Don't be afraid of the napkins.

When Corey and I first were married, I was incredibly worried about our table linens. I wanted to use them, but I didn't actually want to USE them. I was afraid that we would get them dirty with something that wouldn't come out. 

Since then I've learned that Corey is extremely patient with getting stains out of the laundry (yes, he does our laundry, and yes, I know how lucky I am!) and that the napkins, placemats, and tablecloths aren't quite as fragile as I had thought. 

When it comes to setting the table for friends, company, or a special occasion I find table linens to be integral in setting the mood. You can't quite have a fancy dinner party and give your guests paper towels, you know what I mean? 

I've got a full set of white napkins from Crate and Barrel (you can find them here,) but have also thrifted some, sewn some, and purchased some from Amazon and West Elm. I like to have a nice bright white set (bleach can be a lifesaver) along with some special occasions, and a hodge podge of everyday ones that don't all have to match. 

Here are some of my favorites that are out there right now. 

These handmade "make it count" wishbones are perfect for Friendsgiving. You can find them here.

A nice, simple black and white cotton check means these napkins are affordable and versatile. With this sort of check being quite popular currently, these napkins are sure to earn you a few style points. You can get them here!

These are truly fantastic. The set says "elbows off the table" "chew with your mouth shut" "please and thank you" and "don't reach across the table." My husband's remarks? "Those were made for you." What do I say? So what? My grandma told me if I developed impeccable manners by second grade we could have tea with the Queen of England. It was definitely a lie, but by the time I realized that good manners were already ingrained! Now I'm working on teaching my husband. Don't tell him I told you. Buy them here

These gold dots are happy, festive, laid back, bright and cheery. These are my top pick for napkins (and a matching tablecloth in round or rectangular) to take you from Thanksgiving to Christmas, New Years, even Easter, and most definitely birthdays, baby showers, bridal showers etc. Gold polka dots match everything! Get them here.

Nesting dolls. They are adorable, and somehow read "festive." They work for Christmas, birthdays, and any other occasion that needs a little pizazz! Buy these hand screen printed napkins here.

If you are hosting for Thanksgiving, Friendsgiving, or planning on having friends over during the holiday season, make sure to use the nice napkins. They'll notice!

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Friday Favorites (11/18/2016)

This week I'll do a quick share of some things that have made me really happy this week!

1. This Cathrineholm Lotus Bowl.

Once upon a time, I bought this bowl from Retro Wanderlust for a really good price. It is perfect in our kitchen, and is just cheery and bright. Of course, I fell in love with it and wanted to collect all of the other enameled pieces...until I googled and saw the price. My husband did buy me one other piece as a gift, but I won't be collecting them anytime soon!

2. Cardamom! 

She's just been especially cute this week, everyone. I never thought I'd be a cat person!

3. Fun Bracelets

I have really fallen in love with the arm party concept- the more bracelets the merrier! This all started the first time I saw a photo of Iris Apfel, and continued when I started collecting Bakelite jewelry this summer. In the top photo you can see a bunch of bracelets- I actually bought them at Macy's on super clearance from Iris Apfel's line there. Here's a link to my favorite, the big carved one. They are just plastic, but boy do they make me happy! The bottom, colorful photo, I took in a bathroom on our way to see a show that our friend was the musical director of. This picture shows a big polka dot plastic bracelet from the 60's surrounded by Bakelite from earlier on. I've often been mistaken for an art teacher, and I consider that a compliment. I'll just lean into the art teacher/Iris Apfel vibes. 

4. The Perfect Gift

You know who knows me really well? My husband and my best friend. Do you know how I know? They each bought me the same gift! I like to sew, and when you sew you always need a small pair of thread snips on hand. This is a necklace/thread snips combo that I didn't even think was made anymore! I first fell in love with the idea when I watched a show on Netflix called "The Time Between" about a dressmaker from Spain before WWII. She wore a pair, and I thought it was a beautiful way to carry a practical tool. Now I have one! I have most of next week off of work for the holiday, and I intend to spend quite a bit of my time sewing. 

5. Pumpkin Pale Ale from Vine Park Brewing

If you want to be well-liked at Thanksgiving or Friendsgiving, go pick up a growler or three of this. I would say it is worth it to drive in to St. Paul to pick it up even if you need to drive an hour and a half- it is amazing. We'll be picking some up to bring home and share with family and friends!  (Note the bracelets again!)

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How to host Thanksgiving.

     Holidays are my favorite. They can be stressful, but thank goodness over the years I have come up with a better method to prepare than my old one. My old one? It was called "shove everything out of sight, stay up all night the night before cleaning and cooking, and hope guests show up twenty minutes late to give me time to change." My new one? It looks like this. 

1. Plan out decor, food, and drinks one week (or more!) in advance. 

      List out the shopping lists properly- divided by department and store. Decide if you'd like to premix drinks and have a specific cocktail or have red wine, white wine, cider, beer available. (This week I will share a drink I recommend!) Remember to pick up flowers a day or two before you host to give the flowers time to open and be at their best.  

2. Do a deep clean of the house two days in advance.

     This means that the day before and morning of all you need to do is give things a quick once over, vacuum, and sweep. I say two days only because that gives you a little extra time if you were a bit optimistic with your cleaning. If you get almost everything set two days ahead, you'll have time the day before to iron the tablecloth and napkins! 

3. Set the table the day before.

     When you set the table the day before, you have time to make placecards, find wherever your husband put that serving platter that he didn't put back in it's proper location, and clean and polish the candlesticks. I like to set post it or cards on top of the serving trays on the table so that the next day when I have friends helping me cook and dish up the food we all know what goes where. It really helps when you don't have to stop whisking the gravy to pull out extra serving spoons and find a different serving dish because someone accidentally put the turnips where the stuffing was supposed to go. 

4. Prep whatever possible in the kitchen the night before. 

    Peel the carrots, chop the veggies, rip up the bread for the stuffing, and set the roasting pan on the stove. This helps more than you realize, and allows you to spend more time with guests. Don't forget to set out the turkey!  

     Trust me. This makes hosting a holiday a whole lot easier. You will be less stressed and have more fun if you do a little prep-work. Now that you know what to do, get to planning!

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Friday Favorites (11/11/16)

Something I have always loved in the blogs that I read is a good Friday Favorites. I'll be doing one of my own this week, and every week following. 

1.  Heartland - Farm Forward Dishes from the Great Midwest

This cookbook is written by the chef at our favorite restaurant over in St. Paul. Heartland (the restaurant) is located across from the St. Paul Farmer's Market. Chef Lenny Russo uses the market as inspiration and creates unbelievably amazing food. We just got this cookbook and are so excited to cook through as much as we can this fall and winter! 

2. & 3. West Elm Teak Cheese Knives and West Elm Paint Palette Serving Tray

Photo by Amanda Faith Photography

Photo by Amanda Faith Photography

These are currently on sale, 20 dollars off original price! We love them. They are just the right size but are slim instead of clunky. They match our midcentury design taste quite well! The paint palette cheese tray is one of my favorite serving pieces- it is incredibly happy! Cheery servingware is a must when you love to entertain. T

4. The last Mums of the season

5. This playlist

 

 

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