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

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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.

As Seen on TV

Happy Monday, darlings! Let’s get this week off to a fabulous start, shall we? Here are six of my favorite, budget-friendly finds for fashionistas on the go, as shared on  ABC 33/40’s Talk of Alabama today!

STREAMLINING SKIN CARE: Using products that eliminates extra steps or products, or saves time is a major key! For example, I love exfoliating, but what do you do when you’re out of your favorite face scrub? I love OH K!’S CLEANSING PAD DUO PACK—from Paper Source—which lets your cleanser do double duty as an exfoliator. The fun, reusable silicone pads are a gentle way to remove makeup and refresh your skin, and they’re affordable at only $6.95.

PRODUCT PRO TIP: Isn’t it annoying when you can’t get to the last of your liquid foundation, lotion or cream? Consumer Reports estimates 15-25% of product goes to waste for this reason. If you’re like me you’ve scooped or cotton-swabbed to get the last few drops. But I recently found the SPATTY DADDY SET—$6.99 at Bed Bath and Beyond—which is amazing! This tiny set of spatulas can save you from digging or cutting into bottles and lets you get to the bottom of your product–so you get the most from it.

BLING, BLING: Whether your jewels are costume  finds or family heirlooms, keep them looking their best. Baublerella’s GLITZY GLOVE polishing mitt and BLING BRUSH with natural cleaner—available at Swoozie’s at the Summit—are affordable ways to remove tarnish and make your gemstones or precious metals sparkle. And a portion of proceeds empower women entrepreneurs and organizations that help instill confidence in young girls, so you’re helping a great cause.

GO-TO GADGET: I love tools and tricks that help me get dressed just a bit faster, like my BRACELET BUDDY!   When I saw this on TV I had to order one from Amazon. It eliminates fumbling to fasten a clasp through the patented clip that secures one end of your bracelet allowing your free hand to wrap it around your wrist and instantly secure the clasp. For $6.99, it’s a simple solution to this fashionista’s first world problem—and it’s also useful to those with arthritis or other mobility concerns.

READY, SET…OOPS:  If you’re prepared with a mini emergency kit – like this one from PINCH PROVISIONS—about $18 at Paper Source at the Summit – you are ready for just about anything. It has 17 items in a nifty pouch that save you in a pinch, and can be kept in a purse, glove compartment or desk drawer so you have it when you need it!

Xo, Alexis

Updated: #WatchLexWerk


Tune in HERE t0 to catch our lifestyle expert and editor-in-chic sharing healthy Back to School meal prep tips on Talk of Alabama ! Xo

Office Sweet Office

I don’t do many decor posts, but I do have office space…and it needed decorating! I had a lot of fun choosing items to make it my command center/home away from home, and I’m sharing them with you today.  

At first I was stumped. I’m fine picking out clothes but decor just feels so much more permanent. Finally I decided to apply my style ideals to the decor challenge. It was important to be intentional. What would I really enjoy looking at every day? 

What would Beyonce do

This desk plate from Swoozie’s was a no-brainer.


I like basics that feel elegant and are practical too; that can be statements on their own or easily taken up a few notches. And I have to have a pop of color. So I began with functional pieces to anchor my new digs. Then I added some accessories to give it a little something extra!

My fab finds are via Kate Spade (at Swoozie’s Birmingham), Target and Home Goods (the desk plate is from Swoozie’s too). See a few of them featured on Talk of Alabama this week by clicking HERE.

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Ready for tips to get your life as the kids head back to school, or to simplify your weekly routine? Tune in to Talk of Alabama on Monday, August 8 during the 9 AM central hour! If you’re not in the local viewing area, stream it online by clicking HERE

Images via Target and Lifeguard Press

Calling all DIY divas!

 

Whether we’re at the pool, lake, beach or just in the backyard, we all know we should protect our faces and bodies from the sun. One way to do that is to don a sun hat. They are everywhere right now, from discount to department stores. I went shopping and fell in love with a designer one that retails for $485. This hat, by Eugenia Kim, has been seen on Beyonce and is featured in  the June issues of InStyle and O Magazines. It’s absolutely adorable, but it’s NOT in my summer style budget. So one way to get “the look for less” is to harness your creativity and recreate it using less expensive, but easily accessible items.

Ready to try it?

  1. You’ll need a straw hat with a wide brim (app. $15), sequined trim ($3 per roll), a hot glue gun and glue sticks, and chalk or a disappearing ink pen (available at your local craft store for under $5). You can often find coupons in circulars or online that reduce the price even further.
  2. Place your hat on a flat surface and decide what phrase you want to embellish on the brim. While you are tracing it onto your hat with your chalk or disappearing ink, plug your hot glue gun in to let it heat up. (Pro tip: dip the metal tip of the glue gun in petroleum jelly so the heated glue won’t get stringy!)
  3. Add glue to your handwritten outline an inch at a time and working carefully,  press your sequin trim down onto the brim, adjusting it as necessary.
  4. Once you’re done, wipe away any traces of the ink or chalk with a damp cloth.

Why “DIY”? Personalizing it is fun and makes the item one of a kind! Also, consider the price. If you bought the designer version you’d spend close to $500 for a hat you may wear a handful of times during the summer months. Making your own version can be done for well under $50. So as I always advise, evaluate the “cost per wear” and determine the better deal, especially if you have “champagne taste on a soda budget.” And maybe spend some of what you would’ve saved on a super cute swimsuit or sandals!

Images via LookLive and TheGabulousLife

Tune in to Talk of Alabama this Memorial Day!

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Toss some sequins and tune in to ABC 33/40 on Monday (May 30th): I’ll be sharing some news you can use during the 9:00 A.M. hour! And this time I’ll be doing something a little different, so this is one you don’t want to miss!

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

Xo, Alexis

Kiss the cook!

  
 In case you missed today’s appearance on Talk of Alabama, please click HERE.

Xo, Alexis

Tune in to Talk of Alabama this Thursday!

  
Toss some sequins and tune in to ABC 33/40 on Thursday (April 28th): I’ll be sharing some news you can use during the 9:00 A.M. hour! Not in the local viewing area? Try live-streaming it by clicking HERE, or catch the video when it’s posted later by clicking HERE.

Xo, Alexis

Tune in to Talk of Alabama this Friday!

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Toss some sequins and tune in to ABC 33/40 on Friday (February 26th): I’ll be sharing some news you can use during the 9:00 A.M. hour! Not in the local viewing area? Try live-streaming it by clicking HERE, or catch the video when it’s posted later by clicking HERE.

Xo, Alexis

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