Happy New Year from Mary and I!

Our schedules are still a little crazy because of the holidays. Mary is out of town and I am recovering from the fun of Saturday night and doing laundry. I’ve put laundry day off for so long that I basically wore my last outfit out of the house today.

Our New Year’s Eve party went off perfectly! The Ming Tsai dumpling steaming demonstration was perfect and our dumplings delicious and were cooked perfectly. We put out heavy appetizers of dumplings and crab rangoon when everyone got here at about 6:30 and we sat down to eat at about 8:45. Dinner was delicious. The satay and noodles were a little spicier than I intended but no one complained about it. You’ll notice that I managed to pull off three dietary restrictions/preferences: I had satay with fake chicken, Julie had satay without peanut butter in the sauce, and Cara had noodles without cilantro in the dressing.

Everyone agreed that a heavy dinner was a good pause in the middle of the party and it was so great to have 9 of my favorite people gathered around my dinner table. Even though this house is really way too big for just Kyle and I, I love that it means that we can have giant sleepovers and feel like our friends have generally warm and comfortable places to sleep. There is almost nothing I like more than waking up in a house full of my friends. Kyle and I are so blessed to have so many wonderful friends!

I hope you all had a great evening counting down to 2012 and that you’re as excited as I am to see what the new year brings!


On Tuesday, I shared my menu for my new year’s eve party. Today, I’m making my list of supplies for centerpieces, decorations, and games during the party. Here’s a quick rundown of the decorations I’m thinking of making:

Who knew fortune cookies were a perfect way to decorate champagne glasses? Since fortune cookies, an American invention, always bring good fortune, they will go wonderfully with a toast to the new year!

This place setting via Celebrate Carrie is so beautiful and festive. I like the idea of serving my noodles out of paper takeout boxes.

The centerpiece at this farewell party via Aimee Ferre is really beautiful. I love the reds and the tangerines which are symbol of wealth and prosperity for the new year. Fresh flowers aren’t in my budget but luckily I found a great DIY.

If I get ambitious and my patience is cooperating with me, these Crepe-Paper Lotus Blossoms via would be the perfect replacement for the fresh flowers on the table above.

Another necessity: Paper lanterns. I found this via Pinterest and unfortunately the blog  it linked to doesn’t seem to exist anymore but the step-by-step in the photo is easy enough to follow.

I also came across this Party Blowers DIY also from Martha Stewart while perusing Pinterest. It looked like a DIY decorated chopstick to me so that’s how I pinned it, but now that I look at the full DIY for Party Blowers, I might just have to do both!

My final possibility is a party game. Real Simple suggests having guests fill out little resolution cards and later trying to guess which resolution belongs to which guest. I don’t know that this kind of party game fits our personalities, after all these are the girls that threw me a funeral-themed bridal shower. Instead, I might have us each make our own mad-lib style resolution and then use an Apples to Apples deck to compete for the best filled in blank.

I guess we’ll just have to see where the night takes us!



Welcome back from the Christmas holiday! I hope you all had a wonderful holiday no matter what or how you celebrate it!

Now that Christmas is over, we’re busy planning for the next holiday that is just a few days away. For New Year’s Eve we usually go to Kyle’s parents’ house where they have a tradition of a massive shrimp feast every year. This year, our plans are a little different. We’ll be staying home and hosting eight of my college friends.

We’re only asking our guests to bring desserts and their own drinks so Kyle and I are in charge of the dinner party menu. I decided to go with a Chinese New Year theme… I know we’re a few weeks early for the Chinese New Year still but I’m really just into the decorations and the theme fits well with the new calendar year.


  • Seafood and vegetable dumplings

You’re going to learn very quickly in this post that most of my food inspiration lately comes from the Nate Berkus Show. After watching him make dumplings with Chef Ming Tsai, I totally feel like I could make homemade dumplings no big deal. We’ll probably do the black bean and shrimp dumplings and maybe the vegetarian shiitake and leek dumplings. More than likely, I’ll just use the skills I learned in the demonstration and make them with whatever I feel like preparing. Dumplings should be the make-ahead so they’re easy to make the night of the meal.


  • Egg Drop Soup

I love egg drop soup almost as much as I love the Eat What You Love cookbook by Marlene Koch. I acquired this cookbook from my mother-in-law when I discovered it in her basement. It was likely the remnant of a QVC order of the past but it’s totally my gain. We also love to cook for Kyle’s parents when we’re at his house so really it’s their gain, too. Every recipe I’ve made come out so delicious that it can satisfy most of my cravings during a diet but some, like the Kung Pao shrimp and Egg Drop Soup, are so delicious that I don’t even like them from restaurants now.


  • Chow Mei Fun
  • Chicken/Shrimp/Seitan Satay

This is a stock image of Chow Mei Fun that looks pretty delicious and close to mine. I use longer thin rice noodles, more veggies, and no meat. I’d share my recipe but I can’t remember who to attribute it to! I must have really done some digging when I found it and I’ve made several alterations. When I’m going to make it now, I have to search my gmail and then wrack my brain for the changes. I’ll have to document it when I make it this weekend and share my version of the recipe with you. It makes so much and it’s really pretty easy.

The satay is another recipe featured on Nate Berkus, this time from last week’s Meals in Minutes with Jamie Oliver segment. It looked so good we actually made his whole meal (with fake chicken) last week and it was delicious! So good that I would probably just do it for dinner on Saturday but one of our friends is allergic to nuts and another is adverse to cilantro. The cilantro blends into the satay pretty well but it’s strong on the noodles in his recipe so I’ll stick with Chow Mei Fun instead.

With the menu planned, I really need to get going on clearing the freezer, preparing the dumplings, freezing the dumplings, and making the decorations!

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So Eclectic is a blog dedicated to great ideas for home design. Austin, Texas-based writer Mary Marcum and Savannah, Missouri-based writer Jess Rezac feature affordable decor, decorating solutions, and inspiration. At So Eclectic, we experiment with design together. So Eclectic posts new content every weekday.

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