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How to Design a Plate Gallery Wall

I’ve been a fan of plate walls ever since I was a kid, wandering through my  grandparents’ house admiring all the cool, colorful, artistic plates they have hung as wall decor throughout their home. Different shapes and sizes, all china blue patterns and illustrations, hung nearly from floor to ceiling on one very tall wall.

I like the chic aesthetic of plates on a wall. To me it feels like the perfect balance between old world city elegance and modern style. Or maybe that’s just my grandma talking.

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I found two fun plates a few years ago at Anthropologie and they’d hung once in my first apartment, but the two of them were a little lonely on their own. I’ve been slowly amassing plates: trying to follow my grandmother’s guiding principles of same colors, different shapes, but putting my own taste in the designs: a little more abstract and artsy, fewer people and more words.

I also found some amazing plate hangers at the Container Store. These sticky circles adhere to the back of your plate with a little  metal circle to hang,  so that you don’t have any hanging wires peeking over the edges of the plate. First you wet the adhesive circle, then after a few minutes of letting it absorb water, you press firmly on the back of the plate. The instructions suggested letting this dry overnight before hanging, so out of an abundance of caution, that is exactly what I did. It  probably would have been fine after a few hours, though. A little more work than the standard wire frames, but the finished look is much cleaner!

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A few thoughts on laying out your plate wall (and this probably goes for any gallery wall):

  1. Find a space where your plates will be easy to view and appreciate. For me, this was the blank & boring wall behind my dining table, a space where the pictures have added some much-needed height and interest.
  2. Lay out your plates carefully. I traced each plate onto paper, and labeled it with a little description of the plate. I wanted to make sure that I varied the shapes and designs, and didn’t want to do so on the fly.
  3. Use your plates to create shape or movement. My plates actually fit neatly around the lamp that’s been living in this corner, but I had designed them so that they would be visually moving up the wall. As we add more plates to our collection, that movement will help guide me with placement.

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You can find some of these plates currently in stock at Crate & Barrel and West Elm. Some of these plates are years old Anthropologie, but there are a few in stock today that I think are just darling:

Valentine’s Day dinner for two

Though I know it’s a bit of a commercial holiday, I can’t help but love Valentine’s Day.

I have celebrated a few different ways over the years – mailing out pretty or silly cards to far-flung friends, going on weekend getaways with Steve (note: Philly’s Italian BYO restaurant scene was the perfect romantic/fun date!), hosting Galentine’s Day parties. Besides all the chocolate + rosé, it’s a great time for sentimental me to get all mushy about the people I love. 

One of my favorite Valentine’s Day memories was my second Valentine’s Day with Steve. In a valiant effort to redeem our first Valentine’s Day, wherein we were long distance and he… forgot about it… Steve kicked out all of his housemates and made me a super awesome dinner at home. Seared rare tuna steaks that he marinated in fresh ginger and soy sauce, with roasted asparagus. An actual expensive bottle of wine and brie and PATE (ew, but A for effort)! I knew he was trying hard to impress, and he was uncharacteristically nervous. The whole thing was so sweet and romantic, and it helped that it was SUPER delicious as well. 

Cooking for a loved one is such a genuine way to show love. Cooking is effort, thoughtfulness, precision. So if you’re looking for a way to show someone how you feel, why not make them a special dinner for two?

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A few thoughts on what makes a good Valentine’s Day meal:

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Dinner party inspiration

We’re hosting 8 friends for dinner on Friday. Or maybe 9. Plus the two of us, that’s 11 chairs required, with only 8 on hand…oh, and four of those are actually bar stools. This is going to be a litttttle cozy.

Which is kind of perfect. This weekend’s forecast is calling for a big dump of snow and I can think of nothing better than being snowed in and watching it pile up with some of my favorite people.

Our friends like to host a rotating dinner club, where one apartment makes a feast and everyone else just shows up, sometimes with a friend or two in tow. We’ve kind of let dinner club slip by the wayside recently (#holidaze), and the new year is the perfect time to start fresh. Note to friends: who’s hosting next?

Besides the shortage of chairs, I only have one problem – I have to work Friday and won’t have a ton of time to prep before people arrive. Dinner’s got to be something that cooks slow and low, and warms everyone up. I’ve got a few ideas up my sleeve 😉

In the meantime, I’m loving the chic winter dinner party inspiration I’m finding on Pinterest! Those pomegranate Moscow Mules are calling my name — too bad we only have four copper mugs. (Are you sensing a theme?)

Follow along as I decide on a menu and style at @everyday_soiree on Instagram.

 

 

Sunday is for soup

You’ll soon find out that I eat an inordinate amount of soup in the fall and winter. My usual soup rotation consists of smoky kale and white bean soup, carrot tahini soup topped with spicy crispy chick peas, and chipotle turkey chili. And even though I usually hate leftovers, I never feel that way about those three!

For the first time in a while, I was inspired to branch out and try something new. Maybe it’s the cozy weather, maybe it was the excuse to slip in some cheese, I don’t know. But today I started thinking about broccoli cheddar soup.

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Sneak peek. Don’t mind my dirty stove.

 

It couldn’t be TYPICAL broccoli cheddar soup – the goopy creamy flavorless stuff that doesn’t taste like broccoli or cheddar. I looked at a few recipes and immediately decided, we’re doubling the broccoli and cutting the cream. We’re caramelizing the onions and, yeah, it’s weird, but we’re adding a carrot or two, and we’re roasting the broccoli first. I’m all about boosting flavor and keeping it fresh. So here’s what I got:

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Everyday winter essentials

Like clockwork every winter, my lazy, cozy, soup-guzzling couch potato mode sets in. That old familiar I-can’t-leave-the-house-my-skin-is-too-dry feeling. After a few years of walking and metroing to work in the freezing winds, and spending more than my fair share of nights avoiding happy hour plans just to cuddle up at home, I have found a few tried & true products to keep me perky during the winter months!

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