Category Archives: Hostessing

Gifting: Spicing up the Registry

While on the topic of bridal showers, my friend Katie complained to me about giving gifts off the dreaded registry. As she put it: It’s so boring and impersonal! Which is funny, because although it can definitely be impersonal for the giver, it is decidedly NOT for the recipients.

Registering is a deeply personal experience…that involves Pottery Barn, a gun-like scanner and limitless possibilities. But I agreed with Katie that as the giver, one may feel a little lack luster by purchasing the first item on the registry that we’re actually able to locate within the labyrinth of said store.

HOWEVER! I’ve got a few suggestions for turning what could be an impersonal purchase, into a present that has room for your gift giving flair and panache! The key is to purchase one item from the registry and pair it with related items that you love or that means something special. (Because that’s what we really want to do…share what MEANS something to us with this special person).

I decided to come up with a few examples to get you thinking:

Pair a Panini Grill:


with a Panini recipe book:


Pair this pitcher:


With ingredients for you and the bride’s fave cocktail from back in the day, such as the “Girl’s Vodka Soda”:



and “soda”:


Or pair a few of their towels:


with a few custom ones:


Pair their flatware:


with your fave Etsy Napkins or Placemat:


Or with this lovely plate:


Hopefully you get my drift! Go therefore and be creative! (And use the registry for goodness sake!)



Filed under For the Home, Hostessing, Modern Dowry, Nesting

Modern Dowry: Ceramics

I found Ninainvorm via Thoughtful Day. And I’m so glad I did. Because with plates like these, I could serve burnt casserole and it wouldn’t matter. The plates would make up for it. I mean it…I really do. My boyfriend may not agree, but that’s neither here nor there. He just doesn’t appreciate pretty things like I do.

Picture 8

Please note how Nina uses vintage pieces and reworks them. Excuse me while I wipe the tears from my eyes. Vintage + Modern = Absolute Obsession! Casserole anyone?

Picture 9

Besides the fact that I want these for my house…be it hung on the wall or serving casserole, I also think these pieces could be a great little addition for a wedding. The Yes, Oui and Love collections are all so perfect. Perhaps you could prop these up on display next to your guest book, hang a few amongst a collage of photos, or implement them pretty much any other place where you can possibly justify their use.


Check out Ninainvorm’s Etsy shop to purchase one of these, keep up with her on her blog AND visit her flickr page in case you can’t get enough.

1 Comment

Filed under Decor, For the Home, Hostessing, Modern Dowry, Must Have, Nesting, Splurge Worthy, Twist on Tradition, Uncategorized

Emerson Made

I am so excited to share with you a most delightful design studio called Emerson Made, which I found via Lily and Co. Proprietor Emerson is an absolute delight. Not only does she hand make each one-of-a-kind piece (which are also hand dyed!!!), she also styles each of her photographs, collages, and artwork. Whew! Her lovely blog is a portfolio/catalogue with just too much good stuff! (I could hardly decide which photos to share with you).


Emerson let me know that this coming Monday, her new online store, Emerson Made, will be open. She has an upcoming line of apparel which will be available at the end of the summer. I’m more than pleased to share with some of my favorite wedding worthy finds.

First off, here are a few lovelies for your big strong man. I adore these ideas for a groom. After the wedding, you can steal his boutonniere for yourself. What a delightful little memory that will come attached!


Second, here are some finds that would work for bridesmaid gifts, or perhaps for corsages for your mother dearest. Not to be redundant, but I really love the versatility of these pieces. They really CAN be used again and again!


Third, look how these lovelies can go from t-shirt to wedding dress. Swoon!


And finally…check out what Emerson Made offers for the table. I know…this may not be realistic for a wedding, but they’d be oh-s0-charming for a bridal shower. If you’re hosting the affair, buy enough for each guest and if you can resist keeping them for yourself, then offer them as favors or give them to the bride as a gift. If you’re a guest for an upcoming shower, I think these would be a rather lovely shower gift! They are custom made and can be printed with the couple’s monogram or the apropos “EAT”.



Filed under Bridesmaid, For the Home, Guy's Guide, Hostessing, Nesting, Splurge Worthy, Twist on Tradition

SugarBloom: Tall Cupcakes

I absolutely LOVE finding fresh takes on standard fare, which is why I had to share this fun twist on a classic favorite. SugarBloom Cupcakes is taking the cupcake to new heights with these tall cupcakes (pardon the pun), elevating the status of this humble dessert.

The delicate treats are absolutely divine, but unless you’re located in Melbourne, Australia, you won’t have a chance to try them out first hand. However, I’ve got the next best option: SugarBloom’s free online tutorial for making tall cupcakes. How impressive would these be at a wedding shower? I’m not gonna lie to you though…this recipe is not for the faint of heart! I have a feeling it is totally worth it though.

Picture 2

Picture 1

Picture 3


Filed under Cake, DIY, Food & Drink, Hostessing, Shower, Twist on Tradition

Everyone’s Doing It…

Talking about peonies, that is. Yesterday I was at my local friendly Trader Joe’s (oh how I love me some Trader’s) and I couldn’t resist purchasing a bunch of peonies.


Wouldn’t you know, they’ve bloomed overnight and now I CANNOT take my eyes off them. I keep them in my line of vision and look over with googly eyes every few seconds like an adoring pre-teen fan. I’d get their autograph if I could.


Anyhow, these beauties are in season right now, which means they’re way more affordable AND better looking. If you’re getting married during this time of year, please, do me a favor and use peonies.


Or, just pick some up for yourself, put them in the vase, and tell them (as often as you can when no one is listening) how much you adore them.

2007-06-02peoniessmaller{Home Shopping Spy}

She looks lovely alone, or surround with a bunch of other pretty friends. (Though I think the peony makes all the other gals jealous).


Look what $6 can do? (Yes, $6…that’s how much I paid for 5 stems!)

5-8-08 peonies


And she’s mighty versatile! She can do casual and she can do fancy.



Happy Tuesday!


Filed under DIY Flowers, Flowers, Hostessing, Inspiration, Nesting

Miss Cakestand and Her Friends

They’re like a work horse for your tables. Throw a cake stand, tiered platter and some silver trays out and your presentation goes from drab to fab! I’m telling you (if you don’t know already) these guys make for lovely little ditties on your tables…be it centerpieces for your wedding, a buffet for your shower, or a cutie display on your counter. Adding variety in height will add interest, depth and makes your display look professionally designed. 

: : Miss Cakestand : : Here, in pink splendor. Photo below by the ineffable Cooke Studio.

Cooke Studio 

: : Silver trays : : easier to find that you think. I’ve picked up five similar to this at thrift stores in my local area. Don’t be afraid of the tarnish! They shine up pretty easily with a little silver polish and some elbow grease. I’ve never paid more than $25 for one. 

Country Living

: : DIY : : I’m always on the look out at flea markets, antique shops and thrift stores for vintage finds so I can add these pretties to my hostess arsenal. However, if you’re coming up dry, you can always make a cake stand out of some vintage plates and candle sticks. Design*Sponge featured a “how to” on this great project here

DIY Cakestands

: : Shop Online : : If you don’t feel like trolling around the city for used items, do not pass go, do not collect 200 dollars. You MUST go to Feather Your Nest. The pictures below are a few of my favorites from her shop. I think I’d like one of each item from her shop, please. In every color. 

Look at these cake stands:


: : Vintage Scale : : If you’re feeling a little vintage inspired, how about using this for display? I can just imagine the cute stationery, bunch of fresh rosemary or favors that you can put in here.

Vintage Scale from Feather Your Nest

: : Variety : : Don’t be afraid to vary your centerpieces. As long as you have a consistent look and theme that pulls the look together, variety can add texture and a point of interest to your tables. Footed bowls, like the ones used in this display, are another heightening element that sophisticate anything you put them around.

Country Living

: : Footed bowls : : Sherbet, anyone? Ummm…can it get any cuter? 

Macy's Waterford Collection

: : Martini Glasses : : Not just for Cosmopolitans. Use them for dessert, appetizers (bruschetta, anyone?) or even dolled up mashed potatoes. Cooke Studio photo below. 

Cooke Studio

: : Vases and Jars : : These can pull double duty when used for serving and displaying pretty treats. These ones below are available at Macy’s

Macy's Waterford Collection

: : Buffet Table : : If you’re planning on having a buffet at your wedding, don’t be afraid to ask your caterer about their presentation. They’ll usually have photos of displays, and you can always ask them to utilize some of these presentation elements…rental companies have most of the items I’ve listed, and caterers make use of them all the time.

***Pssst!!! See the cute bottles of pink happiness on the table? It’s sparkling lemonade in glass vintage inspired bottles made by Lorina. Available at local stores including World Market and Bevmo.

InStyle Weddings via Jessica Ralph Blog


I’ll leave you with a little goody from Martha, who uses cakestands, egg cups and a whole bunch of yellow for a too good to be true spring table. Happy hunting and happy hostessing!

Martha Stewart

1 Comment

Filed under Hostessing, Must Have, Shower, Splurge Worthy