Holiday Entertaining Essentials

This week is NUTS y’all, but I promised a post about entertaining during the holidays so you shall receive! Let’s just hit a few key points here… starting with the most important - cheese.

Cheese & Charcuterie

Image from  honestcooking.com

Every good party MUST have a cheese and charcuterie board. This not optional, y’all. And how adorable are those pine sprigs added for a wintery effect? If you’re thinking, “that’s great Alyssa but how the heck do I put this together” have no fear… Instructions and recipes for this exact spread can be found here. Also, if you need something pretty to serve everything on click here. Done and done!

Beverages

Image from  sugarandcharm.com

Along with your essential wines like a crisp white and a dry red (none of that sweet nastiness at my house!) you should consider serving a cocktail at your holiday soirée. This spiced apple sparkling punch recipe by Sugar and Charm caught my eye and sounds so delicious! This photo is also the perfect example of how mixed crystal glassware can take your party spread up a notch. So gorgeous!

Image from  sugarandcharm.com

Okay okay I wouldn’t necessarily call a hot chocolate bar “essential” to a great party, but come on… just look at this cuteness! I came across this idea on Sugar and Charm’s blog while I was checking out that apple sparkling punch post and I’m a little obsessed. Those marshmallows!! Click here to see what all goes into this fabulous little chocolatey masterpiece.

Table Decor

Image from  designlovefest.com

This tablescape is stylish simplicity at its finest. Greenery, metallic accents, and candles - boom. That’s really all you need folks! You could simplify even more and just do greenery and candles, especially if you have fun glasses to put on the table. Honestly, I think everyone knows by now that I’ll love it as long as there’s greenery. Learn how to make your own greenery table garland here!

Don’t forget I’m offering a discounted rate for holiday decorating until the 21st… that includes helping you wow your guests with mega fabulous party decor!

3 ways to get Christmassy with your mantel & my favorite stocking picks

Guys it's Friday!!! AND all of the decorations I ordered for our tree are supposed to be here tomorrow so y'all know what I'll be doing this weekend. On my last post we just talked about all things Christmas tree so I figured today we could take a look at a few ways to decorate that beautiful fireplace mantel you have in your home. Here are the top three things you can use (maybe just a couple if you want to keep it simple!) to bring a little Christmas cheer onto your mantel:

1. Greenery

2. Candles

3. Stockings *don't forget hooks/holders*

You can find faux greenery (garland) at several stores around town like Home Depot, Target, Hobby Lobby, just to name a few. OR you can go to any local nursery and buy the real stuff. Real greenery looks absolutely gorgeous, especially if you have a real tree in your home to compliment it. If you go the live greenery route, there are a few steps you can take to make sure it lasts throughout the holiday season. You will want to spray the greenery with water and then treat it with an anti-desiccant spray, which is usually sold at nurseries. This seals the pores on the leaves and bark and helps the foliage retain moisture (thanks for the tip Martha Stewart). Check out this mantel with real greenery and candles.. simple and timeless!

Image from Lonny.com

Image from Lonny.com

Candles are a must for holiday decor and luckily you can find them for pretty cheap. Heck you can go to any discount store and buy candles... No one would know the difference! Whether you actually light them or not, candles can add elegance to any mantel decor style. I personally love to grab a few in different heights to bring a little dimension into the overall look. You can also use candle holders with varying heights like this next mantel. 

Image from randigarrettdesign.com

Image from randigarrettdesign.com

I love the metallic accents of this mantel decor and the varying textures of the stockings. You can't go wrong with linen and fur! This is also a great example of how beautiful faux garland can be. 

This next mantel sports real greenery, more fur (duh) and BLUSH accents. I'm in love! The little village houses are super fun too, but I think I would have gone with some big chunky candles with different heights. It's beautiful nonetheless!

Image from @monikahibbs Instagram 

Image from @monikahibbs Instagram 

So in my last post I told you a little about how I want to shake things up a bit with my Christmas tree decor by adding metallic, pink, and black & white accents. Sadly, we don't have a mantel and the only place to put our tree without moving furniture around is in front of the fireplace. BUT if we actually had a mantel I would want some super fun stockings to coordinate with my tree decorations. So I put together a little group of stockings I found on Etsy... And I put the links below in case you guys decide you want any of them :)

Screen Shot 2017-11-30 at 10.23.57 AM.png

Gold Polka Dot

Pink Fur & Minky

B&W Gingham

Silver w/ White Fur

Next week I'll post the before and after pictures of our Christmas tree! Until then.. I hope everyone has a fabulous weekend full of decorating and holiday parties! 

Christmas Tree Tips & Staying on Trend

Thanksgiving has come and gone so y'all know what that means... it's time to bust out the vacuum because my house is about to be covered in glitter from my obnoxiously sparkly Christmas tree. Maybe it's only Chris (the hubs) that thinks it's obnoxious since he's the one who actually assembles it, and he usually rocks a sparkly beard for a few days afterwards. Anyways, sparkly beards are a super riveting conversation topic, but I'm sure you guys would like me to get to the point and talk about some fun holiday decorating tips and ideas!

Image from los40.com

Image from los40.com

I think today we should talk about the most important holiday decoration, which is obviously the tree. Christmas trees have been around since the 16th century so I think they deserve first dibs. Here we will talk about how to determine your perfect tree size, whether faux is the way to go, and going old school vs. shaking it up a bit with your holiday ornamentation. 

Image from lifehacker.com.au

Image from lifehacker.com.au

I feel like a lot of people struggle with figuring out what size Christmas tree they need for their home. I know I had no idea when we first decided to get our first tree. A good rule of thumb is to to allow 1.5 feet to 6 inches minimum between the top of the tree and the ceiling. Also, make sure to factor in the height of your tree stand and the tree topper you want to use since they will be included in the overall height. As far as width goes, you can gage that based on the area where you will put the tree and what's around it. You want to make sure the tree isn't encroaching on your furniture or rubbing against the walls. Generally, you will need 5.5 feet of depth for a 7.5 foot tree, 6 feet of depth for a 9 foot tree, and so on. Another good rule to remember is to leave 3 inches between the tree and the wall to avoid any tree to wall contact. 

I personally am a huge fan of faux Christmas trees. We got our faux tree from Home Depot 2 years ago and it's super easy to assemble with minimal messiness, give or take a few thousand sparkles. I am a tad bid OCD (I think most interior designers are) so the idea of a real tree inside my house shedding needles everywhere gives me the heebie jeebies. I do however really enjoy them in other people's homes and places like the Driskill Hotel where they immaculately decorate a giant fir tree carted in from the Blue Ridge Mountains in North Carolina. 

For years there were two options for your Christmas tree ornament style. You either went the traditional route with red and green along with emotionally significant family ornaments or the more design conscious metallic look. As beautiful and organized as the metallic look is I personally love putting up our ornaments each year that bring back specific memories with each one. Chris and I have tried to make it a point to buy a Christmas ornament every time we go somewhere new together. This little tradition has made decorating the tree really special for us. Sappy I know! So while our tree currently leans more toward the traditional look, I have been getting inspired by the increasingly more funky, daring Christmas tree styling going on lately. Also, my personal design style is definitely transitional, so I would like my tree to reflect that as well. I think the tree below is a little over the top for my taste, but I love the idea of incorporating some brighter, colorful ornaments like these in with metallic ornaments and the ones we find together over the years. Pink has been all the rage lately, so I'm thinking about adding some pink ornaments into the mix this year and investing in some more contemporary metallic ones... Maybe some turquoise and black and white as well. 

Image from the Glam Pad

Image from the Glam Pad

If you know me you know I have an obsession with statement earrings. So you can imagine how excited I was when I came across these super cute ornaments at Lulu & Georgia (click here). It only makes sense that I expand my collection of fabulous tasseled and fringed accessories to include Christmas tree ornaments. You know I was thinking, I love my home decor, clothes and jewelry to be on trend, so I should probably make an effort with my Christmas tree too! 

Image from Lulu & Georgia 

Image from Lulu & Georgia 

Stay tuned to see our Christmas tree makeover!