Monday, May 31, 2010

look who's married!

Maybe if we ask very nicely Beth will send more photos our way....

p.s. Her United Airlines silver spork just made my morning.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

too much?

I had a dream last night that one of my best ladies was getting married, and all I really cared about was what I was going to wear on my head. I am so not a headpiece person, people.

But. I'm kind of digging this feather flower spray by William Chambers Millinery. You think it's too much for a bridesmaid?

(Via Snippet & Ink)

Thursday, May 27, 2010

in lieu of a real post

I offer you Nom de Guerre Spring/Summer 2010.

I mean, if he wants get married in shorts, they had better be good shorts.

Monday, May 17, 2010

should I give my boyfriend an engagement ring?

I was hoping to find out your (and your readers') opinion on men wearing engagement rings? I have the feeling my boyfriend is going to pop the Q, I was thinking of having a ring to give to him in return.


If your guy is a guy who will rock it, I say FUCK YES give him an engagement ring.

(The divine Keith Richards, Brian Jones and Mick Jagger, found here)

Sunday, May 16, 2010

bring the THUNDER

Was that you groaning out loud? Sorry. I guess I'm a little out of practice. 

Anyhoo, get your pre-orders in for the Thunder necktie from Pierrepont Hicks. Srsly. 100% English silk, hand-sewn in the USA. In stock July 1.

The reversible Thunder Bow is pretty sweet too.

Note to my dad who told me the blog is too materialistic: WHY ARE YOU STILL READING?

Monday, May 10, 2010

What should I serve at a cocktail party in a hotel room?

Hiii ESB,

My brother is getting married at the end of the month, and although they are keeping it super casual on the beach, my brother just sprung a cocktail party on my parents for the night before. My parents have been more than happy to help out with planning, but his fiancee was so capable that the couple never sought any advice or help; they don't have a wedding party, so they never expressed interest for a rehearsal dinner or anything either. HOWEVER just last week they requested some sort of get together for the night before. My parents, being some kind of superheroes, managed to get a presidential suite in a hotel on the beach for guests to come and go all evening for a cocktail party. Only problem is that their desire to keep the event open to everyone means that they can't afford to get it catered. My father swears he's got the liquor covered. Great. But what kind of food should we serve? Methinks that somehow I will be the one thrust into the kitchen making some of this food, and I'd love to get ideas about easy things to make that would complement the oodles of liquor we are all sure to drink.


I called in the big guns on this one. Here's what our lady Celia (a culinary/cocktail expert), had to say:

This one's a cinch. First and foremost, keep in mind that the night before your brother's wedding is not the time to dazzle a whole bunch of people with your culinary skills. I would consider myself a pretty well seasoned chef with almost seven years of experience under my belt, and even I wouldn't attempt to put in that amount of effort for one of my nearest and dearest the night before their big day. Seeing as you'll be in a hotel room sans kitchen, any sort of finger food or bite-sized hors d'oeuvres are out of the question. GOOD, those are a big fat pain in the ass anyway. All this considered, you can still offer your guests a night to remember with a beautiful spread of phenominal food. The easiest way to do this is to assemble an assortment of platters. You want things that can be bought, made, and stored a few days in advance and then quickly put together right before the party. Here are my suggestions...

1. A CHEESE Platter. Seriously, who doesn't love cheese? A cheese Platter is awesome because it is incredibly filling and can be assembled with very little effort. If you're a cheese fanatic, like myself, you can go to your local cheese shop and pick out all sorts of goodies. But if not, your local Whole Foods or Trader Joe's will have a nice selection as well. I typically like to do 1 bleu, 1 soft (like a camembert or brie), 1 stinky (like an epoisses), 1 not-at-all stinky (like a good quality cheddar), and 1 unexpected cheese (like a truffle cheese or Humboldt Fog). Make sure to add some accompaniments to your cheese platter such as dried figs or apricots, marcona almonds, fresh seasonal fruit, an open jar of honey or pepper jelly and some slices of baguette. Crostini should be made the day of and if you feel you have time to do that then by all means, do your thing. But if not, sliced un-toasted bread will do the trick.

2. A Mediterranean Platter is always a crowd pleaser. Artfully arrange groupings of assorted olives, a homemade flavored hummus (like this spinach one), crumbled feta drizzled with olive oil and topped with fresh chopped rosemary, oregano and parsley (chop the herbs the night before and store them in a baggie in your fridge overnight), pita wedges, tabouli, and marinated artichoke hearts.

3. An assortment of seasonal roasted veggies. RIGHT NOW, asparagus, fennel, wild mushrooms, and endive are phenomenal. Asparagus just need their ends chopped off, I like to slice fennel in rings, mushrooms can be roasted whole, and endive is best sliced in half lengthwise. Drizzle with a fair amount of olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast at a higher temperature like 450º-475º until GOLDEN brown. This is key. If you don't let the natural sugars in the veggies caramelize, you'll just get a whole bunch of soggy veggies. GROSS. This is the kind of goldenness I'm talking about. Make sure to roast your veggies in separate pans because they all require different cooking times. This can also be done the day before and stored in the fridge. Serve them at room temp the day of the party.

4. Charcuterie! This one's a no-brainer. Go to your local deli and have them slice up some proscuitto, salumi, mortadella, and bresaola. Arrange on your platter with a nice jar of mustard, some cornichons, and Italian breadsticks. If you're feeling extra fancy, add some rillettes or pâté or even some homemade tapenade.

This will definitely offer your guests a fresh and hearty selection. Also remember that you are hosting a cocktail party, not a dinner party. Obviously you don't want to run out of food, but most people do not eat dinner-sized portions at events like this. A general rule of thumb is to account for 10-12 bites per guest. You're always going to have that one person that loads their plate up with stuff from every platter and the one person who just takes a couple nibbles the whole night, but everyone else typically falls in between. For dips and spreads, I like to make roughly 2 cups per 10-15 people. When it comes to meats and cheeses, 2-3 oz. per head should be sufficient. This means 2-3 oz. total, not 2-3 oz. per meat and cheese. So for every 10 guests, you'll be buying a total of 1 1/2-2 lb. of assorted meats and cheeses. If your budget is tighter, buy more of the lower cost components and less of the higher cost ones. In other words, buy more mortadella than you would proscuitto.

If your budget is extra tight, don't go through the hassle of rentals. Depending on how many guests you are planning on having, the hotel might be willing to provide you with some cocktail plates, glasses and silverware. You ARE paying for the presidential suite, after all. And if not, ask friends and family to pitch in. Many of the parties I've catered have used mismatched pieces and the result is always charming. Make a list of exactly what goes on each platter to ensure you won't forget anything. Give yourself about an hour to assemble them and ask a friend to help you out. Two heads are always better than one.

And last, my husband is a sommelier so I asked him to give me some wine tips to pass along to your dad. On average one bottle of wine per three guests is recommended. This is the norm, but if your friends and family tend to be heavier drinkers (like mine), you should buy a little extra for insurance. We had 24 guests at our rehearsal dinner and went through 18 bottles of wine. I'm not even sure why I'm admitting this publicly, other than to give you an example. Assuming you're looking to buy bottles that fall under the $10 range, remember that you'll get more bang for your buck with a malbec or syrah than with the more popular varietals like cabernet or pinot. No, the bottles won't be bigger, but the quality will most likely be better. As for white, sauvignon blanc is always a safe bet; rarely mind blowing but definitely people-friendly. Also consider doing screwcaps. Many people tend to think that screwcaps are "cheap" or "lesser quality" but that simply is not the case. When it comes to lower priced wines, your chances of getting a corked bottle* here and there are pretty hefty, which is impossible with screwcaps.

Hope this helps and happy planning!

*If a cork comes into contact with some sort of contaminant, it will produce TCA which in turn will kill the aroma and the flavor of the wine. Since it is passed on through the cork itself, this only happens to certain bottles during the bottling process. For me, moldy newspaper is the best description of what a corked wine smells like. It's not at all bad for you to drink a corked wine, but it is pretty foul. Cork taint is completely unavoidable (unless you use screwtop), and roughly 8% of all wine bottles using cork are affected by it. If you've ever smelled/tasted a corked wine, you will never forget it. On that note: please, please, PLEASE don't mistake small particles of cork in your bottle or glass for a corked wine. I'm sure your sommelier or server will gladly switch out your bottle/glass if you do so, but they'll probably be rolling their eyes and saying snarky remarks under their breath at you as they walk away from your table.

(Image by Julia Randall via FFFFOUND!)

Friday, May 7, 2010

We spelt my fiance's father's name wrong....

Dear ESB,

We have had fancy custom letterpress invitations made and shipped over to us in the UK. We approved all the proofs. We've just opened them and realised that we have spelt my fiance's father's name wrong. We approved the proofs, we are at fault. The invitations need to go out in three weeks time, we can't afford the time or the money to get the whole suite reprinted. What would East Side Bride do? Options:

1. Speak to future father in law, apologise and send out invites
2. Speak to future father in law, apologise and send out invites with name corrected on them by a caligrapher who won't be able to make them look perfect.
3. Scrap the beautiful expensive invites and get some horrid cheap crummy rush job ones
4. Another option?


4. Redo the invites. The beautiful, expensive invites. Call the printers, explain what happened, stress that you understand it's completely your fault, and tell them you're willing to pay for a rush order.


Please help me shop (part two)

Sooooo. Lauren thought she might rock this French Connection dress as a bridesmaid at her little sister's wedding... But when she went into the store and tried it on it was a little too shaboom (as she put it). And (as I pointed out) maybe a wee bit over-the-top for a ceremony on the beach.

I should have known she'd turn around and ask me to shop for her:

so my wonderful littlest sis is getting married on the beach in southern california this october. (it will not be too cold. we are badasses.) our other sister and i are bridesmaids, and littlest sis's best friend is her maid of honor. here's our dress brief from the bride-to-be:

my thoughts for you three would be to have each of you find a cocktail length dress in some shade of grey (or pattern, whatever), whatever material, whatever style. or hell, a top and a skirt. or a grey suit, if you're feeling it. maybe nothing suuuper light, and nothing TOO dark. i don't care if you already own it (that would be awesome!) or if it's from forever 21 or versace ("it's 'ver-says'." tell me you get that reference). but if you could all kinda talk to each other and just make sure that two don't have the same and the other not, or something. or all match, if that's what you like. I don't know, maybe let's all let it be a surprise that day. frankly, i'm just happy that you're all going to be up there with me.

completely reasonable, no? and yet i'm having a hell of a time finding something to wear. littlest sis and her fiance both have art degrees, and their wedding will be all kinds of cool (over easter she showed me bones she found on the beach in mexico and wants to use as centerpieces), and i want to do it justice. i also don't want to draw too much attention to myself or spend my way into the poorhouse. bearing all that in mind, dear ESB, what should i wear? i'd absolutely wear a grey dress again, and i'm willing to splurge a bit; i'm in the ballpark of $500 for a dress and shoes

You guys, Lauren has discriminating taste. (i.e. Don't you dare fucking suggest a bridesmaid's dress from J. Crew.) And I am BURNT OUT on shopping. Especially internet shopping. It's too damn nice out side for me to sit glued to a computer.

So, yeah. Does anyone else have any great ideas? No pressure.

Gaaaaaaaad I'm lazy. They should really dock my pay on this one.

Also, I do not get the ver-says reference, and this is not the first time it's been thrown at me. Anyone care to explicate?

(Photo by Sandi Gunnett)

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Hipster Hunt

I have signed on for the deliriously fun though somewhat daunting task of taking Peonies on a tour of the greater Williamsburg/Greenpoint area. And she would really like to spot some authentic hipsters.

Please. Help. Where should we go?? I haven't lived in W'msburg since 1998 (though I do try to visit catbird whenever I have the chance). So, yeah. I exactly can't claim to know all the cool out-of-the-way spots.

Leave a comment or feel free to, you know, email me, if you don't want to publicly reveal the location of your fave thrift store/noodle shop/dive bar.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Is it...wrong? that I kind of like these cargo pants? I'm packing up my little rolling suitcase for a trip to nyc and I feel like they would be a genius addition to my arsenal of baggy jeans + t-shirts.

Anyhoo, posting will be sporadic for the next couple of weeks, but you can follow my GENIUS tweets if you miss me.

Monday, May 3, 2010

sparkly bolero


Mint Velvet via {this is glamorous}

Who should I invite to our wedding?

Dear ESB: 

I am getting pressure from all sides on who I should invite to our wedding. My mom is pushing to have all the family (aunts, uncles and cousins) from her side which means I would have to do the same for my dad's side and that totals quite a few guests, I am sort of OK with this because I grew up seeing most of these people more often then just holidays. I am getting pressure from his mom on who we are inviting from his side even though he has not seen them in the last 20 out of his 29 years. Would it be strange to have my extended family at our reception, and no one from his? OR is it ok to invite just some of my aunts, uncles and cousins? Is it ok to invite a person and not let them bring a guest?

I have been fretting over this for months, when all I want is a chill intimate evening with our guests.


I'm sorry you've been put in this position. Thanks, Moms.

Here's what I think: It would be strange to invite your entire extended family and not his. (Plus it would really piss his mom off.)

So don't. That's not what you want anyway. Instead of letting the moms rule and settling for a guest list that you are "sort of OK with," sit down with your guy and make a list of the people you really want to hang out with. Those are the people you should invite.

Re: plus ones. If someone is in a serious relationship, it's only fair to invite the significant other. Otherwise, you can wait until someone asks you to allow her a guest. But why make the singletons feel like assholes? You want everyone to have a good time.

(Photo via Life in Lomo)

Saturday, May 1, 2010

BOO: Not just for the groom

Ted Danson, yesyesyes people, the father of the bride, is working this Band of Outsiders suit.

And Christina has a terrific tip: BOO runs small, so it works well for women who like to wear men's clothes.
Confederacy has a few things available online, or if you're in Los Angeles you can visit the store.