Super Bowl Sunday: Aletails

Where’d you get that, dark and handsome?

Hi-de-ho, doll. Planning a Super Bowl soirée? If so, you’re probably already stocking up on the suds. But why not kick things off on Sunday night with a beer-based signature cocktail instead of the straight stuff? Aletails, as  they’re called, are festive, delicious and the cat’s meow with salty and spicy game-day nibbles. Here are five of our favorites to consider. Choose a stout-based drink to warm the crowd or a lighter brew for a refreshing touch. The best part? Making them is, you guessed it, a snap.

stoutandstormy

The Stout and Stormy (created by Goat Town in New York City)

8 ounces of Southern Tier 2X Milk Stout
1 ounce ginger syrup
3/4 ounce fresh lime juice

Shake the ginger syrup and lime juice with ice to create the ginger beer base. Strain the mixture into a pint glass full of ice. Float the stout on top of  the mixture and garnish with a lime wedge. Stir gently with a straw to combine the ingredients before drinking. Add extra lime juice, if desired.


Sriracha-Lada (created by Bon Appetit)

1 ounce fresh lime juice
2 teaspoons Sriracha
½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
Kosher salt
Mexican lager such as Pacifico
Lime

Combine lime juice, Sriracha, and Worcestershire sauce in a salt-rimmed pint glass filled with ice. Top off with lager. Garnish with lime wheel.

 

The Cure

1 ounce Domaine de Canton ginger liqueur
5 ounces light lager such as Sankaty Light by Cisco Brewers or Sam Adams light
1/2 ounce fresh lemon juice
5 one-inch pieces peeled fresh ginger cut into thin matchsticks

Fill 12-ounce cooler or highball glass with ice cubes. Add ginger liqueur, beer, and lemon juice and stir until combined. Garnish with ginger sticks.

 

The Irish Russian

1 ounce vodka
1 ounce Kahlúa
1 dash Coca-Cola
6 ounces of good stout

Add the ingredients in the order listed above. Add the stout with care to prevent an excess of foam.

The Beer’s Knees

1-1/2 ounces gin
1 ounce freshly pressed lemon juice
1 ounce honey syrup (1:1 honey and water)
3 ounces hefeweizen-style beer (a German style of wheat beer)  like Widmer Hefeweizen
1 lemon wedge for garnish

Combine gin, juice and honey syrup in a shaker filled with ice. Shake vigorously and strain into a collins glass with or without ice. Top with beer and garnish with lemon.

And when it’s time to make your toast…

You foam within our glasses, you lusty golden brew,
Whoever imbibes takes fire from you.
The young and the old sing your praises,
Here’s to beer,
Here’s to cheer,
Here’s to beer!

- From The Bartered Bride, a comic opera composed in the 1860s

Introductory photo: Lone Andre, 1940s
Introductory quote: She Done Him Wrong, 1933

Photos: Goat Town, Bon Appetit, Epicurious,Foodviva, Aviation Gin

Party Hopping: The 2015 Philharmoniker Ball

 The, uh, stuff that dreams are made of.

Attending a ball in Vienna is like stepping into the pages of a fairy tale: it takes place in an enchanted setting and brims with magical elements, folklore and fantasy. My husband and I had the wonderful opportunity to waltz into the fairy tale that is the Philharmoniker Ball in Vienna last Thursday evening as the guests of Alexa Wesner, the U.S. Ambassador to Austria, and her husband, Blaine, a venture capitalist. One of Vienna’s premier annual social events, the Philharmoniker Ball dates back to 1924 and none of the splendor and pageantry has been lost in the years since. Ladies still wear ball gowns, men don white tie, tails and medals and debutantes come from all over Europe to be presented to Vienna society. Join us as we take you inside the 2015 Philharmoniker Ball.

Our fairy tale evening began with a divine private dinner hosted by the Ambassador and her husband at the Palais Coburg, a grand palace completed in 1845 that now serves as a five-star hotel and has one of the finest wine collections in the world. Thanks to the generosity of another of the evening’s guests, our dinner included one of the most prized bottles in the Palais Coburg collection: a Balthazar (the equivalent of 16 standard wine bottles) of one of the most delicious and complex wines I’ve ever had the pleasure to taste: a 1961 Premier Grand Cru Classe Chateau Latour.

At 10 pm, the official start time of the Ball, we arrived at the event venue, The Wiener Musikverein, a magnificent neoclassical concert hall built in 1863 that is home to the Vienna Philharmonic. It is worth noting that The Musikverein was so well designed and constructed that, despite the fact that it has none of the modern applications of acoustics science, it is regarded as one of the finest concert halls in the world. One need only hear how the orchestra sounds fill the 161-foot-long and 59-foot-tall Golden Hall to understand why.

Colorful flowers lined the many balconies and stairwells of The Musikverein

Following the opening ceremony, the dignitaries were seated behind the Philharmonic for the orchestral performance and presentation of the debutantes

Upon arriving, Ambassador and Mr. Wesner excused themselves to participate in the Ball’s opening ceremonies while we took our seats in a loge overlooking the dance floor. From there, we watched the dignitaries proceed ceremoniously into the Golden Hall to the same Richard Strauss music that has been played at every Philharmoniker Ball opening procession since 1924. Vienna’s respect for history and tradition was palpable.

The debutantes present themselves to Vienna society

The Vienna Philharmonic performs at the 2015 Philharmoniker Ball

Once the dignitaries took their seats behind the Philharmonic, the hundreds of debutantes, all wearing white ball gowns and crystal treble clef pins in their hair, walked into the Hall holding the hands of their dance partners. They entered to great fanfare and soon began to waltz counter-clockwise around the floor in breathtaking harmony. At the conclusion of their dance, the Master of Dance, a dance barker of sorts and the only official to speak during the entire evening, proclaimed “Alles Walzer!”, which signaled to the crowd that it was time to join the debutantes on the dance floor.

Debutantes waltzing at the Philharmoniker Ball

Over the course of the next six hours, the Philharmonic, the Großes Ballorchester under the direction of Helmut Steubl and the Tom Henkes Dance Band played a steady stream of Viennese waltzes, polkas and big band numbers ensuring that there was a little musical something for every dancer. At midnight and again at 2 am, the Master of Dance led a still-teeming dance floor in a Quadrille, a fun, Simon-says-type dance that originated in France in the 1700s and features four couples dancing in a square formation.

Unable to decipher the German directions being given by the Master of Dance, we chose to watch the Quadrilles from the loge while sipping Champagne and nibbling on a late-night snack of traditional Vienna sausages with mustard and horseradish.

Ambassador Wesner looked regal in a garnet-hued Valentino gown and low chignon and her husband, Blaine, was elegance personified in an impeccably tailored tailcoat. 

I chose a red silk, chiffon and tulle bias-cut gown by American couturier, Robert Danes, as a nod to the official color of Austria. 

Shortly before 3 am, we left the still-crowded Ball and headed to the beautiful and historic Hotel Sacher for some post-Ball revelry. At 5 am, we called it a night. And what a night it was…a fairy tale night, once upon a time.

Cat’s Meow Moments: Entering The Musikverein’s Golden Hall and being overwhelmed by the sheer grandeur and historic significance of the space, seeing the magnificent floral arrangements throughout the building, listening to the lively sounds of one of the world’s finest orchestras play in one of the world’s finest concert halls, watching the hundreds of debutantes and their partners waltz in perfect unison, taking to the dance floor with my husband and dancing the dizzying Viennese Waltz (albeit not always in perfect unison), seeing the tremendous joy and fellowship that goes with Quadrille dancing, and basking in the formality and elegance of Austrian culture and tradition.

Introductory photo: Judy Garland
Introductory quote: The Maltese Falcon, 1941

The Sally Award: Felicity Jones

Felicity Jones

I don’t know about you, but we were head over stilettos about all the fashions on the red carpets this week. If you were following us on Twitter, you know that I was garnishing the “picks” at the Golden Globes with olives (“I loves”) – from one olive for the looks that were, well, the pits to five for those that were simply delicious.

While there were several gals at the Globes who received five olives, including Reese Witherspoon who has never looked better,  it was Felicity Jones who had the best party look of the week. A Best Actress award nominee for her performance in The Theory of Everything, Felicity was a fashion standout in a spectacular Dior ball gown in a fresh and sophisticated shade of teal blue.

We particularly loved the gown’s nod to Dior’s New Look, the revolutionary silhouette that the couturier introduced in 1947 that has had a long history with Hollywood’s most fashionable women. Defined by its nipped-in waist and voluminous skirts, the New Look was a go-to silhouette for glamorous stars including Marilyn Monroe, Grace Kelly and Elizabeth Taylor, who wore a voluminous Dior gown to the 1961 Academy Awards.

Jones, who is establishing herself as one of Hollywood’s chicest actresses, accessorized the gown perfectly with Brian Atwood shoes, vintage ear clips from Van Cleef & Arpels and a perfect, sleek chignon. We especially loved the pop of tangerine color – Dior Rouge Dior Lipstick in Pliesse Soleil – on her lips. What a fresh and modern touch.

Our gal may have lost the Golden Globe to Julianne Moore who won for her performance in Still Alice but, in the fashion department, it is still Felicity. Well done, doll.

RSVP: Jill Kargman

Darlin’, grab a glass of champers and come meet our lovely friend, the New York Times bestselling chick-lit author, Jill Kargman. Now don’t be duped by Jill’s exotic good looks and sophisticated style (she’s a member of Vanity Fair‘s International Best-Dressed List and her father is Arie Kopelman, the former chairman of Chanel).  Jill may be a fashionista of the highest order, but this down-to-earth gal has a sense of humor as sharp, edgy and incisive as a hound’s tooth. Her books, which include The Ex-Mrs. Hedgefund, Sometimes I Feel Like a Nut and Momzillas, are full of wry, irreverent and side-splitting observations about life among New York’s social elite. Jill’s latest project is Odd Mom Out, a new scripted comedy about Manhattan’s wealthy momzillas that she created for Bravo and in which she stars. The series debuts on June 8th at 10 pm EST, so now’s the time to start planning what Jill calls your “yummy mummy viewing parties.” How does this fashionable and funny lady entertain? Her tips might just have you in stitches.

Your entertaining style?
Festive and fun but casual

Your favorite way to entertain?
My table seats 10 so I always keep it at that! Sometimes we jam in two extra chairs but it’s super tight.

With you at your dream dinner table?
Meryl Streep, Woody Allen, Tim Burton, my three kids, my parents, and my husband

Jill with her father, Arie, mother, Coco, and husband, Harry, a technology entrepreneur

What party foods are always in your fridge and pantry?
Hummus, olives, about 10 cheeses, rice crackers and Carr’s Table Water Crackers plus baby carrots and cherry tomatoes for pop-by cocktails

Getting ready ritual?
Blaring Soundgarden

Best question to ask to get a party conversation rolling?
Who wants to play Cards Against Humanity afterwards?

Cards Against Humanity calls itself “a party game for horrible people”

Topics you won’t touch at a party?
Politics, religion, pets and school bullshit

Favorite cocktail?
Bellini

Favorite Champagne?
Veuve Cliquot

Favorite party food? 
Cheese

Favorite flower?
Ranunculus

In the language of flowers, ranunculus say “I’m dazzled by your charms”

Favorite powder room candle? 
Baies by Diptyque

Favorite powder room soap?
Jo Malone Red Roses

Jo Malone’s Red Roses Wash is composed of seven types of roses from around the world

Favorite party dress designer?
Marc By Marc Jacobs or Anna Sui

Favorite party shoe designer?
Valentino

Anna Weatherly hand painted china is based on 16th, 17th and 18th century botanical art

Favorite china brand?
Anna Weatherly

Favorite crystal brand?
William Yeoward

Jill and Harry’s prom-themed 40th birthday party

Best party you hosted?
It’s a tie between my 25th birthday party – it was a glam rock theme party called Studio Filthy Whore [presumably, Jill’s take on Studio 54] – and the 1980s prom party Harry and I hosted for our 40th birthdays. I never had a prom and it’s an American rite of passage and I felt like a commie bastard, so I had a John Hughes High black-tie prom. It ruled.

You know you’re at a Jill Kargman party when…
Nine Inch Nails is blaring, kids are running, grownups are drinking, and Cards Against Humanity has everyone cackling.

Party invitation you’ll never turn down?
To one of my friend Ashley McDermott‘s dinner parties. They’re always lovely and warm with mixed ages, delicious food, and so much soul.

Jill in Valentino at the Met Gala

Most fascinating person you met a party?
Henry Winkler was my dinner partner once and I almost died that I was seated next to the Fonz. He was lovely.

Most interesting thing you learned about someone at a party?
That people who seem cold and standoffish at school or on Madison Avenue can actually loosen up with some champers and be delightful

What do you do when you forget a name?
I shit and then say, do you know my husband, Harry? And wait for them to say their name. It happens all the time, horrifyingly.

Technique for bowing out of a boring conversation gracefully?
“I have to hit the shitter.”

Qualities of a great host?
Warmth, humor and infectious enthusiasm

Qualities of a great guest?
Ditto

Three party pet-peeves?
Having a boring, straight, Wall Street guy next to me, cell-phone checkers (unacceptable!) and people who stay too late

Three party must-haves?
Good food, good drinks and good music

What will you wish for this year when you blow out your birthday candles?
A second season of Odd Mom Out

We think we’ll wish for that too, doll. Thanks for stopping by.

The Sally Award: Emily Blunt

What better way to kick off The Sally Awards for 2015 than with one of our perennial style favorites, the lovely Emily Blunt. In the spirit of our gal, let’s be, shall we say, blunt:  no one looked better than Emily on the party circuit this week.

The British actress looked positively divine at the Into the Woods screening in London on Wednesday in a stunning embellished dress from David Koma’s Spring 2015 collection. Our gal accessorized the bejeweled and perfectly tailored ivory frock with simple hair and make up, understated jewels and classic Stuart Weitzman Nudist sandals.

Her choice of an opalescent polish on her toes to reflect the shimmer of the beading shows that our gal considered everything when putting this winning look together. That’s what we call head to toe fashion perfection. Well done, doll.

Images: i-Images

Madame Sophie Swetchine

Pour yourself a glass of your best unfiltered vodka and gather close, darlin’. We’ve got a tale to tell of a Russian-doll-turned-Parisian-salonniere known for her religious conviction, her way with the plume and her intellectual salon.

We’re speaking of none other than Anne Sophie Swetchine who was born Sofia Petrovna Soymanova in Moscow in November 1782. Our gal came from quite a good family, was well-educated and spoke several European languages. No ruble was spared when it came to educating the smart and precocious Sofia. You see, her father was Secretary of State Peter Alexandrovich Soimonov and she spent her early years in the court of Empress Catherine the Great. Talk about a fabulous role model. Scandalous as she was, Catherine is known as one of the most astute rulers in Russian history.

Catherine the Great

But back to Sofia. At the age of 17, our gal was married to General Nicholas Sergeyevich Swetchine, a rather quiet man who was 25 years her senior and had been governor of St. Petersburg. I know what you’re thinking, but the two actually had a good marriage, although they were not able to have children, which caused our gal great despair.

Some believe this was why, at age 33, Sofia converted to Catholicism. She had long been influenced by the writings of Joseph de Maistre, the French philosopher and ambassador to Russia who wrote often on the subject of the Pope and Christianity. Russian law did not permit members of the Russian nobility who left the Russian Orthodox Church to continue living in Russia, so poor Sofia and her husband were forced to live in exile, choosing Paris, bien sûr, as their new home.

Joseph de Maistre

Once in Paris, and after changing the spelling of her name to Sophie, our gal put her excellent education, language skills and years at court to good use setting up a salon that became the talk of the town. Some of the most distinguished thinkers in literature, politics and ecclesiastical high society including the Archbishop of Paris came through her doors as did a number of other Russian exiles.

In 1857, at the age of 75, this grande dame of Paris salon life – and one of Paris society’s authorities on Catholic theology – died. A wonderful writer, Madame Swetchine left behind a collection of manuscripts and letters, including many with Tocqueville, the author of Democracy in America, and numerous expressions that continue to reflect her wisdom. Here are our favorites:

The ideal friendship is to feel as one while remaining two.

There are two ways of attaining an important end, force and perseverance; the silent power of the latter grows irresistible with time.

Our vanity is the constant enemy of our dignity.

One must be a somebody before they can have an enemy. One must be a force before he can be resisted by another force.

In this world of change, nothing which comes stays, and nothing which goes is lost.

With that, let’s raise our glasses to Madame Swetchine, shall we?

The 10 Best Party Looks of 2014

A white dress she had on. I only saw her for one second. But I’ll bet a month hasn’t gone by since that I haven’t thought of that girl.

From Lupita’s red dress heard round the fashion world to the Charles-James-inspired gown that Sarah Jessica Parker wore to the Met Gala, 2014 was one of the most fête-chic fashion years that we can remember. Join us as we visit the Sally Award archives and take a chronological look back at the 10 best party looks of 2014. Which was your favorite? Grab your glass of bubbly and join us on our Facebook page to let us know. From all of us at The Salonniere, thank you for being part of our party. We appreciate you. Here’s to a new year filled with great joy, good health and plenty of revelry.

 Lupita Nyong’o in Ralph Lauren at the Golden Globe Awards

Taylor Swift in Gucci Premiere at the Grammy Awards

Emma Watson in Oscar de la Renta at the New York City premiere of Noah

Blake Lively in Gucci at the Cannes Film Festival

Emily Blunt in Prada at the premiere of Edge of Tomorrow 

Sarah Jessica Parker in Oscar de la Renta at the Met Gala

 

Kate Hudson in Michael Kors at the New York City screening of Wish I Was Here

Keira Knightley in Michael van der Ham at the Toronto Film Festival

Lily Collins in Elie Saab at the Rome Film Festival

Kate Middleton in Jenny Packham at the St. Andrew’s gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

Introductory photo: Christian Dior’s “Offenbach” evening gown, 1950
Introductory quote: Citizen Kane, 1941

Start 2015 off with a flourish. Follow us on Instagram to earn a chance to win monthly flower deliveries for a year.

The Return of Punch

I never drink wi-i-ine.

Punch is the hottest new trend in entertaining and there’s good reason why. It’s delicious, makes serving your guests a breeze and adds a beautiful and festive touch to a party. Punch dates back to the early 1600s in India when British sailors, thousands of miles from a pub and desperate for a nip, mixed local ingredients to create the first punch.

According to David Wondrich, author of Punch: The Delights (and Dangers) of the Flowing Bowl, the sailors brought the brew back to England where it became a popular part of English revelry until Queen Victoria put the kibosh on it saying she didn’t like the “lax moral standards” associated with getting grossly drunk on punch. To the Queen’s point, it is important that your brew not pack too much of a punch. It should be weaker than a cocktail since you want your guests going back for more. Conversations around the punch bowl are all part of the experience. While there are many delicious punch recipes from which to choose, this one created by Wondrich and Erick Castro, a bartender at Polite Provisions, Imbibe magazine’s 2014 Bar of the Year, is one of our favorites. Serve it in one of these 10 fete-chic punch bowls and your guests will leave your party pleased as – you guessed it – punch.

Champagne Holiday Punch
Makes about six drinks

Ice, preferably large cubes
4 ounces rich simple syrup
Angostura bitters
4 ounces cold Champagne
8 ounces cold club soda
12 ounces genever
Pineapple slices and star anise pods, for garnish
4 ounces Créole Shrubb
6 ounces fresh lemon juice

In a punch bowl, combine the genever, Créole Shrubb, lemon juice, rich simple syrup and 10 dashes of the bitters and refrigerate until chilled, about 2 hours. Stir in the Champagne and club soda, add ice and garnish with the pineapple and star anise.

Baccarat Mille Nuits Bowl

Christofle Malmaison Punch Bowl

Hermes Mosaique au 24 Punch Bowl

waterford john

Waterford John Connolly Circle of Friends Punch Bowl

thrope2

Dorothy Thorpe Vintage Punch Bowl Set

scully and scully silver

Silverplate Punch Bowl Set

minton

Minton English Punch Bowl c. 1810

Glass Punch Bowl with Ladle

XXX_1stdibs_57_a

Glass and Silverplate Punch Bowl Set c. 1960

Heisey Greek Key Punch Bowl

Introductory photo: Barbara Stanwyck
Introductory quote: Dracula, 1931

Giveaway: Flowers for a Year

Too much of a good thing can be wonderful.

To welcome the new year with a flourish, we’re giving one of our wonderful Instagram followers flowers for a year. That’s right, darlin’. One lucky Instagram follower will receive a delivery of beautiful, freshly-cut blooms from Calyx Flowers every month during 2015. It’s a prize valued at $500. To enter, simply follow us on Instagram at http://instagram.com/thesalonniere. Easy breezy.No purchase is necessary to enter or win. Bonne chance, honeysuckle.

Introductory image: Joan Crawford
Introductory quote: Mae West

Promotion Description: The Flowers for a Year 2015 giveaway begins on 12/28/2014 at 10 AM Central Time (US & Canada) and ends on 01/04/2015 at 10:00 AM Central Time (US & Canada).  The Giveaway is open to those with a mailing address in the United States who are 21 years of age or older. Void where prohibited or restricted by law. The winner will be selected in a random drawing from among all eligible entries received and will be conducted by 1/06/2015. The winner will be notified through Instagram and must accept the prize within 48 hours of notification or another winner will be chosen at random.

Party Poll: New Year’s Eve

Fasten your seatbelts. It’s going to be a bumpy night.

Howdy, darlin’. Looking forward to a big night out on New Year’s Eve? If  so, you’re one of the few. According to our Holiday 2014 Party Poll, 62 percent of guys and dolls, 25-54, prefer to stay in on New Year’s Eve, although a randy five percent said they like to go out simply because it’s a fun excuse to smooch folks other than their significant other. By golly.

As for the others, perhaps they’re all just too pooped from all the holiday soirees they attended this season. Our Party Poll found that 60 percent of people planned to attend between three and nine holiday hullabaloos and four percent attended 10 or more.

Of the 1,076 people nationwide who answered the questions in our Holiday 2014 Party Poll, 518 were men and 558 were women. The survey has a margin of error of +/- five percent.

Whether you’ll be in or out this New Year’s Eve, we wish you a night of great joy and merriment.

Introductory photo: Dorothy Rowand
Introductory quote: All About Eve, 1950

The Sally Award: Byrdie Bell

Welcome, darlin’. Come on in and join us as we chat about this week’s party plumage. There were so many lovelies on the red carpet this week, but the one who stood out from the flock – the winner of this week’s Sally Award for the best party look of the week – is actress and model, Byrdie Bell. Byrdie was positively stunning in a Roman-inspired Badgley Mischka gown at The New York Botanical Garden’s Winter Wonderland Ball. Part of the design team’s Pre-Fall 2014 Collection, the ivory crepe column gown featured gorgeous gold mesh and jeweled shoulder and sleeve details and a botanic ornament at the waist – such a nice nod to the event, which benefits the Garden’s children’s education programs.

Byrdie accessorized the floor-sweeping dress perfectly with an ivory clutch, soft and natural makeup and a low and loose messy bun. The Bell of the ball. Indeed.

Photos courtesy of bfanyc.com and Byrdie Bell 

How to Throw a Lovely Ugly Sweater Party

Must I always wear a low-cut dress to be important?

An ugly sweater party can be fun for the holidays because it gives people a fun and easy way to connect with one another. I also love them as a theme for office parties because they are a natural equalizer. But, despite its name, an ugly sweater party can actually be quite lovely. It just takes a few well-thought-through details and a nice balance between kitsch and chic. Gather round as we sweat all the details for you.

Create an invitation that sets the mood.

Dress your wait staff in ugly vests worn over white shirts and bow ties. 

Decorate your tree with knitted ball ornaments. These were purchased on eBay.

Incorporate mini sweaters into your floral arrangements. These are from Michael’s.

Serve plenty of festive red and green foods.

napkins

Use cocktail napkins that feature a sweater pattern. These, from Zazzle, coordinated beautifully with our signature cocktail, a pomegranate martini.

Incorporate knitted items on your buffet table.

Items that look knitted are fun to add as well. These bowls are from Michael’s.

Of course, don’t forget to serve not-so-ugly and very delicious sweater cookies.

Print up voting cards and give prizes to those “who wore it worst.” 

Don’t forget to carry your theme into the powder room. Use guest towels in an argyle pattern. These are from ForYourParty.com. 

Take a Polaroid of each guest as they enter. During the party, have a helper print them out and insert them into a snow globe. It’s the perfect party favor – guests can put them on their desks and giggle about the night all year long.  

Don’t forget to include your puppy in the fun. Ours even received a couple of votes in the ugliest sweater contest.

Introductory photo: Deanna Durbin
Introductory quote: Jean Harlow

RSVP: Sirio Maccioni

Slim Aarons

Photo of Sirio Maccioni at Le Cirque in 1981 by Slim Aarons

Grab your Smoky Conquistador and join us, darlin’. We were just about to sit down for a chat with our friend, famed restaurateur, Sirio Maccioni. Surely you’ve heard of his iconic New York restaurant, Le Cirque. Their divine crème brûlée is world renowned. Still debonair and charming at the age of 83, Sirio is one of the most skilled and gracious party hosts of all time. Over the last 40 years, he has hosted at the restaurant everyone from Frank Sinatra (“difficult but generous”), Frank Zappa (“revolutionary”) and Sophia Loren (“not easy”) to presidents and popes. He also helped launch the careers of many illustrious chefs including David Bouley, Daniel Boulud, Jacques Torres and Geoffrey Zakarian. Just in time for our holiday dinner parties, let’s get some thoughts on hosting from the (circus) master himself. Right this way, darling.

What is the key to being a skilled host?
Be normal and natural as a person and a host.

Jacqueline Onassis with Sirio at Le Cirque

What is your best tip for always making sure your guests feel welcome?
It is something you either have innately or you don’t.

What defines a great guest?
Somebody who knows more than you do without saying so.

Sirio with Pope John Paul II

You have hosted every VIP in the arts, politics, business and fashion. Who was your favorite guest?
Pope John Paul II. There are three people who I respect: my grandmother when she was alive, my wife and the Pope.

How do you deal with difficult guests?
Professionally and with as much courtesy as possible. Then we hope they don’t return.

Who would you most like to have dinner with?
Someone who doesn’t want to have dinner with me.

Sirio dressed and ready to host at Le Cirque

How has entertaining changed over the last four decades?
It is getting worse. Everything is different now. People’s objectives have changed a lot.

Who do you consider to be some of the best party hosts today?
It seems that people no longer know what it is to be a good host. Most have become well-known because they are vulgar.

How often do you entertain at home?
Not very often. About every other month.

What kind of entertaining do you like to do at home?
Mostly small dinner parties. I really enjoy having the family and grandchildren over when my wife [Egidiana, who runs Le Cirque’s sister restaurant, Osteria del Circo] cooks.

Sirio Maccioni

Sirio and former Le Cirque chef, Daniel Boulud

What has been your greatest joy during your career?
Being able to be successful and support my family.

What has been your greatest challenge?
Surviving in New York.

What has been your greatest triumph?
My wife and my family.

Le Cirque is located at 151 E 58th Street, New York, NY, 10022. For reservations, call 212.644.0202.

Join us for more fête-chic fun on our Facebook,Twitter and Instagram pages.

The Sally Award: Kate Middleton

MTI2NTc1NzA4MjU5NTIxODEw

What can we say, darlin’? We were gobsmacked this week by Kate Middleton who looked absobloodylootely divine in a midnight blue Jenny Packham gown at a gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art for her alma mater, St. Andrews University. This week’s Sally Award winner for the best party look of the week, The Duchess accessorized the silk gown by the British designer with a jaw-dropping – and grazing – pair of diamond and emerald earrings and a regal and elegant low chignon. Empressive, we say!

MTI2NTc1NzA4MjU5NTg3MzQ2We also love that our gal chose to ignore the celebrity notion that you should only wear a gown once. You’ll recall that Kate has worn this chic number twice before: first at the 100 Women in Hedge Funds dinner in October 2013 and then at the National Portrait Gallery Gala earlier this year. It makes her so much more relatable, don’t you think? Her mum-in-law, the late Princess Diana, who was known as the People’s Princess, would have approved. Brilliant, doll.

The Duchess of Cambridge attends The Portrait Gala 2014

The Duchess at the 100 Women in Hedge Funds dinner in October 2013

What do you think about Kate’s look? Join the conversation on our Facebook,Twitter and Instagram pages.

Holiday 2014 Party Poll

Loretat young

Merry Christmas, movie house! Merry Christmas, Emporium! Merry Christmas, you wonderful old Building and Loan!

Just in time for your holiday soirées, we’ve conducted another of our popular Party Polls to reveal the answers to several age-old holiday questions. This time, we commissioned a leading independent research firm to query 1,076 men and women nationwide, ages 30-60, with incomes ranging from $50,000 to $150,000 or more, about their holiday entertaining proclivities. Grab your Glogg, sugar-plum, and listen in as we reveal the findings of our Holiday 2014 Party Poll:

  • No, most people (80 percent) do not like fruitcake.
  • No, most people (51 percent) do not like eggnog.
  • Yes, for most people (60 percent), the holidays are their favorite time of the year for hosting and attending parties: 63 percent will host a holiday party this year while 59 percent will attend between three and nine holiday gatherings.
  • Yes, most people (73 percent) re-gift during the holidays, that is they pass along to others gifts that were given to them. Bottles of wine, gift cards and candles are the most often re-gifted items. A surprising 38 percent of those surveyed said they know they have been on the receiving end of a re-gift because they found a card inside that was written to the gift giver – oopsies!
  • Yes, George Clooney is the man most women would like to kiss under the mistletoe, while most men would like to smooch Scarlett Johansson.

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Speaking of snogging, there appears to be a surprising amount of it going on at office parties. Twenty percent of those queried – the vast majority of whom have college or advanced degrees – admit to kissing or having a sexual encounter of some kind with a boss or co-worker at an office party. Goodness gracious, darlin’, hold the Santa Punch, will you? Thirty-six percent admitted to flirting with their boss, coworker or a coworker’s significant other and, not surprisingly, 28 percent of those queried say they’ve gotten sloshed at an office party.

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As for New Year’s Eve, apparently, most people are a bit enervated by then. Most of those surveyed (62 percent) said they prefer to stay in on New Year’s Eve, although a randy five percent said they like to go out and whoop it up on New Year’s Eve simply because it’s a fun excuse to kiss people other than their significant other. Oh my.

Of the 1,076 people nationwide who answered the questions in our Holiday 2014 Party Poll, 518 were men and 558 were women. The survey has a margin of error of +/- five percent.

Introductory photo: Loretta Young
Introductory quote: It’s a Wonderful Life, 1946
Additional photos: Joseph Cotten and Ginger Rogers, Janet Leigh

What do you think about the results of the Holiday 2014 Party Poll? Let us know on our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages.

Holiday Party Makeup Must-Haves

Marilyn Monroe

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 this holiday season, you have to put your best face forward. That’s why we’re opening the doors to our top-secret cosmetic cache. On your maquillage, get set, go. It’s time to meet the Dollface Dozen, the 12 party makeup basics that every soirée-loving gal should have at her fingertips this holiday season.

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.

Christian DiorDior Backstage Eye Prime

A creamy eyelid foundation that neutralizes eyelid redness and provides a smooth, velvety and long-lasting base for eye shadow.

The_Precision_Liquid_Liner_-_Basic_Black

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.

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Lancome’s Hypnose Drama (top) and Definicils Mascaras

When it comes to mascara, we prefer 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.

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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 when applied over lip color. Or use it on nude lips for a daytime look.

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 photo: Marilyn Monroe 
Introductory quote: Audrey Hepburn

The Sally Award: Tilda Swinton

Tilda Swinton

Mornin’, love. Grab your cuppa. We’re about to anoint another Brit as the winner of the Sally Award for best party look of the week. And what a red carpet week it was. While there were so many fabulously frocked gals at the UNICEF Snowflake Ball who were Sally Award contenders, we had to give this week’s Award to British actress Tilda Swinton for her chic look at last weekend’s Gotham Independent Film Awards. Dressed in a blush-hued crepe and silk gown by Colombian designer, Haider Ackermann, Tilda looked effortlessly elegant as she walked the red carpet, continuing her reign as one of the great style icons of our time.

Tilda Swinton

Certainly, this dress is gorgeous, but it’s Tilda in the dress that makes it fashion perfection. Let’s face it: this gown suits Tilda to a T. The color, the cut and the artful mix of masculine and feminine details celebrate perfectly our gal’s trademark style and androgynous look. And, of course, Tilda’s finger-combed pompadour and signature natural makeup were fresh, flawless and très français. No wonder she has been named the new face of NARS Cosmetics for the makeup brand’s Spring 2015 campaign. Here’s to you, Tilda, for reminding us this week about the number one rule of successful party dressing: know who you are.

What do you think about Tilda’s look? Join the conversation on our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages.

Best Dressed Alert: UNICEF Snowflake Ball

Howdy, sugar. We are just beside ourselves with fashion glee today after seeing the red carpet images from last night’s 10th Annual UNICEF Snowflake Ball in New York. I mean really, doll. When is the last time you saw so many well-dressed guests at one party? Perhaps we should be giving an honorary Sally Award to the event itself for inspiring so many fabulous frocks. Slide in, darlin’, and let us show you what we mean. It may be true that no two snowflakes are alike, but these nine gals were similarly fabulous last night. Bravo to them, we say.

Not ready for the party to end, doll? Join us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and subscribe to The Salonniere for exclusive “party favors” like our eight-page party planning checklist. 

David Kurio Flowers at an Austin Birthday Party

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The Party:  A dinner to celebrate a milestone birthday for an Austin philanthropist

Where: The historic Driskill Hotel in Austin, Texas

Floral Designer: David Kurio of David Kurio Designs, Inc.

The Vision According to David:  Our goal was to create a very formal setting based on the formal, elegant style our client employs when entertaining in his home. We chose the colors of the flowers based on his preference – red and crimson are two of his favorite colors – and then built from there, adding magenta accents. The flower varieties we used – peonies, dendrobium and phalaenopsis orchids – are some of our client’s favorites, as are roses and hydrangea that were also appropriate for the design and season. 

Tête-à-Tête: Bronson van Wyck

Bronson van WyckMake yourself at ho ho home, doll. We’re just whipping up some Bloody Marys with Bronson van Wyck, event planner to the stars and chi-chi brands like Chanel and Christie’s. As you probably know, Bronson just finished art directing the fabulous fete celebrating director Baz Luhrmann’s holiday windows at Barneys New York. The night featured break dancing elves, a marching band, falling snow and stilt walkers pouring champers. Our kind of party, doll! If you’re not lucky enough to be one of Bronson’s clients, who include President Obama and Martha Stewart, don’t fret, doll. You’re with us. Our friend Bronson is taking a moment from hosting chic shoppers at his warm, whimsical and treasure-filled holiday pop-up shop at the St. Regis New York to dish with us about everything from which Christmas tree to buy to the best way to lux up old ornaments.

Tell us all about this year’s pop-up shop? I know it’s become quite the place for holiday shopping among the chic set. What’s new this year? 

We have turned Christmas on its head and given it a Surrealist theme. My shop features a tree made entirely of lobsters. Salvador Dali lived at the St. Regis for 10 years so I like to imagine that he would have cozied up to this tree for a drink or three. We hand glittered and jeweled over 500 lobsters and found an old reliquary bust of Queen Elizabeth for a topper, because why not? She looks awfully proud up there presiding over the lobsters.

As well she should. I must say your gift selection is dazzling, from Saint Louis crystal, vintage Rolexes, antique cocktail shakers and stocked bar carts, to vintage books, and sterling silver from Puiforcat. What’s your favorite hostess gift to give?

I love to give the host a Bloody Mary basket complete with everything you need to whip up a strong one the morning after. Don’t forget to include your favorite vodka and pickled garnishes with a bottle of your favorite mix. Mine is Arrowhead Farms Hellfire Bloody Mary, naturally. There is no better way to start Christmas morning.

And, thanks to you, we know that the Bloody Mary was invented 80 years ago at the St. Regis, another of your fabulously chic clients. So I can learn a trick or two, how do you go about creating a holiday design concept for a client? 

It’s important to understand what the holidays mean to the client. Is it all about the children? Is it important to incorporate an annual tradition? Should the tree blend with the home décor? After learning a bit more, I weave those memories or themes into something new for the client. Maybe a country home in the mountains demands a tree covered with woodland creatures, hand crafted birch balls and gilded pine cones.

BronsonWhat about those of us who are a bit more do-it-yourself? How can we create a fresh look rather than pulling out the same stuff every year?

Gold leaf can transform any object. It’s my favorite way to lux up something tired. Gilded objects make beautiful ornaments or table decorations. One of my favorite tricks for adding some chic seasonal sparkle to a room is gold-leaf sheets called Sepp Leaf, which can be found at most art stores.

How do you choose the right tree for a space? Do you have a favorite type?

Measure your ceiling and have your tree cut to fit just shy of the ceiling. The tree should truly fill your space. My favorite is a blue spruce. We walk through the tree farms early in the year to reserve the best ones. That might seem overkill but it’s worth it. Ask your nursery to call you as soon as the spruces arrive!

Bronson van WyckYou’ve said that tartans are the ultimate way to create a sense of warmth when it’s cold outside. What are some of your other favorite holiday signatures?

I love decorating with magnolia leaves. When it dries, it looks even better and lasts well through the season. The leaves are also particularly beautiful when you gild them.

Should someone take a different approach if they’re in a warm climate? Can we pull off red tartan in, say, Miami?

Of course! It warms up any space to give it a cocooning and cozy effect. Use tartan in napkins and table runners without feeling too heavy.

Let’s play favorites. What’s your favorite…

Holiday candle? Cire Trudon Nazareth
Holiday cocktail? Spiced brandy punch
Holiday flower? Red amaryllis
Holiday party snack? Candied bacon!

Thanks, Bronson. Now show us around the shop a bit, won’t you, darlin’?

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Bronson’s pop-up shop at the St. Regis New York, 2 East 55th Street, will be open through December 24. His products are also available through his website and by calling 212-980-0738. All pop-up shop images courtesy of Bronson van Wyck. Third image courtesy of Architectural Digest. 

Not ready for the party to end, doll? Join us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and subscribe to The Salonniere for exclusive “party favors” like our eight-page party planning checklist. 

The Sally Award: Jessie J

Jessie J

Come on in, love. We’re just sitting ’round having a cuppa and chin-wagging about how fabulous English singer and songwriter, Jessica Ellen Cornish – whom you probably know by her stage name, Jessie J – looked at the American Music Awards last Sunday. Dressed in a sleek, alabaster suit from Giorgio Armani’s Resort 2015 collection, Jessie hit an elegant and refreshing note in a medley of AMA party looks.

Jessie J

Our gal accessorized the dapper ensemble simply with a black Armani clutch, strappy stilettos and fashion-forward diamond rings from Jason of Beverly Hills. Jessie’s on-trend, center-parted dark locks added a striking contrast to the lightness of the look. That’s what we call white-hot, rock-star chic. Brill, doll.

Not ready for the party to end, doll? Join us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and subscribe to The Salonniere for exclusive “party favors” like our eight-page party planning checklist. 

The 10 Best Holiday Party Shoes

I just love finding new places to wear diamonds.

You know how it is, darlin’. Sometimes shoes are so downright fabulous that you just have to get dressed from the ground up. And, let’s face it. There’s no better time to build a party look around a pair of statement stilettos than the holidays when it’s all about kicking up your heels. So grab your gimlet and your little black holiday dress, doll. Just in time for the biggest shopping day of the year, we’ve got the holiday season’s 10 best party shoes.

Casadei

Casadei rhinestone-encrusted black suede pump

Christian Louboutin

Christian Louboutin gold snakeskin pump with bow

Oscar de la Renta

Oscar de la Renta magenta suede evening mule

Rene Caovilla sandal with colored stones

Jimmy Choo

 Jimmy Choo sandal in printed leather with crystals and organza

Giuseppi Zanotti

Giuseppe Zanotti cage sandal in gold glitter

 Christian Louboutin

Christian Louboutin sandal with satin flower encrusted with crystals

Saint Laurent

Saint Laurent Classic Paris Pump covered in gold glitter

Giuseppi Zanotti

Giuseppe Zanotti sandal with crystal ankle cuff

Giuseppi Zanotti

Giuseppe Zanotti in black suede with gold metal filigree leaves and crystals 

Introductory photo: Anne Francis
Introductory quote: Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, 1953

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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.

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

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.

To receive our eight-page, tip-filled Party Planning Checklist, simply join our subscriber list at the top right side of this page. Subscribers receive immediate access to our stories and complimentary “party favors,” like the Checklist. And it’s all absotootly free.

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

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

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.

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

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.

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

Madame Geoffrin

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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

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

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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.

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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.

Don’t forget to join our email list at the top right of this page. Subscribers receive an exclusive party favor – our six-page, tip-filled Party Planning Checklist. It’s the most comprehensive party hosting checklist you’ll find anywhere and it’s absotootly free. 

Dinner Party for Neil Patrick Harris

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

Source: LuluPowers.com

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