LIBBY LIVING COLORFULLY

Entertaining

How To: Make a No-Brainer Cocktail

Food, How To, EntertainingLibby RasmussenComment

So in spite my bar cart being one of my favorite pieces of furniture in my home, I tend to keep a pretty light stock of alcohol.  And if it's one thing I've learned about hosting, it's that your guests are rarely there when you have perfect flowers blooming, or the right cocktail garnishes and fixings.  So, enter the solution, and one-stop-wonders of the two ingredient cocktail.
Yes, two. 

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So, maybe you're like me and aren't always fully stocked up on well, the good stuff.  Here are a few tips to remember for the future when you're scrambling to put something together. Try to always have a bottle of champagne. Why? Because when you're lacking in the booze department, spritzers, Bellinis, mimosas, you name it, these. are. your. friends. More times than not, you're going to have a juice in your fridge and using it to top off your bubbles is a great option to a complicated cocktail. But, also, don't underestimate your liqueur like; St. Germain, Campari, or Aperol.  All of the above are great ways to add a little extra specialty to your cocktails. And most importantly, portable cocktails are a lifesaver. They're all great, whether it's canned wine and these cute mason jar cocktails or pictured below, Element Shrubs.  There are tons of great options that help you craft your own drinks. 

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Below, I used the Honeydew Jalapeno element shrub and a little vodka, with a hint of fresh jalapeños to whip up a quick drink for a friend! 

So What About Garnishes? 

Citrus: Every time I go to the grocery store, I try to get a bag of clementines, lemons, and limes. When in reality, I typically end up eating more of the clementines, using some of the limes, and maybe all of just one measly lemon before I have to throw the remaining out
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Jalapeños: Spicy alcohol is the best. This is a fact.  And if you don't believe me, then you're not experimenting with your alcohol enough and I encourage you to step outside your vodka soda snoozefest.  I mean, even think about how good a vodka soda would taste with a few slices of spice.  Yum.  Spicy margs, spicy mules, spicy bloodies. The list goes on and on.  Even with a fruity, bubbly bevvie, the kick adds just the right amount of interest to make your bottled-booze taste like a craft cocktail. I snagged a few of these peppers from a new friend's roof at the Apollo a few weekends ago.  He's lucky enough to have a small garden up there with a very very generous amount of jalapeños. Yum! 

On the plus side, most, but not all, of the time, I typically have plenty of garnishes when need be for cocktails. But, the greenery poses a problem. 

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Herbs: This is where I fall short, I rarely have fresh mint, basil, or rosemary sprigs in the fridge because, we all know this. They go bad so quickly! Which is really such a shame considering most herbs grow like, well, WEEDS outside.  My goal for this year is to try to keep a few herb plants in my apartment for fresh garnishes for cocktails and food dishes. Another thought, walking over to my local community garden and picking some myself... 

Edible Flowers: Obviously this is even less obtainable than having fresh herbs ready 24/7 in your fridge. But, I am encountering more and more edible floral options here in DC. Local farmers markets: DuPont, Bloomingdale, Columbia Heights even, have edible flowers for sale at their markets on Saturdays and Sundays.  Or in this case, you could pull a me and pluck some from the rooftop of your apartment.  

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And all of that other cute shit.

Stir Sticks: A few weeks ago I received these darling tropical bird wooden swizzle sticks from Shelby herself, from Shelby Dillon Studio.  They are hand carved and painted so everyone at the party knows which tropical bird represents their cocktail. So cute. 

Coasters: While the coasters pictured above were a thrift-gift, I have some coasters from The Blush Label that I love and use on the reg.  Here are some of my favorites. (use the code: Libby15 to get 15% off!) 
 

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Photographer: Kara Schab, Right Foot Creative 

Fourth Of July Party Inspo

Events, EntertainingLibby RasmussenComment

We love the idea of having a Fourth of July Party before the 4th. With everyone traveling and making their own plans, it's hard to get a solid group together for the actual holiday itself.  When we read that Mackenzie Horan, from Design Darling did just that, we felt inspired to do the same well, next year! 

How great are these navy and white striped directors chairs? Pssst, these are on sale!

The custom calligraphy place cards add such an intimate touch. And how cute are these coup glasses filled with raspberries? 

Playful watermelon stars on a USA cutting board - check out these great state cutting boards my cousin makes! 

Ahoy and ginger jar matches line the table with brass candlesticks, tulips and peonies. 

Again, what a great set up! Happy 4th everyone! 

Tablescape styling: Anna Rayner
Calligraphy: Jennings Ross
Photography: Kelly Christine

DIY: Decorative Party Food Picks

DIY, Entertaining, FoodLibby RasmussenComment

So the other day I was making these Mini Chicken and Waffle Sliders and realized that the toothpicks I was using were a little well, boring.  Then I remembered spotting some adorable ideas on Etsy.  See here here and here. With limited supplies and time, I took to my craft supply box and got started.  I seem to always have a stockpile of streamers and tissue paper in my apartment, so I decided to make these tissue paper food picks - inspired by my favorite, Studio DIY. 

Supplies

Toothpicks
Tissue paper or Streamers
Scissors
Glue

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I chose to use streamers for timing and convenience and was shocked at how good they looked. Better yet, they really were so easy.  Consider this my next sitting-on-the-couch-craft-project. Thanks Studio DIY for yet another great craft idea! 

Photography by Libby Rasmussen and Studio DIY

Mini Chicken & Waffle Sliders

Entertaining, FoodLibby RasmussenComment

If you've been searching high and wide for an easy, fun, and delicious appetizer that your friends will rave about, and I mean, will really talk about months after your party, then you need to make these mini chicken & waffle sliders.  In this recipe, we paired crispy popcorn chicken nuggets with frozen, yes frozen, mini Eggo waffles and they are a hit. 

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There you have it! This classic comfort food is transformed into easy, portable appetizers that can be tailored to anyone's specific tastes.  For my 25th birthday, I made these sliders but with Chick-fil-A nuggets. With my birthday falling on a Sunday (when CFA is closed) I made sure to pre-order and pick up the nuggets later on Saturday and popped them into the oven with the waffles the day of the party.  They were a huge hit. Make sure to have plenty of condiments and toppings on the side for your guests.  These could include, but certainly aren't limited to:

Chick-fil-A Sauce
Mayo
BBQ Sauce (Salt Lick)
Honey
Maple Syrup
Honey Mustard
Ranch
Blue Cheese
Green Onions
Hot Sauce
Sriracha
Homemade Coleslaw


Make sure to have the right serving platters and condiment dishes for a neat and organized presentation.  I love my serving ware from CB2.  Here are just few of my favorites:
 

How To: Be a Great Host

Entertaining, InteriorsLibby RasmussenComment

A little while ago, I gathered some tips and tricks on How To: Be a Great House Guest and now here's some advice on being the host.  Side note: The word host is both male and female as in, "someone who entertains guests or strangers in his or her home."  Contrary to popular belief than only a man can be called host, and woman, hostess.  Anywho, the other weekend, I had the pleasure of hosting some friends from out of town and made some quick and easy preparations for their arrival.  
 

Tidy Up - This doesn't have to be anything extensive.  Just be sure that the sheets are washed, the bedside tables are dusted, and the bathroom is clean and free of any dirt of unnecessary clutter. 

Stock Up - Prep your home with some extra beverages. Make sure to have some cold water chilled in the fridge, and the bar cart stocked. Guests traveling long distances will appreciate a drink or cocktail to settle in and relax.

Be Cognizant of Smells - Really not kidding about this one.  We all know that feeling, when you walk into a home and instantly pick out its smell. To keep this initial nasal reaction positive, make sure to clean out the sink, empty the trash, and find some gentle-scented items to fill your home with.  I love Diptyque candles and room diffusers for this reason.  If you're worried about allergies, grab some hydrangeas, hyacinth, and lilacs for a fresh, floral, home scent.  

Create a Guest Tray - Nothing says "I'm happy you're here" more than a tray of goodies to welcome your guests.  This could also include a basket of toiletries in the bathroom, or even a card on the bedside table.  Anything to make your guests feel special and at home. 

Give a Tour - Once your guests arrive, be sure to give them a tour of your home or the spaces you feel comfortable showing.  We all have one "messy room" that we'd wish didn't exist. If you don't think the guest will be up in your master bathroom or home office, there isn't much of reason to show them the space.  Additionally, let your guests know of any security systems they might set off or supply them with a spare key if you plan on being home at different times. Give them the low-down on how your coffee machine works, or for extended stays, where the laundry room is.  This will save your guests from feeling uncomfortable not knowing the overall lay of the land. 

Be Welcoming - This may sound obvious, but many times, the stress of hosting guests can remain present during their visit. Be mindful of any arguments or loud conversations you could have while your guests are there. Alleviate any tension by actually enjoying your time with your guests. Play a board game or cook an easy meal together. 

Stay tuned for a future post on how to make the perfect guest tray! 
Until then, 

 

Throwing an Easter Brunch #BunniesWhoBrunch

Entertaining, EventsLibby RasmussenComment

It's not every day you get to host a brunch for 30 of your closest friends. Last weekend, I had the absolute best time throwing a #BunniesWhoBrunch Easter celebration at Kellari Taverna here in DC! 

This was definitely an occasion where I owed a lot of my creative thinking to Pinterest. I found the most adorable Garden Party and Easter Brunch ideas.

 Source:  Style Me Pretty
 Source:  Ruffled Blog

Source: Ruffled Blog

 Source:  MGram

Source: MGram

I snagged the adorable #BunniesWhoBrunch rabbit cut-out idea from Miss Mustard Seed. Next time, I must make them wit the roses and carnations. They are too too cute. 

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Above all else, I absolutely loved the Free Printable Wreath Name Cards courtesy of Eleven Magnolia Lane.  It was so easy using the template and PicMonkey to write my guests' names. The best part of all, was finding these adorable Bunny Place Card Holders from BHLDN. They couldn't have been more perfect for the theme. 

I had originally planned to get these circular moss placemats, but unfortunately, they wouldn't have shipped in time.  These cabbage placemats from Pier 1 are just as perfect. 

In addition to their own wreath name cards and rabbit cut-outs, each guest had their own scallop egg cup with a hot pink hard boiled egg.  Tip: Here is a great article on the Science of Dying the Perfect Easter eggs.  Also, for those wondering, baking soda gets the dye right off your hands. 

For the centerpieces, I used a variety of vase heights and flowers to create a different look for each table. Apothecary jars were filled with water and twisted pink tulips. White hydrangeas were paired with cherry blossom branches in tall vases.  Pink spray roses and white tulips were used to add both softness and dimension.  

In addition to the floral arrangements, I found these adorable moss rabbit figurines (similar) in the $1 section for well, $3 but a steal nonetheless!  Large, medium, and small moss balls were added to the tables for whimsy. Last but not least, the stacked teacup candlestick holders from Zara Home really tied everything together.  

 

Happy Easter Everyone! 

How to: Hanami AKA Picnic Beneath the Cherry Blossoms

EntertainingLibby RasmussenComment

Today we read that the cherry blossoms here in Washington DC are very close to their peak and we can't think of a better idea than to plan for a picnic at the Tidal Basin.  So grab your girlfriends, some snacks & rosé and enjoy spring!

Fun fact: Hanami means "cherry blossom viewing" or enjoying the blossoms, in Japanese. 

Gold Pineapple Paper Plates 
Blue Marbled Paper Plates and Cups 
Gold Foil Straws 
Kate Spade Grass Blanket 
Picnic Basket

Target Gold Plastic Flatware 
Goddess Garden Sunscreen
 Fruit Party Picks 
Kate Spade Floral Picnic Blanket 
Buzzed Cocktail Napkins 

We're loving all of the great home decor items that Tuckernuck has right now! The cups, plates, and embroidered buzzed! napkin were a fun find as well.   

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White Girl Rosé  Lobster Roll Recipe Cherry Blossom Georgetown Cupcakes 
Fruit Salad Cheese and Crackers San Pellegrino

Toucan Hats Fedora 
Persifor Bluebird Dress
Persifor Tilly Pants
Gretchen Scott Turquoise Cashmere Scarf

Blaque Label Full Print Skirt 
Southern Proper Striped Caroline Flats 
Finders Keepers Stripe Playsuit 
Mar y Sol Crocheted Clutch 
KREWE du optic Toroise Sunglasses

Tuckernuck's Spring Lifestyle Guide Launched this week and is full of fab spring and summer pieces.  This Full Print Floral Skirt is on my wishlist. Check out the dress too!  

Now, sit back and enjoy the beauty of the Tidal Basin! One note: while picnics take a little more effort to plan, it becomes easy when everyone brings 2-3 items, and even better, it's typically cheaper than brunch! Tip: To avoid the crowds, here are some other great spots in DC to enjoy the blossoms. 

Happy Spring! 

PS - If you're as obsessed as I am about Tuckernuck, be sure to follow them on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

 

  

Lastly, can we talk about how amazing this Instagram is? Make sure to check out more of @someguy's amazing DC photography!

Fantastic sunrise this morning at peak bloom of the Cherry Blossoms 🌸👌 #igdc

A photo posted by Andy Feliciotti 🔥 (@someguy) on

Fresh Squeeze - Having Fun with Citrus Water

Entertaining, FoodLibby RasmussenComment

As the weather starts to get warmer, I'm remembering that sometimes, a tall glass of cold, fruit infused water can really hit the spot.  All you really need is a bottle of chilled Pellegrino, a mandoline slicer, and some ripe citrus fruits.  

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All to often I find myself overthinking the simplest things - especially when it comes to hosting an event or party.  Whether it's coming up with the right cocktail or hors d'oeuvre, I have to remember that sometimes, the basics are the best.  

Mary Giuliani, caterer to the stars and author of one of my favorite party planning books, The Cocktail Party: Eat Drink Play Recover preaches the power of simplicity when it comes to hosting.  Pigs in a Blanket. Yes, you heard me, pigs in a blanket, are Mary's #1 suggestion for what to serve at a fun dinner party.  Not just because they're easy, because you can turn it into a Pigs in a Blanket Station by adding multiple dips, toppings, and sides that make it both fun and more importantly, delicious. 

Which brings me to the topic of water - the most basic human need and most versatile beverage.  Why limit the options when serving it? I always like to keep a few bottles of San Pellegrino on my bar cart for guests or an added spritzer.  Along with my bar cart H2O are essential garnishes such as lemons, limes, and this week, blood oranges.  With just a couple of citrus slices on the mandoline, a tall clear glass, and a fun party straw, you can easily transform nature's simplest drinks into a beautiful beverage!
 

 

 

 

Photography: Libby Rasmussen