Via Instagram (@doyouspeakjcrew)

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Still rolling

Roll Tide, darlings!  The Tide faces off with Clemson tonight, so I’m showing some school spirit in my vintage Starter jacket, with black on black separates from J. Crew underneath. The fringed sandals just make it even more feminine, which I think is key to styling an athletic jacket. Why should guys have all the fun in rocking them, and why should they be limited to weekends?  (Even better: the jacket is machine washable!) The jacket’s major pop of color is coordinated with my signature Ruby Woo lip.

A very special thank you to Derrick A. Curry of Camera Play Photography for handling the photo shoot! Check out his work and like his business’ page on Facebook by clicking HERE.

 

Be the Hostess with the Most-est!

Baby it’s (finally) cold outside! And that means entertaining has moved indoors. What’s better than enjoying food, friends and family, set in your comfortable home?  My grandmothers Mamie and Dorothy were fabulous entertainers, and they had a knack for sharing southern hospitality that just made family, friends and even strangers flock to their homes.

I’m missing both of them, and so I’m sharing what they taught me to keep their memories alive. You know if I’m doing something, I like to do it grandly, and that comes directly from them.

Incorporating any–or all–of these tips will help you entertain with flair, year-round:

  1. SET THE MOOD.  Add a soft around your home with lit candles. Choose scented pillars, votives or tapers in light spice or floral fragrance, and mix them with unscented varieties. I love to place these in my kitchen, guest bathroom, on my dining room table and around my living room–and even in groups inside my fireplace! Find inexpensive options at your local big box discount store, or in TJ Maxx or HomeGoods.
  2. SET THE TABLE. When entertaining, my grandmothers felt guests’ manners rose to the occasion, so having a formally set table encouraged better table manners.  Rather than pulling out folding trays, use your dining room table to its advantage. Pull out your best china, flatware and linen–or even nicer clear plastic plates–and add an inexpensive runner if you’re not using a table cloth, and use a simple but impactful floral arrangement. Serving buffet style? Upgrade your servingware with nicer platters and utensils. (Again, you don’t have to spend a lot.)
  3. ADD SUGAR AND SPICE. Have something sweet, savory and spicy to balance your guests’ palates with a varied menu. Whether it’s classic Chex Mix, a beautiful spread of cheese and fruit, or even old school gummy bears, have something for them to snack on, and serve it in an unusual fashion, like martini glasses! Affordable gourmet snacks can be found at your local grocer or discount home store.
  4. SIP SOMETHING SPARKLY. Serve some great bubbly, whether it’s an adult beverage, fizzy fruit juice or even carbonated water (just garnish it with lime!). Have a mix of options for guests who don’t imbibe, or who limit sugar from their diet. Serve in nicer glassware! Fun cocktail napkins are a fab touch, and a chic alternative to plain paper towels.
  5. DRESS YOUR BEST, BUT FOCUS ON GUESTS. Surely you knew an outfit would be in the mix! My grandmothers loved hostess gowns, glam caftans and luxe lounge wear. Even if you’re entertaining at home, rise to the occasion and get out of your yoga pants. Try a luxe pair of silk day-to-night cocktail pajamas or even a simple lace dress. I also love to throw one of my vintage aprons on for good measure (even if the pie I’m serving is Mrs. Smith’s!). Be comfortable and cute; don’t wear anything that you’ll tug or fuss with all evening.

True hospitality is not about how much you spend on linens or glassware. True hospitality is about the effort you put into making your guests feel especially welcome year-round.

Whether you’re serving ham sandwiches and store-brand soda or a spectacular gourmet seated dinner, you can do so with grace, intention and style–and that, darlings, is the most important thing.

Check out these retailers  when shopping to entertain: Swoozie’s, TJ Maxx, HomeGoods, Target, World Market, Fresh Market and Publix. They all have gourmet sections with food, beverage and/or decor that make an impact without putting a huge dent in your wallet. (And Etsy and eBay have awesome vintage aprons.)

Platter, vase and glassware via TJ Maxx; dress via J. Crew; apron via eBay; Champagne via Moet; Sugarfina gummy candy via Swoozie’s; Table runner  via HomeGoods; Hydrangeas via Publix

Watch Talk of Alabama Dec. 26th!

Toss some sequins and tune in to ABC 33/40’s Talk of Alabama on Monday, December 26th: I’ll be sharing some news you can use during the 9:00 A.M. hour!

Not in the local viewing area? You can live-streaming it by clicking HERE, or catch the video when it’s posted later by clicking HERE.

Xo, Alexis

The pleasure of your company is requested…

My mind is on entertaining with both ease and style today. So many women in my life are effortlessly hospitable–making Sunday dinner or the “everyday” feel like a special occasion–and it’s something I try to continue in my own way.

Have we gotten too comfortable? Is it still important to know how to receive company at home, and not just be good company at someone else’s? Maybe I’m a throwback, but I think these concepts matter…

Image via icollector.com

European Wax Center to open in Birmingham

european-wax-center_logoY’all. I would say words can’t express how excited I am about this, but that’s not quite true and here we are with today’s post. Since I gave tips on not shaving last month, I thought I’d go in the totally opposite direction this time for those of us are into personal grooming.

When I was in New York last year, I was dying to visit the European Wax Center in Times Square but didn’t have enough time. Other friends have shared with me how professional the staff is, how professional the environment is, and how painless the process is–all things that are important to me. European Wax Center uses a stripless waxing method, which is said to be less painful and to remove more hair at a time.

I guess good things come to those who wait, because Fortunately, European Wax Center is now opening its first location in Birmingham (Tuscaloosa has one).  The new salon will be located in the Greystone area at The Village at Lee Branch Shopping Center on Highway 280 and Doug Baker Boulevard.  Ahead of its grand opening, a  Preview Week is planned in early to mid January. During the Preview Week, guests are invited to register to receive any of European Wax Center’s body or facial waxing services complimentary. To register, click HERE.

If you’re not in Birmingham but want to try European Wax Center at another existing location, you can still sign up to experience your first wax (brow, bikini line or underarm for ladies and ear, nose or brows for gentlemen) for free. In addition, European Wax Center offers Wax Passes for unlimited waxing, students and pre-paid services that generally include a few additional services thrown in for free. Packages can even be paid for in installments.

To sign up for the complimentary Preview Week offer, register HERE. And stay tuned for more details via EWC’s Facebook page, and yes–thoughts on my first experience!

(This is not a sponsored post, and I don’t receive anything if you sign up, get a free wax or buy a service or package. I just believe sharing is caring, and this is a potentially amazing service.)

Image via European Wax Center

Thank you, Southern Living!

If you follow the blog on Instagram you may have seen my post about touring the Southern Living Test Kitchens about a month ago. Without further ado, here are a few of the highlights.

I was being a total fan girl, so my journalism skills are totally nonexistent. But suffice it to say, the staff was every bit as hospitable as you would expect, and the amenities are to die for.  Although I didn’t actually taste anything, what I saw and smelled were a feast for the eyes and delight to the nose. From the beautiful duplicate kitchen bays to the prop closet to the babbling brook on the grounds, it’s a special place–and we are fortunate to have it in Birmingham.

A huge thank you to Southern Living and Time Inc. Food Studios for their generosity and to Lauren Roberts for the invitation! Having once worked in customer service for the Time Inc. (in the division that houses Southern Living, Cooking Light titles, among others), it was a pleasure to see another side of the business. 

Feautured image via The Junior League of Birmingham

Watch Alexis on Talk of Alabama tomorrow!

img_9589Toss some sequins and tune in to ABC 33/40 on Friday (November 24th): I’ll be sharing some news you can use during the 9:00 A.M. hour! (Hint: Gentlemen, this one is for especially for you!)

Not in the local viewing area? You can live-streaming it by clicking HERE, or catch the video when it’s posted later by clicking HERE.

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Hello darlings!

I wanted to share this nugget of wisdom I received via text this morning. Last year was very hard for me, and I’ve been more proactive about making positive changes that lessen stress. In addition to being more vigilant in prayer and exercising, receiving texts like the one above have improved my quality of life by providing a bit of affirmation, plus action steps.

If you need a little boost to help you slay, visit shinetext.com to sign up. Sharing is caring!

Xo, Alexis 

Image via Shine Text

See and be seen at SCENE on Nov. 17

Haute off the press:

Darlings, come shop with me Thursday, November 17! I’m headed to SCENE for the design launch of ALASAW, JA Collections by Jordan Alexander and Botaniko. It promises to be  a fabulous evening of fine art, home goods and jewelry–plus live jazz from Birmingham’s own Eric Essix.

How better to rewind after work than with craft cocktails, wine and light bites while enjoying an art opening?  I can’t wait to browse JA Collections’ home goods and jewelry (Oprah and Queen Rania are fans). Featured jewelers will include Ilana Sarna, Sara Weinstock, Victor Veylan, Santi Rom, Buddha Mama, Nan Fusco, Sorrelina, Jordan Alexander, Andrew Harper, Adorina, and Octium. Even better: A portion of A21 jewelry proceeds will be donated to a charity that helps victims of human trafficking.

The art of Louis Shields, Nall and Lela Shields will shown to encourage a spirit of citywide collaboration. Alabama Sawyer (ALASAW) will showcase its custom pieces made from Alabama’s finest salvaged hardwoods. And last but not least, Deborah Stone (of Botaniko for Stone Hollow Farmstead) will serve as Alchemist and craft signature cocktails for the night.

Join me at SCENE (2801 2nd Avenue South/Birmingham 35233) tomorrow from 5 to 8 PM for all the fabulosity. (Want to browse a bit before the event? Follow JA Collections on Facebook and Instagram.)

Hope to see you there!

Alexis

 

 

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