Every year since 2010, when December rolls around I host a little get together with my friends. We call it a cookie exchange but we stopped following the typical rules years ago when we began to understand the need for “real food” when drinking Champagne and eating cookies. One of my favorite things about a party like this is sending guests home with a little something special, something that will last a few more weeks than a tin of cookies. So as a parting favor, I made my favorite bath salt blend!
I filled Weck jars with a mix of my favorite essential oils and salts and created a hand-drawn label for the top. The inspiration of the hand-drawn type came from vintage cookie tins I saw in Paris, which seemed appropriate given the occasion. I love how it turned out and can’t wait to find more uses for it in the future.
I find these salts great for soothing sore muscles and softening skin. The scents are a great bonus as they are very calming and uplifting. Sage is also known to reduce inflammation which is particularly good after a long day of walking around NYC. I’m very excited to offer a free download of the label I created and the recipe for my favorite bath salts. Click on “Shop” at the top of the page!
Below are some of my favorite shots from the party.
We had the perfect brunch spread this year, quiche Lorraine, pistachio thumbprints, cookies with Nutella, snickerdoodles, clementine cake, pecan sticky buns, lemony kale salad, and peppermint marshmallows. I picked up some greenery and satsumas from Whole Foods for the table runner and placed some red berry branches in my Paris flea market pitcher for the centerpiece. This year we finally took the time to put up a tree, our very first in NYC! I much prefer the idea of collecting ornaments over the years rather than filling our tree in one fell swoop. This year it is a bit sparse but I think a taxi cab with a tree on top and a Royals World Series champs ornament are a good start.
My friend Tara was in town from DC for the weekend, she helped me make Smitten Kitchen's Pecan Sticky Buns. We laughed about how we always tend to shy away from yeast doughs as if they are somehow mysterious and complicated to make. If you’re new to this I can assure you this is not the case. This recipe is so simple to follow, a great place to start if you’re new to the yeast game. These sticky buns are incredible right out of the oven. You can even assemble them a day ahead of time and bake the day of.
Having friends that go as far back as these is a rarity. I’ve known these girls since high school, a few of them go back as far as grade school. It seems that anytime we get together it’s a nonstop roar of laughter from beginning to end. Maria’s husband, Conor, calls us “The Giggle Factory” and I have to say that’s a pretty accurate description. It’s very comforting to know that even though so many things have changed, kids born and more on the way, we can still take the time to appreciate each other’s company and enjoy the finer things outside of our day to day lives.