ANNIE'S TEN RULES FOR PARTY DOMINATION
Tips for hosting.
- •Off-beat holidays and events are the best.Occasions such as the Kentucky Derby, Bastille Day, Oktoberfest and Day of the Dead make for great parties. A built-in theme informs the menu, decor and music, creating a festive time.
- •Only take on the parts that you enjoy.If dying eggs for your Easter table sounds like fun but cooking and making deviled ones makes you anxious, don't do it! Order a honey baked ham, pick up some rolls and have a friend bring a salad (part b of rule # 2: ask for help). Similarly, if roasting a whole lamb is an interesting challenge but Martha Stewart dessert recipes are intimidating, buy a rhubarb crisp or coconut cake and call it a day.
- •LightingI am crazy for candlelight and go nuts with votive candles. I especially like them on unexpected places like bookshelves and little nooks. Bistro lights never get old and are instantly festive.
- •A signature drinkA pitcher of homemade cocktails is always appreciated. Cucumber mint gimlets and mescal greyhounds are pretty and delicious. A spicy margarita is a crowd pleaser. In a pinch, self serve Moscow Mules require zero prep: put out vodka, ginger beer and fresh lime. Rose in the summer is another easy classic.
- •D.I.Y. floral tipMonochromatic or single varietal flowers look best. Bud cases are your best friend - no stressful arranging required.
- •The MenuDon't do too much! One great dish plus a salad is really all you need: spaghetti and meatballs, cracked Dungeness crab, curries, moroccan tagines or a grilled steak are all tried and true options.
- •A Wow MomentSpend your time and money on one high-impact party element, rather than spreading yourself thin. Whether it's homemade french fries, carolers at your Christmas party or an over-the-top party favor, do the one thing that makes you the most excited.
- •The PlaylistThank you Spotify. A Tribe Called Quest, Motown, Goodfellas Soundtrack Radio and I never tire of Jayonce.
- •Nostalgic and Comforting DessertsChocolate chip cookies (big bonus if served warm), an ice cream sundae bar, DIY s'mores, root beer floats and rice krispy treats are all favorites.
- •The Right Guest ListNothing beats good friends. Except funny ones and excellent conversationalists.
- •PS What's the new mason jar?Please weigh in or make a new list!