Well, it’s a week later and I’m still going ape shit on all things Fall.

What have you guys been up to? Who has gone to the pumpkin patch already? I seriously can’t wait, I think we will be doing that next weekend. Do you and your kids have your costumes picked out yet? Mine do. They aren’t my fav, but we avoided all things princess, so I’m just gonna go ahead and consider that alone, a win.

This time of year I love having friends over, making food, and yes of course drinking. Big Ryno has his football on, the kitchen smells like butter and herbs, and I’m happy having a loud house with kids running around, and catching up with the favorite peeps in our lives. It’s a perfect Sunday, and completely recharges me for the new week ahead.

I don’t know about you guys, but when I’m invited over to people’s houses and then I show up and they just order a pizza, I’m like “What the f*#% dude?!” Actually I’m not like that, that’s a lie, I’m happy to eat a pizza. I retract my previous statement.

But for me, I love to host. I like to have the house somewhat cute, have homemade food, and at least one delish themed drink. I love setting everything up, cooking, and of course hanging out.

I’m supah busy these days though, so I gotta keep it on the simple side. No need to add any stress, just a little extra effort goes a long way.

Here’s a few tips. Again, I’m not an expert, but I do get a shit ton of compliments when people come over, so I’m spilling the beans on what I do. No one is bossing you here, you’re reading this on your own free will. (Well except that I told you on IG to go read this, so there’s that. But it’s a minor detail). Ok now we’re getting sidetracked.

Back to the tips.

1. Table decor.

Apparently this next part is weird (my client Claire told me so last week… heyyyyy girl!), but I took the kids on a hike and brought my scissors and a bag with me. (Shit seems completely normal to me?!) We collected fall foliage (using our said packed scissors and stashing it in our bag). Our grand total was free.99 thank you very much.

I would like to add, that I would have happily paid for eucalyptus leaves, strictly for the convenience of not having to go on a hike after work, but our local flower shop kept getting delayed shipments due to hurricanes, so I had to take matters into my own hands. Luckily I’m a go-getter like that.

I mixed my free decor in with some cheap Trader Joe’s pumpkins and squash. I like the lumpy looking ones. The weirder the better. Ugly pumpkins need a home too, and that home is m i n e. And the striped pumpkins. I love anything with stripes.

I sprawled that all over my dining table, added an old dough bowl from a flea market trip years ago, and oddly enough, I had some feathers laying around, so I threw that into the mix too.

So wham, bam, thank you ma’am, festive decor is checked off the box.

2. Serveware

I swear, if you have at least one statement piece for your entertaining soiree, you’ll look like you really have your shit together.

Mine for this were the copper caldrons. They held two different soups, and homemade croutons.
I almost look like a true adult sometimes, and these little pots tipped the scale in that direction.

But your item could be a rad serving platter, cool wine glasses, or some fun, gold flatware. Just something a smidge different, that shows you put in a little extra thought. And seriously, one little thing does the trick. No need to bust out your wedding china.

3. Homemade Food

I really enjoy cooking, so this one isn’t a big issue for me.. time is though. So if you don’t have the time to make everything, gussy some shit up.

Meaning, grab something already made, and add something to it. Get a jar of spaghetti sauce, but add some fresh ingredients to it like: basil, a smidge of sugar, some sautéed/carmelized onions in butter, and a little fresh garlic. Don’t even bat an eyelash, you call that sauce homemade.

Or make something super easy like croutons to top your store-bought soup with. Anything homemade will go a long way, and I’m telling you, people are easily impressed.

“Shit, Val, you MADE croutons?! You’re like Martha Effin Stewart!”

“Who ME?! You guys, seriously, it was no big deal.” Always play shit off cool. No ones likes a cocky hostess.

4. Themed Drinks

I like to have a themed drink for the day/night. To pull this off I have all the garnishes chopped and prepped. I have whatever juices and other mix-ins ready (obviously stored in something rad like a glass pitcher or decanter, not the juice jug it came in), and then the alcohol of choice. Set it all up on the top shelf of the bar, or on a counter where everything is together, and easily accessible to guests. You make the first round for them, and offer to make more throughout the night, but having it set up this way makes guests feel like they can refill without judgment.

Stacie, dang! You’ve only been here an hour, and I’ve already made you 6 drinks!

I obviously also have a fully stocked bar, so if my featured drink isn’t what you’re craving, you still have options. But let’s be honest, I’m a great bartender, so that’s a little disrespectful, and I might have to be giving you the side-eye throughout the night. Ahem, Ryan Plunk. The only person who doesn’t appreciate my mad mixing skills.

So last week someone commented that I only post hard alcohol recipes and that I should mix it up.

1. I did mix it up. One time was tequila, and the other time was vodka. If that isn’t variety I don’t know what is.

2. What else is there besides hard alcohol, a Zima??

3. I’m open to constructive criticism, I decided not to be salty, so challenge accepted.

I just made wine my bitch. White wine at that, and I don’t even like it. But in the name of bettering my bartending skills I tried something new.

Drumroll please……..

Fall Sangria

The showstopper is the cinnamon sugar rim, I really think it took things to the next level.

Well there ya have it, friends, 4 easy suggestions to be on your way to hosting + toasting this holiday season.

*Disclaimer/reminder: I’m just a crazy busy, working mom, who is a few screws loose. So heed my advice with a grain of salt…or a shot of tequila.

Here’s a soup and drink recipe from the pictures:

Pumpkin Bisque Soup Recipe

  • 3 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 small white onion, chipped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 15 ounce pumpkin puree
  • 3 cups veggie broth
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • salt to taste

garnish with homemade croutons, a dab of sour cream and some sage

Fall Sangria

  • White wine (Pinot Grigio seems to be what most people use here)
  • Rum
  • Splash of apple cider (can also use orange juice)
  • Cinnamon and sugar rim
  • Apple slice, and a Pear slice (you can also use an orange slice, kinda kicking myself that I didn’t)

What are your tips for easy entertaining? Share them with me! I feel like I’ve been talking for a long time, I’m beyond ready to listen. Your turn, GO!

Next week I’ll be taking on a new sport, so stay tuned for that post. Spoiler Alert. I suck. (Actually I haven’t even done it yet, but I can already see how it’s going to play out!)

Alright, Happy Wednesday everyone, see ya next week!