How to Host a Picnic

With the summer coming to an end, it’s the perfect time to grab your honey and mix up your standard date night with a little picnic! This is a great way to enjoy the cooler weather, explore your city, and dine al fresco!

A lake or park are always two favorites for picnics, but I always love finding a unique spot with a beautiful view. Deep in the heart of downtown Dallas, my fiancé and I decided to enjoy an end-of-summer picnic at the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge, which is an iconic Dallas hotspot. It’s definitely not the common picnic locale, which made it even more romantic and memorable. The Everyday Hostess PicnicThe Everyday Hostess Picnic 2 with Kate and Landon

If you are looking for a fun way to switch up your upcoming date night or evening with friends,  this is definitely an entertaining idea to consider! Picnics are simple and easy and usually only require assembling a few items! Check out our favorite tips and tricks for throwing together an unforgettable picnic!

  1. Choose a location: When planning a picnic, most people immediately think of a public park; however, there are so many other unique places you can host your outdoor gathering! Consider a beach, a rooftop, or your favorite local site!paisley-layne-photography-3
  2. Seating: Make sure you bring something for you to sit on like a picnic blanket. You can also bring towels or, my personal favorite, rugs! To increase the formality a bit, I brought out our favorite faux sheepskin rug. If the ground is wet, use a tarp as the first layer, to keep your guests (and nicer blankets!) from getting wet.
  3. Food: Keep the food simple and consider only bringing dishes that are still tasty at room temperature. Try handheld foods (sandwiches and wraps) and appetizers like vegetable or fruit kabobs, cheese, crackers, and hummus. You could also put together an antipasto platter if you want to step up the formality a bit!
  4. Beverages: Don’t forget to pack a refreshing beverage like an infused water with lemon, mint, or fruit. If you serve wine, choose something light, like a rosé and pre-mix any cocktails at home. (We aren’t big rosé drinkers, so we still opted for red wine!) paisley-layne-photography-8The Everyday Hostess Picnic Shoot
  5. Packing: Pack your food, beverages, and place settings in a wicker picnic basket or insulated tote. Make sure there is padding in the interior to protect any glasses or soft food.
  6. Place settings: Don’t forget your disposable plates, napkins, and silverware! Paper plates are easy to transport and throw away after your picnic, but if you want something a little bit more formal, check out my favorite disposable products, Tableluxe
  7. Lighting: Lighting can completely transform the mood of your picnic. If you are close to a house, you can string beautiful lights over your table. If you are more remote, consider lanterns or candles.
  8. Entertainment: Set the mood with a little music. Bring a portable radio or speakers to connect to your phone, so you can play your favorite playlist!
  9. Make a list: As you’re planning your picnic, keep a running list of everything you need. Since you are most likely hosting your picnic away from your home, you don’t want to forget anything!



Photography by Paisley Layne Photography

Wedding Wednesday: Bridesmaid Gifts

One of my favorite parts of the wedding planning process so far has been asking my bridesmaids to be in my bridal party! If you read our Wedding Wednesday post on Groomsmen Gifts you saw how we compiled personalized gifts for each of my fiance’s groomsmen. Now we have done the same for my bridesmaids!

I’ve partnered with Swoozies to put together the cutest gifts to ask my gals to be in our bridal party! If you’ve never been Swoozies before, stop by one of their stores or their website! It’s the perfect one stop shop for all your party decor and celebratory gifting needs!

Check out these adorable gifts we put together and hopefully they provide you with some inspiration when putting together your own bridesmaid packages!

Personalized Stemless Champagne Flutes

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These stunning and modern champagne glasses are the perfect bridesmaid gifts for your friends! There are a myriad of ways to customize them for your wedding, but for bridesmaid gifts, I personally love the monogram look with the wedding date! There are also some adorable options for your bachelorette party or wedding favors! These would also be super cute in the hotel welcome bags! Keep Reading!

Interior Design: Home Tour

We are so excited for Week 4 of our Interior Design Series! For the past few weeks, we’ve been talking about our favorite kitchen hacks, how to customize your home and maximize small spaces,  and now we are so excited to share how we brought this all together with our home tour!

Living in downtown Dallas in a small 700sf apartment, I wanted to create a  luxurious and serene oasis in our apartment. I focused on a neutral color palette with beiges and whites and then added hints of aqua in the living room to give it a calming feel and hints of navy and gold in the bedroom to give it a little pop.

So without further ado, welcome to our home! 

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I just love this little nook in our entry way! It’s the perfect spot to drop off mail, keys, and little notes. Plus! It houses my absolute favorite painting from Jenn Thatcher Art! Jenn is a Dallas based abstract artist is who is SO incredibly talented! I seriously can’t stop swooning when I see her art! She worked with me to understand the style and color palette of my home and created this masterpiece to tie it all together! Definitely be sure to check out her site and see how her work can transform your home!

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Now moving into the living room!  Keep Reading!

Wedding Wednesday: The Groom’s Guide

The Groom-to-be’s Guide to Wedding Planning: The early stages

Happy Wedding Wednesday! This Wednesday we are in for a treat! I would like to introduce you to my wonderful fiancé and general team player Landon who will be sharing a little bit of his perspective of the wedding planning process and our recent planning trip to Colorado!

Gore Creek Drive, with Gore Range in the background

Friends, followers of this blog, and random internet strangers — welcome. It’s good to have you here, as I’ve been so generously given this space to provide a groom’s perspective on the wedding planning process.

While my lovely fiancée Kate, who many of you know affectionately as The Everyday Hostess, and I are only in the beginning stages of mapping out our matrimony, I’m here to show you that planning the big day is so much more than smiling and nodding.

Chevare? Chivari? Shevarry?

When you’re meeting with a florist, I give the go-ahead to briefly tune out — it’s likely going to happen with or without my blessing. I’ll paint a picture with an anecdote from my florist meeting:

While the Powers That Be were using their creative juices to determine which candle holder will best open up the space, my imagination was geared toward one question: “What would I be watching on the powered-off TV on the wall, if it was on?” Since I was confined to carte blanche in the form of écran noir (that means “black screen” and I want to put my eight years of French to good use here), I had to create my own SportsCenter broadcast in my mind. With an imaginary sportscast airing inside my cranium, thoughts of the Denver Broncos’ nightmarish quarterback situation (yay, geolocated sports thoughts!) and my fantasy football draft were aplenty. Trevor Siemian? Really?

I’ll warn you, though — when you do tune back into wedding talk, and I advise that you do, they’ll be discussing gold chiavari* chairs and “mountain elegant” centerpieces. And the confusion will hit you like a ton of bricks.

Safety first

With weddings, you have to be ready for anything. This is especially true day-of, but it’s also the case during the planning process. It’s a constant work in progress — you’re building the most magical celebration with the woman of your dreams, after all. But sometimes it’s literally a construction project, for which you have to put on a hard hat and a safety vest. Keep Reading!

How to Create a Mediterranean Style Antipasto Platter

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When it comes to hosting a dinner party, I’m pretty sure there is nothing better than starting the evening off with a giant antipasto platter to kick the night off! I mean what is more welcoming than providing an abundant platter of delicious bites for your friends and family to gather around and enjoy while waiting for dinner? It immediately creates an intimate and relaxed atmosphere plus it buys you a few extra minutes to finish preparing the rest of the meal or beverages!


I absolutely love filling my antipasto platter with only the freshest of Mediterranean style ingredients that are just as beautiful as they are delicious! And the best part of this course is that it is simple and quick to throw together! Most of the ingredients can be store-bought, so all you need to do is arrange it on the platter, cover and refrigerate, and then bring it out when your first guest arrives! Easy peasy!

So we know this is super easy to throw together, but let’s talk about what we should actually include on the platter!

Keep it simple and colorful and offer a large variety of sliced meats, cheeses, and marinated vegetables. Some of my favorite additions to a Mediterranean style platter are:

  • Marinated artichokes
  • Hummus
  • Roasted red bell peppers
  • Sun-dried tomatoes
  • Marinated feta cheese
  • Marinated olives
  • Sweet Pickles
  • Roasted almonds
  • Dried fruit
  • Fresh Mozzarella
  • Roasted vegetables
  • Assorted deli meats (salami, turkey, prosciutto)
  • Tabouli

Oh and don’t forget the most important part! A large selection of pita breads, breadsticks, and crackers for dipping! YUM!

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Antipasto platters are the perfect way to get people mingling and the conversation rolling. Incorporate one into your next dinner party or gathering and I promise you will not be disappointed!

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

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Hummus is an absolute staple in my household! I mean, I literally LOVE it!  I am always sampling different types in the store, so I finally started experimenting with it in my own kitchen. And let me tell you – it is way better homemade and even easier to make than you would expect! Keep Reading!

Wedding Wednesday: Budget Guideline

When you first get engaged it’s easy to start thinking about all the incredible details that will make up the most important day of your life so far. You begin imagining the flowers, the venue, the food, the band, all the amazingly fun decisions you will make over the next year! However, before you jump in too fast and start all your planning meetings, it’s important to first create a budget and have some of those (unfortunately) uncomfortable conversations with your significant other and both sets of parents, or whoever is helping foot the bill. 

Traditionally, the bride’s family is responsible for a majority of the wedding reception (with the exception of the liquor/bar, bride’s wedding ring, officiant, flowers for the bride and her family to hold/wear, and oftentimes the photographer) and the groom’s family is responsible for the rehearsal dinner, marriage license, and the honeymoon. However, with couple’s getting married later in life or different familial budgets, many of these expenses get shared between the families as well as with the couple. 

No matter who is paying for what, sit down and start working through your budget. Below is our wedding budget guideline to start helping you allocating your budget amongst the most important wedding related expenses. This is by no no means set in stone, as you will find everyone has different priorities and elements they want to splurge on, but it’s important to start the process. After this step, the hard conversations are mainly over, and it’s all the fun and exciting decisions you have been dreaming about your whole life!


The Everyday Hostess Wedding Budget

6 Kitchen Hacks

If you read our recent post on how to decorate small spaces, you know that I have been on a complete organizational roll lately! My small 700SF apartment, lacks much of the kitchen storage space that I was looking for (including a pantry!), so the kitchen has been under a complete organizational makeover! Today we are sharing 6 kitchen hacks that has completely transformed our kitchen in hopes it will inspire you as well! Enjoy!

1. Clear Containers – Clear containers are definitely an investment, but they are well worth it! You no longer have to sort through mountains of cereal boxes and bags of chips. Clear containers make the pantry feel more uniform and clean. These are perfect for storing cereal, sugar, pastas, flour, etc.

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2. Bins and Baskets – Invest in bins or baskets to help store more bulk items. I like to keep all my canned goods, baking items, and chip products in separate orderly bins. You can stack products on top of each other in the baskets, but they still appear more organized and systematic.

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3. Shelving Units – If your pantry doesn’t have many shelves, or if you don’t have a designated pantry space, consider adding a freestanding shelving unit to a hall closet to give yourself more storage space. This way you won’t have to waste valuable kitchen cabinet space with more canned food items rather than your favorite wine glasses! I have found Home Depot, Lowe’s, and the Container Store all sell great storage racks. I personally wanted to add a little extra color to my pantry, so I bought my turquoise one from the Container Store!

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4. Label Everything! – Labels bring a sense of order to your pantry as well as some personality! I absolutely LOVE these labels from Clementime Mercantile! She makes labels for any product you can imagine from sugar, and flour, to cleaning products or tools! Definitely check out her shop and if you don’t see the label you are looking for, she can customize one for you!

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5. Spice Jars – To keep your spice cabinet from getting too cluttered, invest in glass spice jars. This will also bring a sense of uniformity to your cabinet rather than having a million different brands and sizes of spice jars to your cabinet. I bought my spice jars from Bed Bath and Beyond and it has made a world of difference in my spice cabinet!

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6. Spice Jar Labels – When I say label everything, I mean everything! These gourmet spice labels from Itty Bitty Paper Co will completely transform your spice cabinet! They include 80 different herbs and spice labels plus two blank pages in case you have some unique spices.

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Red, White, and Blue Sangria

This Red, White, and Blue Sangria is the perfect refreshing cocktail to serve at any patriotic gathering this summer! It’s light, it’s fresh, and most importantly, it’s sweet!

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With the Olympics in full swing, this fruity beverage has been a staple in our household and is perfect for your Olympic parties this week! Plus it is super simple to make!

Just pour Chardonnay, raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, and white grape juice in a large pitcher and chill for 2 hours. If you want your beverage to really have the USA written all over it, cut an apple into thin slices and use a star shaped cookie cutter to add little stars to your cocktail. I found my baby cookie cutter at Sur la Table but most cooking specialty stores will carry them. Then when you are ready to serve just stir in the champagne and apple slices!

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Voila! The most American spirited cocktail there is!

Red, White, and Blue Sangria
Serves 10
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
2 hr
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
2 hr
  1. 1 Bottle of Chardonnay
  2. 1 Cup of Fresh Raspberries
  3. 2 Cups of Blueberries
  4. 1 Pound of Fresh Strawberries, Hulled and Sliced
  5. 1 ½ Cups of White Grape Juice
  6. 1 Bottle of Champagne or Prosecco (Chilled)
  7. 3 Apples, thinly sliced
  1. In a large pitcher, add Chardonnay, raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, and white grape juice. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours.
  2. Optional: While chilling cut the thin apple slices into a star using a small star shaped cookie cutter.
  3. When you are ready to serve, stir in the champagne and apple slices. Pour over ice and serve immediately. Enjoy!
The Everyday Hostess