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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 May 28, 2020

                        How to Overcome Boredom

                        How to Overcome Boredom

                        Have you ever been bored? Restless? Fidgety? In need of some inspiration?

                        I have a theory on boredom. I believe that the rate of boredom has increased alongside the pace of technology.

                        If you think about it, technology has provided us with mobile phones, laptops, Ipads, device after device – all to ultimately fix one problem: boredom.

                        What is Boredom?

                        We have become a global nation that feeds on entertainment. We associate ‘living’ with ‘doing’. People now do not know how to sit still, and we feel guilty when we are not doing anything. Today, inactivity has become the ultimate sin.

                        You might not realize it, but boredom stimulates a form of anxiety and stress. It evokes an emotional state that creates frustration and feeds procrastination.

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                        It’s a desire to be ‘doing something’ or to be ‘entertained’ – it’s a desire for sensory stimulation. What it boils down to is a lack of focus.

                        If you think about those times when you’re bored, it’s usually because you did not know what to do. So, indecision also plays a big part.

                        When we are focused on what’s important to us and what we want to achieve, it’s pretty hard to be bored. So, one answer to boredom is to become focused on what you want.

                        Sometimes It’s Good to Be Bored

                        If boredom is a desire for sensory stimulation – then what’s the opposite of that? To be content with no stimulation – in other words – to enjoy stillness.

                        Sometimes, it’s not boredom itself that causes the frustration but the resistance to doing nothing.

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                        Think about it. What would happen if you were to ‘let go’ of the desire to be entertained? You wouldn’t be bored anymore, and you will feel more relaxed!

                        In my experience, it’s often the most obvious, simplistic solutions that are the most powerful in life. So, when you’re bored, the easiest way to combat this is to enjoy it.

                        It may sound weird but think of ‘boredom’ as a form of ‘relaxation’. It’s a break from the constant stimulation that 21st-century living provides – constant TVs, mobile phones, radios, internet, emails, phone calls, etc.

                        Who knows, maybe ‘boredom’ is actually good for us?

                        Next time you’re ‘feeling bored’ instead of feeding the frustration by frantically looking for something to do, maybe you can sit back, relax, and savor the feeling of having nothing to do.

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                        In this article, I’ll share with you my 3-step strategy on how to overcome boredom.

                        3-Step Strategy to Overcome Boredom

                        1. Get Focused

                        Instead of chasing sensory stimulation at random, focus on what’s really important to you. Focusing on something important helps prevent boredom because it forces you to utilize your time productively.

                        You should ask yourself: what would make good use of your time? What could you be doing that would contribute to your major goals in life?

                        Here are a few ideas:

                        • Spend some time in quiet contemplation considering what’s important to you.
                        • Start that creative project you’ve been talking about for the last few weeks.
                        • Brainstorm: think of some ideas for new innovative products or businesses.

                        2. Kill Procrastination

                        Boredom is useful in some ways because it gives you the energy and time to do things. It is only a problem if you let it. But if you use it to motivate yourself to be productive, then you can more easily overcome boredom.

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                        So, the next time you’re bored, why not put this good energy to use by ticking off those things that you have been meaning to get done but have been too busy to finish? This also presents a great time for you to clear your to-do list.

                        Here are some ideas:

                        • Do some exercise.
                        • Read a book.
                        • Learn something new.
                        • Call a friend.
                        • Get creative (draw, paint, sculpt, create music, write).
                        • Do a spring cleaning.
                        • Wash the car.
                        • Renovate the house.
                        • Re-arrange the furniture.
                        • Write your shopping list.
                        • Water the plants.
                        • Walk the dog.
                        • Sort out your mail & email.
                        • De-clutter (clear out that wardrobe).

                        3. Enjoy Boredom

                        If none of the above solutions work, then you can try a different approach. Don’t give in to boredom and instead choose to enjoy it. This doesn’t mean allowing yourself to waste your time being bored. Instead, think of it as your time to relax and re-energize, which will help you be more productive the next time you work.

                        Contrary to popular belief, we don’t need to be constantly doing things to be productive. In fact, research has shown that people are more productive when they take periods of rest to recharge.[1] Taking breaks once in a while helps boost your performance and can help make you feel more motivated.

                        So, take some time to relax. You never know, you might even like it.

                        Final Thoughts

                        Learning how to overcome boredom may be difficult at the beginning, but it can be easier if you make use of some techniques. You can start with my 3-step strategy on how to overcome boredom and work your way from there. So, ready your mind and make use of these tips, and you will be overcoming boredom in no time.

                        More Tips on Overcoming Boredom

                        Featured photo credit: Johnny Cohen via unsplash.com

                        Reference

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