Simple Unique Entertaining Tips

Unique entertaining tips I think entertaining friends is a great way to share yourself with them. Through your home decor choices to what you serve, when you invite people in, you are letting them get to know you more intimately. Here are some simple, unique entertaining tips to let your personal style shine through while having a great time with friends.

Use modpodge and fabric to dress up a store-bought succulent container. I love succulents as much as the next person. But I have a black thumb plus I don’t like to be dirty. I don’t know how to replant plants in to decorative pots and every time I decide I’m going to do it, I buy a huge bag of dirt (why don’t the home improvement stores sells a half bag???) that just sits there for a year before I throw it out. What I’ve started doing instead is just adding a little pizzaz to the pots the plants are sold in. I make sure to leave the bottom free so the water can still drain out. Here, just a little bit of Mod Podge and some bright fabric make these pots a little more fun. I have these all around my house and it not only makes the house feel more lived in (plants really are miracle workers) but I can show a bit of my design style in the colors and fabric patterns that I choose.

Upcycle a tray from the top of a box of candy. Just use a little modpodge and cool wrapping paper. I don’t know about you but I am NOT made of money. I love to shop but shouldn’t. So I try to look at things that are around the house and figure out how I can use them in a new way. This “tray” was actually part of a plastic box that held candies at Christmas. I used a little Mod Podge and some cool wrapping paper to make it a custom tray. And I love leopard so this was another great way to show a little of myself. It’s not heirloom quality by any means, but it totally passes as a tray and when I think it has done its job, I can throw it out and not feel like I’ve wasted money.

Unique candy for more creative entertaining.I love candy. My husband and I don’t take ourselves to seriously so I love to have candy to put out when friends drop by. Candy makes people happy. And even when someone is on a diet, they will still reach for one piece of candy. Pretty much any candy will work but I like to use the opportunity to pull out some unique candy that you can’t find everywhere. These cinnamon milk dreams are pretty and delicious and were picked up on my recent trip to Portland. Not only am I sharing something new with my friends, but I’m sharing a little bit about myself and my love of traveling and finding new things.

Serve a delicious sparkling wine  even if your get together isn't fancy.And even at the most casual of gatherings, you should serve sparkling wine. Don’t save it for a fancy occasion. Serve it on a Tuesday afternoon. Because most people don’t. You don’t have to spend a ton on a great bottle. Find one that you like and share it with your pals. A lot of people like to play it safe and serve what they think most people like or what they know they like. But I like to take that risk of serving something new. Sure, there have been flops. Which has made for some pretty fun memories.

Use a drop of essential oils in your sparkling wine! This wild orange is like a refreshing mimosa.I’ve recently become obsessed with essential oils and have been wanting to try them out in all different ways. YOU GUYS! The wild orange oil in sparkling wine???? AMAZING! The lavender was thumbs up emoji too. Do things different. (Just be careful ingesting the oils and always follow directions on the bottle! And only ingest pure oils like those from DoTerra). The oils paired perfectly with this sparkling wine from Kim Crawford.

Use a drop of essential oils in your sparkling wine! This wild orange is like a refreshing mimosa.Kim Crawford is one of my favorite wine brands. If I could only drink their Sauvignon Blanc for the rest of my life, I’d be a happy lady. But this sparkling wine is definately a new favorite. It’s crisp and dry with a vibrant fizz. If you see it in the store, pick up a bottle and try it for yourself! Their motto is “Undo Ordinary” which I adore and is how I try to do things in my own life. Ordinary is fine. It’s just so much more fun to color outside the lines once in a while. For me, it’s next to impossible to not be creative. Sometimes I think my personal motto should be, “Can’t leave well enough alone.” But that makes me, me. And my guests know this. And embrace it. (I think.) How do you entertain differently and let your personal style come through?

*Kim Crawford sent me a bottle of their Fizz Methode Traditionnelle to try.

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Best Champagne Punch Recipe

Best Champagne Punch Recipe.This is the best champagne punch recipe. The only one you’ll ever need. It is my family’s go-to celebratory recipe and we’ve been serving it for years. But if you get the chance you really should serve it to your friends out in the middle of the desert. All images via Tammy Mendoza.

Photo shoot out in Palm Springs.Since we were headed out to Palm Springs to shoot some new head shots, we thought it would be fun if we shot a recipe post while we were out there. This is the type of stuff that is so fun for a creative person. So often I have these big ideas in my head but the logistics to pull them off are a little bit too much for one person, or on account of family time constraints. I was SO excited to be able to sneak away with Tammy and Lauren and get to do something totally different.

Champagne and the desert. Two of my favorite things. We found this gorgeous little spot to set up in and got the bottles popping.

Best Champagne Punch RecipeAnd then started assembling the ingredients. This punch is pretty citrus-y so its refreshing and flavorful.

Add the champagne.What I love about champagne punch is that it works well for a crowd and because of all the other ingredients, you don’t need to splurge on the good bubbly. A super cheap bottle is perfect. And since this is SO yummy, you will need to make several batches. Know that going in and have several batches prepped ahead of time.

Slice citrus fruits for an easy garnish for your punch.Usually the garnish is some citrus slices. If you want to get crazy, you can add fresh raspberries. The pop of pink is a really fun touch. And edible flowers would be even more lovely.

Champagne in Palm Springs.Although this is a punch and your natural instinct might be to run towards your standard punch bowl, you should change things up a bit. I like to serve this Here I decided to use a vase to serve the punch in.

Make champagne punch and serve it in something other than a punch bowl to keep things interesting. I love to use things for something other than their intended purpose.

Delicious citrus champagne punch.But if that’s not your jam, simply make several batches and serve them in mismatched glass jars. Empty wine bottles are perfect for this. And this is a great way to make sure that all your guests can get their beverage quickly without having to wait for the ladle.

Best champagne punch recipe..How gorgeous is this?! It really makes me want to throw a whole desert party.

Fur coats and champagne punch in Palm Springs.

Best Champagne Punch Recipe
 
Best champagne punch recipe. Citrusy and refreshing, this punch is perfect for all your festive gatherings.
Serves: 3 quarts
Ingredients
  • 1 can (46 oz.) Pineapple Juice (cold)
  • 1 bottle (28 oz.0 Club Soda (cold)
  • 1 can (6 oz.) Frozen OJ Concentrate (thawed)
  • 1 bottle Champagne or Sparkling Wine (chilled)
  • 1 lemon or lime, finely sliced for garnish
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen raspberries for garnish (optional)
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients, stir and serve.
  2. Garnish with a slice of fresh lemon or lime.
  3. Can be made the night before but wait to add the club soda and champagne until ready to serve.
  4. Should at least plan to double or triple the recipe. It is a crowd pleaser.

All images by Tammy Mendoza of Dez and Tam Photography 

*I did not create this recipe. Years ago, before blogs and Pinterest, when you found a recipe you liked, you wrote it down and emailed it to all your friends and family. The source for this recipe is long gone. If you know the source, please share! I like to credit when credit is due! 

 

7 Great Marmalade and Jam Cocktails

Mmmmmm.  Marmalade cocktails are awesome. So I am kind of in love with the idea of using marmalade in my cocktails.  Especially orange marmalade.  It is both sweet and sour and that appeals to me very much.  I thought you could probably just add it to champagne to do a fun take on a mimosa.  But it was missing something.  So I decided to do a search for marmalade and jam cocktail recipes so I can learn how to build a better drink.

There are so many variations of marmalade cocktails.  Have you tried them?

A gin based cocktail from Food Network.

Another one that is gin based but adding a little Campari from Food Republic.

Here is a Brunch Punch made with vodka and orange marmalade.

Check out the Weissen Sour with both beer and bourbon.

Gin and jam cocktail from Honestly Yum.

A whiskey based cocktail with fig jam.

Lemon Verbena and Raspberry Jamtini.  Doesn’t that sound refreshing!

Champagne and marmalade is a new take on a mimosa.And here is a GREAT article for how to make the best cocktails with jams and marmalades.  There IS a formula.  I was totally missing the citrus.  Looks like I better try to make some more…Cheers!

Splurge vs. Save

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sparkling wineShhhh.  Don’t tell anyone.  I’m guessing that most other bloggers are guilty of this little switcheroo too.  My shoots happen in the morning when I have the best light in my kitchen.  And while this might be prime mimosa time, it’s usually not practical to drink the drinks you need to pour for your styled shoot.  So while I may use a higher end brand in some of  the photos (La Marca is only $10 at Costco so I guess it isn’t really higher end – but it super yummy and I actually like to drink it) the bottle is not actually opened.  Instead, I swap out a less expensive one (in this case about $5) to use in the detail shots because then I feel better pouring it out.  What are your tricks?

How to Buy Last Minute Gifts for Your Wife or Girlfriend

how to buy last minute gifts for your wife or girlfriend.  Ladies - forward this to every man you know. Ladies.  We are just 2 days away from Valentine’s Day.  It’s crunch time for the men in your life.  Forward this to any man you know who could use some tips for shopping for their significant others.  And feel free to add your own tips in the comment section.  Let’s help husbands and boyfriends give better gifts!  (Really this post is just suggesting they put some thought and a little effort).

Hello, men

Valentine’s Day is in two days.  Do you know how you will celebrate it with your wife or girlfriend?  P.S. bookmark this site for future occasions (Do you even know when your anniversary is?  Her birthday?  The first time you held hands?  HOT TIP:  you will get even more brownie points for doing any one of these things for no reason at all.  Here is how to buy last minute gifts for your wife or girlfriend.

First off, use your noodle.  You need to think for a moment about how your woman is.  Would she scoff at, what some might consider to be, smaller gifts, then this post is not for you.  Grab your wallet and head to your nearest luxury department store.  Buy a $400 pair of sunglasses, have them wrap them up for you and you are set.  But if your gal likes you to put a little bit of thought in to the gift, read on.

champagne and leopard is always a winning combo.  Add one little extra touch to make a so so gift, great.My husband and I decided early on in our marriage that the only real gifts that we would buy for each other, each year, would be birthday and Christmas.  We will potentially enjoy a nice meal out for our anniversary but we feel we have a lot of nice things already and don’t need any more stuff.  Depending on how your significant other is, choose one or more of these items to gift her.

If your gal likes to have a cocktail, grab a bottle of bubbly, something that most people do not splurge on or buy for themselves.  The Veuve is a nice, recognizable bottle and crowd (in this case, your lady friend) pleaser.  In my opinion, it is far better to purchase gifts that fit in to your price range than just trying to impress someone (who knows how much you really make).  So if you can’t swing the $40 bottle, look for the La Marca.  It is an Italian prosecco, $12-$14, and tastes delicious.  But how much effort does grabbing a bottle of alcohol really take?  Consider adding on an auxiliary gift.  The auxiliary gift can be inexpensive but should be something that either goes with the drink you are giving or be something that the gal would love.  These leopard print coasters actually came from the Dollar Tree.  Remove all packaging and tie up with string.  Simple.

Stance socks are super fun and a great quick gift idea for your lady friendSocks?!  You say.  Yes, socks.  Browse the internet for a humorous saying to go on the gift tag or use the old stand by, “cold feet, warm heart” or say something about snuggling.  While socks are a practical item, there are some really fun, design forward pairs out there.  You can’t go wrong with Stance socks.  You can find these at most of your local skate or surf shops including the larger chains like Zumiez.  Look for pairs that remind you of her.  Pick a flower from the garden to give along with one -3 pairs of socks and get ready for a hug.

jazz up store bought flowers for your sweetieStore bought flowers are totally ok.  This particular bouquet came from Wal-Mart.  But she doesn’t have to know that.  Most women like their men to put in a little bit of effort to make them feel special.  This was seriously the tiniest bit of effort.  First, remove the store-bought wrapping.  Then cut part of  a paper grocery sack, wrap it around the stem and wind some pink nylon string (found at both Home Depot and Lowe’s) around it.  How easy is that?

fill her favorite candy in a cute box.  Show a little tiny bit of effort.Does your gal have a sweet tooth?  Chances are you know a few of her favorite candies.  This box was from the Target dollar bin. All you have to do is repackage things to make them look like you spent time on it, even if you really didn’t.  She likes something salty instead?  Take a moment to look around for a larger divided container (perhaps in the home decor or kitchen areas – even a divided dish would work) and fill with savory snacks.  Add a note that says something about her being sweet and you are totally getting lucky tonight.

A gal loves a pedicure, so give her some cash and send her to pamper herselfThis one is especially great for women with children.  Sometimes the best gift for a mom is getting some time by herself.  It might seem tacky to just hand her some cash but hear me out.  Most women love to get pedicures.  And there are little nail places all around town.  Chances are, she has a favorite.  She may have even mentioned it to you before.  But wait, was it Lucky Nail, Nail Lucky, Happy Nails…the chances of you getting that one wrong are high.  Tell her that you know how much she does for the family and that you want her to go pamper herself.  The fact that you be taking care of the kids and planned this out will show her that you care and she will be beyond excited.  And she will have the choice of where to go.  Nail places are not created equal.  Are you seeing some gifts or combos of gifts that might work for the lady in your life?

Have your significant other set up a 'wishlist' on pinterest for easy gift buyingThis last suggestion is not something for last-minute purchases but will surely help you on your gift giving journey.  Suggest that your gal pal make a “wish list” board on her pinterest.  You can look at this like a personal gift registry.  You can ask her to begin pinning things that she would like to get as gifts from you or even others.  Then whenever you need to, you can check out her list and potentially buy them straight from the link.  What is also cool about this is that it still leaves a little bit of the surprise factor for her when opening gifts.  Do you see that, up there?  I have 40 things on my wish list so I would never be able to guess what things I might get.  I’m sure she will happily show you how to navigate to that board (but you really should bookmark it or save it as your home page).

I hope this has helped you learn how to give gifts to your significant other.  All we really want is a little thought and effort to know that you care.

*Ladies, feel free to leave other suggestions in the comments section!