Turkey Day Decor

photo-4It has become tradition to host Thanksgiving for any friends who do not have family close by. This year dinner was at my house and we had a fantastic time!  As you can see from the picture to the left, someone was anxious for dinner!  I hope all of you had a great time with your family and friends.  I wanted to share a couple easy entertaining and decor ideas that I put together the night before dinner that made a big impact (I procrastinate but I also have a full-time job, so that’s my excuse).

COCKTAIL BAR

I put together this cocktail bar and stocked it with fun paper straws in fall colors, glasses, non-alcoholic and alcoholic drinks, a wine opener, cocktail napkins and a beverage dispenser full of ice water so that my guests could help themselves while I was in the kitchen.  My favorite part of the cocktail bar was the takeout containers.  I had some fun takeout boxes and containers with baker’s twine and late-night snack tags for my guests to mark their containers with.  I found these free printables at Bloom Designs Online.

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TABLE SETTINGS

I used items around the house that I already had on hand so that I did not have to spend any additional money on our table settings.  Often I like to have fresh flowers on the table, but this year I changed it up and used a tan linen table runner as my foundation.  Next, I added a hurricane full of sparkly bronze pinecones to the center of the table and then strung a fall-colored leaf garland along the table and added a few tealights.  For the place settings, I used some bronze-colored fleur-de-lis chargers from Southern Living at HOME, Pottery Barn catering plates and tied each set of silverware with burgundy satin ribbon in the center of each plate.  I added my wine glasses with fun travel-themed Pottery Barn wine charms that I got last year on clearance.  I was so happy with how it came out and the best part was that it cost me nothing and it only took about 10 minutes to put it all together!

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DINNER

Dinner was awesome….but soooo much food!  Honestly, we probably could’ve scaled it back quite a bit, but all of my friends like to cook too and we all like to make sure we have our favorites on the table.  I think I could basically live off of cranberries and sweet potatoes!  Even Muddy got a special turkey dinner mixed with some veggies.  He was in a tryptophan coma too after dinner!  I wanted to share one of my favorite that will continue to be a staple on my table for years to come.  This chorizo cornbread stuffing dish is courtesy of Rachel Ray, but it’s the perfect Southern compliment to any holiday meal.

COMA TIME

Once dinner hit us all and started to make us sleepy, we tuned in to watch a little football together and relax.  One fun addition that I added this year was Turkey Day Bingo!  I found some free printable cards here at The Orange Co. and we had fun playing a couple rounds.  The winner even got a $10 iTunes gift card!  I think it was a nice touch, but next year it would be fun to make up my own cards with funny things that are near and dear to me and my friends.

Hope you all had a wonderful holiday!

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Kitchen Sink Eggs

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I have been training for a Disney half-marathon, but the weather is turning cold here and tonight was a struggle to get my run in.  I am definitely beat tonight, but I thought I’d share a quick post-workout paleo meal.

I love breakfast for dinner so for my version of kitchen sink eggs, I sauté a little spinach in EVOO and toss in any veggies that I have on hand.  Tonight I tossed in mushrooms and sundried tomatoes with the spinach.  Once the veggies cooked down I poured in whisked eggs, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes to taste & then sprinkled on mozzarella (I know this is not 100% paleo).  This would also be great with a little chorizo or bacon mixed in.

Ta-da! A healthy dinner in about 5 minutes!

Welcome to My New Blog

I just wanted to say hello to everyone & introduce you to my blog & what it’ll be about.  I am excited to share ideas on travel, DIY, decor & style, entertaining and fitness/paleo.  This is a completely new project for me so I plan to start and see where it takes me.  It is a work in progress, so please be patient while I get up and running but I’m really looking forward to working on some great ideas in the coming weeks so stay tuned…

Nashville Music City

Last weekend I took a short three-day trip to Nashville with a few friends.  I hadn’t been there since 1999, so I was definitely due to visit again.  I absolutely love the South!!!  Everyone is so friendly and the music and food are excellent!  Nashville is such a nice town and it’s a place where you can just have a good time and enjoy the laid back vibe. On our first day, we made a beeline for the Pancake Pantry, which is a Nashville institution.  There was about a 45 min. wait, but it moved pretty quickly and there was plenty of hot coffee outside to keep us warm.  After breakfast we toured the Country Music Hall of Fame and caught a Grand Ole Opry show at the Ryman Auditorium, which is the “Mother Church of country music.”  If you love learning about country music, both of these places are highly recommended and are a good mix of old and new country artists.  We hit up Broadway, which is the main drag in town and hung out at a few honky-tonks drinking some fine Tennessee whiskey while we rocked our cowboy boots.  When in Rome, right???!!  I can see where the nickname “NashVegas” comes from with all the lights, music and crowds on a Saturday night!  The nice thing though was that everyone was just out having fun. Once Sunday morning rolled around, we headed out for a little country version of eggs benedict at Puckett’s off of Church Street.  We didn’t really have any set plans, but we decided to go check out the main Grand Ole Opry and the Gaylord Opryland Hotel, which were a short taxi ride from downtown.  The hotel is massive and you can easily get lost inside, but it was neat to check it out and say that we’ve been.  We had some issues finding the Grand Ole Opry (because there really aren’t any signs for it from the hotel), but once we did, we realized…..it was closed!  It was kind of like National Lampoon’s Vacation standing outside of Walley World looking for a moose to punch.  At any rate…we can say that we saw it.  After that, we headed back towards the city and stopped at the full-scale replica of the Parthenon across from Vanderbilt University in Centennial Park.  The park was lovely this time of year with the fall colors and crisp fall weather.  The Parthenon was quite fascinating….but just seemed so out of place.  Strange.  We headed over to the Bluebird Cafe to catch Sunday night’s show.  My advice is to be sure to get in line early because the cafe is very small and less than 100 people make it inside.  We were lucky enough to get in for the evening show, but it was a close one!  That night was round two on Broadway catching some great cover bands in the bars and just chilling. You just cannot be a mediocre band in this town!  Oh…and you can’t forget the stop at Savannah’s Candy Kitchen for a pecan carmel apple….YUMMY!! We got a late start on Monday but we did catch the Veteran’s Day parade outside of our hotel before we headed to Jack’s BBQ on Broadway!  I loved the BBQ & especially the Texas style spicy BBQ sauce!!  We walked around town soaking up some rays and headed down to the bridge over the Cumberland River to check out the sights from that part of town.  Nashville really is a charming city!  While my friends were enjoying the sunshine, I headed over to check out the Johnny Cash Museum.  The museum is small but quite interesting if you are a fan and there is a lot of personal memorabilia on display.  Some of my favorite items were Cash’s handwritten lyrics and numerous Grammy awards.  I also enjoyed checking out Johnny Cash’s original artwork.  We topped off our trip with yet another trip to the Candy Kitchen (don’t judge).  We couldn’t help ourselves!  The pecan carmel apples were just so good! The sunshine, music, food and people were all well worth the trip to Nashville.  It’s a unique mixture of hipsters and aspiring musicians, but ultimately this town has a unique Southern vibe and is the perfect place to spend three days with a group of close friends.