Archive for the ‘Hostessing’ Category

White Party

March 4th 2011

Some people think it’s a great idea to throw an all white theme party. A white party is just that; it’s a party where everyone comes dressed in white, and the fun of the party is that all the decorations and even the food is close to white as possible. If you are hosting a white party there some things you might want to keep in mind.

First, what is the venue for your white party? This will determine what type of clothes that people will wear. When a person thinks of a white party they might think of something elegant. However if you’re having this white party in a backyard or at a beach, then a white tee shirt, white tank top, or white jeans and sandals are going to be appropriate and in keeping with having a good time at this party. What kind of foods can be served at a white party? Some people might think that they’d have to stretch their imagination, but the point is to get as to as close as white as possible.

20090240032940 5429 lg White Party

So having said that, one can choose to use bread, or bread wrapping such as tortillas or sandwich wraps, and filling centers close to white as possible such as chicken or pork. Lots of savory dishes in particular can be themed around a white party. There are quite a few desserts that could be made around a white party as well. If one uses their imaginations they could come up with a lot of ideas.

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Going To Dinner As A Guest Tonight

February 25th 2011

wine Going To Dinner As A Guest Tonight

If you have been invited as a dinner guest, there are certain protocols that need to be followed depending on the situation. You will either be invited as a dinner guest at a restaurant outing, or you will be invited as a dinner guest in someone’s home. If you have been invited as a dinner guest at a restaurant, you should get the exact time and location to meet your dinner host. In this instance, you won’t have to bring anything, but you should certainly RSVP as soon as possible, so that your host can reserve with the restaurant. You’ll want to ask about the attire, so that you don’t embarrass yourself, or the host showing up too casual, or too formal. Ask them about the food selections so that if there are foods that you don’t eat, you won’t make anyone feel discomfort when you arrive. If you are invited to the host home, RSVP so that they know how much food to prepare. Find out the attire of the dinner; some people do host formal dinners in their homes. It’s a good idea to bring a bottle of wine, flowers, or some other gift to thank the host. Ask if they would like you to bring a dish, or a desert if the event is casual enough for that. Be prepared to help out in the kitchen if needed, and you should offer if the event is casual, and it isn’t being catered.

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Easy Entertaining – It’s Possible And Here’s How You Do It

November 25th 2010

table Easy Entertaining – It’s Possible And Here’s How You Do It

You love to spend time with your friends and family, but do you dread it when it is your turn to entertain for the evening? Entertaining can be a lot of work, especially if you work full time and have kids to take care of and drive to and fro. The easier you make it on yourself the more fun you will have. Here are a few tips that might help.

• Hire a cleaning service. If you are busy like most people these days, you don’t have time to keep your house spotless and that might keep you from inviting guests into your home. Make it easier on yourself by hiring a professional cleaning service to clean your home and make it sparkle before the day of your party. It will be money well spent.

• Cook food in advance. You might not be able to prepare all of your foods in advance the day before, but there are many that you can. This will cut down on the amount of work you have to do on the night of your dinner party and no one will be any wiser.

• Keep it simple. Your guests are coming over to enjoy good times with you and not sample a gourmet meal. There is no need to create a menu that is over the top and takes you all day to prepare. A simple meal of salad and pasta is perfectly fine if it is served well on your best dinnerware and WMF flatware.

• Make clean up time a breeze. You will be left with a lot of dirty dishes but if you cook foods in advance and keep your meals simple, you won’t have as many as you otherwise might. Still, take it easy on yourself. Load your dishwasher and go to bed, or load your dishes in the sink and deal with them in the morning. No one likes to wake up to a mess but it won’t hurt to do it occasionally if it helps you enjoy your dinner party.

Entertaining should be fun and easy and it can be if you keep the above tips in mind. Of course, your food should taste good, but don’t overlook the importance of delivery by using quality dinnerware. You can serve simple meals and your guest will think they are eating like kings if you use your best flatware and dishes.

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Planning Theme Parties

October 28th 2010

ballon Planning Theme Parties

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Plan Your Housewarming Party, Potluck-Style

September 23rd 2010

meal Plan Your Housewarming Party, Potluck Style

You have probably heard of giving a housewarming party on your own, which means that you will provide the food and drinks as well as the tours and activities for your guests. Your expected guests can include old and new neighbors as well as extended family members, all of whom will be able to appreciate your new house and meet new people at the same time.

And then there is also the option of going potluck. Your expected guests will understand it considering the expenses involved with purchasing and then moving into a new house. Just don’t expect to receive material gifts from your guests as it is considered in bad taste to do so. In that line of thought, you should never make the mistake of actually registering in a gift registry ala a bridal shower since it will be a black mark in your reputation within the new neighborhood. It’s definitely starting out on the wrong foot.

Send the Invites

As is the case with any party, you have to send out the invitations to the expected guests. You can do it in the traditional pen-and-paper way or the modern ways of e-mail invites, either of which is acceptable especially in these fast-paced times. Regardless of which method is chosen, however, you must remember certain things when sending out the invites, of which the following are the most important:

  • State the date and time for the housewarming party
  • Ask for confirmation of attendance through calls or e-mails as it is important in the determination of the potluck contributions
  • Include the complete address as well as specific directions to your new house, maybe even a map.

You can be as creative as you want to be with the invitations. Take pictures of the house and then use them as your invites, if you want to.

Determine the Menu and Its Venue

Of course, your home may still be filled with moving boxes so it is a good idea to designate one area of the house for the food and drinks. But if the whole house is now clean and orderly, then you may want to place a few delicious treats in the rooms both for surprise and sustenance purposes during the house tour.

You need not stress over decorations with a housewarming party. Your guests will understand although you can try to make the tour more interesting like describing how the room will look like after renovations have been made or how you fell in love with the house because of a certain feature.

Now, going back to the menu, you must coordinate the potluck. You don’t want to end up with too many desserts, or too many entrees or too many side dishes without a main dish. You may group the foods into categories – entrees, side dishes, main dishes, desserts and beverages – and then ask the expected guests to choose. Make a list of the possible contributions so that duplication can be avoided.

Naturally, you should also have food and drinks contribution to the potluck housewarming party. You can then impress the new neighbors with your culinary skills – or at least, with your good choice in restaurants.

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Host + Miss Manners = Rockin’ Cocktail Party

September 16th 2010

Aside from formal dinners for whatever occasion, cocktail parties are gatherings where good manners from both host and guests are highly appreciated. Keep in mind that cocktail parties allow all the guests to mingle with just about everybody possible within the usual 2-hour period set for such parties. As the host, you have to set the tone for the party starting with the invitations and ending when the last guest has departed the party.

You need not worry about being Miss Prim and Proper Manners during your own cocktail party. Everybody is expected to enjoy themselves over the cocktail drinks made from alcoholic beverages while getting to know the new persons in the circle, being reacquainted with old friends and maybe even sealing a business deal. However, we cannot overemphasize the need for basic good manners in a cocktail party, or whatever party it may be, for that matter.

RSVP Invitations

Let’s start with the invitations. In most cases, cocktail parties demand formal invitations be sent to the expected guests with enclosed RSVP. You can send it through the mail although many hosts are now using e-mails to do so with the understanding that the structure of the invitation is on the semi-formal side. You may also enclose self-addressed envelopes but you may also give the option of calling to confirm attendance.

party1 Host + Miss Manners = Rockin Cocktail Party

Such invitations are important so that you can determine the quantity and quality of drinks to be served during the party. Thus, if you have more guests, then you have to order more food and drinks. Or if you have more women than men, then a wider selection of for-women drinks may be appropriate but we must emphasize that it is an excellent idea to have a balanced ration between the genders.

On the invitations, you should also specify the dress code. At the very least, your guests will not feel improperly dressed. For a cocktail party, semi-formal dress is required while a cocktail buffet means a smart casual look and a cocktail reception means formal attire.

As the host, your primary duty is to ensure that everybody is enjoying himself/herself in the company of the other guests. You have to introduce the guests to each other especially when many of them have yet to be formally acquainted. In this way, your guests will feel more welcome and, hence, be more open to mingling with the others.

It is also important to make a connection between the guests being introduced to each other. For example, you may introduce Alex to Mary by saying that both of them went to the same school albeit at different years or that their families were once neighbors.

Now, you may also have to steer the conversation between new acquaintances. You should stick to the safe topics so as not to offend anybody’s sense and sensibility. Your topics may include current events, economy, professions, and even how you meet each one. Just make sure to stay away from topics like diets, health, money, religion, sex and race. Your guests should be able to take up the cue.

And of course, you should not drink yourself to oblivion. You are the host and it will not do to be the one making a scene in your own party. Ultimately, thanks to good manners, your cocktail party is rockin’ it.

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Mind Your Manners with Host and Hostess Gifts

August 12th 2010

Many individuals do not see the logic behind the giving of host and hostess gifts by the guests to the party. Their rationale is that the host and hostess invited them to be guests at the party and, hence, their presence is the gift in and of itself. Also, their viewpoint is that the host and hostess may be offended by the gift – no gift, no mistake, so to speak.

Miss Manners will the first person to rebuke these individuals about their lack of good manners as guests to a party from the first get-go. These gifts are tokens of appreciation by the guest to the host for the latter’s graciousness in inviting the former to the special occasion. After all, the host can always choose to snub any prospective guest.

And since the host and hostess gift is a token of appreciation, its monetary value is secondary to the sincere thoughts behind it. Of course, it will be a nice gesture when you choose the gift with a practical value or a sentimental significance or both. Just don’t settle for the cheapest one on the shelf either since you also want to be proud of your host and hostess gifts.

The following are a few good ideas about excellent gifts for the host and hostess, no matter the theme, reason and venue of the party:

• A bottle of wine with good vintage is always welcome. We suggest giving wine that you may also like to drink with your own meals.
• A homemade or gourmet treat will be appreciated, too. Just make sure that it can be saved for later use as the menu may have been set. Think wrapped gourmet food, chocolate treats and pastries.
• A bouquet of flowers or a small potted plant may also be given to the host. These gifts can brighten up the atmosphere well after the party has ended.
• Other gifts like candles, stationery and even knickknacks are also suitable gifts. The trick is in knowing your host’s preferences but it should be easy if and when you are a member of the family or a friend.

Hostess Gifts

After deciding on the host and hostess gifts, the next decision to make is when to give them. You have two choices – send it ahead before your arrival to the party or give it upon your arrival to the party. Your choice will depend on factors like longevity of the gift, distance between your home and the venue, and the element of surprise.

When giving the gift to the host, you should also remember certain good manners. For one thing, you should not expect your host to parade the gift in front of other guests and to even say something positive about it. Your host will greet you at the door, receive your gift and then move on to other party responsibilities.

For another thing, you must not expect your host to actually use the wine, serve the food and display the flowers. Your gift is just that – a gift that the recipient can choose to open and use when and where desired.

On a final note, host and hostess gifts are your thank-you gifts for the invitation. As such, don’t expect to receive a thank-you note from your host. Instead, you should give a thank-you note after the party.

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Get together and have a meal

July 29th 2010

meal Get together and have a meal

Preparing a meal get-together can be great fun with adequate, advanced planning, and a great menu. The tendency for persons to stress when planning one of these events is quite common- not realizing that there is no need to worry. Studies have shown that people, who get invited to parties, assign more importance to the positive emotions experienced when they receive a party invitation. The next important thing to them proves to be the opportunity at having fun, de-stressing, and networking.

Meal get-togethers can be best described as “a no-frill, low-budget gathering of friends, family and acquaintances”. Some examples of occasions for which meal get-togethers are suitable are: birthdays, celebrating new baby, an office promotion, or a house warming. Even when the circumstances are as remote as “when the moon is in the 7th house- and Jupiter aligns with Mars”* party-people will always find excuses to host get-togethers, or much larger parties. However as the date rolls around, many are guilty of rushing around at the last minute, because they fail to plan adequately ahead of time.

There are many ways that preparing a meal get-together can be made interesting. Why not invite your best friends or some of your closest friends over to help you organize the menu, the décor and the entertainment. Getting them involved will empower them to actually take over some of the planning duties, freeing you from some of the responsibilities.

Treat yourself to at least 1 month of TV meals. Doing this would enable you to catch some great meal ideas on The Food Network. Even the day-time talk shows on cable may sometimes include a special meal guide feature on certain days.

As you get it, spend it! Why safe your pennies for a rainy day, when you need them now? Any money that you get now should be the excuse you use to go window shopping and pick up some useful stuff. Invite your friends (aka planning committee) over at least once a week to discuss how all pet projects are progressing. This is also a great opportunity for you to hone your skills as a master party-planner or seasoned party host.

With all pet projects successfully underway, this leaves you unfettered and able to focus on the very critical menu. The dishes that are to be served should be planned at least 1-month ahead of time, giving you the time needed to ensure that the quantity of ingredients necessary would be adequate to prepare enough servings for the party guests. If ordering food from a restaurant, the same rules apply. Also, it is advisable to order enough boxes of meat dishes and sides that seemed to have been popular from the last get-together. If in doubt, it is always best to err on the side of caution, and having over budget the party menu, to ensure that all guests are adequately fed.

The week of the event is not the time to be doing all the cooking. If cooking is to be done, it would be far easier to cook and store the dishes 2-weeks in advance. Finally, a few day before the meal get-together, call all invitees to confirm that they are coming.

• Reference taken from song: “Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In”, performed by: The 5th dimension (1969).

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Party Planning ideas for summer- 2010

July 22nd 2010

cupcakes Party Planning ideas for summer  2010

With the summer months rolling around, people might find themselves stuck with the task of planning a family reunion, or other event. Of all the details necessary to make an up-coming event successful, planning a dinner menu always proves to be the hardest “hurdle” to tackle.

Even more stressful, is when persons have hosted so many parties, they have exhausted every possible menu combination known to man. Or, at least, so they think!

Party planners who find themselves in this pickle should fear not. They may think they have tried every possible recipe and menu combination, but as many as they might have tried, there are always new menu ideas being created everyday, ready for them to try.

Take for example, a tri-cultured menu which might include dishes native to other countries. Chinese and Indian cuisine are surprisingly delicious and would give guests to the bash a chance to try something new! It may also be safe to conclude that none of the prospective guests have ever tried Ackee and Salt fish- a dish native to the island of Jamaica?

A tri-cultured menu is an innovative idea, and can be pulled off with the right balance of savory, sour, sweet and spicy dishes. Speaking of spicy: many ethnic dishes are traditionally prepared with hot and spicy pepper. If a tri-cultured menu is chosen, then the party planner should also prepare a detailed beverage menu. Milk shakes and other frozen drinks would compliment this type of food very well!

Having determined what is to be served at the event, the planner may then consider: “do I order a mix of meats and “sides” from each restaurant, or do I try cooking these dishes myself?” Whatever the decision is in this regard, it will be a most critical decision, as the décor or layout of the venue, has not yet been planned. Not to mention preparation of fruit punch, frozen cocktails and other mixed drinks.

So now that we have worked out the perfect summer buffet for this gathering, let us review the menu line-up to be served. Here is a hypothetical list that you can “tweek” to perfection!

  1. Indian dishes (source, amishaindiancuisine.com) – appetizers: Vegetable Lentil Soup, served with Garlic Nan (unleavened baked bread stuffed with garlic). Main course: Shrimp Curry, Lamb Karahi (lamb cooked in wok with herbs and spices), Bengan Aloo (eggplant sautéed in a garlic blend).
  2. Chinese dishes (source, chinatowninn.net) – as part of the main course: Egg Foo Yung- Beef, Sweet and Sour Chicken, Pepper Steak.
  3. Jamaican dishes (source, Jamaicans.com/cooking/)- as part of the appetizers: Salt Fish Fritters. As part of the main course: Ackee and Salt fish served with Fried Dumplings, and Boiled Yam, Boiled Dumplings and Boiled Green Bananas.
  4. Side dishes- plain white rice; potato salad; creamed sweet potatoes; pumpkin pie; ripe avocado (sliced); lightly steamed beet root (sliced); pumpkin rice (Jamaican-style); fried rice (Chinese-style).
  5. Desserts- strawberry cheese cake (serve cold); cake with icing (try Betty Crocker cake mix); ice-cream (offer 2 flavors).
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Find Out What Every Summer Party Must Have and Have It

July 8th 2010

quiz1

A summer party must have is family and good friends. This is the perfect time to connect with the folks you know for an afternoon of relaxation and fun. Catch up with your brothers and sister, their kids, cousins, aunt and uncles anyone you may or may not see very often. You probably have friends you don’t see as often as you would like to as everyone seems to have busy schedules these days. Take the opportunity to invite co-workers and socialize outside of the office for an afternoon. Forget the water cooler talk and talk sports, hobbies, recent or upcoming vacations – anything other than what a dope the boss is. The collection of family and friends might require a softball game be played or a horseshoe tournament might break out. Or maybe a volleyball or badminton game might erupt. Don’t forget games for the kids. You want them to have fun and not be tugging at your hand out of sheer boredom. It is doubtful the competitive spirit will be doused, unless it rains.

A summer party must have is good food. Whether it is pot luck or host provided, have a variety of food on hand. If your grilling skills are up to par, cook up 2 or 3 of the following: burgers, hot dogs, steaks, chicken wings, ribs, corn or shrimp. Have some appetizers ready when your guests arrive. Maybe some crackers and cheese, pretzels and dip, deli meat roll ups, bite size grilled pizza, shelled peanuts or red pistachio nuts. Provide plenty of drinks to keep your guests hydrated. In tubs or coolers full of ice, chill soda, water, juice boxes, beer and wine. After your guests arrive and before you offer them appetizers point them in the direction of the drinks. Cups are optional but straws might be helpful for the kids. Don’t forget the watermelon and s’mores. It is practically the law those two items be on any summer party menu. Oh, yes. Be environmentally conscience and recycle everything you can.

A summer party must have is fun. As the host it is up to you to make sure everyone has a good time. Introduce your guest to those they don’t know. Find common ground for them to discuss if necessary. Introduce the kids to each other and encourage them to play a game or two together. When it is time to eat, the kids just might like each other enough to take their lunch and sit off by themselves and chat, leaving the adults to do the same. Introduce some games into the afternoon or evening. In addition to horseshoes and volleyball, a fun idea might be to write down on slips of paper famous lines from movies. Each guest that wants to play picks a slip and then works their movie line into the conversation. Keep track of how many lines each participant guesses. Perhaps a prize can be awarded at the end of the day for the winner.

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