Fourth of July is probably my favorite holiday to celebrate.  More likely, it's the height of summer and I want a reason to party and celebrating our country's independence is the perfect excuse.  Then again, what other holiday has flags to wave...  or even a theme, design, and colorway all its own? Today I thought I would put together a few ideas to help you throw your own 4th of July bash... simply, beautifully, and easily.   Most parties are all about the food. But, I confess... I am usually about the presentation. The two can easily be melded together.  The key is to have fun prepping … [Read more...]

Just reading the words, "holiday entertaining" makes some people start to sweat.   Whether you're a pro or struggling to get it together to host a small party, here are...   7 Tips for Stress Free Holiday Entertaining   One ::  The gathering is not about YOU... it's about your guests. Whether you've been entertaining for years or you've been trying for years to get enough gumption to invite friends to your home...remember the party is not about you.  It's not about how good your cooking is or isn't.  It's not about how beautiful your home is or isn't.  It's not about the size of your … [Read more...]

Christmas is just 24 days away.  Are you feeling a little bit stressed? Today I'm here to help take away some of the shopping stress. Take a deep breath and explore my...   Holiday Gift Guide for the Entertainer ~ Part 1     *this post contains affiliate links* I love Christmas time! Decorating my home and hosting open houses and dinner parties make my heart sing. But, I know that it isn't necessarily the easiest thing for everyone.  In fact, it can be down right daunting. That's where this Holiday Gift Guide for the Entertainer comes in... One thing I always do for open … [Read more...]

It's summertime and entertaining is easy.   Or at least it's supposed to be. This week's features center around summer foods and entertaining. I'm drooling over all these delicious recipes for sure.   Let's see who's been extraordinary this week! Suzanne made an ice cream pie with berries. Everyone loves ice cream especially in the summer.  There is no doubt that this is sure to be a hit! Berries and Ice Cream Pie by Simply Suzannes  Sherry has me drooling over her gorgeous cherry pie. Now if we only could meet at the beach house to enjoy a slice! Beach House Baking & … [Read more...]

One thing I've always wanted to do was try my hand at cake decorating. Sure I've frosted many 9x13 cakes in the pan. But a two or three or four layer cake?  Never! Until now!     I frosted a five layer cake!! With a real frosting bag and decor tips! Thanks to my friend who loves to decorate cakes.   It all started with my friend's co-worker who was concerned that there wasn't enough cake ordered for her niece's wedding. Being the wonderfully kind soul she is, my friend volunteered to make more cakes for the wedding reception.   Two layer cakes and a half sheet … [Read more...]

There's a big game coming up this weekend. Are you excitedly looking forward to the game, the commercials, and getting together with friends? If you're like most, the week has been super busy and though you'd like to put out a great game day buffet, it may or may not happen without some major help. Help is on the way!!     I scoured our Project Inspire{d} link party and put together this line-up of Last Minute Super Bowl Party Ideas and Recipes     Handmade in the Heartland has some fun ways for serving up delicious Super Bowl Party Food.     Gal on … [Read more...]

  Thanksgiving is just around the corner. Many of us are thinking about how to set a beautiful and bountiful table. As I was dreaming about table decor, I remembered that this past New Year's table would be perfect for Thanksgiving. Actually...it's probably even more appropriate when you look at the elements of the table. Plus, mixing gold and silver in home decor is gaining in popularity right now. So...why not think about mixing gold and silver for Thanksgiving to create a truly elegant table setting?     The key elements were leaves and nuts and pine cones. The nuts … [Read more...]

Welcome to Day 21 of 31 Extraordinary Days to Be...  Or...simply: Be... Together, we will learn to Be… to live fully and beautifully in our “skin” and in our homes and beyond.  If you missed The Introduction or you'd like to follow the entire series, you can find each post listed here.   When was the last time you invited someone to your home? Is the question causing you to feel a little defensive? Maybe that's okay. Why? Because hospitality is not about comfort.   Yup.  I said it.   If  you're a good cook....people will enjoy your comfort food. If you're a great home … [Read more...]

  Sometime ago, I was reading how a family decided to put themselves on a spending freeze for something like 3 or 6 months.  They allowed a small amount of money for fresh items for the month and that was pretty much that.  It seems that they realized that they had a full pantry, and yet were still filling up their cart at the grocery store each week.  The goal was to only eat what was in their pantry and freezer and not run to the store. That seems like a really good idea.  I notice on Pinterest and other blogs that people are always organizing their pantries.  And there seems to be a LOT of … [Read more...]

Day 3     Last Friday night we were invited to the home of some new friends for dinner.  We had the best time. When was the last time you asked someone over for dinner?     All this month we're exploring how to live an extraordinary life. When we live life to the full we do things outside our comfort zone.  We do crazy things like carve time out of our busy schedules to spend with friends.  We clean the house, decide on a menu, figure out what to do with the pets, or even the kids...just so we can invite new or old friends to dinner. When was the last time you … [Read more...]

When you hear the word wedding                          what immediately comes to mind... Prince charming and his fairy tale princess vowing to love each other, dancing the night away, and finally stepping into their coach on their way to living happily ever after? Perhaps your mind goes to the expense and planning and expense and details and expense which consume the engaged couple for a year or two or more? We know that many weddings don't fit either of those categories. But, we do know that every couple wants to have a wedding day that is memorable. And maybe even a bit … [Read more...]