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Four Tips for a Stress Free Party

Have you ever felt overwhelmed with all the little details of planning, styling, and setting up a party?

I mean if you’ve thrown any party ever you’ve probably felt that way.

Well, if you follow me on Instagram, you got a sneak peak at how today’s blog post can help make your next party a stress free one!

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The Four Things to Focus On For a Stress Free Party

It all boils down to doing just four things.  That’s right, only focusing on these four things you’ll be able to still have a great party and enjoy it because you won’t be stressing over a bunch of little details.

Are you ready to find out what those four things are?

One Focal Area

Don’t stress out over decorating your entire home for the party.  That’s focusing on way too many things.

Designate one area to be the focal point.  And then only decorate that area.

So how do you pick the focal area for your party?

First, determine where your party will congregate.

For an outside party, focus your decor on your patio or backyard.

If it’s inside, I can almost guarantee most people will congregate around the food, so decorate your kitchen or where the food is going to be staged.

For kids parties, focus the decor in an area where the kids will be playing.

A second way to focus on one area is to make a backdrop.  You can use the backdrop for a photo booth or the background of your dessert table.

Thirdly, and one of my favorite places to focus the party decor is on the party entrance.  That could be your front door, front porch, your driveway or sidewalk leading up to your house.

It’s also fun to decorate the foyer or entrance to your home and really hit your guests over the head with the theme of the party.  Then they can enjoy the party in the rest of your house.

The best thing about only decorating one area for your party?  There’s only one area to clean up!

Bigger Is Better

I think one of the things that’s the most stressful during party planning is all the small details.

Typically you get overwhelmed with everything that has to be done you forget about the little things.

You may have had good intentions with all those little water bottle or straw labels, but they become last minute things that usually don’t happen because you’re focused on the bigger things that have to be done or else the party won’t happen at all.  You know like food.

So my second piece of advice for a stress free party is to not even plan all those little things.  Focus on the big stuff.

Bigger decor is a great way to make things bigger.  Instead of a bunch of small decor items around your entire house, put them all together for a bigger impact.

Want to decorate with a certain item for the them of your party?  Why not make that item bigger than life.  Have a giant sized crown cut out for a princess party, or bigger balloons.

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Editing the Menu

Feeding everyone at your party can always be stressful especially if cooking isn’t your forte.

Edit your menu to provide one complete meal that’s stress free.

What do you need for a complete meal?  Just focus on a protein, some greens or a vegetable, and a starch.

If you stick to those three things you’ll have a meal that is satisfying to everyone without having to plan or cook an elaborate menu.

Try asking your guests to bring a dish in one of the categories we already talked about (protein, vegetable, starch).  Giving them that guidance will help them narrow down what they’re bringing and it helps to make sure you have something in each category.

If you don’t want to deal with the food at all, just cater it in.  You don’t have to get fancy or expensive either.

There are tons of fast casual restaurants that do catering.  Chick-fil-a (a favorite of ours), Zoe’s Kitchen, Chipotle, Qdoba, Noodles & Company just to name a few.

One Game or Activity

It’s always nice to have some sort of game or activity for your guests to do at your party.  This is almost necessary at any kid party.

If you don’t do something structured, the kids will destroy your house playing with toys.

Want to know my stress free way to do an activity?  Pick only one that doesn’t require much instruction or help.

Think of activities that require a couple minutes of instruction in the beginning, then the guests go and do the activity on their own.

For kids parties a scavenger hunt is my favorite way to let the kids do an activity that is virtually unsupervised. Win! Win!

Are You Feeling Less Stressed?

Does thinking of your party in only those four ways make it seem less stressful to host?

There are still multiple things to plan in each of these categories, but keeping them in mind when planning your next party will help you to realize what’s most important.

The most important thing is to enjoy the celebration and people in your home, not if each individual piece of candy has a Paw Patrol sticker on it.

Happy party planning!


3 Winter Hosting Tips for a Warm and Inviting Party

Is it still bitterly cold where you live?  Here in Colorado we have had a really mild winter.  I think it was in the 50’s yesterday, and basically no snow this season.  Normally I’d be just fine with that, but seeing how much my daughter loves to play in the snow makes me wish we were getting more than we have.

After the holidays, it seems like winter really sets in and people are less likely to host parties or gatherings.  Today I’m giving you a few tips to help you host more in the winter because it’s all about making a cozy get to host a winter party, cozy winter party ideas, hygge at your winter party

1. Get your House Prepared for a Winter Party

The first thing you want to make sure of is to set up a plan for all of the winter gear that is about to come in your house.  Every guest that comes in is going to have a coat, scarves, hats, gloves, boots, you name it.  Where are you going to put it?  You definitely don’t want it all piled up at your front door.

If you have a coat closet, great!  Be sure there are plenty of hangers and that it’s cleaned out.  You don’t want piles of stuff falling out when you’re trying to hang a coat up.  Also be sure to ask to take your guest’s coat and let them know  you’re putting it in the closet, so they can get it on their way out the door.

If you don’t have a coat closet, designate another area to hold coats.  Maybe the bed in your guest room, or set up a coat stand, or even having guests just drape them onto the back of a chair works.

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We don’t wear shoes in our house, so making sure there is a shoe drop zone is important to us.  At some of our recent winter parties, we’ve just put down a canvas cloth next to the front door for everyone to place their shoes.  This was a great way to signify to people to remove their shoes, but it also helped us keep all the winter nastiness off our carpet and floors.

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2. Entertaining at an Indoor Party

Being stuck inside during the winter doesn’t have to limit what you can do at your party.  You may have to use more of your house to either fit everyone or to entertain everyone, but there is still plenty to do.

I recommend setting up zones of things to do throughout your house.  Let’s face it everyone ends up in the kitchen or where the food is.  So to alleviate too many cooks in the kitchen, spread your party out a bit.  Set up some board games on the dining room table, or set up a cozy seating area by your fireplace.

Make sure the kids know where they can play, so they have their own space as well.

3. Provide Warmth throughout Your Party

The best thing you can do when hosting a winter party is to provide warmth.  You can do this by making warm, comfort food.  Things like chili, pastas, and warm dips.  You can even provide warm beverages by setting up a hot cocoa bar. Even just offering coffee or tea after everyone has eaten will warm everyone up.

Providing warmth in the atmosphere of your party is just as easy as providing warm food.  If you haven’t heard of hygge, it’s the perfect way to make your party feel warm and cozy.  Hygge is a Danish word describing a moment or feeling as cozy, charming or special.  The Danes achieve this feeling with lots of candles, fires, and blankets.

Incorporating those things into your party is a great way to make it feel cozy. Light lots of candles around your house. Roll up soft blankets to offer to your guests. Make a seating area next to your fireplace.  Your guests will feel warm and cozy in no time.

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If you make your next party in the winter this cozy and inviting, your guests may not want to leave 😉  Happy Winter everyone!



Pantry Checklist for Hosting with FREE Printable

Happy Hump Day!  I just have not been able to get into a regular blogging routine, definitely something I need to work on. But here I am today with a post I promised you last week.

Speaking of last week, have you been liking the posts all about hosting in the New Year?  I’ve given you lots of ideas of how to celebrate this year and 10 ways to make hosting your celebrations easier.

Today I’m going to give you a little help getting organized for all of the upcoming parties and celebrations this year.  My thought process is that if you’re organized to throw a party at any point, then you’ll be more likely to do it.  Make sense?

Let’s start with getting your pantry prepped for a party.  I’m so lucky to have a good sized pantry in this house and I’ve definitely utilized it not only for food, but to host.

It’s a great spot to keep the majority of things to throw a quick party because it’s centrally located in my house and right by the kitchen which is where most parties end up anyway.

Here’s a handy checklist of items to keep in your pantry to throw a party.

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The first category makes sense to keep in your pantry for a party.  You’ll need things like plates and napkins to throw any kind of party.  I like to keep a couple different neutral themed plates and napkins so they’ll go with any kind of party I host.

party pantry checklist, organized pantry for a party, how to host a party with what's in your pantryIf you have space, keeping all of your serving ware in your pantry makes party set up a one stop shop.  I keep serving platters, cake stands, and serving utensils in my pantry.

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Cheese Markers

The next group of items are not something you would normally think to keep in your pantry.  However, if you throw a lot of parties, it’s nice to have some simple decor handy as well.  I just keep all of these things together in a large basket in my pantry.  I just pull out the basket and am able to set a table, buffet station, and decorate the party.  All from one basket!

Simple things that fold up or pack well are pinwheels, tissue paper, and honeycombs.  It’s also a great idea to throw a pair of scissors, twine, or tape in your party basket too.  Having a couple different sizes of vases is great too, because the easiest party decor you can use is a bouquet of flowers.

The last category is all about food and drinks.  There are just some things that are good to always have in your pantry or kitchen to help you quickly throw a dinner or party appetizer together.

I always make sure I have some pasta and any kind of pasta sauce.  There’s nothing easier (or more well loved) than throwing together a quick spaghetti dinner for a dinner party.  You make the spaghetti, and have your guests bring a salad, bread, and dessert.  Super easy dinner party idea!

Also having crackers and cheese is a must in our house.  I love to whip up a quick charcuterie and with those two things, it’s pretty easy.

I also like to keep a variety of drink mixers in my pantry.  It’s nice to be able to mix them for a signature cocktail or to make a kid-friendly party punch.

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What do you keep in your pantry to help you host more easily?  Were any of these tips helpful to you?

Be sure to click on the checklist above to print out and help you organize your pantry to host.

*Affiliate links are used in this post, but only for products I highly recommend.



2017 Holiday Hostess Gift Guide

It’s the season of holiday parties and with all of those parties comes the need to give a hostess gift.  It’s a pretty amazing thing to open up your home to others and invite them in, so giving your hostess a little gift is a great idea to show your appreciation.

I’ve put together a great list of hostess gift ideas for your today.  They are all perfect for anyone that likes to throw a party and celebrate.  All different price ranges and from all different retailers, so you’re sure to find something that will work.

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1// Try bringing the typical bottle of wine wrapped up in a fun Christmas stocking.  I love this one from the Hearth and Hand by Magnolia collection at Target.  I mean, what don’t I like about their stuff.  Surprisingly, I haven’t even stepped in a Target to look at it all yet!

Anyway, pop your bottle of wine into the stocking and tie a ribbon around the top and boom, gift done!

2// A bit unusual, but this jam makes a great hostess gift.  All the hostess has to do is add a little goat cheese to a crostini and drop a bit of this fig spread on top for a perfect and quick appetizer. Bonus that the jam comes in a two pack so you’re able to gift it twice!

3// Peppermint bark is a classic Christmas candy.  This one from Williams Sonoma is already packaged in a fun throwback tin.  Just add a bow and you’re set!

4// Agate is all the rage right now, and these make really fun coasters.  I love the variety of colors and how irregular they are.

5// Instead of just bringing a bottle of wine to the party, bring a candle in a recycled bottle of wine.  Such a fun twist on the typical hostess gift.  You’re also being environmentally conscious with these recycled bottles and soy wax candles.

6// I just love this ornament.  What better way to tell your hostess thanks for opening up your home than with an adorable home ornament.  It’s perfect for Christmas!

7// I’m sure you’ll be doing some eating around a table at any party you go to this time of year.  Bring your hostess a great tablecloth that they’ll be able to use for all of their parties or even just a Tuesday night dinner.

8// It’s almost a given that your hostess will receive a bottle of wine as a gift from someone attending the party.  To go along with that gift give a fun wine stopper.  These initial wine stoppers make it even more personalized.

I hope these ideas make picking something up for your hostess much easier or are at least a jumping off point for you to come up with something really clever on your own.


How to Make a Party Guest List

Do you ever feel overwhelmed when trying to keep track of your party guests?  I’m not talking about at your party, but figuring out who’s coming, who’s bringing what, what time they’re coming, and all of those other little things.  

Today I’m going to give you a few tips and details to help you keep track of all of that stuff and show you how I make a party guest list.

Track your party guest list with this spreadsheet, guest list categories, how to make a guest listFirst, I love a good spreadsheet, but doing this with pen and paper works too.  Find whatever method will help you remember to write things down and be able to refer to it often. Maybe keep it in a handy place so it’s easy to get to leading up to your party.

Guest List Categories

Next, here are some column headings that are necessary to track your guests if you are using a spreadsheet.  If you aren’t using a spreadsheet, these categories will definitely help you make a guest list for your party. 

  • Name
  • Contact Information (phone number, address, email, etc.)
    • This is good information to have in case you are mailing invitations or thank you cards.  It’s also great to reference if you need to call a guest before the party to get their RSVP information or ask them to help pick up a bag of ice on the way to your party. <- This always seems to be the one thing we need right before a party. 
  • Invitation Sent
    • I recommend just using a checkmark or X to indicate whether you’ve sent the invitation.
  • RSVP
    • In this column I typically indicate whether the guest is coming with a simple Yes or No.  Does anyone else feel like we’ve gotten away from RSVPing to the host?  I don’t understand why it’s so hard for people to commit to coming to your party or letting you know if they can’t.  A simple text would be fine, it’ so important to let the host know that you’re coming, so just do it!
  • Total Numbers
    • This column is where I like to break out exactly how many people are coming.  Mostly, separating adults and children.  Obviously, young children don’t eat as much as adults, so that plays a key role in how much and what kind of food to purchase and prepare.
  • Food
    • This section of your tracker may be fairly extensive, but it’s flexible depending on the type of party you’re having.  If you are having a pot luck, this is a great way to track what everyone is bringing.  If you’re providing the food, there’s really no need to include this section.  For a wedding or seated dinner, it’s a great idea to ask what choice your guest wants and track it in this area.  Keep in mind to use this section to track any allergies or food restrictions your guests may have to certain foods.
  • Gift Received
    • This section is great to include in your tracker if you’re having a wedding shower, baby shower, bridal shower, or birthday party.  Tracking what gifts you have received will help you to write the proper thank you card.
  • The last category to include in your tracker is a Thank You Card column.
    • This area is where you’ll track if you’ve written and delivered thank you cards to your guests that brought you a gift.  It’s only appropriate to send a thank you card.  Now you’ll be able to remind yourself by referring to the tracker you made.

These are all things that you are probably already doing, but sometimes just tracking people can be overwhelming.  Hopefully, you’ve found a category that you maybe haven’t thought of before.  If so, plan to add it to your guest list tracking system the next time you’re hosting a party.  


Celebrating everyday!