entertaining

building a unique holiday table and caring for the linens after

It’s that home entertaining time of year again and it’s time to bust out all the linens. I love building tablescapes for meals with friends and family (way more than the actual cooking) so I wanted to share a few tips on how I quickly create a layered tabletop fit for the holidays and full of style. I’ll also be sharing some quick pointers on how to care for the linens after the party and how Electrolux makes it easy.

1. Build a non-traditional color palette.

I always find I am way more drawn to tablescapes that veer off the obvious color choices for the holidays. Thanksgiving doesn’t have to be all browns and oranges, however I am loving ochre and rust, so by pairing a traditional color with a not so traditional color like pink, suddenly the table feels fresh.

2. Bring in a little vintage.

Just like how I love to incorporate vintage furniture into the spaces I design for a more storied and interesting result, a little vintage on your tabletop can go a long way as well. Whether it is a small set of some amazing vintage glassware or a set of brass vintage flatware (like I used above) these make a holiday table feel unique, aka extra special.

3. Layer on the linens.

During the holidays I like to make my home extra cozy with extra layers of blankets and pillows which translates to the tabletop as well. Tablecloths and cloth napkins are perfect to bring that coziness to a meal for holiday entertaining. I also added some extra muslin as a table runner which is the same color as the table cloth but adds one more subtle layer of texture. Some people my shy away from using table cloths and/or cloth napkins because of the maintenance but I’ve teamed up with Electrolux to share how easy they make caring for your entertaining linens can be.

WASHING:
When the party is over (or the next day if I am going to be realistic) I throw my linens in the washer and use the gentle cycle. With Electrolux SmartBoost™ technology the washer pretty much takes care of the rest. It automatically premixes water and detergent before the wash cycle begins which means a deep all around clean that effectively removes stains.

DRYING:
When it comes to drying, you want to make sure to take extra care of linens so they last over time. I like to pull them from the dryer right when they are dried through, or just before. You don’t want to over dry them. Another handy setting from Electrolux that makes sure you don’t even have to think about it is that they have a moisture sensor so as soon as the fabric is dry it will automatically switch off.

STORING:
I think it was Martha Stewart that recommended hanging table cloths and napkins over a cardboard roll that comes with a rug or carpet, to prevent creases, but who has easy access to that or the space to store it? Unfortunately not me, well I am sure I could find one since I do like to collect me some rugs, but my linen closet is smaller than a phone booth and my house has ZERO extra space so still a no go. Inevitably my linens get folded up and when I want to use them they are creased but by tossing them in the Electrolux dryer using the Perfect Steam™ setting, it gently removes the wrinkles and creases and is ready for the next shindig.

Happy Holidays!

Shop the Post: Wall hanging from Urban Outfitters // Linen/Cotton Table cloth from Ikea // Vase & Flowers by Moon Canyon // Base Plates from Anthropologie // Blush Pink Plate from CB2 // Napkins // Brass Flatware is Vintage // Brass Coupes also Vintage // Pink Chairs from Ikea

Washer by Electrolux // Dryer by Electrolux

This post was sponsored by Electrolux, as always all thoughts ideas and tablescapes are my own :). Thank you for supporting our sponsors!

Homemade Pizza Party Giveaway

gourmet pizza party  There is something about the winter months that makes me want Pizza for dinner even more than I usually do, which lets face it, is a lot. Who doesn’t like Pizza? It’s a comforting circle of cheesy bread love, plus the topping options are endless. One step better than going out for your favorite slice is inviting a few friends over for some homemade pizza and last week I turned your average pizza night up a notch to do just that. I teamed up with Ecco Domani to share my take on a homemade pizza party, it’s a little bit fancy and a little bit casual, and the best part is that you can win a slew of goodies to create a memorable pizza night of your own.

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holiday ready

holiday home decor We are officially holiday primed here at casa Samuel. Trees, garland, wreaths… check check check. I’ve teamed up with BISSELL to share my top tips for getting your home ready for this festive season.

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holiday cookie & cocktail party

sss-absolut-holiday-2sss-absolut-holiday-105 Holiday entertaining has to be my favorite kind of entertaining. For some it might feel like there’s added pressure, but I think it actually takes the pressure off! Throw a few wreaths on the wall and you’ve got yourself some instant festive decor and what other time of year is more fitting to throw a cookie party? This year I did both and gathered a few friends to say SKAL (or “cheers” for you non-Scandinavian folk) to the holidays with Absolut Elyx.

While cookie noshing and cocktail sipping I came up with a few tips and tricks to take the stress out of holiday entertaining (to make sure I am able to enjoy a party along with my guests) while still pulling together a few instagram worthy moments, of course.

christmas cookie and cocktail party // sarah sherman samuelchristmas cookie and cocktail party // sarah sherman samuel

1. Simplify the Decor:
First, I like to clear away any clutter and start with a clean slate. Then, one easy way to make a big impact is to replace your year-round art with a simple seasonal piece (or pieces). I took down the two large art prints that hung in the space and replaced it with 5 simple wreaths, which I DIYed in almost no time using wood embroidery hoops and fresh greenery. Just wrap individual pine boughs and leafy branches around the hoop with floral wire and you’ve got yourself a modern little wreath. I used the same greenery to make a tabletop garland which anchors the cookie buffet. Using just greenery is a lot easier than attempting a complicated floral arrangement and it brings a seasonal touch… win/win.

sss-absolut-holiday-63sss-absolut-holiday-13sss-absolut-holiday-932. Streamline the menu by creating a food based theme:
Cookie party! You can’t get much easier than a cookie party. I love baking so I made a few batches from scratch but to make sure I wasn’t stretched too thin, I mixed them in with a boat load of store bought ones as well. Execute a beautiful cookie buffet by utilizing serving dishes or cake stands at different heights. Stick with one cookie type per cake stand to keep it from looking cluttered.

sss-absolut-holiday-70sss-absolut-holiday-42For added ambience, save one batch of dough in the fridge and bake them as guests arrive to fill the space with the fresh baked cookie scent and if your friends are the crafty type you can have a cookie decorating station as a fun activity. Find those cute reindeer cookie cutters in the Elyx Boutique.

Another way to simplify the menu is to offer one (or two) signature drinks. You certainly don’t have to offer a full bar. Choose your favorite cocktail and make a batch right before guests arrive.

sss-absolut-holiday-84sss-absolut-holiday-48sss-absolut-holiday-79 I made two cocktails for this party because I thought one paired with the cookies well and the other was just too pretty not to! The first is the cookie’s best friend, called the “snow bunny” (pictured above).

SNOW BUNNY RECIPE:
2 parts Absolut Elyx
1 part Kahlua
0.5 part white crème de cacao
2 parts half and half

Combine ingredients together in a cocktail shaker over ice. Shake hard until ice cold. Strain into a rocks glass over fresh ice. Garnish with freshly ground nutmeg.

Next up is the “holiday cosmo”…

sss-absolut-holiday-100sss-absolut-holiday-90sss-absolut-holiday-55sss-absolut-holiday-94See, I told you… SO PRETTY right? p.s. I substituted the redcurrant in the garnish for cranberries.

HOLIDAY COSMO RECIPE:
2 parts Absolut Elyx
1 part Triple Sec
1.5 parts Mulled Spiced Cranberry Juice*
0.5 part Freshly squeezed Lemon Juice

Combine ingredients together in a cocktail shaker over ice. Shake hard until ice cold. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a string of redcurrants dusted with powdered sugar

*mulled spiced cranberry juice- There are many recipes for creating a ‘mulled’ juice or wine. Based on using a 1litre carton of cranberry juice I suggest a combination of 1 sliced lemon and 1 sliced orange plus the zest from 2 additional fruits combined with fresh grated ginger, cloves, nutmeg, allspice and cinnamon-all to your taste. Combine all ingredients in a large saucepan and simmer for around 45 minutes. Be careful not to boil. Strain and chill well before use. Store in the refrigerator and the juice will last for around 1 week. For best results prepare mulled spiced cranberry juice at least 24hrs in advance

sss-absolut-holiday-52sss-absolut-holiday-46sss-absolut-holiday-443. And finally… cheers! have a drink and relax. Remember you’re not striving for perfection but concentrate on having fun and showing a bit of yourself in the decor. Spend the time laughing over cocktails, not fretting over too many details.

Shop the Post:

Absolut Elyx can be purchased at https://www.reservebar.com/vodka/absolut-elyx // Copper Coupes, Rocks Glasses, Copper Jiggar, and Copper Cookie Cutters can all be purchased at www.ElyxBoutique.com

My dress by Self Portrait // Shoes // Copper Vases // Tray from West Elm // Measuring Cups // Napkin // Rolling Pin by Sarah Sherman Samuel

Images by Nicki Sebastian

halloween the adult table

halloween dinner party // elegant and spookyI am a total holiday nerd, I think we’ve covered that before, so to me, Halloween is the mark of the beginning of my favorite time of year. And while I have never really dived into Halloween decor I wanted to have a little dinner party for a few girlfriends, so tonight is the night! What usually comes to mind with Halloween parties are of course pumpkins, skeletons, witches, spiders, ghosts etc. You know the usual suspects… but I wanted to to create something a little more unexpected, a table that is as elegant as it is spooky.

halloween-dinner-party2halloween dinner party // elegant and spookyI kept the palette dark and moody, used this cheesecloth like fabric for the table runner, black plates, black napkins, and found the deepest darkest blooms that my local grocery store had on hand. How perfect are these drippy ox blood colored Amaranthus stems? And speaking of blood… in lieu of a placecard, which also doubles as a favor, I filled glass test tubes with Compari for guests to take as a shooter or make a Compari tonic (just have tonic water, ice, and orange slices on hand).

halloween-dinner-party3-640halloween dinner party // elegant and spookyFor the floral pendant hanging above the table I twisted a coat hanger into a circle and used wire to wrap a few floral stems into a wreath. I topped it off with a crow to up the spook factor and hung it from the ceiling with black rope. For the floral arrangements on the table I chose three similarly colored flowers (Amaranthus, Quince and Scabiosa) and lemon leaf greens. It is a recipe that has saved me more than once. Keeping the flowers monochromatic makes it fairly effortless to create something beautiful and I’m all about the big impact with minimal effort these days.

It has been a while since I pulled a table together just for a fun night with the girls and bloody cheers to that. x

Happy Halloween.

Shop the Post:
Plates from CB2 // Black Napkins from Pier 1 // Flatware is vintage // Vases from Dwell Studio // Table is a DIY (see the post here) // Black Halloween Fabric // Crows // Test Tubes // Wine Glasses

Photos by Sarah Sherman Samuel

backyard summer soiree

summer entertaining I don’t know why it took me so long this year to get into summer mode but after getting back from Michigan, our first real family vacation in what feels like an eternity, I am vowing to slow things down again and take full advantage of the rest of the long, warm summer days.

You may remember, last month I went to new york to celebrate Zac Posen’s latest collaboration with Ecco Domani. He designed a limited edition label for their Pinot Grigio and the bottle is beautiful… mixed metallics, blush, green with black and white dots. Take a glimpse into my home or studio and you will notice it is basically my ideal palette. So when I invited some friends over for an intimate backyard summer soiree with Ecco Domani, I didn’t have to look far for tablescape inspiration. Hopefully I did Mr. Posen proud.

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