Archive of ‘Entertaining’ category

Baby Shower Sneak Peek


Beautiful hostesses and one mama-to-be (Halie, Lydia, Marah, me, Julie, Sarah, and Jenn)

Where to begin? Saturday was my baby shower and my girlfriends collaborated on what was the most stunning and thoughtful event I’ve ever seen.

Recognizing each of the girls in the little details- sweet invitations, whimsical (and snuggly) centerpieces, a totally original baby game and guest book, my dream dessert display,  homemade cupcakes and favorite childhood treats, a fun music mix, and custom menus- reminded me how lucky I am to have such creative, generous women in my life.

My sister, me, and our beautiful mom

Sarah posted her gorgeous DIY macaron towers, my sister’s pictures went live this morning, and Lydia will be here later this week to give you an in-depth tour of the planning and details.

Instagram album

For now, one great party tip from the hosts: have guests hashtag their photos on Instagram to create an immediate, collaborative on-line album. To see ours, use Instagram on your iPhone and search hashtag slshower (#SLSHOWER).

My edible baby niece.

If you’re not an iPhone user, I hope a snap of Ruby in her party dress will tide you over until Lydia is here to share more. Ruby loved being with all the big girls.

Thank you to my talented friends and family. I can’t wait for this baby to love you like her mama does.


Will & Niki’s Wedding


Drew and I were in a wedding this summer that was SO special and it now being featured on Go look at all the thoughtful details and fun touches the couple dreamed up. Below are some of my personal favorites captured beautifully captured by One Love Photography.

One Love Photography

The coolest wedding venue, Santa Margarita Ranch in San Luis Obispo, CA (no relation to the pinot grigio).

One Love Photography

How amazing are these invitations Niki dreamed up and a friend designed? The double gun heart is a personal highlight for me.

One Love Photography

The bride rocked a J.Crew wedding dress with hot pink nails and lips and the grooms and his men wore gingham.

One Love Photography


One Love Photography

The groom found these screen doors and made the pinwheels out of paper himself. How cute is that? They framed the couple during the ceremony under that massive oak tree.

One Love Photography

The bride bought these assorted pom poms and we stuffed them into wax bags sealed with a cool DIY printer labels.

One Love Photography

Lemonade and Sweet Tea greeted guests and the signature drinks after the ceremony were strawberry-vodka and margaritas served in jam jars.

One Love Photography

Mini succulents (bought online and potted by friends) were the escort cards and the favor, so clever.

One Love Photography

Hands down my favorite detail was the names of the tables, Southern expressions from the bride’s colorful father, printed on cool card stock and glued to wooded sticks. If you have a daddy with expressions this good you must incorporate them into your wedding! Friends also potted those succulent centerpieces about a week before the wedding. Drew was in charge of placing the little rocks in the arrangements, don’t they look perfect?

One Love Photography

A twinkle lit barn streaming in twilight, the perfect setting for the delicious Southern Comfort food menu. To protect our party cloths from fried chicken and mac n’ cheese we had paper bibs! See them hanging from the plate, have fun and get messy indeed.

One Love Photography

Dessert was a pie and ice cream extravaganza which I did not eat because I was dancing. Nothing beats a RedShoe dance party, not even pie.


Congratulations Will & Niki!






Hard Cider


Have you tried hard cider recently? This is not an overly sweet pink version available on tap at a mega chain restaurant or something a college girl adds to a pint of beer to make it pear sweet. This is the hard cider of kings and queens.

Fizzy and dry with the crisp notes of apples, hard cider is the official drink of pre-fall. Drew had become a connoisseur of cider since it’s Gluten Free, light in alcohol and slightly more manly to drink while watching football than say… white wine.

So when Farnum Hill sent me some other their orchard ciders to try, Drew and I danced a little jig of happiness. While Farnum Hill is available all over in New England, us west coasters can dream they will make it to our stores soon. Not sweet at all but elegantly fruity like champagne, we found it to be the best of the best.

Our other favorite dry ciders which are available in most areas (try larger wine stores, Whole Foods and well curated liquor stores).

Julian (regular and cherry bomb flavor)


Angry Orchard (the ginger flavor is kickin)

Original Sin




Dinner Party Cooking Lesson


Had SO much fun last night doing a dinner party cooking lesson with some friends. The whole group decided on the menu and the hostess bought all the ingredients. The rest of us brought wine, cutting boards and knives. I talked the group through the steps to make each dish and then we shared a beautiful meal together. A prefect summer evening, this what I always hoped my 30’s would be like.

a well set table

nectarine, heirloom tomato, prosciutto and burrata salad artfully arranged by Ian


and the spinach risotto stirred with lots of love.



Here is the whole menu:


Nectarine, prosciutto and tomato salad with burrata cheese and mint

Grilled Steak and arugula salad with pine nuts, Parmesan and lemon vinaigrette

Fresh Spinach-Pesto Risotto

Affogato- vanilla gelato topped with hot espresso

Hope you have a chance to gather your friends and do something similar before summer slips away into a busy fall.


Best Cookbooks for Beginners




In honor of tonight’s Opening Ceremony, I’d love your help declaring gold medalists in the cookbooks for amateurs category.  Here’s what I want to know- what book was most helpful when you were just getting started?

For me, it was the Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home, which had me hunting down quark (an oddly-named member of the farmer’s cheese family) and stirring curry-laden yogurt into sweet potatoes for an unexpectedly spicy and sweet one-dish dinner.  Sounds healthy and hippy-ish, right? It was yummy too and it got the job done.  Every recipe was a success (or a near-success.  Okra stew?  Not so much.) which gave me the confidence to start experimenting.

For easy entertaining, any Ina book will leave its competitors in the dust.  Don’t you agree?

What book first made you feel like a kitchen superstar?

xx Sarah


Inspiration: 4th of July


For the last 2 months we have had Independence Day on the brain as we plan for a BIG event for our clients. I always assumed that flag decor had it’s limitations in the world of kitsch but that is not necessarily the case. Red, white and blue can chic, can be elegant and can be playful all at the same time. I’m a convert. I may just start a collection of decorations of my own. All images from Pinterest

More amazing patriotic decor and food ideas from Sarah Simms of La Femme Epicure on Pinterest

How are you decorating for the 4th?



Simple Summer Dinner


My formula for a PERFECT summer dinner….

Summer Foods


Grilled chicken burgers topped with ripe tomatoes, avocado, pickle slices and crisp lettuce + chilled white or rose wine + a huge bowl of ripe cherries for dessert.


Hope this summer treats you right friends!






Garden Glamour


Don’t you love to see how other people entertain? Like what simple (or not so simple) apps they throw together and what flowers they like to buy? My pal Mary had the ladies over for a Sunday afternoon catch up session in her garden and she put out a beautiful spread.

Nibbles on a Missoni for Target platter and those amazing octopus plates are from Anthropoligie.

You can learn a lot about someone’s style by the way they entertain.



Summer BBQ Menus


Potato Chips with creme fraiche and caviar

Watermelon margaritas

Potato chips with creme fraiche and caviar
Crostini with prosciutto and peach & mozzarella and tomato

Pepper Jack Mac & Cheese
Romaine with radish and cucumber with Chive Vinaigrette
Grilled vegetable platter with warm vinaigrette
Heirloom Cornbread Muffins with Estate Honey Butter

Hamburgers, garden burgers and hot dogs with all the fixings (caramelized onions, pickled onions, bacon, avocado, cheeses, roasted tomatoes, lettuce and buns)
Barbecued ribs
Grilled BBQ Chicken
Rib eyes with chimichurri

Ice box key lime pie with whipped cream


Almond-Lime margaritas
Watermelon and mint water

Mexican baked crab dip with corn chips
Guacamole and fire-roasted salsa

Heirloom tomato salad with blue cheese vinaigrette and fresh basil
Grilled corn on the cob with lime butter
Summer squash & potato gratin
Cheesy Garlic Bread

BBQ pork ribs
Rib eyes with chimichurri and homemade steak sauce
Hamburger & Hot Dogs with all the fixings (caramelized onions, pickled onions, bacon, avocado, cheeses, roasted tomatoes, lettuce and buns)
Grilled Tequila Lime Chicken
BBQ Brown Sugar Salmon

Summer fruit pies and homemade vanilla ice cream


What’d we forget?


Summer Dinner Menu



Happy Friday, lovebugs!

Here’s what I served for an intimate dinner party last night:

Crostini with goat cheese, white peach and prosciutto

Crostini with fresh mozzarella and slow-roasted tomatoes

Mixed olives

Homemade lemon basil sodas

Arugula, strawberry and fennel salad with creamy basil vinaigrette

Spaghetti with pesto

Affogato– homemade Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream chocolate ice cream, cinnamon whipped cream, candied walnuts and hot espresso poured over the top.

The best part – aside from the company- was all the delicious summer fruit and bright green basil.

Have you tried Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream?  The recipe calls for a base of evaporated milk and corn syrup instead of an egg custard.  The result was a little sweeter and less creamy than a classic (for me, a David Lebovitz) ice cream.  In terms of texture and sweetness, it reminded me of frozen nutella.  Plain, I think it would be too much.  With the bitter espresso, however, it worked.

Anyone know if it tastes like that from the store? Might be just the excuse for a mail-order pint.

Have a wonderful weekend!


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