September 21, 2017

Rosh Hashanah Dinner with Family + Friends

The Jewish holidays happen to be my favorite.  Specifically, Rosh Hashanah and Passover are the best excuse to invite family and friends over for a super fun dinner.

Since I love to entertain, I take these holidays pretty seriously when it comes to the menu and tablescape. This year, I had an extra set of hands with my cousin Daniella in town AND…with Crafty Maggie to work on all the fine details.

Daniella and I spent hours prepping the food on Tuesday night. I always serve a traditional Jewish menu for the high holidays which include recipes by my Canadian Family members. We made Aunti Debi’s Chicken meatballs, Aunti Sandy’s peach brisket and Boobie Frieda’s gefilte fish and Matzo ball soup.

I don’t have a bar cart in our apartment and I wanted a place to put the wine and glasses however I didn’t want to break the bank with this purchase. I found the most PERFECT cart by Oh Joy for Target for $129. The best part is? It came fully assembled! Daniella and I just pulled it out of the box and voila!  I’m totally obsessed with this beauty…

I wanted to play off the fall season for our tablescape so Daniella and I let the flower market dictate our color palette. The market was filled with dahlias in burgundy, soft pinks and purple. We brought home an assortment of these florals and tons of greenery and our incredible intern, Natalie made us a floral runner for the center of the table and a few arrangements for the tables and bar cart.

Crafty Maggie was busy all day adding to the most beautiful touches to the table. She designed menus off of the flowers that we picked up and added a gold leaf splatter of paint to each. My sister Mandy had the amazing idea of spray painting apples white with a stroke of gold paint for the seating cards and Maggie nailed it with the execution.

Maggie also designed a water bottle label with each kid’s name on it for their seating assignment at the kids table.

Rosh Hashanah is the celebration of the Jewish New Year. For the new year we start our meal by dipping apples in honey to signify a sweet and healthy year ahead.

My husband Adam’s family is not particular large, but I’m used to very large Jewish dinners from growing up. So his parents are always at our table and to fill in, I invite several friends. For the past several years, Ilana, Mike, Mazzy and Harlow have joined us and after so many years, it is like they are family. We were also joined by cousin Daniella and my friend Emily and her boys Charlie and Giles as well as Maggie who experienced her first ever Jewish Holiday dinner!

I wanted to set up some activities for the kids to enjoy when they walked in. We made stamps out of potatoes and gave them each a plate of paint + a blank piece of card stock to make cards with. Each kid also had a plastic tumbler that they could decorate with stickers and then take home. This craft lasted for about 30 seconds, they barely ate and then we popped on a movie with a huge bowl of popcorn. At least I tried.

It was the most lovely evening of incredible food, company and fun. From my table to yours, I want to wish all our Jewish friends L’Shana Tova!

xx, Seri
Party conversation
  1. Rebecca shapero

    Shana Tova! Your table looks beautiful xx

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September 13, 2017

The Holidays Are Coming

It’s still quite gorgeous outside. Warm and sunny. However the summer, is long gone and over to me. My kids have been back to school for almost a week now and work is in full swing with events, shoots and major new developments ahead!

September may be the busiest month of the year for me. With all of my family and career commitments plus the Jewish Holidays that are thrown into the mix.

For ever and then some, my little guy has always loved to cook with me.  It’s my FAVE. I used to carry him on my back while cooking dinner and preparing the dinner table.

He is now known as Chef Luke and has his own cooking show that he enjoys sharing recipes on and today, he’s making a Rosh Hashanah essential: Challah.

I have the most fond memories of my home smelling of challah when my mom would bake it fresh for our Friday night dinner. I couldn’t love the smell of it more.

Without further ado…here’s Luke whipping up a challah. You will see there was an outfit change and truth be told the bread turned out to be a little dense. What can I tell ya? This chef is only 5.  He’s still working on his techniques!

But not to worry…just follow the classic (award winning) recipe that we have listed below for you and you won’t go wrong.


xx, Seri
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September 4, 2017

The last days of summer

OY is right. I HATE when the summer ends. HATE IT! So what do I do over the last few days of summer? I celebrate every last moment.

So it’s labor day weekend and here’s what’s on tap…

The last Saturday of summer and we’re blowing it out. I packed Adam a cooler (Thank you General Mills!) of beers and he went fishing with a few of his friends and quite literally caught us our dinner. Our friends made smoked mackerel and fresh sashimi with the catches of the day.

I spent the morning with Gavin and his girlfriends while Luke got in another day of QT with Harlow followed by a ride in a red Ford Bronco.

We had a big dinner for 12 with smoked pork butts that were devoured by all…most importantly the KIDS!

And to close it all out I turned my sunroom into a movie theater! I dolled the place up to make it a little more cozy feeling with some blankets and pillows that I found at Target. I got a movie projector and screen from Amazon which were both very reasonably priced and our friends brought over a popcorn maker! The kids were in all their glory.

As for the day after…Sunday….when I tell you we did NOTHING I mean we did NOTHING. It was the laziest Sunday of our lives and I loved every second of it.

Labor day Monday will be at the beach soaking up every last sun ray before we go back to reality…

It’s been real friends. Till next summer, peace out!

xx, Seri
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August 7, 2017

A Canadian Summer

For 10 years as a kid, I spent my summers at overnight camp. It’s hard for me to describe, but those 10 summers were the best of my life. The friends I made, the experiences I had, the sports I played and the independence I gained was invaluable.

This summer I sent my older son Gavin to sleep away camp for his first time for a month. It was heartbreaking to send my baby away. I couldn’t breathe with him gone. However, I knew I was giving him the greatest gift and experience he could ever have.

During the one month period that he is gone, the camp hosts a visitors day for parents and families to come and visit their children. The following week, Gavin was going to be coming home so I decided to rent a cottage near the camp for the week instead of flying back and forth between Toronto and New York.

When we first spotted Gavin on Visitors day we grabbed him so tight and cried tears of joy. It was an emotional roller coaster for us all. Gavin was so proud to show us around camp, introduce us to his friends and show us what he had learned over the past few weeks. His favorite and most proud accomplishment was learning to water ski.

My sister has a friend who rented a cottage in the same area that we were looking for a place so she recommended that cottage to us and we got super lucky in booking it!

The cottage was unreal, nestled right in front of the lake.  The owner is totally OCD like me so everything was super organized and perfectly placed.

My sister, her husband and daughter (Baby Dylan!) came to the cottage for a few days. Then my friend Ady spent another few days with me before I picked up Gavin to come home for the rest of the summer.

The quality time Luke got with his cousin Dylan was so special. “Uke” she kept calling as she was chasing him around. We don’t live in the same country so we cherish this time together!

We BBQ’d, made bonfires, took the paddleboat and canoe out in the lake and spent the evenings gazing at the stars and drank rosé all day.

When I picked up Gavin I got to learn all about his time at camp and it sounded like he had the most wonderful time. He was exhausted, filthy and even a little bit rattled over all the new experiences. Needless to say, summer camp started a beautiful tradition and legacy for many years to come.

xx, Seri
Party conversation
  1. Marissa

    Looks like camp packing will be a summer tradition! Better start to think about what to hide in his bag this summer!

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July 6, 2017

My baby is now FIVE

Having a second child was a game changer. For quite sometime I thought to myself…can I really do this?  Can I handle this all? It wasn’t easy. But my husband and I did it. We have the two most amazing boys on this planet (a little biased to say the least) and are thankful for them every single day.

Now the problem I’m facing…is they are growing up way too fast for me. Gavin is now at sleep away camp and Luke is Five. FIVE? WHAT? Ugh. MY BABY! I don’t want him to get any older. I love his voice, his smell, his snuggles. I don’t want to give any of that up.

But such is life. Kids grow up. And all I can do is make sure they grow up to be the best person they can be.

Every year we throw Luke a pool party over the July 4th weekend. We always get a huge turn out and kick off the summer in the most festive way possible.

Normally when you plan a party you plan for a 10% fall out. People get sick or cancel last minute. You usually get a handful who don’t show up. Well not in my case. I had a 10% INCREASE! You heard me. Don’t ask. We ended up with 92 people.

Thank heavens I had planned for this. 2 lifeguards in the pool (THE BEST MONEY I HAVE EVER SPENT), 4 camp counsellors to man the kids, a water slide and TONS of food. The one thing I did fall short on was favors. Lesson for the future…buy extra favors!!

We serve the same meal every year catered by Seasons of Southampton. It’s totally over the top for a child’s birthday party but this is not just a child’s birthday party – it’s also America’s birthday and for America and Luke – you serve lobster. Needless to say, the food is always a hit. These guys know what they are doing!

The menu included lobster, mussels, BBQ chicken, corn, potatoes, coleslaw and watermelon. Your mouth watering? It should be. The food was delicious.

For the theme this year, Luke and I discussed throwing it as a true pool party. We built up a collection of floats from Big Mouth Inc. and wanted to blow them all up! We made a rule though – only 2 floats in the pool at a time. The rest were on the grass for guests to sit on and enjoy. We used tons of color inspired by the classic beach ball and served desserts and snacks to fit the theme.

When guests arrived I had a huge 3-tiered tray of fresh fruit and veggies from the farm. I also filled pails with chips, pretzels and popcorn.

No party of mine happens without customized water bottle labels. Maggie nailed the design and they looked so fun filled in a beverage bucket by our bar cart.

Best part of our bar? The beer selection. Abby and Maggie befriended the people at Narragansett, so we reached out to them about supplying some beer for the party. A few days later we received a shipment of these beers just for Luke’s party. HOW LUCKY ARE WE?! Our guests were throwing back these summer shandies like they were going out of style.

For dessert I worked with Angela at Making that Cake to put together the cutest desserts for this pool party. I pretty much died over the cupcakes that were Teddy Grahams floating in a peach ring on top of a blue (“water”) frosted vanilla cupcake. Does it get more perfect than this?!

Then there was the cake. Out of this world. Not even one slice was left…and yes this was as huge as it looks!

We capped the desserts off with some cookie sandwiches that I thought would make for a fun edition. Luckily the kids were able to swim off all this sugar as soon as they finished devouring all these goodies!

We sang Happy Birthday and had a few sub in kids by our side in Gavin’s absence.

All in all it was the perfect day, party and celebration for my baby boy. Happy 5th Birthday Luke! You’re growing up too fast. My heart can no longer handle this. I love you.

xx, Seri
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