8 Modern & Stylish Menorahs, Hanukkah Home Decor

Hanukkah is my  absolute favorite holiday. I love the songs, the family gatherings, the food, and the extra excuse to decorate in theme. At the center of the festiveness is a beautiful menorah. If you’re still on the hunt for a unique, modern menorah, take a look at the eight chic options I’ve uncovered. Not sure why I’m showing eight? Here’a quick 411 on what Hanukkah, aka the Festival of Lights, is all about.

Happy shopping and Happy Hanukkah.

1. Jonathan Adler Brass Bird Menorah, $350
2. Michael Aramicon Rock Menorah, $179
3. Marit Meisler Cement Menorah, $99 at The Jewish Museum Shops (normally $299)
4. Nelson Crossing Chanukah Menorah in Solid Walnut and Copper, $98
5. Jonathan Adler Ceramic Dachshund Menorah, $128
6. Mary Jurek Temple Menorah, $140
7. Michael Dreeben exclusively for The Jewish Museum Shops Sharsheret Link Brass Menorah, $958
8. Copa Judaica Family Elephants Menorah Ceramic, $105

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Hostess Gift Guide to Win Best Guest at Holiday Party

Having just hosted my first Thanksgiving, I know how hard (all-be-it-rewarding) it is to entertain nearly two dozen guests. If you are heading to a home party this holiday season, don’t forget a little hostess gift. From a luxurious box of teas, to a unique vase, look for gifts that can be useful during the soiree.

1. Natori Votive Set 3 Candles $65

2. Jonathan Adler I-Scream Vase $68

3. Kusmi Tea Wellness Teas Gift Set $34

4. L’Objeticon Malachite Tray $120-$195

5. Michael Aram Rock Cheeseboard & Knife Set $199

6. Jonathan Adler Animalia Coasters $78

7. Vosges Library of 12 Exotic Chocolate Bars $105

8. Tom Dixonicon Plum Cocktail Shaker $135

(Michael Aram Rock Wine Coaster shown in top image $99)

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Happy National Housewife Day, & Products that Improve Home Organization

It’s National Housewife Day.

According to Wikepidia, a housewife is “a woman whose main occupation is running or managing her family’s home—caring for and educating her children, cooking and storing food, buying goods the family needs in day-to-day life, cleaning and maintaining the home, making clothes for the family, etc.—and who is generally not employed outside the home.

OK, technically I’m not a real housewife on account of my employment outside the home, but the rest of the list is spot on. And, if I may toot my own horn – toot, toot – I’m becoming a better housewife every day. The key is prioritizing tasks, working efficiently and knowing when to ask for help.

Prioritizing – Sunday night or Monday morning, I make a dump list of everything that is on my mind. Then, I prioritize which items need to be handled on Monday, which need to be allocated for the rest of the week and which need to go in my “parking lot”.

  • TIP: “parking lot” board houses tasks/ideas/items that you will address at a later time. By parking them, you are giving them a temporary home without forgetting them. At the end of the week, review the board and decide if it’s time to place one of these tasks/ideas on your daily to-do list.

Working Efficiently – There’s no room for dilly dallying when you’re a super housewife. I can’t get sucked into sorting the mail, when I’m on my way to the office (aka computer in my bedroom) for the 1.5hr work period in the morning during David’s first nap. Picking up the phone and talking to my great-aunt for 30-minutes is plausible after 8pm, but a time zapper at 1pm. If I’m heading out of the house for groceries and I know the dry cleaners and bank are on the way, it’s important to plan ahead so that all tasks can be done in one swoop, as opposed to venturing out again and wasting time on two or three trips. You get the picture. Efficiency improves with time. I’m still a work in progress, but I have two tips.

  • TIP: List all the home-related tasks you know happen every week. Allocate set days for certain tasks, i.e. Monday is laundry day, Tuesday is grocery day.
  • TIP: For a week, keep a journal of all your activities. You may be surprised to spot pesky, time killers.

Asking for Help – When given the choice, I always prefer home cooking. However, with two little kids, a career I’m trying to keep alive, laundry, grocery shopping, and, of course, my need for me time, it’s difficult to find time for cooking. Fortunately, my mother-in-law lives blocks away and is a kitchen ninja. That woman can make a seven-course meal with sand and stones. Between her and my own mother and grandmother, I have the culinary support needed to fuel my family. Knowing when to ask for help in any career, including that of a housewife, is essential to running a successful business aka family.

  • TIP: Show your thanks with a brief thank-you card or flowers. Mother-in-laws, also enjoy spa packages.

Here are some clever products to help you become an amazing, well-organized, never-forgets-a-thing, and always-looks-fabulous housewife.

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1. ShugabeeLane, Framed Dry Erase Board $159 – Ideal for your “Parking Lot”, this Etsy vendor lets you customize the frame around your erase board.
2. Knock Knock, Check It Off Wrist Note $6 – This is an ingenious essential! Now, I’ll never forget those easy-to-forget tasks.
3. Bob’s Your Uncle, 8 Days-A-Week Planner $18 – Keep this by your computer area or in your purse, for instant access. The extra 8th-day, space is great for items you can later put on your parking lot.
4. Erin Condren, Weekly Schedule Pad- oh! what a week! $30 – This is way chicer than the hand-made, calendar currently hanging in my kitchen.

The Dump LIst

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Recipe: Simple & Yummy Butternut Squash Soup

I’ve always been intimidated by soups. In fact, prior to my daughter eating solid foods, I had never even made chicken broth. Yesterday, I took the plunge. The result:  a marvelous (totting my own horn!) Creamy Butternut Squash Soup that rivals some of the ones I’ve had at top restaurants. Enjoy the recipe I borrowed from Chow.com, and made some modifications. I picked this version because I liked how simple they made it to work with butternut squash. Those suckers are difficult to cut and the skin is very hard to peal. Slicing just in half (see image below), and placing the squash in the oven to bake, so that the flesh easily removes from the skin, is easy and gives me 50 minutes to play with the kids or work on another blog post.

INGREDIENTS 
2 medium size butternut squash, halved lengthwise and seeds removed
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 medium Granny Smith apple (I’m pretty sure I used Golden Delicious by accident … still tasted good)
1/2 medium yellow onion
4 fresh sage leaves (add more for extra flavor)
3 cups of home made chicken broth (it’s always low sodium!! Make a lot of broth and freeze it for the future.)
2 cups water
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more as needed
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more as needed
1/3 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup toasted pumpkin seeds, for garnish

INSTRUCTIONS
1. Heat the oven to 425°F and arrange a rack in the middle.
2. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Place the squash pieces cut-side up on the baking sheet. Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter and brush all of it over the tops and insides of the squash halves. Season generously with salt and pepper. (So I actyally forgot to season with salt and pepper, and it was fine. Opps.) Roast until knife tender, about 50 minutes to 1 hour.
3. Meanwhile, peel, core, and cut the apple into medium dice. Cut the onion into medium dice. Melt the remaining tablespoon of butter in a large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the apple, onion, and sage, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 7-10 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside.
4. When the squash is ready, set the baking sheet on a wire rack until the squash is cool enough to handle. Using a large spoon, scoop the flesh into the saucepan with the sautéed apples and onions; discard the skins.
5. Add the broth, water, and measured salt and pepper, stir to combine, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer, stirring occasionally and breaking up any large pieces of squash, until the flavors meld, about 15 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the cream.
6. Using a blender, purée the soup in batches until smooth. I used my beloved Magic Bullet! It’s become my best friend, in the kitchen.
7.Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed. Serve garnished with the pumpkin seeds, if using.

Malachite Jewelry and Home Decor Accents

Gold and malachite watches from Piaget. Simply stunning craftsmanship!
Malachite is one of my favorite stones due to its luxurious and vibrant green hue; and, thanks to my Russian heritage, I’ve been heavily exposed to this jem in jewelry and home décor. Until recent times, large quantities of malachite were mined in the Urals, Russia. In fact, there is an entire MalachiteRoom in the Hermitage, which I hope to see some day.
The Malachite Room at the Hermitage is classic, Russian opulence.
Malachite has been on my mind ever since I was gifted a gorgeous, Isharya pyramid malachite ring after hosting the Accessories Council’s Mother’s Day Gift Guide event. As many of you know from Instagram, the ring has been on my finger nearly every day for two weeks.
 
Here’s a roundup of some of my other favorite malachite items for spring/summer fashion and home décor.
 
I’m mad for malachite!
1. Stephanie Kantis, Malachite Button Ring, $475
2. Christian Dior China, Guadron -Malachite Green napkin rings circa 1990s, $49 
3. Isharya, Green Malachite Goddess Honeycomb Earrings, $218
4. Istdibs.comValerie Egee – Bronze Cuff Bracelet with Malachite and Rodocrosytis, Price Upon Request
5. Isharya, Green Malachite Goddess  Pyramid Ring, $78
6. L’objet, Malachite Espresso Cup & Saucer Gift box, $580
7. RubyLane.com19th Century French Figural Ormolu Bronze and Malachite Candlesticks, $3980
 
Gold with malachite is a lux way to dress up a dining table or office. If you’ve never shopped L’objet, I highly recommend the brand. As summer soirées roll in, this brand makes excellent hostess gifts. The packaging alone will wow your friends. 
L’objet malachite and gold dinnerware and hostess gifts.
L’objet malachite dinnerware

5 Stylish & Zen Ways To Channel Spring, Happy Spring Solstice

Happy Spring! Wait, it’s actually sunny today and above 40 degrees. I’ll take it! Us East Coaster are ready for the new season and I’m jumping in full force with a little decorating and style changes, and playful R&R.;

Here’s how I’m celebrated spring solstice:

1. Holding my belly and dancing to Pharrell  “Happy” song. I’ll have to have the hubby take a picture tonight.  

2. Swapping out my living room pillows for something a bit more yellow and joyful. I love these from the Happy Chic by Jonathan Adler collection for JCPenney. This man can do no wrong and these prices make me very, very, sunshine happy. 

Happy Chic by Jonathan Adler for JCPenney = happy living room

3. Making sure the hubby comes home today with fresh flowers. A few more calls to the office should do the trick!

Peonies are such a delicate flower, and a great way to welcome spring

4. Shopping for a pink coat – I’ve been seeing so many and it’s such a mood lifter.

1.ASOS Vintage Cocoon Coat, $207
2.Boss 
Cesinala Wool-Cashmere Coat, $417
3.
CHAREX Wool Coat, $54
1. REISS Regale Mandarin Collar Coat, $500
2. 
ASOS Skater Coat with Zip Front, $141

5. Heading for a walk in the park with my daughter. It’s 5pm and this mama needs to go play with her munchkin. 

Happy Spring. Enjoy and embrace the sunshine, ideally while wearing cute shoes ;-). 

Pregnant Girls Cocktail, Plus Repurposing Glass Bottles

I’m indulging in a Pregnant Girls Cocktail.

Fine, no alcohol. But, I want a fabulous glass for my drink!

Ingredients:
– Pretty Glass
– Water
– Slice of fresh squeezed lime
– Dash of sparking pomegranate spritz (for added flavor and color)

Sometimes, you just need to have a pretty drink in a pretty glass to kick off the day. 

FYI This glass actually used to contain preserve. I love turning glass containers into unique cups an vases. This particular one contained Braswell’s All Natural Chocolate Raspberry Preserve. Yes, it tasted as good as it sounds! I got it at HomeGoods for about $4. 

Here are some other products that come in glass containers you can repurpose.  

Make the most of your food/beverage purchases, by giving them new life.

Reuse glass jars for drinking, making your own preserve with custom labels (here’s a fun idea from craft store MIchael’s), pencil holders or other office organizing, vases, etc. With the later, I love the idea of bunching mismatched glass containers and placing low cut flowers in them. Place three or four, with flowers, on a mirrored tray for added glamour in your bedroom or office. The littlest details can make the brightest impact on your day. Have a wonderful Wednesday! 

What Your Bedroom Nightstand Reveals About You

(L) My nightstand (R) My husband’s nightstand

A person’s nightstand can reveal quite a bit about their personality. What are their interests? What are their evening rituals? What or whom matters most to them? Here’s a look a my nightstand. Just for fun, I’ve included my husband’s, as well.

Ever since I read it back in 2010, I’ve kept Eat, Pray, Love by my bed. It’s like a Bible I go-to on difficult days. The second book, Bringing Up Bebe, is a great evening read that I still haven’t finished after a year. I’m also reading Lean In, finally — it was in my bag at time of picture. Then, I have my trusted leather, blue journal. For beauty, Lucky Legs by Mama Mio is a must to sooth tired legs in need of major loving, and Noodle and Boo Glowology The Balm hand and foot cream has a dreamy scent that reminds me of my daughter’s nursery. I also keep a small enamel elephant and Jay Strongwater pill box where I store my home earrings.

My husband’s nightstand has the last two issues of The Economist and a small picture frame of the first movie we saw back in 2002.  

My nightstand says:
“I’m pregnant, love to be pampered and enjoy my own thoughts!”

What’s on your nightstand? Leave a comment below or tweet me @PamelaPekerman

Bump Nest Body Pillow Cures Pregnancy Sleeping Woes

When I was pregnant with Ilana, last year, I slept with four to six different pillows. One pillow went under my belly, one or two went behind my back, and the rest were placed under my feet. I refused to get a body pillow because everything I saw was ugly and didn’t prevent me from rolling onto my back. This year, as I await the birth of my son, mama found a better way to sleep

Bump Nest body pillow in Peacock Blue.
Scraps caps from each pillow are made into soft baby beanies,
donated to The Hope Venture and Stitches From The Heart. 

Bump Nest is a body pillow I can actually mold and wrap around my body, so I no longer have to bug my husband to be my wall. The machine-washable case is very soft, which was a concern given that I’m obsessed with sleeping on my uber-lux, Sferra pillow cases. (Beauty sleep is so important; a gal needs all the help she can get to preserve her skin!) In the week since I’ve started using this pillow, I’ve had much better sleep and far less complaints about restless legs. Also, my husband, Steve, is VERY happy about being off of pile-on-the-pillows duty.

PS I thought this was also a great time to share my bedroom decor. More details to come later in the week including how you can replicate what I refer to as “modern, soothing, spa style” for the home. 

Unique Hostess Gift Ideas from UncoomonGoods

Can you believe Monday is Columbus Day? Before you can blink the holiday season will be upon us. In an effort to calm myself (not going to lie, I’ve had crazy anxiety over the past two weeks – and I’ll blame it on the baby because she’ll blame everything on me for the rest of my life!) I thought it would be wise to start thinking about hostess gifts. To quote my lovely sister “just have it ready!”  UncommonGoods is a great destinations for quirky gifts that always get the “where-did-you-get-that” comment. 

P2 Home – hostess gifts from UncommonGoods.com
 
Rainbow Hors d’oeurves Set $44 — I already own this and it’s fabulous for fruits, cheese and non-drip appetizers. I’m stressing the obvious “non drip”, but I made that new housewives mistake two years ago. 
Slate Cheese Boards with Soapstone Chalk $29  — Don’t you just hate when you don’t know what cheese you’re about to try? As a hostess, I also sometimes forget what I’ve places on the plate in my haste to prep and throw away all wrapping. 
Footed Bowl $28 — With this bowl, everyone will forget you didn’t pick up the cake and are just serving fruits.