Thanksgiving Conversation or Let the Games Begin

Thanksgiving conversation: That delicate annual dance between cheerful fodder and high blood pressure. There are rules to be embraced at times like these–lest you and your (insert your scandalous statement here) be the topic of conversation at the next family prayer meeting. So here are a few ideas on avoiding missteps during this annual foray into family front.

Topics to Avoid:

While it will be painfully obvious as guests eat their meal in peace and quiet that you have not blessed your parents with grandchildren yet, I would suggest that this is not the right moment to bring up that you also vote democrat.

No one cares about Scandal as much as you do. No one. And no, I don’t want to binge watch it so we can talk about it. No. Really.

Aunt Ivy may not have invited Clara Sue to that reunion, but who knew her address changed after the divorce? (Everyone but Aunt Ivy apparently.) All families have tiffs. If you are neither Aunt Ivy or Clara Sue, this issue is not yours. Sit there quietly and daydream about the Nora Ephron movie of your choice. (For me, it’s always the street fair scene in You’ve Got Mail when Rockin’ Robin is playing and Tom Hanks is in the turkey.)

Topics to Embrace:

Projects that involve just enough skill to be impressive to Uncle Bill. For example: An outdoor project involving a drill or shovel. Warning: Avoid projects involving saws as these stories always lead to unappetizing anecdotes.

Topics that entice a humble brag from your guests. People love to talk about themselves, y’all. Know your guests before they arrive, and encourage them to talk about something fab they’ve done lately.

Taylor Swift. She’s everywhere right now and your niece, grandmother, and even your brother Steve (after reading this Esquire article) can now openly admit they love her.

Your vinyl collection. Universal truth: 99% of people like music of one sort or another. People over the age of 49 have memories of spinning vinyl as they discovered rock-n-roll and made out in their parent’s living room. Those under the age of 49 relish the hunt for their favorite old records in pristine condition. Bonus: Every family has an audiophile at the table who will be more than happy to share the science of why records are superior to whatever you just downloaded from iTunes.

The Playlist

Finally, when in doubt, sit back and enjoy that you get time with this crazy special group of family and friends. Perhaps sit back and enjoy it quietly while listening to whatever music is playing in the background. Here is our Thanksgiving playlist…

Countdown to Thanksgiving

Only a couple days left in the countdown to Thanksgiving so I wanted to share a few recipes that have been a hit in the past and a some that will be on our menu this year.

The countdown is a little more real for the turkeys. #thanksgiving

The countdown is a little more real for some than for others.

The Turkey

In the past, I was always a fan of roasting with beer and fresh herbs. But last year, we broke with tradition and used Alton Brown’s brining method. I’ll never look back. Here’s the full recipe. 

The Sides

I made this spicy roasted squash with feta and herbs two weeks ago and have made it at least twice since. I knew sriracha held magic powers, but wow! Bonus for those that are a little scared of spice: the brown sugar and feta even things out perfectly.

Sautéed brussels sprouts with bacon and golden raisins. My mother-in-law, known when we first met for her general disdain of all things green, loved these so much after our first Thanksgiving that she humbly requested “those green things with the bacon” the next year.

The Lee Brothers are masters of Southern fare, and while I have yet to actually make this pimento cheese potato gratin, I’m sure it will be a perfect addition to our menu.

Cranberry Orange Relish: My recipe is here. 

Emma Chapman’s recipes can make anyone look like a baker–including myself. These Rosemary Parker House rolls are a delicious twist on the classic that also make for the perfect post-turkey-day sandwiches.

A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving Snack | Hannah & Husband

The Treats

If you’re going to have a house full of company, you should also have a house full of snacks. Our two favorites this time of year are…

A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving Snack

Momma’s Fantasy Fudge

Spiced Bourbon Apple Pie | Hannah & Husband

The Pies

When I was 9, I won a pie contest with my Woo-Woo’s recipe for Pumpkin Pie. It is always my go-to.

Hands down, the best apple pie ever: Emma’s (again, she can make anyone look like a baker) Spiced Bourbon Apple Pie. I always make ours in an iron skillet and, while you have to watch the bake time, that really sends it over the moon!

Looking for a little more inspiration?
Check out my pinterest board:

The Belle’s Thanksgiving Game Plan

What are your go-to recipes? Anything we *must* try?

3 Beauty Products to Try Now

3 favorite beauty products | Hannah & Husband

When I find fab beauty products, I can never resist telling all my friends. Likewise, when I hear about new products, I have to try them for myself. (Remember this winter skin care post from January?) So today, I’m sharing three of my favorite beauty product finds of late.

3 favorite beauty products | Hannah & Husband

 

L’Oreal EverCrème Nourishing Leave-In Spray

Since my locks went blonde, I’ve been searching for the perfect way to condition. Conditioning in the shower wasn’t enough. Oils tend to leave my locks a bit flat (and my head a bit itchy) and other leave-in creams have just seemed to gunk things up. This “nourishing leave-in spray” from L’Oreal is amazing! It’s sulfate-free so it’s not as harsh on my already-treated hair, and it detangles like nothing else I’ve tried. Bonus: it’s less than $10, and I can buy it at Target!

Essie Quick-E Drying Drops

Manicures are my idea of the perfect weeknight me-time. I blame the “nights of beauty” my mom and I used to have when I was little. But I am always going to bed too quickly and waking up with ruined polish. These quick-e drying drops from Essie have totally changed that. I still recommend waiting about 15 minutes to change the sheets or cook, but that’s better than the hour or two it used to take. Bonus: they leave my nails with extra shine. My only tip is don’t overdo it. If you use more than a couple drops per nail, they can darken your favorite red just a bit.

They’re Real! Mascara

I use eye drops like they’re going out of style so when it comes to mascara, I’ve had a hard time finding anything that will stay put. They’re Real! Mascara from Benefit has changed all that. Not only is the waterproof actually waterproof, they make your lashes look swoon-worthy!

So what are your favorites right now?
Anything I *must* try?

This Used Book Inscription

There are times when I see things at vintage shops and used book stores that I simply must have. Yesterday, just such a thing happened at the used book store where I was scouring the shelves for Jen Lancaster‘s book Such a Pretty Fat. (I fell in love with Jen the moment my friend Beth sent me the link for The Tao of Martha.) Anyway, when I opened the book, I saw this message written on the inside.

Inscription in the copy of Jen Lancaster's "Such a Pretty Fat" that I bought at the used book store yesterday.

This should make you LOL while reading it.
I hope you enjoy this and please quit taking yourself so seriously.
I love you just the way you are.
Just be healthy!

I Love You!
Mom
8-30-08

You know, sometimes you just need some maternal wisdom–even if it’s not from your own mother! So your message (and mine) for today is this: Stop taking yourself so seriously! Try your best, and then trust that you’re enough. You! Just the way you are.

And also, maybe pick up a Jen Lancaster book. It really will make you “LOL.”

 

Surviving a Stressful Day at Work

Last week, I hung the November cover of Real Simple above my desk because food and pretty pictures make me smile.

Last week, I hung the November cover of Real Simple above my desk because food and pretty pictures make me smile.

How do you know if you need tips for surviving a stressful day at work? Well, if you’re not a trust fund baby and you’re not reading this blog post from your yacht, I’m guessing you may have had a stressful day on the job at some point. Maybe your co-workers are driving you insane. Maybe you just launched a huge project and everyone around you is short on sleep. Maybe the guy that keeps blowing his nose 2 cubicles down is making you a little sick to your stomach.

Or maybe all your creativity is zapped and you are considering giving it all up for a career as a mall manikin for the holiday season so you can just stand there quietly all day as people point and stare.

Whatever your case may be, here are a few tricks that have calmed my addled brain lately.

Focus on your breath. You don’t have to be “Oprah’s favorite spirit junkie” to “get your om on.” (Although, this article on The Coveteur is pretty great.) Taking a minute to quiet yourself and focus on your breathing can immediately calm you down. If you’re having trouble calming a racing mind, try taking one minute and repeating a phrase. I often recite a short scripture and, as I repeat it, the scripture becomes my point of concentration.

Clear your mind.

Carry some peppermint oil in your purse. I am a recent essential oil convert and while I don’t want to smell like a hippie any more than you do, peppermint oil is pretty magical. Inhale for a quick calm. Likewise, a single drop rubbed on your temples and/or the nape of your neck, can relieve some headaches.

Take a 5 minute walk. Get your blood flowing. Walk off some energy. Swing your arms. Dance a jig. Enjoy a change of scenery.

Starbucks at Scripps

Find a small daily ritual that’s just for you. Me? I indulge in a 2 o’clock cappuccino. There’s something about spending a little extra cash on a fancy, hot beverage made by someone else in a noisy machine that really elevates my afternoon. It’s the little things.

Bookmark a little pick-me-up. This is usually mine.

One last thing: Your granny was right when she told you to “Hush!” Try to get quiet on your way home. If you’ve had a hard day, the last thing you need to do is come home and spew your crazy all over your loved ones. Drive home without the radio on. Put white noise through your earbuds on the subway. (This is my favorite white noise app.) Be quiet until you’re thinking clearly, and then arrive home with joy.

The Sewing Party

This Saturday, November 8th, fellow Made + Remader Lish Dorset and I are stoked to be apart of the first ever online all-day DIY event in history: The Sewing Party! It is the perfect time of year to settle down for the cold winter months and brush up on your domestic goddess skillz. (Yes, I said skillz.) Plus, who doesn’t like to make new internet friends, right?

There’s something for every skill level, so even if you’re just dipping your toes in there’s something for you. Registration is $40 for the chats and 30+ classes. (For those that need repetition to learn a new skill, the class access lasts for 90 days.) And bonus: Lish and I will be hosting live-chats in The Sewing Party Lounge. Here are the deetz

12 – 1 pm*: Lish Dorset will be Busting Scrap and Stash – Put your stash of fabric and scraps to work!

1 – 2 pm: Lish will help you Re-energize Your Sewing with inspirational tips and guidance for finding that next amazing project.

2 – 3 pm: Hannah Slaughter will be discussing ideas to Repurpose Your Relics.

* Times are EST.

Click here to get the full schedule of classes and chats.

The Sewing Party

Here are a few of the classes I’ll be checking out:

Bra Making with Madalynne

Becoming an Etsy Entrepreneur with Etsy’s Graham Ashcraft

10 Patternmaking Skills Every Fashion Forward Sewer Needs to Know with Denise Wild

Sewing Machine Basics with Singer’s own Becky Hanson

If you plan on attending, RSVP to the party, and then hit me up on Twitter with #TheSewingParty.

 

We’re Back To It

After three months of radio silence, we have finally returned!

Banner made from sewn sheet music and paper.

Husband and I have been absolutely swamped the last few months and while I’ve loved interacting on social media, the thought of blogging consistently just seemed like a bit too much. This fall has brought with it many houseguests, parties, and road trips. It’s also brought a lot of work. We’ve been making some big improvements on our little home that we’ll share next week.

Not to mention the work for Uncle Scripps that pays the bills around here. We’ve both been lucky enough to work on the new HGTV.com that was released this week, and if you haven’t seen the new site yet, go take a peek. The new photo library is swoon-worthy, y’all!

The new HGTV dot com

But now, we’re back in business. I’ve missed our little block of the internet, and I promise to post some fun little things in the coming weeks. This Season of Thankfulness is my absolute favorite time of the year, and I’m so happy to share it with you. In the meantime, here are a few snaps from our life lately.

Hannah and Husband Photo Collage

Posted on in Uncategorized | Tagged


Life Lately

Lightning Bugs | Hannah & Husband

Fireflies from a current project

I’m not gonna lie, life last week was a little cray. Now that I am (finally) over being sick there was a lot of work to catch up on at ye old HGTV. (I can’t wait to share some of the crazy-cool stuff going on there, but you’ll have to wait until later this fall.) Things at home have been pretty busy too despite how serene that sparkly and library book look…

Creativity Inc. | Hannah & Husband

By the way, this book? Loving it! Is anyone else reading it?

Multi-tasking | Hannah & Husband

This guy. So multi-talented. Some people complain about life being mundane or routine–we’ve never had that issue. In the picture above, he’s game-planning an epic response to the #RockyTopChallenge.

The idea is simple: Pride of the Southland alumni (like Husband) are challenged to sing/perform Rocky Top or give $25 to the Pride of the Southland scholarship fund. (Truth be told, I think everyone is doing both.)

Also on the list of mixing it up a little bit: redoing our entire kitchen. Y’all aren’t even going to believe the before & after photos. Butcher block countertops, penny round tile… I cooked dinner for the first time in the halfway-finished-space tonight, and I felt like I was hosting a show on Food Network.

Cutting countertops for the big kitchen reno. | Hannah & Husband

I can’t even tell you how thankful I am for these guys! They came over to help Husband install the countertops and watching them work together fascinated me.

Tile for the big kitchen reno. | Hannah & Husband

Hannah & Husband

So yeah, life is both hectic and awesome. A scene we’ve been quoting a lot lately…

Homemade Blueberry Soda

Homemade Blueberry Soda | Hannah & Husband

Put this on your list of simple pleasures: sipping homemade blueberry soda on the front porch in the late afternoon sun.

Sipping sodas used to be a more glamorous pastime as exhibited by Marion the Librarian's hat. Don't you love The Music Man?

Sipping sodas used to be a more glamorous pastime as exhibited by Marion the librarian’s hat.

For months now, Husband has been experimenting at the bar with fresh fruit sodas, and I am relishing my job as official taster. So when an influx of blueberries showed up at our house a couple weeks ago, we decided blueberry soda was a must-have.

Homemade Blueberry Soda | Hannah & Husband

You’ll Need…

1 pint blueberries, fresh or frozen
a quarter cup sugar
water
club soda

First, he made a very simple syrup. To 1 pint blueberries, he added a heaping quarter cup of sugar in a heavy bottomed pot. Then, he filled the pot with water until it covered the berries and simmered on super low heat. Eventually the berries broke down and a syrup formed.

Homemade Blueberry Soda | Hannah & Husband

When it had cooked to a syrup-consistency, he let it cool and then used a strainer to catch the berries as the syrup fell into the jar.

That’s it! Just put a few Tablespoons in a pretty glass and top with club soda! You can store the rest of the blueberry soda syrup in the fridge for a few weeks.

Homemade Blueberry Soda | Hannah & Husband

Homemade Blueberry Soda | Hannah & Husband

This post was done in partnership with Darby Smart. See those flutes in the picture above? I etched them myself in about 30 minutes using the “Etch: Your Own Glassware” project from Darby Smart. The idea is simple: You choose a DIY project from Darby Smart’s ever-growing list, and you’ll receive a box in the mail containing all the supplies and instructions (with pictures) that you need to complete the project. This one even came with a practice flute just in case. So heads’ up DIY friends, you’re all getting Darby Smart gifts for your birthday!