How to Throw A Stress Free Party

going away party

Our dear friends, Karrie and Josh sold everything they owned, bought an RV and are on their way to a fresh, adventurous start. Our friend Maria asked me to help plan a going away party and we knew we wanted it to be three things, beautiful, delicious and simple.




blue urn with fall branches


Here’s the table, pre-food. I used only stuff I already had: branches with acorns and leaves attached, disco ball & feathers, a pumpkin and branches in a dough bowl, a pizza peel and some wooden trays and a little stool to hold plates that eventually held grilled cheeses and grapes and chips. Mason jars with votive candles and a cowhide rug for the table cloth.





I think I see my stove giving those griddles a dirty look. Also, Maria is the grilled cheese queen.


Maria and I each did the part that played to our strengths–she planned, did the invitations and shopped for the food. Gosh, she even cooked at my house before the party started and I don’t even have a kitchen! Chad and I hosted and to make things easier, we did it outside. Having a party outdoors is SO EASY, especially when it’s going to be at night. We focused on having pretty lighting, a huge fire and a couple of large statement pieces like my blue urns filled with fall branches I cut from around the farm.

We didn’t buy anything to decorate for the party, just used whatever we had or could find. A big metal tool box that we found on the property held ice and drinks, an old wheelbarrow held the wood to burn. We didn’t eat food that required forks. We didn’t have drinks that required glasses. I didn’t print out labels to tape over water bottles that said “goodbye Josh & Karrie”. There’s nothing wrong with labels but I had to remind myself that when time is limited, big statement decor is more important that lots of tiny time consuming details.

We were all able to tour the RV and hang out and relax by the fire while eating THREE different kinds of delicious gourmet grilled cheeses (Maria promised to come to my house once the kitchen is done so I can photograph her and she’ll give us the recipe here at the blog!)

DSC_8519 2

Phew, after cleaning out the bunch of junk under the covered overhang. Here’s the before. 


We’ll miss you Josh & Karrie!

It was such fun to host a stress-free, uncomplified party.

And do you know what today is? October 31, the last day of 31 days all across the web, the last day of my Uncomplified series and it’s also my SIX year blogging anniversary! Here’s my very first post.

Come back tomorrow for a HUGE giveaway day with one grand prize winner who will get over $1400 in lovely prizes! PS, a few of you asked about the Brick Mason’s Memorial flowers with the tools–here’s a photo.  Love you all so much!! xoxo!


  1. Happy Blogaversary to you! I’m so happy you decided to start blogging 6 years ago! Xo

  2. Congrats on your blogging anniversary! I enjoy your blog so much – and simply can’t wait for updates on the house (especially the kitchen!!!) :-)

  3. You are a good friend! Wish we lived closer to each other!

  4. Yay for your friends! What a lovely party and all I can say is that after 4 years on the road full time if you get the chance and feel inclined–do it! So much fun. Your friends are gonna have a great time! :)

  5. Happy Anniversary!

  6. You soooo inspire me! Honestly, this post makes me want to host a shindig in my own backyard with pretty lighting and such and the belief that I could actually pull it off. Thanks to you! Who knows, maybe I will. You definitely know how to make decorating uncomplified. What I’ve learned in this series will always bring this word to mind. Happy blogging anniversary!

  7. Oh my gosh, six years is such a milestone! Congratulations. And congratulations to your friends for choosing the RV life. One of our friends sold their home In England, Bought an RV in America and went for a five year tour around. They had the best time and made so many friends that, now that they are back in E they still fly to America to be with friends several times/year. They might go back. Anyway, I’ve been really enjoying the 31 days challenge and thank you for hosting that. It was a wonderful spur for me to blog so much. Hugs.

  8. Love it! The lights, the setting, the grilled cheese sandwiches. Yum…. I’ve learned over the years that all the little details are often overlooked and not needed. People just want to be in a place that is comfortable and inviting.

    I’ve been in beautifully decorated homes, with everything picture perfect, and yet I was uncomfortable because the person was so concerned with their “decor” and it getting broke, out of place, etc. Thanks for this great reminder and happy Blog Anniversary!

  9. I’ve really enjoyed being a part of the 31 days series– thanks for the push!!

  10. Congrats on your 6-year milestone! I think I’ve been reading your blog almost that long. It was one of the first “house blogs” I discovered after starting my own. At the time I thought I was the only crazy person who wanted to talk so much about houses and was thrilled to find a kindred spirit. So Happy 6th and here’s to many more!! xo

  11. Congratulations on six years!!!! Quite an accomplishment. Your party sounds as if it was just the greatest! My fantasy is always to pack it in and travel in an RV. I envy them.

  12. congrats on your blogging anniversary! i love the simple table you set up for the party!

  13. I kinda love that your awesome range is in the corner holding a plant.

  14. Happy 6 years and thank you so much for hosting the 31 Days challenge! This was my first time to participate and it was so very rewarding. I learned so much about myself and life…it was a most excellent 31 days.

  15. Thank you for inspiring us — in decor and in writing! I joined you for 31 days and it was AMAZING and hard and worth it, I think (I’ll let you know once the dust settles over here). Living uncomplicated is a challenge for me, but I believe we make it complicated because we put pressure on ourselves to be more than we are. Thanks for the encouragement to lay that down.

    Christy @ A Heartening Life
    **Joined the Nester for the first time, writing 31 days of Intentional Living.**

  16. Sounds like the perfect party. I love the lights and the big impact versus little details. So smart. And not doing it all really makes such a difference, doesn’t it?

  17. thanks so much for all of your inspiration! I honestly need this post today, I’m hosting a halloween party and I was about to get stressed…not now :) Also, I finished my very first 31 day series today and I didn’t miss a single day!

  18. Big Impact – Tiny Details……this could change my life. Love this post and wanted to stop over and say thank you for the encouragement to write every day this month. It’s rearranged some things inside…uncomplified my heart a bit.

  19. How fun and simple!!! Congrats on the blogiversary! I am very new to your blog, only found out last week…. but I love it!! :)

  20. Love it! I’m planning an outdoor bday party for my son and would love to know where I can get some of those ball string lights? Thanks in advance!

  21. So cool! and a great idea. I never thought to try to find things I already had. I’m not much on decorations – just the food – but I could probably find something to add a little atmosphere. Thanks for the inspiration.

  22. Have loved reading your 31 days series {again}. Happy Blogiversary!! I know I am not alone when I say I am so glad you are still here after 6 years! After just passing my first year I cannot imagine looking ahead at where I will be in five years {and that’s ok} but here’s to a contented, and “uncomplified” future!!

  23. Happy blogiversary, Nester. You were the first blog I started reading… been faithfully with you since ’09!
    The party looks like it was lovely. Thanks so much for sharing your heart with us.

  24. YES on Maria sharing her gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches!! YUM. Happy blog anniversary! A huge, sincere thank you for your unwitting role in assisting me in keeping focus on the most important things in life on my journey towards minimalism.

  25. Simple, stress-free parties are my favorite. Bonus if they’re beautiful :). Love the lights!!

    “big statement decor is more important that lots of tiny time consuming details.” I’m going to tuck that one away for when I’m tempted to go overboard with the details of my next party.

    I wrote a kids’ birthday party version of this concept a while back–to remind myself not to go crazy with baby’s first birthday as much as anything :)

  26. Love all the party ideas, but please pass along to your friend that if she ever comes across any questions about RV travel and finding a fresh start – I’d love to help her out. We did the same thing for 7 months in 2007. Sold most possessions, stored the rest, and saw the country. Best thing we ever did!

  27. Hy Myquillin. I saw a picture of yor bedroom posted on Craigslist Atlanta, and was curious as to whether you had put it up. Here’s the link.

  28. Great series! Very inspiring. Looks like the party turned out lovely and I’m sure the people that were there added the final touch. :)

  29. Oh wow, so many things to comment on here…first, I’m slightly jealous of your friends. What an adventure! It has to take some bravery on their part to sell it all and head out, but what a freeing feeling that must be!

    Your simple party looks wonderful, I bet everyone there could sense the lack of stress and that probably made it an even better party. I love the white lights and the whole setting, it’s perfect!

    Thank you for hosting 31 Days! This was the first year I participated and thoroughly enjoyed it. I was a little nervous starting out because I didn’t know if I had enough words to say. Turns out I did!

    And lastly, thank you for sharing the photo of the mason tool flower arrangement. I was hoping you would but didn’t want to ask because I thought maybe you’d rather keep that private which I would totally understand. But coming from a brick mason family I think it’s gorgeous and such a wonderful idea!

  30. I love you style. This blog rocks.

  31. Michelle J says

    Love your blog! I am so glad you decided to start blogging 6 years ago. I am so encouraged by your story and love having the privilege of watching your new home renovation.

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