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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 July 18, 2019

                        10 Small Changes To Make Your House Feel Like A Home

                        10 Small Changes To Make Your House Feel Like A Home

                        Your house is more than just a building that you live in. It should be a home that makes you feel welcome as soon as you open the front door.

                        Making your house feel like a home is not something that simply happens on its own. You need to make some changes to a house when you move in, to give it that cozy, warm feeling that turns it into a true home. To help you speed the process, follow this guide to 10 small changes to make your house feel like a home.

                        1. Make the Windows Your Own

                        When you move into a home, they often come with boring Venetian blinds or less than attractive curtains.

                        One of the best ways you can instantly warm your home and make it showcase your style is to add some new window dressing. Adding beautiful curtains not only improves your home’s appearance, but it can also help to control the temperature.

                        2. Put up Some Art

                        If you have a lot of bare walls in your home, it will seem sterile no matter how beautiful your paint or wallpaper is.

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                        Hanging art on the walls will instantly give it personality and make it feel like home.

                        3. Improve the Aroma

                        A house that is not filled with inviting smells will never feel like a home. There are loads of ways you can make your home smell nice. There are tons of air fresheners on the market you can use.

                        Incense and scented candles are a nice option as well. Don’t forget that baking in a home is also a great way to fill it with an aroma that instantly smells like home as soon as you open the front door.

                        4. Put out Lots of Pillows and Throws

                        A great way to make your home look warm and inviting is to place lots of pillows and throws out on the furniture. It is much better to have too many pillows than not enough.

                        There is nothing like the feeling of sinking into a cushiony pillow that feels like a cloud to make you feel like you are at home.

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                        5. Instantly Class up Your Closet

                        If your closet is filled with wire or plastic hangers, it will never truly feel homey. To instantly make your closet feel classy, change out your old hangers for wooden ones.

                        Not only do they look great, but they are better for hanging your clothes as well.

                        6. Improve Your Air Quality

                        One of the most overlooked ways to make your house feel more like a home is to improve its air quality.

                        The easiest and best way to upgrade the air quality in your home is to change the old, dirty filters in your furnace regularly. Get some air filters delivered to your home so that you always have some on hand.

                        7. Fill it with Plants

                        Another way to improve the air quality in your home is to fill it with plants. You should have plants in every room of your home.

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                        They help to improve the air quality and they look beautiful. As well as making your home appear homier, plants also help to boost your mood and lower your stress levels.

                        8. Change the Doorknobs

                        Most people don’t really give their doorknobs a second thought unless they are broken. That is a shame because changing your doorknobs is an easy way to add personality to your home.

                        Changing your old, boring doorknobs to new ones that are works of art will instantly brighten your home.

                        9. Upgrade Your Tub or Shower

                        There is nothing like luxuriating in a whirlpool bath or steam shower to make the cares of the day melt away. Your family deserves a bit of luxury when they are in their bathroom.

                        Install a new shower or tub today to make your bathroom worthy of a place in your home.

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                        10. Fresh Cut Flowers

                        You can make any room in your house feel homier by placing a vase full of beautiful flowers in it. The gorgeous look and intoxicating aroma of fresh cut flowers will immediately brighten your day when you encounter them.

                        You don’t have to make all these changes at once. Try one or two a day though, and your house will feel like a home before you know it. The trick is to constantly keep adding these homey touches to make your home a place worthy of its name.

                        Featured photo credit: https://www.pexels.com/photo/black-wooden-round-analog-wall-clock-on-brown-wooden-wall-121537/ via unsplash.com

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