Thanksgiving Week

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Happy Thanksgiving week!  Jake and I took the red eye to New Orleans on Monday night to be here with his family for the holiday and it’s a little different than what we normally do, but I’m happy to be in such an amazing city with loved ones.  I just wanted to pass along the Fall / Winter Entertaining Guide I put together for ONEHOPE in case you were looking for any more recipe ideas for tomorrow.  There are definitely some yummy ones in there so check it out.  All of the images from that shoot can be seen here so be sure to visit there for some more decor tips and ideas.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Meg

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Images by Brian Tropiano.

Fall Entertaining

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Hip hip hooray!  It’s October 1st and I’m so excited to finally get to share the shoot I styled for ONEHOPE’s 2014 Fall Entertaining Guide perfectly captured by Brian Tropiano Photography. At work, I feel like we’re always flying by the seat of our pants and putting together content like this ahead of time has been a struggle.  This year, however, we managed to stay ahead of the game and shot everything in July to use for the remainder of the year.  Trying to determine what is going to be “in” before anything holiday related is even advertised or released in store is tough so instead I just decided to stick with my gut and curate items and elements that I really, truly love.  I wanted the room to feel like a forest so I incorporated a lot of wood textures, ferns, (faux) antlers, geodes and quartz tea lights down the center of the table.  On the wood backdrop behind the wine, was a wreath with an antler to tie the look together with an additional leather fern garland with bistro lights strung above the table.  We brainstormed for days on what to do instead of traditional place cards before we finally decided on stones – gold calligraphy on stones – to keep with the forest theme while adding a touch of elegance to each setting.  The overall messaging behind the day was “Hope, Thanks and Dreams” so Beth hand crafted an amazing dream catcher where guests’ thanks, hopes for the future and dreams were shared and attached with tiny clothes pins.  Menus were printed on archival matte paper with hope, dream or thanks hand inscribed on the top and florals were kept to a minimum with wooden vessels and a casual/handpicked mixture of dahlias, garden roses, viburnum berries, artichokes and greens.

Since the entire purpose of the shoot was to show how to integrate wine into your fall, Thanksgiving or holiday gathering, the day wouldn’t have been complete without some absolutely delicious and gorgeous fare crafted by 24 Carrots Catering.  24 Carrots is one of the biggest catering companies in the business and their food has never, ever disappointed at any event I’ve ever attended.  I was so impressed that they took our direction (a classic Thanksgiving meal) and creatively modernized it a bit while still staying in theme.  For example, I loved the juxtaposition of a modern beet dish served on a raw wood platter that you’ll see below.  Lastly, each of their dishes paired perfectly with one or more of our wines so find pairing suggestions and a few wonderful recipes below!  CHEERS!

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DECOR TIP:  Chairs can make or break a look.  This shoot took place in our conference room and it’s usually filled with white task chairs that are functional for work, but we opted to replace them for this shoot and I’m so happy we did.  Using these metal industrial chairs from Found Rentals kept the look casual, but also uniform, which I loved.

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DECOR TIP:  When designing a table on a budget, not only are garlands beautiful and always on trend, but they’re also the best bang for your buck. Seeded eucalyptus, lemon leaf, leather fern and bay leaf are all great options to consider.  Contact a flower mart or district in your area for bids, but depending on the greens you go with, garlands can run as little as $2.50-$7.00 per foot!

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DECOR TIP:  Menus aren’t always necessary, but they really add to a place setting and are so simple to create.  We whipped this one up Illustrator (but can easily be replicated in MS Word), printed it on nice paper and applied it to a piece of recycled kraft/corrugate paper that we picked up at Michael’s to tie in with the rest of the theme.  Menus are not only great for making pairing suggestions, but they are also the perfect place to tie in your theme or messaging of the evening.  Beth hand wrote thanks, hope or dream at the top of each menu to reiterate why we were all gathered that day.

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DELICIOUS Sauvignon Blanc can be found here.

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Fall-Entertaining-Turkey-2PAIRING NOTES:  Pinot Noir and Turkey are a natural pairing.  The savory herbs and spices on the roasted turkey are complimented by the spice-infused influences of the French oak in our Pinot Noir.

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DECOR TIP:  Since turkey is usually the main food element during Thanksgiving meals, I love that 24 Carrots used this legged platter to give it some height.  Pieces like this are readily available at Cost Plus, Pottery Barn or can be rented for the day from Found Rentals.Fall-Entertaining-Dream-Catcher

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PAIRING NOTES:  The creamy texture and toasted oak notes of our Santa Barbara Reserve Chardonnay pair perfectly with the rich butter and cheddar cheese of this twice baked potato.

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PAIRING NOTES:  Eggs and Pinot Noir are a guilty pleasure not to be missed and Pinot is the perfect partner in crime for ham.

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PAIRING NOTES (recipe below): The rich fruit and lively spice of our Pinot Noir adds some brightness to the earthy quality of these savory vegetables.

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Thyme Infused Roasted Root Vegetables by 24 Carrots Catering

Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients

2 lbs mixed root vegetables (we use baby carrots, the smallest parsnips you can find and a mix of yellow and red beets)
Olive oil, to taste
Salt + pepper, to taste

Balsamic Thyme Vinaigrette Ingredients

2 tablespoons olive oil
6 tablespoons thyme minced
2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons minced parsley
1 teaspoon cumin, toasted and ground
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons miso paste

Directions

Gently peel the carrots and parsnips. Leave them whole if they are all the same size – if not, chop the larger veggies to equal the size of the smaller ones. Peel and chop the beets into rough cubes, about 1-inch all around.

Place all the vegetables onto a baking sheet. Season with salt and pepper and drizzle lightly with olive oil. Place in a 400°F degree oven and bake for about 20-25 minutes, shaking them periodically for even cooking. Remove from oven when soft, slightly brown and caramelized.

Meanwhile, prepare the balsamic thyme vinaigrette. Place all the ingredients aside from the oil in a mixing bowl. Drizzle in the oil while whisking to combine. Season to taste.

Drizzle dressing all over the vegetables to coat, return to the oven and caramelize for five more minutes.

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PAIRING NOTES: The savory, meaty essence of the sausage pairs perfectly with spicy and herbal characteristics of our Zinfandel.

Apple Sage Cornbread Stuffing by 24 Carrots Catering

Yield: 6 to 8 servings

Ingredients

Cornbread, recipe follows
10 slices oven-dried country white bread
8 tablespoons butter
2 cups celery, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
2 granny smith apples ¼ inch, diced
1 lb apple sausage
7 cups chicken stock
1 cup Heavy cream
1 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons sage
1 tablespoon thyme
5 eggs, beaten

Cornbread Ingredients

1 cup self-rising cornmeal
1/2 cup self-rising flour
3/4 cup buttermilk
2 eggs
2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F

In a large bowl, combine crumbled cornbread, dried white bread slices and set aside.

Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the sausage and brown, then add the celery, onions and apples and cook until transparent, approximately 5 to 10 minutes.

Pour the mixture over cornbread mixture. Add the stock and cream, mix well, taste, and add salt, pepper to taste, sage, and thyme.

Add beaten eggs and mix well. Pour mixture into a greased pan and bake until dressing is cooked through, about 45 minutes. Serve with turkey as a side dish.

Cornbread Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Combine all ingredients and mix well. Pour batter into a greased shallow baking dish. Bake for approximately 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool.

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Cranberry Lemon Herb Butter by 24 Carrots Catering

Ingredients

1/4 cup mixed herbs, such as flat-leaf parsley, chervil, tarragon, and chives, chopped
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup cranberries, dried
1 teaspoon cranberry sauce
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest

Directions

Chop cranberries then add herbs on a work surface. Add butter cranberry sauce and lemon zest. Finely chop together until well combined. Season with salt.

Transfer to a sheet of parchment paper, placing on edge closest to you. Fold paper over and roll into a cylinder, twisting the ends; wrap airtight in foil. Chill until solid.

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DECOR TIP:  Use as many potted plants as possible to achieve your look.  Mixing in small potted ferns, rosemary plants or succulents to your tablescape will keep the look interesting and will also make great favors to your guests.  While fresh cut flowers are always beautiful, they’ll also perish a few days later while a potted plant will flourish and will serve as a happy reminder of your gathering with loved ones.  While not for everyone, trees also make a huge statement.  The cedar tree pictured behind me in the photo below was purchased from a local nursery for $20!  Fall-Entertaining-Beets-3

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PAIRING NOTES: The earthy tones of the beets and the tartness of the goat cheese are complemented by the lush, dark berry fruit of our Cabernet Sauvignon.

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PAIRING NOTES: The candied red fruit characteristics and the bright acidity of our Merlot help cut through some of the richness of this luxurious pie.  The bright acidity and zesty citrus notes of our Sparkling Brut would be a fantastic match for the rich, sweet character of the pie.

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DECOR TIP:  To keep your look interesting and “collected” opt for pieces that still fit your aesthetic, but aren’t too “matchy matchy”.  I love this vintage galvanized pie/cake stand 24 Carrots used for their Pecan Pie.  That tiny hint of metal tied in perfectly with the iron chairs we selected from Found Rentals.

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Photography: Brian Tropiano Photography
Calligraphy & Dream Catcher: Beth Phillips
Rentals: Found Rentals
Linen: La Tavola
Styling, Florals & Decor: Yours truly :-)

First Weekend of Fall

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Happy Monday!  I hope you had a wonderful first weekend of fall!  This was actually our first cooler weekend in LA and I was thrilled to not be scorching for once!  I worked on a few projects around our place, installed a new screen door (!!!) and had a pretty mellow two days to play catchup after coming back from Michigan last week.  This week, I can’t wait to share a few projects that I’ve been working on!  Get ready for some exciting stuff and hopefully a few entertaining tricks/decor to inspire your next fall party.

PS: How cozy does that living space look?  I love that it’s still minimalist with lots of warm textures – perfect for fall :-)

 

Good things come…

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…hopefully!  Right?!  After a ton of CAD, a glass of wine and taking a leap of faith by moving some desks around at the office last night, I’ve come to realize that my original configuration for the third floor of our space just isn’t going to cut it.  WORST.  And after waking up at 2:30 this morning with a light bulb moment, trying it in CAD and seeing the new idea successfully come together (YES!), I’m too excited to go back to sleep.  So, indeed – if good things could please come to those who are up late, that would be fantastic ;-)

Hope you have a great day and more updates to come!  xo

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Apartment 34 – Office Inspiration

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At work, we’re growing crazy fast right now, which is awesome, but it also means that we’re experiencing some growing pains – space being one of them.  Our LA office is BEAUTIFUL architecturally with three floors, tons of natural light and an amazing screened in patio/conference room/studio, (all white!) kitchen and glass executive office.  What I’m not thrilled with though, is our serious lack of storage.  We have 1 (ONE!) 6×7′ “closet” space downstairs that also houses all of our utilities including our electrical box and we therefore can’t store ANYTHING within 36″ of it or it’s deemed a fire hazard.  We’re also not allowed to build out a storage unit under our stairs unless we install a sprinkler system because storing anything “combustable” (did you know that IKEA furniture is a “combustable”?!) under stairs is prohibited.  EFF!

That being said, we’re now cramming way too much stuff and way too many people on the third floor of our office which is where everyone seems to prefer sitting.  It’s also where our marketing team needs to be and almost our entire LA office is comprised of marketing people so we have to figure out a way to make it work.  Over the course of the next week, we’ll be re-arranging our current furniture and getting some new pieces to hopefully configure everyone comfortably and in a space they can love :-)  Until now, I’ve been totally stumped, but the Apartment 34 office reveal came at just the right time and has me really excited.  I mean, how beautiful is this space?!  Super light and airy, but with just enough color and warmth without feeling busy or overwhelming to work from.  I’m feeling totally inspired to hop on CAD and figure this whole thing out.  Take a look at some of my favorites shots below.

All images by Aubrie Pick on VSCO film for Apartment 34.

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Missing Michigan

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For whatever reason, around this time of the year, I get really nostalgic for Michigan.  I will stand firmly next to the claim that there is no place more beautiful in the summertime and will forever miss the Mitten during the warmest months of the year.  Last week in LA we had rain (rain!) in the summer which is so rare.  I honestly can not remember the last time we had rain in July or August and it’s been at least 5 months since I’ve seen a drop fall in our little beach town.  Hearing thunder made me ache to the core for home in all of its summer lush with endless rolling hills of emerald green.  If you follow Sarah Sherman Samuel of Smitten Studio, you already know of her cabin project on the shores of Lake Michigan.  If you don’t, prepare to fall in love.  Anytime she posts about Michigan, I get so homesick yet excited about the thought of Jake and I maybe having our own cabin one day in my home state.  Regardless of whether that ever happens, I’ll still look to her little cabin renovation for inspiration for my own home in the future.

PS:  These are just a few favorites from Smitten Studio.  Sarah’s entire renovation process is INSANE and you have to check it out here.  Her line of products is pretty amazing too and can be found here.

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#ONEHOPEHoliday / Snippets from last week…

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Happy, happy Monday!  I hope your week is off to a wonderful start!  Last Wednesday we had our “Christmas in July” / ONEHOPE Holiday shoot for ONEHOPE and the days leading up to it were an absolute blur.  From planning to flower arranging and driving all over LA to pick up rentals, it was a chaotic week!  While I’m glad to have the stress of it behind me, seeing everything come together for just the few hours of shooting sometimes doesn’t feel like enough.  Our table scape ended up being so beautiful that I couldn’t bear the thought of tearing it apart for a few days… even if it meant we had some wilted dahlias and crispy ferns as eye sores for Thursday and Friday.  If you follow me on Instagram, I’m sure you’ve already seen a few of these, but I just wanted to pass along some snippets of last week.  Can’t wait to share the professional images (hopefully this week) as well as some of the inspiration behind the day :-)

Cheers!

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Wine Wednesday | Radiant Orchid Granita

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Happy #WineWednesday! You know those projects that come across your desk and you just cringe at the thought of having to tackle them?  This one was it for me. I honestly can not remember being so stuck creatively – ever. When Pantone announced its color of the year for 2014, a part of me died inside. To go from Emerald Green (hello, best color EVER), to a bright purple hue inspired by my least favorite flower on the planet, seriously bummed me out. Fast forward a few weeks into 2014 and our PR firm was asking for us to whip up some sort of Radiant Orchid concoction. WHY.

I spent forever trying to figure out a way to make this happen.  I knew whatever wine we used needed to be virtually colorless (Sparkling) and that there needed to be some sort of mixer that was a borderline unnatural shade of purple to make the entire look come together.  I can’t say I’ve ever tested, tried and mixed so many ingredients in my life to make it happen, but it finally worked and I was floored with the results.  Of course the primary ingredient ended up being one simple, pretty natural thing – Blueberry Lemonade.  Seriously?  After all of that?!

You know how they say your greatest challenges often wind up being your biggest rewards?  This one was it.  I could not be happier with how it turned out.  Thank you, amazing PR firm for challenging me to think outside of the box… you girls absolutely rock :-)

Check out a few of my favorite outtakes from the shoot and the full recipe below.  Cheers!!!

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Prep: 5 minutes
Total time: 3-6 hours

Serves: 8-10 (depending on glass size)

Ingredients
1 (750ml) bottle of ONEHOPE Sparkling Wine
1 liter blueberry lemonade

Directions
1) Pour blueberry lemonade into an 8″ x 8″ glass baking dish and freeze for 1-2 hours.
2) Carefully remove freezing lemonade from freezer. Using a fork, scrape the mixture until the consistency is slushy throughout (lemonade will be more frozen toward the outside edges of the dish when you start).
3) Put the mixture back in the freezer for 1-2 hours and repeat two more times. Scraping the mixture prevents it from freezing into a solid brick of ice and maintains the slushy, icy consistency that is so delicious about a granita :-)
4) Scoop granita mixture into glasses (we used champagne coups) and top with ONEHOPE Sparkling wine. Cheers!

DIY Fringe Backdrop

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I LOVE a solid DIY with pretty turn-key results and this one is just that!  When our EVP of Sales, Tiffany, asked for my help throwing her adorable little girl’s 1st birthday party, I knew we were going to have some fun :-)  This was the perfect opportunity for us to debut our Mimosa Bar set (Shhh! Details coming soon!) and I was dying to create a cool backdrop that we could shoot everything up against.  This entire project took about 3 hours from Home Depot run to finish so I’m thrilled with what we were able to create in such a short amount of time.

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Supplies

Tissue paper in assorted colors
Panel Board
2- 2×4’s (8ft.)
Drill
Screws + Bolts (I used 2″)
Staple Gun + Staples (light duty)
Measuring tape
Paper chopper

Instructions

Before you begin your backdrop, determine how large it needs to be.  We wanted ours to be 8′ tall and to line up with the entire width of Tiffany’s buffet table (~60″).  Knowing that, I purchased 2 pieces of panel board (as one wouldn’t be big enough to cover the entire surface area between the top of the 8′ 2×4’s and the top of her buffet (~5′-6″).  I had the panel board cut to size at Home Depot and we were ready to go!

1.  Once your supplies are home, lay out the panel board and the 2×4’s and make sure the panel board is square with the legs.

2.  Drill large enough holes through the 2×4’s and into the panel board for your screws to slip into, but don’t attach the legs yet (that will be your last step).

3.  Remove the legs from your workspace to get them out of the way and determine how thick you want each row of fringe to be.  We decided that we wanted each layer of fringe to be about 8″ tall which perfectly worked out to be 1 piece of tissue paper folded long ways (hotdog style).  We didn’t want to be able to see the wood panel board when the fringe blew, so we layered each row first.  Starting at the BOTTOM of your board, fold 1 piece of tissue paper in half (so that you have two layers and staple it in place).  It might take 2-3 pieces of tissue to make it all the way across your panel board.  Don’t worry about the seams – no one will ever see them once you have covered up this layer with fringe :-)

4.  Create your fringe layer and apply.  To create the fringe, we took 2 sheets of tissue paper, folded them hotdog style (so that we had 4 layers of tissue) and using the paper chopper, we sliced the paper in 1″ sections.  Be sure to stop slicing about 1-2″ from the crease.   This was the most time intensive part of the project.  However, using a paper chopper will make the process so much faster and will make your fringe even and much more professional looking ;-)  Apply your fringe with a staple gun (across the top along the crease) and repeat all the way across.

5.  Once you have applied your first row of fringe, repeat steps 3 and 4.  Just a little tip… we thought it looked best if we covered up the top inch or so of the previous layer of fringe with our next color of tissue (see picture for detail).  That way, the transitions aren’t so harsh between colors and you cover up any inconsistencies along the top (below the crease) with the cuts you did to create the fringe.

6.  When you’re ready, carefully stand your panel board up with another person.  Be careful not to step on any fringe… it will tear off SO easily!  It might be easiest to lift your board slightly and slide the legs underneath to attach them.  Either way, just be careful not to tear or crease any of your pretty fringe.

Put your backdrop into place and….voila!!!  I can’t wait to share the images from the full party!  We were covered by Style Me Pretty Living and the feature is the absolute cutest!

PS:  The Mimosa Bar in the pictures can be purchased here, but more on that later too :-)  xo

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Sparkle and Hearts

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I’m so excited about a big project I just wrapped up for work!  Our limited edition All You Need is Love (and Wine) gift set is available exclusively for Valentine’s Day!  The bottle of reserve North Coast Pinot Noir is covered in ruby red glitter and is paired with hands down the best dark chocolate toffee on the planet, B.Toffee.  To keep things romantic, a 3 wick Goji Tarocco Orange scented candle by Voluspa is also included and smells SO good, you guys!  Plus, how pretty is this all put together?!  I absolutely love it!

Being that we’re supporting the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women campaign during the month of February, we’ve committed to donating enough per package to educate 50 women on heart disease prevention.  Heart disease causes 1 in 3 women’s deaths, killing approximately one woman every minute.  CAN YOU BELIEVE THAT?!  1 in 31 women dies of breast cancer, while 1 in 3 dies of heart disease.  As a woman with heart disease in my family, I was floored when I heard those statistics and I’m thrilled to be working with such an amazing organization.  Today is the last day for east coasters to order and guarantee delivery by Valentine’s Day so be sure to head on over here to check  it out (and enter GORED at checkout for 30% off).  I’m swooning over the rest of the gorgeous images from this shoot with Lisa from L Marie Photography, but can’t share any more until they’re published.  I’ll be sure to post some more as soon as I can and just wanted to pass along some sneak peeks!

With love (and glitter),

Meg