Bribes for Santa

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Milk Glass//Cake Stand//Dessert Plates//Napkins

One of my favorite things about Christmas is getting to make Candy Cane Cookies. I had these cookies for the first time at my uncle and aunt’s house many moons ago during a Christmas baking extravaganza. Ever since, they have been my favorite cookies and one of the things I most associate with Christmas. Ever year, a few weeks before Christmas, I ask for the recipe from my aunt and uncle as it’s a super secret family recipe, and they are kind enough to share it with me. It’s one of the ways I know they love me because I’m one of the only family members that has it! The recipe comes from my uncle’s mother, Lois Lucille Herrin, and they’ve been my uncle Mark’s favorite cookies since he was two. I love continuing the family tradition by making these cookies every year. While I can’t share the recipe with you, I’d love to know if your family has their own secret family Christmas recipe.

As an adult, I don’t usually leave out cookies for Santa anymore, but because we’re celebrating Christmas in our first home this year, it’s making me think of all my Christmas traditions from growing up. One of my favorite was leaving cookies and milk out for Santa and finding that they’d been nibbled on in the morning. This year, I decided to take an “adult” take on the theme of leaving out cookies for Santa and decided to “bribe” him with the very best treat I know of – Candy Cane Cookies! If he doesn’t put me in the “Nice” column after sharing these cookies with him, I don’t know what it will take. I also loved these gold-rimmed milk glasses, nice/naughty plates, and striped Christmas napkins to complete the theme.

Do you have certain things that make it feel like the Holidays in your family? I’m certainly looking forward to devouring some of these cookies as well as having a few days to relax with family.

Gifting for the Humble Abode

Gift Guide 2017 - Home

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This year, home for the holidays has a special meaning for me because it’s the first time Tom and I will celebrate Christmas in our very own home. One of the first things I did in preparation for the Holidays was to go out and buy the largest tree that would fit in front of our windows. I’ve always loved a tree in front of a window because not only do you get to enjoy it, but those on the outside do, too.

When it came to thinking about gifts for the home, I gravitated towards really unique items that would really make a house a home. Those things that show others a bit more of your personality and make coming home feel special.

I really love the idea of pairing this acrylic book stand with a gorgeous coffee table book. I have lots and lots of coffee table books that I absolutely love and while they look good sitting on a shelf or the table, I’ve hardly ever seen a guest look at one. I like the idea that you could open your favorite book to your favorite page and encourage guests to thumb through it. Continuing with the book theme, I’m feeling like my bookcases could use a little kick. I love the idea of pairing these beautiful bookends with your most tattered and beloved books to create a beautiful contrast on your cases.

I also looked for items that I thought would make a space cozy and bright. I’m completely obsessed with these pillowcases by Elizabeth Few. I saw them first at Roxie Daisy here in Charlottesville and have been completely in love ever since. I also love the idea of using this coverlet during the holiday months. How amazing would an emerald green velvet coverlet look this time of year.

And last, but not least, those emoji notecards. Last year, I got some emoji cocktail napkins that I just love, and I wanted to continue the theme. My husband has been really into writing handwritten letters this year, and I love the fact that these pair the best of technology with a good, old fashioned note.

I hope you find something in here that will bring a special touch to the homes of those you love this year.

Merry Merry!

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Meet Me at Congress Hall

I had the unexpected opportunity to go to Cape May last weekend. If you had asked me two weeks ago about Cape May, I could have told you absolutely nothing. However it is absolutely charming and historic to boot. Cape May is one of the country’s oldest vacation resort destinations. The whole town is a a National Historic Landmark because of the concentration of Victorian buildings.

While we stayed in the historic Bradford Cottage on Franklin Street, I spent a day at Congress Hall. Congress Hall is America’s Oldest Seaside Resort. Four different presidents have vacationed there and it was the official Summer White House for President Benjamin Harrison.

I fell in love – mostly with the colors. The outside of the hotel is the perfect shade of yellow and four enormous American flags greet you upon approach. The lobby is a gorgeous shade of green punctuated by a fantastic floral print. The restaurant, The Blue Pig Tavern, where we had lunch has the cutest napkins in a fabulous shade of light blue. Congress Hall also has it’s own farm, Beach Plum Farm, which harvests the most delicious tomatoes I’ve ever tasted. I highly recommend the BLT – perfect for a post beach snack. On the beach, you have the choice of a gorgeous yellow and white striped tent or chaise lounges and umbrellas with a pink star. The hotel definitely has me rethinking my use of color. Often times I tend to favor neutrals, but I was amazed to see how well a multitude of vastly different colors paired so fabulously together.

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The Pink Table

Over the summer, my friend Lindsey sent me a link. It was the kickstarter video for the The Yellow Table Cookbook by Anna Watson Carl. In her video, Anna tells a story about seeing a sign that says, “you can make a wish or you can make it happen,” which prompted her to start working on her dream, a cookbook. After I watched the video, I emailed Lindsey and said, “her video makes me want to have a dinner party.” She replied, “do you want to!?” Me: “Yes!!!” It took us several weeks, okay months, to get it together, but here before your very eyes is our own iteration of The Yellow Table. I was responsible for the decor and Lindsey cooked all the food using recipes from The Yellow Table.

The Menu

Rosemary Lemonade with  Thibaut-Janisson Blanc de Chardonnay sparkling wine

Heirloom Tomato Panzanella

Haricots Verts with Dijon-Shallot Vinaigrette

Apricot-Dijon Roasted Chicken with Couscous

Gluten-Free Almond Cake with Lavender Honey

The Decor

For the table, I wanted something girly with a slight Moroccan theme to match the food. My hope was that our friends would feel special and inspired, and I hoped that the calm setting and good food would spark conversation about what we wanted to make happen in our lives. This was the first time I’d thrown a “proper” dinner party with invites, place cards, a signature drink and more than one course! It was definitely worth the extra effort. I felt so proud, and I’m so glad to have these photos to share with you. My favorite part of the evening was when everyone showed up dressed to the nines. We hadn’t put a dress code on the invite, but everyone felt like dressing up and it really added to the festive vibe of the evening.

Have you ever thrown a proper dinner party? What was it like?

 

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[Pier 1 Pillows // Pink Linen Tablecloth // Moroccan Tea Glasses // Pier 1 Bench // Caspari Le Jardin de Mysore Place Cards // World Market Napkin Rings // Pier 1 Yellow Salad Plates // Apilco Tradition Dinner Plates // Caspari Le Jardin de Mysore Paper Guest Towels // Sir Christopher by Wallace Silverware]