Tips for Hosting a Weeknight Dinner Party

Sometimes getting together with friends isn’t always the easiest. Everyone has their own families, work schedules, and extracurricular activities so sometimes getting together on the weekends is a little hard. Last week a few of my girlfriends and I had just gotten home from Orlando, but I had previously arranged to have a girls’ night mid-week to get together with a few of our friends who couldn’t make the trip to Florida. Truth be told, I was exhausted.

I got home Monday morning and went to work, Tuesday night I worked late, Wednesday I was traveling for work and Thursday was a super early morning and dinner was that night. But sometimes you just have to fight through it and suck it up. Lucky for me I used a few of these tips to make sure my weeknight dinner party ran smoothly.

Prep Throughout the Week
Monday I went grocery shopping, Tuesday night after work I cleaned my entire living room, kitchen and dining room. Wednesday I made sure to have all of the food I was going to serve prepped and ready to go. I put together all of the supplies for a charcuterie board, bought stuffed breads, prepared the dining room with all of the wines I was serving and made a pumpkin pie dip dessert.

Make it a Pot Luck
The theme of the night was a wine and soup night. I asked the girls to each bring a soup. Most of them prepped a crock pot soup the morning of, since they had work too. I did the easy stuff. Wine, stuffed breads, cheese and meats. Literally I did not have to make anything. I knew with cleaning the house, decorating and getting everything together I would never have time (r patience) to cut up veggies and get a soup together. Instead I requested to have everyone bring a little bit of something.

Make it Casual
Most of my friends and I have been friends for well over 15 years. We have no one to impress. It was leggings and sweatshirts for us that night which was perfect since most of us were either rushing from work or rushing home to get to bed at a decent hour to wake up for work the next day. During the week no one has time to look good in front of each other.


Rose Engagement Party and Rose Jello Shots

One of the main reasons I wanted to move home from California was because I was missing a lot of life changing events in my friends lives. Way back in April, one of my oldest friends got engaged to her literal soulmate and I was lucky enough to be home to celebrate her engagement party. We had to talk the bride to be into doing a little celebration so it took a while, but back in August we finally got to get together for a quick little girls night celebrate the future Mrs. Smeraglinolo.

Because she didn’t want a big to do, a few of us got together, had our friend who owns a jewelry store in town come over and we did a little jewelry making class while drinking some rose. We each brought a bottle of rose and made an appetizer and dessert. It’s always great to get together with your close friends and that is one thing that I defiantly missed while I was in Los Angeles.

For apps we had a brie and watermelon salad, caprese bites, pineapple-meatball bites, a few dips, charcuterie board and way too much more. For dessert we ended with chocolate covered strawberries, rose dipped pretzels and rose jello shots by

Super simple, and so amazing. We left out the Pop Rocks and amaretto and ended up serving them as a dessert in these beautiful Lenox martini glasses, but they were the perfect big kid jello shots.


1 ½ cups pink lemonade
3 envelopes unflavored gelatin
1 cup pink champagne
½ cup vodka

  1. Pour pink lemonade into a medium sauce pan. Add gelatin into lemonade and let sit. Once activated, turn heat to medium and bring to simmer.
  2. Once all of the gelatin is dissolved, add champagne and vodka.
  3. Pour into small loaf pan and refredgerate for 3 hours.
  4. Once gelatin is set, scoop into martini glass for serving. Keep chilled until ready to serve.


Irish Mule


I am obsessed with anything that means I have to buy a new glass or cute plate. When Moscow Mules became the new thing, I wanted to like them so bad. The little copper cups were the cutest things I’ve ever seen. But I just really don’t enjoy vodka all that much. I guess I had one too many rough nights in my early twenties with the stuff. But last year when Chris started making Irish Mules, I fell in love!

Throughout the fall Chris and I would have these a few times a week. They’re so yummy and the fresh lime makes it such a refreshing drink. And best part: we get to drink them out of these cute little copper mugs. Bar ware is my weakness.

The recipe is super simple and only requires three ingredients. But you definitely need to find a good ginger beer that you like because cheap ginger beer can definitely ruin the whole drink. We usually use Seagram’s. Next time you are in the mood for something refreshing, make one of these… super yummy.

Ice (in a copper mug.. eee)

1 ½ oz Jameson whiskey

½ lime, juiced and dropped in for garnish

Fill with Seagram’s ginger beer



Homemade Margarita

There are things happening people!! Happy Cinco de Mayo friends! Today we are talking about beverages! The adult kind with a little bit of lime. Yep you got it! Homemade margaritas. So I think many of you are aware that I work in retail… & if we are to be 100% honest… retail hours suck. I love the flexibility of my job but I hate the holiday hours, working on the weekends, & not seeing my family for Christmas for the past 5 years.

So my friend, & fellow retail worker/east coast originator, Bryan & I have been working on a little project help relieve us of our terrible work schedules. Our project is involving some soy wax, a lot of sent testing & mixing, & a lot of market research. Wondering what we’ve been working on? Well if you haven’t put the clues together you are just going to have to wait. We aren’t 100% ready yet to let out our little secret but in the next few weeks I will let you all know.


Today we are here to talk about Bryan & my favorite beverage while we are working on our project. When we worked together a few years back we would spend every other Wednesday after work at happy hour at an amazing Mexican restaurant in Sherman Oaks, CA, Casa Vega. If you are ever in LA take the trip over the hill to try it! It is a Los Angeles landmark & has been around since 1956 bringing in celebrities & locals alike.

When Bryan & I first started talking about our project we began over a few of these beautiful little things & our ideas started sparking to life. We decided we wanted to make our brain storming session it a fun night so we ran to the grocery store, walked pass the margarita mix, & straight to produce section. We were wanted a nice fresh drink instead of a sugar filled syrup. Making the margaritas fresh brings out the flavor of the tequila & makes you sip on it rather than, well pounding it.

Which you will thank me for in the morning.

Try these out & let me know how you think. I for sure know I will be having one tonight.


In a 6 oz glass

2 oz tequila
½ lime, juiced
1 oz simple syrup
1 oz triple sec
Fill with water and stir

Mom’s Cranberry Sangria

Mom’s Cranberry Sangria

½ bag fresh cranberries
1 750 mL bottle Chardonnay
2 liters Ginger Ale
½ liter Cranberry Schnapps

1. Freeze fresh cranberries in small, shallow container with water to make into ice cube. Let freeze 24 hours.
2. Combine wine, soda, and Schnapps into a serving pitcher. Include cranberry ice cubes and serve.