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Category: Party Style Party Style

The Perfect Margarita

the perfect margarita recipe

Cinco de Mayo is this next Monday, but I’ll be celebrating this weekend…with margaritas.  My favorite drink above all, bar none, is a marg. I drink red wine because it’s better for me and has less sugar, but if I could have a margarita, I’d take it.

This margarita recipe was created one night because my husband, Matt, wanted a liquor drink but said that margaritas were too sweet for him… enter my recipe.

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It’s very simple, which means strong, so be careful, but it’s quite delicious. It has just enough sweet to balance the salted rim.

The Perfect Margarita

  • 1.5 oz regular tequila (I like patron)
  • 0.5 oz Patron Citronge (orange liqueur made in mexico)
  • juice of 2 very juicy limes (or 3 not-so-juicy limes)
  • 1 tsp Agave Nectar
  • Splash of orange juice

Mix all of the above in a carafe and pour over ice in a salt rimmed glass.  To professionally salt the glass, drag a wedge of lime around the rim of each glass, then dip in salt before adding ice and margarita.

the perfect salt rim margarita recipe margarita recipe without triple sec

I usually double or quadruple this recipe in a carafe for mine and Matt’s ‘Tequila Tuesdays’. Its natural sugar, and tequila, so you know it’s good!

It’s simple, and the perfect mixture of salty and sweet.  Enjoy!

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How to Have a Spanish Party

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I’ve been talking about our Valentine’s day dinner party for a few weeks now, and this weekend it went off without a hitch.  I’m here today to show you a few key ways to throw your own Spanish party, and no need to do it on Valentines day – this would make a wonderful summer party idea as well.

Sure, a Spanish party is a bit obscure, but that is the reason I love it.  People often wonder what Spanish food is and are overwhelmed by making the choices to throw a unique bash. Think of Spanish food as more Mediterranean than Mexican and you’ll be on the right track. Cured meats, olives, cheeses, almonds, and seafood are all great staples.  I made this party about communal eating, flowing wine, lots of flavors and small bites to create a great and interactive party (please excuse my grainy photos – it was dark!).

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olive recipe

When it comes to the food, it’s easier than you think to carry out.  You don’t need to be a master chef, just pick a few recipes and try them out! I followed a few different tapas recipes from this site, including the Paella.  The best thing about Paella is that you don’t have to serve it with any sides!  It has rice, sausage, seafood, some veggies…. it’s a one pot wonder meal.  If you’re not familiar with spanish wine, you can’t go wrong with a Rioja or Temperanillo

And for the fun stuff – the decor! Keeping the party palette in red, gold, and black is expected, but it helps to really support the theme.  You don’t have to go overboard or buy anything cheap from a party store, all you have to do is add a few quirky touches – red roses, black pom poms, rich wood, and gilded gold. I created two easy and quick little DIYs to add personality to my party.

napkin rings flamenco napkin ring

spanish flowers

 

 

churros

 

The entire night was rounded out with a sweet treat – heart shaped churros! The churro recipe I used was from Sweet Society and it worked perfectly (photo above)! We nibbled on churros and drank our mexican hot chocolate (obviously not spanish, but I couldn’t resist not serving it with the churros)! Loading up on sweets might have been the fuel keeping us up until 2am playing card games.

I’ve clearly been talking about the Spanish party for the last week now, but I haven’t heard too much from you guys!  Is it a type of party you think you’ll try?

 

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Preparing for a Spanish Valentine Party

spanish theme party tapas

As I was beginning to set out the pieces and parts today for the Spanish party I told you guys about a couple of weeks ago, this little theme came together quite nicely and is sure to be pretty once it’s all together.

I want the party to reflect the passionate romance that comes to mind when I think of flamenco, but the warm, communal, rustic sense that you’re in the spanish countryside  (side story, I actually went to a flamenco in Spain 15 years ago and didn’t appreciate it nearly as much as I would now… hindsight…).   I’m going to make a centerpiece entirely of red roses, which is very ‘Valentine’s Day’ but it’s also what I think of when I think of flamenco – see the correlation?

Onwards… I want my friends and guests to be relaxed, comfortable, and in the robust Spanish mindset.  What I love so much about planning parties is trying to create a feeling.  To transport someone from the usual and to almost instill an unawareness of what lies outside of the event… to transport someone for a night.

To do this, I’ll go overboard on the red roses, cue the spanish guitar music, pour glasses full of temperanillo, and create a table full of approachable, communally served tapas and paella.

tapas party spanish theme party

I’ll use a mixture of warm woods like in Grandiflora’s Malena Appetizer plates and utensils and Esselle’s birch candle holders along with some glittering gold vases, terra-cotta tapas dishes, and lots of red roses.  Guests will get a big shot of sweetness at the nights’ end with my spicy hot chocolate dippers and some churros!

We’re definitely one step closer to seeing this party in action!  What do you think so far?

 

 

p.s. We have a GIVEAWAY going on!  You could win a set of 50 prints from Printic (amazing poloroid-esque prints directly from your phone to your mailbox… believe it).  Enter now!

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Mexican Hot Chocolate Party Favor

mexican hot chocolate dippers

For our Valentines Day dinner party this year, I’m going with a bit of a Spanish flare – paella, tapas, flamenco fan style garland, spanish wine, and so on. The exception to this is the Mexican hot chocolate dippers that I’ll be making to accompany the heart shaped churros I plan to make for dessert. I love the mixture of spicy and sweet in mexican chocolate, so I thought it would make a really cute addition to the party to melt some chocolate onto the honey dippers from my Esselle hostess box.

The attached message, “Love and Chocolate are best served hot” is actually a spin on a german proverb (“love and coffee are best served hot”), but I changed the words a bit for this quirky valentine treat. The back of the tag could easily host a custom sentiment for my guests as well.

hot chocolate favors spoons

The best part is, with the exception of the honey dippers (which you can also find here), you might just have all of the ingredients on hand. Keep reading for the step by step instructions, recipe, and the printable tags!  Continue Reading…

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A Spanish Valentines Party: The Plan

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For Valentines day each year, I have a dinner party with some of my favorite friends to celebrate the love in our lives.  Although I’m not a big fan of gooey romance, that doesn’t mean I don’t like some romance in my life… it just needs to be festive and fun – hence the dinner party.

I like the spanish theme for a few reasons.  Mainly because it’s a passionate theme without being over-the-top and secondly because I have a good friend who asks year round for my paella and I feel this is a good opportunity to splurge on a giant skillet of seafood and sausage. It’s not the kind of meal you make for a small crowd.

To help my decorations, the wonderful girls over at esselle sent me their ‘Devyn’ hostess box which is made to create a playful, handmade dinner for two.  Since I wanted to take a non-traditional spin on the holiday, I’m using some of the pieces (like the birch votives, the confetti, the gold/white vases, and the cupcake wraps) to support the Spanish vibe.  I know it isn’t Spanish, but I am going to use the honey dippers included in the box to make some Mexican hot chocolate dipping sticks so we can drink it with our churros.

I think it all goes to show, that using what you have (or what’s out there in the stores this time of year), can be done with a twist that will surprise your guests and make the night crazy awesome.

As we get closer to the party, I’ll show you guys a few tutorials for the decor and how I plan on using those cupcake sleeves and honey dippers!!

 

*click on the photos for source

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Using Technology for an Easy Open Bar

intel open bar

New Years Eve is right around the corner and I’m still a little on the fence about what I’m doing.  I know I’ll be wearing this DIY from my post this morning, but as far as the rest, I’m bordering on just having another party at our house, but was a little stumped after my Christmas Eve soiree about what else to pull out of my hat.

I’m not a huge mixed drink person.  I love a good champagne cocktail, but stick mostly with red wine.  When we have guests and someone wants to know what is in a ‘Bay Breeze’, I wouldn’t be able to help them out.  I had my Samsung Tab sitting near the bar last week during Christmas, however, and got a brilliant idea to just use it for an ‘open bar’ concept.  For tips on creating a fun, interactive bar with your tablet, I have just a few thoughts.  Continue Reading…

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Sparkling Christmas Cocktails

holiday cocktail recipe cranberry

Happy Christmas Eve!  I hope you’re home, spending some relaxing time with family and friends.  I’m preparing for a little cocktail party that I like to have on Christmas eve which incorporates both sides of our families and any friends who wish to stop by.

Since we don’t have children, I always felt like Christmas eve was lacking some sort of spark.  We don’t set out milk & cookies for Santa or read “T’was the night before Christmas”, but we still want to do something festive with those we love.  So, we started having this cocktail party and made the ‘eve’ about just hanging out and really letting the joy of the season set in with anyone who has the time to swing out to our place.  Last year I think we got into playing cards and listening to carols.

christmas champagne cocktail

This year, I’ve got a full menu planned out with heavy nibbles (mini ham sammys, cheese straws, prosciutto wrapped asparagus, a giant cheese tray, and lots of cookies!).  Aside from the food, I like to make a very festive cocktail.  It’s really the only night of the year I feel compelled to make my big manly guy friends drink frilly drinks from gold confetti glasses. They might retire to the scotch after a few, but the ‘signature’ cocktail definitely takes a load off my shoulders when it comes to setting up a bar for such a wide range of people who come through.

For my signature cocktail this year, I’m making a Sparkling Cranberry Blush.  It’s so easy and SO good.  Keep on for the full recipe and some very fun tips to keep the drink festive!

Continue Reading…

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No Poinsettias for Christmas

christmas flower arrangements

I don’t love poinsettia’s.  I don’t know why, they just seem antiquated to me and remind me of times gone past… but not in a great way.  They can still be done well (a full poinsettia tree would be awesome!), but for a party, you can make a much better option.

I used just a couple of everyday blooms to get this simple, but seasonal look.  Roses and tulips, along with a couple of more seasonal fillers and greens – spruce, red berries, and eucalyptus – look gorgeous together.  With just these five pieces, and the same exact tips I used on my ‘market bunch’ tutorial, you can get a really beautiful arrangement for the holiday that is a little more modern than the norm.

white flowers christmas entertaining copy

christmas centerpiece flowers

christmas flower arrange

As always, having fresh flowers in my house is a must.  The great part about going the extra mile to put together a custom arrangement is that the blooms bought make more than just one bouquet.  With the flowers I bought, I was able to make a large arrangement for the kitchen (shown here), a small arrangement for the bar, a vase full of tulips for my bedside table, and two bud vases for the bathroom and office. Now, that’s getting my $15 worth!

 

Tell me, do you buy individual blooms to create your own bouquet? Do you think you’ll give it a try now?

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Holiday Hot Chocolate Cart

dessert bar hot chocolate

This time of year, there are so many parties, that it can get a little bit dizzying to think of something fun and unique to do when having friends over.  I wanted to show you guys an easy idea that could probably be done with stuff you already have at home, but putting it all together in a cute way is something that visitors will definitely remember you for.

The hot chocolate bar cart is completely simple and fun.  If you’ve served a large dinner, having a warm drink afterwards is a nice change from a heavy dessert, and if you’re offering snacks and apps, a hot chocolate bar makes a wonderful complement to your desserts.

christmas hot chocolate how to make a hot chocolate bar

I went with a ‘retro cabin’ type look since my Christmas decor scheme is ‘cozy cabin’.  Arrange it on a fun and festive cart like this one (which is for rent!!) or a console table in your living room.  I like the idea of locating the desserts and after dinner drinks in the living area so people will gravitate there and sit, sip, and socialize for the rest of the night.  There are a few must-haves on my list for styling yourself the perfect hot chocolate bar.

Continue Reading…

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What to Wear for Holiday Entertaining

what to wear when your hosting

So, fashion isn’t really something that I cover here on House of Earnest, but if you follow me on instagram, you know I love sharing my outfits.  Since I spent 7 years working in the fashion industry, it’s definitely ingrained in me, but was sort of a conflict of interest to post about fashion while I was working at my last job.  So – I’m free and going to take the opportunity to share a little fashion with you guys today.

thread entertaining outfit

If you all don’t know about the shop Thread, it’s one of my favorite local boutiques and somewhere you can really find unique designer (and phenomenal artists’) goodies that we sometimes have trouble finding in the midwest.  Believe me, after traveling around the world, I have a bit of a picky palette.

Onto the issue at hand.  When entertaining friends and family (which is so prevalent around the holidays) I have a very specific ‘wardrobe’ that is my go-to.  I vary this wardrobe formula here and there, but there are a few basic tips that I follow for my shin-digs.

  • No sleeves – it gets hot when you’re running around, pulling stuff out of the oven, drinking libations, and entertaining your buns off.
  • Chiffon or satin top, something breezy… for the aforementioned reason.
  • Skinny pants (leggings if possible!).  They just are so easy, comfortable and really give a great top the focus.
  • Amazing shoes & Accessories.  No explanation needed.

I picked out this outfit from all of the pieces I tried on a Thread a couple of weeks ago and it exemplifies my entertaining style perfectly.  The top is unique, with two layers of chiffon and an animal print poking out from underneath.  The skinny burgundy riding pants are stretchy, but structured, and the amazing Rebecca Minkoff shoes, Lizzie Fortunato necklace, and Pluma Jewelry Ring really make it all much more glamorous.

You know how excited I get about sharing entertaining secrets, and going one step further to share my thought process on what I wear when I entertain.  There’s even more excitement where that comes from – the people at Thread are nice enough to offer a discount to all of you as well!  Just use the code HOUSEOFEARNEST when shopping online for 15% off your purchase!

Nice, huh?  Now we’ll all look quite jolly this holiday.

p.s.  Are you a Columbus local who loves Thread?  Come to their Grandview location THIS WEDNESDAY and shop our entire Grandiflora holiday collection.  Shop over cocktails and hang out with me and the Thread gang! 5:30pm-8:30pm at Thread Grandview.

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