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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!

Elevator etiquette? Did you know there was such a thing? Use these 1-minute interactions with fellow passengers to show kindness. Even the smallest gestures can make someone’s day better.

Every party needs an invitation, and there are certain guidelines that need to be followed. You have made your guest list and chosen your theme, so the next step is creating or purchasing invitations.

There are different forms of communication you can choose, from evites to hand-written notes. For a special evening, I recommend staying with an invitation that requires a stamp. For something quick and easy, an evite might be a suitable choice. No matter what you decide the information included will remain the same.

Do any of you relate to this question I received from a reader? “Hosting a dinner party alone can be stressful. I know all the work will be on me, and I am still expected to have a nice meal ready, the house clean, and have my hair and make-up done. I also need to get the children dressed, looking clean and tidy, all while nagging my husband a thousand times to do his man-chores and shower before guests arrive. He seems to wait to the last minute to get ready, then I get upset and no one is happy. Help!”

Creating the guest list for a party can be stressful. My desire will always be to minimize the pressure we put on ourselves and get to a point where all aspects of entertaining become a joyful experience. With that said, I admit deciding who will and will not be invited to an event can be intimidating. Not to add more pressure but who makes it on the guest list and who does not often pre-determines if the party will be a success or just ho-hum. Here’s the good news. If you follow these steps when creating your list, it will not matter what type of event you throw as fun will be had by all!

At Lisa Lou’s we believe no table is complete without a decorative charger! These underplates, along with napkin rings, are the go-to accessory every tablescape needs. They can dress up, or dress down, the simplest of dinner plates. Just as we can change the look of a black dress by the accessories we choose, we can do the same to basic pottery with the chargers and napkin rings we use.

What is a charger plate and why are they used? Drop into any boutique that sells place settings, and you will see tables decorated with, what appears to be, exceptionally large dinner plates. Chargers, sometimes called an underplate or service plate, can set the tone for your entire look. This is the one piece in your setting that will stay on your table throughout most of the meal, and it is the item that will be most visible to your guests once they are seated.

“I don’t know what to say when I enter a room full of strangers!” I hear this quite often from people, including some you would never suspect had any type of social anxiety. Knowing how to engage in small talk is an essential tool we need to increase our soft skills. But before we learn a few tips, we need to change our psychology.

A duck on water. On top, it appears to glide gracefully over the pond, but underneath you see webbed feet paddling energetically towards its destination. When hosting a party, we may feel more like the duck under the water than the duck on top of the water. Throwing a gathering takes time and can be stressful, but our goal should be to reduce as much of these feelings as possible. Is this realistic? It can be if we get our priorities right.

When I read the words, “But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord,” I am reminded that as a spouse and a parent, our homes and families come under our leadership. We cannot control whether those under our roof accept Christ, but we can control how we act within those four walls.

Have you attended a party where you were enjoying (or maybe not enjoying) a conversation with the people around you, but you needed to remove yourself to speak to someone else? How do we graciously extricate ourselves without seeming rude. Here are a few tips to help you exit a conversation with style.

  • Lisa Lou

Making an Entrance with Confidence

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!”

Entering a room of people can be intimidating, especially if you do not know them. But if you want to portray confidence and a strong image, your entrance is important. At a party or business event, guests tend to keep their eye on the area where others enter. Hoping you will not be seen is pointless. Instead, embrace the fact that others will spot you, and remember first impressions are formed within 2 seconds, even from across the room. You have the power to control the message you send by the body language you display. Learn the right way to make an entrance and leave your uncertainty behind!

1. Make sure your attire fits the party. If you feel good about what you are wearing, your confidence level will increase.

2. Be on time (or within that 15-minute window I talk about). The biggest way to draw unwanted attention to yourself is to arrive late.

3. Before you enter the room stop for a moment. Correct your posture, stand up tall, and take a deep breath. Use this time to remind yourself why you are attending this event. Is it for networking? Is it for social reasons? Knowing the “why” can help put your mind at ease, because you now have a reason for attending.

4. Put a smile on your face when you walk into the room, and let others see that you are happy to be there.

5. Do not rush into the room. Walk calmly but with a purpose. People will be able to read your body language and know if you are anxious. Even if you feel fluttery on the inside, you can display confidence on the outside by the way you carry yourself.

6. If I am nervous when entering a room, I do some self talking. I have a daily personal goal to try to make someone else’s life a little brighter. I remind myself of this before entering a room, and it calms my nerves as I re-focus on my mission.

7. Soldiers are taught to recon a room immediately upon entering. This is great advice for the civilian world, too. After walking into the room, immediately pause. Look around the room. Find your hostess. Find the bar. Find the buffet. Determine where different groups of people are gathered. Is there someone you hope to network with? If so, locate them. Rushing into a room and grabbing the first person you know is usually a reaction to feeling insecure or nervous. Just slow down, take a deep breath and survey your surroundings.

8. After you have looked around the room, greet the host and hostess. Then head to the bar for a drink. With beverage in hand find a group you wish to speak with. My personal philosophy is to approach a person or couple standing by themselves in a corner. They become my first “mission.” I think of this as my way of rescuing them from the uncertainty they are obviously feeling!

9. When determining who to speak with, approach a single person (or single couple) or a group of three or more. If you see just two people conversing do not interrupt. They may be in the middle of an important or private conversation.

Master the art of the entrance. Walk into a room with shoulders back and a smile on your face. You will make a first impression that says, “I’m the friendly guest everyone wants to talk to!”

Together with you,

Lisa Lou