I'm SO excited to talk about one of my favorite topics... entertaining. I have an entire chapter in my book, Everyday Chic dedicated to Entertaining in Style and I really dive deep into what it takes to plan the ultimate party, gathering and dinner party. I love love love having my friends, family and loved ones over to celebrate every occasion; it's my guilty pleasure. So, you guys asked and I'm going to answer my tips and tricks when it comes to entertaining.
1. What are some go-to simple menus for winter entertaining?
No matter what the season is, I try to keep my menus simple and something that everyone will want. I die for a charcuterie board. I think they're so simple to put together and they just look good. Put together a board that has a full range of meats, cheeses, soft bread and crackers, grapes or berries, pickles and almonds. I'll give you a sample menu to what we did for my husband, Scott's birthday dinner over the weekend. We started off with a crudite for the table since it’s safe for any allergy. Then we gave our guests the choice between two salads. One was an apple farmer’s market salad with goat cheese and the other was a classic caesar salad. Next, was the main course where we served either salmon or a New York Strip Steak. You could always swap out one of the meat options for a pasta dish; which is always a crowd pleaser. Following dinner was dessert. We served the classic birthday cake: chocolate strawberry with a side of berries for those with gluten allergies with the choice of coffee or espresso. Also, you can’t forget about alcohol. I always get a red and a white wine so we chose to do a Cabernet and a Sauvignon Blanc.
2. What is your go-to holiday party drink?
Well, for those who have my book, you know I love a Moscow Mule. I especially love a skinny Moscow Mule because I definitely don't want to pack on the pounds during the holidays and I try to save the calories where it hits. I like to take a twist on the traditional Moscow Mule when the holidays come around. Last year, I shared this recipe where you can throw in a Rosemary sprig and frozen cranberries to make your drink festive. I also have been known to make a spiced cider, winter sangria, and dare I say it... a dark chocolate almond milk peppermint cocktail! You can get all of those recipes by clicking here.
3. How do you pick the best playlist for your parties?
Never underestimate the power of good music. In my book, DJ Michelle gave some tips to creating the best musical environment:
Most parties have a beginning, middle, peak and then a slowdown at the end, and your music should follow this pattern. Create separate playlists for each stage of the party for seamless DIY DJing.
Don’t throw the biggest hits on during the first hour. You’ve got to build! Get the groove going and then turn up the party.
Variety! Don’t just play Top-40 (aka music that you hear on the radio). It won’t feel like your event it’ll feel like listening to the radio. At the same time, don’t play all the B-sides of obscure indie-rock bands that only you and your BFF know. Mix it up.
If it’s not your strength, ask someone else to DJ. Ask your super musical supermodel friend to bring her favorite supermodel friend to bring her favorite playlists to your party.
You can get more tips on creating the best music scene in Everyday Chic, available for purchase here.
4. What's the first thing you do when you're panning a party?
I always start with a theme. This is nonnegotiable. A theme helps direct nearly all of my decisions, from the colors, styling, and menu to activities, music, and more. Scarlett's first birthday was a co-ed soiree in our backyard. The theme: Cupcakes and Rose. The "rose" served as inspiration not only for the adult drinks but also for the color palette and decoration. It was all pinks, rose gold, cream and white. We set up a DIY cupcake decorating table for the munchkins, and we "planted" big, beautiful tissue-paper roses all over the backyard. If I don't begin to plan an event by setting a theme, I'm down the Pinterest rabbit hole, and that's a scary, scary place to be.
5. What are your suggestions for co-hosting Christmas with a monster-in-law (while being 6 months pregnant and hormonal)?
Okay, this really made me laugh. I, fortunately enough, have a great relationship with my mother-in-law but I do have some friends who aren't as lucky. But I do know how hard it is to not see eye-to-eye with someone close to you or someone you love. Stand firm in the details that are important to you but then let her have her way when at the end of the day, it doesn't matter. If there's something you both don't agree on, think "will I care about this minute detail a year from now?" Honestly, you probably won't. If your hormones get the best of you, lock yourself in your room or go into the pantry (like I do when my crazies are driving me nuts) and give yourself a moment. The holidays can be stressful even when you're with the people you love, sometimes you just need a moment or two and take a few deep breaths. Good luck momma!
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What are your favorite hosting and entertaining tips? Let me know in the comments!