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Entries in HolidayHQ (6)


Cool Kitchen Gifts for Mother's Day

Today's post is part of the #HolidayHQ Blog Hop. See the links below for more posts from the best party and entertaining experts, and join us tonight at 8pm EST on Twitter for our #HolidayHQ chat.


If Mom is a culinaire, why not surprise her with a gift that's both practical and a bit unique? I found these eight trendy items last month at the International Housewares Association show. Best in show, for sure!

Nambé Monroe Salt And Pepper Set contemporary serveware

Nambé Monroe Salt And Pepper Set - $150.00


This salt and pepper set nestles together with
complementary lines and contrasting materials —
a match made in culinary heaven.

Pressed Glass Goblet traditional glassware

Rosanna, Inc. Pressed Glass Goblet - $42.00, set of 4


Doesn't this remind you of Depression glass? These beautiful pieces would even make lovely votive holders.

Curtis Stone Workbench Cutting Board - $299.99

This sturdy chopping block features recessed
areas for mise en place and waste disposal for
a handy all-in-one cook station.

Raj Chef Knife eclectic knives and chopping boards

Raj Chef Knife - $45.00

Cooking is fun with the world's first patterned knife. Groovy!

Corkcicle contemporary barware

Corkcicile Bottle Chiller - $29.95

Insert into a wine bottle and it chills the wine
from the inside! The Corkcicle will maintain the
ideal serving temperature for an already-chilled
white wine for up to an hour.

Scentilizer MIST-WHISTLER, Frosted Glass - $349.95

Banish those lingering kitchen aromas! This product uses fragrant water vapor to reduce the dryness of indoor air. It also has a built-in speaker for pre-programmed music or to connect an iPod.


FFerrone Design Champagne Flute contemporary glassware

FFerrone Design Champagne Flute

This clever line of glassware by FFerone pulls
double duty. Shown here is the champagne flute...
or is it a cordial glass? You decide, with the flip
of the wrist.

Prepara Ice Balls contemporary barware

Prepara Ice Balls - $9.99, pk of 4

This ingenious product makes two-inch round balls of ice. You can fill it with just water or get creative with mint leaves, basil, juice, lemon or lime segments, etc. Large cubes are great for bourbon or whiskey drinks, as they won't melt as fast as regular ice.


  Please take a peek at the rest of the #HolidayHQ posts. So many terrific ideas for Mother's Day!

Housewife Bliss  |  Berry Good Homemade Ice Cream for Mother's Day
Celebrations At Home  | A Mother's Day "Tea"
PaperandPigtails.com  |  Free Printable Cards for Mother's Day
The Partybluprints Blog  |  Mother's Day Tea Party Tips & Recipes
Second City Soiree  | Cool Kitchen Gifts for Mother's Day
SkimbacoLifestyle.comMother's Day Breakfast in Bed
Thoughtfully Simple | Muffins and Mimosas for Mom
Valley & Co. | Effortless Entreating Ideas for Mother's Day

Join us tonight on Twitter at 8pm EST. Follow hashtag #HolidayHQ for more tips AND a chance to win a Hamilton Beach mixer and an ice cream maker!




Today's post is part of the #HolidayHQ Blog Hop. See the links below for more posts from the best party and entertaining experts, and join us tonight at 8pm EST on Twitter for our #HolidayHQ chat.


Happy spring! Did anyone else get a sunburn on St Patrick's day this year? Personally, I've enjoyed this fair weather trend and have happily sent my wool coat and boots to the back of the closet. It's also a time to change up menu offerings, and that includes drinks. I found the four spring-appropriate recipes below, just in time for Easter brunch. Cheers to warm days ahead!


Butterfly Martini Cocktail by Grey Goose

1.5 parts lemon-flavored vodka
2 parts White Grape Juice
3 Basil Leaves
3 Mint Leaves
1 tsp Elderflower Cordial
1 tsp Fresh Lemon Juice
1 Lemon Rind
Fill a cocktail shaker with shredded basil and mint leaves, and combine with all other ingredients. Shake with ice and strain through a fine sieve. Top with a squeeze of lemon rind. Serve in a cocktail glass and garnish with an edible flower.

Lemon Drop Sparkle by Korbel

(12 oz.) can lemonade frozen concentrate, thawed
1 bottle of extra dry sparkling wine
4 oz. Tuaca liqueur
1 1/2 cups sparkling water
1 lemon, thinly sliced
1/3 cup lemon drop candies, crushed

In a pitcher, stir to combine lemonade concentrate, champagne, Tuaca and sparkling water. Using a slice of lemon, moisten the rim of each glass. Dip rim into crushed lemon drop candies. Pour in the champagne mixture and garnish with sliced lemons or lemon twist.



Sapphire Revelation by Bombay

3 parts Gin
2 drops rose water
1/2 part elderflower liqueur

Stir in a mixing glass filled with ice then strain into a chilled martini cocktail glass. Garnish with a single rose petal.



Bacardi 8 Rum Julep

2 parts Bacardi 8 year old rum
6 parts mint leaves
2/5 part sugar syrup
2 dashes peach bitters
Cubed ice
Spring of mint to garnish

Gently bruise mint with sugar syrup and bitters, in the base of a mixing glass. Then pour rum, add ice, and stir well. Fill a high ball glass with crushed ice, pour the liquid from the mixing glass using a strainer, stir, and add more ice. Garnish with a mint sprig.



 Don't forget to pop in on my friends' posts. There are lots of great ideas here...

Housewife Bliss  |  Easter Brunch for Chocolate Lovers
Celebrations At Home  | Spring Garden Tablescape
PaperandPigtails.com  |  Polka Dots & Pastels - Free Printables
The Partybluprints Blog  |  "Little Peeps" Easter Table Centerpiece
Second City Soiree  | Cocktails that say Spring
SkimbacoLifestyle.comEuropean Easter Traditions Galore
Thoughtfully Simple | Simple Easter Brunch
Valley & Co. | Table Top Elements for Marvelous Easter Brunch


BRIGHT and Whimsical CHRISTMAS Table

Today's post is part of the #HolidayHQ Blog Hop. See the links below for more posts from the best party and entertaining experts!

If you saw my "Rough Luxe" Thanksgiving table, you might recognize one of the patterns on this bright and whimsical Christmas table....we're reusing Mikasa's "Italian Countryside". It's a totally different look (and I'll have one more for New Year's)! I'm sure some people have full sets of dishes that they swap out for each and every holiday, but urban living doesn't lend itself to that kind of storage space. Here, I've supplemented the base pattern with beautiful rentals from Tablescapes. I especially love the cute patterned plate.

The napkins are rolled in a style reminiscent of Christmas crackers. In fact, you could even place a small treasure in the middle of each roll, to be discovered when your guests unfurl their napkins. How fun! Remember to keep centerpieces low, so that guests can easily make conversation over them. Here I've used a small bowl full of retro-inspired ornaments and pom-pom garland.







Housewife Bliss |  Holiday Salt Dough Ornaments
The Gracious Girl |  Holiday Parties, Let Your Heels do the Walking
Second City Soiree  |  A Bright and Whimsical Christmas Table
Tatertots & Jello  |  Holiday Party Mantel
With Style & Grace  |  Holiday Sweet Treats & Homemade gifts, minus the gluten
Party Bluprints  |  Ring In The New Year Right with Brunch
Celebrations at Home  |  The Kids' Christmas Table
The TomKat Studio  |  Easy Oreo Truffles with Printable Tags & Recipe Card
The Daily Basics  |  Christmas Cupcakes, Cake Ball and and Cookie Baking Supplies

Join us on Twitter this Thursday, December 8th 8pm EST for another #HolidayHQ chat. Get ideas, recipes & tips from top crafting, foodie & entertaining experts!


How to host THANKSGIVING in a SMALL space

Today's post is part of the #HolidayHQ Blog Hop. See the links below for more posts from the best party and entertaining experts!

Dinner a la coffee table.
This recipe is from the Junior League of Chicago cookbook. I'll share the recipe and do a book giveaway next Wednesday!

There's no doubt about it - small houses are the trend! Whether it's due to the economy or eco-consciousness, Americans are settling into cozier nests. For all the pluses of small-space living (easier to maintain, often close to more shopping, culture, restaurants, etc.), entertaining can be a challenge. Thanksgiving is a particularly tricky holiday, what with all the expectations of recreating that Normal Rockwell moment around the turkey. How to do it in your petite pied-à-terre? Let's address the issue of table space and kitchen space...


Table Space

No table? Remove the doorknob and hinges from a closet door and place it over two sawhorses (sometimes available for rent at a home improvement store). Cover with a festive tablecloth and no one's the wiser. OR arrange tray tables in a tight circle. Cover each with solid-colored fabric in different autumn hues for a pretty "fall leaves" effect.

Tiny table? Cover your dinette set with a protective piece of fabric. Put a large piece of plywood over that, and then a decorative tablecloth over the plywood. Voilà...bigger table!


Kitchen Space

Want to keep beverage-seekers out of the kitchen? Set up soda, wine, and craft beer in a cooler in the living area. I know, plastic coolers are not chic. So keep the cooler open and nicely arrange the bottles within. Cover the outside of the cooler and the open lid with festive fabric. You might have to replenish the ice once, but no one will mistake your Thanksgiving soiree for a tailgate BBQ.

Itty-bitty oven? Use your crockpot, darling! You can cook multiple Thanksgiving menu items in a slow cooker, including a turkey breast.

Not enough stovetop burners? Supplement with a hot plate or portable induction cooktop. Induction cooktops do not get hot to the touch, although you do need a clad pot in order to make the induction magic happen.


Housewife Bliss  |  Maple Whipped Sweet Potatoes
Celebrations at Home  | How to Host a Fall Pizza Party
The TomKat Studio | Delicious Pumpkin Whoopie Pies
Tatertots & Jello |  DIY Thanksgiving Place Cards
Second City Soiree  | How to Host Thanksgiving in a Small Space
With Style and Grace | Small Bites for a Thankful Crowd
Party BluPrints  |  The Thanksgiving Kids' Table
The Daily Basics  |  Fall Door Decorating and the Best Recipe for Pumpkin Pie
The Gracious Girl  |  The Gift of Gratitude

Join us on Twitter this Thursday, November 10th 8pm EST for another #HolidayHQ chat. Get Thanksgiving ideas, recipes & tips from top crafting, foodie & entertaining experts



Today's post is part of the #HolidayHQ Blog Hop. See the links below for more posts from the best party and entertaining experts!

We're officially in the months that contain the letter "R", which means it's oyster season! If you're looking for a unique event for autumn, host an Oyster Roast. These convivial gatherings are best done outside - or at the very least on hardwood floors if you must be indoors - on a large table covered with newspaper. Your guests will enjoy gathering around the grill with a drink in hand, waiting for the magical moment when the oysters pop!

To Prep

Oysters are typically sold about 120 per bushel. Most guidelines advise serving a minimum of six per person...although I could easily eat a dozen on my own. Be sure to pick them up no sooner than the morning of your party, for maximum freshness. They should be closed tight and free of strong odor. If you find an open oyster, give it a tap. If it doesn't close immediately, it's a dud - throw it away. Clean the oysters with a scrub brush and keep them in a cool, moist environment until ready to roast.

To Roast

Arrange the oysters in a small pile on a metal cookie sheet, and cover with a wet cloth. They have a tendency to explode if roasted dry, so be sure to keep the towel wet. Place the cookie sheet over a grill or fire pit at medium-high heat, about (350º to 400º).

After about 10 minutes, the shells will open ¼ to ½ inch, which means they're done. Dump them onto the table with condiments (see below), paper towels, a bowl for shells, and oyster knives and gloves - or dishtowels - at the ready.

To Open

Your roasted oysters shouldn't be too difficult to shuck. Cover your hand with a glove or towel and hold the oyster flat side up. Insert the knife into the opening, and give the knife a twist to pry the shell open. This video explains how to shuck raw oysters, but as I said, a roasted oyster will put up much less of a fight.

To Serve

Purists will recommend serving nothing but Saltines and condiments such as hot sauce, mignonette sauce, lemon, melted butter, or grated horseradish. Others consider the oysters part of a larger meal which could include roasted bratwurst, garlic bread, corn on the cob, and other picnic favorites. In either case, I recommend ending your roast on a sweet note with a seasonally appropriate pumpkin dessert.

To Pour

As a rule of thumb, dry, crisp white wines pair best with the briny bivalves. Avoid anything too sweet or syrupy. Champagne is the perfect accompaniment, as its versatility pairs well with oysters' complexity. Porters, stouts, and IPAs work well if your guests would prefer beer. Or you can mix the two and make a...

Black Velvet
Fill a champagne flute halfway with Guinness. Pour dry champagne over the back of a bar spoon and into the glass, to prevent mixing the layers. Serve immediately.


See the links below for more October party tips. We'll be back in November and December, too!

Housewife Bliss  |  Planning the Perfect Halloween Party
Celebrations at Home | Dress Up Your Drinks for Halloween
The Gracious Girl  |  Halloween Parties Dos and TaBoos!
With Style & Grace | Sweet Treats for Halloween Entertaining
The TomKat Studio | How to Make an Adorable Halloween Sign + Free Printable
Tatertots & Jello  |  Halloween Tablescape
Home, Life & You Style | A Halloween Party in the Woods
The Partybluprints Blog  |  Get Corny This Halloween!

Join us on Twitter this Thursday, October 13th 8pm EST for #HolidayHQ chat - a Halloween roundup with some ideas, recipes & tips from top crafting, foodie & entertaining experts

photo credit - oysters 1, oysters 2

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