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A Guide to Hosting Summer Parties

A Guide to Hosting Summer Parties

Whether it’s intimate dinner with friends or a casual backyard barbecue with the family, hosting summer parties is always fun and exciting. The preparation, however, can be stressful and challenging. Below is a hosting guide and a sample menu to help you plan for your next summer bash.

Use Colorful Tableware

    It’s the perfect season to play around with colors, so start with your tableware. Use brightly colored plates to add an eclectic feel to the table. Don’t worry if they don’t match—mismatched dinnerware makes the affair appear more laidback. Scour flea markets or yard sales for inexpensive but attractive china that you can mix and match.

    Decorate with Seasonal Flowers

      You don’t need a full blown floral centerpiece to make your décor interesting. Just grab two to three empty jars and stick in a few stems or sprigs of seasonal flowers in each one. Wild flowers also work well for a rustic table setting.

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      Incorporate Food into the Décor

        To make things even easier, make food part of your décor and take advantage of seasonal produce to brighten up the table. An appetizer platter or a bowl of mixed berries can even double as your centerpiece.

        Go for Mood Lighting

          Mood lighting is key to setting your party’s atmosphere.  Turn off overhead lights and use lamps or candles. If the party is outside, hang paper lanterns together with string lights over the table or trees for a cozy ambiance. Don’t forget to light up pathways and steps to avoid accidents.

          Set Up a Beverage Station

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            A dedicated drinks station is a great way to encourage people to start conversations with others. If it’s a large party, set up multiple stations so that your guests don’t have to line up for refills.

            Stick to Easy Recipes

              To make your hosting duties as stress-free as possible, create a menu that’s easy to prepare and can be made ahead of time. Leave last-minute grilling a few hours before the party starts and set the table the day before. Here’s a sample menu to get you started.

              Appetizer: Summer Appetizer Plate with Honey

                Remember that your appetizers should be light and not too filling. This sampler platter features a variety of yummy starters drizzled with locally sourced honey. Get the recipe here.

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                Salad: Freekeh Salad with Blackberry Vinaigrette

                  Freekeh is green wheat that’s harvested at an early stage, then piled, sundried, and roasted. If you can’t find any in your local farmer’s market, you can use wheat berries as substitute. Try the recipe here.

                  Main course: Neely’s Wet BBQ Ribs

                    This St. Louis-style pork ribs is perfect if you like sticky ribs and don’t mind getting your hands dirty. Go here for the recipe.

                    Dessert: Coconut and Berries Popsicles

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                      Berries are abundant this season and making popsicles out of them is a nice way to cool down after a hearty meal. Check out the recipe here.

                      Drinks: Raspberry Lemonade

                      Raspberry_Lemonade

                        Nothing says summer like an ice-cold glass of homemade lemonade. Turn this into a cocktail by adding a splash of vodka or rum. Grab the recipe from here.

                        Extra Tips

                        • Don’t be shy to ask for help. Delegate tasks like manning the grill or setting the table so you can focus on other things.
                        • If your guests offer to bring something, say yes! Appetizers or dessert can be that one thing off your mind.
                        • Make sure you’re well stocked on drinks and ice to minimize supply runs.
                        • Avoid repeating flavors. If you use strawberries for appetizers, think of something else for dessert.

                        A summer gathering is all about casual entertaining. Keep things simple and don’t worry too much about imperfections. Instead of slaving away at the kitchen all day, relax and enjoy the company of friends and loved ones.

                        Featured photo credit: Table Dressing/Chris Ford via flickr.com

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                        Last Updated on August 4, 2020

                        8 Benefits of a Minimalist Lifestyle That Get You to Live With Less

                        8 Benefits of a Minimalist Lifestyle That Get You to Live With Less

                        Minimalism is a way to put a stop to the gluttony of the world around us. It’s the opposite of every advertisement we see plastered on the radio and TV. We live in a society that prides itself on the accumulation of stuff; we eat up consumerism, material possessions, clutter, debt, distractions and noise.

                        What we don’t seem to have is any meaning left in our world.

                        By adopting a minimalist lifestyle, you can throw out what you don’t need in order to focus on what you do need.

                        I know first hand how little we actually need to survive. I was fortunate enough to live in a van for four months while traveling throughout Australia. This experience taught me valuable lessons about what really matters and how little we really need all this stuff we surround ourselves with.

                        Less is more.

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                        Living a minimalist lifestyle is reducing.There are a few obvious benefits of minimalism such as less cleaning and stress, a more organized household and more money to be found, but there are also a few deep, life-changing benefits.

                        What we don’t usually realize is that when we reduce, we reduce a lot more than just stuff.

                        Consider just some of the benefits of living with fewer possessions:

                        1. Create Room for What’s Important

                        When we purge our junk drawers and closets we create space and peace. We lose that claustrophobic feeling and we can actually breathe again. Create the room to fill up our lives with meaning instead of stuff.

                        2. More Freedom

                        The accumulation of stuff is like an anchor, it ties us down. We are always terrified of losing all our ‘stuff’. Let it go and you will experience a freedom like never before: a freedom from greed, debt, obsession and overworking.

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                        3. Focus on Health and Hobbies

                        When you spend less time at Home Depot trying unsuccessfully to keep up with the Joneses, you create an opening to do the things you love, things that you never seem to have time for.

                        Everyone is always saying they don’t have enough time, but how many people really stop and look at what they are spending their time doing?

                        You could be enjoying a day with your kids, hitting up the gym, practicing yoga, reading a good book or traveling. Whatever it is that you love you could be doing, but instead you are stuck at Sears shopping for more stuff.

                        4. Less Focus on Material Possessions

                        All the stuff we surround ourselves with is merely a distraction, we are filling a void. Money can’t buy happiness, but it can buy comfort. After the initial comfort is satisfied, that’s where our obsession with money should end.

                        We are bombarded by the media presenting promises of happiness through materialistic measures. It’s no wonder we struggle everyday. Resist those urges. It’s an empty path, it won’t make you happy.

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                        It’s hard not to get roped into the consumerism trap. I need constant reminders that it’s a false sense of happiness. I enjoy stuff, but I also recognize that I don’t need it.

                        5. More Peace of Mind

                        When we cling onto material possessions we create stress because we are always afraid of losing these things. By simplifying your life you can lose your attachment to these things and ultimately create a calm, peaceful mind.

                        The less things you have to worry about, the more peace you have, and it’s as simple as that.

                        6. More Happiness

                        When de-cluttering your life, happiness naturally comes because you gravitate towards the things that matter most. You see clearly the false promises in all the clutter, it’s like a broken shield against life’s true essence.

                        You will also find happiness in being more efficient, you will find concentration by having refocused your priorities, you will find joy by enjoying slowing down.

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                        7. Less Fear of Failure

                        When you look at Buddhist monks, they have no fear, and they have no fear because they don’t have anything to lose.

                        In whatever you wish to pursue doing you can excel, if you aren’t plagued with the fear of losing all your worldly possessions. Obviously you need to take the appropriate steps to put a roof over your head, but also know that you have little to fear except fear itself.

                        8. More Confidence

                        The entire minimalist lifestyle promotes individuality and self reliance. This will make you more confident in your pursuit of happiness.

                        What’s Next? Go Minimalism.

                        If you’re ready to start living a minimalist lifestyle, these articles can help you to kickstart:

                        Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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