Keep Calm & Party On

Show:  The Today Show
Date:  July 12, 2012
Guest:  Sarah Humphreys, Real Simple Magazine


Keep Calm and Party On

Keep Calm and Party On (or how to be a more relaxed host)

Because throwing a party can be a lot of stress and work, Sarah Humphreys, Executive Editor from Real Simple magazine, was on the Today show to share her tips on staying relaxed when entertaining this summer.

Three Things to Include on the Invitations

Tell when you are grilling.  You can avoid having to re-fire the grill for late arrivals.
If you have a rain date, put it on the invite. You can also put “Rain or Shine”, so you won’t have to deal with people calling that day asking if the party is still going to happen).
Put the ‘dress code’ on it as well.  Some people have a different idea of what ‘casual’ means, so just be specific!

Think Piñatas

The next tip she had was to include a piñata for all ages.  You can get them from party supply stores.  Sarah suggests using a monochromatic colours scheme of candies to look more chic.,But some other ideas are lottery tickets, seed packets, water guns, fake moustaches, fortune telling fish (anyone know what these are?). The diamond piñata shown is from Confetti System.
Silver Piñata

Filling ideas:

Food – What to Serve

Since you don’t want to be  cooking all day, keep it simple.  Serve Hamburgers and Hot Dogs.  Just make sure to practice good food safety, and keep things like salads on ice.   Get fancier for the drinks and desserts.  Have a signature cocktail.  The one shown here is a Limeade Margarita – 2 cups of limeade along with some tequila and triple sec.  I wish she said how much liquor to put in,  I made the margaritas WAY too strong at my Cinco de Mayo party!  Put ice to the side so you don’t water down the drink.  If you don’t have a cooler,  get creative with how to store ice.  You can line a planter with plastic wrap and fill them with ice.  I like those galvanized containers to put drinks in.  The dessert shown is some type of pistachio parfait; with pistachio ice cream, hot fudge and chocolate cookies.  You can make it ahead of time, and take it out of the freezer just before serving.
Pistachio Parfaits    Hamburgers & Hot Dogs

Tip for when it is Hot Hot Hot

Get some dollar store towels, roll them up and put them in ice.  People can take them and put them on the backs of their necks if they are overheating.
Cool Towels

See the video from the Today Show:

Keep Calm poster generated at:


Fun Fourth of July for the Family

Show:  The Today Show
Date:  July 3, 2012
Guest:  Robyn Moreno

So you have only a day left to get ready for your 4th of July bash.  Lifestyle expert Robyn Moreno was on the Today show with some festive ideas (crafts, games and food) to set the mood when entertaining for Independence Day.  Her rules are to keep it fun and simple.  You shouldn’t have to work too hard.  Make sure you have something for everyone.

The first item Robyn showed was a fireworks mural, so you can enjoy the pyrotechnics, even if you are somewhere where they aren’t allowed, or if you have little kids and don’t think it is safe.  So this custom mural could work in a pinch, it comes with adhesive so you can stick it to the side of the house or on your garage.  Robyn’s idea was to take pictures in front of it.  So it makes a cute and reusable decoration.  Check out

Fireworks Mural

Screenshot of Mural

Next, she showed some hanging decorations that she found at Party City.  She found banners, balloons, hanging lights, etc.  She noted that most times when you go shopping this late, you can often find stuff for half off (of course, you risk the stores being cleaned out though!).

Next were some old fashioned crafts for the kids, like the cute pinwheels from  So summery.  Kids can make and play with them (great for small hands), you can use them later for decorations.



I really like this next craft,  animal balloons!   Who doesn’t love balloons?  This fun kit comes with 6 balloons, and the kids can construct animal faces, like the tiger and pig shown here.  There is also a red, white & blue set as well.


Animal Balloon Kit

Another retro craft is rockets.  So Robyn said she found a company called Kiwi Craft which will send you a different box of crafts every month, like the paper rockets.

For games,  there was a bean bag toss game.  A game everyone can play.Robyn says in Texas they call it corn hole-ing.  Weird  🙂   The game shown below is from


Bean Bag Toss

Next up is Hula Hoops and Stilts.  The stilts shown were ergonomic ones from a company called Walk-A-Roo. You can get Walkaroo Stiltson on Amazon.  The hula hoop has lights on it, so you can keep hooping into the night. The WeGlow International Light Up Hula Hoop
looks pretty small, so may be better suited for younger kids.

I think this one looks like a better pick:

For food,  Robyn had a cute suggestion, a Hot Dog Bar.  With labelled condiments and different toppings, everyone can make it themselves.

hot dog bar

Hot Dog Bar

And for drinks, use a red Radio Flyer wagon as a cooler.



To Watch the video:

You can also watch this video on 4th of July crafts for kids:


DIY Floral Arrangements from Matthew Robbins on the Today Show

Show:  The Today Show
Date:  May 24, 2012
Guest:  Matthew Robbins


Floral trends for summer, ready for summer events you are planning. Celebrity Event Designer Matthew Robbins was on the May 24 episode of the Today show with some creative examples of tabletop flower arrangements you can make at home, without having to fork out lots of cash at the florist.

One of Robbins’ tips to make flowers more practical, and not just something you have for special occasions, is to play around with them in your home.  Its a great way to play around with colours, without having to commit!   He also says its a good way to celebrate the season.  I totally agree, I always get some tulips or daffodils in spring, and love rich coloured bouquets in fall.


The first trend he talks about is colour blocking.  He pairs strong coloured groups of flowers, in a strong coloured container.

Foliage Focused

The next is the focus on foliage, as opposed to flowers.  Lots of mixing up of ferns, succulents, berries and seedpods. His suggestion was to use white boxes or brown paper bags (covering jar holders) to add a touch of ‘rustic whimsy’.  You can embellish them with ribbons, stamps, or decorate/wrapping paper.

Farm to Table

His last trend to share was farm to table.  This is for people concerned with local resources and sustainability  (being green!).  So just like people should look for fruits and veggies sourced locally, you can also try to do this with your flowers.  So choose flowers in season. I loved the urns they used in this section.


Matthew Robbins’ book is called Inspired Weddings: Designing Your Big Day with Favorite Objects and Family Treasures

Katie Lee’s Garden Party on the Nate Berkus Show

Show:  The Nate Berkus Show
Date:  May 9, 2012
Guest:  Katie Lee


On the May 9th episode of the Nate Berkus Show,  chef Katie Lee brought some recipes for throwing a garden party.   She stated she loves throwing garden parties because you don’t have to worry about getting a location decorated, since it pretty much already is!  Just provide some twinkle lights or paper lanterns, and you’re good to go!

Her Menu:

No Bake Lemon Pie?!

Caramelized Vidalia Onion Dip With Homemade Potato Chips
Curried Chicken Salad in Pitas
Tomato Sandwiches
Shrimp Salad Sandwiches
Bibb Lettuce Salad with Avocado, Grapefruit, and Toasted Almonds
Passion Fruit Mojitos (Sounds soooo yummy!)
Frozen Lemon Cream Pie

 For the recipes, you can visit Nate’s website:

Party Bites with the Cake Boss

Show:  Kitchen Boss
Episode:  Party Bites
Date: March 19, 2012

On a recent episode of Kitchen Boss,  Buddy shared some of his family’s favourite party finger foods.  He says you can prep them ahead of time so you can spend more time with your guests instead of being in the kitchen.  They don’t sound very appetizing to me (not an olive or a peppers fan), but the chicken spiedini sounds yummy!


Spiedini is Italian for skewers.

Luck O’ The Irish Party by Mark Addison

Show:  The Today Show
Date:  March 12, 2012
Guest:  Mark Addison

On the March 12 episode of the today show, entertaining expert Mark Addison was on to give some great ideas on throwing a great Shamrock Shindig with a “Luck O’ The Irish Party”.  (This party IS pretty Genius!)

This party combines four lucky Irish traditions for board-game like fun.

Tradition 1 – Blarney Stones

Blarney Stones

Blarney Stone Walkway

A walkway with cute Irish sayings leads your guests around the party.

 Tradition 2 – Wearing Green

gift bags

Green Gift Bags

Prepared gift bags for guests have green attire in them, like ribbons, hats and beads to wear.  Mark suggests a Leprechaun theme for guys and a Fairy theme for gals.

Tradition 3 – Four Leaf Clovers

Four Leaf Clover snacks

Four Leaf Clover Field

Next up is a “field” of four leaf clovers…. or at least treats that look like four lead clovers!  A wheatgrass field,  showcases treats like whoopee pies and green popcorn.

Tradition 4 – End of the Rainbow

Party Plate Rainbow

A Rainbow made out of party plates takes you…..

Pot o gold Bar

to a Pot O’ Gold Bar at the end of the Rainbow.

Lead your guests to the end of the rainbow where a Pot O’ Gold bar awaits them.  Lucky Irish Champagne cocktails made with elderflower liqueur (yum) Lucky Leprechaun cocktail with Midori and Malibu.

For more info and recipes, check out Mark’s website:



Elegant Family Entertaining

Show: The Nate Berkus Show
Date: February 24, 2012
Guest: Rachel Hollis

On the February 24th episode of the Nate Berkus show, Real Housewife of New Jersey, Teresa Giudice was on to share some of the recipes from her book, Fabulicious!   Afterwards, party planner Rachel Hollis was on to share some secrets for family-style entertaining.

Family Table

Rachel says the star of the show is the food, so make sure that looks great.

Tip 1 – Create an inexpensive guestbook out of linen. As guests come over, they can write something on the tablecloth with markers.
Tip 2 – To ensure the food remains the star of the show, make sure that your dinnerware is very basic. On her table she used plain white plates and platters.
Tip 3 – Try to mix up your food from the every day, In Rachel’s example, instead of serving plain noodles, she served noodle nests, just to give it some originality. She also had a “flight of meatballs” so everyone gets to try different types of meatballs.


A Flight of Meatballs

Tip 4 – As a conversation starter, create trivia cards for each person. Ask questions like where is the family originally from or what is grandma’s birthday. Rachel says this is interactive and great to teach kids about family history.
Tip 5 – Create a garland or centrepiece that goes with the event.  An example Rachel gives, is if your birthday dinner is for someone who is a voracious reader,  make a garland out of pages from old books.
Tip 6 – Put anything that can’t fit on a sideboard.  She likes to have a wine station, as well as some items to nibble on while guests are waiting for dinner to be ready.

If you are curious, you can get Teresa’s book

Rachel’s website is

See the video here:

A Valentine’s Bistro Menu with Buddy Valastro

Show:  Kitchen Boss
Episode:  Valentine Bistro at Home
Date:  February 14, 2012

Looking to cook up some romance in the kitchen this Valentine’s Day? For Valentines Day; Buddy Valastro is turning his kitchen into a French Bistro when he and brother-in-law Mauro make a feast for their valentines.  Want to make this meal yourself?  Here are the links to the recipes:

Steak Au Poivre
Frisée Salad With Pancetta and Poached Eggs
Chocolate Éclair