When hosting a party, it is important to keep in mind who you are hosting for. If you have a guest of honor, such as a birthday girl, base all that you do off of what you know about them. Also keep in mind the group that you have attending. Yesterday was Roomie Kelsey’s 20th, and Crystal and I threw a little shindig for her last night. When in Wal-Mart picking up necessary items such as fondant and other various forms of sugar, Crystal asked if we should get matching cups. And the answer was no, because it was Kelsey’s party. She was more than content having the guests drink their milkshakes out of various shaped mugs and destroying her cake by cutting it with a light up sword. And if I had made the Star Wars theme any more obvious, she would have just thought I was a little weird. By the same token, however, if I threw a party for Sarah Elise, she would be distracted and most likely unable to enjoy herself if the room didn’t pull itself together well. Hostessing is not about me, but about those I am welcoming.
Good Eats October 1, 2010
…the other essential to a good party. My apologies for how long it has taken me to post, unfortunately in a rush of school work and busy things, blogging falls down the list a bit. But I have been anxious to share with you the recipes I used and the things I learned while cooking!
First, I can tell you about the drinks and the salad, as they were the simple part. The drinks were an unexpected addition to the theme. While grocery shopping, I found Safeway Brand French Berry Lemonade with unique glass bottles labeled “Made in France.” Perfection. For the salad, we tossed together the following ingredients for a take on one of the only salads I will personally eat 😉 :spinach, apples, honey roasted almonds, blue cheese and oil and vinegar.
The nuts could be exchanged for walnuts and pecans, and feta cheese would have worked as well.
For the main course, I knew from the moment this party idea was conceived that I wanted to make croque monsieurs. We made them in my high school French class, and I remembered them being to die for. Unable to contact Ms. V, my French teacher who consistently fed us delicious things, I did a simple Google search and found this recipe, where I learned that the name of the sandwich roughly translated means “Mister Crunchy.” This of course made me smile and want to make these sandwiches even more. I have a few pieces of advice. (Keep in mind that I was making four times the amount called for, which is a different experience in itself.)
1) As I mentioned before, grating cheese is hard work. Grate it the night before, or in shifts, or have a friend grate it. Something. There is a LOT of cheese in these, (I never said healthy, just fabulous) and it has to be grated somehow! Preferably not when you are trying to build the sandwiches themselves.
2) When grocery shopping, buy less ham. I have about an entire extra box sitting in my fridge right now, waiting for one of my roomies to eat it. I love Croque Monsieurs, but I am not a ham person.
3) MAKE LESS SAUCE. I REPEAT, MAKE LESS SAUCE. When I began, in the midst of my flustered state, I forgot to quadruple my amounts. So my first batch was 1/4 of the called for amount, and then I made the rest together. The original, much smaller batch was exactly what we needed and I sadly ended up dumping an entire saucepan of sauce in our dumpster. Unless you are planning another fancy french meal soon, it’s virtually unusable. The sauce could also be made the night before to cut down on prep time.
Wrapped in foil and placed in a picnic basket, the sandwiches were kept warm (partially due to the heat) for us to enjoy!
That’s all I have for now. Miss Amy will be posting soon on about the crepes she lovingly took on for me, and you can ask my lovely guests how it tasted. 🙂
I Get By With a Little Help From My Friends September 26, 2010
I think that when I imagined hosting my party, I pictured myself as well, the Hostess with the Mostest. Wearing my apron and my pearls, my hair would be curled and it wouldn’t frizz out from the heat of the kitchen. I would clean my kitchen to sparkling both before and after cooking. I would have perfectly planned assembly lines and enough pans and the timing of all of the cooking would fit together nicely. And through all of the hours of cooking and the party itself I would remain calm, with a welcoming smile on face.
However, my day looked much more like the hardly perfect part of this blog than the perfect hostess part. My kitchen was a disaster. I started to make the recipe without changing the proportions to the needed amount. I didn’t have time to curl my hair. I dropped a measuring cup full of cheese into my sink (I put a lot of effort into that cheese. Grating is much more difficult than one would think). The timing of moving sandwiches in and out of the oven was off. One of the hostesses (who shall remain nameless) caught a baking sheet on the counter and sent bread, ham, and the precious grated cheese all over our living room carpet. I was twenty minutes late to my own party.
But it came together, and it came together beautifully. The reason it came together? My friends. My wonderful friends. The number one lesson I learned about hostessing today was to know your friends’ strengths, and to be willing to ask for help. Anna came over and buttered bread slice after bread slice. Amy took the opportunity to learn to flip a crepe and whipped some up for my dessert, after helping me plan and grocery shop. Sarah not only made my invitations, she helped fill the crepes in Amy’s apartment, and then came to mine to help build sandwiches. Jessica both transported food and threw together a fantastic salad. Even people who were not hostesses helped – Amy’s roommate Amy helped fill crepes, Aubreigh helped Alex shoot fantastic photos and Coley contributed one of my very favorite pieces of the party. She took black Sharpie to my white paper cups and created art, personalizing each one with both the guest’s name and a lovely french inspired drawing.
The preparation hardly went as planned, but the party came together perfectly like I imagined, thanks to the incredible hostesses.
(more posts to come this week, including photos, recipes, and more!)
Planning For Paris September 24, 2010
The anticipation of this blog has been so sweet for me, yet so drawn out. It’s taken 6 months for things to finally begin rolling, and I’m so excited that the time for my party is here at last. I remember sitting with SarahFairah in my car last spring, discussing possible party themes. We talked about Western parties, tea parties, autumn parties (which may yet come to pass) and were so anxious to start. This fall, we sat in her room and flipped through the pages of her Fashion book, planning for her theme (a secret I won’t spoil) and trying to come up with mine. After much thought, my party will be a Parisian Picnic! On Sunday at 2 P.M., the wait is officially over. I will keep you posted. 🙂
Makin’ My Dreams Come True September 12, 2010
she used to tie her hair up in ribbons & bows
sign her letters with x’s and o’s
got a picture of her momma in heels & pearls
she’s gonna make it in her daddy’s world
she’s an american girl
I found so much joy this morning as I dressed for Sarah’s party. We all have those childhood dreams that never quite became reality, the fairy tales we longed to be a part of but that were always a few steps out of reach. The sad thing is that often, as we become old enough to find and buy that perfect dress, to go on the adventure we’d always imagined, we’ve forgotten our fairy tales and picked up and moved on with our lives.
For me, a few silly childhood hopes came true this morning. Silly, but beautiful just the same. One example is the “Heidi Braid” that I always loved dearly, the hairstyle from my first day of kindergarten. AnnaBananaBread brought this to life with her gifted hands:
AmicitaLuisa called me “Lisie” all day long, the nickname I attempted to give myself in the third grade that no one else caught onto. And thirdly, the dress. Oh, the dress.
A few weeks ago, in light of attempting to “update” my wardrobe, I drug a pile of sundresses to sort through into AmicitaLuisa’s kitchen to ask her advice on which ones to send off to Goodwill. (*tip: Goodwill drop-off boxes are no longer licensed by Goodwill, but rather scams for the clothing to be sold at a much higher price. Drive to the store itself or a staffed drop-off station.*). My mom and I picked this dress a few years ago for me to wear to a wedding. It’s white with darling pink flowers scattered across and a pink ribbon tying it together. As my good friend and I discussed, however, there’s a point where the dress makes me a happy little girl and there’s a point where I look like a little girl. After deciding to get rid of it, along came the invitation to this party! Perfect for the dress’s last hurrah, one that made me feel like the flower child I always longed to be.
So, to our beautiful hostess of this morning:
You made childhood dreams come true.
In The Beginning… August 20, 2010
Written by AmicitaLuisa, SarahFairah and LisieMarie while eating a meal of fresh tostadas with lime-cilantro rice, ground turkey taco meat, chopped tomatoes, avocado, sour cream, cheese and mango-lime salsa. This was followed by a simply fabulous dessert of homemade whipped cream and berries.
Once upon a time, 7 single women gathered on Valentine’s Day. The night was filled beauty, encouragement, food and, well, love. We cooked rosemary lemon chicken, asparagus, and cheesy garlic mashed potatoes. Both lemon and pomegranate italian soda complimented the dinner, while a dessert of rocky road sauce over chocolate frozen yogurt topped it off perfectly. Our attire for the night exemplified the beauty inside each of us and our unique personalities. AnnaBananaBread wove our hair into braids and SarahFairah led us in creating the atmosphere of the room, worthy of a Valentine’s Day date. After the meal there was a photo shoot where we modeled with increasing confidence in ourselves. We then circled on the floor and took turns sitting in the hot seat and receiving encouragement from every one of our closest friends. We allowed one another to smile when being complimented, exchanged bear hugs and recognized the depth of each friendship and soul in the room.
It was this night that showed us how much we love both one another and every aspect of hostessing, spurning the idea of themed dinner parties, rotating the hostess and blogging about the process. Every woman who has become a part of this blog is learning about presenting herself to the world in confidence. This blog is about that journey. The journey through fashion, in allowing ourselves to shine and being well put together. The journey through cooking, and loving others through delicious food. The journey of creating an atmosphere, whether for a home or a party. The journey of friendship and enjoying one another’s presence. The journey of becoming women. The journey of making life beautiful.