After Christmas, hands down my favorite holiday of all time is the 4th of July! I’m a sucker for all the summery nostalgia from the fireworks to the 4th of July desserts to the stars and stripes to the requisite ice cream cones and backyard picnics. I recently teamed up with Walmart to host the most festive modern Americana inspired 4th of July party and today I’m sharing all the details! I loaded the backyard with great finds from Walmart, created the prettiest spread of 4th of July decorations and loaded up on the appropriately themed menu items like red, white and blue desserts and watermelon cut into stars. My favorite part is that just about every single thing you see here, from the place settings to the decor to the food to the fashion selections, can all be found at Walmart!
If you’re reading this chances are good that you’re pretty well versed on my love for entertaining. Bringing people together over a great meal is a true passion for me, and luckily my husband agrees. The result of two people who love to cook and spend time with friends? We entertain a lot. And by “a lot,” I mean as often as a few times a month. I get asked all the time about how we do that, and the answer is that we keep it simple! Sure, there are times that we cook an intricate meal, but most of the time I’m a huge advocate of pulling together a spread that is wow-worthy without taking all day to prepare. One of my favorite entertaining ideas is any kind of “make your own” food station, in this case an awesome pasta bar that I created shopping exclusively at Walmart! The beauty of this pasta bar is how quickly it comes together, how amazingly convenient it is to pick everything up in one shopping trip and how tasty the end results are! Your friends and your kids will go crazy for this one, and the prep time is totally minimal. This is my kind of dinner party!
Easter is tomorrow, which doesn’t hardly seem possible, so I’m coming in hot at the last second with some last minute inspiration for your Easter dinner table! (Or your Easter brunch table for that matter.) I teamed up with my friend Briana of Pretty Little Vintage Co. to blend pieces from her amazing collection of vintage finds with basics I already had to create a modern, elegant dinner table that feels really chic and celebratory, but didn’t take a huge budget to pull together. (Pro tip! Rentals aren’t just for weddings and formal events. You can and should absolutely consider rentals for things like holiday dinners and parties, too!) Pretty blue floral vintage dessert plates were paired with very inexpensive white dinnerware, layered with cloth napkins and gorgeous vintage gold flatware to create the sweetest mix. Crystal wine glasses (which my mom snagged me as a gift on super clearance a couple years ago) are matched with blue cut glass goblets, and a field of mismatched brass candlesticks serves as the simplest of centerpieces. All in all, it’s a look that skips Easter pastels in exchange for a touch of elegance that would also serve perfectly for any dinner party.
As a kid Easter was always one of my favorite holidays! (Actually, as a grown up it still is!) I loved that I got a cute new Easter dress every year, I loved waking up to a basket stuffed full of goodies, but mostly I loved decorating eggs. My mom and my aunts would often get us together with our cousins to spend an afternoon coloring eggs a few days before Easter so they could be whisked off and hidden in the middle of the night by the Easter Bunny. Over this past weekend, Em and I did the same, inviting her cousins over for a fun-filled day of Easter glee! Now that she’s a little older, it’s so much fun to begin passing down these traditions. (I should note that she’s not actually in a single one of these photos though because she wasn’t having it. Two years old with a mind of her own!) Today I’m teaming up with Walmart to share all the details of our little egg decorating party with you! From the snacks to the decor to all the Easter goodies you see here, including all the kids’ cute outfits, you can snag everything at Walmart in one quick shopping trip and throw together your very own party. Let’s hop to it!
A few of my girlfriends and I have been talking about starting a book club, but as busy working moms, it just hasn’t seemed to happen. Getting it together enough to read an assigned book in a set timeframe? It’s something that seems completely daunting, even for those of us who absolutely love to read. The solution? A modern twist on a book club party, one that is much more relaxed and takes the pressure off entirely. This isn’t your mother’s book club, friends! It’s much more fun, there’s champagne and thanks to a little inspiration from the P-touch Embellish Ribbon and Tape Printer, there are super cute details that will make your friends excited to dive into a good book!
Now that spring is finally here (at least officially), let’s talk brunch! It seems that there are so many brunch-worthy occasions over the spring months between Easter, Mother’s Day, bridal showers and just the joy of sunshine and birds chirping, so I couldn’t resist pulling together a fresh and colorful spring brunch table to share with you. As I was deciding on the color palette and other pieces, I was inspired by the P-touch Embellish Ribbon and Tape Printer to create a few sweet little details to really bring things to life. I also picked up big bunches of alstroemeria and daffodils at the grocery store and tucked them into pretty planters, then layered marble patterned plates with jute chargers, the prettiest peach and gold flatware, and colorful napkins to make things feel special and festive, without involving a ton of prep work. Brunch is about coming together with people you love to share an hour or two of food, mimosas and laughter, not about spending hours stressing out over setting the table. You can work with the pieces you already own, layer in a few touches created with the P-touch Embellish and you’ll have the perfect brunch table set and ready to go when friends arrive!
In our neighborhood we love getting together on game day for a good football party with food, a few drinks and a healthy dose of friendly rivalry, so last year for the big game we hosted a game day chili cook-off! We asked friends to show up with a crock of their best chili and passed out ballots so everyone could taste and vote on their favorites. This year I’ve teamed up with Uber to share some fun tips for hosting your own chili cook-off complete with really fun printable ballots designed by Erika Firm! Uber shares my passionate belief that it’s always better to be a #DesignatedRider over driving when you’re celebrating with friends, and I am an avid Uber user for that exact reason.
The sweet little old lady whose family owned our home for more than 50 years before we bought it was well into her 90s when she passed, but her reputation for hosting a great cocktail party still lives on. We refer to her affectionately as Mrs. T, and let me tell you, Mrs. T was famed for inviting all the neighbors over for Christmas Eve cocktails, which is a tradition we’re determined to continue through the years in her honor. Today I’ve teamed up with Walmart to share my tips on how to stock the perfect holiday bar cart! A few fine spirits, a handful of great mixers and some festive seasonal touches will create the sweetest station for mixing your favorite holiday cocktails at all your gatherings throughout the season. From more casual cocktails with the neighbors to your rockin’ New Year’s Eve bash, these tips will take you straight through the holidays in fine fashion.
Some of you may have seen on Instagram that I recently purchased a record player for our home and have started amassing a collection of my favorite Christmas albums on vinyl. I am a total Christmas music junkie and it’s what I’ve been listening to almost exclusively since the first week of November. I totally get it if you’re the type that prefers to wait until December, but for me it just makes the season when I am creating and shooting so much holiday content feel so much more festive so November it is! You guys loved when I shared my Christmas music favorites so much last year that I decided to update The Sweetest Christmas playlist with some additional selections for this holiday season, some old and some new. In addition to my growing collection of holiday vinyls, this is my go-to playlist and is, in my humble opinion, one of the best Christmas playlists you’re ever going to find. It’s got the classics, it’s got the modern classics and it’s got a few brand new songs that were just released this year. Check it out! Follow along on Spotify and let me know if you want additional playlists throughout the year, too. I’m happy to oblige! (Scroll down for a track list for those of you who don’t use Spotify.)
Entertaining is definitely a passion of ours, but during the holidays we seriously ramp it up, even for us. Already on our hosting calendar for December is a Christmas brunch with Bob’s side of the family, a Christmas cocktail party with our neighbors, a potential gathering with Bob’s co-workers, and the usual Christmas Eve and Christmas Day festivities. Add in any number of the impromptu get togethers we’re known for and it’s safe to say that this time of year I go into hostess mode for a month or more straight. That’s why today I’ve teamed up with the folks at Tyson® to share my top ten tips for easy last minute holiday entertaining! It’s my goal to help you feel empowered to entertain during the holidays, even if maybe you don’t typically throw parties or even consider yourself a host or hostess. So here I’m sharing my favorite ways to streamline prep work, inspiration for really simple recipes, and a bunch of “do ahead” and “last minute” ideas so you can hop off to the grocery store the night before or last minute and bring things together without a lot of stress.
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!