Well, our casual little soiree went quite well, I must say. The chicken roasting went succesful, and as usual, I've learned from my mistake and it will be perfect next time! The skin wasn't as crispy as I would of liked...you see, I took the instructions: "Brush lightly with butter" to the extreme. I rationalized that rubbing and stuffing the bird with an ENTIRE stick of real better would surely yield fantastic and delicious results. While true, it left me with soggy skin. It was easy and only half as gross as I thought.
So, I wanted to just share a few of my favorite finishing touches that are guaranteed to make you look way cooler than you are (i mean, you're probably pretty awesome already, just sayin') and to take "having friends over to eat" to "hosting a dinner party" with little stress and cash.
1) You gotta set the mood! Light a few candles for instant thoughtfulness. Don't forget music! even the most interesting parties can feel flat without a little background noise. My go-to is Ms. Peggy Lee
2) Pick up some flowers when you're buying your groceries. I few blooms planted around the compound brighten up the place and make any hostess look tres chic. Even a $2 bunch of spunky-colored carnations can make a subtle, but lovely impact.
3) While your at the g-store, swing by the drink aisle and nab a bottle or two of sparkling or still water. Yesterday I picked up 2 bottles of San Pellegrino for $3. It's bubbly, fun and can double as a cheap and useful centerpiece for the table.
4) The cherry on top for me is to include a cute and personal touch that no one ever expects anymore. I'm talking about the lost tradition of placecards. Spencer's grandmother, Helen, always had placecards at her table for her guests-no matter how big or small the guest list (coincidentally she could never remember my name, so mine always said "Reba"). I just grab some pretty paper from my craft closet, snip a square and fold it over to make a tent. Voila! That works just perfect but you could also grab smooth stones from your yard, big seashells from your last vacation, or invest in an ultra-cool serious set like these or these ( or cheat and grab some ceramic tile from your closest home store!) Not only do they look great but they eliminate that awkward, "where do I sit?" moment.
Combine the above with tasty grub, some red wine (or Hawaiian punch) and good family and friends.
And I'm serious. go make some placecards!