Entertaining

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

Valentine’s Day

February 14, 2017

Valentines5When Hannah and I came together to create this years Galentine’s day we both insisted it exude universal love. We live in a society where many women are objectified; not just by men but by their fellow counterparts.  Where men are chastised for being sensitive and nurturing.  This Galentine’s Day would be all about offering a little TLC. ValentinesdayHannah and I have been friends since High School. I was immediately attracted to her desire to cling to her true self. She did not shy away from her bold and colorful personality and was never afraid to welcome others into her home and heart. I will never forget how welcome I was in her home. It was clear that not only Hannah had this amazing love to offer but her family did as well. There is nothing like being accepted for exactly who you are. flowersFullSizeRender 12For years Hannah and I have molded and shaped our relationship through deep spiritual, emotional, and verbal connection.  We have been there for each other through all the glitzy and gloomy moments.  It hasn’t always been easy, but it was always worth it. We celebrate the love that we have built with each other and if you know us, we don’t hesitate to show it!

There is something captivating about empowering each other. It’s a dog eat dog world out there and in the scope of things that reality just doesn’t make sense. From our personal experience, there are a variety of things you can do to empower your lady/gentleman friends.

Valentines Valentines1thecupcakery1. Listen without Judgement

If you’re doing the talking, it’s crucial to know that the person you’re sharing your passions/problems/etc with is not judging you. We all have done things we are not proud of, we all have stories or ideas we are afraid to share for fear of rejection. The cure for this is to remember that we can offer love to someone just by being an ear that listens.

FullSizeRender2. Make FaceTime a priority

Okay, I know what you’re all thinking, no not the iPhone FaceTime (although if that’s your only option it will work)! What we have learned is that electronics are great, you can easily keep in touch with your people, but actual face time is better. We lack the ability to actually empathize with people when we can’t physically be present to connect with them. This can lead to shallow friendships and we want you to experience wholesome healthy relationships for life.

bestfriendsfloralarrangement3. Remove Gender Constraints

You’re not truly empowering your friends if you spend all your time trying to match the makeup artist and Victoria’s Secret models you see on Instagram. Remove the femininity this society forces you to embrace and what are you left with? What do you have to talk about? We as much as anyone love a good contour and deep set lip but we know our relationship won’t last if it remains at that surface level. Talk about your future goals, play sports, be active, make silly videos (we’re good at that) and above all, be you.

Valentines3 Valentines24. Encourage, Empower, Enjoy

This last part is key! Always, always encourage your friends. Send them encouraging texts, empowering quotes, and enjoy the time you spend with each other. That’s right, ENJOY the time you have with each other, that means no catty nights out, no backstabbing, and no image damaging talks/posts or tweets.

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Celebrate each other this Galentine’s Day. Celebrate your unique friendships, celebrate your accomplishments and your inner value, and remember “we rise by lifting others.” -Robert Ingersoll

FullSizeRender 5All too often we focus on Valentine’s Day as being a holiday for couples. As someone who has gone through many more years single than in relationships, I have found that it is a special time to celebrate the love you have in your life no matter if that’s with a boyfriend, family member, gal pal, or with co-workers. The truth is love is to people what water is to plants. We need it, and more of it only makes us happier and more fulfilled. Chelsea and I want to remind you that you do not have to spend much money, or none at all to honor those you love on this special day.

valentinesdrink Valentines4 Valentines6This weekend we celebrated Galentine’s Day early with our new intern Logan. If these photos do the occasion any justice hopefully we conveyed that we turned ordinary into extraordinary, with decorations from the Dollar Tree and yummy goodies from a local bakery called the Cupcakery.

We were especially excited to not only be treated to such delicious cupcakes, sugar cookies, and heart-shaped macaroons but also were happy to be supporting a business that provides work opportunities for individuals with disabilities. The Cupcakery located in Lewiston, Maine is committed to using the highest-quality, freshest ingredients and offers personalized, special orders. One hundred percent of their profits go to assisting individuals with cognitive and intellectual impairments through agency-supported services. Now that’s a way to not only love what you eat but also give love to the local community!

FullSizeRender 8For those of you who may have dietary restrictions and sweets may seem out of the question, we also served a delicious Peach Delight that was completely vegan and raw. Our friend Cheryl from Life in the Raw shared with us this super easy recipe (listed below).

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Peach Delight Recipe (serves 4)

Ingredients:

(sauce)

1 ½ cup chopped strawberries

2 medjool dates

¼ teaspoon cardamon

2 tablespoons ground flax meal

½ teaspoon vanilla

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2 peaches, sliced

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

¼ cup chopped almonds

Coconut flakes

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Directions: Combine all sauce ingredients into blender and puree till a smooth consistency has been reached. Then assemble the dessert by placing the cinnamon and peaches in a bag and shake to coat. Please 4-6 slices of peaches in a dish, top with ¼ cup of the sauce and the chopped almonds and coconut flakes. Enjoy!

FullSizeRender 2FullSizeRender 11FullSizeRender 6 FullSizeRender 4The Fashion Cookbook wishes you a Happy Valentine’s Day and hopes that you have just as much fun as we had this weekend during our Galentine’s party FullSizeRender 12


 Special thank you to The Cupcakery for donating the wonderful treats! 


LOVE,

Blog-Signature-Hannah

& Chelsea

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