Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year

Wishing Spiral Style readers all the best in the New Year.  
Thanks for following along and for taking the time to comment.  
Photo taken from my new apron purchased in Paris

Happy New Year!

I'll be back to regular posts starting Wednesday.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Leaving Paris

Time to say goodbye to Christmas in Paris.  I had a lovely time with family and exploring one of my favorite cities.
We had a lovely apartment, built before the French revolution but totally refurbished within the last 7 years.
Food shopped for Christmas dinner at Marché des Enfants Rouges.
A few items packed in my suitcase made a festive holiday table.
Candlelight service on Christmas Eve at the American Church in Paris.
Ice skaters Christmas Day in front of the Hôtel de Ville, Paris.
Experienced the Marché de Noel (Christmas Market)

It was a week of celebrating, walking, exploring, eating, memories and fun.

Until next time...

...have a wonderful weekend.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Joyeux Noel: Images from Paris

A very Merry Christmas to my Spiral Style readers.  

Blessings of the season and peace to all.
Merry Christmas

Friday, December 21, 2012

Salutations de Paris

Happy Weekend everyone.  I'm looking forward to an extraordinary weekend in Paris.  Hubby and I are joined here in the City of Lights with some of our family.

Enjoy the festivities of the season.  Enjoy family and friends.

See you on Christmas eve with a few photos of Paris decorated for Christmas.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Book: The Night Before Christmas in Paris

I recently purchased and read this book that is a parody of the famous poem by Clement Clarke Moore.
In this version of the story, Mrs. Claus goes to Paris for Fashion Week but three months later, she has not returned to the North Pole.  Santa takes off to look for her, checking out all the famous landmarks: Champs-Elysees, Louvre, Musee, d'Orsay.  He looks at her hotel, The Ritz, but no Mrs. Claus.  Then he searches Laduree thining she may be having a sweet treat.  Finally he meets her at Angelina's where she is eating chocolate.  

After a delicious French dinner, they pack her Louis Vuittons into the sleigh and they take off for the North Pole.  Back home, Mrs Claus slips into Chanel to choose just the right toys for all the girls and boys.

Happy Christmas to all and to all a good night.

This book is adorable and perfect for any fashionista you may know!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Pinterest DIY: Solutions for Holiday Dilemmas

Almost Christmas.  Relax, serve this pretty, festive drink on Christmas Eve or for Christmas brunch.

Just two ingredients, pomegranate juice and champagne.  

Are you having house guests for the holidays and no bed to put them in?   Here is an idea from Pinterest
Source: via Amber on Pinterest

Need a small gift box?  Here is an idea.

Make some pretty votives to set the mood.

A quick gift idea...make a personalized door mat.
Source: via Katie on Pinterest

Need more ideas and inspiration?  Visit Pinterest.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

David Lebovitz's Chocolate-Caramel Tartlets

It's not dessert if isn't chocolate.  That's what some would say.  But add caramel and you have a sure winner.
These delectable treats were winners at my holiday party the other night.  Not a one was left for me to nibble as I did the cleanup.  
The tartlets are a three step process but so worth it.  There is the rich chocolate dough baked in mini-muffin pans as little tarts.  The "tarts" are then filled with caramel...more about the caramel later in the post.
The tartlets are then frosted with rich chocolate ganache and topped with a bit of sea salt. 
Chocolate, caramel and a touch of salt.  Heaven!!  A mouth-full of amazing "wonderfullness".
Here is the recipe for the Chocolate-Caramel Tartlets.  You'll see that David "gives you permission" to melt store-bought caramels for the tartlet filling.  He also shares a link for his caramel recipe.  I decided to give it a try since I had all the ingredients plus a candy thermometer on hand.  
color achieved by using Lyle's golden syrup rather than corn syrup
I read the directions first, not something I normally do, and then got to work.  Actually this was so easy by just following the step by step directions.  I saved some of the caramel and wrapped it up as candy.  The sea salt is the perfect foil for the sweet caramel.  The consistency of the caramels is melt in your mouth perfect.  
I made a second batch of the caramels to give as gifts.  People went wild for them.  If you need a special gift, look no further than your kitchen.  Cook up a batch of these Salted Butter Caramels with this recipe.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Holiday Party

Last night we hosted our annual holiday party for about 45 guests.  Hubby and I made all the food...a few old time favorites and a few new recipes.
This is the dining room table with about 3/4 of the food.  I never get a chance to take all the photos I want as I'm busy up to the last minute.

This is a recipe I've made before and it is a winner.  Couldn't be more simple. 
Just cut salmon into 3/4" cubes and mix with some olive oil.  Dip one side of the cube into a mixture of white and black sesame seeds.  Fill a foil lined baking sheet with the salmon and bake at 400 degrees F for 6 minutes. 
 Seve with an orange-miso dipping sauce.  Done! 
Click here for recipe.

A new try this time was a baked Camembert.
 The cheese was baked in the box it came in but with foil lining the box.
Garlic slices were inserted into the cheese and then the top was sprinkled with thyme leaves and a tablespoon of maple syrup.  The cheese was served with bread and cornichons.  I used a slate for presentation. 

Party over for another year.  

Friday, December 14, 2012

Party Time

My annual holiday party is on Sunday and I'm close to frantic getting ready.  I have lists and timelines for everything.  My refrigerator is packed and I have tins and containers all over the dining room filled with party food.
Rather than flowers I decided on a colorful centerpiece of bright ornaments hung from curly willow branches.
Some shot glasses of chocolate mousse waiting for whipped cream and toasted slivered almonds.
I hope you have a joyous and jolly weekend.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Mailing Packages

My car is on auto pilot for the Post Office.  I make at least daily trips to drop off packages, shipping my jewelry to all parts of the world and sending presents and goodies from my kitchen to friends and family.  
One tool I couldn't be without is my 5 lb scale.  I can weigh packages to calculate shipping fees.  Using the site it is a piece of cake to print out shipping labels at home.  Set up an account and you can print out shipping labels for packages and avoid the lines at the post office.  

The post office even supplies boxes.  I keep a variety of sizes of the various shipping methods at home so I am prepared when I need to ship.  You don't pay for the box until you ship, it's part of the postage fee.  Flat rate boxes are the way to go if you have heavy items.  Anything and everything that fits in the box will ship for a flat rate.  

I've found that Etsy and ebay have great shipping systems that will print shipping labels for your packages and charge to your account.  Often, the cost is less than you would pay if you stood in line at the post office.  I've sold books on and they have the same shipping plans.  

So, no need to waste time in line at the post office.  Do a little checking online and you'll find it easier and cheaper to ship packages and you'll save your sanity too.  

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Bottle Brush Christmas Trees

I'm enamored by bottle brush tress as Christmas decor.  

Source: via Deborah on Pinterest
These sweet little trees are decorated with vintage glass beads and sit in vintage tart tins.

Source: via Deborah on Pinterest

Door knobs serve as tree stands. 

Source: via Deborah on Pinterest

I love the snow globe idea with bottle brush trees under glass.

You can easily bleach the green trees purchased from craft stores and then dye them any color you wish.  Then decorate with glitter, beads or ribbons.

Click on the link above to access the site for a bleached bottle brush tree tutorial.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Holiday Red Dressing

Want to be a standout at a holiday party this season?  
Be Festive, wear RED.
Rethink the Little Black Dress this holiday season. 
I attended a dressy event recently.  The invitation read, "cocktail attire".  I wore a cute red dress.  It wasn't new and it wasn't fussy.  It was raw silk,  sleeveless and knee length.  The point is...I was the ONLY person wearing color!!!  The men were in dark suits and the women all wore black or other dark colors.  I stood out in a good way, looking brighter than everyone else and more like I was at a party, than a board meeting or memorial service.

Little Red Dress

Valentino zipper dress, $1,985 / Hervé Léger bandage cocktail dress / Michael Kors sleeveless dress / Notte by Marchesa one shoulder sleeve dress / ISSA London plunge neck dress, $665 / David Meister sleeveless dress / Alice + Olivia alice olivia dress, $345 / GALA red formal dress / Lace dress / Zipper dress / Lace 
dress / Party dress

If you don't want to invest in a dress, how about topping black pants or a skirt with the festive color?
Holiday Red

Valentino red shirt / Alice + Olivia alice olivia, $600 / Embroidered t shirt, $160 / Nolita summer top, $24 / French Connection scoop neck top / Bardot tall shirt, $63 / Dorothy Perkins red shirt / Emilia Wickstead swing jacket / ESPRIT cotton jacket, $98

And what will you wear on your feet?

Party Shoes

Party Shoes by spiralstyle 
Kate Spade / Karen Millen high heels / Ann Taylor strappy sandals
I suggest metallic, animal print or of course black.  Nude is a great option as well.


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