Holiday Party: the menu

When it came time to plan the menu, I tried to keep things simple.  Easy recipes that I could handle myself (many with only a couple ingredients!) and prepare ahead of time, so I wasn’t scrambling in the kitchen while my guests got to have all the fun. I’ve got a couple vegetarian friends so I made an extra effort to include some treats for them, too.


Crockpot cocktail Meatballs, or “Ultimate Party Meatballs”

Beau Monde bread dip in a 7 grain bread bowl.  (The best.  My boyfriend’s mom was nice enough to give me her recipe, as it’s basically my favorite thing ever.)

Pecan, brown sugar & Kahlua baked brie

Garlic hummus with veggies, pepperoni & cheddar cheese

Anitpasto mini skewers made with marinated mozzarella, olives and cherry tomatoes

Antipasto platter courtesy of my good friend Sarah


Rolo pretzels (set out mini pretzels on a baking sheet, cover with unwrapped Rolos, bake at 200 degrees for 4-5 minutes or until the Rolo becomes soft.  Top with another pretzel and refrigerate until hardened.  Serve at room temperature.)

White chocolate covered marshmallows with crushed candy cane

Funfetti cookies, topped with vanilla icing and rainbow nonpareils.  (Birthday cookies!)


Spiced cranberry prosecco punch


Red wine

Water & Seltzer (which remarkably went untouched the whole night.  Good to know we’re a big group of booze hounds.)

Holiday Decor: simple DIYs

Coming on Christmas Eve-Eve, this post might be a little late for those of you looking for holiday inspiration – but here we go anyway!…

When it came to decorating for the holidays, I knew I wanted to find a couple of touches to make the apartment feel festive, but not overdone.  In addition to my adventures with animals and gold spray paint, I came up with a few more ideas.

1. Garland

At the party, this area served as our bar.Our tree is unfortunately fake this year, but I needed some fresh greens to amp up the Christmas ambience (and smell!).  I bought 15′ of garland from a local vendor and went to town on all of our mantles and shelves.

2. Wine bottle candle holders

I spray painted empty wine bottles either metallic gold and matte black, then stuck white or gold glittery tapers in the top (tip: sometimes the candles are bigger than the hole, but if you melt the bottom of the candle a bit you have more flexiblity.  Jam it in!)

3. Ornamental mantle

Our tree is super tiny and already decked out in ornaments, but when I saw these gold metallic and gold glittered ornaments I knew they had a place in my home.  I used black & white bakers twine to mount them at different heights from our shelf above the couch, then tied some thicker black and white striped ribbon on the top of the ornaments for a final touch.

4. Succulents

So succulents aren’t exactly a locally thriving plant in NYC in December, but I have grown to really love them.  I ordered 6 little babies from Succulents Galore on etsy, then repotted them in black and gold pots.  The gold ones were originally yellow and on clearance, but you know there’s nothing a little gold spray paint can’t fix.

What about you?  Any great, simple DIY touches that you added to elevate the holidays at your place?

Holiday Decor: gold fever

I’ve got The Fever.  The Spray Painting Plastic Animals (And Anything Else I Can Find) Gold fever.  If I had to pinpoint the source of contagion, it was either Young House Love, The Sweetest Occasion, or Martha Stewart, who I usually blame for all my frenzied crafting “episodes.”

It all started picked up some Krylon Gold Metallic spray paint and some unsuspecting deer figurines from the craft store and went to town.

Awesome, they’re gold and shiny.  Now what do I do with them?  Build them a little terrarium to live in, naturally.

I used a large glass container I had, fake snow, and some fake trees which I sprayed with adhesive and covered in gold (duh) glitter, to set the scene.

Since then, I’ve given some plastic horses, mini vases which currently store some succulents, and a couple votives the gold treatment.  Next up are some empty wine bottles I plan to spray matte gold and repurpose as candle holders.

(PS. I totally gave The Fever to my mom, who has gone absolutely buck wild and I expect to head home for Christmas to a completely tacky gold spray painted house.)