New On The Blog

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!

  • Sami Reyna

Graduation Gifts

Graduation is a pivotal point in a young person’s life. It is the beginning of a season of responsibility, coming of age, and independence. As these twenty-somethings are about to discover the meaning of “adulting,” here are some gift ideas that will no doubt be a blessing in your college grad’s new life.

Business Accessories:

1. Luggage: Spare your grad the embarrassment of rolling around their juvenile luggage set on their first business travel! I recommend a quality set such as Tumi for a young professional.

2. Black designer bag: A great bag is a staple accessory that your grad will absolutely adore for years to come. She will exude confidence and appear polished for job interviews, networking events, and corporate dinners.

3. Leather portfolio: When walking into a business meeting, boardroom, or boss’s office, your grad will look perfectly professional with a monogrammed leather portfolio from Mark & Graham.

4. Golf clubs: It is no secret golf is popular in business, especially among upper management. If your grad is going into a corporate job, chances are this game is in his/her future. Get them ready with a set of new clubs!

Kitchen/Home Items:

1. Coffeemaker: I used to avoid signing up for those dreaded 8am classes in college. I remember the moment when I finally realized I would have to wake up early the rest of my life after I landed my first job! That is when my coffee habit began. Get your grad a coffee maker or espresso machine to help them ease the transition!

2. Instant Pot: Give the gift of convenience. Easy cooking with quick, one-pot meals after a long day of work. Better than spending on takeout!

3. Bed sheets: Gift your grad a great night’s sleep with quality, high thread-count sheets. I recommend a Parachute sheet set. I bought mine back in 2016 and am so impressed with how well they have held up all these years.

Self-Improvement Gifts:

1. Planner: Set the new graduate up for success with a daily planner! This is a great way for them to stay organized and help them reach their life and career goals. To see how Lisa Lou organizes, check out her Daily Journal blog.

2. Book: One of my wonderful mentors gifted me a book that had a big impact on her life. She included a beautiful, handwritten note wishing me success. Give your grad literature that has helped you in your own life or career!

3. Finance Courses: Everyone student needs good advice when it comes to money. Set them up with financial success from the very start. I highly recommend Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University. I learned about budgeting, saving, and investing in a simple, commonsense way.

4. Vitamin subscription: Part of adulting is self-care! Help your grad get into the habit of maintaining good health by starting with a daily multivitamin. I love Ritual!


It can be overwhelming for any grad to think of all the financial responsibilities and expenses that come after graduation. A cash gift is always appreciated and will be put to good use!

Samantha Reyna

Mom to 2 toddlers and loving wife