Rent the Runway has long since surpassed the level of little-known-secret — it reached the point of full-out phenomenon a while ago. And while we don't have the data to support it, we're willing to wager the site sees a lot of action for New Year's Eve. As such, we're here to remind you that now might be the best time to shop and reserve to make sure you get the party frock you're after . . . before it gets swiped by a swifter renter. From sophisticated black-tie to ready-to-rage, click through to see our recommendations.
The piece: Zara Embellished Block Heel Sandals
The price: $100
Why we want it: With shoes like this to finish off your party dress, you'll hardly have the need to wear jewelry. Zara's heels manage to deliver the wow factor without any of that over-the-top holiday sparkle that makes them perfect for adding to your LBD and tights for a subtle dose of shine or upping the ante on your sequined New Year's Eve dress. Oh, and did we mention how sturdy that heel is? Even better for those holiday dance parties.
If you've resolved to master your home bar, look no further; take cocktails from basic to brilliant with indispensable bartending techniques that go beyond shaking and stirring. From rimming glasses with salt or sugar to dry-shaking egg whites to add volume to light and frothy cocktails, these nine skills will add flair and flavor to your cocktail hour.
All too often, apple skins and cores get tossed in the trash when making an apple pie or another treat. While composting scraps is the lesser of the waste evils, here's how you can incorporate every part of the apple with these recipe ideas.
- Skin: Sure, you can buy apple chips or dehydrated apple slices at the supermarket, but why not try dehydrating apples at home? After peeling the apples, coat the pieces with a light glaze of simple syrup and bake at a low temperature for a few hours, until crisp.
- Flesh: Make homemade apple sauce or toss paper thin apple slices in a Waldorf salad. For an all-American dessert, try Michelle Obama's apple cobbler. Its slow cooking time caramelizes the apples until they practically dissolve upon bite.
- Core: Use an apple corer to cleanly remove the seeds and fibrous center of each apple. Store them in an airtight baggie in the fridge until you have enough for a full recipe. Because apples are high in pectin, they gel easily, so there's no excuse not to make an apple jelly, which is an amazing accompaniment to Southern-style biscuits or baguette and butter.
- Whole apple: Use the whole apple in a green juice recipe or simply juice the apples for homemade apple juice that surpasses any store-bought bottles.
Regardless of your skill level at the stove, it never hurts to go back to basics and focus on rudimentary recipes that are the building blocks for so many other dishes. These aren't too complicated or expensive, and once you master them, we reassure you that you'll use them over and over again. Here are fundamental dishes that every home chef should know how to make.
— Additional reporting by Anna Monette Roberts
While a stroll to your favorite lunch spot can be a nice break from the workday, frequent takeout gets expensive fast. Moreover, long checkout lines aren't exactly busy-day friendly. Instead, think ahead and turn the night prior's leftovers into an enticing brown-bag lunch that is low-fuss to assemble, travels well, and will keep you full and satisfied for the remainder of the day. Keep reading for five ways to transform tonight's dinner into tomorrow's lunch.
Think all rum is sugary rubbish that practically instills a hangover just from glancing at its bottle? Think again; not only is rum one of the most diverse spirits out there — meaning there's a rum that'll please nearly any palate — but it's also cocktail-friendly and packs a lot of bang for its buck, largely due to the misguided assumption that it's all frat-boy fodder. While one could write a book on the nuances of this often overlooked spirit — the excellent Rum: A Global History ($17) comes to mind — let's start with some basics:
- During the 17th century, rum first came to fruition as an accidental byproduct of sugar processing in the West Indies. Sugar plantation slaves quickly discovered its intoxicating benefits. Since then, the production methods have been refined, leaving us with the nuanced spirit available today.
- In the US, rum is defined as a spirit, distilled from the fermented juice of sugar cane, sugar cane molasses, or other sugar cane byproducts. It ranges in strength from 40 to 95 percent alcohol by volume.
- Nearly every country in the Western Hemisphere produces a brand of rum, leading to a vast diversity in both flavor profile and price point.
What's keeping you from composting? Is it too stinky? Does it attract fruit flies in your kitchen? Or does it just seem too difficult to bother with? Whatever your excuse is, these tips will help dispel your fears or bad experiences with composting so you can feel good about filling the green bin.
- Get rid of the stink and flies: While there are some airtight compost bins with charcoal lids that help prevent smells from getting out, here's a guaranteed stink-proof method. Place all the food scraps in a compostable green bag and store it in the freezer until the bag is full.
- Stop trashing your food: The compost bin can be the new home of all of your food scraps including vegetables, eggshells, coffee grinds, meat, bones, and leftover cooked food. Just remember to remove any stickers, plastic, or foil from the food.
- Toss the packaging: If it's made of wood, paper, or compostable plastic, then it belongs in the compost bin. If it came from the ground, it's compostable, so even greasy pizza boxes can go in there. (Plastics labeled "biodegradable" are not compostable.)
- Research where you can compost: If you have access to a backyard, set up your own composter or reach out to the city for a green compost collection bin. If you live in a large city, see if your apartment building has a green bin or ask your landlord to request one. Otherwise, most farmers markets will have a compost drop-off for you to contribute to each week.
- See the amazing results: If you compost and recycle regularly, you'll soon notice that you barely have any trash — I toss one bag of trash a week, if not once a month. Thanks to composting, the days of stinky trash are gone, as my trash bin only holds nonrecyclable packaging, plastic wrappers, and bags.
What are your tips for smarter composting?
At the beginning of 2013, we vowed to make a slew of improvements in the kitchen, and while the first two months of the year have flown by, we remain resolute in our mission to stick to our culinary goals. Feeling inspired to join us? Then check out these 20 culinary resolutions that you, too, can hope to cross off your list.
Chinese New Year, Valentine's Day, and Mardi Gras were just a few celebrations on our mind this February that inspired our recipe collection, from steamed whole fish to tantalizing cocktails. We also highlighted other international flavors like South American sopaipillas and French soufflés. There are a whole lot of recipes to bake, fry, and steam from February, so keep clicking to get started.
— Additional reporting by Lisette Mejia and Laura Marie Meyers