lemonade with blueberries and star shaped watermelon american flag and paper straw with stars on it
Star Spangled Lemonade with Blueberries and Watermelon Stars
lemonade with blueberries and star shaped watermelon american flag and paper straw with stars on it

Lemonade with blueberries and watermelon makes this iconic summer drink even more fun and refreshing! The good news is that this lemonade is easy to make and packs a big festive punch with friends and family!

I like to kick off summer by serving it on Memorial Day and then bring it out again on Independence Day. You can always turn it into a cocktail if you like- but it is really good as it is! My kids would drink it by the gallon if I would let them!

This star-spangled lemonade is easy to make- or you can always substitute your favorite store-bought lemonade! Here is the recipe…

lemonade with blueberries and star shaped watermelon american flag and paper straw with stars on it

Star Spangled Lemonade

Lydia Menzies

Ingredients
  

  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups lemon choice
  • 8 cups water
  • 2 oz. vodka for cocktail version
  • watermelon for stars
  • blueberries for stars

Instructions
 

Star Spangled Lemonade

  • Combine the sugar and water over heat to dissolve the sugar.
  • Add lemon juice.
  • Chill and enjoy!

Star Spangled Cocktail

  • Add 2 oz. of vodka to an 6-8 oz. serving of lemonade.

Watermelon Stars

  • To make watermelon stars, slice a piece of watermelon into a triangle slice. Use a mini cookie cutter in the shape of a star and cut out star shapes from watermelon slice.
  • Add fresh, washed blueberries.
  • Top with a miniature flag and a festive straw!
  • Serve on a tray with cocktail napkins and enjoy!

Cheers,

Lydia xo

orange soda cocktail with stir stick on top of glass
Mother’s Day Cocktail ~ Clementine Ginny

A Mother’s Day cocktail that is quick and easy- and perfect for any occasion or celebration, actually! Enjoy this refreshing drink anytime and often! The idea for this cocktail started with the gift of acrylic stir sticks from Giddy Paperie and a quarantine limitation on available mixers. Making the best of the shelter-in-place means being creative with what we had! I liked it so much, I wanted to share…

silver tray with flowers acrylic stir sticks shot glass and pink square napkin

The acrylic stir sticks are a party all on their own, aren’t they? They are so cute and pretty. What a great way to mix your drink and to be able to tell whose drink is whose! I love the useful ways and the beautiful details they provide.

silver tray with gin orange soda lime slices and flowers

I loaded my silver serving tray with all of the ingredients and supplies and headed to my front porch to create this simple and tasty treat. All you need are a few ingredients…this recipe yields one drink made in an 8 oz. glass.

orange soda cocktail with stir stick on top of glass

Clementine Ginny Cocktail

Lydia Menzies

Ingredients
  

  • 2 oz Gin
  • 5-6 oz Izze Clementine Soda
  • Lime slices

Instructions
 

  • Fill 8 oz. glass with ice.
  • Measure 2 oz. of gin and pour over ice.
  • Top with chilled Izze Clementine Soda.
  • Add limes and stir.
  • Enjoy!
clementine ginny cocktail with orange soda and gin topped with limes and a stir stick

The stir sticks dress up an otherwise really simple drink. I love the orange color of the cocktail combined with the blue and white chinoiserie designs on the stir sticks. Giddy Paperie hand painted each design and then the designs were made into acrylic stir sticks. It is such a brilliant little party detail- I would love to have them in so many designs! From coffee to cocktails, a stir stick comes in handy!

orange ranunculus blooms and snapdragons in white vase with floral design

My favorite way to serve cocktails to a small group is on a decorative tray. With a few simple touches, you can have a beautiful display in no time. Start with a small vase of flowers- I used this small vintage Herend vase and loaded it with ranunculus and snapdragons. Remember to add limes, napkins, glasses, stir sticks, Izze, and gin. I used a shot glass to measure the alcohol.

tray with gin orange soda limes flowers and pink napkins

If you have festive glasses, those are always fun to use. If you don’t, your drink will still be pretty and festive with the orange color and the stir sticks and limes. I added several lime slices to mine because I like the flavor. You can decide what you think, but I love the slight tang that it adds.

tray of mother's day cocktail ingredients and cocktail with lime slices in it

Sweet and simple and easy to enjoy! I hope you love this cocktail- and I think every perfect drink deserves to have a fun name, don’t you?? 🙂 Here’s to you and the friends and moms that you celebrate!

orange soda cocktail with stir stick on top of glass

Cheers xo,

Lydia

red white and blue table setting with american flag
Setting the Table in Red White and Blue

Blue and white is a classic combination that is always a great go-to when designing a table scape or deciding on a party theme. I recently hosted a virtual “Blue and White Party” in my Instagram Stories in honor of healthcare workers. The sacrifices they make for us deserves so much more than I can ever give, but I wanted to show a small token of appreciation for what they do for each of us. Blue for their scrubs and white for their white coats just seemed fitting for this virtual celebration of our Health Heroes.

red white and blue table setting with american flag

My daughter loves blue, and so I showed her what I was doing~ and she suggested adding some red to mimic the red cross that was on the ship Comfort that came to help those affected in New York. I loved that idea and so we went with it. I also added red with solid red napkins styled with blue and white chinoiserie bead napkin rings. The napkin rings are by Designs by Laurel Leigh

red white blue table setting with boxwood clippings in silver cup on plate

One of my favorite parts of this table setting is the blue and white runner in the middle of the table. I love the pattern and also love that it is casual but looks fancy. The runner is made of paper and is from Hester and Cook.

red napkins with blue and white chinoiserie napkin rings with gold forks

This table scape feels almost like a picnic with the seagrass placemats and the casual plates. But, it also feels special which always makes your family and/or guests feel special. I kept it simple but still made it feel a little more exciting when you all gather around the table.

table setting side view with seagrass placemats white plates red and blue salad plates red napkins blue napkin rings and a bottle of champagne

Another of my favorite parts is the red ribbon design that we did on top of the runner. It was simple to create with a bolt of ribbon cut to fit the table. My daughter and I then cut two strips of ribbon to lay horizontally across the first ribbon. It created a red cross at each end of the table.

red cross made with red ribbon set on tablescape with red white and blue

I added in gold touches with flatware and drink coasters~ and even added in a little bit of silver with. mini mint julep cups. I am a sucker for my new mini julep cups. I grouped them in the middle of the table on top of a cupcake stand. I also added a few here and there around the table. I loved that they were sporadic.

mint julep cup with boxwood trimmings on red white blue plate on tablescape

I wasn’t sure I could pull of a table setting the way that I would like without any flowers- but I actually loved the way it all turned out in the end. It was a creative challenge that makes you think outside the norm- and makes you appreciate the convenience of beautiful flowers year-round.

red napkins with blue and white bead napkin rings and gold forks with boxwood leaves in silver cup

I decided to use American flags for the centerpiece- it felt very appropriate as our entire country (and world) works together to overcome this very strange moment in history.

table setting with red ribbon cross mini american flags and champagne

There’s nothing like saluting the healthcare heroes who are working so hard to help us each and every day. I am honored to be able to show my appreciation in this small way. They are thought of each day and prayed for each day! They each deserve so much ~ a virtual champagne toast to each and every one.

vueve cliquot champagne on red white blue table setting

With love and gratitude,

Lydia xo

ingredients for brocooli cheese cornbread with jiffy corn muffin mix eggs butter broccoli milk onion and cheese
Broccoli and Cheddar Cheese Cornbread Recipe
ingredients for brocooli cheese cornbread with jiffy corn muffin mix eggs butter broccoli milk onion and cheese

My daughter requests this recipe for each holiday meal. I think it is cute because I felt the same way about this when I was a teenager. This recipe is hard to describe because it is unlike anything I’ve had or seen to which I can compare it. It is a perfect recipe for a brunch- and according to my daughter, every holiday meal that you make! I made it for Easter this year and thought I would share it with you. It is a shortcut recipe because it starts with a cornbread mix- and it doesn’t have many other ingredients to go along with it. I didn’t have a chance to take photos of it- except for when it was just out of the oven, but I thought you wouldn’t mind. Here’s the recipe…

Broccoli and Cheddar Cheese Cornbread Recipe

Lydia Menzies

Ingredients
  

  • 1 box Jiffy Cornbread Mix
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 4 eggs
  • 10 oz. box of frozen broccoli cooked and drained
  • 2 cups grated cheddar cheese
  • 1 small onion diced
  • 1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
  • salt to taste

Instructions
 

  • Melt the stick of butter and pour into 9×13 casserole dish.
  • Mix all other ingredients together.
  • Pour over melted butter.
  • Bake at 350 degrees (F) for 30-35 minutes (or until golden brown)
  • Cut into squares and serve.
  • Enjoy!

Let me know when you try this recipes and how you like it! And how you would describe it! Lol! It is a crowd pleaser!

Cheers,

Lydia xo

easter table setting with items from around our home
Setting an Easter Table with What We Have Around the House

This Easter is one for the literal history books as we all celebrated this holiday in a way we have never done before! With a shelter-in-place order throughout the US, we gathered around our tables with our immediate families and around our computer screens with our extended families and friends. Wanting to make the day extra special, we scoured our homes for ways to set our tables without a lot of the extras that we might have added under more normal circumstances. For me, it was nice to make the table look festive and happy- and our family of four seemed to appreciate the change of pace from the everyday.

monogrammed placemat with green letter m and laurel leaves and moss bunny

The first thing I did was to “shop my house” and find colorful items that I thought would work well together and look like Easter. At first, I thought the table would end up looking more formal. It ended up being playful and whimsical. It was perfect for us- my kids seemed to enjoy it that it wasn’t “stuffy” but that I mixed in some of our nicer pieces (with a reminder to “go easy” on them).

yellow charger plate with pastel plaid dinner plate on top with white salad plate on top with green glass bread plate on top with blue glass bowl filled with gingham pastel eggs

I did not originally plan to use the plaid plates, but decided that it was the perfect way to break up the solid colors on the other plates. I also used glass bread plates and glass bowls on the tables for color and contrast.

monogrammed m placemat with painted oastrich egg on easter table

Last year, I bought a hand-painted ostrich egg from Pippa Goetz and loved her Easter artwork so much. I decided to add another one this year and pre-ordered in January or February. The egg arrived and I unpacked it for Easter after I had “quarantined” the package for a while. This year’s egg is also a stunner…the chinoiserie scene that Pippa painted is so beautiful and happy. The colors are so vibrant- I kind of don’t want to put the eggs away after Easter. Notice the different pagodas on the different sides of the egg…

monogrammed placemat white with green letter m with large handpainted easter eggs on it

Other pieces that I love to use on tablescapes are the 2 matching artichoke bowls with lids. I use those a lot in place of flowers because the colors are so pretty and the design is so artistic. I also put my hydrangea arrangement in the center of the table. My son is allergic to flowers and could not have real flowers in our house for several years. I invested in a few beautiful arrangements from Boxwoods in Atlanta to mimic real ones as closely as I could.

easter place setting with moss bunny on top of plates

After playing around with different plates and place settings, I finally decided on this one…cheerful, bright and whimsical.

easter table setting with stack of plates glasses napkin with bunny ears and flatware

I made each place setting a little different~ and I loved using my moss bunnies on the table. I bought the 2 larger ones several years ago at Appointments at Five in Athens, and the small moss bunny was a gift from PKL, The Cellar. They are perfect for adding in a feel of nature especially because I didn’t have flowers.

easter place setting with plates napkin flatware moss bunny and glasses

We have a chandelier that hangs over our breakfast table and I love to add decorations to it (here you can see New Year’s Eve ideas for hanging decorations). For Easter, I hung gingham fabric carrots on green ribbon and suspended them from the chandelier.

gingham fabric carrots on green ribbon hanging from a chandelier
gingham fabric carrots hanging on green ribbon from brass chandelier

It all came together- imperfectly perfect for us for this different type of Easter. Although it was different, it was a sweet and simple day. It is an Easter I hope my kids always remember. They slept late and ate breakfast just before we watched our preacher live stream his sermon. He was alone inside the sanctuary of our church and stood on the stairs in the front. He preached his sermon and sent a message that we all learned from~ all 1000 viewers, I would bet. My daughter mentioned that if 1000 people were showing as watching the live stream, there could be 4 people per computer like we were. We were amazed at the number of us all together while we were all separated by this virus.

easter table setting with items from around our home

I look forward to celebrating in person with our community next year, but I am also grateful for the slow morning, the captive audience that our preacher had at our home while he spoke, and the feeling of togetherness that can’t accurately be described.

easter place setting with blue gingham napkin and bunny ears napkin ring

Our table was set to be served a simple meal while our hearts and minds were re-set to be mindful and grateful for all that we have.

two porcelien bunnies on monogrammed placemat

We ended our day with a Zoom call with my parents, sister, and nieces. My oldest niece was heading into work as a physician’s’ assistant in a hospital in NYC. We ended up talking less about Corona and laughing more about the silly backgrounds that they were all putting on their screens. My parents were trying to keep up with it all and enjoyed every second of the silliness. I did, too. What an unusual way to celebrate Easter, but what a beautiful way to celebrate Easter.

I’m grateful.

Much love,

Lydia xo

chocolate easter cake with edible green grass and chocolate bird nest on top with easter plates gold forks pink napkins
Triple Chocolate Cake~ Recipe Shortcut

Sometimes we all need a shortcut when we need a dessert for something special. This recipe was one that my sister used to make when I was younger~ and even though I am more of a frosting girl when it comes to cake, this cake recipe won me over. It is really simple because it starts from a boxed cake mix!

triple chocolate cake with powdered sugar from the top

By baking the cake in a bundt pan, it gives the cake some decoration. I love the simplicity of the chocolate cake with the white powdered sugar, but I often dress up this cake a little more. Depending on the occasion, I decorate the cake in different ways. It is perfect for birthdays and holidays- and for when you just have a chocolate craving. It is rich, and the powdered sugar is the perfect complement to all of the chocolate.

For Easter, I had a little fun decorating the cake with a spring theme…

chocolate easter cake with edible green grass and chocolate bird nest on top with easter plates gold forks pink napkins

After the cake had cooled, I added powdered sugar. Next, I added edible green grass (I found it at Target) and a chocolate bird nest with jelly beans in the center opening of the cake.

triple chocolate bundt cake with edible green grass and chocolate bird nest with jelly bean eggs

Here is the quick and easy recipe…

triple chocolate bundt cake with edible green grass and chocolate bird nest with jelly bean eggs

Triple Chocolate Cake ~ Recipe Shortcut

Lydia Menzies

Ingredients
  

  • 1 box Devil's Food Cake Mix
  • 1 small box of Jell-O Instant Chocolate Pudding Mix
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup sherry
  • 8 oz. sour cream
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 package of semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • Powdered Sugar (Confectioner's Sugar) for sprinkling on top of cake

Instructions
 

  • In a large bowl, combine cake mix and pudding mix.
  • Next, add oil, sherry, sour cream, and eggs.
  • Mix by hand for 5 minutes.
  • After you have mixed the ingredients, add in the chocolate chips. Stir to combine.
  • Grease/Oil a Bundt pan.
  • Pour cake mixture evenly into pan.
  • Bake at 350 degrees (F) for 45-50 minutes.
  • To create the nest on top of the cake, use edible green grass and roll a section of the grass into a circle. Top with a chocolate bird nest (find recipe for chocolate bird nests here).
  • Enjoy!

I hope you love this easy shortcut dessert! It is one of our family favorites. Let me know if you try it and how you like it!

Cheers,

Lydia xo

triple chocolate cake with chocolate bird nest and three easter bunny plates with gold forks and pink napkins
stack of plates with pear in top bowl with boxwood clippings
Simple Easter Table Setting for Two

Setting a smaller table for Easter can be beautiful. Look around your home and find items that add color and joy to the table and start with those. Even when we don’t have an elaborate flower centerpiece, we can make our tables so pretty and special!

table set with pastel pottery dishes with ruffled edges and a pear and azaleas

For this easy table setting, I used my pastel pottery dishes from MacKenzie-Childs. They are painted with flowers and have ruffled edges- which give them a happy, playful touch. I also put a white tablecloth on the table first, and then added a table topper. The topper has embroidered flowers at each corner. Because flowers are in short supply in my area right now, I loved adding in florals through embroidery. On top of the tablecloths, I added blue and white floral placemats from Oconee Printing/Eldridge Stationers.

overhead view of table setting with ruffled pottery plates and azalea blooms

The placemats are the perfect complement to the blues in the pottery and the table linens. I wanted to napkins to mostly blend in and so they are a simple blue and white stripe with a close pattern repeat- they almost look like a solid color.

table setting with napkin in brown napkin ring gold flatware ruffled plte edges blue floral placemats

The stack of dinner plate/ salad plate/ small bowl makes a pretty visual as the patterns are mixed and matched. I added boxwood clippings from our yard and then a pear to add some details to the table. I tied a really simple sheer ribbon around the stem of the pear to give it a little oomph. :). You could also attach a name card to the pear stem if you wanted to feel a little fancier.

stack of ruffle edged pottery plates from mackenzie childs with pear in bowl
stack of plates with pear in top bowl with boxwood clippings

As a centerpiece, I used an antique Majolica vase that had flowers painted on it in pastel colors. The colorful vase makes up for the fact that I am not able to create a bigger centerpiece. It creates a nice focal point and looks bright and cheerful on the table with boxwood clippings and azalea blooms.

easter table setting with majolica pitcher and flowers with dessert dishes on the side

Crystal glasses look so pretty on this table full of soft colors. I like how the cut glass offers a little bit of a pattern but then blends right in to the table. It shows off the colors of the table well to have clear glasses.

table setting with crystal glasses and colorful plates

For an additional pop of fun and flowers, I added the whimsical butter dish to the table. The oversized design, the braided handle, and the happy colors painted on the dish make it a conversational piece for any table setting. No one has ever enjoyed butter more than in this fun little (big) dish!

table setting with large colorful butter dish and gold flatware

Another way to add in pretty colors is through an Easter dessert. I love making edible bird nests each spring- and my family loves eating them almost faster than I can make them! I make mini versions in mini muffin tins to use as toppers for Easter desserts. I added them to the dessert ramekins for this table…they are perfect toppers for ice cream, mini cakes. cupcakes, a slice of pie or cake. I was able to find edible Easter grass at Target at the end of February. I saved it for decorating food for Easter and have tried to use it in a variety of ways. This is one of the easiest and most fun ways to add it in to your Easter brunch or lunch.

Easter edible bird nest in colorful dish with edible green grass

I will link you to the recipe for easy chocolate bird nests so that you can make some, too! They are so perfect for Easter!

table setting for easter with chocolate bird nests

I also added in some warm gold touches with flatware and drink coasters. Setting a table for one or two can be a fun creative experiment with what we have around our homes. Don’t be afraid to try something new or to use an object around your house that you may not have thought of before. And, even when we have few flowers, we can still find a way to add springtime to our tables through prints, florals, colors and a little bit of imagination. I hope you all enjoy Easter around your table, no matter how big or small!

table set for two with ruffled plates and pink flowers

Much love,

Lydia xo

mini champagne bottles hand painted with flamingos and pineapples for galentine's day
Let’s Flamin-GAL! A Flamingo-Inspired Galentine’s Day

This year, I am hosting a virtual Galentine’s Day celebration with all of you! I wish we could gather together in real life for a party, but this will work for now! Please consider this adorable card by Dixie Designs your Valentine card from me…

valentine card that reads we flamingo together

I am so excited to greet you with these incredible cake pops made by Pop Pedler. I can’t get over how beautiful they are. The flower details are so perfect.

cakepops made to look like flamingos

To set the mood for the party, flamin-gals directed your path for you as you arrived…

flamingos lining the sidewalk into a party

With this spritely lady busying herself right by the front door!

doorway entrance decorated with plants watermelon and flamingo

This bashful beauty welcomes you to fill your drink with choices of pink lemonade or a pink grapefruit cocktail…

flamingo bottle topper with straw on glass bottle

And, of course, sparkling water is always available…choose your glass bottle with these whimsically wonderful fondant flamingos made by Sachiko at Mimi Cafe Union

glass drink bottles with fondant flamingos on top tied with blue bow

OR, help yourself to one of these adorable hand-painted mini bottles of champagne. I ordered these just for us for our Flamingal- and Sarah T. Moore Designs painted them just like I was hoping! So cute and fun!!

hand painted mini champagne bottles with flamingos and pineapples
mini champagne bottles hand painted with flamingos and pineapples for galentine's day

I’m passing around caprese appetizers made by Courtney at Pizzazzerie...how delicious! And, that mozzarella heart on each one is the perfect touch!

caprese appetizers with mozzerrella hearts

We are serving Strawberry Grilled Chicken Avocado Spinach Salad from Cooking Classy for lunch. Dig in!

strawberry grilled chicken avacado spinach salad

For dessert (because none of us could bear to actually eat the beautiful flamingo cake pop and saved it to take home), we have chocolate cake and vanilla cake…decorated in shades of pink!

pink tulle ruffled table skirt with desserts displayed on top
pink dessert table with pink cake chocolate cake with pink roses and pink cake pops

We all like to flamingle, and so why not host a Flamin-GAL for your next Galentine’s Day theme? I think the theme adds a little sun to February – and you can re-use your decorations in the spring and summer. Not to mention, flamingo pink works perfectly for Galentine’s Day!

supper club love you pho real galentines day cookies
Supper Club ~ I Love You Pho Real ~ Galentine’s Day

My daughter and I love Pho and have had some funny experiences on our mission to find the best. From being offered forks to use to eat our soup (we stuck with the chop sticks) to watching well-prepared mamas use tiny food scissors to cut the noodles for their toddlers, we have learned a lot about the art of eating Pho. We have endless ways of making ourselves laugh as we substitute the word “pho” for “for”. It felt only fitting to host a Galentine’s Day Supper Club with her friends with a pho theme…

supper club love you pho real galentines day cookies

“I love you pho real” was a fun way to tie in Valentine’s Day and Galentine’s Day- and introduce friends to pho who may not have tried it yet. If you are unfamiliar with pho, it is a Vietnamese soup with rice noodles, broth, herbs. You can add a choice of protein like chicken, beef, shrimp, tofu, etc.

supper club love you pho real blue and white ginger jars with tulips on table

To decorate for the dinner, I found the most perfect designs from Susan on Etsy…her shop is called When I Was Your Age. Susan was so kind to send placemats and cups as a gift to us to use for Supper Club.

supper club asian inspired love you pho real chinoiserie cups

The red and pink chinoiserie patterns in her shop were the inspiration for the table setting. I wanted it to be casual but really beautiful.

supper club love you pho real table setting

Adding blue and white to create the table centerpiece was an easy decision to pull in Asian accents. Tulips and orchids were the flowers that I chose for the colors and look. And, then I contacted Tara at Bambella Cookies and asked if she could make a set of cookies to match our theme… needless to say, Bambella Cookies made each one an edible work of art!

supper club love you pho real galentines day cookies

My daughter and I also hung icicle lights on the dining room walls so give the room a warm glow. It created a nice little ambiance- I think we kept them up long after the party! 🙂

supper club i love you pho real table set with red and pink chinoiserie and tulips

I set the tables with a plate and a napkin on top- just like the restaurants do when they serve pho. Instead of making the soup, I left it to the professionals and ordered from a Vietnamese restaurant in town called “Just Pho”. I had the tables ready so that we could serve it directly to the girls as soon as it arrived at the house. I had the girls choose chicken, beef, or veggie before the party, and my husband picked up the order from the restaurant.

supper club love you pho real table set with tulips and galentines day

I also ordered several dozen egg rolls- and should have ordered several dozen more. The girls loved the egg rolls! I wasn’t even able to get a photo of them before they were gone.

supper club i love you pho real cup with straw and orchids

The miniature orchids and the cut tulips came from Trader Joe’s. They were perfect for the party!

supper club love you pho real table centerpiece with ginger jars tulips and orchids

I took lots and lots of photos of the cookies…they were amazingly detailed and so pretty.

supper club love you pho real set of cookies in pink and red

We added helium-filled balloons to the dining room and let them float randomly on the ceiling. It was an easy and really pretty way to add some color to the room.

supper club love you pho real dining room with red balloons on ceiling

For drinks, we served water and also offered sparkling Welch’s apple cider. I found it in pink and so was happy to have it match the party! I added it to my drink bucket with ice and hung a party garland behind the drink bucket.

supper club love you pho real sparkling cider and glasses

I really love the red, pink, green, and blue together. The patterns are so pretty together, too!

supper club love you pho real blue and white ginger jars and tulips overhead shot

Here is a quick picture of the pho that we served. If you would like to try making it yourself, I recommend this pho recipe from Homemade and Yummy.

supper club love you pho real soup

As usual, I loved taking photos of the cookies. I am always amazed at the precision of Bambella Cookies. That chinoiserie pattern is stunning. The pagodas are gorgeous, and the trees and figures are perfect!

supper club love you pho real chinoiserie cookies

I think an Asian-inspired Galentine’s Day is a really fun way to try something new and enjoy food and conversation. I could happily host this theme every month!

supper club centerpiece from above ginger jars and tulips

“I love you, pho real” is a fun sentiment and a fun party theme! I hope you are inspired to create a Galentine’s gathering. I am always happy to answer questions or offer tips! I turned my comments back on after having them off for a long time. You are welcome to leave me a message below in the comments! I would love to hear from you!

Have a great week!

supper club love you pho real three cookies

Cheers xo,

Lydia

Valentine Barbie Heart Shaped Wreath by Parker Kennedy Living
Lydia Loves ~ A Special Edition for Valentine’s Day

Here are my “Six Picks” for the week- I have loved finding several unique and beautiful ideas to share with you in time for Valentine’s Day!

  1. Cuddle + Kind Dolls~ for years, I have loved gifting Cuddle and Kind to children and newborns. I love the personalities of each doll, and I love the mission of the company. They are heirloom-quality dolls, hand-crafted, and full of cuteness! Visit their site to see all of the different animals.
cuddle and kind fawn stuffed animal dolls

2. Sweet Bella’s Cookies Holiday Shop ~ Martha, of Sweet Bella’s, offers holiday cookies that are so fun and beautiful. They can be shipped or picked-up locally (Atlanta, GA or Columbus, GA). Martha is so talented! I love her selection of Valentine cookies!

valentine cookies by sweet bella

3. Condor Chocolate– Condor is an authentic chocolate destination in Athens, GA. I love their hot chocolate gift sets, their chocolate sauce, their baked goods, and their candy! Their drinking chocolate is something to sip, too! You can order from their online shop.

condor chocolate bar with georgia pecans

4. Valentine Barbie Wreath by Parker Kennedy Living ~ I’ve never seen a Valentine quite like this! Lance of Parker Kennedy Living outdid himself on this gorgeous heart-shaped Barbie Valentine’s Day wreath. His signature wreath style adorned with vintage jewelry ready for gifting. I would love it if the wreath would, “Be Mine”! What a fun and whimsical way to celebrate February and all through the year. Love and Barbie are never out of season, right?

Valentine Barbie Heart Shaped Wreath by Parker Kennedy Living

5. Dixie Designs Valentine Cards and Invitations ~ Dixie Designs has you covered for Valentine cards, invitations, multi-card sets, and more! There are so many beautiful and/or cute designs, you may have a hard time choosing! I love them all! Here is an example- stop by their shop linked above to see the full collection of designs.

dixie designs dalmatian valentines day card

6. Pretentious Glass Handblown Bourbon or Beer Glasses– These glasses make great gifts for the hard-to-buy-for-guy! I love the unique shapes and I also like the glasses that look like they are leaning or wobbling. Don’t let the name of the company fool you- that is tongue-in-cheek! I have bought these for my husband and love their quality and style.

pretentious glass bourbon leaning glass

I hope you find some fun gift ideas in this list! The last Lydia Loves edition had several ideas for Valentine’s Day, too! Be sure to check the always-growing list of gift ideas and fun finds in Lydia Loves. Thanks, Friends!

Cheers xo,

Lydia

supper club conversation heart balloons above pink sofa
Supper Club ~ Candy Hearts and Conversation

Supper Club ideas are always fun for Valentine’s Day- and Galentine’s Day! Host your girlfriends for a fun night of conversation- and what could be a better theme than candy conversation hearts? This is the fun we put together for my daughter and her friends…

supper club conversation heart balloons above pink sofa
Photo and Styling by Lydia Menzies of The Party Wagon

My grandmother’s sofa, that I had recovered in hot pink fabric, served as the focal point- and the perfect place to attach conversation heart balloons. The girls love to have a place to take photos, and this turned out to be a comfy and creative photo booth.

supper club flowers on dinner table
Photo and Flowers by Lydia Menzies of The Party Wagon

For the color scheme, I used the colors that you find in bags and boxes of Candy Conversation Hearts and added red like the lettering on the candy. I bought flowers in coordinating colors at the grocery store (Trader Joe’s, Publix, and Kroger are my go-to grocery store flowers). I used clear vases to arrange the flowers and lined them down the tables. I also used lots of candles on the tables in between the flowers. When I host parties with lots of young people, I typically only use battery-operated candles for safety reasons.

supper club conversation hearts candy on table centerpiece
Photo and Styling by Lydia Menzies of The Party Wagon

I sprinkled candy hearts down the middle of each table to tie in the theme- and I also ordered cookies shaped like conversation heart candy. The cookies are from Bambella Cookies, and they always exceed my expectations. Tara is so talented and so dependable.

supper club conversation hearts candy decorated cookies
Cookies by Tara of Bambella Cookies/ Photo & Styling by Lydia Menzies of The Party Wagon

I loved having pastels and brights mixed at this party. They complemented each other well, and it was nice to brighten up a February day and night with pops of color.

supper club conversation hearts candy valentines day flowers
Photo and Styling by Lydia Menzies of The Party Wagon

Because we were celebrating Galentine’s Day, I hung balloon letters that spelled out “Gal Pals” in the dining room. I used string lights to light the room and then attached the balloon letters to the cord of the lights.

supper club conversation hearts candy galentines day gal pal balloons
BTS photo and styling by Lydia Menzies of The Party Wagon

My daughter has always liked gum ball machines, and so I asked Tara if she could design a gum ball machine cookie with candy hearts inside instead of gum balls. She added the cute “I Chews You” to top it off! I love how they turned out (as you will see because I couldn’t stop taking pictures of them) :).

supper club galentines day conversation candy hearts in gumball machine
Cookie by Bambella Cookies for The Party Wagon

I love it when the theme also makes a great part of the decorations!

supper club conversation hearts in pile on dinner table
Photo by Lydia Menzies of The Party Wagon

More cookie designs from Bambella Cookies- the candy conversation heart balloon bouquets are so cute!

supper club cookies conversation hearts candy galentines day
Cookies by Bambella Cookies for The Party Wagon

I put the cookies on a layer of candy hearts to serve them…

supper club candy conversation heart cookies on top of candy
Cookies by Bambella Cookies/ Styling and Photo by Lydia Menzies of The Party Wagon

I also ordered candy kabobs with tiny hearts on them for the girls. They were cute lollipops that I grouped together in a clear candy jar…

supper club candy conversation hearts galentines day candy pops
Candy Kabobs by Sweets Indeed / Photo and Styling by Lydia Menzies of The Party Wagon

These were definitely a hit- and they make perfect take-home treats!

supper club lollipops with hearts
Candy Kabobs by Sweets Indeed / Photo and Styling by Lydia Menzies of The Party Wagon
supper club galentines day candy conversation hearts
Flowers and Photo by Lydia Menzies of The Party Wagon

For other cookie designs, Bambella Cookies and I came up with cute sayings that would be fun for Galentine’s Day.

supper club galentines day candy conversation hearts decorated cookies
Cookies by Bambella Cookies/ Styling and Photo by Lydia Menzies of The Party Wagon

For dinner, my daughter wanted to have fried chicken…and so we served fried chicken, mashed potatoes, salad, and fruit. To make it really simple, I ordered the fried chicken from Publix and put it in our oven to keep it warm.

supper club candy heart conversation-flowers-kitchen
Flowers and Photo by Lydia Menzies of The Party Wagon
supper club galentines day gal pal balloon letters
Photo and Styling by Lydia Menzies of The Party Wagon

The girls love sparkling apple cider, and so I bought disposable champagne flutes from Hobby Lobby to use for serving. Before the party, my daughter and a friend dipped the rims of each glass in vanilla frosting and then dipped them into sprinkles. This was definitely a fun little bonus and looked so pretty and colorful.

supper club galentines day candy conversation hearts glasses with sprinkles
Photo and Styling by Lydia Menzies of The Party Wagon

My daughter also wanted to make and serve her Edible Cookie Dough. There was no shortage of sweets at the dessert table for this Galentine’s Day Supper Club!

supper club galentines day candy conversation hearts cookie dough
Photo and Styling by Lydia Menzies of The Party Wagon

In order to make the cookie dough as pretty as possible when we served it, we scooped it into printed candy cups and added a gold mini spoon tied with a ribbon.

supper club galentines day gold spoons with ribbon
Photo and Styling by Lydia Menzies of The Party Wagon

You can find the recipe for Camille’s Edible Cookie Dough here.

Photo and Styling by Lydia Menzies of The Party Wagon

Here is another look at some of the cookies made by Bambella Cookies because I just loved each one! 🙂

supper club conversation candy hearts decorated cookies
Cookies by Bambella Cookies/ Photo and Styling by Lydia Menzies of The Party Wagon

For decorations, I re-used the white balloon garland that I made for the Winter Supper Club and added heart balloons…

supper club conversation hearts galentines day theme balloon garland
Lydia Menzies of The Party Wagon

And, for party favors, I couldn’t resist the cutest Conversation Candy Heart Soaps from Sun Basil Soap… I tied bows in colors to coordinate with the party and stacked them on a cupcake stand for a pretty presentation.

supper club conversation heart soap by sun basil
Soaps by Sun Basil Soap/ Photo and Styling by Lydia Menzies of The Party Wagon

It was such a fun night of watching these girls enjoy themselves. Supper Clubs for teens are a joy to me- I love seeing each girl and always look forward to the next time they are all together!

supper club galentines day group
Lydia Menzies of The Party Wagon

I hope you find ideas that encourage you to host a dinner or create a Supper Club! I am happy to help if you ever have questions!

Cheers xo,

Lydia

chocolate pecan candy three heart platter
Chocolate Pecan Candy- My Aunt’s Recipe

My aunt and uncle had a huge pecan tree in their yard- which was always nice for those of us who love pecans! Even better, my aunt would take those pecans and make a really simple but delicious pecan candy for us.

chocolate pecan candy my aunts recipe
chocolate pecan candy on heart platter

My kids and their cousins always loved climbing the tree, picking the pecans, and using the fancy rolling pecan picker that completely fascinated them. We all loved it that the kids would enjoy playing outside and picking what felt like a million pecans! The payment for their work was often chocolate pecan candy.

chocolate pecan candy three heart platter

This recipe is easy and makes a perfect candy for gifting or for serving. I hope you enjoy this simple treat that my aunt always made for us!

chocolate pecan candy being picked up from plate

Chocolate Pecan Candy Recipe

Lydia Menzies

Ingredients
  

  • 1 lb. coarsely chopped pecans (or 16 oz.)
  • 2 cups Ghirardelli chocolate chips (I use half semi-sweet and half milk chocolate chips)
  • 1 stick butter (½ cup)
  • 2 tsp vegetable oil (optional)
  • coarse sea salt

Instructions
 

  • Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
  • Spread pecan pieces evenly across baking sheet.
  • Slice butter and add pats of butter scattered around the pecans.
  • Heat oven to 250 degrees (F).
  • Place pecans and butter in oven and toast for 5 minutes.
  • Using a spatula, turn pecans and the melted butter, being sure to coat the pecans.
  • Bake for 5 minutes and then carefully stir pecans, turning them so that they are evenly toasted.
  • Repeat this step until pecans are toasted- this takes about 20 minutes total. Watch pecans carefully, as ovens vary, and remember to turn the pecans every 5 minutes.
  • After pecans are toasted, remove from oven and let cool.
  • After pecans have cooled enough to handle, melt chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl. I typically melt chocolate chips for 30 seconds at a time, stirring in between, until chocolate is melted and smooth.
  • (Optional step) If you prefer, add 2 teaspoons of vegetable oil to the melted chocolate and stir until well mixed. The oil helps the chocolate have a smoother finish, but I usually leave out this step.
  • Stir toasted pecans and melted chocolate together in bowl and mix until pecans are well-coated.
  • Using a tablespoon, spoon out individual servings of the pecan mixture onto waxed paper.
  • Sprinkle salt onto the candy. I usually leave some unsalted for those who prefer no salt (such as my children).
  • Let set.
  • Transfer to a serving dish or box/bag for gifting.

So simple and so tasty!

I hope you enoy!

chocolate pecan candy being picked up from plate

ENJOY!

Cheers xo,

Lydia