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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!