party at home

When an evite just won’t do

Folks, its been a while, and for that I’m sorry. Life gets busy. It’s good to be back into blogging!

Lately all of my attention has been on the rooftop soiree we’re hosting in just a few weeks. All my fingers are crossed for a sunny, WARM day, and I’ve checked the extended forecast way too often hoping to see a trend in the right direction. With all the wind and chill we’ve had in D.C., I’m a little worried.

RSVPs are starting to trickle in, which means all the action is just beginning on my end. I’ve got some ideas on food and drink and a few little decorations, but mostly I’m just excited to hear from guests! It’s clear that I’m not the only one who loves this bride & groom, all of their friends & family are so excited to celebrate every step of the way with them.

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I really had fun designing my own invitation suite and have gotten a lot of questions on HOW I did that given that I have 1. no true design experience (unless you count endless decks at work!) to speak of and 2. no design software like InDesign or Adobe Illustrator. I’m here to answer those questions!

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How To Brunch At Home

One of my favorite ways to relax on the weekend is over brunch with good friends. I love checking out new brunch spots and going to the usual favorites too. I usually have a hard time deciding between eggy, savory dishes and sweet things that I never make at home like French toast. I never have a hard time deciding on a mimosa 😉

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In the interest of not having to make a reservation, saving a buck or two, and an excuse to use my new copper chargers from Crate and Barrel, I had two of my favorite ladies and their respective husbands/boyfriends over for brunch this weekend. It was super casual, but I did put more thought than usual into the food I chose. My favorite element of brunch is the lingering, taking our time and doing a little more talking than eating. I hadn’t seen some of these friends in a bit and I wanted us to have all the time we needed to catch up!

brunch menu

Before anyone arrived, I prepped the two plated meals — I sliced the grapefruits in half, separating the segments from outside peel and the thin membranes. I mixed the cinnamon and brown sugar. I chopped and diced the jalapenos, garlic, and onions for the shakshuka, and I hand crushed the tomatoes (apron on! I’ve learned that one the hard way 😉 )

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Pretty in pink (cookie edition)

I love activities that are hands-on. Maybe because I spend all of my work day staring at a computer making decks. There’s just something about making something with my hands that is so satisfying and relaxing! Probably explains why I started to love cooking around the same time I started my first job after college. And probably explains why I love going to those paint your own pottery places. As if I need another painted mug, right?!

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So for me, this idea by my sister was TOPS. She suggested that we bake and decorate some fun cookies for Valentine’s Day to share with our best friends…… or just eat ourselves. Two dozen heart shaped cookies (I used this sugar cookie recipe from She Makes A Home), three GIANT bowls of buttercream frosting tinted pink with Wilton’s concentrate gel dye, and about a zillion sprinkles. She came over with her roomies and we got right down to it!

Oh and we also had a killer wine selection: the Velvet Devil, Seven Deadly Zins, and a dark chocolate red wine. All delicious!


I’m already trying to find an excuse to recreate this gathering. Are Easter cookies a thing? Can we put frosting on matzah for Passover? What about Memorial Day cookies?



In the meantime, I’ll just be here licking the frosting bowl 🙂

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Gotta risk it for the brisket

One thing I like to do when planning a menu, for any kind of party, is to rely on familiar favorites. There’s no reason to experiment with something unknown and expensive under pressure – do that on your own time! I don’t mean to suggest that you should gravitate towards boring options, but I do mean pick dishes that you’ve served before, use techniques that you’re familiar with and have mastered, etc.

This just seems like common sense, and a good way to make sure you don’t make mistakes when your guests are arriving soon.

Right?

This is the story of how that principle didn’t pan out so well for me.

We had 12 friends over for dinner last Friday. Remember, I live in the D.C. area, where we were just slammed by Winter Storm (ahem, blizzard) Jonas. Everyone was planning to walk to our apartment, and the snow had been scheduled to start coming down thick around noon that day. Warm and comforting were top priorities for food.  

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Weird mix of Jewish, southern, and modern? I’m all over it.

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Blizzard chic

Just because I’m not planning to emerge from a pile of blankets this weekend, doesn’t mean I don’t want to look cute doing it:

 

  1. Blanket scarf: I have a similar, now sold out plaid scarf from Banana Republic. Mine was navy and citron, but I think this captures the same cozy & dark look. Regardless of the color, I plan to burrito myself in this scarf all the blizzard long.
  2. Slippers: These Ugg slippers come  in normal colors too, but I couldn’t resist the icy blue. Or the boot style that you can flip up over your ankles.
  3. Leggings: We all have 1000 pairs of basic black leggings. These have a thin seam up the front of each leg. It’s the little things.
  4. Knee high socks: I especially like the olive green heel and toe on these.
  5. Sweater: Love the shawl neck and cardigan style on a weekend like this, perfect for layering.
  6. Sweater again: Don’t you know it’s a REAL blizzard? This fair isle is so apres ski chic that maybe you’ll forget you have cabin fever after 3 days at home.

Stay warm!

 

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.

 

 

Cheers to new pursuits

To ringing in 2016 with dear friends. To a new year, a fresh start, and a chance to try something different. To putting my KitchenAid juicer attachment (and all of its million pieces) to good use.

To all of that, I say cheers!

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The Pamplemint Punch with a fresh sprig of mint. Giving you all that bright light vitamin C… with a splash of bourbon!

This was the first year that Steve and I didn’t host a New Year’s party in a while. We had gone all out before, including a 90-person cocktail attire bash at his old rowhouse and a mimosa and waffle bar pajama party in our first apartment together.

That was a good one — Steve had so much Irish coffee over the course of that party that he was still energized by the time everyone left, and had cleaned the ENTIRE apartment (only 520 sq ft in total, but still) by the time I woke up. Meanwhile, I had just been congratulating myself on choosing a party theme that allowed me to wear cute PJs and be ready for bed at any moment. If your hubbies or roommates are neat freaks, I highly recommend caffeinating them during a big party. The payoff is great 😉

This New Year’s, right after planning a wedding and going on a honeymoon and traveling for the holidays, we were NOT up for hosting.

Luckily, one of my besties, Vida, was up to the task. She made a craft paper photo backdrop and a delicious spread of late night snacks (including melted bacon brie cranberry sandwiches, which were incredible) and all we had to do was BYO.

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