Cocktails & Carols

Cocktails & Carols 2014 | Hannah & Husband

Husband (aka the king of selfies)

This weekend was our 3rd annual Cocktails & Carols party, and (if I do say so myself) it was the absolute best one yet. I get so overwhelmed by how blessed we are each year as all of our favorite people get gussied up (the dress is black tie or “festive”) and crowd into our little house to eat, drink, and sing! The group is always eclectic but when you have friends as fab as ours, lively conversation is never hard to come by.

Fun highlights from this year:

Our friend Ross brought a bottle of sparkly and a sword. I tried (& failed) 4 or 5 times to open it myself. Finally our friend Josh jumped in and got it on the first try! So much fun! In related news, if you see me purchasing a sword any time soon, it’s only for opening bottles of bubbly-I swear!


We know super talented people. This year, everyone enjoyed a keg of beer brewed by one of our friends. How cool is that?

Cocktails & Carols 2014 | Hannah & Husband


Lots of Christmas carols were sung (obviously) as well as a selection of songs from both Disney and Rocky Horror Picture Show. But my favorite selection of the evening was when we all stood around the piano and sang Biz Markie.

Little Richard and Pee-Wee Herman in Pee-Wee's Playhouse Christmas Special

In the living room, we had some visual candy running on the television as we played vintage Christmas records. If you haven’t seen the Pee-Wee’s Playhouse Christmas Special, you’re in luck. Netflix just released all of Pee-Wee’s Playhouse–including the Christmas special! Note: I may have to make Miss Yvonne’s outfit for next year’s party!

Finally, the food. Here are a few recipes that were requested:

Husband made Slaughter-style chicken and waffles using my cornbread recipe and grilled chicken dressed with sour cream, cilantro, & jalapeños. Delish!

Cocktails & Carols 2014 | Hannah & Husband Cocktails & Carols 2014 | Hannah & Husband

Spinach Dip from scratch

Clementines dipped in chocolate with bourbon-smoked sea salt

Naughty: Lumps of Coal

Nice: Shortbread cookies with chocolate bows
Cocktails & Carols 2014 | Hannah & Husband Cocktails & Carols 2014 | Hannah & Husband

This year’s signature cocktail was a Cranberry Orange Gin Fizz. But you should always remember that parties in the South involve bourbon–Lots. of. Bourbon. We went through several bottles.

Note to Self: Next year, buy multiple handles.

Party Hair How-To

Today I’ve put together a little Party Hair How-To just in time for your weekend festivities. I get so many questions about how I put my hair up, and it’s really pretty simple. Just remember: Dirty hair works best and dry shampoo (which I spray on in the beginning) is really what gives it that big-hair-don’t-care look.

Let me know if you try the ‘do yourself! I’d love to see a pic.

The Morning After

The Morning After (the dinner party) | Hannah & Husband

Last night, we threw a little dinner party for a few friends–fried chicken, classic summer-in-the-South fare straight from the garden, cocktails, espresso. Sparkling conversation with good food is the perfect way to spend a Wednesday, don’t you think?

Then, after everyone had gone, we took a little time to clean up the joint. Sure our tummies were full and our heads were a little light, but if there’s one thing that can absolutely ruin a perfect dinner party, it’s the morning after!

So we loaded the dishwasher, changed the tablecloth, and neatly stacked the freshly washed china to dry.

The Morning After (the dinner party) | Hannah & Husband

This morning, we came down to a tidy dining room and then steeped our coffee beside all those clean dishes.

The Morning After (the dinner party) | Hannah & Husband

I think half the battle of having a peaceful home (& mind) is discovering little things like this that set you up for success.

1950s Dinner Party with the “Club”

I usually don’t share too much about the “club” except for the fact that it exists and an instagram here and there, but last night we threw a 1950s dinner party. So really how could I resist?

If you remember, last year I started a book club. It was fun! We liked talking about the books we were reading, but we also just really loved each other’s company–and planning ridiculously over-the-top food and drink to accompany the discussion. So finally…

It's finally happened. Book club has officially become 'Club'...

Last night was the first gathering of the “club,” and what better way to kick things off than with a 1950s dinner party? After all, the women of the 50s were all about a good gathering of the girls, right? Garden clubs, book clubs, bridge circles… you get the picture.

Anywho, here are a few highlights:

Punch Table | Hannah & Husband


Hannah in Woo-Woo's dress | Hannah & Husband

I wore the only dress I have of my Woo-Woo’s. I’d never actually worn it because, in the words of one of the guests, “It’s beautiful, but the fabric feels like the upholstery on my couch.” It fit perfectly.

Humpty Dumpty Egg | Hannah & Husband

We made dishes that we found (and, in most cases, updated) in cookbooks from the era and our own family’s recipe boxes. Somewhere in the midst of the jello-d ham (totally a thing) and massive amounts of mayo and MSG, we found a few things that were pretty tasty.

Note to self: I learned that you really should never make meatloaf for a dinner party. It’s best out of the oven, which means that by the time we’d finished our punch, the main course was looking (and tasting) rather cold and sad.

50s Party Table | Hannah & Husband

Anywho, we had punch & deviled eggs to start. Then, meatloaf, mashed potatoes, pea salad, jello salad, banana pudding, and candle salad. 1950s women were all about the salad! But what is candle salad you ask? The weirdest way to serve fruit I’ve seen and also the best centerpiece ever. I’ll let you be the judge.

Hannah prepping the candle salad. | Hannah & Husband

Assembling the candle salad… from Liz’s instagram

Candle Salad Recipes | Hannah & Husband

Candle Salad | Hannah & Husband

 What’s your favorite 1950s recipe? Have you ever thrown a 50s party?

Loverboy’s Specialty Cake


Welcome to part ii of our series “Always Be Prepared to Party.” (If you haven’t had the chance, read about our party drawer here.) This post is particularly fitting because Husband actually learned how to make this cake as a boy scout. (For the record, his scouting career lasted a lot longer than mine did.) Several years later, he would use it to woo a certain high school girl, and we’ve been together ever since!

You’ve probably all had this cake and likely most of you have made it. But, it’s the one cake that we always have on hand. Unexpected company? Unexpected birthday boy coming to your house in an hour? Have a midnight chocolate craving? Need to woo the ladies? This is the cake.  Enjoy!


Preheat oven to 350°


1 box yellow cake mix

1 box chocolate Jell-o instant pudding

8 oz. sour cream

1/2 cup vegetable oil

4 eggs

1 package chocolate chips


Make It:

Flour and grease a bundt pan.

Mix all your ingredients together and spoon into the pan.

Drop the pan straight down on the counter a couple of times to make sure any air bubbles settle.

Bake for 50 minutes at 350° until a skewer or toothpick comes out with little pieces of cake clinging to it (and maybe some chocolate chips).


 Happy Friday, Loves!

Any fun weekend plans? We’ll be attending the Rhythm ‘n’ Blooms festival in Knoxville.



Always Be Prepared to Party

Oh please, you know the Slaughters are always ready to party! I like to think of myself as a very sparkly, very crafty Girl Scout. And despite the fact that I quit the scouts at age six after just one year (I felt the crafts were lacking a certain panache), I took the “Be prepared” motto to heart. And so begins a new series here on Hannah & Husband: Always Be Prepared to _________.

Always Be Prepared | Hannah & Husband

So today, I’m kicking off our Always Be Prepared to Party series by peeking into my party drawer. The other day, I was working with my friend Liz (the entertaining editor over on HGTV) on this cool project and told her about an impromptu birthday party we threw for one of our friends one night. Our friend had been working with Husband all day and was coming over to our house for dinner when Husband discovered it was his birthday. Luckily when he called me on his way home, I had everything we needed for a party in my party drawer.


You don’t have to keep everything on hand, but here are a few things we suggest:


Something Festive to Hang (pom-pom garland, crepe paper streamers, a banner of some sort)

Colorful Napkins 

A Killer Cake Recipe (recipe to follow)

A Boogie-Worthy Playlist

A fun way to kick it up a notch? Rather than keeping paper products on hand that will just be thrown away, invest in some neutral small plates that can be used for any occasion regardless of color palette.

Want to really over achieve? Keep your silver polished and be ready to get out that china at a moment’s notice.

So tell us, what are your party drawer essentials?

Party Photo Booth DIY

Party Photo Booth DIY | Hannah & Husband Looking for a cool way to document your New Year’s shindig? Let me suggest setting up your own photo booth. We set one up in my office for our Cocktails & Carols party, and it served as a living guest book. We captured some really fun moments, and (BONUS) it was a great alternative to people walking around with their phones all night taking selfies. Plus, it was super easy to set up! Here’s what we did. Party Photo Booth DIY | Hannah & Husband

On one wall of my office, we hung fabric and tinsel with push pins from the top of the window molding so we wouldn’t have to patch any holes in the wall. Then, we put a bench in front of that big enough for 2-3 people.
Opposite the fabric, we set up our camera on the self-timer setting with instructions hanging in front of it.
Party Photo Booth DIY | Hannah & Husband

The party was “black tie or festive,” which gave Cindy an excuse to pull out the family jewels.
Note to self: we should all find more reasons to wear tiaras.

Finally, we added a table full of props. I would say glittery things and mustaches are musts. Bonus points for fab headwear!
Party Photo Booth DIY | Hannah & Husband

Recognize these lovelies? Deanne blogs for Made + Remade, and Liz is an online editor for HGTV!

Party Photo Booth DIY | Hannah & Husband

Kayla is the cutest–always!

So now I’m on the lookout for more ideas.
How do you document your parties? Any fun ideas?


Host Gifts for Holiday Parties

As we are officially right in the throws of holiday party season, now is as good a time as any to talk about the “host gift.” As I learned recently, the trusty bottle of wine is not so trusty after all. Bring a bottle of wine to the wrong person, and you’re guaranteed a lecture about alcoholism and someone going to rehab. (It wasn’t fun, but it did make me a lot more aware of what I give to other people.) So today, I’m here to share with a few trusty gifts that will make you the favorite guest at any shindig.

Host Gift Ideas | Hannah & Husband

a potted Christmas Cactus

Really any indoor plant will do, but  a Christmas cactus is especially festive this time of year because (most of them) bloom bright pink or red flowers just around the holidays. One of our friends actually brought us a cutting from his own plant (which he’d gotten from his aunt I believe) that has livened up our kitchen for a couple years now.

Host Gift Ideas | Hannah & Husband

Love these organic tea towels by artgoodies’ Lisa Price

Breakfast for the Morning After

Throwing a party or hosting overnight guests can be a lot of work! One of the coolest host gifts we ever received was a basket of muffins for breakfast the next day wrapped in a beautiful tea towel. Bonus: add coffee and a bottle of Baileys. (If you know they imbibe, of course.)

Local Goodies

This year, most of the gifts we are giving have either been locally made or locally purchased. Giving things from around your own hometown adds a perfect personal touch and supports local businesses. If you’re in East Tennessee, one of my favorites to give and receive are Blackberry Farm products. (Their cheeses are divine!)

Cheers! (with sprinkles on top)

Fancy Vanilla Milkshakes  |  Secrets of a Belle

On Friday night, we threw a party in honor of one of our great friends, and we served my new favorite thing: fancy vanilla milkshakes! They were a hit. Here’s how you can make them at home…

for the glasses…

Put 1 cup of white chocolate chips in a glass bowl and set over a simmering* pot of water on the stovetop. (*simmering not boiling)

Add a Tablespoon of shortening or canola oil once the chocolate starts to melt. This will help smooth the chocolate and make it easier to work with.

When the chocolate is melted smooth, dip a champagne flute in the chocolate, spin it, and then quickly dip in sprinkles.

Chill in the freezer until ready to serve.

for the milkshakes…

In a blender mix vanilla ice cream and add a bit of vanilla vodka & / or milk until it is a desired consistency.

Best served with chocolate cake!

Charlie Brown’s Feast

Still worried about the holiday tomorrow? Have all your friends decided to congregate at your casa despite the fact that your family is going to Grandma’s house for dinner? Well, I’ve got you covered! *wink*

Charlie Brown:
I can’t cook a Thanksgiving dinner. All I can make is cold cereal and maybe toast.

That’s right. I’ve seen you make toast. You can’t butter it, but maybe we can help you.


charlie brown thanksgiving essentials