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When my good friends at Set Sip Serve asked me to co-host a party with them and gardein, I was excited for the opportunity to mingle with old friends, meet some new ones and learn a thing or two along the way.  Set in gardein’s open air loft space and gourmet test kitchen, we were treated to cooking lessons by none other than celebrated vegan chef and author of The Conscious Cook, Tal Ronnen, who made innovative creations using some gardein vegan products.  I consider myself a ‘flexitarian’, eating mostly veggie but happy for organic meat when I know where it’s coming from.  I was excited to learn about these delicious frozen vegan options and I knew my daughter would be too.  Some of the dishes included Cauliflower Bisque, Baby Beet Salad with Candied Walnuts, Apples, Balsamic Garstrique and Kite Hill Almond Cheese, gardein Chick’n Scaloppini Moutarde with Chanterelle Mushrooms and Braised Romaine, Carrot Cake and Ice Cream with Candied Carrots and Toffee Brittle.


The Set Sip Girls girls wowed us with colorful gorgeous place settings with an Indian vibe, making it look so easy!  Everything from the fragrant flowers to the tablescape (elephants included!) was perfection.  In keeping with the Indian theme, those clever girls even used Stephanie Johnson Mumbai Luggage Tags as a one-of-a-kind place card.


Guests such as Marlien Rentmeester (writer/blogger/stylist, Le Catch), Rose Apodaca and Andy Griffith (co-founders of A+R), Cameron Silver (founder of Decade’s Inc.), Martha McCully (writer and on-air personality), Dana Slatkin (chef and cookbook author) and Emily Procter (actress) departed with gifts including a Stephanie Johnson Mumbai Alicia Carry-All, elephant salt and pepper shakers from Set Sip Serve, a signed copy of Tal Ronnen’s book, and gardein products.

For more inspiration on throwing the perfect event, whether it’s a cozy dinner for two this Valentine’s Day or a gathering for twenty, check out Set Sip Serve online at:


Chic Traveler:  Emily Procter

Occupation:  Actress

Hometown:  Los Angeles, CA

Emily Procter is an actress, a Mom, and a Libra.  You may know her as Ainsley Hayes from The West Wing or as Calleigh Duquesne from CSI Miami.

She is currently working part time on White Collar and part time as the “room mom” at her daughter Pippa’s school.

What’s always inside your carry-on?

Before Pippa was born (almost 2), I hadn’t checked a bag since the 90’s.  So the answer was:  everything!  Now, it’s makeup, jewelry, raisins and plastic jungle animals.  Oh, and wipes!

Your guilty pleasure while traveling?

Eating the food!  It’s always covered in cheese and I fly American so there are hot cookies.

The Stephanie Johnson bag or bags that always make the trip?

I have an SJ jewelry roll, a makeup brush holder (Grace Brush Case), a Lucy bag and a small square bag with a handle on top.  I always use the jewelry roll and depending on the length of my trip, either the Lucy bag, or the square bag and brush holder.  I have them all in a brown alligator print with light blue trim.  Stephanie invited me to the warehouse years ago and I bought them all at once.

Any travel misadventures you’d like to share?

My all-time favorite travel misadventure/adventure happened in the 80’s.  I was flying to Venezuela on Eastern Airlines.  As soon as I got to Miami from NC, Eastern folded.  By the skin of my teeth I managed to get on another airline, only to arrive in Caracas during the middle of a coup.

Best packing tip to keep you organized during travel?

My best packing tip as of late:  I use plastic bedding bags to separate clothes.  Pippa and I share a suitcase, so I pack my clothes in one bag and her clothes in another.  Comforter bags are rectangular so they easily accommodate folded clothes, and since they are clear, it makes it easy to find things quickly without throwing things about.

Your favorite SJ bag to give as a gift?

The littlest zipper wallet (Zip Case).  A friend gave it to me and I love it.

What’s next on your Stephanie Johnson wish list?

To get locked in the warehouse with an empty shopping bag and a whole evening to fill it!


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