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 Tablespoon.com.

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.

Ingredients:

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.

 

Superbowl Party Prep

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Well football season came to a screeching halt two weeks ago when the Patriots killed the Steelers in the AFL Championship for us over here. Chris’s family are huge Steelers fans, and loosing to the Pats pretty much ruined the entire season for Chris. With that being said: #letsgoFALCONS! I’ve never wanted Atlanta to win a sport so bad than I do right now.

So what do bitter sports fans do? We are throwing an anti-Patriots party on Sunday. Because work has been so crazy, and Saturday I have a bachelorette party to go to, I made sure to prep the house last night for our Superbowl Party.

Last week I grabbed a few decorations from our local party store, and prepped to decorate everything black and red for the Falcons. But besides the decorations, I made sure to pick up some easy football food to prep for Sunday.

Sunday we are going to have mini-meatballs, wings, Falcon’s themed trail mix, and my favorite: a sandwich bar. Um hello, is there anything better for a girl from Connecticut than a sandwich bar? Nope. Give me some good Boars Head and even better bread and I can be happy for a lifetime.

So besides festive decorations, good food and even better competition, all that we are waiting for are our guests. We are excited for Sunday, and defiantly check out my Instagram and Insta Stories to see how all of the food comes out.

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Making an Apartment a Home with New Living Room Decor

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Happy Monday everyone. Did everyone have an absolutely fabulous weekend?! We were kind of all over the place but Sunday we got to setting down & clean up shop to get ready for a crazy busy week. Bu today, we are talking about something that I couldn’t be more excited about: our new living room decor.

A couch was the last thing that we were really needing after we moved in the spring. We were still hanging onto my first couch I got from IKEA when I moved to LA 6 years ago. Not cute. After years of wear & tear, it got to the point that I actually hated sitting on it & would spend a lot of the time sitting on the floor.

We’ve had our eyes peeled but with saving for a wedding we decided we would hold off until February when the new furniture designs are usually placed in stores. Then Chris stumbled upon this set at a great price & we decided all of our planning was going to go out the window & we were going to buy it right then & there. (By the way…. I was pretty much jumping for joy in the store that we were finally getting a new couch!!)

I felt like our living room finally made sense. I tied in the gold throughout the room with these decorative accent balls to add a pop of color on our burlap runner & this ornamental lamp we picked up from Target. I painted the pot to place our Jade plant in so that it matched the monogrammed burlap letters on the wall across the room. Add these plush pillows, blankets, & a little life with our flowers & there you have it. Our new living room.

This table was an amazing gift Chris made for me for Valentine’s Day this year. By putting together these six unfinished apple boxes from Home Depot or Lowes, he was able to make a little space between all of the boxes. Sometimes we leave the box empty & it makes for a great place to store remotes. But right now we have some little fall decorations to make our room a little more festive. We go back & forth with deciding if we want to paint the table or leave it as is. What do you think?

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Engagement Announcements

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I know I am a little late but four months after getting engaged we finally sent out our engagement announcements to some of our family members. We went back and forth about whether or not we were going to go old school & send actual announcements. We assumed that it’s 2016, hello there’s Instagram!

Well no. With both Chris & I being from pretty big families we decided the best way to get the announcement out to our aunts & uncles was a good old fashioned engagement announcement. We have family all over the country & I know it’s a little shocking, but not everyone goes to social media for their latest news on friends & family.

We were lucky to have an amazing photographer friend capture our engagement from a far. You can see some of our photos here. We took advantage of having those great shots, & an amazing deal on Shutterfly to share our amazing day with our family.

I for one am obsessed. I love the work Bryan did on our photos & nothing can hold me back from grey stationary with some amazing photography. I went back and forth about what photos to choose until I finally decided on a variety of a full body shot, close up & my favorite, a beautiful black and white candid. Let me know what you think!

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