Tea for 2

Author: Kirsten K., Author: Kirsti Kay, Food & Drink, Hot Drinks, Tea

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♪ ♫ Here at The Swoon Society
There’s tea for two and two for tea
To toast our anniversary with you…♩ ♬

The Swoon Society turns 2 today!

Join the chorus (and the Doris)
as we celebrate with the festive
Birthday Cake blend from DAVIDsTEA.

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☕ Cheers to two great years! ☕

Happy Swooniversary!

 

 

A Faint Whiff

Author: Kirsten K., Author: Kirsti Kay, Fragrance

Grab the smelling salts, because The Swoon Society is proud to introduce a Scent Worthy Of Our Noses: SWOON Perfume! Reflecting our signature bouquet, this bespoke fragrance unveils sweet scents of rose and violet…with a twist. Due to the skills of our master chemist, SWOON Perfume contains special aldehydes and esters that will actually make you feel lightheaded. The effect only lasts for a few minutes, but some users have gone weak at the knees, so make sure you spritz while sitting down and never drink in this “eau de sprawlette” before you drive.

SWOON Perfume is the first fragrance on the market designed to literally overcome your senses, so prepare to fall head over heels when you get a faint whiff of our intoxicating new scent.


Stuff Worthy Of Our Notice™ in this post:

SWOON Perfume

 

If something about this post smells fishy, you’re nobody’s fool. Happy April 1st!

 

Tea Drops – The Cutest Tea You Will Ever Drink

Author: Kirsti Kay, Food & Drink, Hot Drinks, Philanthropy, Tea

rose-earl-grey-tea-dropsForget your single origin oolongs, your hipster matcha tea shops, and your precious high tea at fancy hotels. I have discovered the cutest tea in the world and you can drink it in your own home, wearing that dirty Aerosmith t-shirt while binge-watching Santa Clarita Diet. It’s called Tea Drops and it will make you wonder why you ever bothered with tea bags or fumbled with a messy tea ball.

Tea Drops are individually packaged organic teas pressed into darling little shapes that steep instantly in hot water and contain just the right amount of pure organic cane sugar—a self-contained Cute Bomb! Simply put a Tea Drop in your favorite teacup and pour boiling water over and you have a delicious cup of perfectly measured, sweetened, spiced tea.

Founder and CEO Sashee Chandra grew up in a tea drinking household, but discovered when she started working in the real world that making tea the old-fashioned way was inefficient, especially in the fast-paced environments of today’s companies, so she created a way to make a fancy tasting cup of tea quickly. By shaping tea into fun shapes with sweetener and spices, she created the perfect cuppa for the girl (or boy) on the go. By packaging her tea in biodegradable and compostable wrapping and boxes, Sashee gives us even more reasons to go on a tea spree.

tea-dropsWith flavors like Cardamom Spice, Citrus Ginger, Sweet Peppermint and—my favorite—Rose Earl Grey, there is a tea for everyone. Tea Drops are made from organic tea leaves (not instant tea), so there is some sediment that will linger at the bottom of your cup, but it is perfectly fine to drink. Many enjoy drinking the sediment as part of their tea experience, but you can always leave the last sip if that’s not your thing.

If the adorable shapes and unique flavors aren’t enough to get you to take the plunge, Tea Drops also donates a YEAR’S SUPPY OF CLEAN WATER to a person in need with every order, no matter how small! Without water, there would be no tea, and without tea, there would be no scones or jam or clotted cream, and without scones or jam or clotted cream, there would be no happiness, so it’s so nice to know that by soothing your soul with beautiful tea, you are helping people at the same time. You can also donate $25 through the company’s website to Thirst Project, which provides a lifetime of water to someone in need.

With so many reasons to try Tea Drops, why not join the #CommuniTEA today?

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Stuff Worthy Of Our Notice™ in this post:

Tea Drops

 

Click here to learn more about the partnership between Tea Drops and Thirst Project.

 

Our Gift to You – Swoon Saucers

Author: Kirsti Kay, Dessert, Entertaining, Food, Food & Drink, Holidays, Recipes, Sweets

swoon-saucers-christmas-cookies-1Whenever I’m at a bakery and see the case of beautiful cookies, my knees go a little weak. All the different sprinkles and pretty shapes and the intoxicating singular smell of their collective sugary deliciousness make me swoon with delight! There is almost nothing more delightful than a pink bakery box filled with cookies.

swoon-stamp-christmas-tree-ornamentWith the holidays in full swing and Christmas and Hanukkah almost here, it can seem daunting to squeeze in baking time. Rolling out and decorating those cut-out cookies is a full weekend affair, and wouldn’t you just, for once, like to nap on the couch with the tree lights on and Nat or Andy or Burl or Frank crooning you into a happy holiday snooze?

Here is a recipe that is easy, super festive, and looks just like those fancy bakery cookies. Make the dough on Friday night, bake them Saturday morning, and enjoy the rest of your weekend.

HAPPY HOLIDAYS FROM THE SWOON SOCIETY!

S.W.O.O.N. Stamp
Stuff Worthy Of Our Notice™ in this post:

SWOON SAUCERS
(adapted from Piece Of Cake: Home Baking Made Simple by David Muniz, David Lesniak and Rachel Allen)

swoon-saucers-christmas-cookies-2Makes about 50 cookies

4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
¾ tsp. salt
1½ cups unsalted butter at room temperature
½ cup canola oil
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup confectioners sugar
2 large eggs
swoon-saucers-christmas-cookies-34 tsp. vanilla extract*
Different sprinkles, nonpareils, colored sugars for decorating

Whisk together flour, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter on medium for about a minute. Turn mixer to low and add the oil in a slow stream and then add the two sugars, the eggs (one at a time) and the vanilla. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Add the flour mixture in 4 additions, scraping down the sides after each addition. Dough will be very soft. Refrigerate in bowl covered with plastic wrap for at least an hour (and up to 3 days).

swoon-saucers-christmas-cookies-4Preheat the oven to 350°F and line two baking sheets with parchment.

Put sprinkles into small bowls. I like to use a variety of different holiday-themed decorations.

Using a tablespoon-sized cookie scoop or a spoon, make balls from the dough. Roll in your hands and then into the sprinkles. Place them on the baking sheets in rows of 3. Slightly flatten each ball with the palm of your hand.

swoon-saucers-christmas-cookies-5Bake for about 14 minutes, just until the edges start to turn golden. Cool on baking sheet for a few minutes and transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

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*To really get that “bakery” flavor, you can substitute a teaspoon of Fiori di Sicilia for one of the teaspoons of vanilla. Available from King Arthur Flour.

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This recipe is great for any holiday – just switch out the sprinkles for Valentine’s Day, 4th of July, etc.!

 

The Swoon Society Holiday W.I.S.H. List

Author: Kirsten K., Author: Kirsti Kay, Holidays

Looking for holiday gift ideas?
We’re In Shopping Heaven
with these swoon-worthy finds.

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It’s that time of year when things start to get really hectic, and dreams you had of relaxing with holiday magazines, movies, and music turn into stressful, overly-planned weekends and mad dashes to crowded malls. Help is here, friends. Take a deep breath, put some of that cheerful music on, pour a glass of wine or make a cup of tea, and let The Swoon Society do your shopping for you. (For more ideas, see our 2015 Holiday G.I.F.T. Guide.)

All of the items on our 2016 Holiday W.I.S.H. List are either products we own (or have bought for others) or are on our personal holiday gift lists. Before you break down and get that last resort gift set for your sister from Bath and Body Works, check out some of these lovely ideas and maybe get yourself a present as well. Don’t we all deserve lovely things?
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KIRSTI’S PICKS

august-uncommon-tea-metropolitan.
AUGUST UNCOMMON TEA METROPOLITAN BLEND $29
The creators of August Uncommon Tea are bringing tea into the 21st century, one cup at a time. A beautiful blend for lovers of Earl Grey, Metropolitan is a vibrant black tea flavored with bergamot, plum and clove. According to the company’s website, drinking a cup feels like “sparkling conversation on a city terrace.” Meet you there for a chat?

savon-de-marseille-extra-pur-figue-liquid-soap.
SAVON DE MARSEILLE EXTRA PUR FIGUE LIQUID SOAP $24-31
I know what you’re thinking: who wants to pay up to $30 for liquid soap? YOU do. This soap from La Compagnie de Provence makes you wash your hands just to get a whiff of that glorious fig scent. It makes your guests ask, “Where did you get that soap? It smells so good!” Inhaling the fragrance is like taking a 10-second vacation. Plus, the beautiful glass bottle and its companion lotion look good on any counter and you can buy large refills. Trust me on this one.

dories-cookies-by-dorie-greenspan.
DORIE’S COOKIES BY DORIE GREENSPAN $21
Famous for her World Peace cookies, Dorie Greenspan has created hundreds of cookie recipes that she is finally sharing. Get this cookbook as a gift for someone and bake a batch of cookies to go with it. Sharing is caring, and we could all use a little more world peace at the moment.

claire-velvet-choker-necklace.
CLAIRE VELVET CHOKER NECKLACE $14
I’ve noticed that the girls I have been admiring out in the world…you know the ones, they are in the coffee line in front of you and seem to have perfect, effortless style…are wearing chokers with their drapey tops and round sunglasses. These necklaces are back from the ’70s and a perfect way to add Boho chic to your life—or someone’s stocking—without breaking the bank.

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DYSON SUPERSONIC HAIR DRYER $400
Sir James Dyson is on the top of my dinner party list. He puts so much care into everything he creates—I feel actual love for my vacuum. When I heard that he’d created a hair dryer, I swooned. It’s a game changer not only for hair drying, but for styling. A little pricey, but can you really put a price on the answer to a perfect home blowout
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talking-with-dogs-and-cats-by-tim-link.
TALKING WITH DOGS AND CATS BY TIM LINK $13-15
This is a wonderful book for anyone wanting to effectively and easily communicate with their animals. Tim Link is a professional animal communicator who shows you how to easily understand and interpret your pet’s needs and how to create an incredibly connective relationship. A great gift for anyone with a furry friend.

agent-nateur-shiva-rose-holirose-deodorant.
AGENT NATEUR HOLI(ROSE) DEODORANT NO. 4 $24
You’ve got to hand it to Gwyneth Paltrow for creating the Goop Empire. Most of the products she sells on her site are too expensive for me, but it’s a great place to find vetted natural products. I’m dying to try this non-GMO, pesticide free, food-grade rose deodorant created in partnership with Shiva Rose and scented with holi wood, sandalwood and rose. If I found this in my stocking, I would think Santa was a really awesome dude.

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MILK MAKEUP TATTOO STAMP $12
Add a little instant spunk to your day or night with this super fun stocking stuffer. Put a few stars around your eyes like Kat Von D, or strategically hide a heart for your own special “Santa” to find later.

punjammies-leela-full.
PUNJAMMIES LOUNGE PANTS $54
These gorgeous lounge pants are made in India by women working to remain free from human trafficking. Fashioned from 100% cotton with a lovely brocade border around the hem, these beauties are a glamorous and meaningful gift.

le-labo-santal-33-liquid-balm-perfume.
LE LABO SANTAL 33 LIQUID BALM PERFUME $90
This perfume smells like an ancient church or a Cambodian temple: mysterious, meditative and deeply intoxicating. Just the tiniest roll on to the wrist and neck and you will float through the day, enveloped in notes of violet, cardamom, leather and sandalwood. Namaste, y’all.

stay-gold-14k-gold-vermeil-necklace.
STAY GOLD 14K GOLD VERMEIL NECKLACE $150
When your love for Ponyboy must be writ large for all to see. Get this for the girl who loves the ’80s. Throw in a first edition of The Outsiders. You’re welcome.

everlane-black-cashmere-sweatpant.
EVERLANE CASHMERE SWEATPANT $140
Cult brand Everlane does not disappoint with these luxurious cashmere sweatpants. With a relaxed slim fit and all the feels of delicious cashmere, these are going to replace every pair of yoga pants in your closet, stat.

color-me-book.
PERSONALIZED ADULT COLORING BOOK $25
Create a coloring book for that special someone using your own photos. One of the most buzzed about gift items this year and a wonderfully unique memento. Really easy to use interface—you can create a book in minutes—but do it now to ensure you receive it by the holidays.

mermaid-blanket.
MERMAID BLANKET $35
How did we live our lives without a mermaid blanket? Binge-watch Gilmore Girls while feeling like a very fancy mythical creature. Super soft with knit “scales,” it comes in a variety of cozy colors. You know that Lorelei would have one of these.

dog-a-day-pug-dessert-plate.
DOG-A-DAY DESSERT PLATES $14 each
For any dog lover on your list. Made of stoneware that’s dishwasher safe, these plates by artist Sally Muir will make guests gasp in delight! There are seven different breeds: Pug, Dalmatian, Whippet, Jack Russell, Labradoodle, Shaggy Dog, and Westie. Whether you get one of each or have a table of Pugs, we’d like to be invited to this party.

 

KIRSTEN’S PICKS

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the-federalist-visionary-zinfandel-wineTHE FEDERALIST WINES $18-35
Our recent election has ignited renewed interest in the electoral process created by our Founding Fathers, making a bottle of wine from The Federalist a timely gift for the oenophiles on your list. After getting started with Visionary Zinfandel in honor of Federalist Party pioneer Alexander Hamilton, they’ll want to experience the full collection, featuring tributes to the duel between Hamilton and Aaron Burr, the genius of Ben Franklin, the leadership of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, and the symbol of the Statue of Liberty. (Since the Federalists opposed “my” party, one Founder is conspicuously absent.) If the talk turns to politics, you may need wine to get through the holidays, so be sure to stock up!
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dessert-and-baking-saltsDESSERT AND BAKING SALTS $19
Any pastry chef worth his or her salt knows that adding a pinch of these pungent granules to desserts and baked goods can balance the sweetness of sugar and make flavors pop. Replace regular salt in cookie dough, pie crusts, and brownie batter with flavors like Vanilla Cardamom and Orange Ginger. Sprinkle Rose Peppercorn or Hibiscus on ice cream and cheesecake for a floral flourish. This culinary kit will allow the cooks on your list to express their creativity with Espresso, or liven up vanilla desserts with Lavender, so give generously and you just might get invited to experience the sweet—and salty—hereafter.
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opera-by-david-leventiOPERA BY DAVID LEVENTI $28-100 and up
Whether your musical tastes run to Die Fledermaus or deadmau5, you will swoon over this coffee table book from photographer David Leventi. Filled with dazzling images of opera house interiors from around the world as seen from center stage, it is certain to be the talk of any holiday celebration. Each theatre and its décor, from the spare to the opulent, reflects the character of a distinct city and era. Every single page is a frameable work of art. Opera can be purchased directly from the Italian publisher, but copies are available in the U.S. from marketplace vendors at Abe Books,  Amazon and Barnes & Noble. (In the meantime, enjoy the pictures on David Leventi’s website.)
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vintage-typewriter-note-cardsVINTAGE-STYLE NOTE CARDS FROM FIGMENTS STUDIO $10
From the time I could write, my mother instilled in me that it is basic good manners to send a thank-you note whenever you receive a gift. To remind me, Santa would put a small box of cards under the Christmas tree each year, but nobody will need a reminder to use these charming Vintage Typewriter note cards from Figments Studio. Perhaps one of your New Year’s resolutions is to begin a written correspondence. If so, purchase the Letter Box or Vintage Mailbox note cards for yourself and send a box to a distant friend or family member to get the ball rolling. Each set comes in a decorative box with magnetic closure and includes 10 note cards, envelopes, and wax seal stickers.

aftelier-chocolate-saffron-body-oil.
AFTELIER CHOCOLATE SAFFRON BODY OIL $50
You won’t know whether to wear or eat this gourmet body oil from renowned natural perfumer Mandy Aftel. Surprisingly lightweight, it absorbs completely into the skin, leaving only the ambrosial aroma of chocolate and flowers behind. Just a few drops massaged into the ends of damp hair controls split ends while enveloping you in a sensual scent. A little goes a long way, so get your honey some chocolate and saffron for the holidays and he or she might be willing to share…in more ways than one.

vosges-peppermint-candy-cane-drinking-chocolate.
PEPPERMINT CANDY CANE DRINKING CHOCOLATE $15
Speaking of chocolate, innovative chocolatier Katrina Markoff is returning to sweet simplicity with a special drinking chocolate for the holidays. Containing grated dark chocolate and crushed peppermint candy, this decadent beverage from Vosges Haut-Chocolat is made the Parisian way. Set out a rich, festive cup for Santa in lieu of milk and cookies and you are sure to get everything on your list. Ho Ho Ho là là!

jane-steele-by-lyndsay-faye.
JANE STEELE BY LYNDSAY FAYE $19
A must-have for the historical fiction fans on your list, this reimagining of Jane Eyre turns the beloved gothic romance on its head. The book is not simply a retelling of the tale, for Jane Steele herself has read the novel by Charlotte Brontë and remarks on the uncanny similarities between her “real” life and that of the fictional Jane Eyre…with one notable difference: Ms. Steele is a killer. In the hands of talented wordsmith Lyndsay Faye, this is no horror story, but a fresh and fun (really!) take on one of English literature’s most enduring classics.

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anchor-hocking-bake-n-serve-storage-dishesVINTAGE-STYLE GLASS STORAGE DISHES
 $20-45 each
A practical gift that will win hearts with its 1930s charm and utility, this set of glass storage dishes from Anchor Hocking goes from oven to table to fridge. Made entirely from tempered glass to prevent leaching of unwanted chemicals into food, the dishes are available in 2 cup, 5 cup, and 12 cup sizes that store neatly together, making efficient use of space. With proper handling and care, these dishwasher and microwave safe Bake ‘n’ Store containers will someday become actual vintage treasures.

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strauss-waltzesSTRAUSS WALTZES $10-$17
Most of us are familiar with The Blue Danube and Tales from the Vienna Woods, but what about Morning Papers, Vienna Blood, or Emperor’s Waltz? Even those who aren’t classical music enthusiasts will appreciate these lively compositions from waltz wunderkind Johann Strauss II. I defy anyone to listen for more than a few bars before falling into step…1-2-3, 1-2-3, 1-2-3…as if twirling—or being twirled by—an invisible partner. I listen to this nostalgic 19th-century music every year during the holidays in anticipation of watching the annual New Year’s Concert performed each January 1st by the Vienna Philharmonic. There are many recordings to choose from, but I enjoy this collection from RCA Victor’s Basic 100 series, a primer for those who are new to classical music. It is also available for download from iTunes.

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black-pearl-and-swarovski-crystal-magnetic-wrap-necklaceMAGNETIC WRAP NECKLACE/BRACELET
$15-25 and up
Forget David Blaine, you’ll be awestruck at the magic performed by this versatile piece of jewelry, which can double as a necklace, choker, bracelet, or anklet. Made from crystals and beads interspersed with Lodestone—a naturally magnetic mineral known as Magnetite—the strands will “lock” together as they are wrapped around the wrist, neck, or ankle, allowing for a variety of different looks. black-pearl-and-swarovski-crystal-magnetic-wrap-bracelet(For examples of how to wear a magnetic wrap necklace, click here.) There are so many online vendors and styles of Magnetite* jewelry that it’s best to simply search for some combination of “magnetic,” “magnetite,” “wrap,” “necklace,” and “bracelet.”

*Magnetite is a permanent magnet that looks like hematite. Be aware that some magnetic jewelry is made with hematite that has been magnetized and may lose its charge over time. Adding “magnetite” to your search will produce higher quality results.

Images of Black Pearl & Swarovski Crystal Magnetic Wrap Necklace/Bracelet from Charms of Light.

 

And, as always, you can give a gift from The Swoon Society S.H.O.P.
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Happy shopping, Swoonsters!

 

Swoonstruck

Author: Kirsten K., Author: Kirsti Kay, Holidays

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♪ ♫ When a new moon is nigh,
But the werewolves still cry,
That’s a Monday.

When a sky black as pitch
Hides the flight of a witch,
That’s a Monday.

Little feet running down each street, 
Calls of “Trick-or-treat!”
Candy trade deals are soon struck.

Even though moonlight doesn’t show,
Pumpkins are aglow,
Leaving everyone swoonstruck.♩ ♬

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Happy Howloween
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🎃 Happy Howloween! 🎃

 

 

“The Howling” pumpking carving pattern from Pumpkin Masters (adapted from a design by Tod O’Daniel).

 

Pickled French Plums – The Condiment You Didn’t Know You Needed

Author: Kirsti Kay, Entertaining, Food, Food & Drink, Recipes, Snacks, Starters

boat-street-pickled-french-plums-1I remember the olden days when fig jam and quince paste were exotic additions to a cheese plate. I used to really feel like an adult serving guests these fancy-pants confitures. It didn’t matter if your cheese platter was from Trader Joe’s or curated by a man with a handlebar mustache and bushy beard from the hipster cheese store—it was elevated. Now, even kids know what quince paste is, and fig jam is no longer special. You can buy it at Ralphs.

On this blog, we’ve written about rose petal jam and Jimmie’s Chipotle Pepper Jam as we quest for tasty additions to our plateau de fromage, but it has been a while since I’ve found something new that was worthy. Recently, I was visiting the cheese stall at my local Farmer’s Market and they introduced me to my new favorite: Boat Street Pickled French Plums.

boat-street-pickled-french-plums-2Made by acclaimed Seattle chef Renee Erickson, these Frenchie fruits will make your mouth sing. A winning combination of sour, sweet and spicy—the taste triumvirate—this spread creates a perfect storm when layered on top of some creamy, rich, soft cheese. Made with French plums, cider vinegar, cane sugar, coriander, mustard seed, arbol chili, orange peel, and bay leaf, it’s a complex explosion of flavor. It’s also amazing on sandwiches (grilled cheese—hold me!) or ice cream. Trust me, you will need several jars. Boat Street also makes pickled cherries, apricots, figs and raisins. So scratch that—you are going to need a boatload (see what I did there?).

There is nothing quite like a cracker spread with runny French cheese and a dollop of some magically fruity, smoky deliciousness and a chilled glass of Sancerre. Your mouth (and your guests) will say merci.

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Boat Street Pickles