Thursday, November 1, 2012

Simple (not scary) Halloween Checklist.

My Halloween Checklist!
Share a toast with close friends.  I love this vodka called Crystal Head. It is actually the creation from the original Ghostbuster, Dan Akryoyd. ( Serve up Skulltini's and re-use the empty bottle for a creepy flower centerpiece by spray painting silver Antheriums and black roses.

The mini skulls will make great party favors for your guests to take home.

Simplify the Spook. I'm traveling over Halloween this year and will certainly not go crazy with decorating.  Instead, I started working on a simple windowsill for my simple soiree.  I painted mini pumpkins black, used LED candles, black feathers and a bag of cobweb from the drug store.  I am partnering with the amazing French silver company Christofle on a few upcoming my PR pals are kind enough to let me feature products when I 'need' to!  How beautiful is this candelabra?

Paint it Black.  Or, bloody red...this nail color by Essie is called "Velour" and it's just the right shade of blood.  

Speaking of red, try using a red light!  I have a simple little red flashlight that produces a big effect at a party.

Trick or Treat! This year, I’m lucky to be spending the holiday in Nashville with four of my favorites littles! I can’t wait to see them transform from Sophia, Ty, Johnny and Victor to a bumble bee, pirate, ninja and 'creepy guy'. 

If you are looking for more ideas on how to host some great parties this season (scary debate party?) check out my latest segment here: with the Mulberry Lane show on debate parties, Halloween tricks and festive Fall fetes.

Love. xo

Frighteningly great photos by!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Fall Joy.

Tis the season to fall in love again with chunky sweaters, football, high boots, pumpkin soup (and beer!) and a whole lotta joy in just the little things like watching leaves change and crisp, windy walks.

Fall has always been my full stop favorite season.  This year, I'd like to capture 'more of the Joy' and even try and write some of it down in this sweet little journal. ( West Village, NYC.)

Pumpkin Beer.  Um, yuuummm. In general, I prefer wine over beer but every Fall, I so look forward to seeing what new pumpkin brews are on the market.  I love the taste and the buttery, caramel color.

I hosted a Fall inspired “Blind” pumpkin beer tasting for a few friends.  I suggest always having wine as back up if you are going to host a beer tasting since beer is heavy and not everyone will want to drink it all night.  Dress up bottles with something fun and seasonal like this cute Skull bottle stopper.

I can’t wait to roll into next week with a few Fall finds like this adorable chocolate brown and British tan velvet bag, brass skull earrings and Navy and brown patterned skull scarf, all discovered at my favorite vintage store in NYC, Darling. ( 

Whatever you find yourself falling in love with this season, I hope it brings lots of joy. ;-)


Scary great photos by!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Fin-tastic Finds: Mermaids Are On The Case.

While firing off ideas with my intern Linda last week, I stopped dead in my tracks when I noticed her cute little iPhone case decorated with watercolor hot air balloons drifting over a European city skyline. You might wonder how all of those things could logically (and artfully) be brought together on a 2" by 4" space?

So, being that I am in constant pursuit of Fin-tastic Finds for my readers, I had to tell you about Society6, an online collective of work from artists around the world featuring unique creations that can be transformed into iPhone cases, stretch canvases and more--all on behalf of artists who submit their work to the site. The options are endless. Seriously, a simple search of "Paris" gives you 86 pages of related artwork! 

Here are just a few of the designs that caught my eye: 

But of course, my instincts brought me back here... :)

And Society6 is not the only place you can satisfy your inner chic geek. Our favorite designers are also on the case (excuse the pun) from Kate Spade to Rebecca Minkoff:

Cute contradiction for the newest iPhone--obsolete cassette case!

For your good days and bad days, or when you are yearning for a lot of luxe...Goyard Prada - these guys will suit any mood you find yourself in.

It really is "the small things that make life big", the Mermaid motto. We called it.

Friday, August 17, 2012

The Grey Lady

Mermaids & Martinis brought me to gorgeous Nantucket for another C. Wonder book signing. From Southampton to Nantucket, it seems I just can't keep the book far from a beach town for long!

Nantucket, nicknamed "The Grey Lady" for the veil of fog that is frequently cast over this little island, is just as charmingly mysterious as it sounds. Misty cobblestone streets welcomed us to this New England oasis...but don't think that damp weather kept anyone holed up in their homes. Nantucket was bustling, and the rain may have been imminent, but not a deterrent.

The C. Wonder store in Nantucket is a two floor property featuring sunny staff, colorful painted oars hung around the store and a "make-it-your-own" wall showcasing a bevvy of monogramming options. The quaint, home-spun feel of this C. Wonder store fits in perfectly with the historic downtown neighborhood. A fresh cut arrangement of crimson Gerber daisies and lavender hydrangeas brought in for the signing were woven into the color scheme of the store.

Once again, C. Wonder left no detail untouched, with complimentary candy at check out and bottles of water to hydrate guests.  Shoppers were abound during the day, even some that included friends from New York City who stopped by to collect a signed book, my beautiful college sorority sister Sarah, and two friends from high school who popped in on their vacation with their adorable kiddos!

After the signing, we took a local's recommendation and headed over to "Cru", a waterfront restaurant and oyster bar just steps from the ferry. The picturesque views and delicious oysters are not to be missed. We shared a blue crab cocktail, local flounder sandwich, and the classic Nantucket lobster roll that simply won.

To wrap up the evening, we boarded the ferry back to Cape Cod--the only means of transportation to and from the island. There is something magical about only being able to take a ferry to Nantucket. When the fog envelopes the island as you drift away on the boat, it's almost as if you imagined your trip to this dream-like escape entirely. ;-)

Thanks to Rachel and her super team for making the day so great.  And to my lovely Mom and Dad for the flowers and photos (respectively!).


Saturday, August 4, 2012

Pink Lemonade, Prints and a Perfect Day.

The Mermaids & Martinis book signing at Lilly Pulitzer (our second out in the Hamptons!) was a sunny success. Ironically, the crazy hail and thunderstorms, which actually struck off tree branches in Manhattan's Meatpacking District (I witnessed this mayhem firsthand), made way for some perfect temps and sunshine the rest of the weekend.

I took to the floor to warm up the cozy space staked out for the signing. Simple fresh cut flowers in mason jars, pink napkins and Lilly bangles quickly transformed the store into a party space. From clutches to charms, no accessory in the store was left behind. How adorable were Mermaid interns Linda and Shannon in very their Lilly-like frocks?!

The lovely Sarah Tallman and Douglass Marshall stopped by for some fun!

The staff at Lilly went above and beyond, decking out the store with books, treats, even pink drinks for the celebration! 

I talk about "Hunting and Gathering" in my book, the process of finding the perfect little something for an event, and that's exactly what I did at the Lilly Pulitzer store; heels were used as bookends, necklaces were draped across lemonade pitchers, and clutches were perched on book stacks. With the right space at home, you can create these types of looks on your own bookshelves or to brighten up a big bedroom closet.

Classic pink and green Lilly-love!

These shoes may just have to find a new home in my closet!

Special thanks to the Mermaid team at the Lilly Pulitzer store in East Hampton: Kim, Katy, Betty, Marie and Eileen--you ladies have such beautiful style!

And, big hug and kiss to Linda Yon, Shannon Monahan and Mer-Dan (Daniel Movitz! for capturing the day in such a creative way.


Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Easy Canapé Recipe: "Pretty Round Bites"

A friend of mine loved "apps" so much that when he was a kid, his Mom used to make every Wednesday night "Appetizer Wednesday" at home. She would serve a variety of little hors d'oeuvres instead of a conventional dinner for the family. What a Mermaid move.

Often times, I'd much rather order a few  little 'starters' to share with friends at a restaurant instead of a meal. Cocktails and canapés go together like Mermaids and martinis. With that in mind, I'd love to highlight one of my favorite canapés to serve at a cocktail party.  Pretty Round Bites, i.e. Pistachio, grape and goat cheese balls.  Let me show you just how pretty (and EASY) these are to create.

Start with 2 ingredients: A goat cheese log and a bunch of red seedless grapes. 

Next, introduce your third and final ingredient, pistachios.  I usually purchase one large bag for this recipe.  Remove the shells from the pistachios.  Then, toast them lightly in a pan. Do not use oil in the pan.

Pour your toasted pistachios into a large Ziploc bag and crush them.  I just use a heavy spoon and bang away on the top of the bag--this is also good for stress relief. :)

Slice the goat cheese to create little round discs and flatten them.  

Insert one grape in the center of each goat cheese disc. Next, mold the goat cheese around the grape so it is completely covered and takes the shape of a ball.

Take your goat cheese grape ball and roll that around the crushed pistachios until all sides are evenly covered.

Put balls on a pan. Chill in the refrigerator for 4 hours.

Remove from refrigerator, slice each one in half and place on a pretty tray. I like to turn some of them upside down and I always leave a couple of the balls uncut for presentation.  Aren't they pretty? They taste even better than they look!

Clearly, these were well-received by my friends. A few were spared and still tasted great the next day.


Monday, July 16, 2012

It's a C. Wonder-ful World.

We wanted to share a few photos from our event with the delightful C. Wonder pop-up shop in Southampton.

Spoiler Alert: Upon entering a C. Wonder store, you may feel more like a guest at a party than a shopper.

To explore a store could turn into the best surprise of your day as there is something beautiful and unexpected around every corner. Be prepared for lovely people to walk up to you with trays of fresh squeezed lemonade and frozen Popsicle sticks to keep you cool, then indulge by filling a bag of treats from a colorful candy bar.  Enjoy music spun by a Dee Jay and the chance to win great prizes all day long just because you walked through the door. Oh, what a C. Wonderful world...

Mermaids & Martinis was featured as a favorite C. Wonder Summer Beach Read at this party so we decorated an area with fantastic stuff from around the store. I even carved out a spot as a book signing "office" to greet guests. 

Which I took very seriously, of course.

I honestly didn't think it was possible for me to love Sharpies any more--until I found that pretty porcelain elephant catch-all to put them in! (Monogrammed ones also available!) And, how about the pink phone and iPad keyboard?

WHAT? Come again??!!  Please honestly tell me that I can walk around your store and pull any piece of jewelery I want to wear for the party? OK, tell me again.

A few of my favorite picks were a sweet Love You  bracelet (I also picked one up as a gift for a love!) and the signature C. Wonder charm bracelet. It was so fun to twirl around and discover each new dangle, from a whimsical monkey to a Faberge-style egg.

Hey Ms. Dee fab is she? 

Another reason I'm in love with C. Wonder? They have the best staff.

A few times during the party, I was invited to spin their wonder wheel and hand out prizes to lucky shoppers who could win everything from monogrammed gift sets to beach chairs to a full-on shopping spree.

This picnic basket hurts my feelings I love it so much.  


And, yes, I think I will ride away into the Southampton sunset on one of your colorful city bikes complete with wicker basket and a bell.  Cute. With a capital C. 

Thank you for the perfect Summer day spent at this lovely spot.  And, special thanks to Mermaids Jamie Malkin, Shelley Colangelo, Jennifer Edwards Milam of Reveal, Daniela Maron, Selmin Arat and Julie and her entire store team for being so amazing and making it all happen in such a beautiful way.

Check out my event inspiration and favorite C. Wonder product picks on Pinterest for this event @

Hilary xo

PS: Missed it? Come join us in Nantucket for another book signing party on July 28th from 11-1! See you at the C.!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Fin-tastic Finds: Pretty Little Things.

It's often the slightest detail that makes the biggest effect in your home or at an event. In the name of all things pretty, I've been fishing around for vintage pillow cases, old-school patches, Hippie candles, DHOOP incense sticks, pink salt, nautical stacked rings and a rope bracelet to warm up your wrist (or your dinner table!)

Ikat and geometric prints go well together. In fact, many prints (especially the ones that seem like they may clash) often look spectacular when placed in clusters!

I found these bohemian candles at Elizabeth Bauer in NYC. ( Light up these, and to really set a mood, DHOOP incense sticks lit outside can create a relaxing and meditative atmosphere.  Bring on the wine and free spirits!

My friend Stella is the Mermaid Maven behind these one-of-a-kind patches. Sew them onto a military jacket (Stella bought her jacket at the Army/Navy store and collected patches from her travels to decorate it), or use these to create colorful coasters for your next travel-inspired party!  Just cut out cork or foam core board to size, and paste the patch right on top.

You won't find these in a wedding registry, but what a beautiful way to celebrate a marriage! My Aunt Cheryl let me dive into her vintage pillow case collection last weekend! These delicately embroidered pieces have a timeless charm and look even better when mixed and matched with a modern set of printed bedding or fabrics.

Your Breville juicer may live in the back of a pantry, but these charming linens will dance to center stage.  I love how the lace on this one doubles as her dress.  eBay strikes gold again!

Himalayan rock salt gives off a beautiful coral hue, and boasts some major health benefits too. Why not mix some in to update your salt shaker?

And because a hostess should decorate herself as well as she decorates her home, I've included some chic (and cheap!) finds that will be a hit all summer long.  List-making made a little easier with this beautiful paper journal found at Roberta Freymann in East Hampton. (

The knot details of these rings from C. Wonder look intertwined when stacked together. So pile high! (

I picked up this rope bracelet in Montauk for $1.50.  Found at any beach side shop - an affordable accessory that looks great layered with other bracelets. At a price like this, how cute would these rope bracelets look as napkin rings for your next Summer dinner party?

I hope this week's Fin-tastic Finds has you feeling inspired! Whether you find yourself peering into your Aunt's linen closet or headed to your favorite store.  Enjoy!