana flip flops
Hostess gift—Baby pineapple plant, very ornate and can one day be eaten.

You were one of Princess Diana’s flower girls at her wedding to Prince Charles. What do you remember most from that day?
How crumpled her dress was when she came out of that carriage

India Hicks

Twelve-year-old India, second from the left, at the wedding of Prince Charles to Lady Diana 

What do you remember most about Prince William’s wedding to Kate Middleton?
Watching the Buckingham Palace balcony being vacuumed as armed SAS [Special Air Service] officers patrolled the roof top

Party you wish you could go back in time to attend?
Studio 54 in its heyday

Most fascinating person you met at a party?
Does Robert De Niro for coffee one morning count?

India Hicks

India in her office

Who is your dream dinner partner?
Nick Cave, songwriter, author, screenwriter, composer and lead singer of the Bad Seeds. He’s a real entertainer and was bloody brilliant at charades after dinner one evening.

What is the party invitation you’d most like to receive?
Dinner with Hilary Clinton in the White House when she is president.

How have your travels influenced your entertaining style?
Once on safari in Africa, we were celebrating one of David’s birthdays. He was served a large cake, shaped in an unusual mound, with a candle on top. The staff clapped and sang and chanted, “Cut it, cut it, cut it, cut it.” David sliced open the cake to find that it was made from fresh elephant poop. We may not bake poop cakes, but we are influenced by the drama of outdoor entertaining, the fun of a relaxed atmosphere and the charm of local customs.


India’s Thanksgiving dinner table 

What is the most interesting entertaining custom you encountered on your travels?
Not being allowed to show the backs of our knees, as women, in Malawi. Apparently it arouses the men too much. But having to eat alligator in Cuba so as not to offend my host was trickier.

If you could host a party anywhere in the world, where would it be?
Rajasthan, India, the land of kings. All that color. All those exotics flavors. Dramatic tents and a few elephants.

India Hicks

India prepares for a dinner party on the beach

Next party you’ll host?
Who knows, but February, March, April, May and June always test my imagination. David and four out of five of our children have birthdays then. One year we had so exhausted our birthday party themes that we ended up hosting a food fight on the beach with whipped cream, damp spaghetti and jelly. It was a huge success.

Photos courtesy of India Hicks, Veranda and Habitually Chic

The Sally Award: Kendall Jenner

Kendall Jenner

Darlin’, this week, we just had to give our Sally Award for best party look of the week to model-of-the-moment, Kendall Jenner, who turned heads during Fashion Week in a stunning Octavio Carlin gown at the Harper’s Bazaar Icons party in New York.

Kendall JennerLooking luminous in a cream-colored, floor-sweeping satin gown, Kendall showed a level of sophistication beyond her years by accessorizing her look simply with a classic chignon, matte evening make up and diamante sandals that echoed the elegant lines of the dress. Dashing, doll.

Harper's Bazaar celebrates 'Icons by Carine Rotifeld' - Arrivals

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