Festive Finds + Brunch!


One thing I’m dying to do more of this year is entertain. I get a little bit overwhelmed having friends over as I have a pretty small space and the only place to eat is around my coffee table. Perfectionism kicks in and I worry having my friends sit on the couch, poufs, + stools rather than chairs and an actual table. My friends are all so low maintenance that it’s all in my head, and once I relax, everything ends up being great (it always is, when you’re with great people!)

This past weekend I was feeling especially ambitious as I invited five of my girlfriends over for brunch… and GUYS! I actually cooked… something that is sadly rare for this city girl who lives by herself! I’ve said this before but I come from a big foodie family. My dad is the head chef at my parents’ restaurant and my mom is an amazing cook as well. My sisters are both married and cook all the time with their husbands… I guess I’m the black sheep in that regard. But when I have friends over and actually put my mind to it, I am a pretty decent cook, too.



A few weeks ago, Nespresso sent over their new Vertuoline machine and I’ve become completely and utterly obsessed with it. Every morning before work I make a shot of espresso and fill the rest of my mug up with homemade almond milk (which is actually so incredibly easy to make if you have a Vitamix… you just blend three cups of water with one cup of soaked almonds for a minute or so on high) This is a pretty big change for me, and one that my family teases me mercilessly about. Living in New York I would always buy my coffee out for a few reasons 1) I like it iced 2) I have the world’s tiniest kitchen counter 3) There’s a coffee shop on every block and 4) Let’s be honest, laziness! This machine is completely worthy of the prime countertop real estate it takes up… and it’s really nice to be able to start my day with coffee at home vs. running out to get it. And, while entertaining this weekend, I have to say… it was pretty awesome being able to offer my girlfriends their choice of coffee, espresso, or latte. #fancypants



All of my china and linens come from Sur la Table (you might remember from this, a few weeks ago they generously invited me in for a little shopping trip.) It’s really fun having things that all match… I went with lots of blue + white with some more festive, sparkly touches of mercury glass. I particularly loved their Saint-Germaine collection (stripes!) and the Antique floral collection and found myself mixing and matching with stripes + florals. It’s hard to go all in when you don’t have an actual kitchen or dining room table, but I find that it’s easy to dress up a coffee table with a pretty runner as I did here. Also on the note about table runners, how fun is this chalkboard runner? I’ve never seen anything like it… it’s such a smart idea, especially if you are tasting lots of different things and want a more creative way to display them.

Shop the Post: Table Runner (available in stores) //Mugs // Wine Glasses // Napkins // Plates // Bowls // Votives // Vases (not actually vases, but they looked so cute filled with peonies!) // Olive Oil Bottle // Salt & Pepper Shakers


I made this spinach + gruyere strata from Smitten Kitchen (recipe here!) and can’t say enough good things about it. It’s ridiculously easy (you do all the prep the night before) and decadently delicious. (My casserole dish is also from Sur la Table.)





Thank you to Nespresso for sponsoring this post!

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  1. I think your tabletop is lovely. It’s refreshing to see something sweet and pretty. I make a similar dish from Martha Stewart’s site, and I usually change it up occasionally with yellow squash, instead of spinach.

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  2. I bet you are the best hostess!

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  3. what a pretty spread! i love that tablecloth! xo jillian

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  4. Dining room table or coffee table…friends don’t care where they sit as long as the food is yummy, the company is good, and the booze keeps flowing! Love this little brunch!

    Cathy, your Poor Little It Girl

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  5. I want to start hosting more things like this as well, but I’ve always feared the same as you! Our apartment isn’t the biggest space and dining area is sparse. You’ve inspired me to give it a try anyways. My friends are all super laid back and I know they wouldn’t mind. As for kitchen counter space? Mine just might be able to give yours a run for your money 😉

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  6. It all looks so lovely! Bravo on hosting a great brunch, and with your crazy schedule. I do not know how you seem to manage it so well.

    It’s nice to see a coffee table dressed up… my in-laws are coming to our little tiny apartment to celebrate Thanksgiving, and we’ll be eating on the coffee table too! It’s nice to see that it can be done well.
    xx- Lynn-Holly

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  7. The hostess with the mostess! Very cute Grace!

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  8. these are great finds Grace, that stratta looks incredible.

    Xo, Megan, http://www.TfDiaries.com

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  9. I stress about entertaining, too, but I just overserve my friends to distract them from any of my potential failings 😉

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  10. Your strata looks so delicious! I am also loving on the place settings for the table. Such a great post. You’re making me want to host a dinner party!


    11.18.14 Reply
  11. Love this Grace! Looks like so much fun. xx



    11.19.14 Reply