Above, the “Christmas Mint-ini” that I whipped up for Kendrick last night.
JORDAN REID’S CHRISTMAS MINT-INI
In a shaker filled with ice, combine a 5-count of Grey Goose (vanilla-flavored vodka is especially good), a 2-count of Creme de Menthe, and a splash of Peppermint Schnapps.
Add a generous tablespoonful of Cool Whip, and shake well.
Rim the edge of a chilled martini glass with red sugar or finely ground candy cane (or just sprinkle some crushed candy cane onto the surface, as I did; the larger pieces may fall to the bottom of the glass, but that’s pretty, too).
Strain the liquid into the glass, and garnish with a candy cane (mini ones work best, but we only had regular-sized, so I cut off the bottom 2 inches).
At an event last week, I met reader (and fellow blogger) Rachel, who told me that she’d made my sugared cranberries a few times…and she recommended adding vodka to the recipe to give them a little extra kick. All you do? Just replace about a cup of the steeping liquid with vodka before leaving the cranberries to sit overnight.
Now, it seems to me that these would be a bit…vodka-y…for snacking, but they’d make a gorgeous garnish for a Nantucket Red (my favorite holiday drink).
JORDAN REID’S NANTUCKET RED
I have no idea where I got this recipe from, but I’ve been making one version or another of it during the holidays since before I was legally allowed to purchase the ingredients. It’s gorgeous and festive, and everybody loves it.
To make a Nantucket Red, fill a glass with ice, then pour in 1 1/2 oz good-quality vodka, about 5 oz cranberry juice (more or less depending on how strong you like it), a splash of Chambord, and soda water (or champagne, if you have it handy) to fill. Give a good stir, and garnish with fresh cranberries or the sugared vodka cranberries described above.
Alternative preparation: Combine vodka, cranberry juice, and Chambord in a shaker with ice. Shake well and strain into a martini glass; top with a little soda water or champagne and garnish with fresh or sugared cranberries.
Tip: This recipe is even more delicious with flavored vodka…click here for a great cranberry-and-orange vodka recipe!
Yeah, I know: ‘tis the season for sparkle, and merry brightness, and heels and hairdos and such…but I can’t do it. This weather just makes me want to burrow down into soft things and stay put.
Even when I have reasons to get dressed up, I usually end up wearing my daytime uniform (relaxed-fit top + flare jeans) and giving a bit of a nod to the season with my makeup and some dramatic accessories.
If you’re feeling similarly interested in working around the season’s sartorial requirements, here are some ways to take the sweatshirt-and-jeans look up a notch (but just a notch)…
For your lower half, mix and match any of the above with your favorite jeans (such as the Hudson Wide-Leg Jean in Holywell, $178), for a casual look…or with one of these amazing pieces, if the event requires a little extra pizazz:
Last night, I dreamed that a reader wrote in, saying that at her holiday office party there had been tons of leftover tinsel garlands strewn about, and that she wanted to know if I had any interesting ideas for how to incorporate tinsel garlands into holiday decor.
(I really did dream this. I am nocturnally odd as of late. Also, I think it’s kind of cute that I so look forward to hearing from you guys that you’ve started showing up in my dreams.)
Anyway, in my dream I posted the reader question, and all sorts of great ideas popped up in the comments. When I woke up, I kept my eyes closed for a few minutes so that I’d be certain to recall at least a few of the ideas (this is a good dream-recollection technique, by the way: just keep your eyes closed and try to stay in the dream for a few moments after waking), and from what I remember they included making a DIY wreath, winding the garlands through the rungs of bookshelves, using them as light pulls, and adding little pieces to updos.
But since I was dreaming…I suppose that makes those…my ideas? Oh, meta. Also, kind of neat and topical.
And here is where I make my dream come true!
Any interesting ideas for how to use tinsel garlands, oh ye who haunt my slumber?
Yesterday afternoon Francesca came over to bring me a Christmas present of two gorgeous Vera Wang martini glasses. I took a few shots of her wearing one of Obvious’ flowy new tops for her blog; you can check out more pictures here.
Q. Flying with my dog onboard for the first time on Wed. Do you have any tips, from having flown with Lucy or Virgil?
A. When it comes to air travel, I usually try to find someone to watch the dogs (always someone they’re comfortable with already, like my parents or a close friend), because while Lucy loves cars, she hates planes…and other than when he came to NYC, Virgil’s never been on one. But sometimes you just have to take your dogs on a flight, so here are some tips that I’ve found help reduce anxiety for both of you:
- First, try to get your dog comfortable with his or her carrying case well in advance. I leave Lucy’s out in the living room for a few days pre-travel so that she can sleep in it and generally get used to having it around.
- Of course check in advance with the airline to see if they allow dogs at all, or if you need to purchase a ticket for them (in my experience they’re usually around $100 each way). Also check to see what kind of carriers they require, and what kind of space they have under their seats.
- Make sure the identification information on your dog’s collar (and microchip, if you have one) is up-to-date. You should also bring a current health certificate from your veterinarian (I’ve been asked for this a couple of times, but not always); this usually needs to be obtained within 10 days of flying.
- Always pack a cozy blanket and a chew toy in the carrier with them, and make sure to have food and water on hand. You might want to bring a wee-wee pad and some lining for the bottom of the carrier in case of an accident.
- After a bad trip during which Lucy barked hysterically THE ENTIRE TIME, I had a vet prescribe me what amounts to doggie Xanax (Alprazolam). It really helps, and I’d suggest asking your vet about this in if you have a lot of travel in your future.
- Most airlines won’t let you remove the dog from the carrier, or even allow you to move the carrier out from under the seat, which has been the hardest part for us: Lucy would be A-OK if she could sit in my lap, but when she’s stuck under the seat she gets a little nutty. Honestly? There have been times in the past (when I’ve had no one else sitting in my row) when I’ve wrapped her up (well, hidden her) in my scarf and set her on my lap just to keep her calm. Usually, though, I’ll just put my hand inside the carrier and scratch her as much as possible throughout the flight: not so comfortable for me, but it seems to relax her enough to make it from takeoff to landing without driving all the other passengers nuts with her barking.
- Click here to learn about different airlines’ policies with regards to onboard pets, and here to learn more about PetAir, a pet-only airline.
In sum: get as much info as you can from the airline prior to departure to make sure your travel plans proceed smoothly, and do what you can to keep your dog calm and happy…but know that flying is tough for many animals, and you may deal with some anxiety on both your parts. If things get stressful, just take a deep breath: you’ll be there soon.
Lucy got all dressed up in her elfin finery for the Toys for Dogs benefit. To donate to the Humane Society, click here! (And click here if you’d like a similarly festive outfit for your own baby).
After Toys for Dogs, I headed uptown to drop off Lucy at Mom & Dad’s so I could stop by 44 1/2 (right across the street) for their holiday party. (Pictured above, the very handsome owners - and my good friends - Bruce and Scott.) If you’ve never been to their restaurants, they are absolute musts: 44 1/2 is a bit more casual (I love it for brunch), and 44 & X is perfect for a date, or if you have out-of-town relatives whom you’d like to entertain in style.
Cuddle with the adorable 44 1/2 waiters? Sigh…ok. (P.S. They sell those shirts, among others, in the restaurant; the other side says “Baked”).
Here we are heading home at evening’s end: happy, exhausted, and ready to shed our respective holiday outfits.
*Product sample generously provided by manufacturer.
Jen Moses (my sometime partner-in-crime and the lovely lady pictured on the far left) and Katie Smith-Adair (not pictured; that’s their coworker Jessica D’Amico on the right), both account supervisors at PR firm Morris + King Company, have started a blog called Did You Get The Memo?, which chronicles their misadventures in accidental outfit duplication…and yours, too, if, like these fine gentlemen, you’d like to send a photo to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Friday night kicked off with a little champagne at Koi, in the Bryant Park Hotel, to celebrate the fun hosting job I just booked for next month (so excited - more info to come :)).
After Koi, we headed across the street to meet our newly-engaged friends Jason (with me above) and Sofia at Celsius Bar (adjacent to the Bryant Park skating rink). The place is touristy, to be sure (and has appropriately touristy prices), but the sipping-cider-while-watching-skaters thing is lovely, and it’d be a perfect place to bring relatives/out-of-towners.
Above, Sofia and her friend Miranda.
Random story time:
Once, years and years ago, I was hanging out with Jason in a restaurant in LA and Steve-O was there, too. Jason asked for an autograph for his daughter, Cooper, who was nine at the time. And you know what Steve-O wrote?
"Hey Cooper - Got a joint? It’d be a lot cooler if you did. Love Steve-O."
Needless to say, Jason decided to hold onto that little piece of memorabilia for the time being…or at least until his daughter hit the double-digits.
On Saturday morning we dragged ourselves up to Naruto for brunch ramen, and then dragged ourselves immediately back home to get me into my new Victoria’s Secret pajamas (LOVE THEM) and to start the most important part of the day…
…hanging out with these guys for hours and hours.
Oh man, are they ever psyched for their Christmas stocking. There was much sniffing about and potential for disaster, so we put it way up high, out of their reach.
On Sunday I met Mom for brunch over at Riposo 46, which I’ve written about here before. It’s really worth a trip to Hell’s Kitchen - $9 gets you that gorgeous Eggs Siciliano, with prosciutto, melted mozzarella, and garlic toast, pictured above. And mimosas are $4 on Sunday mornings. And there’s an awesome Beer & Cheese shop (I think that’s the actual name of the place) next door, and Delphinium and Domus in close proximity. Recommended!
This weekend is a great time to get around to organizing your holiday tips, if you haven’t already (but FYI, any time before New Year’s is technically fine).
Click here for the tipping guide I put up last year - but remember, it’s really just to give you a rough idea. Who and how much you tip should take into account your relationship with the individual, how often you use their services, and, of course, your personal finances (if cookies are easier for you to manage than $20s, it’s still a lovely gesture to give whatever you can).
Above all, remember that what you’re doing is thanking someone for their hard work - so don’t blow your budget, but do try to include a handwritten note (even a short one) expressing your gratitude.
(Click here to learn how to make all sorts of neat DIY money holder cards.)