Monthly Archives: October 2013

happy halloween: boo-nilla shakes

Happy Halloween!

Whether you’re dressing up yourself or waiting by the door this evening with an oversized bowl of candy for the little ones, I hope you have a wonderful day! Truthfully, I have never been a huge enthusiast when it comes to Halloween costumes but I love celebrating the holiday with decor and treats.

One of the easiest “treats” I’ve made are “boo-nilla” shakes by none other than Martha Stewart. I first tried these last year for my book club’s October meeting at the suggestion of my friend Elizabeth. They are easy, delicious and the ideal dessert for All Hallows’ Eve.

Not only is today Halloween, but for me, it’s also the day I celebrate the life of my aunt. If you’ve read the about H&T section, you also know that this blog is dedicated to my aunt who passed away last year. She was so much more than just an aunt to me; a mother, Godmother, best friend and role model too. We spoke every day and she inspired my entire life; my love of entertaining and fashion while raising me to be the person I am today.

This is the second birthday we’ve celebrated without her and a few days ago, I came across this song, “Go On Without Me” by Brett Eldredge. I can’t help but think of her and my uncle every time I listen to it.


sweet & spark: east meets west

A few months ago, I was out in San Francisco for my #eastmeetswest trip and not only did I fall in love with the city, but also I fell in love with Sweet & Spark. My friend Nichole introduced me to its founder, Jillian, and the three of us enjoyed major girl time over cocktails and appetizers.

Sweet & Spark is a curated vintage jewelry line run by Jillian and her head buyer, her dad! He scopes out estate sales, flea markets and antique shops along the East coast while Jillian finds high quality and affordable vintage costume jewelry out West.  If you love great one-of-a-kind finds like these but don’t have the time to spend your weekends at flea markets and the like, then you’ve met your match!

Most of the pieces are from the 1940s-1990s and I learned that in order for a piece to technically be considered “vintage”, it must be at least twenty years old and not have been mass produced. So, in true vintage fashion, there is only one piece of each item available making it that much more special. What’s also amazing about Jillian’s line is that it’s affordable. Each piece is carefully researched and its decade era is also denoted in the description online.

Some of my favorites are found in the gold classics and pretty pearls collections. When I told Jillian this, she was not slightly surprised! There is literally something for everyone, no matter what your style and you can spend hours pouring through the pages of vintage items from earrings to bracelets to broaches and necklaces. The pieces make great gifts too — “something old” for a bride-to-be? or a one-of-a-kind birthday or Christmas gift?

Hosting & Toasting readers also receive $10 OFF orders with promo code: HOASTINGTOASTING10.

(Photography by Dustin Soriano for Sweet & Spark)

So what are you waiting for?

#sharethespark and remember, when someone asks you where you bought those fabulous earrings, you can truly reply, “it’s vintage.”

best of: leather looks

I am the first to admit that a year or two ago, leather wasn’t really “my thing”. These days? I can’t get enough of it (faux or real) so don’t be surprised if this is the first of many posts that include this fall staple.

Below are what I call the “best of”;  from skirts to peplum tops to dresses (day to night) and of course, leggings. The only two items I have not found yet? The perfect new leather jacket and perhaps I’ll even give shorts a try if I find the right ones.

Which ones are your faves? Have a great jacket you adore? Send me it!

fall cocktail recipes: mix & enjoy!

If you followed along on instagram, you know that I did a little hosting AND toasting this past weekend. I kicked off Saturday with Meaghan of District Sparkle at a Brunch & Champs party at Sonoma Wine Bar. This event was part of DC Wine Week and we sipped on bubbly and indulged in brunch bites. Then I mixed up some new fall cocktail recipes and hosted Patricia of Piqued PR and my BFF, Claire, for an evening tasting. (Oh, and I cannot leave out my roomate and her friend who had just returned from a day of vineyard hopping – they were the first guinea pigs to sample these libations.)

I took a few drinks I found, combined and sampled accordingly. Both of these are perfect to serve all season long and will leave your guests coming back for more. As promised, below are the recipes!

Pumpkin Pie Boozy Milkshakes

This is a remix on my Key Lime Pie Boozy Milkshakes from the summer, (yum!). Fair warning that you probably can only drink one of these shakes and better yet, serve for dessert. I plan to make these again (sans the booze) for my younger siblings. They’re pretty to look at too, right?

Party Supplies:

Shake Ingredients:

  • 3 Cups of Vanilla Ice Cream
  • 1/2 Cup of Pinnacle Pumpkin Pie Vodka
  • 1/4 Cup of Pumpkin Pie Spice Creamer
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons of Brown Sugar
  • 1/2 Cup Libby’s Canned Pumpkin
  • Pinch of Pumpkin Pie Spice

Shake Topping:

  • Whipped Cream
  • Graham Crackers
  • Vanilla Frosting (for the rim of the glass – this is how the sprinkles stick)
  • Orange and Black Sprinkles (for rim of the glass)


  1. Line the rim of the mason jar with vanilla frosting and then dip into the bowl of festive sprinkles.
  2. Mix all the ingredients together in a blender.
  3. For the topping, add whipped cream generously and garnish with a graham cracker.
  4. Enjoy! This recipe serves 2.

Apple Cider Bourbon Mimosas

This is a cocktail that can be enjoyed in the morning or in the evening (we chose to sip on these during college football games, naturally). This is also one that should be served in a pitcher or carafe, because your guests will want more than one. Promise.


  • 1 Teaspoon of Brown Sugar
  • 2 Parts  (or 3 ounces) of Apple Cider
  • 2 Parts (or 3 ounces) of Bubbly
  • 1 Part (or 1.5 ounces) of Bourbon


  1. Dip champagne glass rims in bourbon and then into a mixture of cinnamon sugar.
  2. Mix all the drink ingredients together and pour into champagne glass.
  3. Garnish with sliced apples and enjoy! Serves 2.

 What fall cocktails do you fancy?

 Try these and let me know what you think! Cheers!

#instainspired: black & white

It’s been a few weeks since I’ve posted an #InstaInspired look. Last time, I highlighted the chambray + prints trend. This week it’s all about black and white, prints and of course, patterns (read: leopard – because I agree with Jenna Lyons that it is, in fact, a “neutral”.)  You can also “shop this look” below at reasonable price points.


Be sure to follow along on Instagram for more! What are you up to this weekend? I plan to spend mine mixing up new fall drink recipes and sampling them accordingly. Check back next week for new recipes and favorites!

P.S. Don’t forget about the Kate Spade Friends & Family SALE – everything is 30% OFF this weekend (minu the beau bag, sigh) with promo code: FALL13FF. Happy Shopping!