entertaining tips | designlovefest
entertaining tips | designlovefest

so…we did it! we finished 20 weeks of cooking school at the and we couldn’t have loved it more. both bri and i can’t believe how much we learned and how it has changed the way we cook and think about food. i was very apprehensive about signing up. committing to anything for 20 weeks as an adult feels like a tall order but i’m so glad we did and i truly believe it’s one of the best things we could have done for both our minds and our stomachs. it has also really inspired me to continue exploring adult education, i’m in the middle of 10 weeks of watercolor class (i will not be posting my art work here, haha) and plan to continue taking classes, we’re open to recommendations if you have an LA favorites! our last culinary lesson was on canapés (aka small bites) and we made gougères which is essentially a savory french pastry cheese puff. soo good and soo easy! we had just received the insanely gorgeous cocktail book, , and she has us all inspired for floral cocktails. is a must buy, the styling and photos are out of this world pretty! – joanie

entertaining tips | designlovefest

cooking school definitely reinvigorated our love for hosting and the power of food, cooking for both yourself and entertaining others. American’s can have such a complex relationship with food, so many diets, and trends and wellness tips and guilt and do’s and don’ts. learning the techniques of cooking is so powerful because it connects you to the process of what you’re eating and it also gives you a respect for the finished dish. i’m a big believer in paying attention to the attitude and mentality in which we eat and share food. is it from a place of guilt or rules or is it from a place of joy? i encourage you, even if cooking school isn’t an option, to crack open a cookbook, to make a meal that sounds delicious to you and to pay attention to the process. turn on some music, enjoy the chopping, don’t stress about messing up the recipe and to enjoy the fruits of your labor. creating a meal out of a place of love is loving and carrying for yourself (and those you serve it to!)

now on to the entertaining aspect! if you’re looking to throw a little spring/summer party here are a couple ideas that will make your guests vvverrryyy happy!

entertaining tips | designlovefest

she had us make a lavender gin for this drink which required using dried lavender (organic!) and infusing it in gin for up to 5 days. we did it for two days and it was plenty strong for us! we buy all our edible flowers from . not an everyday purchase but really worth it when you want to bring things up to the next level!

entertaining tips | designlovefest
entertaining tips | designlovefest
entertaining tips | designlovefest

lavender gin daisy, serves 2
recipe by: 
• 1/2 cup lavender gin
• 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
• 2 tablespoons grenadine
• 1/2 tsp sugar
• ice cubes

  • combined all ingredients into a cocktail shaker, shake well and strain into two cups.

entertaining tips | designlovefest

a margarita is top two favorite drinks for me, alternates with a manhattan, depending on the season. this drink is so delicious and refreshing. the chamomile infused syrup is so lovely and delicate. we used chamomile teabags for this part and it worked great. both of these cocktail recipes are perfect right now when citrus is abundant and inexpensive! our favorite tequila is and we used that in this recipe.

entertaining tips | designlovefest
entertaining tips | designlovefest
entertaining tips | designlovefest

pansy margarita, serves 2
recipe by: 

• rose salt
• lime
• 2 tablespoons chamomile syrup
• 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
• 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
• 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
• 1/2 cup tequila
• ice cubes
• fresh pansy flowers to garnish

entertaining tips | designlovefest
entertaining tips | designlovefest

first step is to make the chamomile simple syrup: combined  1/2 cup cara cara orange juice, 1 tablespoon cara cara orange zest, 3 chamomile tea bags and 1 cup cane super with 1/2 cup water in a sauce pan. simmer over medium heat until sugar dissolves and mixture thickens, about 5 minutes. let cool and strain. set aside.

• to make the rose salt, mix sea salt and dried rose petals in a blender and pulse.

• run a lime around the rim of 2 glasses. turn upside down and coat with rose salt. mix the cocktail by adding all ingredients into a carafe and stir. pour into glasses and serve!

entertaining tips | designlovefest
entertaining tips | designlovefest

and now for the gougères! my aunt first taught me to make these last winter and told me to pop them in the oven right before guests arrive to make your house smell amazing and she was right! we made these in class and they are heavenly. airy and salty. best hot out of the oven!

what you’ll need//
serves 4

• 1/2 cup of water
• 3 tb of butter, cut into cubes
• 1/4 tsp of salt
• 1/2 cup of AP flour
• 2 eggs
• 2 tb of chives, finely minced
• 3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

entertaining tips | designlovefest

you’re going to make your dough on the stove top. the idea is that you want to cook out as much moisture from the dough as you can. start with the water and salt, add the butter and once it’s melted added the flour. keeping it on the heat, and using a wooden spoon, stir it constantly, it should be a in a ball. keep doing this until the dough starts to dry and a thin layer is left on the bottom of the pan.

entertaining tips | designlovefest

transfer the dough to a mixer with a paddle attachment, turn on medium and keep mi until the dough cools slightly, about 3-5 minutes. add the eggs one at a time, mi after each. dough may seem lumpy but will smooth out. add in the cheese and herbs. keep mi. you want the dough to have a webbed look to it.

entertaining tips | designlovefest

• i couldn’t find our pastry bag for this part so i used a plastic bag and cut off the corner, and it worked great! line a tray with parchment paper. you want to pipe these so they stand tall, fill the tray with the puffs. then take a little dish of water and using your finger, dip it in water and smooth the top of each one gently with your moist finger. top with a bit of flaky salt and bake. you can also sprinkle more cheese on top but we found that wasn’t necessary. pop in the oven at 375 for around 15- 20 minutes, cooking time varies greatly depending on how big or small you pipe them! they should look golden brown on the top! remove from the oven, serve hot and bask in the glow of being an excellent host!

entertaining tips | designlovefest
entertaining tips | designlovefest
entertaining tips | designlovefest
entertaining tips | designlovefest

cocktail recipes by: 
images by: Ivan Solis 



cutest photo via

dresses are fun but recently i’ve been really into the jeans and blouse look. tops that aren’t t-shirts are an easy way to add a little kick to your outfit while still be comfortable. there are so many chic options out there right now. i love something with a little movement, not too fitted, with a tie or a sleeve. and i think they’re still great in spring and summer, tucked into cut off shorts or a skirt. here are a few faves i found from  (and lots of options under $100!) – joanie

 $95 – few things are as timeless for spring as a stripe and this green and white top is a fresh take on nautical.

 $51 – love this mustard color and also the fitted sleeve.

 $39 – the addition of the black piping on the collar and sleeve really makes this pj top chic. the cut is flattering and has enough room to either hang or be tucked in.

 $58 – this is exactly what i mean when i say “easy to wear”. the pleating on the sleeve makes it sophisticated but it hangs just right to wear all day or night with comfort.

$98 – sorry for the double pj tops but i think this is so pretty for evening. with dark or black jeans.

 $103 – a button up blouse, especially in a crepe fabric has something so subtly sexy about it.

 $78 – one shoulder tops are coming back loud and proud this year and i’m all about them. love the ruffle on this one!

 $108 – there is something very 70’s Chloe feeling about this without the $$$$ price tag.

$84- i love a classic white button down and the embroidery detail on this is a fun take on that.



Benihana inspired dinner | designlovefest

i personally have never been to Benihana (that i remember?!) but bri has some seriously fond childhood memories there, like when she hosted her 10th birthday party there and had three tables full of friends with her eating fried rice and watching onion volcano towers (lol). she recently became extremely nostalgic for a meal there and since there isn’t one close to us we decided we should try and create a Benihana inspired dinner at home and it was a success. we searched the web for some tried and true recipes that were inspired by the restaurant’s dishes and served up a feast! – joanie

Benihana inspired dinner | designlovefest
Benihana inspired dinner | designlovefest

we used three already existing recipes as part of this meal, this recipe for the (which is bri’s favorite, seriously! she was trying to get me to eat it by the spoonful). and also this recipe for which uses 5 eggs and a whole lotta butter but is worth it!

Benihana inspired dinner | designlovefest

we served ours with mushroom, zucchini, steak and shrimp and here is how we prepared that part!

what you’ll need// this served around 5-6 people
• 2 lbs steak
• 2 lbs shrimp
• 2 zucchini, washed and sliced lengthwise
• 6 cups mushrooms, washed and dried.
• white rice

Benihana inspired dinner | designlovefest
Benihana inspired dinner | designlovefest

• pre-heat oven to 350. start by patting your steak dry and generously coating with salt. heat a cast iron skillet, once hot add a bit of oil, wait a minute and then add the steaks. test that the oil is hot enough by touching the meat down, it should sizzle, if not, wait a bit longer. brown the steaks on each side, and then put the pan into the preheated oven and cook for 5- 7 minutes or until you reach desired temp (i overcooked our steak, so watch it closely) 

• once the steaks are done, remove and set aside, covering lightly with foil. using the same pan, keep all the juices in there and put on the stove top. once hot, add the mushrooms and pinch of salt. let the mushrooms get really brown and cooked down.

• for the shrimp, rinse and pat dry. you can either cook these under the broiler or on the stove in a pan. since there are so many flavors going on with this meal you can cook the proteins very simply!

• we cooked the zucchini in our panini press and then sprinkled  it with white sesame seeds. we didn’t use oil on these as there is a lot of fat already in this recipe.

Benihana inspired dinner | designlovefest

images by:



everyone’s doing the california shake. this palette’s inspired by an photograph. –

(photo and hand drawn type by for designlovefest)



around the house | designlovefest

what do you wear around the house? are you a come home and immediately put on sweatpants, do you wear your robe or stay fully dressed until bedtime and then put on your pjs? i was thinking about this the other day because growing up my mom and dad were almost always dressed in their normal clothes. they didn’t pull on comfy clothes while we were hanging at home and mostly my mom was fully dressed at breakfast time, even on school days. interesting to think about as now it feels like we’re in the age of lounge clothes, legging wearing, robed people. i’m definitely a lounge wear person. my husband comments that i’ll stay in my sweatpants until the last possible minute and then frantically throw on clothes and run out the door. i do love getting dressed but i’m a leisure queen at heart. but maybe not more so than bri who has a serious robe collection! anyway, here is an ode to all the loungewear i’d like to own right now…

around the house | designlovefest

actually, one of my favorite things to lounge around the house in is a loose fitting dress. nothing better to throw out of of the shower than a dress and  you can throw a jacket over it and be out of the house in a flash if needed. i love from emerson fry and i also live in my LACAUSA dresses, like and . especially into black dresses so you can slather lotion all over and not worry about it staining your dress. – joanie

around the house | designlovefest

 $32 – loveee anything ribbed, it really adds an extra punch of comfort and this oatmeal color is very chic for loungewear.

 $30 – when you have overnight guests but you can’t be bothered to wear a proper bra, seamless to the rescue!

 $53- i have the full slip version of this tank and it’s the perfect layering piece and i also love it paired with these cotton undies for sleep.

 $146 – $100+ price is no joke for a pair of sweats by the price per wear makes it worth it. i like that these are loose through the leg but have a fitted ankle. also, i only really advocate for sweatpants in neutral tones, i don’t think sweats are the time to make a statement in color or print.

 $250 – the reviews on this are convincing enough to drop the $$$. a great thing to put on a birthday list, it’s chic and cozy and sexy all at the same time. a good robe is for life!

 $122- this is as far as i’ll go on having a pattern, but i love the retro feel and the deep blue color of these.

 $248 – washable and silk don’t usually go together but apparently Lunya has found the magic with this robe.

 $70 – i love a good matching set and i can personally attest that the comfort of lou&grey sweats is really out of this world.

 $118 – i’ve written about these before and i’m doing it again, these sweatpants are worth the $$.

 $140 – this is my go-to summer lounge look, a loose fitting dress in a dark color that is comfortable enough to wear in and out of the house when it’s too hot to wear sweatpants.

$89 – another retro feeling item, love the half zip and the slightly boxy shape. this comes in lots of fun colors.

 $150 – not sure how everlane is always making such great basics but they really nail it with their colors and styles. i’m a big fan of a cashmere sweater and i tend to treat mine like an everyday item, wear it to bed, with jeans, over a dress, the sky is the limit!

around the house | designlovefest
around the house | designlovefest


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