How to Host a Stress-Free Party

I love any excuse to get friends & family together.  I especially love hosting a good party.  Unfortunately, hosting doesn’t always mean I get to enjoy the party itself.  Today I’m sharing with you guys some little tricks I’ve learned throughout the years that have helped me to stay stress-free with a drink in my hand & a smile on my face.

Getting started…

What are you celebrating?  Are you hosting a holiday dinner, a family BBQ or a game night with friends?  Whatever the reason for inviting people over you want to create a welcoming environment that makes your guests want to come back.  I always start by making a list of possible food & drink options.  You want to have something for everyone, so create a spread that will make both your carnivores & veggie lovers happy.  I’ve always heard you shouldn’t try a new recipe when having people over, but I’ve never been one to follow the rules.  If there’s a recipe on Pinterest or in your Food Network Magazine that you’ve been dying to make, go ahead & give it a try!

Setting the scene…

Once you’ve nailed down the menu it’s time to set the scene.  I’ve found that it’s easier to put up any decorations the day before, and set the table or gathering area the morning of.  I typically find my guests gathering around the kitchen island but you may have a diner table that needs to be set.  I also lay out my serving dishes & platters to ensure I have enough room for everything I’m serving.

Incorporating a theme…

A themed party is a great way to liven things up!  Holidays like Halloween & Thanksgiving are easy to incorporate a theme, I mean who doesn’t love the holidays?!  But, a family dinner on a Tuesday in mid-January isn’t as easy.  Some of my favorite go-to themes are Taco Tuesday with a make-it-yourself taco bar & margarita napkins, a wine & cheese party where guests bring their favorite bottle of wine to share over a charcuterie board & tapas, or a good old fashion BBQ with checkered tablecloths & matching papers plates, a fully stocked inflated beverage bar & everyone’s favorite food on a stick like meat & veggie kabobs (easily prepped the day before), corn on the cob & watermelon spheres.

This past Halloween, I hosted a pre-Trick or Treat get together for our friends that included finger foods, drinks & a scavenger hunt for the kids.  Being that it was Halloween I made sure I had festive tableware, snacks & décor.  Hosting a party doesn’t mean that you have to break the bank either; I snagged these plates from Target and the spooky glitter animals from the Dollar Store.

20181031_143550

20181031_141943

I am also hosting my first Friendsgiving dinner in a week and I’ve already started to set the scene.  I know it’s a little early but being that it’s my first time hosting a Thanksgiving style dinner for 10 adults & 4 kids, I want everything to be perfect!  I picked up a colorful tablecloth from Marshalls and found matching fall-inspired paper plates from Walmart.  To make the patterns stand out I picked up gold charger plates, making the total cost of my table setting under $40.  Like I said, hosting a get together doesn’t have to break the bank!

LRM_EXPORT_20181105_195036

You don’t have to assign seats for a sit down dinner, but putting name cards around the table adds a little extra flare and allows your guests to avoid worrying about where to sit.  For our Friendsgiving, I decided to use spray-painted leaves from the yard & leftover gourds from Halloween; I love how they turned out!  I will also place wine glasses at each place setting & have red & white options on the table.

LRM_EXPORT_20181105_204144LRM_EXPORT_20181106_113011

At the end of the day, as long as you’re enjoying yourself your guests will too.  So pour a glass of wine or open a cold beer & have fun!  I hope that these little tips & tricks have inspired you for your next get together.

As always – the Wexford Housewife xoxx

Advertisements

Stitch Fix Kids Reveal

As a mom and a Stitch Fix stylist I was so excited when I heard we were launching a kids collection. I wanted to be a part of it & luckily was chosen to join the Kids Styling Team.  The merchandise is colorful, on-trend and full of fun surprises like zipper details and interactive appliques.  I finally had the chance to schedule little man his first Fix and I am happy to say everything exceeded my expectations.

LRM_EXPORT_20180917_074634

LRM_EXPORT_20180917_074657

LRM_EXPORT_20180917_074722

I love working for this Company!  They went out of their way to make sure our Kids Collection was focused 100% around the kiddos.  Not only are the clothes super soft & easy to wear, but there was a fun sheet of stickers included with his Fix and the box everything arrived in can be turned into a spaceship.  Besides the shoes, which we normally have a hard time with, everything was true to size compared to the other brands he wears.

LRM_EXPORT_20180918_174201

LRM_EXPORT_20180918_174055

We carry sizes 2T-14 so kids of every age can get in on the fun.  If you or anyone you know is interested in trying a Fix click the link below for $25 off your first Fix.  And, feel free to request me, Laura E.  I style Kids, Womens, Plus and Luxe clientele.

https://www.stitchfix.com/referral/lauraesposito2?som=c&sod=w

Vacation Vibes

“Life was meant for good friends & great adventures” 

My husband & I recently went on a much needed, adults-only vacation with two other couples to Breathless Punta Cana Resort & Spa.  Getting back to our daily routine took a minute which is why this post has taken me 2 weeks to finally complete… 🙂

We love traveling to Punta Cana!  It’s fairly inexpensive, an easy flight from Pittsburgh and always a good time.  This was our 4th time traveling there together, but our first time at Breathless.  Overall, we had a great experience!  Between the sunny days, the attentive poolside service, the swim-up bar, 11 restaurant options and the late night casino, how could we not have a good time?!

20180223_151756

Snapchat-2068461301

20180225_100858

The resort had 11 restaurants to chose from as well as a handful from the sister resort next door Now Onyx.  We only stayed 4 nights & 5 days so unfortunately we weren’t able to try each one.  However, the restaurants we did try were amazing!   Each one started the table with a selection of appetizers & house wine, then we were able to choose from a soup or salad, main course & side dishes.  Our favorite restaurant by far was Coquette which served French cuisine.   

Rather than share every outfit I wore on our vacation, I’ve decided to feature my favorite look which is this Off-The-Shoulder Shift Dress from TJ Maxx.  I paired it with an Urban Expressions Crossbody Bag that I purchased through Stitch Fix, strappy cork-heel wedges & a shell necklace from a previous Punta Cana trip.  I am excited to share that I’ve listed this dress on Poshmark for $10.  I only wore it the one time, so it’s in like-new condition.  If you’re interested in this dress or any other on-trend, lightly worn styles be sure to follow me @luraashli

20180224_190713

20180224_202058 (1)

Lastly, the only thing I would change about this trip was the lack of organization.  The resorts we’ve stayed at in the past gave us a quick tour of the resort upon arrival before escorting us to our room, shared a daily itinerary of activities as well as nightly entertainment.  However, this resort was kind of a free-for-all.  We never knew what was actually going on until we came across it i.e. beach volleyball, water biking, dance parties by the pool etc.  Don’t get me wrong, we had an amazing time, but that was the only thing that stood out as being somewhat negative.

20180223_103259

Looking at those drinks makes me want to go back!!!!

As always – comfortable & effortless housewife style xoxx