Today I am pleased to share with you Sunday Morning Coffee. This is a place to share, learn, explain, dream, and have fun.
Thanks for joining me for Sunday morning coffee. Today I am sharing my weekly thoughts about decor, crafts, and recipes and why I love to entertain. This month we are Living Beautifully!
A Little Bit About Me
There is a reason why I love to entertain.
I get asked all of the time, “Why do you throw so many parties?”.
There is a simple answer.
I was a meeting and event planner for over twenty years.
In case you are wondering what a “meeting and event planner” is, I created and planned sales meetings, board meetings, incentive trips, and large conferences for groups from 25 – 10,000 people.
Which makes a dinner for 100 a piece of cake.
And dinner for 8 in my back yard a no-brainer.
I have been to Hawaii over 90 times. Sadly almost all of them were for work. I had a client for over twenty years that had multiple divisions that took groups of about 250 to Hawaii multiple times a year. I went on every one of them. But I spent all of my time working!
So if you want to know anything about Hawaii hotels you now know who to ask. Especially if you want to know the size of a ballroom or who has the best catering. Haha.
Seriously though, I have planned the most incredible theme parties, amazing formal dinners, concerts with name entertainment, and more.
So … building an outdoor room in my backyard with hanging greenery and lighting is not hard to do. At least when you compare it to planning a Beatlemania theme party for 400.
I could write a book about all the crazy things I experienced when I was an event planner!
Let me see … I was in Hawaii when a 7.1 earthquake hit, with the epicenter less than two miles away. It was very scary and we were stuck at the hotel with no power and no ballroom and a non-working filter in the pool which meant it was closed. That was a very difficult time trying to entertain and hold group dinners for 250 people …
I had a group of 150 on a plane bound for London. Unfortunately, when we took off at LAX we blew five tires. That caused an emergency landing in Dallas and canceled flights for everyone. Somehow we (I mean I) managed to get everyone on flights the next day …
I was in Mexico with a group of 200 and we were really excited about the brand new hotel our group was going to enjoy. The hotel was a bit short on rooms so I checked out of my room that day to make sure we had enough rooms for our guests. At 11:30 pm the hotel said they had one room left for me, one of the Grand Suites. I was thrilled. What they didn’t mention is that the room had no doorknob or keycard entry on the hotel room door, no electricity in the bathroom, no drapes, no phone, no internet, or TV. They found a key for me to use, but the next morning I discovered there was no way to open the door to get out. So I climbed over the balcony (on the 10th floor) to get into the next room.
Just a typical day as an event planner.
I remember spending hours upon hours with a couple who arrived in Hawaii without their luggage. Apparently, they lost their luggage tag receipts (this was years ago when we actually had luggage tag receipts) and I spent days on the phone with the airlines trying to track down their luggage. It was sad because they literally spent the entire incentive trip being absolutely miserable. Two weeks after the trip was over I got a call from one of the executives telling me that the couple had actually left their luggage in their living room at home.
I am not sure how you get all the way to Hawaii thinking you had checked your luggage when you didn’t. Seriously?
Event planning is a challenge of logistics. You can’t control the weather or earthquakes or absentminded people. But for over twenty years I loved the creativity and ability to create once in a lifetime experiences for all of my clients. I also met Cheryl Crow, Glenn Fry, Rod Stewart, Jim Belushi, and my all-time favorite, Kenny Loggins.
This might help explain why I love hosting our Christmas party for 250 friends and family every year (ok, except for last year) and still make all of the food. Or why I can throw together a dinner party for 8 in a few hours.
I really enjoy “creating the party” such as hanging lights.
And building outdoor dining rooms. I love arranging flowers, making place cards and menus, planning the menu and cooking the meal.
I love entertaining and I can’t wait until we can start throwing dinner parties for our friends again! For now, I will be planning more parties for our family.
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Around Our Home
In the Backyard
If you asked me which room in our home is my favorite, and the backyard was an option, then I just might pick our back yard.
It’s a perfect space for relaxing, playing sports, entertaining, and more.
When it comes to entertaining, this is by far my favorite place to have a party.
We have made so many changes in our backyard since we moved here 23 years ago. Just so you know, we did not do these at once. We have slowly tackled projects year after year.
We expanded the family room and built the covered porch. It has a wood burning fireplace (and heaters in the ceiling) and we love it.
We added the brick patio which is made of vintage bricks that were part of a heater chimney vent that went from our basement up three floors. We discovered this chimney when we did our remodel and it was a not-so-good surprise.
We also added an Outdoor Kitchen!
You know how much I love to cook and I love preparing dinner for our family out here.
Our outdoor kitchen includes an island with a sink, ice maker, a refrigerator, and seating too. We also added a DCS Gas Barbecue, a Green Egg, and an outdoor stove top burner.
We added a pool in the back part of the yard about 15 years ago.
We had a Sport Court for paddle tennis and basketball behind the pool for years. (Dave and his family built it a gazillion years ago … he grew up in his house.) About ten years ago my two volleyball players (Dave and Michael) added 150 tons of sand to the court. So it is now a sand volleyball court with lights and music. You can only imagine how much fun it is!
One Project Left in the Backyard
We have one project left to do. We have a Carriage House in our backyard. Many years ago the horse and carriage would pull up, the carriage would get dropped off inside, and the horses would leave out the back. There are two huge sliding doors on the front and back of the Carriage House that still remain.
We are going to redo the inside of this space and make it more useful. This will be happening next month. I cannot wait.
A Tip for Your Home
- If you think about my theme this month, Living Beautifully, it is all about ways to make your home comfortable and beautiful. I know a lot of you are dealing with snow and zero temperatures right now. But it’s never too early to start thinking about outdoor spaces and how to utilize them for outdoor living.
I spent a lot of time last fall coming up with new outdoor spaces for entertaining.
I moved tables around, cleared the area behind the Carriage House, and hosted our first dinner party out there.
Is there an area that you can use for a special dinner in your yard? Start thinking now so you can include this in any spring cleaning or planting projects.
Reflections on the Week
It’s Valentine’s Day and I have spent an entire month sharing a lot of ideas for you to enjoy today. This past week was no exception.
My Favorite Things
In the Craft Room
Looking for a unique gift idea or home decor item? This sweet DIY pampas grass arrangement makes a lovely and unique gift. Use a variety of pink and natural coloured grasses to make this soft, textured bouquet.
Happy Happy Nester
This easy DIY Flower Wall Hanging is easy to create with faux flowers. Decorate your bedroom wall with it for Spring.
Accounts I Love to Follow on Instagram
Rachel @ The Ponds Farmhouse
Courtney @ Tuft and Trim
Michele @ Vintage Home Designs
Brooke @ Plank and Pillow
Christiane @ Fraulein on Cottage
Three Things I Love for Under $50
Ok, so they may not be cheap but these cake stands are my favorite. I can use them for everything and they look great anywhere.
Good Things From Martha
Freeze a Burst of Flavor
Even when it is freezing outside, it’s a great idea to make some fun ice cubes.
Head on over to one of my favorite Good Things by Martha Stewart.
My Favorite Comments on the Blog
Delanie: I have never seen or even imagined a table as gorgeous as this one!! This is the pinnacle, the quintessential, the ultimate in beautiful! I want to run out, in my pajamas, and buy every flower in every shade of pink to white I can find! My dining room is done in blue and, oh my, wouldn’t that tablescape look gorgeous in there! Of course, that would look gorgeous anywhere! I am running through my China, glassware, linen inventory in my mind to see if I have enough to replicate your exquisiteness on my table. Thank you for being so talented and inspirational!
Leslie: Delanie! Oh my gosh. This is the sweetest comment ever. thank you and I am so happy you like my “ombre” table. I can’t wait to see it in blue!
Linda: I can’t wait until it gets warm enough to entertain outside! We have lights crisscrossed over a brick patio also and it makes it magical. I love your posts and I try to emulate what you do. You inspire me to want to try new things. It lifts my spirits! Thank you.
Leslie: Thank you so much Linda. I love to entertain and I cannot wait until the weather warms up a bit to start creating dinners in our backyard. I think it’s going to be a fun summer for entertaining!
One Healthy Tip
Walk Don’t Run
We are at the beach this weekend and one of my favorite things to do while we are here is walk on the beach!
I love to take long power walks but I often get sidelined with finding sea glass. But that’s a good thing.
Seriously, we all need to get outside and walk more. You don’t need to run. Jut walk. Set a goal. And just walk.
Reel Life vs. Real Life
Things you see on blogs and social media are often not as they appear. Our houses are never as clean as they seem and sometimes the things we share just aren’t the real story.
So guess what I shared this week that wasn’t as it appeared?
Remember the Citrus Stained Tart that I made this week? I shared a brilliant concept that you put fresh fruit on top of the tart to “stain” and flavor the top.
This tart started out as a Bruleed Citrus Tart. I intended to make a pretty tart with fresh fruit on top. But the pictures with the fruit on top didn’t look great and I didn’t want to share them. My tart did not turn out as I had hoped.
In my frustration, I pulled off all of the fruit and threw it in the sink. I then was left with a Citrus Stained Lemon tart.
Wait … a Citrus Stained Tart? How cool is that?
So I kind of presented it as if that’s what I was planning to do all along.
I call that being flexible … and perhaps a bit lucky.
Sadly, I have lots more to share next week …
I have so many fun ideas to share next week, now that Valentine’s Day is behind us. I have some very fun uses for Apothecary Jars, a Spring Tour of our Waco Kitchen, a treasured family recipe, a DIY on how to make Paper Flowers, and tips on how to take photos of your home with youtr35mm camera!
Links to the Items Shown in This Post
Catch up on Sunday Morning Coffee
- Sunday Morning Coffee Volume 6 – February is All About Living Beautifully
- Sunday Morning Coffee Volume 5 – Our Beach House in Ventura, CA
- Sunday Morning Coffee Volume 4 – The Story of My 100 Year Old Home
- Sunday Morning Coffee Volume 3 – I Think I Might Be Martha’s Biggest Fan
- Sunday Morning Coffee Volume 2 – A Tribute to My Mom
- Sunday Morning Coffee Volume 1 – How Chip and Joanna Influenced My Life
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