Category Archives: dinner party

Dinner Party Recap 2014

I know I’ve left you guys hanging a bit after blabbing on about the great dinner party of 2014 (aka: the very small little shindig at my house that was a big deal to me).

If you’re following along with my Instagram updates from our travels, then you might have a pretty clear idea of what’s been distracting me from writing this post.

HOWEVER.

I did promise that it was coming.

So, here ‘tis.

If you saw the dinner party inspiration board, then you already knew which direction I wanted to go, and I pretty much stuck with my original vision.

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In fact, I THINK I checked off every single item on my list except for the glitter place cards (although I did order gold glitter washi tape just in case).

But instead of place cards, I decided to go with something a little more—shall we say—organic.

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I made individual chicken pot pies (using my own recipe) for my guests and topped each with a monogrammed initial. We had some repeats, but since all the spouses were seated together, it was easy to figure out. (In case you’re wondering, I found those soup mugs at Wal-Mart for approximately $2.00 each, and even though they said nothing one way or the other about being oven safe, they worked like a charm).

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I’m not gonna lie—I  was a little proud of that particular touch.

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I also managed to throw together those faux flower DIY napkin ring holders that were part of the inspiration board by buying wired flowers (also from Wal-Mart) and simply clipping them to the right length with some pliers and then bending them into a ring shape. Not fancy but it did the trick and looked cute.

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Best of all? They’re completely reusable!

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The menu consisted of the pot pies (I made the filling several days in advance and then cooked them as the guests arrived so they would be nice and hot for dinnertime), salad, cheddar garlic biscuits (which I made—well, my friend, Amy, did mostly—from a mix and which were a huge hit), and the mini cheesecakes I showed you a few weeks back.

As we were setting out the final things before we ate, my friends, Liz and Jolinda, had the brilliant idea to scatter the cheesecakes over the table to make them within easy reach of guests when they were ready for dessert and to add more pops of color.

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I topped them with cherry, strawberry, and blueberry pie filling so everybody could have something they liked (hopefully).

I bought my flowers from Sam’s—one giant mixed bouquet for $15 and then one $6 bunch of mini-sunflowers.

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I arranged them in some pretty milk glass vases I already had and a few I borrowed from Jolinda (apparently, it takes a village to pull off a dinner party!).

Instead of ordering the striped black and white fabric  from my inspiration post (which would have been expensive and for which I had no specific use afterwards), I snapped up this cheap black and white polka dot wrapping paper that I spotted at Tar-jay one morning.

Shaun ran it down the middle of the tables for me, secured it with a bit of tape, and we called it good. 

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The effect was subtler than the stripes, but with everything else going on, I was happy to have something that took a backseat to the brighter elements.

OH!!!

I’ve forgotten the absolute best part of all!

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IT DIDN’T RAIN!

In fact, as a trickle of, “Praying it won’t rain for your party tonight” messages came in through IG, FB, and my email, I kept checking the weather and watching the chance of rain drop 10% at a time (it started at 60% with a high chance of evening thundershowers, of course) until finally, with about an hour to go before everyone arrived, it was down to 10%. The last time I checked it, right before we ate, it was at 0%.

Not that I needed Weather.com to tell me that when they skies were perfectly blue with puffy white clouds, and the sprinkles throughout the day had cooled the temperatures well below their usual for the end of May.

(Side note: one of my guests teased me that there were a lot of people in E. Texas who would be upset to know that I had prayed our usually very welcome chances of rain away; and then? The next day, when the chances of rain were slim, it DID rain. So, no harm done. :))

 

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Honestly, I was just so humbled that y’all cared enough to send me those messages in the first place and take time out of your busy day to pray for something as trivial as my dinner party. But I’ll tell you this: God heard you, and He was so gracious to give us such a beautiful evening with friends.

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Everyone seemed to have a lovely time (I know I did!), and all the food got eaten, and there was tons of laughter and chatting and just plain good fun.

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My gorgeous sister-in-law, Hannah, with my new niece, Halleli (who, I’m pretty sure is saying, “WHERE’S THE CHEESECAKE!?”).

Oh, and since I know that at least a few of you have been tapping your foot impatiently, thinking, “All well and good, Abbie, but which dress did you choose??”

Here’s your answer

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{I desperately want to climb into my computer screen and fix my frizzy I’ve-been-running-around-a-hot-kitchen hair}

I went with Number 4, which, admittedly, was my favorite all along and which was the landslide winner of the poll as well.

At the last second, I threw on that turquoise necklace and bracelet because the gold necklace and earrings felt too fancy, and I’m happy with the effect.

Everybody else took advantage of the opportunity to gussy up a bit as well. Here are all the ladies, looking pretty and with a remarkably small amount of food on our fronts (yay, us!).

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Since we have our big room upstairs, I got my trusty babysitter, Sage, to come watch kids for anyone that needed childcare since I didn’t want that to be a hindrance to being able to come. I love this shot of my friend Lindsay’s little girl, Evy, streaking across the patio after the dinner was over and done.

IMG_1554  FREEEEEEEDOM!

As you might be able to tell, everything was a success, fun was had by all, and, since I kept things fairly simple, I didn’t feel like I’d been hit by a Mack truck when all was said and done.

Who knows? We may only wait ONE year before we do this again!

And now, I’m off to explore somewhere wonderful and new. I hope y’all have a fantastic Monday!

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Dinner Dress Decisions (Wanna help?)

So sorry to post so little this week. Tomorrow’s dinner party has me hopping, plus lots of other fun last-week-of-school craziness, which has translated into several posts started but never finished (clearly, this one almost didn’t make it, considering the 2 PM post time). I’ll be back on a regular schedule next week, but for now, I’m asking for your help again (shocker!).

Two years ago, when we hosted our first Summer Dinner Party, I surveyed you guys to ask which dress I should wear to the party.

Ultimately, I ended up with Option E, none of the above. But that was mostly because each of the dresses I was considering had something that made it slightly less than ideal for a 24-weeks-pregnant twin belly. Since I don’t have to worry about that this time, I was able to shop my own closet with freedom (I have neither the time nor the need to go buy something specifically for this party), and I ended up pulling out several dresses that I haven’t worn in ages (and two that I never have), accessorizing them, and then deciding that I would, once again, ask you guys to share your expert opinion on which one would be best suited for this year’s party.

If you weren’t here last time or haven’t seen the inspiration board for party, then just know that the idea here is relaxed elegance. I want to look nice, but not stuffy. Fancier than usual, but still relaxed.

Also, just in case you were wondering or can’t tell from the way the dresses lie on the hanger, none of them have any fit issues for me either in size or modesty. So, that’s  not a consideration.

So, without further ado, I give you…

1. The Earth Mother

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I’ve had this pretty maxi for years (I think I got it on clearance from Beall’s for about $12) and have worn it everywhere from church (with a jeans jacket) to a wedding.

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I really like how much the watercolor heels dress it up. And since the collar is already decorative, I’d throw on a pair of pretty dangly earrings and call it good.

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2. The Flower Girl

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I never got to wear this E-Shakti dress that was supposed to be my Easter frock last year (we all got sick and didn’t go to church), but I really like it paired with this fun, Anthro-esque necklace from F21 and my wedding shoes.

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3. Rainbow Bright

This one definitely plays to my love of color, and I especially like the color-blocking, with the white at the top.

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I’d pair this one with my awesome birthday shoes that Mandy got me, a pair of gorgeous funky earrings my MIL gave me, and a Wal-Mart bangle.

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4. The Garden Party

I scored this dress from the J. Crew outlet for $35 (regularly $170) on our trip to New Braunfels last year, but I have to yet to find the right occasion for wearing it (isn’t there something exhilarating about going in your closet and pulling something out with the tags still on?).

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I love the embroidery and the pretty pom-pom details at the hem.

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I think I’d keep my accessories super-simple with a pair of white heeled sandals and some vintage jewelry.

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And there you have it. Four different dresses with four very unique styles.

Do you have favorite? Which one do you think I should wear tomorrow? I’d love it if you weighed in!

P.S. I know this is trivial, but if you think of it, could you pray that it doesn’t rain us out tomorrow? I reeeeeeeeeally want to eat out on our patio, but it’s been thunder-storming on and off all week, and the highest chances of evening showers are—of course—forecast for tomorrow night.

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