Forget about getting a reservation this late in the game. Here’s your solution: Call the neighbors who decided to “keep it low-key this year,” drag them out of bed, and throw together an impromptu soiree. Author and entertaining expert Matthew Mead gives us the foodie 411 on rocking it until the ball drops.

“It is important to keep key ingredients stocked for spontaneous get-togethers,” Mead writes. “Keep the following items on hand, and you will always be prepared to entertain drop-in guests.”

Last-Minute New Year's Eve Entertaining

  • In the cupboard: Several types of crackers and crisp breads to accompany spreads and cheeses, canned Mandarin oranges (to top cake or add to trifles), and jam, coffee, and tea.
  • In the refrigerator: Semisoft cheese, hard cheese, dip, and salsa. Two bottles of white wine, ginger ale, cranberry juice, seltzer, lemons and limes, and whipping cream. At holiday time, consider a spiral-sliced ham or smoked turkey breast.
  • In the freezer: Fruit bread, biscuits, cheesecake, pound cake, frozen cookie dough.
  • In the entertaining pantry: Red wine, taper, pilar, and votive candles.

 
Excerpted from Entertaining Simple by Matthew Mead (John Wiley & Sons, Inc.). Copyright 2008.

By Julia Ivins, Staff Writer

Not a Member and like The (Style) Guide? You’ll love Rue La La. Join now.

Continue reading “New Year’s Plans Gone Awry? Tips for Last-Minute Entertaining” »

December 30, 2013

Thanksgiving was a full week late this year. Which means the next big meal is around the corner. Cease your frantic recipe search. If a December 25 brunch is in the works, stylist and Rue Living Inspirer Matthew Mead has sweet and savory covered – from spinach strata to maple syrup–filled muffins. So click, print, and pour the eggnog. It’s time to prep.

Savory Stratta
“It’s easy to make and bake. Serve in slices with a crumble of feta cheese for extra piquant kick.”

120813_blogrecipe_1 Continue reading “On the Brunch Menu: 3 Holiday Recipes from Expert Matthew Mead” »

December 8, 2013

Have everyday white dinnerware? Elevate it to create a stunning yet simple holiday brunch tablescape with help from stylist and Rue Living Inspirer Matthew Mead.

Matthew Mead's Brunch Tablescape

1. Build the Buffet
“Create a pretty brunch buffet with white pedestals, trays, platters, and bowls. Include a rustic touch like this birch box filled with bulbs to add a natural element to the mix.”

2. Arrange Seating
“Holiday cards can easily be transformed into place cards. Fill a bowl with foam and top with faux snow. Attach card (with guest’s name and a note inside) to a wire stand placed in the foam.”

3. Add Unexpected Touches
“Swap out your everyday tablecloth for a white faux-fur throw. Mix and match dinnerware for texture and design that work seamlessly together.”

Craving more? Check out Matthew Mead’s latest book, Christmas All Through the House, then shop our Sunday Supper: Christmas Brunch Boutique on Sunday, December 8, at 11AM ET.

By Julia Ivins, Staff Writer

Continue reading “3 Steps to Stylish Brunch Décor with Matthew Mead” »

December 8, 2013

What will Rue Living Inspirers Camille Styles, Ron Marvin, and Matthew Mead be scooping up for the at-home chefs on their lists?

Gift Picks for Home Chefs

Now go on – grab these for the foodies on your gift list, too. Shop the Staub Saute PanDualit 2-Slice Toaster, and Shun Premiere 2-Piece Knife Set here.

Our For the At-Home Chef: Cookware, Cutlery, & More Boutique opens Monday, December 2, at 3PM ET.

By Julia Ivins, Staff Writer

Not a Member and like The (Style) Guide? You’ll love Rue La La. Join now.

December 2, 2013

Dinner can be plated, but your pristinely frosted indulgences deserve to be shown off. Let stylist and Rue Living Inspirer Matthew Mead turn your sweet side table into a spectacle. First step? Mead suggests placing your table in front of a mantel: “This gives you additional layers and tiers to create a fantasy atmosphere.”

Matthew Mead's Tips for the Holiday Dessert Buffet

Layer Cake Stands
Cake stands turn whatever is on top into the star of the show. Use multiple stands in different heights to create that bakery-store-window effect. Guests will crave a slice of each.”

Send Guests Home with Gifts
“Fill smaller jars with wrapped candies and tie with a ribbon and gift tag. Guests can take some of the fun home with them.”

Show Off Texture
“Pizzelle cookies are graphic and tempting in an oversized candy jar decorated on the outside with pretty ornaments and a flourish of ribbon.”

Embellish Your Display
Ornaments in multiple colors and designs look spectacular in a large jar. Use it to bring interest to the mantel or on the center of a dining or coffee table.”

Craving more? Check out Matthew Mead’s latest book, Christmas All Through the House, then shop The 12 Days of Merry: It’s Time to Get Baking Boutique on Sunday, November 24, at 11AM ET.

By Julia Ivins, Staff Writer

Not a Member and like The (Style) Guide? You’ll love Rue La La. Join now.

Matthew Mead is a stylist, writer, author, photographer, lifestyle editor, and noted style expert. The former style editor of Country Home magazine and Editor in Chief of his own magazine series with Time Inc. Home Entertainment, Matthew is the official food photographer for the Associated Press and is a regular contributor to Better Homes and Gardens and other noted national shelter magazines. Matthew has also written 12 books and produced countless magazine spreads and ad campaigns for noted companies such as Pottery Barn, Dove Chocolate, Target, and Stonewall Kitchen.

Matthew is known for styling beautiful spaces using vintage treasures, guiding others to entertain with ease in a stylish way, and inspiring homeowners to create beautiful food and living spaces which they can proudly share with family and friends. To view Matthew’s portfolio, visit his website, matthewmeadstyle.com, or his blog, holidaywithmatthewmead.com. His recently published books include Recycled Style, Halloween Spooktacular, Christmas All Through the House, and The Official DC Super Hero Cookbook.

November 24, 2013

If you’re the type who cringes at Christmas songs before Thanksgiving (no judgment), this festive – but not too festive – detail might be suitable for your minimalist décor.

Bold (sans jarring holiday color) feather trees invoke “a white, wintry setting with lots of textures,” writes stylist and Rue Living Inspirer Matthew Mead. “Everlasting and non-shedding, these trees look spectacular the whole month between Thanksgiving and Christmas. So versatile and eye-catching that they make a great focal point almost anywhere.”

Want specifics? Mead’s telling.

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  Continue reading “Up the Holiday Drama: How to Decorate with Feather Trees” »

November 19, 2013

Rue Living Inspirer, author, and stylist Matthew Mead is giving us a new point of view on holiday decoration. Here, dishes do double-duty as festive accents all through the house.

111713_blogpost

  1. “Holiday wall décor can go beyond the wreath. Simply add plate hangers to festive plates and place on the wall with evenly placed finish nails. Mix in vintage items like wooden cutting boards and framed vintage holiday cards.”
  2. “Make an instant centerpiece with a stack of graduated mixing bowls and nuts in their shell. Fill each bowl with mixed nuts from the grocery store. Cradle each bowl one inside of the other. Add faux greens, berries, or dried pods and create this centerpiece that will last through the holidays – without watering.”
  3. “Decorative cereal bowls are perfect for planting tiny trees. With floral foam, sheet moss, and an everlasting bottle-brush tree, these tiny potted plants can march down the center of a dining table, dress up the length of a mantle, or be given as table favor gifts to take home.”
  4. “A fun gingerbread man placemat need not be relegated to the tabletop alone. Stand it upright in a glass cylinder (use double-stick tape to hold it in place), outfit with a battery operated candle for illumination, and jazz up an entry table or sideboard.”

 

Ready for a little DIY décor? Visit our Set a Stylish Table: Glassware, Linens, & More Boutique on Sunday, November 17, at 11AM ET to get started.

By Julia Ivins, Staff Writer

Not a Member and like The (Style) Guide? You’ll love Rue La La. Join now.

Matthew Mead is a stylist, writer, author, photographer, and lifestyle editor. The former style editor of Country Home magazine and co-editor in chief of Flea Market Style magazine (2010), Matthew is also a regular contributor to Better Homes and Gardens and Victoria magazine. Matthew has written several books and produced countless magazine spreads and ad campaigns for noted companies such as Pottery Barn, Dove Chocolate, Target, and Stonewall Kitchen.

November 17, 2013

Some spend a lifetime collecting ornaments. So why bring them out for traditional tree trimming only? Stylist, author, and Rue Living Inspirer Matthew Mead incorporates these delicate pieces into holiday gifts, place settings, and around-the-house décor.

 111613_blogpost

For Gift Giving
“Embellish packages, gift bags, or wrapped bottles of wine or seasoned oils with a decorative ornament. These chandelier-style drop ornaments dress up any package with sophisticated style that the recipient can add to their own collection.”

As Table Favors
“Make your holiday table more engaging with this glittery butterfly ornament. Roll and tie your dinner napkin with ribbon and attach the ornament with gold cord. Place one at each place setting as a gift for your yuletide dinner guests.”

For Decorative Vignettes
“To decorate side tables and entryways, gather vintage bottles and decanters on a silver tray, fill with a dusting of faux snow, and top the bottles with glass spire- and star-style ornaments. Surround with flickering votive candles for a sparkling display.”

Find these eye-catchers at our Dress Up the Tree: Designer Ornaments Boutique on Saturday, November 16, at 3PM ET.

By Julia Ivins, Staff Writer

Not a Member and like The (Style) Guide? You’ll love Rue La La. Join now.

Matthew Mead is a stylist, writer, author, photographer, and lifestyle editor. The former style editor of Country Home magazine and co-editor in chief of Flea Market Style magazine (2010), Matthew is also a regular contributor to Better Homes and Gardens and Victoria magazine. Matthew has written several books and produced countless magazine spreads and ad campaigns for noted companies such as Pottery Barn, Dove Chocolate, Target, and Stonewall Kitchen.

November 16, 2013