I’m so excited to share this post with you. It’s been my project for the last couple of weeks and I’m so dang giggly to be able to unveil the magic of
Thanksgiving Friendsgiving this year.
It is so very picture heavy but picture worthy (!!) thanks to my fancy pants friend Philip, who brought his very big camera! Plus KL, our photography expert, who kept us entertained all night and taught Philip about ISOs and mirrors and other things that kinda went over my head. 🙂
Big love also goes out to the other Rachel, who helped me capture so many of these photos. And sweet Rean, who brought sanity and pretty by helping me design some seriously detailed placecards and food tags.
It was an incredible night of laughter, thanksgiving, and sharing a meal with some of my favorite people in the world.
Our theme this year was “A Thank-full Harvest”. What does that really mean? I have no idea. It just sounded good. 🙂
I love putting out decor with a story and this little globe holds a special place in my heart. You might have read the story already, but it’s the one my fairy godmother and Uncle Duain surprised me with.
Here’s a budget-friendly tip on decor:
Invest in some hurricane jars, and you can use and reuse them for all the holidays!
Christmas – ornaments or candy canes
Easter – dyed eggs or flowers
Deepavali – dried spices or incense burners
Or you can also use it as candy jars for a treat table!
There are so many options depending on what you are celebrating and is convenient. Just tie it off with a pretty ribbon in coordinating colors and it is simple, effortless, awesome!
when I am lazy just because, I’ll put some floating candles or block candles and it works really well too!
Or maybe even mini pumpkins for fall? 🙂
Sometimes, you can also reuse other decor items you have.
These bird nests were actually from an Easter collection that I picked up this summer from Pier 1 in their clearance bin! SCORE!
The little gold flowers and leafs are actually the kind you buy in bulk in the floral department, I just cut off the stems and managed to yield a lot for a little! 🙂
Or you can also use last year’s decor! Heh.
I printed out these banners (printable here!) to hang in our dining room last year. Well, I decided to hang it in our entry way this year and the “thanks” part was too short so I went with my grammatically incorrect “give thanksgiving” and I’m okay with it. Aesthetics > Grammar ? 😛
CIRCLE OF NO JUDGEMENT YO.
I like to make everything from scratch because I’m a little nutty like that. The nice thing is that I can usually space out the cooking over a couple of days and this Apple Cranberry Relish keeps really well in the fridge.
I usually make a double-batch and save a jar for Christmas dinner too!
Oh look, a healthy option next to the buttaahhhhh totally cancels it out right? 😛
Broccoli Cheese Casserole (on the left) is my favorite and the stuffing (on the right) is J’s favorite. We meet in the middle at Green Bean Casserole.
How this “make from scratch” crap really started was because one year, I could not for the life of me find “French Fried Onions”.
And it would be a dang tragedy to have Thanksgiving without green bean casserole and crunchy French Fried Onions right?
So other than special ordering them to be air flown over for Thanksgiving (heh.), my friend Google taught me how to make them and it is surprisingly so damn easy.
Slice onions -> soak in milk -> dredge in flour w seasoned salt mixed in -> fry -> THAT’S IT!
( p/s If you’re making it ahead, store it in a air-tight container in the fridge and it crispens back up when you stick the casserole in the oven to warm up.)
I brought back a jar of Speculoos bits from Paris for dessert!
I made two because we have Pecan Pie monsters.
My mama is a little sad that we forgot to take a photo of the spread with the whole turkey like we do every year. Oops!
I took this while it was resting then carved it up before we took pictures! I’m sorry mama, next year, next year we’ll have a great photo I promise. 🙂
The boys checking out and laying claim on their servings.
I didn’t print out a menu this year but this is what we had:
(Let’s just pretend it’s in a nice little frame on fancy paper! 🙂 )
– Cheddar Bacon Crack Dip
– Crudites, Breadsticks, and Crackers
– Spicy Rosemary Nuts
– Roasted Turkey
– Mashed Baby Red Potatoes
– Sage Herb Gravy
– Garlic Thyme Squash & Carrots with Sea Salt
– Green Bean Casserole with Cremini Mushrooms
– Broccoli Cheese Casserole with Mixed Grains
– Candied Yams
– Traditional Baguette Stuffing
– Fruit Salad with Mint Leaves
– Cranberry Apple Relish
– Onion Bread Rolls
– Speculoos Pumpkin Trifle
– Pecan Pie
– Vanilla Bean Whipped Cream and Ice-Cream
Here is another budget-friendly decor hack!
I usually tie our chairs with some ribbon and something that coordinates with our theme.
This year I used some glitter leaf pick. They’re technically for Christmas and they technically go on your tree. Sorry about the metal end sticking out, I try to “hide” it under the ribbon but sometimes it pops out. Oops!
I have also done ornaments for christmas, peacock feathers for a Bollywood themed party, a string of lucky coins or just pretty ribbon in your theme colors. It is fast and really brings it all together.
I do the same thing on our chandeliers too. Just tie up some ribbon or hang coordinating ornaments. For our Vintage Chinese Tea Ceremony I did little lanterns and filled the “arms” with red paper pom-poms.
I love that moment when just before your guests arrive, the candles get lit up and you get to see it all really come together. My heart kinda explodes at that moment and I think, yes, it was worth it and I can’t wait to share it with my bffs!
I tried to go back to the store I bought the mini pumpkins last year but all they had were pears. So pears it was. 🙂
The lace candle holders are also really easy to make. Just hot glue some lace and bling to cheap candle holders (I got mine from Ikea!) and it’s instant pretty. The hardest part is not trying to burn your fingers 17000 times but that might just be me.
(My husband said probably yes…with love)
Awesome Rean made these place cards to go with our place setting!
You ARE loved!
Our favors were chocolate acorns made from Hershey Kisses and Mini Nilla Wafers “glued” together with some orange icing.
I sat them in mini gold foil cupcake sleeves. Technically, the recipe calls for a butterscotch chip “top” but I saved those for our trifle instead because the chocolate sat better without.
More chair love.
We had two dining tables set up so this was the other “look”.
Mercury glasses, gold leaves, lace doilies, and I picked up a bag of mixed nuts at the store for this little candy jar.
Use round placemats to fit more people on a table!
And don’t stress if your chairs don’t match. It’s the love that’s important.
From one OCD girl to another.
Just to keep it real and to remind you NOT to compare my highlight reel with your real life reel. I’m no Martha Stewart. This is what my sea salt caramel apple bites looked like the day before.
It was an epic sloppy disaster that is only hilarious and can be looked with love days after.
I took this picture to remind myself not to sweat the small stuff.
I am a perfectionist, so it drives me all kinds of batty when I fall short of my expectations. I want a re-do to make it better. I should have done this, this wasn’t good enough, I forgot to do this, I screwed up that.
Sometimes you get dealt a shitty hand and sometimes you just screw up.
And that’s okay.
The best thing that ever happened to me is J. And before that, I had my parents and this amazing community.
Because they remind me when I’ve stood at the stove for three hours trying to make caramel stick to freaking apples that my little is good enough. That I should extend myself the same grace and acceptance that I would give to anyone else.
And that’s the biggest humble pie to swallow…that sister really needs to practice what she’s preaching.
It’s a constant lesson that I am learning and relearning and it was taught to me again this Thanksgiving.
As I settled into my chair, enjoying my friends and the laughter, I took a moment to soak it all in and smiled.
This is the heart of a party, whether small or large, whether fancy or real, it’s about gathering with the people you love and love you back and celebrating the good.
And there is always so so much good.
My thanksgiving partner-elf-in-crime quietly lighting up the candles, pouring wine, making mimosas, speaking my love language and taking one for the team.
I hope you had a really really good and special and awesome Thanksgiving. And as we start heading into Christmas, whether you feel Buddy the Elf or the Grinch bubbling out, I hope you remember to celebrate your little wins.
Because oh my, is your little and not good enough so worth celebrating.
P/s I also wrote out the recipe for this fail-proof dip I shared on my page (follow me!) the other day. It is perfect bacon goodness for a pity party for one or a loud fun party with the people you love. I hope you choose option B.
Casseroles, pear “pumpkins”, and 17lb turkeys,
“In all things, give thanks.”
1 Thessalonians 5:18