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Por: PeriodicoVirtual



Growing up, I remember the sounds and smells of my parents' dinner parties. To me, these occasions were a glamorous, cacophonous, aromatic medley of preparation, conversation, and connection. Guests included friends, family, colleagues, and far-flung members of the community. I would sneak out of my bedroom at night to sit on the top of the stairs to eavesdrop on the clinking of glasses, the lively conversation, and the bursts of laughter. And for days after, post-dinner memories would still linger in the air.

I loved the feeling it created - guests laughing and telling their stories - and I always imagined how I would throw parties to bring people together.

Although I have fond memories of my parents' soirees, today's entertaining is done very differently.

I've always strived to host engaging and gracious parties, as a student with roommates in D.C., being single in a cramped NYC apartment, and now as a busy married professional living in San Francisco. When I was ready to upgrade to a cohesive tableware collection that reflected my own taste and style, I was dismayed by the options on the market. After admiring the art of entertaining my entire life and working for luxury brands, I started tableware company Year & Day. The company makes beautiful, modern, affordable ceramic pieces, which make it easier for people to feel excited about hosting at their home.

So what are the rules of entertaining today?

Find a Grand Excuse: Parties and Podcasts

Inviting people to your home brings the people closer together in remarkable ways. What better thing to spark meaning in today's fast-paced life? Seek out more excuses to bring people together. Some triggers for a hosting opportunity: a friend moves into town, a hotly anticipated Netflix finale, an impromptu podcast club or to finally dive into that Gwyneth Paltrow cookbook you've been proudly displaying on your shelves.

Invest in quality essentials.

Beautifully mismatched pieces can add humor, whimsy and personality to your table.GETTY

Mismatched pieces of all shapes and sizes is a rite of passage for the post-collegiate life, but becomes tired and feel chaotic once you're investing in quality home furnishings. Having a matching set of dinnerware is the perfect starting place to upgrade your daily kitchen life. If you're not ready for the complete set, you can begin with a set of wine glasses and some small bowls for snacking, which will up your game for hosting a book club or a Big Little Lies viewing party. And who knows, by upgrading your essentials you may even inspire friends to do the same and explore forming or elevating their own hosting styles.

Get Personal with your Space

Personal faves like a vinyl record collection can be artfully displayed.GETTY

Whether it's a cherished vinyl collection, a shelf displaying a dozen of your favorite books, or your proudest travel pics framed, entertaining provides a portrait of your interests that lets your guests get to know you better and sparks conversation. Some of my favorite things to have on display are ashtrays collected from European hotels on vacation (I don't smoke, but I love fancy ashtrays!), a new art piece we bought together, and tiny porcelain hand-painted Limoges boxes handed down from my mother.

Create a memorable tablescape.

Greenery adds to any table.GETTY

For a sit-down meal, set the table before your guests arrive. This will make you feel prepared when they show (even if there are still things to do) and sets a welcoming tone as they walk through the door. Even a simply set table is gracious, but you can dress it up as much as you like. I love to play with colors - sometimes mixing layers of different colored placemats, napkins, and plates and other times going for a sophisticated monochrome look. For the center of the table, I keep candles on hand (we received beautiful Skultuna candlesticks for our wedding) and if I have time, I love to dress it up a bit with flowers, greenery or branches. For a fancier occasion, I'll call in the experts and enlist a favorite florist to create the arrangements. An easy way to incorporate a party favor is to place a bud vase with a small arrangement at each setting for guests to take home.

Last Minute Checklist

After you set the table, quickly do the following: pick your Spotify playlist (Big Little Lies soundtrack is great), make sure your glassware is out and beverages of choice are ready to be served, bring the lighting down (we do it to 50%, often slightly darker than you first think), and light a scented candle in the restroom. If you are ordering in (which we do for half of our parties), have your order done in advance and make sure it arrives in time to be plated nicely and served before people are starving (usually an hour after people arrive).

Don't take on more than you can handle.

Family style dinner parties are key for ease and comfort.GETTY

You want your guests to have a great time, and they will feed off of your energy. Before planning the details of an event, I think about my bandwidth that week. If I'm not going to have time to go grocery shopping or cook, I arrange for Uber Eats from a local Vietnamese restaurant, or buy dessert from my favorite local bakery or ice cream shop. One of the easiest ways to serve dinner is family-style. It allows people to pick and choose what they want or don't want, minimizes wasted food, and encourages guests to interact. Get a variety of options, and don't stress about asking everyone what they ideally want (but do check for dietary restrictions in advance).

Always bring a token of your appreciation.

Times change, but gratitude never goes out of style. If I'm not the host, I always bring a gift. I encourage people to think outside the "bring a bottle of wine" box. The key is to get something that has a high chance of being appreciated, and bonus points if it sparks conversation. Some recent gifts I've given: limes and a bottle of my favorite artisanal tequila, farmers market flowers in a vase (I empty the water before I leave, then offer to fill it when I arrive so I don't disrupt the host), and a newly discovered dark chocolate bark (for a friend who just started Keto).


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