Tag Archives: the appreciator blog

4 Ways to Entertain With Ease

10 Jul

This quote is the key to entertaining. Memorize it.

I love to have people over.  The whole experience should be smooth, fun and lovely not only for your guests – but for you. Why? Because whether you are having friends over for dinner, your spouse’s colleagues around for a happy hour or a baby shower for 30 – the whole point of the event is meant to be… fun. You want your guests to be left with the feeling of inclusion, warmth, and happiness.

Good luck, I can hear some of you sigh with a harrumph. Entertaining freaks me out, some of you might say. Well, here are 4 things to remember:

1. START WITH WHAT YOU LIKE AND KNOW

It’s no secret that my husband likes cocktails. He likes planning out a signature drink for the evening, buying the ingredients, setting up a bar, getting the ice and serving our guests when they arrive. That’s just one of his things. He starts his dinner party prep there.

I like music and candles. I like creating playlists for the kind of mood I want to create. Maybe it’s a yoga night or we’re going up north or having drinks on the beach– I want to create a feeling with what people hear when they arrive and what they smell – that’s where I start.

Where do you start? Here are some examples to help you decide:

  • Cooking or baking
  • Cleaning and/or decorating
  • Paper and invites
  • Music
  • Place settings
  • Landscapes
  • Planning
  • Making cocktails

Figure out what you LOVE to do and start your planning there.

2. DON’T STRIVE FOR PERFECTION, NO ONE CARES AS MUCH AS YOU DO

Ina Garten said in one of her books something I’ll never forget.  She and Jeffery were young and broke but that didn’t stop her from having people over. She didn’t have the perfect napkins and matching place settings and her furniture was dated, but she confirmed that no one cares about stuff like that.

If you wait to have everything “perfect” you’ll let life pass you by.

Be driven by your guests need to feel welcome, not by your need to impress.

3. PLAN EVERY ASPECT IN ADVANCE + DON’T DO IT ALL

The more you plan, no matter how big or small the event, the easier it is to pull off an awesome party.  Take the time to think everything out – top to bottom – start to finish – write it all down, design a menu, make a grocery list.   I’ve designed an outline for you to use to help. 

Another tip is don’t feel like you have to do it all.  Have friends bring the drinks or food.  Get party platters for appetizers that are already made or just put out some nuts and cheese.  Check out some EPIC party platters here.  

4. YOU SET THE STAGE 

You can either be like this:

or like this:

I Love Lucy!

More reads on entertaining here, here and here.

encouragement for today

4 Feb

this week has been filled with encouragement.

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and it’s only tuesday!

sunday’s sermon was excellent about God giving you courage and encouragement when you need it and pray for it.  ROF and i did a bible study last night based on the sermon and it asked us to name some times when God gave you a small responsibility to test you before He gave you a big one.  it’s just encouraging to me to know that He is so very intimately involved in our lives and not just a thing you do on sundays.  if you want to read more on this, click here.

next, my sister reminded me of something i found and sent to her last month.  I love this stuff.   this is by dan waldschmidt.  it gave her encouragement at the exact time she needed it.  maybe it will do the same for you.  thanks dan!  looks like he has a new book coming out.

YOU HAVE TO DO THE HARD THINGS.

You have to make the call you’re afraid to make.
You have to get up earlier than you want to get up.
You have to give more than you get in return right away.
You have to care more about others than they care about you.
You have to fight when you are already injured, bloody, and sore.
You have to feel unsure and insecure when playing it safe seems smarter.
You have to lead when no one else is following you yet.
You have to invest in yourself even though no one else is.
You have to look like a fool while you’re looking for answers you don’t have.
You have to grind out the details when it’s easier to shrug them off.
You have to deliver results when making excuses is an option.
You have to search for your own explanations even when you’re told to accept the “facts”.
You have to make mistakes and look like an idiot.
You have try and fail and try again.
You have to run faster even though you’re out of breath.
You have to be kind to people who have been cruel to you.
You have to meet deadlines that are unreasonable and deliver results that are unparalleled.
You have to be accountable for your actions even when things go wrong.
You have to keep moving towards where you want to be no matter what’s in front of you.
You have to do the hard things.
The things that no one else is doing. The things that scare you. The things that make you wonder how much longer you can hold on.
Those are the things that define you. Those are the things that make the difference between living a life of mediocrity or outrageous success.
The hard things are the easiest things to avoid.  To excuse away. To pretend like they don’t apply to you.
The simple truth about how ordinary people accomplish outrageous feats of success is that they do the hard things that smarter, wealthier, more qualified people don’t have the courage — or desperation — to do.
Do the hard things. You might be surprised at how amazing you really are.

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top photo credit to: henry stern

feeling appreciative

28 Jun

if you read my “bio” or whatever you call it in the upper right hand corner, you will see that i’m the appreciator because i wasn’t sure what to focus my blog on.  i started writing this for background info as part of my job – so that i would actually know how to do it.

how i came up with that idea of “the appreciator” is:

ROF and i were taking a walk through our neighborhood.  it was about a year ago now.  and as we’re walking i’m asking him what could my focus could be…because you know, you have to have a focus.  the conversation went a little bit like this:

“so i’m thinking of writing a blog” (me)

“really?  that’s cool.  about what?” (him)

“that’s the thing, i don’t know” (me)

“why do you want to do it?” (him)

“well, my CEO wants some information on writing a blog and i want to be able to say i know how…from my perspective” (me)

“ok.  well you are a good at a lot of things” (him)

“awe.  that’s sweet.  go on.  like what”  (digging for more…me)

“well, social media for one.  you love it, believe in it and know it.  (him)

“yeah.  but that’s work.  there’s more to me.  here’s the deal.  i appreciate nice music but i don’t write it.  i appreciate great design but i’m not a designer” (me)

“go on” (him)

“and i love DIY stuff but i don’t actually DIY” (me)

“and….” (him)

“and… i love photography but i don’t do it professionally.  love good food but don’t cook professionally – but i appreciate it all!” (me)

“i know” (me)

“i’m the appreciator” (me)

“there you have it” (him)

and there i had it.  so going back to the basics, here is the short list of things i appreciate.  

my relationship with God.  my Father and hard core foundation.  thank Him that i don’t struggle with “the meaning of life”.  i have it.

husband, ROF.  Sappy and all – he is whom i appreciate the most

mom & sister.  not a “given” they are built-in friends for life and beyond. soul-mates

awesome extended family.  susan, mike, mike, bill & sarah.  wonderful people whom i love being connected to (6 more days, susan!)

wonderful aunts & uncles & cousins – seriously fun people i wish we were all a lot closer

career and all the people who have supported me and taught me and pushed me to the limits (you know who you are)

career and all the people who believe in what we do and work hard to support “the cause”! (you know who you are A & S)

friends – you know who you are too

house, i never stop appreciating you

max and wrigley.  my babies.  i love you to death

flying all over the country

flying in first class

flying in first class on vacation with a bottle of red wine

playing gin with #1

cooking dinner with #1

clean cut grass

white sheets 

being organized

our new MAC computer suite (kiss kiss kiss)

massive storms when i’m with people i love or like a lot

massive storms when there is red wine involved to calm me down

colorado – feeling little teeny tiny in a land of big mountains and low valleys and knowing that man had nothing to do with the beauty

turbulence

poached eggs

the food network

mad men, damages, restaurant impossible, anthony bourdain

chevy dealers all over the country

the geigers in madison wisconsin

the dallas cowboys (ROF, stop laughing, i mean it)

the night before you go on vacation

the night before holidays

friends who surprise you on your anniversary by toilet papering your house at midnight and then ringing your doorbell while you’re watching ghost adventurers (EEKK!) and showing up with a bottle of good, no great, champagne.

knowing that your prayers are answered

central market and whole foods when no one else is in the store

church when you sing that hymn and it hits you in a way that you have to cry but no one knows your crying

remembering the feel of your dad’s hands and smiling at the thought of his “funny tooth”

a big Christmas dinner over at a big families’s house with lots of food, drinks, a bonfire and love

the east coast -hills and chills and history

woody allen

the movies: network, manhattan, annie hall, guess who came to dinner, manchurian candidate and more

good wine

bad wine

great music – house, electronic, rock, mix tapes, playlists, hip and cool

going out to eat

louie and louie’s

chicago

costa rica

the joule

making ROF coffee in the morning

are you still reading?

magazines and all the nuggets of information they contain

ideas and the execution of ideas

smart clients

smart people

passionate thinkers

forgiveness

ok, i’m tired now and i’m going to go.  this was not an exhaustive list by any means.

it felt good to capture some of this.  wish you would share with me some of the things you appreciate so i can too!

xxoo 

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