CRAVE PARTY
Sassy stiletto booties fitted trench coats, pumpkins that turn into bright jack-o-lanterns, crispy, cool air and the colorful leaves: these are a few of our favorite fall things! As the weather shifts and the days grow shorter, don't be surprised to find yourself feeling inspired to finish writing that novel you haven't worked on in months, or wanting to revamp your wardrobe during a spontaneous shopping spree.


Masquerade Shopping Event at the Teatro ZinZanni Boutique

October 5th, 2009 by Melody · No Comments

Teatro ZinZanni Boutique presents an exclusive preview shopping event! They will be showcasing their beautiful new masks including an assortment of unique hand-crafted masquerade masks from Venice available at the Teatro ZinZanni cast discount of 20% off. Check out the New Holiday Cocktail Hat Creations by Tuzzie Muzzie and meet local milliners Mikele Keiffer and Colleen Graham. Enjoy spiced cider and cookies, plus a special tasting from Teatro ZinZanni’s official chocolatier, Forte Chocolates. Owner/Chocolatier Karen Neugebauer will feature her SeaSalt Caramels, White Swan chocolate bars, Chipotle Caramels, and much, much more. Don’t miss this delicious shopping treat!

Pertinent Details:
What: Shopping Event at the Teatro ZinZanni Boutique
When: Saturday, October 10th from noon to 4 p.m
Where: Teatro ZinZanni, 222 Mercer St, Seattle, WA 98109, 206.802.0015

CRAVE members can also enjoy a special discount of $25 off each ticket (click here to buy) to shows on Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday evenings at Teatro ZinZanni through the month of November (except November 1 & 29).

→ No CommentsTags: CRAVE Cities · CRAVE Events · Fashion & Adornment · Girlfriend Connection · Seattle · Sip & Savor

Totem - Interview with Rhodeshia Nelson

October 2nd, 2009 by Melody · No Comments

As Totem, in Hinsdale, gears-up to present its Chicago Designer Showcase this weekend (October 2nd through the 4th) featuring cutting edge designs by local emerging talent, we’d love to introduce its fabulous owner Rhodeshia Nelson.

Rho, as her friends call her, is an entrepreness that loves fashion and she’s created a spirited boutique that women of Chicagoland crave! While she will never complain about dressing herself in gorgeous clothing, Rho’s true passion has always been helping others look and feel their best in clothes that embody who they are. In 2005, Rho followed her dreams, ran with that passion, and opened Totem. CRAVE Chicago is thrilled to feature Rho in our first edition CRAVE Chicago guide, and we think you’d like to get to know her too:

People may be surprised to know…
I have a degree in Electrical Engineering. After working in Corporate America for several years, I decided to solve complex equations of a different kind.

What or who inspired you to start your business?
For years, my friends would ask me for fashion advice when putting outfits together for various occasions. I discovered that I LOVED shopping for and dressing other people, and so began the dream of Totem.

What is your indulgence?
Shoes. I have a separate closet just for my shoes, and I’m constantly adding to my collection. You can’t have the perfect dress without the perfect pair of shoes.

Where is your favorite place to go with your girlfriends?
After work, the girls and I like to swing by Vie for one of their yummy cocktails and appetizers. The real key for me is good company, good atmosphere and good wine and I’m happy.

→ No CommentsTags: CRAVE Cities · CRAVE Events · CRAVE Guides · Chicago · Fashion & Adornment

First Thursday Art Walks in West Coast CRAVE cities

September 30th, 2009 by Melody · No Comments

Art walks provide an affordable, excellent opportunity to view art, meet artists, and often enjoy free canapés and beverages with your girls, or date. Galleries feel totally fun and unpretentious during Art Walk as the atmosphere is more reminiscent of a cocktail party. Below find links to a few of the West Coast Art Walks we love.

Seattle:
First Thursday, in Seattle’s historic Pioneer Square neighborhood, takes place from noon to 8PM on the First Thursday of every month. It is the city’s first and largest Art Walk. After nearly three decades First Thursday has become a fixture for art-loving Seattlites.

San Francisco:
During the first Thursday of every month, Union Square galleries stay open late, usually till 8 pm, allowing not only tourists to stop by, but also those who work day jobs and can’t get away from the office before the galleries close.

Portland:
The art galleries in downtown Portland, Oregon, invite you to join them on the “First Thursday” of every month for an evening of art, wine and music. Walk from gallery to gallery to view all of the new art exhibits. Generally the hours are 6pm to 9pm, but definitely check each gallery’s website for more information and to view other artists works that they represent.  Map of participating galleries here.

→ No CommentsTags: Adventure & Escape · CRAVE Cities · Portland · San Francisco · Seattle

Girl’s Night In: Back to School Blast

September 28th, 2009 by Melody · No Comments

It’s time to celebrate fall and the kids’ return to school!  Why not get the party started with a time-warp, school themed, girl’s night in?

Party Supps:
Netflix a selection of popular tv shows and films from the decade you attended high school.  Create a dinner music playlist comprised of tunes from that era as well.  Have your girls email you some choice high school pics and create a simple slide show via iphoto or picasa.com to watch when they arrive.

Dinner:
Order some vintage speckled Melmac cafeteria trays.  They are gorgeous, inexpensive and easy to find on sites like Ebay and Etsy.  Place a napkin and silverware in the utensil compartment of the lunch tray.  Make Adams Apple cocktails by combining a 1/2 shot Vodka, 1/2 shot Galliano and apple juice into a brightly colored plastic, highball sized cup.  Place in the ‘drink’ compartment of the tray.

For food, think gourmet cafeteria classics.  Make sure to have a vegetable, protein, carb and dessert to place in remaining sections of the tray.  Click on the hyper-links to view our recipe recommendations.

What’s your fav way to celebrate fall?

→ No CommentsTags: Girlfriend Connection

Fall Trends, from (Fashion) House to Home

September 23rd, 2009 by Melody · No Comments

Fashion and home decor trends go hand in hand.  Check out these amazing interpretations of Fall lines via hgtv.com.

Lingerie-Inspired Femininity Prada’s lace-laden fall ‘08 collection plus the nude palettes from spring/summer ‘09 results in a mishmash of lingerie-inspired fall fashions with a distinct boudoir feel. Make this work in your home with pale shades, delicate edging, sheer fabrics and accessories like plump tassels and crystal doorknobs.

Strong Lines & Architecture Sharp shoulders, detailed cuffs (the baseboards of pants) and defined pleats are still on the runways for fall and it’s one trend that translates to your home pretty easily. Look for clean lines and angles, strong shapes and architectural details like decorative molding, trims and mirrors (to mimic the sheen of skyscraper windows)

80s
Yep, it’s the decade that won’t go away - and why should it? Not all 80s fashions were horrendous (see Baby Boom for the best office wear ever) and the exuberant confidence of that money-flush decade translates into fashion fun and a sense of humor in the home. Look for brightly colored accessories with a youthful, punky vibe - think over-the-top pop and acid-washed inspired prints. It’s the perfect accent to add to kids’ rooms or a home office.

Masculine Mash-Up
Fashion has always pushed the gender boundaries and this season is no different. Men’s suiting, pin-stripes, tweed and waistcoats were all spotted on the runway. Look for classic patterns like houndstooth, metallics like brushed nickel and silver and dark palettes including black and grey (big color this year).

Chunky Knits You can’t have fall without sweaters! This season, knits are chunkier and more substantial, all the better for wiling away hours curled up in front of a fire. Look for classic shades of grey, oatmeal and cream, thick cables and high quality materials.

→ No CommentsTags: Fashion & Adornment · Lifestyle Design

Low Cost Adventure: Agate Hunting

September 14th, 2009 by Jessica · 2 Comments

Agate hunting is a rewarding, meditative, cost effective activity suitable for girlfriends, couples and families. Agates make beautiful jewelry and awesome home decor accents. Below, Dr. Karen E. Bledsoe beaks down the basics of this classic beach coming pastime. Article excerpts via helium.com.

What: Agates are transparent stones made up of quartz and a number of colored minerals. Silica - the same mineral that sand and computer chips are made of - dissolved in water creeps into small spaces in volcanic rock. When the silica is left behind it crystallizes. Slow crystallization results in large crystals that are valuable as gems: amethyst, rose quartz, and rock crystal are examples. Fast crystallization forms “massy,” glass-like quartz such as agate, jasper, tiger-eye, aventurine, and onyx.

How: Deposits of agate are usually found in igneous rock and are washed free by water erosion. Any place where rivers, streams, or the ocean wear away at volcanic rock you can often find agates: pebble-strewn beaches, gravel beds along rivers, rocky stream bottoms. Rocky shores where seashell hunting is a disappointment will often yield agates instead.

Patience is the key in agate hunting. Most hunters stroll slowly through patches of gravel, watching for a flash of color among the rocks. In strong sunlight, the clear agates will stand out against darker rocks. Hunting among wet pebbles is usually more productive, since wetness makes the colors brighter and the clear stones more obvious. On the beach, outgoing tides reveal freshly-churned gravel beds ready to be picked over.

Types:

  • Carnelians are most common. They are transparent stones which may be rich orange-red, yellow, white, or brown, with little or no banding. The lightest forms are called Sard.
  • Moonstones are bright, milky white, clear stones. Moonstones with rainbows in them are called iris agates.
  • Ribbon agate has straight bands of color caused by different mineral impurities as the silica was deposited. If the bands are wavy, the stone is called fortification.
  • Cloud agates, also called blue agates, are mottled with blue-black, blue, and milky colors. True blue agates are highly prized.
  • Moss agates don’t really have moss in them. Mineral deposits form the branched, mossy patterns seen in these stones. Many form tree-like pictures, and are called landscape agates.
  • Jasper is another massy quartz stone found alongside agates. It is not transparent, but is often brilliantly colored. Jasper comes in red, yellow, and green.
  • Bloodstone is a type of dark green jasper with red spots. It is fairly rare. Bloodstone is sometimes called Heliotrope.
  • Petrified wood is formed when agate or jasper deposits replace wood. It is a type of fossil.

Ever looked for agates?  Share your experience!

→ 2 CommentsTags: Adventure & Escape

Compliment Nature with a Decadent and Healthful Day of Camping Fare

September 11th, 2009 by Jessica · No Comments

It seems so often on these warm summer days that we all dream of getting out of the city and finding our own little patch of sunlit forest to dream and wander in. Camping is about escape, slowing down to enjoy those little majestic moments in nature, and of course, simplifying one’s necessities down to the bare minimum. Problem is, camping food traditionally is pretty bland and unhealthy. For years hot dogs, burgers and s’mores have controlled the camp fire. But your camping experience this summer doesn’t have to be the same old thing, and it certainly doesn’t have to be unhealthy or unappetizing.

Breakfast – Crush Worthy Muesli (Feeds 2)

  • 2 cups rolled or steel cut oats (whichever you prefer)
  • 1 cup worth of nuts/seeds mixed from your choice of brazil nuts, cashews, sunflower seeds, almonds, walnuts, sesame seeds, macadamias, hazelnuts, chestnuts, or whatever else you can think of.
  • Any fresh or dried fruit you like (bananas, raspberries, blueberries, apples, apricots, dates, currants, blackberries, strawberries, plums, etc)
  • Milk to taste
  • Brown sugar or honey to taste
  • Mix oats and nuts in serving bowls, add milk and let soak for 1-3 minutes to soften
  • Add dried or fresh fruit, brown sugar or honey to taste

Lunch – Campfire Salmon Sandwiches

  • 1 loaf multi-grain or other hard crust bread
  • Heavy-Duty Tinfoil
  • Fresh Salmon filets are ideal, but really any fish fillet will work, think 1 medium sized fillet per sandwich, and try for fillets with the skin still on
  • Bean Sprouts
  • Fresh spinach leaves
  • 1 clove garlic
  • Soy sauce Olive oil
  • Salt & Pepper

Wrap bread in tinfoil, set in white-hot coals for 5-10 minutes to toast. Chop garlic finely, sprinkle over fillets and very lightly dress with soy sauce/olive oil. Grill salmon or other fish over the hottest part of the fire until the fish is firm but still pink inside, about 3-7 minutes. Wrapping your fish in tin foil will increase cooking time slightly but prevent soot and blackening. Slice bread, dress with condiments, spinach, and sprouts. Divide fillets equally and serve right off the grill.

Dinner – Roasted Vegetables and Rustic Kebabs

  • 1 Large yellow or red onion, chopped
  • Chicken, a medium fatty cut of beef, or lamb chopped into cubes
  • As many different vegetables as you’d like, chopped roughly (Mushrooms, Peppers, Eggplant, Cucumber, Carrots, Zucchini, Cherry tomatoes)
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • Paprika

Lightly drizzle olive oil over meat, onions, and vegetables. Sprinkle salt, pepper, and paprika to taste Load metal skewers alternating ingredients to ensure equal distribution and cooking Roast over open flame until meat is medium-rare to medium and vegetables are thoroughly cooked, but not burned or dried out. And that’s it.

DESSERT – S’mores for City Slickers

  • 1 bag marshmallows
  • 1-3 Bars of semisweet dark chocolate, preferably high quality
  • 1 Box gourmet graham crackers available at Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, or a co-op
  • Fruit preserves or sauce
  • Fresh Raspberries

Roast 1-2 marshmallows on a stick or skewer near the base of the fire, over hot white coals, for 2-4 minutes, turning every 20 seconds or so to prevent burning/catching on fire. This will produce a perfectly even light brown crust with a warm and creamy-gooey inside. Warm chocolate and crackers on a sheet of heavy duty tin-foil near edge of fire or perched on a hot rock. Do NOT melt or burn. Just until the chocolate is soft and warm to the touch. Stack 1 marshmallow with two graham crackers, two evenly sized pieces of chocolate, and drizzle the whole thing with preserves. Garnish with fresh raspberries and watch the sun go down while it melts in your mouth.

→ No CommentsTags: Sip & Savor

CRAVE Summer Dreams Party — Photos

August 27th, 2009 by Melody · No Comments

Our sold out Summer Dreams party presented by Teatro ZinZanni was an absolute blast!  Our hostesses, Jill Pagano and Elsie Elsie Kloter from The Sisters of Sizzle Talk, were sassy and hilarious.  Built Burger and multiple gourmet cupcake vendors provided killer nosh. Teatro’s tent was jam packed with beauty service stations, sexy firemen, goodies from awesome vendors and non-stop entertainment — Katie Litzenberg’s sultry acoustic cover of Britney Spears’ “Circus” brought the house down!

photo: Barbie Hull

photo credit: Barbie Hull

Check out more photos at Barbie Hull Photography and Brick House Photos

→ No CommentsTags: CRAVE Events

Blackberry Bonanza: Ultra Low Cost Girl Date

August 17th, 2009 by Jessica · 1 Comment

Blackberry bushes are going wild right now, producing glorious high antioxidant morsels jam-packed with polyphenols and anthocyanins—the excellent cancer and heart disease defense chemicals found in some plants.  We recommended taking advantage of nature’s bounty by grabbing your girls and heading out for a day of blackberry picking followed by cooking and cocktailing!  Check out a few seasonal recipes we are loving right now:

Blackberry Mojito via Foodchannel.com
Ingredients: 6 each mint leaves, 5 each fresh blackberries, 1/2 part simple syrup, 1 part fresh lime juice, 1 part white rum, 1 part crème de cassis, 1 part club soda.  For garnish: 1 sprig mint, 1 each fresh blackberry speared with cocktail pick
Preparation: In a Collins glass, muddle mint leaves with blackberries and simple syrup.  Add lime juice, rum and crème do cassis and stir to combine.  Fill glass with ice, top with club soda, and stir to combine.  Garnish with mint sprig and blackberry.

Blackberry Chicken via tasteofhome.com
Ingredients: 2 tablespoons plus 1/2 cup fresh blackberries, divided, 1/2 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth, divided, 2 tablespoons brown sugar, 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar, 1 teaspoon olive oil, 2 garlic cloves, minced, 3/4 teaspoon paprika, divided, 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin, 6 boneless skinless chicken breast halves (5 ounces each), 4-1/2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, 2 teaspoons cornstarch
Directions: In a small bowl, mash 2 tablespoons berries. Add 1/4 cup broth, brown sugar, vinegar, oil, garlic, 1/4 teaspoon paprika and cumin.  Place chicken in an 11-in. x 7-in. baking dish coated with cooking spray; pour broth mixture over the top. Sprinkle with thyme, salt, pepper and remaining paprika.  Bake, uncovered, at 375° for 20-25 minutes or until chicken juices run clear, basting occasionally with pan juices. Remove chicken and keep warm.  Skim fat from pan drippings. In a small saucepan, combine cornstarch and remaining broth until smooth. Gradually stir in drippings. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 1-2 minutes or until thickened. Serve with chicken; sprinkle with remaining blackberries. Yield: 6 servings.

Blackberry Salsa via Nikibone.com
Ingredients: 2 chipotle peppers, dried, 6 serrano peppers, finely diced, 1 cup sugar, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 tablespoon cinnamon, 1 tablespoon ground oregano, 1/2 cup water, 12 ounces blackberries, fresh or frozen 3 tablespoons chocolate syrup, 2 cup chopped pecans, toasted
Directions: Place chipotles in a saucepan, cover with water, and bring to a boil.  Cover, and boil until tender about 15 minutes; drain.  Set aside to cool.  Finely dice the rehydrated chipotles and combine with serranos, sugars, salt, cinnamon, oregano and water in a medium saucepan.  Bring mixture to a low boil.  Cook until thickened slightly about 7 or 8 minutes, stirring frequently.  Add blackberries and cook until they start to break up but not disintegrate.  You want the salsa to have a chunky texture.  Remove mixture from heat, and stir in chocolate syrup and pecans.  Chill thoroughly, and serve over ice cream.

→ 1 CommentTags: Sip & Savor

Learn about MyCloset.com

August 14th, 2009 by Carly · 1 Comment

MyCloset.com is the newest fashion online craze. In essence, it provides  a community for fashion and style conscious individuals.  A place where people can communicate, shop, learn, share, blog, chat, and just have  fun….by themselves, with others, privately or publicly. On MyCloset.com, you can entertain yourself or be entertained in so many ways. We recently interviewed Ms. Aneice Rodgers one of the fashion mavens at MyCloset.com.

Tell us what is the motivation behind MyCloset.com:
We wanted to provide the opportunity for people to have fun while learning and participating in fashion and style-related arenas. With this in mind, we designed a fun and easy-to-use Web site focused on a distinctive community where people could display and organize their wardrobes, collections, and photographs, get and give fashion advice, and shop.  We decided to include exclusive articles that showcase personal closets, collections and inspirations of true fashion mavens: prominent designers, actors, models, and personalities whose styles are as varied as their experiences. We liked the idea of providing marketing tools and a free vehicle for exciting and undiscovered new talent. Enabling small stores and boutiques to have a strong Web presence was also a goal.

How have your passions assisted in the establishment of this business?
Well I would say that the passion that I have for people, fashion, and collections has helped with all.  The fascination and respect that I have for genuine creativity is enormous, and I have a continuous need to learn and create myself.  I also take great pride and get a true sense of happiness when I help others achieve their goals.  This all has helped me to continue diligently growing the unique features of our Web site and to keep a steady stream of quality and exclusive articles and showcases on MyCloset.com.

Could you give our CRAVE blog readers a brief description of your services?
MyCloset.com is a hot new community-driven, fashion-based social networking Web site. We have premiere editorial features focusing on international fashions and hotspots, and exclusive glimpses into the private closets and worlds of major designers and celebrities in our Designer’s Doorway and Celebrity Closets. MyCloset.com also offers a community where its members can create personal closets in which to upload and catalog their wardrobes, collections, pets, passions, likes/dislikes, etc. for themselves or to share. We feature a community member’s closet every other day. And especially, we supply unique applications to help organize your closet, create outfits, and shop for next season’s must haves!
MyCloset.com is also a fantastic resource for businesses. Emerging designers, stores and boutiques can utilize their closets as a showcase for their collections and inventories.

How can our readers best engage with your website?
Just log on to MyCloset.com and join the Fashion Revolution.

Tell us an outstanding story about how a working woman has benefited from your services at MyCloset.com:
“Intrigue Couture” and ‘Fashion Passion’, two women-owned retailers in South Florida, received calls from the Publication Relations office handling the premiere of the hit movie Confessions of a Shopaholic and requested they create on-site boutiques for their premiere of the movie in South Florida. The calls resulted from a staff member viewing ‘Fashion Passion’s’ Store Closet and ‘Intrigue Couture’s’ Store Focus feature on MyCloset.com. The net result was invaluable publicity for both businesses. The coverage of the on-site boutiques were also seen live on regional news stations.

What is one word of advice that you would give to an Entrepreness?
Take the chance to develop something that you believe in. If it is interesting to you, it is probably valuable to others also.  Take your time, apply your passion and be true to your vision. Also, don’t be afraid to ask for help.  Most importantly, truly have fun and enjoy the journey.

Learn more about MyCloset.com at CRAVE Summer Dreams Party Aug 19th.  Visit their booth to meet a MyCloset.com ambassador and get signed up to create your own closet.  Receive advice on the newest trends, speak with a stylist and learn how to optimize your personal style.

→ 1 CommentTags: Fashion & Adornment