Archive for the 'Party Planning Tips' Category

September is National Courtesy Month – Guest Related Products 02Sep14

When you invite guests into your home, you want them to be as comfortable as possible. When relatives or friends spend the night, they may not be accustomed to the temperature at which you keep your house. A lovely throw at the end of the guest room bed will give them a chance to snuggle in if they need to. It also adds design and flair to the room, states Chicago Tribune.



People may want a quick drink if they wake up at night when they are staying with you. A simple carafe on their nightstand gives them a chance to take a sip without even having to get out of bed.


Welcome friends and neighbors to your home with a door mat that will give them a smile. One particular design states “Live well, Laugh often, Leave soon”. They know you don’t mean it, and that’s what makes it funny. Outdoor mats should be sturdy and washable with a garden hose. Some mats also have rubber backing, so they won’t slip on your porch.


If you have guests staying at your home, leave them a comfortable robe on a chair by their bedside. You can find robes in many materials and colors, and his gives your guests a chance to wander down to the kitchen to share some coffee before they head into the bathroom for their morning shower.


When you hold a party, make it a more festive event with a lighted beverage fountain. The liquid is first pumped toward the top, and then it cascades from one tier to another through holes located on each bowl. The effect of a waterfall will allow your guests to fill up their cups with delicious punch without needing a ladle. The base is illuminated and lights the entire bowl and its beverage, creating a wonderful centerpiece.


Source:


http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2013-01-11/features/sc-cons-0110-goods-guest-room-20130111_1_guests-touches-goods

How Do You Light Up Your Nights with Creativity? 20Jun14

Once the sun begins to set on long summer days, we often look forward to lazy evenings out on the deck or in the backyard. Sometimes we want to host events at our dinner table or breakfast nook. And our entertainment budgets stretch as far as they can when we look to creative ways we can create ambiance without having to sacrifice our menus. Here are three creative ways to light your summer evenings:


· Seashells and votive candles. Martha Stewart shows one of best creative lighting options with large seashells nestled in a bed of sand with votive candles blinking from between the shells. The beach is brought onto your table in the sweetest way. Not only is this twinkling set-up easy for even the most design challenged host or hostess to bring to life, the cost is also reasonable.


· Holiday lights. Who says we have to wait for the winter holiday season to enjoy various strings of lights? Setting the mood for dinner out on the deck is easy when you forage through your holiday decorations and pull out the most festive of your lights. Not only are you repurposing items that would otherwise remain in the attic or garage, but you also bring a party mood to your meal.


· Tea lights. Buzzfeed shows darling little tea lights hanging from trees in dainty containers with brightly colored ribbons. Simply looking at these lights puts you in a good mood, and seeing how easily they’re constructed leaves you with plenty of time to enjoy your guests after you’re done.


How you bring light to the outdoors will go a long way towards how you will make your guests feel on those sultry summer nights as you talk, eat, and enjoy one another long into the evening. Give them a complete experience to talk about for years to come with creative and memorable lighting.


Sources:



http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/06/diy-outdoor-lighting-ideas_n_3385548.html


http://www.marthastewart.com/275010/outdoor-lighting-ideas/@center/276985/outdoor-living#236095



http://www.buzzfeed.com/pippa/outdoor-lighting-diys-to-brighten-up-your-summer


What Are Some Bright New Outdoor Ideas for Summer? 10Jun14

You’ve certainly waited long enough for spring weather to arrive. Now it’s time to spruce up your back yard and patio and begin inviting friends over for a welcome summer party.


Spruce Up the Garden


You’ll want the yard and garden to look especially nice for your guests, so spend some time there, weeding and making sure that your landscaping looks its best. You can plant using a patio garden kit that will grow your fruits and vegetables right next to your patio. Then, when you need them for salads and cooking, they will be nearby.


Lighting


LED spot lights work very well during the summer nights, to show off your landscaping and the exterior of your home. They are quite handy for entranceways, planted areas or for use as highlights for unique architectural features of your home.


Fresh Drinks for Summer


A frozen fruit drink maker is just the thing for preparing refreshing summer beverages. Use fresh fruits to make healthy desserts in just a few minutes, and you won’t have to add sugar or juice. The Swirlio™ frozen drink machine will allow you to create wonderful and tasty drinks without dairy fat or processed sugar. View a demonstration video below from Colt Sebastian Taylor.


Pour your drinks for family or friends using gingham glasses, or other types of glasses that create a colorful theme for your guests. You may serve smoothies, soda, or cocktails in summer glasses.


After Party Cleanup


Whoever is in charge of cleaning the grill will be pleased if you have foam grill cleaner on hand. This product has a cleansing, foaming action that loosens food and grease from grills, utensils, and racks. Just spray the surface and allow the foam to penetrate the toughest areas of food and grease buildup. Select a product with a pleasant scent, so that it’s easier to use.


Sources:


http://www.taylorgifts.com/item/patio_garden_kit/39201
http://www.taylorgifts.com/item/25_led_spot_light/39559
http://www.taylorgifts.com/item/swirlio_frozen_fruit_maker/40167
http://www.taylorgifts.com/item/set_of_4_gingam_glasses_with_straws/40079
http://www.taylorgifts.com/item/foam_grill_cleaner/40348

What Are Some Decorative Ways to Light Your Patio and Yard this Summer? 22Apr14

When the nice weather arrives in the summer, it’s always nice to be able to head out to the yard to enjoy the relaxingly warm evenings. The kinds of lights you illuminate your environment with will set the mood for such treasured evenings, so be strategic with your selection of outdoor and patio lighting.


Below are some possibilities to consider when reflecting upon what is most fitting for you and your family:


1. Sconce light fixtures. Mounted to a wall, these ornate lamps tend to take on a vertical shape and direct light upward. Because of their decorative nature, sconces can be used to spruce up a doorway but should not be the sole source of brightness available on the porch.


2. String lighting. String lights effectively deliver a gentle glow that carries a fantastical air. They can be used to bedazzle tree branches, fences and, of course, Christmas trees. More importantly, many of these LED lights are solar-powered, making them cordless and ecofriendly. While white tinting adds a subtle touch of charm, string lights come in a variety of colors to help ring in the holidays.


3. Recessed lighting. Recessed lights are simple, sleek and can be tucked into the roofed patio of a modern home. Part of the charm is that they are inserted into the ceiling rather than protrude outward. Recessed lighting has dimmer switches that allow you to control the intensity so you can balance visibility with “setting the mood.”


4. Traditional Lanterns. More rustic than the other lighting options on this list, lanterns can be positioned as centerpieces or along pathways to add an enthralling charm to the nighttime darkness. Often manufactured with color glass, metal and candles, they should be used for their aesthetic properties more than as a light source. If you have young children in the household, it may be wise to find versions that utilize light bulbs instead of traditional fire.

5. Motion sensor flood lights. These lights are practical for numerous reasons; they will automatically turn on when people are stepping forth into your home’s vicinity to light their way and alert you to their presence. The only downside is that motion sensor flood lights can be a bit costly.


6. Pendant light. Beautiful and versatile, they are fixtures that hang down from the ceiling. Coming in diverse shapes and hues, pendant lights often double as works of art and can be a contemporary alternative to a classic chandelier.


7. Glow in the dark yard decorations. To make your garden a nighttime feast for the eyes, beautify your flower beds and yard with glow in the dark garden accessories. Especially appealing for children, Taylor Gifts has lighted LED spinners, glowing animal figurines and more!


Go ahead and make your yard and porch inviting to guests. With a bit of vision and only minimal funds, you can make your home both safe and pleasant.


What Are Some Easy Tips to Prevent Messes While Entertaining Guests? 03Apr14

Easy Tips to Prevent Messes While Entertaining Guests


It can be overwhelming at times when you are preparing to entertain guests, so if you can learn some tips and tricks for avoiding messes, you’ll be able to actually enjoy the experience rather than secretly fretting about potential spills. When the evening gets late and the last friend finally heads home, the last thing you’ll want to do is spend hours putting your living environment back in order. With the mindset of “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” we’ve provided some handy tips to help you circumvent messy situations.


1) Have enough trash cans scattered throughout the home. Your loved ones probably aren’t intending to be slobs but, if they’re mid-conversation and aren’t sure where to toss the party cup in their hand, they are likely to set it down on a table and forget about it entirely. Therefore, make sure that you have plenty of trash cans scattered throughout the post populated areas in order to subtly prompt guests to clean up after themselves. We offer plenty of compact recycling and trash cans that are attractive and subtly; find one with a lid in order to tastefully conceal the insides and prevent odors from wafting.


2) Buy extra coasters. Yes, spills happen. However, when the gathering has ended and you’re wiping one surface after the next, it is those pesky rings that will require the most work. By having a generous amount of coasters like these readily available, you can do your part to safeguard your glass and wood surfaces.


3) Make sure the floors are clear and there is plenty of room to walk. Many hosts fret over whether there is enough seats to accommodate attendees, but you should also be considering whether there is plentiful amounts of open space for movement. Many falls and spilled drinks can be attributed to bumping into items or, worse, tripping over junk on the ground. Therefore, remove all stray shoes from the environment with a shoe organizer and consider securing any corners of rugs with double-sided tape. Another common cause of tumbles is poor lighting, so make sure that troublesome areas like the stairs to the bathroom or the outside are well-lit. Remember, even though you know where the light switch is, your guests won’t have the same innate knowledge. Solar powered Christmas lights are a fantastic to brighten up your yard for increased safety and beauty, regardless of the current season.


4) Stop muddy feet at the door. One of the most common mistakes is also one of the easiest to remedy. You never know when rain or a sprinkler system will make the ground somewhat muddy, so be prepared with a welcome matt that will enable visitors to wipe away the unwelcomed debris from their feet.


5) Be careful with your food selection. As you’re preparing your grocery shopping list for the shindig, be mindful of how potentially messy the various foods may be. For example, fondue will undoubtedly be a hoot, but don’t be surprised if the table below receives a generous amount of dribbled cheese. Avoid items that easily crumble or will lead to greasy fingers. Avoid watery salsas in favor of thicker, less “drippy” toppings like guacamole. To do your part to prevent soiled hands from brushing against your curtains or couch, stick tooth picks in finger foods.


Parties are supposed to be fun for everyone involved, especially you. Therefore, take preventative steps to preventing messes so your mind can be focused on the moment rather than the future clean-up.


The Big Game Is Here! What Are Some Sweet Treats for Football Parties? 28Jan14

When you are hanging out with your football-loving friends, you know that snacks make the get-togethers much more enjoyable. If you are planning a full-blown party when the post-season starts, you may want more snacks and treats for your guests.


What do you place on the menu for your football party? Anyone can set out bowls of pretzels and chips and plates of cheese. Depending on the amount you have budgeted for your party, and how many people are invited, you could end up setting out quite a lot of food. Be sure you have enough serving trays and plates to accommodate your mountain of food.


The best snacks for the party-thrower, as far as convenience, are snacks that are easy to toss in a bowl or onto a plate. Kielbasa wedges are favorites with meat lovers, and most football fans love meat. Purchase a coil of kielbasa and cut up thick slices, then half those. You can serve these wedges with cheese or crackers.


Sweet & sour meatballs are a favorite with football fans. You can serve them with toothpicks, says StartCooking.com.
Garlic bread with cheese can be bought prepared or you can make it yourself. This will disappear very fast during your playoff party.


Chicken wings are a perennial game day favorite. Make them in your oven and serve them up. Watch them disappear. There are great sides to serve with wings, too, from hot sauce to blue cheese dressing and carrot sticks and celery. Stuffed mushroom caps will be popular with your football watchers, as well.


Grill some sausages to help quell the playoff-sized appetite of your fans and friends. Polish or Italian sausages can be cooked indoors or grilled outdoors, if you live in a moderate climate or don’t mind the snow. Shish kabobs are always a popular choice that offers a wide variety of flavors.


Stuffed potato skins can be put together before game day, so they are ready to bake. Set out the extras like grated cheese, bacon crumbles and sour cream.


Source:


http://startcooking.com/32-simple-snacks-for-football-fans

Need A Holiday Entertaining Guide? 17Dec13

The festive holidays are here and it’s time to host some fun parties. You don’t need to break the bank to have a spectacular celebration. Some simple planning and easy organization will keep you on track so you and your guests will enjoy a great evening together. Entertaining is all about atmosphere. Start by decorating your home with warm and inviting holiday decorations including some lights and candles, and a Christmas tree. Set up a table that can be used as a buffet and bar area for guests. Use a festive Santa tablecloth on a round table where you can set up snacks or glasses. Scatter some ornaments on every table to add to the ambiance.


Food and drinks are essential to every successful holiday party. Keep the menu fast and easy with items you can make ahead of time. Choose a few different types of bite-size appetizers so guests can make small plates of many different tastes. Use platters to arrange food onto the buffet table. Provide stacks of small plates and napkins. Arrange food on one table and drinks on another to keep guests moving.


Designate a table specifically to be set up as a bar. A perfect option is the fold down bar that opens up to allow you to serve guests easily and professionally. When you aren’t using it you can fold the sides down and it can be placed against the wall where it won’t take up any room. Decide on the cocktail menu ahead of time. Make a signature drink to keep things easy or serve wine, which you can allow guests to pour in glasses as they choose. Make a list of everything you need so you have it on hand. Add some holiday party music and you and your friends will have a great time.


Sources:
http://www.hgtv.com/hosting-the-holidays/package/index.html

Would You Like to Host a Holiday Wine and Cheese Party 15Oct13

The holidays are a festive time to have get-togethers with friends and family. One of the easiest gatherings to design is a wine and cheese party. This fun party only requires a little bit of planning to create an enjoyable evening for everyone. Use a large table to set up the wine and cheese bar. Start with a holiday tablecloth and use a roll of craft paper as a base for the wine and cheese. This allows you to write the names of the wines and cheese directly on the paper so people can easily identify pairings.


Gather a few items that you’ll need including some wood cheese cutting boards. Choose a cheese board set with a cheese slicer, fork-tipped knife, and cheese spreader to easily manage serving the various cheese options. You’ll need some wine glasses, small plates and napkins, which you can place on the table where guests can serve themselves buffet style. Slice the cheese ahead of time or provide the tools to let guests get their own. Purchase wine or ask guests to bring a bottle for sharing.


Plan on about a bottle of wine per guest and provide cheese pairings for each one. You can also use other items for pairing such as freshly cut apples. You’ll also want to serve some crusty bread, which you can slice and place into small baskets on the table. The bread helps to cleanse the palette. Be sure to have a set of wine tools available for easy use. Provide wine glass id tags so guests can easily keep track of their own glasses. Add some music from your favorite playlist and the party is ready to go. Keep some wine and cheese on hand throughout the holidays so you can easily whip up an impromptu party whenever guests drop by.


Sources:


http://www.tablespoon.com/posts/how-to-host-a-wine-and-cheese-party/db2245e7-19ed-494e-8971-245d2ae7f08c

Entertain Kids with Great Gifts 26Jun12

As I have told you before, this time of year is my favorite. I love summertime. It’s warm, it’s never cold, it’s sunny, friends and families get together for good times fairly frequently, and it’s generally just a pleasant time of year. But, let’s be honest, the start of summer isn’t just fun for me because of the gorgeous weather, it’s even more exciting for the teachers who are ready for the school year to be over and for their summer break to begin. And, even more excited are the students who can finally have their long summer vacation, and for the long awaited end of the school year. We can all remember what the last week of school felt like (torture!) when the sun was shining; all we wanted to do was go hang out with friends outside – not study in classrooms inside. Well, the time is finally here – the end of the school year.


entertain kidsWhat does the end of the school year mean? Well, for the parents out there, it might mean congratulating your own kids by finding a great gift to reward them for good grades from the past school year. And when that gift is purchased, you might want to make sure it is one to entertain the kids with for the whole summer – because two months is a long time to keeps kids entertained. But, in the same thought, the end of the school year might means finding a camp or a new hobby to entertain kids. There are many different camps out there from overnight camp, day camp, specialized camps for sports, music, arts, and really just about anything kids might be interested in learning more about outside of school. The end of the school year could also mean family vacations. Vacations are excellent ways to keep kids entertained and give adults the break they need from the regular work week. The end of the school year is also the perfect opportunity for grandparents to spend quality time with their grandchildren. Parents might need to work, and summer camp might not start for a while, so keep kids entertained by sending them to get spoiled by their grandparents. This is a definite win-win-win situation by all parties involved.


Whatever the end of the school year means for you, I hope if you have children, that they have something fun planned to keep them busy for the next few months, so you don’t have to find a way to entertain your kids daily. I hope that if you’re a teacher, the end of the school year means you have an excellent summer planned and you’re ready to enjoy some time off – and maybe that means you get some quality time with your own kids.

Super Bowl Party Food 06Feb12

The weekend is sadly over. I hope you had a good one. As usual, my weekend was buy but for great reasons. On Saturday I got to celebrate the upcoming wedding of one of my oldest friends and, of course, it was Super Bowl Sunday.


I really didn’t care that much about the outcome of the Super Bowl. I wasn’t rooting for either team, but I am always in the mood for get-togethers at friend’s houses with food, beverages, fun, and football. This was a small party…I like it when things are simple. individual layer dip” width=My friend decided to make it a pot-luck party – this way everyone could bring something they were good at making (there was a rule that only one person could bring chips and salsa). My contribution to the party was a vegetarian 7 layer dip. Here’s the catch – my 7 layer dip came in individual plastic cups so each person could have their own, eliminating the double-dipping in a big dish of 7 layer dip. I cannot take any credit for this. Please check out the recipe here recipe, I highly recommend making these for your next party. Someone else brought a cheese boardcheese board
full of cheese and crackers. Someone else made bacon, and the host of course filled in odds and ends.


What’s your favorite dish to bring to a pot-luck party?