Entertaining Simply!

Meet my Guest:

I met Emily through her blog, Remodeling this Life, and instantly I knew we could be friends.  I asked her to be my guest today, so thank you, Emily!  

I can relate to Simple . Frugal . Fabulous!  Can't you?

I have spent a lot of my adult life reluctant to entertain. 

I was too caught up in trying to do things "the right way." I am not the girl who throws parties with perfect china and perfect centerpieces and perfectly put together multi-course meals. I admire that, but it isn't who I am. 

I am a simple girl.  

Once I realized that what makes me a fabulous entertainer is being myself, it became much more fun. Now, I can invite people over with ease, entertain in comfort, and let myself shine through in the tiny touches.

I  decided that to entertain simply, I had to stick to what I do best by focusing on my strengths and sticking to making the dishes that I am most comfortable making. I love baking. I almost always bake when we have people over for dinner. Baked ziti, black bean lasagna, baked chicken with marinara, mozzarella and zucchini - whatever the dish may be, I enjoy baking, and for me, it's simple. I can put it together ahead of time and just have to stick it in the oven. 

I don't have to stand in the kitchen cooking while everyone else is socializing and having a great time. I also love baking bread. Having a few hot, out-of-the-oven loaves of ciabatta-bread for guests to nibble on while we chat, makes me happy and is always a hit.

The most important thing for me to break out of my reluctance to entertain has been to have confidence, think simple, and stick to my comfort zone in the kitchen. 

Those things have been my recipe for simple, happy entertaining.

What are your secrets to keeping things simple while entertaining?


Lynne said...

Great advice! I try to keep things simple by "pre-planning." I keep a menu/shopping list and then a "what to do the night before & day of a party" list. I try to do as much as I can the night before. I hate to "rush around" the day of.

TidyMom said...

Emily we entertain the same way!!
Great post!!


Heather said...

great idea to pre do a meal,, i'm always stuck in the kitchen afterwards cleaning up while everyone is relaxing drinking coffee,, a habit i must break!

Katie @ makingthishome.com said...

We haven't had many changes to entertain. When we have, I feel like I'm supposed to stress out and go all the way. But I realize those things aren't me. I strive to do as Emily, which makes me such a better hostess to my friends because I'm being me.
Great guest post!

Elizabeth G. said...


I'm back to visiting after caring for sick children for the better part of two weeks. Still have one sick one at home..

I am a simple girl, too. I'm not perfect, but I strive to help my guest feel special. That is what I want them to take home with them after being at my house. I like to do things like...put out an envelope with each guest's name on it and lots of paper and pencils and have all the guests leave little messages for each person, something that they admire most about them, and then at the end of the evening, everyone takes home their envelope. It is a sweet keepsake.

Have a wonderful day!
(now I need to go get caught up on the rest of the posts I missed here)


Melissa @ The Inspired Room said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Melissa @ The Inspired Room said...

Hi Emily! You know I adore you so I enjoyed reading your post on entertaining.

You know, entertaining doesn't stress me out much any more because I do it so often. I'm having people over for dinner tomorrow and I have not prepared AT ALL yet. But I am not worried. I think what used to stress me was that I entertained so infrequently I was out of practice and let my home and cooking skills fall by the wayside in between guests!

I think having to entertain almost weekly or even more than once a week now (like this week!) has made it so much simpler for me to entertain.

I have no choice but to serve simple meals, not let my house completely fall apart every week (keeping up with things REALLY helps me be ready to entertain), and just accept my limitations and imperfections (of which there are many!). People get to see what my life is really like!2

Great post, Emily! Thanks for sharing here!

Emily@remodelingthislife said...

Thank you, Sandy, for having me crash your blog today!! And thank you for those of you that shared your experiences with entertaining. Melissa, I think you are onto something there. Do it more, it gets easier and more comfortable. Now that I entertain more, I am learning what works, what doesn't, and just enjoying WHY I am entertaining (for good company) instead of HOW I am entertaining.

the BLAH BLAH BLAHger said...

Sandy and Emily, I LOVED this post. I've NEVER thought about how baking a dish would free me up to enjoy my guests...DUH! Love both your blogs!!!

Sandy said...

Emily, thanks for sharing on my blog today. Your words were so encouraging to so many! I really wish we could eat that bread together ... some day! :)

The Fru-Gals said...

what a great post! We are all about gracious, frugal entertaining. Our next column (in the Concord Monitor) will be about graduation parties on a budget..and trying to preserve our one good nerve!