NYC Recessionista's Holiday Gift Guide - Gifts for the Hostess

Happy Friday, y'all! It's the last day of my gift guide. All this week, I've be sharing some of my favorite picks for holiday gifts.

If you haven't started your holiday shopping yet, then perhaps this will give you some hints!  And most importantly -- every single one of these gifts will be under $100!

Today, I'm sharing my picks for hostess gifts. If you're traveling, visiting or staying anywhere this holiday season, it's a really special touch to bring a gift for the people who've invited and welcomed you into their home. Thanking them with a beautiful gift can leave a lasting impression.

(Gift guide logo and collection images designed by NYC Recessionista)

1) Monogram cheese board with spreader - something they'll be able to keep and use for a long time.
2) Belgian chocolate-dipped cheesecake pops - do these really need an explanation?
3) Capri blue jar 'volcano' candle -  this candle has the most amazing scent of candied Sicilian oranges and lemons.
4) London Calling tea set - how adorable is that? 
5) Tartan plaid dessert plates - fun, festive and perfect for the holidays.

Hope all of the guides this week gave you some shopping inspiration!

GIVEAWAY - Celebrate National Chocolate Day with Epiphany Chocolates

When I attended the LuckyFABB Conference back in September, I was of course totally jazzed to rummage through my gift bag when I got home.  And when I saw the little brown box from Epiphany Chocolates, I knew they weren't going to last very long in our apartment. My husband and I cut each of the pieces in half so we could both sample all of the flavors that were in there: Grande Diva (dark chocolate fudge), The Starlet (sea salt caramel), and Dreamysicle (orange creme fudge). All of them were delish, but the orange creme fudge was hands down my favorite. My only complaint was that they disappeared too soon :)

So, to celebrate National Chocolate Day, which is happening in JUST THREE DAYS (October 28th), I wanted to share some goodies from Epiphany Chocolates with you!

Epiphany Chocolates is giving one lucky reader 18 incredibly yummy pieces from their new Love Pie? Eat Chocolate collection (shown below), which has three mouth-watering flavors: 
  • Pumpkin Pie Fudge: Leave your scarf at home and let this charming fall favorite melt your heart. This combination of creamy pumpkin fudge wrapped in milk chocolate and heavenly pecan nougats is one toasty love affair that’ll last all year long.
  • Maple Pecan Sweet Potato Pie Fudge: Forget the fork and prepare to fall in love with the most surprising pie ever. Just like your mama used to make, this maple pecan milk fudge has a hint of sweet potato while candied pecans, maple and nutmeg take this nugget up a notch. All of your favorite fall flavors bundled into one…you may just keep this sweetie pie all to yourself.
  • Apple Cinnamon Pie Fudge: Avert the culinary crisis and serve a slice of apple cinnamon pie covered in milk chocolate with shortbread crumbs and a pinch of cinnamon on top. No apron necessary and absolutely grandma-approved. 
(Logo and images courtesy of Epiphany Chocolates)

Okay, so here are the rules:
  • To enter, you must leave a comment below telling me - if you had to choose between giving up chocolate or coffee for one month, which would you give up?
  • For a second entry, 'like' BOTH NYC Recessionista on Facebook AND Epiphany Chocolates on Facebook, and leave a separate comment here letting me know that you did or already do.
  • For a third entry, follow BOTH @NYRecessionista on Twitter AND @EpiphanyChocs on Twitter, and leave a separate comment here letting me know that you did or already do.
  • For a fourth entry, tweet about the giveaway (linking to this post!) encouraging your followers to enter (including my handle @NYRecessionista and the @EpiphanyChocs handle in the tweet), and leave a separate comment here with the URL to your tweet.
  • For a fifth entry, write a blog post about the giveaway (linking to this post!) encouraging your readers to enter, and leave a separate comment here with the URL to your blog post.
I'll be accepting entries from now until Sunday, October 28th at 11:59 p.m. EST and will choose the winner at random, which will be announced the following day.

And even if you don't win, you can still get your hands on some of this yummy chocolate, just in time for the holidays (hello, hostess gifts!) -- 

Epiphany Chocolates is also giving my readers a 50% OFF DISCOUNT (!) on orders placed by November 30th, with code FABB50 at checkout.

Good luck!

Please note: Epiphany Chocolates is providing the prize for this giveaway, but I have not otherwise been compensated for this post.

Shaved ice

How much fun would this electric ice shaver be for the summer?  And it's only $20 at JCPenney ...

(Image courtesy of JCPenney)

The Sweet Tooth Fairy

I went to a TV show taping today and received a box of these cakebites as a random giveaway ... yum. The lemon variety is to die for.


PS- they will ship them to you. Double yum.

Mmm cookies

Umm ... I think I might need to try these -- Williams-Sonoma now carries mixes for Momofuku Milk Bar's cookies. Yum!  

(Image courtesy of Williams-Sonoma)

And if you didn't know, my blogger friend Summer works there ... so check out her blog for even more sweetness!

Magnolia Cupcakes at your door

Have you heard the sweet news? Magnolia Cupcakes delivers now. Across the country. 

You're welcome.

(Image courtesy of Magnolia)

Feeling spoiled ...

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas ... personally, I had a wonderful time visiting with family and friends, and I am feeling rather loved and spoiled by all of the goodies I received --

I got a new scent of Wen cleansing conditioner from my friend Jessica and a pear candle from a fundraiser through my nieces' school ... 

Jessica also picked out these earrings on Etsy for me ... 

AND bought me a bottle of Dave Matthews wine!

My mother-in-law spoiled me with some new yummy smelling soaps ... 

And my secret santa got me a cherry pie and cobbler kit from Williams-Sonoma :) 

(All images courtesy of NYC Recessionista)

Wedding Recap: The food

It occurred to me that I never really recapped the AMAZING food we had at the wedding ... how is that possible?! How could I forget the most amazing part?! Our caterer, Bon Soir, helped us create the most amazing pit BBQ menu for the reception, and let us choose carnival desserts just like we wanted.

The best, most mouth-watering way to recap the grub for you is just to show you in pictures ...

Crispy Dumplings

Stuffed Mushrooms


Steamed Dumplings

A little of everything

Serrano Ham-wrapped Asparagus

Crab Cakes

Roasted Vegetable Antipasto

Garden Salad

Texas BBQ Beef Brisket

North Carolina BBQ Pulled Pork

Oven Roasted Potatoes and Green Beans

Four-cheese Mac 'n' Cheese


Deep Fried Oreos

Warm Chocolate Chip Cookies

Blueberry Cobbler

Apple Crisp

Vanilla and Chocolate Ice Cream

(All images courtesy of Geoff Tischman Photography)

Wedding Recaps: our cake topper

I really wanted to show you a pic of the cake topper that my mom handmade, which was a mini replica of the bunting that she also made by hand.

(Image courtesy of Geoff Tischman Photography)

Let them eat cake

I know I usually blog about bargain shopping, but let's take a minute to talk about cake.


If you're lucky enough to live in New York, and you don't live under a rock, then you've probably had Junior's Cheesecake before. I can't even tell you how many times I have had it. It's just one of those things that's so quintessentially New York that I can't imagine life without it.

I know there are probably some cheesecake purists out there who would only ever have it plain, or those who have to have cherry, or strawberry. But for me, it's something a little bit different.

The chocolate mousse cheesecake on the other hand? It'll change your life.

(Image courtesy of Junior's)

Now, if you don't live in New York, and you can't just go grab a slice whenever you want, then might I suggest ordering one from their web site and having it shipped right to your door. I actually like sending them as gifts.

And PS - if you sign up for their emails, sometimes they email you coupons :)

$5 or less favors

This is a very helpful feature from -- all ideas for favors that you can put together for $5 or less.

My favorite idea would have to be the whoopie pies ...

(Image courtesy of and Steven Torres)

Rub-a-Dub-Dub, Thanks for the Grub . . .

... yay God.

We met with our amazing caterer this past week, and finalized our wedding menu ... yay!!!

First, we're kicking things off with a cocktail hour full of comfort foods:

Corn Fritters
BBQ Meatballs
Coconut Shrimp served with a tangy Orange Mustard Sauce
Miniature Black Angus Sliders topped with Cheddar Cheese on a Brioche Roll
Miniature Reubens glazed with a Dijionnaise
Miniature Chicken Quesadillas
Southwestern Crab Cakes served with a Tartar Mousseline
Seafood Stuffed Button Mushrooms
Oriental Dumplings served with a Soy Dipping Sauce
Skewers of Teriyaki Glazed Oriental Beef Sirloin Ribbons
Baby Asparagus wrapped in Serrano Ham
Crostini with Mozzarella and Fire Roasted Peppers
Skewers of Grilled Chicken brushed with a Pesto of Red Peppers
Potato and Vegetable Latkes topped with a dollop of Vegetable Sour Cream
Miniature Grilled Cheese served with a Cream of Tomato Soup shot

And here's what our guests will be chowing down on during our pit-BBQ reception:

North Carolina Style Pulled Pork Roast
Brisket of Beef, hand-carved to order
Lemon Pepper Crusted Grilled Chicken Breast
Four-cheese Macaroni & Cheese with a Panko Breadcrumb Crust
Herb Roasted Potatoes and Green Beans
Pit-baked Beans
Penne Pasta with Sun-dried Tomatoes and Fresh Basil
Roasted Vegetable Antipasto
Dijon Cole Slaw
Texas Chopped Salad with a Honey Mustard Vinegarette
Cheddar Cornbread

And if that wasn't cool enough for you, we're bringing it on home with desserts:

Deep-friend Oreos
Warm Chocolate Chip Cookies
Apple Crisp a la Mode with Vanilla Ice Cream
Blueberry Crisp a la Mode with Vanilla Ice Cream

I'll share what we're going to be eating all of this delicious food off of at a later date :)

My Wedding Inspiration Board - February 26

For this week's Inspiration Board, I decided to give y'all a sneak peek at some of the items that will be on our menu for the reception. If you haven't been reading since the beginning, you might not know that we're having a pit-BBQ reception with a mostly comfort food menu ... yum!

I've already blogged before about the desserts we'll be serving, but now that we've got our caterer booked (yay!) here are some of the items our guests will get to enjoy during the cocktail hour or the reception--

Mini Grilled Cheese Sandwiches with a Cream of Tomato Soup Shot

Angus Sliders on a Brioche Bun

Carolina Pulled Pork

Four Cheese Mac 'n' Cheese with a Panko Bread Crumb Crust

Homemade Cornbread

A Roasted Vegetable Antipasto

(All images courtesy of Flickr)

...Among other things!

I seriously think the food might be my favorite part! Besides of course marrying the love of my life :)

Just Desserts

Pretty as they may be, I've never really enjoyed wedding cake. Maybe it's because I don't think they ever taste quite as good as they look? And given the fact that my fiance doesn't even like cake to begin with, I don't really have any attachment to having one at my wedding.

So, what are we serving for dessert instead?

1) Deep-fried Oreos

2) A make-your-own S'mores station

And 3) Zeppole with powdered sugar

... Cheaper, tastier, and way more fun.