Keep the Conversation Flowing This Thanksgiving with These Starters!

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?

Lighten the Load This Year with a Friendsgiving Cocktail Hour!

It can be quite the heavy lift to plan both a Thanksgiving and a Friendsgiving get together. That being said, we still want to honor each group of people and spend time together giving thanks. So, in the holiday spirit, we decided to plan a Friendsgiving cocktail hour this year! All the fun, but a whole lot less work when it comes to the food. If you opt for a potluck, have each friend bring their favorite Thanksgiving-inspired appetizer to share with the group. Finger food is a lot simpler and gives you an opportunity for more variety, especially with fun twists on such a classic and iconic meal! Check out some of our favorite inspiration appetizers below!

Brighten Up Your Thanksgiving Table with a Fun and Easy DIY Tablescape

Thanksgiving is right around the corner and we’re starting to think about how we’re going decorate our tables this year! Last year, we broke down how to recreate some of our favorite table looks, but this year we want to do something a little different. Today, we’re going to look at all the essential components to a beautiful tablescape, namely a table runner set up. There are so many different ways you can style a table runner set up. You can keep it really light and simple, or really add in a lot of details and depth depending on the style and look you’re trying to achieve. The key elements we like to include in our Thanksgiving tablescapes include some sort of base, candles, pumpkins, floral or greenery garland, and sometimes even fruit or citrus! For the base, you can choose a simple cloth runner from the store, or get rustic and interactive with a brown paper runner. You can buy a long roll and cut to your needed length. This is really fun because you can then draw on it as well -- fun additional decor or even names for assigned seating. From there, you just build up! We usually add in the garlands first and work the other elements in around. It’s also nice to have a bigger centerpiece in the center of the table that’s supplemented by all the smaller accessories. Whether it be a larger pumpkin or a big vase of florals. Sky’s the limit in terms of color palettes and combinations, just have fun with it!

Our Favorite Black Fiday Deals

Photo Source: Stephen Chernin

Photo Source: Stephen Chernin

Black Friday is just around the corner, and we want you brave souls who go shopping to get the best deals! Here is our list of the best and biggest Black Friday deals!


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  • Beats By Dr. Dre Beats Studio2 Wireless Over the Ear Headphones: $159.00, regularly $379.99
  • Kitchen Aid Professional 500 Series Stand Mixer: $199.99, regularly $499.99
  • Save up to $200 with activation of iPhone 8 or iPhone 8 Plus

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  • 40% off Women’s Shoes and Boots
  • $39.99-$59.99 Women’s Cashmere Sweaters
  • 60% off Men’s Outerwear
  • 20% off all Sunglass Hut Sunglasses
     

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  • 50% off Time for Joy Holiday Toys, Treats, Apparel, and Accessories
  • 50% off You & Me 2-level Cat Tree and Vesper V-High Base Cat Furniture
  • 50% off Aqueon Aquarium and Zoo Med Reptile Starter Kits

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  • TLC 49” 4K Ultra HD 120 Hz Roku High Dynamic Range Smart TV: $349.99, regularly $379.99
  • GoPro HERO5 (black) plus free $50 Target gift card with purchase: $349.99, regularly $399.99
  • Dyson V6 Animal Vacuum: $249.99, regularly $499.99

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  • Nintendo Switch Console with Red and Blue Joy-Con: $299, regularly $337.99
  • Google Home plus $25 Google Express Offer: $79, regularly $129
  • Save $100 on Frozen Sleigh or John Deere Gator 12V Ride-On
     

Pumpkin Cheesecake with Gingersnap Crust

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Need to bring a dessert to Thanksgiving this year? Wow your family with this delicious Pumpkin Cheesecake! It has a spicy gingersnap crust, sweet whipped cream topping, and it is super easy to make! Bake it the night before Thanksgiving so you have one less thing to worry about the day of!

Makes: 1 Cheesecake              

Total Time: 10 hours (includes overnight cooling time!)


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Ingredients:
Crust:
2 cups gingersnap crumbs
3 tbsp. granulated sugar
½ cup unsalted butter, melted (plus extra to grease pan)
Cheesecake:
4, 8oz packages of full-fat cream cheese, room temp
1 cup packed light brown sugar
½ cup granulated sugar
½ tsp. salt
1 tbsp. cornstarch (or 2 tbsp. AP flour)
2 tbsp. pumpkin pie spice
½ cup sour cream, room temp
2 cups pumpkin puree
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
3 large eggs, room temp
2 large egg yolks, room temp
Whipped Cream:
1 cup heavy whipping cream, chilled
2 tbsp. powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
Cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice for sprinkling, optional

Instructions:
For the Crust:

Preheat the oven to 350℉ and center a rack to the middle of the oven.
Grease the sides and bottom of a 9” springform pan with butter. Fit piece of parchment paper to the bottom of the pan and lightly grease.
In a food processor crush cookies into fine crumbs. Transfer crumbs to a small mixing bowl and add the sugar and melted butter. Mix with a fork to combine.
Place mixture into the greased and lined springform pan. Flatten the crust along the bottom and sides of the pan with a measuring cup, and bake until slightly darkened (8-10 min.).
When crust is done, cover the outside of the pan with aluminum foil tight enough to ensure no water seeps in during the water bath. Set pan on cooling rack while making the filling.
For the Cheesecake Filling:
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese, both sugars, salt, cornstarch, and pumpkin spice on med-low speed until creamy (about 2 min.).
Add sour cream, pumpkin puree, and vanilla and continue beating on med-low until smooth, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed.
While beating, add the eggs and yolks, one at a time, until just combined. Scrape sides of bowl as needed.
Pour the cheesecake filing into the cooled crust and place into a large roasting pan. Fill the roasting pan with boiling water (only a few inches high, NOT to the top of the pan) and bake for 55-60 min. The cheesecake edges should be set and the center should slightly jiggle.
Turn off the oven, crack the door, and let the cheesecake cool for 1 hour (this helps prevents cracking).
Remove the cheesecake from the water bath and aluminum foil. Run a knife around the edge of the pan so it does not stick to the sides, remove the side of the pan, and let cool completely on a rack. Refrigerate until firm and chilled (8 hours or overnight).
For the Whipped Cream:
In a medium bowl with a hand mixer, or in a standing mixer with the whisk attachment, whip the cream until it reaches soft peaks.
Add the powdered sugar and vanilla and beat until the cream hold peaks.
Place the cheesecake onto a serving dish and pipe whipped cream around the top of the chilled cheesecake, or however you desire. Sprinkle the top with cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice if desired!

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Recipe Source here.

Finding Your Perfect Thanksgiving Outfit

Image Source: Chic Vintage Brides

Image Source: Chic Vintage Brides

No one gets excited about their Thanksgiving outfit. It’s a holiday with a bland color palette (browns, dull oranges and yellows), and the dress code is anywhere from casual to formal. This year, we decided to help you find the perfect Thanksgiving outfit inspiration from jeans to dresses in all colors! You will definitely be excited to show off your OOTD to your family and friends.


For A Casual Dinner


For A Semi-Formal Dinner


For A Formal Dinner


How-To: Friendsgiving

Image Source: House of Jade

Image Source: House of Jade

Thanksgiving is one of the best holidays of the year; you can eat as much food as you want, drink yummy cocktails, and lounge around all day watching (or pretending to watch) sports and chatting with your family. However, not everyone can celebrate with family and that is OK! In lieu of Thanksgiving, have yourself a Friendsgiving with all your closest friends! Friendsgiving is the perfect way to show your friends how much you appreciate them and a lot less stressful than hosting for your family (no more unwelcomed questions about your love life from Aunt Martha). Never hosted a Friendsgiving before? Well, we’ve come up with a how-to Friendsgiving hosting guide to help you in your quest for throwing the perfect holiday celebration!


INVITES

Take the time to send your guests invites to your Friendsgiving gathering. This little extra action shows your friends you really want them to attend, and it’s a refreshing reminder that paper invites are much more elegant than e-vites (plus who doesn’t love getting mail?!). Make sure your invites include your address, RSVP-by date, and any instructions about bringing a dish or dessert to lessen your cooking load!


FOOD

Let’s be real, food is the most important part of this holiday, so make your spread the star of the night.

Appetizers: Appetizers should be light finger foods that won’t fill up your guests before dinner. Charcuterie boards are the perfect appetizer option; you can customize it however you’d like and it offers a great number of options for your guests.

Dinner: The sit down dinner is the highlight of the party. Serve food family style (in your most stylish serving dishes) and enjoy the quality time you have with your friends. Go around the table and give thanks for all things you appreciate in your life.

Dessert: Dessert should be placed on its own table before dinner. This will alleviate the task of setting up the dessert table after you’re stuffed with turkey and potatoes. Offer coffee and tea so your guests can wind down and digest with a warm drink.


DRINKS

Prepare a signature drink, such as a sangria or cranberry cocktail, for everyone to enjoy. Have a selection of wine, beer, and non alcoholic beverages to cover everyone’s preferences. Now is a great opportunity to utilize that dusty bar cart in the corner of your living room!


DECOR

Your decor should be festive and sophisticated. Gravitate towards fall decor (leaves, gourds, pumpkins) and Thanksgiving staples (turkeys and cornucopias). Put up wall art, decorate the mantle, and add floral arrangements to each room. Place a festive wreath on your front door for a notable first impression of your decorative skills.


TABLESCAPE

The dining table must be inviting, comfortable, and beautiful. Let your table settings be neutral and add color with a table runner or centerpiece. Decorate the table with festive items such as pumpkins and corn, and incorporate candles to elevate your tablescape. Make sure there is enough room for your serving dishes!


Thanksgiving Wedding Inspiration Board

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Combining the festivities? Thanksgiving and your wedding are both times to gather with those you love, so we see the appeal! For your special day, stick with warm, earthy tones. Think burnt oranges, warm yellow, deep red, and maybe even some dark forest green for a pop. Stick with the holiday favorites, or Thanksgiving-inspired food for your main meal! As Thanksgiving is a time to be with family, consider serving your meal just like that -- family style at one big table where everyone can interact. For dessert, try something nontraditional and enjoy a delicious pie bar! You can have a variety of flavors for your guests to choose from, or even opt for a whole bunch on personal sized pies. Whatever you choose, we hope you have a wonderful, special day surrounded by those who mean most to you!