We've changed URL's! Please visit Notes On A Party!

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Big News! We are Back!

Summer is over and so is our hiatus!

We are excited to announce that Notes on a Party will relaunch today as a new digital media property that celebrates the art of entertaining. Our expanded editorial will cover Events from the Inside Out™ (which is also our new tag line). Expect daily posts or “notes” on the most talented vendors in New York, cool resources from the Web, original gift ideas and tips on party planning. We'll bring you behind-the-scenes at some of the most glamorous events in town to show you how it's done. And, we've added a few new featured columns which include:

Lazy Hostess
Entertaining made simple with a little help from the experts

It’s My Party
Amazing venues for all types of events

Inside scoop on VIP parties from talented vendors & celebrity guests

Celia’s List
A peek into the coveted rolodex of a seasoned event planner

Also, we've added an Ask Celia button so that you can ask us anything you want about your next party or tell us what you are interested in reading about. The best questions/ideas will be posted each month.

Here's what you need to know:

Email subscriptions: many of you love getting your "notes" delivered right to your inbox. If you subscribed on the old site, your email will automatically be added to the list for our new weekly newsletter.

Our address has changed: has been changed to Bookmark the new URL for easy reference.

And, finally, a big THANK YOU to our amazing partners Base Design and Mutant Media who worked around the clock on the redesign of the web site and newsletter. We love the fresh, new look and easy navigation and we hope you will too!

Visit the new Notes on a Party and tell us what you think!

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Little Me & IAC

Last night Notes On A Party produced its first event and it was B-I-G.

Seriously, we are not just tooting our own horn here. Given the venue - the new Frank Gehry designed IAC Headquarters on the West Side Highway and the high profile guests in attendance - impressive might be a better word.

The event was for the Founders Club, a group of the top Internet CEOs and entrepreneurs in Silicon Alley who have created an ongoing event series to facilitate deals between start-ups, media companies and venture capitalists.

Dina Kaplan, the COO of by day and driving force behind Founders Club by night, let us collaborate on the planning of this event, the third in the series. Naturally, we had to invite our favorite vendors and partners to join us.

Me and Dina Kaplan (

Lucid Food, an eco-conscious catering and events company run by Justin Jones and Luisa Shafia, handled the menu of savory and sweet organic treats including smoked trout canapes, wild mushroom tortas and fresh raspberry cheesecake. Elizabeth Ryan designed the modern and architectural arrangements of Japanese fan leaves and small bud vases of white roses.

Chopin Vodka, a Moet Hennessy brand, featured the Classic CEO Martini made with 2oz of chilled potato vodka shaken and served with three (decadent) stuffed olives.

Chopin Vodka Martini Bar

Corcoran Group's Deanna Kory team previewed their new luxury properties and raffled an iPhone while Silverjet let guests try their luck at winning 2 coveted seats on their new all business class flight to London. The Manhattan based VC Greenhill SAVP rounded out the sponsors.

For me, there were some old clients, friends and familiar faces in the crowd including: Rufus Griscom and Alisa Volkman of Nerve Media (who publish the amazing online parenting magazine Babble); Graham Hill of Treehugger (just recently acquired by Discovery); Lorien Gabel of Ping Interactive (a soon to be rival to Evite); Margo Spiritus of CSTV Networks; Joseph Varet of LX.TV; Charles Sommer of DoubleAgent; Doug Scott of Ogilvy; Jon Patricof of Tribeca Enterprises; and, Lisa Blau of the health and wellness newsletter Vital Juice.

Jon Keidan, Josh Abramson (CollegeHumor) and Charles Sommer (DoubleAgent)

What was especially thrilling for a young entrepreneur was rubbing shoulders with some of Silicon Alley's most notable names - Alan Patricof (Greycroft), Esther Dyson (EDventure), Kevin Ryan (formerly of Doubleclick) and Henry Blodget.

For a first event, hosting at IAC was quite the premiere for our little start-up. Although I have to say that we felt quite at home in the hallowed halls of their $100 million glass house.

Let's just hope Barry Diller feels the same way about us.

For Henry Blodget's take on the event, check out his post on Silicon Alley Insider.

For a complete slide show, visit Caroline McCarthy's blog, The Social on CNET.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Small Hiatus, Big (design) Changes

We know we've been a little quiet lately. Contrary to popular belief we are not away on assignment in Ibiza covering the party scene on the beach. Although we'd like to be!

There are exciting changes happening here at Notes On A Party. Over the past few weeks, we have been busy redesigning and building the new site. It will relaunch in August with new columns, content categories and functionality as well as a weekly newsletter. New features will continue to be added over the next few months. That's all we're saying for now but we will be in touch soon with more details. We don't want to ruin the big surprise!

We did want to take the chance to thank all of you for your (overwhelming) enthusiasm and encouragement so far. All of your comments, questions and thoughts have been very helpful. Keep writing to us via email or preferably by posting a comment for everyone to see. (those reading this note in an email will need to click on the title to go to the site to post a comment)

We are thrilled that you enjoy receiving our notes. We promise to return with more original entertaining ideas and insider tips for all those amazing parties you are planning. Just don't forget to invite us!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

At Home with Heath

The idea of a wedding registry is appealing. You get to ask for all of the lovely things you want and your loved ones get to buy them for you. But, once you start shopping, you realize just how overwhelming it can be. Faced with endless Wedgwood china patterns, Baccarat crystal goblets and Lalique vases, you decide to seek out something a little simpler.

If your style is more Cali (as in California) than Connecticut, Heath Ceramics may be the perfect alternative to those formal registries. Founded by Edith Heath in 1948, Heath Ceramics is one of the few remaining mid-century American potteries still in existence. They are known for their beautiful handcrafted tableware including bowls, plates, pitchers, serving pieces, vases and tea sets.

Over 40 skilled artisans (many of them have been with the company for 20+ years) create the unique products on premise at their factory in Sausalito, California. Their stoneware clay bodies are fired at low temperatures to create durable and non-porous products. All of their glazes are original and natural to complement the raw beauty of clay. The look may be laid-back but these pieces have pedigree. Some are featured in the permanent collection at the MOMA.

Recently, Heath Ceramics collaborated with artists including clothing and housewares designer, Christina Kim of DOSA, and chef and food visionary, Alice Waters of Chez Panisse to create limited edition collections. Kim's Phases of the Moon Tea Set ($260), which features 4 tea cups and a tray, is a unique gift idea.

Online registries are available on the Heath Ceramics website as well as retail stores such as Barney's New York and Moss.

You can feel good about starting your new life with tableware from a company that prides itself on having strong American values. Not only do they produce all of their high quality products at their factory in the US, they adhere to strict environmental standards and maintain a fair and responsible workplace.

Photos by Renee Zellweger

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Pretty In Pink

It may be pretty in pink but don't be fooled by appearances.

Sophisticated palates know that a good rosé is dryer, bigger and bolder than ever before. It has more depth than a white and can stand on its own with the big reds. A perfect accompaniment to many types of cuisine, rosé is equally at home with a hearty meat or a delicate fish.

In fact, rosé is fast becoming the drink of choice of stylish Americans who have taken a cue from their European, jet set counterparts. Domaine Ott, one of the trendier brands, has become a fashion staple during the summer months.

To help you navigate the new world of rosé, I reached out to Jennifer Ayre of Savvy Cellar Wines in San Francisco, a certified sommelier and specialist of wine, to give you some insider advice.

Rosé is best when it is young
Contrary to what you have been taught about wine, rosé is at its peak when it is young and fresh. Look for bottles that are less than a year or two old.

Get the temperature just right
Americans tend to over chill their white and rosé wine. Serving it icy cold kills the flavor. Take the wine out of the fridge 10-15 minutes before serving. On the other hand, if the bottle is too warm, the fastest way to cool it down is to place it in a small container filled with water and ice.

Freeze the bubbly
When its comes to sparkling wine and champagne, the colder the better. In this case, a few minutes in the freezer before serving does wonders for anything with bubbles.

Good wine does not have to be expensive
Jennifer started Savvy Cellar Wines, both a wine bar and shop, to provide consumers with high quality wines at affordable prices. Her team of sommeliers only seek out wines that are rated 90 points or higher by leading wine publications and that are $39 or less.

Some of her favorite rosé wines are:

from Australia . . .
06 The Colonial Estate "Enchanteur" - $24
06 Turkey Flat Rose - $18
06 Angove's Nine Vines South Australia - $12

from California . . .
05 Bonny Doon Vin Gris De Cigare - $14
06 Tablas Creek Rose - $25

from France . . .
06 Lucien Crochet Sancerre Pinot Rose - $30
06 Mas de la Dame Les Baux de Provence Rose du Mas - $13

And for bubbles . . .

Schramsberg Brut Rose Sparkling wine - $42
Piper-Heidsieck Brut Rose Champagne - $40
Billecart-Salmon Brut Rose Champagne NV - $55

If you are near downtown Redwood City near San Francisco, visit Jennifer at Savvy Cellar Wines (2048 Broadway, 650-363-8737) or go to their web site to inquire about out of state shipping.

For local New York readers needing a quick fix, bring Jennifer's coveted list to Union Square Wines. Until July 8th, the wine shop is offering 25% off a wide selection of their rosé wines!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Hot Time: Summer in the City

When temperatures start to rise, there is a mass exodus out of New York City. Whether to Montauk or St. Tropez, we do whatever we can to bring the party to the beach.

But, there are always a few weekends when you just can't get away.

My advice on how to beat the heat? Gather some friends and host a summertime dinner of chilled crab claws and lobster rolls.

For starters, order Red King Crab Lollipops from Seabear, an online retailer famous for their smoked wild salmon. These big meaty claws served on ice in a glass bowl will make a grand statement as an appetizer. Two pounds of fully cooked claws ($85.99) will be shipped to you via Fed Ex Day Air Express.

Mary's Fish Camp (64 Charles Street, 646-486-2185) has arguably the best lobster roll in town and they allow take-out for parties greater than 6 if you order 24 hours in advance. If you don't live in the West Village or in Park Slope (their sister restaurant is Brooklyn Fish Camp, 162 Fifth Avenue, 718-783-3264), Dean and Deluca online is the next best option. They will ship two 12 oz tubs of lobster salad with 8 split-top rolls ($135.00) direct from their supplier for next day delivery.

For something a little sweet and decadent, serve coconut cupcakes from Crumbs Bakeshop ($2.95 each) with a glass of champagne for dessert. There are locations all over the city so if you don't have time, have one of your guests pick them up on the way.

To get the party started but to keep things cool, I like to offer guests a chilled shooter of ice cold Absolut Citron rimmed with Stirrings Lemon Drop sugar. Crate and Barrel has a great set of vodka shooters that comes with a bowl for easy presentation. During dinner, serve something light and refreshing like a spritzer made with dry white wine with a splash of club soda and a twist of lemon.

Keep tabletop décor at a minimum. All white china on crisp white linens, a few tapered white candles and bowls filled with fragrant lemons gives a fresh look. For lazy summer nights, I still love the Garden State soundtrack. It's a great mix of chill yet sultry tunes from Coldplay, Zero 7, Frou Frou and Thievery Corporation that will help transport you out of the hot, sticky city.

Friday, June 22, 2007

A Night with Duran Duran

If you were a girl growing up in the 80's, you were most definitely a fan of Duran Duran. In my group of friends, you were either madly in love with lead singer Simon Le Bon or bassist John Taylor.

Given my longtime "appreciation" for the band, I could hardly pass up an invitation to meet them at a private party (organized by Epic Records, Magus Entertainment and my friend Karrie Goldberg of Kage Konsulting) at The Xchange (640 West 28th Street) on Monday night. Not only is the 5000 square foot space one of the coolest new industrial lofts in the city but it's outfitted with an incredible custom Funktion One sound system. It was a real shame Duran Duran did not perform.

Actually, they had played but on the night before at an intimate concert at Hammerstein Ballroom for members of their fan club. Their set included favorites including Hungry Like The Wolf, Come Undone, Girls on Film and Lonely in Your Nightmare. For an encore, a new song called , "Nite Runner," was introduced.

At least all four members of Duran Duran (Simon Le Bon, John Taylor, Nick Rhodes and Roger Taylor) were at the party to celebrate their upcoming album, Red Carpet Massacre, which will be released in October by Epic Records. Special guest producers and guest stars on the album include Justin Timberlake, Timbaland and Nat "Danja Handz" Hills.

DJ Eve Salvail kept the party hopping with upbeat tunes mixed in with the occasional new Duran Duran song such as "Skin Diver" and "Box Full of Honey." Chopin Vodka and 10 Cane Rum created specialty cocktails for each new track on the album. The crowd was a diverse group of fans, press, industry types and an eclectic list of VIPs including Moby, chef Rocco DiSpirito, artists John Currin and Rachel Feinstein as well as Mickey Dolenz from the Monkees.

Although I got to hang out with various members of Duran Duran who mingled with the crowd throughout the night, I was drawn to the far corner of the room. A staff photographer was stationed in front of life-size paper cut-outs of Simon, John, Nick and Roger for an ongoing photo shoot with the guests. It was a hilarious and entertaining element to the party.

I just had to get my photo taken. It's not every night a girl can say she's with the band.......

If you are reading this post in an email or reader, click here to view complete the slide show.

To book an event at The Xchange, contact Karrie Goldberg of Kage Konsulting at 646-873-4999.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

GuS - Soda for Grown-Ups

Your vodka of choice is an ultra-luxury brand. It's made from glacier water and winter wheat that is freeze filtered for its clean, pure taste. Are you really going to mix it with Ocean Spray cranberry? I think not.

Remember, all mixers are not created equal. For discerning palettes, try stocking your bar with premium fruit juices like GuS Soda which comes in all sorts of grown-up flavors like Dry Crimson Grape, Star Ruby Grapefruit and Dry Valencia Orange. Foodies love this brand - it's even served at Thomas Keller's Per Se restaurant by a sommelier who will pair a complementary flavor to your order for those seeking a non-alcoholic alternative. Seriously.

All of GuS Sodas are 100% natural, pasteurized, kosher and made with real fruit juice and soda for a light taste. For a great summertime cocktail, mix chilled vodka (super premium, of course) with Dry Meyer Lemon soda and serve over crushed ice and mint in a tall, thin glass. At 90-98 calories per 12oz bottle and only lightly sweetened with natural cane sugar, you can imbibe with less guilt (and perhaps a smaller chance of a hangover in the morning).

GuS is available at Whole Foods, Citarella, Gourmet Garage and other upscale, specialty food shops such as Dean & Deluca and Murray's Cheese. If you want to order a few cases for a party, try Mitchell's New York (800-662-2275) who will deliver in Manhattan to your home or office.