THE COCKTAIL HOUR: A Toast to the New Year!

Tonight's the night we say goodbye to 2012 and while some of us will be out and about welcoming the new year, many will be saying hello to 2013 at home with just as much revelry and celebration!
Join us in a few of our New Year favs that we are sure will bring just a touch more fun to the festivities.

Melon Ball Drop
2 oz melon liqueur
1 oz citrus vodka
1/2 oz elderflower liqueur
juice of 1/2 lemon
sugar for rimming
melon ball for garnish
Rim a chilled cocktail glass with sugar. Pour the liquids into a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake well. Strain into the prepared glass. Garnish with a melon ball.

The Happy New Year
1/4 oz brandy
3/4 oz ruby port
3/4 oz orange juice
4 oz Champagne
Pour the brandy, port and orange juice into a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake well and strain into a Champagne flute. Top with Champagne.

Midnight Martini
3 1/2 oz vodka or coffee vodka
1/4 oz coffee liqueur
Lemon twist for garnish
Pour the ingredients into a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Stir well with bar spoon and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.

Blood Orange Gin Fizz
1 lime, thinly sliced into 6 circles
6 fresh basil leaves
1 bottle (750 ML) PC BLACK LABEL Blood Orange Sparkling beverage
3/4 cup gin
3 cups of ice cubes
4 small basil leaves (optional)
In pitcher, muddle 4 lime circles and large basil leaves together using the end of a wooden spoon. Add sparkling beverage, gin and ice cubes, stirring to combine. Divide among 4 chilled cocktail glasses. Slice remaining 2 lime circles and use to garnish along with a small basil leave.
recipe via

Kir Royale
3 ounces creme de cassis
1 bottle Champagne or other sparkling white wine
6 strips tangerine or orange zest, for garnish
Pour 1 tablespoon creme de cassis into each glass. Fill with Champagne, garnish with zest and serve immediately.

A STYLE STORY: The Boxing Day Chill

We are bracing for a snowstorm later today which would have put a damper on my Boxing Day adventures had I intentions of visiting the malls and shops but as most of you know by now, I usually avoid the crazed shopping scenes. Boxing Day has always been a day of rest in the Lemontree household, enjoying all the goodies Santa brought and settling in to watch a few of our fav films.
Good luck to all the shoppers and bargain hunters braving the crowds and the cold.
I will be waiting for you on the couch, snuggled up with a soft blanket and popcorn, waiting to press play!

BOOTS Uggs     CANDLE 'Roasted Chestnut' Jo Malone

A 'New York State of Style' with Ellen Lubin-Sherman (12/24)

image courtesy of Chris Jorda

Oh yeah!
This year I was invited to a pre-holiday party. I decided to take my pom pom scarf and turn it into a trim-myself-party.

Ellen Lubin-Sherman literally wrote the book on how to be fabulous.
The Essentials of Fabulous is available on AmazonKindle, iTunes and select shops across the country.
To find out more about Ellen, go to The Essentials of Fabulous, connect with her on FacebookTwitter and you can always drop her a line right here at

Chic this Week: Best in Show for December 15-21, 2012

Who is your choice for best dressed this week?
Don't forget to scroll below and vote!
(Email and RSS readers click into the post to access poll)

The Duchess of Cambridge
In Alexander McQueen
('Cosmic' pumps by Jimmy Choo, earrings by Kiki McDonough, 'Button' pendant necklace by Asprey)
At the BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year awards in London, England

Jessica Chastain
In Alexander McQueen
(strappy sandals by Casadei)
At a 'Zero Dark Thirty' screening in NYC, New York

Leslie Mann
(quartz earrings by Nikki Baker)
At a 'Good Morning America' appearance in NYC, New York

In Pamella Roland
At the 2012 VH1 'Divas' event in Los Angeles, California

Olivia Palermo
Out and about in Brooklyn, New York

Carey Mulligan
In Valentino
At an Alzheimer's benefit in Gstaad, Switzerland

Megan Fox
In Roland Mouret
('Pigalle' pumps by Christian Louboutin)
At a 'Tonight Show with Jay Leno' appearance in Burbank, California

Gwyneth Paltrow
Arriving at Heathrow Airport in London, England

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ON THE SHELF: 'Timeless Desire' by Gwyn Cready

I was never so grateful to own an e-reader as I was yesterday.
Wanting to check out a sore throat that has been plaguing me for a couple of weeks, I made the dreaded mistake of visiting the walk-in clinic in my neighbourhood. (My regular doctor is sunning herself in the Bahamas, lucky girl!) The waiting room was full of masked coughers, snifflers and wheezers so I was told it would be awhile. (I am positive that the receptionist had no idea that the ‘little while’ would turn into 2 ½ hours!) Like anyone else who found themselves in a waiting room full of people lined up before her, I found a seat, made myself comfortable, pulled out my trusty e-reader and started to scroll for something to catch my eye. Having received Timeless Desire: An Outlander Love Story awhile back from the lovely people at Blue Dot Literary, I had filed it away to be read over the holidays but I figured this was as good a time as any to dig into it!
 While I am not a usual reader of romance novels, this tender romance with a ton of action kept it from being just another sappy love story and literally kept me on the edge of my seat (quite frankly the only action I saw while wasting away over three hours in that doctor’s office!).
Exciting escapades, time travel into history and a touch of comic wit are a few of the captivating  elements you will find in author Gwyn Cready's book, Timeless Desire: An Outlander Love Story
which centers around main character Panna Kennedy, a modern day librarian and recent widow. Budget cuts at the Pennsylvanian library put her on a quest to unearth extra funds in any way she can so she begins the hunt for old items in the library storage areas to be hocked for cash. The intro begins to pick up speed when she uncovers an odd little room at the library that she had never come across before. Pulled away momentarily from exploring the room, she returns later to discover that it happens to be a portal to the 18th century and a thrilling romantic adventure she could never had imagined! Not the odds and ends she was looking for to sell but a fortune that takes the lonely widow on an adventure she emotionally craved! Once on the other side of the magical portal, she meets Colonel John Bridgewater, a founder of the very library Panna works for, and here is where the story blooms into late night rendezvous and perilous missions.
Needless to say, the 2 1/2 hours I spent waiting to see the doctor did whiz by with the help of Panna, Colonel Bridgewater and their dangerous adventures since my mind had been transported somewhere less virus-infested but don't wait to be stuck in a congested waiting room to pick this one up, hop on over to Amazon or Barnes & Noble and treat your e-reader to a little romance over the holidays!

THE LOVELY ONES :: Irene Dunne

Irene Dunne
(Irene Marie Dunn)

Did you know...

1. She was born on December 20, 1898 in Louisville, Kentucky.
2. She graduated from the Chicago Music College with high honors in 1926.
3. In 1938, she adopted her only child with her husband Dr. Frank Griffin from the New York Foundling Hospital, who she named Mary Frances.

HOW TO BEHAVE HERE, THERE AND EVERYWHERE: The Very Best Thing We Can Give Our Children this Christmas

Does little Bobby seem to huff and puff when he is not at the front of the line? Is darling Sally a little too nonchalant when greeting a friend or family member, much to the disappointment of her grandmother who expected a warmer greeting? It happens all the time, children occasionally come short in the ‘good manners’ department but can we really blame them when they see the same type of behaviour coming from their greatest role models? Yes, that’s right, Mom and Dad, could the kiddies be modelling behaviour they have learned at your side? A nerve racking thought right? But not something that can’t be corrected by the very same person who set the pattern to start. With Christmas right around the corner, this time of year tends to bring out the best and unfortunately, sometimes the worst in all of us. With little eyes and ears taking in our every move, it is the perfect time to set the record straight in the manners department. Child experts and educators alike will always tell you-the easiest way to teach a child anything is by example. This year, as you search for the perfect toy and trinket for your little and not-so-little ones, the following ten tips will help you with the most invaluable present you can give them, the gift of good manners!

The gift of patience
Yes, the line-ups in the shops are unreal at this time of the year but becoming irritable while waiting in a cue will never get you to the terminal any faster. Keep in mind that your children are taking in your every move and just let it go. Play a game with them, hum a tune or just wait your turn quietly. One of the best examples you can show them about patience is to be patient with them too, while waiting in line. Children have a hard enough time sitting still and waiting quietly to begin with, let alone when they can feel and see the tension brewing on a parent’s face. For children, patience is a skill that must be nurtured and allowed to mature so don’t expect this to change while you are waiting for the cashier to ring up your purchase. Afterwards ask them how it felt to wait for so long and what were some things they did to pass the time. Continue to practice the methods that seem to work best for them.

The gift of generosity
Embrace the festive spirit by showing generosity towards others in any way you can, big or small. It could be as simple as dropping a few coins into a donation box or contributing to a food drive. On a more elaborate scale, find a family (through your church or other organization) that is struggling and gift them with food, toys or whatever else they might need during the Christmas season. Whatever path you choose, involve your children in as many ways as possible, whether it’s picking out items for the food drive or wrapping gift baskets for a family in need. It will go a long way in teaching them what is truly important at this time of year.

The gift of graciousness
A lack of enthusiasm towards a gift can really spoil the fun for everyone, especially the gift giver! Have a ‘mini training session’ with your children before the upcoming gift giving, teaching  them to look at the person giving them the gift, to smile while receiving and opening the present and to offer a genuine thank you to the gift giver. Review as many possible situations that might come up without bombarding them with too many rules. “What would you say if you get something you already have?” or “What would you say if you receive something you don’t really like” You might be pleasantly surprised at how a little practice can go a long way.

The gift of appreciation
We don’t express our appreciation to others as much as we should and it can’t be stressed enough with our kids! Notes of thanks for being invited to a party or presents received should be sent out as soon as possible, especially in situations where the gift-giver is not present when your child receives their gift. Even if they don’t like the gift, teach them to find at least one positive thing they can say, write it down, and then to say thank you. This is a skill that should be practiced all through the year and can even be made into a game to exercise better handwriting. If the child is not able or old enough to write their own note, guide them to express what they want written and write it down for them. 

The gift of good table manners
Once again, this is an area where prior practice can really go a long way. Set an example during your family dinner hour and engage your children in easy conversation. Guide them to involve people across the table and on either side of them. When speaking across the table, remind them to control the volume of their voice. Remind them not to yell but also not to speak so softly that no one can hear them. Teach them to not talk with their mouth full. (This is a biggie when it comes to kids who often times are too excited to realize that while they can’t hold back on telling their story, no one wants to see what they are munching on!) Don’t forget other simple prompts that are just as important like holding their utensils properly and waiting until all have been served to start eating, little touches that will make every meal, holiday or otherwise, so much more pleasant!

The gift of social interaction
With every 5 year old in possession of an iPhone, DSi and countless other  electronic gadgets, our children have started to mimic mini-zombies who have lost their ability to engage in many social situations. Try creating a holiday schedule that curbs their ‘electronic stimulation’. Make their games accessible only during travelling times in the car or specific hours at home. Make the gadgets off limits when they are a guest in someone’s home or when you have guests visiting your own home. Also, practice mock situations anytime you have a few moments where they have to greet someone with a hello, look the person in the eyes and smile. Remind them to speak clearly, say the person’s name and ask them how they are. If it is a relative or very close friend, tell them its okay to add a hug or two if they feel comfortable!

The gift of being a good guest
Your little social butterflies are just starting to spread their wings and before you know it, they will be attending parties and gatherings on their own. You wouldn't send them to school unprepared for a big test so don’t send them out into the social world ill-equipped to make a good impression. Teach them the importance of punctuality and make sure they arrive on time. Prior to the party date, explain to them the thoughtfulness of a gesture gift for their host, be it big or small and involve them in choosing a gift so they don’t show up to the gathering empty-handed. (Although the adults are technically hosting the party, it is the child of the host who invited your kiddo, so it is perfectly acceptable to choose a gift for the junior host!) Go over guidelines as to areas of their host’s home that you consider off-limits and instruct them to stay out of those areas. Remind them of keeping the inappropriate language in check (yes folks, our kids do use some of ‘those words’ especially when we are not around!) and that the words ‘please’ and ‘thank-you’ should be at the tip of their tongues ready to be let out any time they ask for a drink or our offered a piece of cake. Instruct them to be prepared and waiting for you at the agreed upon departure time and to bid their host good-bye with a smile and a ‘thank-you’.

The gift of being a good host
Just as important as being a good guest is being a super host in your own home. Guide them to understand that not everyone follows the same Christmas traditions that your family might, so forcing someone to partake in a particular ritual at the expense of their discomfort does not make for a good host. Teach them to be welcoming, thoughtful and flexible when inviting someone into their home. Are they hosting a Christmas party for a variety of classmates? Help them to arrange a few different games or activities to happily entertain their little buddies. Are they having a BFF over for your traditional Christmas turkey dinner that you know happens to be a vegetarian? Involve them in choosing at least one or two vegetarian dishes to offer their guest. Instill in your children the pride and honour of being a gracious host by accommodating their guests whenever possible and never making them feel they are in the way.

The gift of correspondence
A Christmas email to work colleagues and casual acquaintances that you don’t have an address for is always okay but there are many who love nothing more than reaching into their mailbox and pulling out a festive holiday card. Revive the waning tradition by involving your children in selecting a card, signing the card and addressing envelopes and of course, the final touch of sending them off in the mailbox.

The gift of acceptance
While Christmas seems to envelope our entire world for a few weeks of the year, let’s not forget that not everyone celebrates the same holidays as we do. Christmas is the perfect time to teach our children acceptance of others and their beliefs and that it is okay that we are not all cut from the same cloth. Have friends that don’t celebrate Christmas? Use them as models for how people of all different beliefs have a place in our lives. Kindness, the most important key in good social graces, should be shared with everyone, regardless of who they are or their beliefs!

(originally published in The Toronto Sun- Sunday, December 9, 2012)

Christmas at Hunter, shop now!

Best in Show for December 8-14, 2012: Cate Blanchett and Katie Aselton

Reader's Choice
Cate Blanchett
In Peter Pilotto
(clutch and sandals by Roger Vivier, watch by IWC)
At the Dubai Film Festival and IWC Schaffhausen Filmmaker Award Gala dinner in Dubai, UAE

Editor's Choice
Katie Aselton
In Juan Carlos Obando
(clutch by Judith Leiber, earring by Anita Ko, bangle by Dana Rebecca Designs, ring by Graziela)
At the 'Zero Dark Thirty' premiere in Hollywood, California

Contemporary Collection at

A 'New York State of Style' with Ellen Lubin-Sherman (12/18)

image courtesy of Chris Jorda
Day #2 of black and white to demonstrate serene indifference to latest trends by opting for the classic.

Ellen Lubin-Sherman literally wrote the book on how to be fabulous.
The Essentials of Fabulous is available on AmazonKindle, iTunes and select shops across the country.
To find out more about Ellen, go to The Essentials of Fabulous, connect with her on FacebookTwitter and you can always drop her a line right here at


Is it ever too late to whisper a little wishlist in to Santa's ear?
We sincerely hope not and that is why we are giving him one last glimpse at what we would love to find under the tree next week!

1. REISS 'Adi' Dress     2. REISS 'Eugenia' Court Pump     3. SPACE NK 'Laughter' Eau de Toilette
4. MOSCHINO CHEAP & CHIC Faux Fur Wrap     5. LULU FROST 'Siren' Bracelet
6. KATIE QUINN DAVIES 'What Katie Ate'     7. ROYAL DOULTON 'Alfie' Bulldog
8. LULU GUINNESS 'One in a Million' Umbrella     9. BUTTER LONDON Fairy Cake

Chocolate Gifts from Lily O'Brien's

Chic this Week: Best in Show for December 8-14, 2012

Who is your choice for best dressed this week?
Don't forget to scroll below and vote!
(Email and RSS readers click into post to access poll)

Naomi Watts
In Zac Posen
(ring by Jennifer Meyer, earrings by J/Hadley)
At 'The Impossible' premiere in Hollywood, California

Katie Aselton
In Juan Carlos Obando
(clutch by Judith Leiber, earring by Anita Ko, bangle by Dana Rebecca Designs, ring by Graziela)
At the 'Zero Dark Thirty' premiere in Hollywood, California

Olivia Wilde
In A.L.C.
(velvet pumps by Gio Diev)
At the ‘Django Unchained’ premiere in NYC, New York

Leslie Mann
In Vionnet
(jewellery by Vhernier, shoes by Christian Louboutin, clutch by Judith Leiber)
At the 'This is 40' premiere in Los Angeles, California

Anne Hathaway
In Nina Ricci
(clutch by Jill Milan, sandals by Stella McCartney, jewellery by Kwiat)
At the Museum of the Moving Image’s 'Salute to Hugh Jackman' in NYC, New York

Cate Blanchett
In Peter Pilotto
(clutch and sandals by Roger Vivier, watch by IWC)
At the Dubai Film Festival and IWC Schaffhausen Filmmaker Award Gala dinner in Dubai, UAE

Jessica Alba
In Christian Dior
('June' pumps by Christian Dior)
At the 70th Annual Golden Globe Awards Nominations Announcement in Beverly Hills, California

Lucy Liu
(coat by Dolce & Gabbana, boots by Stuart Weitzman, bag by Lanvin, jewellery by Miriam Salat)
At the 2012 New York Women In Film And Television Muse Awards in NYC, New York

Livia Firth
At the 2012 Dubai International Film Festival 'One Night to Change Lives' Charity Gala in Dubai, UAE

Victoria Beckham
('BB' pumps by Manolo Blahnik, pants by Isabel Marant)
At the 'Viva Forever' press night in London, England

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AT THE TABLE: Pumpkin Pie Milkshake

I know that after Thanksgiving we have all moved on to the sweet tastes of cranberry, mints and gingerbread but I can never give up the scrumptious pumpkin!
One last ode to pumpkin before I say goodbye till next fall, this pumpkin pie milkshake is to die for. Rich vanilla ice cream, a touch of spice and just the right amount of delightful pumpkin makes this the perfect treat to come home to after a busy day of shopping and holiday visits!

Pumpkin Pie Milkshake
5 scoops of french vanilla ice cream (or pumpkin ice cream if available)
1/2 cup whole milk
1/8 to 1/4 cup pumpkin puree
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/16 teaspoon ground nutmeg
4-5 pieces of pumpkin pie crust scraps
whipped cream (optional)

Using an upright blender or milkshake mixer, add ice cream, pumpkin puree and pumpkin pie crust crumbles together and mix for about 10 seconds. Add ground nutmeg and half of the cinnamon and mix for another 10 seconds or until you have reached your preferred milkshake consistency (I like my milkshakes on the thick side so I stop mixing right before the 10 second mark). Divide between two glasses and sprinkle with the rest of the pie crust crumbles and the cinnamon. (If your feeling a little decadent, top it off with some whipped cream before adding the crumbles and cinnamon!)
Makes 2 milkshake.

For more scrumptious milkshake inspiration, Lily Lemontree recommends 'Thoroughly Modern Milkshakes' by Adam Ried

Best in Show for December 1-7, 2012: Naomi Watts & Camilla Belle

Readers Choice
Naomi Watts
(earrings by Monique Pean)
At the 2012 Kennedy Center Honors in Washington, D.C.

Editors Choice
Camilla Belle
(clutch and platforms by Ferragamo, jewellery by Van Cleef & Arpels)
At the Salvatore Ferragamo store launch in London, England

A 'New York State of Style' with Ellen Lubin-Sherman (12/11)

image courtesy of Chris Jorda
Day one in a series of photographs to emphasize the easy elegance of wearing black and white.
Accessories (stockings with punch) can catapult the ensemble to va va voom.

Ellen Lubin-Sherman literally wrote the book on how to be fabulous. The Essentials of Fabulous is available on Amazon, Kindle, iTunes and select shops across the country.
To find out more about Ellen, go to The Essentials of Fabulous, connect with her on Facebook, Twitter and you can always drop her a line right here at 

Chic this Week: Best in Show for December 1-7, 2012

Who is your choice for best dressed this week?
Don't forget to scroll down and vote!
(Email and RSS readers, please click into post to access poll)

Yasmin Le Bon
In Salvatore Ferragamo
At the Salvatore Ferragamo store launch (with daughter Amber Le Bon on left) in London, England

Elizabeth Banks
In Rachel Zoe
(platform sandal by Prada)
At THR’s Women in Entertainment Breakfast in Beverly Hills, California

Diane Kruger
In Prabal Gurung
('Karin' sandals by Brian Atwood, 'Domino Pandora' clutch by Charlotte Olympia, earrings by Crow's Nest)
At the Museum of Modern Art’s Film Benefit honouring Quentin Tarantino in NYC, New York

Katie Holmes
At the Quentin Tarantino Museum of Modern Art Film Benefit in NYC, New York

Gwyneth Paltrow
(sandals by Rupert Sanderson)
At the Hugo Boss fragrance launch in Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Lily Aldridge
In Alexander Wang
(tote by Celine)
Out and about in NYC, New York

Naomi Watts
In Roland Mouret
(earrings by Monique Pean)
At the 2012 Kennedy Center Honors in Washington, D.C.

Nora Zehetner
In Calvin Klein
At the In Vogue: The Editor's Eye screening at the MOMA in NYC, New York

Camilla Belle
In Salvatore Ferragamo
(clutch and platforms by Ferragamo, jewellery by Van Cleef & Arpels)
At the Salvatore Ferragamo store launch in London, England

Anne Hathaway
In The Row
(cocktail ring by Graziela Gems, bracelet by Jessica Robinson, 'Holland Park' clutch by Jill Milan)
At a Les Miserables screening after-party in NYC, New York