Home

Hosting a Holiday Gathering

After Chris and I moved into our new home this year I knew I wanted to host guests more. No matter the time of year, I love welcoming friends, enjoying food together and sitting around and chatting. During Christmas, there’s just something even more magical about this! Chris and I hosted his work colleagues recently and had SO much fun! They’re a fun crew that we get along really well with, so it was a treat to have them all over before the ‘real’ Christmas madness set in. I think having a Christmas dinner well before Christmas contributed a lot to the success of the evening. The earlier you host your event the better the chances people will actually be able to come. I’ve laid out some of my top tips and tricks when it comes to hosting during the holidays!

Smaller ombré tree linked here. We have a 7.5ft version and you can find that here. They also have black and gold! Cozy plush rug here

Where To Host A Holiday Event 

Just because you’re “hosting,” doesn’t mean it needs to be in your home! I’m sure there are a lot of great places in your town or city to host an event. It’s all really up to you and the space that you have!

In-Home

Luckily we now have the space to host a larger crowd of people, so we decided to take that route! Plus, it gave me the excuse to decorate extra! Yay! It’s nice to be able to have control over the evening and event and not have to drive home or find a ride at the end of the night. Legitimately a big perk is rolling into bed after a night with friends, and dealing with the mess the next morning! Yes, it’s a lot of work with the clean up before and after, but it’s really rewarding at the same time. 

Place mats here. Tartan plates here

Restaurant

Depending on your situation and the number of people that you’re inviting, it might be worthwhile to check out restaurants in your city who can accommodate you. Some places have separate dining rooms or tucked away event rooms to host a more intimate gathering. If you truly are hosting this might end up costing you a lot more. Communicate to the guests who is flipping the bill. Sometimes a restaurant will suggest a set menu which usually means the food is coming out faster but also means you have to individually check on everyone’s food restrictions.  Overall the restaurant experience can be great – no prep, clean up, or other hassles. Just show up and enjoy! 

Hotel

If you’re planning on hosting an even larger holiday party, renting out space at a hotel could be your best option. Whether that’s a formal dining room or an even larger banquet hall. It’ll provide you with the time and space to invite as many people as you’d like and leave all the catering and finer details to the staff there. I can’t say I have a lot, or any, experience hosting an event this big but I can imagine you want to make sure you’re booking your date and sending invites well in advance, especially if the event is during the holidays! 

 

Planning Food When Hosting a Holiday Event

When you decide to host in your home, there are a lot of different ways that you can choose to feed your guests! You can go full on homemaker and prep for days, encourage guests to bring their own dish or outsource and get it catered! It truly depends on your budget and what’s best for you!

Catering

Chris and I decided to use our good friends Taylor and Mike De Costa, also known as Taylor Made Cuisine for our gathering. They are a boutique catering company that is sure to impress. We found that they were actually a really affordable catering option and they provided us with the menu options that we were most excited about.

The best part about some catering services, is that they can take care of actually serving your guests and even making sure the kitchen is clean when they leave! We had the food delivered without the serving staff, since our gathering was small, but you can choose either option with catering companies, typically. We didn’t feel as much pressure surrounding the food because we knew it would be good and be delivered warm. It made the evening that much more enjoyable!

Homemade

Putting in the work to make the food on your own is admirable! But even if you’re an excellent chef (which, I’m sure you are!), it’s a lot to do. Depending on what you want to make, it might take either all day or even several days to make everything! Then when it’s time to serve your guests, you’ll want to ensure that everything is warm enough and coordinate what time the different dishes will be ready. 

 

If you’re going to go the do-it-yourself route, you’ll definitely save money (but IMO time=money sometimes)! Be sure to look over all of your recipes and dish choices a week in advance so you can prep your master grocery list and ensure that you know the schedule that you need to make yourself!

Potluck Style

Everyone loves a good potluck! If you’re hosting friends around the holidays, this is such a fun and tasty option! If we do a potluck, we make sure to send out a sign up sheet beforehand so that we know all bases are covered. We’ll also take on the task of providing the meat and then asking our guests to bring salads, appetizers, sides, and desserts! It’s so much fun!

Prepping Drinks/Alcohol For Your Holiday Event

Of course no good adult party comes without a few flowing drinks. We want to make sure that we’re keeping our guests hydrated (and maybe a little rosy) while they’re over! Chris and I are really into craft alcohol and love making semi-advanced cocktails at home. Basically we’re willing to go beyond a spirit + soda blend but we aren’t lighting drinks on fire or using more than like 6 ingredients.

Serve Yourself

I usually love to set up our bar cart or different “stations” for beverages. It’s a fun way for people to decide for themselves. Often, there’s a cooler filled with beer or anything that comes in a can. Depending on your guests, you can also have a separate cooler filled with pop or La Croix. Our bar cart will have more hard alcohol choices with mix and ice and then have another space for wine. These different spaces make it easier to have stations and ensure that everyone is not huddling around one surface. 

Hire a Bartender

Chris and I splurged on this for our guests this year, and it was a game-changer! Hiring a bartender, and the catering, ensured we had time to spend with our guests and enjoy time together. Because of this, we got to craft themed cocktails, and it was so fun! Our friend, Andrew Unke, dreamed up our themed cocktails and brought them to life (and he DID use fire)! He made a delicious Hot Toddy and a Cranberry-spiced pear martini as well as a Holiday old fashioned! They were so delicious and definitely brought a nice holiday flare to our event!

Entertainment When Hosting 

It’s fun to help all of that food digest with a few games! Nothing too active, but still something to bring the group together. The White Elephant Game is one of my favorites around the holidays because it goes hand in hand with the spirit of the season! Set a dollar amount limit for your guests to spend on and decide ahead of time whether it’s supposed to be a silly present or something that anyone would enjoy! This game is so much fun and a great way to get some friendly competition and suspense going! We decided to do a $25 limit and encourage practical gifts (not silly). Chris ended up with a pair of athletic underwear (with a giant lion face I might add, so kind of silly but an inside firehouse joke) for Chris and I got a movie-themed gift with candy, popcorn and movie tickets. The high-in-demand gift that everyone was chasing was a set of flavored coffee syrups with mug. 

 

Other great games ideas for after dinner is a scavenger hunt throughout the house or whatever space you’ve decided to host your event in! If you’re looking for something more laid back, bring along fun games like Jenga, Forbidden Words, or What Do You Meme – that one has been a favorite for Chris and me this year!

Have Fun Decorating

I said it above, I’m so happy to host because it means I get to add a little extra holiday flair to our home and especially our dining table! I kept it pretty minimalist, crafty chic this time! I used a lot of pine cones and garland to give our space a bit more of a woodsy, cozy feel. My go-to company for personalized decor is For Your Party. I used this brand for my bridal shower and they never disappoint. Personalized napkins, cups, and favors are a MUST for me. It always puts a nice little touch on any event you are hosting and they have a TON of options on their website. 

I also love to decorate our front porch as you might know from Instagram. I think it creates a welcoming vibe for us to come home to on the day-to-day but also from the moment that our guests step onto our property! First impressions are important! I decorated our porch with poinsettias, garland, and a few other touches!

There are SO many decor themes to choose from around this time, it’s not just all red and green. Target and Michael’s have some beautiful stuff and they are easier on the wallet. Even the dollar store can be a great place to buy an inexpensive plain vase or other little pieces to add here and there!



No matter what your plans are for hosting this holiday season, there are a lot of different ways to execute the perfect holiday get together. After hosting our first dinner in the new home I’m thinking hiring a caterer will be pretty popular for us moving forward. Have fun making YOUR event entirely your own! These are just some of the best tips and tricks that I’ve come up with and will be sure to use for years to come! Let me know how your holiday hosting goes by tagging me on Instagram. I can’t wait to see what you come up with!



Home

Make your home ready for fall

This time of year is one of my favorites! Get cozy and settle in for crisp weather and cool breezes. We hear a lot of talk about how fall is like another January 1st in the sense that it allows us to settle back into our routines after a busy summer, but it’s also a time to sit back and relax a little bit more. Nights in at home means making sure that your space is the ultimate oasis and place of relaxation and comfort. I’ve compiled a few tips and tricks of the trade that I use to get my home (my new home!!) ready for fall and ready for those cozy nights in!

 

Smell the Fresh Fall Air

One of the ways that I love to welcome a new season is with fresh scents in my home! In the summer, this means a lot of freshly picked flowers but during the fall, I love candles and diffusers with my favorite scents! Some of my favorites include the seasonal scents from Bath and Body Works or even my local Home Goods. Find great kinds like fresh apple pie or warm pumpkin vanilla scents and bask in the glow of the candlelight as the scents waft through your home. You can also use your diffuser to create some amazing fall blend! Look for different ideas on Pinterest and see what you can come up with, oils like orange, cinnamon, and nutmeg make amazing blends! Besides, at the same time, you’ll be enhancing the air in your home with all those oily health benefits. I also love Trader Joes cinnamon brooms that super fragrant and easy to hide around the house for a warm fall smell. 

 

Spooky Szn Looks

I love finding inexpensive ways to add the fall vibes to my home. The first way to do that is PUMPKINS!! Pumpkins everywhere! I love buying the mini pumpkins from Trader Joes to add décor to my dining room table or my front steps! I think it adds such a cute touch! If you like the spookier touch, I suggest some skull or skeleton décor to add to the mix! You can find such cute items from Michaels, Target or other stores to add a bit of creepy but classy décor to your fall look! 

Another great and subtle way to decorate is by changing up your bedding, pillow cases, or even your dish towels with fall themes on them! I don’t think we need a full blown Halloween bed set but a seasonally colored blanket or throw pillows can go a long way!I love finding tea towels from Home Goods with little ghosts or pumpkins on them! Maybe you can find some ghostly mugs or other small items that can discreetly add some fall vibes to your house! Another great way to welcome fall and the harvest and Thanksgiving season is with floral arrangements. To save money, you can find beautiful faux arrangements from Anthropologie or even Amazon, depending on how much you want to spend! I like combining deep colors and darker hues with mini pumpkins on a stick or pampas grass to really spruce up the front entryway or even use as a grand centerpiece on our dining room table! 

 

Sounds & Lights

Monster Mash, anyone? Thriller? Turn to Spotify or Apple Music to find the best Halloween or fall playlist and have that going throughout your house! It’s a fun way to get excited for the season and realistically, when else do you get to play these songs?! Finding little ways to add lighting to your home is also fun! This can add to the spook or cozy vibes, depending on how you want to do it! I like sets of little fairy lights that come in the shape of pumpkins or even ghosts to add to our staircase railing or other parts of the home! In addition to the candles that I have lit, it adds a nice ambiance to the room! Cozy up and watch one of your favorite scary movies or maybe even a Halloween classic like Hocus Pocus and cuddle up for the night!

 

Sip, Sip, Spook!

I love incorporating fall and Halloween vibes into our meals and beverages too! This is the perfect time of year for soups or stews in the slow cooker! It’s a great way to keep our meals healthy and makes it easy to prep! I’ll find a recipe or two for the week, toss all the ingredients in before I head to work and then I come home to a delicious smelling kitchen and freshly cooked meal! It’s the best!

This paleo chili recipe is from Rachaels Good Eats

Chris also really likes to experiment with fun seasonal cocktails, and hey, I’m not complaining! We love trying new recipes from Pinterest or even by chatting to our local retailers for great cocktails ideas! We like to come up with great ideas to bring to our next family gathering or dinner party! I personally love a good fall sangria with white wine and apple flavors! 

Lastly, where would I be without my PSL?! While I love any good pumpkin spice latte as much as the next girl (and guess what, Chris does too!) I like to find great options for making my own warm beverages right from home! Whether it’s a yummy pumpkin or salted caramel coffee flavor or a homemade syrup (no artificial sweeteners for me) to add to your Nespresso, there are great options almost everywhere this time of year. 

 

I hope you find these ideas to spruce up your home for fall helpful and inspiring! Whether you just love the season, you’re Halloween obsessed or you are looking forward to Thanksgiving already, I hope you find some great suggestions here! Drop a comment below or find me on social media and let me know which of these ideas you’ve tried out! 


 

*For reference, my black and white door mat is 2ft x 3ft. 

Home

5 Essentials for my Nightstand

Cassie_Home_AZP_018

 

It’s no secret that my sleep schedule is ALL over the place. Is it morning? Is it night? I typically have no clue. My blackout blinds and bedroom set up won’t allow me to know the answer to that question. And I like it that way.

That being said, I need my go-to’s at my bedside, 100% of the time, so that I don’t have to move more than an inch if I need something in the middle of my sleep. I guess the only time I really have to open my eyes (just a tiny little bit) is if I have to hit the loo, which is typical considering my kidneys can’t figure out my schedule. What are ya gonna do?

Bottom line with my nightstand is… I like to keep it simple. Basic. Functional. Sure I like a certain look but since sleep is so important to my well being and career success, I choose function over fashion here.

So let’s get into it.

 

Cassie_Home_AZP_014

 

#1. Aromatherapy

My favorite candle comes from Diptyque. These fragrances and candles are pricey, but SO decadent and aromatic. I can smell this candle just from setting in next to my bed, without even burning it. I like to have options, so I keep the Capri Blue room spray and Breathe Deeply peppermint aromatherapy spray next to my bedside as well. I’m not a huge essential oils person; my headaches can actually be triggered by heavy smells, but I love this light spray over my pillow before bed.

 

#2. Beauty products

Keeping it REAL basic here. My favorite chapstick is Blistex medicated balm. I never stray from this. I have multiple tubes at all times and store them everywhere. I use this every night before bed and when it’s super dry, maybe throughout the night as well. Although my glasses used to be a nightstand essential, now it’s eyedrops. I had LASIK a few years back and suffer from the typical chronic dry eye that occurs in many patients. I don’t need eyedrops throughout the day but sheesh when I wake up in the morning… my dry eyes are painful and I must have eyedrops STAT.

 

#3. Beverage of choice

Typically it’s water in tumbler of choice (I own a ton), but sometimes it’s tea or hot water before bed in my typical inspirational mug (also own a TON of these). I like keeping the furniture nice so I always use a coaster. Gosh I’m so old. Do you ever wake up SUPER parched though? The worst. So I always make sure there’s something on my night stand. We used to have a fridge with mini waters upstairs in our bedroom but we had to move it to make room for my selfie mirror. #PRIORITIES

 

#4. Sleep mask

I have gone through TONS of these. They are either too tight, or not tight enough, not comfortable, or let some light in. Well I finally found a favorite. The Silk sleep mask is uber comfy, and fits just right. FINALLY. It comes in all sorts of pretty colors and they have matching pillowcases!

 

#5. Reading material

I LOVE to read, for leisure that is. I spent enough years reading medical books so I try to keep any bedside reading super light these days. My fave genre is probably mystery/suspense or inspirational material. My mini iPad always stays here, because occasionally I will read a book on there instead of paperback. Chris and I also started filling out this special book, at the beginning of this year. The book lists one question per day for couples to do together. It’s totally random and super fun to stimulate conversation. We obviously aren’t always home together at night (night shift woes), but we catch up on other days if we have to. It makes me feel like we are regularly checking in with each other and since the questions are random, it sometimes brings to light topics that we wouldn’t otherwise talk about.

 

#6 BONUS. Jewelry dish

I had to move one of my jewelry dishes over here because I realized I would always forget to take my earrings out after a long day. And who wants to go to bed with earrings poking into your head? Exactly. This one is no longer available online, but it’s actually an ashtray and I love the classic look.

 

Each of the things on my night stand truly serve a purpose. There’s one thing missing from these photos… it’s a photo of my hubs. SWOON.

What’s on YOUR night stand??

 

Photos by Zo’e Cole.

Dr. Majestic

I invite you to take a glimpse into my crazy, beautiful life in medicine and allow me to teach you my health, wellness, and lifestyle tips along the way. 

Learn More
This error message is only visible to WordPress admins

Error: API requests are being delayed for this account. New posts will not be retrieved.

There may be an issue with the Instagram Access Token that you are using. Your server might also be unable to connect to Instagram at this time.

Error: No posts found.

Make sure this account has posts available on instagram.com.