October 10, 2014 | by Cyd Converse
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generously help The Sweetest Occasion keep the party rockin’!
We’re just a few weeks out from Halloween so today it only seems right that we talk about Halloween parties! Specifically, tips for hosting an easy fuss-free party that will have your guests feeling super special without making you crazy over the prep work. Halloween is on a Friday this year so I love the idea of hosting a little shindig with the neighbors after the trick-or-treaters have all made their way down the street. So let’s get started, shall we?
Hang a Cluster of Lanterns + Honeycomb Balls
One of my favorite ways to add a little fun to your Halloween party decor is with a cluster of lanterns, honeycomb balls and tissue poms hung over a table or bar. You can pick them up just about anywhere (Target usually has a good selection and Michaels typically does, too), they’re inexpensive and with Command’s new party ceiling hooks, they’re quick and easy to hang, too! I can’t even tell you the number of hours I’ve spent hanging stuff from the ceiling for a party or event and these new ceiling hooks are genius. Super easy to use, and safe for your ceiling surface, too! I sincerely wish they’d made these bad boys years ago.
Serve Up a Cool Dessert
If you host a party a little later in the evening, the best part is that you can skip serving up a whole meal and opt for just one awesome dessert. I’m loving candy corn themed desserts of all varieties lately – I’ll even be sharing the how-to for these candy corn cakes in a jar soon! Once you’ve settled on your dessert, arrange them on a pretty cake stand or tray to make them a focal point of your party spread. Easy peasy!
Coordinate the Bar
Add a perfectly spooky vibe to the festivities by selecting your bar accessories with Halloween in mind! Offer up black and white striped straws, set out the bottles from your stash that have a more vintage feel to the labels, and maybe pick up a cute cocktail shaker. This one is perfect with the golden skulls and crows etched on the front, but the look would be just as fun with a solid black shaker, too. This isn’t about buying a bunch of stuff to use just for one night of the year, it’s about editing what you already have with the occasion in mind so it lends to your decor without costing you a ton of dough. Smart, right?
Don’t Forget the Bunting
A little bunting or a cool garland goes a long way toward finishing off your party decor. It’s just one of those easy little things that dresses up a space, gets guests excited about the evening and lends to the mood of the party. Something as simple as a black flag bunting goes so far toward making a room a party! With Command’s new party banner anchors, the process could not be simpler. Just find a spot that needs a little extra party dressing, string up a garland and hang it up the anchors. Done and done. Now it’s party time!
[Photos by Cyd Converse for The Sweetest Occasion.]
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October 9, 2014 | by Cyd Converse
For those of you who are long-time readers, you may remember seeing this recipe before. My oatmeal chocolate chip cookies! It’s one of the first recipes I ever shared and it’s made at least one other appearance since then. These are my absolute favorite go-to cookies. I’ve made them a zillion times, whether it be to munch on with coffee on a weekend afternoon or to stack up on a pretty plate to bring to a party. They’re super simple and you probably have most of what you need to make them in your pantry already. I first made them back in college and since then I’ve tweaked and perfected the recipe. The result is a chewy cookie with the perfect amount of crisp around the edges. If you make them, I’d love to know! This is a fail-proof recipe one that is always a crowd favorite.
While I personally love adding just a tablespoon or two of peanut butter, I almost always leave it out when I’m baking for a crowd where I don’t know for sure someone doesn’t have a peanut allergy. I scoop out even sized mounds of dough using a cookie scoop and then lightly pat them down so they more closely resemble pucks than balls – I’ve found over the years that this little trick really helps the cookies to bake evenly. They bake perfectly almost every time in 11 minutes and come out of the oven golden and slightly crispy around the edges. The center will be somewhat puffed up, but deflate almost immediately upon coming out of the oven and they are definitely best when eaten cool. The result is a cookie that is crisp around the edge and perfectly chewy without being mushy in the center. I think it’s the texture of these cookies that makes them so so good.
- 2 cups of all purpose flour
- 1-1/4 cups packed brown sugar
- 1 cup white sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup butter, softened
- 2 tsp. vanilla
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 2 cups oats (rolled or quick oats both work equally as well)
- 2 cups chocolate chips (more or less to suit your taste)
- 2 tbsp. peanut butter (optional)
Preheat oven to 350. Sift together flour and baking soda. In a separate bowl, cream together butter, eggs, sugars, and vanilla. Combine dry ingredients and wet ingredients – dough will be very stiff. Add oats until well combined, then add chocolate chips and peanut butter. Bake for 9 – 12 minutes until golden around the edges.
[Photos + recipe by Cyd Converse for The Sweetest Occasion.]
October 8, 2014 | by Cyd Converse
I’ve seen a lot of cool variations on the classic carved pumpkin over the years. Gourds, squashes, little fruits like apples and oranges. But this? This pineapple jack o’lantern takes the cake by far in my book! Something about the texture of the pineapple and the spiky leaves resembling hair make it look so spooky. We make it a point to spend an evening carving pumpkins each year, but this year I’m definitely thinking we need to try our hands at carving a pineapple or two, too. The process is basically the same! Lop off the top, scoop out the fruit and carve out eyes, a nose and a jagged smile. See a bunch more ideas for decorating and carving your fruit of choice this year over at A Subtle Revelry, where my sweet friend Victoria has all things Jack O’Lantern on lock.
[Photo by Amy Covington for A Subtle Revelry.]
October 7, 2014 | by Cyd Converse
When I got a peek at the new fall Target Threshold collection a few weeks ago, I went a little crazy on the inside. Then, as soon as it hit stores I was busting through the door at my local store to snag one of the gorgeous brass task lamps for the studio. It’s incredibly beautiful in person, the size is perfect for my desk and the price is pretty amazing. (And, it’s even currently on sale, making it even more awesome!) I swear Target never disappoints, but I’m particularly in love with this season’s collection, pairing loads of metallics with textured pillows, patterned rugs and great ceramic and wood accessories that are just pitch perfect. These are a few of my favorites, but the bottom line is, if you have a room that needs a little something-something, get yourself to Target. You can thank me later!
[Shop | 1: Brass task lamp | 2: Gold and white bowls | 3: Patterned pillows | 4: Patterned Threshold rugs | 5: Pierced metal hurricanes.]
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October 7, 2014 | by Cyd Converse
Mark my words, friends. I have a feeling that chartreuse is about to make a major comeback. I’ve been seeing it pop up here and there in fashion and home decor, but I think it’s about to have a big presence in the world of color. So today I’m here to banish all thoughts of 70s shag carpet from your brain with proof that chartreuse can be absolutely gorgeous. Paired with a deep olive green and pretty shades of McIntosh red, peach and pink, it’s vibrant and elegant and awesome. This color palette isn’t my usual jam at all, but I love it more than I can even tell you. It feels fresh and cool and totally hip, but with a surprising sophistication. Chartreuse. Who knew it was so so pretty?
[Photos, from top: Hayneedle | The Silk and Cotton Co. via House and Leisure | Pure Vegetarian.]