Watermelons and margaritas are two refreshing ways to stay cool in the hot days of summer. Combine the two to make a watermelon margarita cocktail, and it is summer in a glass! What I also love about this recipe is that you can keep frozen watermelon in your freezer and enjoy this treat anytime you like.
We can thank my friend MK Hannigan, at In the Curious Kitchen, for sharing this delicious jewel of a drink with us. MK is known for her way with cocktails and appetizers, and I’m thrilled that she passed along this watermelon margarita recipe just for us. I highly recommend adding MK’s blog to your rotation as she is always adding a creative touch to any recipe she makes. I love her easy cocktails and delicious appetizers! Here’s my current favorite- the Watermelon Margarita!
Watermelon Margarita Recipe
4 cups frozen watermelon (cubed)
3/4 cup good tequila
1/3 cup orange liqueur (I used Patron)
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
1/8 – 1/4 cup simple syrup*
Place frozen watermelon pieces in blender and add in all other ingredients.
Blend until smooth.
Using lime wedge, line the rim of the glass with lime juice and then dip rim of glass in margarita salt.
Add ice to 8 oz. glass (recipe yields about 32 oz. or about 4 servings)
Pour drink into glass.
Garnish with a slice of lime.
*Simple Syrup is easy to make and store for when needed.
SIMPLE SYRUP RECIPE
1 cup water
1 cup granulated sugar
Mix both together in a pot over heat. Boil the mixture until sugar dissolves.
Let simple syrup cool.
Store in refrigerator for up to one month.
You can also watch my video on Instagram/IGTV.
A quick tip from Lydia…
If the watermelon is frozen together into a block, let it thaw on the counter for a few minutes until you can break apart with a knife.
For more recipes and party ideas with watermelon, see these posts…
You know how you sometimes meet someone and feel immediately impressed with their professionalism and polish? That describes how I felt about Anna Hartzog from the first introduction.
In September, Anna Hartzog sent me a message on Instagram introducing herself and her job at Hoffman Media. I was honored to hear from Anna who is the Senior Project Editor at Hoffman Media.
Anna oversees the production of Entertain and Celebrate magazine (formerly Celebrate magazine). I have been a fan of this beautiful magazine for many years…and was really excited when Anna asked if I would be interested in having a party featured in the magazine.
Fast forward a few weeks, and I had the opportunity to work with Anna and Lance on photos for a feature that she wrote about Parker Kennnedy Living’s Vintage Jewelry Wreaths. I was honored and humbled to take the photos for the magazine spread, and I developed so much admiration for Anna as I got to know her.
Anna was a dream to work with right from the start. Her polite and professional manner shined through her emails and direct messages. I was wowed by Anna’s kindness and patience as she answered questions and described her vision. Before Entertain and Celebrate hit news stands, Anna mailed me a copy of the magazine. Seeing the results of her hard work explained so much about Anna! The magazine was a reflection of her keen eye for visual content, her ability to organize and execute the vision, and her enthusiasm for bespoke celebrations and gifts.
Soon after, Anna reached out again about a party feature for a future edition. I was so impressed with Anna’s wonderful way of connecting. She is polite, proficient, and professional- and I really wanted to get to know her better! I asked Anna if I could interview her for my website and share her with all of you. I think we all enjoy what Anna and Hoffman Media deliver to us through their beautiful magazines, and so it only seemed fitting to get to know one of the smart minds behind the print. I happily headed to Birmingham to sit down with Anna and learn more!
You won’t be surprised to hear that Anna was an English minor at Ole Miss in Oxford, Mississippi~ her major was Psychology which also makes perfect sense to me when you realize how well she relates with everyone. Early on, Anna honed her skills by teaching college and high school English and with large projects as a volunteer with the Junior League of Birmingham. Within the Jr. League, she found herself as the editor of a magazine that highlighted community programs and opportunities. It was as though all of these endeavors were leading Anna to her role as Sr. Project Editor at Hoffman Media.
As Senior Project Editor, Anna has many balls to juggle from preparing magazine copy and creating custom content for companies. Anna works with the recipe developers and photo stylists at HM to create the content that we enjoy as we flip page after page. She works alongside other project editors on each project, and each day at work brings a completely new set of opportunities. Anna says there is really no typical day while they prepare each issue or edition. Entertain & Celebrate is a specialty print that comes out 8 times a year. Anna and her team work around the calendar year to produce some of the most beautiful imagery and layout. (Other Hoffman Media publications include Bake from Scratch, Southern Lady, Victoria Magazine, and many more!) As you can see, Anna and all of those that work at Hoffman Media are dedicated to bringing us ideas and inspiration in the most gorgeous ways.
I asked Anna her thoughts on the addition of social media to the media landscape in our everyday lives. She told me that it has enhanced the reach to all areas in a positive way. It makes connections easier to continue and gives more access to inspiration.
When I asked Anna about her own personal preferences for entertaining and celebrating, here is what she had to say…
Do you prefer being a hostess or a guest at a party?
Anna~ “I prefer to host! I love to use nice things and enjoy china patterns and silver patterns. I worked at a silver store in college and was inspired to host parties and showers for friends.”
2. What is your favorite party style?
Anna~ “Fancy! My husband cooks and we always look for a reason to have people over and entertain.”
3. Favorite Silver Pattern?Frontenac
4. Favorite China?Herend
5. Favorite Hostess Gift?Wine, because it is perfect for right then or for later.
6. Cocktail Party or Cookout?Cocktail Party
7. Favorite Southern Vacation Spot?30A/ also Asheville and Nashville
8. Favorite Season?Summer- there is more freedom and more daylight
9. Favorite Holiday?Christmas
10. Favorite Dinner Recipe?Indian Butter Chicken in an Insta Pot
11. Favorite Dessert?Cream Cheese Pound Cake with Strawberries
One of my favorite projects that Anna told me about is a cookbook that she made for her family. She gathered 60 of her grandmother’s recipes and 40 of other family members’ recipes and compiled them into one book. It took over 2 years to put it all together! I think this is especially sweet because Anna’s grandmother is who taught Anna how to cook. What a wonderful gift to have and to give. And, that feat alone pretty much sums up Anna’s dedication, gratefulness, and kindness all in one! Not to mention, it will make entertaining and celebrating more fun for all of the generations in her family!
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!
Creating a beautiful table setting is easy to learn! Here are some of my simple tips for making your tables look polished and party-ready…
You can never go wrong with a crisp white tablecloth. I love the look of them~ and white makes it easy to build on creativity. Here I started with a white tablecloth and used dark, rattan, woven placemats to create a contrast. I had flowers left over from this charity event that I did, and so the flowers were my inspiration for the rest of the table. The peach and coral tones of the flowers were so pretty with white. I complemented those colors with green and brown.
When you have cut flowers, you can arrange them in a variety of vases or containers. I like to mix and match metals and porcelain or pottery because of the different textures. In these photos, I used mini mint julep cups for the cut roses and ranunculus. I grouped several together to make a runner in the middle of the table. I wanted to add a little bit of organic greenery to the table with the cut flowers. I potted mint plants in textured white pottery and mingled the pots in with the fresh flowers…
If you prefer to keep the look crisp with the color popping off of the white tablecloth, you can instead use a clear vase or other clear container to put a larger bundle of cut flowers as the star of the table. The smaller julep cups spread down the table give the illusion of a grand centerpiece that tapers from middle to ends.
Either way, you have two beautiful options for a fantastic centerpiece. Which do you like better? The cut flowers or the flowers mixed with mint plants?
Now that you have decided on your centerpiece, add dinner plates and salad plates to the placemats or chargers that you have set. A set of white plates is a safe and really useful investment. Here, I used a white dinner plate with a white salad plate trimmed in gold. To add in color and contrast, I used a patterned green napkin and vintage glasses with green stems. Simple flatware goes well with this table setting. I chose silver, but gold would also look great! I like to mix metals and liked how the silver flatware played off of the silver mint julep cups.
There was also a little touch of silver on the center container of flowers. I actually used an ice bucket as a vase and filled the bucket with flowers in a really unstructured way. I love when flowers look a little bit askew. :). To me, that makes the table more inviting and comfortable rather than stuffy. (Don’t get me wrong, I also love a really formal place setting at the right time, too!)
The final step in this simple place setting is to add a name card for each place. If you saw my video of this tablescape on Instagram, then you saw that I suggested adding a Clementine orange as a nice touch to tie together the entire table. And, if you would like to take it a step further, add a name to the orange. To add the name, use a toothpick to make a small hole in the skin of the orange. Slide a piece of intentionally torn paper with a handwritten name on to a small twig of berries/buds. Place them on the toothpick and voila! Your table is set with thoughtful and beautiful touches. Enjoy!
I hope you find these tips helpful. If you have any questions, please leave them in the comments. below. Happy celebrating!
Windy O’Connor is an artist that brings happiness and joy through her bold artwork. After you meet Windy in person, you will understand why! She is as vibrant and lovely as the art that she creates! Here is where you can find Windy O’Connor’s art.
Windy sent two of the table runners that she made using her artwork applied to fabric. I am fascinated by the patterns that she is able to create in her home line and loved seeing the design applied to items that can be used for everyday living. There was an Italian feel to this particular design, and so I set an outdoor table on our porch that became the perfect place to gather our family for dinner.
I like to add a solid white or ivory colored table cloth when I set a table using a pattern like the one on Windy’s vivid art work. She uses bold patterns and colors, and so I temper that with a calm solid. This also lets the artistic table runner be the star of the show.
You can see that I used Italian mugs from Vietri and then added a solid linen napkin (with a touch of French) to the table. The chargers are solid white and the green plates (from PKL Celler) have a lettuce leaf pattern on them. The stripes are the only other real pattern that I included on the table- and that was done sparingly so not to overwhelm the tablescape. It adds depth and interest without conflicting with the vibrant table runner.
Having a table linen as your jumping off point to styling a table is a great way to begin to visualize the entire experience that you want to create for your family and/or friends. Sometimes I surprise myself at where my mind goes when I start picturing the gathering that I am creating. It’s a little bit like traveling to me- you add in as many ways to evoke the feeling of a place and a time. Each gathering that you host has its own story and adventure- and no matter how many times you visit the same table, you have a different experience to enjoy each time.
I love the casual feel of outdoor table settings, don’t you? They feel casual but also really special. I think that is what makes them also give the feeling of a warm welcome~ because they are approachable while being out-of-the-ordinary.
Think of how you want your guests to feel like they can pull up a chair and pour themselves a glass of water or wine. They don’t have to wait to be asked or allowed- they just know they are welcome to relax and enjoy a slow pace for a minute. They can linger at the table and enjoy the people and the conversation while they enjoy a meal. Since we all have to eat, why not make it memorable?
One trick that I like to do if I am having a small crowd (1-3 people) and want the table to feel cozier is to fill the table space at one end. It is almost as though you create a little room at the end of the table and then create a beautiful “wall” around it. We are all so programmed to create a centerpiece (which is one of my favorite parts of a table), but also try moving the centerpiece down closer to the end of a longer table. This creates a homey, cozy feel and allows you to use taller pieces because no one needs to see over it.
You could serve food family style and have room at the other end of the table to place your serving dishes. I like the coziness of a larger table made smaller by using plants or items around your home that fit perfectly into a table scape.
Being able to use your outside spaces or a space by a window is always an added bonus. Bringing nature into your home feels us with a happiness that spills over to our guests. Bring the outdoor colors inside with your table linens even if the weather is not perfect for outdoor dining.
But, if the weather allows, I say jump to it and enjoy those moments. There is no telling what stories are waiting for you to create with your family and friends.
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!
It was an honor to be asked to participate in a fundraising event in our town called La Table. The idea behind the event is that each table has a host or hostess that chooses his or her own theme. The host/hostess invites friends to join him or her at the table!
I was thrilled to design a table for this year’s event. This is the 9th year that La Table has been hosted by Family Promise of Athens. Family Promise is a group that includes volunteers from churches in the area who provide temporary housing for displaced families. It’s an incredibly valuable organization and one that I am so happy to help.
The theme that I chose for my table was “Mint to Serve”- and I alluded to mint throughout the table decorations. My inspiration for the theme came from a gathering at The Southern C where B. Claire Events provided each person a chance to create their own floral arrangement in a mini mint julep cup. I fell in love with the mini julep cups and wanted to do something fun and pretty with them. In contrast to the mini julep cups, I borrowed an enormous silver urn to mimic the cup. The large urn was loaned to me from European Floral Design.
The blooming branches in the center urn and all of the cut flowers were also from European Floral Design. I described the color scheme and my ideas to Brett at EFD and she ordered the gorgeous flowers for me.
I was able to borrow large and medium sized mint julep cups from European Floral Design to mix in and around the table. I filled the cups with all of the beautiful ranunculus, tulips, roses, and berries. I wanted there to be an explosion of colorful flowers surrounded by mint plants. I added name cards on rough-edged paper with hand-written names.
I bought mint plants from Lowe’s and potted them in white planters from European Floral Design. Initially, I wanted about twice as many plants on the table, but I scaled it back to give us all room to have food! 🙂
At each place setting, I used my woven rattan chargers and topped them with gold and white dinner plates. On top of the dinner plates, I used antique Rose Medallion plates (bought from Appointments at Five). I added a mini mint julep cup filled with flowers and mint leaves on top of each Rose Medallion plate.
I was also lucky enough to have Lemondaisy Designs offer to send cocktail napkins to be a part of the table top. I thought the julep cup art on each cocktail napkin was perfect! The mint leaf garnish was the perfect touch to go with the green polka dots, too!
For table linens, I chose tablecloths and napkins from Lindroth Designs. I ordered the same pattern in 3 different colors so that I could play with the colors but keep it cohesive. I placed the green tablecloth over the round table and draped the other two tablecloths around the centerpiece.
The flowers were the same colors as the linens…
Because this was a fund-raiser, the tables were meant to be a bit over-the-top rather than traditional. The oversized centerpiece was to make a statement rather than to enjoy conversation over. That is part of the fun of this event- the tables are more extravagant than everyday life!
This was such a joy to put together. It was also so nice to enjoy with a table full of friends and a room full of giving hearts. Wishing you all a beautiful day and hopefully some inspiration to create colorful table settings for your friends and family!
You may have noticed that decorated cookies are one of my favorite details to add to a party. I share them so often that I am often mistaken for a cookie artist. I recently took a class in Birmingham, AL offered by Kat of Hey Kat Bakes~ and I can affirm that I am definitely not a cookie artist! Lol! But, Kat is most definitely an artist…
Kat’s steady hand and a huge amount of patience are keys to her gorgeous cookies, along with an eye and talent for color and design. Her ability to precisely outline her cookies with the finest piping tip lost me right off the bat. Ha! She’s really good, and I need lots of practice! Take a look at some of Kat’s cookies…
The golf cookies above are so perfect. I love the golf cart design and the clubs. The trophy and golf shirt are simple elegance and so pretty on a cookie! And, Kat shows us her playful side below in these super cute and creative pizza slice cookies. The clean lines of Kat’s designs always draw me to her work.
With graduation not too far away, how perfect would these cookies be to celebrate a graduate? I especially love the green graduation gown as that is the color of my kids’ school. These work for everyone because Kat will work with you on your color requests and make each one customized to you.
The golden doodle or retriever cookies shown below definitely warm my heart. These are the sweetest puppy cookies. What a cute and fun set for a third birthday party. The perfect lettering on the name and the number wows me. How about you?
And, if you would like a more adult theme, look at the cocktail cookies below. The illustrations are simply beautiful and the texture on the herbs is so perfect to me. I would be so proud of myself if I could decorate cookies like this! Kat amazes me.
Now you can see why taking a cookie decorating class from Kat would be so fun. I always have high hopes for myself when I am trying to decorate cookies. Sometimes I am proud of what I end up, with and other times I know I need more practice! One thing for sure is that I always have more respect for the art of cookie decorating each time I give it a try. I met up with Kat in Birmingham to take her class and was so impressed with her skill and organization. She was ready for each of us!
Cantley and Company hosted the class in their gorgeous custom kitchen showroom (if you need a kitchen designer along with amazing cabinetry, call Cantley and Co.!). This was a perfect match as it gave everyone room to work around the kitchen showroom islands.
Kat had us get right to work and she had a decorating kit ready for each of us. She gave us lessons on how to outline and then flood the cookies- and then she let us get creative.
There were so many varying levels of skill- some were trying cookies for the first time and some were there to perfect their already-impressive cookie skills. It was fun to watch and to learn from each other while Kat worked with each of us!
It was also fun to see the different personalities emerge around the table as we decorated. I use “we” loosely as I was having more fun seeing what everyone was doing rather than decorating my own cookies. Fortunately for me, Kat used a couple of my cookies as the sample cookies and she decorated them for me while I chatted.
We also had sprinkles ready for us to use in any way we wanted. Kat thought of all of the details- from the consistency of each type of frosting to the tiny container of sprinkles for each person.
As you can see, it was a really productive class. As we finished, Kat had a bakery box ready for us to safely transport our little creations home. I loved taking mine back with me and enjoying every bite!
Look at all of the great designs…
Hopefully, Kat will continue to offer cookie decorating classes in Birmingham- and maybe beyond? It was so fun to be able to join in the fun and get to meet Kat in person. I typically only get to see her on Instagram, and so it was fun to be together in real life.
I also want to show you some of the cookie collections that Kat has been commissioned to create. These are designs for parties in Birmingham, and they are beautiful! You can see how Kat can coordinate cookies to match your party colors and/or theme.
The cookies below were made for a desert-themed occasion and Kat was asked to do longhorn cattle and cactus plants…
You can find more of Kat’s cookies on Instagram at Hey Kat Bakes. She’s fun to watch! Thanks for letting me come decorate cookies with you, Kat! It was a treat for me!!
To see more of my visit to Birmingham, go here and meet another talented young creative lady~ Ivy Odom!
A champagne brunch is such a simple and beautiful way to celebrate or entertain. I am going to show you the basics of setting up an area for serving champagne (and a non-alcoholic version, too). I will also share one of my favorite champagne cocktails in case you prefer to take it up a notch.
For starters, use a silver or gold/brass ice bucket as a focal point for the champagne drink station. Here, I used a vintage brass loving cup / trophy cup ice bucket. I think it is always interesting to use a unique serving piece in the center. You can also use a garden planter or cache pot to hold several bottles of champagne at a time. Another striking alternative is to group several (at least 3) coordinating single ice buckets as the focal point and elevate them so that they are different heights.
Secondly, use a serving tray that gives the occasion an extra-special feel. Here I used one of my favorite silver trays and loaded it with simple champagne flutes. The metallic and glass complement each other nicely and play off of each other with a little bit of shimmer. To create a fun, celebratory vibe, add in a playful sign or saying such as the “Press for Champagne” button below…
You could incorporate the playful message through printed napkins, or a garland/banner that fits nicely on the drink area.
On the tray, use a loving cup to serve raspberries, blackberries, or blueberries. Remember to add a spoon so that the guests can add the berries to their champagne glasses. Above, I also added simple pink candy melts in a silver loving cup to add an unexpected treat that also was a pretty shade of pink! 🙂
I surrounded the champagne and tray of glasses with flowers. Parker Kennedy Living and I put together several loving cup container ideas, and I used those to dress up the champagne bar. I kept it simple by setting up the champagne on the sideboard in our dining room- it has an easy flow of traffic and is large enough to serve more than one person at a time. The loving cups full of flowers give it a beautiful feel- and is a perfect way to brighten up a winter day.
Continuing with the loving cup theme, I set up a hot tea service (see my favorite tea here) on my bar cart beside the champagne bar. It is always a thoughtful gesture to serve non-alcoholic options, even at a champagne brunch! The silver urn serving piece holds the hot water and makes a great centerpiece.
Around the urn, I added all of the essentials for hot tea- the tea itself, honey sticks, sugar…
Remember to offer several teacups and saucers for the guests to serve themselves- along with a spoon for stirring. Colorful macarons add another bright spot to a wintry day and pair nicely with tea.
As you can see, I also placed a pretty bottle of water on the serving cart and glasses are housed below. Simply add cocktail napkins and flowers, and you are all set!
Setting up a bar cart / drink station for a champagne brunch doesn’t have to be difficult or elaborate. If you elevate the simple necessities and use items from around your home, you can design a beautiful setting for drinks in no time. One last little tip… remember to add a tea towel or bar towel to your drink station. It will help with accidental spills (which always happen) and will make your guests feel more comfortable to have a towel close by if needed when dealing with drinks. That way, no one has to embarrass themselves over a spill that needs a lot of attention. See below for my suggestions for champagne cocktails and favorite teas…
This is a simple way to add a little something special to your already special champagne!
Not too long ago, Parker Kennedy Living hosted a live video on Instagram to share how to make floral arrangements using flowers, greenery, and citrus. I videoed the lesson and took photos while Lance and David worked on creating the arrangements. So many people fell in love with the loving cup that he used on his cocktail table shown below…
After receiving so many comments and messages asking to know more about the “trophy cup” and how to find one, I suggested to PKL that we host another video sharing more about vintage and antique loving cups. They have a wonderful history, and they can be used for gorgeous displays in your home.
While Lance and David headed to Saudi Arabia to work on a design project, I headed to antique shops and scoured for loving cups. I found so many beautiful options, and really enjoyed the hunt. I also developed a new appreciation for those who find antique treasures for a living- it is fun but also tiring! Lol! I was surprised at how exhausted I felt after searching in several large antique shops- but, at the end of the day, you realize how you just spent your entire day walking!
I was pretty excited about my haul after a week of hunting, and I couldn’t wait to show Lance. We had decided we would share how lovely they look grouped together and on their own. We had a wide variety of sizes, shapes, and ages of loving cups- and it was so much fun to put all of this together to share with all of you!
Originally, I was focused on finding loving cups that were the size of the one that Lance and David have on their cocktail table. I quickly realized that it was going to be harder to find that exact look. I am glad that I shifted my focus, because finding the smaller versions proved to be really fun. I loved reading the engraving on each one! My absolute favorite said, “Girl of the Year 1967”.
I also really loved finding a silver ice bucket with two handles that offered the same look and feel of a loving cup. It looks beautiful paired with a bronzed loving cup filled with roses…
Loving cups have a long history of being used for special occasions, and they symbolize unity. With two handles typically placed on each side of the cup, the loving cups represent a union of marriage. The couple would each drink from the cup to signify the union of marriage. Throughout history, loving cups were held in high esteem as they were passed down from generation to generation in families.
Because of the special meaning of loving cups, the shape also became a universally used shape for trophies. Finding antique trophies and awards was a treat- I could imagine the life each one had touched along the way and appreciated how special it was to the recipient at one time. It made me want to keep them all and give them a place of honor in my home. 🙂 The trophy cup below on the right became one of my favorites…
As you can see, Lance and I used cut tulips (I found the tulips at Trader Joe’s) for the loving cups- but we also potted mini plants inside of the loving cups. Lance brought moss to use to cover the soil and to give the floral arrangement a polished, finished look.
In the live video that we did, we shared how to style a champagne bar cart. We added fruit, appetizers, and cookies to go along with the champagne. We discussed cheeses that pair well with champagne- along with smoked salmon.
Below, you can see the small trophy that we used for the tulips- I think that would make such a unique bud vase for a desk, powder room, or other small space. It adds character and is a conversation starter, for sure!
Lance added the tea towel to the cart, and I love how it finishes off the bar cart display. Such a simple detail can add so much- just like adding a bow to the top of a package.
Originally, I had not intended to keep the large brass loving cup champagne bucket- but after using it, I couldn’t give it up! I have loved it ever since and I have used it over and over. I often add plants to it when I need it for something other than an ice bucket.
Below, you can see a closer view of the inscription from the champagne company. It is a beautiful piece, as they all are. I love having the large and small versions of loving cups placed around our home. I hope you have also found some interesting ways to use them in your home, too.
For more photos and ideas on setting up a champagne brunch and tea serving cart, see the sister post to this one. I kept going with ideas after Lance and I finished this set-up. I would love to know what you think of loving cups/trophy cups!
The idea for our very first Supper Club came to us soon after we moved into our new house. We moved in to our home on Dec. 23 and still had so much to do to get it like we wanted it. We let our wish to be in by Christmas override the fact that not everything was “complete”. But, all of the essentials were in place…and so we moved in with about 2 months of work left to do. Because we still had so much to finish, we only moved in our necessary furniture and waited to bring in the rest. That meant our house was a little bit empty! 🙂 Empty rooms made me think that it would be a great time to have a party! And so, our Supper Club was born…
By this time, it was the beginning of January. My daughter and I decided a winter theme would be appropriate and pretty easy to pull together. We also knew we wanted to serve something warm and that we would not be able to make the food ourselves because our range had not even arrived. 🙂 I tell you that so that you know that I fully believe in not stressing about everything being absolutely perfect before you host parties.
We put a temporary stove in our kitchen until ours came in, and so I ordered 2 types of soup from Zoe’s and platters of sandwiches from Chicken Salad Chick. The soups we chose were Chicken and Orzo and Tomato Basil. For the sandwiches, we chose 3 varieties. I kept the soup warm on the stove, and then we transferred it to the customized containers from Loralee Lewis. We had around 20 girls for Supper Club, and so having paper plates and soup containers worked well for it. Loralee designed dinner plates and dessert plates to coordinate with the soup containers that I requested.
If you look really closely, you can see Loralee’s special touch…notice how she put the words to the song “What a Wonderful World” in a circle on the inside portion of the plate. She thinks of everything. Just for fun, Loralee also included labels for the cups that read, “Just Sippin’ Pretty with my Girls”.
Next, we decided on how to decorate to make the party feel wintry but welcoming. Because we had not moved our dining room table in yet, I set up folding tables in our vacant dining room. I rented gold Chavari chairs for seating and used my white tablecloths to cover the tables.
For table centerpieces, we made white balloon garlands and then added fairy lights through the garland.
I loved having the balloon garlands with lights- it gave off just enough pretty light and had a perfect glow to it. You could also add different colored lights for a different effect.
We also added balloon garlands around the fireplace and doors. The best part about the decorations was that the girls came over early to help! Some came over the day before Supper Club and some came a couple of hours before- it was the biggest help and made it all even more fun!
I had this vision of lighting clear balls with battery lights and hanging them inside of the fireplace to mimic the feel of a fire. The girls went right to work on it and made it look so cute and pretty. We added a furry rug in front of the fireplace so that they could sit if they wanted (remember we had not moved in all of our furniture). It was a great spot for them to take photos and to just hang out.
For dessert, we served winter-themed cookies. Macarons from Mac Lab were so cute! I custom-ordered snowmen faces on them, and we loved how they turned out! We also had hot chocolate to go with the cookies.
I also ordered cookies from Bambella Cookies that coordinated with the paper designs by Loralee. The cookies were so pretty and perfect that it made it hard to eat them.
I asked one of the girls to help me display the macarons on a plate of sprinkles, and this is how she did it- isn’t that so pretty and creative? I love the unique way that she placed them on the platter!
The timeframe for each Supper Club is an hour and a half. I like to schedule them for 6:30-8:00. Occasionally we adjust that time, but it has proven to be a convenient time for most everyone. We host them as often as possible, and we typically host about 6 times during the school year.
We have tried different ways of arranging the seating- sometimes the girls draw numbers and sit at the table that matches that number. One time we had place cards at each seat…that was everyone’s least favorite seating arrangement. 🙂
The photo below makes me laugh that we had a ladder in the background! We definitely didn’t let a little construction stop us from getting everyone together and having fun!
I like to have an activity for the girls or something unique at each Supper Club. For this first one, we had a white mug for everyone and made Sharpie mugs. The idea was to make their own hot chocolate mug to be able to keep and enjoy at home. I found most of the white mugs at Target…
I had a large supply of Sharpie Paint Pens and the girls could create their own designs. After they finished, I saved them to put in the oven and let set. I did the oven part of the activity the next day and my daughter delivered them when they were ready. I followed these directions for Sharpie Paint Pen Mugs. These girls have some impressive artistic skills…
We had such a wonderful time at our first Supper Club that it became a tradition to get this group together as often as possible. I have shared more Supper Club parties that we have hosted throughout my blog. Check out the different themes and ideas- and I hope you find one that inspires you to get a group together for a meal and lots of fun!
Hosting a Supper Club is always a fun way to gather friends and enjoy a meal together. My daughter and I began hosting a Supper Club together for her friends, and it has become one of our favorite activities. We have lots of ideas and themes for Supper Clubs here at The Party Wagon. This Supper Club night was especially fun with fondue as the theme!
This Supper Club was hosted in January and so we went with a wintry theme. The warmth of fondue felt like a perfect meal to enjoy on a really cold night. We hung icicle lights along the walls in the dining room and snowflake lights on the tables. The lights on the tables are battery-operated so that they can be used without needing an electrical outlet.
As you can see in the photos, I used paper plates on top of a charger. I knew the girls might need to be able to move their plates closer as they were dipping their fondue sticks into the cheese, and so I decided to make it easier to manage with paper plates. It added a casual feel to the dinner, which is also one of my goals when we host these get-togethers. I like for each dinner to feel special without feeling overly-formal or stuffy. Relaxed fun is what I’m going for, with a few out-of-the ordinary details thrown in to make it special.
For the color scheme, we wanted to use shades of blue to go with the wintry theme. Fondue is a Swiss creation, and so I wanted to create a snowy feel with white tablecloths. I bunched sheer fabric around the tables to mimic snow drifts. Fireside is usually where Swiss families would enjoy fondue during the winter, and so I aimed to give that effect of warmth from the glow of lights.
To add a youthful feel to the party, I used a polka dot center runner of fabric. I went with dots because I kept thinking of Swiss dot fabric, but I wanted a more visual pattern. I also think it would be so fun to use Swiss folk art designs for this theme. I couldn’t find what I needed that would arrive in time for the party, and so I stuck with what was available locally. Nordic/alpine sweaters often have blues, pinks, and greens in them, and so we added those colors in small doses with the details.
I asked Loralee Lewis if she would design straw flags to be used on fondue sticks. I wanted each guest to have her own set of fondue sticks, and so I added the names to the skewers with straw flags. I then bundled a set of 3 wooden skewers with a ribbon and had them ready for the girls to use with their fondue. They turned out perfectly!
I actually loved how pretty they all looked stacked on a plate, and so I placed them on the serving table just like this. The girls enjoyed finding their bundle of skewers in place of typical utensils.
It was a little hard to take photos in the dim light, but I love the glow!
The fondue was an activity all in itself, but we added in one special activity for the girls to do before they went home for the night. Each guest was asked to randomly choose an envelope. Inside each envelope was a name of one of the girls with a message explaining to “spread kindness like confetti” by doing random acts of kindness for your secret person through the month. When we met back at Supper Club again the next month, each girl revealed their secret person with a small gift. We made a game out of it by having each girl try to guess who they thought their secret person was before the gifts were given. It was a fun way to help remind them to think of others and to remember to be kind to each other.
I actually didn’t get a photo of our dessert, but it was a huge hit (which is why I didn’t get photos!). They loved it! At our kitchen table and kitchen island, I plugged in electric fondue pots and melted chocolate. We served a platter full of fruits, pretzels, chips, and marshmallows. Hint: It would be such a fun idea for a Valentine’s Day party!
Supper Club Tips and Notes for Fondue
Because I could not plug in as many fondue pots as needed for hosting close to 20 seated guests, I served fondue from chafing dishes. This was convenient and pretty- but please note that you must be extra careful with the flame coming into contact with anything on the table. The girls are old enough to handle the chafing dish set-up, but I still worried about it. For this reason, I recommend traditional fondue pots. I definitely would not recommend fondue for young kids without constant supervision. These girls handled it like pros, but I just want to be very transparent at the risks of using chafing dishes with table linens, crowded tables, etc. Also, if you use chafing dishes be sure to know how to extinguish Sterno flames properly (save the top of the Sterno can or use a flat, wide metal spatula to extinguish). Extinguish the flame before you pick up the dish for cleaning.
When making fondue, use quality cheeses. I bought all of mine at Trader Joe’s.
When melting the cheeses to serve, be sure to grate the cheese rather than chop the cheese. Grating keeps the cheese smooth. Which leads to the next tip…
Toss the cheese with cornstarch to keep it from clumping together.
Slowly, slowly melt the cheeses together. Add a little cheese at a time and melt it. If you pour in large amounts at a time, the cheese will stick together and be very difficult to manage.
Stir the cheeses constantly when making the fondue.
You can use substitute chicken broth or beer for the dry white wine that is used in the recipe.