Haute Off The Hanger

Haute Off The Hanger

With about a week until Christmas, you should have your gifts wrapped and all of the ingredients for your holiday meal. Right? Well, not in my world. If you are still struggling to find the perfect gift for your hard-to-please friend or guy who has EVERYTHING, you are not alone (check out my gift guides for some inspiration!). Each year I promise myself that next year I will start shopping earlier. Then next year comes around and I am busy with all sorts of things leading up to the holidays, and before you know it the first week of December turns into the third and then you realize Christmas is only a few short days away. It happens every year!

Hopefully you have planned for these such occasions – and the only thing left on your to-do list is picking your outfit for the myriad of holiday parties you have been invited to attend. Whether you are keeping it casual this year, or stopping at the office party straight from work, you can’t go wrong with metallic or red hues. And if you need some outfit help for your guy, head over to my friend Christina’s blog, Musings of a Mom,{Esq.}, for some great picks that are sure to keep him looking stylish from head to toe!

How to Prepare Lobster for The Holidays

How to Make Lobster Quesadillas

If there is one dish I truly love it is lobster. When I was growing up, Surf and Turf was a favorite holiday meal and always a real treat. And since the holidays are upon us, I thought I would try my hand at making lobster…but not just any lobster dish. Lobster quesadillas make great appetizers and are sure to be a crowd-pleaser.

You’ll be happy to hear that cooking a lobster is not as challenging as it might seem. By following a few simple steps, your lobster can taste as good as those served in restaurants.

* Defrosted lobster tail (you can cook it frozen, but it will take longer)
* Butter
* Salt
* Garlic Powder
* Lemon

I chose to broil my lobster in the oven, but you could grill or boil it if you prefer. Before preparing your lobster, preheat your oven to 500 degrees. Next, melt butter and add salt, lemon, and garlic powder to your liking in a small bowl.

To Prepare the Lobster:

1. Cut the back of the lobster shell down the right and left side all the way to the bottom. Once at the bottom, cut across and remove that part the shell.

How to Prepare Lobster

2. Rinse the lobster to remove any remaining shell fragments.

3. Once the lobster is dry, drizzle the melted butter, salt, lemon, and garlic powder onto the lobster meat. *Make sure you have enough liquid on the lobster to prevent it from drying out, and re-apply as needed.

How to Prepare Lobster

4. Depending on the size of your lobster (and whether it was frozen), it will need about one minute of cooking per ounce. My lobster tail was small (about 4 ounces), but it was not completely defrosted and took about 10 minutes to cook. Keep an eye on your lobster and check the internal temperature regularly. Once it reaches 145 degrees it is done. Be careful not to over-cook the lobster or it will become rubbery.

I added the melted butter, garlic powder, lemon, and salt mixture every time I checked the lobster. It helped keep it moist and gave it flavor. After your lobster is cooked, you can serve it as Surf and Turf or you can make quesadillas.

To Make Lobster Quesadillas:

I posted my chicken quesadillas recipe on the blog in March 2014, but for a refresher, here is what you will need.

* Flour tortilla (make sure it is large enough to stuff and fold in half)
* Cooked Lobster
* Shredded Cheese
* Scallions (optional)

What I enjoy about quesadillas is that you can add any ingredients you like and make the dish your own. At Del Fuego, one of my favorite Mexican restaurants on Long Island, they make their lobster quesadillas with local corn and Chipotle-honey butter.

1. In a large pan, add a drop of oil and lightly warm both sides of the tortilla. I start off on high heat and keep it at a medium level once the tortilla is in the pan. A minute on both sides should be all you need.

2. Next, add your lobster, cheese and vegetables to one side of the tortilla. Fold the tortilla in half and gently flip to cook the other side. I usually cook it about 3 minutes per side or until the cheese melts.

How to Prepare Lobster Quesadillas

3. Once the tortilla is golden brown on both sides it is ready to serve and enjoy!

How to Prepare Lobster Quesadillas

So, if you find yourself needing an appetizer or even a main dish for your holiday party, you can’t go wrong with either the Surf and Turf option or lobster quesadillas!

Holiday Décor

Holiday Decor

Even though there are officially ten more days until the start of winter, I feel like it has arrived on Long Island (so, you don’t mind if I declare it winter already, do you?). I have seen snowflakes, driven through a mini-blizzard, spent precious time in the morning freeing my car of snow, and had to break out my hardcore winter coat. So yes, my friends, winter is here. Is it too early to begin the countdown to summer?

This past week, after vacillating daily about whether or not to put a tree up this year, I decided that it just wouldn’t be the holidays without one. In my adult life, I have been putting up a tree for the last six holiday seasons. And while I don’t enjoy the physical aspect of going to select a tree (I always pick the coldest, rainiest, or snowiest days!), I do enjoy the smell of a real tree and the ornaments, some of which are from my childhood. Spending a day listening to random songs on my Ipod while first layering the lights and garland, and then moving on to the ornaments is always enjoyable.

Now that the tree is up, I hope I will feel inspired to start my holiday shopping. Still have ladies, gentlemen and co-workers on your list who are present-less? Well, I’ve curated a few gift guides to help you out!

Happy Friday!

Under $25 Gift Guide: For Co-Workers

The holiday guide is wrapping up, but not without a few gift ideas for your co-workers. This year my office is having a White Elephant gift exchange. Ever hear of it? The premise is that you buy a silly gift — something you wouldn’t ordinarily give someone. Then you pick a number. The lowest number goes first and selects an anonymous gift. Then another person picks a gift and they can either keep it or steal someone else’s. It continues like this until all of the presents are opened. For my gift, I opted for something that was slightly trivial, but also useful.

But for this guide, I curated items that you would actually want to give your co-workers (and receive!). And the best part is that all of the gifts on the list are under $25!

Under $25 Gift Guide: For Co-Workers

Gift Guide: For Him

This gift guide would not be complete without something for the gentleman in your life! From the preppy, to the outdoorsy, to the polished professional and the world traveler, this list has something for everyone. Ties always make great gifts (I’m loving the exposed gear cuff links, too!), but if you’re searching for something more rugged, you can’t go wrong with a North Face jacket or a tech gift from Restoration Hardware.

Gift Guide: For Him

Gift Guide: For Her

With slightly more than two weeks until the holidays, I’m rounding up some of my favorite gifts this year. If you haven’t started your holiday shopping (don’t worry, you aren’t alone), here are some gifts any woman would love.

Gift Guide: For Her

Lipstick Loves

Ever since developing a lipstick obsession, I cannot walk into Ulta (or any other beauty store, for that matter) without making a new purchase. During the summer months, my go-to shades were bold and bright — Maybelline’s Coral Crush and Stila’s Stay All Day liquid lipstick in Carina. Now that the winter is upon us, I’m searching for more weather-appropriate shades.

Maybelline Lipstick - Are You Red-dy

A classic red was first up on my list, and seeing how well Maybelline’s colors performed during the warm summer months, I was drawn to their selection. Are Your Red-dy caught my attention. It was the perfect mix between classic and bold, and would go with everything. Funny side-note: a couple of weeks after I purchased the lipstick I was out to lunch with my friend Cathy. After our meal, we both reached into our bags for our lipsticks. I remarked at how much I liked the color she had on, and as she read the number off the bottom we realized we were both wearing the same shade!

NARS semi-matte lipstick - Charlotte

Next up was a nice dark berry color. I wanted something dramatic yet still be suitable for the office. NARS semi-matte lipstick has been on my list of brands to try – and after seeing a few of their darker shades, I knew it would be a match. I instantly snagged Charlotte, a rich deep berry that seemed to meet my requirements. A few days later I applied the lipstick in preparation for a day of shopping and errands. I was impressed with its staying power, and it didn’t dry my lips out. It will be one of my winter staples for a long time to come.

What are some of your favorite winter shades?

Cyber Monday is Here!

Cyber Monday 2014

I hope you all had a Happy Thanksgiving — and have lots of leftovers to enjoy for a few days! Did you venture out on Black Friday for all the steals and deals, or did you stay in and relax after an exhausting day of cooking? Well, against my better judgement, I braved the crowds and made my way to the mall to do some shopping. All I can say is — never again! Every store I went into looked the same. They all had long lines and/or were out of what I was looking for. After striking out at almost every store, I decided to call it quits and just wait for Cyber Monday to arrive. So, if you’re like me, you are looking forward to doing all of your holiday shopping from the comfort of your own home this year. And that Black Friday shopping excursion? It was a momentary lapse in judgment!

Here’s where I’ll be “shopping” today:

Banana Republic: 40% off your online purchase at Banana Republic, Gap and Old Navy. Enter code CYBER at checkout.

Bloomingdales: 25% off regular – and sale-price items.

Loft: 50% off everything with code MONDAY

White House Black Market: 30% off your entire purchase. Use code 19959.

Anthropologie: 20% off all sale items with code EXTRAJOLLY.

Happy Shopping!

Watch Your Style

How do you keep track of time? Unlike other accessories, a watch needs to be both chic and functional. It’s a simple everyday item, but a good watch can elevate any style. When I was introduced to Invaluable, the world’s largest online auction marketplace, I decided to design a look around one of their men’s watches. I knew it would need to be a piece that could go from desk to dinner and withstand anything in between. If you are unfamiliar with Invaluable, they aren’t strictly a place to find high-end watches. Their auction items include antiques, art, jewelry, and other collectibles.

Cartier Watch - invaluable.com

For my look, I was inspired to find a watch that was borrowed from the boys, but still elegant enough for a woman to wear. Naturally, Cartier came to mind. A pioneer in fine jewelry since 1847, Cartier has a reputation for quality and perfection that is hard to match. Take a look at the Ballon Bleu pictured above. It is everything a woman could want in a watch – it’s stylish, sleek, and an exquisite piece of jewelry. Perfect for the office, nights out, or just the everyday, this watch will complement any outfit — while keeping you prompt!

Watch Your Style

Watch image courtesy of Invaluable.com.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wild Turkey Crossing - Long Island, NY

{Turkey Crossing}

I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving that is spent with loved ones!

On my way to work earlier in the week, I was delayed by a group of wild turkeys crossing the road. I couldn’t help but to stop and marvel at the sight…and then snap a photo, of course!

Here are some facts about wild turkeys:

1. Wild turkeys almost became extinct in the 1930’s.

2. A turkey’s body is covered with 5,000 – 6,000 feathers.

3. Turkey’s see in color and have excellent vision during the day, but do not see as well at night.

4. They can move at speeds up to 25 mph on the ground, and fly at speeds up to 55 mph (impressive for their size!).

5. Today, there are more than 7 million turkeys in North America!

Happy Thanksgiving!