Friday Link Love

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Happy Halloween! This weekend I have lots of festive fun in store! I’m dressing up as the tooth fairy and having a few friends over to help me polish off the candy that’s piled in my kitchen from the outdoor movie night. I plan on finally carving the pumpkin that I bought two weekends ago, drinking hot apple cider, catching up on “American Horror Story,” and I’m hoping to have a few little trick-or-treaters. What mischief will you be getting into this Halloween weekend? Keep reading to check out a few of my favorite links from the web this week.

1.  A pretty poignant checklist for venturing into adulthood.

2.  A simple, last minute Halloween snack.

3.  The cutest list of date ideas under $50.

4.  A delicious and colorful salad that I’ll definitely be trying.

5.  Feeling inspired by Kelly Krause’s challenge to do something that scared her.

6.  Some seriously spooky spots across the states.

7.  Daniel Radcliffe rapping “Alphabet Aerobic” is just the best.

8.  A useful beauty tip to get rid of those puffy eyes.

9.  All I want in this life is to be best friends with Tina Fey and Amy Poehler.

Hosting an Outdoor Halloween Movie

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There is very little that I love more than an outdoor movie. Growing up in Chicago I would attend the movies in Grant Park with friends and family and when I moved to New York I became a regular at the Bryant Park screenings. Now that I’m an Angeleno, I can often be found at the Cinespia summer screenings at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery. I enjoy an outdoor flick so much in fact, that when I moved across the country to the land of eternal summer, one of my first big purchases was an outdoor movie screen and projector. Now I host outdoor movies for my friends several times a year (mainly around awards season and in the summer) but my favorite screening of the year is my annual outdoor scary movie. The week leading up to Halloween, I buy out the candy section of Target and have everyone over for a night of frights. Last year we watched Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Birds” and I had nightmares for weeks so this year I opted for Disney’s “Hocus Pocus.” Use my guide below to host your own outdoor movie night!

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1. Pick a flick
Choosing a movie can be tough! Consider who your audience will be. Will children be present? If so, opt for family friendly flicks like “Casper,” “Hocus Pocus,” “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown,” or “Beetlejuice.” If you are hosting an adult crowd, the scarier the better!

2. Invite your friends
Compile a guest list and invite your nearest and dearest. Make sure to tell them to bring blankets and lawn chairs and to dress appropriately for the evening weather.

3. Rent a projector
If you plan on hosting more than one outdoor movie a year like I do, it might be worth investing in a projector. However, they can be rather pricey so renting your equipment is a great option. Once you have your projector, make sure to do a test run to ensure that  you have all of the right cables / connective equipment and don’t forget that you will need speakers.

4. Hang your screen
A white sheet will always work, but a canvas painter’s drop cloth is an awesome alternative. It’s heavier, stiffer and less likely to fly around if a strong wind blows in. Check your local hardware store for a white one and pick up clamps to secure it in place.

5. Serve up treats!
Movie treats are half of the viewing experience! During Halloween I set up a candy bar complete with black striped and orange chevron favor bags that guests can use to collect their favorite sweets to take with them to the seating area. I also use giant tins to house mounds of popcorn that can be passed around during the movie. I pop the corn on the stove and add different seasonings to each container. I usually opt for the following three flavors: olive oil, sea salt, fresh shaved Parmesan and rosemary popcorn; homemade kettle corn; and truffle popcorn. And since popcorn will make guests thirsty, I like to offer nice, cold pumpkin ales.

 

hallie outdoor halloween movie LA trick or treat candy table setup entertaining party-1

Chicken Lollipops

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I spent one recent afternoon perusing the offerings at the beautiful food shop Daylesford Organic.  As I debated over which meat to roast for dinner, the charismatic butcher and I struck up a conversation.  We talked about our mutual love of Sunday roasts. I confessed how frequently I made a whole chicken, but that the carcass and wings eluded me – there was always so much leftover slivers of meat stuck to the bone and it seemed like a waste!

Fascinated, I watched as he guided me through an impromptu lesson right there on the butcher’s block, teaching me how to make his signature “chicken lollipops” from the wings.   In an attempt to reduce waste, my savvy butcher had innovated an appetizer that was a hit at parties, beloved by kids and adults alike!  Secondly he recommended I carve the meat off the freshly roasted chicken to serve, then simmer the carcass to generate a batch of homemade bone broth for sipping and cooking through the week.  The Hemsley sisters recommend this, too!  I am smitten.

These are boneless wings in the shape of a lollipop. One bird yields up to four bite-sized pieces.  They’re a great prelude to the main course and will take the edge off your guest’s hunger while they wait for the bird to be carved.

Chicken Lollipops

Ingredients:
Both wings from a whole, free-range, organic chicken
1 teaspoon each of salt, pepper + paprika
kitchen tools: a boning knife, a bag, aluminum foil, baking sheet or dish

Steps:
1.  Rinse and thoroughly dry your whole chicken.  Identify the shoulder joint of the chicken (it helps to move its arm a bit back and forth).  Insert a boning knife into the middle of the joint, cutting the soft cartilage (between the bones) to separate the arm from the body at the shoulder.

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2.  Separate the upper arm from the lower arm at the elbow.  Again, it helps to “bend” the elbow to see the joint action so you know where to carve.  Set aside the lower arm (hand and forearm) for your broth.  We will work with the upper arm.

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3.  With the largest bony end (the shoulder bone) facing upward, use your knife to cut away the white ligaments, any skin and connecting tissue in a perimeter around the bone. Slide the knife slightly up the bone to loosen the meat, exposing the bone itself.

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4.  Holding the the base of the bone in your left fist, squeeze your thumb and first finger together around the area that you exposed.  With your right palm, press down on the meat-end as you continue to squeeze with your left first, which will “slip” the meat up the bone, and leave you with a mound of meat in the shape of a lollipop (or little tree).   You can coax and shape the meat with your hand. Voila, a lollipop!

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5.  If you’re feeling confident, you may repeat these actions on the lower arm.  It’s a bit trickier, because you must remove the tinier of the two bones so you are left with only one “lollipop stem.”  Otherwise just reserve the lower arm sections to use in the bone broth.

6.  Fill a small bag with your seasoning mix (I used an empty coffee bag I had saved, but a lunch sack, ziplock or plastic grocery bag will do).  I listed a very basic one, but any seasoning you love will work – piri piri, herbs, get creative! Place the lollipops inside, and shake to coat.

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7.  Place the lollipops in a small baking dish or baking sheet lined with aluminum foil.  Bake in the oven at 150 degrees Celsius for 20-25 minutes (ideally alongside your whole roasting chicken).  Devour while warm.

Outfit: Working Girl

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The biggest challenge I face when shopping for a great work wardrobe is finding outfits that are flattering, versatile, affordable and that look good on camera. I have found that mixing and matching skirts and tops is one way to expand the life of my closet, and by pairing pricier accessories with my cost-effective ensembles the overall look instantly appears more expensive. I wore this outfit last week on New York Street (the set of “Brooklyn Nine-Nine”) as I interviewed Rachel Melvin from “Dumb and Dumber To.” The skirt and top cost less than $100 total but when paired with a nice bag, sunglasses, and jewelry, it looked tres chic! How do you pair high and low?

Outfit details: top, skirt, heels, bracelet, purse, sunglasses 

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Introducing Madewell + Sézane

Madewell + Sezane

Madewell recently launched their collaboration with the cult-favorite Parisien label Sézane and I couldn’t be more excited about it. The 14-piece capsule collection is understated, sophisticated and functional and is the perfect way to introduce a little French style into your wardrobe.

When speaking about the inspiration for the collection, Sézane designer Morgane Sezalory said, “I wanted to strike a balance between our two cities, Paris and New York. I imagined pieces for two women. First, a French woman trying to “fit” in New York — she wants to be chic, but cool and casual in that way Americans do so well. Then, I thought about an American woman wanting to bring a Parisian touch to her wardrobe. The colors are quiet, heels aren’t too high.”

While it was extremely hard to narrow down my choices, I decided I couldn’t live without the ankle-wrap boots, the haspen sweater and the nola satchel! You can shop the entire collection here.

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Images Courtesy of madewell and journal sezane

A GLIMPSE…

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At least once a week, I rendezvous with friends over caffeine at Alfred Coffee & Kitchen. Obviously, this week was no different. It’s the perfect cozy spot for a catch up session and it’s right outside my door.

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One of the things I love most about my job is that I get to interview celebrities about their upcoming projects. This week was extra special because I got to interview my friend, Rachel Melvin, about her upcoming role in “Dumb and Dumber To.”

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My favorite way to unwind after a long week of work is with a calming evening hike at Runyon Canyon. This week was particularly grueling so I made sure to take in the view and a lot of fresh air at the top.

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I started this week off right by attending church and having a healthy brunch at Cafe Gratitude with one of my favorite ladies. Order the I Am Bonita. It’s everything!

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I got into the Halloween spirit with a trek to Underwood Family Farms last weekend where I adopted a hefty, round pumpkin from the patch.

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After work one night this week, I jetted off to Santa Monica to attend Keltie Knight‘s magazine signing at Barnes and Noble. I’m lucky enough to work with this rockstar everyday at “The Insider.” She is beautiful inside and out and if you are looking for a bit of motivation, pick up Indie Chick magazine and read all about her killer outlook on life.

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I screamed at the top of my lungs at the Los Angeles Haunted Hayride at Griffith Park. I’m such a chicken.

Friday Link Love from Helsinki

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Happy Friday from Finland!   I’m in Helsinki taking a two-day yoga workshop with the “teacher of teachers,” Aadil Palkhivala.  Aadil himself is a towering figure, a scientific and scholarly man who holds degrees in law, mathematics and physics, a skilled student of the late B.K.S. Iyengar, a gifted yoga teacher, and (perhaps most notably) he is always smiling wildly.  Aadil’s book Fire of Love is a collection of essays on topics like integrity, respect, and finding your life’s purpose.  It moved me so thoroughly I have read it twice and gifted it four times.  This is my second opportunity to study with Aadil, and I am especially grateful to be continuing my yoga education with high-quality people in such a beautiful setting. For a magical touch, we have a fresh dusting of snow on the ground.

Finland is also dear to my heart because my family is part Finnish. My maternal great-grandmother, Lula Malonen, was born in Finland. My Grandmary tells many lovely stories about her mother who was a champion ice skater in her day! I am so excited to be on a miniature trip to a land of my heritage.  Steve arrives in a few hours and together we’ll explore Helsinki. I promise to take pictures and share them with you in a later post.  How about you – what will you get up to this weekend? I hope you have a wonderful few days ahead, and keep reading for my selection of links from around the web.

1.  Valero Doval’s haunted house collages put me in the Halloween spirit.

2.  I’m dying to visit this innovative space in SoHo.

3.  I want Mimi Thorisson’s lifestyle, but I will settle for this instead.

4.  Turns out “nature in the city is essential to maintain people’s sanity,” and that’s why public parks are full of squirrels.

5.  The lead singer from Edward Sharpe has a solo career, and I have his song on repeat.

6.  I am crazy for these Zara edits, especially by Garance Doré and Carlotta Oddi!

7.  How to estimate when people will arrive at your party.

8.  You still have a few hours left to enter one this fantastic Minted giveaway!

9.  Why connecting to public wifi can be dangerous.

A Jazzy Halloween Mix Tape

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Holiday entertaining might just be my favorite thing and Halloween is no exception. Every October I host a scary outdoor movie on my lawn and it’s a tradition I look forward to continuing for years to come. But this Halloween, I wanted to start a new tradition by hosting a relaxed cocktail hour for my closest girlfriends complete with Black Lagoon libations. Since I am a self-proclaimed mix tape connoisseur, I quickly began compiling the perfect playlist to accompany the evening. Whether you’re carving pumpkins with loved ones, throwing back festive cocktails with friends, or handing out candy to trick-or-treaters, play this jazzy Halloween music and get in the spooky spirit.

DIY Power Drill Pumpkin Carving

DIY Carving Pumpkins with a Drill

In the spirit of our Halloween-themed week, I put my pumpkin carving skills to the test! Always one to seek out creative alternatives to standard practices, I tried my hand at carving pumpkins with a power drill this year! Using a drill is a simple way to achieve impressive results. I came up with three different drilled designs: a simple graduated polka-dot pattern, a (sort of) traditional jack-o-lantern, and an intricate star-burst. I love the way my pumpkins turned out and if you follow these easy steps, I am sure you will too!

You will need:

Pumpkin(s)
Large spoon
Serrated knives
Marker or pen
Drill and drill bits
Graphic Template (optional)
Tape
Nail, thumbtack or awl
Tea light candles

Directions: 

1. Carefully cut a circle around the stem with a sharp serrated knife and gently remove. Be sure to cut at an angle so the top won’t fall in when your hole is complete.

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2. Clean up the top by cutting off the seeds.

3. Remove pumpkin innards and scoop out the flesh until the inside of the pumpkin is completely clean. *Save the seeds from this step for roasting! Recipe below…

4. If you want to make a specific design (i wanted a star-burst effect for one of my pumpkins), sketch it out on paper first to use as a template. Then tape the paper to the pumpkin and poke pilot holes along the lines of your template, tracing the design onto the pumpkin using a thumbtack, nail or awl. You can also freestyle it or use a pen to mark out a geometric design, a classic jack-o-lantern, or randomly spaced dots!

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Pumpkin Carving with a Drill

5. Using any size drill bit you prefer (I used 3 different sizes), carefully begin to drill your holes. The more holes you make the more the light will shine through!

Pumpkin Carving with a Drill

6. Clean off your pumpkin using a damp towel. If you’re slightly neurotic like me, you can use q-tips to remove any residue from inside the holes.

7. When you are finished, place 3 tea-light candles (real or flame-less) inside each of your pumpkins and light.

Pumpkin Carving with a Drill

8. Place the tops back on the pumpkins and enjoy!

Pumpkin Carving  with a Drill

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Ingredients:

Pumpkin Seeds
Olive Oil
Sea Salt

Directions: 

1. Place the pumpkin seeds in a colander and rinse them with water to separate the seeds from everything else.
2. Pat seeds dry with paper towel
3. Preheat the oven to 350°F
4. Toss the seeds with olive oil until lightly coated and sprinkle with sea salt to taste
5. Spread the seeds out over the roasting pan in a single layer
6. Bake on the top rack until the seeds begin to brown, 5-20 minutes, depending on the size of the seeds.
7. Keep an eye on the pumpkin seeds so they don’t get over toasted. When lightly browned, remove the pan from the oven and let cool on a rack before eating.

I prefer my pumpkin seeds simple and salty, but the possibilities are endless. Try mixing them with old bay, soy sauce, paprika, or even a bit of chili powder!

Sea Salt Pumpkin Seed Recipe

Halloween Costume Inspiration: Red Riding Hood and the Wolf

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I can still remember the exact moment in 2009 when I found this editorial as I flipped through my September issue of Vogue.   I vowed to myself that one Halloween I’d emulate the gorgeous spread and dress as Red Riding Hood with Steve as the Wolf!  I love these images because they are timeless and evoke many elements of the season.  We have a perfectly grim (Grimm) storyline, a saturated color palette of red, orange and black, her wild grey coiff, and both models are seriously dressed up. I especially appreciate the element of terror that editor Grace Coddington included. Most of the Halloween costume inspiration I find is overtly sexy and not warm enough to wear outdoors. On the contrary, this is sensible, beautiful and dark.

To recreate the Red Riding Hood look, I would start by sifting through my closet for red and black pieces. I might choose an oversized burgundy blazer with black leather leggings and ankle boots. If your closet yields few options, first check your local second-hand stores (Goodwill, Salvation Army, and Oxfam are great). If all else fails, hit the stores – but choose an item you’ll get real-life wear out of! For a formal affair, I’d pair this scarlet dress with a burgundy pashmina and heeled, knee-high boots.  I found few other candy-apple-red dress options here and here, and this one even has a cape detail!  The finishing touch will be the wild, teased gray hair you sport with a bold red lip.  Carry a woven basket filled with red apples as a prop (she’s going to visit Grandma, after all).  To create the wolf, simply locate an all-black tux or sport suit from the depths of your wolf’s closet (bonus for coattails), and top it off with a terrific mask!

Fun fact: costumes are called “fancy dress” here in the UK!  I am quite certain these images are the definition of fancy dress.  Will you don a Halloween costume this season?  What will you go as?!

natalia vodianova into the woods by mert marcus for vogue

Into the woods natalia vodianova by mert marcus for vogue

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Credits:
Editorial Title: Into the Woods
Magazine: Vogue US September 2009
Model: Natalia Vodianova
Photographers: Mert Alas & Marcus Piggott
Photos discovered via Fashion Gone Rogue