On truly the most glorious summer evening, some of those dearest to me gathered for a celebration of out-of-town guests.
The menu: a Salad Bar. Everyone brought 2-3 salad ingredients plus a compliment to the meal (bread, dessert, dressing, and drinks).
Kraft paper ran down the length of the table the table and Mason Jars held end-of-summer hydrangeas, lemonade and iced tea. Red paper straws, plates, and paper bag napkin holders juxtaposed the glass drinking jars and silverware. A rustic dinner party. Delicious, inspiring, and perfect. Love you my sweet family!
I loved throwing a little get together for my sweet husband, Jack, on his golden birthday with a few of his close friends.
I love entertaining! My thing is to make an impact, keep details simple, and have it be super affordable. I love to pick one or two things to work around. It might be a color theme, a decoration, a type of food, a stylish pack of napkins I found on clearance at Target, anything!
So for this party, the theme was predictably GOLDEN. I used my trusty kraft paper as the backdrop for golden beer and snacks. Our friends hung out together around the table laughing, talking, and playing Jack’s favorite game late into the night.
We are so grateful for the amazing blessing that these guys and all of the other friends who have come into Jack’s life have been to our family. God has faithfully answered our prayers for really good friends.
I threw a swap party for my girlfriends a couple weeks ago. Each person came dressed in a fun summer outfit and brought gently used, still fashionable, stain-free, good-working-condition items that they no longer used to the party. We had a really great time trading them in for other items that we would use!
Champagne flutes awaited limeade and cucumber water when guests first arrived.
Goody bags, which doubled as place cards, had a hydrangea blossom (wrapped in a paper towel and tinfoil), with a bag of my Salted Chocolate Bark with Dried Cranberries and Roasted Almonds.
We enjoyed dinner together before the swapping began.
Chicken Salad with Dried Apricots, Goat Cheese, Scallions, and Arugula on Grilled French Bread
Asiago Dip with Cucumber Chips
People nibbled on Salted Chocolate Bark during the swapping.
I made these tissue paper pom poms, using this tutorial, and I loved how fun they were! (I still have them up!)
We organized our collective boutique into the following categories:
Clothing and Accesories
After we all had an opportunity to browse the goods, we drew numbers, and in that order, took turns picking items. We had giant shopping bags to put our finds in, and had fun seeing what each person chose.
I loved seeing clothes that I don’t wear anymore look great on my friends, and was excited to add some fantastic new pieces to my wardrobe (my favorite was an adorable skirt from Anthropologie) as well as some handy new household items (like a cheese slicer to replace our broken one) without spending any money! After several rounds of turn taking, the boutique opened up to everyone and people could take as much or as little as they wanted. Any items that were not chosen could return with their owner or be left at my house to be donated to the Salvation Army. It was such a fun way to spend a summer night with friends!!
You can find more tips about planning a swap party here.
I would give anything to have a loaf of my mom’s banana chocolate chip bread to pull from the freezer right now. She makes them with mini chocolate cops, but because I keep regular semi-sweet chocolate chips on hand, I use those in mine. It is delicious! My favorite way to eat it is toasting and buttering a thick slice.
This bread freezes well (I usually wrap a cooled loaf in plastic wrap, wrap tinfoil around that, and then put it in a labeled Ziplock bag). It’s on hand for morning guests to to deliver to friends.
Banana Chocolate Chip Bread (makes two loaves)
2/3 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
5 bananas, mashed (I always use a potato masher)
4 cups all-purpose flour
5 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup buttermilk
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream butter and sugar. Mix in eggs and bananas. In a separate bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and chocolate chips. Add to the creamed mixture, alternately with the buttermilk. Stir until just blended. Pour batter in two 9x5x3 greased and floured loaf pans. Bake for 60 minutes until golden brown.
I love these wine glass markers. They are so special and modern looking. They were a fun surprise detail at my mom’s birthday party. From Hattie Rex’s shop on Etsy.