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Entries in entertaining (16)

Tuesday
Jul042017

july 4th

Happy Independence Day from my family to yours!  I hope you all enjoy an amazing day, filled with friends, family, too much food and a cocktail or two (or three!)  I'll be back up and running after the long, slow weekend. Cheers!

Tuesday
Oct252016

fall pretties for the home and table

This weekend we finally saw a little relief from 90 degree temps and, I must say, it was so nice to be able to play outside without the bugs eating us alive and then snuggle under cozy throw blankets and watch movies as a family.  Time to officially say goodbye to summer as we close our pool and I try really, really hard not to grab my Christmas lights out of storage!  Here are a few pretties I'm loving lately - lots of texture, brass, bamboo, tortoise and a little animal print for good measure to cozy up the house for the change in the season:

I've been OBSESSED with these antelope pillows for the chairs in my living room, but their price tag makes me choke.  I found some much more affordable options on Etsy and over at Plantation

I love the simplicity and size of this round mirror from Target

These Wilton trays from Serena and Lily are a great way to add some texture to a coffee or dining table.

These crystal low ball glasses are heavy and substantial enough for the hubby's whiskey but chic enough for my cocktail tray.

I love a myrtle topiary, even if I have a bad habit of murdering them shortly after spending a small fortune on them. Still on the hunt for the perfect fake.

This brown sugar and bourbon candle is HEAVEN.

Dial up the cozy factor with this fabulous pom pom throw.

I love the entire Dauville line, but this sleek, gold rimmed pitcher is on my radar for Thanksgiving lately.

I'm thinking my kitchen counter needs this adorable framed fox print from High Street Market.

The only thing I love more than blue and white everything is tortoise everything.  This umbrella holder from Ballard Designs is killing me softly.

Thinking of updating some of my favorite family photos with these chic bamboo picture frames.

Love the shape and petite size of this gold hexagon platter - it would look amazing for serving drinks or displaying my favorite bottles of perfume.

Still obsessed with this brass fox door knocker.

Looking forward to this read, as much for the fact that I love everything at Food 52 as for my need to simplify my weekly meal plan.

What are you loving lately?

Thursday
Oct062016

my favorite entertaining books

We're back from our whirlwind road trip to Newport for the wedding of the centurey and I've been so excited to get back to blogging!  Amidst the bags to be unpacked and the mountain of laundry to be tackled, I've also got to plan a menu and table setting for a small get together this weekend for some good friends, but, of course, the latter is all I can think about right now!

I think the only thing I love more than playing hostess is searching for great entertaining ideas and inspiration!  Pinterest and, of course, Instagram, are neverending sources of gorgeous images and tutorials but my favorite way to brainstorm new entertaining ideas, whether it be for a small and intimate dinner or an over-the-top birthday bash, is through books.  For me, nothing can compare to flipping through page after page of beautiful images, dog earing my favorites and then pouring over how I could put my own spin on something particularly inspiring and timeless.  There are so many beautiful entertaining books out there, but there is particular handful I turn to time and time again.  Here are a few of my favorites:

1.  Barefoot Contessa Parties - I love everything about Ina Garten - her recipes, her show, her barn, her gardens...the woman is the epitome of rustic, earthy and chic table settings and meal plans that are so easy to execute and that never fail to impress!

2.  A Boat, A Whale and A Walrus - While this is more of a cookbook that is split up into seasons, it's also chock full of personal stories, menus and favorite recipes of author, chef and restauranteur Renee Erickson.  The images are beautifully simple and the settings are always casual, which I love.  This is one of my favorite books to gift, as well as reference!

3.  Camille Styles Entertaining - Organized by seasons with inspiring ideas and tips for everything from flower arrangements, favors, parties, desserts and signature cocktail recipes, this has become one of my go-to's when I'm really trying to get creative or when I really want to impress guests (I especially loved her mini bottles of tequila, paired with a key lime in a tiny burlap bag as favors for a Mexican fiesta!)

4.  Hamptons Entertaining - I'm obsessed with all things Hamptons, so it was only natural that I would love this tome, as well.  Author Annie Falk features 18 parties with recipes, tips for table settings, alcohol pairings and menu ideas but you also get little peeks of the gorgeous Hamptons estates and gardens as well!

5.  Great Parties: Recipes, menus and ideas for perfect gatherings: the best of Martha Stewart Living - My aunt gave me a copy of this for my birthday years ago and practically every page is dog eared!  Not only are the images gorgeous, but there are step-by-step instructions for hosting the perfect party, from small and intimate to grand and elegant. 

6.  Pret-a-Party: Great Ieas for Good Times and Creative Entertaining - If you're looking for some fun, fresh and modern entertaining ideas, this is definitely for you.  While a pig roast on a rooftop garden may not be practical for many of us, author and fashion designer Lela Rose's tips on decorating, table settings and menu plans are spot on and, with a couple trips to Hobby Lobby or Michael's, easy to replicate!

What are some of your favorite entertaining books?  I'm always looking to add to my collection!

Thursday
Aug252016

my favorite, budget-friendly entertaining must-haves 

I really thought I'd be sent to labor and delivery yesterday morning after my 38 week checkup, but instead I'm going on week three at 2 cm and 50% effaced, so it's back to regularly scheduled programming for a little while longer.  I don't know if it's my nesting urge or the fact that I haven't been able to actually "nest" with a renovation going on, but I'm seriously in entertaining mode lately.  I'm all about setting a gorgeous dinner table for leftovers or takeout for me, the hubby and baby girl and playing around with fresh flowers for centerpieces.  Because a pretty presentation just makes food taste better, right??

Over the past few years I've accumulated quite a few entertaining staples that have made it super easy to throw together a stylish little get together, whether it be at the last minute or just to dress up a fancy table for the hubby and I on a Friday night after little miss has gone to bed.  I've come to rely on basics like simple white dinnerware and serving platters, French-inspired wine glasses, textured chargers and loads of vessels for flowers and candles, leaving me free to go crazy with floral arrangements and fun accessories for color and fun! 

Here are a few basics I use time and time again; the best part is that they are all relatively inexpensive, but none of your guests would guess that!

Simple white dinnerware and serveware.  Such a simple, neutral base for a classic table setting!  Mine came from TJMaxx and they've held up well over the years, but I love these both for the price and the look.  I also love to mix them with a patterned salad plate for a little color (these are a favorite).  You can never go wrong with large white platters from TJMaxx and HomeGoods for serving, either - I never pay more than $10 for mine and I always try to mix different shapes and sizes for interest.

Water hyacinth chargers.  The Soare chargers from Ikea are $4 a piece but what they add in texture and interest to a table setting is immeasurable!  Since they're so budget-friendly, I don't worry when marinara sauce or red wine end up on one of them!

French wine glasses from Crate and Barrel.  A set of twelve of these glasses will run you less than $50!  I use mine for water, wine or holding small arrangements of flowers; their shape is so pretty, I absolutely love them!

Glass candle holders in various shapes and sizes.  Michael's has the best short, squat vases on sale for 50% off all the time and they're the perfect base for floral arrangements because they aren't too tall to not be able to see the person sitting across from you (I hate that!) but I also love to stick unscented, white candles from the dollar store in them and spread them out along my table and around the kitchen when I have company for a little ambience.  This pack of 72 white glass votives is another great deal and make a lovely presentation down the center of a table!

Trays for cocktails.  I'm probably one of the few people left in blogland that doesn't own a bar cart but I manage to make do just fine, thanks to a pretty impulsive collection of rattan trays! I have quite a few from Target, TJMaxx and HomeGoods, but I love this marble and brass beauty, too!  I set one on my kitcen counter and corral tumblers, liquor, limes, ice and mixers so guests can easily help themselves.

Chic ice bucket.  I'm still as obsessed with my tortoise ice bucket from Furbish as I was when I got it for Christmas.  It always adds just a little sophistication to even the most casual get togethers and it doubles often as a vessel for flowers!

Bread board.  Occasionally, I like to mix it up from serving appetizers on white platters or trays, and an oversize bread board is my go-to lately, especially when it's large enough to put everything on it at once!

Bamboo flatware.  I'm obsessed with this set of 20 piece Bamboo flatware from Horchow!  It just adds another layer of interest and texture to my table and the price just can't be beat.  Many have asked how they have held up since I bought them back in May and they're great! 

What are some of your favorite entertaining must-haves?

Thursday
Jul212016

gold leaf oyster salt cellars

Summer is my favorite time to entertain but even though we haven't been hosting as much as we normally do this time of year (and while the rest of my house gets neglected due to all the fun we've been having) I've been making it a point to at least set out my favorite woven chargers, softest linen napkins and newly purchased bamboo flatware to make dinner for just the three of us a little more special every day.  I was so inspired by this gorgeous table setting I posted a couple weeks ago and, after noticing a fabulous pair of golden oyster salt cellars in the mix, I decided to bring a little of the sea to our table and make some myself.  I know lately I've proclaimed that every DIY I've done is the easiest in the history of ever, but this one seriously is!  And the best part is that these little beauties also make a wonderful hostess gift idea for summer barbeques and get togethers!  I know there's a ton of tutorials out there for this but here's how I did mine:

You'll need:

Oyster shells

Paint brush

Liquid gold leaf (I used Classic Gold)

Food safe top coat

SCRUB.  The most important and time consuming part is cleaning the shells.  If you get yours from a restaurant or the beach, you want to make sure you scrub the heck out of them.  I soaked mine in a bucket of 3 parts water and 1 part bleach overnight and then laid them out on the driveway for a few days in the sun.  I then used a scrub brush and some Seventh Generation dish soap to clean them again. 

PAINT. Once they're dry, use a stiff, flat paint brush to apply your liquid gold leaf, making sure to paint all the way to the edges.  I applied three coats, letting each one dry completely in between.

TOP COAT. Spray your food safe top coat and let dry overnight.

Aren't they pretty?

I found the porcelain caviar spoons at Sur La Table for $1 each (sorry, I couldn't find a link online!)

 Happy painting!!