It’s no secret around the bee life that I love planning and hosting parties! We’ve slowly started a tradition of hosting a Christmas Party each year, that started in our old apartment hosting a Christmas Ale themed shin-dig and has turned into a larger party now that we have a home to entertain in.
With hosting a Christmas party nearly 4-years in a row (last year we substituted B’s 30th surprise party in place of it) — I have a lot of the fundamentals down that are my go-to party planning check-list.
- Simple but inclusive menu. For our parties, I really like to stick with the basics and easy snackable items. Like a nice charcuterie board, pizza, peanuts, popcorn, and chips and dippy items. Also work to be conscious of dietary restrictions, since I’m an offender of that and have a few friends who are meatless.
- Don’t forget the booze. We always like to have a variety of beverages for our guests available, as everyone is always good about BYOBing. So we always have plenty of options and variety for everyone!
- Something Sweet. It is important to ALWAYS have dessert – especially something chocolatey. I love having m&ms around in little dishes and then other yummy treats like brownies, cookies and even a few Christmas cookies if I really get my butt in gear. Let’s be honest — I’m going to be drinking champagne and eating desserts.
- Party Games. With our holiday party, I like to bring in some of my family traditions and games to our friends. As we’ve had these parties over the years, games have been requested and even demanded and it’s fun to see these new tradition started. We even do a white elephant ornament exchange!
I’ll be a busy bee elf next week getting ready for the party, especially with Thanksgiving falling so late in the year — our house is not yet Christmased. So it will be fun getting everything set come December 1st for our party! Do you have any party planning hacks that you swear by? Do you stick to the same general game plan when you host parties or switch it up each time? Leave me a comment below, telling me your hacks!
It’s National Prosecco Day! This day might be just as exciting as my birthday or being able to eat cake – I mean cake and Prosecco? Yes, please! And although I tend to drink Prosecco like the next Prohibition is coming – I finally tried drinking my Prosecco with a twist that always seemed a little trendy but always peaked my curiosity. What is it you ask? A popsicle in my Prosecco!
What You’ll Need:
– A bottle of your favorite Prosecco – I love Ruffino or Freixenet
– Popsicles of Choice – I used Outshine Fruit Bars Mango & Pomegranate
I felt the flavor choice was a big part of my decision, because I wanted it to pair well with the bubbles, so just think of potential mimosas juice flavors; Strawberry, Raspberry, Mango, Pomegranate, or Pineapple. Once you have your Prosecco and popsicle it’s time to pop that bottle! Pro-Tip: Don’t fill your glass up with the bubbles, when you add in the popsicle it’ll fizz more and takes up some room – I recommend filling a little more than half way with the bubbles, if not get ready to take a quick sip to save the overflow!
The Final Verdict: The addition of the popsicle was actually refreshing and had great taste, I especially liked it with the Mango flavor! I was actually surprised at how good it tasted – because I’m of course a fan of Prosecco on it’s own. And let’s be honest, it’s just a nice summery treat!
So cheers to all my fellow Prosecco lovers who celebrate National Prosecco Day any day!
It’s time to step-up your s’more game, and I’ll tell you just how to do it with my ultimate summer s’more board. It’s the charcuterie board of s’mores and it’s only going up from here in the wow, mouth watering, #goals department. Don’t worry the only thing that doesn’t change is that delicious perfectly toasted marshmallow. So whether this is for a girl’s night, date night or low-key hang with the neighbors the way you eat s’mores is forever about to change – and you’re going to wow your guests in the process. Oh, and don’t forget the bubbles!
Guys, guess what! Spring is practically here which means summer is right around the corner, which means patio season is coming soon! And with all the daydreaming about warm days – which we’re probably all doing – I can’t help but dream about those nights hosting dinners on the patio or even just enjoy a light weekend brunch with B. It’s truly one of my favorite things! So, I went hunting for some more fun pieces to incorporate into patio season for dining and entertaining that can stand alone or mix in with other fun patterns and prints of existing pieces. Here are a few different looks and styles for you to shop for this summer! Spoiler: I may just be shopping all of these.
Bright & Modern: Can you say Hello Don Draper? These pops of color are so fun especially in the summer and these modern twists on vintage looks are so fun to incorporate into your outdoor serve ware this summer! I’m also a firm believer that having super cute acrylic and plastic cups for fun cocktails or lemonade especially from a safety perspective on patios!
Shop the West Elm Diamond Colored Acrylic | Crate & Barrel Dua Yellow Melamine Plate
All American: From Memorial Day – to the 4th of July – to Labor Day these can be a staple all summer long! I have lemon patterned enamel plates from Pottery Barn from a previous season – and I absolutely love them, they’re durable and fairly heavy duty for an outdoor set and not just flimsy plastic that’ll blow away! Plus they have blue with white stars cork placemats – yay!
Shop these enamel plates from Pottery Barn
Classic & Colorful: I’m slightly obsessed with these Modern Melamine Dinnerware plates especially the grapefruit, silver pine and citrus yellow – they’re in my shopping chart and they’re currently on sale! I like these too because they can be a grounding element while being able to pull in some fun printed plates and patterns. The sleek design are definitely functional and the glasses look fancy while still being outdoor friendly!
Shop West Elm Fluted Acrylic Glassware | West Elm Modern Melamine Dinnerware
Honorable Mentions: Last year I was completely obsessed with all of the Opalhouse dinnerware, and I’ve been admittedly keeping an eye out for this seasons prints and patterns – which are finally out! They also have some vintage plastic glassware in a variety of colors that are perfect for all seasons. Another outdoor dining essential is having a flatware caddy that is easy to back-up inside and portable outside – I bought a metal one last year and it’s been clutch even for indoor entertaining, now I just need a few more styles!
Shop the Honorable Mentions: West Elm Summertime Plates | Target Floral Salad Plate | Macrame Table Runner | West Elm Rattan Flatware Caddy | Target Floral Embossed Plastic Tumbler
The fun part about entertaining outdoors is that you can mix a variety of textures, styles and materials (like glass and plastics) to pull in a warm and organic look for your guests… without looking like you spent the true number of hours you did working on your tablescape! I’m ready for you summer – but don’t go away too soon once you get here.
I can’t believe I haven’t shared this recipe with my fellow bee readers. Before I share this with you all, I have to give you some of the history, why this recipe is so sacred and why it’s so fricken good. And also, I’m sharing this with you because it’s still summer despite what the rest of the social world seems to think!
Urban legend has it, this is my great-grandma’s recipe – it’s unclear whether this was a family staple, or a staple that was also shared at the bar (Marty’s) they owned in St. Louis near Anheuser-Busch. Helen was born September 11, 1911, she was the woman who told you to ear your crust otherwise you’ll have long saggy ear lobs, like she did (although, I’m pretty sure they were from the clip-on earrings she rocked) the woman that also smiled, was always dealing cards and laughing. This recipe is so detailed and specific that you must follow the rules and directions to a tee, or you will mess up the whole thing! The most important rule to remember is 1-to-1-to-1.
What You’ll Need:
– Ten High Whiskey
– Frozen Lemonade Mix
– Maraschino Cherries
1. Dump your frozen lemonade mix into the blender. Measure out your whiskey by filling up the empty lemonade canister, pour into blender over top frozen mix. Fill up empty lemonade canister with water and pour over top.
2. Blend up, until nicely mixed together.
3. Over rocks, in a scotch glass pour mixture – garnish with some cherry juice & cherries.
The recipe is so simple and so DELICIOUS, it’s one of the reasons I love it so much plus it was my Granny’s so that’s just the cherry on top (literally). Another fun little story about my great grandparent’s bar near Anheuser, is a lot of the brewers and workers from the brewery would come for lunch or after work to the bar. Which meant my mom and aunts as children had special visits to the Clydesdale barns and were even able to ride the horses! This recipe is a staple at most gatherings and family events, whether it’s summer or we’re cooped up inside — we always cheers to ‘Granny’ after a batch is poured.
So go ahead and enjoy this delicious drink and don’t feel bad when you’re whipping up your second batch of sours.
Summer may feel like it’s coming to an end – but let’s hang onto it just a little longer… I have an easy and tasty cocktail to help fill those hot summer days and long weekends!
What You’ll Need:
– Vodka of your choosing, I used Tito’s
– Tonic water
– Frozen blueberries
– Mint leaf ice cubes
1. Prep! The night before, get some fresh mint and make some ice cubes with mint in them! Rip off mint leaves and place into the cube tray and then pour ice over, have it sit overnight and you’ll have some fancy and tasty ice ready for your drink!
2. Okay, time to make the drinks! Place your mint ice cubes into the glasses and sprinkle a spoon or two of frozen blueberries over the ice cubes.
3. Use a shot glass and pour your vodka in, this is totally on preference, but I usually keep my drinks 1-to-1 with alcohol and the mixer. Once you’ve added your vodka, top off with your tonic.
4. Give it a stir, cheers with your boo and enjoy!
This one is easy to have all the ingredients stocked around the kitchen and has hints of summer written all over it with the light flavors from the mint and blueberries. The pinkish-purple coloring really make this a fun drink – not to mention the pretty mint garnishes from the ice cubes!
With a little over a year with our back patio, we made it a point to have both dining and relaxin space – making it the perfect spot for a classic dinner with family and close friends. We hosted, the first of many dinners on the patio and it was the perfect combination of all the things that make a dinner party great a classic and easy menu, a stunning table setting and awesome company.
My favorite part about hosting a party or dinner is the planning that goes into it and the opportunity to make a special memory for our guests, while also having a fantastic meal and great company. It’s about making the night special from all the other dinners we have every other night and giving the people you care about a little extra love.
I’ve realized that hosting a dinner or party for some may seem super daunting and overwhelming, but focusing on these three things helps keep it simple while also allowing you to enjoy the night as well!
The Menu. We kept the menu simple, healthy and refreshing for a warm summer day. We opted for chicken and steak kabobs mixed with mushrooms, peppers and onions. We had a fresh mixed greens salad with cucumbers and cherry tomatoes (cheese on the side for us non-dairy folk) and a fresh fruit salad with blueberries and strawberries. When it comes down to it, there are just a few staples that just can’t be beat – not to mention we had plenty of kabobs that we were all stuffed!
The Setting. I had fun dressing up our not so glamorous outdoor table with placemats and neutrals. I used a variety of outdoor friend pieces like the plastic salad plates and glasses from Opalhouse while bringing out some nicer Kate Spade serving dishes and fabric napkins. The neutral base let the table be the center of attention with it’s bright colors and inviting feel with the mix of patterns. Pro Tip: dress your table and prep as much food as possible before your guest arrive so you’re able to enjoy their company and a cocktail!
The Company. Although I love large parties, sometimes it’s better to keep things small – so we had my parents and B’s parents up. It was the perfect mix of company and conversation was able to be had with everyone vs. side conversations or too much noise, especially if this is your first major dinner party – keep it small and low key so the impress isn’t stressing you out.
The best thing about hosting is that you’re able to call the shots! From the menu, to the vibe you can set the tone for the evening – but it’s always important to make sure your guests are taken care of first and feel welcomed!
One of my favorite rooms to decorate during the holidays and different seasons is our dining room. We have a large custom table that is perfect for statement centerpieces and plenty of room for family and friends to gather around for a delicious meal, conversation and laughter.
I love thinking of ways to transform this space each year and building upon pieces I already have or buying new… this year I kind of went the old/new route based off the color theme of gold and green, selfishly carrying our wedding color palette into the holiday season and our home! I used some pieces from our wedding and ended up buying a new table runner and napkins to pull the look together for guests.
My goal this year was to keep the dining room intimate and cozy for a small group of six, candles mixed throughout with customized ornament place settings. I used glass ornaments, (I basically have plain glass bulbs stock-piled once the year end sales hit) and poured white paint inside of them to drizzle along the inside, so when I wrote names in gold on the outside they popped! Guests can take these home as a keepsake of the holiday memory to hang on their tree!
The greens mixed in help bring that classic Christmas feel and were conveniently trimmed off our tree. I love entertaining and having friends and family in our home, celebrating, laughing and creating memories and with the perfect setting and people it makes it easy.
Cheers to new memories!
B and I had the honor of being guests at the Cuyahoga Valley National Park’s Topography event, Saturday night.
Not knowing what to expect, I was quickly blown away by the array of food, all supplied and catered by Spice Kitchen & Bar and the interactive cocktail experience while enjoying the trail system, leading us to an open field of beautifully dressed tables set for 200. A seated dinner was served at 8:15, it started with a salad and then family style dishes for the main meal. The food and service was exceptional.
We were lucky to be accompanied by a great group of friends for this incredibly unique dining experience. After dinner we were able to sit around camp fires, sipping cocktails and enjoying the perfect summer night. A band played in the distance, while various tents were set up with bars or desserts!
The event supports and raises money for Trails Forever, with helps protect and preserve the CVNP trails. B and I will definitely be heading back to check out the park in the future to enjoy some hikes. If you have a chance, keep this event on your radar for next year, especially if you want to enjoy an unforgettable evening at a beautiful, local, national park with the best local cuisine.