READY, SET, PICNIC! how to get ready for picnic season

IMG_5005Howdy, friends! It’s almost picnic season & we couldn’t be more excited! Gather up some friends, pack up some snacks, and head outside for a full day of picnicking. Worried you might forget something? Don’t be! We are arming you with a fool-proof list on what to pack, a few favorite sangria recipes, & the perfect games for a long day of outdoor fun. There will be no more Mcgyvering bottle openers or crappy snacks on any picnic of yours – we’ve got you covered! IMG_4923

PACKING THE PERFECT SUPPLIES

No matter if you are picnicking in a park downtown or alongside a lake in the country, packing the perfect supplies is essential. No one wants to Mcgyver a bottle opener or be stuck without a blanket, so running through a quick checklist before you set out is essential. Take it from someone who has forgotten many essential things (many times) on a picnic, this is a mistake you don’t want to make.

Here is our check list:

  • Food with easy clean-up: fruit, cheese, pre-made (or bought) sandwiches, grapes, nuts, olives, bread and jams, you get the idea. The easier it is to eat, the better. That way you can pack more yummy snacks instead of filling your bag with accouterment.
  • A sturdy basket & a few blankets: I can think of about a million things that are better than lugging around a heavy bag up a mountain or from your car to the park, so do yourself a favor and invest in a sturdy basket on wheels. It will save everyone a lot of stress and frustration. Pro tip: pack a few extra blankets. You never know when they will come in handy & they are perfect for shawls, make-shift pillows, towels, tents – the list goes on!
  • Pack a cutting board: If I have one piece of picnic wisdom to instill upon you, it’s to pack a cutting board. It can be small, round, plastic, whatever – just make sure you have one. Perfect to layout the food spread, cutting apples, or as a surface to rest drinks on, you really can’t go wrong to pack one.
  • The accessories: This is key! Make sure you’ve got a wine opener that doubles as a bottle opener (we always keep one in the zipper pocket of our basket), a knife with a sleeve cover, plastic cups, napkins, and plastic/disposable plates. We also like to slip a packet of wet wipes or paper towels in our bag…just in case. 

IMG_5298We love posting up all day in a park on a Saturday in the summer. Your friends can come & go as they please, the little ones (pups too!) can run around, everyone brings something to eat or drink, it’s the perfect day! We always make sure to bring a few games in our basket because it keeps the party going & is an easy way for friends (new & old) to connect.

  • Football or Soccer ball: Perfect for the guys to run around with or to amuse kids for hours. You can’t go wrong with a good ball. Who knows, you get enough friends and you could have your own pick-up game in the park.
  • Bags/Cornhole: This is my personal favorite. So easy to play & always fun – even if you have terrible aim. I think I like it because you can have a beverage in one hand & chat the whole time, which is absolutely my kind of sport 😉
  • Card games: Your regular old deck of cards, Cards Against Humanity, Apples to Apples, you name it – they are all awesome & card games are always a good idea.
  • Bocce Ball: If you aren’t a bocce fan, now is the time to start! This is a family favorite in our house & is perfect for a park. Grab a cheap set, try it out, & prepare to fall in love.

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Okay, let’s be real, it wouldn’t be a true LK approved picnic without some fun cocktails! I am a big fan of making a big batch of sangria & throwing it in the cooler. No muss, no fuss, just delicious punch that everyone can enjoy. Here are our favorite go-to summer sangria recipes & I promise, they will make an appearance more than once throughout the summer!

Stone Fruit Sangria, Mango & Blackberry Sangria, & of course, the Classic Red Sangria.

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lauren and sylvia

HOST A SEAFOOD BOIL our go-to summer party

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Think you can’t pull off a backyard seafood boil? Think again! With warmer temps just around the corner, we are making the case for why a seafood boil should be your summer go-to party. They are big fun, low stress, and with a little extra prep work on the front end, your party will go off without a hitch!  What could be better than cooking outside, drinking great wine, and eating seafood right off the grill. Start saving those newspapers now, because we’ve got a party to throw! Are you ready for your 5 step prep? Let’s get started!

KJ0043STEP ONE: PRE-PARTY PREP

If you’ve ever been to a seafood boil, you know that paper napkins or plastic bibs just won’t cut it. Make a quick run to IKEA and grab a few bundles of dishtowels to serve instead. Your guests will thank you & they are just a few bucks per bundle and totally worth the trip.

Gather up the spices, trash bins, newspaper stack (to line the table, of course), and clear a prep spot in the backyard that is separate from your entertaining space. All the fun will take place on the big table, but it’s nice to have a little side table for extra bibs, spices, crackers, etc.

KJ0032STEP TWO: PREP THE FOOD

This is the fun part! Get your water up to a rolling boil and get ready for something delicious. For the most amazing seafood boil recipe hop on over here to see our friend Brendan’s insanely delicious concoction. Easy to make & even better to eat, I promise this is one to print out and tape to the fridge.

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STEP THREE: PREP THE TABLE

Line the tables with newspaper sheets (I like to do three or four layers because things can get a little messy), bring out big bowls for shells & cobs, and don’t forget the straws! Your guests’ hands will get messy when they are eating your delicious food, so get some tall glasses for water & give everyone a straw for easy sipping. Or, just save the water for the fishes & sip on some perfectly paired Vintner’s Reserve Chardonnay. Just saying, I have yet to meet a better pairing then seafood & crisp white wine.

Encourage your guests to discard their shells into the big bowls down the center of the table. This is dual purpose – more room for eating & clean-up duty just became a lot easier! Melt some butter in smaller bowls & pepper those throughout the table, along with some extra spices, and hot sauce for dipping.

KJ0013STEP FOUR: SERVE IT UP!

One of the best parts of a seafood boil is getting to eat with your hands, so embrace the mess! Make sure every spot at the table has a bib (and make sure to get a few extra for the drop-by guest or extra clean-up) & put the crackers and tools within reach.

Serve your boil right on top of the newspaper & dig in! I like to leave a little dish of toothpicks out on the table to help pick up those bits of potato or sausage that are too hot to handle. Keep it casual & fun! Don’t have matching bowls for the shells or small containers for butter – who cares?! The best part of these parties is being outside with your best friends, drinking wine, & hanging out.

KJ0019STEP FIVE: CLEAN UP

It’s all basically done for  you, so don’t worry about it! Sit back, relax, drink an extra glass of wine, stuff yourself with delicious seafood, and have the best afternoon you could have hoped for. Have we convinced you to make seafood boils your summer go-to party? We sure hope so!

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Food by Brendan McCaskey

This post is sponsored by Kendall-Jackson but all thoughts, opinions, and food obsessions are our own.

 

THE MOST LOVELY SPRING LUNCH

View More: http://laurenkonradphotography.pass.us/kgeastertableWell, hi friends! Remember that home tour that you were in love with? Well, it’s back & it’s hosting the most beautiful spring lunch we ever did see. Say “hello” to one of our favorite lifestyle bloggers, Katelyn from Katalina Girl, as she shows us how to throw a lovely spring brunch using the items you already have! Prepare to get inspired. – xoxo, LK
katalina_2Hello! Katelyn here from Katalina Girl. There’s nothing like a little spring soirée after a cold winter of hibernating.  The flowers are officially blooming, the birds are chirping and the sun is shining. What better way to welcome this cheerful season than a springtime party? So grab some stationary or shoot your besties an email. It’s time to celebrate the sunshine!View More: http://laurenkonradphotography.pass.us/kgeastertableThere’s nothing I love more than a sweet spring tablescape—the bright color palette, vintage décor, a rustic farm table (I made this one with Milk Paint), fresh greenery, beautiful blossoms and of course the crisp light from your kitchen windows. A new season doesn’t necessarily mean it’s time to shop for new entertaining pieces.

I threw together a ton of items I already had to create the perfect blend of a mix-to-match table setting. I spent hardly any money on décor, just flowers, food and a few fresh serving ware pieces.

Most items are borrowed from Grandma’s kitchen while others are new from Anthropolgie. It’s the perfect mix of old and new. kataline_1If you don’t have access to your Grandmother’s kitchen I suggest searching for a few must-have entertaining items at Goodwill, flea markets and vintage stores.

 milk vases, jadeite plates or a cake stand, mason jars, patterned bowls, printed plates and tea cups, ornate drinking glasses and silverware.

You’d be surprised how much you’ll end up using those pieces year round. View More: http://laurenkonradphotography.pass.us/kgeastertableNow whip up your favorite snacks, pop open the wine and give yourself an excuse for a girl’s night of fun.

Cheers to spring!View More: http://laurenkonradphotography.pass.us/kgeastertable


Copy by Katelyn Cheek | Photography by Lauren Konrad

MARTINI MAKING PARTY

IMG_9757Okay party people, it’s confession time. Before this little party, I had no real idea how to make a martini. Sure, I’ve had the drink-your-dessert Java Biscotti Martini & even the seasonal, boozy Pumpkin Spice Martini but never a real “shaken not stirred” martini. But, thanks to these insannnnely cool copper martini glasses from Mark & Graham, we decided to have ourselves a little martini making party.

You know that we love any excuse to throw a party, so why not do it around something fun and totally random! I am usually a gin & tonic gal, but sometimes you just get in the mood for a fancy martini. So, we rounded up some friends, set up a bar, had two easy, but fun recipes, and had ourselves a little party! Feeling inspired to throw your own martini making party? We’re showing you how!

IMG_9683First things first, let’s set up the bar! My biggest hostessing tip is to set up a well-stocked bar that is tucked away but still central to where you want everyone to hang out. People like to get up, walk around, and mingle, but no matter what they will always hang out by the food and the booze.

TIP 1: For your fabulous martini making party, stock your bar with an extra bottle (or two, depending on your headcount) of the main ingredient of your martinis (typically, either vodka or gin).

TIP 2: Pre pour your mixer (in our case, lemon juice) in a fun container – this allows you to keep those ugly drink containers tucked in the fridge & allows your guests to just pour, shake, and serve.

TIP 3: If you are serving martinis with garnish, have a bunch made up & out for your guests to quickly grab. This encourages your guests to garnish their cocktails, plus the look fantastically festive!

TIP 4: Have a little ice bucket (and tongs) out so you don’t have to keep running back and forth to the kitchen filling the cocktail shaker with ice. Fill up your bucket once (maybe twice) and you’ve got a self-running cocktail station!

IMG_9781LAVENDER MARTINI

INGREDIENTS:

Ice

1 1/2 ounces vodka

1/2 ounce fresh lemon juice

1/4 ounce lavender simple syrup

Fresh lavender sprigs

INSTRUCTIONS:

1. Fill your cocktail shaker with a handful of ice & add in the vodka, lemon juice, and lavender simply syrup.

2. Shake well & strain into a chilled martini glass

3. Garnish with fresh lavender sprig & sip, serve, repeat!

m&g_1 IMG_9891LEMON DROP MARTINI

INGREDIENTS:

1 1/2 ounces vodka
1/2 ounce triple sec
Pinch of granulated sugar
3/4 ounce fresh lemon juice
Ice cubes
Lemon peel

INSTRUCTIONS:

1. Add a handful of ice to your cocktail shaker & pour in vodka, triple sec, pinch of sugar, and lemon juice.

2. Shake well & pour into chilled martini glass.

3. Garnish with a twist of lemon and serve, sip, repeat!

m&g_2So, your bar is all set & stocked, you’ve got two fabulous recipes to serve up & all things point to a fabulous martini making party! Need some fun goodies to stock your bar? Mark & Graham has loads of fantastic bar & homeware options, plussss almost everything is customizable so they are great for gifts or keepsake items.

All I am saying, is when you have your party, invite me, Mark & Graham, and you’ll be hosting these weekly! Cheers, my friends!

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SHOP THE POST


lauren and sylvia

balloon & tassel by Oh Shiny Paper Co.lavender martini adapted from food & wine

THROW A ST. PATRICK’S DAY HAPPY HOUR in 5 easy steps!

IMG_7621Hello, hello my lovely little leprechauns! Are you all gearing up for your St. Patrick’s Day celebrations? Here is Chicago we take St. Patrick’s Day very, very seriously. If you aren’t Irish in Chicago, you are Chi-rish. This weekend is all about parades, parties, and the infamous green beer.

If, on the off chance, you are looking to class-up your St. Patrick’s Day celebration, might we suggest a fun happy hour with friends? The bars & restaurants are always packed, so bring the party home and celebrate from the comfort of your own living room. Not sure how to plan a shamrock-ing party? We can help!
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STEP ONE: Get the word out!

Send an email, mass text, write a note, or give your friends a call & put the word out that the real luck of the Irish is at your place this year. If you are nervous about having people over (which, you shouldn’t be, we’ve been over this, your place is amazing!) then ask you friends to bring their favorite beer or libation & that way everyone has a stake in the party.

Think you’ve got it handled (way to go! We are so proud of that party throwing confidence), we’ve got everything you’ll need.

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STEP TWO: Booze, baby!

It’s almost sacrilegious to not have a sip of Guinness on St. Patrick’s Day, but, I prefer to eat my Guinness rather than drink it…more on that later. So, if you guests aren’t big green beer people, it’s nice to have some other festive libations to consume!

Whip up a pot of coffee, throw some Bailey’s in there & voila – Irish Coffee!

Throw some food coloring in with a cup of refined sugar & rim your cocktail glasses in green or gold.

Really, if you whip up a gin & tonic, throw a clover or shamrock in there, you’ve basically warranted the right to re-name it in whatever St. Patrick’s Day saying of your choosing. Here are some of our favorites – the Erin Go Bourbon, Pot of Gold tonic, and Luck of the Irish Margarita. See? Easy!

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STEP THREE: Skip the green food!

As cute as green food is, it’s also mostly terrifying. So, let’s just skip it all together & have something that’s still festive, just not dripping with food coloring.

We talked about those of us who would rather eat their Guinness rather than drink it, so for all of my fellow St. Patrick’s Day rule breakers, this Guinness Cheese Dip with Soft Pretzels is so absolutely worth it. Hello, beer dip & warm carbs, what could be better?! Ooh, and did I mention it takes literally 5 minutes to make?

Prefer something a bit sweeter? How about this Chocolate Cake with Bailey’s Buttercream Frosting? Everyone loves a good boozy dessert & this one is even better than you could imagine. Pressed for time? Buy an unfrosted cake at the store and whip up the icing at home. Technically, you made part of it, so I think you get full credit for the whole cake. *high five*

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STEP FOUR: Set the table up for success

As much as you love running around and serving people, it’s nice to be able to hang out and mingle at your own party. The key to being a happy host is having the table do all the work for you.

When you are setting up your party make sure that you’ve got all the food in a central spot that isn’t difficult to get to and won’t congest the flow of traffic if people linger. People always congregate at the food table (I mean, I always do), so tuck in a room that has a lot of entry & exit points and you’ll be perfect.

Now the actual set-up of the table is key. Grab napkins, silverware, plates, anything someone might need to enjoy your delicious food (that you whipped up all by yourself because you are superwoman), and put in on the table. Do not run back and forth to your kitchen because people need salt or pepper, get all that back and forth business out of the way & have it all out and ready for people to use.

Booze table! I love setting up a bar because it let’s people go at their own pace. Make sure you have lots of cups (depending on the crowd, plastic is a great option), have a bucket full of ice, and extra bottle openers. How come those things are always disappearing?

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STEP FIVE: Celebrate!

Step five is key & many people don’t realize it. If you aren’t having fun at your own party, what makes you think anyone else will? Have a glass of wine (or weird green beer if you are into that) while you are setting up, put on your favorite record, and get excited. Who cares if the guest bathroom doesn’t have a candle in it or if you haven’t mopped the floors before your guests arrive. No one cares & neither should you.

You’ve got all your friends in one place, so have a freaking blast! The dishes & clean-up can wait until the morning. Just make sure you talk to your guests, help with refills, and ensure you have enough food & you’ll be hosting St. Patrick’s Day every year!

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lauren and sylvia

HOST A GALENTINE’S DAY HAPPY HOUR

GALS0013Let’s be real, Valentine’s Day kind of gets a bad wrap. Between the overpriced flowers and prix fixe dinners, it can get a little out of control. Not to mention, there is all this hype, so the pressure is on to do something amazing & spectacular (cause you have to post about it, duh).

Well, we think that’s all a little exhausting and no one likes an evening full of expectations and over priced food, so instead, we are taking the reigns back and making this holiday fun again! Whether you are single, married, tinder-ing, or just really into cats, you have fabulous girl friends in your life that deserve celebrating, right?!

RIGHT! So, we are brushing past the weirdness that Valentine’s Day can bring, and inviting the ladies over for a little Galentine’s Day celebration! Bust out the Rosé, the cheese boards, and the friendship, because we are showing you how to throw a Galentine’s Day brunch even Leslie Knope would be proud of!
GALS0025TIP ONE: Get All of the Rosé

It wouldn’t be a proper gal party without the appropriate beverages and for this bash, we are all about the Rosé. Allegedly, some people aren’t crazy about Rosé, but I think that’s because they haven’t had the right variety. We recently discovered the Grand Reserve Rosé and cannot get enough of it! It’s perfectly pink, refreshingly crisp, and impresses everyone we serve it to. If that isn’t an impressive calling card, I don’t know what is.

Make sure to go online & order it here. Also, if I were you, I would stock up on a few extra bottles. It tends to go quickly & it’s so good, you’ll want it on hand at all times!

PRO TIP: I love stocking up on raspberries or pears and adding a few to each glass. It’s acts as a classy way to determine whose wine is whose & it’s a delicious treat at the end.

GALS0005TIP TWO: Create a Relaxed Menu

No need to stress when figuring out what to serve the gals, we’ve got just the thing! As you all know, we love a good cheese board, but it’s important to have variety when entertaining. We recommend grabbing a bunch of goodies (think berries, nuts, pretzels, charcuterie, cheese, crackers, you name it!) and putting them all in a central location. Whether it’s on a board (or two) on the coffee table, or in various bowls and dishes around the kitchen island, the food will determine where people hang out so plan accordingly.

The key to a good spread is having lots of fun options but one (fabulous) main event. We are obsessed with this honey baked Camembert because it’s just the right about of sweet (thanks to the honey) but perfectly savory (from the garlic & sea salt). It’s truly what cheese board dreams are made of & couldn’t be easier!

PRO TIP: Bookmark, print, write-down, or screen shot this honey baked Camembert recipe because it is an entertaining gem. Two minutes of prep and a 15 minute bake time and you will look like a regular old Martha Stewart 😉

GALS0028TIP THREE: Ditch the Decorations

Let’s be real, no one needs fancy decorations to have a good time. Plus, we would rather spend that money on an extra bottle of Rosé or fun cards to write silly loves notes in. Give the house a good tidy, fluff the pillows, put on a fun playlist and let your friends do the rest.

The main ingredients to a great party are the right libations, a variety of food, and a good atmosphere. It’s really that simple! If you feel like making the evening slightly more themed, grab some fun cards (or heck, make them yourself!) and write little love notes to your gal pals. Everyone loves getting mail that isn’t a bill, so give your friends a little confidence boost, a reminder why you love them, and something to totally show off on their desk at work. 

GALS0032Three tips to throwing the perfect Galentine’s Day brunch & it couldn’t be easier, right?! Remember, the best part is getting the gals together and having a great time. With great wine & best friends, it’s the perfect pairing!

We would love to see your Galentine’s Day bash! Make sure to tag @laurenkelp & @kjwines on Instagram to show off your mad entertaining skills.

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lauren buttonconstance buttonThis post is sponsored by Kendall-Jackson but all thoughts, opinions, and food obsessions are our own.

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HOST A GAME DAY PARTY

IMG_3941As I am sure you all know by now, the LK girls love any excuse to throw a party, so hosting a game day get-together is right up our alley! What could be more fun than getting the gang together & watching the big game on Sunday? Whether it’s your favorite team or your favorite sport, sometimes it’s just fun to hang out with friends, eat good food, and spend all morning trash talking 😉

Today we are sharing our favorite entertaining tips on how to make the right call & host a hassle-free game day party you and your friends will love!

digiorno 1No one wants to spend time in the kitchen making snack stadiums when you can be out in the living room watching your favorite team, am I right? One of the best parts of game day hangouts is the food & we’ve got to knock your party out of the park!

When it comes to hosting at my house, I am a huge fan of delicious food that impresses my guests without spending a ton of time in the kitchen. That’s why DIGIORNO’s Original Rising Crust pizza is my game day secret! It’s like a play that works every time & the fresh-baked taste can’t be beat. I might not fully understand everything about football, but I know that I am always making the right call when I serve DIGIORNO’s up hot.IMG_3909

One of my favorite parts of hosting a get-together is adding in fun decorative elements – because, why not?! A quick an easy way to dress up your living room in true game day spirit, is with a kraft paper tablecloth. It’s wildly simple, makes a fun impact, and it keeps your table from unfortunate food fumbles.

Grab a roll of kraft paper at your local craft store & a jar of cheap white acrylic paint (or white duct tape works well, too!) and you are halfway there. Roll out the paper on your coffee table & wrap the ends like a present, folding over the ends and securing with tape. Paint laces down the middle & stripes on either end & voila – the most adorable football table runner. See – easy, adorable, and it’s mess free!
IMG_4136You’ve got the perfect game day food, your table is festively set, now it’s time to figure out your field play – and by that I mean the layout of the room! Swing that sofa around or bring in some extra chairs so there is room for everyone.

Plus, if your guests are anything like mine, it’s partially about the game & mainly about the food. Nothing says “come & hang out a while,” like comfy chairs and easy access to the snack table. For get-togethers like these, I re-arrange my room to make the TV & the (now fabulous football themed) coffee table the center of attention. Everyone can mingle, hang out, and trash talk the opposing team, and everyone is included.
IMG_4133Whether you are rooting for the home team this Sunday or just riding along on the bandwagon, a game day get-together is a great way to get the gang together & celebrate a good time. So grab some DIGIORNO’s Original Rising Crust pizza, invite the gang over, and host a game day celebration at your place this weekend. Hanging out with friends is always the right call, so why not get the party started!

For more tips on how to #maketherightcall, check out the hysterical “Typical Game Day Party Guests” video series or visit @DiGiornoPizza! Don’t forget to share your game day celebration by tagging us & #maketherightcall. Can’t wait to see how you celebrate your team!

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lauren buttonsylvia button

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the
content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

HOST AN AT-HOME FILM FESTIVAL

MOVIE0021Howdy, friends! We’ve decided to combat these cold days & early evenings (this whole, getting dark at 5 p.m. thing isn’t my favorite) by hosting our own film festival at home! There are so many phenomenal movies out, so why not round up some friends, grab some wine & popcorn, and get the gang together?

Today we are showing you just how easy it is to host your own at-home film festival, complete with two insanely delicious popcorn recipes – Parmesan & Parsley and (the ever-favorite) Puppy Chow! Get ready my friends, you’ve got plans this weekend!

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STEP ONE: Invite Your Guests!

A party, let alone a film festival, wouldn’t be a party without guests! My advice is to figure out how many you can fit in your space – that includes people lounging on the floor, sofa spots, pull-up chairs, whatever you can muster. The more the merrier in these cases & nothing makes you commit to throwing a party like having guests RSVP.

Send out a group text, email, or Facebook group, no matter the means, invite your guests to come over in comfy clothes & leave recommendations for what they want to see at the party. Which brings me to our next step…

MOVIE0026STEP TWO: The Movies!

Make sure to ask your guests what new releases they want to see. If you want to give the at-home film festival more of a theme, feel free to pick a genre (i.e. Comedy), time period (i.e. ’80s), or anything with a particular actor (i.e. Bill Murray), or whatever category your guests would like. If you want to make it more authentic, keep it to anything released this year.

Depending on the group, make sure to have several options, but plan on only watching a few. Three movies in a run can get a little tiring, so make sure to mix it up!

MOVIE0029STEP THREE: Plan the Menu!

You’ve got your invite list & you’ve got a general idea of the movies you want to play, now it’s time for the real fun – the menu! Since you are hosting a most laid back, relaxed event, no one expects for a meal to be served, but it is important to have plenty of yummy snacks close at hand.

What could be more appropriate for this type of gathering than fancy popcorn! Now when I say fancy I mean, it is super delicious, makes you look like a total pro, and takes less than 10 minutes to make. With a little prep time & some simple ingredients, you’ve got yourself two very gourmet appetizers within minutes.

To see the Parmesan & Parsley and Puppy Chow recipes, hop on over to our co-hosts blog and get the full breakdown!

MOVIE0011STEP FOUR: Set the Mood

Things are coming together and the time is getting near to your big film festival debut. Exciting! Now it’s time to get the house in order. Don’t worry about going crazy and deep cleaning the whole house (I mean, you can if you want, any excuse is fine in my book), but instead spend your energy on the main area – the living room.

Make sure you’ve got plenty of space for your guests to spread out, get comfy, and stay awhile. Stack some extra blankets on a cute stool in the corner, bring over an extra side table so everyone has a place to rest their drink & snacks, and make it homey. Who cares if the furniture gets re-arranged, or it looks messy, you want people to come & hang and watch movies. No one minds!

MOVIE0023STEP FIVE: Wine!

I am not going to say that this is the most important part of the get-together, but it’s a close second. There are few things more fantastic than drinking a big glass of delicious wine with a bowl of popcorn, sitting on the sofa, watching a great movie. You’ve got the makings for the perfect evening, now it’s time to pick the right wine!

For the savory & sweet lovers alike, the Vintner’s Reserve Merlot by Kendall-Jackson won’t steer you wrong. It’s full and delicious and will please even the beer-loving friends. It’s one of my favorite ‘go to’ wines and it hasn’t let me down yet.

Make sure you stock up on a few bottles because no one wants the wine to run out!

MOVIE0027That’s it! Five simple steps to hosting the most fabulous at-home film festival you could have ever imagined. Between good friends, delicious popcorn, fun movies, the perfect setting, and a hearty glass of wine, what could be better? Above all else, make sure to have a blast. Who cares if the movie is weird or you only make it through one because everyone just wants to hang out and catch up, the point is that you are all together & nothing is better than that!

If you are feeling inspired (and we hope you are!), tag us in your film festival night – we would love to see it! xoxo
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lauren buttonconstance buttonThis post is sponsored by Kendall-Jackson but all thoughts, opinions, and food obsessions are our own.

 

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BABES BLOODY MARY BRUNCH

IMG_0203well, happy Friday my little babe-trons! Before you get your weekend plans all settled & made, might I suggest making room to host a little babes brunch? I’ve been out of town a bunch this month and I wanted an excuse to get all my favorite gals together & what better way to do that than with brunch & bloody marys?! v8_3IMG_0068 v8_1Everyone’s favorite bloody mary mixer (Original V8, no doubt) & whipped up some fun variations. We made the Chicago-style & other fun combos! If you follow us on Instagram, you might remember that we threw a similar get-together with the Bloody Mary Society, and it was so fun we wanted to do it again! This time, no boys allowed 😉 IMG_0420 v8_4

Brunch is one of my favorite gatherings to throw because the prep work is easy & there is way less clean up! Plus, it’s a ridiculously fun way to start off a day. We set up a fun bloody bar, stocked with our favorite hot sauces, mustards, skewer fixings, and different spices for the rim & it was a hit!

Customization is the key to a successful bar – no matter if it’s bloodys, desserts, or breakfast. Everyone likes to customize, spice things up, and have a little fun – so why not allow them to do so?!
v8_5IMG_0468 v8_6As for the menu, easy breezy! I whipped up some of our favorite brunch foods & voila – brunch was served. When it comes to the menu, don’t over think it! If it’s easier to swing by your local store and pick up a few things from the deli so it cuts down on your prep time in the morning, I say – why not! Really, if you’ve got a good group of friends & a stocked bloody bar, the brunch takes care of itself. IMG_0085 IMG_0166 IMG_0332So, what to you say? Inspired to get the gals together and host a fun babes brunch? If so, we are dying to see! Tag us & #bloodymarysociety so we can follow along & celebrate a good time with you!IMG_0380 IMG_0465


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Thank you V8 for sponsoring this conversation. All thoughts, food obsessions, and opinions are our own.

HOW TO THROW A FAB NEW YEAR’S EVE PARTY

DsN7EXRWWYu-o28zB-IuKvN92qb5S8nAXDeHKJvZTJEHello, hello! Misha here & with New Year’s Eve right around the corner we thought it would be fun to put together a fun, relaxed little get-together! If you love to entertain the way I do, you are used to throwing festive parties, and probably have some amazing tips!

If you are new to hosting though, (perhaps you just bought your first house) and want to know a few guidelines on entertaining with ease, here is some quick party advice!

9axRU2lOuLuwWXHbGcC5hv656lBaHDLF9R3ZWFYBiZsSTEP ONE:

Make sure to invite people way ahead of time. Evites can definitely work, but I have found that they sometimes get lost in the dreaded Spam box. You can pick some party invitations up at the store, or from certain online retailers.

otc7OGlp_ZEKEEOCYJSvS_WEAZF2uhvI-K1HkYZmAn8STEP TWO:

Once you picked an invite out, find a theme to match it. Remember, cohesion is key! I personally find that a neutral color palette is easiest to play around with. It helps me to re-use decorations again, for more than just one occasion during any given year.

qKEvktxKi-aWwB6xtAvDDzt6a1SPxC5bbHNLS8z6BFMSTEP THREE:

Do not crowd the table. Beautiful table decor really takes the party up a notch! But going overboard makes for a very cramped mealtime. Try simply adding some beautiful candles, flowers, greenery, or vibrant fruit to your party tablescape. Sometimes, less is more. Only pick out a few statement pieces!

nye party 1STEP FOUR:

Think about the type of food you are going to serve. Make sure you have food to accommodate your various house guests. I always make sure to have a vegetable dish, and gluten free dish, due to common food allergies.

nye party 3STEP FIVE:

This is totally unnecessary, but I love sending my guests off with a little something special, particularly around the holidays! A cute ornament, candle, or hand soaps really make a lasting impression.

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Cheers to celebrating!


Creative Direction & Styling: Misha West 
Photography: Fawn DeViney
Paper goods: TinyPrints