how to (1)

Last Minute Party Planning for Underachievers

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Welcome, underachievers! Ready for some last minute party planning tips? New Year’s Eve is coming up, and that means it’s the perfect time to host your friends without overexerting yourself. I am a big fan of the last minute party, but when I go to do a search for last minute party planning ideas, it seems like everyone gets “last minute” confused with “easy.” Yes, it would be easy to blow up fifty balloons and tape them in a rainbow design to your wall. No, it would not be something I could do at the last second before guests show up. So, with that in mind, let’s see what us realistic party planners can actually get done when we decide to host a same day party.

Last Minute Party Planning Tips


Looks like I’m serving pizza and cookies.

First of all, there’s no point in last minute party planning if you don’t have time to go to the store. At that point you just call everyone and tell them what to bring. If you do have time to go to the store, then you’re in luck, because the deli/bakery section is going to plan your menu for you. Whatever tasty looking desserts and/or dishes they have cooked up is what you’ll be serving. They pretty much always have cookies and cakes and some sort of chicken, so those are  safe bets, but you do not need any sort of theme for a last minute party, so feel free to pick up whatever looks tasty. Now, if you live in a small town with only one grocery store and they don’t have a deli/bakery (I grew up in a town like this, so they exist), just pick up frozen stuff instead.

You’re also going to want chips or whatever. I highly advise against taking on too much actual cooking, but if you are going do so, I’d go with an easy dip. There’s so many of them and they don’t have to look nice. Here’s a place to start. Thinking about making your famous dessert? Can I tell you why I wouldn’t bother? Unless you’re a professional baker or your friends are food critics, they probably won’t know the difference between a box dessert mix and something homemade. Trust me, I tried it with brownies. Save those good recipes for when you have more time.


Well, my general theory on decorations is don’t bother, but I know how people are obsessed with decorating, so here’s my thoughts. Get something fancy and tall to put on your food table. I like a crazy cupcake holder, although that would require you to buy cupcakes. If that’s not your thing, really any serving dishes with varying heights will do. I’ll put a few shopping items at the bottom for you – surprisingly, this kind of thing is hard to find at your regular Walmart! I think that’s really all you need, but if you can’t stand the idea of using only dishes as decor, add a tablecloth and/or confetti, and possibly balloons, assuming you have time to get helium-filled ones. Don’t bother if you have to blow them up yourself.

Clean Your House

Okay guys, here’s why you can’t spend all your last minute party planning time on decorations. It is so much more important for you to clean your house than it is for you to google free printables or hang streamers. If you’re like me, you’re always prepared for drop-in visitors, but if you’re not I suggest you get yourself a housecleaning schedule put together now so you’ll be able to throw spur of the minute parties later. If it’s too late for the party you’re currently working on, find the worst areas and work on those. The good news is you won’t be doing much cooking so the kitchen should be easy!

The Important Stuff

I want you to think of the granddaddy of all parties. You know, weddings. What’s the best one you’ve ever been to? Was there food? Probably. Decor? Undoubtedly. Dancing? Absolutely! You remember that part even if you have no idea what the centerpieces were. Having fun is what makes a party memorable, not oohing and ahhing at tissue paper creations. So what should your focus all your last minute party planning energy on? Entertainment, of course!

Now, I’m not saying you need to turn your house into the club, but music would probably help. I’m not a big buyer of music, but there’s always things like Party Mixes on Soundcloud. Games are always enjoyable, drinking or non. Or both, if you’re creative. Drinking Operation, anyone? If you don’t own games, charades or Pictionary are easy to do. Playing cards are cheap to pick up and can be found everywhere, plus the game options are endless. Remember, if you’re enthusiastic about whatever you’re doing, your guests will probably get more excited too. Now go have fun at your last minute party!


Last minute party planning for underachievers - no need to DIY everything here! #lastminuteparty #partyideas #lastminute #timesavers #easypartyideas


Last minute party planning for underachievers - no need to DIY everything here! #lastminuteparty #partyideas #lastminute #timesavers #easypartyideasLast minute party planning for underachievers - no need to DIY everything here! #lastminuteparty #partyideas #lastminute #timesavers #easypartyideas

Last minute party planning for underachievers - no need to DIY everything here! #lastminuteparty #partyideas #lastminute #timesavers #easypartyideas (3)

Frenzied Guide to Getting Ready on New Year’s

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How do you plan on getting ready on New Year’s? Will you be locking the bathroom door as your children bang on it? Perhaps throwing on a nice coat over your stained t-shirt and refusing to take it off all evening? Or, even better, paying the babysitter for an extra hour so you can actually make yourself look presentable? I’ve gone to three different events over the past month, ones that required more than my regular jeans, and I have a few ways to survive getting ready. Warning: Not meant to be taken entirely seriously. 🙂

1. Give yourself an extra hour when getting ready on New Year’s

New Year's Eve outfit ideas and tips for Getting Ready on New Year's. #newyearseve #gettingready #goingout #newyearseveideas

Well, okay, you guys, you actually can take this one seriously, especially if you’re a mom. However long you think it’s going to take you to get ready, start an hour before that. That gives you time for multiple interruptions, such as your husband barging in to have you decipher your son’s toddler babble or your dog sneaking in to destroy everything in the bathroom garbage can. Trust me, you need the extra hour.

2. If you can’t get an extra hour, wear something sparkly.

New Year's Eve outfit ideas and tips for Getting Ready on New Year's. #newyearseve #gettingready #goingout #newyearseveideas


The whole point of New Year’s fashion is to be flashy, right? Sparkly, metallic, whatever. If you’re wearing something really bold, maybe no one will notice that you’re not wearing any makeup and your hair hasn’t been styled in approximately six months.

3. If that’s not enough, make your hair shiny.

There’s so many shiny hair products, like this one.  I have curly, frizzy hair on the best of days, and I look like an 80’s hair band on the worst (okay, I secretly think those are the best, but don’t tell anyone), but I can put my hair up and spray those shiny products on and it looks like I tried. Getting ready on New Year’s is much easier when you don’t have to turn on a curling iron. If you’re really feeling sarcastic about it, don’t even get the shiny kind of spray. Get regular hair spray and put it in your normal hair. People will probably assume you did a lot of work.

4. Show up fashionably late.

Hear me out on this one guys. I’m not suggesting you wait to go to the party until you’ve spent hours making yourself look perfect. In fact, I’m suggesting the opposite. Don’t bother getting dressed up at all! Stay at home, drink a glass of wine, enjoy yourself. Or leave your kids and go hang out in the car for an hour just to get some peace. Whatever. Then you show up after everyone else is already drunk. They’ll tell you you look beautiful. Plus they’ll look wasted in all the pictures and you won’t, so it’s a win-win. 🙂

5. Still worried? Do some prep work.

I don’t mean prep yourself. Actually, I mean the opposite. Spend a couple of weeks running around town in your pajamas with crazy messy hair. Make sure you run into at least half of the other New Year’s party guests you expect to see. Then dress completely normal on New Year’s, perhaps with a clean shirt and brushed hair, and everyone will talk about how refreshed you look! How’s that for prep?

Well, I know all you busy ladies will look fantastic on New Year’s no matter how much time you have to get ready. Concerned I was a little too silly with this advice? Sorry, but I am the person who suggested you jump under a table to avoid political conversations, so I’m not sure what you thought you’d get!

New Year's Eve outfit ideas and tips for Getting Ready on New Year's. #newyearseve #gettingready #goingout #newyearseveideas
New Year's Eve outfit ideas and tips for Getting Ready on New Year's. #newyearseve #gettingready #goingout #newyearseveideas
New Year's Eve outfit ideas and tips for Getting Ready on New Year's. #newyearseve #gettingready #goingout #newyearseveideas
New Year's Eve outfit ideas and tips for Getting Ready on New Year's. #newyearseve #gettingready #goingout #newyearseveideas

New Year's Eve outfit ideas and tips for Getting Ready on New Year's. #newyearseve #gettingready #goingout #newyearseveideas

ideas for an

MBA Graduation Party Ideas

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I can’t believe it’s finally time for me to come up with MBA graduation party ideas. Yes, that’s right. The Frenzied Hostess is about to be less frenzied. If you’ve ever read my about page or read this steadily, you probably know my husband has been doing his MBA program on the weekends at UT. Since I work from home, that means I’ve basically been on my own Monday-Saturday either pregnant or with two children for the whole thing. Yeah. Super fun. So even though this is his accomplishment, it’s just as much my celebration as it is his, and I want to do it right. When I think of MBA grads, I think of Wall Street, despite the fact that Mr. Davidson works in government, so we’re going high class all the way.

I do want to point out a few things about MBA graduations here before we get started. First, they’ve already had two other graduation parties, so you don’t need to get those cheesy high school decorations. You don’t need to throw a kegger like in college. My hubby’s already had both of them, although I didn’t know him in high school and I missed his bachelor’s degree party since I was the maid of honor/officiant at a wedding that day. It’s fine though, my master’s degree graduation party was the next day, and he missed that due to being hungover. Hmm. I’ve apparently always had too much going on. Anyway, since he’s already done those, it’s  okay to make an MBA celebration totally different.

5 MBA Graduation Party Ideas

1. Get a Bottle of the Good Stuff

MBA Graduation Party Ideas include nice bottles, fancy meals, and the general Wall Street lifestyle. #mbagrad #mbagraduation #graduationparty #graduation #party #fancypartyideas #graduationpartyideas

If you don’t drink alcohol, that’s fine, but you can’t tell me there’s no beverage you ever splurge on. Only drink water? Get it sparkly. Soda’s your thing? Fine, get the glass bottles. There’s like 8 million juices and teas to get crazy with. Now on to the hard stuff. My husband’s a whiskey man, so that’s what I went with, but my parents think champagne is where it’s at, so they’re getting him something fancy. This is what the MBA life tastes like, right? Whether he shares it with everyone is up to him.

2. Cook a Beautiful Cut of Meat

MBA Graduation Party Ideas include nice bottles, fancy meals, and the general Wall Street lifestyle. #mbagrad #mbagraduation #graduationparty #graduation #party #fancypartyideas #graduationpartyideas

Oh hey vegetarians, what’s up? Vegans, I’m sure you’re hating this list by now, but hang with me. There is amazing vegan food out there, right? Like, the very best stuff? That’s what you need to be serving. Now, as far as meat goes, it can get really expensive and I am aware of that. For my husband’s graduation party, that’s totally okay because I’m using his credit card. Muhuhahaha. It’s also okay because there are only a few people coming. That’s what happens when you graduate over the Christmas break. I can go ahead and serve a full dinner with steaks to my number of guests, but if you’re MBA grad has a lot of people coming, I suggest steak appetizers, like this or this.

3. Skip the Slideshows/Collages

You’re probably thinking skipping something shouldn’t count in this list of MBA graduation party ideas. But, it’s important. This is NOT the time for some slideshow of his accomplishments (or her – mine is a him, I’m sticking with it). MBAs don’t take that long. The average age of an MBA student is 27-29. No need to pretend they’ve just finished some great chunk of life.  It feels like my husband has been complaining about school for a lifetime, but it was really only 18 months. Not much of a slideshow for a 34-year old. Instead of doing a collage,  what about honoring him with something related to his school? Since Mr. Davidson attends UT, we’ll be celebrating by having him turn down the head football coaching job.  Just kidding. We’ll be presenting him with a UT degree frame.

4. Use Real Dishware, Classy Decorations

MBA Graduation Party Ideas include nice bottles, fancy meals, and the general Wall Street lifestyle. #mbagrad #mbagraduation #graduationparty #graduation #party #fancypartyideas #graduationpartyideas

Do you know how much the average MBA grad makes? Well, it depends on your program, but the low end is HR graduates, and they can still expect to make about $48K with hardly any experience.  Since most people don’t go into an MBA program before they have experience, they can expect to be making good pay. Now, you aren’t always going to be celebrating this person with fancy things. But just this one time, get fancy. Put out actual platters instead of dollar store ones. Skip streamers. Balloons are nice; I’m not a super fan of heavy decorating, ever, but I like a nicely done balloon archThings like dessert stands will add a little class as well and don’t require any work. Even better, hold it at a restaurant. Then you know it’s all real and you don’t have to do a darn thing.

 5. Dress Up

MBA Graduation Party Ideas include nice bottles, fancy meals, and the general Wall Street lifestyle. #mbagrad #mbagraduation #graduationparty #graduation #party #fancypartyideas #graduationpartyideas

My MBA graduation party ideas wouldn’t be complete without a dress code! I love throwing fancy dinner parties anyway, but in this case it’s essential. If you’re celebrating right after graduation, it’s not even an issue since you’ll probably already be dressed up. Now you’ll be looking all classy while you sip your fancy drink and eat tasty food. Then tomorrow it’s all back to the same old same old. At least your MBA grad got to enjoy the Wall Street life for a minute, right? 🙂

MBA Graduation Party Ideas include nice bottles, fancy meals, and the general Wall Street lifestyle. #mbagrad #mbagraduation #graduationparty #graduation #party #fancypartyideas #graduationpartyideas
ideas for an (2)

Ways to Create Fun Christmas Food Traditions

Everyone needs some fun Christmas food traditions. I don’t mean fun as in, oh yes, it’s fun to have the same traditions year after year. I mean, let’s jazz this up and get a tradition that can change a little bit to keep it interesting! If you haven’t heard, millennials are foodies. My husband and I are technically millennials,  and we are most definitely food people. I’m not going to mess with Thanksgiving. Those foods are sacred. But Christmas is a little more flexible, and I think it’s a great idea to come up with traditions that evolve. Here’s a few ways to do that:

4 Fun Christmas Food Traditions

1. Get Crazy with Breakfast

Fun Christmas food traditions can stay the same each year but offer different foods. #Christmas #christmasfood #christmasmeals #foodtraditions #christmastraditions #holidays #familytraditions

I don’t know about you, but I enjoy a late Christmas breakfast. Well, later. I guess it’s still pretty early since I have a toddler with serious FOMO. I don’t have any fun breakfast traditions yet, but if my family decides they want to have the same dinner year after year, I can definitely see myself turning breakfast into a surprise meal. There are so many ways to do this. I suggest making really Christmassy breakfasts. One year you can try Christmas tree waffles, the next a candy cane pastry. Seriously, so many options!

2. Choose a Base Dessert and Dress it Up

Fun Christmas food traditions can stay the same each year but offer different foods. #Christmas #christmasfood #christmasmeals #foodtraditions #christmastraditions #holidays #familytraditions

Desserts are the most important part of fun Christmas food traditions, right? So make yours especially fun by choosing a basic dessert and changing it each year. What do I mean exactly? Think of cheesecake. You’ve got a basic cheesecake, and they’re delicious, but there’s approximately 8 million cheesecake recipes out there (that might be a slight exaggeration). One year you do basic, the next year you try a pecan pie or a caramel apple crisp cheesecake.  Now every year your family knows they’re getting cheesecake, but you get to experiment with new ways to make it!

3. Go International

Fun Christmas food traditions can stay the same each year but offer different foods. #Christmas #christmasfood #christmasmeals #foodtraditions #christmastraditions #holidays #familytraditions

What if your tradition was celebrating a new culture every year? Then every year you’re doing the same thing, but eating something totally different. I personally love this idea, because there’s nothing I like more than cooking up something new and delicious. Here’s just one place to start on your search for other country’s Christmas food. If you can’t stand the idea of having something different every year and not getting that big fat turkey, you could always implement this on Christmas Eve, or make Christmas Eve your regular dinner. Christmas is so nice it gives you two chances for fun Christmas food traditions.

4. Add a Fancy Drink

Fun Christmas food traditions can stay the same each year but offer different foods. #Christmas #christmasfood #christmasmeals #foodtraditions #christmastraditions #holidays #familytraditions

I’ve been known to throw a cocktail competition or two, so this makes perfect sense to me. Except, instead of alcohol, I think it would be really fun to try a different hot chocolate every year. Then the kids can play too. Of course, I’m not anti-alcohol, so that also works. Either way, this gives you the chance to make the same food every year but add something a little extra to keep yourself interested. Or to keep yourself from getting too irritated by all those new noisy toys, if you choose the alcohol way. 🙂 Now go out, enjoy your new fun Christmas food traditions, and be merry!


Fun Christmas food traditions can stay the same each year but offer different foods. #Christmas #christmasfood #christmasmeals #foodtraditions #christmastraditions #holidays #familytraditions
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Menu Items for an All Day Thanksgiving

All day Thanksgiving menus probably sound crazy… If you’ve never had to work on Thanksgiving. Guys, if you and your family all have the whole day off and you’re free to eat whenever you want, you might not need any of this. But if you’re like my family, where one or more of you are shift workers at places that don’t close down for the holidays, eating at a regular time might not be an option. This year we’re basically eating Thanksgiving lunch, but imagine if you had to eat earlier than that. Yes, you can always eat your Thanksgiving dinner on a different day, and you still should if you want a whole turkey. But why not celebrate at least a little on the day of with a few of these all day Thanksgiving ideas?

All Day Thanksgiving Menu Suggestions


All day Thanksgiving items #Thanksgiving #thanksgivingmenuideas #holidayfood #holidays #thanksgivingsnacks #thanksgivingbrunch #menuideas

Most people probably don’t think about breakfast on Thanksgiving because they’re saving up for the big meal or don’t want to cook more than they have to. At least, that’s how I am. But if you have to head into work by 11:00 AM, why not have a big breakfast or brunch to hold you over until whatever day you celebrate? Or, if you’re eating really late, how about a little holiday food to kick off the day and make the wait easier? Here’s a couple of ideas:

Pumpkin Butter (for toast/French toast/cinnamon rolls)
Maple Bacon Sweet Potato Hash
Thanksgiving Stuffing Cakes
Cranberry Pecan Cinnamon Rolls


All day Thanksgiving items #Thanksgiving #thanksgivingmenuideas #holidayfood #holidays #thanksgivingsnacks #thanksgivingbrunch #menuideas

I know you need snacks whether you’re dealing with all day Thanksgiving or not, but hear me out. If you’re eating at 4:00 PM, you know what to eat for snacks. Cheese, crackers, vegetables. Easy stuff. But, if you have to change your Thanksgiving dinner to a different day, or if you’re eating really late, perhaps you’d like a little hint of Thanksgiving.

Sausage Stuffing Balls
Cranberry Barbecue Meatballs
Sweet Potato Tots
Crispy Green Bean Fries

Desserts to Go

All day Thanksgiving items #Thanksgiving #thanksgivingmenuideas #holidayfood #holidays #thanksgivingsnacks #thanksgivingbrunch #menuideas

This is the one I personally have to use on my all day Thanksgiving. We’re eating early so my dad can go to work on time, but he might not be hungry enough for dessert before he goes. Pies are a staple for a Thanksgiving meal, but they’re not the easiest to take on the go, especially if you want all the good stuff that goes with it, like ice cream or whipped cream. You can still have your pie, but if you’ve got night shift workers in the house, perhaps you can send them off with a couple of these treats.

Apple Pie Bites
Mini Pecan Pies
Pumpkin Cheesecake Balls
White Chocolate Cranberry Cookies

Well, I hope some of these all day Thanksgiving ideas will help you out.  I obviously don’t expect you to cook meals all day long, or even eat them. It’s just some menu items that might help those of us celebrating at weird times. Oh, and whether you’re eating at 4:00 AM or 4:00 PM, don’t forget to have a fun tablescape. Here’s my historical ideas to get you started. So, anyone out there also celebrating at a weird time or a different day? What kinds of things do you eat while you wait?

All day Thanksgiving items #Thanksgiving #thanksgivingmenuideas #holidayfood #holidays #thanksgivingsnacks #thanksgivingbrunch #menuideas

All day Thanksgiving items #Thanksgiving #thanksgivingmenuideas #holidayfood #holidays #thanksgivingsnacks #thanksgivingbrunch #menuideas

All day Thanksgiving items #Thanksgiving #thanksgivingmenuideas #holidayfood #holidays #thanksgivingsnacks #thanksgivingbrunch #menuideas

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Ideas for a First Thanksgiving Inspired Tablescape

Welcome! This first Thanksgiving inspired tablescape is part of the Thanksgiving Blessings Blog Tour. I’m super excited about that because there are some awesome bloggers on the list. In fact, there’s chance you already know that because Tori at Toriorioria sent you over here, but if not, after you check out this post, be sure to click on the links at the bottom of the page and circle all the way back around. You’ll get a ton of fun ideas!

Onto the post. If you didn’t figure it out, my first Thanksgiving inspired tablescape is all about history. Yes, that’s right, I’m going to force you to learn while you decorate your house. Wait, come back! You won’t have to learn that much, I swear. In fact, you can just look at the pictures if that suits you better. Okay, let’s get on with it. The first Thanksgiving happened a super long time ago and doesn’t have a lot to do with what we celebrate today, but sometimes it’s fun to go back to our origins. Now, I’m not trying to make your table look like it belongs in the 1600s. I’m just trying to to take a few pieces of history and throw them into the mix. I have a big table and a small table, so I’ll show you how it looks on both.

This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase through them I will receive compensation at no additional cost to you.

First Thanksgiving Inspired Tablescape Ideas

1. A Natural Look

First Thanksgiving Inspired Tablescape #thanksgiving #thanksgivingdecor #thanksgivingtable #thanksgivingtablescape #tablescape #tabledecor #tabledecorations

To be honest, I have no idea what kind of table coverings they used back then, if any, but if you read me regularly you know I think you need something nice for a modern Thanksgiving. In this case, natural seemed to be the way to go. So, of course, I went with burlap. Runners are pretty cheap, but you can’t wash them, so if you want to reuse it be careful with that red wine.  For my small table I borrowed a fall table runner from my mom. it’s a little old so I can’t tell you where to find it, but there are plenty of similar ones out there. I like that the runner still has a natural color scheme, but also adds details for a smaller table because I don’t want to overload it with objects.

2. A Hint of Pilgrim

Ha, the term “a hint of pilgrim” is really amusing me right now. Hopefully it amuses you too. Anyway, I’ve seen plenty of pilgrim hat decor before, but come on. I don’t want a giant hat on my table. So instead, to keep this first Thanksgiving inspired tablescape going, I’ve made candles in the vein of their buckled hats without being a hat. All you need are some black candles, white ribbon, and gold buckles (you can pick the last two up at a crafting store). Cut a ribbon to go around the bottom of the candle, put two buckles on it (so both sides of the table see a buckle) and then tape or glue the ribbon. Super easy crafting.

First Thanksgiving Inspired Tablescape #thanksgiving #thanksgivingdecor #thanksgivingtable #thanksgivingtablescape #tablescape #tabledecor #tabledecorations

First Thanksgiving Inspired Tablescape #thanksgiving #thanksgivingdecor #thanksgivingtable #thanksgivingtablescape #tablescape #tabledecor #tabledecorations

First Thanksgiving Inspired Tablescape #thanksgiving #thanksgivingdecor #thanksgivingtable #thanksgivingtablescape #tablescape #tabledecor #tabledecorations


3. Cranberries for the Wampanoag

If you don’t already know this, the Wampanoag are the American Indian tribe that joined the pilgrims for the first Thanksgiving. Now, we live in divisive times, and some American Indians actually call Thanksgiving their “Day of Mourning.” Because of that I don’t want to try anything that’s stereotypical American Indian, but I know the Wampanoag celebrate cranberries, so I figured it would be a good idea to have them represented that way. These cranberry decorations are super simple. Cranberries float, so just throw them in something cute with water. Add a tealight. Done.

First Thanksgiving Inspired Tablescape #thanksgiving #thanksgivingdecor #thanksgivingtable #thanksgivingtablescape #tablescape #tabledecor #tabledecorations

4. First Foods

Unsurprisingly, we don’t eat the same way people ate back at the first Thanksgiving. So, instead of forcing your guests to eat those foods and really sticking to your theme, just add a few odds and ends to your table decor. Walnuts and chestnuts are great and easy. Corn is good too, and wheat adds for a fun centerpiece. I got the fake items from Hobby Lobby and walnuts from the grocery store. I chose not to use any of this on the small table because there just isn’t room. To make a smaller table pop, see the next idea.


5. Non-Historical Color

First Thanksgiving Inspired Tablescape #thanksgiving #thanksgivingdecor #thanksgivingtable #thanksgivingtablescape #tablescape #tabledecor #tabledecorations

Okay, so your table is probably looking like it knows a lot about history now. But it’s probably also missing color. Time to add some place mats, charger plates, napkins, silverware, cups, whatever. I’ve got two different color schemes going on each table, so there’s definitely room to play with your own. The dishes on the big table are my actual good dishes, so I happened to luck into that particular color scheme. You’ll notice a big of alternating colors as well, in these placemats from Target and ribbon napkin rings on the big table, and the napkins on the small. And yes, those are my interchangeable holiday plates on the small table. See? Versatile.

As a time saving tip, I do want to tell you one thing. Once you pick your color scheme, commit. It shouldn’t take that long to set a table, but it can take forever if you second guess yourself. Really, whatever you choose is going to look awesome, because you have  so many options to make a first Thanksgiving inspired tablescape. Take ideas from the big table, small table, or both and see what you can come up with.

Next on the Hop

That’s all I’ve got for you, but there’s so much more to see! The next stop on the blog tour is Marlize Van Rooyen’s South African style Thanksgiving and you have to see that, plus steal a couple of her recipes if you have time to browse. Look at you, learning about history and other cultures all in one day. Or, if you have a more organized mind and need to start back at the beginning go see Kristy Mastradanos at Steeplechase Manor. Either way, you’ll have a ton of great ideas for a happy Thanksgiving!

First Thanksgiving Inspired Tablescape #thanksgiving #thanksgivingdecor #thanksgivingtable #thanksgivingtablescape #tablescape #tabledecor #tabledecorations

First Thanksgiving Inspired Tablescape #thanksgiving #thanksgivingdecor #thanksgivingtable #thanksgivingtablescape #tablescape #tabledecor #tabledecorations First Thanksgiving Inspired Tablescape #thanksgiving #thanksgivingdecor #thanksgivingtable #thanksgivingtablescape #tablescape #tabledecor #tabledecorations


how to

Easy Small Octopus Pull Apart Cake

This is honestly an easy small octopus pull apart cake. I wouldn’t lie to you, friends! I will let you know a little secret though. My mom frosted it. I could have done it in my regular haphazard way, but she made all our cakes growing up and knows how to make stars. Amazing! This idea came to me because of my sister’s baby shower. We had a really small group of people. Well, relatively. Eight people is a lot for a dinner party. It’s not very many for a baby shower. Anyway, there are all these octopus cakes online that look great, but they’re so huge! I definitely didn’t need two box cakes for eight of us. So, I had to resize it. Here’s what we came up with.

Instructions for an Easy Small Octopus Pull Apart Cake

How to make an easy small octopus pull apart cake. #cake #octopuscake #birthdaycake #babyshower #underseathemeparty #babyshowercake #pullapartcake

How to make an easy small octopus pull apart cake. #cake #octopuscake #birthdaycake #babyshower #underseathemeparty #babyshowercake #pullapartcake


1 box of your favorite cake mix
Buttercream frosting
Piping Icing
Food Coloring


  1. Bake your cake. You need 12 cupcakes and one round pan. Split the batter as equally as you can, and keep cupcakes as even as you can.
  2. Make your frosting. I use this recipe, but I recommend not adding milk and making sure it’s non-salted real butter so it doesn’t break down. Also, you’ll have to at least double it.
  3. Set up the octopus the way you want it on a covered space. I use a flat pan with aluminum foil. You will have four legs of three cupcakes each (yes, I’m aware an octopus actually has eight legs, calm down). I liked the legs slightly separated, but maybe your covered space will look better a different way.
  4. Frost the whole thing. It doesn’t have to be colored frosting yet, but make sure  you are getting the frosting to look continuous on each leg up to the head.
  5. Put the cake in a fridge for at least half and hour.
  6. Separate your frosting into one main color and one minor color. Mine are pink and purple for reference on how much you need.
  7. Frost the whole thing again with your main color frosting. This time you will need to smooth it out after you’ve got enough on there to make it look like you only baked one weird shaped cake.
  8. Use a cake bag and pipe some stars in your second color along each leg to act as suction cups.
  9. Put two marshmallows on the circle cake to be eyes. Use your piping icing to add pupils.

That’s it! Your easy small octopus pull apart cake is completed! Seriously, it’s super easy, but if you’re like me and don’t know how to decorate a cake, either use candies for the suctions or don’t use suctions at all. Who cares? It’s your cake. Besides, it’s an octopus that only has four legs, how serious can the situation be?

How to make an easy small octopus pull apart cake. #cake #octopuscake #birthdaycake #babyshower #underseathemeparty #babyshowercake #pullapartcake
how to make a

How to Make a Marine Life Diaper Cake

This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase through them I will receive compensation at no additional cost to you.

Do you need some instructions for a marine life diaper cake? Have you just wandered over from the post on my sister’s baby shower? Either way, I had a fun time making this diaper cake so I’m glad you dropped by. There are plenty of other diaper cake tutorials out there, and obviously I used those ideas. I did run into a little trouble though, in the form of a two-year old, so I had to add a couple layers of protection. Before you roll your eyes and call me an idiot, no, I cannot do things like this while he’s sleeping. I have to do my actual job then. Isn’t working from home grand?

Instructions for a Marine Life Diaper Cake

What you Need

Directions for a cute marine life diaper cake. #babyshower #diapercake #underseathemeparty #underseababyshower #marinelifeparty

70-80 diapers, size is up to you
70-80 small rubber bands
3 large rubber bands
twine or string
Bottle of Champagne (use baby bottles if your recipient doesn’t drink)
baby items

If you plan to move your diaper cake, you also need something to set it up on. I used heavy posterboard.


1. Prepare the Diapers

Roll up the diapers and put rubber bands around them. You want them to be relatively even, so make sure you start with the opening and roll towards the crease.

2. Build the Cake

Directions for a cute marine life diaper cake. #babyshower #diapercake #underseathemeparty #underseababyshower #marinelifeparty

If you are like me, you didn’t waste time making your diapers perfectly even, so they’re probably not going to stand up perfectly. If you have a toddler wandering around, they will probably also be trying to sabotage you. So, this is where the big rubber bands come in. Set up your first layer on the bottom. They should stay up since this is the sturdiest layer. Secure a big rubber band around it.

Directions for a cute marine life diaper cake. #babyshower #diapercake #underseathemeparty #underseababyshower #marinelifeparty

Then do another layer around your newly secured first layer. You won’t have a rubber band big enough for this one, so tie some yarn around it. Then do a third layer, add yarn. For the middle tier of the cake, you can put a band over the champagne bottle first and then put diapers into it. This level only needs one yarn layer.

Directions for a cute marine life diaper cake. #babyshower #diapercake #underseathemeparty #underseababyshower #marinelifeparty

The top tier only needs one rubber band layer and then you have your whole cake built. Beware of roaming toddlers. They may discover it’s the perfect time to learn about rubber bands and strew them all over your living room.

3. Decorate

Okay, so here is where things are going to differ. If possible, you should be using items on the guest of honor’s registry. If they have receiving blankets or burp cloths (my sister wanted these), wrap those around the cake. I just taped it on there. Who cares if there’s a gap at the back? You’re giving them a whole diaper cake, it’s fine. Then I put dollar store ribbons over that. Since my sister is having a girl, I used headbands as bows, but you can do actual bows or no bows for boys. I threw a couple pacifiers on there, and then dollar store seashells and fishbowl beads to keep it fun. I also added fishing bath toys. Finally, my topper was this cute dolphin toy. Here’s a blue boyish version if you need one.

Directions for a cute marine life diaper cake. #babyshower #diapercake #underseathemeparty #underseababyshower #marinelifeparty
Taping burp cloths so they’re the right size for the diapers.
Directions for a cute marine life diaper cake. #babyshower #diapercake #underseathemeparty #underseababyshower #marinelifeparty
If you can’t cover the whole thing, put the ugly diaper side towards the back.
Directions for a cute marine life diaper cake. #babyshower #diapercake #underseathemeparty #underseababyshower #marinelifeparty
Add some ribbon, bows, headbands, whatever.


Directions for a cute marine life diaper cake. #babyshower #diapercake #underseathemeparty #underseababyshower #marinelifeparty
Keep decorating until you run out of space and/or energy.

That’s really it. Just have fun with it! Throw things on there that your baby mama needs, or things you think are cute. I know my sister really wanted diapers, so I felt pretty good about that. But, once she started going through it and realizing almost all the decor was also gifts, it got even better. The real kicker, of course, was pink Prosecco on the inside. Now that’s a marine life diaper cake a mom can enjoy!

How to make a marine life diaper cake for a baby shower. #marinelifeparty #underseapartytheme #marinelifebabyshower #babyshower #diapercake #underseadiapercake
A girly marine life

A Girly Marine Life Baby Shower

This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase through them I will receive compensation at no additional cost to you.

This past weekend I threw my sister a girly marine life baby shower. I wanted it to be classy and pink. She bought Baby Girl marine life bedding, so I also wanted it to go with that. Too many themes? Never! I also had to plan something for a very small crowd. She had a separate baby shower at work and most of our family lives far away, so the guest list was minimal. When you’re having a small shower, you don’t want to go overboard, but then again, babies are fun and you kind of always want to go overboard for them. I have to confess something about this though… This was not my normal frenzied party. I had  a LOT of help.

You see, my grandma and my aunt drove over to Tennessee to attend, and my aunt brought my twelve-year old cousin with her. He entertained my son. My grandma and aunt took turns helping me and watching my daughter. And my mom came by to help with everything else. So, really, this girly marine life baby shower was created in the exact opposite manner of anything else I do. That doesn’t mean it looks perfect – even if I have help, I still don’t care that much about decorations. You’ll see what I mean. I do think this is doable for busy people though, if you start early enough. I actually began decorating a week in advance, little by little, and that definitely helped.

Ideas for a Girly Marine Life Baby Shower

1. Decorations

This is the girly marine life baby shower I threw for my sister. Lots of undersea fun! #babyshower #marinelifebabyshower #underseababyshower #marinelifeparty #underseapartyideas #girlbabyshower

My main goal here was jellyfish. You’ve seen those hanging jellyfish decorations before, right? Well, if not you’re welcome to steal ours, but we got our inspiration from Nathalie at Press Print Party. Mostly it involves hot gluing things to paper lanterns, but you’ll have to ask my mom or Nathalie for specific instructions because I surely didn’t touch those. I can tell you we used this package of lanterns if you like a variety of sizes. They had different colors too. So once I got those made, I wanted a blue background. I picked up a tablecloth roll at Party City to make the background. As you can see, I was too lazy to get a ladder and too short to reach the ceiling, but whatever.

This is the girly marine life baby shower I threw for my sister. Lots of undersea fun! #babyshower #marinelifebabyshower #underseababyshower #marinelifeparty #underseapartyideas #girlbabyshower

My other decor includes some seaweed made out of grapes, an idea I stole from Indulgy. Then I tacked some clear balloons to look like water bubbles on my blue background. The cool opalescent pink tablecloth and table skirt also come from Party City. That’s about it. Not much too it, really, even though it looks like a ton of decorations to me.

2. Food

This is the girly marine life baby shower I threw for my sister. Lots of undersea fun! #babyshower #marinelifebabyshower #underseababyshower #marinelifeparty #underseapartyideas #girlbabyshower

In my mind, I was serving an elegant spread of seafood. I’ll let you be the judge of how it turned out. First I went with actual seafood. Shrimp is easy and relatively inexpensive (for seafood) so I tried this cajun guacamole recipe. I do make my own guac. It’s basically this recipe, but with half a can diced tomatoes instead of roma. I put the extra guacamole out too, because who doesn’t want chips and guac? I also made this crab dip, which I’d never done before but was delicious.

This is the girly marine life baby shower I threw for my sister. Lots of undersea fun! #babyshower #marinelifebabyshower #underseababyshower #marinelifeparty #underseapartyideas #girlbabyshower

For my other food, I wanted to make some non-seafood items that still fit in, so I did cucumber sandwiches and cut a few of them in the shape of starfish with this cookie cutter.  If you use soft bread, it will go through just fine, but I suggest separating it before you lift the cutter. Then I made some chicken club bacon sushi rolls. I got the idea from Delish, but that’s not the recipe I followed. I swear I’ll get around to posting my version one day. The punch was this super easy pink recipe, but I made seashell ice cubes. Then my mom and I made these cute “pearl in oyster” cookies. So, not all exactly seafood, but it all fit together in the end.

3. Cake

This is the girly marine life baby shower I threw for my sister. Lots of undersea fun! #babyshower #marinelifebabyshower #underseababyshower #marinelifeparty #underseapartyideas #girlbabyshower

If you are a regular reader, you may remember I learned about pull-apart cakes from my friend who created this potty training cake. I decided to implement my own version for this girly marine life baby shower. There are other versions of octopus cakes out there, but my problem with them is that they’re all gigantic. I had eight people at this shower, myself included. I didn’t need the twenty-four cupcakes that come in a box, let alone a whole other set. So I made a smaller version. I do have specific directions for that, but I don’t want this post taking eight years to read, so head over here to check that out.

4. Diaper Cake

This is the girly marine life baby shower I threw for my sister. Lots of undersea fun! #babyshower #marinelifebabyshower #underseababyshower #marinelifeparty #underseapartyideas #girlbabyshower

This was my first time making a diaper cake, and I like having visuals. The tutorials I looked at didn’t really have a lot, so again I have a separate post if you want step-by-step instructions. But, I’m glad I made it because the height certainly added something to the visuals of the party backdrop. Plus it was fun to have a little surprise in the middle. 🙂

5. Games & Party Favors

This is the girly marine life baby shower I threw for my sister. Lots of undersea fun! #babyshower #marinelifebabyshower #underseababyshower #marinelifeparty #underseapartyideas #girlbabyshower

I’m actually not a fan of baby shower games, so I didn’t put much effort into these. We played the regular can’t say “baby” game, Baby Price is Right, and guess the number of candies. That’s it. We’re lame. On a side note, I noticed I have a lot of UK readers, so if you’re looking for your own version of baby games to buy Party Ease can help you out. For party favors, I chose to make chocolates. I’d never done that before, but it was pretty easy. I bought this mold for the ice cubes and I figured I might as well use it! We put the chocolates in some pink candles and everything looked lovely.

Well friends, what do you think? Would you consider this a girly marine life baby shower a success?

This is the girly marine life baby shower I threw for my sister. Lots of undersea fun! #babyshower #marinelifebabyshower #underseababyshower #marinelifeparty #underseapartyideas #girlbabyshower


thanksgiving hostess

5 Items Every Thanksgiving Hostess Needs

These five items every Thanksgiving hostess needs aren’t for the casual Thanksgiving hostess. If you know you’re only hosting one year and then it’s back to your mom’s, there’s really no point in storing this stuff. But, if you have the “good kitchen,” you probably want to make things easier on yourself. Instead of rushing out to buy the same things every year, just keep them on hand. Trust me. I’ve been hosting either Thanksgiving and/or Christmas dinners since 2008, and I cannot tell you how many times I realized I had nothing to cook a turkey in the day of the holiday. On the plus side of that, I did learn to use a dutch oven in my oven. Anyway, here we go.

Items Every Thanksgiving Hostess Needs

1. Good Dishes

Items every Thanksgiving hostess needs #thanksgiving #entertaining #thanksgivingdinner #dinner #thanksgivingideas #hostingideas
We’ve moved twice since we got these yet we still have the original packing material.

You don’t have to go out and buy the fanciest dishes around. You don’t even need to buy Thanksgiving themed dishes, although I did find these turkey ones at Pottery Barn if you’re interested in going that route. My good dishes were picked to go with some Peruvian pottery my husband and I bought on our honeymoon. Yes, of course a honeymoon in Peru is romantic. But it does mean my dishes are hardly Thanksgiving-y. It’s still better than serving on mismatched plates or terrible-for-the-environment paper plates. Don’t care about the environment, only cost? If you host twenty Thanksgiving dinners, you’ll wind up spending just as much replacing your paper items. Think about that.

2. A Roasting Pan

Items every Thanksgiving hostess needs #thanksgiving #entertaining #thanksgivingdinner #dinner #thanksgivingideas #hostingideas
Yum, turkey is my favorite.

I already mentioned I somehow always forget a pan big enough to roast a turkey. That won’t happen anymore! I’m taking my own advice and using a real roasting pan. You can pick up those aluminum ones at your local grocery store, but again, what’s the point of doing that every single year? I know it’s a little extra storage, but trust me, a roasting pan is one of the items every Thanksgiving hostess needs. Plus you can do lasagnas in them, and those aren’t just for special occasions. Oh wait! Are you a turkey fryer, not a turkey roaster? Then completely ignore this item, and try not to burn your house down. 🙂

3. A Real Tablecloth/Runner/Place Settings

Items every Thanksgiving hostess needs #thanksgiving #entertaining #thanksgivingdinner #dinner #thanksgivingideas #hostingideas
This is not my table. Mine is currently covered in a plastic tablecloth for a baby shower. Irony?

Please don’t put out a plastic tablecloth if you host Thanksgiving every year. I know I use them a lot in my blog – in fact I have a whole post dedicated to them – but that’s because I don’t want five hundred real tablecloths sitting around my house. I do, however, have permanent place settings for Thanksgiving and a real tablecloth for Christmas. You don’t need to have a big table. You don’t have to have fall-themed placemats, although they are amazing.  But you should have your table looking nice.

4. A Pie Server/Cutter

Items every Thanksgiving hostess needs #thanksgiving #entertaining #thanksgivingdinner #dinner #thanksgivingideas #hostingideas
I have a more pie shaped one somewhere, but I can’t find it. Seriously you guys, don’t move once a year.

You don’t need a pie pan, or a recipe for pie, or even to be in charge of dessert yourself. But everyone eats pie on Thanksgiving, and if you ask someone else to bring the dessert, there’s a good chance that’s what they’re bringing. Make things easy on everyone and have a pie cutter ready to go. I have a traditional one and it’s served me fine, but there are some really crazy contraptions out there if you want to have perfectly even pieces.

5. A Tradition All Your Own

Items every Thanksgiving hostess needs #thanksgiving #entertaining #thanksgivingdinner #dinner #thanksgivingideas #hostingideas
My tradition is making someone else clean the “good kitchen.”

Okay, okay. Technically this isn’t an “item,” but I’m putting it on my list of items every Thanksgiving hostess needs anyway. Do you want to say what you’re thankful for? Have your kids make turkey hands? I think if you’re going to be the one doing the bulk of the work every single year, you get to create your own traditions and everyone else has to go along! If you don’t already have one and need some ideas, check out this list of traditions. Now you’re set to host a great Thanksgiving every year!

Items every Thanksgiving hostess needs #thanksgiving #entertaining #thanksgivingdinner #dinner #thanksgivingideas #hostingideas

Items every Thanksgiving hostess needs #thanksgiving #entertaining #thanksgivingdinner #dinner #thanksgivingideas #hostingideas