Pretty Place Settings

If you’re anything like us, you might get a bit overwhelmed when scrolling through Instagram around the holidays. Endless posts about holiday recipes and decoration and entertaining that leave you wondering where anyone finds the time to make things seem that perfect! It can’t just be us!

But hey, we like entertaining and making things look all Martha Stewart-like too. We just need to simplify for the sake of our lives and our wallets. Today we’re sharing a few fun and simple and most importantly, affordable ways to make your Thanksgiving “Instagram worthy” if you will!

These are things you can do for cheap, with or without the kiddos, and super last minute! Hosting well isn’t just for bloggers, and we are here to prove that to you!

Fall Fabric 
here’s a quick and simple way to dress up your table! Head on over to your local craft store and pick up a yard or two of a cute fall fabric! This should be fairly affordable (as long as you don’t go for like the pure silk) and really make it look like you’ve gone all out! It’s crazy that as soon as someone turns fabric into an official table runner or placemat and puts in the holiday section it gets all expensive. I’ll include some fun print ideas below and also a few ways to use it! The fun thing about fabric is that it’s also a super easy way to bring together a theme or show off your style. Even within a similar print category there are lots of different vibes and ways to express your individual style!

Traditional Plaid
Plaid is a forever fall favorite. You can take it in so many directions! You can get bright and colorful shades or keep it more muted and warm—either way it’s sure to shine at your Turkey Day

table. Here are a few fun fabric swatches I found on the World Wide Web for inspiration

Flannel can also be plaid so you can totally mix two categories here, but this is also a great way to keep it warm and calm and use the texture to tell the story. Find a deep berry or a warm taupe and drape “warmly” over the table. Think blanket style here!

Burlap is always a winner in my opinion, but especially at fall. It’s cheap and you get a lot for your money and it definitely brings the autumn vibes in a big way! It’s also easy to use in all sorts of different ways!

Buffalo Check
This guy has made a big comeback in the last few years. Seems to be everywhere! I think it’s traditionally looked at as a Christmas print, but there are lots of colors that make it totally great for the last days of autumn as well. I think this print has the ability to give your look that farmhouse spin or also to make it really clean and modern!

Here are some fun ways to use your fabric finds

1. The most obvious of course is to use it as a table cloth and cover the entire table!

2. Have the fabric cut in such a way that you can use it as a table runner—don’t even worry bout rough edges!

2. Cut into squares or circles to use as placemats under each place setting

3. Use excess or cut small strips to use as napkin rings. Tie the cutlery together or tie up the napkin and place on each plate

4. Grab a fabric marker and use scraps as place cards

5. Wrap some around mason jars to use as candle holders or vases in your centerpiece

Butcher Paper 
Why not skip the fabric all together! Pick yourself up a roll of brown butcher paper and go to town! Butcher paper gets a category all its own because it’s so versatile! Here are some ways you can use one roll in several ways!

1. Roll down the center of your table as a table runner. Leave pens out for friends and family to write what they’re thankful for during dinner and then take some time to share

2. Cut a piece to fit down table center and allow kids to decorate their own table runner!

3.  Cut a placemat of sorts for each table setting. Allow kids to decorate beforehand or even allow guests to make their own when they get there and you’re finishing up dinner! You could also put each person’s name and something you appreciate about them

4. Write out the menu and hang it up for guests to see

Pumpkins + Squash 
I mean, this is a no brainer! I have seen so many incredibly elegant, fun, and adorable ways to use pumpkins as place settings and center pieces! I’m going to include a few links to ideas and inspiration below!

As a side note, painting or decorating pumpkins for the thanksgiving table could be a great kid activity while school is out this week and a great way to get them involved!

Greenery Goes a Long Way 
Eucalyptus eucalyptus eucalyptus. I cannot say it enough. There’s a million versions of it, it’s inexpensive, and it brings life and elegance to any table setting in practically any season. I do tend to prefer it in fall and winter though! Throw a couple of bunches in your cart when you’re sticking up for turkey day and we’ll show you a few ways to use it

1. place one or two stems in several mason jars of various heights and line down the center is your table on top of whatever you’ve chosen as your table runner—or without one at all! It will look clean and classic either way! If you’re table is round, arrange it in a large bunch in a taller vase and set tea lights around the bottom, or split it into 3-5 jars of different heights and still scatter the tea lights for a warm and natural look

2. Pull apart stems and leaves to lay on each place along with a name card or to tuck into each cutlery setting

3. Scatter sprigs among other center piece ideas—candles and or pumpkins for example—to add a natural touch

*we do want to note that eucalyptus is not great for pets. If you have a dog or cat who is prone to get into things, keep it out of reach or skip it all together! We love our fur babies and want you to be aware!

Remember that florals are not only for spring and summer and you don’t have to stick to seasonal flowers either! Grab some tulips in a deep red or orange color or even in white to mix in or split up some daisies! We don’t think there are rules when it comes to flowers!

Mason Jars 
These are something that we all have lying around at this point and they can be used in so many ways to spruce up your holiday entertaining! Here are a few ideas!

1. Don’t splurge on vases, grab all your jars and line them up down the center is your table. Split up flowers and greenery or simply set a tea light in the bottom of each to give your meal a warm glow. This would be a lovely and extremely inexpensive addition to the butcher paper plan above!

2. If you’re going with a more buffet approach, set silverware out in mason jars as a simple way to dress things up

3. On the morning of thanksgiving, send kids out to collect leaves and pine cones. Use their findings to fill the mason jars and scatter along the table to being the sites and smells of fall inside

Place Cards 
there are endless simple and affordable ways to make place cards and place cards are such an easy way to make it look like you put a lot of effort into entertaining and to make guests feel extra special! Here are a few of our favorites that definitely mark the simple and affordable boxes:

1. When you’re at Walmart grabbing some last minute items, take a quick sweep through the hardware department. Yep—you heard us right. Find the paint swatches and go nuts! These are absolutely free and such a fun way to display names and add color to your table! You can keep the color scheme the same or mix it up—get creative! We personally love the strips that I close several shades of the same color, but you could also stick to one color swatch per plate. Grab a sharpie or a metallic pen on your way to the checkout and there ya have it!

2. Leaves. Get outside with the kids, spend some time looking for leaves that are durable enough for writing on, and bring them in! Use a sharpie to write guests names and lay them on plates.

3. Make that butcher paper go even further! Gather the kids and the cookie cutters, trace and cut some autumn shapes (leaves, pumpkins, acorns, etc) and write names for each setting!

Including a link here with lots of other fun and creative ideas!
Place Cards

Be sure to share pics of your thanksgiving dinner! We’d love to share with our community and see how you all got creative and made it your own!

Sweet Potato Mash Up

A few twists on an old Turkey Day tradition and classic, because sometimes you just gotta mix it up! or in this case, mash it up? Let us know if you have some other fun ideas to play with the potatoes this year!

Roasted Maple Sweet Potato Pieces
This is one of my all the time go-tos for brunch, but it’s also a super simple bd super sweet way to mix up sweet potatoes this thanksgiving.

1. Preheat oven to 400

2. Cut sweet potatoes into chunks (I would plan on about 1 large sweet potato for every 2 people)

3. Drizzle  olive oil, sea salt, and all natural maple syrup over a baking sheet. Toss the sweet potatoes and drizzle a bit more of each on top

4. Bake for about 20 minutes or until easily poked with a fork

Sweet Potato Bar 
This is a fun one if you’ve got a smaller crew or need a fun activity to do other kiddos. Leave some punter space or set up an extra little table and let people he creative with this potion of the mail. Here are some ideas for toppings to put out at the bar!

* if you’re looking to simplify, have the potatoes cut and mostly cooked when guest arrive. Have everyone de their toppings and then toss them back in the oven to warm them up or melt some of the toppings.

-cheddar cheese
-herbs (thyme, rosemary, sage)
-maple syrup
-sea salt
-bacon bits
-sour cream
-herbed cream cheese

Mashed Sweet Potatoes 
alright—we know. For the thanksgiving traditionalists and purists out there, this is blasphemy. I’ll be the first to admit, my grandmas mashed potatoes are a forever favorite. But, why not mix up the mash this year too! Opt for mashing the sweet potatoes! And keep it simple! I think you’ll be surprised how refreshing and elegant this little twist can be!

1. Boil water
2.cube sweet potatoes (again—1 large potato for every 2 people)
3. Add olive oil, sea salt, butter, rosemary, and thyme.
4a. For chunky potatoes, hand mash
4b. For smooth and creamy potatoes, blend

*I don’t usually add milk as I don’t do dairy and have never found it necessary, but feel free to do so if you want a creamier consistency!

Here are a few others I grabbed from Pinterest 

Vegetarian Option
Portabella Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

For Brunch
Sweet Potato Hash
Sweet Potato Pancake Muffins(this one is an indulgence for sure!)
Sweet Potato-Apple Bake

Dessert Only
Fudgy SP Brownies (V/GF)
Sweet Potato Cinnamon Roles (also great for brunch or Thanksgiving morning with the parade!)
Sweet Potato Coffee Cake  (another good brunch or parade option or foe an evening drop in over coffee with friends!)

Sweet Potato-Carrot Soup
Kale-SP Soup
Thai SP Soup

The Gratitude Game

Oh hey!
It's November in case you hadn't noticed. We're already four days deep which is pretty hard to get our heads around! Just us? That means we are just twenty-something days away from Thanksgiving and not much further out from Christmas! I'm sure that's not what you wanted us to point out to you on your Monday morning! Whoops!

One of our favorite things about the start of the holiday season is that we all seem to (at least try) to take some time to refocus on the more important things in life--like family and friendship and gratitude and generosity...and also food. For whatever wonderful reason, the start of the holiday season seems to bring us back to what matters. We know that these days it can also be really stressful, but we're choosing to capitalize on that natural draw back to life essentials and we hope you'll make that choice with us!

We thought it might be fun to turn gratitude into a little game that we can all play together! We're kicking it off today and we'll keep the fun going all November long!

Here's how it works:

1. Snap a photo and share a thought around gratitude or generosity for the day on Facebook or the Gram

2. Tag a friend and For Glory and Beauty to pass it on! (forglorybeauty on Instagram)

3. We will repost and share in our stories and on our feed all month long!

4. There may or may not be a giveaway at the end of the month for everyone who joins in :) We'll keep you posted on what goodies we'll be giving away!

It's the greatest time of year, sweet friends, and we can't wait to celebrate the best parts of life with all of you!

Taco Tuesday Twist

Who doesn’t love Taco Tuesday!?
We adore tacos everyday, but Taco Tuesday just has a nice ring to it and gives a pretty blah day of the week a little bit more umph!
For the sake of not being a hypocrite, I’m gonna keep this intro short. There is nothing I hate more than looking for a recipe and having to dig through an endless blog post first. I JUST WANT TO KNOW WHAT I NEED FOR THE RECIPE. Am I right? You don't care about my taco making/eating experience, you just saw tacos and you want to get to 'em! I will NOT stand in the way of your Taco Tuesday! I can’t make that promise once you click the links....

All I’m gonna say is that I tried the Fish Tacos with the mango salsa yesterday and they were #winning.

We’ve gathered some of our favorites and lots we want to try! We’ve got some vegestarian tacos, healthy spins on tacos, cultural twists, and even tacos for breakfast! Now we’ll leave you to your Taco Tuesday! Here are a few fun twists on an old classic to spice up some time with family or friends or yourself this week! Let us know if you try any and which ones are your faves!

Tilapia Tacos with Zucchini + Fresh Mango Salsa

Sweet Potato + Black Bean Tacos

Crockpot Chicken Tacos

Taco Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

Chickpea Taco Salad with Avocado Ranch Dressing

Greek Chicken Tacos with Tzatziki + Hummus

Classic Breakfast Tacos

An Anchor for our Souls

I love those sweet moments when Holy Spirit speaks truth to us.
When He is faithful to His word to bring to mind the promises we know so well but may have forgotten just when we need them most. How He soothes our souls with them and helps us stand firm and rest in them.

I’m sort of a purist. I don’t really love all the catch phrases and cheesy, gimmicky lines that Christians often put on their car bumpers and T-shirts and toss around in conversation. Don’t get me wrong, I do love a good alliteration or something that helps an idea stick, but I really believe there’s something to be said about keeping things original and authentic. So, for me, there is something magical about a portion of Scripture that is lovely and memorable in its original form—no rewording or gimmicks—just the beauty and purity of God speaking straight to us.

Recently the water has been a little choppy for me and I can’t seem to steer my boat through the thick fog on most days—metaphorically speaking. I used to be a kids pastor, I just can’t help it with the object lessons and metaphors. Anyways. I was saying. Life is a bit unsteady and uncertain and unclear at the moment for me. I’m between jobs and not sure what’s next for me or even what I want to be next for me. I’m about two weeks from rent and a long list of bills that will need paying after three weeks of no steady income.

I know I should trust Him—I do. He’s never given me any reason to do anything but trust Him completely. He’s never been anything but constant and faithful and kind and generous. He’s always showed up and always made a way and always provided exactly what I’ve needed. Always. I know that He will again.
Of course He will.
 Right now I’ve got to sit in that crazy, chaotic, beautiful tension of doing my part but knowing that He will do His regardless of what I do or do not do. His working never depends on mine. His love does not depend on mine either.

Without looking for it or turning to it in my Bible, this scripture came to me sweetly last week and has stayed with me since:

Mostly this one line:

His hope is an anchor for my soul.

Just that.
So simple. So sweet. Holy Spirit always knows just when to pull up all of those Sunday School lessons and childhood memory verses.

I literally had to Google the reference for it. I knew it was straight out of scripture but honestly couldn’t remember where. Google kindly pointed me to Hebrews 6:19. And as I read around it and soaked in the context, it got even sweeter!

It’s a lovely thought free standing for sure. That in this chaotic, choppy, foggy space, He anchors me. He’s the peace and the steady and the clarity that will ground me and hold me here. But the context takes that anchor even deeper.

What exactly is His hope? What is the hope that is anchoring my soul?

The hope is Jesus and even more so, all that He’s done on our behalf. His blood that covers our sin and redeems us and His place in heaven even now mediating on our behalf.

So I can and should hold onto God’s hope with my whole heart! His steady and peace and clarity does not depend on me or anything I do here, I’m literally holding onto the hope that Jesus has already done it all for me and gone before me and that is anchoring my soul!

I may not be certain of much right now, but I am certain of this—that hope is one heavy anchor. If I hold onto that above all else and in spite of all else, I’ll be more than fine.

And so will you!

His hope is there. Always in front of us, always free to us, always ready to steady us. All that’s left is for us to hold onto the edges of our rocking boat and reach out to grab it through the blinding fog.

Fall Bucket List

Fall is upon it whether or not we're ready for it. But for real, does anyone NOT love Autumn....? Maybe don't mention it if you don't...

We've put together a list of all the fun autumn activities we're hoping to check off this season! Let us know in the comments below or on Insta if you think we've missed anything or have some classics that we should share with all of our friends here!

<3 Autumn stroll to see the leaves (with fun fall drinks of course)

<3 Leaf Jumping

<3 Rake leaves for a neighbor or someone who can't

<3 Sunday drive to a peaceful spot--phone free

<3 Change your closet to fall/winter

<3 Buy a fun fall nail and/or lip shade

<3 Host a sweater or scarf swap with friends

<3 Build a scarecrow with friends and/or family

<3 Send "just because" thank you cards

<3 Go see a drive in movie and have take out in the car

<3 Host a costume or theme party

<3 Host a fall movie night (When Harry Met Sally, Remember the Titans, etc.)

<3 At least one bonfire with blankets and all the cozy clothes

<3 Donate old fall/winter wear to those in need

<3 Host or participate in a progressive dinner with friends or neighbors

<3 Check out your local art museum

<3 Paint a pumpkin

<3 Try a new pumpkin recipe (or some spicy fall flavor if you're not a pumpkin fan....but don't tell us if you aren't ;)

<3 Try a seasonal beverage from a few different coffee shops

Favorite Footware for Fall

Look. Summer is still with us for a little while longer, but we can't lie... 
Today we're sharing our favorite foot ware trends for this fall. Our wish lists if you will! We'll link our must haves below.

Check out these cuties from Old Navy. They're currently $32 but you know soon enough they'll be on sale! Sure it's fall, but leaves turn yellow in the fall. Don't be afraid to keep some sunshine in your fall wardrobe. Especially when most of your clothes will move to neutral, keep some pops of fun and color in the accessories! These are a great mix between dressed up and casual and you can play with that line. (I may or may not have been able to resist picking up a lavender pair on sale...)

These cuties are a great neutral with a burst of surprise and fun--party in the back if you will. And the best part is you can snag them up on Amazon and have them on your doorstep in just two days!

These are such a fun twist on a sweet and simple mary-jane shoe. They're black and neutral but a whole lot of fun, and they're from one of our favorite online shops--Roolee!

We can't even tell you how long we've been obsessed with these guys! FOR SO LONG! We've been drooling over them for a while now. They also happen to be from Roolee (though they're Free People) and they are such a great shoe to take you from summer into fall. Not too heavy, but not quite a sandal, and they come in all sorts of colors and textures! They are a bit pricey, so we'll also link some similar ideas at lower costs below...
Target Version

Loving this bright berry color for fall. Another fun option to brighten up all those chunky sweaters and neutrals. Also loving the fun style with cute buckle back! These guys also come in black and tan if you want to keep it more simple.

These are a classic for me and one thing I'll buy over and over again. It's a super simple straight forward rain boot in olive green. I love this boot because it's so simple and practical and I love the olive because it's a spin on neutral that works with everything. At just $25 from Target, you can't beat this boot! They come in a few other colors as well!

Share your favorites with us over on Insta, because let's be real, none of us can have too many cute fall booties!

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