FRESH TO TABLE: SET A LEMON INFUSED TABLESETTING

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With all the talk about spring around the corner, I'm itching to throw a good party. And, with Allie's wedding coming up, we have plenty of parties to plan and reasons to celebrate!

I love a party with a theme. It makes it easier to plan, stay focused details and to pull it all together. And, since lemons are the universal language of spring, a sign of warmer weather, more sunshine and boozy, pink lemonade margaritas, it seemed appropriate to kick off wedding shower, bridesmaid luncheon and Sunday brunch season with a lemon themed tablesetting. Besides, what's not to love about lemons? 

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Love the Look? Here's how to create it:

First, let table runners, placemats, fresh blooms and fruit do the work and remember, there's no right or wrong. Do what looks good to you!
Black Painted Check Paper Table Runner and Lemon Paper Placemats - Hester & Cook
Whiteware Dinnerwre - Crate & Barrel
Fold kitchen towels to use for napkins. Create a pocket for flatware. - Now Designs
Dansk LaSalle Flatware by Lenox
Clear Bubble Glass Goblets - ATG Stores
Use a single flower stem or lemon leaves on each placesetting
Layer fresh lemon leaf on top of your table runner to add color and bring your table to life.
Place lemons to the bottom of a tall glass vase, add fresh lemon branches and a few white stems for a simple, fun centerpiece

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I like to add an element of surprise. Pink Lemonade Lemon Drop jello shots? Perfect! Not only are they super cute, but they're really REALLY good. Don't worry, we didn't keep you hanging. The recipe is below. 
 

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My latest obsession: BIG ice cubes.  Crazy, I know, but they keep drinks cooler, longer, they look great and you can add edible flowers or fruits to the cubes. You'll find the trays at Target, Crate & Barrel, or Bed, Bath & Beyond. 

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For the rest of the details, head over to the Inspired Home.

Happy hosting, my friends!

xx, Deborah

RECIPE: Pink Lemonade Jello Shots
Ingredients:
2 packets of unflavored gelatin
1 cup pink lemonade
1/2 cup regular vodka
1/2 cup lemon vodka or Lemon Eddy
5 lemons - Cut lengthwise

Cut lemons in half and use a serrated grapefruit spoon to scoop out the inside of the lemon. Heat the lemonade in a pan over medium heat and slowly stir in the packets of gelatin until it dissolves. Add the lemonade and gelatin mixture to a bowl or large pourable measuring cup and pour in your vodka liquids. Stir until combined. Place your lemon halves into a muffin tin to keep them upright. Pour in the liquid until each is 3/4's full and refrigerate for about 4 hours or until set. Remove the tin once the lemons have set, cut into slices right before serving and Salute!

Makes 10 lemon halves you can cut into 2-3 wedges each.

A PERFECT VALENTINE'S DAY FOR TWO

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Morning all you lovely people! Now that Superbowl is behind us (hope your team won!), let's get thinking about Valentine's Day, because it's next week already.

I'm a total sap for hearts, fresh blooms, champagne and sweet treats. What could be bad about all the elements of celebrating love and romance with your partner, your best gal pals or your mama on Valentine's Day, when everyone needs to feel extra loved. If this year you've opted for a night in, read on for a few ideas on how to set the scene for a romantic Valentine's Day (a.k.a. the biggest date night of the year), and get ready to cozy up.


Set the scene: It's Valentine's Day, so have some fun and go crazy with it. Pull something out of your hat that mirrors that romantic fool deep inside or the red hot mama that you are. If you're feeling your inner romance, go with shades of pink accented with gold and of course, include and element of surprise. This DIY pink and gold heart backdrop will be my surprise and BTW, it was a total labor of love.

On the table: The good news? There are no rules when you set a table. Buy some 'refresher' items or something new that strikes your fancy, but once you have an idea in your head of where you're going and know what you need, shop at home and run with it. Some of my best tables came from my own cabinets, pantry and ideas that came to me last minute. This table was actually pretty easy. All it takes is a white tablecloth, a tulle runner, bud vases filled with pink sweetheart roses, hand written love notes, paper confetti and rose petals. Grab some of your favorite flowers and go to town making a bouquet for your table.

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Placesettings: Break out your best china and layer it up. To set this table, I started with a Chilewich Brass Dahlia Placemat, layered it with a Marchesa by Lenox Coral Charger Plate, (the perfect shade of blush), topped it with Marchesa by Lenox Shades White Party Plate and paired it with Marchesa by Lenox Imperial Caviar Gold Flatware. For any special occasion, you'll usually find several pieces of stemware on my table. Here I used a GRANDE cocktail glass I found at HomeGoods, a Lenox Timeless Gold Champagne Flute , and a coordinating gold rimmed Wine Glass. I love the shades of pink mixed with gold and this ruffle edged party plateis absolutely my favorite, so plan on seeing it again and again.

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We all know the perfect date includes dessert. I'm a die-hard chocolate lover, so a bottle of bubbly, with a chocolate and sea salt caramel tart can sweep me off my feet any day.

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Can we talk about these French Bull Word Snack Trays, because they're adorable. I filled them with my favorite jellies, red Swedish Fish Hearts, Starburst and scattered Sugarfina 'kiss me' sugar lips', (LOVE) basically, everywhere.

Want more details? You can find them on The Inspired Home.

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My friend Cary hosted a Saturday afternoon Valentine's card making sesh a couple weeks ago and it was SO MUCH FUN! If you have never hosted a crafting party, try one on. They're not only super fun, but total therapy and thanks to a much needed afternoon with some of my girls, I have the cutest VD cards, EVER!

Valentine's Day is the perfect time to make someone's day. Show some extra love and have the sweetest day for yourself.

xx, Deborah

 

SET A SPRING TABLE

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How are you all doing post-holiday my favorite party people? If you're thinking at all like me (so long 2016!) you are probably over the snow, the rain, the sleet and ready for happy days to be here again. What better way to celebrate 2017, lose the mood and look forward to a new season than some insane tablesetting therapy. For me, dreaming it up is half the fun and setting it...is the finale.

So, here it is, my first spring tablesetting of the new year! And, once again, with pretty PAPER from Sophistiplate. I know I say this every time, but whenever I finish designing and styling a table with Sophistiplate, I always have the same thought. I can't believe this is paper! I mean, can you?

I imagined this table could be set for an engagement party, bridesmaids luncheon, a wedding or baby shower, lunch to celebrate your favorite girls for no particular reason or, the fanciest brunch you ever have set. I thought of this as just pure romantic goodness and exactly what I needed to put some pep back in my step after ALL this rain in California.

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Linens: I was looking for a light background and remembered my kate spade new york 'all wrapped up in bows' off-white tablecloth. I found it at HomeGoods and snagged it. I didn't know exactly what I needed it for when I saw it. I just knew I did. It has a delicate pattern of bows and isn't too ivory or too white, but somewhere in between. The color also coordinates with my black and white striped paper runner from Hester & Cook and I LOVE the look.

Placesettings: People often ask me how I create a tables that look like this using paper products. Good question. I tell them I set with paper the same way I set with my fine china. It's really that simple. I might be okay using pretty paper 'dinnerware', but I'm not ready to move away from the real deal when it comes to flatware, stemware and accessories on my table. For this setting, I layered the Ivory & Classic Gold Collection from Sophistiplate. This 44-piece set and service for eight that includes charger plates, dinner plates, salad/dessert plates, appetizer/dessert bowls and napkins. I mixed and matched solid white pieces, along with gold edged pieces mirroring the way I would set my fine white china and accent plates. Under the dinner plate, I added a black flour sack napkin (from my friends at Merc Textile - who hand make the cutest towels!) to add some color to the placesetting, and topped the settings with mini-bouquets for each guest, that also doubled as place cards. I wrapped a pink flour sack napkin around the bouquet to keep it looking pretty (and the stems neat!). To keep it all together, I added monogrammed leather napkin rings from Mark and Graham and accented the placesettings with my gold flatware from Marchesa by Lenox.

Cocktails or Wine: With a placesetting this sweet, I knew a glass of rosé was (clearly) in order and it needed to be in the perfect coupe, topped with edible flowers. My version of the word 'perfect' here are these stemmed cocktail glasses (yep, Mark and Graham!). Of course, there is always plenty of champagne on ice at my house and...wine.

Flowers: Can I just say that this was my first attempt at a flower arrangement like this?! I knew what I was going for and with hydrangeas, Juliette roses, white mums, an assortment of filler and lemon leaf in hand, I took a stab at it. Yes, I'm very proud and I love them. I used a natural wood covered vase with a rope handle, wood sliced chargers to elevate the single stem filled mini-vases from Design Ideas and added a few votives. I scattered small gifts for my guests wrapped in the same paper as the runner and tied with black grosgrain and pink satin ribbon. I tucked some small florals under the bow for some extra color.

I've been itching to do a bouquet bar and with the heart filled holiday just around the corner, I thought why not let everyone make their own bouquet and add a little flower love right now. Nothing elaborate, but just enough to try the idea on and something sweet to take home. With clean, cut stems (remove nasty leaves and thorns) in mason jars or vases, floral wire to wrap the bouquet, cut paper, flour sack fabric or napkin to wrap the stems, pre-cut ribbon, twine, tags, a sharpie, your golden scissors and poof! Flower bouquets will appear.

To hold all the goodies to make the bouquets, I used Sophistiplate appetizer bowls, which are also good for obviously, appetizers, but also candy, nuts, mini-desserts, cookies and more.

SHOP THE LOOK:

The flowers really inspired the palette for this table and feels like a breath of fresh air for the (very early!) first signs of spring. So, what do you think? Do you want to sit with us?

xx, Deborah

AWARD WINNING VIEWING PARTY IDEAS

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Award season is officially here and so is some of Hollywood's biggest nights. If you're planning on hosting the Oscar's, Emmy's or Grammy's, it's time to roll out the carpet and WOW friends with filmed themed invitations and decor, a photo back drop filled with your favorite iconic Hollywood stars, along with your smoothest cocktails and very best apps!

This year, I opted to take my Award glam in a copper, navy and white direction, mixing in metals where they seemed like a good fit.

SHOP THE LOOK:

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Next, stock the bar with your favorite spirits, line up the barware, put plenty of bubbly on ice and mix up your first batch of signature cocktails.

'Tis the season for grapefruit, and the ruby red's couldn't be any more perfect than right now, which is why Grapefruit and Sage Champagne Cocktails are on my drink menu. You can make the sage infused simple syrup ahead and whip up a batch of these beauties in minutes. I found this recipe on Floating Kitchen.

Simple syrup: Combine the sugar and water over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until the mixture starts to simmer and the sugar is completely dissolved. Stir in the sage and cook for 30 seconds more. Remove the saucepan from the heat and set it aside to cool. Once the simple syrup has cooled to room temperature, remove and discard the sage. Transfer the simple syrup to a clean re-sealable container and store it in your refrigerator until you are ready to use.

Single cocktail: Vigorously shake 3 ounces (6 tablespoons) grapefruit juice, 1 1/2 ounces (3 tablespoons) of the sage simple syrup and 2-3 dashes of bitters in a shaker with ice. Strain into a glass with fresh ice. Top with about 1/2 cup of champagne. Garnish with fresh sage leaves, if desired. Serve immediately in a fabulous coupe

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The Snack Bar! Gourmet popcorn with seasoned salt is always a good idea and It's a great nosh and perfect fill in when everyone is bringing something. I served the popcorn in a family sized popcorn bowl and made individual "cones" out of scrapbook paper, wrapped it with white ribbon and added a black satin bow with a rhinestone center for an Award style look. To hold the cones, I picked up a navy storage basket at Target.

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How about this monogrammed copper tiered serving stand from Mark and Graham? I love the copper twist to a traditional piece and the height it adds to the table. Calling all brides: Consider this an A-List registry item!

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My newest and very favorite app: Individual (homemade!) star shaped garlic tortilla chips and guacamole. I got the idea from Courtney at Pizzazzerie and the recipe from Sweet Savory Life. Just my opinion, but these are show stoppers. Fill mini dessert bowl's with 2-3 tablespoons of guac and top with a tortilla chip for individual style. Serve extra chips on the side.

Baked Star Tortilla Chips: Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees. Using a pastry brush, lightly coat each side of a corn tortilla with vegetable oil. Cut with a star shaped cookie cutter. Place chips on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Season chips with Lawry's seasoned garlic powder and salt. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Using tongs, turn over each chip at about 5-6 minutes. Remove from oven when golden and serve. Chips are best when consumed within the same day. Enjoy!

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Tuxedo napkins anyone? I made these with Aleene's Clear Tacky Glue (it's washable) and paired them on the table with CRU Monaco gold luncheon plates and Marchesa by Lenox gold flatware.

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Add dessert! Champagne Trifle in Libbey mini parfait glasses are easy, can made ahead and are just enough after snacking all day.

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To create this backdrop and photo wall, I printed 35-40 black and white 8.5" x 11" vintage Hollywood images and hung them five across and eight down using double face tape. Warning: Get ready to take some fun pics with your friends and don't be afraid to dress the part. PSA: It's always a good idea to have a white feather boa on hand when it comes to a photo wall!

So, are you ready to throw your next best Awards party? Visit The Inspired Home for all the details on this one. I'm sure your critics will say the winner is...you!

xx, Deborah

                                                              

                                                            Design: Deborah Shearer | Photography: Stefanie Schoen: The Style Safari