A Floral-Trimmed Christmas Tree

On today’s “episode” of tacky or tasteful. I’ve trimmed my Christmas tree with silk flowers.

Christmas Tree

Not a fan?

That’s okay…it had to grow on me too.

In years past, I donned a more traditional tree – the classic red with mercury glass ornaments were my go-to. This year, I felt like that look didn’t quite fit my current space. After perusing around the internet seeking inspiration, I came across this post by DesignLoveFest and my interest was piqued.

Christmas Tree

| tree & tree “skirt” | 

While this look is definitely unconventional, it’s fun, whimsical and temporary; so, don’t be intimidated! Not to mention, you won’t have to deal with broken ornaments or those pesky hooks and your silk stems can be repurposed throughout the year.

Christmas Tree

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It took a few rearrangements, multiple Facetimes with friends and two trips to Michael’s before I was happy with the result. But after a few days of letting it grow on me, I was in love with the installation. Whether you’re decorating your tree with faux flowers or a variety of ornaments, here are best tips for trimming your tree…

  • Coordinate the color scheme with the rest of your home so the tree feels like a natural extension to your aesthetic.
  • Always buy one more strand of lights than you think you will need.
  • Place large ornaments first, then fill in spots with smaller ones.
  • Weave lights up and down the side of each branch, as opposed to just stringing them around the outer branches. This makes the tree really glow.
  • Nestle some ornaments closer to the tree’s center “trunk” instead of just on the end of each branch. This will make your tree look fuller and give it depth.

Christmas Tree

Christmas Tree

If you’re inspired to create your own floral-trimmed tree…

  • Choose flowers based on size and colors and don’t worry about the type. ie: No one will care that you have summer poppies on your tree in December. They’re red, festive and fit perfectly.
  • Arrange the flowers in their spots and leave for a day or so before you cut off any tags or shorten the stems. That way you can change your mind and rearrange or return stems for other better fitting options.
  • In fact, if you don’t want to cut the stems (in case you want to repurpose later), simply bend them in a spiral or wrap them around the branches.
  • Find silk flowers on sale (I purchased mine at Michael’s when they had all of their silk stems 60% off!) Ikea has affordable options too.
  • Save your prettiest, biggest flower for the topper.

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Christmas Tree

Note: My tree is 6 ½ feet tall and I used 31 stems. I separated some stems that had multiple flowers and used them to fill in gaps. To be more cost effective, I did not fully wrap the flowers around the whole tree and instead just kept the arrangement to one side as the other side wasn’t very visible.

Christmas Tree

Dorm Decor

Whether you’re 18 or 28 – everyone can always use a lacquer tray or a storage ottoman, amiright? 

My oldest niece is starting college on Monday and while visiting her dorm this week, I became surprisingly nostalgic about my collegiate days. It also got me thinking about how my home décor style has evolved over the past 10 years (thank God it did). Though I’ve toned down the DIY accents and completely ditched all of the sorority memorabilia, I do think there are a few accessories that can be carried over from college to post-grad living.

Dorm Decor

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I wouldn’t necessarily call these items timeless, but more so transferable. They function in a cramped dorm room but could also follow you to your first post-grad bachelorette pad – if you can keep up with them, that is. 😉

 

Bar Cart Basics

Today, we’re talking about one of my favorite pieces of furniture – ever.

[Hint: it rhymes with car fart.] 😉

Is a bar cart a necessity? Nope Depends on who you ask. Does it have potential to be the most stylish piece in your home that also serves the very important purpose of holding your most cherished libations? Absolutely.

When it comes to interior decorating, time and patience is a virtue. Some pieces you seek out and know exactly what you want, while others are just ideas waiting to be found and executed. Same goes with styling your bar cart. My best advice is to stock up on the essentials (quick buys) and the other knick knacks will come together over time. So, in hopes of inspiring you to add a new piece of functional furniture to your space or rearrange your current situation – I’m sharing my bar cart essentials.  

THE CART | Bar carts can follow under a wide price range but I’ve linked some more affordable options below. Choose a design that suits your personality but that will also be aesthetically pleasing and fit your space. Personally, I prefer a thinner design with not a lot of bulk. After all, I’m going to load it down with lots of stuff so the simpler the better.  

TOOLS | A shaker, bottle opener, and jigger are must-haves. Other tools like a strainer, muddler, bar spoon, and lemon peeler/zester are good additions if you’re wanting to whip up some slightly advanced craft-like cocktails.

LIBATIONS | Stocking up on booze is the fun part. While I’m always tempted to judge alcohol based on how pretty their bottles are (silly, I know), it’s best to go with what you know you like. If you like Burnett’s because it reminds you of college, then live your life and add that thing to your cart. (But really try Ketel One – it’s great). Keep a variety of liquors on hand, so that way your company has a small menu of options to choose from. (I’m not a huge fan of darker liquors but keep a stash for guests.) Vodka/gin (do both!), tequila and whiskey is a good place to start.

For mixers – I recommend on keeping ginger beer, flavored sparkling soda, juice, tonic and/or soda water on hand at all times. You never know when a long day might call for more than a glass of wine. 😉 I keep my mixers chilled in the fridge – must leave room for a few decorative pieces.

ADDITIONS | Bitters, a bowl of citrus, books, and fresh florals are not must-haves but really complete the look. Bitters (highly concentrated flavored alcohol) are kind of like spices for your cocktail. My favorite brands include 18·21 Bitters, Scrappys and Fee Brothers. I like to keep a couple fresh lemons and limes on hand at all times so even if I’m just making a gin & tonic, I can add fresh lemon wedge. A small, dainty bowl is the perfect home for citrus. I also love stacking small books to add height and serve as inspiration for recipes. Fresh florals don’t serve a real purpose besides just looking pretty – making your bar cart less about being an open shelf and more about being a styled design element in your living room.

Happy decorating (& drinking)!

Wall Decor Wishlist

I’ve been in my new apartment for just over a month and now that everything is in its place (but is it ever really?), I’m focusing my attention on wall decor.

| wall art dream board featuring Slim Aarons & Gray Malin

I have a bare spot in my bedroom that needs some love. With my room being very neutral – lots of whites and greys – I’m envisioning the wall décor to add a pop of color. I’m still deciding between a small, curated gallery wall or just a simple, framed piece of artwork but leaning towards the latter. While I would love nothing more than to splurge on a Slim Aaron or Gray Malin (examples featured above), I’m opting for a more cost-friendly option. In my search for the perfect piece, I rounded up 5 of my favorites that are all under $100…

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Fellowship & Friendsgiving

I’m in a food coma and I’m not sure if I will ever recover. HALP. 

 

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Happy Monday, you guys. Like many of you, we spent the weekend before Thanksgiving preparing our stomachs for all of the turkey and fixings – read: Friendsgiving. Last year, Stacey, Anna and I hosted at our townhome and took it upon ourselves to nominate Chaz and Caroline to host in 2016.  They would be in their new house and married by then – we couldn’t wait. Well, the past year has flown by and last night we ventured over to Woodstock for Friendsgiving at the Bagwell’s!

We had quite the spread – our mama’s would be proud.  And even though we let our age show by passing Tums around the table after dinner (before dessert), we powered through and were determined to not let any food go to waste. Our wonderful hosts even had to-go boxes ready for us when it was time to leave.

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Caroline and Chaz had their house decked  for fall – from the fire to the place settings – every detail was pure perfection. Here are a few photos from our feast…

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I’m the type that reflects on our friendships pretty regularly. Whether it’s a Monday night watching the Bachelor or a weekend road trip, my heart is always full when I’m with my besties. I tend to get pretty sentimental and can probably tear up on command if I let myself. Even so, Friendsgiving felt extra special this year – it was so sweet get to celebrate in Chaz and Caroline’s first home! I’m entering the week feeling especially grateful for all the wonderful people in my life, friendships that have lasted well past college, and moscow mules (love you, Tito’s). 😉

Happy Thanksgiving week, friends! 

xo Bree

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Wouldn’t be a gathering without a grainy self-timer couch photo!

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Candlefish

If I could be a store, I would be Candlefish

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And if I could be a city, I would be Charleston. 

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A few weeks ago, Stacey, Abbye and I enjoyed a little weekend getaway to Charleston. It started out as an excuse to go see The Lumineers live (even though they were scheduled to be in Atlanta that same weekend) but we quickly filled our itinerary with dinner reservations, sight seeing and a candle making class.

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With plans to attend the 10am Saturday class, we decided to start off our morning with a nice walk to the studio. To set the scene –  Saturday is my favorite day, I was with two of my best friends, and candles are probably in the top 5 of my favorite things (coming in right between dogs and bar carts). Needless to say, I was super pepped to start my day. The universe had other plans. My shoe broke 5 minutes into the 20 minute walk, it was more humid than I planned for and Starbucks made us late. So by the time we got to Wentworth and King, I was flustered and slightly irritated with my disheveled appearance. But as soon as I walked in Candlefish I became zen AF. 

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For the next 2 hours, we sniffed, poured, and shopped to our hearts content. The class was educational (I learned you’re suppose to smell your inner elbow to cleanse the palette between smelling scents) and the staff was so warm and welcoming. At risk of sounding like an old lady, I had an absolute blast pouring wax and watching candles cure. Seriously, I kept looking at Stacey and Abbye saying, “this is the best. day. ever.”

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| bloggers gotta blog

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If you’re headed to Charleston* soon, I highly recommend visiting the beautiful people at Candlefish. Even if not for a class but just to browse. Their store is stunning – housing a library of 100 scents and filled with all of my favorite things.

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Special shout out to Gabriel who introduced every scent by giving a them a guy’s personality. i.e.: This candle smells like a guy who slept over but never texted you back. OR This one smells like a guy who still lives with his mother. OR my personal fave – This candle smells like a guy who is attractive and established. Looking to buy a home in the ‘burbs. Has a dog , but like a clean dog that you won’t mind letting sit in your lap. (I want that guy …er…I mean candle.)

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For more details on Candlefish classes, check out their schedule

*Currently, Charleston is their only location. However, they hinted that they are expanding and let’s just say, I’m keeping all my fingers crossed in hopes they come to Atlanta. 

xo Bree

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See more of my Charleston adventures here and here

Book Stacks

I’ve been known to judge a book by its cover.  But when it’s a coffee table book, I don’t feel as bad.

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From colorful bindings and bold photography to catchy titles and interesting font choices – I choose books to display based on many things. Almost always though they feature a topic that I’m passionate about – so dogs, décor, and drinks. 😉 Here are a few that are currently on my wish list…

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1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5

Find more of my 5-pick round ups here: Lipstick // Nail Polish // Candles // Pillows 

xo Bree

Home Improvements

Sometimes I get a wild hair and want to rearrange, paint an entire room and go furniture shopping.  Then I check my bank account, which usually nips that wild hair in the bud.

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So in the meantime I settle for small updates here and there that add to the space but don’t take too much away from my wallet. Being that I still rent I have to keep my Fixer Upper dreams in check. I recently made a few small changes around my bedroom that made more of an impact than I initially thought.  The best part? All of these “improvements” are under $10.

Lighting | Swapping out my current trio of bulbs in my bathroom for a clean brighter white has made a massive difference. I actually want to put on my make up in the mornings as opposed to my usual on my way to work routine. The clear, bright light opens up the entire bathroom and is so much better than the previous yellowy glow. You can really tell a difference in the pictures below – before (left) / after (right).

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Hardware | I purchased this semi-boring nightstand from Target for under $80. It’s nothing to write home about but it’s cute enough and fits well next to my bed. Upgrading the hardware took all of 2 minutes and makes the piece look less generic. Anthropologie has a ton of unique options that can elevate an otherwise blah piece of furniture to something a little more special.

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Art | Whether you’re saving up for that tropical Gray Malin print or are too indecisive to figure out what to frame – scrapbook paper can be a temporary (or not so temporary) fix. We had two frames on our wall for months: one holding an upside down invite from a baby shower and the other holding a collage of photos from college.  We hung the frames with every intention of ordering two cute square prints from Etsy and then quickly forgot about them.  When we hosted Caroline’s shower in May, we needed to update them a.s.a.p. I picked up two sheets of scrapbook paper from Michaels for all of $0.50. They’re the perfect placeholder until we can decide on something else.

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Happy decorating!

xo Bree

Deck Decor

Patio season has arrived!

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I’ve posted about Stacey’s impressive floral skills before, but haveI mention she has a green thumb too? And a knack for decorating a small patio 😉

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Sprucing up our little deck has been on our to-tackle list for a while and we finally got around to it – just in time for summer.

Before our revamp, we used our patio to eat the occasional meal or if we got a wild hair and attempted to grill. I would use it to shoot posts because the lighting is great, but for the most part we never truly enjoyed it.

1. It was a catch all for pollen and unused flower pots

2. The furniture was too bulky and not practical for the space.

Remember my table from my first Atlanta apartment (seen here)? It was adopted as patio table when we moved to our townhome and took up way too much real estate. So after over a year of avoiding our deck, I’m happy to report that the pollen has been swept and the furniture replaced!

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When redecorating any space, I always keep a few things in mind..

Q. What can I reuse? // A. Pots, plant stand, grill

Q. What is the main purpose of this room? // A. Eat, drink, entertain, relax

Q. What is my budget? // A. Not a lot 😉

Once you have these specifics locked down, the rest will come together.

For our deck space, we envisioned more seating with furniture that is easy to maintain and clean. We wanted our beautiful herbs (gifted to us from Stacey’s sweet mom!) to be able to flourish. And lastly (for when we finally decide to try grilling again) we wanted the tools to be tidy and easy accessible.

The addition of poufs and a garden stool serve as extra seating when needed (& foot props). Our herbs are out of the way but in the sun, perfectly stored on our planter stand. The galvanized tray table can be moved closer to the grill to hold tongs and plates of burnt charred meat when needed. One Sunday afternoon later, our small patio is now full functioning and a welcome reprieve after a long day at the office.

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| Chairs (similar) // Pillow // Pouf // Garden Stool (similar) |

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| Tray Table |

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| Grill // Galvanized Tub |

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| Planter Stand // Watering Can |

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xo Bree

Marble & Gold

My general rule of thumb when it comes to a DIY is: spray paint gold, let dry, enjoy.

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But for our most recent project, we decided to go the extra mile by adding a marble finish.

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We’ve been on the hunt for the perfect shelving unit to house our dishes and linens since February. The piece we had previously went back home with Anna when she moved out – miss you, Anna! Our biggest challenge was finding something that wasn’t too large for the space (our farmhouse table takes up a lot of real estate) but large enough for all of our stuff.  Ikea’s VITTSJÖ unit fit the bill!

Though I sometimes think Ikea is a synonym for pain in the ass, if you have the patience to put the furniture together you really can’t beat the affordable price. After purchasing two shelving units, we assembled first and spray painted second. I added on the sheets of marble contact paper to the top and bottom shelves, leaving the glass shelves as is. Truthfully, it wasn’t bad as I anticipated. It took about 5 episodes of Girls and only half a bottle of Pinot. #winning

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All in all the total hack came in under $150 and was totally worth the extra do-it-yourself effort. With most buffets and sideboards starting in the $400 range, we were quite pleased with ourselves! 😉

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Ikea Shelf | Marble Contact Paper* | Lamps | Mirror

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We are officially dinner party ready (& happy to have our dining room table back)! Have you tried an Ikea hack recently?

xo Bree

*We used 2 rolls of marble contact paper and had a little left over.

Pillow Talk

Anyone else like to karate chop pillows as much as I do?

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As you can tell from my home decor posts – I have a slight affinity for pillows. They are such an easy way to spruce up your space while still serving a purpose (i.e.: a place to rest by head during a Bravo binge). At lots of different price points you can always find one to fit your fancy, whether you’re in the mood to splurge or save. Here are a few of my current favorites…

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1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5

** #2 is currently on sale too!

Find more of my picks here: Lipstick // Nail Polish // Candles

xo Bree

Home Tour

Home is where your heart barcart is. 😉

 

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We are coming up on the one year anniversary of living in our townhouse and I thought it would be the perfect time for a little home tour. Over the past 12 months, my roomies and I have spent, splurge, repurposed and rearranged to our hearts content.  Thanks to Stacey’s time working in the interior design industry and my inability to say “no, I shouldn’t buy that pillow,” we have developed quite the obsession, albeit unhealthy, with home décor.

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Our style is slightly eclectic with poppy colors, a bit southern with blue and white accents, and all comfortable with cushy furniture and lots of pillows.

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| tray: Target |

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| xo pillow: Target |

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| rabbits: Goodwill + box: Home Goods |

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As much as I would like to furnish our townhome via Restoration Hardware, it’s absolutely not practical and so not affordable. So in hopes of inspiring you to tackle your next deco renovation, I’m sharing my two cents on where to splurge, where to save and when to repurpose.

Splurge on the pieces that you will get the most use out of. We spend a lot of time in our living room and love entertaining, so we knew those spaces would include our biggest spends. Stacey found her farmhouse table at Scott’s a few years back and even though at the time it was a pretty substantial purchase for a 23 year old, she hasn’t ever regretted it. It’s sturdy, fits 8 (sometimes 10!) and will probably follow her to first home when she’s married.

Our coffee table/ottoman was a great Overstock find and ended up being a “smaller” splurge thanks to a surprise sale. It serves as a comfy foot rest, a catch all for blankets and mags and with an added tray, a safe spot for drinks.

Rugs are like tires for your car. They’re expensive, you don’t really want to spend your paycheck on them but they are totally necessary. A large rug can change the entire mood of a room. It may not be at the top of your list, but it’s one of those things that people notice (without actually noticing). You know when you walk into a room and feel right at home but you can’t quite pin point what it is that you love? Look down, you’re probably standing on a fabulous rug.

Save on pillows, knick knacks, and coffee table books.  Hit up Good Will (their book section is surprisingly great!), Home Goods, and the sale section at Anthro for those bookshelf fillers and ornamental pieces.  Accessorizing is a process you can’t rush. Sometimes I’ll walk in Home Goods and not buy a thing, other times I walk in, fall in love with a lion with a gold crown and twenty other trinkets. Make small purchases over time and before you know it your home is stocked with unnecessary eclectic pieces that add character.

Throw pillows can be outrageously expensive or very affordable. Stay on the affordable side for this one, because they’re also the first piece to switch out when you want to refresh a space. Target is my jam when it comes to pillows. They are almost always under $25 and I never fill guilty about replacing them when the seasons change.

Repurpose hand-me-down furniture with some new upholstery or reuse old plates for wall décor. Take stock of what you have (and what your family has) and see where you can fit those items into your current space.

Ikea hacks are a twenty-something’s best friend. Their pieces are modern but comfortable, affordable but sleek and most of all plain enough for you to add a special touch.

Happy fluffing!

xo Bree

Though our current place is a total upgrade from my previous one-bedroom Buckhead apartment, I still like to look back at my first Atlanta home every now and then.

Deck the Halls

There is just something magical about a 6 foot tree trimmed in warm white lights.

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Even when that tree is artificial and looks as if it’s been dieting. Still magical.

We’ve had our tree and Christmas décor up since November 15th and I don’t think I will ever get tired of it.  Since all of us stay busy and live on a budget, we went for a minimal yet festive theme with pops of red and some cheeky accents. Swapping out pillows and replacing fall scents with pine and champagne candles is cost friendly and super easy for a busy bachelorette. 😉

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| Stag Pillow |

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| Coffee Table Books // Candle |

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| Moscow Mule Mugs |

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| Claus Salt + Pepper Shakers |

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| Hand Towel |

Ornaments

| Squirrel Ornament // Merry & Bright Ornament |

 

xo Bree

A Friendsgiving Feast

Cocktails, check. Turkey, check. All of my favorite friends, check check.

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You know those annoying people who just love the fall, the holidays, that chilly November weather, and all of the festive food and décor? I’m one of those people.

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 | Remember those DIY Wishbone ornaments? |

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Thank goodness my roommates are those people too. We were so pumped to host some of our closest friends this past Sunday for Friendsgiving. Us girls gabbed over Cranberry ‘Mules, while the boys compared fantasy football teams and as Ally said Grace right before dinner, I couldn’t help but think how truly fortunate we all are for having each other.

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I’m excited to share these shots from the party – I hope they bring you a little inspiration for your upcoming holiday gatherings and get you one step closer to becoming more like Martha.

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9 Things

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1. Delegate because it’s absolutely okay to split up the work – Stacey handled the meats and desserts, Anna crafted us a beautifully hand-calligraphed table runner and I oversaw the cocktails (naturally). Each of our guests brought a side dish and the boys even loaded the dishwasher! You know what they say, when there’s team work, it’s like no work. (no one says this.)

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2. Prep work is crucial. Do as much as you can in the weeks leading up to your dinner – decorate, grocery shop, even preparing dishes beforehand. Every little bit helps.

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3. Ambiance matters. Light some candles, switch on lamps, plug in the tree and turn on your favorite holiday Pandora station (even if it eventually gets changed to football).

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 | Implemented the “tape trick” when mastering the perfect flower arrangement |

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4. Break out the cloth napkins and glass drinkware. It’s totally fine to eat on paper plates and sip sweet tea from solo cups, but y’all I swear the food tastes better when you eat off of breakables. These budget-friendly stemless wine glasses are perfect for wine, water, and even cocktails and are great when hosting a crowd.

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5. Personal touches go a long away. Whether it’s place cards or personalized party favors, adding those tiny details make your guests feel welcome and wanted. We chose a butcher paper table runner detailed with everyone’s names as their place card and for the dinner menu, we paid homage to the our loved ones who fed us first.

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 | Loved these free templates from Jenn Gietzen |

6. Prepare a toast (or read one from a book). With everyone gathered around the table, there is no better time for a heartfelt (semi-tipsy) speech. Clink, clink!

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7. Take lots of pictures. The older we get, the harder it is for us all to be in one place. So anytime we are all together, we plop on the couch for a group picture – seen hereherehere and here. 😉

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8. You can scrape away the burnt part and all will be well. AKA don’t stress the small (black & charred) stuff. It’s those oh-shit moments that make for the best memories, so make sure you are enjoying yourself even when things don’t go exactly as you planned.

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9. Try your best at a made-from-scratch recipe. Listen, I’m all for short cuts but I think you should break out that church cookbook from 1992 when it comes to Thanksgiving. From Allison’s green bean casserole and Ally’s cream corn to Abbye’s perfectly whipped potatoes and Caroline’s cheesy mac, every single dish was completely homemade. I know one day we’re all going to have kids, mortgages and a lot less time and we’ll look back and laugh at how perfect we thought we were cooking from scratch… as we crack open a can of cream of mushroom and canned green beans without a second thought.

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Hope you and yours have a bountiful Thanksgiving!

xo Bree

 

Dinner Party DIY

‘Tis the season for entertaining!

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My roomies and I are hosting Friendsgiving at our townhouse this year and we are so excited to gather some of our closest friends at our dinner table. No holiday dinner party is complete without a festive little takeaway and I wanted to gift something special but useful. A dainty Christmas tree ornament fit the bill. This simple “Gold Wishbone” DIY fit the bill, coming in under $10 and only taking about an hour to complete.

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What You Need:

  • 2 blocks of white oven bake clay* (I use Sculpy)
  • 1 can of gold spray paint
  • Twine or string

 

How to:

  • Break off 1/4 of the block of clay.
  • Divide the chunk in half and roll each piece into a ball.
  • Roll the ball into a “snake,” about 8 inches long and an 1/8th of an inch thick.
  • Make a U-shape with your “snake” and pinch each end with your finger.
  • Pinch the connected in together to make the “handle” of the wish bone.
  • Using a toothpick or skewer, poke a hole in the “handle” for you to thread the string.
  • Follow the baking instructions on clay packaging. (usually bake at 275 degrees for 12-15 minutes.)
  • After the wishbones have cooled completely, line a baking sheet with old newspapers and spray paint one side.
  • Let the paint dry completely before flipping each wishbone over to spray paint the side.
  • Use any string of your choice and tie securely.

*14-18 wishbones, depending on size

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xo Bree