A few years ago Bob and I sat down over coffee and had a long talk about our holiday shopping tendencies. It wasn’t our first such talk, but it was the cumulative talk where we got real with ourselves about our Christmas shopping habits to date and devised a new set of Christmas gifting traditions. Today I am collaborating with Walmart to share more about those new traditions and how we decided we wanted to put more effort into selecting fewer, more memorable gifts for the kids and our loved ones over the holiday season. We realized we were both feeling frantic every holiday season and it seemed we were buying endless stacks of gifts that lost their meaning because they were just one among many. We knew we wanted our kids to look back and remember joyful holiday celebrations full of love, cheer and a few really special gifts instead of just never-ending tearing of paper from packages. So, we are now the family with stockings packed full of little goodies, a small handful of carefully chosen gifts for each family member, and matching Christmas pajamas to give Christmas morning that extra cheeky cheer. I mean, you can’t forget the matching Christmas pajamas!
Now that Thanksgiving has come and gone, things are about to get decidedly merry around these parts! Tis the season for entertaining and I, for one, could not be happier to host family and friends as often as possible over the next several weeks. Today I’ve teamed up with 34 Degrees to share a few easy tips and inspiring ideas for hosting a simple yet super chic holiday cocktail party. I think this is truly the easiest way to entertain over the holidays and oftentimes the most fun, too! You won’t have to spend hours prepping, cooking and then cleaning the kitchen and with a stash of 34 Degrees crisps at the ready, you can serve up tasty gourmet bites in a flash. Plate them alongside a selection of delicious cocktails, crank your favorite holiday playlist and you’ve got a hip holiday party waiting to happen.
Last year my sister Ash and I sat down before the holidays and came up with The Sweetest Occasion’s first annual holiday wine guide featuring some of our favorite wines, all of which come in at under $25 a bottle. This year we’re back at it again, with an updated wine guide just in time for Thanksgiving! We kept a lot of our old standbys, but freshened up the list with some of the new wines we’ve discovered and grown to love over the last year. We have wines here for just about every holiday occasion whether it be for sipping while binge watching Christmas movies, gifting your mother in-law, mulling with citrus and spices or for pairing with your holiday dinners. Neither of us claims to be a sommelier, we just really love trying and discovering new wines, and we both fully believe that you can get a great bottle of wine for a great price. For what it’s worth, you could gift either of us any of these bottles and we’d be super happy campers! Do you have any favorites to add to the list? Chime in below so I can give them a try!
Ready or not, ’tis the season for celebrations and gatherings aplenty! Also known as, my very favorite time of year. From impromptu guests popping in for holiday cocktails to full fledged dinners complete with the in-laws, chances are your house sees more action over the last couple months of the year than the rest of the year combined. We entertain at least a couple times a month all year long and even for us the holiday season is bustling. To help you get you ready for all that merriment, today I’ve teamed up with BISSELL to share my tips for how to prep your home for the holidays! After years of always scrambling and feeling stressed when friends and family were set to arrive, I’ve finally settled on a handful of habits that make opening our home to loved ones feel so much more enjoyable. Have anything to add to the list? Chime in below – I always love new tips!
Back in late July you may recall that I hosted a party in our backyard with Sutter Home. At the time I shared a couple of the DIY projects, a sneak peek at the decor and the prettiest dinner party printables designed by my lovely friend Maddy of The Proper Type. Late last week the first of several videos was launched on Sutter Home’s Facebook page and I have to say, seeing that video really brought it home just how amazing an experience throwing this party was for me both personally and professionally. In a nutshell, we filled our backyard with a ton of family and friends, incredible food, an abundance of great wine and live music by John Driskell Hopkins, who is also a member of the Zac Brown Band. Then, an incredible production crew complete with director, videographers, photographers, art directors, sound guys and stylists took over our house for the day and after an early morning hair and makeup session the day kicked off and didn’t stop until the wee hours of the morning. I’ll be sharing all the other videos, recipes and photos with you as they roll out, but it would mean the world to me to have you take a few minutes to go watch the first video, or the appetizer video as Sutter Home has so cheekily dubbed it, and appropriately so. Getting to share my life’s passion in this way and on this kind of platform means so much to me it almost brings me to tears seeing it all come to life. Click through for loads of behind the scenes photos that Alice captured on what our friends, family and neighbors have affectionately come to refer to as Sutter Home Day!
While I am definitely one who generally passes up on seasonal coffee concoctions (no offense, pumpkin spice lattes), I am very definitely someone who loves playing with fun seasonal cocktails throughout the year. This time of year in Upstate New York is still prime apple season, not so much for picking them since the season has passed for that, but certainly you can still find loads of fresh local apples. Making an apple sangria seemed like a requirement this year, but I wanted to keep it light and really refreshing so I added lemons and made it with rosé so it’s crisp and fruity and not at all heavy like fall sangria recipes tend to be. Add brandy, triple sec and simple syrup and you’ve got a pretty perfect fall cocktail. It would even be ideal for making up a big batch early in the day on Thanksgiving so your guests can serve themselves while you’re finishing buttering up the mashed potatoes. Want try another great apple cocktail? Give my caramel apple sangria recipe a whirl. It’s one of my all time most popular cocktails!
It’s no secret that I love a good party appetizer, and I think the best are ones that are simple to pull together that still allow guests to try out a few different things. Enter this super easy bread and oil appetizer dipping station! You know those restaurants where you get to munch on great crusty bread and delicious flavored oils while you wait for your meal? That’s totally the inspiration here. All you need is a few baguettes sliced up, olive oil and a bunch of yummy flavors to add into the mix like lemon zest, red pepper flake and minced garlic. Here I’m sharing a few of my personal favorite flavor combinations, but you should absolutely mix and match to your heart’s content using your favorite herbs and spices. To serve everything, cute little bowls for each oil concoction (I’d suggest at least two or three) and a pretty wooden board piled high with bread will do the trick.