You’re Invited: Thanksgiving



I look forward to these imaginary holiday dinners every single year, and this Thanksgiving feast is no exception. This year, in reality, I’ll be hosting ten for the big day and am looking forward to pulling out the serving pieces that aren’t used nearly often enough as well as my trusty white dinnerware that goes with everything. However, this is how the day would look if I set the table and cooked every single thing I want to make!



Apple Cranberry Moscow Mule // Autumn Pimm’s Cup // Crockpot Apple Pear Cider // Cucumber-Infused Gin and Grapefruit Black Pepper Fizz // Orange Cranberry Blended Margaritas // Tamarind Whiskey Sour

The moment guests set foot in my home I want to pass them a beverage or cocktail to set a tone of jovial relaxation. I find that having the makings of between three and six cocktails on hand is a good amount, that along with the usual bar staples should have you set for the day’s events.



Antler Candle Holders // Bottlebrush Pine Wreath // DIY Pinecone Garland // Gather Door Mat // DIY Gobble Gobble Bunting // Hand-Dipped 18″ Taper Candles // In All Things Give Thanks Print // Modern Dinner Bells // Vanilla Cupcake Candles

Next I want them to take a second and notice some of the more subtle touches I’ve thought about. The muted palette, the mentions of togetherness and being thankful, the scents in the air. I don’t want to overdo it, because we all know Thanksgiving is all about the food and the table.



Apple Cranberry Turkey Meatballs // Crispy Sweet Potato Wontons // Everything Bagel Goat Cheese // Pomegranate Salsa // Roasted Butternut Squash Hummus // Walnut and Honey Baked Brie

No one wants to wait around until dinnertime to start eating, so making sure there are plenty of appetizers sitting around to snack on is a big deal. Again, I like to stick with the three to six rule. This Thanksgiving I decided to keep things seasonal by sticking to recipes that include staples like turkey, cranberry, and sweet potatoes.



1948º Oval Serving Plate // Copper Cocktail Pitcher // Criss Cross Watercolour Napkins // Copper Top Flatware // Dipped White Tray // Ellipse Platter in Watercolor Blue // Gugo Pitcher Jug // Hex Baking Dish Set // IVO ViRTU Copper Carving Knife Set // Long Zulu Platter // Marta Tasting Glasses // Oval Outline Trivet // Pemberton Ink Collection // Rain Tablecloth // Round Brass Tray // Space Place Card Holders // Washington Copper Tray // WUD Plate

This year I’ve put a lot of emphasis on the table, with plenty of ceramics, woods, and metals covering it from end to end. I’m reality I’d need a pretty big spread to fit everything I’m dreaming of!



Balsamic Roasted Baby Carrots // Buffalo Cheddar Beer Bread Stuffing // Cauliflower and Coconut Milk Soup // Cheesy Garlic Butter Potatoes // Fall Slaw with Miso-Ginger Dressing + Tamari Pumpkin Seeds // Herb and Butter Roasted Turkey with White Wine Pan Gravy // Homemade Cranberry Sauce // Honey Roasted Brussels Sprouts // Market Bean Salad // Orzo with Goat Cheese and Arugula // Prosciutto and Sage Garlic Bread // Sweet Potato and Rosemary Gratin

The main event! I’m forever hoping for one of those lingering meals in the movies, when in reality we spend an entire day preparing a feast and everyone’s pushed away from the table in less than thirty minutes. I think I’d like to serve this spread a few dishes at a time, almost forcing everyone to slow down and enjoy the smaller things – like each bite and every word.



Apple Cider Doughnut Cake // Blackberry Jam Tart // Flaky Apple Dumplings with Salted Maple Caramel // Gingersnap Pumpkin Pie // Pumpkin Chocolate Crumb Cake // Sugar Cream Pie

In my opinion nothing tops the day like a slice of dessert. Any dessert. Again, I like that three to six rule of thumb. The beauty here is that whenever someone asks if they can bring anything, well, there can never be too many deserts. Have some boxes on hand so people can take home some of whatever they didn’t get a chance to try at the table.

Come on over any time after 3 o’clock!


Your One-Stop Halloween Roundup

If I’ve never mentioned it before, Halloween is my favorite holiday. I’d actually wager that it’s my family’s favorite, so it was essentially ingrained in me from the get go. Some October soon I plan on having my first Halloween party since, oh, college. But this year I’ll be celebrating at a friend’s house party with a snarky costume that you’ll have to see on Instagram! In the meantime, check out DIYs, party ideas, food and cocktails, and of course pumpkins.


ROW 1: Dyed Halloween Treat Bags // Halloween Banner    ROW 2: Halloween Transfer Wood Plaques // Paper Maché Candy Bowls // Plaster Hands    ROW 3: Printable Halloween Treat Bags // Printable Stick ‘O Treats // Spooky Cornstalk Decor    ROW 4: Witch Broom // Floating Head in a Jar // Spectral Mirror



ROW 1: Apple Votives // Bone Stirrer    ROW 2: Toilet Paper Roll Candy Garland // Eyeball Ping Pong Ball Lights // Pumpkins in the Chimney    ROW 3: Floral Skull Centerpiece // Mid-Century Table Lamp // Witch’s Curtain    ROW 4: Menu Balloon // Muertos Plates // Wax Dipped Whiskey Glasses



ROW 1: Chocolate Covered Caramel Popcorn Balls // Dark Chocolate Mocha (Full) Moon Pies    ROW 2: Blood Slide Suckers // Poison Toffee Apples // Halloween Surprise Cookies    ROW 3: Halloween Candy Bark // Chocolate Jack-o-Lantern Graham S’mores with Homemade Marshmallows // Marbled Candy Apples    ROW 4: Brain Cupcakes // Monster Doughnuts // Skewered Eyeballs



ROW 1: Get Lucky // Black Widow    ROW 2: Cinnamon Candy Apple Cocktail // The Grave Digger Cocktail // Creepy Cocktail    ROW 3: Monster Cocktail Stirrers // Black Lagoon Cocktail // The Poisoned Apple    ROW 4: Shrunken Skull Cocktail // Sleepy Hollow Cocktail // Witch’s Brew



ROW 1: Constellation Pumpkins // Melted Crayon Pumpkin    ROW 2: Fresh Floral Moon Pumpkin // Galaxy Art Pumpkin // Halloween Floral Centerpiece    ROW 3: Copper Snakes Pumpkin // Malachite Pumpkins // Nail Polish Marbled Pumpkins    ROW 4: Mud Cloth Pumpkins // Gold Studded Pumpkin // Tissue Paper Pumpkin


Happy Weekend

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This week on Design Crush:
Karen Gunderson’s Water series is deep, moody, and made of the unexpected.
Check out the 12 wardrobe pieces on my fall wish list.
Meike Harde’s aquarelle technique A. genius B. mind-blowing C. all of the-above.
Such a beautifully inspired collection of home pieces from Pop & Scott.
Want to feel all of the feelings? Take a peek at Betsy Walton‘s introspective paintings.
A solid collection of 12 modern DIYs to attempt in September.
See a next level mastery of color and layering in Torben Giehler‘s paintings.
The most incredible perpetual calendar you’re likely to ever see.
Sonia Pulido‘s transitional art is spot-on for autumn.

Design Crush elsewhere:
It’s almost that time of year – is your house guest ready? Some tips and tricks to help.
I’m getting ready to dress my place up for a very vintage Halloween!


Pittsburgh Brew Tour: Part 1

Pittsburgh has an impressive craft beer scene that I’ve been anxious to check out this summer. There are easily fifteen breweries that I wanted to check out, but that number seemed a little too ambitious for a weekend tour. Instead I chose the six that friends recommended most highly, picked up my friend Martin, and took off for a full day of beer sampling that I hoped wouldn’t get the best of me…


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190 Castle Shannon Blvd  Pittsburgh PA 15228

The first stop was Hitchhiker Brewing Co., where I was immediately impressed by the huge open window looking out over the sidewalk. Their craft beers are brewed right on site with up to ten on tap at any given time. (They also have a focus on creating a low environmental impact.) The interior of the brew pub has a great industrial feel with plenty of wood and metal, and I couldn’t help but comment that if I were to design a taproom it wouldn’t be far off.

Martin and I tried a flight of three handcrafted beers, we had to pace ourselves after all. The Wheatmill was my favorite with Tumbleweed and The Barbarian in second and third. Since our tour I’ve been back to try even more brews and check out their secluded patio area out back.


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512 Braddock Ave.  Braddock, PA 15104

Across town The Brew Gentlemen was waiting for us (along with the gyro truck in the parking lot). A successful Kickstarter campaign is behind this small brewery and taproom that focuses on combining classical brewing and the culinary world. Most of their brews seem more complex than their peers, we tried both chai- and cucumber-inspired beers and I really enjoyed both. The space itself used to be an electrical supply store and now has a modern industrial feel to it with lots of wood and stainless steel. Walk around the corner from the bar and you can look down through a set of large windows to the brewery itself.


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1932 Lincoln Highway  North Versailles, PA 15137

Full Pint was the only brewery I’d tried before the tour, Martin had some White Lightning at his house one day. I really liked it, so had high hopes for their other brews. This stop was most like breweries I’d visited on the west coast, basically a set of huge converted garages in an industrial park – taproom on one side and brewery on the other. Lots of bright colors with the logos of each beer painted on the walls. We sampled a healthy six styles with the highpoint being that I got to try my first sour! I wasn’t sure what to expect but absolutely loved it and have been actively seeking them out ever since.


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300 39th Street  Pittsburgh, PA 15201

The branded fence along the perimeter of Arsenal‘s outdoor cider garden couldn’t act as a better advertisement. I’d driven by countless times before our tour, but once I walked around the the other side wanted to kick myself for waiting so long. The day we visited there was amazing live music and a smokehouse truck, so we walked around the corner to the actual brick and mortar located in an old row house to grab some cider and then lounged for a bit. (Then we spent awhile wondering why we hadn’t bought a growler… oh yeah, because we still had two more places to check out!) I could imagine wasting an entire weekend here, no problem,


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4901 Butler Street  Pittsburgh, PA 15201

Roundabout, while having my favorite overall selection of the day, is super small inside. It was also completely packed while we were there which didn’t allow for many photos. Picture it: a back wall bar with six brews on tap and three long tables with eight stools around each. About the width of that window in the photo above and twice as deep. I really liked that the table setup made you almost have to talk with your neighbors, the way a traditional beer garden works.


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501 E Ohio Street  Millvale, PA 15209

We ended our day at Draii Laag, coincidentally the same day they opened their big and beautiful outdoor space. This brewery focuses on Belgian-inspired ales, some of my personal favorites, but they don’t conform to styles either. I tried the Goedenacht which could only be described as a cider-mead-farmhouse ale and it was delicious. There was even a German food truck pulled up in the parking lot, and had we not been so full of beer would have jumped at the chance to partake.


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We’ll be reporting back with Part 2 as soon as we recover from Part 1!


Happy Alcoholidays!



The holidays can be tough, not on everyone but certainly for us introverts out there. And while proper amounts of imbibing and etiquette are preferred, alcohol can definitely be the social lubrication necessary to get through all of those get togethers from November through January. Here’s a slew that I’ve bookmarked for this winter. (See also: Alcoholidays 2011, Alcoholidays 2012, Alcoholidays 2013)


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Slow Cooker Cranberry Wassail

Spiked Pumpkin Horchata

Sour Green Apple Margarita

Vanilla Vodka Chai Tea

Spiced Apple Old Fashioned


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Frosted Gingerbread Martini

Pumpkin Apple Spiced Sangria

Sugar n Spice White Russian

Homemade Eggnog

Bourbon Cranberry Shrub


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Cider Punch

Cranberry Orange Dark and Stormy

Apple Cider Bourbon Punch

Pomegranate Gin Tonic

Hot Buttered Rum


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Rosemary Maple Bourbon Sour

Spiced Apple Margaritas

Cranberry Orange Crush

Gingerbread White Russian

Maple Daiquiri

Spiced Cranberry Orange Fizz


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Grapefruit Pomegranate Punch

Sage Ginger Prosecco Cocktail

Hard Cider Sangria

The Mid-Winter Margarita

Cranberry-Apple Cider Punch

Cranberry Margarita


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Milk Punch

Roasted Vanilla Grapefruit Mimosas

Gingerbread Toddy

Cranberry Orange Bourbon

Apple Cider Rum Old-Fashioned

Pear Moscow Mule


Hassle-Free Cocktails with VitaFrute + a Giveaway

It’s been a few months since I’ve shared any recipes, so I’m here to make up for it four-fold with a fantastic quartet of cocktails. I promise you every last one is delicious and the most complicated of the bunch includes only three ingredients. (Seriously!) The star of each recipe is one of VitaFrute‘s four organic ready-to-drink cocktails that allow you to step away from the bar cart and enjoy a hassle-free get together this holiday season!


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Lemonade + Prosecco

Serves 2

• 5 oz VitaFrute Lemonade
• 5 oz prosecco
• lemon

Pour 2.5 oz VitaFrute Lemonade and 2.5 oz prosecco into each of two coupes. Garnish with a thin slice of lemon and enjoy!


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Pear Nectar Margarita

Serves 2

• 10 oz VitaFrute Margarita
• 2 oz pear nectar
• pear
Pour 5 oz VitaFrute Margarita and 1 oz pear nectar into each of two cocktail glasses. Garnish with a slice of pear and a dash of ground ginger if you’re feeling adventurous.


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Apple Cider Cosmopolitan

Serves 2

• 6 oz VitaFrute Cosmopolitan
• 4 oz fresh apple cider
• orange

Pour 3 oz VitaFrute Cosmopolitan and 2 oz apple cider into each of two rocks glasses. Garnish with a slice of juicy orange.


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Coconut Colada Float

Serves 2

• 6 oz VitaFrute Coconut Colada
• 2 scoops vanilla ice cream
• coconut flakes

Scoop vanilla ice cream into two parfait glasses, then pour 3 oz Vitafrute Coconut Colada over each. Top with a sprinkle of coconut flakes, then add a spoon and straw to enjoy.


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VitaFrute is teaming up with Kitchensurfing to give away a $1,000 and $500 towards a Kitchensurfing feast to make this a hassle-free holiday season! Imagine hosting that perfect holiday party without raising a finger or someone else preparing Christmas dinner for your family while you all focus on spending time together. You have until December 12th to pop over and enter for a chance to make this your best holiday season yet!

Disclaimer: I received product and compensation from VEEV Spirits. All words, opinions, and recipes are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that help keep Design Crush going!


Happy Weekend

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01/ A minimalist depiction of mental disorders.
02/ This zen rock garden is actually full of Japanese candy!
03/ Hilariously true animated gifs of basic tips and etiquette for surviving in NYC.
04/ Painstakingly crafting portraits of musicians made from cornflakes.
05/ Ringly lights up and buzzes when your phone needs you!
06/ This retired Boeing 727 was converted into a home in the woods. Would you dare?
07/ Picnic Lounge is an oversized blanket that resembles an antique rug. Clever.
08/ Smart ads for Keloptic turn impressionist art into realism.
09/ Social Planes take you offline – download, write, fold, and fly!
10/ When baristas and bartenders joins forces we are blessed with coffee cocktails.

This week on Design Crush:
Have you entered our Soundfreaq Sound Rise giveaway?! Wake up with this alarm/bluetooth speaker hybrid, it’s sure to get your day off to a good start.
Eight art prints I wish I had room for on my walls this month.
Melissa Zexter hand-embroiders her own photography in the most beautiful way.
Industrialist meets rugged glam in the design of Maslo Jewelry.
Crazy incredible paintings/sculptures from Conrad Jon Godly.
I’m slowing going minimalist with my style and this modern lamp is my latest addition.
Childhood dreams and sketchbook drawings come to life thanks to Katharine Morling.
If you’re looking for a super easy project this DIY Matchstick Holder is where it’s at!
After seven years of blogging we finally have a Design Crush identity suite like pros.


My (Imaginary) New Year’s Eve 2013

After the craziness of Thanksgiving and Christmas I like to make New Year’s Eve more low-key. A come as you are get together with good friends and family is just what the doctor ordered for a great start to a new year! Want to dress up? Go for it. Prefer pajamas? That’s cool, too. We’ll decorate some with metallics and pinks and call it a day. Everyone can bring an appetizer or dessert and I’ll provide the cocktails – sound good? Mix and mingle as you please, and if you can’t stay awake until the ball drops? No judgement. Now that’s my kinda party.








Confetti Triangle Invitations – Oh Happy Day
DIY Confetti Wreath – A Subtle Revelry
Handmade Paper Bunting – Toast UK
Recycled Honeycomb Tissue Paper Pouf – Zipper Teeth
Happy New Year Garland – Anthropologie
Porcelain Hurricanes – West Elm
Silver + Gold New Year Tiara – Party 411
Black + Silver New Year Top Hat – Amol’s Fiesta Party Supplies
New Years Surprise Confetti – Anthropologie

‘Larabee Dor Fete Mini Champagne Saucer – Kate Spade
DIY Happy New Year Cake Topper – Style Me Pretty
Floating Blocks Table Runner – LEIF
Glittering Flatware – Anthropologie
Gold Confetti Paper Napkins – Anthropologie
Mercury Glass Octagonal Hurricanes – West Elm
Metallic Print Glassware Set – West Elm
Pink Pop Side Plate – Burke Decor
Pink Dot Tablecloth – Hay

Black Rose – Kelley Moore
Cinnamon Maple Bourbon Sour – So… Let’s Hang Out
Cranberry Pear Mulled Wine – Couldn’t Be Parve
Cranberry-Orange Sparkler – Martha Stewart
Cucumber Gin Salt + Pepper Cups – Joy the Baker
Hot Buttered Rum – Not Without Salt
Sparkling Raspberry Cocktail – Apartment34
Sugar and Spice Russian – Waiting On Martha
Winter Punch – 101 Cookbooks


An (Imaginary) Holiday Appetizer Party

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I’ve always wanted to throw a party that’s strictly about appetizers. Think about it, they’re one of the best parts of any special meal and you can typically fill up on them alone. Oh, and my definition of an “appetizer” is basically anything that can be eaten in three bites or less, which leaves plenty of room for interpretation and inspiration. The good news? You’re invited to my imaginary holiday appetizer party! (All links and sources at the end of the post.)



First let’s set the mood with plenty of simple touches. Ice lanterns lining the front walk and a tinseled wreath on the front door. Rustic vases full of berried branches. A festive backdrop for photos and plenty of white paper pendants suspended from the ceiling. Even miniature handmade wreaths for party favors!



The best hostesses always offer a beverage as soon as you’ve walked in the door and they’ve taken your coat! I like to offer a selection of hot and cold, boozy and non-boozy, that way you’re sure to have something for everyone. Most of the beverages above can be made in large batches, making it super easy to use pitchers and allow your guests to refill at their leisure. And of course allowing you to actually enjoy your own party!



When entertaining during the holidays, I like to purchase one or two special pieces for the occasion and rely on everyday pieces for the rest. In this case the purchases are small wooden appetizer forks, napkins and a festive cheese board. Otherwise it’s easy to stick to basics in our white, black, gold, and wood palette.



Last (but definitely not least) are the appetizers themselves. I think the rule of one plate of apps to every two people invited is a good rule to go by. Again, here I like to have a good mix of savory/sweet, soft/crispy, hot/cold, etc. Lots of these recipes can be prepped a day or two ahead of time and popped in the refrigerator until you’re ready to either warm them, assemble them, or set them out for guests. That equals less stress for you and a get together you can not only enjoy, but participate in. Happy Holidays!

Birchwood Vase – Better Homes & Gardens
DIY Mini Holiday Wreaths – The Sweetest Occasion
Ice Lantern Kit – Terrain
DIY Tinsel Garland Wreath – Creature Comforts
Paper Pendants – Serena & Lily
Snowball Curtain – Cox & Cox

Boozy White Hot Chocolate – The Little Ferraro Kitchen
Cranberry Orange Gin Fizz – The Messy Baker Blog
Spiced Sparkling Cider – The Best Remedy
Mocha Coffee Punch – She Wears Many Hats
Peppermint Eggnog Milkshake – The Merrythought
Pink Peppermint Russian – Kleinworth & Co

Arrow Forks – Sucre Shop
Be Merry! Cheese Board – C. Wonder
Gold Foil Cocktail Napkins – C. Wonder
Heath Serving Platter – Canoe
Hot Drinks Glass – Create & Barrel
Leopold Coupe Glass – Cocktail Kingdom
Mercer Burst Salad Plate – Crate & Barrel
Mingle Bar Glass – Crate & Barrel
Nico Platter – Crate & Barrel
Old Dutch Copper Tray – Overstock
Porcelain Serve Platter – Target
Wood Topped Ice Bucket – West Elm

Apple, Sweet Potato + Bacon Turnovers – Savory Simple
Baked Brie with Roasted Cranberry Sauce – A Couple Cooks
Cranberry Crostini – Cookie and Kate
Lobster Crostini – What Katie Ate
Mini Caramel Apple Hand Pies – Freutcake
Pumpkin Cheesecake Phyllo Straws – Rachel Cooks
Pomegranate Jeweled White Cheddar Cheeseball – How Sweet It Is
Cranberry Curd Tartlets – Martha Stewart
Zucchini Chips – Food Fanatic
Pumpkin Butter S’mores – Wit & Vinegar
Spinach Hummus + Sweet Potato Goat Cheese Quesadillas – 24 Carrot Life
Spiced Apple Chutney and Cinnamon Swirls – Great British Chefs

All photos copyright of their respective sites unless otherwise noted.
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