Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Cheers and Happy New Year

I think these are the only things I'll be shooting back this NYE!

12 Too Many

The best thing about a party, whether it be a dinner party, cocktail party, or a red plastic cup affair, is that it give you the opportunity to transform your home and table into something completely different each time. Unlike wallpaper, or paint or other decor related decisions, parties allow you to go all out with a scheme or decor and then wipe the slate clean in the morning. But what to do with all those pesky party goods that accumulate over time?

12 Too Many is an ingenious Craigslist like concept for buying and selling leftover party goods recently launched by Totally Tabletops.

This site is still getting off the ground and the selection is pretty sparse at the moment. While they will eventually serve all 50 states, Washington DC isn't listed yet. But good things come to those who wait, and if you're looking for a place to unload that pile of tiki torches from last summer this is your chance.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Tough Love Artwork

This seems a perfect motto with the New Year approaching. Not one for resolutions as they usually just set you up to feel like a failure by January 15, maybe my 2009 will start off with some new, tough love artwork. Find the full set here at Orange Beautiful's Etsy shop.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Mom's Advice: Hot and Not in 2009

My mother has lots of advice to give. Usually received in tidbits and words of wisdom jotted down in random emails. Here is this morning's note:

Dear Abby,
Thank you again for the monogram tote for Christmas, I love it. Monograms are hot for 2009, and so is Domino magazine! Panty hose are so out they don't even make the Hot or Not list. (My mother and I have a longstanding argument over the generation gap that makes panty hose a social requirement. My side seems to be gaining ground this year.)
Love, Mom

Enclosed in the email was this link from the Detroit News, my hometown paper. I thought this Hot or Not list was particularly funny with style and decorating items mixed in with items like home foreclosures (so out in 2009, if you didn't know) and clipping coupons. Here are some of my favorites:

So Hot for 2009:

Gray, the new neutral

Image: Domino

Domino Magazine-An eternal Hot List staple

Home Cooking- Perhaps because of the economy? Either way, a girl has to eat, so you might as well be able to make something yummy for yourself. I received the classic Julia Child cookbook for Christmas and plan to work my way through french cuisine in 2009. I think my friends are now scared to eat at my house.

Monograms- A little monogramming goes a long way to making you the most stylish person around. These are Pottery Barn pillows, which happen to be on sale right this very minute!

Drama Drapes

Polka Dots- I'm on the fence about this one in terms of your home. I would be afraid of living in a circus room. Others may disagree. But...polka dot rain boots make rainy day dog walking so much cheerier. These affordable little beauties are from Target!

Yellow as an accent hue

So Not Hot for 2009:

Cottage Living Closing- Yes, the loss of this shelter magazine is truly sad. How else am I going to sip coffee while thumbing through the pages and dreaming of my future beach cottage?

Quotations printed on walls

Brown and Blue color combination- I don't like to rule color combos out all together, but I agree that this has never been my favorite. I think you can make it work if you keep the blues as light as possible.

Vertical/Mini Blinds-Sometimes blinds are essential for privacy, but I think the offenders they are referring to here are the plastic apartment-rental staples. Why do those, when there are so many cotton and natural weave options available.

Orange as an accent hue- Ok, the Detroit News and I are going toe to toe on this one, because I adamantly object. I think that orange is a warm, fresh way to bring color to especially neutral rooms.

Image: Ruthie Sommers via Material Girls

Koi ponds

Christmas Wrap-Up (Literally...)

So there I was, hours before the gift giving hour, with a pile of boxes and not a single piece of holiday, or even neutral, wrapping paper in sight. My selection consisted of wedding bells, baby bottles, and one crumpled up happy birthday gift bag. Apparently, I dropped the ball on checking off "buy wrapping paper" from my holiday to-do list. So, what's a girl to do but hunt around the house and get a little creative.....

I loved these magazines the first time around, why wouldn't my friends and family love seeing them wrapped around their gifts. Tie some nice ribbon, a jingle bell and a sparkly snowflake name tag on and you're all set to go. Eco-friendly was an added bonus.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Buon Natale. A Christmas Day Feast

I hope that everyone had a wonderful holiday weekend. Since weather complications (i.e. 2 feet of snow) kept me from being with my family for the holiday, I was lucky enough to spend a wonderful evening with friends who hosted a traditional Italian feast.

My friend Gillian is one to aspire to, and a dinner invitation at her house is highly coveted. With a beautiful home, imaginative entertaining and a great meal, a night a Gill's is always great. Christmas day was no exception as we sat down to our 6 course, Italian feast.

Here's a picture of our holiday table and the beautiful dining room. That's Behr paint: Happy Camper (430D-6) on the walls.

For those looking for a green paint, this one is great. It's listed in the muted green family on the Behr website, but comes across as just the right amount of spring green, without too much khaki.

An entertaining must, a great bar.

The Menu:
Antipasto (mozzarella, prosciutto, kalamata olives, fennel and celery)
Insalate caprese with bread
Four cheese lemon garlic linguine with wild caught giant prawns
Lasagna with garlic bread
Chicken Parmesan with steamed asparagus, garlic mushrooms and roasted herb potatoes
Tiramisu and after dinner drinks

Here are some close ups of our holiday table. Since we were having a multi-course dinner, many plates were required. Stacking them all on top of a metallic charger gives dimension to the table and makes serving the multiple courses simple. After each course, clear the top layer away and you're ready for the next.

Gill's home is warm and chic with just a hint of rustic charm, such as these faux antler candlesticks that graced our table.

Gillian and Boe, our gracious hosts. I can't wait for New Year Eve, I'm going back!


Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Happy Holidays

These are the Semigloss Chic dogs, Roxy and Boston. They wanted to wish everyone a warm and happy holiday. This is my first holiday with these two little ones, and there is never a dull moment when they're around. Tomorrow morning they'll wake up to matching stockings filled to the brim with toys and homemade dog treats. (Yes, I buy my Christmas cookies, but make my own dog treats, organic to boot)

Please remember to support your local shelters this holiday season. As much as cash donations they need old blankets, towels, leashes and food. A shelter dog will change your life.

And for all of you dog lovers out there like me, Erika over at Urban Grace put together an amazing show of her readers animals a few months back that I still watch over and over again. Find it here.

Happy Holidays!

So much for milk and cookies

The Dependent Claus Martini

Santa can keep his warm milk and sugar cutouts, I'll take one of these on Christmas Eve, please. I usually don't make drinks that take more than 1 or 2 steps to accomplish, but for the little beauty I think I'll make an exception.


1.5 oz Mulled Wine Reduction
1 oz Hennessy VS Cognac
1 oz Grand Marnier Infused Cream
Small Piece of White Chocolate

Mulled Wine Reduction:
300 ml Petit Syrah (or equally rich Red Wine)
400 ml Simple Syrup (a thick 50/50 mixture of sugar and water)
50 ml Fresh Orange Juice
¼ piece Nutmeg
¼ piece Cinnamon Stick
6 Cloves
3 pieces Star Anise


Bring all ingredients to a boil in a pan. This eliminates the alcohol in the wine, allowing for enhanced flavours. Once boiling, reduce the heat and simmer for about 40 minutes until you have a nice, thick, but still runny consistency. Makes about 150 mL.

Grand Marnier Infused Cream:
150 ml Thick Whipping Cream
15 ml Grand Marnier Liqueur

Whip the cream into a thicker state, as thick as possible while still being able to be poured.
Carefully burn the Grand Marnier in a shot glass for 30 seconds or so, to burn off the excess alcohol. This again allows for a more delicate flavour. Finally stir in the liqueur to the cream.

To a shaker full of ice, add:

1.5 oz Mulled Wine Reduction
1 oz Hennessy VS Cognac

Shake vigorously and strain into a Martini Glass.

Layer the Grand Marnier Cream slowly over the back of a spoon so as to float it neatly over the dark crimson liquid in the glass.

To finish, grate a small amount of White Chocolate over the glass with a fine grater.

Recipe via City Food Magazine, found via Bloomacious (one of my new favorite daily reads, btw)

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

A time to give...

I know that many people already know about the website More than just a way to buff up on your vocab and general knowledge skills, Free Rice is a fun and interactive site with trivia questions in art, chemistry, grammar, vocabulary, even foreign languages. For each answer you get right, they donate 20 grains of rice to the UN World Food Program, committed to ending hunger across the globe.

So, while you have a little down time this week, waiting on a layover (or even, gasp, a flight cancellation), or just spending some time at home with family, hop on over to and take a few minutes to help others to enjoy a dinner as well.

Happy Holiday Dinners to all!

Wishing for a White Christmas

No, not that kind of white Christmas...there is no snow here in Washington, DC and none in the forecast, so this holiday season I'm craving a different type of white Christmas. There is something so refreshingly clean and simple about white holiday decorations. When we're bombarded by over the top, often tacky, holiday decorations at every turn of the corner, an all white Christmas seems to hit the right festive, sophisticated note.

Porchlight Interiors, a beautiful blog from Australia posted this white hydrangea wreath that I would love to have hanging on my front door. If only I had summer temperatures to go along with it!

Maybe feathers would be a better option for me in the frigid temperatures of the northeast.

I think that my white obsession started this year with Lee Kleinhelter's modern white Christmas tree featured in Cottage Living a few months back. I know for some, it's not Christmas without a great smelling evergreen in your living room, but I fell in love as soon as I saw this. Imagine the limitless decorating options you would have year after year. A white tree is basically a blank slate unto which you can impart a new holiday scheme each year.

And for those of you who want more than just white decorations, Country Living featured this British Columbia home of Cheryl Krecsy, where white was the obvious choice.

Monday, December 22, 2008

The Semigloss Manifesto

1) Style is personal and rarely fits into neat categories. You may never know what your style is called, but you always know it when you see it.

Image: Erlik

2) Essentials: Every girl needs a set of champagne flutes, a great dress, and a friend who is up for random adventures.
Images: HSN and Jcrew

3) Into every life, a little monogramming must fall.

Image: Domino

4) Required Reading: There is nothing wrong with a slightly unhealthy obsession to design magazines.

5) The same rule will always apply to fashion, home, events and life..."always remove one item before you leave the house." Coco Channel

Image: Domino

6) A home should be dog and child friendly, otherwise, what's the point.

Image Unknown

7) Design is not synonymous with expensive, good lines come at every price from flea market to boutique. But a good eye is priceless!

Image: Domino

8) Don't underestimate the simplicity of black and white.

Image: Miles Redd

9) A bit of sparkle never hurt anyone, and candlelight fixes everything.

Image: Flickr

10) Sunday dinners may be the most important part of the week.

So what's a girl to do when she finds herself with overflowing piles of "idea folders" from random bits of paper picked up throughout the day to a hard drive full of pictures of napkins and wallpaper? Organize it all for everyone to see, of course.
Welcome to Semigloss Chic!