Here at EyeSwoon, we’ve been huge fans of lifestyle blogger Camille Styles for years. So when we heard she was releasing her first book, Camille Styles Entertaining, we knew we had to get our hands on it immediately. Packed with inspiration for your home, your food, and your fashion, her easy tips and tricks will have you rushing to press the refresh button on your current routine. In the words of Camille herself, the book is all about “showing readers how to infuse beauty into their daily lives.”
With the holidays just around the corner, we’re gifting you one of our favorite recipes from the book–a delectable Sausage, Cherry and Sage-Stuffed Turkey–as well as a chat with Camille about the process of writing her first book, her favorite entertaining tips, and what she believes every great holiday party should have!
You’ve been publishing lifestyle and entertainment tips on your site since 2012. What drove you to focus offline and publish a book of your insights?
I realized that there was a lot I wanted to say that couldn’t be condensed down to a short blog post. My dream for this book is that it will encourage readers to wake up every morning with a desire to engage the senses–to open their eyes fully to the beauty that surrounds them. Instead of saving their favorite things for some day in the future, I want them to set their tables with their best dishes, wear the dress that makes them feel great, and buy the freshest seasonal ingredients at the farmers market to inspire tonight’s dinner.
What were the best perks and biggest pressures of putting your own book together?
The biggest perk of writing a book, for me, was creating a project from start to finish that was exactly my own… with no limitations and real freedom to dream up shoots and stories that went as far as my ideas could carry me. The biggest pressure was the permanence of a book. Once it’s published, there’s no “re-do” or delete button!
What was the recipe testing process like? Are all the recipes original?
The recipe testing process actually felt like a dream – I had to pinch myself a few times when I realized that spending hours in the kitchen actually counted as “doing my job!” The recipes in the book are 100% original in that they’ve never been published on my blog before, but since many of them are my standby recipes that I make at home time and time again, some have definitely been adapted and evolved from those of friends, family, and favorite cookbooks.
Was there a particular recipe that you enjoyed testing the most? On the other hand, were any of them unexpectedly challenging?
The Apple Cake with Caramel Glaze in the “Fall” section of the book was such a treat – it was a totally untested experiment and came out more delicious and perfect on the first try than I could have imagined. If only every recipe could have been that easy! The winter cocktails in the book actually proved to be the ones I had to play with and tweak the most. Since they’re super simple with only a handful of ingredients, getting the ratios just right was crucial.
What kind of person do you envision benefiting the most from your book?
The recipes are perfect for everyone from the novice in the kitchen to the experienced cook who doesn’t necessarily want to spend hours prepping for her dinner party. The only requirement for the readers of this book is a passion for entertaining your friends and treating them to an unforgettable evening.
Though it was hard to chose just one recipe, we’re featuring your Sausage, Cherry, & Sage-Stuffed Turkey Breast. What was the inspiration behind this dish?
I’m always looking for ways to put a fresh, creative twist on the Thanksgiving meal, while still honoring tradition. A lot of people are hosting smaller holiday gatherings (or even “Friendsgiving” dinners with a few close friends), and a turkey breast is the perfect size for a group of 6 or 8. So for this gathering, instead of roasting a whole turkey as I usually do, I’ve stuffed and roasted a turkey breast — not only does it make for a beautiful presentation, it’s also much easier to “get right.”
What are some other recipes from the book that you love for this time of year?
Brussels Sprouts and Apple Salad with Cider Vinaigrette; Endive with Blue Cheese, Figs and Pomegranate; Thyme Popovers with Pear Butter; Cheddar, Fig and Caramelized Onion Sandwiches.
If you had to distill your entertaining ethos into a few short words, what would they be?
Parties aren’t about impressing your guests; they’re about having fun with your friends!
What do you never plan a holiday party without?
Tons of candles, a festive Spotify playlist, and a massive bowl full of spiked punch!
And, finally, what are your five tried and true tips for keeping sane over the busy holiday season?
1. Make a list of everything you need to accomplish for your holiday party, with “due dates” next to every item.
2. Stock up on all the alcohol you’ll need for every get-together of the season all in one go – if you’ve got your booze, you’re on your way to being prepared!
3. Schedule in down-time: cocktails with girlfriends, a neighborhood walk with your mom, or a massage. Don’t let the busy season fly by without taking time to enjoy it!
4. Don’t try to do it all! Last year, I knew that I’d go crazy if I had to hand-address every single holiday card, so I hired Minted’s online service to pre-address all of my envelopes for me.
5. For dinner parties, only make two items from scratch; I always have a couple dishes (appetizer and dessert) that are assembled from high-quality store-bought ingredients. And don’t hesitate to ask a good friend to bring something!