Holiday Tablescape

Through out most of the year I am pretty minimalistic in my home décor. I like whites, and greys, and pretty much anything neutral just like my clothing. If you’re lucky, I may throw some gold in there, but that’s the closest to a color you’re going to get out of me. (Okay, last spring I threw in peach, call me crazy.) My sister says I’m sterile. She’s a nurse and white reminders her of a hospital, and for me, color is complete chaos. But for me, mid-September through January 1 I want the holidays to be plastered throughout my home.

Give me reds, golds, sparkles, ribbons, bows and all of the holiday goodness.

This year my sister and I are hosting our family of 45 cousins, aunts, uncles, and kiddos on Christmas Eve so I feel like I’ve been on Christmas prep since early October. While our table for 45 is going to be a little simpler than this, I set up this table for a much more intimate dinner last week.

Layers and fabrics

Different textures is the easiest way to add dimension and holiday spirit to your table. I started with a gold table cloth and layered on these placemats that have a little sparkle. I have a small addiction to napkins – Beverage napkins are my favorite but they’re more for cocktail hour. These cotton napkins from Home Goods are super cute and casual which is perfect for a small group of close friends or everyday dinner.

Add a little sparkle

The placemats already had a little sparkle but I love me some gold during the holidays. And these Nicole Miller gold bow napkin rings from Home Goods jumped out at me. (Once a cheerleader, always a cheerleader.) Also these can be used all year round for girls nights or other casual dinner parties. Change up the napkin and you have a new, cute piece to use for the rest of the year.

Bring the outdoors inside

While most of the plants are heading into hibernation here in New England, my mom’s holly bush is #goals right now. So I snuck over to her house and pulled off a few branches. While I was there I grabbed a few pine cones and added them to the table top. The easiest way to make your table feel super seasonal. In the summer, go outside, clip some flowers and stick them in a vase. Centerpiece done!

Keep it low

One thing I hate while at dinner is having to lean over to talk to the person sitting across from you. Especially in an intimate setting, keep your center piece low so all of your guests can talk across the table from each other. When you are at someone’s home, especially for a smaller, more intimate meal, the lower centerpiece the better. It encourages conversation. Wine helps also.

Gift Guide: Hostess

I have to admit, this year I am taking full advantage of barely thinking about the holidays but this year my sister and I are hosting our entire family for Christmas Eve dinner and over 40 Italians in our basement is going to be a little intense. So to not stress out about it I am going to get myself some of these little hostess gifts to make myself feel better.

My go to gift, for any party or event is always wine and this is my favorite winery in Temecula, CA. I have had my eye on these champagne flutes and are perfect for the holiday season. How festive! For your non-drinker this cute mug and cookie tray are amazing to leave out for Santa on Christmas Eve full of this William Sonoma hot cocoa. For your home decor loving hostess, these coasters from Anthropologie are too cute or a beautiful coffee table book never fails.

A party is never complete without a charcuterie board so this holiday cheese plate is perfect. My sister bought this candle from Target and I am pretty sure each and every hostess on my list will be getting one. This scent, Friendsgiving, is fitting from October through the New Year.

If you need some more holiday gift giving ideas check out my gift guides for your jet setting friends or stocking stuffers that were posted earlier this week. I am still working on next week’s gift guides for him and her. Have a great weekend! xoxo

Tips for Hosting a Weeknight Dinner Party

Sometimes getting together with friends isn’t always the easiest. Everyone has their own families, work schedules, and extracurricular activities so sometimes getting together on the weekends is a little hard. Last week a few of my girlfriends and I had just gotten home from Orlando, but I had previously arranged to have a girls’ night mid-week to get together with a few of our friends who couldn’t make the trip to Florida. Truth be told, I was exhausted.

I got home Monday morning and went to work, Tuesday night I worked late, Wednesday I was traveling for work and Thursday was a super early morning and dinner was that night. But sometimes you just have to fight through it and suck it up. Lucky for me I used a few of these tips to make sure my weeknight dinner party ran smoothly.

Prep Throughout the Week
Monday I went grocery shopping, Tuesday night after work I cleaned my entire living room, kitchen and dining room. Wednesday I made sure to have all of the food I was going to serve prepped and ready to go. I put together all of the supplies for a charcuterie board, bought stuffed breads, prepared the dining room with all of the wines I was serving and made a pumpkin pie dip dessert.

Make it a Pot Luck
The theme of the night was a wine and soup night. I asked the girls to each bring a soup. Most of them prepped a crock pot soup the morning of, since they had work too. I did the easy stuff. Wine, stuffed breads, cheese and meats. Literally I did not have to make anything. I knew with cleaning the house, decorating and getting everything together I would never have time (r patience) to cut up veggies and get a soup together. Instead I requested to have everyone bring a little bit of something.

Make it Casual
Most of my friends and I have been friends for well over 15 years. We have no one to impress. It was leggings and sweatshirts for us that night which was perfect since most of us were either rushing from work or rushing home to get to bed at a decent hour to wake up for work the next day. During the week no one has time to look good in front of each other.

 

Rose Engagement Party and Rose Jello Shots

One of the main reasons I wanted to move home from California was because I was missing a lot of life changing events in my friends lives. Way back in April, one of my oldest friends got engaged to her literal soulmate and I was lucky enough to be home to celebrate her engagement party. We had to talk the bride to be into doing a little celebration so it took a while, but back in August we finally got to get together for a quick little girls night celebrate the future Mrs. Smeraglinolo.

Because she didn’t want a big to do, a few of us got together, had our friend who owns a jewelry store in town come over and we did a little jewelry making class while drinking some rose. We each brought a bottle of rose and made an appetizer and dessert. It’s always great to get together with your close friends and that is one thing that I defiantly missed while I was in Los Angeles.

For apps we had a brie and watermelon salad, caprese bites, pineapple-meatball bites, a few dips, charcuterie board and way too much more. For dessert we ended with chocolate covered strawberries, rose dipped pretzels and rose jello shots by Tablespoon.com.

Super simple, and so amazing. We left out the Pop Rocks and amaretto and ended up serving them as a dessert in these beautiful Lenox martini glasses, but they were the perfect big kid jello shots.

Ingredients:

1 ½ cups pink lemonade
3 envelopes unflavored gelatin
1 cup pink champagne
½ cup vodka

  1. Pour pink lemonade into a medium sauce pan. Add gelatin into lemonade and let sit. Once activated, turn heat to medium and bring to simmer.
  2. Once all of the gelatin is dissolved, add champagne and vodka.
  3. Pour into small loaf pan and refredgerate for 3 hours.
  4. Once gelatin is set, scoop into martini glass for serving. Keep chilled until ready to serve.

 

Superbowl Party Prep

dsc01560
Well football season came to a screeching halt two weeks ago when the Patriots killed the Steelers in the AFL Championship for us over here. Chris’s family are huge Steelers fans, and loosing to the Pats pretty much ruined the entire season for Chris. With that being said: #letsgoFALCONS! I’ve never wanted Atlanta to win a sport so bad than I do right now.

So what do bitter sports fans do? We are throwing an anti-Patriots party on Sunday. Because work has been so crazy, and Saturday I have a bachelorette party to go to, I made sure to prep the house last night for our Superbowl Party.

Last week I grabbed a few decorations from our local party store, and prepped to decorate everything black and red for the Falcons. But besides the decorations, I made sure to pick up some easy football food to prep for Sunday.

Sunday we are going to have mini-meatballs, wings, Falcon’s themed trail mix, and my favorite: a sandwich bar. Um hello, is there anything better for a girl from Connecticut than a sandwich bar? Nope. Give me some good Boars Head and even better bread and I can be happy for a lifetime.

So besides festive decorations, good food and even better competition, all that we are waiting for are our guests. We are excited for Sunday, and defiantly check out my Instagram and Insta Stories to see how all of the food comes out.

dsc01548

dsc01564

dsc01551

dsc01563

dsc01562