Thursday, July 28, 2011

Guest Post: Parties in a Pinch

Recently, my friend Erin asked me to guest blog about healthy ways to prepare for the big day on her brilliant wedding and event planning blog, Goldiblog. I've been reading Erin's blog for awhile and am always inspired by her ideas for making an event memorable and special so I was thrilled when she agreed to do a guest post for eat.host.run.style.

Just in time for this weekend, Erin has shared tips for throwing an easy, yet stylish party. After reading them, you'll likely want to throw your own impromptu get together! And don't forget - for additional wedding and event ideas, visit Goldiblog.

Parties in a Pinch

Well, summer is in full swing and if you are anything like me, summer is synonymous with parties! With so many great reasons to celebrate, it’s easy to overwhelm even the most seasoned hostess. In fact, one of the most frequent questions I am asked is “I’m hosting a party this weekend. I don’t have much time to prepare, what can I do?”

Well, dolls, here are a few tips you can use the next time you want to pull together the perfect party!

Decor
I find that one of the most useful tools in my arsenal is repurposing what I already have. I take a quick spin through my house, pulling all the interesting things I find along the way. A lightweight, underused drapery panel can make an amazing tablecloth. Grab some placemats, arrange them end to end down the center of your table and –poof! A stylish runner. Make that table sing by grouping vases or candles of varying sizes on your newly crafted runner. One of my favorite centerpieces is a red ceramic bowl I fill with lemons. If you are someone with more than one set of dishes, combine them and craft an imperfectly perfect place setting.

Old magazines and tissue paper can become paper chains and hanging pom-poms. Cut pages of discarded magazines into strips. Tape the ends of the strips to form chains. Then hang in doorways or above your table. For poms, fold several sheets of tissue (stacked like pancakes) into a fan. Wrap some wire around the center of the fan and fluff up the layers. You’ll see the pom start to assemble itself and hide the wire. Tie some thread or string to the wire and hang!

Super easy, super quick and, best of all-super chic.

Another great way to punctuate the mood of any party is to download or arrange existing music into a festive mix of tunes onto your iPod or MP3 player. I am a huge believer in The Playlist.

This last tip is the easiest and probably the most obvious. Plan a colorful menu. Select bright vegetables like tomatoes, peppers, carrots, corn and broccoli to liven up the dinner plate, especially if you are serving meat. Everyone loves veggies and they’re beautiful on a plate…and the waistline as well.

Beverages

I have been blessed with extremely thoughtful friends. Inevitably, whether I ask them to, one or more of them will bring a bevvie to share with the group. This is indeed a blessing. If you pool all the unique beverages, you and your guests can play ‘bartender’. The trick is to use only what you have available to you. You and your guests will love coming up with creative drinks to try.

Food and Desserts
Unless the occasion calls for it, I think party food should be simple, healthy (for the most part) and fun to eat! Pot stickers, bruschetta, crostini with a white pepper/scallion cheeseball and red pepper hummus are my go-to recipes. There are endless variations available to me and I can always please a crowd. Stick with no-muss finger food and you’ll never be led astray.

For me, desserts are always the hardest part of any menu. I love to make fancy pastries, baked goods and other such yummies that are often complicated little time suckers. One dessert I can always count on is the chocolate-covered strawberry. They are simply the living end! You can find great deals on strawberries when they are in season. Dark Chocolate (with at least 60% Cacao) is always available in the baking section of any market and trust me, your guests will love it!

There you have it, darlings! A few of my tried and true tips for the perfect party. Oops, I have one more tip to share- Above all, have fun! If you have something to celebrate and a group of amazing people to celebrate with, then you already have the Perfect Party.

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