This post is sponsored by Gold Peak Tea.

When people ask me where I'm from I don't ever know how to answer them because I've lived in four different states (California, Wisconsin, Texas and Arizona). I usually just tell people I'm from all over. So, the word "home" is not so much a place as it is a feeling. Gold Peak Tea invited me to to share with you what feels like home to me as part of their Take Me Home Contest where one lucky winner will win a trip and a custom experience that takes them home (hurry, deadline ends September 1st, 2016).

To me, home feels like sunshine, warm breezes, snuggles with my kids, belly laughs, and sharing food and drink accompanied by good conversation with my friends and family. Home always feels comfortable, warm and easy. 

Holidays are often moments in time that we remember most because we are with family and friends. They can also feel stressful, which is the antithesis of what I want my home to feel like. So, easy entertaining is key. I wanted to share with you some "friends-giving" inspiration that's simple and easy and that showcases memories of my home growing up and my own home in Arizona.

Being an only child, our holidays were always spent with friends, especially when we lived in Texas. You could say we were doing "friends-giving" long before it was popular. Each year you could count on four things to be there: turkey, sweet potatoes, pecan pie and tea. Everyone always brought a dish instead of the host preparing the whole meal, but if you are going to do the whole thing here are some tips. 

Keep your place settings simple. White plates, classic linen napkins and a low key centerpiece. I simply placed a bundle of wheat in the middle of the table with some tea-lights. I also picked an accent color of coper to keep the palette warm and contrast with my blue rug. 

Make your dishes ahead of time. We did a turkey breast in the crock pot, stuffing in muffin tins (you can prep before), green beens lightly roasted (such a fast way to do it), potatoes scalloped instead of mashed (you can prep it before), pecan pies and galettes made in advance. 

There's nothing like eating a big meal and washing it down with some ice cold tea. Instead of having to brew it, you can count on Gold Peak Tea to give you the perfect, at-home taste. A lot of people like to add lemon or peaches to their tea. Instead, we add apple and citrus to the tea with cinnamon and star of anise to make it taste like fall. Stay tuned for the delicious recipe, and you can thank me later for giving you fall in a cup. 


Thanksgiving always started at dinner time in our house and went late into the night. The adults would sit at the table for hours talking and drinking, and us kids would go play and until it was time for dessert and eat second helpings of pie. 

That's what we do at our house. Foods change here and there, but I know our kids will have fond memories of this. Heck, even our dog loves the holidays. 

I'd love to hear what feels like home to you too! Please share in the comments below, and also be sure to enter the Gold Peak Tea contest too to win a trip home. The deadline for entries is September 1st, 2016. Stay tuned for some delicious recipes. 

Photos by Rennai Hoefer; Food by Brendan McCaskey, Styled by Alex Evjen, Copper cups designed by Katie Sterbenz

Becoming A Better Hostess & Verily Magazine


I have the privilege of being Verily Magazine's guest pinner this week. They asked me to share with their readers what I'm inspired by. One would think it would be fashion related, but instead I chose to pin about being a great hostess. 91e94cbf8cf41bd73deedc4a97f0517e

In the past couple of weeks I've hosted a shower and a couple friends from Houston. I've also been doing a lot of home renovations to get my house in order once and for all. I really want to be a great hostess, but most of the time I don't feel like I'm all that great. I get anxiety about whether my house is clean enough, pretty enough and if my food tastes okay...Anyone else out there feel like this? I HATE that feeling! It's an insecurity that needs to be tackled!

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As the cooler months approach and the holidays creep up I know I'll be doing more entertaining too. So, instead of anticipating my hostess anxiety I'm sharing what I love about gathering people together, what foods I think would be great to share and what home environments I find most inviting. Follow along with me, and please comment and share pins with me that you think would be great inspiration for others!

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And, if you've ever been interested as to how I became a pinner and stylist, check out Verily's interview with me here. 

Photo credits: Korean BBQ photo by Jennifer Causey; berry galette by Will Cook for Friends

Fall Entertaining


Pumpkin Spice Lattes (PSL) are in Starbucks stores across the country. Do you know what that means? It's fall! Yes, the PSL is what determines it's autumn in my world. I already have my pumpkin candle burning, and I'm ready to put on my boots. Who cares if it's 114 degrees still? haha! I always seem to host more gatherings in the fall. The cooler weather is an invitation to create soups in crockpots, bake with cinnamon and drink red wine. Of course, you also have big holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas that put your china to use. I thought I would share a fall tablescape that I put together with Malori from Hoot and Holler to get your wheels spinning about your fall decor.

Ikea has an amazing selection of dinnerware, home accents and linens. I found a set of white dishes that included six place settings for only $35. I've been wanting some plain white plates for a long time now, and I was thrilled to find such a large set for a minimal price.


I also fell in love with these woven placemats and linen napkins. They will go with almost anything.

Malori found an incredible piece of wood at the flower market the other day.  She chose it as the focal point of the table design along with two geometric terrariums from West Elm. The all posses a modern quality the fits with the graphic wallpaper by Chasing Paper I installed (read post here).


She chose sage, wheat and other simple greens to keep the design easy for anyone to do. The sage was the perfect fall touch and made my house smell divine.


Deep reds and blues filled in the gaps. It's a different approach to fall that your typical rust and goldenrod colors.

So, now that I'm ready for fall entertaining, who wants to come over for dinner?!

Photos by Amy Frances Photography Florals by Hoot and Holler Additional styling by AVE Styles

Dining Room Transformation


I like white walls. My whole house is painted white. I just enjoy spaces with a lot of natural light and brightness. Here's the thing though...Having my whole house painted white can make it feel big and empty, and making my home feel comfortable and cozy is important to me.

I had thought about using wallpaper on an accent wall in my dining room, but over the past three years I have chickened out. It's hard to install and wallpaper is pretty permanent. Then comes along Chasing Paper - a wallpaper company that makes stickable wallpaper that you can easily remove. Why not try it?! My friend Jessica Helgeson used it in her kitchen, and it completely transformed the space.


You simply peel and stick! Our walls aren't completely smooth, so I would recommend sanding your walls a bit if there are any bumps or imperfections. Also, since our house was built in 1953 it has settled quite a bit causing the ceiling not to be completely level. That made it way more challenging to get the wall paper straight, but the fact that I could unstick and re-stick the pieces came in handy!

To make the reveal more dramatic, Malori Maeva of Hoot and Holler designed a beautiful, modern fall tablescape. More on that tomorrow, but for now I'd love to hear what you think of the transformation!

*This post is sponsored by Chasing Paper