Not all moments of entertaining that I've done in my life are Magazine Worthy.
As a matter of fact, for probably my first 25 dinner parties, I served the exact same dish. Here I am making it in college for a friend's birthday dinner I hosted, complete with plastic cutlery and writing on my hand. I definitely thought I was being fancy because I was using Brie cheese, and as an added bonus, you can see that the steam was creating a nice flushed tone in my skin.
Here we are on a girls getaway "Up North" at my parents house really classing it up with the pot directly on the table, Bud Lights, and what can only be a Sam's Club sized garlic salt container.
Purchasing stemmed plastic glassware took us up a notch when we squeezed 20 people in for a dinner party when my parents were out for the night. More Brie Pasta anyone? Come on over, and get fancy, we'll be sitting on the stairs.
Don't have a place to entertain? Just take the Brie Pasta on a double decker pontoon where girls sit in front, and boys sit in back. Also served on this occasion as an appetizer? Grilled shrimp that burned the boat carpet. We really thought bringing a grill on board was a sound choice. This was nearing the end of the Brie Pasta era but we did switch it up one new years and used Fontina Cheese instead, it really through everyone for a loop.
This was the bar at an art showing I hosted out of my apartment that I shared with 4 friends in Chicago. Great to show off my budget of Two Buck Chuck wine for customers to guilt them into purchasing my artwork. I really wanted to make sure no one was thirsty, but the real reason was to try to hide the vertical blinds and the duck taped air conditioner behind the bar that had recently fallen out of the window during a rainstorm, but luckily no one was hurt.
Although there are thousands of top restaurants in Chicago. It was the times that we entertained out of our apartment that stood out the most. One person always had to sit on a stool, there were always tricks to getting as many people possible at the table, and we were lucky enough to have a budding floral designer as a roommate to create centerpieces. We had arrived.
Here we've moved to the kitchen, and the ambiance even covers the radiator.
In a moment of freezing temperatures and winter blues, we hosted a "summer in winter" crab boil for four January birthdays. Covered all of the windows in summer scenery, and even made beach grass down the hallway.
You see, it's never been my motto to do anything half assed. However, it has always been clear that I could use some editing from my "big ideas".
I moved into my own place by myself. It was time to be a "grown up". Brie goes on the table with grapes, not in your pasta. We drink wine, and have mothers over for chit chat.
I fell in love with a boy, and hosted a special birthday brunch for his mom.
We get married, and head for home ownership in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
We collaborate on entertaining together with friends, bringing elegance and silliness together with great food and teamwork.
We make reasons to celebrate life's moments, and not take life so seriously. There is a time for classic, beautiful entertaining, and there is a time for competition, being ridiculous, and still having a great meal together.
Olympic Party for my 37th, love Mary Lou Retton and Andre Agassi.
This was a whole new form of entertaining for me on Tommy's first birthday, but we pulled it off. Family everywhere, no cohesive conversations, no one sitting together, but great food and art were created, and most importantly fun for the little people.
I take full responsibility because I made the biggest cinnamon rolls I've ever seen for each kid at the party. Why not?
The common thread of all of these moments of entertaining, is making new memories and connecting with people. Creating something new and exciting for people coming to your home to make them feel special.
While I look back at some of those moments, and cringe with laughter about what I thought was appropriate, I wouldn't take anything back. Each night holds memories, and storytelling that I wouldn't trade for anything.