valentine’s revistited

It’s February and that means one thing—one of the most fun holidays is right around the corner.  These are a few of our favorite Valentine’s Day things:

  • Adore these chocolate madeleines, perfect for sharing with your sweetie.
  • Pink and red are a striking color duo that can be worn with sophistication this season.  Try it with an elegant up-do, so your duds don’t look juvenile.
  • These slow-cooker sweet treat is perfect for an easy, make after dinner dessert.
  • If lace and pink are your thing, we love this look for a romantic night out.
  • This sweet flower arrangement can perk up any valentine’s day table.
  • Don’t know what to get your guy, try these suggestions for the perfect gift.
  • Try some red lipstick to plump up your pout and add some festive flair s.w.a.k.

 

What are your favorite things about Valentine’s Day?

 

signature cocktails

For all of your holiday gatherings this year, don’t worry about fully stocking the bar.  Instead, serve a signature cocktail!  It will add some fun and festive flair to your party, plus it’s a great thing for your guests to chat about. I served both of these cocktails this year at my holiday open house.

Poinsettia

sweet and tart with a festive holiday color

  • 1 oz cranberry juice, 1/2 oz of triple sec, 3 oz of champagne
  • Pour cranberry juice into a champagne flute or desired glass.  Add tripe sec and top with champagne.

Jingle Bell

light and refreshing, easy to pair with any holiday food

  • 1 tbsp chilled vodka, 1/2 cup champagne, 1/4 cup scoop of lemon sorbet, mint for garnish
  • Pour vodka and champagne into desired glass.  Add scoop of lemon sorbet and garnish with mint.

Above: Jingle Bell Cocktail from my holiday open house

These cocktails are easy to make, so don’t worry about being a skilled bartender.

Cheers!

photos: dthoskins

 

preparing your guest room for the holidays {guest post by Alice Greene, Lexington, KY}

With less than two weeks to Christmas, it’s time to get prepared for your guests!  Many of us play hosts to our family members during the holiday season, and even though they are family, they are still deserving of our special treatment.

One of the things I most enjoy to hear is the phrase “Southern Hospitality.”  I always take it as a compliment and hope I do the right things to live up to the reputation.  Whether your guests will be on a futon, a blow-up mattress, sleeping on the sofa or if they are fortunate enough to have a special guest room, the most important thing is to make guests feel comfortable and WELCOME!

Here are just a few tips:

  • Make sure all bedding is clean and smells great. Spritz it with a product like Caldrea’s Mandarin Vetiver for a clean, citrusy scent.
  • Make sure it is obvious which bath towels you wish guests to use. Consider leaving them on their guest bed for easy access.
  • Adding some fresh flowers (even from an inexpensive grocery bouquet) can add a festive touch to a bathroom or bedside table.
  • Always leave two baskets of goodies – one containing items they may have failed to pack like a toothbrush, small toothpaste, travel-size shampoo, conditioner and soap and the other basket filled with an assortment of granola bars, individual muffin packages, chips, snack-pack crackers, etc. so guests will not have to ask for a bedtime snack or an early morning breakfast option.

There are many more small things you can do to make guests feel at home –the more, the merrier – but a good test is to walk in your home and imagine yourself as a guest. Would you know where to find things? Would you know where your host intended you to be?

But the most important element for a good guest stay is a relaxed host and a stress-free environment that says, “Welcome Home!”.

Enjoy your company this holiday season.

 

-Alice

 

Alice Greene is a native Lexingtonian and quintessential Southern lady, who enjoys cooking, baking and entertaining.

Christmas revisited

These are a few of our favorite holiday things…

The countdown to Christmas is on!  Are you ready?

entertaining with appetizers

image credits: dthoskins

We’ve all been there—a last minute get-together at our home and we have no time to make anything.  Your best bet?  Entertain with appetizers!  It’s fun, delicious and a great way for guests to mix and mingle.  My favorite is to serve a simple cheese board with a few bottles of wine.  Pop a vase of flowers on the table and voila—-a very chic and very easy way to entertain.

My Five Elements of a Great Cheese Board*

  • One hard cheese.  Something classic like a good Cheddar is an excellent option
  • One soft cheese.  Brie is my go-to soft cheese because it will be familiar to most guests.
  • One blue cheese.  Roquefort is a great palatable option.
  • A cluster of fruit.  I love grapes and strawberries for their vibrant colors and because they are an easy finger food
  • Crackers.  I love to use Carr’s Water Crackers, both original and cracked black pepper.

 

*If you aren’t familiar with cheeses that you would choose, try shopping somewhere with a cheese counter that has an attendant.  They can offer suggestions and allow you to try several cheeses before you buy.  I recommmend Whole Foods and The Mouse Trap.

 

Happy entertaining!