Monthly Archives: September 2014

Recap: Stock the Bar Engagement Party!

If you followed along on instagram, you might know that I was recently captured on camera hosting and toasting – literally (thanks to my friend, Dan!). Last weekend, I had the honor of being one of the hostesses for my good friend/former roomie’s engagement party. Today, I am showcasing a little recap from that party and my inspiration for it (see what I wore here).

First and foremost, guests were sent invitations via snailmail with inserts that read:

“a bottle of red or a bottle of white,

maybe tequila and salt for a margarita delight,

glasses, napkins or an ice bucket too –

Let’s stock their bar before they say “I do!”

I went with a “Stock the Bar” theme for this particular engagement (no pun intended). For those of you not familiar with this type of party or shower – guests are encouraged to “stock the bar” for the couple. To some that meant gifting items on the couple’s registry (wine glasses, cocktail glasses, wine openers, ice buckets etc) and to others, that meant giving bottles of nice wine, bourbon, Veuve and the like. The invite inserts made sure that no one had any questions about what to bring or buy for the happy couple.

This party theme also works for “couple showers” since it’s female AND male friendly (what guy doesn’t want his bar stocked?), compared to other showers that sometimes only keep the bride in mind.

I teamed up once again with Nico and Lala for everything from the invites to the details and the perfect favor for an affair of this sort – a custom koozie, of course.

We kept everything simple, somewhat gender neutral and casual as well. Urbanstems provided gorgeous orange roses and I picked up some white spider mums (my new favorite bloom) to arrange in vases around the house.

We kept the menu hearty (because there was lots of toasting, of course, not to mention, lots of men in attendance) with some of the bride and groom’s favorites. Mini grilled cheeses and tomato soup, mini sliders, crabcakes, bruschetta and cookie sandwiches – all of which were gone in a minute (or two!).

For catering and bartending, I worked with DC Taste. They are absolutely amazing and if you live in the DC area, they come highly recommended by H&T. Their staff is delightful to work with and their food is delicious. (I am also pretty sure they thought I was a little crazy because I insisted on helping set up.) For drinks, we did the bride and groom’s beer and wine picks passed plus a bubbly toast that included an impromptu speech by yours truly (cheers!).

It was so much fun having everyone all together under one roof in Sarah’s former stomping grounds (our house), before their big day next year. Also, it is such a small world because two guests just happened to also be H&T readers and had no idea they were coming over to celebrate at my house!

Congratulations again to the newly engaged couple and special thank you to all my fellow hostesses!

OOTD: Fall Transition Dress

So I cannot tell you how much I adore this new dress of mine. I saw it online under new arrivals and rushed to the store to buy it ASAP!

If you follow on insta, you probably know I’ve worn it about 2 million times since it was purchased. I wore it wine tasting for a bachelorette weekend with sandals and at an engagement party I hosted this past weekend (more on the party later this week!). I also have worn it to the office and out and about. For today’s post, I paired it with booties and added a puffer vest as we transition into fall weather. I would also add tights as it gets closer to winter. I love that it’s so versatile.  Best dress ever.

I also was so excited when my new Dagne Dover mini tote arrived last week! I have two large ones and I am in love. It helps keep everything organized and the new designs are better than ever (check out the inside details here remember the DC event I hosted for them?).

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Dress: Zara // Vest: J.Crew // Boots: C. Wonder (similar here) // Tote: Dagne Dover c/o // Sunnies: Karen Walker // Earrings: Kendra Scott c/o // Necklace: Kendra Scott c/o // Rings: Kendra Scott // Bracelets: H&M, Hermes & T.Audrey c/o (with my aunt and uncle’s initials) // Lips: All Fired Up by MAC

Stay tuned this week for most details on the stock the bar engagement party I hosted Saturday!

Happiest 1st Birthday!

365 days ago…I took the plunge and started what is now a huge part of my life – this little blog I call Hosting & Toasting. It seems just like yesterday I was sitting at Dough in Tampa over nutella lattes with my friend, Carly (College Prepster to most of you), about my blog “idea” – I’ll never forget how supportive she has been along the way! I can’t believe it’s been a year – an amazing year!

To celebrate H&T’s first birthday, my good friend and fellow Floridian, Christine of Politics to Pastries, baked me an adorable rainbow sprinkles pink cake (if you don’t follow her, you should start – she is an amazing little baker, politico and friend). And while I wish I could just pop bubbly and eat cake on a day like today, I wanted to also take today’s post to say thank you and share with you more about how this blog came to be.

I have often written from time to time about my aunt to whom H&T is dedicated to and while I rarely use H&T to talk about personal affairs, after a year of blogging, I wanted to finally explain more.  I wanted to write a few words about someone whom I am forever thankful for – and the reason why I started to blog in the first place. I have always been hesitant to share this here but here it goes.

In 2012, I lost two of the closest people in the world to me, my aunt and uncle, who were also my Godparents, role models, doctor, friends and unlike any two individuals I have ever known. They were murdered and taken in the most tragic of ways. I can still remember that day like it was yesterday with my sister calling me as I was watching The Bachelor after a Junior League meeting, on what I thought would be a typical Monday evening. I can remember turning on the Today Show the next day and many others – listening to them talk about my family, my loved ones, my aunt who I had just talked to hours before. The entire situation is still surreal to me.

It has forever changed my life and the person I am and strive to be. While I don’t want to comment on much of this still for obvious reasons, I pray each day that justice is finally served. I also know that they would not want me to think about the way they were taken but instead about the way they lived.

 Before this, I had been to one funeral in my entire life and then after this, I found myself standing in front of hundreds of people at church giving a eulogy with my sister trying to paint the type of lives they led – ones rooted in family, friendship, faith and philanthropy. Ones that continue to inspire me each and every day and ones that inspired me to finally start H&T a year ago today.

 In the weeks before she died, we were on a trip in Palm Beach and she was constantly bothering me to send her the photos from my last Christmas party in DC. She loved to see pictures from all the parties, meet me in New York for weekend trips and was always there to give advice at any hour of the night. Growing up I would make fun of her for always being so “over the top” in all that she did from hosting to fashion trends. It’s funny because ironically, my love for entertaining, traveling, fashion and just about everything in between was no doubt influenced by my aunt and all her fabulous soirees. She was like a mother to me, helped raise me and I owe so much of who I am today to her. She was also a female entrepreneur with her own fashion business which inspires me as well. So I think it’s appropriate that I first thank her and my uncle. It is my hope that I will live a life half as wonderful as they did and I hope she is somehow following along on this journey here on H&T too.

Thank you also to my friends and family for all your support and encouragement since before day one especially my cousin and his wife, my sister and my dad. An extra thank you to my close friends and roomies for putting up with all my instagrams, photo shoots, hosting activities and never-ending #hashtags on a daily basis.

Thank you to my fellow bloggers, some of whom I have been lucky enough to meet, for all your support, sweet comments and love! Special thank you to Blair who designed H&T as well!

And last but certainly not least, thank you to all my readers, near and far, for following along. I have been blown away by the loyal following this past year and love reading your emails, tweets and comments. Without y’all, documenting all my hosting and toasting wouldn’t be nearly as fun. I hope I have in some way inspired you too!

What’s next for H&T? More hosting, toasting, outfit posts, giveaways and trips are coming your way. I’m also excited to announce that I will be a presenter at the DC’s Metropolitan Cooking & Entertaining Show in November. If you’re in the area, I hope you’ll come see my Holiday H&T Tips and Tricks workshops over that weekend (oh yes and check out Bobby Flay too).

Now, to take a walk down memory lane – here’s a look at H&T’s inaugural post.

Thank you for reading and letting me share all the things I love. Here’s to many more blog birthdays!

Giveaway: Beautycounter!


Today’s post will be quick and to the point – a few weeks ago I posted about my new skincare routine with Beautycounter (if you missed it – check out my post and story behind the brand here).

Well, I am excited to announce that H&T is hosting a GIVEAWAY with the lovely Reagan and Beautycounter over the next week.

Someone will win a travel sized lustro face oil #2, this adorable “wouldn’t you like to know” beauty pouch and a free skincare consultation with Reagan!

Enter below and good luck!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Be sure to check out all my favorites too – click on the Hosting & Toasting Social to see more! I’ve gotten friends hooked on this line and I hope you will try it too!

never forget 9.11.01

Today I am taking a break from regular blogging to remember all those that were lost 13 years ago today.

My 14 year old brother called me this week to ask me to help him with his homework. I had no idea what he was talking about (I assured him he was better at math than me by this point). He then asked me where I was on September 11th, 2001 and to tell him everything I remembered.

It hit me that he was barley 1 year old that day and now starting high school just like I was on that day 13 years ago in history class. I told him everything about that day, exactly where I was and how scared I was go to NYC again. My aunt (the same one who this blog is dedicated to) owned a fashion accessory company and I grew up traveling to NYC with her every few months for shopping trips, shows, amazing dinners and New York Palace stays long before Blair Waldorf called it home. There was no city I loved more.

Today I am remembering and honoring all those that were lost that day in NYC, at the Pentagon down the road and in PA and all those lives that were lost since then fighting for our freedom.

I am thinking of all my friends up in NY and here in DC and am so proud to call our great nation’s capital home.

May we never forget and keep all our loved ones close today.

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