Everything is bigger and better in Texas, it seems. Especially Rochelle and her social life. She is always hosting or attending some fabulous get-together. Those Southern belles really know how to throw a party! So, who better to interview for a few entertaining ideas?
Here are Rochelle's thoughts on hosting a memorable event
1. What are your favorite entertaining secrets?
Hmmm... Secrets? Well, I'm not a very secretive person, but let's see... a) I always do the deep cleaning the night before and then save the vacuuming, sweeping and last minute stuff to an hour before. I try to kick my kids out an hour before. Kids will undo all your work. b) Don't think you have to cook everything yourself. When I find beautiful food that tastes great and I don't have to cook it, I always go back for more. I have a great place that does amazing fruit bowls and I just take my beautiful bowl to them the day before the party and they fill it and arrange the fruit in my bowl. c) I don't use disposable goods. I have china for a reason. It's not just for Thanksgiving. I also buy cute dessert plates from places like Ross for really cheap. It just makes people feel that they are special and that your heart was in it, when they eat off of nice dishes.
2. You are the queen of "little touches"...tell us about a few of the things you like to do to make your guests feel really special?
Well, the dishes thing and I use nice heirloom linens. Again, they should be used, not stuffed in a closet. I love to send out cute invitations. I feel special when I get a unique invitation in the mail. I also do not hand-deliver invitations. I think people feel special when they know they were worth .40 cents for a stamp. Depending on the occasion, I love to send people home with a gift. Something they can actually use and enjoy. Be it jewelry, small decor item or food. Also, I am not afraid to do a party on location. I have thrown 2 baby showers for friends at my favorite little tea-room. We all feel like real ladies for the day with no kids and no stress.
3. If you were hosting a party for your online blog sisters, what foods would you serve? how would you decorate? what music would be playing?
Hmmm... Blog party, eh!? Well, this would be a fun, wild event and so I would have my favorite playlist going. My friends enjoyed it so much at my last party, that they all asked for cd's. Katri played hers at her birthday bash. It has unique, upbeat songs. I just added several from the Marie Antoinette soundtrack. I would have lots of finger foods for the blog girls. Grilled shrimp, hummus, sausages, fruit, veggies and lots of soda. I don't understand why people serve sugar soda at parties. I have gone so many times when there were no diet drinks. In that case, I will always drink water. Not that I shouldn't always...
As for decor, I usually don't do a whole lot that's different unless it's a shower, birthday or bookclub. I enjoy the regular atmosphere of my home for most parties. For the blog-party, I would send out fun, girl-themed invites, though. And because we were meeting perhaps for the first time, I'd play lots of fun getting to know you games. I have some GREAT party games up my sleeve.
4. Do you have any tips for entertaining on a budget?
Use what you already have. Do not go out and buy new stuff. Borrow if you need to. Know where you can find very inexpensive decor and accessories in your area. Don't be afraid to do pot-luck appetizers at a party. It's so fun to get to try new recipes from people.
5. What's your most sought-after party recipe? And do you mind sharing?
I love dips. This one is so lame, but I LOVE it and I can never get enough, personally. It may not be 'high-class', but it is DELISH! Just mix a can of chili with a box of cream cheese and nuke it. Serve with corn chips. It rocks. Ok, that really sounds white-trash, but let's face it: Most of our girl parties aren't exactly Colin Cowie style bashes, so serve food that addresses the needs of your guests. I like to try new foods, but not things that are so sophisticated, that no one is going to eat.
6. Any easy, headache-free ideas for kids' parties?
Ok, honestly, I'm so not into kids' parties. I think that kids are over-indulged these days and don't need more stuff. I just try to make my kids feel special all day. We usually do a fun little family party with one or two friends. Anything more than that is a waste, in my opinion. I'm not saying I haven't done big kids parties, but I haven't done more than about two total (for all four of my kids) and they are never outrageous.
7. What was your all-time favorite party and why?
I LOVED my Anne of Green Gables themed bookclub last June. We did it on my back patio and the rain had threatened for days. I just bought a tarp to throw on top of my pergola. It ended up raining, but it didn't touch us. It was a beautiful day. I had the movie theme music playing and I made Anne's favorite Raspberry Cordial. I had cute little sprigs of flowers at each place setting that had a quote from the book attached. Every time I remember that day, I get all warm and fuzzy. It was seriously so fun and special and that is coming from the hostess. It can be hard sometimes to relax and enjoy a party when you are in charge, but in that case, I soaked in every moment and relished the amazing conversation with some of my favorite women.
Thanks, Rochelle! You are the hostess with the mostess, for sure!