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

Last weekend was one of my proudest moments while running Boston Bloggers with Alison. We worked with the creative and passionate team at Wayfair to host a full-day conference for local bloggers to kick off the holiday season. It was an amazing group  of ladies (over 100 bloggers came from all over Massachusetts and Rhode Island!), and we had so much fun. There were great speakers, DIY sessions (one of which was hosted by me!), awesome blogging tips, including a session about SEO from the expert team at Wayfair and conversation with Alison that asked us “why are we blogging in the first place?” A special shout out to Third Eye Chic Studio for sharing these photographs with me — I was so busy leading my DIY session that I didn’t have time to take any pictures — a few of my favorites from the day are below, and if you’re interested in checking out more, visit the hashtag #HFTHboston on twitter and instagram.
Wayfair Wayfair 2I was setting up for my DIY session and just caught a few minutes of the keynote opening session with Heather Armstrong of Dooce and Christiane Lemieux of Dwell Studio, but what I heard blew me away — these are some amazingly inspirational women that have followed their dreams and made it big. We were so very grateful to both of them for joining the event and sharing their expertise with us (and so thankful that the Wayfair team brought them to the event!).

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The absolutely charming and talented Abby Larson of Style Me Pretty hosted a tabletop styling session using products from all of the Wayfair brands; it was so great to meet her and her team in person and see them in action — they were  truly talented and the results of the tabletop styling were gorgeous!

Wayfair 8Wayfair 9As a huge fan of Island Creek Oyster Bar, I fan-girl-ed out meeting Chef Jeremy Sewall. Chef Jeremy brought the group through his tips for planning holiday meals. I really loved that it had such a local focus on seafood and ingredients that you can find from New England. I learned so much about seafood (did you know that longer antennas on lobsters indicate they’re fresher? And that all of the lobster from ICOB and Row 34 come from Jeremy’s cousins in Maine?). It was also really enlightening to hear him talk about the process of writing his new cookbook: The New England Kitchen — which I snagged a signed copy of at the end of the event!Wayfair 10

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My session was all about getting crafty — the Wayfair team and I worked to create five different DIY gift tags that represented the five major Wayfair brands. It was great getting to demonstrate the DIY ideas and create with the bloggers, but for me the best part was that the groups got to network and chat with each other while working on their projects. I got to catch up with some old blogging friends and finally put a few real-life faces to blog names with new friends too. Wayfair 4Wayfair 7Wayfair 5Wayfair 6We ended the day with an amazing cocktail hour and yankee swap that Wayfair generously organized with dozens upon dozens of amazing gifts from their sites. It was a little bit like the Oprah Christmas Special (you get a gift! you get a gift!) and everyone got to swap, cheers, mingle, and enjoy themselves after a long day of getting into the holiday spirit. Wayfair 13Wayfair 1Wayfair 12Interested in reading some more recaps from the event? These fabulous bloggers have shared their pictures and impressions of the event too:

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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This weekend I was busy testing some recipes for Thanksgiving ideas (and blog posts!) and the best thing ever that can happen when you’re cooking occurred: I had leftover stuffing. My family has a special little trick for leftover stuffing, we use it to make a little breakfast hash. It’s barely a recipe, which is just how breakfast should be made: add a tiny pat of butter to a hot pan and throw in the stuffing and, if you have it, some chopped onions, sausage, bacon — you can’t mess it up! After the mixture cooks together for a few minutes push it the sides to make an opening in the center of the pan. Crack in egg in the center of the stuffing and let it fry up, then slide that whole thing on a plate and dig in! I garnished mine with some fresh chopped green onions, and let me tell you, it was tasty. IMG_4918.JPG

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

Those that know me well know that I like to brunch, and brunch hard. Among my favorite brunch elements is the Bloody Mary. I love a Bloody Mary for a few reasons: first, they always give me this little burst of nostalgia reminding me of my when I was a kid and my dad would order them when we were on vacation. Every time I order one I get transported back to the porch of the Spring House Hotel in Block Island and think about my dad sipping one on a sunny summer day. I also love them because I’m a sucker for any sort of savory, salty drink; I also love the garnishing options — a big spear of green olives for me please! One of my best buds also has this same affinity for Bloody Marys, so this year for her birthday I made her a little Bloody Mary kit as a party favor.  A small jar of Bloody Mary mix, a pair of vodka nips, and teeny-tiny tabasco bottles for a little bit of spice made up a Bloody Mary-on-the-go! I think it’s a perfect idea for a little hostess gift, or favor for a post-wedding brunch!

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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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I love Fall fashion as much as the next girl, but I tend to put off new clothing purchases until that first super chilly Autumn day when I realize none of my jeans from last season fit me and my old coat has a coffee stain on it that I never got dry-cleaned out. Well, that first extra-chilly morning arrived this week in Boston, and just like that, I’m on the hunt for some closet updates to get me through the season! On my radar: a crisp new quilted barn coat, cozy Parisian-chic striped tees, and a fresh pair of skinny jeans to tuck into boots! joules Fall

Quilted Jacket | Parisian Stripe Tee | Skinny Jeans | Wellies | Satchel Bag | Pearl Earrings | Bracelet
Please note: I have received compensation for partnering with Joules on this post, all opinions are my own.