I’ll never forget meeting Katie Turpin for the first time at Camille’s San Antonio book signing — it was a cold winter’s night and she stood out (in a sea of fur coats and flat ironed hair) for having that seriously perfect I’m-not-trying-too-hard natural beauty. We struck up a conversation that was adorably interrupted by her tow-headed son reaching out for a high five. In the months that followed I discovered via instagram that she’s also living my dream life: the one where I defect from Austin for quiet country living. I’m not the only one Katie is inspiring: her handy Guide to the Texas Hill Country is a go-to resource for visitors to the area. And in the grand tradition of small town people everywhere, the Turpins are wonderfully genuine. Their relaxed and fun approach to life is totally contagious. Join us as we visit the town of Fredericksburg, Texas to see how Katie and her crew entertain in one of the most magical parts of the state.

photographed by kate zimmerman


What (if anything) scares me most about entertaining:

If you’ve ever looked at my guide to Fredericksburg/blog Sunshine Texas Day you’ve probably read that sometimes I feel pressure to make everything perfect… I want the food to taste delicious and the atmosphere to be beautiful… but I will say that we’ve had just as much (if not more) fun hosting friends in our busted looking backyard covered in baby toys and serving hot dogs wrapped in tortillas.


My signature entertaining dish:  

I’m a seasonal girl so: Pot Pies of all kinds in the winter, salmon and fennel in the spring, cucumber gazpacho in the summer, and roasted chicken with beets, lemons, garlic, and herbs from the garden in the fall.


Katie’s son Davey helps out in the kitchen.

My must-have entertaining tool:

Pretty flowers… I never have a dinner party without them! Thanks to Sprout — my favorite florist of all time — tonight I feel super inspired to host!


Katie takes time out for a moment with her daughter, Sally.

Current favorite color palette for parties:

Bright white, wood, colorful flowers, and a hint of green here and there. Guten Co. threw in a little green this evening thanks to the super cute hand pressed place cards and paper suite and the Oakwrites fulfilled my love for wood with their beautiful handmade benches that we used for the “cocktail hour” under the shade of the oak tree.


The restaurant meal I’ll never forget:

Dinner in Italy on Lake Garda with my sweet family at the most delightful hotel, Villa Feltrinelli, enjoying a colorful salad of 100 herbs and 20 different edible flowers grown in their beautiful gardens just simply on a plate with some flakes of salt… it was so unique and just absolutely delightful. If I ever win the lottery I would love to stay there for a month.


Katie’s friends the Oakwrites made all the benches by hand that she uses for entertaining.

My favorite way to serve food:

I love serving family style and I love using handmade pieces to serve on. Tonight we are using hand carved cutting boards and serving utensils made by a dynamic duo, known as the Oakwrites, who beautifully re-purpose trees that have died from Oak Wilt here in the hill country as well as dear Sarah of Guten Co.‘s hand thrown porcelain for centerpieces and cups to serve the peach + mint ice cream, chocolate sauce, and Leah’s cookie from my aunt’s adorable tearoom and gift shop, The Peach Tree.


Always in my refrigerator:

Grass-fed cow’s milk & butter from Abundant Table, eggs from our chickens, and whatever produce my friend Gary of Harriston Creek Farms has brought to the farmer’s market.


A single wildflower provides a bright pop of color on a faded antique napkin.

The taste I’m always craving:

Gourmet German Bistro goods… in other words… Otto’s. The couple that owns this particular establishment in Fredericksburg are such wonderful people that want to deliver the best experience and meal that they possibly can using local ingredients in a fresh and exciting way… how could you not crave that?! Thank goodness tonight they have brought the apps and sides!


Katie holds appetizers from Otto’s on a handmade wooden tray created by the Oakwrites.

My standard hostess outfit:

David calls it my Martha Washington shirt…it’s a vintage blouse with a tie at the neck I bought at a local thrift store…it’s kind of my go to:)  And I can’t help but steal David’s Open Road Stetson…especially for an evening al fresco, but tonight I’m going with overalls and a vintage top… it just seemed to be apropos.


Read Katie’s recipe for Roasted Salmon with Garlic and Pickled Fennel here.

Katie’s outdoor table features handmade serving pieces made by the Oakwrites.

My perfect dinner party playlist includes:

Random goodies from my record collection: Cat Stevens; Crosby, Stills & Nash; and Waylon Jennings, to name a few but tonight we have the Four Proches coming to play some folk/bluegrass… and I am SO excited!!


One of Katie’s favorite bands comprised of her neighbor’s grandchildren, the Four Proches, picks folk and bluegrass tunes on the lawn.

What makes entertaining in a small town unique?

Fredericksburg is a lovely spot filled with beautiful flowering green spaces, old German structures, and such interesting and special people that make entertaining such a joy. I love being able to entertain and getting entertained in the country… there is just something so special about an outdoor dinner with the sounds of cicadas and the fresh air filling up your lungs… to me it doesn’t get much better.


Guests enjoy cookies from Katie’s aunt’s Fredericksburg restaurant, The Peach Tree.

My dream dinner guests:

Really and truly I just love a good group of family and friends… having all of the people I love at one table just makes my heart soar… cheesy I know… but totally true.

8 comments
  1. 1
    My Style Vita (@MyStyleVita) | June 17, 2015 at 8:00 am

    Those flowers are gorgeous! Love the photos.

    xo Jessica
    http://www.mystylevita.com

    Reply
  2. 2
    Kathleen McGlade | June 17, 2015 at 8:57 am

    First, I Love this series <3 <3.
    Katie's recipe for salmon with fennel sounds right up my ally but I can't seem to get to it-

    Reply
    • Jennifer Rose Smith | June 17, 2015 at 10:16 am

      Thanks for your comment, Kathleen! The recipe link should be working now. I agree — I can’t wait to try this recipe out for myself. Looks so delicious.

      Reply
  3. 3
    Cara Greenstein | June 17, 2015 at 10:49 am

    Well, this is absolutely breathtaking.

    Reply
  4. 4
    Allison Dowell | June 17, 2015 at 3:54 pm

    How lovely! I love seeing the warmth, love & hospitality of such wonderful people show through these photos! Everything looks beautiful & delicious.

    Reply
  5. 5
    Eleanor | June 17, 2015 at 5:57 pm

    She had me at Waylon Jennings.

    Reply
    • Jenn | June 18, 2015 at 12:11 pm

      Same here! 🙂

      Reply
  6. 6
    Carolyn McCartney Culbert | June 17, 2015 at 6:23 pm

    To meet/know this family is to love them! Well done KATIE!

    Reply
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