entertaining

Jameson Caskmates hop field adventure

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A couple weeks ago I was contacted by Jameson to see if I’d be interested in going on a little adventure out to Yakima for the launch of their newest Caskmates series collaboration with Bale Breaker Brewery, and I was 100% down. We left Seattle on a bus yesterday afternoon, and a couple hours later we arrived at the Bale Breaker Brewery nestled in the middle of acres and acres of hop fields. The lovely founders of Bale Breaker, Kevin and Meghann Quinn, and Kevin Smilth, gave us an amazing tour of the brewery (accompanied with a taster of their Topcutter IPA), and then we hopped on the bus for a quick trip a few minutes away to check out the hop fields where they grow all the hops for their beer, and the original building where they started the brewery (though you might say it was more of a shed-sized “building,” haha. It’s always incredible to see where people’s visions began and the humble start to what would become an incredible, successful, growing business).

We did a little tour of the hop fields, were served delicious Jameson Whiskey cocktails, and had some mindblowingly delicious appetizers, and were treated to watching Ger Buckley, a 5th generation cooper, demonstrate how a barrel is made, which was super interesting and surprisingly entertaining! And then… the real magic began…

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We were treated to an incredible meal out in the hop fields, tucked between towers of hop vines, beneath zig-zagging cafe lights. Tasters of the Caskmates whiskey, plus the Topcutter IPA (which is the beer that was first aged in the Jameson barrels, then those barrels were sent back to Jameson for them to age the Whiskey in to create the Topcutter IPA Caskmates Whiskey. Such a cool collaboration!), and then some mouthwatering dishes crafted by local chef Matt Lewis which were truly unbelievably delicious.

The whole evening felt incredibly special and it was so much fun to take part and experience it all. I was able to bring my husband Dan with me, which was exciting, as he’s a big whiskey and beer fan, so I loved that he also got to be a part of the experience. As someone who loves putting together beautiful events and photographing beautiful events, it was a really fun and inspiring evening. Trying to convince Dan we need to plant some hops at our new house so I can have my own hop field dinner in our backyard, haha.

I mean, come on, how magical is that?! Huge thanks to Jameson for the invite and to Bale Breaker for the hospitality (and to Dan for coming with me, even though he had to wake up at 5:30 the next morning to go to work!).

Holiday charcuterie board with Tillamook

Thank you Tillamook for sponsoring this post. Try Tillamook Maker’s Reserve! Available at Costco.

Holiday Charcuterie Board

One of my favorite things about the holidays is all the get-togethers with family and friends… and all the delicious food at said get-togethers. It can feel a little overwhelming to whip something elegant and fancy up, on top of hosting a party, so my favorite thing to do is put together a charcuterie and cheese board. It’s always a crowd pleaser, and you can make it look super lush and inviting without a lot of work! And the best part is you don’t have to cook anything!

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Holiday Charcuterie Board

For this spread I partnered with Tillamook to feature their Maker’s Reserve 2013 Vintage White Cheddar. Here in the Northwest we’re pretty big Tillamook eaters, and I’ve actually been to the Tillamook factory in Oregon twice! Watching all those blocks of cheese getting cut and wrapped in the factory is kind of mesmerizing!
I’m a fan of sharp cheddars so this cheese hit the spot for me. The Maker’s Reserve line of cheddars are bold with the flavors unique to the year they come from (2013 in this case).

If you want to add some to your own holiday charcuterie board, you can find Maker’s Reserve 2013 Vintage White Cheddar (18oz.) can be found at select Costco stores in the Pacific Northwest and San Francisco Bay Area (search at https://www.tillamook.com/where-to-buy.html to see if your local store has it!).

Not sure what to include in your Charcuterie + Cheese board?
Here’s a list of some of my favorite things to plate up!

  • Cheese- You can get a variety and get a couple more exotic types of cheese, or stick with something classic and widely enjoyed, like a cheddar or brie

  • Rustic Mustard- This is great for spreading on crackers or bread, and is a little fancier looking than your standard mustard.

  • Fig Jam or Honey- I like having something a bit sweet to counteract all the savory that goes on with a Charcuterie board

  • Olives- There are lots of varieties, and some grocery stores even have an olive buffet so you can pick out a bunch of different kinds!!

  • Prosciutto/salami- There are lots of different kinds you can get, pick your favorite or get a few different types

  • Fruit- Pear slices always make it onto my board, but I also like to pick something seasonal. When I saw Pomegranates in my grocery store, I picked one up to include on this board!

  • Sliced bread/crackers- Gotta have a delivery system for all your cheese! I like to pick a rustic bread, slice it up, bake it with a bit of butter spread on each until they’re slightly golden, then cut a garlic clove in half and swipe it on each little toast- it gives them the perfect bit of garlic flavor!

  • Nuts- Marcona Almonds are my favorite to include, but you can choose whatever you like! Specialty or gourmet grocery stores will usually have some fancy nuts to choose from.

Now you’re ready to party! Grab a plate or a big cutting board to arrange all your items on, and your guests will flock to it! Happy holiday partying!

Dreaming of a White Christmas

White and Gold Christmas Tree

I have wanted a white Christmas tree for probably 4 or 5 years. It feels like forever. This year I decided to finally go ahead and just go for it, and I’m SO glad I did. I’m head over heels in love with it. I knew with my black chalkboard wall it would go perfectly, and I’m really happy with how it fits in my space! It’s still early in the season and not even December yet, so I’m sure I’ll make some additions to my holiday decor as we approach Christmas, but I wanted to share my little white tree because I’m so happy with it!

White Christmas Tree: Wayfair
Jute Rug as Tree Skirt: Wayfair
Tree Topper: Amazon
Ornaments: Thrifted


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Thanksgiving Pumpkin Tablescape

Thanksgiving tablescape

I had a ton of fun throwing a “momsgiving” for the group of mom friends I’ve gained this year. I really wanted to celebrate with them all sans kiddos so we could actually hold a conversation, and it was so nice to hang out with adult mamas without our kids for once.

My house isn’t big, and it doesn’t have a dining room, so I dragged my low outside dining table into our living room and we all sat on poufs and cushions and snuggled in all cozy like. I love putting together beautiful tablescapes, and I wanted to keep this one feeling autumnal without being super colorful, so I went with white ghost pumpkins, seeded eucalyptus, artichokes, and olive branches.

I made the place tags with letter stamps and air drying clay, then just tied a sprig of rosemary and a little gold leaf pendant to each one with some bakers twine. All the brass candlesticks and candles were thrifted!


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Moroccan Inspired Blessingway

Moroccan Blessingway Party

What is a "Blessingway," you might be asking? A blessingway is kind of like a baby shower for the new mama.  In our culture there's a lot of importance and pomp and circumstance given to a new baby.  Which is fair enough, a new human is exciting and should be celebrated!  But in all the hullaballoo about the baby, the fact that this other new creature is also being birthed-- the mother-- is forgotten and ignored.  We just expect women to shift into this new, completely life-altering role, as if it was like changing a pair of underwear.  

But it's not.  It IS life altering.  It IS important and deserving of creating a sacred celebration for.  Mothers deserve honoring, just as much as a new baby.  And that's what a blessingway is-- a celebration and honoring of the woman making the huge transformation from regular human to mother human.  I was given a blessingway by my best friends when I was 36 weeks pregnant and it was so lovely, so I wanted to do the same for them, now that they are both in their final month of pregnancy!

I'll pop the sources for everything I can link to down at the bottom of this post if you're wanting to throw a similarly styled party!  A lot of the stuff is either DIY or craigslist/thrifted, so some things I won't be able to link, but hopefully you can find something similar!

So what does one do at a blessingway?  Want to throw one for your pregnant mama friend? Here are some ideas for blessingway activities!  I'm not into the hokey activities that often accompany a baby shower, and thankfully blessingway activities are much more beautiful and simple.  Obviously you can come up with your own way to celebrate the new mother, but if you're looking for somewhere to start, here are some great things to incorporate:

Labor Bracelets
Get a long piece of string/twine.  Long enough to go around everyone's wrists in a circle.  Have everyone stand in a circle, and then pass the string around to everyone, wrapping the string around each wrist once or twice.  With everyone connected, have each person give the mother an affirmation or blessing, then cut the string between each person and have them tie it into a bracelet.  The bracelet stays on until the new mama goes into labor and then you cut it off!

Mother affirmation bead necklace
You can either have each person bring a bead to the blessingway, or have some beads ready if you don't want to make people procure a single bead.  Each person adds a bead to the new mama's empty necklace string/cord and as she adds it, gives an affirmation for labor or motherhood.  The mama can wear this or bring it to her labor so she can remember the affirmations as she's laboring.

Foot soak
Get a little tub big enough for the mama to put her feet in, put hot water in and some epsom salt and/or essential oils (make sure they are safe for a pregnant woman).  You can also get some oil and rub her feet after she's done soaking

Belly Henna
I had this done at my blessingway and it was so fun!  If you're decent at henna, you can get some henna and do a henna belly mandala design yourself, or find a local henna artist and have her do a gorgeous belly henna!

Flower crowns
This one is just for fun, but I love flower crowns.  At my blessingway they just got a bunch of flowers and the stuff to make flower crowns and we all made one.  For the blessingway I just threw I decided to just make two custom flower crowns for the two new mamas so they felt special and like mother goddesses. I've got a faux flower crown tutorial you can use, it works the exact same for real flowers.

Labor affirmation prayer flags
This is something I tried to do at my own baby shower actually, but it just didn't quite pan out. You can create some square blank prayer flags using just fabric, rope, and hem tape (you can use my bunting tutorial, this is exactly how I made the flags for the blessingway I just threw-- it's no sew!).  I just created white, blank flags, and we all went around writing labor affirmations on them, so they can hang the flags in their labor/birthing space and look at it while laboring. Labor affirmation examples are: Your body was made for this, Your body knows how to do this, Breathe, I am choosing love not fear, each wave has a purpose, open open open, my body opens easily and naturally, my breath surrounds my baby and opens the way out, I trust my intuition.

Oh, and make tasty snacks because everyone loves tasty food.  And hopefully your pregnant buddy has enough room in her torso still to eat lots of tasty things.

Macrame Table Runner : World Market | Colorful plates + cups : Michaels | White plates : Crate + Barrel | Poufs : D+K Renewal | Wooden Flatware : Amazon | Gold Sequin Backdrop (similar) : Drop it Modern | Table : DIY | Peacock Chair (similar) : Facebook Marketplace | Dip Dye Ombre Napkins  (similar, similar) : DIY | Rugs : Craigslist
 

Outfits: 
Kristina's Dress: Free People
Amy's Top: Free People
My dress : Thrifted | my shoes : c/o Modcloth | My hat (similar) : Forever 21


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