Category

Parties

homemade happy hour.

There are few things I enjoy more than hosting happy hour at my house. Whether it’s just for Joe and me, or a few girlfriends, or (in the case of last weekend) my sweet mama, I love making a few appetizers, setting out some cheese and pouring a glass of wine.

Homemade Happy Hour
heaven on a cutting board.

Today I’m sharing two of my favorite springtime appetizer recipes. Both are simple, seasonal and delish. {{If you’re not into cooking, scroll down to the bottom of this post to shop my cocktail hour essentials!}}

Asparagus with Curry Mayo
asparagus with curry mayo.

Asparagus with Curry Mayo

You’ll need:

  • 1 bunch asparagus
  • 1 cup light mayo
  • Yellow curry powder

Steam asparagus until al dente, three to four minutes). If you don’t have a steamer basket (I’ve misplaced mine, grrr), you can bring a shallow pan of water to a simmer, dump your asparagus in, and blanche for a few minutes. Don’t overdo it! When the asparagus turns bright green, use tongs to remove to a bowl filled with ice water. Chill.

Mix mayo with curry powder to taste. I typically use a full tablespoon, but you can add a little at a time until you achieve the desired taste. Once get you it right, sprinkle a little more over the top for color. Cover and chill for a few minutes. Serve with cooled asparagus.

Stuffed Cherry Tomatoes
stuffed cherry tomatoes.

Stuffed Cherry Tomatoes

You’ll need:

  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes
  • 4 oz bleu cheese
  • 4 oz cream cheese (reduced fat is fine, if you prefer that)
  • Fresh parlsey

Split cherry tomatoes in half and scoop out pulp. Turn over on a paper towel to drain. Mix bleu cheese with just enough cream cheese to bind. Spread cheese mixture inside tomato halves, mounding up on the top. Chop parsley with kitchen shears and sprinkle over the top.

Homemade Happy Hour
the happiest of hours.

Add at least one or two hunks of cheese (I love Manchengo), crisp veggie crudites, crackers and – of course – your favorite wine. Bonus points for pretty linen napkins, wine glasses and serving pieces. Shop all of my favorite happy hour essentials here. Cheers!

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our pick: valentine’s cocktail.

Tomorrow’s the day! Whether you’re planning a romantic dinner for two at home, or inviting the girls over for Galentine’s cocktails, you should shelve your usual bottle of wine cocktail in favor of something special, like this Raspberry Rose by Kristin Alexander via Camille Styles.

Raspberry Rose
feeling frisky yet?

Raspberry Rose
all images courtesy Camille Styles

KRISTIN’S RASPBERRY ROSE

(serves 1)

WHAT YOU NEED

  • 1 oz. gin
  • 1/2 c. fresh raspberries
  • 1/2 c. pesticide free rose petals (dried or fresh)
  • 1/2 c. sugar
  • 1/2 c. water
  • 1 egg white

WHAT YOU DO

For the Raspberry Rose Syrup:

  1. Combine water and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat until sugar is completely dissolved.
  2. Add raspberries and rose petals and bring to a slow boil.
  3. Remove from heat and allow contents to cool.
  4. Strain liquid and discard any remaining pieces.

For the Cocktail:

  1. Pour Raspberry Rose Syrup and gin into a cocktail shaker and shake.
  2. Add egg white to shake and shake for an additional 10-15 seconds until foamy.
  3. Pour into champagne glass and garnish with a rose peel or raspberry.

Enjoy!

 

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valentine’s day essentials.

Okay, okay, we know Valentine’s Day gets a bad rap these days (fake holiday, stupid Cupid, etc)…but we still love it. There’s something really sweet about acknowledging all the amazing people in your life, including but not limited to significant others. BFFs, teachers, your children and their classmates, etc. Jennifer pulled together this assortment of V-Day essentials, and we had to share. There’s something so happy about red and pink and xs and os.

Pottery Barn Valentine's Day Chair Backer
jennifer got this adorable chair-backer to hold all of James’ “love notes” from school.
Target Love Candle
a most delicious candle.
Target Trinket Tray
cute little trinket tray.
Target Valentines Terry Towel Set
under $5: terry-cloth kitchen towels.
Target Love Pillow
this sweet pillow works on your sofa year-round // just pair with a graphic black-and-white throw.
Target XO Snack Plates
stuck doing the valentine’s day party for your child’s class? (er, I am) these are perfection.
Target XO Napkins
matching napkins check all our boxes.

Happy Friday, glitter gals!

 

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spring party prep.

Hello, spring! After two weeks of unseasonably freezing temps, it’s beginning to warm up again. The weather has us in the mood to entertain, so we’re sharing our spring party essentials today. Because who’s not in the mood to throw a little party at home?

sparkling glassware and blue and white plates

We like to serve wine in short old-fashioned glasses, like these and these. Colorful plates (mine are Blue Italian Spode Dinnerware) perfectly complement spring’s colorful blooms.

 

Antique table (similar here) paired with reproduction mid-century chairs

Ice down beer and wine in a blue and white planter. Mine is on loan (permanently? eek) from my mother-in-law, but this one is super similar.

colorful cocktail napkins // well-loved tray

Display glassware and cocktail napkins (these and these from H&M are adorable and stupid cheap) on a pewter tray. I received this one as a wedding gift almost twelve years ago – it’s still available on Wayfair! – and we also like this simple one. A reptile tray would add sophisticated texture to a lacquered table, and this cute little pineapple tray is perfect for a cheeseball and crackers.

I’ve been using a basic acrylic ice bucket forever. This one by Kate Spade would be a nice upgrade! I’d also love this gold corkscrew (Mother’s Day is coming up…right?).

these monogrammed drink stirrers by entertaining maven Emily McCarthy were a gift from Jennifer

Check out more of our loves here. What are your favorite entertaining essentials? Tag us in your pics on Insta!

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baking brie. 🧀

Who says it has to be the holiday season to enjoy a little cranberry!? And there’s never a bad time for brie. We stumbled upon this delicious recipe during a routine check of one of our fave websites Apartment Therapy for reviews of the LexMod Ghost Chair. Enjoy!

Baked Brie with Cranberries
ooey, gooey cheese + tart cranberries = deliciousness.

Baked Brie with Cranberry Sauce

Serves 4 to 6 as an appetizer

What You Need:

  • 8-ounce round brie cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup cranberry sauce (try this Perfect Cranberry Sauce recipe or this more advanced Spiced Cranberry Sauce)
  • 2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup hazelnuts, unroasted and roughly chopped
  • Fresh rosemary, to garnish
  • Assorted crackers (we recommend Carr’s Water Crackers)

What You Do:

  • Preheat the oven to 425°F. Peel or slice off the top rind of the brie and scrape out a small amount of cheese to form a shallow hollow in the center. Place the cheese in a small baking dish like a pie pan. (If you plan on transferring the cheese to a serving dish after it’s baked, line the pie pan with a square of parchment paper.)
  • Mix the cranberry sauce, brown sugar, vanilla, zest, and nutmeg. Top the brie with this cranberry mixture and sprinkle the hazelnuts over it.
  • Bake for 8 to 12 minutes or until the fruit is bubbling and the cheese is gooey. This is a delicate process, and baking time can vary. The goal is to take the cheese out after it has softened, but just before it collapses into a heap.
  • If desired, lift the parchment paper and use a spatula to carefully slide the cheese onto a prettier serving dish. Garnish with a rosemary sprig and serve immediately with assorted crackers.
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friday five: links we love.

Whew, we made it through another week! J’s been jetting around the South for work and L’s been getting used to having an infant in the house again…so we’re feeling especially grateful for the next 48-ish hours. Here’s hoping your weekend will be a mix of fancy cheese, champagne and DIY design!

1 // Modern cheese plate // Tailgating spreads don’t have to be fancy. Sometimes all you need is a little cheese and some cornichons. Cupcakes and cashmere shows us how to create a modern cheese plate here.

2 // Champagne // Apparently there are 22 reasons to have champagne on hand at your house. That’s 21 more than we needed.

Champagne
photo credit: domaine

3 // Sunburst Light Fixture // We’ve both been on renovation rampages at our houses. This (fairly) easy DIY sunburst light fixture from the girls at A Beautiful Mess just might fit into our weekend reno plans.

Sunburst Light Fixture
photo credit: a beautiful mess

4 // Stylish Survival Guide // No, we’re not coming to you live from #NYFW (this year)…but this “How To Survive Fashion Month” article by Whitney Port does have real life application for us. And for anyone who happens to be traveling out of town for “work.”

Bauble Bar Headphones
photo credit: Bauble Bar

5 // Perfect Sunday Afternoon Project // After a weekend of football (and possibly struggling to re-wire that Sunburst Light Fixture), indulge your creative side and re-style your coffee table. Use this handy tutorial from Domino as a guide. As if we needed another excuse to purchase pink peonies! Happy Friday, yall.

Coffee Table Tutorial
photo cred: Domino
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baby buzz.

J: Two of my greatest friends in the world are expecting precious baby boys this year and I could not be more excited! We celebrated L and Baby Ed a few weeks ago in Statesboro and this past weekend surprised my BFF Annie with a shower for Baby Parker while she was in Atlanta visiting from Chicago. The details:

shower
our setup at Roswell Provisions for the luncheon.
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precious name banner.
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gifts galore for baby boy.
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adorable favors made by annie’s mom, rhonda.
Shower 2
succulent place card holders that doubled as favors.
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lunch is served.
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sweet treats.
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post-lunch pick me up.
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the guests of honor!
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ladies who lunch.
Kitchen Girls
annie with her sweet mom and sister.
J+A
me and m’girl (and boy!)
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party post: l’s baby shower.

L:

J and three sweet friends threw the most amazing baby shower for Baby Ed and me at Forest Heights Country Club in Statesboro. You may have seen a few pics on Instagram. These are a few more of our favorites! We’ll start from the beginning…

Our favorite girls at Colonial House of Flowers set the mood with this gorgeous centerpiece. See more of their work here and here.

Centerpiece
we love every single thing the girls at colonial house of flowers come up with.

I was so glad my mom was able to make the trip. We all missed my mother-in-law, who was (smartly) cruising in cooler temps.

Joe + Laura + Jan
big brother-to-be joe, my mom jan and me. our coordinating lilly pulitzer outfits were unplanned.

My favorite surprise of the day was…a FLOWER CROWN! I have never been so excited (or so glad that I didn’t do my hair in a top-knot). I had a really hard time taking it off at the end of the day brunch.

Laura + Jennifer + Kate
from left: jennifer, me, kate.

I was so excited and flattered that three of the hostesses were repping my stores! From left: Christa is wearing a skirt from Social Statesboro and Jack Rogers “Georgica” sandals from Sole Statesboro. J’s wearing an ASOS gypsy dress and fringe booties from Lulu’s (sold out, similar here). I’m wearing a vintage Lilly Pulitzer dress (a hand-me-down from my mom – I actually wore this five years ago to a baby shower for Joe!) and Tory Burch heels (incredibly old, also seen here). Kate’s wearing a Love Poppy leather tassel necklace from Sole Statesboro. Niki’s wearing Spanx cropped denim leggings (they’re also a favorite of mine), Jack Rogers “Lauren” sandals and a Sneak Peek top, all from Sole Statesboro.

Laura + Hostesses
photo op before the guests arrived…

Everyone who knows me knows I live for brunch. I was so happy to see quiche and mini-pancakes on the menu!

blah
i crushed two *big* pieces of quiche before the brunch was over.
blah
a little cheese, a little fruit…
Polka Dot Straws
i heart printed straws.

Jennifer brought cupcakes from the Atlanta outpost of Georgetown Cupcake. I am obsessed with peanut butter, so she set aside one of those just for me. #truefriend The “E” flags are from Etsy.

Georgetown Cupcakes
dry ice may or may not have been involved in the transport of these beauties from atlanta.

I had the cutest little helpers opening gifts: Joe and his BBFL Leo.

Laura + Joe + Leo
these two were so excited to open all the presents!
Opening Gifts
joe is going to be a great big brother.
Christa + Jennifer
oh hi, christa and jennifer!
Valerie + Shellie
my friend Val (left) is exactly two weeks ahead of me…she’s due any day now!
Joe Cupcake
this was joe’s SECOND red velvet cupcake of the morning.

Kate arranged these simple and cute rock candy favors. Joe was fascinated with these…and then he really flipped when he realized it was actual CANDY.

Rock Candy Favors
a little something sweet for guests to take home.
Hostess Gifts
gifts for the hostesses with the mostestes.

Each hostess received a small succulent in mercury glass from Colonial House.

Hostess Gifts
succulents are my jam. because i kill pretty much every other plant.

Post-shower, Joe and I hung out in Ed’s new nursery. He told me “Mom, that was a GREAT PARTY.”…and I totally agree. I was overwhelmed at how beautiful everything was, and how these four friends nailed all of my favorite things. Baby Ed and I are so lucky to have four such incredible women in our lives.

Laura + Joe Nursery
five hours later and i’m still wearing the flower crown.
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recipe: spinach and cheese strata. 

L made this delicious Spinach and Cheese Strata for Mother’s Day brunch – it was a hit! Yall know we love anything we can make ahead…means more time to work on our tablescape. Add a fresh fruit salad (L chose Watermelon Feta Salad) and muffins, and you’ve got an easy, elegant brunch. We adapted this from an Annie’s Eats post; here’s our version (with notes).

Make-Ahead Spinach and Cheese Strata

Spinach and Cheese Strata
photo: annie’s eats.

 

What You Need:

  • 2 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1½ cups onion, finely chopped (basically, one large yellow onion)
  • 2 (10 oz.) packages frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained (we used bagged, organic frozen spinach)
  • 1 tsp. salt, divided
  • ½ tsp. pepper, divided
  • Dash ground nutmeg (the original recipe called for freshly grated…but ground works just fine)
  • 8 cups cubed French or Italian bread, cut into 1-inch cubes (basically one large loaf)
  • 6 oz. coarsely grated Swiss or Gruyere cheese (about 2 cups)
  • 2 oz. finely grated Parmesan (about 2/3 cup)
  • 9 large eggs
  • 2¾ cup milk (we used Horizon Organic 1% low-fat milk)

What You Do:

  • Melt the butter in a medium skillet over low heat.  Add the onions to the pan and sauté until soft, about 5 minutes.  Add ½ teaspoon of the salt, ¼ teaspoon of the pepper, and the nutmeg, and continue to cook for 1 minute more.  Stir in the spinach, remove from the heat and set aside.
  • Liberally coat the inside of a 2½-3 quart baking dish with cooking spray.  Layer the bottom of the dish with one third of the bread cubes.  Top with one third of the spinach mixture and one third of each of the cheeses.  Repeat these layers twice more with the bread, spinach and cheese. It’s important to grate your cheeses ahead of time, so that you can distribute them evenly in your layers.
  • In a medium bowl, combine the eggs, milk, the remaining ½ teaspoon of the salt and ¼ teaspoon of the pepper.  Whisk together until blended.  Pour the mixture evenly over the bread and spinach layered in the baking dish.  Cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 8 hours or up to 1 day.
  • Remove from the refrigerator 30 minutes before baking.  Preheat the oven to 350˚ F.  Bake uncovered until puffed, golden brown and cooked through, 45-55 minutes.  Let stand at least 5 minutes before serving.
  • Serves 8.

**This is our version of a well-loved, well-published recipe. Annie’s Eats adapted this from Smitten Kitchen. Originally appeared in Gourmet, February 2003.

Bonus: Sample Brunch Menu

  • Spinach and Cheese Strata
  • Watermelon and Feta Salad
  • Blueberry Streusel Muffins
  • Assorted Breakfast Sausages
  • Iced Coffee Bar (we paired this pre-made iced coffee with whipped cream and cute straws)
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behind the scenes: j’s wedding weekend.

Okay, this is our last post about J’s wedding weekend. But we really wanted to share some behind-the scenes pics. Enjoy!

FRIDAY

bridesmaids brunch + bubbly at the ritz carlton.
bridesmaids fueled up on brunch + bubbly.
The Glitter Life Brunch
l + j at brunch.
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l made this practice bouquet for j from hydrangeas (picked up at the local publix) and finished with satin ribbon from several of j’s wedding shower gifts. nail polish: essie bachelorette bash.
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bridesmaid kati made these adorbs champagne glasses, customized for each member of the bridal party. on the table: crafting materials (from ikea!) for the rehearsal dinner centerpieces. we all pitched in!
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jay’s mom karen assembled 100+ gift boxes for the cocktail reception guests. inside: georgia peanuts (in mason jars – cute!), bottled water, golf balls and customized koozies and golf tees.
the ritz carlton presidential house, the site of the rehearsal dinner and cocktail reception. also our home away from home for the weekend. 
bridesmaid mary + brendan on the patio at the rehearsal dinner.
bridesmaid mary + brendan on the patio at the rehearsal dinner. loved her maxi dress! 

SATURDAY

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the bridal party got dolled up at The Spa at the Ritz Carlton. j gifted each bridesmaid adorable h&m pajamas to wear while getting ready. also pictured: vintage-y earrings, another gift from j.
bridal attire from head (j's mother's veil)  to toe (christian louboutins). photo: the willets.
bridal attire from head (j’s mother’s veil) to toe (nude peep-toe christian louboutins). photo: the willets.
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rain showers didn’t dampen j’s mood. her photographers were great sports, too! pictured: the pool at the ritz presidential house. our home away from home for the weekend.
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j’s something borrowed: an antique bracelet from l. the bride also borrowed gorg diamond earrings from her aunt.
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one of our favorite pics from the weekend. we snapped this selfie minutes before walking down the aisle!
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presenting mr. and mrs. james murray baker, iv! j’s dress: winnie couture.
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bridesmaids, post-ceremony. from l to r: annie (maid of honor), l (matron of honor), maggie, mary and kati. dresses: alfred sung via weddington way. bouquets: findlay rowe designs.
bridesmaid maggie + talmadge. photo bomb: brendan.
bridesmaid maggie + talmadge. photo bomb: brendan.
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j’s bouquet of peonies wowed everyone. bouquet: findlay rowe designs. cake: the ritz carlton.
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honestly one of the best meals we’ve ever had: filet of beef tenderloin, seared sea scallops and braised veggies. catering: the ritz carlton.
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the happy couple snapped a pic before digging in to dinner.
The Glitter Life JJB2015
j + maid of honor annie.
The Glitter Life JJB2015
l + joe at the reception. loved the handy pockets on our bridesmaids’ dresses!
JJB 4
…and that’s a wrap! #jjb2015 was one for the books. photo credit: the willets.

 

 

 

 

 

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