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…
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…
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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…
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.
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).
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.
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…
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.
After playing around with different plates and place settings, I finally decided on this one…cheerful, bright and whimsical.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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…
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
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…
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.
To set the mood for the party, flamin-gals directed your path for you as you arrived…
With this spritely lady busying herself right by the front door!
This bashful beauty welcomes you to fill your drink with choices of pink lemonade or a pink grapefruit cocktail…
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…
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!!
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!
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!
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…
“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.
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.
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!
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! 🙂
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.
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.
The miniature orchids and the cut tulips came from Trader Joe’s. They were perfect for the party!
I took lots and lots of photos of the cookies…they were amazingly detailed and so pretty.
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.
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.
I really love the red, pink, green, and blue together. The patterns are so pretty together, too!
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!
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!
“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!
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!
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.
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!
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.
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?
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.
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.
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!
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…
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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) :).
I love it when the theme also makes a great part of the decorations!
More cookie designs from Bambella Cookies- the candy conversation heart balloon bouquets are so cute!
I put the cookies on a layer of candy hearts to serve them…
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…
These were definitely a hit- and they make perfect take-home treats!
For other cookie designs, Bambella Cookies and I came up with cute sayings that would be fun for Galentine’s Day.
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.
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.
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!
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.
Here is another look at some of the cookies made by Bambella Cookies because I just loved each one! 🙂
For decorations, I re-used the white balloon garland that I made for the Winter Supper Club and added heart balloons…
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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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!
2cupsGhirardelli chocolate chips (I use half semi-sweet and half milk chocolate chips)
coarse sea salt
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).
Transfer to a serving dish or box/bag for gifting.