A Blogger's Favorite Things Dinner

One of my favorite things about the holiday season is the opportunity to give back to those who give so much to me... my friends and family! Yes, "receiving" is awesome. But to me, the feeling of seeing someone's face when you "give" them a gift, is even better. Not trying to sound all cliche here (and not saying you should return my presents Mom), but I really do enjoy giving during the holidays.

That's why a few years ago I decided to start an annual dinner with some of my favorite bloggers. A way to gift some of my favorite things to some of my favorite people. It's just "my way" of giving back during the holidays. I like think of it as my own "Oprah's Favorite Things" or "Ellen's 12 Days of Giveaways!" haha. Each year I have partnered with some of my favorite brands, and held the dinner at one of my favorite DC restaurants.

This year for my 3rd annual dinner, I partnered with The Hamilton to host nine of my friends for an evening of dinner and drinks, celebrating the holidays together, and a little gift exchange.

The Hamilton prepared custom printed menus in the color scheme of the evening, red and white! The service was absolutely impeccable, and the lamb gnochetti is something I'm still talking about till this day. Is it too soon to go back and get another round, ha?!

Seriously though. If you're looking to host a dinner, shower or event, The Hamilton is the place to do it. I've hosted numerous dinners at their restaurant, and every one has been fabulous. They really go above and beyond with every detail... offering to customize menus for free, showcase a signature drink, and allow me to setup the table prior to my guests arriving. Their menu is also really expansive, so there's something for everyone and at every price range. The Hamilton will even split the checks for you! Which is a HUGE bonus for large parties like ours.

I worked with Swoozies to gift each girl a personalized wine tumbler + holiday sequined tote bag for the girls to carry all their goodies home in. How freaking adorable are these totes?! There's six different styles to choose from, and each one us under $25!!

The wine tumbler's are perfect for on-the-go, and can be used for both hot and cold beverages. I used mine last week to carry my coffee to work! And the bags... y'all, I have been stopped at least five times with people asking where I got my tote. It has been the perfect carryall to take my lunch and necessities to and from work this holiday season!

Kendra Scott gifted each girl a Naomi Two Finger Drusy Ring, either silver or gold. Very fitting for the holidays! Special thanks to Corbin for arranging this gift :) This ring is perfect for the holidays, but also perfect to wear year round. It just adds a touch of sparkle to your outfit!

The Flower Luxe donated two gorgeous rose boxes to serve as the most stunning centerpieces!! The white box is below, and they also donated a box of red roses as well. Sadly the lighting in the restaurant wasn't the best, so this was the best photo I could get of the setup.

I absolutely adored these rose boxes. How unique of an idea is this?! I first noticed them at this past summer's Blogger Scene event. So when I needed a centerpiece for my dinner, The Flower Luxe was the first brand to come to mind. These boxes would make a stunning gift or addition to any tablescape.

And Vera Bradley went above and beyond to gift My Favorite Thing of 2016, the Elena Leather Crossbody Bag to each of the girls. This has seriously been my favorite thing this year. I have it both in black and hunter green, and carry it just about everywhere. I love the quality of the bag, and how much actually fits in it. The girls went nuts when they opened their bags to find these!!

You're probably thinking... how can it get any better?! Oh, but it did! Along with these wonderful gifts, I gave each girl a bottle of my homemade vanilla + a tin of my favorite Christmas cookies and homemade chocolate turtles. Sadly they didn't last long enough for me to get a photo, ha!

I'd say this year was the BEST Favorite Things Dinner yet! Not only did each girl walk away with a bag full of my favorite things, but we also played the white elephant game. And not with gag-gifts. Each girl brought "their favorite thing" to play the game with. We had everything from cookbooks, to wine glasses, to beauty products and face masks, and more! I walked away with an "ice roller" that was Libby's favorite thing.

Phewww, what a night! So many favorites all in one place! My favorite restaurant, favorite brands, favorite foods, and some of my favorite people! A Blogger's Favorite Things dinner has grown to be another favorite... my favorite tradition of the holidays! Cheers to all the brands that made this year's dinner possible!

Photos by Lauren


Weekend in Review: Annapolis, MD

Oh hello, it's me. Checking in from my unofficial extended break from blogging, ha. I wanted to share with you some photos and details from a recent media trip myself, Laura and Jenn, went on.

A few weekends ago the three of us took a quick weekend girls getaway to Annapolis, Maryland. Surprisingly, Annapolis is a very short metro + Uber ride. Only about 45 minutes from DC. Also surprising, I had yet to visit the coastal town. Sad, right?! Well it was about time for sure!

We left after work on Friday, and metro'd out to the closest stop to Annapolis. We then hopped in an Uber, which took us straight downtown to our hotel. We stayed at the Annapolis Waterfront Hotel. Which is just as wonderful as it sounds. Right on the water, overlooking a harbor of sailboats and downtown Annapolis.

The three of us decided to stay in Friday night and just catch up over a bottle of wine. We grabbed some sushi, and then headed back to our room where the hotel set us up with a bottle of wine and snacks for the evening. So thoughtful of them!

Saturday we woke up, ordered room service, and then headed out downtown to walk around and do a little shopping. Downtown Annapolis is the most quaint little town, and they were actually in the process of decorating for Christmas. Everyone was in the holiday spirit, and very friendly. After an exhausting few hours of shopping, we grabbed lunch and then headed back to the hotel for some rest before dinner.

The hotel brought us up a really nice cheese plate to dig into while we got ready. We then headed downstairs to the hotel restaurant for dinner. We did a lot of eating, if you haven't caught onto that yet, ha! We capped the evening off by meeting up with some of Jenn's friends, and cheers-ing a few glasses of wine in downtown Annapolis.

Sunday we packed up and headed back to DC! But not till we ordered another round of room service, and snapped a few pics of the hotel. Typical bloggers, ha!

We had such a wonderful time in Annapolis, and owe our lovely stay to the Annapolis Waterfront Hotel. If you're visiting the area soon, I cannot recommend staying here enough. It's right in the heart of downtown Annapolis, and only steps away to shopping, dining and the water. The hotel is all decked out (pun intended, ha) in nautical decor, and the staff are all super friendly. I can't wait to get back up in the spring time where we can enjoy more time outside on the dock, and maybe take a sailing trip! That'd be so fun!

Special thanks to Annapolis Waterfront Hotel for hosting our stay.