Hosting Thanksgiving dinner became an annual tradition for us the year we bought our house. It is one of our favorite holidays now! I really love taking the time to plan out the menu (often even a couple months in advance) and to pull together a really beautiful Thanksgiving table.
After the hustle and bustle of the holidays, we tend to keep things a bit more casual when it comes to hosting parties over the winter months. An easy yet elegant dinner party is kind of the way to go! (Or a rowdy game day party with lots of snacks. I’m flexible!) Today I’m walking you through my tips for setting the table for just such a dinner party. Think sweet and simple with a casual vibe that will make your friends feel right at home!
Late summer is one of my very favorite times of year. The sun hangs low and golden, the produce is at its best and the evenings get just a teensy bit cooler, promising of fall. Now that the kids are back at school and everyone is working back into old routines, casual dinner parties at home replace big barbecues as my party of choice. Today I’m teaming up with my friends at Prairie Organic Spirits and sharing my take on a farm to table dinner party, inspired by your weekly CSA share or a trip to the farmer’s market. This is summer at its very finest!
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.
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.
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!
I sincerely love when I get to show off the parties that you guys are throwing and styling and sharing with your friends and family. I also sincerely love dining al fresco, whether it be a fairly formal meal or a simple breakfast with coffee. This garden to table fall dinner party is so many of my dreams come true. Pulled together by Becky of Daly Digs and beautifully captured by Kera Photography, it features a food-centric vibe that’s completely what my life is all about. The menu was loaded with fresh fall produce like beets, acorn squash and collard greens, all served family style in simple white crocks and on classic white serving pieces. (You guys know that I love white serving pieces since it’s so easy to mix and match!) A gorgeous gauze table runner and the prettiest floral centerpiece kind of take the show, while everything else is really just simple. White dinnerware, a touch of metallic gold, a bit of greenery here and there. And food, glorious food!
A few times over the summer I’ve eluded to the fact that I had some big projects in the works and today I am so excited to share one of those with you! A while back the folks at Sutter Home reached out to me and asked if I wanted to team up with them to throw the ultimate backyard party. Because I can never turn down a reason to throw a good party, I had to yes, naturally. Then they asked if they could bring in live music, have a bunch of our friends and neighbors show up and film the whole thing. And again, my answer was an enthusiastic yes! Today is the day it’s all going down so you can follow along with me on Instagram Stories all day long to see how it’s all coming together and witness the fun for yourself. In a few weeks we’ll be sharing all the details right here, but in the meantime I wanted to share a bit of my planning process including some really gorgeous printables and a fun DIY project I incorporated into the mix!
With Memorial Day coming up next week, I’m getting really excited for loads of fun summer parties and picnics over the next few months. Always an advocate of simple yet lovely entertaining and parties, today I’ve teamed up with my old friends at Dr. Oetker Virtuoso Pizza to share a few tips for hosting a totally easy yet completely chic patriotic picnic, perfect for Memorial Day or even the 4th of July!