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The day after a party a gracious guest will follow up with a thank you note or phone call. Do this within 1-2 days so your appreciation does not seem stale. The formula for a thank you looks like this:

Some dinner parties require a more formal protocol. For example, a military dinner will have strict guidelines as to where personnel will sit. If you are hosting a client dinner, you might also prefer a more formal arrangement. Even in a casual setting, you can choose to follow protocol to honor a special guest. The below description is based on a social party (vs. business), a rectangular table, and includes both men and women:

When hosting a dinner party, where you place your guests around the table is a crucial element for the success of your event. You presumably put thought into who you invited to the gathering. Do not stop there. The placement of each person around the table is something that should not be thrown together at the last minute.

I love entertaining friends and family in my home, especially during the holidays. But I must admit, it can be a bit overwhelming hosting a dinner party in the stage of life with little ones running around. The cooperation I receive from my toddlers is a significant factor in how efficient I am on a daily basis. Add in hosting a party, and it can be overwhelming. If you find yourself wanting to gather friends for a festive evening, here are my tried-and-true tips for entertaining with young children:

Planning a party can be fun, but do you know the best way to ensure everything runs smoothly? Have a rehearsal for your party. Yes, you heard correctly. You have spent a great deal of time planning your theme, creating your guestlist, and delivering your invitations. Now is the time to do a mock rehearsal which will allow you to create an action list of outstanding items around your home that might need attention. It also helps solidify any last-minute details.

These thirteen tips will get your through any dinner party. Here is a quick refresher. 

1. Leave The Cocktail Glass Behind:

If you are attending a dinner party, there may be cocktails offered before the meal begins. When the hostess signals it is time to head to the dining room, leave your drink behind. Why? The dining table has been pre-set with the glasses you will need and adding another to your place setting will only clutter the minimal real estate in front of you. Your palate is another reason to leave the cocktail behind. Many hostesses go to great lengths to pare wine with the food being served. Once seated at the table it is time to switch to wine or water.

You just received an invitation to a party, and the attire says: Shabby Chic; Razzle Dazzle; Cowboy Couture. What??? Word to hostesses: when listing the attire on the invitation for a party, make it clear. We do not want our guests to solve a riddle to understand what is expected of them. There is a phrase I like to quote, “To be unclear is to be unkind.”

Table manners are the area in which I receive the most questions, but it is introductions that have people the most baffled. After I explain the correct way to conduct an introduction, I often get that starry-eyed stare that tells me, “I really don’t understand what you just said.” To help all of us, I have broken down the process into a simple format. Before I proceed, let me say this. Do not let a lack of confidence in managing an introduction keep you from DOING an introduction. Even if you are unsure, most people do not care.

When attending a party, there are certain expectations we have of our hostess. We appreciate everything she has done, but we do assume there will be food, drinks, a clean bathroom, and a home that does not smell like the local pet store. What some people forget is there are also expectations of the guest. When a hostess plans a party, a great deal of time is spent deciding who she will invite. What group of friends go well together?

Have you ever seen someone walk into a party looking scared, so unsure of themselves, and then watched them slink off to an obscure corner? Their body language screamed, “I wish I was anywhere but here!”

You are invited!!! There is something special we feel when we receive an invitation. It is the anticipation of a celebration, the excitement of choosing what to wear, but more importantly, it is the affirmation that tells us, “I was chosen!” We know a hostess has responsibilities to ensure her party is a success, but did you know there are expectations of the guests? And your first job begins when you receive an invitation that says RSVP. Follow the six steps below and the hostess will be singing your praises!

  • Lisa Lou

2020 Gift Guide

Updated: Dec 7, 2020



‘Tis the season! Patti Hatton and her daughter, Jessica, put together a list of gift ideas to help make your 2020 holiday buying a little easier. With less opportunities for window shopping, we hope this provides you with a few simple ideas. Always remember that gift giving is an art. Finding an item that speaks to the heart of the recipient can either meet a need or add beauty and interest to one’s life. Look for things that bless the essence of the recipient. This lets them know they were “noticed.” We would love to hear from you, too! Please share your ideas!


1. For anyone entertaining this season: A wine shipment you can't go wrong with is Orin Swift. Check out their Holiday Gift collections.


2. For the lavish entertainers among you: The Saint Louis Les Endiables collection will please your fancy friends.


3. For anyone who spent the last few months keeping busy by updating their home: Monogrammed bath sheets from Matouk or Weezie.


4. Know anyone who built a makeshift home gym during quarantine? Purchase a bin and fill with sweat towels, a nice multi-purpose cleaner, and resistance bands.


5. For anyone traveling over the weekend: A Dagne Dover weekender.


6. For the person you have trouble buying for, start a collection for them. This way you can just add to the collection: Buy a single stemware of crystal and add to their setting each year. A coffee table book featuring some of their favorite travel destinations or other hobbies is always thoughtful.


7. A gift for anyone and everyone: Santal Candle by Le Labo.


8. Any coffee lovers? The Ember Mug.


9. For the baker: The-all-in-one Measuring Cup.


10. For the trendy jewelry lover: Anything from LeMel is always a hit!


11. The great outdoor lovers will be thrilled with a solo stove outdoor firepit.


12. And Patti’s favorite gift: A new illustrated Bible (NIV translation). It is an easy way to learn more about the Bible through an illustrated, book by book, collection: The Alabaster Company Bible books.


Thank you, Patti and Jessica, for these great ideas!


Together with you,

Lisa Lou