This year has been one for the books...I mean I could never have imagined the state of the world. Pandemic and politics...2 things I never ever worried or thought about, but they are alive and well as we go into the holidays.
Thanksgiving has always been "my holiday". I feel I have become an "expert" at Thanksgiving....I'm not pulling my arm out patting myself (lol)...I have just had ALOT of practice on this one.
I know... I know many people have hosted for years.
I have for 39 years to be exact.
I took it upon myself at 17 years old to make duck a la orange for 4 of us. I think it was ok, but never made that recipe again. I did go on to host it every year and started to make an apricot glazed turkey from Bon Appetite. I guess it was about 10 years later I started catering and I met a new client who asked me to do their dinner. I think that is when I started my "professional Thanksgiving expertise".
The clients liked it, they hired me again....18 more times:)
Pumpkin muffins have been a staple for the last 20 years for sure!
In the years that followed those first few as a caterer, I had a system- I planned in advance, shopped for almost everything by the Monday before. Cooked Monday - Wednesday, and set the tables on Tuesday for myself and them.
I basically made whatever I needed to for the clients and just added more, and more and more. The menu never changed a whole lot, main course was always classic favorites.
This is me below working on sweet potatoes and cornbread dressing.
I'm sure those apples were headed for apple pie.
It's my best friends, favorite. While we haven't had the holidays together in quite a while I make it in her honor!
As my kids got older and things & life's circumstances changed too- I decided to host "Twas the night before Thanksgiving" and it became a thing. Everyone started to look forward to it- it was 50 people for the last few years! It actually made it easier on me not to try to be at the client until they sat at dinner and then rush back to my own house.
One of our "night before"'s
So one thing led to another and here we ended up at holiday time. The pandemic has obviously changed everything 100%. The limit for entertaining at home is 10 people.
Another completely crazy set of circumstances unrelated to the pandemic for me was that our house had literally just been listed for sale (unrelated to the virus) we thought we would not sell it for a year or so- but, completely related to the pandemic it sold SO QUICK. With children on both coast and finding winter approaching, my boyfriend and I decided to completely pack up and go to the west coast for the winter.
Not only would I not have all my normal home furnishings I would be having Thanksgiving in 70 degree weather.
A very new novelty for me after 30 years in New York.
I worked hard getting ready to leave and styled and shot quite a few fall tables before leaving NY. This was the perfect fall holiday table with luscious warm tones. The Herend china Chinese Bouquet in rust was just beautiful against the sage green placemats from Rebecca Udall. I paired them with soft linen napkins and my favorite napkin rings from Kim Seybert.
This got me thinking that how the holiday differs from coast to coast, but I really wanted to share more ideas for entertaining at home. I went to see a friend, Ed Libby, in West Hollywood. He's an amazing event designer and he has a beautiful home in the hills.
He very graciously let me take over his house for an afternoon so I could style a few tables to share with you as his setting is just amazing. Look below at this classic Herend set that takes on a dash of Hollywood glamour here with Ed's own crystal and beautiful florals. I paired them with a touch or persimmon from these beautiful scallopped edge napkins from Rebecca Udall.
While I absolutely loved the whole look, I was determined to show how something classic and refined can still work without feeling fussy. My space and home accessories I have in my temporary space are limited but I am lucky enough to have an "al fresco" setting even if it is an apartment. I took the same Rothschild bird pattern and turned it just a bit rustic chic. My favorite napkins from Kim Seybert are "dip dye". I have always loved an ombre or tie dye look and these in taupe and grey are so chic. Paired with black pressed leather placemats, from Kim Seybert also, and rustic flatware. It took on a whole new approach to Thanksgiving at home. Just tweaking your accessories makes a complete change, but investing in pieces you love gives you such longevity with only minor changes!
This Thanksgiving may be much smaller but making it special is more important than ever.
An entire turkey seemed kinda crazy for just a couple of people.
With smaller crowds the benefit is to make something you can't usually offer a big crowd.
I still wanted it to be special so I made placecards and menu cards.
These from Gunsteens Lettering. were the perfect accent to this rustic chic look.
I actually felt that one night just us solo was making me sad and I couldn't possibly eat all the recipes I tried in one night- so I actually spaced Thanksgiving out over 2 days!
On another night I just tweaked the table with a different placecard I found on Etsy.
That huge turkey was not happening so I did a delicious roast chicken for dinner the night before Thanksgiving.
No matter where or how small your table was I hope you had am amazing day and the candles burned bright!