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Friday
Dec272013

Leckerlee Lebkuchen

If you have a craving for authentic German lebkuchen, Leckerlee makes some delectable treats to make your taste buds sing with joy. Based in NYC, Sandy Lee's Nuremberg-style gingerbread cookies are the real deal. I've been searching high and low for a quality version and her recipe is amazing. Soft and fragrant with a slight chew, these spiced cookies have a tender cake-like texture. You can get both sugar glazed and chocolate covered options. It's usually made for the holidays but I can eat this year-round!

Available at leckerlee.com. They're also on sale at www.williams-sonoma.com for a limited time. 

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Thursday
Dec192013

The BB Cream With Picture-Perfect Results

Sponsored by Revlon via Glam Media. 

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Tuesday
Dec172013

Nona Lim Soups

Some days you're so exhausted you don't want to lift a finger to make dinner happen. Thankfully, Nona Lim soups come to the rescue. Made with local, GMO-free ingredients, you can rock a delicious meal within minutes. The company uses organic ingredients when possible and each product is packaged in BPA-free packaging. Just snip the package, pour, heat, and enjoy. 

I liked the flavorful Zucchini Soup much more than I thought I would. The Carrot Ginger was quite rich and creamy – easily my favorite. Thanks to the addition of coconut milk, you won't miss the dairy at all. I also can't believe it's only 70 calories per serving. There are no preservatives, additives, dairy or gluten.

For those cutting down on sodium there is a lighter version of French Onion Soup. I found both Red Lentil Veggie and Asian Lemongrass options to be too light for my taste. Both could use more vegetables to give it more texture and depth. Nevertheless, these soups are a great alternative for busy folks who want healthier meal choices.

To shop online or locate stores: nonalim.com.

For editorial consideration, review samples were provided by the brand's PR representative.

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Friday
Dec132013

Shu Uemura Lip & Cheek Fun-tasy

Based on the 6 Heart Princess animation film, the Lip & Cheek Fun-tasy makeup tint is part of the Shu Uemura holiday 2013 collection by Takashi Murakami. A tiny squeeze, about 1-2 pinhead drops, is all you really need for proper coverage. The Fuchsia Fun-tasy shade looks like neon pink out of the tube but it will be a much gentler shade once you blend it on your cheeks. As a lip color, it will enhance your natural lip color with just a tinge of fresh pink. 

Easy to blend and long-lasting (5-6 hours), you can tuck this in your clutch or jean pocket for quick emergency touch-ups. It's also available in four other shades: Dream Pink, Heroin Rose, Princess Coral, and Magical Red. 

$25 each. Available for a limited time at www.shuuemura-usa.com

For editorial consideration, review samples were provided by the brand's PR representative.

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Thursday
Dec122013

Yosh Han Appearance at Barneys New York

Artisan parfumeur Yosh Han will be making a few special appearances at Barneys New York to debut KÖNIG, her latest men's fragrance. Scented aura portraits will also be tailored for each lucky client — if you haven't experienced it yet this is your last chance for the year. Call and book your 15-minute appointment soon!

Yosh's tour schedule: 

Friday, December 13 – Scottsdale store; 1-6PM
Tuesday, December 17 – Beverly Hills store (call for appointment times)
Thursday, December 19 – Seattle store; 1-6PM 
Friday, December 20 – San Francisco store; 1-6PM

 

To learn more about Yosh: www.eaudeyosh.com

 

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Tuesday
Dec102013

San Francisco Chef's Table

My friend and award-winning food journalist Carolyn Jung just debuted her new book, "San Francisco Chef's Table" (Lyons Press, $24.95). A stunning collection of mouth-watering recipes from the SF Bay Area's finest chefs, this is one cookbook you'll want to refer to again and again. 

I had the pleasure and honor of testing several recipes from the book so I know Carolyn's book is a keeper. It's also a fabulous gift for any home cook or gourmand in your life. As a native San Franciscan I couldn't be more proud to see 50 notable restaurants represented in this stellar collection of recipes. For example, you'll discover culinary magic from the likes of State Bird Provisions, Absinthe, Cotogna, Town Hall and Kokkari.  

I'm including the amazing Hazelnut Semifreddo recipe from Oliveto below. It's a bit more work than a typical semifreddo recipe, but trust me, your eyes will roll backward in heavenly bliss when you taste the results. 

Hazelnut Semifreddo

(Serves 8–10)

For the semifreddo:

11/2 cups hazelnuts
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup water
2 cups heavy cream
6 egg whites
3/4 cup granulated sugar
Pinch of salt


For the bourbon whipped cream:

2 cups heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 pinches salt
1 ounce (2 tablespoons) bourbon

 

Image credit: Craig Lee

 

To make the semifreddo: Toast the hazelnuts in a 375°F oven for about 6 minutes. Remove from oven and, when cool enough to handle, remove as much of their skins as possible. 

Place a silicone baking mat or greased sheet of aluminum foil on a baking pan. Set aside.

In a small saucepan over high heat, heat sugar and water until a light amber color is reached,
6–7 minutes. Stir in hazelnuts, then quickly spread the mixture out on the mat or greased foil. Let mixture cool and harden, about 15–20 minutes. Then grind the mixture in a food processor until a medium-fine texture is reached.

Line a standard-sized loaf pan with enough plastic wrap that the edges hang slightly over the sides. This will make unmolding the semifreddo much easier. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whip 2 cups heavy cream to a stiff peak; refrigerate. 

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip egg whites to a soft peak. Slowly add sugar as you continue to whip the egg whites until a stiff peak is reached. Gently fold nut mixture into the meringue. Then fold in the whipped cream and a pinch of salt. Spoon into the lined loaf pan, filling it nearly to the top. Smooth the top with an offset spatula. (If the semifreddo mixture doesn’t all fit into the loaf pan, the excess can be put into a small freezer-safe container and eaten as an extra treat.) Carefully cover the loaf pan with another sheet of plastic wrap. Place pan in the freezer for at least 4 hours or overnight. (The semifreddo will keep in the freezer for 3–4 days.)

To make the bourbon whipped cream: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat 2 cups heavy cream until a soft peak is reached. Add sugar and salt. Continue to whip until the stiff peak stage is reached. Fold in the bourbon. Refrigerate if not using immediately.

To serve: Remove semifreddo from the freezer. Peel plastic wrap off the top. To unmold, carefully flip the semifreddo onto a serving plate. Remove plastic wrap lining. Cut into slices, placing each on a plate and dolloping with bourbon whipped cream. 

To buy Carolyn's book, head on over to Amazon. Be sure to check out her blog at www.foodgal.com.

Recipe used with permission from Lyons Press. Photography credit: Craig Lee. 

For editorial consideration, a review book copy was provided by a PR representative.

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Thursday
Dec052013

Luxury Beauty Gifts

Need something luxe for a beauty maven? We have the ideal gift ideas for the special lady who has it all.

Partnering with Swarovski Elements, the iconic SK-II Facial Treatment Essence is housed in a sparkly limited edition Xillion cut bottle. Containing at least 90% pitera essence, this famous skincare ingredient will make the visage shine with renewed radiance. $195; saks.com.

Dolce & Gabbana has a fabulously silky The Eyeshadow Smooth Eye Colour Duo in Laguna 150. The gorgeous matte aqua and satin forest green combination is extremely blendable with a minimum 8-hour wearing time. Wear each shade alone, or combine for a fun look. $42; sephora.com.

The Shu Uemura Basics Set is perfect for any Shu Uemura makeup fan or for introducing a friend to the cult brand. The set includes an Eyelash Curler, Rouge Unlimited Supreme Shine, Painting Liner, Hard Formula brow pencil, and Ultimate Natural Mascara. $95 ($126 value); www.shuuemura-usa.com.

Sensai by Kanebo offers a luxurious The Lipstick, an anti-aging color treatment. Fantastically creamy and moisturizing, the shine formula contains Golden Phyto Extract to firm and refine the delicate lip area. $55; www.neimanmarcus.com.

Aftelier has an exquisite and rare collection of antique compacts, watch cases, and patch boxes, all of which can be filled with the Aftelier perfume solid of your choice. $150-$580 (prices include perfume solid); www.aftelier.com.

Long-lasting with a natural and semi-sheer finish, the Dolce & Gabbana The Blush Luminous Cheek Colour in Provocative 40 (cool bubblegum pink) adds a bright and youthful freshness to the cheeks. The soft cheek brush also deposits the right amount of product to the skin. $45; www.saksfifthavenue.com.

For editorial consideration, review samples were provided by the brand's PR representative.

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Wednesday
Dec042013

Holiday Gifts for Men

Don't know what to get your man for the holidays? Keep your special guy handsome and well-groomed with these thoughtful gifts:

An amazing new blend that's fit for kings, Konig by San Franciscan parfumeur Yosh Han is sure to astonish the most discerning fragrance connoisseur. Aroma notes include aromatic bitters, sage, cypress, red apple, smoky papyrus, snow flowers, bois des landes, vetiver, white musk, saddle leather, amber and firewood. 1.7 oz eau de parfum, $130; www.eaudeyosh.com.

 

AMI Alexandre Mattiussi designs well-tailored clothing at reasonable prices and this Micro Stripe Button Down Shirt is no exception. The red felt patch pocket makes it a bit whimsical and cheerful for the holidays. $260; www.barneys.com

 

Produced in San Francisco, this gorgeous slim-fit Shetland pea coat from Golden Bear has a standup collar and leather detailing. $625; unionmadegoods.com.

 

This wool blend UN-IT-Y Plaid Scarf has a fun graphic print pattern, making it stand out from a sea of dark plain scarves. $154; man.totokaelo.com.

 

Need another fragrance option? The fresh and woody Chrome United by Azzaro will be a crowd pleaser. Notes include bergamot, coriander, Ceylon black tea and cedar wood. Available in 1.7 and 3.4 oz eau de toilette. $56-$76; Macys.com.


Step out in style with these Camper MIL shoes. The deep turquoise sole offers a fun splash of bright color. $180; www.camper.com.

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Tuesday
Dec032013

Holiday Fashion Gifts

For the gal who loves luxury and style, these fashionable gifts will enhance her winter wardrobe. Read on for our drool-worthy gift ideas:

Need something adorable yet refined? These Twig & Thorn Pine Gold Drop Earrings provide whimsical elegance for all sartorial looks. $165; twigthorn.com

 

Keep hands toasty with these Etre Touchy Hand-stitched Leather Gloves. The missing thumb and index fingertips give you the freedom to easily use your cell phone. Made from Cabretta leather, it is available in olive, navy, and navy with red contrast stitching. $408 USD/£250 GBP; http://www.etreshop.com.

You can never go wrong with one of James Perse's body-skimming jersey dresses. This Colorblocked Skinny Dress will be great year-round for almost any occasion. $225; /www.jamesperse.com.

 

Love hats? Consider a custom-made one from Behida Dolic. You can choose any color, style, threading, and buttons to match any need and occasion. This classic green cloche is especially chic for cold weather outfits. $335; www.etsy.com/shop/yellowfield7

 

This metallic gold Il Bisonte Chain Strap Clutch is ideal for all evening soirees. Made in Italy with premium leather, the gold chain strap is removable. This style also comes in red and natural options. $410; www.millmercantile.com.

 

For statement jewelry try this hand cut Virginie Millefiori Peter Pan Collar Necklace. Available in silver or gold-plated brass. $140; www.butterhomeseattle.com.

 

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Monday
Dec022013

Gourmet Holiday Gifts

Tired of giving the same food gifts for the holidays? The following suggestions below will make any recipient excited.

San Franciscan chocolate artisan Recchiuti Confections has an irresistible Christmas Stocking Box. Sixteen assorted pieces of their popular chocolate truffle flavors are included, such as the signature Burnt Caramel truffles. $45; www.recchiuti.com.

 

Clifford Bay's Marlborough 2010 Pinot Noir is an affordable selection to bring to any dinner party. Bright and velvety with dark cherry notes, it's also great for cooking. $15.99; www.wine.com.

 

Wild Ophelia chocolate bars make fun party favors or snacks for any upcoming holiday soiree. All featured ingredients are sourced from reputable farmers and artisans from around the nation and there are no preservatives. We recommend the Peanut Butter & Banana and Sweet Cherry Pecan flavors. $4.99; to find retailers: www.wildophelia.com.

 

Aftelier creates the most amazing teas. The tea connoisseur will swoon over Mandy Aftel's Organic Rose Ginger Oolong Tea. Also, don't forget to try her indispensable Chef's Essences. $25; www.aftelier.com.

Wooden Table Baking Co. makes the best alfajores and Buenos Aires native Andrea Ozzuna offers them in traditional, meringue, chocolate and gluten-free options. For a limited time, try her pumpkin spice alfajores. $22-$30 per box; www.buenosairesalfajores.com.

 

One can never have enough chocolate! La Boite of NYC has a stunning trio of Hot Chocolate & More blends that will tantalize any gourmet palate. The 54% cacao set includes Yemen (ginger and cinnamon), Orchidea (orchid root and Szechuan pepper) and Reims (honey, star anise, cinnamon, and ginger). $54; food52.com/provisions.

Credit: James Ransom

For editorial consideration, review samples were provided by the brand's PR representative.

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