October 14, 2014 | by Cyd Converse
I’m crazy about a good dinner party. Lately we’ve had about zero opportunity to even think about hosting a dinner party, because of our crazy busy summer (you know, that whole song and dance you’ve already heard before.) That said, we’re hoping to finally invite a bunch of friends over in a few weeks for a big potluck dinner and this gorgeous outdoor fall dinner party that the lovely Lauren is sharing with us has my inner hostess feeling quite happy indeed. This sweet al fresco affair proves that dinner parties don’t need to be overly complicated. A little table decked out with pretty flowers. A bottle of good wine. Maybe a few pine cones and feathers for a seasonal touch. Add in friends and food and you have the perfect excuse to wear a cute dress. Be sure to check out all the gorgeous details captured by Jessi Nichols Photography below and visit the archives for more beautiful dinner party ideas!
Design + styling: Love Lola | Photography: Jessi Nichols Photography | Dress: Ruche | Dinnerware: Noritake Kealia | Candle holders: West Elm | Silverware: Avalon | Glassware: Vintage | Chairs: Vintage
[Photos by Jessi Nichols Photography.]
October 13, 2014 | by Cyd Converse
Mmmmm! Who doesn’t love pumpkin season? Gosh, I’m such a sucker. It’d be easy to wax poetic about all sweet and yummy pumpkin things and, no worries, we’ll get there before the season is done. Today, however, I want to chat about tasty savory pumpkin recipes. The kind that are so unexpectedly delicious you just can’t enough. Like pumpkin gnocchi, roasted pumpkin paired with feta, and pumpkin soup you want to guzzle by the pot full.
So let’s do this thing, shall we? Let’s make ourselves ridiculously hungry on a Monday afternoon such that we have no choice but to buy a couple pumpkins on the way home to roast later in the week. Click through for 10 of the yummiest pumpkin recipes ever made!
October 13, 2014 | by Cyd Converse
Hello hello and happy Monday, friends! How was your weekend? We spent time at B’s parents’ house in the Adirondacks this weekend helping them get a few things squared away before winter rears her fierce face. While we were there we went to see Gone Girl. I hadn’t read the book, so the movie was kind of intense for me. Have you seen it yet? What did you think? Overall I thought it was a really good movie, but I wasn’t quite prepared for it to be as crazy as it was. In other news, let’s talk about this blackberry and plum color palette, shall we? It might just be my new favorite color scheme at the moment. Rich shades of purple, brown and warm gray that feels cozy and seasonal and kind of perfect at the moment. I’m thinking I kind of dig it, how about you?
[Photos, from top: Wild Folk Studio | L’Oreal via Bridal Musings | Jessica Kettle via Grey Likes Weddings.]
October 10, 2014 | by Cyd Converse
This post was sponsored by Command Party. Thank you for supporting the sponsors that so
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.]
This post was sponsored by Command Party. Read more about our editorial policies.
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.]