Ladies Valentine's Tea 2015

I hosted my annual Ladies Valentine's Tea last weekend and it was a lovely morning of celebrating friends and love.  But before I go into the pretty details of the party I need to tell you that I almost talked myself out of having it this year.  You see, in between stress and busyness and my ongoing insecurities in friendships, it was a struggle for me to decide to put this thing on.

This was my fifth year hosting and it felt hard this year.  I recently stopped going to my women's group and I struggle with having the sense sometimes that when I am not a part of something I get lost or forgotten in the midst of other people's busy lives.  I invited new friends as well as old friends and it is saddening how quickly I start to second guess those relationships.

I share this only because on the outside things sometimes look prettier than what it is really going on in my heart.  I took a risk this year and allowed others to bless me.  I told myself if anything, hosting the party would make for good blog content.  And what a blessing that it was able to be so much more than that.

I look at this group of women and I see so much beauty inside and out.  I am reminded that these women love me in my insecurities, in my imperfections, and even when I hide.  One friend in particular, that I have not seen in a long time, stayed after everyone left to chat.  I finally apologized and admitted some guilt I was holding on to in my heart about our friendship and we cried and hugged it out.  This year's Valentine's Tea was much more than yummy food and pretty decorations.  It was about healing, and forgiveness, and unconditional love.  And to think I would have missed out on all of that if I let my insecurities rule my life. 

For this year's theme I went with a more modern and simple tablescape.  I used some black and white fabric as my foundation with hints of pink and gold.  It was minimalistic and lovely and not a lot of work. 

I also set up a marbled coffee mug craft that ended up being really fun!

As our home has changed this past year with updated floors, our fireplace, and even a different dining table, I find myself gravitating to a more natural and simple approach to our dining room decor.

In past years I have filled the table with hearts, doilies, and all things vintage Valentine-y.  With just a few decorations and flowers, this has been my most favorite look yet.

I have slowly been purging and letting go of some of my mismatched vintage plates and tea cups.  A friend of mine joked last year that the tea cups were too small for her caffeine needs.  Though funny, the reality is having larger coffee mugs make for happier guests.  Going with a white palette and adding color through flowers created a more stylish streamlined table.

I haven't changed my style a ton over the past year but adding in black and white to my home decor and party decorations has made a huge statement without changing a lot.  It adds a crispness that I love. 

My florist mom always supplies me with flowers to use.  I told her pink and white and she brings over flowers she has on hand.

Our dining table was given to us by an extended family member and I love having a table with leaves.  Being able to host ten women all at one table is a sweet little luxury in entertaining.

The candlesticks were an afterthought.  I moved them from in front of the fireplace so we could burn a fire and they ended up being placed on the table. 

I didn't get any pictures of the fire we lit but many of my friends got to see our fireplace in person for the first time.  It added to a lovely little atmosphere.

I got new set of flatware for Christmas.  I have been wanting a set in gold but everything I have seen is so expensive.  When we got married our plates and silverware are all everyday items so finding this gold and silver set from TJ-Maxx feels so fancy.

For the food, I serve brunch.  Over the years I have settled on a routine menu.  Having just a few favorite recipes makes for much easier preparation.  This is one of few parties that I have felt one hundred percent ready when guests arrived.  Either I am streamlining my parties better or letting go of my perfectionist ways.  Either way, I am grateful to be a more present host. 

Cinnamon bun hearts are made by putting together two rolls before baking.

I also make my favorite oatmeal casserole full of chocolate chips, walnuts, and fruit.  I made it gluten free this time around for one of my guests. 

Yogurt parfaits are one of the easiest things ever and are a huge crowd pleaser.  Why do we not make ourselves yogurt parfaits?  I don't know.  They are delicious.

I am still making pumpkin bread with my homemade pumpkin puree from a Halloween pumpkin.  No one is complaining.  I need to post that recipe soon.  It is well loved.

The cranberry orange spritzer is a combination of cranberry juice, orange juice, and club soda.  The bubbles feel fancy.

A friend of mine gifted me with these adorable chalkboard food labels and I got to use them for the first time.  They are simply adorable if you ask me.  Thank you Krista!

I recently purchased a coffee percolator, a long time item on my wish list.  It is so nice to be able to make such a large amount of coffee for entertaining.  And my caffeine addicted friends appreciate it!

After we ate, we worked on our marbled coffee mugs.  They came out so beautiful and I love that each one was unique.  I will be sharing the full tutorial soon.

I have all my tea organized in a little basket so I can just pull it out and it is always ready.

And I love me some Torani syrups

It was a beautiful morning of friendship and fun.  And while I am often exhausted afterwards, I am grateful for investing my time and energy into such a special gathering with friends.

And while I am on the topic of my new flatware, I was on the search for a storage box for them.  Flatware storage is expensive.  I was about to go the route of ziploc bags until I luckily stumbled on this one at Macy's.  These things cost over $100.  The one I found was on special for $29.99.  I also had a gift card.  It is going down as one of my best finds ever.

Plus it is black and fancy.  I feel like a real adult who throws ladies teas and pulls our her nice flatware. 

And that's a wrap.  Until next year.  Wishing you all a Happy Valentine's Day!