Last week I teamed up with friend and style blogger Monica from Living In Vogue to host a party Dressing Up the Holidays at West Elm in Palo Alto. Monica brought beautiful clothing, shoes and jewelry samples from Ibiss Boutique in Willow Glen and presented fantastic wardrobe ideas like; glam up your wardrobe by investing in a statement piece of jewelry that you can wear with most of the holiday outfits in your closet. (more…)
search results for label/Entertaining
My friend and fellow style blogger Monica at Living in Vogue and I were invited to a fun store in downtown Palo Alto called West Elm to help celebrate their 1 year anniversary. We were tasked with styling a table using items from their Heritage and Murray collections and items from our own DIY table decorations. After visiting their store and exploring their collections we were inspired to create a rustic cabin table setting. I decided to make these DIY Chalk Acorn Placeholders. The beauty of these acorns is that they will be the most unique item at your holiday table and they are super easy to make! (more…)
Over the weekend I threw together one of the easiest dish I make, BBQ crock pot chicken. It only requires 2 ingredients, 3 if you want to get fancy. The chicken is perfect in salads and sandwiches and I love making a big batch so I have leftovers or to stick in the freezer for a day that I don’t feel like cooking.
I hope you are ready to party because today my guest blogger Erin is sharing the inside scoop from her daughter’s Hawaiian Luau birthday party. Erin is a friend of mine and a wonderful graphic designer, make sure to check out her Etsy shop Molly & Gordon after you read this post.
With all of the graduation parties and wedding events happening this time of the year, it is important to stock up on stationary to send thank you notes and words of encouragement to your friends and family. Each Sunday my sister and I co-write a blog post about our favorite things. This week my sister Ashlie and I wanted to feature some of our favorite handmade stationary. Each week our theme changes so make sure to visit us every Sunday to check out what we are into next!
Before we show you our picks, check out our favorite post from last week’s Linky party! Erin from “Back in St. Olaf” shared her favorite lamps, below is one of her favorites from Pottery Barn, aren’t they cute! Be sure to visit her blog for the rest of her picks!
Yesterday morning Chris and I picked up our friend Larry in San Francisco and drove to Sonoma for a fun day trip. Sonoma is about 45 minutes from the city and the drive is beautiful, passing through Sausalito and Mill Valley on the way. Sonoma is a cute little town filled with boutiques, restaurants, and of course, WINE!
This week on Sister Sister we wanted to share our favorite outdoor items. Spring is in full swing and summer is on it’s way. I know I love having a deck and a yard finally after years of living in Chicago with no outdoor space. My husband and I are always outside either playing with the dog or reading in the sun. My sister Ashlie has a large yard and a great back porch. It is a great place for her and her husband to hang out while they watch their daughters play.
Enjoy our Sister Sister post this week and don’t forget to link up to our Sister Sister party. Thanks so much for all of you who linked up last week, especially to Jessica from “A Few of My Favorite Things” blog for linking to our party and adding our button to her blog list. Thanks!
Lavender Round Wreath from William’s Sonoma
I have been looking for a wreath for my front door for the last few weeks and my journey has been endless. I am looking for something I can put up after my spring wreath comes down in May and take down when I put my fall wreath up in September. No one in my neighborhood had a wreath on their front door but I feel like it adds to the appeal of our house and greats me when I come home from a long day. This wreath is definitely on my wish list.
Country Living Planter from KMart
I love this planter because it is easy to fold up and store. Plus, for the price you could spray paint it to coordinate with your outdoor space.
I bought these ring glasses and crate and barrel and I am quite impressed, what a bargain! I was in desperate need of extra drinking glasses but I didn’t want to break the bank. I bought 6 of the cooler size glasses and my grand total was $9.50 after tax, if you are looking for something that is heavy but not too pricey check these out…
This week is my husband’s birthday, he is turning the big 2-8 and I wanted to throw him a little party. When we lived in Chicago it was hard to entertain because of the lack of parking on our street and our limited outdoor space.
It looks like we are having about 14 people over for the big bash and I wanted to share some tips that I live by to stay sane when planning any event, large or small…Wish me luck and I will post recipes later this week.
- Plan your menu 5-7+ days ahead of time
- Create 3 shopping lists;
- 1 for the items that you can buy and/or make ahead of time…
- A second for the fresh items that you need for the day of…
- A third for fun items like candles, plates and napkins, and miscellaneous fun items like ice buckets or favors etc…
- 5-7 days ahead of time, shop for the fun items that you need. I think it is best to do this ahead of time so you don’t go overboard and spend money outside of your budget. Last minute shopping is always a bad idea! Also, if you are grilling make sure you have enough propane or coals.
- 3-5 days ahead of time shop for the items on your first shopping list that are non-perishable or can be made ahead of time. If you are trying a new recipe, be sure to try it ahead of time for a taste test.
- 3-5 days ahead of time prepare items that can be frozen or stored until the day of the event. For example: Chris’ party is in 3 days so today I prepared one of the desserts and one of the salads ahead to save time on the day of the party.
- 1 day ahead, shop for the fresh items on your list like fruit, veggies, meat, and seafood.
- 1 day ahead of time, set out the platters and serving ware that you plan to use. This will help you visualize how you should set up your table and help avoid any stress the day of.
- The day of…prep as many items as you can for the event several hours before the event. Set your table and tidy up the house. Start to prepare the food just before the guests arrive so you can have things in the oven or ready to go on the grill just before they arrive. Remember to take some time at the beginning of your party to greet your guests and get everyone comfortable before you serve the main course.
- Enjoy the party!
- Try to get a load of dishes in the dish washer before you go to bed the night of a party just to give you a leg up in the morning when you start to clean up. (this is one step I struggle with, I always try to clean up the night of a party and end up even more exhausted).
Thank you to Kuzak’s closet for hosting us today. At As Sweet As It Gets, we love throwing a great party and think that some of the best parties are the intimate ones. So, when Amanda told us of her plan to do a series of posts on “girls’ night out,” we wanted to share our idea for a special time with friends. Our idea of a girls’ night out is actually a girls’ night IN. We would make it a ladies’ tea!
Last week I went to the mall near my house to do some Mother’s Day Shopping (The early bird catches the worm!) and I couldn’t believe how gorgeous the flowers were. Everything was so cheery and manicured, I couldn’t help but get my camera out…
A few days later my friend Larry and I went to the Mountain View Farmer’s Market and decided we couldn’t leave without a these ranunculus, 3 bunches for $8! What a deal!
Larry used to be a floral designer in his past life so I let him do all of the work with the arrangement, he was so professional that I decided to catch him on video, watch him select the right shade and then twist it into the bouquet.
I last month’s issue of “Real Simple Magazine” I saw this gorgeous bud vase. It is perfect for creating a wonderful centerpiece in 5 minutes, I also love that is it one large vase instead of lots of little ones. Many of my clients have vases that they don’t really like but feel like they need to keep which creates a lot of clutter. This piece would be easy to store but I have a feeling it would be out on display full time.
I was doing some research on the internet when I stumbled across these 2 items, I just had to share. The first is a set of paper cups with noses on them. You can use them at a party, when your friends lift the cup to take a drink it will look like they have a different nose, pretty funny I think.
Last night I attended my first CAbi party, which is a clothing party for women. It was a nice relaxing way to shop, the CAbi rep helps find styles for each lady in attendance and during the party you get a chance to try stuff on and get honest opinions from the other party-goers. If you are looking for cute clothes for spring and love to entertain, check out the CAbi line, it is made by Carol Anderson who formerly sold her line at Nordstrom and Macy’s in the 1980′s. I can recommend a rep in the San Francisco Bay Area and my Aunt also sells the line in Michigan so I could give you her contact information as well. The parties are fun and honestly, the clothes are great, much cuter than anything in stores right now.
This holiday will you be hosting overnight visitors? I was getting my house ready today for a visit from my in-laws who will be staying with us this holiday and I thought I should share some tips for hosting overnight guests.
1.) Purchase soft comfortable bedding, my guest room is shabby chic themed and I love the plush Ralph Lauren paisley set I have. It always looks fluffed and inviting.
This morning I headed out to a Holiday Decorating & Entertaining class at Pottery Barn hosted by Real Simple Magazine. I was able to take away a few new ideas and tricks and I also met a new friend. There were two ideas that I thought were really great. The first tip was to greet your guests with a champagne glass filled with non-meltable candies and welcome them to the party. Your guests will be excited with the element of surprise (the candy filled glass) and once they settle in and enjoy some candy you can offer them a cocktail. The second tip was a way to bring the party to an end. Purchase cardboard coffee cups and write “thank you for coming” on the side of the cup. When you are ready to bring the party to a close, serve coffee, hot cider, or hot cocoa in the cups and thank people for coming. I thought this was a much nicer way to end the party instead of putting you pajamas on and hoping people take the hint, ha ha.
The thing that amazed me the most is how many of the people at the class didn’t seem to know how to throw a party or even set a table. Many of the people at the class were stressing about creating table scapes and color themes. Maybe because I live in a smaller home without extra storage and I seem to move every 2 years I never seem to get caught up in purchasing decor for entertaining. I think a simple table can look just as nice as any themed table scape that you might see in magazines or on Sandra Lee’s Semi-Homemade. Instead of spending a fortune on decorative plates, holiday napkins, and napkin rings, just buy simple items that go with your home’s decor and are easy to store. You can accessorize with inexpensive things like candles, flowers, and the seasonal food you are going to serve.
Here are a few decorating and entertaining tricks I learned at a young age:
1.) Always set the table the day before an event, it is one less thing to do before the guests arrive.
2.) Get dressed a few hours before guests are set to arrive, you don’t want to be in your sweatpants when an early guest arrives.
3.) Keep it simple, don’t go overboard with elaborate menus or decorations.
These are a few of my favorite entertaining and decor items:
1.) Juliska dinnerware, it is so versatile because it is oven, freezer, and microwave safe and the color options go with everything.
2.) Vera Wang Love Knot Napkin Rings, they are so pretty and make the a simple statement at the table. These would make a great gift!
3.) JLB iPod Docking Station, it helps bring the party to whichever room you need it to be in without moving a giant stereo. This model was much cheaper that a Bose Docking Station and the sound is just as great!
4.) Trader Joe’s! They have affordable wine and great appetizers that are premade ready to pop in the oven. http://www.traderjoes.com/ My favorite wine is Tres Pinos, it is a white wine for only $4.99 and I love their caramelized onion and cheese pastry bites.
Last weekend I hosted a dinner party for a few friends. I wanted to have an appetizer that wasn’t very filling so everyone would save room for the pot roast I was making. I came across a recipe for homemade parmesan & thyme crackers in my Barefoot Contessa cookbook and I figured since I had all of the ingredients in my pantry I would give it a whirl. They were a crowd pleaser, savory and fancy enough for a party. Here is the recipe:
1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
4 oz. grated Parmesan cheese (about 1 cup)
1 tsp. minced thyme leaves
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 1/4 cup flour
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter for 1 minute. With the mixer on low speed, add the Parmesan, thyme, salt, and pepper and combine. With the mixer still on low, add the flour and combine until the mixture is in large crumbles, about 1 minute. If the dough is too dry, add 1 tsp. water.
Dump the dough onto a floured board, press it into a ball, and roll into a 9 inch log. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to 4 days.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cut the log into 3/8 inch rounds with a small, sharp knife and place them on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Bake for 22 minutes, until very lightly browned. Rotate the pan once during baking. Cool and serve at room temperature.