The Top 15 Posts of 2015

If I wax poetic right now about how I can’t believe that we’re in the final hours of 2015, I’d be about the one millionth blogger to do so. Regardless, this is me officially proclaiming that I can’t believe that 2015 is just about a wrap. I’m still marveling over all the huge, crazy things that happened this year (like this one) and I’ll definitely be reflecting more on the year that was in the coming days. In the meantime, I thought I’d share a little recap of the top 15 posts of 2015! This is a semi-scientific round-up of your favorite posts of the year, presented in no particular order. Any other favorites not on the list? Fill me in! I’m brainstorming for 2016 and I’d love to know what you loved this year!

Pear and Poppy Seed Layer Cake from @cydconverse

Pear and Poppy Seed Layer Cake

DIY Marble Dipped Mugs by @cydconverse

DIY Marble Dipped Mugs

Caramel Apple Sangria by @cydconverse

Caramel Apple Sangria

DIY Gold Leaf Planters by @cydconverse

DIY Gold Leaf Planters

DIY Painted Dresser Makeover by @cydconverse featuring @valsparpaint

DIY Painted Dresser Makeover

DIY Painted Mason Jars by @cydconverse

DIY Painted Mason Jars

DIY Marble Pitcher by @cydconverse

DIY Marble Pitcher

DIY Gold Glitter Dipped Mug by @cydconverse

DIY Gold Glitter Dipped Mug

DIY Gold Leaf Frame by @cydconverse

DIY Gold Leaf Frame

DIY Striped iPhone Case by @cydconverse

DIY Striped iPhone Case

Homemade Vodka Sauce Recipe by @cydconverse

Host a Ladies Night Dinner Party

DIY Watermelon Print Napkins by @cydconverse

DIY Watermelon Print Napkins

DIY Abstract Painted Mug by @cydconverse

DIY Abstract Painted Mug

Chocolate Chip Cookie Iced Coffee Float by @cydconverse

Chocolate Chip Cookie Iced Coffee Float

DIY Painted Gold Leaf Ornaments by @cydconverse

DIY Painted Gold Leaf Ornaments

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[Top photo by Sugary & Buttery | All others by Alice G. Patterson for The Sweetest Occasion.]

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A Mini Home Tour + Tips for Choosing a Paint Color Palette

This post was sponsored by Valspar. Thank you for supporting the
sponsors that 
help make The Sweetest Occasion possible!

@cydconverse Home Tour featuring @valsparpaint

The week between Christmas and New Year’s Day is always one where I start thinking about the year ahead. I think that’s a pretty natural tendency for a lot of us following the craze of the holiday season. To start mulling over resolutions, setting goals, wanting to get organized and in general seeking a sense of renewal as a new year kicks off. As we prepared for the baby’s arrival, I was a flurry of nesting and organizing and decorating, but I definitely have a handful of projects I’ll be tackling early in the year. Today I wanted to share some of our progress around the house since moving late summer with a mini home tour. I’m also sharing three easy tips for choosing a paint color palette for your entire home! I know choosing paint colors can be a really daunting task for some people so hopefully this will give you a few ideas for making the process easier as well as give you the inside scoop on some of my current favorite paint colors! You know by now that I’ve become a total Valspar junkie so all of these rooms were painted with Valspar Optimus, available at Ace Hardware, which is hands down my favorite paint formula.

@cydconverse Home Tour featuring @valsparpaint

@cydconverse Home Tour featuring @valsparpaint @cydconverse Home Tour featuring @valsparpaint

@cydconverse Home Tour featuring @valsparpaint

@cydconverse Home Tour featuring @valsparpaint @cydconverse Home Tour featuring @valsparpaint

Choose a Neutral Base
I love using one great neutral for all of the main rooms throughout a home. Think gray, taupe, ivory or beige. As a rule, using a single shade throughout most of your public rooms allows for great flow and creates an open, airy feel versus visually chopping up your house with different colors every time you move from room to room. My favorite gray shade at the moment is Modern Gray 25-1B by Valspar, available at Ace Hardware. It’s an amazing mid-tone gray shade that doesn’t read too cool (blue or purple) or too warm (yellow or brown.) We’ve used it throughout our living room, entry, dining room and hallways, and paired with the tall ceilings and white trim it’s just stunning.

@cydconverse Home Tour featuring @valsparpaint

@cydconverse Home Tour featuring @valsparpaint @cydconverse Home Tour featuring @valsparpaint

Think Monochromatic
Once I have my neutral selected for all of the main rooms in our house, my next step is to add a bit of interest to our overall paint color palette with soft, subtle shifts in color. In our current home, our kitchen is located at the back of the house and you can see a peek of it from both the dining and living rooms. I loved the idea of changing up the color in that room, but I still wanted something light and airy to keep everything feeling really wide open so I chose Cool Mint VR079D also available at Ace Hardware. The hint of watery blue is gorgeous with the gray in the other rooms. Likewise, upstairs in the nursery (which I’ll be sharing a full, super detailed tour of soon), I went with another neutral, but this time I went a bit darker and a bit warmer with Moon Shot VR095D. It’s a really lovely warm gray that provided the perfect backdrop for all the bright colors I wanted to work into our little girl’s room while at the same time not overwhelming the tiny little room.

@cydconverse Home Tour featuring @valsparpaint

@cydconverse Home Tour featuring @valsparpaint @cydconverse Home Tour featuring @valsparpaint

@cydconverse Home Tour featuring @valsparpaint

Take a Risk
After preaching about neutrals and how they’re my favorite (I love how they allow you to work so much pattern and texture into a room without things getting too crazy), my final piece of advice is to shake things up and take a risk! Usually I like to do this in a bedroom or a tiny little bathroom or some other room where it’s completely unexpected. In this house, that place is our master bedroom where we went with Sooty Lashes VR115A from Valspar’s Color Trends 2016 palette. Hands down, this is one of my favorite paint colors of all time and I’m so glad we took the risk in going dark. I always love dark bedrooms in theory, but I tend to stick to something soft and light. (Remember our last master bedroom?) This color is dark, moody and inky, reading blue, teal or gray depending on the time of day. Our room is really large and paired with our existing white bedding and black rug along with the blonde hardwood floors, the final look is killer. When in doubt, take a risk! Chances are you’ll love it, but if you don’t it’s easy enough to switch things up and start over, which is the beauty of paint as a design tool.

@cydconverse Home Tour featuring @valsparpaint

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[Photos by Alice G. Patterson for The Sweetest Occasion.]

Dining Room – Paint color is Modern Gray 25-1B by Valspar, available at Ace Hardware | China cabinet from IKEA | Rug c/o FLOR | Table from Pier 1 Imports (10+ years ago) | Buffet is vintage | Chairs found on Craigslist | Curtains from IKEA | Large yellow art print c/o Minted | Pineapple print by Ez Pudewa | DIY gold leaf frame

Kitchen – Paint color is Cool Mint VR079D by Valspar, available at Ace Hardware | Kitchen measurements art print by Whimsy & Spice

Nursery – Paint color is Moon Shot VR095D by Valspar, available at Ace Hardware | Crib from IKEA | Crib skirt + blanket c/o Land of Nod | ‘E’ pillow c/o Land of Nod | Rug c/o RugsUSA | Crib sheet + wooden toy crate from Target | Pouf from Amazon

Master Bedroom – Paint color is Sooty Lashes VR115A by Valspar, available at Ace Hardware | Bedding by West Elm | Jewelry stand from Target | Art print by Paul Lee | Throw pillows + basket from Target | Rug from RugsUSA | Lamps from Christmas Tree Shops | Nightstands from this IKEA Rast hack tutorial

This post was sponsored by Valspar. Read more about our editorial policies

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DIY Mini Rosemary Wreath Garland

DIY Mini Rosemary Wreath Garland by @cydconverse

If you’re still looking for a few pretty ideas for decking the halls, I have one last holiday DIY idea to share with you today! And in the spirit of all things last minute, we’re keeping this one appropriately simple. It’s the sweetest little rosemary wreath garland made with tiny little embroidery hoops and it’s seriously adorable to boot. You could also nix the garland and use these little wreaths as ornaments, too! So so pretty, don’t you think?

DIY Mini Rosemary Wreath Garland by @cydconverse

DIY Entertaining by The Sweetest Occasion DIY Entertaining by The Sweetest Occasion

DIY Mini Rosemary Wreath Garland by @cydconverse

supplies

  • Mini embroidery hoops
  • Twine, string or ribbon
  • Fresh rosemary
  • Scissors and/or floral snips
  • Floral wire

DIY Mini Rosemary Wreath Garland by @cydconverse DIY Mini Rosemary Wreath Garland by @cydconverse

DIY Mini Rosemary Wreath Garland by @cydconverse

DIY Mini Rosemary Wreath Garland by @cydconverse DIY Mini Rosemary Wreath Garland by @cydconverse

DIY Mini Rosemary Wreath Garland by @cydconverse

DIY Mini Rosemary Wreath Garland by @cydconverse

Begin by separating the two pieces of your embroidery hoops. For our purposes we will only need to smaller, inner hoop without the clamps. Then cut several lengths of floral wire about 3″ in length to have ready as you work. For each wreath you’ll want approximately 5 or 6 sprigs of fresh rosemary. Begin with the first sprig, twisting a piece of floral wire tightly around the stem to secure it to your embroidery hoop. Gently bend the rosemary around the hoop, securing it with floral wire every inch or two as you work. When it comes time to add the second piece of rosemary, be sure the stem is tucked underneath the first piece so it overlaps to give it the most wreath-like look. Continue working in this fashion until the hoop is covered, then snip off the excess ends of floral wire.

DIY Mini Rosemary Wreath Garland by @cydconverse

DIY Mini Rosemary Wreath Garland by @cydconverse

DIY Mini Rosemary Wreath Garland by @cydconverse DIY Mini Rosemary Wreath Garland by @cydconverse

DIY Mini Rosemary Wreath Garland by @cydconverse

At this point you could add a simple loop of twine or ribbon and you’ll have some really cute ornaments! Or you can take it one step further and make a cute little garland like mine. To do so I cut a long length of red twine about six feet long, then folded it in half to find the middle. Thread the twine through your first wreath so that it rests right at the middle point of your garland, looping and knotting the twine to hold the wreath in place. Then work outward in either direction, spacing the wreaths evenly as you go.

DIY Mini Rosemary Wreath Garland by @cydconverse DIY Mini Rosemary Wreath Garland by @cydconverse

DIY Mini Rosemary Wreath Garland by @cydconverse

And there you have it, friends! One very festive little Christmas garland that’s really a cinch to make. Also, if you haven’t noticed, I’m kind of a junkie when it comes to Christmas DIY ideas. You can check out all of my holiday DIY tutorials and follow along over on Instagram with the hashtag #thesweetestholidays!

DIY Mini Rosemary Wreath Garland by @cydconverse

DIY Mini Rosemary Wreath Garland by @cydconverse

DIY Mini Rosemary Wreath Garland by @cydconverse

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[Art direction + styling by Cyd Converse | Photos by Alice G. Patterson for The Sweetest Occasion.]

The fine print: Please link with love! As with all of our posts, DIY projects featured on The Sweetest Occasion may not be copied, distributed or reproduced without express written permission. Love and links are always appreciated! If you’d like to share a maximum of 1 – 2 images from this post, please link to this post directly for the DIY tutorial and do not include the instructions in your own post. Thanks so much! xoxo

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Glad to Give Holiday Party

This post was sponsored by The Glad Products CompanyThank you for supporting
the sponsors that help make The Sweetest Occasion possible!

Glad to Give Holiday Party from @cydconverse

Over the last few years, we’ve spent a lot of time talking about ways to give back as a family during the holidays, but this year we really wanted to take it up a notch. I’m not sure exactly why, but for some reason knowing that we’d have a new little baby joining us just in time for the holiday season (one still too young to care about material things or fancy gifts) really made us start talking about how we could focus less on gifts and more on giving back this year. We had already decided to cut way back on the number of gifts we purchased this year (have you heard of the Four Christmas Gift Challenge?) and we also wanted to make a point to donate coats to a family in need. So when the folks at Glad reached out to see if I’d be interested in teaming up with them this holiday season for their Glad to Give campaign, it was a done deal! Together we teamed up to host a fun cookie swap where we also donated a bunch of coats to One Warm Coat, an organization committed to providing coats to those in need. I have been so excited about this and couldn’t wait to help spread a little extra love this year!

Glad to Give Holiday Party from @cydconverse

Glad to Give Holiday Party from @cydconverse Glad to Give Holiday Party from @cydconverse

Glad to Give Holiday Party from @cydconverse

Glad to Give Holiday Party from @cydconverse Glad to Give Holiday Party from @cydconverse

Glad to Give Holiday Party from @cydconverse

If you’re hosting holiday festivities this week or next for the New Year, the idea here is simple! You can invite guests to bring along their favorite homemade cookies and a coat to donate, then enjoy cookies, hot cocoa and a splash of champagne while sharing a bit of holiday cheer. To make it feel extra festive and fun I borrowed this clothing rack from our laundry room and decked it out in garland and twinkle lights to hang up the coats before later bagging them up in a Glad bag and scheduling a pick up. Your coats don’t need to be brand new either! Gently used coats will work just as well to help keep someone nice and warm this winter. You can visit One Warm Coat to get more details or make arrangements for a donation!

Glad to Give Holiday Party from @cydconverse Glad to Give Holiday Party from @cydconverse

Glad to Give Holiday Party from @cydconverse

Glad to Give Holiday Party from @cydconverse Glad to Give Holiday Party from @cydconverse

Glad to Give Holiday Party from @cydconverse

Glad to Give Holiday Party from @cydconverse

Glad to Give Holiday Party from @cydconverse Glad to Give Holiday Party from @cydconverse

Glad to Give Holiday Party from @cydconverse

While we were at it, we made a few cookie care packages, too! Using festive green GladWare containers and a whole bunch of pretty gold ribbons, labels, stickers and bows, it’s super simple to create bundles of cookies that guests can take home at the end of the night. Or take it one step further and invite guests to join you in creating cookie packs to give to those who could use a little something sweet this holiday season. As a kid, we would go caroling at a local nursing home and we always brought little boxes of cookies along for the residents. I love the idea of doing the same thing with Glad’s awesome reusable GladWare food storage containers to help spread a little joy! You’d be surprised how much a simple package of cookies can really transform someone’s holiday!

Glad to Give Holiday Party from @cydconverse

Glad to Give Holiday Party from @cydconverse

Glad to Give Holiday Party from @cydconverse

Glad to Give Holiday Party from @cydconverse

For more ways to give this holiday season, be sure to follow Glad on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter and keep tabs on the #GladtoGive hashtag to see how others are getting in on the action! And tell me, how are you giving back this holiday season? This is something we’re becoming really passionate about in our family and want to do more of, so I’d love to know what inspires you and how you get involved!

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[Art direction + styling by Cyd Converse | Photos by Alice G. Patterson for The Sweetest Occasion.]

This post was sponsored by The Glad Products Company. Read more about our editorial policies

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DIY Gold Confetti Glitter Vase

This post was sponsored by Ristorante Pizza by Dr. Oetker. Thank you for supporting
the sponsors that help make The Sweetest Occasion possible!

DIY Gold Confetti Glitter Vase by @cydconverse

With holiday entertaining quickly approaching it’s peak for the season, my good friends at Dr. Oetker and I are teaming up today to inspire all of your upcoming Christmas parties and New Year’s Eve festivities with one seriously gorgeous centerpiece! This beauty makes setting the stage for a festive holiday gathering a cinch. Pair this gold confetti vase with the prettiest seasonal flowers you can find and you’re officially in business. You can use this to dress up the table at a cocktail party (where I definitely suggest serving up my latest Ristorante Pizza by Dr. Oetker obsession, the Pizza Spinaci flavor) or at a formal sit-down Christmas dinner. Either way, it’s a total show stopper. (All that gold glitter!) You know, even if I do say so myself.

DIY Gold Confetti Glitter Vase by @cydconverse

DIY Gold Confetti Glitter Vase by @cydconverse

DIY Gold Confetti Glitter Vase by @cydconverse DIY Gold Confetti Glitter Vase by @cydconverse

supplies

  • Clear glass fishbowl vase (or similar)
  • Metallic gold glitter in two sizes
  • Spray glue
  • Clear glossy spray sealer
  • Assorted seasonal flowers
  • Scissors or floral snips
  • Floral tape (optional)

DIY Gold Confetti Glitter Vase by @cydconverse

DIY Gold Confetti Glitter Vase by @cydconverse DIY Gold Confetti Glitter Vase by @cydconverse

DIY Entertaining by The Sweetest Occasion

Begin with thoroughly cleaning your vase of choice and allowing it to dry completely. For this particular vase I’m loving this round fishbowl shape, but any glass vase you love or already own will work! (You can find these fishbowl vases at most craft stores if you want to recreate the same exact look.) Once dry, move to a well ventilated area (outdoors is best) and thoroughly protect your work area with newspaper or craft paper. Then use your spray glue to give the vase a thin, light coat of adhesive. I wanted my glitter concentrated at the top of the vase, so I applied the spray glue from the top down, intentionally making sure not to coat the bottom of the vase. Then it’s time to shake on the glitter! I started with a fine particle glitter making sure not to cover the glass entirely.

DIY Gold Confetti Glitter Vase by @cydconverse

DIY Gold Confetti Glitter Vase by @cydconverse DIY Gold Confetti Glitter Vase by @cydconverse

DIY Gold Confetti Glitter Vase by @cydconverse

Next up, apply a second light coat of spray adhesive directly over the first layer of glitter. Then go back in with the larger glitter and shake it on liberally. You can repeat the process of adding glue and glitter until you get the desired coverage. I wanted to be able to see through the glitter somewhat, but you can do a thicker coverage if you prefer. Once you achieve the look you like, finish up with a quick coat of clear, glossy spray sealer to help lock the glitter into place and allow everything to dry for at least a few hours or overnight.

DIY Christmas Centerpiece by @cydconverse

DIY Christmas Centerpiece by @cydconverse

DIY Christmas Centerpiece by @cydconverse

DIY Christmas Centerpiece by @cydconverse DIY Christmas Centerpiece by @cydconverse

DIY Christmas Centerpiece by @cydconverse

When it’s time to party, fill up your sparkling new vase with the prettiest seasonal flowers you can find! I love this pairing of red blooms, greenery and gold glitter. As is my way, I picked these flowers up at the local grocery store and grabbed a few extra packages of greens to fill everything out and make it look really festive. I simply trimmed down the flowers, placed them in the vase and then followed up by filling in with the greens. It’s as easy as it gets! When in doubt, more flowers is always the better way to go. The volume of flowers will fill everything out nicely and add structure to the arrangement so you don’t have to think too hard. So simple!

DIY Christmas Centerpiece by @cydconverse

DIY Christmas Centerpiece by @cydconverse

DIY Christmas Centerpiece by @cydconverse

By now you have a gorgeous centerpiece, hopefully your drinks are on ice and all you have to do is pop a couple of pizzas in the oven (they bake in just 10 – 12 minutes at 425 °F) and you’re ready for guests! (Check out the store locator to find where Ristorante pizzas are sold or put in a request with the manager at your favorite store!) The thin, crispy crust of the Pizza Spinaci (and the abundance of flavorful spinach and mozzarella) make this pizza perfect for a cocktail party, but there are eight other flavors to choose from (like Quattro Formaggi, Pepperoni Pesto and Funghi) so you can find something for every palate. I like cutting it into squares and serving it up on a pretty cutting board to make it feel especially gourmet and just a little bit fancy. It’s a quick and simple extra step that will make your guests feel special, which is what holiday entertaining is all about!

DIY Christmas Centerpiece by @cydconverse

DIY Christmas Centerpiece by @cydconverse

DIY Christmas Centerpiece by @cydconverse DIY Christmas Centerpiece by @cydconverse

DIY Christmas Centerpiece by @cydconverse

DIY Christmas Centerpiece by @cydconverse

Hosting holiday parties is one of my favorite things to do and it’s something that B and I look forward to all year long. If you’re in the need for quick and easy party snack ideas, definitely hit up the grocery store for a few of these pizzas. Us, the kids and all of our friends have come to love them and they’re always a crowd pleaser! Need even more delicious holiday ideas in your life? Give Dr. Oetker a follow on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest!

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[Art direction + styling by Cyd Converse | Photos by Alice G. Patterson for The Sweetest Occasion.]

This post was sponsored by Dr. Oetker USA LLC. I received compensation for this post, but all opinions are my own. Read more about our editorial policies.

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