Five Tips for Effortless Entertaining with Brittany Bromley

Interior designer, Brittany Bromley of Bedford, New York has a penchant for beautiful living, whether that means designing a home for one of her clients or hosting an exquisite affair at home or at her shop and studio, The Jackson House. The Jackson House is a historic building which was built in 1857 in the town of Bedford. Recently, Brittany hosted a beautiful book signing and dinner in honor of fellow Bedford resident and Veranda Editor-in-Chief, Clint Smith. Today, Brittany is sharing photos of this lovely event along with her top tips for entertaining effortlessly, no matter the occasion. 

When hosting an event, I like to set the mood with music and lighting- depending upon the style of the gathering I make a playlist in advance and make sure the run time is adequate for the duration of the evening so I am not worrying about it mid-party.

Setting the table the evening before an event is a must. Nothing promotes stress-free entertaining like preparedness — and it gives me a little extra time to make sure silver is polished, glasses are clean and every dish has an allotted serving piece.

Varying the sizes of the flower arrangements so that guests can see diagonally across the table encourages conversation with people other than a guest’s direct seating partners.

My goal is to ensure that every guest has a place card at their seat as nothing makes people feel more welcome than having a spot at the table that has been prearranged to be their own! 

I always have scented candles burning in all of the bathrooms, and while I love the feeling of freshly pressed linen, I always have disposable guest hand towels next to each sink! 

My philosophy on setting a place at a table is the same as my philosophy in designing a room – layers, texture and a sense of developed design always creates the most interest for my guests.

{Photography by Jane Beiles, Courtesy of Brittany Bromley}

Effortless Entertaining: Christmas Cocktails

Hi everyone! I’m sorry I didn’t have a post for you yesterday, but I’ve been super sick over the past couple of days with a really bad cold. When my head isn’t pounding, it feels like I am in a bit of a fog, so I haven’t been my usual, inspired self. I am hoping to kick this crummy cold by the end of the week. In the meantime, I’ll leave you with this fun post from our archive with some crowd-pleasing holiday cocktail recipes!

With Christmas just a few days away, you may be in search of the perfect holiday cocktail with which to dazzle your guests. Even if you aren’t hosting, you can serve as the mixologist extraordinaire at your family’s gathering by serving up some fun cocktails either in place of or along with a great bottle of wine. I have gathered a few of  my favorite holiday recipes made with ingredients that are easy to find– even at the last minute. You’ll find that these drinks are not only festive and delicious, they are also quite pretty. After all, presentation is everything!

cocktails poinsettia with prosecco

{What is more festive than bubbles? | Poinsettia with Prosecco by Nigella Lawson | Image via Suvi Sur Le Vif}



750-ml bottle Prosecco, or other fizzy dry wine, chilled

1/2 cup (125 mL) Cointreau, Grand Marnier or Triple Sec, chilled

2 cups (500 mL) cranberry juice, chilled


Mix the Prosecco or other fizzy wine with the Cointreau (or Grand Marnier or Triple Sec) and cranberry juice in a large pitcher.

Pour into wineglasses or champagne flutes.

cocktail christmas tree

{This pretty drink just looks like Christmas in a glass! | Image and Recipe via Ring Finger Tan Line}



3 oz Pomegrante Juice (or cranberry)

2 oz Gin

1 oz Simple Syrup

Juice from 2 Lime Wedges

A Few Fresh Mint Leaves

Pomegranate Seeds and Lime Wheels for Garnish


Muddle Lime Leaves and Simple Syrup at the bottom of a pitcher. Add ice, gin, pomegranate juice, and lime juice. Stir and garnish as pictured.

cocktail pomegranate and rosemary white sangria

{The Flavors and Scents of the Season in a Delicious Drink | Image and Recipe via Bakeaholic Mama}



1 bottle of dry white wine

3/4 cup pomegranate arils

4 springs of fresh rosemary

1/4 cup simple syrup

the juice of 1 lemon

the juice of 1 orange

1/3 cup Triple Sec  


Add all ingredients to a large pitcher and stir gently. Refrigerate for 24 hours to allow flavors to marry. Serve over ice.

cocktail thyme lime fizz

{I usually gravitate to gin-based cocktails with mint, lime, and cucumber, so this refreshing and festive drink is just my speed! | Image and Recipe via Beth Knows Her Cocktails}



Thyme Fizz Cocktail

1 ounce white wine

1 ounce gin

3/4 ounce Thyme Lime Herbal Syrup

1/4 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice

4 ounces sparkling water

couple dashes of lime bitters

garnish of 5 or so cucumber slices and a sprig of fresh thyme

Thyme Lime Herbal Syrup

3/4 cup water

1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice

1 cup organic cane sugar

grated zest of one lime (grate the zest from the lime before you squeeze it for the juice)

1/2 cup fresh thyme sprigs

1/4 teaspoon whole black peppercorns


Mix all ingredients in a small sauce pan and stir while heating over medium heat. As soon as the sugar dissolves, remove the pan from the heat. Try not to let it boil. Let the syrup cool and infuse for an hour or so. Strain into a glass jar and refrigerate.

To make the Thyme Lime Fizz Cocktail, place all of the cocktail ingredients in your tall serving glass, and mix lightly. Leave some room for some ice cubes, and enjoy.

cocktail tegroni

{For the guys averse to “girly” drinks or the drink snob in your circle, this take on the classic Negroni uses Tequila instead, hence the name, Tegroni. | Recipe by Ina Garten’s Friend, Bobby Liberman | Image via the Barefoot Contessa}



4 ounces Silver Tequila

4 ounces Cinzano Sweet Vermouth

4 ounces Campari

Grapefruit Peels for Garnish


Pour the tequila, vermouth and Campari into a pitcher. Squeeze a grapefruit peel in each of four rocks glasses and divide the alcohol mixture among the glasses. Fill each glass with ice and serve.

cocktail ginger lemonade

{This drink is appropriate for everyone and works all year-round, but when you add festive, striped straws, it feels perfect for the holidays! | Recipe and Image via Juls’ Kitchen}



4 organic lemons

2 cm Fresh Ginger

6 tbsp Sugar

Water and Ice Cubes

Fresh Mint Leaves for Garnish


Squeeze the lemons into a bowl so as to collect all the juice, then grate the fresh ginger and add it to the lemon juice.

Strain the lemon juice and the grated ginger, pressing the pulp into the strainer with the back of a spoon to extract the essence of ginger.

Pour the lemon juice into a pitcher, add the sugar and stir until dissolved, then water it down with cold water. The amount of water will depend on how intense you like it: I usually use ⅓ of lemon juice and sugar and ⅔ of water.

Serve the ginger lemonade with ice cubes and a few sprigs of fresh mint.

Paloma Signature

Effortless Entertaining: A Signature Touch for your Thanksgiving Tablescape

Hi there! Devon Liedtke here from the Paloma Contreras Design Team, with another installment of Effortless Entertaining. I can’t believe the holidays are upon us, and Thanksgiving is just a week away. I don’t know about you, but I can’t stop thinking about how I am going to set my table this year.


When I think of Thanksgiving, I think of Autumn and rich hues of burgundy and rust. I love incorporating these colors on the table. A great place to start is with the centerpiece. I love to mix different textures and colors of the same hue. Leaves, Berries, flowers, oh my- a feast for the eyes!


Layering is great way to add even more interest and personality to your table. You can add seasonal items like pumpkins, bittersweet, squash, persimmons or other seasonal produce. You can also just shop from your own front yard and find Magnolia Leaves, Acorns, feathers, or Pinecones. You can layer these around the centerpiece, the buffet of serving pieces, anywhere to add a touch of autumn.





Just remember that this is your table and your story, so make it your own and get creative. People will be impressed even if you do burn the turkey!




{1. Dried Natural Gourds | 2. Assortment of Pine Cones | 3. Dried Corn Bunch | 4. Wheat Wreath | 5. Dried Ti Tree Bunch | 6. Copper Mint Julep Cup | 7. Lattice Cachepot | 8. Pheasant Quills}

{Images 1,3,4,5 via Carolyn Roehm | Image 2 via Traditional Home}

Effortless Entertaining: Fourth of July

CR 2

Hi there! Devon Liedtke here again with another installment of Effortless Entertaining! Now that summer has officially been here since Monday, Fourth of July is just around the corner. In fact, it is just over a week away! When I think of the Fourth of July, Gingham picnic blankets, wicker baskets filled with summer’s bounty, fireworks, fireflies, and of course, all things red, white and blue come to mind. To me, Fourth of July and Outdoor Entertaining are one and the same. Think Melamine, acrylic, Rattan, Enamelware, Galvanized metal, Paper plates the list goes on.

CR 3

I love mixing and layering red, white and blue on the table with different patterns and textures. None of these items really screams “USA” individually, but once you mix the various pieces together,  you end up with a patriotic fête. Here is an idea of what you will be seeing on my table this Independence Day along with some suggestions for great summer pieces that you can mix and match for a Fourth of July tablescape of your very own.


{Tablescape: 1. Buffalo Plaid Tablecloth | 2. Set of 4 Bunny Williams Woven Round Placemats | 3. Beaded Acrylic Tumblers | 4. Fairfax Dinner Plates | 5. Set of 4 Embroidered Stripe Napkins | 6. Cambridge Silversmiths 20 Piece Bamboo-Style Flatware Service}


{Entertaining: 1. Vintage Red Cooler | 2. Hayden Beverage Tub | 3. Resin Party Bucket | 4. Marin Marbled Enamelware Platter}


{Napkins: 1. American Flag Napkin Set | 2. Wheaton Stripe Napkin Set | 3. Lobster Napkin Set | 4. Edie Block Print Napkins}



{Placemats: 1. Set of 4 Cabo Woven Placemats | 2. Round Rattan Placemat | 3. Border Scallop Placemat | 4. Set of 4 La Rochelle Placemats}



{Tablecloths: 1. Perdido Watercolor Tablecloth 2. Ikat Print Tablecloth}



{Melamine Plates: 1. Scallop Plates | 2. Set of 4 Shibori Plates | 3. Set of 4 Bowls with Red Rim}

{Photography in Images 1 and 2 by Carolyne Roehm}

Effortless Entertaining: Wedding Registry Tips

carolyne roehm3

{Carolyne Roehm}

Hi there! I am Devon Liedtke and I am lucky enough to be a part of the Paloma Contreras Design team. But, I have a confession– I am a tabletop fanatic. From purchased or found to antique or new– I love it all! As a former tabletop buyer, I learned so much about the world of tablescapes.

Paloma and I have discussed the topic of beautifully set tabletops at length and she thought it might be helpful for me to share some tips with you along with images from the queen of beautiful table settings, Carolyne Roehm!

carolyne roehm1

{Carolyne Roehm}

You just got engaged, you are planning a wedding, you are over the moon and also very overwhelmed! Let’s just say you have a lot on your plate! The last thing you need to worry about is your registry.

When registering, remember that this is the one time in your life that you will be receiving household gifts, so think about the big picture, years down the line. Just because you entertain casually now and live in a small apartment doesn’t mean that you always will. So best practice is to go ahead and register for that china and crystal that you think you will “never use”, because trust me, you will!

 carolyne roehm5

{Carolyne Roehm}

When registering for china and crystal, there is a world of pattern and color to choose from and it can be overwhelming at first! So take a deep breath and remember these pieces of advice!

  1. Think of dressing your table like dressing yourself. You have a “go to” pair of black jeans that you just love and they go with everything! This is your dinner plate. Your dinner plate is your workhorse. Get a plate that can go with different salad and dessert plates, seasonally.
    Screen Shot 2016-05-17 at 5.56.23 PM
  2. More is more! Always register for more rather than less. As of now, it might just be you and your sweetie, but fast forward 10 years and you are hosting Thanksgiving for 16. You need to be prepared! Think down the line when choosing quantities. 8-12 place settings is safe, but the more the better.carolyne roehm6{Carolyne Roehm}
  3. Remember to get a set of salad plates AND a set of Dessert plates. No hostess wants to be washing dishes in the midst of a special gathering. They don’t have to be the same, in fact I say mix it up! Get complimentary patterns work together and on their own with the table scape.Screen Shot 2016-05-17 at 6.06.06 PM
  4. Remember to buy serving pieces! These of all pieces do NOT need to be the same pattern as your China. In fact, I say go for a neutral that will go with ANYTHING! Think white porcelain with a gold edge. Basically a LBD for your table.Screen Shot 2016-05-17 at 5.14.45 PM
  5. Do you have any family heirlooms you can use as a jumping off point? Having unique items that you have picked up in your travels or have been passed down in your family will not only act as a conversation piece, but also add a unique touch that only your table will have.stack of blue and white {via Sacramento Street}
  6. On to crystal! With glassware, remember to register, at a minimum, for the same amount of glasses as you do place settings of china. There may be times when you entertain with passed appetizers with more people, so it would be best to register for more.champagne mountainside bride {via Mountainside Bride}

  7. For glassware, it would be best to register for a larger red wine, a smaller white wine, a water glass and a champagne flute. Although you will rarely set your table with all of them at once, it is great to have options to mix and match. Another option is to register for one large wine glass and one smaller wine glass. With this option, the larger wine glass is your water and the smaller is your wine, regardless of the type of wine that is being served.Michael C Fina{Michael C. Fina}

    Now that you know what to put on your registry, it’s time to plan your first dinner party. Happy Entertaining! Stay tuned for more Effortless Entertaining tips coming soon!