ENTERTAINING: Outdoor Fall Dinner Party Inspiration

With thanksgiving right around the corner, I have been obsessing over tablescapes and the idea of a fall dinner party! Being in Texas and loving the mild weather here I love the idea of an outdoor fall dinner party, here are some of my favorite entertaining inspirations.

LOVE LETTERS TO HOME.

LOVE LETTERS TO HOME.

LOVE LETTERS TO HOME.

Love this idea!

Love this idea!

LOVE LETTERS TO HOME.

LOVE LETTERS TO HOME.

LOVE LETTERS TO HOME. LOVE LETTERS TO HOME.
LOVE LETTERS TO HOME.
LOVE LETTERS TO HOME.

Outdoor wine and cheese night. OBSESSED.

Outdoor wine and cheese night. OBSESSED.

LOVE LETTERS TO HOME.

REINCARNATION: Gold Flatware

Through the process of registering for our wedding I have come to realize how many incredible options that are out there for flatware! I mean as I was looking at them all I could plan a dinner party in my head for each table setting. We chose a classic silverware place setting, The Monogrammed Hampstead from William Sonoma, we wanted something timeless. Though we chose something more traditional, a girl can always dream about crazy tablescapes! I have been seeing more and more pictures of gold flatware! This stuff is genius! Perfect for a funky dinner party out in your backyard, a bridal shower, every day life with funky and eclectic dishes, and it even goes with classic black and white! Here are some of my favorite home-spirations images for gold flatware and a few great options for your own table!

LOVE LETTERS TO HOME.

LOVE LETTERS TO HOME.

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LOVE LETTERS TO HOME.

LOVE LETTERS TO HOME.

LOVE LETTERS TO HOME.

LOVE LETTERS TO HOME.

LOVE LETTERS TO HOME.

LOVE LETTERS TO HOME.

LOVE LETTERS TO HOME.

Here are some great options for everyone!

Vera Wang Wedgewood Polished Gold (set of 5 pieces) for $80 from Macys

Vera Wang Wedgewood Polished Gold (set of 5 pieces) for $80 from Macys

Doma Flatware (set of 6 pieces) from Anthropologie for $98

Doma Flatware (set of 6 pieces) from Anthropologie for $98

For a more budget friendly option there is the Threshold 5 Piece Arkita place setting from Target for $19.99

For a more budget friendly option there is the Threshold 5 Piece Arkita place setting from Target for $19.99

Almoco Flatware set from Design Within Reach for $53 (it is also available in a beautiful copper, silver, or black)

Almoco Flatware set from Design Within Reach for $53 (it is also available in a beautiful copper, silver, or black)

HOME-SPIRATION: Outdoor Fireplace

So in recent months I have done A LOT of outdoor fire pit and patio posts. I think it is due to the fact that having recently moved to Dallas I am realizing how many months of the year outdoor spaces can be utilized here! I mean its October and today the high is 90 degrees! Yes I do miss the leaves changing and bundling up for fall activities, but I definitely do not miss the snow and cold! I love the idea of an outdoor fireplace for these late fall months in Dallas. It does get cool at night and I can imagine me and David having a place in the future with a gorgeous outdoor space, drinking wine and enjoying an outdoor fire. Here are some of my favorite home-spirations…

LOVE LETTERS TO HOME.

LOVE LETTERS TO HOME.

 

LOVE LETTERS TO HOME.

LOVE LETTERS TO HOME.

LOVE LETTERS TO HOME.

I think anyone who knows me knows I think everything is better in white!

I think anyone who knows me knows I think everything is better in white!

I just love this ceiling! Imagine enjoying a fire while it rains on that tin ceiling! LOVE.

I just love this ceiling! Imagine enjoying a fire while it rains on that tin ceiling! LOVE.

LOVE LETTERS TO HOME.

Eating and entertaining outdoor space. LOVE.

Eating and entertaining outdoor space. LOVE.

I love this and the wood storage next to it!

I love this and the wood storage next to it!

LOVE LETTERS TO HOME.

WEDDING WEDNESDAY: Wedding Day Games

Weddings are an incredibly fun and joyous occasion, no one can deny that! I think the best way for guests to have a good time at an event is to get them involved and there isn’t a better way to get people interacting that games. No not cheesy coordinated games, but casual fun and self starting games. Here are some of my favorite wedding game inspirations to keep your guests entertained for hours!

LOVE LETTERS TO HOME.

 

LOVE LETTERS TO HOME.

 

 

LOVE LETTERS TO HOME.

LOVE LETTERS TO HOME.

LOVE LETTERS TO HOME.

LOVE LETTERS TO HOME.

HOME-SPIRATION: Adults Only Pool

Over Labor Day weekend David and I went to visit our good friends in Victoria, Texas. They just moved in to a gorgeous house, and put a pool in! So we spent the weekend eating amazing food, drinking cocktails, and lounging in the pool. Now I grew up at house with a pool that no one ever used, and never thought of myself as someone who would love to have a pool. After spending the weekend lounging by the pool in a private backyard oasis, away from screaming kids, floaties and squirt guns, I realized how nice it would be to have a private, adults only pool right in your back yard! Here are some of my favorite home-spiration images of my dream backyard oasis.

This oasis is exactly what I want!

This oasis is exactly what I want!

Love.

Love.

Perfect party hosting backyard.

Perfect party hosting backyard.

LOVE LETTERS TO HOME.

LOVE LETTERS TO HOME.

What a unique pool, and gorgeous view!

What a unique pool, and gorgeous view!

The perfect accessory to a backyard pool is an outdoor bathroom. LOVE!

The perfect accessory to a backyard pool is an outdoor bathroom. LOVE!

LOVE LETTERS TO HOME.

 

HAPPY HOUR: Dirty Arnold Palmer

Many (well lets be honest a majority) of my followers don’t realize that this weekend is The Masters, but in the Stephenson household it is somewhat of a week long holiday! This happy hour post is dedicated to a famous golfer, Arnold Palmer, and his delicious drink of choice. Now a regular Arnold Palmer is Sweet Tea, Lemonade, and, if you’re of age, Vodka. Here is a great recipe with a little twist.

THE DIRTY ARNOLD PALMER.

THE DIRTY ARNOLD PALMER.

INGREDIENTS:

Sweet Tea Vodka (my personal favorite is Firefly)

8 Lemons

1 Cup of Sugar

Fresh Mint Leaves

INSTRUCTIONS:

This recipe starts with a simple lemonade. You can always buy lemonade, but this is quick, easy and delicious!  

The key to good homemade lemonade is making a simple syrup first.  Just dissolve the sugar in water in a skillet on the stove. Next add the zest of three lemons and gently simmer for about 5 minutes, whisking occasionally to help the sugar dissolve.  Remove from heat and let cool.  While it’s cooling, squeeze the juice from the rest of your lemons into a bowl.  Strain into a pitcher, strain the simple syrup on top and stir.

 Fill a glass with ice and pour your sweet tea vodka in (about halfway up the glass– don’t be skimpy!) Next, fill the rest of the glass the fresh lemonade you made, add a sprig of mint leaves, and ENJOY!

 

Enjoy a few of these in honor of the real Arnold Palmer!

Enjoy a few of these in honor of the real Arnold Palmer!

Augusta National, the home of The Masters.

Augusta National, the home of The Masters.

HAPPY HOUR: Favorite Wine Accessories

I am so lucky to have fallen in love with a lover of wine. I have learned so much in just a year, and have been spoiled to have some amazing bottles of wine. Not only do I love drinking and learning about wine, but I love all the amazing accessories that go with wine drinking! Here are some of my favor wine accessories that have made my life so much easier.

When it comes to wine accessories you have to start off with the basics... amazing wine glasses. What I didn't know is that wine actually tastes different depending on what glass you drink it in! Our favorite, and really the classics, are Reidel Stemware!

When it comes to wine accessories you have to start off with the basics… amazing wine glasses. What I didn’t know is that wine actually tastes different depending on what glass you drink it in! Our favorite, and really the classics, are Reidel Stemware!

I am obsessed with my Metrokane Vertical Rabbit Corkscrew! You can't enjoy your wine if you can't get it open... and this makes that process beyond easy! David still prefers a wine key, but I just love the ease with this tool! Its available on Amazing for only $39.99

I am obsessed with my Metrokane Vertical Rabbit Corkscrew! You can’t enjoy your wine if you can’t get it open… and this makes that process beyond easy! David still prefers a wine key, but I just love the ease with this tool! Its available on Amazing for only $39.99

 

This is the most amazing tool! If you open your bottle of wine, don't finish it and a day or two later you want another glass just pour it through the aerator and it will taste just as amazing! This is the Vinturi Wine Aerator available at Bed Bath and Beyond for $29.99

This is the most amazing tool! If you open your bottle of wine, don’t finish it and a day or two later you want another glass just pour it through the aerator and it will taste just as amazing! This is the Vinturi Wine Aerator available at Bed Bath and Beyond for $29.99

Now these are definitely great accessories I need to invest in because I can't even tell you how many wine glasses I have broke in our dishwasher! Here are the Quirky Tether Stemware Protectors available at Home Depot for $9.99 each!

Now these are definitely great accessories I need to invest in because I can’t even tell you how many wine glasses I have broke in our dishwasher! Here are the Quirky Tether Stemware Protectors available at Home Depot for $9.99 each!

 

If you're worried about breaking wine glasses or what to enjoy a glass at a picnic or patio check out GoVino wine glasses! Perfect, shatterproof, and durable glasses that are quality!

If you’re worried about breaking wine glasses or what to enjoy a glass at a picnic or patio check out GoVino wine glasses! Perfect, shatterproof, and durable glasses that are quality!

 

Here is an amazing resource! The Wine Collectionary is like Pinterest for wine! You can post bottles you have available or search for bottles you might want to buy! Perfect for those who are on the search for something very specific! Check them out at http://collectionary.com/club/wine

Here is an amazing resource! The Wine Collectionary is like Pinterest for wine! You can post bottles you have available or search for bottles you might want to buy! Perfect for those who are on the search for something very specific! Check them out at http://collectionary.com/club/wine

 

David has an amazing memory and he can remember every great bottle of wine we have ever had and where we had it! If you aren't like David and are a little bit more like me (forgetful beyond belief) you might want some of these adorable Mini Tasting Notebook from Bottle Shop for only $12

David has an amazing memory and he can remember every great bottle of wine we have ever had and where we had it! If you aren’t like David and are a little bit more like me (forgetful beyond belief) you might want some of these adorable Mini Tasting Notebook from Bottle Shop for only $12

 

If you’re looking for perfect pairings to go with your wine don’t forget to check out my post on Wine and Cheese Pairings!

 

 

 

 

HAPPY HOUR: Easiest Corona Margarita

David and I are in Texas this weekend. Our final trip back before we officially move back home. We miss a lot of things about Texas, great tex-mex, margaritas, warm weather! I told David this weekend I need to sit on a patio and drink a margarita, so here is my Easiest Margarita recipe in case any of you want to join in the fun!

EASIEST MARGARITA.

EASIEST MARGARITA.

 

INGREDIENTS:

1 can frozen limeade
1 empty limeade can Tequila
1 empty limeade can of water
1 bottle Corona

Mix together in a pitcher and pour over ice! Enjoy!

IN MY KITCHEN: Apple Walnut Brie Dessert

Here is a delicious dessert we encountered on our adventures in Charleston, South Carolina. It is so simple and delicious and is great for entertaining. I called it a dessert, but really it could be a sweet and savory appetizer or small plate!

APPLE WALNUT BRIE DESSERT.

APPLE WALNUT BRIE DESSERT.

INGREDIENTS:

1 Green Apple

Brie Cheese

Whole Walnuts

Honey

DIRECTIONS:

Slice the green apple very thin using a mandolin or just a sharp kitchen knife.

Layer the thin apple slices at the bottom of the plate. Cut the wheel of Brie cheese in

to quarter inch strips. Layer the strips over the green apple slices. Sprinkle

Whole walnuts (or small pieces of walnut) over top the cheese. Drizzle

with honey and serve with thick crusty bread slices.

HAPPY HOUR: The Ultimate (and easy) Bloody Mary

So recently David has realized if I haven’t tried something I just say I don’t like it. So he is now forcing me to try all sorts of crazy things I have never tried, mustard, ketchup, ham. Crazy things!! And I love them all of course. I recently tried a Bloody Mary for the first time and fell in love! One of our favorite brunch places in Dallas, Hattie’s, has the BEST Bloody Mary of all time. So here is the ultimate bloody mary recipe and some of my favorite bloody mary add ons!

THE ULTIMATE AND EASY BLOODY MARY

THE ULTIMATE (AND EASY) BLOODY MARY

INGREDIENTS:

1.5 ounces of Vodka

4 ounces of Tabasco Bloody Mary Mix

Kosher Salt & Pepper Mixture

all your favorite Bloody Mary fixins

Ice

DIRECTIONS:

Rim your favorite glass with the Kosher Salt & Pepper mixture.

Combine the vodka and the Tabasco Bloody Mary Mix and ice in

a martini shaker. Mix well. Pour over ice in to your rimmed glass. Add your fixins.

and ENJOY!

This is a new discovery for David and I. Are amazing neighbor Karen told us about this PERFECT bloody mary mix. You can always make your own mix, but why mess with perfection? David LOVES the Extra Spicy Mix because it has horseradish shavings. I like to do a half and half with the spicy and mild mix.

This is a new discovery for David and I. Are amazing neighbor Karen told us about this PERFECT bloody mary mix. You can always make your own mix, but why mess with perfection? David LOVES the Extra Spicy Mix because it has horseradish shavings. I like to do a half and half with the spicy and mild mix.

Another great recommendation for the ULTIMATE Bloody Mary is perfect vodka. Tito's is the absolute best, and it doesn't hurt that its made in Texas!

Another great recommendation for the ULTIMATE Bloody Mary is perfect vodka. Tito’s is the absolute best, and it doesn’t hurt that its made in Texas!

Of course besides a huge stalk of crunch celery I love Bloody Mary's that come with a screwer of goodies. Rick's Pick's Smokra is amazing! David's favorite!

Of course besides a huge stalk of crunch celery I love Bloody Mary’s that come with a screwer of goodies. Rick’s Pick’s Smokra is amazing! David’s favorite! Mine are a huge chunks of pepperoni!

My favorite (and FIRST) bloody mary at Hattie's has a huge slice of candied bacon laying over the mouth of the glass. Talk about heaven. Everything is better with bacon.

My favorite (and FIRST) bloody mary at Hattie’s has a huge slice of candied bacon laying over the mouth of the glass. Talk about heaven. Everything is better with bacon.

Here is the EASIEST candied bacon recipe to bring your Bloody Mary to perfection…

INGREDIENTS:

10 strips of thick cut bacon

Brown Sugar

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Position a cooling rack over a foil- or parchment-lined baking sheet. Lay the strips of bacon on the rack and place in the oven to bake for 6 to 8 minutes.

Sprinkle each strip with brown sugar and bake until the sugar melts and caramelizes and the bacon is crispy, another 6 to 8 minutes. Be careful not to let them burn. Remove from the pan and lay on the cooling rack to solidify and come to an eat-able temperature.

Enjoy your Bloody Mary! These are the perfect drink for any brunch. Even setting up a Bloody Mary bar for all your guests is such a fun party DIY.

Enjoy your Bloody Mary! These are the perfect drink for any brunch. Even setting up a Bloody Mary bar for all your guests is such a fun party DIY.