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