Holiday Entertaining

Food & Drink Style

Gifts for Your Host This Holiday Season

Photos by Elizabeth Podlesnik 

She’s dutifully planned the perfect holiday hobnob, complete with all the trimmings. As you’re picking up presents for your family and friends, don’t forget your loving host, without whom your favorite pumpkin chiffon pie would not have been baked.

Ahead, the holiday gifts that acknowledge her effort and ensure you get a standing invitation—if not an extra slice.

SEE (AND SHOP) THE GIFTS

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Pumpkin Pot how-to Culture Food & Drink

How to Make An Easy Thanksgiving Centerpiece

We peruse Pinterest with the furrowed brow and unshakeable cynicism of one ungifted at arts and crafts. Truly, we’ve hot-glued our fingers together more times than we can count on those sticky digits. Plus, who has time to experiment with handcrafting wrapping paper or blending teas when the holidays come around? Not us.

And yet … those personal touches are what make the season so special. Luckily, our friends suggested this simple centerpiece (they really get us) to give our Thanksgiving table a homemade but modern touch. In seven short steps, we made a masterpiece.

HOW TO DO IT

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Entertaining with the Perfect Holiday Recipes and Hostess Dresses | The Realest

Each month we take a lady we admire and give her the model treatment in our photo shoot, The Realest. We bring the wardrobe, stylist, photographer and makeup artist; she brings her anything-but-one-size-fits-all personality and style. Then we all head out on location for a professional shoot that showcases this month’s featured dress looks.

It’s that time of year when you gather you and yours to spread good cheer. In homes and restaurants around the globe, families and friends will come together to clink glasses and raise forks full of food. While we were thinking about what dishes we’d serve this season, we decided to consult restaurateur Sarah Penn. Sarah happens to own two of the loveliest and coziest restaurants in Seattle—perfect venues for intimate, festive mixers with kin.

Sarah Penn, The Realest

We visited Sarah at her two locations, Pair and Frank’s Oyster House & Champagne Parlor, where she shared scrumptious recipes with us and offered her suggestions for celebratory wine pairings, all while modeling five dresses perfect for hosting or attending a holiday party. Get her easy recipes for smoked salmon blini and potato leek gratin (you need these), and a peek at the dresses in her restaurants’ warm interiors.

Sarah Penn, The RealestChiara Boni La Petite Robe Stellina peplum jersey sheath dress | Loren Hope Clara crystal bracelet | Panacea crystal & tassel bracelet

BE OUR GUEST: READ MORE

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ALL POSTS SPACE

Here’s How to Create the Season’s Most Stylish Dinner Party (and Brunch, and More!)

There’s more to the season than the bold-face main events. Not to take away from the traditions and ceremonies that mean the most to you and your family, but wouldn’t you agree that the last-minute get-togethers and low-key shared meals that end up happening before and after are every bit as meaningful and special?

And aren’t the outfits just as good, too?

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Agazit Afeworki, SPACE sales associate from our Seattle flagship, styled by Nordstrom stylist Keara Matthiesen in a Comme des Garçons tee and Molly Goddard Grace skirt (Nordstrom exclusive) with Ashley Williams earrings. She holds wonderfully giftable zipper pouches from Undercover. Some items available in-store only; please call 1.888.282.6060 in the U.S. or 1.877.794.5304 in Canada for assistance. 

All images by Jessa Carter

We’re in favor of celebrating togetherness as often as possible, and we’re also in favor of looking at decor and party vibes in the same way we look at fashion: as a mix of classic motifs, artfully unearthed components and new, inventive spins on everything else. 

HERE’S HOW

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ALL POSTS Style

Bringing the Seasons Inside: How to Make a Foraged Centerpiece

Foraged Centerpiece

The concept of urban foraging was revealed to me by a florist friend. We first walked around her garden in the Ballard neighborhood of Seattle, then we sought out the fringes of abandoned parking lots to pick branches, sprigs and blooms, quickly shoving the botanical contraband into canvas totes as we strolled.

We were left with a rustic assortment that channeled the romance of artfully unpruned English gardens and the shabby-chic aesthetic of the ’90s. Visually, the comparison of our cache to grocery-store stems felt something like fresh cranberries chopped up with sugar and lemon rind next to cranberry sauce out of a can.

Elizabeth and James Leo openwork cuff | Monica Vinader signature thin banglegorjana Elea ring

BRANCH OUT THIS SEASON: READ MORE

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ALL POSTS Food & Drink

Butternut Squash and Sausage Stuffing Recipe from Tastemade’s Megan Mitchell

Just in time for your Thanksgiving plans—whether they be getting together with family and friends or eating turkey in front of the TV—the geniuses at Tastemade have gifted us some yummy holiday dishes that you’ll want to keep in your recipe repertoire.

Butternut Squash and Sausage Stuffing Recipe from Tastemade

Whip up Megan Mitchell’s scrumptious side for your holiday meal this season—and hold on to the recipe for anytime fall is in the air. This hearty and flavorful autumn dish will have dinner guests coming back for scoops of seconds. Turns out nutty squash is the perfect complement to spicy sausage.

GET RECIPE FOR THE GOOD STUFF(ING)

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ALL POSTS Food & Drink

Masala Roast Potatoes Recipe from Tastemade’s Vijaya Selvaraju

Just in time for your Thanksgiving plans—whether they be getting together with family and friends or eating turkey in front of the TV—the geniuses at Tastemade have gifted us some yummy holiday dishes that you’ll want to keep in your recipe repertoire.

Masala Roast Potatoes from Tastemade

We started with dessert first, so be sure to check out these delicious nibbles if you missed Amy Lee’s Vegan Pumpkin Cheesecake Bites. Now we’re on to the meat and potatoes portion of our holiday feast—or at least the potatoes part here.

Vijaya’s savory tubers add a spicy eastern flavor to your dinner. This easy-to-make side dish is a Thanksgiving staple with a twist that’s sure to please your dining companions.

GET THE RECIPE FOR ONE HOT POTATO

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Food & Drink

Vegan Pumpkin Cheesecake Bites Recipe from Tastemade’s Amy Lee

Just in time for your Thanksgiving plans—whether they be getting together with family and friends or eating turkey in front of the TV—the geniuses at Tastemade have gifted us some yummy holiday dishes that you’ll want to keep in your recipe repertoire.

Amy Lee from Tastemade

First up is adorable Amy Lee’s vegan dessert. But wait, these little nuggets of deliciousness are just as tasty as any nonvegan variety. Plus, the cheesecakes are pretty easy to whip up for a seasonal party with friends or coworkers. And you don’t have to tell anyone that they’re a healthy, nondairy pumpkin treat if you don’t want to—they’ll never know.

SAY “CHEESECAKE”: GET THE RECIPE

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ALL POSTS Culture

How to Make a Succulent Wreath for the Holidays

If you’re over evergreens, let us suggest something equally verdant but more unique for your holiday trimming: succulents. These days, the trendy water-plump plants can be found at most floral shops, however, their use in seasonal wreaths and arrangements is only just catching on–which means that yours could be the only door on the block to rock one!

Succulent WreathIn addition to being relatively low-maintenance and resilient, succulents are also easy to work with–good news for those of us who are all thumbs but not necessarily of the green kind. And since this is a living wreath, you can keep up this decoration year-round without shame.

Read on to follow our low-stress steps for fashioning a custom wreath.

HERE’S HOW TO MAKE A WREATH

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Champagne, Cranberry Salsa and Entertaining in an LBD | The Realest

Why should models have all the fun? Each month we take a lady we admire and give her the model treatment in our photo shoot, The Realest. We bring the wardrobe, stylist, photographer and makeup artist; she brings her anything-but-one-size-fits-all personality and style. Then we all head out on location for a professional shoot that showcases the looks in our monthly Dress Spotlight.

Sheena Kalso, The Invisible Hostess

Adelyn Rae strapless jumpsuit | Topshop velvet choker | similar style flat: KENDALL + KYLIE Sage ghillie flat

When October rolls around, the holiday party invitations start rolling in. So we turned to Sheena Kalso of The Invisible Hostess for pointers on surviving the busy entertaining season in style. Not only did she give us excellent advice—and a killer recipe for cranberry salsa—but she also showed us how to rock a little black dress (or jumper) with serious panache. As we goofed around while photographing her at the funky party venue WithinSodo, we learned that part of being a great hostess is knowing how to relax and be available. Sheena’s fun-loving temperament makes her a natural. Here’s what else she told us.

Tell us about your job and company, The Invisible Hostess.

Sheena Kalso, The Invisible Hostess

I started The Invisible Hostess in 2006 to help the average party hostess enjoy her event.  Shortly after launching, I was asked if I coordinated weddings. My excitement for domestic hospitality seamlessly translated to weddings. After 10 years, The Invisible Hostess has won a record amount of local planning awards in Seattle. I’m really proud to say we executed 250 events in 2015 with a staff of 50.

With the 10-year anniversary, I reflected on what made me get out of bed every morning and what kept me fulfilled—as one will with any milestone in one’s life. This year I decided to streamline operations by offering wedding coordination only and to focus on my next adventure, mentoring college grads as The Wedding Mentor.

REAL PARTY ADVICE AND MORE LBD LOOKS

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