Category Archives: Entertaining

Shortcut to Fabulous Five Minute DIY Placecard and Favor in One

chalkboard labels

With Summer wrapping up, it is time to squeeze in some last-minute entertaining before the Fall frenzy begins. It is alway nice to send guests home with a little party favor, but these days favors can be uber pricey, and who has time to create a DIY favor from scratch? Behold a semi DIY favor idea that is cheap, easy and versatile. Etsy sells these fabulous chalkboard labels. You get 12 for $8 (67 cents a label). You can find old mason jars or buy new ones from a place like Kitchen Krafts for about $1.50 a piece (for jar and lid). All you have to do is fill the jars with your favorite candy or try something cute and more voluminous like teddy grahams. Stick the chalkboard label on the jar and you can write each guests name on the jars. Now you have a placeholder and a personalized party favor!

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Shortcut to Fabulous Summer Cocktail and Easy BBQ recipes

Screen shot 2012-07-02 at 6.03.03 PM

I recently attended a fete sponsored by my friends at Stoli and had one of the best cocktails ever, aptly named Stoli Summer Punch. I begged the mixologist for the secret how-to and I have been on a liquid diet ever since. Here is how you make it:

Stoli Summer Punch

2 parts Stoli Vodka

1 part Pineapple Juice

½ part Grapefruit Juice

½ part Cranberry Juice

½ part Club Soda

½ part Lemon-lime Soda

 

Now that I have your signature cocktail taken care of, I will point you three oldie but goodie blog posts for your BBQ menu. Perfect grilled Churrasco (skirt steak), Easy Peezy Grilled Veggies and my 10 minute Semi-Homemade Strawberry Shortcake Trifle which can be made more festive for 4th of July by adding some blueberries on top.

10 minute Semi-Homemade Strawberry Shortcake Trifle

Perfect Summer Grilled Veggies

Grilled Skirt Steak

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Shortcut to Fabulous Low Cal Cocktail….while you’re out on the Town

crystal light

A fab lawyer I know shared her secret to staying slim and trim….and she is fabulously slim and trim. She keeps crystal light packets in her purse at the ready for an impromptu happy hour. She orders vodka and club soda and adds her favorite Crystal Light flavor packet to the drink, stirs and voila…a low calorie cocktail at her favorite watering hole. I am so in LOVE with this tip, I have been scheduling happy hours all over town. Who’s up for a low-cal cocktail?

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Shortcut to Fabulous Small Space Entertaining- Serving Pieces

slate serving
I love entertaining and now that Summer is around the corner, it is time to start planning some fab summer soirees. Having lived in big cities for much of my life, I have always been a little short on space for entertaining. But with a little creativity, I have managed to throw some fun fetes and cram lots of friends and family into a small space. I have some tips on furniture arrangement for small space entertaining here. Today, I am going to focus on serveware. Having a nice arsenal of serveware that can serve double and even triple duty is really essential to pint sized Martha Stewart living. Here are my favorite must have serving pieces that are affordable, chic and can be used for a myriad of dishes.
These spreaders are great for dips, brunch jams and jellies or even a self serve sandwich bar $24.95 for a set of 4 from Crate and Barrel.

I love everything from the West Elm Hammered metal collection, but I have two of these hammered metal bowls and I love them! They are $24.95 a piece and can be used for cold and hot dishes and go with any theme or decor!

This $24.00 white platter from West Elm can serve triple duty as serveware for meats, bread and other foods and also as a tray for a mini bar or even to hold candles.

Crate and Barrel Mini Tongs can be used for everything from Salad to meats and bread! $9.99

This is a MUST HAVE!!! You can use the bowls and tray as separate pieces. Spread cheeses and crackers on the tray and put dips in the bowls for a great presentation. A total steal at $9.99 from West Elm.

I have about ten sets of the $2.95 sugar tongs which I never use for sugar. I use them for everything from Olives to cheese cubes to shrimp cocktail. They are the perfect pint sized tool for serving bite sized treats.

 

 

 

 

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Shortcut to Fabulous Chocolate Milk Experience

zico

I have to admit I have not been a fan of the whole coconut water movement. The taste of plain coconut water is not market in my book and so I watched as all of my hipper than hip friends replaced their water bottled with the latest coconut water brand. Several months ago, I had the opportunity to try some free samples of Zico’s Chocolate Coconut water and it was love at first sip. This stuff tastes just like chocolate milk, but is healthy with only 110 calories for 14 oz. I have a bigger sweet tooth than Willy Wonka himself so this stuff is absolute Godsend when I have a chocolate craving. Plus it has lots of nutrient kinda stuff that is good for me like potassium and calcium…it even has some protein. They have other fun flavors too like Pineapple, Mango and Pomberry…other flavors have even less calories. Click here to check out the full line up. I am so in love with this stuff, I had some of my friends try and and now they are addicts too…my friends with kiddies have even purchased it in bulk for the kiddos lunch box! I just can’t wait to have a summer soiree so I can make some fun cocktail smoothies with the fruit flavors!! (hint: they have recipes for smoothies and cocktails here). You can buy the stuff by the case on Amazon by clicking here.

**Please note S2F is never paid for any of the products that I rave about. In this instance, I was given free samples, but no one asked me to write about the stuff, I just felt like it was a shortcut to a fabulous beverage experience so I did.

 

 

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Shortcut to Fabulous Party Food

mer-060584These Chocolate drizzled meringue cookies from Miss Meringue would make a beautiful presentation at any party on a tiered dessert stand. These are the perfect low cal decadent treat for a cocktail party! Click here to get them.

mer-060522

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Shortcut to Fabulous Party Planning….Themed Parties!

DSCN0223Planning a party around a theme makes decision making easy. However, deciding on a theme and then finding affordable decor to fit the theme can be a challenge. Here are some tips we have for finding decor to fit your theme:

  • Think outside the box. When you choose a theme, understand that not all of the decor has to center around the theme. Choose a theme with a strong color scheme and get a few items to fit the theme and then focus on sticking with the color scheme. See how we found a few items to fit in with the mod whale theme baby shower photographed here. We found a few whale items (ceramic whales from the dollar bin at Target, stuffed whales from the $1 store and whale stickers from the Invitation Box to go on the favor boxes). The rest of the items fit in with the aqua blue and orange color scheme.
  • Choose a theme and color scheme far in advance and look for items that will work with the theme everywhere you go, grocery stores, drug stores, Target, etc.DSCN0227
  • Check out your local $1 stores for items as well as Marshalls, TJ Maxx and Ross Stores. Junk stores like Big Lots can be party gold mines.
  • Look for inexpensive candle holders to fit your color scheme at dollar, thrift and junk shops.
  • Find sheets that fit in with your color scheme and/or theme and use those in place of a table cloth. (I love Marshalls, TJ Maxx and Ross for sheets…the polka dot sheets seen in this photo are from a twin sheet set purchased as Marshalls for $19.99).DSCN0252
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  • Use paper cut out shapes in lieu of a table cloth for a cheap and easy way to add pizazz to party decor. Buy scrap booking paper at your local craft store (Michaels periodically has patterned and solid color scrap booking paper on sale 4 sheets for $1) and then find a template or pattern by entering the shape you are looking for and the words “shape template” or “free stencil” in the Google search term box. When you find a shape you like print it out and use it as a stencil to cut out shapes from the craft paper your purchased. Then place the shapes on tables as part of a table scape backdrop. See how we used the whale cut-outs we created to jazz up tables for our mod whale themed baby shower.
  • Check out sites like pearlriver.com or orientaltradingcompany.com to find inexpensive party decor.

So, when planning your next themed event pick a theme several months in advance and then keep your eyes open for decor items everywhere you turn and enjoy these shortcuts to fabulous party planning!

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