Author: ericajoe

Taking Sides

{Thanksgiving side dishes with a twist}

Today is Thanksgiving and in the spirit of the day’s festivities, I’d like to share two of my favorite side dishes that are a must-have on my Thanksgiving table. These are not your everyday green beans and cranberry sauce!

Thanksgiving Green Beans:
4 lbs green beans (we’re feeding A LOT of people)
1 lb of bacon
1 onion, diced

  1. Rinse and cut your green beans into 2″ pieces and blanch (add beans to boiling water, let boil for 1 minute, transfer beans to an ice bath), then set aside.
  2. Slice bacon into small pieces and fry on medium heat until crispy. Remove bacon from pan and drain most of the fat, leaving about 3 TBSP.
  3. Reduce heat to low and caramelize onions in the same pan.
  4. Add green beans and bacon back into the pan and cook on high until hot.

Orange and Ginger Cranberry Sauce:
16 oz fresh cranberries
1 cup sugar
1 cup orange juice
1 TBSP finely grated fresh ginger

  1. Cook cranberries, sugar, and ginger in a saucepan on medium heat, stirring occasionally, until cranberries begin to burst (about 7 minutes).
  2. Add orange juice and simmer until thickened.
  3. Serve hot or cold. (I prefer hot.)

Why, Thank You

{Fragrant gifts: candles and herbs}

With Thanksgiving just a day away, many of us are starting our preparations early – brining the turkey, cleaning the house, setting the table, making five or six trips to the grocery store, pulling out our hair, etc. If you’re not hosting Thanksgiving, it’s easy to show a little appreciation to your hostess with a small gift. As a guest for any gathering, whether it’s a casual dinner party or a formal Thanksgiving dinner, a good rule of thumb is never to show up empty handed.

Thanksgiving dinner is an easy one: help lighten the load and bring your favorite side dish or dessert – there’s no such thing as too much food on Thanksgiving. If you’re not quite apt in the kitchen and don’t like the idea of bringing a store-bought pie as your contribution, here are a few other options to show your appreciation:

  • Champagne: Libations are always welcome, but wine is such a common gift. Add a little pizzazz and go with something of the bubbly variety.
  • Slate cheeseboard: Cheese platters are quick and easy to put out for guests, so for someone who hosts frequently, this gift is sure to make an impact.
  • Candles: Though not a very unique gift, scented candles are always appreciated by a hostess who aims to make her home as welcoming as possible. I’m a loyal fan of Voluspa candles, as they’re extremely fragrant and pretty to boot.
  • Whiskey Stones: A nightcap is the perfect way to end an evening with friends, but lukewarm or watered down drinks are never a hit. This set of whiskey stones and tumblers will keep your spirits perfectly chilled and dilution-free.
  • Rosemary Trees: Any type of herb plant will do, really, as they’re fragrant and useful. I’m particularly fond of Rosemary, as it’s a hardy plant that can easily be added to any garden or kept potted in a windowsill. Plus they’re festive during the holidays as mini Christmas trees.

{Whiskey stones are the perfect gift for the style-conscious hostess}

It’s A Wrap

{Autumn Cashmere Neck Warmer and Ruche “Snood”}

‘Tis the season to bundle up in your favorite scarves and brave the cold with a hot cup of cocoa. Like I mentioned earlier, a scarf can make the look, and while I have an unusually large collection of scarves, I could pare it down to just two necessities if needed: a thick knitted infinity scarf and a pashmina.

I can’t get enough of this leopard print cashmere neck warmer that’s both luxurious and fun (you can’t go wrong with cashmere). For a more affordable option, this “snood” is great as a thick knitted infinity scarf that can be pulled over the head as a hood should the weather turn for the worse.

While nothing beats a true cashmere pashmina (like this one), Target also offers this great 100% viscose option (and for the price of one cashmere pashmina, you could buy one of every color).

En Pointe

{Gift from a friend – ballerina charm that glitters and twirls in the lamplight.}

Since I was a little girl, I’ve had an affinity for ballerinas. I never showed any real interest in joining ballet (I took one tumbling class and opted for a contact sport instead), but that never stopped me from idolizing their slender silhouettes and graceful movement. While I wouldn’t add an all-out tutu to my everyday wardrobe (OK, I might), these ballerina-inspired tulle skirts (here and here) lend toward that casual elegance and sophistication of the ballet that I love.

{Tulle skirts by Anthropologie and ThreadSense}

Top Five

{Gilded posters from the vaguely}

A huge portion of my life is spent in front of a computer, and while that’s typically seen as a bad thing, it also allows me to accomplish a few tasks more efficiently: primarily shopping. Gone are the junior high days of worrying that I’m going to see the same shirt that I just bought on five other girls, because the internet presents nearly infinite possibilities: international, handmade, vintage, boutique, etc.

Etsy is by far my favorite site to find novel and authentic items. These are just a few of the little gems I’ve stumbled upon lately:

{Gorgeous aquamarine and rose gold ring from Garnet Girl Designs}

{Hilarious and gaudy bookends from Mahzer&Vee}

{Beautiful painting reminiscent of What Dreams May Come from Mattsart}

{Ultra feminine and quirky emerald green coat from Different Design Fashion}