Monday, November 10, 2014

The Power of Gratitude and Why Thanksgiving Truly Matters!

Hard to believe ...but Thanksgiving is just a little less than 3 weeks away! 

I love Thanksgiving! It's a time not only to celebrate the beginnings of the nation but also to be thankful for the bounty nature brings forth; for all our life's blessings; and for our family and friends. 

But did you know that there is a remarkable science backing up how powerful celebrations of gratitude like Thanksgiving can boost our levels of happiness, health, mental well-being and energy? 

Check out Robert Emmons', study on "The Power of Gratitude and Why Thanksgiving Truly Matters" below where he shares why gratitude makes you 25% happier! 

(Emmons is a professor of psychology at the University of California, Davis, and the founding editor-in-chief of The Journal of Positive Psychology. He is also the author of the books Gratitude Works!: A 21-Day Program for Creating Emotional Prosperity, Words of Gratitude: Mind, Body and Souland Thanks! How the New Science of Gratitude Can Make You Happier.)

Looking for ways you can express gratitude? Emmons suggests the following 6 ways:

1. Keep A Gratitude Journal

2. Think About 5 Things Every Morning You're Grateful For

3. Send Thank You Notes of Appreciation To Friends and Family

4. Reflect On Previous Days Celebrations While In The Shower

5. Meditate

6. Send An Appreciative E-mail To A Co-Worker

Another great tip--to make gratitude a daily habit with children, ask them "What was your happiest moment today?"  (This could also help strengthen your parent/child bond!)

May you give and receive gratitude all throughout this holiday season!  

P.S. Love to hear some of your own ideas on how you express gratitude during the holidays and all year long! Please leave a comment below or on our Facebook page!


Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Table Wear: La Cité

Add some glitz to your Thanksgiving table and holiday entertaining!  Our new La Cité collection is comprised of unusual serving pieces with retro patterns that create an uber-sophisticated look. These pieces make a stunning addition to any modern tablescape or bar cart. 

It's easy to bring the glamour of the 50s and 60s into the home: mix 'n match geometric patterns, retro-inspired furnishings, and of course (our favorite), lots of metallic gold!

Order La Cite by 11/18 for Thanksgiving delivery and by 12/17 for Christmas delivery (ground shipping).

Monday, November 3, 2014

Save The Date for Our Bi-Annual Warehouse Sale!

We're excited to announce that our Bi-Annual Warehouse Sale will take place on Saturday, December 6th from 9am-3pm. We hope you will join us.

You will enjoy huge savings on award-winning tableware designer Rosanna Bowles' classics, discontinued, and overstock items, in addition to pedestals, one-of-a-kind pieces, antique furnishings, and collectibles—all at or below wholesale prices! Great gifts for Christmas, Hanukkah, Valentine's Day, Birthdays, Mother's Day and more!

There will be opportunities to purchase raffle tickets for beautiful gifts baskets of Rosanna items all supporting One By One, a Seattle nonprofit dedicated eliminating obstetric fistula worldwide. 

We look forward to seeing you on December 6th!  (Be sure to arrive early for the best selections!)


Saturday, November 1, 2014

Host A Party Inspired By Dia De Los Muertos (Day of the Dead)!

On November 1st and 2nd, Mexicans celebrate the lives of their ancestors and deceased loved ones--each of whom is remembered with a gaily decorated sugar skull. The holiday is not a mournful gathering but a lively and colorful celebration. I am drawn to the positive energy and accepting view of death.

Years ago I started bringing back Dia De Los Muertos decorations as presents for my daughters when returning from business trips to Mexico.  I wanted to share this festive and soulful holiday with my daughters and teach them about other cultures.

Our Dia De Los Muertos Decorations
On one visit I picked up a few small calacas (skeleton figurines). They really liked the cute and decorated skeletons, and each time I have returned to Mexico I have brought home a few more. Over time our collection of calacas has grown to 25, and each year we mingle them with our other Halloween decor. 

Our Calacas Collection
Tonight, my youngest daughter Francesca has invited 30 of her high school friends over for a Dia De Los Muertos party. We will serve a a menu that is Italian and Mexican. I will make pasta with Tomato and vodka sauce with spicy peperoncino. It is a baked pasta that tastes like a bloody mary, We will have fresh crudities platte, tortilla chips, guacamole, mixed green salad and a platter of Italian charcuterie.

I made toasted pumpkin seeds from the 3 pumpkins I carved last night. We will have huge bowls of candy and chocolate chip bars. We will be showing 3 movies on various TVs and computers-- Rosemary's Baby,The Shinning, and Practical Magic.The kids will play games like Twister, Charades and 20 Questions.

It is not the typical day of the dead celebration where the Mexicans visit the graves of their loved ones and celebrate their lives, but rather a high-bred of American Halloween with decor and ambiance  influenced by the joyful celebration of life done by the Mexicans for Dia De Los Muertos.

Here are some tips for throwing your own Dia De Los Muertos party and incorporating the holiday's traditions into your family's own.
Sugar Skull Cookie
  • Send out tombstone invitations.  You can find these online at sites like Paperless Post and Evite.
  • Decorate with Marigolds. They are one of the most important symbols of Dia De Los Muertos! They are traditionally scattered around the floor, streets, and even graveyards. It is believed that the bright colors and strong bright colors and strong scent of the petals scattered in a path to the altar, lead the invited spirits to the party.  
  • Dress up in traditional calacas with festive masks. The cheerful colors represent a joyful afterlife. You can find Day of the Dead Masks at Party City and Oriental Trading as well as Costumes and Make-up Kits. You can buy Sugar Skull kits at Hearth Song.
  • A Mexican-themed soirée wouldn’t be authentic without the guacamole! Prepare this classic party dip and put it out with chips and freshly cut veggies for guests to munch on throughout the night.
  • Share enchiladas and tamales with your guests, along with a salad tossed with edible marigold petals.
  • Decorate in vibrant colors -- use brightly colored plates, napkins and flatware.
  • Use traditional Mexican blankets or tapestries as table coverings.
  • Have a pitcher of  traditional margaritas on hand as well as a selection of Mexican beers.
  • Keep the lights low and fill the house with candles. Play lively Mexican music, after all it is a celebration!
I hope you'll host your own Dia De Los Muertos party. I will be there in spirit with your ancestors!

P.S.  We'd love to see pictures of your party. Please post them on our Facebook and Instagram pages! 


Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Host a Spooktacular Halloween Dessert Party!

If you're considering throwing a Halloween Bash, I'd recommend skipping the hectic dinner feast and throwing a frightenedly festive dessert party instead!  Not only will you save yourself the expense of serving a whole dinner, but you'll save time as well. Make some memorable Halloween treats and everyone will be begging you to host again next year.

Tips For Planning Your Party:

Who: Invite Friends, Family and Neighbors
What: Offer scrumptious treats that go beyond the usual Trick or Treat candies. (See ideas below.) Go all out and decorate your table with spooky Halloween-themed accessories--skulls, cauldrons, witches, spiders, ghosts and goblins. 
When: After dinnertime, so guests can stop by for a sweet treat, or in the afternoon for some midday delights
Where: Your own home, in the dining room or other room that can easily accommodate a dessert buffet table
Why: It’s fun, easy and a great way to reconnect with family, friends and neighbor

Boo-tiful Dessert Ideas:

Our Halloween dessert table features devilishly delicious desserts from Sprinkles and Sweets, a Seattle family-owned business that specializes in cupcakes, cakes and specialty desserts. (Photos by Nazra Knutsen.)

Our Halloween Dessert Table 

For our tablescape, we add black and white for sophisticated chic and elegance and a little spookiness. Our Rococo Noir Pedestals, Black Dauphine Candlesticks and, Large White Pedestal make the perfect stands for the spider cake, cookies and candied apples. For a pop of color, we placed included orange candlesticks and an orange runner. 

When planning a dessert table, remember… sometimes less is more! Start out by choosing the backdrop and linens first.  Be careful not to linens and decorations something that are too busy or that will clash with the simple elegance of your desserts.  Once you have decided your color scheme, lay it out and don’t be afraid to add multiple linens and layers. 

Then select desserts that complement your cake stands and pedestals. For the medium Rococo Noir Pedestalwe selected the spooktacular white spider cake.  For the other two Rococo Noir Pedestals, we choose cookies decorated with orange and purple to add a splash of color.   

Spider Cake on Medium Rococo Noir Pedestal
I love how simple, yet effective this cake is!  To make a spider cake yourself, just choose your favorite cake recipe and cover it with white frosting. It could be a carrot cake or even a red velvet cake… just be sure to cover it completely with a smooth layer of white frosting before setting the spiders. 

To make the spiders, you can either buy small plastic spiders at your local craft or cake store or make them yourself using basic modeling chocolate. Eeeww!

Pumpkin Cookies on our Small Rococo Noir Pedestal
These Pumpkin Cookies sugar cookies are decorated with Royal icing in orange, purple, white and black accent for the leaves.

Spiral Halloween Cookies on our Large Rococo Noir Pedestal - (Recipe Below)
Tips: Make sure the dough is properly chilled before working with it. When the dough is just pliable (but still cold), roll up the dough (begin with the long side) like a jellyroll. As you begin to roll, gently curl the edge with your fingertips so you don’t get any air pockets as you roll dough into a log. As you roll, pinch tears together as they occur and keep rolling.And don’t be discouraged if the spirals aren’t perfect.
I hope this post gets you in the mood for Halloween and inspires your own Halloween Dessert Party!  Please post pictures of your Halloween Dessert Party on our Facebook page

Happy Halloween!


Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Bedroom Shrines

One of the most soulful ways I know to make a room feel like a sanctuary for oneself is to create a shrine or altar. A shrine doesn’t need to be religious. Rather, it can be a little place you make that honors who or what you love, and gives you strength and inspiration.

The shrine I made in my own bedroom is a homage to my mother, whom I adored and is no longer alive. The little collection of objects and photographs I’ve assembled helps me feel connected to my mother everyday.

In making your own shrine, gather objects that speak to you. These could be mementos, trinkets, or objects you’ve collected in nature—rocks, shells, flowers, and seeds.

Gather objects that come from places from which you draw strength or are special to you. For me, that place is a town on the Oregon Coast, where my parents used to take our family on vacation when I was a little girl.

Whether or not your shrine includes religious iconography is up to you; the important thing is to create your shrine with objects that hold personal meaning that remind you of who you are and what you value every time you see them. 


Friday, October 10, 2014

Savor the Flavors of Autumn!

Nothing says fall like pumpkin and squash. And since these items will be piling up at your grocery store, now is the perfect time to make delicious meals that feature these fall flavors!

One of my favorite squashes is acorn squash. Until the recent rise in popularity of butternut squash, acorn squash were the most commonly available squash in the U.S. They are a great all-around squash, with moist, sweet, tender flesh. They are good for roasting, baking, steaming, mashing, and sauteeing. Smaller ones are perfect for stuffing and make an excellent vegetarian main course for special occasions like Thanksgiving. Acorn squash is also nutrient-dense -- rich in vitamins, minerals, dietary fiber and antioxidant compounds.

My favorite way to eat acorn squash is roasted, just like my mother used to make.  The preparation is simple, but the flavors are complex and delicious. The squash's bare hint of sweetness and spice makes it a sophisticated but crowd-pleasing.

Here's my mother's roasted acorn squash recipe. Hope you like it!  


P.S. Please share your favorite squash recipe in the comments!