“Hostess with the Mostest”

Goin’ Coastal

An easy coastal themed tabletop perfect for relaxed summer entertaining
Filed Under > "Hostess with the Mostest"

With the first day of summer officially come and gone I’m focused on soaking up every bit that summer has to offer. Which for me means easy, relaxed dinners alfresco.

Typically in summer with the heat being what it is I like to keep the meals light, which usually means seafood. Grilled fish, shrimp skewers, and in today’s case white wine and garlic clams. And with seafood typically on the menu my summer table decor tend to lean in the coastal direction. Think blues, whites, and natural fabrics mixed in with no fuss accents. Which is exactly what I’m sharing today.

If you asked me to pick a favorite from this setting, I couldn’t. I honestly want every single piece. The updated take on spongeware by Mark D. Sikes mixes perfectly with my favorite blue and white stripes and coastal inspired melamine accents like these $5 dipping dishes and the bread board. And the rattan accents in the form of placemats, glassware and place card holders add that relaxed feeling that is summer.

And continuing on the theme of relaxed, our no-iron linen napkins are an absolute must for entertainers of all levels. They’re not too fussy and YES no-iron means no-iron. So you can wash them time and time again and they’ll be ready to go from the dryer straight to the table.

Lastly, I rounded everything out with ivory acrylic flatware in the shape of bamboo, melamine wine coasters, cobalt blue hibiscus VIETRI bud vases filled with tulips, and sea-salt citronella candles to keep the bugs away. And I pulled out my bamboo folding chairs. I ordered two sets of these years ago and I’m so glad I did. I love having them at the ready for extra guests or any extra seating needs. I really do use them all the time!

Jumping back to the flatware real quick; these stopped me in my tracks when I first spied them. I had wanted the traditional brown bamboo flatware for ages, but had never pulled the trigger and I’m so glad I didn’t because the ivory is STUNNING! Plus it goes with absolutely everything. I did say I couldn’t play favorites, but if I was pushed it would be these!

So that’s it friends. A relaxed summer tabletop ready for all those long summer nights ahead. Enjoy! Truly, MKR

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Photography: Rustic White Interiors

An Easy At-Home Holiday Breakfast Bar For Guests

How to set up an easy and festive self-serve holiday breakfast bar
Filed Under > "Hostess with the Mostest"

One of the favorite things I have in my home is a makeshift tea station upstairs in my bedroom.  Ove the years, I’ve become a major night-time tea drinker.  And because I spend the majority of my evenings cozied up in my bed working, reading, or watching TV I got tired of running downstairs 2-3 times just to put the kettle on to get more tea. So, to alleviate that last year I purchased an electric tea kettle and turned a bar cart into a tea station. 

It’s nothing fancy, just an electric tea kettle and a tray full of mugs, tea bags, mulling spices, and all-things cozy. So when thinking about hosting all of our holiday guests this season I thought, why not turn my upstairs bar into an at-home holiday breakfast bar.  

If you’ve been following my Blog for a while then you know I have an upstairs loft that I turned into a sort of game room/bar area. It’s an awkward space, that truly doesn’t get used a lot. But it’s beautiful and I knew it would perfect for this self-serve idea.  

So why not set this up in the kitchen? Two main reasons.  One, it’s festive and fun, and I love doing small things like this to really make guests feel welcome and like you went all out for them. 

And two, all of the bedrooms are upstairs while the kitchen is downstairs.  I, like many people, love a slow, quiet start to my morning.  I don’t necessarily want to get dressed, and ready and head downstairs and start my day right away.  By having everything guests need right outside their door they can pop out and grab a cup of coffee or tea, and a breakfast pastry and head back to their room to have that nice leisurely start that every vacation should have.  Plus at night it can be used as that sleepy time tea station has become part of my nightly routine.

Regardless of where you set it up, a self-serve, holiday breakfast bar is beyond easy to create.  First, I made sure that I had all the morning necessities present.  Coffee maker, electric tea kettle, and toaster. I love this new vintage set from Russell & Hobbs.  It’s well priced, works like a gem, looks adorable, and the toaster even has a croissant toasting shelf!

Second, stock your holiday breakfast bar with everything guests would need to make it self serve so everyone can run at their own speed in the morning.  Think mugs, water, tea bags, coffee, sugar, utensils, napkins, etc.  And I stashed all of the extras in the drawers making it super easy if guests run out of anything. 

Third, I made it festive with holiday-themed coffee blends, pastries,  jams, packets of cocoa and tea. And of course, added a wreath and a few of my favorite rosemary and lavender Christmas trees as decor.

Lastly, I always make sure guests know that this is there for them to access at any time.  There’s nothing worse than being a guest who feels they have to tip-toe around their hosts.

And that’s it.  An easy at home holiday breakfast bar that is as festive as it is functional! Tell me, how do you make guests feel welcome in your home? Truly, MKR


The Best Books for Holiday Entertaining

A collection of beautiful resources for planning all of the parties on your dance card this holiday season
Filed Under > "Hostess with the Mostest"

Entertaining Books, Waiting on Martha

It’s officially my favorite time of year!  October marks the start to a string of holidays that brings on the festive memories and excuses for merry-making left and right.  Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and everything in between call for seasonal recipes galore, and drinks that are just as beautiful as they are mouthwatering. 

Whether you’re planning a slew of holiday parties, hosting an intimate evening for friends and family, or simply enjoying the coziest time of year, you’ll love this roundup of holiday entertaining books.  These books include recipes that are begging to be made at home, and include so many tips and tricks to planning and enjoying an unforgettable occasion. 

While this is a time for many to indulge, some find it tricky to navigate the holiday menus.  That’s where Vegan Holiday Kitchen comes in.  And if you’re like me, you find the holidays to be the best reason to enjoy a champagne cocktail or cozy warm boozy cider.  The Coupe, Artisanal Cocktails and Cocktails for the Holidays are all great books to inspire some home bartending for the season. Truly, MKR

P.S. Check out all of our cocktails in our Recipe Index HERE. xo 



Confessions of a Serial Entertainer

Waiting on Martha Home, $30

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We’ve carried this book in the shop for years now, and for good reason.  It’s one of my favorite books when it comes to entertaining in style.  Think menus, anecdotes and tidbits that will have you eager to host and open your home to friends and family.

The author’s inspiration for party food are classic, too: dips and cheese spreads with crackers, family recipes for delicious roasts, breakfast casseroles, and desserts.

The Coupe

Target, $13.56

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My husband loves a good cocktail, and I love mixing the up.  This gorgeous book by our friend Brian Hart Hoffman includes signature recipes with simply stunning photography, as well as inspiration for collecting coupes and styling them at your home bar.  Included, also: easy and elegant dessert recipes perfect for serving in coupes, a primer on citrus garnishes, and simple syrup recipes that add depth and flavor to cocktails. 

The Pumpkin Pie Spice Cookbook

Amazon, $11.66

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Nothing says fall like pumpkin pie or pumpkin spice!  This book is a no-brainer for any fall lover out there.  This book includes 40 recipes designed around this winning flavor combo.  I’m talking chai latte and vegan nog to waffles, chilis, bisques, breads, and chutneys.  YUM.

Celebrate Everything

Amazon, $16.50

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Darcy Miller, the ultimate celebrations expert and Editor at Large for Martha Stewart Weddings, brings us a jam-packed book with everything you need to throw a wonderful party.  She’s packed it with planning strategy and original ideas that promise to make the celebration personal. 

Vegan Holiday Kitchen

Amazon, $15.10

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It can feel daunting to navigate the holiday season with vegan dietary restrictions, but author Nava Atlas shares more than 200 totally doable and totally delicious recipes.  Whether you’re planning Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, and Christmas or celebratory brunches, lunches, dinners, potlucks, and buffets, you’ll find inspiration for mouthwatering dishes.  

Cocktails for the Holidays

Amazon, $12.80

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This bright and cheery book will make you even more excited about the holidays, trust me!  Think holiday punches, sparkling champagne cocktails, seasonal sips with apples, clementines, cranberries and spices.  You can plan to take comfort with a cozy mug or elegant coupe with 50 stylish and festive recipes.

Southern Appetizers

Amazon, $11.32

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Like all Southerners, I love appetizers, and especially this time of year.  This book is full of tried-and-true recipes that really show some Southern hospitality, like smoked pecans, cheese straws, hot and irresistible dips, and pickled shrimp.

Along with recipes, you’ll also find tips on creating the ideal party flow, being a great host, arranging fresh flowers, handling invitations, and ultimate menu planning.  This book makes a great hostess gift, and one you’ll want to keep for yourself! 

Artisanal Cocktails

Amazon, $24.99

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This beautiful, full-color collection of 50 cocktail recipes will have your mouth watering.  I especially love this book for its use of organic, sustainable produce, and local, handcrafted ingredients. The author’s attention to detail and technique are apparent; the drinks are STUNNING and inspiring to even the novice home bartender. 

Photography, Rustic White for Waiting on Martha

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