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?

S.W.O.O.N. Stamp
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.

.
*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.

.
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.

.
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?
.

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.

dyson-supersonic-hair-dryer.
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
?

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.

milk-makeup-tattoo-stamp.
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

.
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!
.

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.
.

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.)
.

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.

.
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.

.
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.

.
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.
.

Happy shopping, Swooners!

 

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.

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

Boat Street Pickles

 

Jasmin et Cigarette – The Perfume of Every Wicked Temptress

Author: Kirsti Kay, Fragrance

jasmin-et-cigaretteI’m all talk. I know a lot about salacious subjects, strange places, and shocking-but-true stories, but I’ve lived a fairly sheltered life growing up in the Valley. Kirsten’s mom thought I was “too worldly” to be friends with her daughter in 7th grade, mostly because I was reading a lot of my mom’s romance novels at the time. You know, the kind where pirates kidnap a beautiful, nubile orphan named Annabel who just happens to know how to use a sword (and so does the pirate…wink, wink). I can tell you where to go in Paris for a night of carnal intrigue, but I’m in bed before those places even open. And I will always take the conversation to the “Oh no, you didn’t!” place. I want to be a cool kid, but instead I’m a goofball with a dirty mouth who loves pirates.

Because I love knowing about bizarre and interesting things that are outside my smallish world, I’m always on the hunt for the unusual. I happen to have a copy of Paul Lynde’s will. I own an actual John Wayne Gacy clown drawing (but, trust me, it only comes out at dinner parties) and my bathroom is decorated with vintage doll heads. So when I stumbled upon the perfume Jasmin et Cigarette from celebrated French perfumer Etienne de Swardt of Etat Libre d’Orange, I was filled with curiosity, delight, and a little fear.

It’s pretty audacious to create a perfume that smells like cigarettes. Oh, and also “a woman’s skin when she exposes her freshness to the dark seduction of night.” But with other scents, such as Fat Electrician, Dangerous Complicity, and Secretions Magnifiques, you know this is not the kind of perfume a lady in Macy’s is going to spray on you while you are trying to find the bathroom. These are fragrances meant to work you up, to scandalize, to cause a revolution. Etat Libre d’Orange has more than 30 scents and I want to try them ALL.

etat-libre-dorange

I thought the bottle would look really fun next to my Demeter Funeral Home and Holy Water perfumes, so I impulsively bought it online without smelling it, but I was secretly hoping I would love it, because I wanted to smell like cigarettes from France! The fragrance contains jasmine absolute, tobacco notes, apricot, tonka bean, curcuma, cedarwood, amber, and musk. My friend Rebecca thought I was crazy to spend $50 on a perfume I haven’t tested that allegedly smells like…oh, you know, an ashtray in a garden of jasmine, but if you have enough guts to name your perfume Jasmin et Cigarette, I have enough guts to give you money for it.

I have to tell you, it does smell like cigarettes! I also have to tell you that it smells amazing, like no other perfume I have ever smelled before. It is smoky and gently floral. It is mysterious and, yes, kind of scary. It makes me feel like a secret agent or a Bond girl or a wicked temptress. It makes you want to lean in closer. And closer still. It definitely does not make me feel like a girl from the Valley who talks a lot of shit. When I wear Jasmin et Cigarette, I’m not telling stories, I AM the story. I might not ever be as cool as an ingénue who can French inhale, but at least I can smell like one.

But now, it is my bedtime and I hope to be dreaming of pirates.

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

Jasmin et Cigarette Perfume

 

Jasmin et Cigarette can be purchased in the States from Le Pink & Co.

 

Kiddie Pools and Cucumber Cocktails

Author: Kirsti Kay, Cocktails, Entertaining, Food & Drink, Spirits

Cucumber Cocktai 1I live in Woodland Hills, California—a suburb in the west San Fernando Valley that is known for being the hottest neighborhood in Los Angeles. I like it here, but in the summer it’s hot as Hades with a side of flame-broiled misery. When Santa Monica is a cool 89 degrees, we are 104. Last summer I remember having lunch with a friend, and the temperature in my car said 118 degrees. I laughed because it was funny/not funny. I’m honestly surprised I haven’t melted. All the candles on my deck did!

This year, my husband Aaron had enough and declared we were getting a kiddie pool. I was dubious, but—lo and behold!—a week later Amazon delivered a crazy-looking, 8-foot-wide, inflatable pool with a pump and a cover. And a skimmer! When one has a kiddie pool, one must not forget the skimmer! I giggled at Aaron’s fervor, but was secretly wondering how soon he could get this thing set up. When we finally tried it out, I’ll be damned if our little pool wasn’t the perfect antidote to this hell-spawned heat. We even got a doggie raft for our pug, Owen. This IS L.A., after all.

The only question was, what does one drink in a kiddie pool in the middle of a blistering Saturday afternoon?

Cucumber Cocktail 2The answer, friends, is a Cucumber Vodka Tonic.

When I read that Prairie made organic cucumber vodka, I immediately went out and procured this spirit. I’m normally a gin drinker, but I love cucumber water, cucumber seltzer—even cucumber perfume—so I was in.

I couldn’t love this cocktail more. It’s refreshing and delicious and the perfect drink for an afternoon in the kiddie pool. It’s also handy when you trick your friends into coming over for dinner and they don’t realize how ungodly hot it is here. I just put one of these cooling little babies in their hands and they are like, “I freaking LOVE Woodland Hills!” The Cucumber Cocktail Diversion, as I call it, works every time. We only hope that next time they remember to bring their swimsuits.

“Marco.”

“Polo.”

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

Cucumber Cocktail 3CUCUMBER VODKA TONIC
Serves 4

1 cup Prairie Cucumber Vodka*
I cup tonic water
¼ cup lime juice
2 Tbsp. agave syrup or superfine sugar
mint leaves
cucumber ribbons
Put all ingredients except mint leaves and cucumber ribbons in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake until cold. Strain into glasses filled with ice. Garnish with mint leaves and cucumber ribbons.

Turn on music. Get in kiddie pool. Ahhhhhh…

 

*Use the Prairie Finder to locate a Prairie Organic Spirits retailer near you.

 

When a Costume Comes Along, You Must Whip It

Author: Kirsti Kay, Entertainment, Music, Nostalgia, Pop Culture

DEVO 1I think most of us have a pivotal moment where we are living our young lives, oblivious to everything except Saturday morning cartoons and making sure your mom bought Hostess Fruit Pies for your school lunches. And then one day it happens. You realize there is something more out there, that there is a whole world filled with movies and music, art and culture (and, better yet, counter-culture). For me, music was the thing that woke me up, made me take notice and understand there was something great and magical outside of my Valley suburb. Music made me realize I was alive.

I remember the day it happened for me. The year was 1980. MTV had not launched yet. I was listening to KROQ (back when they really played alternative music) and “Whip It” by DEVO came on. I stopped what I was doing and stared at the radio, unable to move or breathe. I’d never heard music like this before. I felt crazy excitement—a buzzing inside my body that made me want to run through the streets and be wild. I felt free. I felt like I had found my tribe. I also felt a little afraid, as if, in this very moment, my life was changed forever and I could never go back to the way it was.

DEVO 2

The first time I actually saw what DEVO looked like, I was babysitting and they were on The Merv Griffin Show. I knew I liked their music, but when I saw them, my jaw dropped and I gasped. What was going on with the weird red hats (called Energy Domes) and the jerky dance moves? Why are they all wearing the same outfits? What are those noises they are creating that I’ve never heard before? And—holy crap!—is that guy playing a keyboard like a guitar? I was swirling with questions, but there was no Internet to ask. I was giddy with delight, but there was no Instagram to document my happiness. I was alone in a strange living room with all this excited emotion and I didn’t know a soul who would understand how wonderful and important this moment was to me.

DEVO 3

“Whip It” good in this DEVO costume from Atom Age Industries.

These days, I have a DEVO poster framed in my office and a DEVO action figure on my desk, and when I wear my DEVO t-shirt, I can’t help but feel happy. Recently, I found out that Atom Age Industries is making a fully licensed “Whip It Outfit and Energy Dome.” Not only can I be the uncontested darling of ANY Halloween soirée, I can look incredibly cool walking my dog and freaking out my neighbors. If they ask me what’s up with my outfit, I’ll just say, “We are DEVO. D-E-V-O.” That should put them right at ease. And the entire delicious ensemble comes in a super cool retro box that you are going to want to keep out in plain view for others to covet. At $40 for the whole shebang, I’m going to stock up. If there is ever a zombie apocalypse, I’m sure they will pass me over, because they will understand that I’m just way too awesome to gorge on, and they will probably want to come over and listen to some of my records. Atom Age Industries also has a RAD Booji Boy mask and many other trinkets and baubles to help you Devolutionize.

I still feel that buzzing inside whenever I hear a DEVO song. It is a good reminder that I am alive. If you need me, I’ll be the one in the red Energy Dome running wild through the streets.

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

DEVO “Whip It” Costume

 

 

The One Hair Product I Can’t Live Without

Author: Kirsti Kay, Beauty, Fragrance

Lush R&B 1How does a relatively sane person end up going around to all the people she knows and asking them to smell her bangs? How does a mild-mannered girl from the Valley sit smugly at a concert silently thinking, “You’re welcome,” because we are packed in like sardines and everyone is able to breathe in the intoxicating aroma of her fragrant hair? Is it weird to wake up in the night and smile because your awesome-smelling hair woke you up, and then fall back into blissful dreams of jasmine petals and orange blossoms?

Our story begins on a rainy winter’s day in Portland, Maine. After a wonderful visit, our dear friend Treena dropped my husband and me off at the bus station, where we were catching a bus to the Boston airport. It was gray and drizzly and we were sad that our trip had come to an end. When it was time to queue up for the bus, there was an adorable gal with a service dog in front of us in line. Aaron asked if he could pet her dog, and as we started chatting, I was suddenly overcome with the most delicious scent. I could barely concentrate on our conversation because I was just breathing in this strange, invisible perfume that wafted from this woman, hypnotizing me with its floral majesty.

It turns out she was heading to L.A. with her sweet dog Lula to live with her boyfriend in Sherman Oaks. Wait. Sherman Oaks is about 15 minutes away from where we live! And, you say…your boyfriend works in the entertainment industry? Aaron works in the entertainment industry! Oh, and you’re obsessed with your dog? We’re obsessed with our dog too! And, hey, you smell so good and I happen to love good smells! By the time we got on the bus, we were friends.

I said to Aaron, “Wow, didn’t she smell amazing?”
“I guess,” he said.
I thought about it the whole flight home.

Lush R&B 2

The contents of this tiny tub will Revive & Balance your hair while enveloping you in a heavenly floral scent.

The first time she came over with her boyfriend and Lula, I gave her a hug, and not-so-subtly buried my face in her hair like a woman-starved pirate from a cheap romance novel. “Wow, you smell so good,” I said like an idiot. She casually mentioned it was a hair conditioner from Lush. As I poured the wine, I made a mental note to GET THEE TO THE NEAREST LUSH, ASAP!

The next morning, I went straight to Lush’s website, but they had so many conditioners I had no idea which was the one that had bewitched me body and soul. I was going to have to ask her again. I had anxiety. Some people don’t like to reveal their recipes or the name of their perfume…could conditioner fall into this quagmire of personal secrets? Would I be gauche for asking AGAIN?

The next time we met, I was slightly sweaty with anxiety. But the moment I got into her car and smelled that now familiar floral cloud, I just blurted out, “Please tell me again what that conditioner is!” She laughed the confident laugh of a woman who knows how good she smells and said, “It’s from Lush and it’s called R&B.”

I immediately went online when I got back to my office and discovered that R&B is actually a hair moisturizer, not a hair conditioner. The website also said it’s good for curly or African American hair, which was a little concerning, because I have the finest baby hair in the ENTIRE WORLD. Whatever, it shall be mine! And it was.

Lush R&B 3

Just a dab of this Lush-ious styling cream will tame flyaways and smooth curls.

At $24 for 3.5 oz., it’s not cheap, but a little goes a long way. It is very thick, almost like body butter. At first, I put a little bit on my freshly washed hair as a leave-in conditioner and it was too much for my baby fine hair. The best way to use this product is to apply it to dried hair as a styling cream. If you have wonderfully thick and curly hair, this will cradle each curl in fragrant shine and softness. If you have fine hair like me, rub about a pea-sized amount into your hands and smooth down flyways. I also rub a bit into my bangs since that hair is the closest to my nose. Immediately, I am enveloped in the scent of angels, if angels lived in a hair product inside a mall store. The ingredients are vegan and mostly natural, featuring orange flower absolute, Indian jasmine absolute, and organic avocado butter. And, like all of Lush’s products, R&B is cruelty free.

I’m sure I seem like a ding-dong asking my friends and co-workers to smell my hair, but all of my lady friends have swooned right along with me. I made sure to give everyone clear instructions on how to buy and use it. I’m ready to pay it forward, one awesome-smelling set of bangs at a time.

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

Lush R&B Hair Moisturizer
 

Love the Cookie You’re With

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

Tonight I’m all alone. It’s Saturday night and I am supposed to be at a party with my husband. Our pug, Owen, had some minor surgery earlier in the week and still isn’t feeling well, so we decided I would be the one to stay home with him. I was feeling a little sorry for myself—I had a really cute outfit all picked out and I haven’t seen our friends in a while. I watched Aaron leave with a nice bottle of Pinot Noir along with a platter of caramelized balsamic Brussels sprouts and shuffled back into the house in my yoga pants and slippers thinking, “Now what?”

Love the Cookie 1

It’s a beautiful evening, so I had a beer out on the deck. Owen sat on my lap for a while and then lay at my feet, snoring, which was a good sign. I read some food magazines, which is one of my favorite pastimes. I hoard them for the perfect time and the stars were aligned—no one to disturb me, gorgeous weather for sitting outside, alcoholic beverage of choice at the ready…even Owen was giving me a reprieve from nurse duty.

When I read food magazines, I have this system: I read each magazine from front to back, slowly, savoring each page and each recipe—even the ones with ingredients I don’t eat, like meat or tofu—and then I carefully dog-ear the pages with recipes or products or places I want to look up on the Internet and save to Evernote for future reference. I love to be transported to places like Morocco. I can almost smell the exotic spices, and the architecture is so wonderfully different from my Valley neighborhood. I decide I absolutely must buy a tagine and I make a mental note to order nigella seeds. I will also need to figure out a substitute for lamb. Pages dutifully dog-eared. And when I turn to the spread on a rustic wine country dinner in Napa, I can almost feel the breeze on my shoulders (fashionably covered in a cashmere pashmina, of course) as I sit at a reclaimed wooden table artfully placed in the middle of a million grape vines, perfectly set with mismatched china and flowers, lights twinkling above, and taste the ancient terroir in each sip of a single vineyard cabernet.

Love the Cookie 2

I finished my magazines and my beer and got out of my swinging chair (the best place to read) to feed the dog and make myself a sweet potato. I poured a glass of Riesling—’cause heck, there was still some in the fridge from last night—and sat down to enter all my dog-eared stuff into the interwebs for further investigation.

And that’s when I came upon the recipe for the Chocolate Chip Cookie For One.

Hmmmm, the oven was still warm from my sweet potato and I had all the ingredients. The night was definitely looking up. It took mere moments to mix all the ingredients together. The only tools I used were a small bowl, a fork and measuring spoons. When I was done, I had this tiny amount of cookie dough, and something about its diminutiveness made me happy. A sprinkling of Maldon sea salt on top of the cookie and into the oven with this solitary confection. Cookie for one coming right up!Love the Cookie 3

Usually, when I bake there is a mess to contend with that sometimes puts a damper on my baking high, but I washed my few dishes and was back on the computer in no time. I had barely typed “where to buy tagine” in my browser when…COOKIE SMELL!

The pug is resting nicely, the kitchen is clean, and I’ve got a warm cookie and Matilda (one of my favorite movies) on DVR. I guess the song is true—if you can’t be with the one you love, love the one you’re with, especially if it happens to be a chocolate chip cookie.

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

CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE FOR ONE (adapted from Food & Wine magazine)

Love the Cookie 4Active Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Serves 1

1 Tbsp. unsalted butter*
1 Tbsp. packed light brown sugar
1 tsp. granulated sugar
⅛ tsp. vanilla
Pinch of salt
2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
1½ Tbsp. bittersweet chocolate chips or chunks (or any other chocolate you happen to have on hand)
Maldon salt (or other flake sea salt) for sprinkling (optional)

Love the Cookie 5Heat oven (or toaster over) to 350° F. In a small microwave bowl, heat the butter until just softened (not melted), about 10 seconds on 50% power. Using a fork, blend both sugars, the vanilla and a pinch of salt into the butter. Blend in the flour, then stir in the chocolate chips. Gather the dough in your hands and form a ball, then flatten onto a parchment-lined baking sheet (or toaster tray). Sprinkle with the Maldon salt. Bake for 13-15 minutes, until lightly browned. Let cool slightly. Get comfy with your most favorite pet (optional) and queue Matilda.

 

*To veganize this recipe, use a non-dairy butter substitute like Earth Balance.