Entertaining At Home
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DIY an Outdoor Table with a Built-in Hidden Cooler
If you do a lot of backyard entertaining, have the space to accommodate an average size picnic table, and happen to be pretty handy with power tools, then this DIY might be right up your alley! Who wouldn’t want a clever table that keeps drinks cool and accommodates the lazy drinker? This little project from Remodelaholic uses standard 20″ x 10″ planter window boxes for the cooloers, which you basically construct the table around.
Jul 10, 2014
15 Centerpieces For Your Summer Table
Ah, summer. There’s so much to love about it. I think all the beautiful flowers in bloom everywhere you turn have something to do with it. And all the parties and BBQs don’t hurt either. Are you hosting a get-together this summer? If so, here’s some great centerpiece inspiration for your table. Whether your entertainment is a larger event, intimate dinner party, or casual get together, they could all use some flowers to dress up the table.
Jul 10, 2014
A Swedish Midsummer’s Eve Party
If you travel to Sweden in late June don’t expect to see anyone in the cities at Midsummer. For our annual summer vacation, I was making plans to spend the weekend in Stockholm with Ursula after visiting IKEA’s main offices, but was told no one would be there. No one would be in the city? Nope, I was told, the whole nation heads out to the countryside to their thousands of lakes to eat herring, drink, sing and celebrate the longest day of the year.
Jul 7, 2014
9 Fun DIY Projects for Backyard Movie Nights
I don’t know about you, but I’d say that we see our friends and family about 100 times more in the summer than we do in the colder months of the year. There’s something about warm weather and the freedom to go outdoors that brings people together. It’s a time to foster community and friendship, to break bread and build relationships.
Jul 1, 2014
Welcome Home: Housewarming Parties
It’s been over three years since Apartment Therapy’s last freewheeling discussion of housewarming parties — time for an update! Whenever the bucket-hauling, hand-mangling, and shoulder pain of renovation get me down, I fantasize about hosting a fabulous housewarming party…. Imagining work while doing other work — that’s how I get down, apparently.
Jun 23, 2014
Before & After: Backyard Patio with DIY Built-In Benches
Sarah, from Smitten Studio, and her husband, Rupert, recently bought a house in Los Angeles, and worked very hard to renovate it. With this big project complete, they now have the time (and space) to work on some of the smaller ones, like their backyard. According to Sarah, the corner of the yard pictured above was basically used as a dumping ground for old plants and furniture, and now with some custom built benches, paint and accessories it’s another full living area.
Jun 19, 2014
Outdoor Entertaining: 10 Party Worthy Beverage Dispensers
Planning on entertaining outside this summer? Here are 10 party worthy beverage dispensers that will help you serve your beverages in style and keep the party flowing. Personally, I’m looking forward to making summer sangria and spicy ginger lemonade. TOP ROW 1. Enamel Beverage Dispenser, $98 from Terrain 2. Yorkshire Glass Beverage Dispenser, $32 from Circle Glass 3. Del Sol Pineapple Beverage Dispenser, $48 from Home Essentials 4. Glass Infuser Dispenser, $25 from World Market 5.
Jun 10, 2014
Satisfied Summer: Food Ideas for Fun & Friendly Gatherings
So, we’ve given you four options for a fun and friendly summer gathering you can throw for your friends. We’ve instructed you to choose a date, and tried to persuade you to go for paper invitations to set the tone. What’s next on the summer gathering to-do-list? Plan a menu, of course! Food continues to be a vital way to attract guests and keep them satisfied at your gatherings.
Jun 7, 2014
Small Space Hosting: Tips for Welcoming Guests When You Don’t Have a Guest Room
I sometimes wonder if the guest room is, like the formal dining room, going the way of the Dodo. With people living smaller by choice and necessity, an entire room dedicated to overnight guests is a luxury you don’t see as often as you once did. These days, extra rooms tend to be home offices, if they exist at all. But people will want to go visiting, won’t they? As someone who has made my home away from my native country, I’m used to having people come and stay.
Apr 28, 2014
The Best Flatware for Entertaining Outdoors
What makes for great outdoor flatware? Above all else, it should be inexpensive and easy to clean (keep grandmother’s intricate silver inside). Bonus points for any set with natural or nautical details that make make a casual backyard barbecue feel like dining in a posh yacht, glam campground or lavish maharajah tent. Each of these options is not only beautiful, but priced just right to entertain four for less than $60 (and most are under $40).
Apr 23, 2014
Insta-Party: Pantry Items to Keep on Hand for Easy Entertaining
Are you panic-stricken instead of pleased when friends stop by unannounced? Would you like to be the talk of the town for being able to throw a fabulous soiree at a moment’s notice? Don’t fret! The biggest secret to a successful impromptu party is to be prepared in advance with a well-stocked pantry! If you’re anything like me, you work better under pressure. Too much planning and over-thinking for an entertainment can suck the fun right out of it.
Apr 4, 2014
Come As You Are: How To Throw a Successful Last Minute Get-Together
I’m realizing as my friends and I get older that last-minute get-togethers are becoming not only a regular occurrence, but a staple in our lives. Gone are the years where we made a big to-do about birthdays and holidays; rather we relish the days when both good weather and free time align and we can come together to share delicious food, drinks, and conversation.
Apr 3, 2014
How To Be a Great Host: 13 Tips
Between high school and college I went to school in England and stayed often with a family in London. The parents, Tim and Caroline Gladstone, were the kindest and best hosts I’ve ever encountered. Whenever I rang their doorbell, Caroline would greet me, welcome me right in the door with my dirty backpack from the train station or airport, and ask me whether I wanted to eat first or wash up.
Mar 31, 2014
No More Entertaining Excuses! Answers to the Biggest Entertaining Roadblocks
Are you a pro at trotting out a long-winded list of excuses when others ask why you haven’t hosted in your home in awhile? Sorry, but that list is about to be annihilated. We found the best entertaining excuse-busters we’ve ever published, and we’ve put them all right here in one spot. Take a moment to close your eyes, look deep into your soul, and ask yourself which excuse is really keeping you from sharing your home with others more often.
Mar 29, 2014
Secrets of a Successful Party
Throwing a party is supposed to be fun, right? But so much anxiety and stress can build up around the occasion for many party-throwers (and goers). Here, we’ve compiled readers’ best and brightest tips for successful parties: ON HOUSE PREP: gquaker: I like having a party when I have a house guest. The house is already clean, and I have a buddy to help clear dishes.
Mar 24, 2014
The Ultimate Casual Gathering: Slumber Party For Grown-Ups
A party can be equally intimidating to guests (wear the right outfit, provide sparkling conversation, know somebody beyond the host) as it is for the host (play the right music, serve the right food/drinks, invite the right mix of people), but nothing says “come as you are” like an invitation to a sleepover party! Why should you host a slumber party immediately, and why should you accept an invitation to a slumber party immediately? Let’s count the ways.
Mar 21, 2014
A No-Stress Neighborly Nosh
This week, I’ve been sharing the plan and menu for a casual weeknight dinner party I threw with our neighbors and their little kids. Today, we’ll reveal how it all came together, how we kept it comfy and cheerful for the little kids while still making it a special night for us all. We hope it shows you, like it showed me, that dinner parties don’t always have to be elaborately planned affairs, but can simply be a bigger, prettier version of your everyday family meal.
Mar 14, 2014
Easy & Cheap St. Patrick’s Day Crafts You Can Make Before the Weekend
Whether you’re throwing an impromptu party or just trying to avoid getting pinched, it’s not too late to get a little green. Try out one of these easy crafts that celebrates St. Patrick’s day and decorate your table, mantel, patio, or yourself with some Irish spirit. TOP ROW: 1. Tunnel Fringe Garland | Julep from Minted 2. Clay Pot Planters | The Merrythought 3. Crepe Paper Shamrock Streamers | Studio DIY 4. St. Patrick’s Day Confetti Poppers | Haute Chocolate 5.
Mar 12, 2014
At-Home Adventures for When You’re Broke
We’ve just had 74 consecutive days of below-freezing weather. There have been 24 less-than-0ºF days so far this winter. Any funds left after the holidays have gone towards buying heat and gloves. I am broke and restless, but where there is popcorn, there is hope…. Here are three ideas for fun entertainments you can have in your own home… for the low low price of nothing at all.
Feb 20, 2014
A Cozy Valentine’s Night for Couples or Singles: Decor, Menu, & Music Ideas
Valentine’s Day falls on a Friday, so wine bars, sushi spots and Fondue Stubes everywhere will be teeming with dimly-lit couples snapping kissy-face selfies over pots of melted cheese and sexy-themed maki rolls. It’s all very nice, it is — and very official, and maybe a little annoying. But a relaxing bath, a glass of wine, followed by snuggling under a soft blanket with your cutie (or your cute self!
Feb 13, 2014
How To Make Fart Hydrogen Sulphide Gas Smells Go Away
Warning. This is an awkward post. It’s deep winter and many of us are trapped indoors without the flow of fresh air from open windows. I, personally, have become quite conscious lately of daily smelly moments both at home with guests and at work (the elevator is the worst) where I’ve been trapped by someone passing gas or simply wished the bathroom at home would air out quicker. I myself will plead guilty on occasion.
Feb 10, 2014
Easy Party Decor Idea: Make a Photo Wall for Under $25
It doesn’t take a ton of time or money to create this memorable photo wall for your party that can serve both as a decoration and an activity for your guests. We had a small gathering of family members for my daughter’s first birthday, and I put together this photo wall as the visual focal point of the party. I printed out 75 4×6 photos documenting the past year of her life and arranged them on a wall.
Feb 3, 2014
How To Host Kids in a Child-Free Home
You love them, but there’s just that deep down feeling of dread. “They’re coming over…with their kids.” How do you get ready for kids coming over when, really, your house just isn’t kid-friendly? Here’s our handy survival guide, in just five simple tips, on how to host kids in your usually kid-free home, and ensure a happy, safe experience for all. 1. Talk to the parents about what you’ll need. Will the kids be eating dinner with you?
Feb 3, 2014
How To Host a Successful Super Bowl Party: A Countdown Checklist
If you are hosting a party this Sunday, you may be pretending that it’s all about the outcome of the battle between Patriots and Seahawks. But, everyone knows that the real reason for any party is for everyone to have a good time and the best way to make that happen is to be a relaxed and happy host. If you want your Superbowl shindig to be a success, the time between now and Sunday evening is key.
Feb 2, 2014
Tara’s Cure: Parties Are About Fun, Not Perfection
By the time the guests arrived for my January Cure cocktail party, I had already had a full day of cleaning, hanging curtains, running to the liquor store, picking up a tablecloth, and whipping up dips and hors d’oeurves. Sure, my project wasn’t done, and my place wasn’t totally spotless, but I was dressed, composed, and ready to entertain. Taking some tips from my go-to vintage entertaining book, I kept it simple, with tried and true dip recipes, cheese, and charcuterie.
Jan 31, 2014
Get Crafty: 10 DIY Valentine’s Day Projects
Last year we rounded up 20 DIY Valentine’s Day projects that were festive and wouldn’t break the bank. This year we found 10 more ideas that will make anyone feel special, whether you are planning a dinner for two, a big party, or you just want to add a little seasonal love to your home. TOP ROW: 1. Conversation Heart Pinãtas, DIY from Studio DIY 2. Wooden Spoon Love Notes, DIY from Radmegan 3. Valentine’s Day Cake Topper, DIY from Goldmine 4.
Jan 30, 2014
Candles, Cake & Snow: How To Host A Sledding Birthday Party
If you were born in January in Chicago, there’s a fairly good chance you’ve had at least one sledding birthday party. (Chicago is not known for its hills, but we make do.) Now that I find myself back in arctic winter weather after many years away, a sledding party sounds like the perfect cabin fever-busting celebration.
Jan 13, 2014
How To Make Frozen Soap Bubbles
Here’s a very cool and beautiful DIY I learned from Angela Kelly and saw on her hometown news website in Washington State. She went outside with her 7 year old son and blew bubbles in a chilly arctic wind ranging from 9 to 12 degrees. Her pictures are above. Remarkably, soap bubbles can be blown in very cold temperatures, freeze and remain intact if they are strong enough. Angela Kelly and her son blew bubbles with the solution below and watched them freeze and sit on the hood of her car.
Jan 6, 2014
How To Fit a Dining Room Into Small Spaces
Whenever we ask readers why they don’t entertain more often, lack of space inevitably crops up as a recurring reason. Although space can definitely limit the types of parties you host (it might not be a great idea to have a kegger in your studio apartment), it shouldn’t keep you from inviting smaller groups of friends over for a dinner party. Here are five ways to make room for a dining table, even if you live in a few hundred square feet. 1.
Jan 6, 2014
Party Architecture: How To Throw the Best Party… Like Ever
Thinking about throwing a holiday party, but are worried about it being blah? I got together with an old friend in 2007 and put together this simple primer, which we’ve been updating and collecting comments on ever since. Are you hosting one this season and need last minute pointers? Here’s Party Architecture to the rescue… Here are the four PILLARS of good Party Architecture: Density, Structure, Lighting & Flow.
Dec 23, 2013
Bang For Your Buck: Styling Supermarket Flowers on any Budget
After all of the delicious food and free-flowing drinks, what’s left in your party budget for flowers? Whether you’ve only got $4 or nearly $40 to blow on bouquets, an appropriate and pretty arrangement can be yours. I grabbed a bunch of those ubiquitous 3-for-$12 bunches from the grocery store and started arranging. Here is my haul from the grocery store: three sets of 3-for-$12 bunches, for a total of nine bunches and $36 plus tax.
Dec 17, 2013
The Key to an Always-Tidy House: An Open Door Policy
You may have seen a version of a cartoon that states with exasperation, “I get most of my housecleaning done in the ten minutes before visitors arrive”. Wah wah waaahhh. But is this true? It is for me. Whether it’s party-hosting or awaiting an electrician’s appointment, I am invariably rushing to sweep, wash, or dust right up until visitors arrive.
Dec 12, 2013
A “Home Alone” Christmas Party: Decor, Menu & Music
Home Alone is by far one of my favorite holiday movies. As a kid, I used to watch it year-round with my brother and am now able to recite just about every line (don’t worry—I won’t!). This year, we decided to have some fun and have a Home Alone-themed Christmas party for all those pals that are nostalgic for early 90’s fun. Here’s a look at what we have planned and how you can create your own McAllister family Christmas! The Decor: 1.
Dec 11, 2013
White Elephant Party: Decor, Menu & Music
I’ve wanted to host a White Elephant Party ever since my cousin Emily told me about the ones she and her mom host every year — any party with an official “Steal From Your Neighbor” component sounds fun to me! Here are a few accessories to make your party a silly success. White Crepe Streamer, Fun Events, $1.
Dec 10, 2013
The Christmas Squid: Relaxing The Holiday Aesthetic
I’ll admit it: I’m the worst when it comes to having a very, very specific idea of what my holiday decor/gift wrap/dessert is going to look like, and going after it full-force. But while I might have visions of white and silver wintery woodland cookies dancing in my head, if the 7-year-old gets his heart set on making Christmas squid, moths, and carrots, who am I to argue?
Dec 6, 2013
Easy Home DIY Project: How To Sew a Table Runner
A table runner is one of my favorite ways to dress up plain tablecloths or bare tables. This is probably the easiest sewing project that you could take on, and the same steps can be used to make napkins, too. For those who hoard designer fabric remnants found in the bargain bin like myself, the table runner project is a great way to put those pieces of fabric to good use. For this project, I created two table runners out of just one yard of Designers Guild Kashgar fabric.
Dec 4, 2013
How Owning 160 White Plates Has Saved Us Money
A few years back, we mentioned our slight obsession for real dishware. We’ve never been big on the disposable stuff (even for parties, outdoors or not) and because of it, we have 160 white plates we picked up on Craigslist for a ridiculously low price. Having toted them around for almost 5 years now, we have to say — best decision ever.
Dec 4, 2013
5 Fun Outdoor Holiday Traditions to Start this Weekend
It can be tough to get everyone outside in the winter, what with the windchill factor, freezing rain, and infinite amount of layers required…but it’s so worth it! I’ve gathered a handful of sweet and low-stress outdoor activities that might be perfect for this winter, and many winters to come. Sparklers In The Snow What better way to welcome the new year than with ultra-festive sparklers?
Nov 29, 2013
5 Tasks to Check Off Your Thanksgiving To-Do List a Week Early
If you’re preparing to host Thanksgiving dinner this year, you may be feeling like this week is the silence before the storm. Rather than let nerves build to a day-of crescendo, here are some things you can check off of that Thanksgiving to-do list a full week in advance, freeing up time on the holiday itself: Make a shopping list. Depending upon what’s on your list, you might be able to even get your shopping out of the way now, before stores are overcrowded.
Nov 21, 2013
Break the Ice: 5 Favorite Party Games
Whether you’re hanging out with friends, or hosting family for an extended amount of time, there’s nothing like a good old fashioned party game to keep the holidays fun. Games are a great social activity to help avoid conversation lulls, congregating around the TV or eyes glued to smartphones. From classics to Kickstarter-funded newbies, here are a few of our current favorite party games. Charades: A classic game that doesn’t require any cards, boards or game pieces.
Nov 20, 2013
Saint Nick’s Cookie Exchange: Decor, Menu, & Music
Children who leave their shoes out for Saint Nick on the eve of Saint Nicholas’ Day (December 5) will find candy in them in the morning. But although finding candy in your shoe and eating it is appealing when you’re six, it might not have the same draw when you’re all grown up. Here’s a fun and equally sweet way to celebrate: throw a cookie exchange party!
Nov 18, 2013
The Benefits of Digital vs. Traditional Paper Invitations
The date is set, the gingerbread cupcakes have been ordered, and there’s a killer casserole recipe already bookmarked in your browser. Now how do you let guests know where to be and when? There are two primary options — online social/email invitations and the traditional mailed paper invite — and we’ve weighed out the pros and cons of each to help anyone decide what’s best for their holiday party.
Nov 14, 2013
Indoor Camping Party: Decor, Menu, + Music
The weather’s getting colder, the days are getting shorter, and cabin fever is imminent. A weekend in the wild would cure what ails you… but the weather’s getting colder, your schedule is jam-packed, and none of the buses or trains go past any decent campsites. Time to invite your similarly-fevered friends over for an indoor camping party, s’mores and a (inevitable) sleepover! The Decor: Sleeping Like A Log Pillows, Think Geek, 16.
Nov 13, 2013
Holiday Decorating Ideas: 10 Snowflake Projects for Winter
Simple, pretty, and inexpensive to make — what’s not to like about the paper snowflakes of our youth? Whether you decide to use old packaging paper, cupcake liners, doilies, or even junk mail, check out these 10 crafty ideas to get you started on your holiday decorating. 1. Doily Snowflake Garland, DIY from Design Sponge: cut snowflakes from paper doilies, and string them together with clear fishing line to make winter wonderland garland. 2.
Nov 11, 2013
The One Thing Your Holiday Houseguests Won’t Tell You
I’ve been a houseguest before, and there are plenty of things I have wanted to ask of my host that went unspoken in the spirit of gratefulness and generally trying not to be a pain in the chateau. I do want to get invited back, after all. But I’ve also been on the other side of the coin, and I know that any generous host wants their visitors to be happy and comfortable. Here’s the most important thing your guests won’t tell you. Your home is too cold, or maybe too hot.
Nov 11, 2013
Florist Secrets: 8 Great Alternatives to Traditional Vases
I’ve been working with flowers for a few years now, yet somehow I do not own a vase. Not a single one – and frankly, you don’t need one! When it’s time to display some flowers, I can always scrounge up plenty of teapots, teacups, bottles, bowls, and more. Here are some of my favorite flower-holding alternatives. Teapot: Above we have my grocery store flower arrangement, plonked in a teapot.
Nov 11, 2013
Preparing for Company in 60 Minutes (or Less!): My Speed Cleaning Routine
Whether someone is stopping by on short notice or you just can’t stand the mess yourself but are short on time, a speed cleaning session that focuses just on the more public rooms in your home (entry, living/dining, kitchen, bathroom) can be the perfect solution. This doesn’t replace regular, deeper cleanings, but is great in a pinch.
Nov 8, 2013
Thanksgiving Table Decor, Step by Step: How To Build a Centerpiece
A gorgeous centerpiece can be the crown jewel on your holiday table… but it can also be one of the most challenging floral arrangements to create. You’ll want it to be low so as not to obstruct the view of your charming guests, and you’ll want it to be as generous an arrangement as you are a host/ess. There are many approaches to creating low, lush centerpieces, but here’s how I made this one, with plenty of step-by-step photos and instructions.
Nov 7, 2013
Top Tricks for Making Grocery Store Flowers Look Great
As wonderful as it would be to decorate your home with flowers gathered lovingly from your lush, rambling garden and arranged impeccably by the finest floral artist in the land, here in reality-land we generally have to go with 1) what we can afford and 2) what we can get. And when what you can get is the grocery store’s finest 3/$12 deal… …go monochrome! The single color bouquets are definitely the way to go.
Oct 27, 2013
The 10 Best Background Movies to Have On While Entertaining at Home
Whether being projected onto a big wall during a cocktail party, or played quietly in the living room during game night, a background movie can act as a conversation starter, art, music, and entertainment all in one. Plus it’s easy to pop a disc in the DVD player or call up a title from Netflix. The only hard part, of course, is finding just the right background film.
Aug 23, 2013
Before & After: DIY Cooler
Summer’s outdoor entertaining calls for keeping drinks cool, but budget options aren’t all that attractive. Ashley from Shanty 2 Chic turned a basic styrofoam cooler into a stylish solution that doesn’t diminish your décor. Looking for a weekend project that will up the ante on your patio parties? Check out this after:Ashley put together this country chic cooler stand with $50 in supplies and some power tool basics.
Jul 12, 2013
DIY Dance Floors for Home Weddings
Whether you’re decorating an existing surface like a concrete driveway (as in the image above) or assembling your own wooden dance floor, there are lots of ways to dance the night away without being in a ballroom. Some other ideas, not pictured: Use a patio or deck in the case of a backyard reception. Clear all the furniture from the living room (or whichever is the largest room in the house).
Jun 18, 2013
Best Kids Parties: Save The Bees
Name: Sofia, 3 Location: Redwoods, CA The inspiration was the ‘save the bees’ ads I was seeing everywhere (even Haagen Daas ice cream was in on it). My grandfather was a beekeeper and bees are close to my family’s heart.  We played a bee game I made up: the kids each had a stick with string and a magnet dangling at the end. They had to pretend they were bees (while Flight of the Bumblebee played in the background) and pick up pollen with their magnets.
Jun 4, 2013
Resources & Recommendations: Setting Up Your Own Backyard Cinema
Is there any finer excuse to have friends over than dining together al fresco under the stars? Yes…sending out invites for dinner and a movie, screened in your very own backyard (tip: match the movie to the meal)!
May 27, 2013
Best Kids Parties: Lawn Mower
Name: Little Pilot, 2 Location: Toronto, Canada Our two year-old, Little Pilot, loves his lawn mower. It goes on walks with us and he even pushes it around in the winter. When we asked him what type of birthday party he wanted, he naturally responded with “leikkuri” (Finnish for lawn mower). So we threw him a lawn mower party! Thanks, Anu! There are more photos and details on Anu’s blog.
Apr 30, 2013
Build an Outdoor Bowling Alley
The design for this alley makes it viable for a backyard, since it’s easily put together and taken apart for storage. No need to turn your entire yard into the local bowling alley! The tutorial for this project is quite thorough — it’s in French, but with a little Google translate and the excellent drawings that accompany the instructions, you should be fine.
Mar 13, 2013
Games: Good Fun or a Party Foul?
So what if the holidays are long over — throwing an off-season soiree can rouse your social circle from hibernation. (Bonus: It also gives you just the motivation you need to clean every square inch of your home or finish your latest DIY project.) Whether your gathering is intimate or overflowing, the goal is to make your guests comfortable and happy. And to that end, it’s never a bad idea to have a backup plan. AKA: the party game.
Feb 7, 2013
Go with the Flow: Simple Ways to Relax and Enjoy Hosting
As we approach the final days of the January Cure, the celebratory get-together is looming larger in my mind. I enjoy hosting, but there are still usually stressors and worries involved, even when I’m hosting my dearest friends. As I prepare for the big night, I’m going to keep a few things in mind to eliminate that worry and to help me make the most of it.• Your guests will be as relaxed as you are.
Jan 31, 2013
Classic Family Board Games in Electronic Editions for the Holidays
Times have changed for family games. With iPads, iPods, and smartphones abound, the old family card and boardgame standbys like Monopoly and Uno face some serious competition. Is there no middle ground between great family living room classics and Farmville?I just recently helped my mother upgrade her smartphone, and as an avid Scrabble family growing up, I set her up with Words With Friends so we could keep in touch over tiles and triple word scores.
Dec 14, 2012
The Perfect Cocktail Party Playlist
Getting ready for a holiday cocktail party and thinking of putting the ole iPod on shuffle? The convenience may seem tempting, but take an hour and make a playlist instead. Cocktail parties are the time to break out the red lipstick, the fanciest drinks, the funniest stories, and the bounciest music. If you can make a playlist that will have your guests shimmying, singing, and flirting, then you’ve set the stage for a swinging night.
Dec 5, 2012
Fun or Faux Pas? Napkin Rings for Dinner Parties
Napkin rings can be a subject of much debate: are they a pretty and purely decorative piece of tabletop jewelry designed to complement a place setting on formal occasions? Or are they a utilitarian object that should never be brought out in front of a guest?The anti-napkin ring camp has history behind them.
Dec 5, 2012
Strategies for (Very) Big Holiday Gatherings In a Small (ish) Home
One of the biggest challenges of small space living is entertaining. For a family of five, our 1700 sq ft house is more than enough on a daily basis, but add in twenty dinner guests, and we’re bursting at the seams. After a few years of failed attempts, this year I’ve discovered a happy style recipe for low-stress, large gathering entertaining.
Nov 26, 2012
5 Things to Do in the Last 30 Minutes Before Your Guests Arrive
You’ve decorated. You’ve cleaned the whole house. You’ve cooked up delicious gourmet foods and compiled a well-stocked bar. You’ve got a killer theme, and you’ve invited the most interesting people you know. You’ve spent weeks preparing for this party — but what you do in the last 30 minutes before it starts could be just as important as everything that has come before. Here are five things you don’t want to forget.
Nov 20, 2012
Before & After: Thrifted Microwave Cart Turned Bar Cart
With entertaining season upon us, what’s a more fitting project than a versatile little bar cart? A sturdy — but rather ugly — thrift store find, this little microwave cart gets to live on with an (arguably more fun) second life.The writer at She’s No Martha had a hankering for a sleek little cocktail station, and she dressed up her $20 find with some white paint and some handles on the sides.
Nov 16, 2012
Party Intelligence Gathering: What’s Your Favorite Party Game?
I have to admit, I’m not the biggest fan of party games. I usually am the one who wants to sit out and watch (I know, I know, party-pooper). However, there is one, “The Secret Name Game” — also sometimes known as the “Family Game” — that I actually enjoy. In fact, it was one of the first things my husband and I did together after first meeting! (i.e, it definitely works as an ice-breaker).
Nov 13, 2012
Natural Holiday Decor Idea: Beautiful Birch Branches
Birch branches are plentiful at many garden centers and floral departments this time of year, and their sparse beauty can be used a number of ways, from elegant centerpieces to chic alternatives to traditional evergreen trees.TOP ROW:1. Baubles and birch branch tree display from Canadian House & Home.2. Birch branch card tree from My Room Design.3. Birch branch candles from The Lady and Her Pen.4. Birch branches bundled together as a bold centerpiece from Etsy seller Blue Skies Forever.5.
Nov 9, 2012
30 DIY Decorations for Halloween
Halloween is my absolute favorite holiday, but I usually channel all my energy into making a costume versus decorating my home. That might change this year, because some of these crafty projects are just too good to ignore. (I mean, come on, look at that little pumpkin with fangs!) Whether you’re having a party, or just entertaining yourself at home, these are a fun and festive way to enjoy the holiday. FIRST ROW: 1. Halloween Hang Ups from Martha Stewart 2.
Oct 16, 2012
Weekend Film Fest: 10 Movies About Homes
There may be no better treat on a weekend than pulling down the shades and hosting a little film festival. With homelife being so important to so many people, it’s no surprise that many films revolve around it. While these 10 films are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to films about homes, it’s a great start to any weekend film festival.War of the Roses Mr.
Aug 3, 2012
Al Fresco How To: Ingredients for a Wonderful Impromptu Outdoor Meal
It’s the time of year when one wants to throw open the doors and bask in the fresh, warm air. Neighborhood restaurants and cafés have set out their patio gear, and they’re consistently filled with people enjoying the weather. This sidewalk experience is great, but I also love dining al fresco at home, with simple food and good friends.
Apr 18, 2012
Real Life Advice: Hosting Guests Without a Guestroom
Looking through all the Small Cool entries this month has me pining for the small space I used to inhabit — I loved it so much, but I don’t miss the challenge of hosting overnight guests in such a small house. We had one bathroom and one bedroom, and frequent houseguests that would often stay for two or three nights — sometimes more. While we love to host family and friends and put them up when they visit, it can pose a real challenge to keep everyone happy, healthy, and sane.
Apr 17, 2012
Hosting Help: Tips for Sleeping Comfortably on an Air Mattress
I live in a one bedroom apartment with no pull-out couch, so whenever guests come to stay, either they or I usually end up sleeping on my inflatable air mattress. Due to these adventures, I have collected a list of tips and tricks to make the night more bearable (and perhaps even comfortable) if you’re sleeping on an inflatable.See below for my list, and of course add your own.1. If you haven’t yet purchased an inflatable mattress and are planning to, splurge and get the double.
Mar 27, 2012
Tips for Hosting a Cocktail Party in a Studio
With the holidays just around the corner, it’s certainly the season for merry-making with friends, and what better way to do it than with some seasonal cocktails? Many of us with small spaces are probably hesitant to host a soirée, given that entertaining in a studio can pose some serious logistical problems. But don’t let those potential complications ruin your holiday fun!
Dec 15, 2011