Our series, Hosting at Home, is a place for us to share the creative touches we add to our space when hosting in our own homes as well as tips from us as event planners for how to pull off a similar look or type of event at home. These events are not fancy and super pre-planned like the ones you are used to seeing us do but rather casual and impromptu. The content of these particular blog posts is meant to inspire each of you to invite friends over for a last minute BBQ, to pull out dishes you haven’t used in a while, and to find those random accessories that help make your table look unique. Keep it causal! None of this is sponsored … It’s from the heart and straight to you from our very own homes. Enjoy!

Written by: Lauren

For some reason, 4th of July sneaks up on me every single year! I always like to do something but never can get my act together far enough in advance to plan. Last year, I threw together a quick last minute get together at my house for some of my friends which seemed to go from lunch to dinner, and we all had a lot of fun!

The girls got into the spirit early and we put out some activities for all of their friends to come play.

Some beads were set out to make their own red, white, and blue jewelry to wear, and we set up a kiddie pool, a large bubble station, and our permanent trampoline to keep the kids busy.

For the adults, snacks and drinks to get the party going!

We decided to go with sandwiches for lunch and put out cold cuts and sides for all to enjoy. This was an easy set up, clean up, and made all our guests happy!

It’s nice to switch it up. Since we had cold food for lunch, we decided to heat up the grill and serve salmon, sausages, and other warm sides at night.

When hosting in your home, do what feels most natural to you while trying to push yourself a little each time to think outside the box. Until next time … Happy 4th of July and Happy Hosting from Side by Side Design!

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Written by: Tami

Is Father’s Day really this weekend? I guess it’s time to be thinking about ways to show those men in our lives how much we really care! As part of my preparation process, I pulled up pictures from last year’s celebration and was reminded of how nice it was to celebrate my husband’s first Father’s Day. While I was at it, I prepared a little post full of tips for all of you (especially if you have a new baby and are coming up with ideas for a first Father’s Day). Enjoy!

The first Father’s Day is a really important milestone in the life of a new dad, but it’s more important that he feels special every day! After our daughter was born, we treated ourselves to professional photos of ourselves with our newborn (taken by Erica Leigh Photography). My Father’s Day gift to Phil was selecting a few extra special shots and framing them just right so he could take a look at work whenever he was missing her (and me).

My husband loves sweets almost as much as he loves being a “Dada”. If you haven’t read this book by Jimmy Fallon, you must! I immediately knew I had to treat Phil to this book and some treats. I began a search for adorable local bakeries. I found one with some great options! My man loves a good chocolate chip cookie!

Pro Tip: It’s all about knowing your loved ones and treating them to the things they love. My hubby and I will sometimes pick out our own presents, but we always find a card that says just the right thing and try to make the day as special as possible.

I am sure if you asked him though, the best part of his first Father’s Day was getting to spend time with his little girl, and we had so much fun with him!

We truly hope that all you fathers have a really special day this Sunday! Whether celebrating at home or out and about, we hope you get to spend time with your loved ones, that they tell you how much you do for them, and give you extra hugs and kisses! Happy Father’s Day from Side by Side Design!

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Written by: Tami

Wow! This year has really flown by! I cannot believe another Mother’s Day is upon us! As you may remember, last year I celebrated my first special day as a mom. I will be honest and say that there is always a hype leading up to these types of things, and they don’t really ever (at least in my experience) fully go as planned, but I will say it was absolutely amazing to spend my first Mother’s Day with my new baby and my husband Phil really made it special too!

With Mother’s Day just a few days away, I have prepared a little post full of tips for all of you (along with photos of some of the details Phil, Lauren, and I put into effect last year). Enjoy!

The first Mother’s Day is a really important milestone in the life of a new mom, and I made sure that I treated myself to professional photos of my newborn with my husband and I (taken by Erica Leigh Photography) before this day arrived. I loved getting the opportunity to print my favorites to post all over her room and loved even more getting the chance to choose photos to give to each of her grandmas. Pro Tip: A framed photo of your newborn or kids at any age is sure to bring tears to any grandma’s eyes upon opening it!

I filled out special gold foil tags with who each of these gifts were for but made the decision to have these gifts be not from us but from their new granddaughter. It’s more fun that way!

You know I am a girl who loves gold foil and loves a good roll of fun printed wrapping paper! Buy yourself a new roll and wrap all your gifts with one cohesive look.

What else do moms love? Fresh flowers! How adorable is this? Lauren made me a special bouquet wrapped in metallic gold paper and a printed photo of her three girls who I love as if they are my own!

Gotta love Etsy! They literally have everything! Unfortunately, the night this photo was taken, this adorable Mother’s Day onesie (and my gift from Phil) mysteriously went missing, but this pic of my little girl is mine forever! She really is “the best Mother’s Day gift ever”!

We truly hope that all you mothers have a really special day this Sunday! Whether celebrating at home or out and about, we hope your loved ones pamper you, tell you how much you do for them, and give you extra hugs and kisses! Happy Mother’s Day from the two of us moms (Tami + Lauren at Side by Side Design)!

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Written by: Tami

I am honestly still on such a high from this past weekend’s Treat Yourself Mother’s Day pop up event! Thanks to all the mamas / families that showed up, shopped, and decorated a bag for a really great cause. You made my heart so happy! Each vendor who participated was incredible too! In case you weren’t able to stop by, here are all the details:

Let me start by setting the scene … Our friends and fellow planners of this event, Lesa and Ariella, are the proud owners of bryck&mortar (a fabulous space in the Brentwood Town Center for local clothing, accessory, and lifestyle brands to pop up). This was the perfect place to set up our event.

Their featured brands for the month of May (Wilma and Ethel and Panik Ryder), provided amazing shopping experiences for all of our guests and donated part of their proceeds to the cause as well.

When guests arrived, they were greeted by this gorgeous display of flowers and other fun materials to share with the people of Brentwood what we are all about!

Amanda from Amanda Rose Florals was creating adorable mini bouquets on the spot for all of the moms in attendance.

My favorite moment of this entire event was getting the opportunity to pass out her creations … So many smiling appreciative faces! The truth is, being a mom is an under appreciated job! We should find opportunities to celebrate our moms, mom friends, and ourselves more often. Hence the name of this event … Treat yourself! We wanted all the mamas out there to allow themselves to do something for them for once. Why not buy your own gift this year? Get a much needed massage? Take a fun work out class? So many options … So little time!

Speaking of treating yourself … Another friend, fellow #momboss, and host of this event, Rachel of Rachel Miriam, was featuring her Molly Sims x RM Sweetheart, Sparkle, and Neon collections benefiting Baby2Baby. So many moms left with adorable bags customized to say whatever they chose, and Molly Sims brought her whole family to support our event as well! What a great day!

I love that Rachel thought to do on-site personalization at this event! There’s something so mesmerizing about watching her machine create letters in fun fonts and threads spelling out initials, names, favorite sayings, or whatever you can dream up!

Rachel and Molly put together a little activity for a big donation. Guests were asked to decorate a bag and fill it with mama essentials (lotion, chapstick, an eye mask, and a sweet note) to give to a mother in need. I love how they turned out and love even more that this was done for such a great cause!

What else do moms want? Coffee and pastries were provided by Le Pain Quotidien.

We all could not get enough of Kiev Morales‘ violin renditions of all of our favorite tunes!

Platefit brought out their Theragun for a little de-stress action! But really … What is Lauren’s husband Scott doing there? Isn’t this supposed to be for moms? LOL! I guess he does deserve a break since he had all three kids for the day. 

Moms love activities that keep their kids busy and happy. Right? Thank you M & K Entertainment for your special balloon styling which our kids all loved!

Another great activity for both moms and their kids! Flash tattoos are oh so fun!

Us girls posed for a pic with Molly in the Brass Street photo booth! I am super excited to have a special keepsake from this day with my little girl too!

As a group, we felt the most important thing for all of our guests to feel after this event was special and pampered. We put together raffle prizes sponsored by Molly Sims x RM, Cos Bar, Hey Day, and Squeeze to add a bonus “treat” for three of the moms who attended. Gotta love that even the gift wrap of these prizes matched the look of this party!

Thank you to all who participated in this special pop up event; @panik_ryder @wilma_ethel @baby2baby @amandaroseflorals @brass.streetbooth @kievmoralesviolin @platefit @lepainquotidienusa @squeeze @heyday @cosbar and especially our girls Lesa and Ariella @bryckandmortar and Rachel @rachelmiriamla! A special thank you to the moms out there and @mollybsims for providing us all another opportunity to collaborate with each other and put on an event for a great cause!

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We have both made it our tradition to spend Valentine’s Day at home and take this as our opportunity to set the table beautifully while making a special meal for our hubbys. We have had fun in the past coming up with a menu consisting of food items that we do not regularly serve and fun themes that will keep things exciting. As a mom, Lauren has continued this tradition in a more kid-friendly fashion, and this year will once again plan something special for her husband and all three of her girls. As a new mom, Tami is excited to incorporate her daughter into her plan as well. Here’s a look back on how we each celebrated Valentine’s Day last year.

T Side: My relationship with Phil started out with a cheesy pick up line about pizza, I am sure that throughout our over four years together we have shared numerous slices, and it just so happened that one of the few things that actually tasted good to me all throughout my pregnancy is pizza as well! Good enough reason for a theme? I think so! Last year’s Valentine’s Day was weeks away from my due date, and I had a few things on my mind … I wanted to keep things simple and eat whatever sounded good! So, I decided to throw an impromptu pizza party for me and my love.

They say that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, and my man also happens to be a fan of cheesy sayings, so I created a card that I knew he would love. Here’s one more lame (but fun) line I included … You still take my breath away … even though I get winded just walking up the stairs. Not bad for a little pregnancy humor, huh?

He knows that the way to my heart is through fresh flowers and peanut M&M’s, so he surprised me with what I love too!

I set our table with just a few simple touches … No need to do extra dishes or spend lots of time cleaning up.

This apron (a family member brought me back one year from Italy) could not have been more perfect for our theme. I loved getting the chance to cook together with my husband last Valentine’s Day!

We made a simple yet delicious salad that consisted of arugula, heirloom tomato, feta cheese, and shallots.

I bought our favorite wheat pizza dough from Trader Joe’s and we made our own homemade pizzas. Toppings included: marinated artichokes, pepperoni, mushrooms, mozzarella cheese, and fresh basil.

Who doesn’t love root beer floats for dessert?

L Side: With three little girls at home, I decided to do something last year that they would get excited about and molded my whole concept around the theme of an “ice cream parlor”. I used some of their cute Melissa and Doug parlor toys as decor and set the table with adorable place mats and personalized valentine’s for each of my favorite people.

I put out fun toppings and cute little signs to decorate the table with and to give the whole look a sort of retro / pastel / “Saved by the Bell” type parlor feel.

I made a conscious effort to make my dining table look different than our standard every day meal and covered the table in a silver mesh fabric I had lying around topped with festive foam place mats with glittery hearts.

We used the center box as a holder for all of our fun valentine’s. Ava made some, and Scott even got creative with his computer at work.

We keep it simple in our house. No fancy dinners out or expensive gifts, but we add special touches and create an experience at home that is different than our day to day.


Simple parlor food included burgers, chicken fingers, shakes (Ours were spiked!) …

… and ice cream sundaes with every type of toppings! The kids had so much fun decorating their own!

Of course we had to end the night in matching PJ’s … Cuz why not!?

We each plan to have an equally special Valentine’s Day this year! Lauren, Scott, and the girls are continuing to keep things simple and keep their at-home tradition alive while Tami and Phil will enjoy spending this day with their daughter Joie in on the plans. Whatever you plan to do with your Valentine this year, remember that what is really important is that you make the day special and show them how much you really love them! Happy Valentine’s Day from Side by Side Design!

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