Filed In: entertaining

Erica B Jefferson

Stationary c/o Erica B Jefferson

Call me old fashioned but I still believe in snail mail. Specifically the importance of handwriting thank you notes to show gratitude. A text or email might be easier but there’s something special about opening the mailbox and finding a note instead of junk advertisements.

I write thank you notes for presents, dinners and just the occasional “hey, I though of you”.  Whenever I find cute stationary I stock up, I have a drawer in my office just dedicated to stationary and cards. The latest to my drawer? Erica B Jefferson stationary! Her designs are preppy yet classic and can be customized with a name or monogram. Literally all of her designs I love and had such a hard time picking which one to get. You truly can’t go wrong!

#27AndHavanaGoodTime

Wall Decals c/o Look Sugar, Cake Candles, Candles, Tea Light Candles, Plates, Custom Napkins, Shirt, Earrings

Celebrations are what I live for… if you’ve read my Instagram bio you’d know I believe in month long birthdays too. Each year I go all out and have a themed birthday party. It’s something I look forward to and start thinking about months in advance. Now it has become a tradition where my friends even try to guess what the theme will be from year to year. We’ll see if after 30 I change my tune and no longer look forward to celebrating another year older…

This year’s theme was Cuban flair with my hashtag being #27AndHavanaGoodTime. Clever, right? Decorations included pineapples aplenty, lots of palm leaves and bright colors. I setup a mojito bar with this recipe and a cigar bar which included both faux (gum) cigars and real cigars, which let’s be honest were really for the boys to enjoy.

Usually I get an extravagant cake for the party but this year decided to tone down the actual cake and focus more on the adorable pineapple cake pops. Plus, the cake got jazzed up with some fun pineapple birthday candles. Speaking of pineapples, they were everywhere… including on the wall! Party hack: I think wall decal stickers (I get mine from Look Sugar) are a perfect party option as they are cheaper than a Photo Booth backdrop, go up in seconds and come off the walls without any residue. Instantly making any room feel festive!

Last but not least, the birthday girl’s look! Every girl should be pampered and feel beautiful for her special day so I always indulge in some pre-party beauty treatments. Since it’s the dead of winter and I’m a shade of ghostly pale come January 17th I always book a spray tan with my girl Marla of And So It Glows. She comes right to your home and takes your 50 shades darker. Next up, I visited Blown Away in Kennett Square. Their super talented stylist Jessica gave me a luxurious blowout and waves with a deep part for the retro Cuban ‘do I was after. Last up, Houpette for makeup. The store not only stocks some amazing lines but also has some super talented artist who helped me achieve a glowy bronzed look with a golden smokey eye and orangish-red bold lip.

With my birthday look and party decorations it was almost like we were in Cuba!

Give On The Go

August Morgan Cocktail Napkins & Glasses c/o, Matches

Christmas is just a few days away. Crazy right? If you’re like me and still have a few gifts left to get, then let me share with you this easy one for any hostess. I love putting together gifts that go together, sort of like a package. For this one I combined a set of cocktail napkins with stemless glasses, a set of matches and a mini bottle of bubbly. The hostess can you use this gift for a date night, girls night in or any excuse for a mini celebration.

August Morgan is my favorite brand for cocktail napkins as they are classic linen sets that are updated with cheeky sayings for the modern host or hostess. I have a collection of her designs and always gift them to my friends.

Decorating with Nature

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Placemats (c/o Emily McCarthy Shop)

Need some Christmas table setting inspiration? Look no further than the great outdoors! Seriously. The inspiration for me came when I saw these feather placemats from the Emily McCarthy Shop.  From there I obviously added more feathers, because YOLO. Next I remembered the pinecones I had collected from South Carolina, they’re seriously jumbo sized! I spray painted some and left the others their natural color. You could do the same with acorns in glass vases if you can’t find pinecones

When it came to place cards I went to my local antique mall (which randomly has a rock booth, who knew?) and bought the prettiest agates I could find in varies colors. I used wineglass markers to write the names as they can be wiped off simply with a moist rag and used again. For the antlers, since I only had one actual real antler I found faux antler candleholders at Homegoods and paired with stick looking candles to keep things authentic and rustic.

I finished the table with plaid napkins and plates with ducks that I scored months ago for $1, I knew they’d find their home eventually and boy was I right!

What do you think? How are you seating your table for the holidays?

Fall Chai-der

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To Go Tumbler

I know cupcake stores are a dime a dozen, especially in big cities. If you ever find yourself in DC though, you need to go to Baked and Wired. However, not for the cupcakes, but instead for the “chai-der”. I can’t even begin to describe how delicious it is and once fall rolls around I crave it even from states away.

I decided to take matters into my own hands and make my own version for all to enjoy. It’s super easy and gives the PSL a run for its money!

Ingredients

  • Chai tea bags
  • Apple Cider
  • Cinnamon Sugar

Directions

  1. Heat up 1.5 cups of apple cider
  2. Place chai tea bag in cup with warmed apple cider
  3. Let tea steep
  4. Finish with a dash of cinnamon sugar

What’s your favorite fall drink?

Caramel Apple Moscow Mule

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Mug

My answer still stands that an Elizabethtini is still my favorite drink but you can’t beat a good moscow mule. It’s refreshing and not overly sweet. Plus, there’s something about those little copper mugs! The moscow mule was the drink of summer 2016 for me and I plan to transition it into fall with this little recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 2 oz Apple Cider
  • 2 oz Ginger Beer
  • 1.5 oz Caramel Flavored Vodka

Directions:

  1. Fill copper Moscow Mule mug to the brim with crushed ice.
  2. Measure and pour ingredients starting with the vodka.
  3. Garnish with an apple slice for extra flair.

Hey Pumpkin

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Mug c/o

Pumpkin season is upon us and this recipe is my favorite fall treat. It’s a little pumpkin-y, a little, chilly and optionally booze-y!

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups vanilla ice cream
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin pie space creamer
  • 1/2 canned pumpkin pie mix
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin flavored vodka (optional)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

Recipe:

  1. Mix all the ingredients with a blender
  2. Top with whipped cream, another dash of cinnamon and decorate with sprinkles!

DIY Hostess Gift

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Just wanted to let you guys know I’m sharing this super fun and easy DIY Halloween hostess gift on A Blissful Nest today. I’m one of their holiday contributors so throughout the season I’ll be occasionally posting there. Click here to learn how to make this and check out Rebekah’s blog.

Witch’s Brew Fall Mimosa

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Wine Glass (c/o)

Mimosas don’t have to be limited to brunch. Take them into the afternoon with this fall update. This recipe is perfect for chilly nights by the fire, afternoon tailgates and of course, Halloween parties!

Ingredients

  • 2 part apple cider
  • 2 part champagne
  • 1 part bourbon (optional but adds a nice warmth)
  • Cinnamon sugar

Directions

  1. Rim glasses with cinnamon sugar. I used apple cider instead of water so that the sugar stuck better.
  2. Measure and pour ingredients into glass.
  3. Add a festive straw or garnish with an apple slice for extra flair

This recipe might be simple but trust me, it’s bursting with flavor. There’s nothing wee about it, well except for these glasses by The Tipsy Cup Boutique.  Make your parties even more festive with this Etsy shop, they have so many cute quirky sayings for every holiday and occasion.

Hosting with Coton Colors

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Bowls, Platter, Pitcher (all c/o Coton Colors)

You know how fashionistas always talk about having classics (like a LBD, striped shirt, navy blazer, nude pumps, etc.) to create a well rounded wardrobe? Well as a hostess I believe the same should be done when entertaining. You should have a few recipes in your arsenal that can be thrown together with the contents found in your fridge or one that may require a trip to the grocery store but can be cooking on its own in the crockpot for hours.

Another thing a good hostess should always have on hand? A set of serve ware that not only is decoratively pleasing but can be tossed in the dishwasher for easy clean up and the microwave for heating up leftovers. Function and beauty, you see!

I  rely on my Coton Colors leopard serve ware. These trio of bowls are seriously huge, you can fit so much food into them and I love how they coordinate but aren’t identical. They certainly make a fun statement on the table. Inside you’ll find my favorite homemade pasta sauce and my refreshing cucumber salad. Both are super easy and delicious, here’s how to make them:

Pasta Sauce

Ingredients:

  • 1 carrot
  • 1 rib celery
  • 1 cup mushrooms
  • 1 can (29 oz) tomato sauce
  • 1 can (6 oz) tomato paste
  • 2 onions
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 pound ground meat (I use ground turkey or chicken for a healthier spin but you can use beef too)
  • 1 tsp Italian herbs

Cooking Directions:

  1. Brown meat.
  2. Chop mushrooms, celery, carrot, onions and garlic in food processor or blender. Sauté on low with olive oil.
  3. Put meat, vegetables, Italian herds, tomato sauce and paste into crock pot.
  4. Cook on high for 4 hours.
  5. Add salt, pepper and red pepper to taste.

Cucumber salad

Ingredients:

  • Cucumber
  • 1 can chickpeas
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 2 tbs shredded mozzarella cheese

Cooking Directions:

  1. Chop cucumber slices up into small pieces (4 quarters) and place in bowl.
  2. Add in chicken peas and cheese.
  3. Squeeze half a lemon over contents and add olive oil.
  4. Toss to mix ingredients.
  5. Season with salt to taste.