Traveling with Decor, Food & Family

There are moments throughout the year where we actually get nervous for the days to come. For me, those days are before Thanksgiving. Don’t get me wrong, I love the food and especially the family but having to be responsible for other people eating, having the perfect setting for everyone to enjoy and trying to enjoy it myself is a lot. Who knew that being an adult, a wife and a mom would be so detailed. I live for details in design but in my everyday life… whew! I always enjoy the outcome but the days before I’ve got to learn to relax more. Here are my tips for a flawless table, food packing for traveling and tricks to get anyone to give a helping hand.

  1. The table is the most important place. I’ve had Thanksgiving’s in home theater rooms and they still had a nice size table with all the food laid out and space for anyone to grab a plate and have a seat. The table is where it’s at! Set the middle with pumpkins and pinecones! Those two together create the feel of fall immediately. Those who see them will know and if you get the scented pinecones, those who smell them will be ready to eat. Gather them in a wire or metal basket and set them next to something shimmery. I paired my pumpkins with a gold vase and beaded placemats and let the pinecones sit in the middle. The seating is next and before anyone comes in, I double check a few things. The chairs make a statement at my table because my head chairs always have an extra detail. I like pillows on my chairs as if they were sitting in their own nook. I add a blanket or throw to create warmth and texture and lastly I turn them outward to show off the cuteness! The napkins are the last thing people think about when they sit down to eat so I use bright colors to liven the table (and hide deep stains) and to create that small thing that attracts the eye. When your guests arrive, you’ll be having a reveal of your own and make others think you’ve got a new dining room!
  2. We are headed to Florida for Thanksgiving in a few days and holidays with the in laws are always  fun. I really mean that. My mother in law is an angel and I look forward to my kids getting to experience all of her grandma fun. Here’s the only thing… she cooks minimally! I know that the bulk of cooking for this year will rely on me. My dishes that fill the largest crowds are a big pot of greens, big pan of macaroni, a 14 pound turkey and the sweet potato casserole. Going in order of deliciousness, I bake the macaroni and cheese in a 9×13 aluminum baking pan, the collard greens in a tall pot that I start cooking the night before Thanksgiving and the meat… I BUY! I’m not cooking a turkey when I’m worried about my 3 year old and 7 month old playing and having fun in the Florida sun. The extras that everyone craves, I ask for everyone else to chip in and bring. If you want to eat it, you cook it! That’s the secret! The staples make for a great meal for myself, my kids, husband and the in laws. But, the trimmings such as the dressing, cornbread/rolls, and casseroles… someone else will have to do. As for traveling with food, I know before we leave, I will have to make my husbands favorite and he gets first dibs before anyone even gets a whiff. I bake a mean sweet potato casserole and make an awesome pound cake. So the details of my Thanksgiving are pretty much wrapped up before we hit the road on a 6 1/2 hour journey from Georgia to Florida. Again, I’ll bake the sweet potato casserole in the aluminum dish that comes with a lid and the pound cake will be carried in my cake carrier (I’ll switch to the pretty cake stand the day of Thanksgiving). Once we get there, I’ll pick up the preordered turkey and start my greens. Thanksgiving morning, all that is left is the baked macaroni and cheese! I am sure to lay the turkey in the middle of the table or island, the main dishes next to that (greens, macaroni and sweet potato casserole), and the extras outside of that. Thanksgiving is complete! Details ironed out… now I can pack my bathing suit and hope that the weather is warm enough to take a swim!

Luxury is attainable even when traveling! Click here and here to check out how I travel with the two little ones, two dogs, a husband who has more clothes than I do and me, the design fanatic! Enjoy your weekend!


Niché Caldwell is an Atlanta based interior designer with a design studio located in Roswell, GA. She’s a wife and mom of two people & two dogs! When she’s not moming, she loves writing, reading, baking, doing Bikram yoga and date nights with the love of her life! 

Niché has a BA in Theatre from the University of Florida and a MFA in Creative Writing. She interned at ScreenGems Studios in Set Design and later interned for an Atlanta and Tennessee based interior designer before opening her own firm. She and her husband are entrepreneurs and avid flippers spending their nights parenting and searching for homes to flip!

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