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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My (Imaginary) Christmas 2013


Seriously, don’t even worry about bringing anything because I’ve got it all covered! Longtime readers might remember last year’s dream Christmas dinner as the start of this extravagant/gluttonous series I create for most major holidays. And let me tell you, I should really throw make believe parties more often because they’re so much fun! This Christmas I decided to go with plenty of color and whimsy with a dash of nature and DIY thrown in to keep it real. Hope you can make it! (Links and sources at the end.)













Felt Ball Garland – The Fickle Felt Tree
DIY Himmeli Garland – The House That Lars Built
Paint Dipped Ornaments – Bomisch
Pine Cone Wreath – West Twin Creations
Plated Glass Votives – Serena & Lily
Still Life Taper Candles – Anthropologie
Town Square Sculptures – Anthropologie
Wire Sprinkle Line Lights – CB2
Wood Chain Kit – Sideshow Press

Cider Pomegranate Smash – Clara Persis
The Bourbon Épice – coco + kelley
Hot Buttered Hazelnut Whisky – Adventure in Cooking

Brie and Cranberry Bites –  Crumb
Sweet Potato Tahini Crostini – Love and Lemons
Whipped Ricotta with Lemon and Olive Oil – Joy the Baker

Blush Champagne Coupes – Monique Lhuillier
Colonnes Stemware – Anthropologie
DIY Pie Crust Place Markers – You Are My Fave
Gold Napkin Ring Set – West Elm
Gold-Dipped Flatware – Anthropologie
Nomades Table Linen – Anthropologie
DIY Reversible Tree Flatware Mat – Confetti Pop
Silver Manzanita Candelabra – West Elm
Verge Dinnerware – Crate and Barrel

Apple Herb Stuffing – Smitten Kitchen
Balsamic Brussels Sprouts with Red Grapes – Nutrition Stripped
Cheddar Herb Baked Apples – JJ Begonia
Creamy Chive Potatoes – Annie’s Eats
Drunken Cranberry Sauce – The Speckled Palate
Hot Butter Bean Salad with Lemon – BBC Good Food
Kale Salad with Lemon, Almonds, and Pecorino – Heather Christo
Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Caramelized Onion, Brie, and Sage – Recipe Girl
Roasted Cauliflower with Lemon Parsley Dressing – Epicurious

Caramel Apple Cake – Pinch of Yum
Gingerbread Coffee Cake with Ginger Cream – Dine & Dish
Pumpkin Bread Pudding with Dulce de Leche – Martha Stewart


Homemade Sweet Treats, Savory Bites + Spirits

Every year I plan on making some sort of homemade goodies for friends and family who aren’t quite of full-on gift giving caliber, just a little something to say I appreciate you. And every year  December goes by way too quickly and my good intentions are dashed. As of now I still have a few weeks to make it happen this holiday and my fingers are crossed! I’ve narrowed it down to these sweet treats, savory bites, and spirits that can be packaged up all nice like and handed out.



ROW 1: Candied Grapefruit Zest – Blogging Over Thyme // Chocolate Caramel Truffles – Donna Hay // Chocolate Truffles – Maldon Sea Salt Company    ROW 2: Cinnamon Pecan Brittle – Elana’s Pantry // Honey Chai Roasted Almonds – Joy the Baker // Hot Cocoa Popcorn – Shutterbean    ROW 3: Peanut Butter Fudge – Donna Hay // Peanut Butter Pretzel Candy – Martha Stewart Living    ROW 4: Pumpkin Spice Glazed Almonds – delicious by dre // Salted Maple Honeycomb Candy – Food52 // S’mores Mini Dippers – Kevin & Amandas Recipes    ROW 5: Spiced Chai Honey Roasted Cashews – Leaf Parade // Spiced Holiday Pralines – The New York Times // Torrone – Food52



ROW 1: Apple Cider & Cheddar Soft Pretzels – Wallflower Girl // Black Tea Mini Crackers – Gourmet Persuasian // Cheddar and Asiago Poppyseed Crackers – PDXfoodlove    ROW 2: Chex Party Mix – raisin&fig // Crispy Parmesan Wasabi Soybeans – Brooklyn Farm Girl // Curry-Lime Roasted Peanuts – So hungry i could blog    ROW 3: Five Spice Maple Pumpkin Seeds – GI 365 // Fried Herbed Almonds – Cook Like a Champion    ROW 4: Herb Roasted Almonds – a house in the hills // Oven Dried Cranberry and Orange Peel Salt – The Chef’s Wife // Roasted Potato Chips – Mia Loves Pretty    ROW 5: Rosemary Garlic Popcorn – My Food Diary // Salt and Pepper Bagel Chips – plentytude // Salt Roasted Chestnuts – my blue&white kitchen



ROW 1: Cranberry Vanilla Vodka – Baking Bites // Bloody Mary Gift Set – almost makes perfect // Ginger Citrus Infused Rum – Vegetarian Ventures    ROW 2: Ginger Beer – Beantown Baker // Cocktail Bitters – How Sweet It Is // Sweet and Sour Mix – She Knows    ROW 3: Irish Cream – Design*Sponge // Kahlua – Liv Life    ROW 4: Limoncello – Desserts With Benefits // Amaretto – cooking ala mel // Peppermint Schnapps – The Boys Club    ROW 5: Pomegranate Tequila – Family Spice // Spiced Rum – One Martini at a Time // Spiced Pear Vodka – One Martini at a Time


Alcoholidays 2013

Happy Alcoholidays! Whether it’s for hostess duties, a little stress relief, or a Wednesday night in front o the fire we’ve got you covered this holiday season. Fruity, creamy, warm, fizzy? Yup, yup, yup, and yup. Forty-eight concoctions for you to test, tweak, and savor. (Two a day December 21st through the 24th if you’re the goal-oriented type.)



Creamy Peppermint Punch – Celebrate // Apple Cider Sangria – Glitter Guide // Fig Thyme – Honestly Yum // Valencia Orange Bourbon Apple Cider – Daily Squeeze // Honey Beer Winter Warmer – Smart Cookie // Vanilla, Pear, and Vodka Cocktail – two tarts // Mulled Wine – Life Tastes Like Food // Cardamom Rose Cocktail – Design*Sponge



Pumpkin Pie Sparkling Sgroppino – Glitter Guide // St Germain and Gin Euphoria – yumsugar // Toasted Almond – freutcake // Cranberry Old Fashioned – The Girl in the Little Red Kitchen // Apple Pie Cocktail with Cinnamon Meringue – Design*Sponge // Scotchsicle – yumsugar // Cranberry Tangerine Negroni – Healthy Seasonal Recipes // Mulled Pineapple Cocktail – Kitchenette



Fresh Cranberry Ginger Vanilla Margaritas – How Sweet It Is // Spiced Pumpkin Shrub – Swooned // Creme Brulee Cocktail – Lara Ferroni // Cranberry Mint Cocktail – Pink Patisserie // Rosemary Ginger Orange Holiday Punch – One Kings Lane  // Bourbon Cashmere – Good Eats // Warm Egg Nog – Food52 // Apple and Pear White Sangria – love grows wild



The Cozy Friar – Daydream Desserts // Salted Caramel Pear Cocktail – Swooned // The Normandy – yumsugar // Black Currant Cosmopolitan – The SoHo // Cranberry Margarita – Channeling Contessa // Pomegranate Ginger Fizz – Will Cook For Friends // Autumn Punch – SCOUT blog // Pear and Ginger-Sage Cocktail – A Cozy Kitchen



Pumpkin Mojito – Hostess With the Mostess // Cherry Bounce – Anthro Blog // Pisco Punch – Oh So Beautiful Paper // Sage Ginger Prosecco Cocktails – Front & Main // Cranberry Sangria – What’s Gaby Cooking // Spiced Persimmon Old Fashioned – Aida Mollenkamp // Salty Maple Buttered Cider – Serious Eats // Champagne Holiday Punch – Food & Wine



Cider Rum Punch – Emmadime // Clementine Bourbon Spritzer – The Boys Club // Honeycrisp Apple Daiquiri – Daydreamer Desserts // Rosemary Infused Holiday Cocktail – The Flair Exchange // The Earl Grey Whiskey Cider – With Food + Love // Persimmon Ginger Fizz – Unruly Things // The Classic Whiskey Smash – The Vivant // Maple Cranberry Bourbon Martini – Family Fresh Cooking


My (Imaginary) Thanksgiving 2013

Thanksgiving 13-Header-Design Crush


I’m a planner by nature. As a 10 year old I drew floor plans for fun and throughout school rewrote notes to relax. NERD ALERT! Now I love that planning is a part of running Design Crush, and there’s not much I love more than planning a good dinner party – real or imagined! (You can see Thanksgiving 2012 right here.)














Pomegranate + Blackberry Lemondrop
Spiced Amaretto Apple Cider Kiss
Satsuma and Pomegranate Campari

Oven Baked Camembert with Honey Roasted Figs
Zucchini Chips
Sweet Onion Crack Dip

Colossal Golden Wishbone
DIY Laurel Wreath
Mini Brass Square Candle Houses
Gold Glitter Garland
Solid Brass Coasters
Thanksgiving Banner

Castle Peak Dinnerware
Arrow & Adobe Linen Napkins
Aueux Carving Set
Enchanted Ikat Table Runner
French Paddle
Graphic Pitcher
Industrial Inspired Metal Candle Holders
Mercury Glass Taper Holders
Metallic Print Glassware Set
Rose Gold Flatware
Rose Gold Salad Set
DIY Rosemary Wreath Place Cards

Acorn Squash and Pancetta Soup
Autumn Arugula Salad
Caramelized Coconut Butter Apples
Caramelized Sweet Potatoes
Citrus and Herb Roasted Turkey
Herbed Bread and Cherry Cranberry Stuffing
Honey Maple Beer Bread
Honey Mustard Brussels Sprouts Slaw
Pumpkin Sage Polenta

Greek Style Pumpkin Pie
Honey & Whiskey Apple Tarts
Maple Pudding Cakes


Fruity Balsamic Vodka Cocktails

When I was visiting Olive & Co. last week and sampling way too many balsamics (hello, heartburn!), one of the brilliant employees mentioned that she likes to put a little of their strawberry balsamic vinegar into her son’s water to make him drink more. Which obviously led to us talking about cocktails and how wouldn’t it be equally amazing to add a little to our vodka. Which got me thinking and concocting. (If these are slightly too tart for you, consider adding half an ounce of simple syrup.)


Balsamic Cocktails-4Balsamic Cocktails-3

Strawberry Balsamic Vodka Cocktail

• 1 oz. vodka
• 1 oz. quality strawberry balsamic vinegar
• 2 oz. soda water or ginger ale
• ice
• strawberries

Combine vodka, strawberry balsamic, soda water or ginger ale, and ice in cocktail shaker. Shake it up good. Pour into tumbler and garnish with strawberries, whole or sliced. (Or make it a virgin by eliminating the vodka!)


Balsamic Cocktails-2

Balsamic Cocktails-1

Grapefruit Balsamic Vodka Cocktail

• 1 oz. vodka
• 1 oz. quality grapefruit white balsamic vinegar
• 2 oz. soda water or tonic
• ice
• grapefruit

Combine vodka, grapefruit white balsamic, soda water or tonic, and ice in cocktail shaker. Shake it up good. Pour into tumbler and garnish with a slice or wedge of ruby red grapefruit. (Or make it a virgin by eliminating the vodka!)


Popsicles + Poptails ’13

Our summer popsicle and poptail roundup is sort of legendary. Each year without fail it ends up being one of the highest viewed posts, and we love that because who doesn’t love popsicles?!? This year we’ve rounded up 54 of the tastiest frozen treats on a stick you’ve ever seen. Some are simple, some are definitely culinary experiences, and others are adults only. Hope you enjoy! (Psst… you can check out past years pops here, here, and here.)


Apple Cider and Rosemary Ice Pops – The Bitten Word // Banana and Cashew Cream Ice Pops – Souvlaki For the Soul // Bittersweet Chocolate Popsicles – The Conscious Kitchen // Blackberry Lime Cheesecake Popsicles – Simple Bites // Blackberry Peach Colada Popsicles – My Invisible Crown // Blackberry Tie-Dye Pops – Martha Stewart Food // Blood Orange Margarita Ice Blocks with Lime Salt – the food dept. // Blueberry + Granola Breakfast Popsicles – The Frosted Vegan



Boozy Lime, Honey & Lemongrass Popsicles – Adventures in Cooking // Champagne & Raspberry Popsicles – Princess Misia // Cherry-Limeade Popsicles – Parade // Chocolate + Vanilla Swirled Pudding Pops – Spiced // Chocolate Cheesecake Popsicles – Twigg studios // Chocolate Covered Peanut Butter Popsicles – All Day I Dream About Food // Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cheesecake Popsicles – Food Doodles // Chocolate Stout Cheesecake Fudgesicle – The Beeroness



Citrus Juice Popsicles – The View From Great Island // Cocktail Freezer Pops – Brit + Co. // Coconut Cream Ice Pops – Marriage and Laughter // Coconut Lime Thai Chili Popsicles – Pickles & Honey // Cookies and Cream Popsicles – Just Baked // Creamy Lemonade Pops – Dine & Dish // Cucumber, Apple, Mint & Lime Pop with Pimm’s – The Design Files // Dulce de Leche Lemon Popsicles – Fit, Fun & Delish



Fig, Vanilla, and Sour Cream Popsicles – Bay Area Bites // Ginger Beer Popsicles – University Foodie // Homemade Creamsicles – A Beautiful Mess // Hot Chocolate On a Stick – More Design Please // Hot Cocoa Popsicles – Pastry Affair // Lemon Blueberry Popsicles – chocolate & carrots // Mango & Salted Coconut Popsicles with Crushed Peanuts – The Design Files // Mango Lassi Popsicle – Cooking Stoned



Mango Lime Pops – Love and Lemons // Maple Brown Derby Cocktail Pops – Hungry Girl or Vida // Mint Chocolate Cheesecake Popsicles – Good Life Eats // Orange Ginger Popsicles – Jowlicious // Peanut Butter Banana Pops – Pass the Sushi // Pimm’s Cup Popsicles (Pimmsicles) – The Tiffin Box // Raspberry and Kumquat Caipirinha Popsicle – Endless Simmer // Raspberry and Mascarpone Cheesecake Popsicles – Blueberry Kitchen



Raspberry Prosecco Popsicles – freutcake // Rice Pudding Ice Pops – Saveur // Riesling-Pear Pops – Food & Wine // Roasted Balsamic Strawberries with Mascarpone Cream Pop – The Design Files // Roasted Strawberry, Coconut & Lime Ice Pops – Two Loves Studio // Strawberry Lime Yogurt Popsicles – Elephantine // Strawberry Shortcake Greek Yogurt Popsicles – The Kitchen Paper // Strawberry-Lime Popsicles with Herbs (Mint + Basil) – chattavore



Strawberry, Mascarpone and Vodka Popsicles – Blueberry Kitchen // Sweet and Salty Celery Popsicles – Cooking Stoned // Thai Iced Tea Popsicles – The View From Great Island // Vietnamese Coffee Popsicles – A Spicy Perspective // Watermelon Creamsicle – Hippo Flambé // Watermelon Mojito Pops – Roost // White and Black Russian Poptails – Endless Simmer // White Peach, Nectarine and Rose Water Creamsicles – Pink Patisserie

All photos copyright of their respective sites unless otherwise noted.


24 Summer Sippers



Blackberry Rum Shrub – Saveur // Blood Orange and Thyme Paloma – Aida Mollenkamp // Grapefruit Moon – Fake Food Free // Lavender Collins – YumSugar // Whiskey Lemonade with Honey – A Beautiful Mess // Muddled Blackberry Mint Julep – Turntable Kitchen



Pimm’s Cup with Ginger Ale – Martha Stewart // Rainier Cherry Muddler – Sprouted Kitchen // Rhubarb Sour – The Boys Club // Strawberry Fizzy – Mighty Girl // The Spring Fling – The View From Great Island // Spring Thyme – The Boys Club



Watermelon Margaritas – Martha Stewart // Blackberry Moscow Mule – Pixelated Crumb // Fresh Strawberry & Lime Tom Collins – Cookin’ Canuck // Lemon, Thyme & Gin Spritzer – Sweetsonian // Orange basil Mojitos – Dine and Dish // Honeydew and Pear Sangria – Bakers Royale



Pineapple Mint Prosecco Cocktail – Food Fashion and Fun // Rhubarb Vanilla Fizz – Limn & Lovely // Spiked Cherry Lemonade – Sweet Paul // Tequila Mint Limeade – New South Food Co. // Vanilla Pomegranate Mojito – Noshing with the Nolands // Strawberry Grapefruit Smash – Sprouted Kitchen

All photos copyright of their respective sites.


An Easter Lunch













Grilled Corn Crema Mexicana Cilantro Crostini – Epicurious
Raspberry Canapes with Basil and Balsamic Vinegar – Cook the Story
Salt + Vinegar Sweet Potato Chips – Undressed Skeleton


Sgroppino – Saveur
Pear Rum Blush – Eat Boutique
Meyer Lemon Sour – Honestly YUM


Tinted Base Tumbler Set – Anthropologie
DIY Ombre Napkins – Once Wed
Vermelho Dinnerware – Anthropologie
DIY Washi Tablecloth – Style Unveiled
DIY Tissue Decal Candles – A Subtle Revelry
DIY Bird Nests – Home Made Simple
Tulips – Blossom Boutique Flowers
Bitty Black Bunny Treat Bags – Mer Mag
DIY Origami Bunnies – How About Orange


Kale and Fig Salad – Pure and Simple
Risoni Tomato and Bean Salad – At Down Under
Roasted Polenta-Crusted Potatoes – Simple Bites
Zucchini Ribbon Salad – Proud Italian Cook
Wild Rice Mushroom Pilaf – Real Simple
Broiled Spicy Brown Sugar Salmon – How Sweet It Is


Speckled Egg Cake Bites – The Cake Girls
Easter Bunny Sugar Cookies – Indulgy
Speckled Egg Cake – The Cake Blog


Vanilla Rum Custard – Saveur
Brown Sugar Banana Parfaits – Bon Appetit
Raspberry, Pistachio + Rose Cake – The Wild Flour Bakery


All photos copyright of their respective sites unless otherwise noted.