Dessert and Wine Pairings to Impress Your Valentine

Between the Super Bowl and Valentine’s Day, the first two weeks of February are jam-packed with good eats…and, of course, quality time with loved ones. With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, we’ve turned our focus away from seven-layer dip and hot wings to dessert and wine. If you’re preparing a nice dinner for your significant other, best friends or family, use this dessert and wine-pairing guide to impress your loved ones. After all, we believe in the sentiment that the way to anyone’s heart is through his or her stomach!

Wine toast

Dessert: Tiramisu
Wine pairing: Zardetto Zeta Prosecco, $22.99 at
A sparkling wine with high residual sugar will complement the sweetness of a classic tiramisu. Zardetto Zeta Prosecco is a good pairing choice for this dessert, given its rich and creamy notes. If you prefer a lower alcohol content, you may want to try pairing tiramisu with Moscato D’Asti, which usually contains 5.5% alcohol by volume.

Dessert: Figs with blue cheese and honey
Wine pairing: Chateau Guiraud Sauternes, $75.00 at
Sauternes pair wonderfully with sweet and savory flavors, and a simple dessert of fresh figs and blue cheese drizzled with a bit of honey fits that flavor combination. Pair it with the 2005 Chateau Guiraud Sauternes, which is layered and complex, boasting aromas of honey, juicy fruits and almonds. Originally $75.00, it’s on sale for $49.99 at, so take advantage of the deal before it sells out!

Dessert: Molten chocolate cake
Wine pairing: Young’s Double Chocolate Stout, price varies at World Market
The only better than chocolate is, well, more chocolate! Hints of bitter chocolate, roasted coffee and caramel in Young’s Double Chocolate Stout make it a perfect partner for a decadent molten chocolate cake.

Dessert: Old-fashioned apple pie
Wine pairing: Graham’s 20 Year Old Tawny Port, $34.99 at
Ah, the comfort of a warm slice of apple pie. Complement the cinnamon, nutmeg and butter in apple pie with a full-bodied port. The dark berry flavors and spice in Graham’s 20 Year Old Tawny Port do a lovely job of highlighting the warm spices and richness of apple pie.

Happy Valentine’s Day from all of us at Shopilly!

Shopilly’s Favorite Summer Cocktails

Beyond beautiful weather and longer days, one of our favorite things about summer is berry season. As summer approaches, we dream of luscious strawberries, plump blueberries and fun hybrid berries like olallieberries. And, like most people, we love berries in all forms — fresh, in pies, and as jams — but our favorite thing to do with berries is to enjoy them in summer cocktails. In the spirit of summer cheer, we’ve included recipes for two of our favorite cocktails so that you, too, can take advantage of berry season before it’s over!

Shopilly's Favorite Summer Cocktails

Strawberry Basil Lemonade (inspiration: theKitchn)
Makes 1 serving

  • 3 strawberries, de-stemmed
  • 5 basil leaves
  • 1.5 ounces vodka (the original recipe calls for Smirnoff Strawberry Vodka, but unflavored vodka will do as well)
  • 1 ounce pureed strawberries
  • ½ cup lemonade
  • a few ice cubes

Start by muddling the strawberries and basil leaves and vodka in a glass*. Transfer the mixture to a cocktail shaker and add the pureed strawberries to the mix. Add ice, shake for 15 seconds, and then pour everything back into the glass. Lastly, fill the glass with lemonade and stir before serving.

*we like these Rocco Blue Double Old-Fashioned Glasses or, if you’re feeling playful, these Mustache Double Old Fashioned Glasses. Both are available at World Market.

Blackberry Cooler (inspiration: Rachael Ray)
Makes 1 serving

  • 4 mint leaves
  • 4 blackberries
  • 2 ounces gin
  • 1 ounce elderflower liqueur (the original recipe recommends St-Germain)
  • ½ lemon, juiced
  • a few ice cubes
  • optional: agave nectar, to taste

Start by muddling the mint leaves in a cocktail shaker, like this one from World Market. Add the berries and continue muddling. Add the remaining ingredients into the cocktail shaker and shake to combine. Strain the mixture into a rock glass* and enjoy.

*we’re fans of the Harry Rocks Glass from Crate&Barrel — beautiful and inexpensive.

We hope you enjoy these recipes, and we’d love to hear about your favorite summer cocktails in the comments below!

the Shopilly Team

Photo credits:,,

Backyard Inspiration: Rustic Glam

Photo credit: Style Me Pretty

Photo credit: Style Me Pretty

June might very well be the perfect month to host a long, leisurely outdoor dinner party for friends and family. I recently stumbled upon this gorgeous photo of a backyard on Style Me Pretty, and dreams of dinner parties have been dancing in my head ever since. Luckily, Shopilly brands like Restoration Hardware, West Elm and Anthropologie make it easy to recreate this rustic glam backyard look. Even more luckily, a couple of the pieces that I picked out are currently on sale, so check them out today!

Starry String Lights

Starry String Lights, Restoration Hardware, on sale for $12-$79

My favorite decorations in the backyard photo are the romantic string lights strung around every tree. String lights give any space a warm, festive feeling, and you can maximize the effect by choosing yellow lights over harsher white lights. Restoration Hardware’s delicate Starry String Lights are available in lengths ranging from five feet to 100 feet.

Wood + Metal Lanterns

Wood + Metal Lanterns, West Elm, on sale for $23-$103

The wood base and metal cover provide a nice contrast on these candle lanterns. They’re sturdy enough for outdoor use, but can easily transition to indoor settings in the colder months.

Mason Jar Sippers

Mason Jar Sippers, Anthropologie, $48 for a set of 12

I prefer the look of these mason jars to the wine glasses used in the backyard. Especially for a small, intimate dinner party, these provide just the perfect touch of hominess and informality without detracting from the sophistication of the remaining décor.

Abaca Chunky Square Placemat Set

Abaca Chunky Square Placemat, West Elm, $14 for a set of 2

Lest we forget the “rustic” in rustic glam, these woven placemats perfectly complement the softly glowing lights and mason jar sippers I’ve chosen above. Using placemats for a dinner party speeds up the cleanup process, and at just $14 for a set of 2, these are a steal!

Four Bay Area Fashion Bloggers We Love

When it comes to choosing outfits or making decorating decisions, I tend to go the safe route and select familiar (or what I call “classic”) choices. The familiar can quickly evolve into the boring, however, so any time I need a little style pick-me-up, I like to turn my attention to the blogosphere for inspiration. This week, I’m highlighting four of my go-to style blogs from Shopilly’s home base in the San Francisco Bay Area:

SF Girl By Bay
Victoria Smith writes this “bohemian modern style” interior design blog, which I can easily spend hours at a time reading. She has a knack for discovering little known and foreign designers – take a look at this gorgeous refrigerator (never thought you would hear those two words together, did you?) by Italian manufacturer Smeg – but she also highlights styles from household names, as seen in this post on holiday layers from J. Crew.

Love J. Crew? Follow the brand on Shopilly.

J. Crew

Fancy Fine
Ashley Ording’s closet is what my closet aspires to be – that is, if I had the talent and patience to shop for vintage clothes. Though she holds the covetable position of Web Merchandiser for Anthropologie and has been featured in a plethora of print and web publications, she always comes across as relatable and down-to-earth on her blog. Fancy Fine is a must-follow for fans of vintage-inspired fashion.

Follow Anthropologie on Shopilly to stay up-to-date on its newest collections.


The SF Style
If you love fashion but words less so, this is the blog for you. The SF Style team, Dyanna Dawson and JT Tran, captures and compiles the best of San Francisco and New York street styles in this photo-heavy blog. I love getting style inspiration from regular city folk against the backdrop of some of San Francisco’s most famous sites – here’s the blog’s very own JT looking sharp in front of the San Francisco Conservatory of Flowers.

Going West
California transplant Jennie L’s blog features enviable photos of her equally enviable style. She has perfected the art of crafting edgy but classic outfits (like this outfit, one of my favorites) by combining casual brands like Urban Outfitters and high-end designers like Marc Jacobs.

If you have some favorite fashion or design bloggers of your own in the Bay Area or beyond, please give them some love in the comments below!

Unique Valentine’s Gift Ideas for Your Special Guy

The countdown to one of the most polarizing holidays continues – we’re a mere 3 weeks away from the simultaneously beloved and reviled Valentine’s Day. Whether you love it or hate it, Valentine’s Day can be a stressful holiday due to the number of romantic expectations it brings, so we’re here to dispel a bit of your stress. Allow us to make some Valentine’s Day gift suggestions for the special male in your life!

Jo's Candies Dark Chocolate and Sea Salt Caramel Corn

Who says chocolates and other sweet gifts are just for the ladies? From gourmet popcorn to a decadent vintage port, these treats are sure to be a welcome addition to any kitchen:

HDMI Pocket Projector

If gadgets are the apple of his eye, here are some innovative electronics that will help him multitask, aerate or entertain:


A la our Valentine’s Day Gifts for Her post last week, we’d like to cap off this post with some gift experiences. Gifting an experience might take more planning and research than a more conventional material gift, but we think these are well worth it:

  • Winter sport adventure with REI Adventures
  • Gourmet meal deal, relaxed wine tasting or getaway package via Bloomspot (note: deals are updated daily, so if you don’t find anything you like one day, check back the next)
  • Luxurious weekend away via Jetsetter (note: Jetsetter sales are offered on a first come, first served basis)

The Shopilly Team

Photo credits:,,

Valentine’s Day Gifts for Her

While some of you may still be in the process of taking down holiday decorations or sweeping away the remaining New Years confetti, the chocolate, roses and hearts have already come out in full force. That’s right, Valentine’s Day is just around the corner – in fact, it’s exactly one month away! Are you shopping for a special someone this year? We’ve compiled a guide of Valentine’s Day gift ideas to help you out. This week, we’re showcasing our picks for the special female in your life. Check back next week for gift ideas for the fellows.

Paloma Picasso Love & Kisses Mini Bracelet

While jewelry may not be the most original gift idea, there’s a reason it’s a Valentine’s Day standard. However, picking jewelry out for someone can be a tricky task since taste in jewelry can vary so much from person to person. Unless the woman in your life has dropped some not-so-subtle hints in the past few months or you’ve pinpointed her style, we suggest picking out a simple, classic piece rather than a trendy or extravagant (and therefore risky) piece. Here are some of our favorites:

Assorted Parisian Macaroons

What would Valentine’s Day be without sweets? While candy necklaces and conversation hearts might not cut it anymore, these gourmet treats will surely be a hit:


Now that we’ve covered the Valentine’s Day standards, let’s think outside of the box – experiences! Psychology research suggests that receiving experiences as gifts makes us happier than receiving material gifts. These Shopilly brands consistently offer great deals on experiences like upscale meals, getaways and hotel bookings:

The Shopilly Team

Photo credits:,,

Say Cheese!

Three Months of American Cheese

The holidays may be over, but that doesn’t mean the celebrations have to be as well. In the spirit of continuous celebrations, today we’re talking cheese. That’s right, a full-blown investigation into how to create the perfect cheese plate for your next get-together:

As a general rule of thumb, plan to have an ounce or two of each type of cheese per person. Three to five different types of cheese should make an ample plate that allows each person to sample a nice variety. You may want to invest in some specialized cheese knives to make cutting and serving easy – the Dubost Cheese Knife Set provides a classic trio of cheese servers for a reasonable price.

Variety is the spice of life – especially when it comes to cheese! Here are a few cheese combinations you can try:

  • Cheeses made from different milk types: cow, goat and sheep. Check out food writer Janet Fletcher’s CheeseLibrary for examples of each.
  • Cheeses from different countries, such as France, Italy, the Netherlands and Spain.
  • Cheeses that represent various regions of the U.S., for example Wisconsin Cheddar, Point Reyes Blue Cheese and Humboldt Fog.
  • Cheeses of different textures: soft and creamy cheeses like Brie and Camemert, or hard and dry cheeses like Manchego and Pecorino Romano.

A well-planned cheese plate speaks for itself, so beyond selecting your cheeses and placing them on a simple cheese board, you don’t have to do much more in the way of presentation.

Wüsthof Gourmet Wine and Cheese Set

If you are not yet the proud owner of a cheese board, check out the Wüsthof Gourmet Wine and Cheese Set from Sur La Table. The set includes a bamboo board, cheese plane to create perfectly thin slices of cheese, cheese knife for slicing, and corkscrew for the all-important wine pairing. Williams Sonoma also sells a Slate Cheese Serving Board, complete with a soapstone pencil, which allows you to label each cheese for inquisitive guests. If you’re looking for a “higher-end” cheese board, take a look at the handsome Vintage French Cheese Board.

Vintage French Cheese Board

In terms of cheese placement, Joanna Goddard recommends placing your cheeses “in ‘clock order’—12 o’clock being the mildest and 11 o’clock being the strongest.’

The obvious pairing is wine, but beer has become an increasingly popular pairing beverage as well. Check out these American Cheese Society guides to pairing cheese and wine and pairing cheese and beer.

To accompany (but not overwhelm) the cheese, serve some light crackers or plain bread like a French baguette on the side. More flavorful breads, like sourdough or focaccia, are generally not recommended since they may interfere with the flavor of cheese, but there are some exceptions. For example, walnut bread pairs nicely with chèvre.

Some people also like to serve simple accompaniments like fresh or dried fruits, honey and nuts with their cheese plates.

The Shopilly Team

P.S. Need a gift for a cheese lover? Consider a delicious three-month American Cheese delivery service or DIY Cheese-Making Kit from Williams Sonoma.

Photo credits:,

Holiday Rush: Last-Minute Gifts Under $100!

Say hello to the holiday rush: With only 5 days left to finish your shopping, retailers are making spirits extra bright with special deals, last-minute sales and free upgraded shipping to deliver by Christmas. So if you still have a long list to go, avoid the crowds and check out our roundup of the web’s best last-minute presents for under $100. We’ve combed all our favorite gift guides to bring you deals and steals on items that are a delight to give as they are to receive. Happy shopping!

FOR THE ONE WHO LOVES TO BAKE: Tea Time Measuring Cups, $15

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We can always count on Anthropologie to bring out our inner hostess, thanks to their darling, vintage-inspired kitchen accessories. These bright ceramic measuring cups (on sale for $15, order by tomorrow for Christmas delivery) are sure to spark a smile every time she whips up a batch of buttercream cupcakes.

FOR THE POLISHED PRINCESS: Bow Leather Driving Gloves, $30

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Ann Taylor puts a bright blue twist on leather driving gloves with this sweet bow-topped pair ($60, plus an extra 50% off all cold weather accessories & full-priced items with code GIFTANN), which we think would be perfect for your sophisticate friend.

FOR THE SNEAKER PURIST: Superga Classic Sneakers, from $65

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Superga’s canvas kicks have been around for over 100 years but are making a comeback in a big way this season, thanks to a rainbow of new colors that promise to keep feet happy all year long. (from $65 at Bloomingdales, order by tonight for free Christmas shipping.)

FOR THE MAN WHO HAS EVERYTHING: Coach IPhone case, $78 each

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Equal parts masculine and refined, Coach’s classic IPhone case ($78, order by Saturday to receive by Christmas + free shipping over $150) is crafted of soft, supple leather that will keep his phone in tip-top condition.

FOR THE DREAMER: J.Crew vintage pajama set, $85


She’ll get her beauty sleep in style, thanks to J.Crew’s cozy vintage pajama set ($85, enjoy an extra 30% off with code CELEBRATE), spun of crisp men’s shirting cotton and designed to inspire sweet dreams.



She’ll host a swanky soiree for the opening of an envelope and always keeps hors d’oeuvres on the ready in case there’s unexpected company. Give the seasoned hostess a chic cocktail tray, such as S2’s studded leather trays ($79 for 2 at One King’s Lane) to add a pop of panache to her next get-together.



Kiss dry winter skin goodbye with Bliss Spa’s luxurious, best-selling body butter in fresh scents like blood orange, lemon + sage and creamy vanilla. (Today only, score 4 tubes for $29 with code TODAY12!)

FOR THE CITY SLICKER: Knowlita Typography Print


We think Kowlita’s bold typography prints ($21 on; hurry, sale ends in 2 days!) is the perfect present for anyone who hearts NYC. Our favorite is the Nolita print, reminiscent of the days when we lived on the Bowery (sigh).


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The perfect accessory to add bite to drab winter outfits yet light enough to keep her cozy through spring, we’re wild for Banana Republic’s Lara zebra scarf ($50 + extra 30% off with code BRWINTER till Friday).

FOR THE FUNNYGUY: Jack Spade Cheddar wallet, $62


He’ll be charmed with this cheeky wallet by Jack Spade (on sale for $62), crafted of fine-grain calfskin and designed to keep the modern bankroller’s cheddar (bones, clams, whatever) neatly tucked away.