This Southern-Fried Brunch Had Mini Churros, Was Adorable

Photographed by Sean Santiago.
A little Southern hospitality goes a long way. I learned that a few weeks ago when designer Katie Kime invited me down to her home in Austin to celebrate the launch of her first brick-and-mortar store.

Together with the lifestyle blogger Camille Styles, Kime treated a lively group of Austinites (and a few #blessed Big Apple editors) to Tex-Mex and mimosas — not to mention a smattering of adorable pink pineapples.

I spoke with Kime and Styles to get the lowdown on entertaining in style and on a budget. Click through for their top tips and let us know in the comments: What are your favorite pin-perfect party ideas?
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Photographed by Sean Santiago.
Tell me about the decor — from the matte pink pineapples and succulents to the cutlery sleeves, what did you decide to do for the party, and how was it collaborating?

"Katie is an incredible artist and designer, so she and I had a blast bouncing around ideas for the decor, and then she brought it all to life," says Styles. "We wanted it all to be happy and colorful, with a few surprises — just like the Katie Kime brand! The pineapple motif throughout the party was a subtle nod to one of her signature prints."
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Photographed by Sean Santiago.
Was planning for this different from other brunches/dinners you've hosted before?

"This was the first real event [in my new home] — of many, hopefully!" says Kime. "It was a little different in that Camille and I had decided the party would flow best in the kitchen, breakfast nook, and screened-in porch. Usually it would be the dining room or the outdoor dining space, so it was a new flow and a different plan from normal events."
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Photographed by Sean Santiago.
A striking arrangement from Rosehip florals makes double the impact atop a mirrored tray. "I think everyone can relate to being a hostess and there being a certain pressure to that," says Kime. "But I think when you're a designer and hostess at the same time, it can feel a little more like everything needs to be picture-perfect. Of course, with this event, as with most, I always come to find that no one is noticing all the things that I am; they're just happy to be with friends or colleagues and catching up!"
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Photographed by Sean Santiago.
What's the secret to the perfect guest list?

"The guests are really what makes a party — we invited a small group of talented, creative women, some [of whom] already knew each other, and others who’d be meeting for the first time," says Styles. "People usually feel more relaxed if there are a few familiar faces at a party, but gatherings are also the perfect time to forge new friendships and connections, so I always like to make some new introductions." The kitchen's breakfast nook provided guests with a vibrant, colorful spot to catch up.
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Photographed by Madeleine Landry.
Will you be swiping napkins and bar cart accessories from your own store?

"Funny enough, right before the event, the lady helping serve champagne asked if I had any cocktail napkins," says Kime. "And I thought, well, you would think so, since I make them...but no! I guess I'll have to hit up the store."
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Photographed by Madeleine Landry.
"The brunch menu was meant to welcome guests to Austin — and nothing says 'Austin' like some fiesta flavors!" says Styles. "From the Southwestern Crab Cakes to the Asparagus & Queso Blanco Frittata to the freshly-made Churros, the entire menu was full of spicy flavors interpreted in a lighter, modern way."
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Photographed by Madeleine Landry.
Yes, you heard that right — there were freshly made mini churros. Swoon.
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Photographed by Sean Santiago.
What suggestions do you have for readers who want to be able to have friends over in a low-stress, high-impact-gorgeousness environment?

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I always choose a specialty cocktail that can be mixed in advance, so that I’m not left playing bartender all night. During the fall, it’s hard to beat a fruity Sangria with brandy, apples, and pears. Mix up a huge batch the night before; then, chill it and forget it while the fruit infuses everything with sweetness and flavor that gets even more delicious the longer it soaks." The floral arrangements throughout the space are by Posey Events.
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Photographed by Madeleine Landry.
"Embrace the art of 'assembling,'" says Styles. "One of my biggest entertaining rules-to-live-by is to not put pressure on yourself to make every single menu item from scratch. I’ll frequently pick up a fabulous cake from a bakery, or a few pints of great ice cream with some fresh berries, and let dessert practically serve itself."
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Photographed by Madeleine Landry.
Last, but not least, "Focus on just a few 'big impact' decor details," says Styles. "A host can go crazy trying to tie together too many decorative accents. I usually forgo smaller items, like custom-printed napkins and fancy straws that can easily be lost in the mix, and instead focus on just two or three elements that will result in major bang for the buck. A dramatic bunch of sunflowers on the dining table, an oversized punch bowl with tons of sliced berries and mint floating in the center, and a few strings of white lights on the patio are all simple-to-produce details that will add major festivity. And don’t forget: When serving food family-style, beautiful platters...can be an inviting centerpiece all on their own."
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Photographed by Madeleine Landry.
The gracious hosts Kime (left) and Styles (right) strike a pose in the breakfast nook. "I don't know if I inherited the entertaining gene from my mother because she is Southern, or if it was just her unique way with things," says Kime. "She always wanted to make people feel welcome and at ease — with literally nothing to do while they were there! She wouldn't even let her girlfriends help with dishes if they all did something together. Her main priority was that people she was hosting just be chatting together and catching up and enjoying themselves. The...stressed-out hostess wasn't anything I ever saw, and I love that about her."
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Photographed by Sean Santiago.
The covered back patio provided extra seating for guests — that hot-pink swing was a particularly popular perch.
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Photographed by Sean Santiago.
What are your hosting essentials?

"Champagne. Lots of champagne," says Kime. "And help when I can get it, be it with the preparation or serving so that guests feel at ease — and I can be at ease, too. Candles and flowers are always something I buy more of before people come over. I think arranged here and there [they] really create a welcoming ambiance. And, recently I've been really into the music side of hosting. I think it makes a big difference, so I've been trying to nail the right playlist when I know people are coming over." The low, wide coffee table on the porch is surrounded by treated sofas (no spills here) and vibrant poufs for extra seating.
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Photographed by Sean Santiago.
On the back patio, slipcovered dining chairs surround a small table.
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Photographed by Sean Santiago.
Above, a formation of succulents in hanging planters provide some serious pin-spiration.
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Photographed by Sean Santiago.
To finish the brunch, affogato was served. (You can find a fall spin on this classic recipe here.)
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