Farewell Cocktail Hour: Blackberry & Thyme Sparkler

A Feteful Life: Blackberry Thyme Sparkler

If you’ve been a regular reader of A Feteful Life, I’m sure you’ve noticed that we love a good cocktail. So, we couldn’t think of a better final send-off than a killer champagne cocktail to toast all of the possibilities the future holds. Champagne (or any sparkling wine for that matter) is a must for any celebration whether it be for a new beginning or for the close of a chapter in your life. We’ll definitely miss A Feteful Life but we’re sure you’ll be hearing more from us in the future. In the meantime, Fete on!

Blackberry & Thyme Sparkler (from A Feteful Life)

Ingredients

1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup blackberries (extras for garnish – 2 per glass)
3 sprigs of fresh thyme (extra for garnish – 1 sprig per glass)
Chilled sparkling wine

Directions

Place the sugar, water, blackberries, and thyme into a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Let the mixture simmer for 5-10 minutes to let the berries and thyme release their flavor. Strain the mixture into a glass bowl and let cool completely.

Pour 1/2 ounce of the blackberry mixture into the bottom of a champagne flute. Then top off with sparkling wine. Garnish with the remaining blackberries and thyme.

Farewell Fete Favorites

Yes, you read that correctly. You might be wondering just where your weekly cocktail is, but we switched things up just a bit to share the bittersweet news of A Feteful Life’s upcoming closure. We’ve been blogging at AFL for almost a year now and love, love what we’ve done in this space. But our lives have grown busier, our plans ever-changing, and so we’ve decided to take a blogging break. But don’t worry. We continue to come up with middle-of-the-night ideas for our future, so we’re sure we might be back some day.

In the meantime, after tomorrow, all the AFL content we’ve posted over the past year will be available right here. Rebecca will continue to blog activities, DIYs, and celebration fun at her family-friendly lifestyle blog, Not-So-SAHM. And Suzanne plans to continue to pursue her love of graphic design and photography.

In celebration of our next to last day, we’ve each combed the AFL files for our Fete Favorites. It was hard task for both of us and we hope the blog has been as much fun and a source of inspiration for you as it has been for us. Thanks so much to all our family and friends (new and old) who have read, commented, and hired us! As always, friends, FETE ON! {and, don’t worry, they’ll be a farewell cocktail tomorrow!}

Rebecca Farewell Fete Favorites 

A Feteful Life: Rebecca Farewell Fete Favorites

celebrate / create / eat / give / love

Suzanne Farewell Fete Favorites 

A Feteful Life: Suzanne's Farewell Favescelebrate / eat / love / create / give

 

Party Time: Fall Harvest

Fall, fall, fall… after what felt like a bit of a slow start, we’re finally full swing into the most wonderful season of the year. We’ve been apple picking, we’ve visited the pumpkin patch, we’ve picked out Halloween costumes, and now it’s time to get outside with our friends to celebrate the bounty that fall has to offer. There’s no need to buy expensive party decorations because mother nature has provided more than enough for you to get the party started. So get out there and enjoy the great outdoors because you know that polar vortex will be here before you know it!

A Feteful Life: Fall Harvest

  1. A grouping of pumpkins always look festive. Simply write a welcome message on one of the larger ones and you will instantly make your guests feel welcome.
  2. This simple yet stunning garland is made out of real leaves! I love it!
  3. Apples and floating candles make a beautiful centerpiece and harken back to the old bobbing for apples game.
  4. Some bundles of hay with some simple fall colored garland makes a fantastic photo backdrop wall.
  5. A punch is one of the easiest ways to serve a big crowd. And, this beautiful apple harvest punch looks amazing!
  6. Looking to unload some of those apples you picked at the orchard? Set up a DIY caramel apple bar and let your guests pick their own toppings.
  7. Doesn’t this stuffed pumpkin look amazing?! Not only does it look impressive, it is filled with everything that is delicious.
  8. Send you guests home with something delicious, like these delicious pumpkin pie parfaits.

 

 

I Want it Now: Vintage Card Catalog Cabinet

A Feteful Life: Vintage Card Catalog CabinetMy son is obsessed with Playmobil right now. Well, actually for the past few years. I am equally in love with the toys, but am sort of losing my mind over finding their tiny accessories in every nook and cranny of our house. He’s got a fairly good “bin” system of toy organization in his room, but these little pieces need something smaller. On our trip to one of my favorite vintage toy shops this past summer, I realized that an old school card catalog cabinet would be the perfect thing! I saw a few on our visit to Off the Beaten Track Warehouse and can’t get the idea out of me head. This one from Etsy is PERFECT. So of course it’s already been sold. But I’m now firmly convinced we need one and I’m on the hunt!

Homemade Irish Cream

A Feteful Life: Homemade Irish CreamWho knew that homemade delicious & creamy Irish Cream could be so easy to make at home?! With a few pantry staples along with a good bottle of Irish whiskey, you are all set to whip up this sweet after-dinner liqueur in minutes. If you’ve never had Irish Cream, it’s a rich combination of whiskey, cream, chocolate and a hint of coffee. Pretty much the perfect dessert in a glass. Serve it chilled over ice or add it to a hot cup of coffee and you’re guaranteed to have a great night.

This recipe is so easy to double (or triple) so I definitely plan on whipping up a few more batches this fall for hostess and holiday gifts. And, of course I had to design some labels to go along with this homemade concoction. You can get the free printable here… lucky you!

A Feteful Life: Homemade Irish CreamA Feteful Life: Homemade Irish CreamA Feteful Life: Homemade Irish CreamA Feteful Life: Homemade Irish Cream

Homemade Irish Cream (recipe adapted from How Sweet It Is)

Ingredients

5 ounces high-quality milk chocolate, chopped
1 1/2 cups Irish whiskey
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1 (12-ounce) can evaporated milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups half & half
1/4 teaspoon instant coffee

Directions

Coarsely chop your chocolate with a serrated knife then melt the chocolate over a double boiler (a glass bowl over a pot of simmering water also works – just make sure the bowl doesn’t come into contact with the water) or microwave, stirring until totally smooth. While the chocolate is still warm and melted, add a few tablespoons of whiskey, stirring until combined. Whisk in the condensed and evaporated milks until smooth, then whisk in the rest of the whiskey, vanilla extract, coffee, and half & half. Stir until the coffee is dissolved.

Transfer the mixture into glass bottles and place in the refrigerator. The liqueur gets better after sitting for a few days but make sure you shake the bottle a few times a day to make sure everything stays incorporated. Enjoy!

 

 

Entryway Rugs

We’ve been in our “new” house three years now and things are starting to feel not-so-new anymore. Top of that list is our entryway rug. We’ve had it since we moved in and it is starting to get really worn and grungy looking. So, I’ve been shopping around for a new rug and there are so many great options out there right now. Here are some of my favorites. I’m leaning towards #3 because I think it will hold up the best but which is your fave?
A Feteful Life: Entryway Rug Roundup

1/2/3/4/5/6

 

Cocktail Hour: Chai Tea Cocktail

A Feteful Life: Chai Cocktail

A few years ago, we spent some celebratory time in South Carolina and a lot of that time with sweet tea vodka. Needless to say, we’ve been on a sweet tea vodka break for a few years (really, a few years was warranted). But I broke it back out to try this fabulous fall chai cocktail. It’s iced, but still warms you up. And it’s delicious.

Chai Tea Cocktail (adapted from Plum Deluxe)

Ingredients: 
- 4 ounces cold chai tea concentrate
- 2 ounces sweet tea vodka
- splash of cream

Directions: Add all ingredients to a glass filled with ice. Stir gently and sip.

Dia de los Muertos Party Inspiration

I mentioned way, way back in our first Fete Favorites my love of Dia de los Muertos. I still haven’t convinced anyone to have an actual party celebrating the holiday, which I really cannot understand. It’s much more upbeat, colorful, and well styled than Halloween. So, I’m obviously going to have to throw myself my own party on November 1st. Here’s what’s topping my list of inspiration.

A Feteful Life: Dia de los Muertos

1. These gorgeous wedding invitations are obviously slightly more upscale than I need for my own party, but I love the idea of combining the bold colors with geometric prints.

2. I love the idea of a large communal table for dinner and that table runner is ahhmaazing.

3. Sugar skulls + edible confetti = party happiness.

4. Mini tissue paper flowers for striped straws!? That’s a new one (to me) and a must make.

5. Pan de Muerto is a traditional Day of the Dead pastry and looks delicious.

6. Obviously our Almond Milk Horchata Cocktail will be in circulation (and probably our Blood Orange Tequila + Lime Spritzers, too).

7. Decorated candles look like a simple enough DIY to help keep things festive.

8. Papel picado!

9. I’ve really been waiting for a good time to try a honeycombed wall and this seems like the perfect opportunity.

I want it now: Military Swing Coat

A Feteful Life: I want it now - Madewell Military Swing Coat copyI’m on the hunt for a new winter jacket. I know it is a bit early in the season to start thinking about winter but if this fall is anything like how this summer went, it will be here before I know it. I’ve always loved a good peacoat and it has been years since I had one. I think this modern take on the military classic from Madewell might be just the item I’m looking for!

AFL Elsewhere: Dot & Bo

A Feteful Life: Dot & BoAre you ready for fall!? Head over to Dot & Bo’s blog Design District, home of great curated modern design collections, to get our 5 Expert Tips for a Fall Fete and our favorite picks from their new Modern Fall Tablescape collection. Fete on!