I am thrilled to be teaming up with my friend and food blogger, Ally from Ally’s Sweet and Savory Eats. The feeling of being a “new” blogger for some reason is still with me and hanging out in her company makes me feel so legit! Her cooking totally speaks my love language…if ‘eating’ was one of the 5 love languages. (For the record, I think ‘eating’ should be an official love language, but that’s another post for another day.) I gain 7-10 pounds every time I even just glimpse at her blog or Instagram page. In fact, I emailed her on a Friday asking for tips on how to like, you know, not eat all the food in one sitting. Her response was somewhat helpful and somewhat detrimental to my waistline. “Freeze the cake in slices and save for later. As for the dip, eat it for every meal from now until Sunday.” Mr. Chic(ish) and I heeded Ally’s good advice and did in fact eat that dip for every meal. Come 4:00 on Sunday, that dip was GONE. I stand by my previous statement on love languages…
When we initially started brainstorming for this project, we thought it would be fun to partner together to give you some inspiration for hosting a girls night in using Ally’s recipes and my love for tablescapes. The first step for me was choosing a couple of recipes. She makes it nearly impossible to choose, but I somehow managed to make a decision (not one of my strong suits in life) and decided to make her hot cast iron skillet herbed bread with spinach artichoke dip and her caramel apple bundt cake.
Now, I hear from a lot of people that hosting overwhelms them. Don’t let hosting anxiety rob of you of the joy of spending time with friends or family. I’m going to provide you with a few tips to help point you in the right direction and hopefully help ease some of that stress.
Food should not be stressful. Choose items that you can make ahead of time, like the cake! Whip that baby up the day before. It will still be just as delicious, promise! You can also do this with your mains or appetizers, like the dip. I mixed up the dip the night before and the day of I simply tossed in the cast iron and added the bread before baking. (This dip was also superb reheated in the oven.)
Admittedly, Ally’s cake looks so much better than mine but I think I nailed the dip if I do say so myself!
Don’t feel like you have to make all of the food yourself. Pick one hot dish or appetizer (like the spin dip) to serve and one dessert. Then, delegate the rest to your guests. Simply ask each one of them to bring an appetizer. Add in your favorite beverage and you’re all set.
Can I get an AMEN for this dip!?!? And now I’m salivating.
This is a tough one for most people, but try not to stress so much about the cleanliness of your home. I guarantee no one will leave your house saying, “Oh I had so much fun at Ally’s house tonight! She throws the best parties. I just love the pattern she draws into the carpet with her vacuum!” No. I’d also like to point out that if you’re not having a good time at your party, then ain’t nobody having a good time at your party. So try not to worry about it so much. Do I have dust bunnies on my baseboards? You’ll never know… All I’m sayin’ is that it’s a good thing Easter is right around the corner.
Again, the main point here is not to stress. Do put a little effort into your table though, but don’t go overboard about the proper placement of silverware, for example. You’re not setting a table for the Queen of England. You’re setting a table for your girlfriends. They will appreciate the fact that you have set this beautiful spread for them, trust me. I went with a spring theme here. The Midwest is dying for spring right now and this is the perfect way to get your mind right for the upcoming season. And what’s more spring than fresh flowers? Nothing.
But first, start with what you have and go from there. Items I already had include: animal appetizer plates, the pink glassware, the gold silverware, most of the vases, the eucalyptus stems, the cake stand and the bamboo board. Items I purchased include: a bouquet of flowers, the green napkins (Pier1), the chargers (HomeGoods), the table runner (Target), the round plates (Dollar Tree) and a few small vases (Dollar Tree). Most of what I buy for tablescapes is typically on sale or at the dollar store so it’s always challenging for me to link the exact pieces. I have linked the sale pages for retailers where you can shop online above.
As you can see, I picked up an assorted bouquet of flowers and split them up into their own vases throughout the center of the table. I used some vases I already owned and picked up a few more at Dollar Tree. Dollar Tree is a great place to find vases and glassware on a budget.
The goal of this tablescape was to incorporate a lot of color, while still keeping the general theme light and bright for spring. I am thrilled with how it all came together on a budget. I sincerely hope this provided you with some inspiration for hosting your own girls night in.
See ya on the next post!
-The Chic(ish) Chick
For more tablescape ideas: