21 Rules of Entertaining

May 16th, 2013 · 369 Comments · Baking and Sweets, Birthdays, Holidays, Celebrations, Entertaining, Organizing, Strategizing, Planning

One of the more fun parts of my “job” is that I have an excuse to reach out to people I’ve been secretly stalking for decades.  Take last month, for instance, when I met Susan Spungen for breakfast at a Union Square coffee shop. Spungen spearheaded the food section at Martha Stewart Living twenty years ago. We have her to thank for leading the team that put together the Hors D’oeuvres Handbook, which is not only my finger food bible, but the bible of caterers across America. When I heard she was coming out with a book on Entertaining – What’s a Hostess to Do? – I set up a date, and over poached eggs and shaved asparagus, downloaded her hard-won wisdom.

21 Rules for Entertaining
Culled from What’s a Hostess to Do, by Susan Spungen (and so many thousands more where these came from)

1. Less can be more. Focus on a few beautiful well-conceived, well-prepared dishes.

2. Unless it’s the holiday, in which case the key word is “bounty.” (See above.)

3. The language you use for your invitation should focus on who you do want at the party (“Join us for a grown-up dinner”) not who you don’t want (“No kids please.”)

4. For the kids — When in doubt: “Bambini Pasta,” i.e. noodles, spaghetti, penne, whatever you got — with butter and Parm.

5. Some handy math: On average, assume your guests will have 2 drinks per hour (10 guests x 2 drinks x 2 hours = 40 drinks). There are approximately 5 wine glasses per bottle. A 1-liter bottle of liquor contains enough for 32 mixed drinks. One liter of mixer will make 8 drinks.

6. The Paloma is The New Margarita.

7. [OK, disclaimer: Susan didn't exactly say that, but I did, and will continue to all summer. To make: 1/2 cup grapefruit soda (such as Mexican Jarritos or Jamaican Ting), the juice of half a lime, and 2 ounces tequila. Serve over ice with lime wedge.]

8. Centerpieces: DO use short candles, DON’T use tall or overly fragrant flowers or plants; DO decorate with short flowers or potted plants, DON’T crowd the table.

9. Scented candles? Yes, for sure, in the bathroom. On the table? Never.

10. All will be fine if Nutella is on the menu. Nutella Dessert Sandwiches: Toast thinly sliced brioche bread, spread with Nutella and dust with powdered sugar. Serve warm.

11. Three Four-Syllable Laws of Sanity Preservation when entertaining: Make it Ahead, Cook What You Know, Think Mise en Place.

12. A multitude of sins can be easily overlooked when people are basking in a warm glow: Lighting should be soft.

13. Bathroom checklist: Close the shower curtain, empty the trash. If there is no lock, make an “occupied” sign to hang on the knob. Better yet, have the kids do it.

14. Invest in a collapsible metal coatrack and never dive through a mountain of identical black wool overcoats heaped on a bed ever again.

15. Winning Cheese and Fruit Pairs for a Starter Spread: Apples + Cheddar, Quince Paste + Manchego, Figs + Gorgonzola

16. Good salumi needs little accompaniment. But no one will object if it’s next to some good bread, olives, and crisp fennel slices.

17. To make after-party cleanup less soul-crushing, always start the evening with an empty dishwasher, dish rack, trash can, and sink.

19. Yes, you can bring wine = The answer when your friends ask What Can I Bring?

20. A good party is much more than the sum of its parts. The gathering takes on a life of its own, and it almost always works out, even when it doesn’t.

21. The no-fail menu for entertaining kids and adults: Ribs, Slaw (lose the brussels in the summer), and make-ahead Ice Cream Sandwiches.

To make: For each sandwich, place a scoop of ice cream on a chocolate chip cookie (try Tate’s brand or another thin crisp cookie). Top with another cookie and press down gently. Place on a rimmed baking sheet and set in the freezer. Wrap individually after they’ve hardened, and freeze until ready to serve.

 

Giveaway!! One commenter selected at random below wins a copy of What’s a Hostess to Do? Winner announced on Monday, May 20, and must live in the 48 contiguous states. Update: Susan, #307 wins the freebie.

Art & Photo credits: Evan Sung (holiday spread) Sun Young Park (cocktail tray illustration), Susan Spungen (desserts)

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369 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Kani // May 16, 2013 at 8:02 am

    Loved this post! I’m moving into my first home soon and I’m SO excited to entertain! Perfect housewarming party tips.

  • 2 rona // May 16, 2013 at 8:09 am

    Must. Make. Nutella. Sandwiches. Now.

  • 3 Becky H. // May 16, 2013 at 8:11 am

    Great advice for easy entertaining. And so practical. The empty dishwasher/trash can so easily be overlooked or forgotten, but what a difference it can make!

  • 4 cyndie williams // May 16, 2013 at 8:13 am

    Love the simplicity of her rules; such common sense stated so simply.

  • 5 Sarah // May 16, 2013 at 8:16 am

    This looks like a fabulous book. I find myself falling into ruts when we entertain, so this could bring some fresh air to our shindigs.

  • 6 Shelby // May 16, 2013 at 8:16 am

    Great post, thanks!

  • 7 keelysteger // May 16, 2013 at 8:17 am

    Great list, Jenny and Susan!
    Thanks!

  • 8 Kristi // May 16, 2013 at 8:18 am

    Adding this book to my “must read” list. Thanks!

  • 9 LisaH // May 16, 2013 at 8:18 am

    Well this sounds like a must have!

  • 10 Anne // May 16, 2013 at 8:20 am

    I could do with a Nutella sandwich right about now…..these are all good rules, I try to remember most of them so I’m not running around like a maniac when I have guests! (even if it’s just a girlfriend over for a cheeseburger)

  • 11 Berit // May 16, 2013 at 8:22 am

    Noodles w/ Parm & butter for the kids v. fighting over why they won’t eat the meal I prepared. Love it!

  • 12 Dawn // May 16, 2013 at 8:23 am

    I get very ANXIOUS when we have a SMALL gathering! I believe having this book would help because my mind goes into overdrive & not able to narrow down my plans. I had to be honest , thankfully my husband is a better party planner & good host, he keeps me calm to enjoy our friends!
    Thanks for the opportunity to win !!

  • 13 Summer // May 16, 2013 at 8:33 am

    What a great post! Makes me want to have a dinner party immediately. I’m going to be planning over a Paloma tonight!

  • 14 pam // May 16, 2013 at 8:35 am

    great post. love the bathroom tips and the empty dishwasher, trash, etc. why didn’t i think of that

  • 15 Laura @ Chaotic Domestic // May 16, 2013 at 8:36 am

    Love these tips! Especially some of the rules of thumb about what guests consume. That’s what I always struggle with. Would love to win a copy of the book!

  • 16 Sue // As It Seems // May 16, 2013 at 8:37 am

    What a fun post & book! I love having get togethers and I can’t wait to move and start hosting them again.

  • 17 Becky Scott // May 16, 2013 at 8:37 am

    Love her less is more attitude. I tend to overdue and having someone like Susan confirm this makes it a lot easier to let go and just do a few great things:)

  • 18 Laura @ Chaotic Domestic // May 16, 2013 at 8:38 am

    Love the these tips! Especially the rules of thumb about how much guests will consume! That’s the part I always struggle with. Would love to win a copy of this book!

  • 19 Val // May 16, 2013 at 8:38 am

    Since I just bought my first house (on my own!) I feel like this should be my new Bible!

  • 20 Laura H // May 16, 2013 at 8:41 am

    I love your lists!

  • 21 Jan @ Family Bites // May 16, 2013 at 8:42 am

    I just picked up this book – it’s fabulous and I’ve marked more pages and passages than I care to admit!

  • 22 Vicki // May 16, 2013 at 8:42 am

    I put this book on my wishlist when you mentioned it a few weeks ago – now I’m even more convinced I want to read it, and have more dinner parties :) Would love to win a copy!

  • 23 Mirya // May 16, 2013 at 8:43 am

    I have been drinking vodka+ting+a splash of grenadine since we went to Jamaica. Easy and so refreshing during the summer! The grenadine (or strawberry syrup if you are in Jamaica) make it really pretty too!

  • 24 Steph // May 16, 2013 at 8:43 am

    “Make it ahead” is the entertaining rule I live by!

  • 25 Alli // May 16, 2013 at 8:48 am

    I need this! Love all of these.

  • 26 Kara // May 16, 2013 at 8:49 am

    I like the idea of Bambini pasta–so much better than the ubiquitous mac and cheese.

  • 27 Aliso // May 16, 2013 at 8:50 am

    Thanks, and Thank goodness someone is speaking out against scented candles at the dinner table!

  • 28 Holly J // May 16, 2013 at 8:56 am

    I get very nervous when I entertain. This list makes it sound so easy and even fun.

  • 29 harmony // May 16, 2013 at 8:56 am

    I love these – thanks!

  • 30 Leslie // May 16, 2013 at 8:58 am

    I wish I had known about this last week – it would have been the perfect Mother’s Day present!

  • 31 Melissa // May 16, 2013 at 9:03 am

    #21 made me laugh! We’re having ribs and slaw for a big gathering of kids and adults this Saturday! (White First Communion dress and ribs may not mix, but that’s what she requested.)

  • 32 Clare // May 16, 2013 at 9:03 am

    What a great list! We haven’t had a chance to host any grown-up dinner parties in a while with a crazy toddler running around our house, but I’m looking forward to it one day!

  • 33 Emily // May 16, 2013 at 9:06 am

    Makes me want to throw a party! (for grown ups)

  • 34 Sue // May 16, 2013 at 9:08 am

    My copy is on its way from Amazon!

  • 35 joanna brunelle // May 16, 2013 at 9:09 am

    This book sounds great. It so much easier going into a party with a good simple menu. Otherwise it’s no fun for the hostess!

  • 36 Jessy // May 16, 2013 at 9:12 am

    Ever since every other Chopped contestant has made french toast in the final round, I’ve wanted to shout from the rooftops “bread does not desert make!” But I am a big enough person to admit, that upon seeing those Nutella Desert Sandwiches, I stand corrected. Nutella FTW!

  • 37 A Life From Scratch // May 16, 2013 at 9:18 am

    The ice cream cookies are genius – I made them for my last get together and WOW – were they a huge hit.

    I love entertaining so much and it’s always great to get some fresh new ideas!

  • 38 Katie // May 16, 2013 at 9:21 am

    Can’t wait to try your Paloma recipe! Saw it on a menu recently and wasn’t quite sure what it was.

  • 39 Stacey // May 16, 2013 at 9:22 am

    Perfectly timed post! I was just thinking about how to entertain the family coming over on Sunday!

  • 40 Kara // May 16, 2013 at 9:27 am

    I can’t wait to empty my trash can before my dinner party on Saturday night. Awesome tip – great book!

  • 41 Elizabeth // May 16, 2013 at 9:29 am

    These are great tips! Thanks!

  • 42 Alison // May 16, 2013 at 9:29 am

    Thanks for highlighting this book… I’m ready for fresh hostess inspiration!

  • 43 Lauren // May 16, 2013 at 9:30 am

    Great post! Thanks for the giveaway!

  • 44 Sheila // May 16, 2013 at 9:31 am

    Those ice cream sandwiches look delicious!

  • 45 Sara // May 16, 2013 at 9:32 am

    Post bookmarked, but winning the book would be divine, too. :)

  • 46 Nicole // May 16, 2013 at 9:34 am

    Looks like a great book, it’s always a challenge to come up with a meal plan to please everyone!

  • 47 Karla K // May 16, 2013 at 9:35 am

    Great giveaway! I love to entertain and love these little tips!

  • 48 AmyPH // May 16, 2013 at 9:36 am

    The Paloma sounds delicious-can’t wait to try it!

    Another good spin on the Nutella dessert sandwich is a Nutella quesadilla, which I make for my daughter. Drop a big dollop of nutella in a flour tortilla, fold over and grill in a buttered skillet until crisp and gooey, then dust with cinnamon sugar.

  • 49 Susan // May 16, 2013 at 9:36 am

    Desperately needing to start entertaining…this book would be a big help! And the list is great. Thanks!

  • 50 Miles // May 16, 2013 at 9:37 am

    Great post! Thanks for the tips

  • 51 Kay Lynn // May 16, 2013 at 9:39 am

    I am printing…well, pinning….this now! Thank you. My favorite tip is about the party taking a life of its own and working out (even when it doesn’t).

  • 52 danielle // May 16, 2013 at 9:40 am

    i’m in the midst of preparing for my birthday party on saturday, and this list just helped calm me down ever so slightly. especially #20!

  • 53 Tara // May 16, 2013 at 9:44 am

    This is lovely. I have been suffering from Excessive Entertainment Fatigue (E.E.F.) for a few years now. I think these tips might actually help. Thanks.

  • 54 Louisa S. // May 16, 2013 at 9:49 am

    I like the cookie ice cream sandwich idea, sounds delicious! I’d love to see what other tips lie inside the book..

  • 55 Kat Chavez // May 16, 2013 at 9:50 am

    I love this list! I am trying to throw more dinner parties this summer that are kid friendly and this is a huge help. Also try a scoop of cottage cheese in that bambinia pasta, HUGE hit at our house. Buttered noodles just aren’t right without it.

  • 56 MaryG // May 16, 2013 at 9:51 am

    I would love this book – I want to entertain more (we just remodeled the kitchen and I want to show it off!) but I always feel so overwhelmed at the idea.

  • 57 Liz C. // May 16, 2013 at 9:51 am

    Wonderful post!! Thank you!

  • 58 Jane // May 16, 2013 at 9:52 am

    Love this post and all of the wonderful tips! This sounds like the perfect book on entertaining for people of all ages!

  • 59 Rachel // May 16, 2013 at 9:54 am

    I need to get my hands on a Paloma soon. Grapefruit soda has been added to my shopping list!

  • 60 Liz R. // May 16, 2013 at 9:54 am

    I already had “close the shower curtain down,” but that’s about it… Gotta get my hands on that book.

  • 61 Adrianne // May 16, 2013 at 9:54 am

    Favorite words: “it almost always works out, even when it doesn’t.” I think that could be a life philosophy, no?

  • 62 Cynthia // May 16, 2013 at 9:54 am

    Love this list … I would add that Trader Joes has great bubbly non-alcoholic drinks, like pink lemonade, limeade, etc. that provide a triple benefit – mixer for vodka, gin; fun for kids; something for adults who choose not to drink.

  • 63 Erin // May 16, 2013 at 9:58 am

    Looks excellent!

  • 64 Jessica S // May 16, 2013 at 10:00 am

    I can think of several people who will be getting this as a gift!

  • 65 Blair // May 16, 2013 at 10:01 am

    Fun giveaway! You never stop improving on entertaining :)

  • 66 Jett // May 16, 2013 at 10:02 am

    Great info! I would love to win this book!

  • 67 catie // May 16, 2013 at 10:03 am

    can’t wait to read the book!
    trying the paloma asap.
    my margarita is the margarigio:
    http://five-ten-fifteen.blogspot.com/2010/05/margarigio-pinot-grigio-margarita.html

  • 68 Erica // May 16, 2013 at 10:06 am

    Looking forward to trying the Paloma!

  • 69 michelle // May 16, 2013 at 10:08 am

    Wish I had known about resources like this at my last gathering. Thank you for posting great information! And I will HAVE to buy the book soon, (If I don’t win it)

  • 70 Lauren // May 16, 2013 at 10:08 am

    Love the tips!!! I’m the dinner party queen among my friends but I’m still learning ways to ensure the night is fun and easy. Timing has been the largest issue thus far.

  • 71 Nancy // May 16, 2013 at 10:08 am

    ribs and slaw :-)

  • 72 Lacey // May 16, 2013 at 10:09 am

    I love your list, so I think I would love this book as well!

  • 73 Silvia // May 16, 2013 at 10:10 am

    i think this book is perfect as we are in charge of hosting game night every 3 months with our friends! it would make me a better host & guest!

  • 74 Lynn SW // May 16, 2013 at 10:10 am

    We’ll be moving this summer so we could use this book for our housewarming party!

  • 75 cck // May 16, 2013 at 10:13 am

    I love entertaining, but I am in a terrible rut. This looks lovely!

  • 76 Jen // May 16, 2013 at 10:15 am

    LOVE it! I have to remind myself that less can be more. ALSO… my husband and I just discovered Palomas last fall. YUMMY!

  • 77 susan // May 16, 2013 at 10:17 am

    sounds like a great book! would love to win it!

  • 78 Stephanie // May 16, 2013 at 10:17 am

    Start with an empty dishwasher. So logical, and yet never occurred to me. Thanks!

  • 79 Reynaul // May 16, 2013 at 10:21 am

    Great list and great looking book! I also never thought of the Bambini pasta, awesome idea!

  • 80 Laura Ingalls // May 16, 2013 at 10:21 am

    Love all the ideas!

  • 81 Leslie // May 16, 2013 at 10:22 am

    Soooo sage and sane!

  • 82 Jennifer // May 16, 2013 at 10:24 am

    This book sounds great!

  • 83 Jessica // May 16, 2013 at 10:26 am

    mmm, I want to try the Paloma asap!

  • 84 Krista // May 16, 2013 at 10:30 am

    Great post, full of useful pointers. Getting ready to host a meeting of 18 people at my home in one hour, and #9 has me running to light my bathroom candles! Thanks for a great list (along with 100 Rules of Dinner–all time fave post).

  • 85 Amy // May 16, 2013 at 10:32 am

    Great tips! Makes me want to throw a party!

  • 86 Amy G // May 16, 2013 at 10:38 am

    Love this! Would love to check out this book!

  • 87 Jess // May 16, 2013 at 10:39 am

    My mouth is watering looking at the spread in the top picture… yum! Great tips!

  • 88 Kathy // May 16, 2013 at 10:40 am

    Great ideas! Definitely makes me want to entertain this summer.

  • 89 Sara // May 16, 2013 at 10:41 am

    Looks like a great book! Can’t wait to check it out!!

  • 90 Maggie // May 16, 2013 at 10:46 am

    These tips are incredibly useful–they certainly inspire me to entertain more frequently. Can’t wait to check out the book.

  • 91 Kathy // May 16, 2013 at 10:47 am

    This book looks like a great companion to DALS. Hubs & I are starting to have dinner parties for people we’re not related to, and last month I make the mistake of tall flowers on the table. We moved them before finishing our salads so everyone could see each other (blush… why didn’t I think of that?!!). That faux pas was forgotten when the pork shoulder with papardelle was presented. One guest had thirds! Thank you, Jenny!!

  • 92 Julienne // May 16, 2013 at 10:47 am

    I love having people over for dinner, but I am a very anxious entertainer and tend to go overboard making sure things are perfect! Love the tips so far – would loove to read more from this book!

  • 93 Teresa // May 16, 2013 at 10:48 am

    Great list! Love the Nutella sandwich idea! Off to add the book to my Amazon wish list. Just in case I don’t win…

  • 94 Maddie // May 16, 2013 at 10:49 am

    We just moved into our first home together and I would like to plan a housewarming party- this book would be perfect for ideas!

  • 95 Kathryn // May 16, 2013 at 10:50 am

    Love the tips, this book looks great!

  • 96 Courtney // May 16, 2013 at 10:52 am

    This is amazing. I can’t wait to make the warm nutella sandwiches and the ice cream sandwiches. Oh, looks like I’m having a dessert party.

  • 97 M // May 16, 2013 at 10:53 am

    I missed the part in the post about a commentator getting the book, but I did see “92 comments” – my first thought was – “was there something controversial in this I didn’t pick up on?” Wasn’t until I started reading the comments that I realized.

    These are great tips, especially about the flowers – I’ve made that mistake as well.

  • 98 Anne // May 16, 2013 at 10:54 am

    I would love this book!

  • 99 michelle in montana // May 16, 2013 at 10:55 am

    Oh! I just must win this for my neighbor and friend whose birthday is fast approaching…..She would adore this! Well, so would I. It would be tough to give away…..might have to go shopping right now!

  • 100 Renee // May 16, 2013 at 10:56 am

    Oh, I need this book! And that holiday spread by Evan Sung is absolutely to die for. Where did that photo originally appear? I want to use it as inspiration for all my future parties.

  • 101 Olivia // May 16, 2013 at 11:00 am

    Very timely…entertaining tomorrow night and will surely employ several of these great ideas.

  • 102 Ellie // May 16, 2013 at 11:04 am

    I need this book! I have no idea how to entertain and I really need to get cracking on this life skill.

  • 103 Katie // May 16, 2013 at 11:05 am

    I would love to win this! Lots of tips I can use. Thanks!

  • 104 suzell // May 16, 2013 at 11:06 am

    I love this list. In fact, I love all lists that are easy to read and understand, and the tips are great. I will actually remember them come my next party/hosting duties!

    Thank you for sharing!

  • 105 katya // May 16, 2013 at 11:07 am

    oooh, i need to try that paloma recipe!

  • 106 Susan // May 16, 2013 at 11:08 am

    Looks like a great book to have in your arsenal!

  • 107 joan // May 16, 2013 at 11:09 am

    Effortless entertaining… that’s what I like. Great tips!

  • 108 Melissa@Julia's Bookbag // May 16, 2013 at 11:09 am

    Oh yes please! What brilliant ideas. I so rarely throw parties and get-togethers because I’m too intimidated and don’t know the best way to prepare a spread…:)

  • 109 Jesse // May 16, 2013 at 11:10 am

    this post came at a great time for me as were having last minute guests this weekend and i’m trying not to hit the panic button. now i’ve got my mantra: keep it simple.

  • 110 Katie // May 16, 2013 at 11:13 am

    I love DALS and this book sounds fabulous. I think being a great hostess is something you learn, both from observation and trial and error. I am learning to host parties big and small and would live to read this book. I hope I win!! :)

  • 111 Amber // May 16, 2013 at 11:14 am

    Love these tips!

  • 112 Lauren @ La Dolce Pita // May 16, 2013 at 11:14 am

    I’m obsessed with retro-style entertaining & cookbooks, so I am definitely going to want this Susan Spungen book! Thanks for these tips, very helpful – entertaining can be SO stressful!

  • 113 Annie // May 16, 2013 at 11:15 am

    It’s so funny, that I had never thought about making it a hard and fast rule to begin the evening with an empty dishwasher and trashcan. But since I read it in your book it has made all of my gatherings so much easier to clean up and just less stressful in general. Thanks!

  • 114 Kelsey M // May 16, 2013 at 11:26 am

    Palomas! I’ve been saying this for 6 months–definitely the new margarita. This book sounds right up my alley, I would love to have a copy!

  • 115 Laura Z. // May 16, 2013 at 11:29 am

    There are so many great ideas here! Where to start?

    I REALLY want this book.

    And yes, Nutella anywhere on the menu makes everything perfect…

  • 116 Eliz // May 16, 2013 at 11:30 am

    her book is on my wish list – glad you met.

  • 117 Katie // May 16, 2013 at 11:30 am

    Planning a brunch for Sunday and these tips are PERFECT! :)

  • 118 Briana // May 16, 2013 at 11:30 am

    My husband is in charge of the social calendar and is always inviting people over. He says “It’s not big deal; I’ll help you!” I think we all know how that ends . . . . This book! Must have this book!

  • 119 Schuyler // May 16, 2013 at 11:37 am

    Sounds like a great book. So many people forget the scented candle tip….

  • 120 Lori M. // May 16, 2013 at 11:45 am

    This is a great list and I have to make the Nutella sandwiches immediately!

  • 121 Lauren E. E. // May 16, 2013 at 11:50 am

    I found myself nodding at every tip. Sounds like a great book!

  • 122 Divya // May 16, 2013 at 12:02 pm

    I am moving to my new home at the end of this summer. I can not wait to entertain, and put these tips to good use! Loved this post Jen! Off to try a Paloma! :)

  • 123 Diane // May 16, 2013 at 12:06 pm

    Gee, being almost 50 years old, I thought I knew how to entertain. But whoa! I need this book! What great ideas that I could really use.

  • 124 Adrienne // May 16, 2013 at 12:11 pm

    Great tips – I may have to buy the book if I don’t win it!

  • 125 Lisa De. // May 16, 2013 at 12:11 pm

    It is party season coming up at my house… 3 daughters and 3 summer birthdays. Thanks for the great tips!

  • 126 Tina // May 16, 2013 at 12:12 pm

    Sounds like a fun book!

  • 127 nina // May 16, 2013 at 12:13 pm

    love the 21 tips. would love to have the book!

  • 128 Avital // May 16, 2013 at 12:15 pm

    Nutella sandwiches!!! Guaranteed crowd pleaser, yes.

  • 129 Abby E. // May 16, 2013 at 12:18 pm

    My husband and I just bought our first house and I need this book! We’ve been volunteered to host Thanksgiving and I need all the help I can get.

  • 130 Anna // May 16, 2013 at 12:22 pm

    As someone who is just beginning to entertain, this book will be immensely helpful. I can’t wait to check it out!

  • 131 Cay // May 16, 2013 at 12:24 pm

    We were totally living the Paloma last summer, and I was just thinking that it’s time to stock up on some grapefruit soda, now that it’s above 60!

  • 132 Jesabes // May 16, 2013 at 12:26 pm

    Ooh, the book looks great!

  • 133 Lisa // May 16, 2013 at 12:29 pm

    Love it. If only we had a dishwasher…

  • 134 Michelle // May 16, 2013 at 12:34 pm

    nutella sandwich dessert = genius!!!!

  • 135 Emily T // May 16, 2013 at 12:36 pm

    If you have a dishwasher (sorry Lisa) also put the soap in the little door. I don’t know why, but having soap in there already makes me feel SO PEACEFUL

  • 136 jaime // May 16, 2013 at 12:38 pm

    the Paloma sounds goooood!

  • 137 Iris // May 16, 2013 at 12:40 pm

    Great suggestions. I always suggest wine when someone asks if they can bring something, too. This book is going on my wishlist!

  • 138 caitlyn // May 16, 2013 at 12:46 pm

    These tips are helpful, would love to read the book!

  • 139 Beth // May 16, 2013 at 12:47 pm

    The Paloma sounds like my new favorite cocktail!

  • 140 Will // May 16, 2013 at 12:49 pm

    Appetizers rock! (The best dinner ever is a bunch of appetizers and wine!) – OK, maybe leave out the wine for the kids – ;)

  • 141 Angie // May 16, 2013 at 12:53 pm

    Looks like a must read!

  • 142 heather // May 16, 2013 at 12:53 pm

    Would love to win this book!

  • 143 Ann // May 16, 2013 at 1:00 pm

    Thanks for the post! Really excited to check out this book, and her finger food book!

  • 144 Jess // May 16, 2013 at 1:00 pm

    Palomas and ice cream sandwichs are aces.

  • 145 Evie // May 16, 2013 at 1:05 pm

    I will be mixing some Palomas for my next gathering. Just made ice cream cookwiches for a party last weekend! Looks like a great resource.

  • 146 Rebecca // May 16, 2013 at 1:08 pm

    wonderful tips for my next hosting gig!

  • 147 abby // May 16, 2013 at 1:08 pm

    looks awesome!

  • 148 Christina // May 16, 2013 at 1:13 pm

    I’ve had my eye on this little gem of a book for weeks! I love to entertain.

    Christina in Oregon

  • 149 Beth // May 16, 2013 at 1:17 pm

    Wow, do I ever need this book!

  • 150 Amy F. // May 16, 2013 at 1:17 pm

    Would love this book! Thanks for sharing.

  • 151 kitchenbelle // May 16, 2013 at 1:20 pm

    I love these suggestions! Would love to read the book. Thanks for hosting a give away!

  • 152 Cailin // May 16, 2013 at 1:22 pm

    Some great tips!

  • 153 Raquel // May 16, 2013 at 1:23 pm

    All is well when Nutella is on the menu. My kind of book. Thanks for the giveaway!

  • 154 Allison (Spontaneous Tomato) // May 16, 2013 at 1:29 pm

    I loved this post! (And then it was a pleasant bonus to see that it was a giveaway at the end…) I don’t think I’ve ever tried a Paloma, but you’ve 100% convinced me that it needs to be the next drink I make for myself. Especially considering I already love ginger ale + tequila (which my friends and I named the Chinchilla), and I already love Salty Dogs… hm I should try adding lime juice to my next Salty Dog, too!

  • 155 Allison // May 16, 2013 at 1:36 pm

    Best checklist ever!

  • 156 Jeannie hannon // May 16, 2013 at 1:45 pm

    Love to have friends over and do catering as a favor sometimes

  • 157 Natasha // May 16, 2013 at 1:50 pm

    So useful! Making a Paloma tonight for sure.

  • 158 JanetS // May 16, 2013 at 1:57 pm

    I love this post!

  • 159 Karyn // May 16, 2013 at 2:03 pm

    Paloma! So fun. Our bar cart has a running love affair with Ting, and I’m excited to try this!

  • 160 Shani // May 16, 2013 at 2:07 pm

    Pinning this post and adding the book to my wish list!

  • 161 Jennifer Wilson // May 16, 2013 at 2:09 pm

    I love her blog! And the Paloma is ON for summer.

  • 162 Kki // May 16, 2013 at 2:13 pm

    Wonderful post – thanks for the tips! Will be sure to use them next time we have guests.

  • 163 Kristin Walters // May 16, 2013 at 2:16 pm

    Wonderful reminders of how to make things a bit easier for the hosts so everyone can relax and have a good time! I’m making a Paloma and planning my next party now!

  • 164 Stephanie // May 16, 2013 at 2:19 pm

    I’m moving into a new (and bigger!) apartment in a few weeks. Dinner parties all summer long!

  • 165 Rachel // May 16, 2013 at 2:24 pm

    That cocktail sounds amazing. It’s finally stopped snowing long enough in Colorado to contemplate such a thing!

  • 166 Tori // May 16, 2013 at 2:25 pm

    this book looks amazing!! And i need a Paloma, stat.

  • 167 Haley // May 16, 2013 at 2:35 pm

    thanks for the great book references, i’m going to have to check this book out for sure.

  • 168 SusanJ // May 16, 2013 at 2:36 pm

    Thanks for the tips and the giveaway – I really need this book!!

  • 169 jackie // May 16, 2013 at 2:38 pm

    The process to becoming a great host can sometimes be a slow one; this book looks like it might speed things up!

  • 170 Jenny C // May 16, 2013 at 2:39 pm

    We give a HUGE holiday party (75-80+ people) and are always on the lookout for new app ideas to keep the menu fresh. Adding this book to my Amazon wishlist now in case I don’t win!

  • 171 Becky // May 16, 2013 at 2:50 pm

    I don’t have the entertaining gene, so reading that list has already inspired me with some great, simple tips!

  • 172 Emily // May 16, 2013 at 2:52 pm

    Love this. I nearly always violate the “cook what you know” rule, though…love trying out new stuff when there’s extras to cook for. Also if I’m making it ahead of time & it doesn’t work out, I can always go back to an old standby on the day of!

  • 173 katylady // May 16, 2013 at 2:55 pm

    palomas!!?? sounds great. :)

  • 174 Kendra A. // May 16, 2013 at 2:55 pm

    Such a great list. Thanks for the giveaway!

  • 175 Liza in Ann Arbor // May 16, 2013 at 3:07 pm

    I think this is one I’m going to have to add to my list. And those palomas?…count me in!

  • 176 Sara D // May 16, 2013 at 3:10 pm

    Great post! I’ve been craving dinner parties lately, but I have a really hard time feeling like I can put together something really nice. These tips will help!

  • 177 kara // May 16, 2013 at 3:16 pm

    This looks like an entertaining read. Thanks!

  • 178 Stephanie // May 16, 2013 at 3:17 pm

    I want it!

  • 179 Nicole // May 16, 2013 at 3:23 pm

    This book would have passed me by – thanks for profiling it.

  • 180 Mandy M // May 16, 2013 at 3:24 pm

    Yes please! I think I need this book. And several Palomas.

  • 181 Julie McKnight // May 16, 2013 at 3:28 pm

    Thanks for the tips! Can’t wait to read the book.

    My husband makes a mean margarita, but I’m definitely going to have to try those Palomas.

  • 182 Melissa // May 16, 2013 at 3:31 pm

    Great ideas! I will have to remember the ice cream sandwiches for the kids!

  • 183 Meg // May 16, 2013 at 3:45 pm

    Yum! Thanks for sharing.

  • 184 Katie B // May 16, 2013 at 3:47 pm

    Yuh-es, ice cream sandwiches! Last summer I made them with homemade double-chocolate cookies, and the kids lost their little minds. The adults liked them, too:)

  • 185 Jennifer // May 16, 2013 at 3:52 pm

    Thanks for the chance at a great giveaway!

  • 186 Madelaine // May 16, 2013 at 3:54 pm

    Love these tips! And I agree about the Palomas – they’re so refreshing.

  • 187 melissa // May 16, 2013 at 3:56 pm

    what a great list! i just had my first paloma a few weeks ago (followed quickly by my second!) and i loved it! my drink of the summer for sure.

  • 188 Stacie // May 16, 2013 at 3:58 pm

    Oh goody … It would make for an excellent early birthday win! Fingers crossed for all!
    Stacie

  • 189 Stephanie W. // May 16, 2013 at 4:01 pm

    Great list! I would add: No need for a kids table unless there are many and they are rowdy! My kids have always loved being mashed up with the grown-ups. It makes for good relationships and great conversation.

  • 190 JenK // May 16, 2013 at 4:02 pm

    Yum…All great ideas. Can’t wait to make my first paloma.

  • 191 Joanna // May 16, 2013 at 4:10 pm

    These are great ideas!

  • 192 Robyn // May 16, 2013 at 4:21 pm

    This is a terrific list! We don’t entertain much because our place is so tiny AND we have an almost 4 yr old….one day, one day…

  • 193 Joanna // May 16, 2013 at 4:21 pm

    Great post! I can’t wait to read the book…

  • 194 Corinna Paolucci // May 16, 2013 at 4:49 pm

    Love your site… Always inspiring! This post is no exception! :)

  • 195 Molly G // May 16, 2013 at 4:53 pm

    I love the ice cream sandwich idea… so simple yet delicious! The perfect summer make-ahead dessert!

  • 196 Alisa // May 16, 2013 at 5:11 pm

    thanks for this post- I am intrigued by Quince paste!

  • 197 Tristen // May 16, 2013 at 5:12 pm

    Collapsible coat rack? Who knew?!!

    Thanks for the giveaway,
    Tristen

  • 198 Angela // May 16, 2013 at 5:18 pm

    Love the sundae on a spponAfter school snack for my daughter every day – peanut butter, honey, mini choc chips!

  • 199 julie // May 16, 2013 at 5:34 pm

    Reading this post makes me what to throw a party! Thanks for chance.

  • 200 Catherine // May 16, 2013 at 5:34 pm

    Great, simple ideas! Just in time for the weekend.

  • 201 Susan // May 16, 2013 at 5:40 pm

    Great post with wonderful ideas! Can’t wait to try the Nutella Dessert sandwich!

  • 202 Tracy // May 16, 2013 at 5:54 pm

    Thanks for the chance to win the book!

  • 203 Catherine S. // May 16, 2013 at 6:19 pm

    I really like this list. Thanks!

  • 204 Erin // May 16, 2013 at 6:33 pm

    This would be perfect timing. I am throwing a housewarming party in a few short weeks :)

  • 205 Beth Nesbit // May 16, 2013 at 6:39 pm

    We are almost done with our backyard construction and I can’t wait for summertime backyard entertaining!

  • 206 Emily R // May 16, 2013 at 6:40 pm

    Now I have to throw a party! Thank you! :)

  • 207 Beth Nesbit // May 16, 2013 at 6:41 pm

    We are just finishing up with the construction on our backyard and I can’t wait to entertain for the summer!

  • 208 Melissa // May 16, 2013 at 6:58 pm

    Love all these ideas. I think this book is my new go-to for bridal showers, etc.

  • 209 Carrie // May 16, 2013 at 7:01 pm

    I have always wanted to host a fun dinner party. Maybe this book would help me pull it together!

  • 210 Benita // May 16, 2013 at 7:10 pm

    Love all these great tips! I always keep a tub of ice cream and chocolate chip cookie dough on hand so I can whip up dessert in no time anytime. You don’t even have to make them into sandwhiches- you can be lazy like me and drop ice cream in a bowl and top with two cookies!

  • 211 Connor // May 16, 2013 at 7:11 pm

    My birthday is coming up in June, so I’m stealing some ideas from this :)

  • 212 Beth S // May 16, 2013 at 7:17 pm

    I am hosting a graduation party in about 10 days, so I appreciate the tips. I also love the make ahead ice cream cookie sandwich idea, I may just make some for my ice cream loving son!!

  • 213 Adrienne // May 16, 2013 at 7:18 pm

    Love this, especially since this summer we will be doing a lot of entertaining with family coming to visit.

  • 214 Anne // May 16, 2013 at 7:21 pm

    Paloma! and yes – mise en place!

  • 215 Ariane // May 16, 2013 at 7:21 pm

    So glad you posted this! Sounds like a lovely book. If I don’t win, I’ll still have to order it for my mother as a belated Mother’s Day gift.

  • 216 Nancy L S // May 16, 2013 at 7:22 pm

    Love the tips! I am ginna make those semi-homemade ice cream sandwiches and also serve and drink the “new margaritas”! Thanks!

  • 217 Beth // May 16, 2013 at 7:44 pm

    My husband is starting a new job and we’ll be entertaining. Thanks for the ideas.

  • 218 Anna // May 16, 2013 at 7:59 pm

    Great tips! I need to shop for Paloma ingredients.

  • 219 Kady // May 16, 2013 at 8:01 pm

    Love this post– would love to read the book!

  • 220 Deborah // May 16, 2013 at 8:16 pm

    That Paloma sounds yummy! And the book sounds like a must read!

  • 221 Michelle S. // May 16, 2013 at 8:27 pm

    Thanks for sharing the ideas. They are great.

  • 222 Kati // May 16, 2013 at 8:43 pm

    Thank you so much for this! I only wish I had seen this a year or two ago. Since moving in with my boyfriend into a bigger house, we have a lot of large parties. I have learned from trial and error (mostly error) the tips about the bathroom, simple food, and cleanup. This is great!

  • 223 Melissa // May 16, 2013 at 9:09 pm

    Moving this summer…great tips for dinners in the new place!

  • 224 Deena // May 16, 2013 at 9:20 pm

    Love the tips, we entertain more in the summer so this will be helpful. I also can’t wait to make up some of your special burger sauce! It’s a summer staple at our house.

  • 225 sarah // May 16, 2013 at 9:25 pm

    me! me! me! this has been on my amazon wish list for weeks!! i want it!!

  • 226 Abbe // May 16, 2013 at 9:28 pm

    All these tips are so lovely! I would be so glad to win a copy :)

  • 227 Kirsten // May 16, 2013 at 9:34 pm

    I love these ideas and would love to win the book, too!

  • 228 Margo, Thrift at Home // May 16, 2013 at 9:39 pm

    great tips! Looks like a book I want to read.

  • 229 Janice // May 16, 2013 at 9:43 pm

    Amazing tips!

  • 230 Laurie C. // May 16, 2013 at 9:44 pm

    This is an excellent resource…thanks for sharing it!

  • 231 Michelle // May 16, 2013 at 9:48 pm

    Can’t wait to read this book! I can’t get enough Tips from Experts.

  • 232 bridgit // May 16, 2013 at 10:13 pm

    Now I know what I’m getting my husband for his birthday! He is all about nice hors d’oeuvres and the simplest of simple meal (whatever that might be in the moment).

  • 233 Kortney // May 16, 2013 at 10:23 pm

    makes me want to have a party!

  • 234 Sarah S // May 16, 2013 at 10:28 pm

    This book looks so fun!!

  • 235 Kirstjen // May 16, 2013 at 10:32 pm

    That book looks fantastic!

  • 236 'becca // May 16, 2013 at 10:37 pm

    Thank you for sharing. Loved this post & book you introduced.

  • 237 SAC // May 16, 2013 at 10:37 pm

    I am wanting to host a party this weekend now!

  • 238 Kelly N. // May 16, 2013 at 10:42 pm

    Looks like a fantastic book!

  • 239 Trina // May 16, 2013 at 10:53 pm

    I WANT this book. And now I NEED Nutella too. Thanks Jenny!

  • 240 Cecilia // May 16, 2013 at 10:57 pm

    I’m going to make those ice cream sandwiches, and that salad very soon, and have some company over to enjoy them. Thanks for the ideas!

  • 241 Brittany // May 16, 2013 at 10:59 pm

    *rumbling stomach* Looks great!

  • 242 Nolo // May 16, 2013 at 11:02 pm

    Love all items on the list!

  • 243 Jennifer P // May 16, 2013 at 11:08 pm

    Love these simple tips. I so appreciate being validated that I can still be a good hostess without going overboard and crazy!!!

  • 244 Jennifer // May 16, 2013 at 11:11 pm

    Very nice tips! now if you have any for cleaning up a small house with a big three year old. For a period of time I argued that we should be forgiven the mess, but I think it’s to the point of uncomfortable for guests now.

  • 245 Sherry // May 16, 2013 at 11:27 pm

    Love entertaining and cooking. Great tips because I always do too much.

  • 246 Rena // May 16, 2013 at 11:32 pm

    Loved this! Great tips!

  • 247 Sarah // May 16, 2013 at 11:33 pm

    Awesome! We are hosting the rehearsal dinner for friends wedding in August, I’m going to put those tips to good use!

  • 248 Kim // May 16, 2013 at 11:56 pm

    These tips are so helpful! They make me want to toss all of our toy clutter in a closet and invite folks over. Thank you!

  • 249 steph // May 17, 2013 at 12:18 am

    Oooooh! Me! Me! Pick me!

  • 250 Lisa // May 17, 2013 at 12:30 am

    Mm love the cheese pairing ideas! And the Nutella sandwiches!

  • 251 Kerri // May 17, 2013 at 12:31 am

    I always make entertaining too big of a deal. I need these tips!

  • 252 chelsea b. // May 17, 2013 at 12:58 am

    I would love this book!

  • 253 Tonpia Glazer // May 17, 2013 at 1:01 am

    Hi Paloma, my name is Tonpia. Let’s become besties.

  • 254 Jen // May 17, 2013 at 1:35 am

    Ice cream sandwich = perfect dessert!

  • 255 Margit Van Schaick // May 17, 2013 at 1:48 am

    Hopefully, this book can inspire more of us to give parties, to make possible a greater sense of community.

  • 256 gorgeousminute // May 17, 2013 at 1:54 am

    I love these tips! x

  • 257 em remington // May 17, 2013 at 3:30 am

    great tips! love the drink math, and also the ice cream sandwiches!

  • 258 Grace Ann Ekström // May 17, 2013 at 6:54 am

    Love the entertaining ideas… especially ice cream sandwiches! How cute would those be as miniatures??!

  • 259 Colleen // May 17, 2013 at 7:09 am

    Would love to win this!

  • 260 Kristan C. // May 17, 2013 at 8:35 am

    What a great book!

  • 261 Beth Berlin // May 17, 2013 at 8:39 am

    Fantastic tips! One specialty cocktail; beer, wine and soda for those who don’t like it. As long as you’ve got a clean bathroom, people always seem to be forgiving if your house isn’t spotless….especially if the food, drinks and conversation are fantastic!

  • 262 Kim // May 17, 2013 at 8:52 am

    This book is a must-have for my shelves. And will be a great hostess gift this summer!

  • 263 christine // May 17, 2013 at 9:03 am

    Oooooh-pick me!

  • 264 Heather // May 17, 2013 at 9:06 am

    I would love to win this book!

  • 265 Marissa // May 17, 2013 at 9:18 am

    Great tips! I’m going to have try a Paloma :)

  • 266 Sarah // May 17, 2013 at 9:24 am

    Does the book come with a Nutella sandwich if I win? :)

  • 267 Sandra H // May 17, 2013 at 9:30 am

    It is so helpful to “have the permission” to say Yes bring something! Thanks for encouraging me to begin my own love story.

  • 268 Jyll // May 17, 2013 at 9:50 am

    Ice cream sandwiches! I always forget about those. This book will really come in handy for the summer party season.

  • 269 Adrianne // May 17, 2013 at 9:57 am

    What great tips! In the summer, when we’re barbecuing outside, we always provide a basket of bug spray and sunscreen for our guests.

  • 270 Katy A // May 17, 2013 at 10:08 am

    I’m always the most nervous hostess, convinced there won’t be enough food or drink. Until I get a glass of wine in me. Then everything works out.

  • 271 Kathleen // May 17, 2013 at 10:14 am

    I don’t necessarily always follow these types of tips, but I love to read about them

  • 272 Nerissa // May 17, 2013 at 10:14 am

    This book is on my wishlist! Thanks for the Paloma recipe. I not only love the way that word rolls of the tounge but I also love all things grapefruit.

  • 273 nadya // May 17, 2013 at 10:15 am

    Love this! Makes me want to throw a party.

  • 274 laura // May 17, 2013 at 10:21 am

    Very helpful tips! Thanks!

  • 275 Kristen // May 17, 2013 at 11:12 am

    The collapsible metal coat rack has just been added to my Target shopping list, love that idea!

  • 276 Nora // May 17, 2013 at 11:35 am

    mmm… boozy Jarritos. Sounds heavenly!

  • 277 Rosie // May 17, 2013 at 12:16 pm

    Couldn’t agree morea about the empty dishwasher, trash can, etc. It makes things THAT much easier.

  • 278 Amy G // May 17, 2013 at 12:25 pm

    Great post!

    Every time I put together a cheese plate, I run through your list: something from a pig, etc.

    Every time.

  • 279 Ms. Morgan Leigh // May 17, 2013 at 12:29 pm

    What a great post. I love the handy math!

  • 280 Sarah Ha // May 17, 2013 at 12:31 pm

    Cant wait to serve those ice cream sandwiches this summer!!

  • 281 Lori // May 17, 2013 at 12:32 pm

    We love having people over, esp. in the summer. I always get stressed out, but have fun as soon as people arrive. But I always make the same stuff. Bring on the new! Thanks for the giveaway, and love Palomas (fresh grapefruit juice, though).

  • 282 Laurel // May 17, 2013 at 12:43 pm

    This is a great list. I love all the tips for keeping it simple. That is something my husband and I really struggle with when entertaining. Thanks!

  • 283 Megan H. // May 17, 2013 at 12:48 pm

    This is a really timely post with great advice. It makes me want to get something on the books today!

  • 284 Sarah // May 17, 2013 at 12:51 pm

    Great post!

  • 285 Sally // May 17, 2013 at 1:13 pm

    Putting ice cream sandwiches on the list for summer. Great ideas!

  • 286 Abby // May 17, 2013 at 1:31 pm

    Palomas are the best. I am also enamored of the bathroom checklist.

  • 287 Anna D. // May 17, 2013 at 1:51 pm

    Great post! Can’t wait to add this book to my collection!

  • 288 Karen // May 17, 2013 at 2:03 pm

    I would love to find a way to make hosting dinner parties more enjoyable and less stressful. I am definitely going to check this book out ( but will wait to see if I win it!).

  • 289 KC // May 17, 2013 at 2:52 pm

    I was just prepping for a Girl Scout meeting about manners and hosting a party. They don’t need the full list (yet!) but #3, #8, #9, #17 & #20 are great for these young girls (and the rest of us!) And I think we may incorporate #10 into the menu planning. Thank you!

  • 290 giselle l. // May 17, 2013 at 2:54 pm

    i absolutely love these ideas and the book looks adorable. thanks!

  • 291 Kendall // May 17, 2013 at 3:23 pm

    What a lovely book and such approachable hostess advice! Easy to remember too.

  • 292 Christine // May 17, 2013 at 3:29 pm

    Thanks for another great post!! I enjoy them all so much!!

  • 293 Anna K // May 17, 2013 at 3:38 pm

    Great list! I would really love that book

  • 294 Betsy // May 17, 2013 at 3:39 pm

    Looking forward to making ice cream sandwiches this summer.

  • 295 Jen // May 17, 2013 at 3:58 pm

    Want! The book and the nutella toast sandies. Cripes, what a great idea!

  • 296 Rhonda // May 17, 2013 at 4:12 pm

    I love to entertain and this book looks like divine inspiration. The Paloma might be this summer’s beverage of choice. Thanks for the recipe.

  • 297 Tammy // May 17, 2013 at 4:38 pm

    Love this list! I love entertaining and always looking for ideas on how to make it easier on the hostess!

  • 298 Sarah // May 17, 2013 at 4:45 pm

    I love when you do posts on entertaining; keep it up!

  • 299 Patty Cerney // May 17, 2013 at 4:51 pm

    Me! Pick me! Makes me want to host a party!

  • 300 Joanna // May 17, 2013 at 4:55 pm

    Great post! I can’t wait to read the book:)

  • 301 Heather // May 17, 2013 at 5:08 pm

    this looks great and makes me want to have friends over ASAP!

  • 302 Amanda // May 17, 2013 at 5:30 pm

    I love this! I recently had a dinner party disaster that involved me making something I had never made before, right before the guests arrived, and it turned out horrible. I have been thinking about the rule of making what you love and know for dinner parties ever since.

    Also – was at your talk at the 92Y on Wednesday! You shared so much valuable information, and it was a real treat. Thank you!

  • 303 Robin // May 17, 2013 at 8:46 pm

    I love having dinner parties and this list is invaluable! And now you have me craving a Paloma….

  • 304 Pressley // May 17, 2013 at 8:48 pm

    makes me want to read the book!

  • 305 Tiffany // May 17, 2013 at 8:53 pm

    Love the list… need to remember the simplicity next time and that the house doesn’t need to be spotless!!

  • 306 Marchelle // May 17, 2013 at 9:11 pm

    I love entertaining and this book sounds like a must have. Except I disagree with rule number one. Maybe it’s a southern thing but there should always be a bounty.

  • 307 Susan // May 17, 2013 at 9:32 pm

    This is great! Thanks.

  • 308 Kathryn // May 17, 2013 at 9:40 pm

    Yes! Thanks for a great list and for No. 6. love it.

  • 309 Stefanie // May 17, 2013 at 9:45 pm

    Ready for Memorial Day!

  • 310 Kristin E // May 17, 2013 at 10:25 pm

    I really want an ice cream sand which now! Great list!

  • 311 Denise // May 18, 2013 at 12:47 am

    Great post! I’m looking forward to reading the book….

  • 312 Femme Fraîche // May 18, 2013 at 2:45 am

    I envision sipping a Paloma while reading Susan’s awesome new book. How cute is that cover?? Great post! Fingers crossed for a win!

  • 313 Lisa // May 18, 2013 at 7:04 am

    Excellent tips!

  • 314 Jane // May 18, 2013 at 7:28 am

    Love this list!

  • 315 Shara // May 18, 2013 at 8:20 am

    I am so excited to make these ice cream sandwiches!

  • 316 Kristin // May 18, 2013 at 9:10 am

    Now all I have to do is decide who to invite!

  • 317 Jessica // May 18, 2013 at 9:57 am

    Thanks for this post–I’m hosting an event in a couple of weeks and this info has helped pull me back from the brink of crazy hostess disaster mode.

  • 318 Pam // May 18, 2013 at 9:59 am

    I’m pretty terrified of entertaining but we’ve vowed to start. I’m looking for all the help I can get.

    I remember an old friend who’s rule was to serve easy food she would love and invite people you find interesting (and kind?). Sounds simple, non?

  • 319 megs // May 18, 2013 at 10:14 am

    this post saved the day. we just moved from the city to the burbs and we’re having new neighbors over tonight! THANK YOU!!!

  • 320 emma // May 18, 2013 at 10:46 am

    My life always needs more lists of how to be better in the kitchen — cannot wait to put these into practice!

  • 321 Katie Thamer // May 18, 2013 at 12:20 pm

    I love that Nutella idea. It seems like a great way to get guests involved too. :)

  • 322 Kristin W // May 18, 2013 at 1:15 pm

    Love these tips!

  • 323 Dani // May 18, 2013 at 2:03 pm

    Love tip #5! I always seem to over or under buy drinks for my gatherings.

  • 324 Cellabella // May 18, 2013 at 3:03 pm

    These are great tips. I’m always learning a new lesson every time we entertain so more advice is always welcome!

  • 325 Jennifer // May 18, 2013 at 6:11 pm

    When I’m at someone’s else’s gathering and they DON’T have soft lighting, I find a way to help turn down the lights and light up the candles – is that bad? haha AND I always have a playlist ready in case there isn’t any music – awkward silence beware!

  • 326 Divya // May 18, 2013 at 6:24 pm

    Having guests over soon, and I have to say, I LOVE the coat rack idea! Thanks!

  • 327 Megan // May 18, 2013 at 6:29 pm

    Entertaining is one of my favorite things to do!! This book would be fabulous.

  • 328 Sallie // May 18, 2013 at 7:01 pm

    We are in the process of buying a house with a wet bar in the basement — that fact plus this post makes me so excited to host. Thank you!!

  • 329 Jillian Newsome // May 18, 2013 at 8:37 pm

    what a fun book & a wonderful post. it reminded me to get my summer party invites out SOON. thanks!

  • 330 Carol // May 18, 2013 at 10:10 pm

    Great post -great book

  • 331 Lynn bb // May 18, 2013 at 10:27 pm

    Looks like a great addition to the kitchen library.

  • 332 kendall // May 18, 2013 at 10:37 pm

    Thanks! Always looking to up my hostess game.

  • 333 Christine // May 18, 2013 at 10:50 pm

    The Paloma and the party ideas are refreshing, thank you.

  • 334 Jessica // May 18, 2013 at 11:06 pm

    I had this little pitter patter in my heart of feeling so cool since we’ve been drinking the paloma for a while around here! It’s a great drink. And it’s a great list.

  • 335 dana oride // May 18, 2013 at 11:19 pm

    looks great!

  • 336 Christy // May 19, 2013 at 12:06 am

    Summer is almost upon us and I can’t wait for dinners with friends which run late into the evening while the kids are running around the lawn. Can’t wait to read this!

  • 337 brittney // May 19, 2013 at 1:39 am

    I’d love to win a copy!

  • 338 ruthie // May 19, 2013 at 4:21 am

    This is a book I need! I love books about food and entertaining, not just for parties but for every day.

    I came here from FramedCooks where she is giving away YOUR cookbook this month. That’s some kind of serendipity, isn’t it? ;)

  • 339 Kim // May 19, 2013 at 6:26 am

    What a great looking book. Perfect for summer entertaining.

  • 340 Shasta // May 19, 2013 at 7:05 am

    Brilliant ideas!

  • 341 lisa hamilton // May 19, 2013 at 7:54 am

    Please Yes I Need This!! I am still intimidated by entertaining. Make endless lists but can’t relax into it. Is it genetic? If so can I have surgery like Angelina Jolie? (not to make light of her courageous act in any way)

  • 342 Heather // May 19, 2013 at 8:30 am

    This book sounds right up my ally. I knew a couple of these tips but you can always learn more.

  • 343 Jill // May 19, 2013 at 9:10 am

    Love this post, started drinking dark and stormy based on your writing…I think a change is in my future with The Paloma! Thank you :)

  • 344 Mona // May 19, 2013 at 9:23 am

    Love the picture of the appetizers above. Bountiful , beautiful.

  • 345 Chelsea // May 19, 2013 at 9:34 am

    Great advice. Thanks!

  • 346 Anne Weber-Falk // May 19, 2013 at 9:59 am

    What a fabulous post. This is a keeper.

  • 347 Shelley @ThatGirlShelley // May 19, 2013 at 10:18 am

    Awesome tips! I will definitely use these ideas!

  • 348 Kelly // May 19, 2013 at 10:50 am

    Great ideas! And the give away looks interesting!

  • 349 Caroline // May 19, 2013 at 10:50 am

    Already so many ideas!!! Thank you!

  • 350 Kelsey // May 19, 2013 at 11:45 am

    Those ice cream sandwiches are looking pretty dreamy.

  • 351 Jamie // May 19, 2013 at 12:26 pm

    What a GREAT list. Thanks for sharing

  • 352 Sarah // May 19, 2013 at 4:03 pm

    Looks like a great book – I need all the help I can get with this sort of thing!

  • 353 Rosilind // May 19, 2013 at 4:33 pm

    Love this post and love to entertain. These are wonderful tips thanks for posting. Crossing my fingers to win the giveaway too.

  • 354 Kelly // May 19, 2013 at 4:41 pm

    I do not like entertaining but I enjoyed these “rules”. Maybe I can be trained? Thank you.

  • 355 Sarah // May 19, 2013 at 5:51 pm

    Loved this post and love entertaining!

  • 356 Whitney @ The Newlywed Chefs // May 19, 2013 at 8:38 pm

    Love these tips! I love to entertain!

  • 357 Emily // May 19, 2013 at 9:14 pm

    All those tips are so handy!

  • 358 Erica // May 19, 2013 at 9:15 pm

    Love it! Such useful tips that anyone can pull off with ease.

  • 359 Maryellen // May 19, 2013 at 10:03 pm

    the Paloma–genius! this book looks like a must have. Thanks for another great tip.

  • 360 Emy // May 19, 2013 at 11:19 pm

    Just found your website after reading your book Dinner A Love Story. Excited to try out some new recipes!

  • 361 Sarah // May 20, 2013 at 1:10 am

    This post is why I am grateful I found this website: useful, entertaining to read, and inspiring. It’s rare that I read a recipe or tips and actually feel empowered – Thanks Jenny!

  • 362 Julie // May 20, 2013 at 6:36 pm

    The Paloma just might have to be my official drink of summer this year! Great advice in the book.

  • 363 Carmen // May 21, 2013 at 4:00 pm

    Great post and book! I think this book was written for me, a truly reluctant entertainer!

  • 364 Jenny R // May 22, 2013 at 11:25 am

    One can never have too many tips on hosting a great party.

  • 365 Chrystina // May 28, 2013 at 12:28 am

    I just came across your blog via Sometimes Sweet and I’m SO excited about it. I wish it wasn’t midnight right now so that I had more time, but I will absolutely be stopping by more often. I’m really excited about this post specifically because I also write a hostess blog and I love to see what other people are doing. Really excited to see what comes next… have a great week!!

  • 366 Kelley // Jun 7, 2013 at 11:30 am

    Didn’t read all the comments to be sure that I’m not being redundant but I have been drinking La Palomas for years and, when you gotta have one and there’s no authentic grapefruit soda around, Fresca works in a pinch. You will remember this when you are far, far away from the kind of store that carries Jarritos or Jamaica Ting and be thankful (as long as you don’t mind artificial sweeteners). :)

  • 367 Donna // Sep 6, 2013 at 10:18 pm

    Your blog is new to me and I look forward to seeing what I learn from it!

  • 368 Jacque // Apr 22, 2014 at 12:06 pm

    What a fun and useful book! Would love to read all of the tips.

  • 369 Julie Blough // Apr 22, 2014 at 5:50 pm

    Thanks for sharing, Carly. You’re the best! Love your website and your blog as well.

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