All posts tagged The Hostess Handbook

4th of July BBQ Flower Arrangement

French Fry Holder Flower Arrangement

French Fry Holder Flower Arrangement

I am so obsessed with this flower arrangement for all your summer BBQ’s and think this is a perfect decorative item for your 4th of July parties! It is super cute and super easy to make! I found the french fry holder and wrappers at World Market. You can buy one online that is similar but not exact to the one I bought in the store. I suggest you find your way to World Market for your next party and get the checkered french fry paper. Its super cute and stands out!


Make a French Fry Holder Flower Arrangement for 4th of July

1- Take a bunch of Bells of Ireland  and purple Freesia flowers. About 6 Bells of Ireland and 5 Freesia!



2- Lay out the french fry wrapper so its diamond shaped and place the flowers at the top of one of the points.


3- Wrap the flowers making a cone shape and close with double sided tape!


4-  Place flower ends in a 3 oz plastic cup filled with water. Cover the cup with the end of the wrapping paper and insert the flower bundle in the french fry holder!

Cut the bottom

Cut the bottom



Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Bourbon Frosting

Picture 3

Carrot Cake with Bourbon Frosting


  Contributing Chef- Abby Reibman- Author of The Desk and The Stove

This yummy carrot cake and decadent cream cheese frosting comes with a bit of a kick – of bourbon that is! Mixed in with mascarpone and cream cheese, the Hostess Handbook thinks it’s the perfect topper for the nutty carrot-filled treat. These carrot cake cupcakes with bourbon frosting are fabulous served at a dinner party, afternoon tea – or even eaten as breakfast. The Food Network denotes this delicacy one of the top five fad foods of the 1970s…so, grab a disco ball and practice your best John Travolta moves, you and your guests will be sure to work up an appetite for this retro tasty treat!



2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ cups light brown sugar
3 ½ oz sunflower oil
½ cup of butter, melted

3 eggs
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 ½ tsp  ground cinnamon

1 tsp ground ginger
½ tsp salt
½ vanilla bean, seeds only
3 cups carrot, grated
½ cup ea. walnuts and pecans, chopped
zest from ½ lemon


1.     Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2.     Whisk together melted butter, sugar, eggs, lemon zest, vanilla

3.     Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices. Fold dry ingredients into liquid mixture, add in the grated carrots and chopped nuts and pour into two 19 inch, greased, sandwich tins (cake tins)

4.     Bake for approximately 25-30 minutes or until a tester comes out clean. Set aside to cool down. *If making cupcakes, bake for approximately 15 minutes in lined cupcake trays.




8 oz unsalted butter
10 oz full-fat cream cheese

2 oz mascarpone
4 cups icing sugar, sifted
½ vanilla bean, seeds only
1 tbl bourbon
zest from ½ lemon


1.     Beat together the butter, cream cheese and mascarpone until fluffy. Reduce the speed to low and add in the sugar a bit at a time, then the vanilla seeds, lemon zest and bourbon. Mix until Smooth.

2.     Once the cakes have cooled down, frost the bottom one and let it refrigerate for approximately 15 minutes, then add the second cake on top and frost them together.  Decorate with mini carrots and walnut pieces.

Martini Glass Food Displays

Recently, I have been seeing mini martini glasses used to hold a variety of appetizers and I am absolutely loving it! Above, the one and only Hostess With the Mostess Blog featured a caprese skewer in a martini glass that is super cute and unique! The Hostess Handbook suggests playing around with some unique martini glass food displays the next time you have a dinner party! FABtastic!

How amazing are these shrimp cocktail mini martini glasses? This is such a great summer appetizer and wonderful display put together by Delectables Catering! Next time you want to impress your guests, serve this. It’s so simple and no cooking involved for the girl on the go!

I love the idea of mini donuts for dessert. Grace’s Sweet Life Blog sure got it right with these martini glass food displays! No melting, fuss or preparation involved! Simply buy a bunch of mini donuts and stick them in a martini glass to make an outstanding dessert display that looks like a million bucks but wont break the bank.

Gruyere and Thyme Cheese Straws & Honey-Roasted Cashews W. Chili & Lime

Contributing Chef- Abby Reibman- Author of The Desk and The Stove

Show off your culinary skills this holiday season with some easy cocktail munchy tips from Abby at The Hostess Handbook. Instead of just putting out some cheese and crackers and a bowl of nuts (sooo passé), make these delicious Gruyere and Thyme Cheese Straws and roast your own cashews – this super tasty lime and chili infused honey marinade definitely ups the game!

 Gruyere and Thyme Cheese Straws (Makes 24)

3/4 cup grated Gruyere

4 tbl grated Parmesan

5 sprigs of thyme, leaves chopped

1 cup all purpose flour

¾ stick cold unsalted butter, cut into ½ inch cubes

½ tsp salt

¼ tsp cayenne pepper

1 ½ tbl milk


1- Preheat oven to 350 F.

2- Mix the flour, salt, chopped thyme leaves, cayenne pepper, cheese and butter together with your fingertips to until it resembles coarse-meal.

3- Add the milk to bind together and form a ball with the dough.

4- Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface to a ⅛ inch thick rectangle.

5- Using a pizza cutter or sharp knife, cut the dough into ⅓ inch wide strips.

6- Transfer the strips to an ungreased baking sheet – leaving ¼ inch wide space between the strips.  Bake for 15-16 minutes or until pale golden, rotating the baking sheet halfway through.

Honey-Roasted Cashews with Lime and Chili

3 cups raw unsalted cashews

1 tsp lime zest

2 tbl honey

2 tbl dark brown sugar (you can use

½ tsp chili flakes

2 ½ tsp coarse salt flakes

1-2 tbl water


1- Preheat oven to 350 F.

2- Grind lime zest together with the coarse salt. Add the chili flakes, honey, and sugar.

3- Loosen the mixture with the water adding each tablespoon as necessary.  Add the cashews and toss to coat.

4- On a parchment-lined baking sheet, bake the cashews in a single layer for 20 min or until golden. Let cool completely.


New Years Drink Do’s

Ring in the New Year with a Kir Royale cocktail! Easy, inexpensive and too cute to boot! Make sure to put a raspberry in the glass and a lemon rind to top it off!

Kir Royale Ingredients:

1/2 Ounce of Chambord (1/2 of a shot)

1 Raspberry


Small Piece of lemon rind


Pour Chambord into the bottom of a champagne flute, then fill glass with champagne. Add 1 raspberry and garnish with a circular lemon rind piece. Don’t forget to drink up!

If your throwing a New Years Eve bash and want to stick with the classic champagne, glam up the display! This is really simple and allows you to serve the drinks by hand or leave the tray on a table and have it look fabtastic! Take a plastic “silver” tray and spread chunky multicolored confetti around the plate. The Hostess Handbook loves chunky confetti! Simply place the champagne glasses on top and serve!



Top Ten New Year Resolutions

Web MD

The new year is upon us and everyone seems to have their list of resolutions all ready to go! So where is the hitch..where does it go wrong? Yup, most of the top ten resolutions are also the top ten most broken resolutions. This year, The Hostess Handbook suggests you pick one goal. Make it the most important one to you and really try to stick with it. Don’t get overwhelmed, instead, get excited!
1. Lose Weight
2. Cut down on drinking
3.Quit Smoking
4. Eat Healtheir
5. Stress Less
6. Spend more time with the family
7. Volunteer
8. Save Money
9. Get a Job
10. Travel and explore more

The Perfect Party Lips: Violent Lips- Glitteratti Collection

If  ever there was a time to take sparkle to the next level, its New Years Eve! The Violent Lips Glitteratti Collection of lip “tattoos” are super cray cray and so holiday appropriate! You will definitely stand out with your sultry lips! Don’t worry, The Hostess Handbook wouldn’t lead you astray, these “tattoos” are not permanent!

Shrimp and Shitake Shumai

Tasty Tip 

Shrimp and Shitake Shumai

Contributing Chef- Abby Reibman- Author of  The Desk and The Stove

Dumplings, popular on dim-sum tables, are also an integral part of the Chinese New Year feast – these small packages are thought to contain luck. This steamed version filled with shrimp, cilantro and shitake mushrooms are a super tasty treat, and, served in these cute Chinese soup spoons, they are the  perfect canape for your Chinese New Year party. The Hostess Handbook suggests giving your guests small red envelops filled with candy coins (traditionally money) with the dumplings and serving in these cute Chinese soup spoons. 金玉滿堂:Jinyu mangtang (May your wealth [gold and jade] come to fill a hall). In other words: Happy New Year!!!


½ cup soy sauce
1 tbl  rice wine
1 tbl sesame oil, plus more for cooking
½ tbl fresh ginger, minced
½  pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
½ cup shitake mushrooms, chopped
½  cup  cilantro leaves, finely chopped
¼ cup scallions, chopped, white part only
20 round dumpling skins
juice of ½ lime
splash of white wine


  1. Sear the shitake mushrooms in sesame oil in a small saute pan for about 3-4 min on medium-high heat. Deglaze with white wine and season with salt and pepper.
  2. Combine the soy sauce, rice wine, sesame oil and 1 tbl of the minced ginger in a small bowl.
  3. Blend half the shrimp, half the mushrooms, half the cilantro, ½ tbl of the ginger and all the scallions in food processor to form a paste.  Add 2 tbl of the soy sauce mixture and transfer to a bowl.
  4. Roughly chop the rest of the shrimp and mushrooms together and add to the paste with the rest of the cilantro. Stir to combine. Meanwhile, add the lime juice to the rest of the soy sauce mixture to create a dipping sauce.
  5. Separate the dumpling wrappers and using a fingertip, wet the edges of each with a bit of water. Spoon 1 tsp of the shrimp mixture into the middle of the wrapper and gently gather the edges around the mixture, pleating the edges. A bit should be left exposed.
  6. In a large pot, bring about an inch of water to a boil, and rig a steamer on top (I used a metal colander). Turn the heat down to a simmer. Gently place the dumplings in a single layer at the bottom of the steamer (or colander) and cover.  Cook until the wrapper becomes tender – about 5-6 minutes.  Transfer to a serving platter and serve with the dipping sauce.

DIY Diva- Pink Hostess Snoball Woman

This DIY pink snow woman is easy to make and too cute to boot! It is perfect as holiday decor. The Hostess Handbook suggests you place it on a serving tray of dessert goodies as the main display!

Step 1. Take 3 Hostess Pink Snoballs and connect them by putting a straw through the middle of each as if it were a “back bone”

Step 2. Take mini white chocolate tips and attach by using pink icing as “glue”

step 3. Make a scarf with pink icing and white candy pearls (found in any grocery store bakery isle)

Step 4. Stick pretzels in the middle snoball for arms

Step 5. Decorate the face with raisin as the mouth, chocolate mini chips as the eyes and the orange part of a candy corn as the nose!

Old Navy Leopard Flats


These Old Navy Leopard flats are to die for! I found them the other day while on a shopping trip to Old Navy with my sister. I don’t frequent the Navy but she insisted that I go and look at their fall flats. Um, I immediately was drawn to this pair of white leopard flats and looked at the price tag and knew they had to be mine. $24.94 for these babies is such a steal! They are super comfy and actually have a sturdy sole which a lot of cheap shoes don’t have. We have all been there when you feel like your walking directly on the pavement cause your chepo $20 shoes have the thinnest soles. Not these babies! They are a great find at a great price.

The Hostess Handbook suggests you pair these old navy leopard flats with green jeans, white t-shirt and black scarf for a fab fall look! Also, spruce up that black dress that you love but can be a little boring with these statement flats! Perfect for the office, dinner and the after party!

CB2 Home Accessories

Golden Pig Book Ends- $29.95

I was in CB2 on Sunday with a friend who bought these Golden Pig Book Ends for a birthday present and thought they were super cute as a hostess gift as well! I looked around the store and realized the CB2 Home Accessories are really amazing and so on our young, broke and fabulous budget! Even more, the website has a great layout and “Gift” option category that is broken down by price! Genius! I suggest you check out their site when you are looking for gifts on a budget. CB2 is gonna be your new BBFF- Budget Best Friend Forever!

Here are a couple CB2 Home Accessories The Hostess Handbook has chosen and all for under $30!

Oliver Martini Glasses- $3.95 Each

Humble Pie Platter- $5.95

Washing Machine Hamper- $29.95

Camera Card Carrier- $9.95

Circus Theme Party


A really cute and inexpensive theme for a party is Circus! A fun table scape can be created for a minimal amount of money and look fabulous! Just use these simple tips and everyone will be blown away! As you can see above, a great centerpiece is a Circus photo board! Guests can get some great pictures to take home, adding a nice interactive element to the circus theme party! You can get this at Party City for $5.99!

Get a box of colorful frosted animal crackers and display them on a silver tray. Everyone can have their own bag which makes it easy for people to pick up and eat while chatting with the other guests! A new type of finger food! I had these at my last party and seriously everyone loved them! The animal crackers took my guests right back to their childhood! Nostalgia is always a good thing at a Circus theme party! Get a box of these on the cheap at Smart and Final!

Popcorn is another food that is cheap and can make for a really great display! Get some old school popcorn boxes, found at any super market or Party City, and fill them up with whichever flavor of popcorn you like and display them in a tower formation! Helps to make you feel like your getting ready for the circus show!

Of course, You have to have my number one accessory! The polaroid camera! And make a “DIY Photo Booth”! Everyone goes cray, cray over a good old polaroid picture! This is also a great party favor!

Take some super cute pink tape and draw the outline of your “DIY Photo Booth” and label it with the same pink tape!

Have some super fun props in bags next to the “photo booth” for guests to dress up in! Wigs, swords and hats are always winners!

Don’t forget to make a personalized label, you can get them from staples, and stick them on the polaroids for a more professional look! Voila! Circus theme party complete!

Carrot Utensils

Hello all my lovely ladies! Hope you’re having a good Monday morning and your DIY Diva is itching to come out! Today, I bring you a super cute dinner party idea! Carrot Utensils! Yup, The Hostess Handbook is getting cray cray!  These carrot utensils are perfect for a country chic party or kids and mommy get together! These bundles are best displayed in a group for a buffet in some sort of rustic can or basket! A whole bunch of “carrots”! How cute!

These carrot utensils are so unique and will make a huge hit at your next bash! So simple, so FABtastic!

Take green utensils, orange square napkins and green pipe cleaners. Wrap the green utensils like a cone with the orange napkin.

Fold the edge of the left flap in so that its tucked away in the back, making a smooth front!

Secure the napkin with a multi color green “Carrot shoot” napkin wing! Fold and twist the pipe cleaners to add more depth and texture to the carrot!


What Not to do on a Date

I am proud to announce a new feature on The Hostess Handbook!  My knowledgeable bestie, Rebecca Pollack , will be guiding all of you in lessons on “The Opposite of Etiquette.” Get ready for embarrassing stories, bizarre tips and outlandish mantras in the world of  women’s etiquette. A New type of Ladies Home Journal! Enjoy our first feature: What Not to Do on a Date! 

When my friends introduced me to Noah, I knew I liked him from the start. We had an obvious connection. Unfortunately for me, Noah had a girlfriend. We saw each other a few times, at social gatherings and large parties and casually stayed in touch. A few months later, Noah and his girlfriend split up and he asked me out! I was ecstatic and nervous!! We agreed to meet in a quirky neighborhood, a little ways out from the city and decided that he would drive me home after dinner.

The date was wonderful. We went to a small and intimate restaurant, where we shared dinner and had a few drinks. I was so excited to finally be out with Noah! I was wearing a cute black dress and really enjoying myself. Mostly, I was looking forward to him “taking me home…!

When we got to the car, we realized that neither of us really knew how to get back to my house. Noah figured he could retrace his steps and eventually figure out how to get to my place. This is when I realized that I really needed to pee. I took a moment to consult my iPhone and tried to map a route back. Noah was talking a mile a minute, as I tried to figure out which direction he was planning to go.

As Noah babbled on and on about his family and genealogy, I felt us getting more and more lost. I finally spoke up. “Do you know where you’re going?” Noah looked me square in the face, “No! I’m waiting for you to give me directions.” At this point, we were really lost and in what I can only refer to as a bad neighborhood. Now I REALLLY have to pee. “Do you think there’s anyplace to stop around here? I really need to go to the bathroom.” I admit. “Around here?” says Noah. “I doubt it!” We drive in a few more circles, as Noah continues to tell me about his estranged uncle who reappeared after 45 years. “Really. I need to pee!” I almost yell at him. Noah- now he gets it. We drive a few blocks, reading every sign. “Laundromat, liquor store, another liquor store, check cashing”… “A gas station!” I yell and instruct Noah to pull in.

I jump out of the car and try a door- locked. I hurry to the front entrance and pull open the glass. Hopefully they have a bathroom inside. The station is desolate. There are a few feet of space, before the bulletproof walls begin. Three solid pieces of wall separate the station from the customers. This is not a friendly place and there is not a single person behind the glass. Hurrying back to the car, Noah points out a supermarket- “try there!,” he yells to me through the window. There are three storefronts separating me from this savior supermarket. I pass a Laundromat with the metal doors shut tight. A small bakery looks that dark and eerie. Last stop is a fried chicken restaurant- serving Island Specialties. “This is IT!” I think to myself. The restaurant looks large and fairly busy. There must be a bathroom here! As I step through the front door, I realize I am awfully mistaken. The large space has several booths- all of them empty. A small register is totally encased in plexiglass, protecting the cashier and whatever profits this business brings in. Beside the plexiglass, is what looks like a jail cell- a large metal door that most definitely is not open to the public. I look around in horror, and realize I will not make it further than this point. As I step outside, into the summer evening, the sun still shining down, I feel my bladder give up. I am already peeing.

Standing on the doorstep of Island Specialties, I am fully peeing in my pants. The moisture drips down my legs as the sun beats on my face and cars whiz by. A puddle is forming at my sandals, as I stand casually on the doorstep of this horror story- too dumbstruck and stunned to move. “If anyone even looks at me, I will tell them my water broke!” I think to myself, appalled that I standing here peeing in the street in public and broad daylight.

I scurry back to Noah, waiting innocently in the car. As I approach, he looks at me and puts is thumb up, then down. He wants a status report. I respond- thumbs down. I approach the open window at the passenger’s side. “What happened?!” he asks. “I peed on the welcome mat at the fried chicken place.” He stares at me. “Yes, I just stood there and peed.” Noah seems to get it and hands me a blanket from the back seat of his car. I wipe down my legs and feet. Standing in the middle of the same bulletproof gas station we started at, I pull off my underwear and tuck them into a nearby trashcan. Noah materializes a pair of his pants and passes them to me. I slip the pants under my dress and get into the car.

The trip back to my house is a blur. Noah tried to reassure me several times- “things happen,” “it’s no big deal,” “I had a friend in high school who used to have to pee every 20 minutes, then he turned out to have a tumor!.” “Don’t worry,” he continues to reassure me. “I won’t tell our friends about this.”

I was still humiliated. “What will you tell your roommate when you walk in with my pants on?” he asks nervously. “I’ll tell her what happened!” I laugh.

Reverse Heart Back Cutout Dress

The Perfect Party Dress

Reverse Heart Back Cutout Dress

I am a sucker for hearts and bows! There! I said it! I am beyond excited about our Perfect Party Dress pic this week because it is so super cute and incorporates a heart! DUH! Urban Outfitters you have done it again!

Now, this reverse heart back cutout dress is beyond FAB but it is also best suited for the girl who has no boobies. You know you watch these girls and wish you too didn’t have to wear a bra and could frolic freely. Well, here are your solutions cause this dress is too cute to pass up for all my big boobed girls! Either get pasties or rock a colorful bando and make it work! The Hostess Handbook is in love!

This reverse heart back cutout dress comes in a variety colors and patterns. These two choices are my favorite and perfect for either day or night!

This perfect party dress will run you $69.00

Load More