Posts from November 2017

How to Host Friendsgiving with Your Best Gal Pals

November 20, 2017

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One of our favorite trends that have recently risen in popularity is the infamous Friendsgiving. As the name clearly states, it’s a combination of friendly gathering and the main components of Thanksgiving. Most things deemed “traditional” in this world are slowly becoming less and less relevant, so we’re seeing an increase in alternative customs and celebrations like this one. Friendsgiving is the perfect gathering to host if you’ve been looking for an excuse to get all your friends together, or live far from home and want to maintain the familial traditions you grew up with.

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How does one host a Friendsgiving, you ask? The answer is simple; pretty much the same way you would host a normal Thanksgiving! If you want the night to be successful, it’s important to plan in advance. You can make the night as fancy as you’d like, and in doing so we suggest sending out a formal invitation to your guests far in advance so they can mark it on their calendar. The best thing about Friendsgiving is the intentionality in relationships you’re investing in. Set the table for your closest gals, and let them feel loved and appreciated and not just a number in a large group. With a smaller group, you can relax and have the time to converse and love on each guest that attends.

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 The Decor

You might find that planning Friendsgiving can be hectic, but it’s important to have fun with it. Let your creative side shine and go all out on the decor by sticking to a theme. We decorated the table with a rustic chic theme in mind using mustard and cranberry colored napkins, leafy branches, and a shimmery table runner. Remember you do not need to spend a lot of money to put together a cute table setting. For instance, we used matching gold-rimmed plates and bowls from the Dollar Tree and paper gold plates as accents.

A floral arrangement and baby pumpkins make for the perfect centerpiece. We suggest hitting up your local farmers market or go to Trader Joe’s for inexpensive flower options. Our friend Sarah designed a colorful arrangement for us made of flowers planted, nourished, and harvested on small farms in Southern Maine by farmers with sustainable agricultural practices.

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Floral design: Watershed Floral

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 The Wine

What would a holiday gathering be without some wine? We stopped at Lewiston’s very own The Vault to pick up some delicious rosé that we enjoyed with our meal. If you live in the area, we strongly recommend checking out The Vault for their broad selection of high-quality wines and craft beers that are constantly changing. For our Friendsgiving meal, we chose a sweet rosé that the owner kindly recommended to us. 

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 The Dishes

There are some unspoken Friendsgiving “rules” that you’re more than welcome to stick to (ie. the host makes the turkey and nothing else), but which we divested from. Instead of organizing it like a potluck, which we also suggest if you plan on inviting a large group of guests, we sought out the ingredients and decided to cook together. In light of the wellness movement, we stuck to a few simple, and meat-free recipes to satiate all our Thanksgiving cravings. 

The menu

-Quinoa & Mushroom Stuffed Acorn Squash

-Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Balsamic Reduction

-Butternut Squash Soup

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We also suggest embracing the Thanksgiving spirit by thanking your friends for being them and for their constant love and support. The holidays are a great time to make your loved ones feel appreciated and cared for. While enjoying your meal (& glasses of wine) go around sharing stories of what you are all most grateful for this past year. This can be a great time for deep reflection and a shared sense of community.

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 The Games

Use this time to let loose and really bond with your guests. After all, you spent all this time planning a get together for a reason so make it a night to remember. A personal favorite of ours is Cards Against Humanity, which is similar to Apples to Apples but a little more risqué. If drinking games are more your group’s thinking, make it a crazy night with a game of Kings or Cheers Governor. For a more chilled out crowd, put on a classic Christmas movie to get into the holiday spirit.

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Cheers!

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Photography by Centered Images

LOVE,

Blog-Signature-Hannah

& Annabelle

Festive Fall Wine & Cheese Pairing

November 15, 2017

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There is nothing quite like the smell in the air on the first brisk morning of Fall to get you in the mood for the year’s most romanticized season. Pumpkins, falling leaves, pies, apple picking, warm cider – what’s not to love? Something about this season brings us together and envelops us in a reassuring feeling of comfort. It might just be the warmth brought over us from bundling up, but we like to think it’s something a bit more magical than that. In an effort to bask in all that this wonderful season has to offer, my blogger friend Haley and I put together a guide for hosting a get-together over cheese and wine.

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The first step is to seek out the perfect ingredients for your gathering and to rally up a few of your loved ones. This part was a one-stop shopping experience for us, as were able to find all the necessary counterparts for our cheese board at none other than Trader Joe’s. Their gourmet cheese selection is a total game changer considering how little you pay for some of the best quality foods.

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Now that you’ve got an idea of who you want to spend your afternoon or evening with, and you’re stocked up on an array of cheeses, the next thing is to select a location in which to host the gathering. Getting together around a fireplace or in a cozy kitchen is more than fitting for this type of gathering. We were very lucky with the weather and were able to host our little event outside amongst the fallen leaves.

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To keep things fun, we picked out a few wine pairings to go with the different cheeses. A few glasses never hurt anyone, right? When choosing wines, it’s best to stick to a theme whether that be selecting only reds or only whites, choosing younger, sweeter wines or more bitter ones. It helps to do a little bit of “research” beforehand, and figure out which types of wine pair best with the cheeses you have. To make things much easier for yourself, you could also choose a more flexible wine that will taste great with any cheese that you pair it with. We personally stuck with a ‘moon’ theme since the day we had our tasting there was a full moon and we found the many moon wines at Trader Joe’s to have eye-catching labels and were very well-priced. 

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If you’re creative, then building the cheeseboard itself is the most exciting part of the whole process. We created several different cheese boards, using different platters including cutting boards and a marble slate. To make everything even more rustic, you can use a slate from a craft store as the base of your cheese platter. Once you’ve got your cheese and wines, you’re ready to start laying them out. We used three platters and chose to keep the softer cheeses and the harder cheeses on two separate platters. Whatever you do, don’t forget the bread and charcuterie! A cheese platter is never complete without something sweet and something salty. We picked up some flavorful salami that we laid out with the hard cheeses and dedicated an entire board to red and green grapes. To add an elegant touch, we threw in a few sprigs of thyme here and there to complete the look.

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After all the hard work you put into making your cheese boards, you should take the time to enjoy and savor the tasting process. We kept it very casual and took the time to taste each individual cheese with the different wines selected. To make the tasting process more interactive, we suggest creating some scoresheet cards and rank which pairings tasted best together.

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Our Thoughts on the Wines

Purple Moon, $3.99: Inspired by the purple hue surrounding the moon during a harvest. This Merlot had so much flavor, we would definitely pair this with some sort of heavier dinner option because of how flavorful it was, however, it did compliment the brie well.

Honey Moon, $5.99: A Viognier named after the June full moon. This was a full-bodied wine with more floral notes than fruit. Being slightly tart and a bit dry it paired best with the gruyere.

Moon x, $6.99: A juicy, super dense red wine inspired by the total blackness of a new moon. Loaded with intense flavors of blackberries, black cherry, and dark chocolate, it paired well with the savory salami and the cinnamon crusted asiago cheese.


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Every part of this process, from picking out the ingredients to sitting down with friends and actually tasting the pairings, was filled with enjoyment. This is definitely a go-to gathering for those of you who want to step outside of the regular pumpkin and apple picking routine of fall and try something a little different. We will definitely be incorporating this into our fall bucket list and hope that it will become a yearly tradition among friends!

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 Photography by Centered Images

LOVE,

Blog-Signature-Hannah

Apple Cider Mimosa Recipe

November 12, 2017

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‘Tis apple season! Today I’d like to share a subtle twist to an easy fall-favorite: the apple mimosa. Garnished with accents of deep amber and fiery burgundy, this festive fall drink is sure to tickle your fancy. With the holidays here before you know it, there’s truly no better drink to serve while having friends over, or simply to sip while cozied up with a good book this fall.

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Apple Cider Mimosa

Makes one drink

  • 3 ounces fresh apple cider
  • 3 ounces champagne
  • Thyme, cranberries, and a combination of apple and pear slices to garnish

Directions

Pour equal parts apple cider and champagne into glass. Garnish with thyme, cranberries, apple and pear slices. Enjoy!


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 Photography by Centered Images

LOVE,

Blog-Signature-Hannah

5 Things to Do This Fall

November 5, 2017

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“Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.” – Albert Camus

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The change in season brings with it many gifts such as fallen leaves, apple cider, cozy sweaters, crisp air, and all things pumpkin. There’s something about fall that makes it a favorite for all of us. To take advantage of this magical season I’ve compiled a simple, however, much-needed weekend bucket list.

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Go Apple Picking

Similar to a pumpkin patch, going to an apple orchard and picking apples is another activity fall is known for — and one I always look forward to. Grocery store apples will never quite compare to enjoying a fresh, hand-picked apple straight from the tree. Besides making for a yummy snack, apples are always fun to bake into a pie. Yum!

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Hiking

Immerse yourself in the colorful leaves by walking through local hiking paths. Plus there’s nothing like the brisk fall air on your cheeks as you hike through one of nature’s most beautiful chapters.

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Cider Tasting

While you’re at the apple orchard be sure to check out if they also serve hard cider. It’s super fun to sample a flight of flavors. The other weekend I went to Gould Hill Farm and was able to get into the festive fall spirit by consuming apples in the most fun way – by sipping some deliciously sweet cider blends.

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Cook With Food That’s In Season

Hit up your local farmer’s market or nearby farm for food that’s in season. Think root vegetables and squashes. Both are excellent to either roast or turn into a cozy soup!

Go For A Drive To Look At The Foliage

There’s nothing like the leaves changing in the fall — the burst of warm colors (deep amber, burnt orange, fiery burgundy) against the crisp air is soul-cleansing. Grab your keys, turn up your favorite music, find a winding, scenic route, and get lost in the beauty of fall.

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Outfit Ingredients: Bodysuit – Express | Skirt – Forever 21 | Lieutenant hat – Anthropology | Knee-high boots- Steve Madden


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Photography by Centered Images

LOVE,

Blog-Signature-Hannah

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