Tag Archives: Party

How To Throw A White Party (Brooklyn) P. Diddy Style

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My good friend Kate of Brooklyn Belltower asked me to join her for a white-themed pop-up dinner party in Prospect Park, Brooklyn this past weekend and I nearly scoffed at the idea of paying for a table to picnic and bring all your own food and decor.

Then I found out the proceeds went to the NYC Parks, to improve our beloved park and one of my favorite songwriters of all time, Ben Folds would serenade us after dinner. We also got to get creative with our table, so I was sold. Did I mention, we were front row to see Ben Folds perform because there wasn’t a bad seat in the house?dear_andi_white_party_2

Kate and I got crafty and hand-made our center pieces. Kate collected sticks in the park earlier that day and painted them white. We painted bottles white to place them in for a monochromatic look.

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Kate found our linens and plates from various affordable stores like Target and I scored white fans for only $1 from Pearl River in SoHo. I also collected jars and various candle holders from my backyard to paint white and put battery operated tea light candles in, also from Pearl River. Kate cleverly painted our Instagram names on charger plates en lieu of place cards.

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My truffle oil popcorn is always a big hit at parties and worked nicely with the white colored theme. It also happens to be VERY easy.

ingredients:

1 cup of popping kernels (NOT microwave popcorn!)

safflower oil, or another cooking oil

truffle or truffle-infused oil

fine sea salt

-Fill the bottom of a large pot with a layer of kernels

-Coat with a layer of cooking oil

-Heat on high heat and wait until the pops go from pop, pop, pop to pop…pop…

-Remove from heat and let cool

-Drizzle with olive oil, a few drops of truffle or truffle-infused oil and add sea salt to taste.

-Enjoy and let your friends marvel as they can’t stop eating this delicious snack!

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White beans and potatoes were in line with the white theme, but we couldn’t resist having some greens and a yummy salmon cake (from Whole Foods).

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I made white sangria to go with the theme, which was also easy to make and a big hit. Here’s my recipe:

1 bottle of white wine (ideally Spanish, but any dryer wine will do)

Triple sec

white grapes

mint

1 Green Anjou pear

Sparkling water or club soda

Combine wine and 1/4 cup of triple sec. Wash fruit and mint. Slice grapes in half, dice pear, and remove thick stems from a handful of mint and add to the wine. Let sit in the refrigerator and add 1 – 2 cups of soda water (to taste) just before serving.

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Desserts from Steve’s Key Lime Pie and Larry’s rugelach from Court Street Grocers went quickly and shared with other guests we met (spread love, it’s the Brooklyn way!).

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TJMaxx dress (see below for similar) // Zara bag // Chloe & Isabel necklace (c/o) // Tom Binns earrings (sold out, but similar here) // Essie nailpolish

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6 Ways How To Host A Party In Style

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dress: Parker New York for Barney’s // tights: American Apparel // booties: Seychelles (similar online) // belt: c/o Nona E. Rose // necklaces: etc… and c/o Gorjana Griffin

This past weekend, a friend told me that I’m going to be “The next Martha Stewart…but with an edge.” I’ll take that, especially as I love to host a good gathering like Martha.

The hubby and I hosted a post-holiday party for a few close friends that has become a tradition, as the holiday season can be a tricky time to make plans with friends. We celebrate everything from Christmas to Chanukah and even the Chinese New Year with a menu that reflects all of that, but centered around our favorite traditional Chanukah fare, Latkes.

Just when the holidays may have gotten the best of you, there are more celebrations to be had. Whether you’re hosting a New Years Eve soiree, a birthday celebration, or even a post-holiday party, you too can be a Martha with my go-to tricks for being the “hostess with the mostest.”

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1. Create a menu and post it somewhere for your guests.

It’s helpful for your guests to clearly write out all of the menu items somewhere, so they can leave room for items coming out as they are ready. Additionally, you can use it as your own checklist. You can also leave out labels for each item on the table as well, in case you have any guests with allergies or dietary restrictions.

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2. Create a signature cocktail or two and make sure there are non-alcoholic refreshments available too.

Your guests will appreciate that they aren’t standing at the bar area dumbfounded on what to make.

Some sort of punch or sangria is perfect for guests because you can make quite a bit of it ahead of time. Make sure if your recipe calls for club soda, to add it right before guests arrive so it doesn’t go flat. I tend to make these cocktails slightly weaker, so party-goers don’t feel so guilty when they tend to drink it like juice.

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If you decide to make a signature drink that cannot be made beforehand, then leave out instructions for your guests, so in case you’re busy greeting someone, they can handle it themselves.

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3. Set up all of the dishes and plates for your hors d’oeuvres and bites prior to serving

It’s helpful to lay everything out prior, so you’re not scrambling while guests arrive. We even try to make as much as possible the night before so we can reserve last minute touches for the day of.

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4. Get a head count of your guests and make enough food for a third more.

While you may have politely asked for RSVP’s on your invite, there will always be those that bring a friend without mentioning it or those that come pretty hungry. It’s always best to prepare more and have leftovers for yourself and guests to go home with. Nothing makes people want to leave a party more than one that has run out of food and drinks.

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5. Create an activity for your guests.

Whether it’s a parlor game like the ever popular Cards Against Humanity, or another group activity, it’s great to have an ice breaker or something that guests can participate in. I leave out some games like Jenga or Apples To Apples for people to play with just in case the party starts to get quiet.

It’s become a tradition for this post-holiday party to do a “bad gift exchange,” where friends can bring a gift they received over the holidays that they weren’t a fan of (like the moldy farmer’s market turnip my mother-in-law gave us…just kidding) and trade it in for someone else’s wrapped gift under the tree before they leave. The subjectively “bad” gifts this year included a kitten calendar, a heart shaped candle, a tinsel scarf, texting gloves, and the one I received and am actually excited about, paper and binder clips. It made for some great laughs and actually made guests leaving early much less awkward for them.

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6. Make an easy and unique appetizer that your guests will demand at every party

The most memorable parties are the ones with the food that you continue to talk about. My agent once made this cream cheese wasabi spread at a party and I begged her for the recipe because it was such a hit. Turns out it was ridiculously simple to assemble and now my friends are demanding it for all of my gatherings and even to bring to their own.

Here’s how to make the Cream Cheese Wasabi Spread Served With Rice Crackers.

ingredients:

1 block of regular cream cheese (low fat is difficult to work with!)
wasabi paste
soy sauce
sesame seeds
rice crackers for serving

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Cut the cream cheese in half lengthwise.

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Spread on a thin layer of wasabi paste.

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Drizzle with soy sauce.

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Place the other half on top and repeat the last two steps. Then sprinkle a layer of sesame seeds on top. Serve with a spreading knife and pair it with rice crackers.

Of course the best way to host a party in style is by making sure everyone is having a good time, introducing friends to each other and making sure that even you are enjoying yourself.

Have a happy, healthy and *stylish* New Years. See you in 2014!


How To Dress For A Holiday Work Party

What To Wear To A Holiday Work Party

DEAR ANDI:

The office where my boyfriend works is throwing a holiday party next week. It’s at a restaurant, which I’ve never been to—looks nice but not overly fancy. I want to make a good impression on his coworkers, but also don’t want to look overdressed. I’m looking for a classic look on a budget…any suggestions?

-Lisa, Long Island

 

Dear Lisa,

Ah, the dreaded holiday work party what to wear conundrum. This sounds all too familiar.

While you want to dress to impress, there’s always that person at the office party dressed inappropriately or embarrassingly over- and/or under-dressed, like they didn’t get the memo. I have a feeling you won’t be that person if you’re concerned to begin with.

In my book, you can’t go wrong with something you would wear to an office when attending an office party—makes sense, right?

Of course you want to look a bit more dazzling in honor of the holidays, so what better way to stay in your budget than update what you already own with some dazzling accessories?

You can dress up a classic little black dress with some sparkling jewels, a shiny clutch, and shoes that wow, but are still demure, so it will feel appropriate no matter wherever your party may be.

Some holiday friendly makeup that’s classic and not sparkly, like a winged cat-eye and a matte red lip, will be sure to take your office-friendly look into night time appropriately without breaking the bank.

A classic a-line dress, especially in a metallic brocade with a nod to “Mad Men’s” office style will be sure to wow and never go out of style. Pair it with a pointy toe heel, which is classic and incredibly on trend for this season.

Lastly, if you want to wear some sparkle, do it in only one of your garments. You could look like a Christmas tree lit up otherwise. Try a metallic sparkle pencil skirt, with a chiffon blouse tucked in and you’ll be good to go.

Whatever you end up wearing, make sure to drink plenty of water (and not as much of the holiday punch) and enjoy yourself. It’s important that your personality shines more than your clothing this season!

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