Even as the founder of the beautiful and coveted wedding blog Style Me Pretty and a mother of three, Abby Larson still finds time to entertain and fill her home with the people she loves on a regular basis. Her secret? Keeping things simple and always having a few key ingredients and entertaining pieces on hand for impromptu get-togethers with friends and family. Instead of trying to throw large, elaborate parties, Abby makes it a priority to spend time with her closest loved ones. “I think that in not taking ourselves too seriously or putting too much pressure on ourselves for everything to look and taste and be perfect, we remove 99% of the stress that comes with playing hostess,” she says. Keeping this philosophy in mind, Abby is able to enjoy “intimate, easy moments with friends and family every few days.”
For the upcoming holiday season, Abby will be keeping her home stocked with apple cider and cinnamon sticks and finding inspiration from Pinterest, Style Me Pretty, Food52, and Sunday Suppers, so that she’s always prepared for her next unexpected afternoon visit from friends. The following photos show the sweet details that Abby effortlessly puts together for a small fall gathering outdoors. With a beautiful, soft palette and a simple, soul-warming menu, this get-together has left me hoping to be one of the fortunate invitees to Abby’s next dinner party…
My entertaining style in 5 words or less:
Intimate, easy, relaxed, sincere and delicious.
My must-have entertaining tool:
A beautiful tray, because even cheese and crackers taste better when placed lovingly on a pretty tray.
Always in my refrigerator:
Champagne and cheese.
What (if anything) scares you about entertaining?
I generally race around the house just before the guests arrive because to me, there is always something small that can be added to make the experience even better — lighting candles in bathrooms, ironing hand towels, perfecting playlists, styling flowers for every nook and cranny. Mostly, I fear sweating too much or forgetting that something is in the oven warming because I’m frantically putting flowers into every room of the house.
My standard hostess outfit:
In warm weather, it’s cut off shorts and a crisp white button down, loads of gold bracelets and boho style sandals. In cool weather, I’m probably in jeans and a pretty, cozy sweater that doesn’t show any of the side effects of racing around getting ready. Plus a great pair of boots.
Current favorite color palette for parties:
There is always some shade of pink in my parties. From fall to summer, I sneak elements of rose, blush, nude, or just plain pink into one detail or another. No wait, I take that back. Gold. I’ve never had a party without a bit of gold. And now I’m sort of obsessed with copper and rose gold.
My perfect dinner party playlist:
I honestly don’t ever get too clever with my playslists. I keep it simple with music people know and can hum along to. Jack Johnson, Colbie Caillat, maybe even a little Frank, as in Sinatra. I’m also not afraid to rock some serious George Strait, celebrating my Texas roots!
The entertaining rule I rarely break:
Oh I have so many! First, always plan to buy a few of your components and gussy them up, like store bought pastry dough filled with apples. Or, a one-pan lasagna with ready to cook noodles and individual baguettes for sauce dunking.
As long as guests are given snacks and a cocktail right away, you can take your time finishing dinner. The easiest snacks can also be really gorgeous — a package of goat cheese baked for 20 minutes in a pretty bowl then drizzled with olive oil is gorgeous, inspired and so addicting.
Wait, one more! If there are kids, form your menu around easy to adapt ingredients. An elegant seasonal pasta for the grown-ups and a simple pasta with butter for the kids, followed by apple tart with caramel sauce for the grown ups and apple slices dipped in caramel for the kids.
My signature entertaining dish:
I love to host get togethers that feel like home, but a really special version of home. In the cooler months, I serve big bowls of family style pasta with extra sauce and crusty french bread, plus a simple green salad with an amazing vinaigrette. In the summer, it’s all about the taco.
The restaurant meal I’ll never forget:
An artisanal lasagna that I got at Da Silvano in New York. I literally dream about that lasagna. It was baked in a ramekin and drenched in the most amazing sauce you could ever imagine. Can you tell that I really like lasagna? I think that I was supposed to have been born Italian rather than Irish.
The taste I’m always craving:
Right now amidst the perfect fall weather? It’s anything with apples and ice cream.
Click here to get the recipe for Abby’s Apple Turnovers with Creme Anglaise
My dream dinner guests:
My best friend Katie who makes me laugh until I cry, any one of my college girlfriends, my mom and dad, and perhaps Kristen Wiig. Or Tina Fey, but only if Amy Poehler comes too.
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