Scarsdale Inquirer Celebrations 2016

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A S P E C I A L S E C T I O N O F T H E S C A R S DA L E I N Q U I R E R • F E B R U A R Y 12 , 2 016

Here Comes ue Bride Rye’s Blue Tulip Chocolates are creative and colorful for any special occasion.

t just might be the most important dress you ever own — even if you do wear it only once. A bride’s relationship with her wedding gown should be personal, emotional and romantic. It should make her feel like a bride, bring out her natural beauty and set the stage for the overall feeling of the event. In the contemporary moment, individuality is just as important as tradition. So, which dress (…or suit) will inspire you to say ‘yes’? This season is coming up roses — and many other blooms. Look for lots of three-dimensional flower appliqués scattered across bodices and skirts to capture the contemporary note of this perennial pattern. Today’s look is less dense and regular than traditional floral lace; so it is perfect for brides who crave garden detail without the fussiness. Look for gowns sewn from delicate mesh fabrics and light silk organza, where silk blossoms seem to dance across the surface, mimicking petals blowing in the wind. For overt texture, re-applied fabric flowers add just the right amount of three-dimensional structure, and this imparts special elegance to non-traditional or shorter silhouettes. Other floral details are embedded in the fabric of the dress itself. These include posies rendered through velvet burnout and laser cut motifs. The only question that remains is the selection of the bouquet.


or backyard barbecues, black tie affairs and everything in between, the crowning glory, the grand finale to any even t is, you guessed it, dessert. But like the rest of the event, desserts need to WOW! You don’t have to have the same old, same old — serving delectable desserts your guests will remember long after the party ends is easier than you think. It just takes a little planning to guarantee that your sweet finishes are fabulous from beginning to end. But where to start? First get your guest list together. Is it an intimate gathering at home for 10? A holiday part for 50? A lifecycle event for 100 or more? A wedding? Small, medium, large? Whatever the occasion, the guest list will dictate how much you’ll need to treat your friends and family to desserts that will impress. Think about what you love. It’s fun to a have a combination of cookies, pastries and maybe macrons (the French version of macaroons found in local patisseries) in a variety of flavors, along with other cakes and desserts. Your choices are literally unlimited. When selecting whatever glorious desserts will suit the occasion, think about having a range of tastes and textures. Would you like the contrast of chocolate or lemon mouse or flan with fruit tarts or individual tartlets, a nut torte perhaps? Or the crunchy bite of the many layers of a melt in your mouth puff pastry of a Napoleon or a Napoleon cake? Just mouth-watering to think about. Think about presentation. If the event is at home, bring out your favorite cake platters and plates. Use a monochromatic color scheme and match your flowers or centerpiece to them. Or mix and match. Try to vary to heights of the platters and cake plates. You can decorate the table too for extra eye appeal — a bough of holly encircling a cake or a garland of gardenias around another platter, a sprig of mint on a bowl parties and other special occasions. Think about what you love and what you think you might be crowd pleasers, no matter the size of your crowd. In addition to sweets you can also serve a cheese platter, garnished with fruit, which is popular in Europe and often served in restaurants. There are many cheeses that are perfect to compliment desserts. For backyard events, think about fun things that depart from the usual, in addition to your sweet finishes. Add a dollop of fun and a casual tone for summertime parties with a lemonade stand manned by neighborhood kids or a willing adult to spike it. You could create a fire pit for making s’mores — you’d be surprised how many adults like to indulge. Be sure to tell your guests whether the party or event is casual or formal as it will dictate how guests might want to dress and make them feel more comfortable.

Blushing bride

The former rule of a white wedding is optional these days, and many brides are choosing to express their personalities through color. Designers have responded with suites of pale gowns, most beautifully rendered in neutral blush tones. These hues range from warm apricot to cheeky pink. Their delicacy maintains the distinct bridal whisper, while offering a range of choice to perfectly complement every skin tone. For just a touch of color, try a wide satin sash, a long trailing bow or a subtly pigmented skirt lining. These accents may be similarly subtle, or they can carry a stronger hue. Play with matching flowers, a coordinating headpiece or bridesmaids’ dresses that echo or intensify the same tone. Take the plunge

A deep, plunging neckline — tailored into a razor-sharp V — is among this spring’s favorite silhouettes. The look is sophisticated, sexy and dramatic. It can highlight a gorgeous piece of jewelry or beautifully lengthen the bride’s own figure. With such an arresting décolleté, the silhouette of the gown tends to be simple, sleek and tuned to the body. This outline lengthens the bride’s proportions by carrying vertical energy from her collarbone to her feet. Voluminous skirts, on the other hand, create a different look. They work in dramatic contrast to the V-shaped neckline, creating a visual push and pull held together by the rounded forms of the breasts and skirt. Some beautiful examples explore the possibilities a very deep plunge, which organically connects to the skirt and creates a fashion-forward silhouette. Bateau basics

The classic bateau neckline is one of the darlings of this season’s cast of wedding gowns. Subtle and sophisticated, it creates a timeless silhouette that does not need much ornamentation. Rendered in luxe fabrics with gorgeous sheen and hand-finished details, the bateau gown captures the best of refined elegance. The horizontal emphasis of its shape underscores the quiet sexiness of the collarbone. The structure of the gown also highlights the reveal of the bride’s arms and neck. To create further dynamism in contrast to the bateau neckline’s covered-up bodice, look for gowns with waistline cutouts and daringly low cowl backs. Now, that’s a beautiful surprise.

A chocolate beginning Try thinking out of the box — a box of chocolate, that is. Step into Blue Tulip Chocolates in Rye for a treat to your palate and eyes. Everything is made fresh in their kitchen, which is visible for customers who can watch the magic of chocolate in the making. In fact, Blue Tulip, which was voted in the top 100 from Serendipity Magazine, offers chocolate making workshops that start with a tasting. Owner Diane Holland said she uses only “very good quality” chocolate, blending French and Belgium with Venezuelan and other varieties of chocolate, which yields a unique flavor. For weddings and other events, Holland makes party favors and even table cards out of chocolate with the guest’s name and table number. CONTINUED ON PAGE 2A



Bouquet toss



Sweet and sexy wedding dresses make a grand entrance


Left, Angel Sanchez’s designs are architectural, contemporary and feminine, with a touch of drama. CONRADO VELIZ PHOTO


Celebrating? Set the tone from start to finish....3A; 21st century photo albums... 3A; Menswear: Formal occasions call for a wardrobe re-do...5A; Party etiquette for guests and hosts...5A; Winter recipes, wine pairings that will wow... 6A; Throw an award-winning viewing party... 6A; After Party: the wedding celebration continues... 6A.



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FEBRUARY 12, 2016

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Indulge in delicious desserts for every celebration soufflés and cupcakes for every event. They don’t make wedding cakes, but lots of desserts for weddings, plus desserts for bar and bat mitzvahs, cocktail parties, baby showers and more. Hayes said Plates is known for ice cream, made by Karp, who does all the cooking and baking. He does homemade Guinness ice cream that he puts together as a sundae with chocolate fudge sauce and marshmallows. Delicious.


Different, fun and delicious! “People bring in their wedding invitations… and a description of the flowers they are using,” said Holland. “It depends on what the bride wants.” For Bar Mitzvahs she has done chocolates served on a silver platter. For dinner parties Blue Tulip will set up platters. The store sells by the piece, what Holland described as “old school,” noting that more people are looking for individual pieces. Blue Tulip offers over 50 flavors of chocolate, all with different fillings, with six to eight different kinds of caramels. Every two weeks they have a new flavor. Some of the chocolates are accented with salt. “The sweet-salt thing is very popular now,” noted the chocolatier, adding, “It kind of explodes in your mouth. Sea salt teases your taste buds — it’s great on milk chocolate or chocolate chip cookies, which we sell here. You may not want it all the time.” Chocolate confections paired with other desserts could be the perfect combination you’re looking for.

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Expert advice, French style In Scarsdale 17 years, La Renaissance is well known for sweets and savory items. Strictly French, the store features so many desserts it could be hard to choose — but they’re happy to make suggestions for parties. According manager Vivienne Copeland, the shop’s most popular dessert is their signature La Renaissance flourless cake, with a layer of almond meringue, a layer of mocha butter cream, a layer of chocolate ganache, whipped cream and toasted almonds on the outside. Party givers can special order whatever they need for whatever type of party or event they are having, giving the shop five days advance notice depending on what

The opera cake, left, and raspberry mousse cake, right, are exquisite creations at Patisserie Salzburg in Scarsdale.

they are ordering. Owner Sal Salamone said they make “elegant and delicious” wedding cakes, one of their many specialties. All the desserts, cakes and cookies are made from scratch at the store. La Renaissance also does catering, offering everything from tea sandwiches to poached or en croute salmon, filet mignon en croute, vegetables, etc. — and of course to order. The store can supply everything you need to throw a bash. Copeland said they have started making bread pudding with challah, raisins with a white chocolate sauce. On Fridays La Renaissance offers fresh challah. The shop is known for its Buche de Noel, which is very popular during the holidays, and in summer their strawberry shortcake is a perennial favorite, along with lots of other fruit desserts. La Renaissance also makes fruit sorbets, including raspberry, chocolate, blueberry and more. They are lactose free and, of course, flourless. Copeland said, “We make sure the desserts are not contaminated,” for people who have wheat or nut allergies French macaroons or “macrons” in various flavors are featured at La Renaissance, made in the traditional French way, what you’d expect to find in Paris, according

to Copeland. And the shop’s traditional Sarah Bernhardts are also a favorite as are the croquembouches, a melt in your mouth tower of cream puffs topped with spun sugar. The shop will whip up chocolate, strawberry or lemon mousse or any combination of flavors presented in a glass bowl — perfect for people who love mousse and might have wheat allergies. Bite-sized pastries are made to order. French cookies are a favorite, sold by the pound, including tuiles (curved, arched cookies made to resemble French terra cotta tiles), elephant ears, rugelach, monograms, and more — hundreds of shapes and designs. For a party, La Renaissance will arrange the cookies on a silver tray. A catered affair Over in Larchmont you’ll find Plates on Myrtle Avenue, a full service restaurant that offers American cuisine with a fusion twist. Owner/chef Matt Karp brings farm-to-table ingredients to his culinary creations. And when it comes to desserts, purveyors of sweets will find a host of them here. Megan Hayes said anything chocolate is a perennial favorite. Customers often want a chocolate molten cake, chocolate


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Travel to Salzburg for desserts You need not travel farther than Christie Place in Scarsdale for the delicious, authentic taste of Salzburg — to Patisserie Salzburg, that is. When you step into the shop it’s like stepping into a café in Europe, warm and welcoming where customers will find a wide selection of European-style baked goods incorporating an assortment of pastries and cookies incorporating French, German and Austrian specialties that are fresh baked on site. Patisserie Salzburg features Austrian desserts, including their signature apple strudel and Sacher Torte. The shop’s lemon tart is a fave and they are also known for their Sarah Bernhardts. Co-owner Par Shakiban said they can create desserts to order “generally with a few days notice.” When customers are unsure of what to order for an event, Shakiban said they will make suggestions. Customers often order cakes, cookies and pies. He also said they make wedding cakes, though they don’t get much call for them. They sell lots of Napoleons, tiramisu and “tarts in general,” according to Shakiban. So turn your sweet dreams into reality — with all these delectable confections and options, your guests will have something to remember.

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Celebrating? Set the tone of your event from start to finish



here is one way to set the “tone, style and formality” of whatever event you are planning from a birthday party to a religious celebration to a milestone event to a wedding to a casual backyard affair: “The first absolute when throwing a successful party is the right invitation,” said Jacqueline Vasquez, owner of Lifetime Events in Westchester and a professional wedding planner. The job of the invitation, according to Vasquez, is to create a sense of anticipation that makes guests look forward to the event. Unique and original invitations can be ordered from places like Fine Lines in Katonah, now celebrating 20 years in business. “You can’t get quality invitations over the internet,” said Laura Marks, the proprietor of Fine Lines. “People want to distinguish themselves with paper; they like to see it and feel it and have a conversation about the printing process. We guide our customers through the entire undertaking of creating a custom invitation. We explain all the options. If they have a theme, we design something to suit their vision. The heart of our business is wedding and bar and bat mitzvah invitations. These are big milestone events and people want personal stationery.” An essential element in throwing a memorable and enjoyable party is engaging your guests. This can be tricky. “Depending on the type of party,” said Vasquez, “you could have interactive entertainment guests all ages can enjoy. Be sure to keep in mind all your guests when planning the party. Some guests may be more shy than others, so select activities that encourage participation.” Vasquez is a proponent of theme parties, which are fun for everyone: “A theme encourages guests to select specific attire for the celebration, like a Hawaiian themed party or a masquerade.” On her website, Oprah Winfrey has a section called “How to Throw a Terrific Party.” Oprah, or one her copywriters, sug-


gests, “Don’t be afraid to invite a circus.” She also advises being brave with the guest list — mix it up by inviting people who don’t know each other, as well as guests with diverse professional interests or from different parts of town. Culinary personality Nigella Lawson, a renowned home entertainer with a Style Network cooking show called “Nigella Bites,” adheres to Oprah’s wisdom, quoted on the site as saying, “I like to have a few new friends, a few old friends and grownups, if you know what I mean.” Nicole A. Mata, a Katonah resident and founder of Delamata Designs, Inc., has worked in the events industry for 15-plus years. Her company focuses on in-home entertaining and home beautification projects in Northern Westchester. “What makes a perfect party means something different to everyone,” Mata said. “For some it’s the number of people who attend, for others it’s the accolades they receive days, weeks, even months after. What sets a great party apart from all others is the guests’ level of comfort. When guests are truly relaxed and enjoying their surroundings and the company of their family and friends, you have thrown a successful party.” Nationally recognized designers Ilene Rosenzweig and Cynthia Rowley are the au-

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thors of “Home Swell Home,” a party and decorating guide. In their book, the pair offer their own spin on party advice, suggesting hostesses turn the usual formula on its ear by making something surprising happen. Rosenzweig and Rowley recommend surprising guests by holding a ping pong tournament before dinner or engaging guests to participate in a compulsory round of games. The duo also love the idea of throwing a paper party. Yep, that means no china or glassware — and for placemats using pages torn from a newspaper. Or a steamy novel, if you dare. If the party is being held at a private home and not an event center, provide guests with something specific to do, suggests Bryan Rafanelli, another professional event planner. The first thing he does is assign each guest someone else to take care of. “The bigger the party, the bigger the hospitality team,” Rafanelli said. He also advises never shooing guests out of the kitchen because it’s usually the room where the most fun happens. Also, as a guest, it’s never a bad idea to be closer to the food. Music matters. Set aside roo m in your budget for a D.J. or live music if possible, or, if the event is at a private home, ask guests to bring their iPods. Somebody, if not multiple somebodies, will inevitably have a great

playlist. If all else fails, there’s always Pandora, but unless you’re paying for the service, you’ll have to suffer through commercials. (Which is not that terrible.) When throwing a party, it’s good to embrace excess. The main thing is not to run out of booze, advises Elizabeth Allen, an event planner in Manhattan. If you can’t finance a full bar, be generous with the wine and beer. Be sure to have a couple of different reds and whites on hand for wine drinkers, and for everybody else, craft beer. IPAs are trendy. Haven’t had time to sample many? Throwing a beer party is a great excuse. What happens when it’s time for the guests to leave? If your guests are having a super good time, what’s the best way to gently head them out? “Ah, the age old dilemma of getting guests to leave at the end of a great party. I am asked this question more times than I can count,” Mata said. “The answer varies depending on what kind of event it is, in-home or in a rented space. In-home tends to be more of a challenge as there is no real reason for guests to leave. I suggest start serving coffee and tea and bringing down the music. This lets guests know things are winding down.” “Stop serving booze and close the bar,” said Carly Gordon Vaknin, a promotions and marketing manager at the radio station Z100 and a Katonah parent. Turning up the lights and turning off the music conveys a clear, “Party’s over,” message, her friend and fellow Katonah mom Randi Linde concurred. Here’s one last impression on last impressions: “You want your guests to exit the party with a smile on their face and feeling like they had the time of their lives,” Vasquez said. “They should feel like they were a great part of the party’s success, and that they were appreciated for attending. So send them off with great treats.” Apparently no matter what your age, you’re never too old for a goody bag.

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of a cable or memory card. Today, it’s easy to transfer images from device to device through a variety of means, using products with Wi-Fi and Near Field Communication (NFC) capabilities. • Shareable: You can send images digitally through a variety of devices. It’s now possible to snap a picture at your child’s sporting event and text or email it immediately to Grandma in another state. Or, you can

share entire photo albums wirelessly between users. For example, the Canon Connect Station CS100 allows you to store images on the device wirelessly with the use of a compatible camera or mobile device. • Vast: A variety of products and services today give you access to an abundance of storage. For a long-term storage solution in the convenience of your own home, this specific Canon device can store about 150,000

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FEBRUARY 12, 2016

MAKE AN ENTRANCE Gorgeous Gowns for Every Occasion



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FEBRUARY 12, 2016


Menswear trends: Formal occasions call for a fashion forward wardrobe The suit



hy should women have all the fun? It’s time for men to embrace fashion statements of their own, and color is always the perfect accessory. While the prospect of taking a spin around the color wheel may be daunting for the average beau, a wisp of green, a wink of yellow or a kiss of red truly does go a long way. Color not only enlivens an outfit; its personality evokes character that is dynamic, individual and sexy. For sure, you are familiar with the classic menswear look for evening — a tuxedo or well-tailored dark suit in black, charcoal or navy. While the choice speaks of timeless elegance, there’s one certain drawback… you’ll look like every other stud in the room. To stand out from the pack, start with impeccable fit — and I do mean impeccable — and treat the dark suit like a blank canvas. Against its backdrop of sophistication, continue to work your look with a vivid tie, a luxe pocket square, patterned socks, or a richly hued shirt. Everywhere you tastefully add some pizzazz, you win. The trick is a twofold twist. The modern man is not afraid of color, and he also knows the impact of moderation. So, let’s break it down…

A well-fitting suit is worth its weight in gold. It communicates an aura of class, taste and style — even from across the room. It also smells expensive, no matter its cost, so it imparts a sort of bragging right. Always appropriate, a well-tailored suit will carry the common gent through any occasion like a king. It affirms this guy is in the know, this man is a gentleman. Long story short: buy the best-fitting, offthe-rack suit you can afford and invest in any necessary tailoring to make it even better. Rely on the advice of a well-trained salesperson, an honest best friend or a significant other with a good eye to make sure you get the right fit. Need help? Follow this knowledge for a perfect fit: Start by looking at your shoulders. The shoulder seams of the jacket should grace the line between your shoulder bone and bicep, and the seams should lie flat, without any bunching or rippling. Next, let your arms hang naturally at your sides. The suit sleeves should extend to the sweet spot at the large bone of your wrist, allowing a desired halfinch of shirt cuff to show from underneath. The length of the jacket should fall past your waist and drape over the top curve formed by your buttocks. At your side, with your arms hanging down naturally, the jacket length should ideally intersect with the middle of

Obviously, the button should close without creating wrinkles or radiating lines. If your jacket’s sleeve buttons actually open and close — and are not just decorative — you should open the button closest to the wrist to show this aspect of the jacket’s tailoring. Now let’s get into your pants. Suit trousers should form a smooth drape over the shape of your rear end. If pants are ill-fitting in the seat, they will either pull tight against your butt, causing wrinkles and creases, or the fabric will drape loosely down the backs of your thighs, creating unattractive volume. The cuff or hem of your trousers should fall slightly over your shoes, creating a single subtle dimple as the fabric breaks against the top of the shoe. Shirts

your hand, just past the connection between your fingers and your palm. When the jacket is buttoned, its neck should lie flat against your shirt collar, without standing away or bunching in the back. With a contemporary single-breasted jacket, the middle button should always be fastened, the top button may sometimes be fastened and the bottom button should never be

closed. This is the unwritten rule of the welldressed men. To test the fit, close one button and observe — the two sides of the jacket should meet neatly without the lapels hanging forward away from the body and without the lower edges of the jacket flaring out, opening like a peplum. This would respectively mean the jacket is either too loose or too tight.

White and blue are the basic neutrals when it comes to shirts. They are the corporate uniform and an equally favorite choice for formalwear. White is the crisp, clean universal background for any tie color. Blue carries a more youthful vibe than white, and it’s also well-suited to a variety of tie pairings — most notably in orange, blue’s opposing hue on the color wheel. Pale pink, which has been gaining popularity over the years, is also considered a neutral. For a chic, urban look, black shirts are a hip, flattering look, especially for occasions

when jackets come off and shirts dominate the room. Black is a sexy, confident tone for eveningwear, particularly when paired with a gray suit. With black trousers, a black shirt creates a toned silhouette — sleek, masculine and edgy. No wonder so many musicians rock the black shirt look when strumming guitar chords on stage. Want even more punch? Vividly colored shirts in bright, saturated hues are dramatic and visually arresting. Turquoise, magenta, royal blue, lilac, lime and marigold are popular choices now. Too bold for you? Go for stripes or plaids to temper what might seem especially loud in a solid color. Other options are pastel, Easter egg hues, which are safer and beautiful, but generally not as striking. To command the look, look for shirts with a luxurious texture and slim continental fits, as opposed to square American cuts. Ties and pocket squares

Once you’ve got the suit and shirt down, it’s time to personalize. Ties and pocket squares allow you to leave your stamp with fun and easy color. If you are escorting a date to a formal affair, it is appropriate for a gentleman to coordinate his tie with his date’s outfit. However, if the event is more casual or if you are going solo, feel free to play with CONTINUED ON PAGE 6A

Celebration Tips: Party etiquette for both guests and hosts By MARY LEGRAND


ere are two questions that affect nearly everyone in today’s world: First, when hosting a party, what are some of the most basic etiquette obligations? And second, when on an invitation list to attend a party or big event, what are that person’s etiquette obligations as well? Some experts, such as those at the Emily Post Institute based in Burlington, Vermont, feel that “though times have changed, the principles of good manners remain constant. Above all, manners are a sensitive awareness of the feelings of others. Being considerate, respectful and honest is more important than knowing which fork to use.” The Institute’s website,, offers information about a wide variety of etiquette issues, including the obligations of host and guest. “Even the most carefree parties demand guests and hosts alike meet certain expectations,” it reads. “The host must plan and organize the party, and then attend to the assembled party-goers. Guests, too, need to rise to the occasion, with the Party Animal toning it down at a reserved affair, the Show-Off yielding the spotlight, and the Shrinking Violet making an effort to blossom.” No matter the type of party, there are things every host should consider, according to the Emily Post Institute. First, “invite clearly,” which means including on the invitation everything a potential guest would need to know, such

as date, time, place, what kind of occasion, even any kind of special information someone would appreciate being privy to. And yes, the host should include how a potential attendee should respond or, as the oldsters still call it, RSVP. Plan well ahead of time to make sure the party runs smoothly, but if it doesn’t run as smoothly as planned, “be flexible and gracious. Your soufflé falls. Or a friend arrives with an unexpected guest. The ruined dessert? Have a fallback. The uninvited guest? As discourteous as it is for someone to spring a surprise on you, be gracious. No polite host would ever send an uninvited guest packing.” Another obligation of the host is to be welcoming and attentive. “Make sure guests are greeting warmly, then made to feel welcome throughout the party,” advises. “Look after each guest as much as you can. If you notice a guest with an empty glass or if there’s one person standing alone, take action and remedy the situation.” Now the tables are turned, so to speak, and it’s time to address the obligations of the guests. First, let your host know you’ll be there. And, according to the Emily Post Institute, “do it immediately. If you delay your reply, you could hinder the host’s planning and also make it seem as if you’re waiting for something better to come along. Even if no RSVP has been requested, it’s thoughtful to thank your host for the invitation and let him know if you can be there or not.” Some other basics, some of which might seem so basic that it shouldn’t be necessary to remind anyone older than age 10, but that’s apparently not the case if a legion of disgruntled hosts are any indicator.

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Be on time. The Post Institute’s take on being on time, which means one thing to some and another thing to others, is that “in general, guests should arrive at or shortly after (15 minutes or less) the time stated on the invitation. Do not, however, arrive early. If you will be seriously late, call your host with an ETA so she won’t worry.” After arriving at the party, offer to help if you can and be a “willing participant,” no matter what, even if it means watching someone’s overly long slide show of that trip he or she took 30 years ago. Behave yourself by not eating or drinking too much, urges: “Attacking finger foods as if you haven’t eaten in a week will not only attract the wrong kind of attention, it will also leave less food for other guests. Same goes for the pinot noir. Moderation is the name of the game.” A thank you at the door is a given for most situations, but grateful guests should call or email the host the next day to express thanks once again. “If the party was formal, or given in your honor, written thanks are in order,” according to emily- “In fact, a written note is always appreciated — even after casual parties.” Another website,, addresses etiquette in the age of email and evites, noting that wedding invitations “may be the only invitation still riding the paper train. For every other kind of party, it’s usually perfectly fine to send an email invite or evite — especially when sites like Paperless Post make it so you don’t have to sacrifice one sliver of style or class in the process.” The first responsibility of the guest? RSVP yes or no. “It doesn’t matter if the invitation is paper, digital or an email chain — if you are invited to a dinner or party, you owe the host a clear answer as to whether or not you’ll be attending. And if you respond yes, then show up! Flaking will always be a faux pas,” says. After that most basic issue is out of the way, addresses some of the more unusual (or not) issues confronting hosts and guests these days, such as whether a host has the right to ask his or her guests to take off their shoes. If you’re hosting a small party, with six people or

less, it’s okay to ask those guests to remove their shoes and leave them at the door. But if you’re hosting a cocktail party that entails a bigger guest list and lots of mingling, it’s a better choice to let your guests keep their footwear on their feet. “At that point you’re asking someone to remove what was probably a snazzy addition to their outfit for the night, and if they’ve gone to the trouble of dressing up to come out to your party, having them ditch their shoes at the door and pad around in socks or bare feet is both a sartorial and social buzzkill,” thekitchn. com experts say. No matter the type of party you’re hosting, if you are demanding guests takes their shoes off once they arrive, let the guests know ahead of time so they can bring along a pair of fashionable socks. Another new world issue guests must confront is whether to post party pictures on social media. Don’t do it without checking with the hosts first, thekitchn. com advises: “They may have reasons for wanting to keep it private or low-key. If you have mutual friends who were not invited, for example, posting party photos tagged with everyone else who was invited is basically booking your host on a oneway ticket to Awkward Town. Don’t be that guy. (Also, don’t ever share photos of other people’s children without their explicit permission!).” Dealing with dietary requests and restrictions is a common conundrum for hosts and guests. Many thoughtful hosts ask potential guests if they have food allergies or preferences before setting a menu. Guests have a role in making sure a dinner menu suits their needs as well. “When you accept a dinner invitation,

you should state a food allergy or lifestyle (veganism, vegetarianism, kosher) up front, but do not state a food preference unless you’re asked — and even then, take a light-handed approach and place the prep burden on yourself,” the experts at thekitchn note. For example, offer to bring a salad if you’re avoiding grains: “This way it leaves it up to your host to say that she’s happy to accommodate your preferences in her menu, or to take you up on your offer.” With prime wedding season coming up, offers specific advice to millennials, but the same rules could apply to all, no matter the age. No. 1, the only technology you should be using is for taking photos — otherwise turn the phone off. Second, don’t make someone else’s big day be about you. That means not dressing or behaving inappropriately. “Look, you don’t have to be all uptight and traditional just because you’re at a wedding — these things are supposed to be fun, people. But sometimes, knowing exactly what to do and when can be tricky, even with the most laid-back of weddings,” according to “A wedding is more important than a blockbuster debut on Christmas Day.” Pay attention to the invitation when it comes to whether a plus-one is appropriate or not, and, as you should at any event, no matter the size or type, behave in a way that won’t be regretted in the near and far future. Etiquette is appropriate no matter one’s age, and now, through the information available on the internet, there’s no excuse to be a poorly behaved guest or clueless host.

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The celebration continues By JACQUELINE VAZQUEZ Weddings are a big deal. They are important milestones and deserve to be celebrated in the best style you can manage. The ceremony is the most important, followed by the reception for one’s family and friends who have joined the couple to celebrate their union. But another celebration has joined the mix, the after party, which is held to continue the celebration with those closest to the new couple. Because so much time and effort and planning has gone into the wedding event, more and more couples are electing to plan and hold smaller and more intimate parties after most of their guests have headed home. The after party is attended by close family and friends, keeping the party going — at a slower pace — works for many couples today. If that appeals to you, here are some ideas for your party after the big party. Be sure to let family and those close friends you plan to invite know about your after party in advance so they can plan accordingly. You could include a special card in the formal invitation which informs a select few of your plans or you can send a separate invitation to the party. However, a word of warning: be sure to let the after party invitees know that this is “exclusive” so they don’t spread the word. If your reception is in a hotel and you are staying there, a lounge area or a smaller party room in the facility is feasible. Make those arrangements when you are booking the reception and order the snacks and beverages you plan to serve. Maybe there is a small, intimate jazz club or a 24-hour breakfast spot that may be favorites. Make arrangements in advance with the manager and specify a likely time of arrival so that your party will be welcomed and there will be room for everyone. This is a perfect time to relive the ceremony and reception by looking at photos that everyone has on their iPhones. Believe it or not, but there are lots of things happening at a reception that the bride and groom will have missed. Their presence is pretty wellorchestrated throughout the ceremony and reception/dinner/dance. Now is their time to share in all the fun little things that happened of which they were unaware. A Moment To Reflect on Celebration… A celebration is not just any type of event. It’s a special moment in one’s life which deserves to be shared with family and/or friends. It’s a day in which you gather and celebrate, whether it’s a small or large group. It’s a day that can take many days or months of preparation, depending on the event. It’s a day you take out your best attire or a day you are relaxed because it’s a casual affair. It’s a day filled with many decisions, from what colors are used to the type of food which will be served or displayed. It’s a day to celebrate, laugh, sing, dance, share stories and take photos/group selfies. It’s a day to enjoy an intimate group dinner or an elaborate wedding. It’s a day to celebrate milestones or a day to come together make known a special achievement or a victory win. It’s a day like no another, which is why it should be planned keeping in mind your likes, dislikes, budget, guests and location to name a few things. Jacqueline Vazquez of Lifetime Events by Jacqueline is a Master-International Wedding Planner & Certified Event Planner. Visit or call 713-3126.

FEBRUARY 12, 2016

Winter recipes and wine pairings that wow Winter offers an opportunity for reflection and for gathering around a table to celebrate with loved ones. Whether you’re cooking for two or a dinner party with friends, these recipes are the perfect accompaniment to winter gatherings. Pair these recipes with the recommended wine pairings for a truly memorable meal. Even if you’re not cooking, make sure to keep your favorite wines, cheeses and sweet treats on hand for any impromptu visits. Prosciutto, Mozzarella, and Sage Pesto Stuffed Pork Tenderloin Author: Katie Morris of Katie at the Kitchen Door Serves: 4 Ingredients One pork tenderloin, about 1-2 pounds 1 bunch fresh sage 6 sprigs fresh rosemary 15 sprigs fresh thyme 4 cloves garlic 6 tablespoons olive oil, divided Sea salt and pepper 6-8 thin slices of prosciutto 6 thin slices fresh mozzarella Remove the leaves from the sage, rosemary and thyme. Place the herb leaves in a food processor with the garlic and 3 tablespoons of the olive oil. Pulse the herbs until a finely minced rub is formed. Season the herb mixture with salt and pepper. Rub half of the herb mixture on the inside of the prepared pork tenderloin. Top with slices of mozzarella, slightly

Zinfandel Brownies Author: Dirk Yeaton on Ingredients 2 cups Murphy-Goode Zinfandel 20 ounces melted Ghirardelli 60 percent cocoa, dark chocolate squares 12 ounces melted unsalted butter 20 ounces sugar 8 eggs 4 ounces all-purpose flour 1 tablespoon vanilla extract 8 ounces Ghirardelli milk chocolate, double chocolate filling, chopped overlapping, and then with slices of prosciutto. Carefully roll the pork tenderloin up as you would a jelly roll, tucking the filling back in as needed. Use butcher’s twine to tie the pork into a roll, using one piece of twine every 2 inches. Rub the remaining half of the herb mixture on the outside of the pork and marinate the pork in the fridge for at least eight hours. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Heat the remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a Dutch oven or other oven-proof skillet. Brown the pork on all sides, then place the Dutch oven in the preheated oven until the internal temperature reaches 145 degrees, about 20-30 minutes. Remove the pork from the oven and let re st for 10 minutes, then slice and serve.

In a saucepan, simmer wine to reduce by half, measuring 1 cup. Mix together butter and chocolate, then in a mixer beat together with sugar. With mixer on low, beat in eggs one at a time, allowing each egg to be incorporated. Beat on medium high for an additional five minutes or until mixture has lightened in color. Fold in reduced wine and vanilla, then flour and chocolate. Mix until fully combined. Spread finished mixture in a buttered and papered jelly roll pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 18-20 minutes, rotating pan halfway through bake time. Brownies are done when toothpick inserted in center comes out with a sticky crumb.

Wine pairing: La Crema Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir (

WINE PAIRING: Murphy-Goode Liar’s Dice Zinfandel ( — BPT

and-white color scheme with pops of gold and red will lend a touch of Hollywood glamour. Buy a felt “red carpet” for guests to walk down. Purchase a simple red runner to bring the theme to your table. Decorate serving tables with miniature film reels, gold confetti and movie label puns. • Create a decadent cheese board: “A cheese board is a guaranteed crowd-pleaser,” says celebrity chef Michael Symon, co-host of ABC’s “The Chew,” author of three best-selling cookbooks and owner of several restaurants. “The stars of my cheese board always include Castello cheeses such as Traditional Danish Blue, Aged Havarti and Double Crème White. In the supporting roles, I recommend sweet and salty pairings like honey, stone ground mustard, apples, olives, prosciutto and sliced baguette.” • Get creative with your wine pairings:

Highlight your wine and cheese pairings with special awards and notecards. Best International Pairing could go to Traditional Danish Blue Cheese and Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel from Folie à Deux wines. Or, choose pairings that tie in to the gold theme, such as Castello Aged Havarti with the winery’s Russian River Valley Chardonnay. • Make the show a game for guests: Create your own awards show bingo cards or bracket challenge. Free printouts or games can be found online before the awards show. Trigger the competitive spirit with an awards-themed prize for the winner, such as a movie night basket full of award-nominated films, popcorn and a gift card to a local movie theatre. Find more gourmet tips and recipes for creatively crafted cheese boards at — BPT

Tips to throw an award-winning viewing party


ward season is here. Each year, Hollywood rolls out the red carpet to celebrate the industry’s hottest movies, shows and stars. Make it a night to remember by bringing the festivities into your home with an award show viewing party. • Engage guests with entertaining invitations: Free online invitation services offer Viewing Party invites that can be customized and sent in minutes. Or, for a more glamorous party, mail invitations that look like the award show’s envelopes and winners’ cards. • Dress to impress: Establish an elegant, festive mood with a formal dress code. Ask guests to don cocktail attire (suits and party dresses), or make it black tie optional (tuxedos and elegant gowns). Be sure to note the dress code in your invitation. • Add a few decorative touches: A black-

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color’s expressive characteristics. Bright, vivid hues are especially on trend right now, so don’t be afraid to embrace bold. Let the season be your inspiration. A textured orange silk tie warms a candlelit autumn evening, while a lime green version feels fresh and modern at a spring fling. Patterned bow ties are perennially sexy and anything but old fashioned. Their look speaks of individuality, cool character and hip confidence — so master the art of tying one or consider purchasing a pre-tied version that adjusts with a strap at the back of your neck. Almost any tie color goes with solid white, light blue or pink shirts. These are the neutrals. However, you’ll also want to rock your look in striped, checkered and colorful shirts. Being able to tastefully combine colors is a hallmark of a stylish man, so it’s best to master the skill. Remember this rule of thumb: ties look best with shirts whose colors are either from an analogous (i.e. similar) color family — a pink shirt with a red, maroon or purple tie — or a complementary (i.e. contrasting) color family — a lilac shirt with a yellow tie. These kinds of pairings work with 1) solid color shirts and solid color ties, 2) striped or plaid shirts and solid color ties or 3) solid color shirts with striped, plaid or patterned ties. But what about the holy grail of a patterned shirt and a patterned tie? For a winning combination, start by identifying the dominant color of the shirt and match it with a tie that shares that same color anywhere in its pattern. The tie should always be darker than the shirt, so it pops as an accent. To artfully mix patterns in both a shirt and a tie, choose designs of different scale to create visual complement. This means, for example, a diminutive printed shirt paired with a larger patterned tie, or vice versa. The same rule of scale goes for seeking variety in pattern styles. If you choose a checked shirt, go for a polka dot tie. Or if you have vertical stripes in your shirt, choose diagonal stripes for the tie. If the patterns are the same design or scale, the overall look may appear too busy — a big no-no. Pocket squares achieve a similar function as ties, however, they are designed to accent the jacket, rather than the shirt. Ties and pocket squares do not have to match; rather they should be in harmonious conversation with each other and work together to complement the whole outfit. Like neckties, pocket squares should either enhance the jacket through analogous color, or they should create dynamic energy through contrast. Here are three fail-proof choices: A white pocket square — folded into a neat rectangle—– always looks smart; a linen handkerchief works wonders because of its interesting texture; multicolored and printed silk pocket squares are simply gorgeous and, as such, add gorgeous flair to men’s looks.

Socks and belts

Socks and belts are not just about keeping your toes warm and your pants up. They’re a funky way to add color and pattern to casual looks. In the formal realm, the leather of your belt should match the leather of your shoes. But, for occasions warranting less serious attire, such as outdoor mixers, wine tastings, summer barbecues and casual get-togethers, belts and socks invite whimsy and play. Beyond leather are woven, canvas and ribbon belts that have long been preppy favorites. Now, they have emerged as ideal warm-weather accessories to add a zip of color to any look. As these belts expand into broader repertoires, try them with designer jeans, sports coats and linen shirts. Likewise, socks have stepped beyond the practical and into the fashionable. Fun and subtle, cotton and wool socks can express your personality through their interesting colors, patterns, stripes and designs. Because socks mostly remain undercover, let your imagination and sense of humor be your guide. Choose something unexpected and have fun. With socks, you can make a quiet statement or break all the rules. Accessories

Watchbands, cuff links, suspenders and glasses offer another arena to play with color and create an individual look. Because these items work as small accents, you can use them to flirt with bold without being flashy. With regard to watchbands, glasses or other items you wear every day, think about coordinating their palette to help you establish your own signature color. To make a color yours, choose a hue you love and express it through multiple accessories such as a luxe wallet, an iPhone case, a baseball cap, handkerchiefs, socks, a bow tie — or even a bicycle. Black to blue

This season, intense blue suits continue their popularity from 2015, making them a great way to infuse your evening look with fashion-forward flair. The trending shade of blue is bright, clear and distinct — and it will never be mistaken for black, as tends to happen with inky navy in dimly lit environments. Instead, today’s trend loves a blue palette encompassing shades of marine, cornflower, indigo and teal. Similarly hued suits, paired with starched white shirts and ties that reflect the intensity of their particular blue, look fresh, modern and cool… just right for the slickest cat in the room. Meow.

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FEBRUARY 12, 2016






The show-and-tell look embraces sweet and sexy at the same time. From Reema Acra.

Angel Sanchez’s pantsuits are smart, chic alternatives to the traditional wedding dress.

A mix of lace and a plunging neckline is sure to catch everyone’s attention. From Reema Acra.

A simple accessory at the waist adds flair to this Jenny Packham creation.


brides. And these gowns stole the show.

contemporary take resounds with different vibes, making it appropriate for all nuptial venues and personal styles. It can feel Victorian, boho, black tie or anything else, particularly when paired with accessories and headpieces of a similar mood.

stones, a sparkly gown can look vintage, modern or superstar. Large paste crystals, set in brooch-like compositions, feel like Hollywood’s elegant golden age. A scattering of bright Swarovski stones — known for reflecting the most light and sparkle in the industry — looks ethereal and contemporary in moderation and, in abundance, gives a bride the prowess of a diva. The creamy sheen of peals is traditionally bridal, evoking a range of looks from uptown sophisticate to beachy siren.

Perfectly suited


Two is better than one

It’s mad, hot love between the aisle and the runway, as nuptial styles follow High Street fashion trends this spring. The cropped top and long skirt match — a marriage-made-in-heaven, which we first saw in many ready-to-wear collections — is a strong suitor in wedding presentations as well. Modest and sweet, a glimpse of a bare mid-drift is also a little edgy — just right for the many sides of the modern bride. This look plays well at casual ceremonies or outdoor venues. It is also extremely reception-friendly and comfortable for dancing the night away. Depending on the height of the skirt’s waist, the look is belly button optional. Birds of a feather

Feathers have been trending for several years now, and for good reason. As couture ornamentation, they add exotic flavor and rich texture. Full feather skirts or feather-trimmed gowns come alive with movement as brides float down the aisle. Feathers are superbly touchable and impart elegant grace. Most designers maintain the traditional bridal palette of white, ecru, champagne and bone, which look stunning on their own or mix gorgeously together for a bohemian, organic feel. While a black wedding gown may not be for everyone, daring numbers made out of long inky feathers by Vera Wang debuted this season for bold, fashion-forward

Pantsuits are smart, chic alternatives to the traditional wedding dress. In impeccable cuts of luxurious fabric, tailored trousers and jackets are the perfect choice for women who prefer the unexpected. Cheeky at courthouse nuptials, practical for riding off into the sunset on the back of a tandem bicycle or stylish in a grand ballroom, the versatility of a pantsuit is gaining popularity. Slim trousers and cinched jackets accentuate a trim figure. Flowing palazzo pants capture the movement of a gown. Cropped pants accentuate the feet and direct attention to gorgeously detailed shoes. Angled cuts, exaggerated peplums and curvilinear silhouettes break up the boxiness of traditional suit lines and celebrate the bride’s femininity. If you want to wear pants, do it with confidence and beauty. You’re writing your own rules now, girl!

Layer cake

For some women, a wedding may not be the time for simplicity. For these brides, the importance of such an overt declaration of love and unity calls for bigger and better. Here, more is more. Like a delicious cake, voluminous and textural gowns are visually delicious. To tame the pouf and add refined shape, contemporary designers are attenuating gowns’ structures through graduated layers and tiers. The look is one of cascading ripples, bouncing waves or breezy tulip petals. Particularly fresh this season is a variety of layered laces for visual texture. Also popular are tiered skirts made from structured fabrics with contrasting hemline trim in smooth satin or airy horsehair… which, in case you were wondering, is not at all derived from the equine species.

Kiss to tradition

Something old. Something new. Something borrowed. Something blue. This season of wedding gowns shows a return to tradition, in perfect harmony amidst all the new, modern styles. Look for high necks, long sleeves, covered buttons, ballgowns and lots of lace. First inspired by Kate Middleton’s regal ceremony and gown fit for a real-life princess, the modern trend for tradition endures, even as the years move on. But nothing is oldfashioned about tradition anymore. The

Diamonds and pearls


Traditional white dresses are making way for stunning colors like this one from Jenny Packham.

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When sparkle and bling mix with iridescence, gowns wear like expensive jewelry. Gemlike belts, rhinestone trim and bodices encrusted wit h crystal stones or pearls feel rich and regal. These adornments play with light reflectivity and throw twinkling glimmer into the room as the bride glides down the aisle, leans in to kiss her groom or dances under the spotlight. Depending on the size, color and arrangement of the

Wedding night

Often the sweetest part of bridal garb is kept undercover until the magic of the wedding night. Silky underpinnings, lacy brassieres and elaborate corsets have long enjoyed their private celebrations. However, this season bares all, as designers mix lingerie details into their gown collections. The show-and-tell look tends to embrace sweet and sexy at the same time. To strike a perfect balance, corset tops incorporating sheer panels and boning pair well with soft tulle ball skirts. Lacy straps and frilly cups peek out from column dresses or mermaid gowns to evoke both the dressed and the undressed as they draw attention to the décolleté. Accompanying the current interest in lingerie detail is an emphasis on skin. Bare arms, necks and backs are just as important as the gowns themselves. Make sure your skin is soft, smooth and glowing — it’s ultra sensual. Look for moisturizing products or bronzing powers that contain shimmer for absolutely touchable appeal.



FEBRUARY 12, 2016

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