The holiday season is finally here! We’re so excited to be fully in the swing of decorating and we’re already dreaming up some ideas for our holiday table this year. As always, you can go as ornate or as simple as you want, but there are some key elements we love to include in all of our holiday tables this time of year! The first on the list is greenery. The natural greenery that matches the winter holidays is just perfect. With this as your base, you can really carry it through the holidays and into the winter as well. We also really like including candles. The just really give that warm, cozy feeling! Other things to think about are adding in pine cones, berries, or even some ornaments, bells, or candy canes. Go wild and create that perfectly magical winter wonderland right in your dining room!
Does the idea of coming up with things to talk about at Thanksgiving give you severe anxiety? Between the charged political atmosphere and dodging questions about your personal life, it can be a stressful environment. That’s why we’re headed into the holidays fully prepared with a list of fun, non-controversial conversation starters that are sure to get the whole table involved! If you want to get really fancy, check out some of these great options for festive, free downloadable prompts!
If you could eat only one food on this table for an entire year, which one would it be?
You just won $5 million! What would you buy first?
Who at the table do you wish you knew better?
Who at the table would make the best news anchor?
If you had a uniform that you had to wear every day, what would it be?
What’s your favorite way to have your Thanksgiving leftovers?
Do you prefer a summer or winter vacation?
What’s the most amazing hotel you’ve stayed at?
What’s your favorite travel experience you’ve ever had?
What’s the best surprise that you’ve ever received?
What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever eaten?
What is your favorite kind of cheese?
If you could have any job in the world, what would you do?
What are your thoughts on Black Friday?
What are you most thankful for this year?
The holiday season usually means that there’s a good chance you’ll start meeting your significant other’s family if you haven’t already taken that step. And it can be a really nerve-wracking step to take! There’s so much anxiety over how to act, will they like you, what to bring, what to talk about, and the list goes on and on. So let’s start with this: take a deep breath! Know that your significant other loves you and that their family knows that, too. Obviously they have a good reason to love you right there! But to help calm your nerves, we asked some ladies for their best tips going into the big meetup.
There are some great things you can do to help prep yourself for meeting the family. We love the suggestion to have your SO draw up a family tree to review. Families can be complicated, so it’s great to have an outline of who is who before you meet them all. Another good move is to clean up your social media. There’s a good chance they’ve already creeped on you, but if you have anything you wouldn’t want them to see, it may be a good time to clean things up. If they haven’t looked you up yet, they probably will be soon! Also, really put some thought into things like how to answer questions about yourself and your plans for the future. If your relationship is serious, this question is fair game, so don’t get caught off-guard! Along the same lines, come up with questions that you can ask them!
The Day Of:
Today’s the day! First up, let’s get dressed. This is a great example of “dress for the job you want.” Make sure you have yourself put together nicely. Keep it modest, nothing low cut or too short. Makeup goes with that too -- try keeping your look natural and not over the top. Ask your SO for ideas of a nice little host gift you can bring, too! It’s a great way to make a good first impression and start a natural conversation right off the bat. While you’re there, just try your best to be genuine! Ask questions, engage in conversation, and stay off your phone! Sitting there texting or scrolling through Instagram instead of interacting will be a huge turn-off, for the family and your SO. Minimize your PDA time, too. No one likes watching their child and SO get handsy at the Thanksgiving table.
It’s easy to want to lower your anxiety and soothe your nerves with a drink. While slow, controlled drinking may help you feel like you’re fitting into the social scene, really nurse that baby and do not overdrink! One of the fastest ways to ruin a good first impression is to be the sloppy, drunk girlfriend. Don’t be that girl! Keep the alcohol to the minimum and instead offer up your services to help in the kitchen. Whether it’s bringing a dish, helping cook ahead of time, or cleaning up after the meal is done, everyone is always a fan of the person who offers up assistance instead of taking a load off on the couch.
At the end of the day, just remember to always be yourself! Like we said, your SO loves you for a reason, so they’re probably already talked you up to their family. Don’t assume that they dislike you without even meeting you. Chances are, you’re going to get along great! And if not, that’s okay too. It’s not just a one-sided relationship, so you’re allowed to have an opinion on them as well. Do your best to be friendly and polite, it’s only one day, who knows what the future holds!
With the 4th of July right in front of us, we cannot wait to celebrate with our friends and family! Here are some last minute holiday activities and ideas to add onto your 4th of July agenda.
Fireworks are the most associated image with the 4th of July, so check to see if there are any local firework shows close to you! Some places even have firework shows the whole week after the 4th, so if you don’t have enough time on the big day, you’ll have another chance to go later or even hit multiple shows throughout the week.
Food is also a big part of this holiday. Whether you’re going to a party or hosting your own, there are so many food options to choose from! Some 4th of July classics are: hamburgers, hot dogs, potato salad, s’mores, etc. You can also make some cute America themed dishes, such as parfaits with blueberries and strawberries, banana, blueberry, and strawberry fruit kabobs, or even dying frosting blue and red and using it atop vanilla cupcakes. Check out our full BBQ line up for some more inspiration!
In the height of summer, the weather is way too beautiful to be stuck inside. There are a ton of different yard games you can pick up at a local store. We’re huge fans of cornhole and ladder toss. You can always go old school and have a classic water balloon fight to help beat the heat.
No matter what you decide to fill your 4th of July with, we hope you have a happy and safe 4th of July!
With the holiday season rapidly approaching, we find ourselves struggling to find the perfect gift for everyone in our lives! Between keeping up with trends, the latest toys, and finding something for that one person that you can never find a gift for… it can be a stressful experience. We’ve put together our top three picks for a variety of personalities to help you find the perfect gift for everyone on your list!
The most lovable day of the year is quickly approaching: Valentine’s Day! Whether you want to put on your favorite heels and go out on the town, or slide into your comfiest slippers and enjoy a cozy night in, we have fun ideas for both date nights for you and your loved one!
Time to strap on those heels and get fabulous! Although cliché, going out to a romantic dinner for two is a great way to celebrate this day of love. Add a festive pop of color to your look with some deep red lipstick shades and a bright red statement skirt. Split a bottle of wine and end the night with some delicious dessert! If you want to stray away from the typical dinner date, slip into something cute but more comfortable. While still adding some color to your outfit, try a deeper shade of red skirt matched with a long sleeve shirt to keep that flirty look! Sign up for a cooking class and create a meal together or attend a paint bar night, where you can enjoy that bottle of wine all while making masterpieces together.
Don’t feel like making reservations or spending much money? No problem! Celebrate Valentine’s Day in the comfort of your own home. Instead of taking that cooking class, try making a meal at home together. Keep it festive with a pizza in the shape of a heart or learn something new by making your own sushi rolls! Kick your feet up and enjoy each other’s company in something cozy yet chic, such as leggings and an oversized cardigan matched with some natural, softer makeup tones. End your night watching some of your favorite films together while snacking on some yummy homemade desserts like chocolate covered strawberries!
Pondering what to make for your date night in? We have got you covered! Spicy Clams with Spaghetti.
- Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
- 8 ounces spaghetti
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red-pepper flakes, plus more for serving
- 1/4 cup dry white wine
- 18 littleneck clams (about 1 1/2 pounds), scrubbed
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped, plus 1 tablespoon thinly sliced stems
1. Bring a medium pot of generously salted water to a boil. Cook pasta until al dente. Reserve 1/2 cup pasta water; drain.
2. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add garlic and red-pepper flakes and cook, stirring, 30 seconds. Add wine and bring to a simmer. Increase heat to medium-high and add clams. Cover and cook just until clams open, 4 to 5 minutes. Discard unopened clams.
3. Stir in butter and parsley leaves and stems. Add pasta and toss to coat, adding reserved pasta water 1 tablespoon at a time, until sauce is loose and creamy. Season with salt and pepper.
Recipe Source: Martha Stewart
It's that time of year to bust out the bar cart and start mixing up some festive libations to celebrate the season! (Be sure to check out our Barcart Central post for tips on how to build your barcart!) This season is filled with time spent with friends and family cozyed up inside by the fire and surrounded by holiday cheer. Here are top picks for holiday sips! Cheers!
- 2 cups water
- 1 cup agave nectar
- 1 cup pear juice
- 1 bunch fresh rosemary
- 2 pears, peeled, cored, and sliced
- Sugared Cranberries
- 2 cups sugar, divided
- 2 cups fresh cranberries
- Big Batch Margaritas
- 1 1/2 cups (12 ounces) silver tequila
- 2 cups (16 ounces) cranberry juice (not cranberry cocktail)
- 1/2 cup (4 ounces) orange juice
- 1/2 cup (4 ounces) orange liquor
- 3/4 cups fresh lime juice
- 2-4 tablespoons sugar or to taste (OPTIONAL)* or use sugared cranberries
- salt, for the rim
- sparkling water, to top the drinks with (OPTIONAL)
- lime + orange slices, for serving
- To make just ONE drink
- 1 1/2 - 2 ounces silver tequila
- 2 1/2 ounces cranberry juice (not cranberry cocktail)
- 1/2 ounce orange juice
- 1/2 ounce orange liquor
- 1 ounce fresh lime juice
- 1/2-1 tablespoon sugar, or to taste (OPTIONAL)* or use sugared cranberries
- sparkling water, to top the drink with (OPTIONAL)
- Malahat Spiced Rum
- Fresh-squeezed orange juice
- Cinnamon simple syrup
- Garnish with orange zest
- Handful of fresh mint (or fresh peppermint)
- 2 oz vodka
- Juice of 1/2 a lime
- 6 oz ginger beer (more or less to taste)
- Crushed candy cane- for garnish
- Whole candy cane- for garnish
- Crushed ice
- Vanilla Vodka
- Cranberry Pomegranate Juice
Decorating for the holidays can be tricky, finding the right balance and aesthetic and the pieces to tie it all together. Today, we’re going to breakdown a holiday set up so that you can replicate it at home! We love how these built-ins are styled: a mix of classic and whimsy!
The best part? We’ve found most of these pieces, or something similar, at great prices that are perfect for the everyday budget! Happy decorating!
The holidays are just around the corner! Have you started your shopping? If you are looking to gift something more personal, we have rounded up our favorite DIY holiday gift ideas. From the hostess to your bestie we have the perfect idea for you. Cheers to a weekend of DIYing and hot chocolate!
Gold-Leaf Bud-Vase Trio
What You Need
- 3 glass bud vases of different shapes
- gold-leaf kit
- 2 small, soft paintbrushes
What to Do
1. Dip a paintbrush in the adhesive (from the gold-leaf kit) and paint loose, slightly irregular upward strokes to cover the outer rims of the vases. Set aside for an hour while the adhesive becomes tacky (it will turn clear).
2. Cut sheets of gold leaf into 1- to 2-inch strips. Press the gold leaf onto the adhesive. Peel off the paper backing. Dust away any excess gold leaf with the clean paintbrush
3. Apply the sealer and let dry for 30 minutes.
Holiday Stovetop Simmer
- 3-4 sprigs of fresh pine and/or fir
- 2-3 sticks of cinnamon
- 1 mandarin, whole
- 1 cup fresh cranberries
- Small window tin-tie bags
- Small rectangle text labels
- Large oval hang tags
- Sprigs of fir for garnishing your gift bags
Full instructions can be found here.
Chocolate Brownie Mix
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 95 g plain flour
- 35 g cocoa
- 75 g plain flour
- 135 g brown sugar
- 150 g sugar
- 100 g chocolate chips
- 100g white chocolate chips
- 50 g walnuts or pecans (optional)
The holiday season is here and it's time to start gifting! Not hosting Thanksgiving this year? You know how much work goes into hosting a big dinner, so why not make something special for your host or hostess to say thank you. We have rounded up our favorite ideas for each type of host you might encounter. These small gestures are what this holiday is about, how to give thanks and be thankful for the people around you. On your mark, get set, start crafting!
For the Green Thumb Host or Hostess
Who doesn't love fresh flowers? Bringing fresh flowers is a great way to say thank you to your host or hostess. When you are hosting, final details like flowers always fall to the wayside. So bring an arrangement that can be added to the tablescape, bar or dessert table. It's a great way to help add decor but then it's something that they can enjoy all week along. Looking for a great DIY, check out our pumpkin floral arrangement.
For the Culinary Host or Hostess
Does your host or hostess love to cook and whip up fresh recipes? Then why not bring them the thing they use in all their recipes? Herbs! So many great ways to customize the container based on their home's esthetic. Here are our top four container ideas, just click on an image and get to planting!
For the Baker Host or Hostess
Want to bring something sweet? We love the mason filled mixes. There are so many recipes and so many ways to decorate them, that you can truly customize it for your host, hostess and their family. We loved this recipe featured on Capturing-Joy blog. Perfect to give as a thank you gift this season!
Spread the love this holiday season!
Last weekend of prep is upon us! Don't panic! You take care of the menu and we have got you covered when it comes to your tablescape. We were so excited to see lots of amazing inspiration out there but we narrowed it down to our top 3 picks. And to make your life easier we included shopping lists for each. So on your mark, get set, design!
Warm & Cozy
Our inspiration came straight out of the November issue Country Living Magazine! We fell in love with all the warm and personal touches brought to this table. Adding old family photos to each place setting is a great way to reminisce or remember the loved ones that can't be at your table this holiday season. All the different layers, patterns and colors make this tablescape perfect for the host and hostess that want to make their guests feel at home.
Yes, yes and yes! Everything about this look screams style! The tablescape is simple but keeps it's richness by combining hues of gold, silver and rose gold. A simple tea leaf garland and some pumpkins are all you need to complete this setup. Best part? This color palette is a great base for any occasion you need to set for. We love multiple uses!
Who says you need to stick with traditional oranges, reds and browns for your holiday gathering? We certainly don't! We are head over heals for this Casa de Perrin design. Both modern and eclectic this tablescape is a great way to shake things up and have your guests surprised! The best part is that you can have the family help paint the pumpkins and keep your kitchen free of chaos!
We love fall décor, but we hate the high price tags! A nice fall wreath can cost you $50 - $60, so we decided to create our own and you can too. With a few simple materials, a gorgeous wreath doesn’t need to break the bank!
Before you head to the store, check out some craft store websites. There are almost always awesome coupons that help cut down the costs!
The assembly of your wreath is actually easier than you think! Before securing anything, try laying out your florals in various patterns on top of your wreath. Once you settle on something you like, start clipping off the extra length of the stems. To secure the florals, we used a combination of hot glue and floral wire. We left some of the blooms with longer stems to give the wreath more depth, so the wire gave it extra security to prevent shifting.