Last minute tips for an impromptu Fourth of July Party!


Quick tips for making the most of what you have at home to create a fun 4th celebration or any summer party! Click below for my "Voices from the Ville" blog!


Impromptu Fourth of July Party!

Fourth of July Ant Invasion!

Sometimes ants can make the party! I use this clever ant watermelon holder from Oriental Trading Company as a centerpiece!  It is perfect for any occasion, but my 6-year-old added blueberries as a festive Fourth of July decoration. We also found a few red metal ants online to add to the theme.

Old Fashioned Fun on 4th of July



An old fashioned way to keep cool for this July 4th...a ice cold beverage station!

Serve your favorite drinks in these large dispensers from Sur La Table. We added a little spark to the festive decor with felt, star stickers to plastic cups and the red beverage jar. Red, white and blue striped straws, along with star paper straws, steal the show.

I love homemade lemonade which is refreshing at back yard BBQs...garnish with blueberries for the 4th!  Another option is my friend and mixologist, Elayne Duff's, Strawberry and Basil Martini:
Note this is a single serve option only. It does not scale for the beverage jar.
1 1/2oz Vodka
3/4oz simple syrup
3/4oz fresh lemon juice
1/4oz Dubonnet (wine based aperitif)
1 Strawberry, sliced
1 Basil leaf
Muddle strawberry and basil leaf with simple syrup in a shaker. Add remaining ingredients,  shake and double strain into a festive glass. Garnish with a strawberry for the 4th!

Or, a party size Planter's Punch (perfect for the beverage dispenser)
Note: use chilled ingredients
6 cups pineapple juice
6 cups orange juice
11/2 cups light rum
11/2 cups dark rum
1 cup orange Curacao or triple sec
1 cup fresh lemon or lime juice
1 cup simple syrup
1/2 cup grenadine
Mix ingredients in the large beverage jar. Pour into red Solo cups filled with ice. Garnish with a cherry for July 4th!

Have a safe and fun holiday!

DIY Fourth of July gift - Homemade Potato Chips


My 6-year-old, Riley, and I decided to try to make homemade potato chips this afternoon. It was a pretty good first attempt! These won't last for 4th of July, but we may try again, as it is a nice gift idea for the summer-- shown here with a red and blue napkin and a plastic cup. 

Here are our recipes:
Riley peeled and I sliced up two russet potatoes in 1/4 inch slices (by eye).

First we filled a small mixing bowl with olive oil and a pinch of sea salt.

We then made dipping stations of rosemary and onion powder and cinnamon, vanilla and sugar. (at my daughter's suggestion)

First dip one sliced potato in the olive oil

then dip in your individual dipping station.

Once coated with the savory or sweet then place on a pre-greased baking sheet.

I baked them at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes (or until golden brown) and I turned them twice in that time.

Personally, I think the cinnamon, vanilla and sugar ones were pretty tasty! Both could be big hits at your next BBQ!
Have a safe and fun Fourth of July everyone!

Celebrate the Fourth of July- Party ideas for a festive 4th weekend!

Happy Summer Everyone!

I hope everyone has a summer full of love and happiness! We found these inventive butter cookies that picture both English and Spanish words. Fun. Celebrate Everyday... Celebrar todos los dias!



Happy Father's Day!


Dad's make the world go around. We celebrate them today in the US, especially my baby daddy, Marc Bloomgarden!

Happy Father's Day!

Summer Loves...My Entertaining Favorites!

I hope to make this a summer of connection through celebration! Here are a few of my suggestions for an entertaining summer! 

Let's make this the summer of SILLY. Everyone arm yourselves with a great joke and maybe your opening line...
I live with a six-year-old, so here is my latest guffaw...

My corny joke to inspire your SILLY summer-"Why did the banana go to the doctor? He wasn't peeling well".

Service Counts- I love a festive plate. These are French by Astier De Villatte, but the red, white and blue really tug at my American heart strings! The cups are nice too! You can find them state side at John Derian in NYC.



Assiette a Dessert avec motif



Gobelet Petit Cube



Assiette Plate



Eatin' La Vida Loca-  Quick, easy and tasty summer recipes are essential to have on hand so you are ready for any impromptu parties. This says hello summer fiesta to me!

Elizabeth Gordon's Beef Tostadas from her new book "Simply Allergy Free".


Beef Tostadas Ingredients


1/4 teaspoon chipotle chile powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1/4 teaspoon onion salt
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoons ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 pound ground sirloin
8 gluten- and soy-free corn tostadas (you can use a Boston lettuce leaf here too, my suggestion)

Diced tomato, avocado, red onion, Daiya cheese, shredded lettuce, and cilantro for serving (optional)

  1. In a small bowl, stir together the chipotle chile powder, garlic salt, onion salt, dried oregano, cumin, and salt. Set aside.
  2. In a large skillet, brown the beef over medium-high heat until it is cooked through, about 10 minutes, stirring frequently to break up any large chunks of meat. .
  3. Remove the beef from the heat and drain off the fat. Sprinkle with the spice mix and stir so that the spices are evenly incorporated. Spoon the meat into the tostado shells and serve immediately, garnished as desired.
  4. The unused meat may be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to three days.

Note: To make your own tostada shells, take corn tortillas and fry them in 3–4 inches of canola oil heated to 350°F for about 2 minutes or until they are crisp and golden. Remove the fried tortillas to a paper towel–lined tray to drain.



Time to be a TOOL- Well in this case, a handy tool, at least. This Zyliss Salad Knife make shredding lettuce a breeze. Given that summer salads are one of my cool foods. I highly recommend this. It makes for a great hostess gift too!


http://usa.zyliss.com/salad-knife
(photo from naturally domestic)

Drink Your Veggies- I love a good juice that Riley, my 6-year-old and I, can enjoy together. We are working on our Kale ideas... so next up we are giving this a try!

Kale Shake
1 banana, 10 chunks of frozen mango, chunk of ginger, Tbl spoon of coconut oil, 1/2 of cucumber, 3 kale leaves, parsley. All organic if possible. 
This is from the site http://duncantrussell.com/forum/profile/6045/Dyson

"Beet the Heat"cocktail fun- No Summer Soiree of mine would be complete with out a fun grown up drink too! 

This signature cocktail is from my local haunt and fav family restaurant Elizabeth's Neighborhood Tavern. It is called "Elizabeth’s Sweet Beet"
Vermont Gold Vodka (fresh beet infused), fresh Orange Juice, Pineapple Juice, Maple syrup. Served Straight up...compliments of the bartender at Elizabeth's Neighborhood Table

Never leave home empty handed- Here are a few of this summers born to succeed hostess gift ideas-

C Wonder has a variety of fun and festive home items! I LOVE straws, partner these stripes with some fun cups and your favorite lemonade and Voila, you have a colorful present.




http://www.cwonder.com/new-arrivals/home-decor/striped-paper-straws-set-of-25.html

I LOVE summer flowers. These look like Dahila's and Marigolds. Pair them with a hand crafted fluted vase from Frances Palmer Pottery and you will be the flower belle of the ball!

(F198805) - Fluted Vase 6
fluted vase
http://francespalmerpottery.com/china-dinnerware-wedding-gifts.php?itemid=F198805

Send me your summer tips! Cheers to celebrating every day!