Out and About: Brentwood Edition

Those most familiar with LA will know that there are few areas as affluent as Brentwood with it’s quaint shops and lush greenery, it’s no wonder it ranks as one of L.A.’s most idyllic neighborhoods. Amongst the perfectly tailored lawns and architectural masterpieces is a day full of art, culture, sites, and bites.

Take some time to step outside your neck of the woods…

In the morning hours…

Mornings are best spent starting off with a perfect caffe au lait, in Brentwood there is no shortage of options. Stop by Caffe Luxxe and get your morning pick-me up within the historic Brentwood Country Mart.

Caffe Luxxe

The eatery picks and roasts their own coffee giving new meaning to hand-crafted. Select from freshly baked delights courtesy of Red Rooster Bakery and be on your way.

After your AM charge, explore some of Brentwood’s architectural masterpieces for a light dose of dream home FOMO.

For afternoon reprieve…

George Sturges House

Between the Hunt, Sturges, and Nesbitt house, you’ll have quite the day exploring these post-war artfully designed properties.  A Paul R. Williams design, the Hunt Residence was built in 1921 with elements of the Regency Revival style. The George Sturges house, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and built in 1939 features Wrights Usonian style.

The Getty Center

After geeking out on home design of the retro times, venture off to see a different style of art at the Getty Center. A wonder on the scale of both culture, art, and design, the 24-acre Richard Meier designed campus boasts panoramic city views and renowned collections. Once you reach your afternoon craving stop point then have a seat in their lush garden for a midday picnic. The Getty Center boast exceptional dining options and a plethora of seating choices.

Farmshop

If one prefers to head back into town for their afternoon meal, the Farmshop is the perfect destination. Founded by Chef Jeff Cerciello, the eatery is a staple of the Brentwood Country Mart. With imaginative recipes and locally sourced ingredients, its the best afternoon pick me-up.

Your evening adventure…

Skirball Cultural Center

Once, day turns to night, a show at the Skirball Cultural Center is almost a given. Just north of the Getty, the center explores heritage, culture and ideals through permanent collections, rotating exhibits, film screenings and live performances.

Tavern

Finally, we recommend for your evening conclusion to dine as locals do, at Suzanne Goin and Caroline Styne’s acclaimed Tavern. The destination restaurant features a tastefully prepared seasonal menu with a who’s who of patrons.

Tesla Unveils New Version of Their Solar Panel Roof

Tesla Unveils New Version of Their Solar Panel Roof

For the past three years, Elon Musk’s vision for a fully-integrated solar panel roof has been delayed repeatedly. Tesla encountered some production issues at the beginning. Then, of course, aesthetic issues came into the play. Now, Tesla is unveiling a third iteration of its solar roof tiles, and this time the company believes it has a winner.

The new Tesla Solar Roof features dark tempered glass shingles. These innovative shingles are bigger, cheaper to produce & install, have fewer parts, and can capture more energy than previous versions. “We changed some of the materials in use, changed some of the methods, and the technology we are using to something that is more scalable” Musk explained on a recent conference call, as reported by PV Magazine.

The aesthetics remain more or less similar to that of their competitors—steely gray rectangles that sit flush with the roof. The upside, Musk claims, is that the install time has been vastly reduced by the tiles’ increased simplicity. The goal is to complete a roof install in just eight hours. The tiles will come with a 25-year warranty.

For now, Tesla is exclusively offering the dark gray version of the solar roof. However, Musk announced the company is aiming to roll out new and improved versions of the other roof styles they have teased. This includes a Mediterranean Clay roof in six to nine months! The website estimates that a 10kW solar roof for a 2,000-square-foot house will cost $33,950 when factoring in federal tax credits.

“We can make roofs come alive” Musk stated on the call, as reported by PV Magazine. “There are all these roofs out there just gathering sunlight, but not doing anything with it. In the future it will be odd for roofs to be dormant, or dead, or not gathering energy.”

The company expects to start rolling these new roofs out in the coming weeks. Stay tuned!

Home Tips: 10 Home Décor Crafts to Turn Your Home Into an Autumnal Oasis

Transforming your home into an autumnal oasis could be as simple as focusing on the small accents you’re bringing into each room of your home. When it comes to the changing of seasons, there is nothing more exciting than when summer fades into fall. The leaves are changing, the weather is cooling down, and your coffee order changes from iced to hot. Fall is a time to put your beach towels back in storage, and get back into regular routines. Thus, making it the ideal opportunity to return to your crafting room with these 10 Fall DIY crafts in mind.

1. Fabric Pumpkins

Fabric pumpkins are a fresh way to display seasonal gourds. You can pair sewn faux pumpkins among real ones (some of which you can spray or sponge paint) during this fall season. Imagine — spare branches, scattered leaves, and these pumpkins displayed in your home. Autumnal oasis dreams.

Home Décor Craft: Sew linen, silk, and velvet into adorable faux pumpkins that can be displayed and reused every year.

2. Wheat Cluster

For an easy, lightweight decoration that still evokes the glorious fall harvest, try these dried wheat bundles.

Home Décor Craft: Begin by bundling together three to ten stalks of wheat. Then, wrap the stalks of wheat together in twine. Leave about three feet of twine hanging off the bunch in a tail. Next, cut the stalks to approximately three-inches in length. Repeat for as many bundles as desired. Then, push the separate tails on the twines through a chosen bead, loop all at the end, and tie it into a knot. Hang it upside down on your front door as a creative way to say hello to the fall season!

3. Rustic Woven Lanterns

Thinking of dressing your dinner table with fresh center pieces this holiday season? Look no further with this eco-friendly and chic way to upgrade your dinner table.

Home Décor Craft: Upcycle old mesh placemats by cutting & rolling them into tubes and stitching them along the seams. Place cylinder shaped votives around candles. Wax, soy, or electric candles – your guests won’t be able to spy the difference! Candlelight will gracefully flicker through the loose weave of the hurricane lanterns as you entertain over dinner.

4. Soft Seats

With this DIY craft, dinner isn’t going to be the only warm thing at your table. With these simple slipcovers, you can instantly reinvent dining chairs at your formal dining table over the holidays.

Home Décor Craft: To start, simply drape a finished sheepskin over the back of the chair before securing it with Ultrasuede-tape or cord. Extra fall points for choosing a contrasting cord color. Next, finish securing them to the chair by threading the tie through the sheepskin on each side with a tapestry needle (that will help you create a cuff over the chair’s top). Knot the ends and let them hang loose. Voila!

5. Gingham Knit Blanket

Believe it or not, you don’t need to be an expert knitter to tackle this DIY project; you can make this cozy throw blanket with quick-to-knit strips.

Home Décor Craft: Gather scarves in the colors you want, and sew them together. That’s it! Below, scarves of alternating stripes are sewn together to create a unique gingham pattern.

6. Harvest Branches

We love how easy these fleeced branches are to put together. Specifically how they have the power to add a touch of warm color to any setting you place them in.

Home Décor Craft: Simply pull a bit of fleece roving off a ball, and then press the end of the fiber against the branch. Start wrapping tightly, gently pulling the fleece apart (without tearing it) as you go. Wrap the branches until the piece of fleece runs out. Add more fleece as needed to cover the branch. When adding, wrap over the last inch of wrapped fleece with e.

The friction of your fingers on the fibers and the natural oils form your skin help the fleece stay on the branch and adhere to itself.

7. Pumpkin Spice Scented Candles

If you’re among the camp that counts down the days until you can sip a classic pumpkin spice latte once again, these homemade candles are for you. Poured into orange-tinted mason jars, they throw off an especially autumnal glow in any area you might have in mind.

Home Décor Craft: Hot glue candle wick to bottom of festive colored jar. Bring water to a boil in a pot (filled half way). Reduce to a simmer. Place a different jar with broken up candle wax inside into the pot of simmering water. Water should be about 1/2 way up the side of the jar. When the wax becomes liquid add a heaping tablespoon of pumpkin pie spice. Mix. Carefully pour the liquid wax into the festive colored jar. If the candle wick starts to tilt, secure the wick between two sticks or pencils. Set aside to cool overnight. Trim the wick. Light it up!

8. Nut Wreath

Celebrate fall’s abundance of almonds, hazelnuts, pecans and walnuts with this festive decoration. Use any hard-shelled nuts, including acorns you gather from your own backyard.

Home Décor Craft: Gather all your nuts, small and large. Begin hot gluing the large ones together to form the shape of your wreath. Add in the small nuts as you go to fill in the spaces. Let cool, and hang on door. Ta da!

9. Embroidered Throw Pillows

Upgrade a pair of store-bought wide-weave cushions by tricking them out with bright neutral yarns sewn directly into the weave.

Home Décor Craft: Grab some of your favorite colored yarn and sew in fun patterns and fringe with a tapestry needle. That’s it. Truly. 

10. Block-Printed Linens

Block-printed linens are costly to buy, but surprisingly simple to make. With some textile paint, muslin fabric, and woodblock stamps, you can create linens that are exclusive and unique.

Home Décor Craft: Begin by layering a paper towel on top of a foam sheet; lay pre-washed muslin fabric on top, and smooth out any wrinkles. Then, pour your choice of textile paint on a plate. Next, dab a sponge in the paint and smooth it evenly onto a wooden printing block with a unique pattern. Stamp it on the muslin fabric. Let dry. Pictured are indigo shades, but you can substitue for any color of your choosing.

LA Eats: Top 10 Gluten-Free Restaurants

Satisfying your hunger isn’t as easy as going to your local sandwich shop down the street to grab a bite to eat when you’re following a strict gluten-free diet. So, my fellow gluten-free people, we put together a list just for you! With all of the gluten-free eateries we found in Los Angeles, you’ll have difficulty deciding where to get that sandwich sushi or pizza fix! Our list includes gluten-free donuts. Yes, you read that correctly: Gluten-free donuts!

1.Kitchen Mouse

Location: 10889 Lindbrook Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90024

Quinoa salad, rice cakes, and pesto bowls are some of the fan favorites at Kitchen Mouse. This restaurant is located in Highland Park, and there is a play area for the little ones! Mickey’s Chilaquiles are a must-try! This dish consists of corn chips covered in enchilada sauce with black beans, cilantro sauce, pepitas, vegan cheese sauce, serrano slaw, and avocado! Hungry yet? See the menu here

2. Crossroads Kitchen

Location: 8284 Melrose Ave

The upscale Mediterranean restaurant makes it one of the more popular destinations in that area. The trendy spot is run by famed chef Tal Ronnen and is a restaurant where vegans, vegetarians, and omnivores happily dine together. The menu at Crossroads Kitchen is comprised of small plate items perfect for sharing and allows you to try many more dishes. Full plate meals are also offered and consist of assorted soups, salads, pastas, and “comforting classics”. Click here for the menu!

3. 800 Degrees Neapolitan Pizzeria

Location: 10889 Lindbrook Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90024

This pizza joint claims that your pizzas are cooked within 60 seconds, sounds like a pretty sweet deal! With classic meatballs, cheese bread, topped with garlic, mozzarella, parmesan, and truffle flavored Boschettos al Tartufo cheese, wood-roasted broccolini with garlic, snappy Calabrian peppers and olive oil you won’t want to miss out on a delicious pizza pie. The most important feature of this pizzeria? The gluten-free crust! See the menu here

4. M Café

Location: 7119 Melrose Ave, Hollywood, CA 90046

This healthy spot in Beverly Hills has a number of gluten-free dishes, including crispy rice avocado toast, grain bowls, sandwiches and salads that can be prepared with gluten-free ingredients. This spot specializes in plant-focused and minimally processed food, staying away from artificial ingredients. Tip: make sure you also grab a free turmeric refresher shot on your way out. Click here for the menu!

5. Flower Child

Location: 1332 2nd St., Santa Monica, CA 90401

Just steps away from the Santa Monica beach this stellar gluten-free eatery is Instagram photo-worthy every way you turn. In close proximity to the hustle and bustle of the Promenade, this is the perfect pit stop on your Saturday shopping trip in Santa Monica. The menu is loaded with rare gluten-free items you won’t find just anywhere, like gluten-free mac & cheese, pitas, and cookies. Get the menu here

6. Mendocino Farms

Location: multiple

That hearty sandwich fix can’t be found just anywhere when you are on a gluten-free diet. Good news! We found your new sandwich spot! Mendocino Farms has got you covered with gluten free bread for most of their subs. The tasty long list of their vegan banh mi, a steak BLT, the modern tuna “almost a melt” and a caramelized Kurobuta pork belly. These sandwich shops are just about everywhere from Marina Del Rey to Sherman Oaks, so you won’t have to worry about driving too far in the dreaded LA traffic. Click here for the menu

7. Fōnuts

Location: 8104 W 3rd St, Los Angeles, CA 90048

FOMO over Krispy Kreme no more Fōnuts is here! This little west Hollywood donut shop has a full slate of gluten-free options from churro to strawberry buttermilk. All of their donuts are baked and/or steamed and never fried. Tip: don’t wait until the end of the day, donuts start selling out towards the late afternoon. Get the menu here

8. Hugo’s Restaurant

Location: multiple

A mix of comfort food, healthy salads, and hearty sandwiches can be found at Hugo’s. This joint has been in West Hollywood since the ’70s and has expanded with shops in Valley Village and Agoura Hills. Take one look at the menu and you’ll see that almost everything at Hugo’s is free of gluten. Want mac & cheese? You got it!  Click here for the menu!

9. Shojin

Location: multiple

A vegan and gluten-free Nobu, not exactly but close enough! This plant-based and gluten-free sushi joint serves the most creative rolls in a dimly lit setting. Everything on this menu is irresistible, including the dessert menu! Matcha Green Tea Cake is a sweet tooth’s dream come true! Get your gluten-free sushi fix at Shojin’s two locations in Downtown LA and Culver City! Get the menu here

10. Blue Jam Cafe

Location: multiple

The popular Melrose Ave eatery (also in Tarzana) offers several gluten-free menu options that are so tasty that this will become your new go-to brunch spot! Take your pick between numerous unique scrambles, chilaquiles with corn chips, or fresh greens like the strawberry salad. Click here for the menu!

LA Eats: Top 10 Coffee Bars in LA

Now that the days are getting colder, a delicious cup of coffee to warm you up sounds really nice. The ambiance of the coffee shop is just as important as your cup of joe. We selected 10 coffee bars in the Los Angeles area that we feel will not only get you the best coffee in town but also that homey autumn vibe that makes us all feel warm and snug this time of year!

1. Coffee Commissary
Location: 3121 W Olive Ave, Burbank, CA 91505 (& six others)

The Burbank location is the only branch that has a full kitchen, meaning you can find fried chicken sandwiches, breakfast burritos and impressive house-baked goods on a daily basis! The growing chain now keeps studio workers well-caffeinated throughout TV, film, and radio production. It roasts mostly West Coast roasters and serves all cups with foamy panache.

 

2. Eightfold Coffee
Location: 1294 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90026

This coffee bar looks like it is was made to appear on lifestyle blogs. The kind you just want to cozy up in with a book and a cup of joe, especially on these cold autumn days! The airy space, sports white walls (including white brick), a tile-backed marble bar, and wood-bench seating. Baristas brew Heart Coffee in vac spots, with a La Marzocco espresso machine. The cold brews are served in glasses big enough to keep you awake for two days straight!

3. Espresso Cielo
Location: 1431 2nd St, Santa Monica, CA 90401

Espresso Cielo has two locations, each just a few blocks from the beach. With an antique clock, marble countertops and sky blue styling this will quickly become your new coffee oasis.

4. Intelligentsia
Location: 3922 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90029

The coffee is roasted in nearby Glassell Park, the quality remains good given the high volume, and the signature Angeleno beverage is as popular as ever, featuring a quadruple shot of espresso shaken with milk, agave, and ice.

5. Rubies & Diamonds
Location: 6115 Sunset Blvd #150, Los Angeles, CA 90028

LAMILL co-founder Jean Shim went solo in 2015, debuting her fashionable coffee bar in Hollywood’s Columbia Square complex, in a space that features blue-grey and red walls lined with art and two elaborate chandeliers, including one crystal and another that resembles spaghetti. This coffee bar promotes BKON vacuum processed RAIN technology for coffee and tea, and they have nitro drinks!

 

6. Verve Coffee Roasters
Location: 8051 W. 3rd Street Los Angeles, CA 90048 (& two others)

This Santa Cruz import made a great first impression, with its first LA shop brightening an emerging part of downtown, and others popping around the city. The mid-city outpost on Third Street is the most ambitious to date, with a round copper and marble bar, exposed wood rafters and a Farm-level Bar in the back featuring rare coffees that showcase “ethics & excellence”.

7. Woodcat Coffee Bar
Location: 1532 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90026

Reclaimed wood, box seating, and red walls give life to this neighborhood favorite. It also helps that this place brews expertly roasted beans from San Francisco’s Wrecking Ball Coffee Roasters on their sleek Faema espresso machine.

8. Bar Nine
Location: 3515 Helms Ave, Culver City, CA 90232

The owners of this coffee joint work with Ninety Plus Coffee Agents to source coffee beans from Panama and Ethiopia, and then roasts them in house. Bar Nine’s baristas use the shop’s high-tech Modbar system with Chemex coffeemakers to get the precise cup of joe. It’s all about the little details, too. You can’t help but “aww” at the adorable to-go glass jars with lids. Try the creamy hazelnut milk latte, and don’t forget about breakfast!

9. Paramount Coffee Project
Location: 456 N Fairfax Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90036

The concrete and wood space features a multi-roaster lineup that rotates beans from American coffee powers like Heart and George Howell, plus coffee from roasters back home. The food program is more ambitious than most coffee bars, featuring plates like a burrata that’s accompanied by pistachio dukkah, kale, and eggs; and a Superfood Bowl that comes with quinoa, candied beets, lebni, blueberry, and cocoa.

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10. Alfred Coffee & Kitchen
Location: Beverly Grove (& other locations)

Alfred’s iconic sign “but first, coffee” is Instagram post-worthy and reinforces the shop’s core focus: pumping out plenty of espresso drinks and cold-brew coffees, all using Stumptown beans.

Home Tips: 14 Fall Harvest Decorating Ideas for Your Home

When summer fades, many of us are ready to welcome the fall season. Pumpkins, gourds and other decorative squashed are in abundance this time of year! Why not use them as inspiration for your fall harvest decorating project? Browse our best fall harvest decorating ideas over the years – they’re made to last from the first changing of leaves through the Thanksgiving feast.

  1. Wheat Wreath with Wooden Beads

A wreath is a lovely way to welcome guests into your home. This wild wonder owes its elegant good looks to the natural materials that embellish its standard straw base. We added wheat stalks laced with wooden beads and sculptural bleached seedpods.

 

  1. Corn Husk Garlands

At the front door, visitors to your home will marvel at this outdoor display. Decorative Indian corn is a farm-stand staple at this time of year and can be used in all manner of home décor projects: dye them, bath style, in a rainbow of dye colors or braid the husks to create a seasonal garland that drapes around your doorway.

  1. Pear “Welcome” Display

Once inside, guests will be greeted with a friendly, fragrant greeting using the season’s abundant Forelles and Anjous pears. Simply arrange seven pears on a mantel. Then, with a fine-tipped washable marker, write letters on the front of each pear. Press whole cloves into the flesh along the lines and the sweet aroma will be as welcoming as the message itself.

  1. Lamp Chimney and Candle Centerpiece

Many people say grace at dinner, but you’ll feel thankful well before if you prep the table with this easy yet eye-catching centerpiece. Incorporate the lamp chimneys at varying heights for a high-low look and better ease for guests to converse across the table.

 

  1. Wheat Centerpiece

Summer flowers may have wilted with the changing of seasons, but wheat stalks – with their delicate, golden form – are long lasting. Arrange an armful of tall stalks into a vase, cropping the ends and fluffing the tops, and display your glorious autumnal bouquet.

  1. Squash-and-Pumpkin Flower Arrangements

Squashes and pumpkins come in all shapes and sizes, and when paired with seasonal blooms, they add character to your table. Combine a large greenish Hubbard squash paired with bittersweet branches and a white “Baby Boo” pumpkin with bright orange mums for a unique floral display.

  1. Turnip Votives

In a season of abundance, make full use of those richly colored vegetables that flourish in the transition from autumn into winter. Amid a set of gray-washed baskets on the table, turnips – in varying sizes – can be scooped out to hold votive candles that provide a soft glow.

 

  1. Cabbage Bowls and Cups

Bring in new colors and textures to the dinner table with heads of cabbage. Hollow out whole cabbages with a paring knife and spoon and use them to hold appetizer dips. Then, wrap the remaining leaves around glasses to hold crudités, cheeses, and breadsticks.

 

  1. Sprout Napkin Ties

Small Brussels sprouts and sage leave combine to make a charming addition to each guest’s place setting. For each napkin tie, sandwich one end of a ribbon between a sprout and a pair of sage leaves. Use a sequin pin to secure, pinning through the leaves first, then the ribbon, then into the sprout. Repeat on the opposite end of the ribbon, and tie it around a napkin in a loose knot. The sage leaves aren’t just a pretty addition – they’re fragrant, too.

 

 

  1. Hanging Basket of Fall Flowers

Assorted pinecones, pods, acorns and other natural decorations all make for a wilt-proof wall hanging. Treat them with a few coats of golden yellow paint, then hot-glue them to dried twigs gathered from the yard.

 

  1. Glittered Corn Centerpiece

A few organic elements, touched with a bit of gilding, evoke fall’s abundance. For an eye-catching centerpiece, turn a glass compote into a horn of plenty with glittering Indian corn and squash.

 

  1. Tabletop Baskets

Baskets are good for more than bearing fruit! Make use of them on the dinner table as centerpieces, salt and pepper cellars, or and added touch to your guest’s place settings. For each place card, cinch a napkin with a waxed cord and tie the ends around the basket’s handle.

  1. Bar Cart

Pumpkins, gourds and another harvest bounty need not be limited to the front porch or dinner table either – try interspersing them throughout your home, as shown on this rolling bar cart. It doubles as both a way to greet your guests with cocktails and a decorative statement.

 

  1. Cornucopia

For the piece de resistance of your fall harvest décor, why not consider the universal symbol of bounty? The cornucopia, that is. This raffia cornucopia lined with a bed of dried wheat stalks holds an abundance of golden squashes, apples, and pears. This is a natural Thanksgiving decoration that radiates good fortune!

 

 

Top 12 Halloween Desserts

Halloween is the beginning of the sweet holiday season. Whether you’re having a formal dinner party or a casual get together for this spooky October night, our list of top 12 Halloween desserts has something for everyone!

 

  1. Marshmallow Ghost Brownies

Kids will love piping the friendly marshmallow ghosts on top of these brownies! These adorable brownies will make for a delicious addition to the Halloween dessert table! Get the recipe here

 

2. Spooky Forest Pudding Cups

Chocolate trees and candy pumpkins add Halloween vibes to pudding cups. Get the recipe here

3. Cookie Skulls and Pumpkin Sugar Skulls

Don’t be intimidated by the intricate designs on these cookies—the recipe tells you simple ways to channel your inner artist.  Get the recipe here

 

4. Candy-Covered Apples

Create a bewitching version of this beloved candy-coated treat by dipping small Red Delicious apples in a bright red syrup flavored with red cinnamon candies. Get the recipe here

 

5. Boo-scotti

Get some help from your kids when party prep mode is in full swing to make these boo-tifully decorated recipes. Get the recipe here

6. Frankenshake and Bride of Frankenshake

His and hers Halloween shakes (one mint, one vanilla) are made in a single batch, then dressed up for the holiday in this ultimate trick-or-treat. Get the recipe here

 

7. Spooky Peanut Butter Spider Cookies

These spider cookies are entertaining for the little ones and adults to make together! From pushing chocolate candies into warm cookies to drawing spider legs with chocolate and making silly eyes! There is plenty of fun for everyone! Get the recipe here

8. Candy Corn Pops

You either love or hate candy corn. For those of us who love candy corn, try these adorable candy corn pops.  Get the recipe here

9. Spider Bites

Three ingredients are all you need to make Sandra’s easy spider bites. The chocolate-covered pretzels are just creepy enough for young kids to enjoy. Get the recipe here

10. Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Pumpkin anything is a must during Halloween season. Sometimes it’s the simple desserts that are the most impressive. The flavor of these cupcakes and their minimal pumpkin décor say everything that needs to be said! Get the recipe here

11. Squirm Jello Shots

This adults-only dessert will make everyone feel like a kid again. Vodka-spiked Jell-O is filled with gummy worms, then chilled until set into one squirmy, squiggly treat! Get the recipe here

12. Spiderweb Cake

Who would think that cake and spiders could be this stylish? It’s as tasty as it is pretty with its dark-cocoa batter and orange-flavored buttercream. Get the recipe here

12 Halloween Costume Ideas for the Whole Family

When trying to come up with ideas for a group Halloween costume, it is best to start with a theme! Costumes that have things in common can also work well together. The good thing is that they can be modified to fit your family size. You can easily and quickly put together a family costume with these ideas.

 

Sloth and Tree Costumes

There’s no trick-or-treater too small for Halloween. The trick to this duo? We used a baby wrap carrier to disguise a smiling little one as a sloth slinging from a tree branch. To create this costume, print the template onto 8 ½ by 11 inch paper and cut out. Use the template to cut out felt shapes, then glues the pieces together and pin them to baby’s wrap and hat. Mom can wear brown and tuck leaves in her hair.

Bluebird and Birdwatcher Costumes

As an avid birdwatcher, your little bird is never far from sight with a pair of binoculars. Other than the hat and a canteen (available at camping-suppl stores), this costume can be assembled entirely from clothes from your closet. Choose an outfit that consists of neutral, outdoorsy pieces, such as the safari-style jacket and brown pants shown, and don’t forget a pair of sensible shoes. For the bluebird costume, use our pattern and basic sewing supplies to create a pair of detachable wings.

Under-the-Sea Costumes

For a family of little ones, the ocean still holds a depth of mystery and awe. Designate one of your kids as the Mermaid, encouraging her to make her own whimsical accessories like a seashell crown and a tail of satin, tulle and metallic trim. Meanwhile, the rest of the kids can dress up as their favorite undersea creatures: a goldfish, a snappy Lobster, an eight-legged Octopus or a Jellyfish. You can even join in the fun as a scuba diver or an ever-watchful lifeguard at the shore.

Three Musketeers Costume

All for fun, fun for all! A night of trick-or-treating awaits the dashing Three Musketeers. If you’re a family of three- or have three little ones – then why not embody the legendary literary trio? Give everyone a pullover vest, a collared cape, and a Fleur-de-lis insignia – and the evening will be full of swashbuckling adventure and candy treasures.

Little Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Wolf Costumes

Embrace the charm of classic storybook characters with these easy-to-make costumes for Mom and Dad or son and daughter. For her, a gown and namesake hood are cut and sewn from a length of crimson jersey and tied with a wide ribbon at the waist. For him, the dapper wolf wears a suit with a red cravat, and his fur is styled from two shaggy wigs. (To make the wolf head, cut 2 large triangular sections – as ears – from one wig and hot-glue them in place to the second wig.) Faux fangs are the only sign of his true nature.

Storm Chaser and Tornado Costumes

As siblings, they can have an admittedly stormy relationship at times, but they complement each other well as a storm chaser and tornado. A younger sister can be a great storm chaser with some hair gel and a flipped umbrella. All you need is a tornado and that’s easy enough to create with a tomato cage and tulle.

Lion and Gladiator Costumes

They tussle in roughhouse play as it is, so why not personify their sibling rivalry? Dress one as the stalwart gladiator and the other as a courageous lion. Construct the gladiator’s costume using hardware store supplies: museum board, a window shade, and prong fasteners. Similarly, the lion’s costume is a clever assembly of fringe garlands and a hoodie. For both, there are no sewing skills required.

 

Napoleon and Josephine Costumes

For a sibling costume that is simple, as the French say, “incroyable”, pair brother and sister together as Napoleon and Josephine. He may not have learned his French history yet, but a boy would love dressing up in Napoleon’s regalia nevertheless. And, similarly, a girl will love dressing up in Josephine’s glamorous Empire-style gown with period jewelry and a fancy updo.

 

Lamb and Chicken Costumes

This funny farm duo – a chicken and a lamb – pair up together in the cutest costume idea for siblings, cousins or even best friends. Both costumes use wearable patterns in simple soft materials to ensure that the kids feel comfortable for a night of trick-or-treating. A parent can keep a close watch over the flock as they make their rounds through the neighborhood as Old MacDonald.

Tulip and Rose Flower Costumes

A blooming crepe-paper tulip cap and rosebud headband – each in pastel hues turn a mother-daughter dup into a sprightly pair.

Superhero Costumes

Every kid is a superhero and parents can join in as well. Start with t-shirts and leggings as the base for the costume. Then add headbands and belts and other accessories to make your own unique superhero.

10 Halloween Finger Food Recipes

Halloween is all about the eerie, scary and downright creepy. When you’re hosting a Halloween party, make a variety of sweet and savory finger foods for guests to enjoy – just be sure to get a little creative with the decorations atop these skull-tacular snacks.

Prosciutto- Wrapped Fig Hearts

Savor the taste of these rich and indulgent fig bites. They offer a sophisticated combination of tangy goat cheese, salty prosciutto, and sweet dried figs it for a Queen.

 

Wavy Grissini

Ready for a hair-raising snack? These breadsticks are nothing like the kind you’ll find at an Italian restaurant; mix the dough with black squid ink for a devilish hue and serve alongside Black-Tahini and Eggplant Dip.

 

Popcorn on the Cob

Popcorn balls are a popular snack to serve to trick or treaters. Give them a fall twist by forming the popcorn, marshmallows and colored candy into the shape of flint corn. It’s a simple, sweet treat perfect for the harvest season and just right for Halloween.

 

Crudites with Miso-Yogurt Dip

Swap out brightly colored vegetables for dark, creepy colors such as red cabbage, purple carrots, purple potatoes, and black olives. This appetizer has a seriously dark side.

 

Brain Cupcakes

This is a fun, freaky dessert that’s a Halloween must-make. Use Swiss Meringue buttercream to create the squiggles and wiggles of a brain on top of a rich chocolate cupcake.

 

Deep-Sea Specimens with Devilishly Hot Cocktail Sauce

This spooky presentation of elegant seafood looks like the crab legs and poached shrimp are coming alive right before your eyes. The spicy cocktail sauce may frighten your taste buds, but it’s so good that you won’t resist a double-dip.

 

Sweet Bones

No bones about it: These are some seriously spooky meringues. Dip in chocolate, or shape into ghosts and add chocolate chips as eyes.

 

Rest in Peas

Use Halloween-shaped cookie cutters – gravestones, bats, witch hats, skulls, and pumpkins – to create festive croutons for this most unusual dip. A creamy mixture of cooked peas mimic the appearance of graveyard grass, but tastes so much better!

 

Black-Widow Spider Bites

Real spiders would not be welcome at the Halloween celebration but this savory rendition – made with sweet potato chips, avocado, and olives – makes perfect horror d’oeuvres. Dig into this creepy crawling snack before it bites you back!

 

Caramel Apples

Caramel apples are essential to Halloween as ghosts and goblins galore. Sprinkling flaky sea salt on the rich caramel cuts the sweetness and adds a crunchy texture, making this a scary good treat.