taking my own advice – adding easy little touches while entertaining at home

I'm no Dina Manzo but here are some ideas anyone can use while entertaining at home

It’s a lot of pressure to have a blog on events and entertaining. While I like to think that I’m primarily sharing my wisdom and great ideas, I also feel like I have to take my own advice. But the good news is that my advice isn’t so hard to take. I try to make most of my ideas and features as accessible as possible. Maybe this is because of my background in nonprofit planning – you can do anything with an unlimited budget, but doing more with less (or barely anything at all, in the case of some nonprofits!) is so much more impressive. So too are my entertaining tips. I don’t imagine my readers are incredibly wealthy socialites with infinite time and resources to plan Dina Manzo-level dinner parties (but if I’m wrong and you are a wealthy socialite with infinite time and resources, feel free to contact me here and I’d love to help you!). I imagine my readers are regular people with crazy, busy schedules and not a lot of time or resources, just like me.

But back to the pressure. December was pretty hectic for us. We moved into our new house (our first house!) right before Thanksgiving, then a month later we hosted Christmas dinner for my side of the family, then a grown-up New Year’s Eve party for a few friends, and then hosted a housewarming party last weekend for many of our local friends. Among the guests at all three were some regular readers of the blog (meaning, my mom and my dear friends Anna and Melissa).

So despite how hectic everything was, I managed to infuse a little bit of fun into these parties, so I thought I’d share some photos (and prove that I’m not all talk!).

I already shared this photo in my recap of my Christmas dinner, but it’s a cool picture so I’m sharing it again. I love signature cocktails and I try to always have them at my parties. While it may seem like overachieving, it’s actually pretty calculated – by focusing on a signature cocktail, plus beer and wine, you actually have less  to prepare – you don’t have to worry about all sorts of  mixers and liquor.

This one is a bourbon and sparkling cider cocktail I made for Christmas:

lessons learned from hosting Christmas

I also made a signature drink for New Year’s Eve – a Happy New Year, but alas I didn’t take a photo.

For our Housewarming Party (which was also sort of a holiday party because our Christmas decorations were still up), I made a French 75, but because I believe in labeling food and beverage whenever possible (and with more than 20-25 people in attendance it wouldn’t be possible to serve everyone), I made this sign:

signature drink sign while entertaining at home

I also had hot mulled cider simmering on the stove, so I made a companion sign:

signature drink sign while entertaining at home

I had these adorable pug Christmas cards lying around which worked perfectly – all I had to do was keep a steady hand with the sharpie. And I made the stands by hot gluing some candy canes together – inspiration here. As you can see, I used full size candy canes because the cards were large enough, but for a smaller business card size piece, you would want to use the mini candy canes.

Also for the housewarming party, I was trying so hard to get rid of the rest of the holiday cookies and cake, especially this delicious red velvet cake that my mother had made for Christmas – it was just so rich and it’s January so obviously we need to at least pretend to eat healthy for a few weeks, right? I had the idea to do a chocolate fondue and slice up the cake into cubes to dip into it (along with marshmallows and fruit). It worked out really well (the fondue was delicious and I made it in the crock pot so it stayed warm) and it gave guests something to talk about!

Just a few tiny little things I incorporated into some recent entertaining. Nothing took much money or even much time. Sometimes it doesn’t take much to have a little fun and do something special.

Photo Credit: { HGTV }

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