Showing posts with label Celebrations. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Celebrations. Show all posts


New year, new thoughts

As we turn over a new leaf, naturally our list of resolutions come up.  While reviewing my list from last year, I was actually surprised when I realized I had accomplished some of my 2012 resolutions.  This is completely rare... let me assure you.  But, finally some of the reoccurring ones had been crossed off the list ... {sleep earlier, eat healthier, drink more water, learn to be on time, stop living my life through an iphone!}. So, this year, instead of making new resolutions that I probably won't keep since last year was such a hit, I am going to make one large change: to think different.  I read this excerpt by Charles Swindoll a few years back and I have posted it practically everywhere in my house/work so I can read it daily.  If I can adopt this new attitude for 2013, I have achieved each and every resolution I have ever made in the past, and any that could make any future list.  Hope it speaks to you as much as it spoke to me. 
Happy New Year from VV. xx.
"The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life.
Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company... a church... a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past... we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude... I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it.
And so it is with you... we are in charge of our attitudes." 
                                                                     - Charles Swindoll


{ Mix & Mingle }
How to throw a fab Christmas party

{ Table runner and place mats, ZGallerie // Fine China, Michael Aram for Waterford, Bloomingdales }
There truly isn't anything like the holiday season.  Something about the fresh winter scent in the air, the cozy grey days, and the twinkling Christmas lights adorning each home in our neighborhood that always puts a smile on my face.  Plus, it doesn't hurt that I absolutely love Fall and Winter clothing, so seeing the busy streets lined with eager shoppers in trendy coats and scarves always does the trick too ;). When the time came to plan our annual girls' Christmas dinner-party, I jumped at the idea of hosting my closest friends at our home in Santa Barbara for the first time. It's been a tradition we have kept going for over 7 years, and as we grow older, our time together is that much more precious.  With every one's busy schedule year round, it was nice to catch up and have some quality girl time. Endless kir royals and non-stop wine were in abundance along with great conversations, personalized goody bags, Christmas tree shaped brownies and a house fully decorated for Christmas {even down to the scent}. Although we are all twenty-somethings, and the party was of course casual, I threw in some formal touches to spice things up a bit.  Here are some steps to throwing a fab Christmas party:

1. Party favors:
If your headcount is small enough, make personalized party favors.  It's always a nice touch and your guests will really appreciate the effort, not to mention the sweets inside. I used this easy recipe I found on Pinterest, along with red and green festive M&M's, initial ornaments that start with each girls' name, and of course, handwritten notes of the candy-cane story attached on each goody bag. Check out our Pinterest for some more holiday ideas. 


2. Table Setting: 
Use your finest dinnerware and cloth napkins for an extra formal touch. I actually used my fine china for the first time since my 2011 wedding {oh ya!}. You can go an extra step further by setting the seating arrangement for your guests {10 and under} with festive name-tag napkin holders like these from Williams-Sonoma.  I scored my red ornament napkin-ring holders on sale last year and added these black and white Diane von Furstenburg ones for an added pop of color among the red napkins. 

3. Centerpieces: 
Always use fresh garlands as a centerpiece to complete your table decor for Christmas parties and be sure it isn't too tall to block your guest's view. The scent of the fresh pines during dinner is sure to keep up the lighthearted and jolly party mood!

4.  Holiday Spirits:
Of course, a fab Christmas party wouldn't be complete without Kir Royales with fresh cranberries afloat and mulled wine after dinner with dessert. I made homemade baked cinnamon donuts {in bundt cake shape, with pumpkin ice cream on top} from Ina Garten's new cookbook, Foolproof ... a Christmas party favorite.  We definitely couldn't get enough...

What are some of your holiday party recipes and decoration tips?


{ Fiesta }

{ Old Spanish Days Festival Parade on State street }
With the Old Spanish Days Festival in full swing last weekend, our fiesta themed housewarming/birthday fête was very fitting for our many celebrations! Despite the drizzle that covered Santa Barbara early that morning, the sun was shining and it was a perfect 76 degrees by the time the party started.  The day was filled with endless margaritas, sangria, street tacos, colorful lanterns, stringed white lights, hanging piñatas, sombreros, and of course, mustache straws and tattoos for our guests! It was very special having all the people so dear to us at our new house enjoying themselves. They definitely "warmed" our home.  But I think the best part of my birthday last week was the surprise trip to Istanbul my husband planned for us in two weeks! :) Can't wait. xx. 
{ Vino for the Sangria pitcher }
{ Soaking the apples and peaches for the Sangria hours before the party }
{ Tres Leches Cupcakes with Mexican flags and mustache toothpick garnish }
{ Some of the drinks }
{ Hollow pinapple-man for wedged limes }
{ Mustache galore }