Category Archives: Hosting

Entertaining Finds

With the holidays now behind us and calendars finally starting to slow down, it’s safe to say that I’ve taken a little break from the entertaining myself. However, that certainly does not mean that I have stopped shopping online for inspiration for upcoming Spring get-togethers this year.

Today I’m sharing some of my entertaining finds over the past week – have any favorites? Send my way!

Sometimes I find myself completely inspired by one item and create an entire party or excuse to host (and toast) – whoops!

Happy Friday and to everyone who has a long weekend – enjoy!

Champs & Cookies Decorating Party

This time of year can be very overwhelming with holiday parties, gift exchanges and events galore (not to mention you still have to find time for Christmas shopping). It can also be a little daunting when you decide to play hostess to your own friends and family. This year, instead of hosting my favorite things party or big holiday party, I decided to put together a small “Champs & Cookies” get together at my house with the help of my good friend, Brie of Monumental Sweets.

This best part about this idea is that it can be a super last minute party to plan with friends and family and requires little-to-no prep work aside from the baking (thanks Brie!).

The concept was simple  – growing up, we both went to so many “cookie decorating” parties at school, friends’ houses and family’s that we decided to take this idea and make it a little more “grown up” (aka add toasting).

Brie took care of the sugar cookie recipe because she’s a pro – but you could also do this with break and bake dough too. We baked the cookies ahead of the time and used frosting, sprinkles and other toppings for decor. We set up an assembly line of sorts with plates, decorating stations and bubbly glasses. Full disclosure: my cookies did not turn out quite as pretty as the pro’s!

The champs was poured and N’SYNC + Justin Bieber + Michael Buble and a little Mariah Carey Christmas tunes played in the background on repeat (those are completely optional music choices although I would recommend them strongly).

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Holiday Cards with Tiny Prints

If you followed along on instagram, you know that I was busy last weekend on a December rainy afternoon tying bows on fresh wreaths, decking the halls at my house and addressing holiday cards for my favorites. For those of you on my Christmas card list this year, spoiler alert below!

I was so happy to collaborate with Tiny Prints again on custom cards, address labels, thank you cards and even stamps and gift wrap. Yes, gift wrap. How adorable is it? I plan to wrap all gifts from yours truly this year in it – no tags needed.

If you haven’t ordered from Tiny Prints before, it couldn’t be easier. The hardest part is deciding which cards to customize because they’re all so darn adorable. You can do photo cards or ones without. This year, I opted for a simple “Be Merry” design with scalloped edges. I also added “xoxo BAC” to all my stamps for a more personalized touch plus polka dot envelope liners.

Haven’t ordered your snail mail cards yet?

There’s still time and a handful of promotions so don’t waste anymore time (including up to 40% OFF sitewide).

Merry Everything and Happy Always!

P.S. The sweater leggings above are also featured in my holiday PJ post picks too! 

{Special thank you again to Tiny Prints. All custom items were sponsored.}

Save the Dates with Wedding Paper Divas

Today I am happy to have my sister Megan Elizabeth (MEC) guest post about her beautiful STDs (save the dates, duh!) that arrived in my mailbox last week. If you missed her last post about a creative way to ask your bridesmaids or my how-to on her engagement basket – be sure to catch up on those too.

First of all, I love my Save the Dates that worked on with Wedding Paper Divas. They are beautiful and fit my wedding “theme” perfectly which is botanical meet Anthropologie in nature. They had so many beautiful options to choose from, so I had to narrow down my choices and I finally found the one.

Wedding Paper Divas gave me an experience of individuality and ease. I was allowed to customize my cards exactly how I wanted them- it originally had a chalkboard background which I really liked, but I wanted something a bit lighter to go with my natural wedding feel, and they accommodated me with simplicity and even gave me several color options for the color I was looking for. I was sent the proofs and the order was placed immediately after my approval.

You can customize fonts and size/color, although their suggestions are hard not to follow because they are done so tastefully. They also have an array of options as far as style goes- floral, rustic, modern, and nature, to name a few, which helps when searching for the perfect card for your wedding feel.

I was able to browse by brand too! Naturally, I went to the BHLDN (Anthropologie wedding line) section first and found one I loved that was in my top two, but this beauty by Jennifer Raichman took the cake!

You can also see the total suite of each card in case you want to use the design for all your wedding needs- invitations, thank you cards, place cards, etc.

Their prices are amazing too, with options to fit your budget! They offer different options for paper – thickness, type and cut (rounded, squared, etc.) and options for invite style- postcard, magnet, flat, and tri-fold. The envelopes are customizable as well, by style and color (kraft, white, gold, etc.).

And I couldn’t resist- we had to get some cute return address labels, and the beautiful options for these were endless as well.

Overall, this was honestly the perfect Save the Date experience and I couldn’t be happier with my product (and given the many compliments I’ve received, it seems my recipients agree)! Simple, efficient, customized and beautiful- adjectives that should go with every wedding planning experience.

Stayed tuned for more guest posts a la MEC as we have plenty of more wedding planning adventures to come until the Spring!

{Disclosure: Wedding Paper Divas sponsored these products and all opinions are our own.}

Workshop: Holiday Hostess Gift Ideas

Last weekend, I presented at DC’s Metropolitan Cooking & Entertaining Show as part of their entertaining and tasting workshops. The show is one of my favorite events and I’ve attended the past few years to see Food Network stars, sample delicious food and yes, attend workshops. It was so much fun being a part of it and such an honor to meet so many people who follow H&T.  I also enjoyed seeing Mr. Bobby Flay cook up a few dishes on Sunday afternoon too (swoon).

When they asked me to present on something holiday, I had no idea what to do. So many ideas ran through my mind and I finally decided that something we can all relate to is how busy our calendars start to get around this time of year. Think about how many parties, receptions and soirees we all attend from now until January 1st (#NovemberDecemberBender). Whether it’s a close friend, a colleague or you’re a plus one – hostess (or host) gift ideas are useful for just about everyone.

So for those of you that were not able to join in DC, I’ve put together a little recap of my workshop on holiday hostess (or host) gifts! P.S. All of these gifts can double as party favors or DIY gifts too. 

First and foremost, two of my mottos were that prevalent throughout the workshops. “Never show up empty-handed” and “Know your host”. The first is pretty obvious but the second includes thinking about your host ahead of time when deciding what to bring. For example, if you know your host doesn’t drink alcohol, don’t show up with wine. Why not bring some sparkling cider or lemonade instead? Duh.

Holiday Hostess Gifts Do’s & Don’ts

  • DON’T regift. If you don’t want it, what makes you think they do?
  • DON’T gift an ornament (unless you’re at an ornament gift exchange, of course). Chances are, the host won’t put it on their tree. Think about it – we all have our own way of decorating – and unless you know that your host’s tree is a montage of various ornaments, just skip the ornament gift idea. 
  • DON’T bring a dish or appetizer to share (unless you cleared with the host ahead of time). This also goes back to “knowing your host”. The exception to this would be that I think it’s perfectly acceptable to bring your homemade jam or holiday bread if it’s for the host to enjoy later on. Just no need to add to their menu unless they invited you to bring an appetizer or dish (i.e. Friendsgiving, potluck and the like).
  • DO keep on hand gift tags and other gift packaging. This makes it easy to add small touches to otherwise ordinary gifts. When I’m out shopping, I pick up little gifts instead of buying frivolous things I don’t need (you know that section near the register? yeah, it gets me everytime). Whether it be extra gifts tags or a small item that I know a friend will enjoy, I purchase items along the way. It’s easy to build an inventory if you think about your plans ahead of time too.
  • DO remember that “love is in the details”. You don’t have to spend a lot of money on hostess gifts – just add a personalized touch (if nothing else, bring a card)!
  • DO ask yourself if you would want this gift, if not – why are you giving it to someone else? This goes back to my regifting rule. 

 In a day where everyone is trying to perfect their latest Pinterest project, I promise these are all super easy and simple to put together. Alas, below are some of my host/hostess gift ideas, which are all certainly DO’s.

1. Cookies In a Jar – recipe & DIY here.

2. Baker’s Set –  dishtowel, utensil and oven mitt.

3. Set of champagne or wine glasses in a basket with a bottle to accompany (add a basket for a more “professional look”).

4. Marble Coasters (for the bachelors). 

5.  Rewined candles (Holiday or regular scents) 

6. Instead of just another bottle of wine – throw in festive cocktail napkins, an ornament (totally acceptbale in this case) or tag around the bottle. (This way at least the host knows who it’s from.)

All of these ideas can be used for Thanksgiving, New Year’s Parties, Birthdays and throughout the year too.

Thank you again to everyone who came out on Saturday and Sunday and to DC’s Metropolitan Cooking & Entertaining show for giving me the opportunity to host and toast in person!

P.S. Many of you asked on Instagram so…what I wore on Saturday & Sunday is below.

{Dress & Tunic Top: Devon Baer c/o (here & here) // Belt: Kate Spade //  Earrings: Kendra Scott c/o (here & here) // Bracelets: Kendra Scott c/o (here, here, here, here & here) // Ring: Kendra Scott c/o //  Blowout: Drybar Georgetown c/o // Shoes: Off Broadway c/o (booties & flats) // Pants: J.Crew // Lips: Beautycounter c/o}