ALL POSTS TAGGED "Entertaining"

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How are you celebrating the 4th of July this year? If you’re attending a party or gathering, I suggest you volunteer now to bring dessert. I’ve collected seven easy, festive and delicious recipes. Plus, with the patriotic cupcake wrappers and party toppers I designed exclusively for HGTV readers, you’ll be sure to impress the host and other guests!
HGTV Exclusive From The TomKat Studio - Fourth of July Cupcake Circles & Wrapper - Free Printables

Free Printable Party Circles for Desserts - 4th of July - The TomKat StudioHGTV exclusive :: download free printable party circles

Free Printable Cupcake Wrappers - 4th of July - The TomKat StudioHGTV exclusive :: download free printable cupcake wrappers

I seem to always be in charge of dessert at gatherings with family and friends. I absolutely love to bake {when I’m not blogging}, especially cupcakes. Cupcakes are easy, cute and oh so popular.

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Although our deck is far from ready to decorate (I have strict rules to finish the interior of my home before I can start on the exterior), summer is here and I can’t pretend like you all aren’t outside enjoying perfect evening dinners on your perfect patios. But if you’re not, this post is all about how to build the perfect patio (on a budget!) for every one of your summer whims.

Whether you’re an alfresco dining connoisseur, urban dweller or beach bum, I’ve got a patio design for each of you. Just humor me while I live vicariously through you, OK? Deal.

Small space HGTV Design Happens - designer Erin Loechner - patio furniture urban dweller

You never have to sacrifice style for space.

For the Urban Dweller:
Short on space but large on style? Get the most out of your tiny terrace or mini-balcony by going modern with an elemental table, side tray and hanging planters.
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It’s that time of year when you want to do everything outdoors: eat, relax and of course, entertain. I don’t know about you, but my patio set looks a bit ragged from all the dinners and late nights last year. If you’re like me, you’ll love this month’s giveaway: an All-Weather Wicker Conversation Set from online home decor and furniture retailer hayneedle.com.

Hayneedle.com Patio Set - Hayneedle.com – find everything home

Palazetto Arbor All Weather Conversation Set

This patio furniture set is everything you need to move your living room outside: a loveseat, two chairs, a coffee table and an end table.  Plus, the durable canvas fabric cushions are water- and fade-resistant.

Wanna win it? Just leave a comment below this post. This month’s question: What’s your best outdoor entertaining tip or trick? (For ideas, check out our brand new outdoor entertaining guide.)

You may only comment once to be considered, and you don’t have to purchase anything to win; a purchase will not increase your chances of winning. Odds depend on total number of entries. Void where prohibited by law. Only open to legal residents of 50 U.S., D.C. or Puerto Rico, and you must be at least 18 years of age to win. All entries (comments) must be entered between 9:00 a.m. ET on May 4, 2012 and 12:00 p.m. ET on May 7, 2012. Subject to full official rules. By leaving a comment on the blog, you acknowledge your acceptance to the Official Rules. ARV of prize: $1,499.99. Sponsor: Scripps Networks, LLC, d/b/a HGTV, 9721 Sherrill Boulevard, Knoxville, TN 37932.

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I rarely throw parties. Why? I love my friends, but so much work goes into hosting a get-together, from the food and cocktails to the entertainment and decor. It’s not cheap, either. To successfully throw an amazing soiree, every detail matters. Plus, my standards are very high, since I work in the design world. Fortunately, with an abundance of spring and summer festivities on the horizon, HGTV.com has created the go-to party planning guide for hosting casual get-togethers, dinner parties, bridal showers and more (without the cost and headaches!). Here are a few of my favorite ideas to get you started.

Simple Party Planning Table Place Settings

Welcome guests by creating simple yet eye-catching place settings and DIY centerpieces that coordinate with the theme of your dinner party:

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While I always welcome the new year with a small gathering of my closest friends and family, I can’t help feeling I’m part of a giant cosmic party celebrating with billions of people all over the world. Whether you’re hosting a New Year’s party for four or 40, check out our favorite decorating ideas for ringing in 2011…with a bang.

HGTV Rate My Space: by mypointofview

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When I first moved to Los Angeles, I remember being so madly in love with the idea of dining outdoors on our tiny apartment’s balcony. Watching the sun set over the Pacific ocean with a glass of wine and light breeze in my hair quickly became an after-work habit of mine and I vowed never to take it for granted.

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Erin’s Dining Room Tips

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For many of us, Domino Magazine was a design bible. I have kept every issue of Domino in the past two years and I find myself going back into old issues for inspiration on a weekly basis. Domino billed itself as a shopping magazine — some said it was a shelter magazine — but I felt like it was a lifestyle magazine.

It was one of the first publications to make the Green Movement chic. It brought me into celebrity homes without making me feel bad about my home. Domino made me feel like I was part of a secret tribe of strong, stylish, independent women.

I know it’s borderline lame to mourn the loss of a magazine, but I’m really sad about the death of Domino. Based solely on the uproar in the design blogosphere, many other people are floating in my boat.

Here in the programming department of HGTV, we always chat about our desire to be featured on the “10 Things That Make Me Happy” page of Domino.

So, in honor of my favorite fallen monthly mag, I present you with “The Ten Things That Make Me Happy: Design Happens Edition.”

Who: Lindsey Weidhorn
Where: New York, NY
What: Program Development, HGTV

My Bike

I was riding a vintage Schwinn for the longest time until it just gave out on me. This summer, I was at Governors Island and they were selling off all of the rental bikes because the season had ended. If you live in NYC, go to Governors Island on the last weekend that it is open and buy yourself one of these bikes. They retail for $300. Governors Island sells them for $75. I bought the bike, took it to my bike shop and got hand breaks and some speeders added on for only $35. Now I ride my brand new vintage inspired beach cruiser to and from work every day. It totally beats sitting on the subway in the mornings!

Personal Calling Cards from Crane & Co.

When I meet someone at a non-work related event I give them one of my personal calling cards. You can go to Finestationary.com and design your own unique calling card. I designed the one above using the Crane & Co. cards, but they have lots of fun and funky options all over the site that vary in price and style. I don’t want to meet someone on a personal level and give them my business card. It just devalues the exchange. Business cards are for business contacts, so why not have cards for personal contacts? I hate meeting someone new and standing there awkwardly while they type your number into their cell phone. These cards are such a fun and classy way to pass your info along.

Laura Mercier Creme Brulee Body Cream

This cream is expensive but TRUST ME…once you buy it, you’ll never spend money on perfume again. This cream smells like warm vanilla and it makes your skin feel like butter. You can buy it at Sephora.

Frye Cowboy Boots

I like to think of myself as an urban cowgirl (my bike is my horse). I bought these boots 5 years ago. I wear them at least twice a week and they are still in great condition. They’ve only gotten better with age. They take a boring all black outfit and give it a fun twist. They are impeccably designed and absurdly comfortable.

My Polaroid Camera

Ever since they announced the end of Polaroid film I have been buying packs like it’s my job. I love my Polaroid camera. I love how authentic and in the moment a Polaroid picture feels. I’m not a camera snob, but no digital image will ever feel as good as a Polaroid picture. Also, a Polaroid camera is a great conversation starter. I have an entire wall in my apartment devoted to my Polaroid pictures. When people come over to my place they spend the first 20 minutes staring at the wall.

Cashmere Herringbone Throw

Toastis one of my favorite stores. Unfortunately they are only in the UK but they do have an online store to make up for that. Toast specializes in comfort. This deeply soft, pure cashmere throw is from Scotland. If I am in my apartment, I have this blanket wrapped around me. It is the softest most amazing blanket in the history of blankets.

Apples to Apples

This is one of my favorite party games. If you’re entertaining and some of your guests don’t know each other, this game is a great icebreaker. This game will have you and your friends on the floor laughing.

Notting Hill

I’m just a girl standing in front of a boy…Asking him to love me. My heart breaks every time I watch that scene. Notting Hill is my “trapped on a desert island with only one movie” movie.

Diptyque Feu de Bois (Firewood) Candle

I know this is extravagant. $65 for a candle, in a recession is insane. I get it, but I’m addicted. When I was a kid, my mother would make a fire every winter night. The crackling and the smell of wood burning always makes me feel at home when it is cold out. Wood burning, for me, is the smell of winter with my family. Here in Manhattan one out of every zillion people are lucky enough to have a working wood burning fire place. I am not one of those lucky people. So I buy this candle. It smells like winter and it lasts forever. You can get it on Amazon.

Crumbs Cupcakes

Here’s a little secret about the HGTV programming team…We LOVE CUPCAKES! It’s insane. We eat cupcakes all the time. We have been known to schedule “Cupcake Meetings” on our calendars on exceptionally busy days to lift spirits. Lately we have been getting Magnolia Cupcakes, but Crumbs is still, hands-down, our favorite cupcake spot. They have the craziest flavors, cupcakes you couldn’t even dream of. My personal favorite…The Fluffernutter Cupcake. Vanilla cake, marshmallow butter cream filling, vanilla frosting mixed with Peanutbutter and drizzled with white chocolate.

I know I’m not alone in always wanting to be in Domino’s “10 Things That Make Me Happy.” So, in the spirit of Domino Magazine…What Makes YOU happy?

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Last year my grandmother called me and told me that she was throwing a Superbowl party at her home. About 10 minutes into the conversation I realized that she had no clue what the Superbowl was. She was preparing a 4 course, sit-down meal for 12 people! So I staged a Superbowl party intervention.

The most important part of throwing a party is to understand what you are celebrating. In the case of a Superbowl party, you need to plan your event around the television screen. First, clear your knick-knacks off of every table that surrounds the television area. Those tables should be for food and drinks, because no one wants to walk too far away from the big game.

Designate one table for the main dish, in this case I ordered sub sandwiches. I like to figure 2 feet for every 5 people when ordering a Sub. On that same table you can put a nice big salad and some big plates, heavy duty napkins and cutlery. A few years ago I bought 2 dozen cafeteria trays, and every Superbowl I put a piece of construction paper (usually in my home team’s colors) on each one and stack them next to the sandwiches. This way, people know its okay to take their food back to the couch with them, and they have a tray to eat over.

It gives your party a fun and casual vibe. Cafeteria trays cost about $2 each at a restaurant supply store and they are sold online for about the same price. (Fun tip: use them for spontaneous backyard sledding when winter comes!)  Scatter salty snacks on side tables close to couches, so people can reach-n-eat.

Craque is a new snack sold on Etsty (HERE). It’s my Superbowl Snack Pick. They sell Craque Corn (popcorn dunked in chocolate and peanut butter, covered in powdered sugar) and Original Craque (chocolate and peanut butter in a thin crunchy shell, covered in powdered sugar). Put bowls of this delicious snack out on the table and it will be gone before half time. Added bonus, Craque is handmade, and supporting the Handmade Movement gives you big-time bonus points!

On the coffee table place a veggie platter with dipping sauce and hot wngs with dipping sauce. Because hot wings leave a mess, I put metal buckets on the ground under the coffee table to hold discarded wing scraps and napkins.

The buckets, like the cafeteria trays reinforce the fun, casual vibe of the party. Last, I keep coolers filled with beer and soda next to the couches to make it feel more like a parking lot tailgate party.

For game watching fun I hand out Bad Call bricks. They are really just pieces of foam painted in red. Whenever someone thinks the ref made a bad call, they can throw the brick at the television. A Superbowl Point Spread Pool is also a fun activity for the party. This pool calls for no skill or knowledge of the game of football, so it’s fun for everyone. Making one is super easy; all you need is a big piece of paper and a big marker. Learn to make one HERE.  Last but certainly not least, remember to have fun! If the host is having fun then the guests will follow!

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