Packing Guide: 4 Days — 12 Items

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The holidays can be stressful enough, packing doesn’t have to be.  Whether you are packing in a carryon or need to leave room for holiday presents, here are the 12 essential items you need for a long weekend.  The key to packing light is choosing a neutral color palette and items that easily mix, match and layer.

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Retro Cocktail Hour Nibbles

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Simplicity rules at Senza Tempo, whether it’s your wardrobe or your parties.  A party should be about spending time with friends and family, not slaving away preparing tedious recipes.  Parmesan shortbread is one of our founder’s go-to recipes for any occasion and always a crowdpleaser (don’t be surprised if they spoil your guest’s dinner, though.)  The gin-soaked olives are simply the best part of a martini.

 

Savory Parmesan Shortbread Rounds
30 Mins | Makes 24
Serving suggestion: pre-dinner drinks or on a salumi platter

1 ¾ c all purpose flour
¾ c + 2 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese (about 2 oz)
1 tsp + dash coarse kosher salt
½ small garlic clove, minced
Pinch of cayenne pepper
1 c (2 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch cubes
Variations: You can add fresh minced chives, dill, parsley or rosemary to the dough.

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Line baking sheet with parchment paper.  
Mix flour, ¾ c Parmesan cheese, salt, garlic and cayenne pepper in food processor.
Add butter and, using on/off turns, process until dough begins to come together.  
Gather into ball and divide into half.
Roll each half into a 12-inch log and cut into 1 inch slices.  Roll each into a ball.
Arrange balls on baking sheet about 1.5 inches apart.  Press into 2 inch diameter round.
Sprinkle remaining Parmesan cheese over.
Bake about 20 minutes, or until tops are dry and bottoms golden brown.
Transfer rounds to rack and cool completely.  
Store in airtight container at room temperature or freeze up to 1 month.

 

Gin Soaked Olives

1 cup oversized green olives (not from a jar)
1/4 cup gin
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
5 (1/4 inch wide) strips lemon peel, each about 2-3 inches long
Variations: You can add dill, oregano and thyme to the marinade depending on your preference.

Combine all ingredients in a non-reactive dish and cover tightly. Allow olives to marinate at least 2 to 3 hours or up to 4 days in the refrigerator. If you are only marinating them for a few hours, leave the olives in the marinade at room temperature.  Serve drizzled with olive oil and cubed feta cheese if you desire.

Entertaining Is Fun!

Dorothy Draper

“Have you ever considered how much ridiculous pomposity surrounds the word “entertaining?

And the idea that you must do this and you must do that?”

— Dorothy Draper in Entertaining Is Fun

 

All you really need for a good party is…

A hostess who expects to have a good time.

Your party begins with you. Nothing is worse than coming to a person’s home and finding the host frazzled and slaving over a hot stove trying to finish a meal. Short on time or can’t cook? No one will ever complain about a cheese and charcuterie plate.

Some clever touches which give your home a party feeling.

Good music is a must, of course, but mastering a signature party punch is easy and always festive.  Sangria is quick and always a crowd pleaser: combine 1/2 cup sugar, 2 bottles dry red wine, 6 tablespoons of brandy or triple sec, add some apples, oranges and strawberries — and voila!

Some element of unexpectedness.

It’s easy to add a little whimsy to a party with the array of clever cocktail napkins, wine charms or temporary tattoos as party favors, but take it one step further by incorporating a theme.  Costume parties when it isn’t Halloween are always a hit, but if you don’t want to make your guests go hunting for the perfect outfit at your local vintage store, you can create the theme your food and drinks. Appetizers like pigs in a blanket, a cheese fondu, or a gin and tonic Jello mold, along with cocktails like a vodka gimlet or sloe gin fizz are retro favorites that are always sure to please.

Just Add Red

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When you are in need of a dose of instant chic – just add red.  History is on our side when it comes to this advice.  Four hundred years ago, red was the color of power in France and frequently worn by Louis XIV.  Red was chic, flashy and expensive.  It was as expensive as gold until synthetic dyes were invented, but it’s never lost its allure and cache.  Today, in the Indian culture brides wear red, and in China it’s a symbol of good luck.

Some would even argue that red shoes or a red purse is just as neutral as black or camel.  From Dorothy’s ruby shoes, to red-soled Christian Louboutin’s to countless Hollywood stars who would never be caught without red lips or red nails —that pop of scarlet is all you need.

Our favorite reds for every season.

Winter —

OPI’s Midnight in Moscow

Spring —

OPI’s An Affair In Red Square

Summer —

Essie’s Fifth Avenue

Fall —

 Chanel’s Pirate

 

Palm Springs: Hollywood’s Golden Age Playground

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Palm Springs started as Hollywood’s playground in the desert in the 1920s due to the legendary “Two Hour Rule” at most of the studios. Actors had to be available within two hours for last minute film or photo shoots. Marilyn Monroe was discovered there, Elvis and Priscilla honeymooned there, and countless other celebrities from Hollywood’s golden age called it home — in part because of an unwritten rule about not photographing celebrities in Palm Springs without their consent.

The fact that most of the homes were second homes also liberated the architects designing some of the most famous homes from certain practicalities a primary residence requires.   Today, much of town of Palm Springs is on the historic register and features the largest concentration of mid-century modern architecture anywhere in the world. Lovers of Old Hollywood will love the retro, but serene desert vibe of Palm Springs.

Palm Springs Musts
See the Sinatra House
Stay at The Saguaro Palm Springs Hotel
Eat at Cheeky’s
Shop at Michael Weems

Pistachio Macarons

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Light, delicate and gorgeous.

The French Macaron is one of the most elegant desserts one can easily master at home. Using ground pistachios instead of almonds adds an exotic complexity that will brighten any meal.

For the macaron:

1/3 c pistachios

3/4 c confectioners’ sugar

2 large egg whites

1 Tbsp sugar

For the buttercream:

1/4 c pistachios

1 + 2/3 c confectioners’ sugar

1/2 c unsalted butter softened

2 baking sheets, lined with parchment or wax paper

 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Grind the pistachios along with the confectioners sugar until fine as dust. Whisk the egg whites until fairly stiff, then sprinkle the sugar and whisk until very stiff. Fold the whites into the pistachio-sugar mix. Combine gently. Pipe small rounds onto your baking sheet lined with parchment or wax paper. Let them sit 10 minutes until they form a skin. Bake 10-12 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool.

For the filling, grind the nuts and confectioners sugar in the food processor. Cream the butter separately, slowly adding the pistachio-sugar mix until a well-combined soft buttercream.

Sandwich the cookies using the buttercream. Makes approximately 20 sandwiches.

Classic Draper

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Want to replicate Dorothy Draper’s classic aesthetic?  Here are a few tips from her classic interior design book Decorating is Fun!

1. Black & White Marble Floor – 18″ Squares, on the diagonal.

2. White-painted Dado & Chair Rail (use the “snowiest” white you can find).

3. Paint the ceilings a ‘Thomas Jefferson’ pale aqua blue.

4. Striped Wallpaper – 3″ or 5″ thick (she believed stripes were decorating’s common denominator).

5. Happy, Full-blown flowery chintz for draperies or upholstery (stripes and a flowery chintz were a romantic combination).

6. A touch of black – lampshades, coffee table, or a simple black lacquered box.

7. Braided trim on chairs, sofas, and curtains. She LOVED fringe. Big braided tie backs are a must.

 

The Dorothy Draper Paint Collection Curated by Benjamin Moore

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A New Twist On An Old Favorite: The Cherry Manhattan

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The Manhattan is said to have originated at the Manhattan Club in New York City in the early 1870s.  It was supposedly made for Lady Randolph Churchill, Winston Churchill’s mother, but cocktail historians debate the validity of the drink’s provenance.

 

The Cherry Manhattan

2 oz. Bourbon or Rye

1 oz. Lemon juice

1/2 oz. Dry vermouth

2 Tbsp. cherry preserves or muddled cherries

Dash Angostura bitters

Garnish with orange peel and cherry

Combine all the ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice.  Give it a good shake and pour into a cocktail glass.  Garnish with a fresh cherry and orange peel, if desired, and enjoy!

The Anti-Minimalist: Dorothy Draper

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“It is just as disastrous to have the wrong accessories in your room as it is to wear sport shoes with an evening dress.”

– Dorothy Draper

Though many don’t know or realize who she even is, Dorothy Draper was the woman who invented the business of modern interior design. Never before used color combinations, ornate plasterwork around doorways and windows, and bold black and white checker floors defined her style. There was nothing minimalist about her designs, and her attention to detail was legendary. Many of her works still survive today, including The Carlyle Hotel and Hampshire House in New York, and of course the The Greenbrier in White Sulphur Springs.

Tips from Dorothy Draper’s 1941 book Decorating is Fun!

“Without benefit of technical knowledge or mumbo jumbo, we have found five most powerful friends to guide us. Here they are: Courage, Color, Balance, Smart Accessories, Comfort.”

Courage:
“You need courage to seek out your own taste and express it, courage to disregard stereotyped ideas and try out your own…. Don’t be the lease disturbed by trends or fashions, or anyone else’s advice. They are probably wrong. Be critical – never humble.”

Color:
“[Color] is the rock on which your house is built. Without a keen sense of color, without the ability to get real enjoyment and excitement out of lovely colors, we might as well quit right now. I firmly believe that nothing contributes so much to the beauty of this world as color.”

Balance:
“The proportions of your room, the balance of your arrangements, the size of your furniture and accessories – all are almost desperately important…. We have all seen, so many times, a women whose dress is a beautiful shade but so badly cut for her particular figure that she completely lacks style. Just the same thing may be true of your house.”

Smart Accessories:
“All women know how very important their clothes accessories are. It is just as disastrous to have the wrong accessories in your room as it is to wear sport shoes with an evening dress… Your ash trays and cigarette boxes should be just as decorative as they are useful. Your lampshades can make or break a room… It will always be these details of your room that will give it distinction.”

Comfort:
“No room can be called perfect unless it has real comfort. It must be livable for you… Plan your room for the people who live in it… A room that is really comfortable for you will be the room that is most becoming to you.”