more about: guests

Entertaining Out-of-Town Visitors

Most of my friends live here in New York but jobs, graduate school, and familial obligations have scattered a few of my closest friends throughout the East Coast. I love to entertain visitors and it’s always great to catch up with an old friend, but I can’t help feeling some pressure when hosting out-of-towners. As with any highly-anticipated and planned […]

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Great Guest-spectations

Long before I decided to have children, Hope Davis gave me advice in case I ever did: “Leave the dishes in the sink, and get on the floor and play with them!” I took her advice as gospel … until I had a child. These days I am not always as present as I wish to be. Often, both as […]

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To Invite or Not to Invite?

My brother and I are planning a summer weekend in the Catskills for our friends in late June. We’ve been talking about it for months but, with only a few weeks left until the date, we’re finally getting around to figuring out all the logistics.


We have a place to stay and we’ve discussed everything from transportation from the city to food and drinks. There’s only one minor detail we have yet to sort – the guest list.



Even though I love to entertain, my blood pressure starts to rise when it’s time to think about who to invite. It’s true that the right guests can make or break a party – you want your event to have a convivial atmosphere. But, for me, finding kind and fun people to invite isn’t the problem.


Instead, the burden is limiting my invitees. If you can only include a few friends how do you choose who to extend an invitation to and who to leave out? And what about significant others – do you include someone’s girlfriend or boyfriend no matter how little you may know about them?

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Host a Royal Wedding Celebration

Having spent the past few months living in London, I’ve naturally become royally obsessed with the Royal Wedding and was even dubbed “the wedding obsessive” by my former colleagues at the BBC. With a mere two days until Prince William and Kate Middleton say “I do,” I’ve finally started to plan my own celebration.

Originally I planned to host a breakfast party to celebrate, but I realized most of my friends don’t fancy the idea of waking up at the crack of dawn (the wedding broadcasts begin at 6 am EST). My next great idea? Record the wedding and host a breakfast-for-dinner party.

Since a Royal Wedding isn’t just any occasion, keep reading to see some of the things I’ve been thinking about:

Royal Albert tea set 

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Is it okay to ask to bring an extra guest to a casual function?

Last weekend, I experienced firsthand how this seemingly low-risk question can illicit two wildly opposite responses. The first situation was a potlock dinner at a friend’s house, and it was my husband who asked me if we could invite his out-of-town friend. My first reaction was a swift, “No.” Because no matter how casual a gathering may seem, you never know what the host’s feelings are about having extra guests, and asking only puts her on the spot.

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Don’t take this the wrong way…

My writing partner Elisa and I have a joke that whenever someone starts a sentence with, “Don’t take this the wrong way, but…,” you know you’re in for it. Basically because it’s a dead giveaway that they’re about to deliver a blow, which they’re lamely attempting to soften. So recently, when I found myself thinking, “I hope they don’t take this the wrong way…,” I knew I was in trouble. It concerns whether or not to send a gift that I fear could easily be construed as criticism.

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To leave early, or not to leave early, that is the question…

I used to be a night owl. I would stay up late on weekend nights, and then sleep in the next morning for as long as I physically could, which with my super-sleeping strength meant until noon or one. To be honest, it’s one of the reasons I put off having kids for so long. But now that I have two, including a four-month-old baby, my whole sleeping-late persona has been seriously challenged. These days, I’m lucky if I get to sleep until 6:30 a.m. But in addition to decimating my beloved sleeping habit, my new early-bird schedule has presented me with an etiquette problem I never used to have.

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Table Style: Ideas for Table Settings

Do you love to entertain but feel bored by your usual table setting? I sometimes get into ruts in this area, mostly due to lack of time, and that is why I love Table Style written by Liz Belton and Rebecca Tanqueray, styled by Liz Belton and photographed by leading interiors photographer Debi Treloar. With so many beautiful Summer days ahead you will find lots of ideas in Table Style to apply to your own soiree whether on your city balcony, large patio, or your dining room.

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Great Gluten-Free Recipes and Advice

I’ve been hearing more and more from friends who are diagnosed with gluten allergies and/or celiac disease. Since I am a girl who likes to eat everything under the sun, I can’t imagine how challenging it would be to modify my diet (for the rest of my life) to accommodate for this kind of food allergy. I admire those who face this challenge head-on with optimism and creativity. Take Betsy, for instance, who authors two blogs for “Gluten Free Foodies” offering recipes, restaurants, and helpful advice for those who must avoid gluten on a day-to-day basis.

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Welcoming Guests: 8 Tips

Spring kicks off in just a few days which can only mean that soon guests will arrive as warmer months tend to bring in long lost friends and family members looking to reconnect. I enjoy having guests but unfortunately lots of what I read out there for entertaining tips tend to depress me because…

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