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Category: Party Style Party Style

Chicken & Waffle Appetizer Bites

chicken and waffles appetizer

Boy, are you guys gonna love this one! I got the idea from a friend of a friend, but put my own twist on this perfect appetizer.  Making the traditional chicken and waffles in a mini, bite sized version adds to the appeal of such a well-loved dish.

With a skewer in each bite, they turn into an appetizer perfect for grabbing and grazing.  A maple-sriracha glaze finishes them off wonderfully.

mini chicken and waffles chicken appetizers

The recipe is simple enough, grab some frozen popcorn chicken and cook according to the package directions.  Top them onto toasted mini waffles and drizzle with a mixture of one half maple syrup and one half sriracha.

summer appetizer chicken and waffles

I suggest making these chicken and waffle bites for a party where you need hearty snacks or heavy hors d’oeuvres since you could make a meal of these and I promise your friends will want to do just that.


Have fun and enjoy!


Luau Party Planning + The Hunt

One of my favorite things about planning parties is looking for items that will be exactly perfect for the feeling I’m hoping to create.  I talked about it when I shared my idea for a Luau themed party, but I am die-hard about not making this a hokey, grass skirt type event.  I want the dinner party to be as close to a traditional Hawaiian luau as humanly possible (except for the above awesome fringy drink umbrellas… they’re not really authentic, but they’re too cute to pass up).

My desire to have an authentic style luau is why I chose some of the accessories for my party that I did. I was by no means going to hit up the party store, so I stared the hunt at Pier 1 with my eyes peeled for natural colors and natural, tropical textures to help support the theme.  Now, I know that Hawai’i has tons of gorgeous color, but I’ll be getting all of my color through the best avenue – flowers.  Loads of tropical flowers (including fresh orchid leis!) will be used as centerpieces and, of course, around my guests necks as a traditional Hawaiian welcome.


Finding the absolute perfect items takes a bit of hunting… especially with the very narrow scope I was going for, but it’s the hunt that makes it so fun, right?  I couldn’t quite find a tablecloth with the texture that I was looking for, so I thought outside of the box and decided to use curtain panels which happened to be the perfect size for a six foot banquet table (coincidence? I think not). The rattan woven chargers I found added the perfect dose of texture as well and balanced out the green trellis plates (which are melamine!).

side note: have you ever stayed in Hawaii at a more ‘local’ establishment?  There is a certain kind of hand embroidered bedspread at all of the B&Bs I’ve encountered which looks just like these plates!

I am loving what I have so far.  Like I said above, it’s all so natural, I think once the tropical flowers go in it will be totally Hawaiian.  It was a fun experience to put the entire look together!

How do you like the direction so far?  Is it keeping up with the direction I set out to achieve? I cannot wait to style the entire party!



Disclosure: Compensation was provided by Pier 1 via Mode Media.  The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Pier 1.


Haute Hostess Video: Planning a Picnic

I have something quite exciting to share with you today!  The video I was working on in New York two weeks ago is live!  It shows you a few tips I have on making the perfect outdoor picnic.

It was so fun to make. They flew me to Long Island to work at the most amazing location (you would have seen the drool-worthy staircase on my Instagram), and treated me like a star.  It was crazy seeing things that I do on an everyday basis here in Ohio (by myself) get taken to a whole other level by a production team, videographers, and art directors. It’s amazing what can be done with a team! We are going to start planning  few more fun videos for you guys too, so I’ll keep you on the up & up!

Until then, enjoy!


Video at Glam.com


Summer Party Planning: A Hawaiian Luau


souder luau

Goodness, I love planning parties. I love planning parties almost as much as I love Hawaii. If you’ve talked to me for any length of time, it’s quite likely that I’ve tried to convince you to go to Hawaii.  I’ve just been twice, but boy, do I love it. I even snoop around at the real estate here and there! The traces of plumeria that waft through the air create such a sweet and inviting smell.  The people are so nice, it’s easy to get around and the sights are out of this world.  I don’t have a Hawaiian vacation in my future, nor have a lot of my friends been, so I wanted to bring the best of Hawaii to Ohio (they kind of sound the same!!) for a big summer party. aloha luau party planning Not only do I have big plans, but I have the perfect party playlist for the event that you can download! Continue Reading…


Color Blocked Tassel Napkins

neon tassel napkins

Happy Tuesday, guys!  I hope your morning is off to a great start!  Today (and everyday, really) I was looking for some fun new linen cocktail napkins since my old ones are a little weathered.  I thought with summer just around the corner, some bright party-ready style would be perfect, but struggled to find some with just the right bit of awesome without restrictive patterns.  I found some plain blue ones in my cupboard and thought it was the perfect opportunity to add some festive pizzazz to them instead of buying something new.

I bought the aqua blue napkins a while back but they always struck me as kind of boring, which is why they’d been shoved in the back of my bar, unused.  I brainstormed about ways to make them funky and cool for summer entertaining.

colorful party napkins

summer party napkins

All it took was a little bit of neon thread to pump these up into some seriously stylish party accessories. Tassels are super easy to make (although they do take a fair amount of thread) so hop on to see the full tutorial!  Continue Reading…


The Perfect Margarita

the perfect margarita recipe

Cinco de Mayo is this next Monday, but I’ll be celebrating this weekend…with margaritas.  My favorite drink above all, bar none, is a marg. I drink red wine because it’s better for me and has less sugar, but if I could have a margarita, I’d take it.

This margarita recipe was created one night because my husband, Matt, wanted a liquor drink but said that margaritas were too sweet for him… enter my recipe.


It’s very simple, which means strong, so be careful, but it’s quite delicious. It has just enough sweet to balance the salted rim.

The Perfect Margarita

  • 1.5 oz regular tequila (I like patron)
  • 0.5 oz Patron Citronge (orange liqueur made in mexico)
  • juice of 2 very juicy limes (or 3 not-so-juicy limes)
  • 1 tsp Agave Nectar
  • Splash of orange juice

Mix all of the above in a carafe and pour over ice in a salt rimmed glass.  To professionally salt the glass, drag a wedge of lime around the rim of each glass, then dip in salt before adding ice and margarita.

the perfect salt rim margarita recipe margarita recipe without triple sec

I usually double or quadruple this recipe in a carafe for mine and Matt’s ‘Tequila Tuesdays’. Its natural sugar, and tequila, so you know it’s good!

It’s simple, and the perfect mixture of salty and sweet.  Enjoy!


How to Have a Spanish Party


I’ve been talking about our Valentine’s day dinner party for a few weeks now, and this weekend it went off without a hitch.  I’m here today to show you a few key ways to throw your own Spanish party, and no need to do it on Valentines day – this would make a wonderful summer party idea as well.

Sure, a Spanish party is a bit obscure, but that is the reason I love it.  People often wonder what Spanish food is and are overwhelmed by making the choices to throw a unique bash. Think of Spanish food as more Mediterranean than Mexican and you’ll be on the right track. Cured meats, olives, cheeses, almonds, and seafood are all great staples.  I made this party about communal eating, flowing wine, lots of flavors and small bites to create a great and interactive party (please excuse my grainy photos – it was dark!).

olive recipe

When it comes to the food, it’s easier than you think to carry out.  You don’t need to be a master chef, just pick a few recipes and try them out! I followed a few different tapas recipes from this site, including the Paella.  The best thing about Paella is that you don’t have to serve it with any sides!  It has rice, sausage, seafood, some veggies…. it’s a one pot wonder meal.  If you’re not familiar with spanish wine, you can’t go wrong with a Rioja or Temperanillo

And for the fun stuff – the decor! Keeping the party palette in red, gold, and black is expected, but it helps to really support the theme.  You don’t have to go overboard or buy anything cheap from a party store, all you have to do is add a few quirky touches – red roses, black pom poms, rich wood, and gilded gold. I created two easy and quick little DIYs to add personality to my party.

napkin rings flamenco napkin ring

spanish flowers





The entire night was rounded out with a sweet treat – heart shaped churros! The churro recipe I used was from Sweet Society and it worked perfectly (photo above)! We nibbled on churros and drank our mexican hot chocolate (obviously not spanish, but I couldn’t resist not serving it with the churros)! Loading up on sweets might have been the fuel keeping us up until 2am playing card games.

I’ve clearly been talking about the Spanish party for the last week now, but I haven’t heard too much from you guys!  Is it a type of party you think you’ll try?



Preparing for a Spanish Valentine Party

spanish theme party tapas

As I was beginning to set out the pieces and parts today for the Spanish party I told you guys about a couple of weeks ago, this little theme came together quite nicely and is sure to be pretty once it’s all together.

I want the party to reflect the passionate romance that comes to mind when I think of flamenco, but the warm, communal, rustic sense that you’re in the spanish countryside  (side story, I actually went to a flamenco in Spain 15 years ago and didn’t appreciate it nearly as much as I would now… hindsight…).   I’m going to make a centerpiece entirely of red roses, which is very ‘Valentine’s Day’ but it’s also what I think of when I think of flamenco – see the correlation?

Onwards… I want my friends and guests to be relaxed, comfortable, and in the robust Spanish mindset.  What I love so much about planning parties is trying to create a feeling.  To transport someone from the usual and to almost instill an unawareness of what lies outside of the event… to transport someone for a night.

To do this, I’ll go overboard on the red roses, cue the spanish guitar music, pour glasses full of temperanillo, and create a table full of approachable, communally served tapas and paella.

tapas party spanish theme party

I’ll use a mixture of warm woods like in Grandiflora’s Malena Appetizer plates and utensils and Esselle’s birch candle holders along with some glittering gold vases, terra-cotta tapas dishes, and lots of red roses.  Guests will get a big shot of sweetness at the nights’ end with my spicy hot chocolate dippers and some churros!

We’re definitely one step closer to seeing this party in action!  What do you think so far?



p.s. We have a GIVEAWAY going on!  You could win a set of 50 prints from Printic (amazing poloroid-esque prints directly from your phone to your mailbox… believe it).  Enter now!


Mexican Hot Chocolate Party Favor

mexican hot chocolate dippers

For our Valentines Day dinner party this year, I’m going with a bit of a Spanish flare – paella, tapas, flamenco fan style garland, spanish wine, and so on. The exception to this is the Mexican hot chocolate dippers that I’ll be making to accompany the heart shaped churros I plan to make for dessert. I love the mixture of spicy and sweet in mexican chocolate, so I thought it would make a really cute addition to the party to melt some chocolate onto the honey dippers from my Esselle hostess box.

The attached message, “Love and Chocolate are best served hot” is actually a spin on a german proverb (“love and coffee are best served hot”), but I changed the words a bit for this quirky valentine treat. The back of the tag could easily host a custom sentiment for my guests as well.

hot chocolate favors spoons

The best part is, with the exception of the honey dippers (which you can also find here), you might just have all of the ingredients on hand. Keep reading for the step by step instructions, recipe, and the printable tags!  Continue Reading…


A Spanish Valentines Party: The Plan



For Valentines day each year, I have a dinner party with some of my favorite friends to celebrate the love in our lives.  Although I’m not a big fan of gooey romance, that doesn’t mean I don’t like some romance in my life… it just needs to be festive and fun – hence the dinner party.

I like the spanish theme for a few reasons.  Mainly because it’s a passionate theme without being over-the-top and secondly because I have a good friend who asks year round for my paella and I feel this is a good opportunity to splurge on a giant skillet of seafood and sausage. It’s not the kind of meal you make for a small crowd.

To help my decorations, the wonderful girls over at esselle sent me their ‘Devyn’ hostess box which is made to create a playful, handmade dinner for two.  Since I wanted to take a non-traditional spin on the holiday, I’m using some of the pieces (like the birch votives, the confetti, the gold/white vases, and the cupcake wraps) to support the Spanish vibe.  I know it isn’t Spanish, but I am going to use the honey dippers included in the box to make some Mexican hot chocolate dipping sticks so we can drink it with our churros.

I think it all goes to show, that using what you have (or what’s out there in the stores this time of year), can be done with a twist that will surprise your guests and make the night crazy awesome.

As we get closer to the party, I’ll show you guys a few tutorials for the decor and how I plan on using those cupcake sleeves and honey dippers!!


*click on the photos for source

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