Too much too muchness

Hmm, I am not sure what to make of these tabletop themes from the folks over at BHLDN. Charming? Yes. Whimsical? Yup. Assaulting my eyeballs? That, too.

These are supposed to be fantasy type inspiration tables, but it’s all just too much. BHLDN’s product line is really impressive, but in these tabletops the actual products are lost in an overwhelming sea of stuff. That’s not really ideal for marketing your wares, nor should it be the goal for an actual party. Guests should feel comfortable at a table, not like they are getting crowded out by gang of uptight floral arrangements or a mob of perfectly tousled ‘vintage’ napkins.

I’m not trying to begrudge these displays. A lot of people obviously worked very hard to put them together. However, I don’t want tables like these to overwhelm anyone and prevent them from even trying. These are not the norm, nor  should they even be something to aspire to! One or two elements from any of these tables would be doable and totally charming and non-eye assaulting. Don’t take these at face value and think it’s not worth throwing a party without 8 quirky cake stands. Parties should be fun and about making memories, not 12 feet of vintage wall paper bunting (though truthfully, for me, that would be fun). So, take what inspiration you will from the tables, but do not let it intimidate you out of being a host! You can do it, and your guests will never miss that sackful of perfectly color-coordinated jordan almonds.

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How-to videos with Clinton Kelly

This video by Clinton Kelly is BY FAR the best explanation of how to set up a buffet I have ever come across. It also happens to be exactly how I do it, so perhaps I’m a little partial. I also love that he OK’s the use of mix-matched platters and bowls, because, come on, who really has an entire matchy matchy set of buffet serving pieces?? No one I know!

The most important tips are to plan out the buffet the night before so there’s no last minute scramble searching for a platter and, even though he says it’s anal retentive, to note where each dish goes. This is especially important if anyone else will be helping to set food out, the notes make it crystal clear where everything is supposed to go!

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Today I am thankful for
today being my Friday
seeing my friend Vic tomorrow night in VA
the doctor giving me meds for my cough
said meds apparently working

Party Ponders – Marthaphobia

Anyone who is interested in parties should follow Martha Stewart. She and her super talented team are a power house of ideas and inspiration. Their job is to WOW us with their brilliance, attention to detail, and general awesomeness. But sometimes they WOW me right into getting under the covers and vowing never to entertain again because how, oh how can I ever live up to the Martha Stewart shining example of party perfection?

The truth is I can’t live up to it. NO ONE CAN! The Martha Stewart empire has a Mongolian sized horde of talented, dedicated professionals. Chefs, stylists, professional photographers, the works. I am but one lone woman. There is no way to compete.

But, I’ve come to realize, THAT’S OK! The most important thing for me about hostessing a party is to provide a nice experience for my guests. Everything else is secondary. Huge floral arrangements – don’t need them. Place cards with perfect calligraphy – 100% not necessary. And the best part… NO ONE WILL JUDGE me if those things are missing.

Ok, there are a few exceptions. Mothers and in-laws can be a little judgy judgy, but they are notoriously difficult to make happy anyway. If you have acquaintances that might be judgy, DON’T INVITE THEM. I am serious about this. Life is too short to be surrounded by people watching your every move and measuring them to their own standards. I’d recommend removing them from your life as well as your guest list. I’m just sayin’.

A few weeks ago, we invited a friend for dinner. Well, that friend was meeting another friend for a drink beforehand, then another few friends called and were in the area and all of a sudden, our dinner for 3 was a dinner for 7 and everyone was coming in an hour. No time even to run to the grocery, we chopped up all the vegetables we had in the fridge and thawed a large package of drumsticks we had in the freezer. When everyone showed up, we threw the chicken on the grill, cooked some rice, and set out the salad. The food was fine, but nothing special. There were no flowers, no streamers flowing in the breeze, or the like. We listened to the radio. The radio, people! No special playlist on an ipod, but honest to goodness radio with commercials and everything. And you know what, it turned out to be one of my most favorite parties to date.

Party perfection is a myth perpetrated to sell magazines and make brides go insane. So, don’t let some impossible dream of the perfect party stand in your way.  People enjoy getting together, period. Call up some peeps and invite them over for some wine and cheese. Or pitchers of margaritas with chips and (gasp) store bought salsa.  If you feel so inclined, try out some DIY crafts, or pick up a few flowers, but realize those things are not what makes a party. As long as your guests feel welcome and are fed and watered, everyone will have a lovely time – even you!

And if they don’t, in the words of my Grandma Sally, it’s their own damn fault.