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There are few things I adore more than styling up a pretty table for a gathering — so I jumped at the chance to borrow vintage jadeite and milk glass pieces from the new Pop and Circumstance rentals collection and pull together a festive New Year’s Brunch. Jadeite was probably one of the first vintage items that I started to collect when tagging along with my mom and aunt to estate sales and flea markets. I’m drawn to the rich cool colors and all of the variety in how the material was used for kitchenwares. This collection has grown to include quite the comparable set of milk glass as well, and Becky — the owner of Pop and Circumstance— and I have bonded over our mutual love for the pieces. I used a few pieces from my collection as inspiration and Becky filled in the rest with vintage linen napkins, milk glass tumblers that were used to hold flatware, and even a nesting set of jadeite bowls for me to mix up my mini-pancakes in. These tiny pancakes were the focal point of the brunch — mini-stacks topped with berries make for an easy grab off the buffet table when guests are mingling (and isn’t everything cuter when we make it bite-sized?).

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Here’s the thing — those glitzy crowns and party horns that we all buy for New Year’s — they’re super corny, but so very necessary. I like the annual challenge of finding new ways to update these simple party-store  finds into something a little bit more special. Last year I used glitter letter stickers to write out messages on simple paper party horns — and this year I took the same concept and revamped it. With some metallic Sharpie markers and a little bit of patience I carefully hand-wrote silly New Year’s resolutions on a set of big party horns. I plan to pop them all in a vase for some table-decor, and let my guests pick a resolution that matches their personality (and sense of humor!).

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At the Wayfair + Boston Bloggers ‘Home for the Holidays’ Event last weekend, my Boston-blogging partner in crime Alison gave a great chat about planning your content around the holidays and one of her pieces of advice was resurfacing old posts to share when seasonally relevant. It got me thinking about some of my favorite Thanksgiving recipes from blog posts past. As I’m sure you’re in a similar Thanksgiving menu planning mode that I’m in this week, I thought I’d round up four of my favorite that offer a fun twist on a traditional Thanksgiving food element.

To start things off: a seasonal cocktail that brings apple cider to the forefront, Apple Autumn Punch. A tasty appetizer that brings in the sweet flavors of apple pie but the savory balance of a baked brie, Baked Brie with Apple Compote. We always have mac and cheese on our Thanksgiving menu for the vegetarians, and this version is baked in cored apples; Mac and Cheese Baked Apples. For dessert, I’ve tried a bite sized version of pumpkin pies and used cookie cutters to spell out a message of thanks: Thankful for Pie.

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On our holiday dinner table, space can be at a premium — and we would always prioritize food and drink over tons of decorative details, which is where the idea for this simple, multi-use DIY came from. I washed out a rich green colored wine bottle with the intention of serving water in it on the Thanksgiving table, and decided to give it one more purpose: a passable menu detailing all of the great Thanksgiving dishes we’ll be feasting on. With a thick permanent marker, I hand-lettered the main dishes down the center of the bottle and finished it off with a large script ‘menu’ title where the base and neck meet. The best part? It costs nothing to make (well, minus the cost of the wine, but let’s be honest: I was going to drink that anyway!). IMG_5082-0.JPG

I spent Saturday at the Wayfair + Boston Bloggers‘ Home for the Holidays event and it got me majorly into the holiday spirit. I’m fine waiting a little longer until we start chatting about Christmas, but Thanksgiving is just 3 weeks away so you better believe I’m starting to scheme up holiday  tablescape decorations. I started to test  a few ideas for place cards using natural elements — first, a big fresh artichoke centered on a plate with a small hand-drawn paper banner that I lettered in gold. For the next  place card I tied a silk blush ribbon around the stem of a tiny pumpkin (I love the golden and green colors in this one!). I used a deep red pomegranate and a gold permanent marker to create some faux-calligraphy for another option. And my fourth and final test was a small wreath that I made out of fresh thyme sprigs. A small piece of peach ribbon covered up where I tied off the wreath and I personalized it with a gold glitter monogram sticker. This one was my favorite because it smelled so fresh and rich! So what do you think, any favorites?
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I was super excited to get my hands on the new issue of Mingle Magazine to see not one, but two (!) articles featuring my writing and styling work. The first article was a holiday party where my girlfriends and I DIY’ed holiday crafts and sipped on seasonal cocktails — with flowers by Little Flower Cottage and photography by Bring to Light Photography. The other article was a gals get together with the awesome team at Urban Grape where we tested whiskey cocktails and whiskey-infused foods; all of the gorgeous imagery in that story was shot by Brian Samuels. A few of my favorites from each article are below, but grab the magazine to check out  the full articles! Mingle Magazine 1Mingle Magazine 2Mingle Magazine 3Mingle Magazine 4

I left one little detail out of recap yesterday of Alison’s baby shower — the food! And for an important reason: this topic deserves its own post. For the shower I tried out Kitchensurfing for the first time, which is an awesome service where you book a private chef to prepare a meal customized to your event, cooked right in your own home. Now, I was excited to try out Kitchensurfing because I mean, the bulk of the work that comes with throwing a party revolves around prepping, cooking, and serving food, and having someone else take care of all the handwork really frees up time for things like … taking the curlers out of your hair more than 8 seconds before you guests arrive while pulling appetizers out of the oven.

2014-10-26 13.04.49So, Kitchensurfing matched me up with a great chef named Tim, who worked with me to customize a gourmet brunch men full of bite-sized treats including: mini biscuits and maple sausage bacon, crispy potato cakes with roasted corn, individual caramelized onion and goat cheese quiches, and candied bacon – YUM! And for a real show stopper – Tim made individual bowls filled with crispy bacon and onions, butter brioche toasts, and a cracked to order sous-vide egg on top. I was a little nervous before the event that I’d be anxious about giving up control of my kitchen, but the truth is that Tim such a great job that I was really able to enjoy the party instead of being stuck in the kitchen, and what’s better than that?Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

Want to try Kitchensurfing? Sign up here and receive $50 off your booking!

Please note: Kitchensurfing provided their serves free of charge, all opinions are my own. 

 

This weekend I hosted a baby shower with the help of  my friend Lindsay  for one of our blogger besties — Alison of Long Distance Loving. It’s funny, I’ll always refer to Alison as my ‘blogger friend’ because that’s how we met, and we continue to work together on Boston Bloggers. But since meeting through the blogging world we’ve become great friends outside of the blogosphere, and I was so delighted to be able to celebrate her and her little baby-to-be! Alison is keeping the baby’s gender a surprise, so we went with a gender-neutral theme – bright yellows that we used in garlands, sunflowers, and cheery striped straws. We also made little yellow flags out of washi tape that we used for cupcake toppers and in potted succulents for favors. Oh and the food was pretty tasty too! More on that tomorrow…

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Can I brag a little bit? Yours truly is featured in the November issue of Family Circle magazine that hits stands this week. I’m sharing tons of tips  in their “happy to host” feature to make your holiday entertaining a little less stressful and a little more festive. Grab a copy, check out the article, and let me know what you think!

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When it comes to planning a bridal shower, it’s the little extra details that make all the difference in creating a special experience. When my fellow bridesmaids landed on a mimosa bar for the shower, I decided it would be fun to jazz up the rented champagne flutes with a little extra flair. Using embroidery floss and an easy-to-find tutorial from Pinterest, I made tassels in coordinating corals, peaches, and lilacs. Using wine charm findings I attached the tassels with an extra piece of embroidery floss. The result was a bright pop of festive color on the champagne flutes, and an easy way for guests to locate their drinks!
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