Tag Archives: holiday entertaining

Limoncello Party Punch, a Festive Sangria

This Limoncello Sangria is zippy, festive, and most of all, fun. Prepare the punch ahead of time, pour it in a gorgeous pitcher and set it in the bar.

The holiday season typically means loads of soirees, parties, and swaps, and I for one, love it. There are so many festive gatherings to attend and of course, to host.

One of the best things you can do as a hostess is prepare a signature cocktail. It gets everyone talking. Plus, it’s a stress free way to host, especially if you serve a punch like this one. This Limoncello Sangria is zippy, festive, and most of all, fun. Prepare the punch ahead of time, pour it in a gorgeous pitcher and set it in a designated bar area complete with coupes and fun holiday napkins.

This cocktail, along with many others, is available in my book, Picture Perfect Parties Rizzoli NY. Grab a copy here or add it to your Christmas wish list! While you’re there, don’t forget to pre-order my next book, Cocktail Italiano. It would make the perfect gift for any cocktail connoisseurs. Cin cin!

Limoncello Party Punch (aka. Festive Sangria)
Serves 8

You will need:

– 2 cups of Limoncello
– 1 pint of sliced strawberries hulled and sliced
– 1 small blood orange thinly sliced and quartered
– 1 cup seedless white grapes, halved
– 8 cups Sauvignon Blanc
– 3.5 cups club soda

To prepare:

In a pitcher, macerate the fruit in the limoncello overnight in the refrigerator.

Pour the wine and club soda into the fruit-filled pitcher and serve in champagne coupes.

Happy holidays, and cheers to a happy & healthy 2018!

Photo Credit: Deborah Whitlaw Llewellyn

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Holiday Office Party Tips and Tricks

Sometimes in the work place the holiday office party can be the most dreaded event of the year. Someone has to organize and pull it all together, make it bigger and better than the year before. Well hold on because help is on it’s way! As a professional, I am constantly being asked… what makes a party great? What makes people talk about what a great time they had? How do we organize a simple but fantastic affair?

Here are my hard and fast rules for making your office party (or any party) really picture perfect. I have taught you how to organize your holiday party pantry and toolbox with the help of Staples, now here’s how to use it to its full potential.

Here’s where the fun begins: Theme your party, everyone loves a theme. Here are a few ideas that I think will make everyone at the office actually want to go to the party… R172502.jpg.rendition.largest 1. Host a cookie party where every one brings their favorite holiday cookie with copies of the recipe. Use these cool labels to make name tags for all the cookies on a long table. Make sure everyone uses the same cards to download their recipes onto. This uniformity will make for a consistent look on the party table (ie it will look pretty). I would use these. Take photos of everyone with their cookie using an instant camera and put them in frame note cards. Set these cute cards on the table next to the cookies (with the recipe and the name of the cookie inside). It’s a great conversation starter! Have a tasting contest and award a prize to the winner. Use a ballot box to collect the votes, and make the ballots cute by using colored card stock! (above photo of pretty package cookies from better homes and gardens) White+Elephant+copy 2. Everyone loves a White Elephant Secret Santa – draw names and then bring a gift that is funny, clever, vintage, retro or even a quirky gift. This is always a great party. Supply everyone with wrap, gift bags, and ribbon from Staples keep the gift under 10 dollars. Encourage people to shop at flea markets and supply prizes for the funniest and most creative gifts.  Find fun award prizes, I really like a pretty journal or a wristlet bag or dessert like a delicious carrot cake. Who would not want to win that?? You can use a cool graphic for the invitation and print them on these invitations. cropparty
3. Party with a Cause. Adopt a family in need. Start by sending out all the important information about the family in an email to the entire staff. I would also use a message board in the office, post pictures of what the family would like and could use and have the staff bring their gifts on the day of the office party. It’s so fulfilling and a great team builder to pull together and to give to people in need during the holiday season.

Once you’ve determined the theme, it’s time to utilize your party pantry.

Here’s what to prep the day before your party:

*Set out thetables and cover them with a paper table cloth. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA *Roll out some wrapping paper for a simple table runner. This is an easy way to create a holiday mood.

*Stack the plates, napkins, cups and flatware.

*Lay out kraft labels to tag all the food items on the table. It’s always a fun idea to label food on a buffet table, the when the food arrives you just stick the labels right next to the platters and bowls on the paper tablecloth. Easy!

*Place empty bowls on the table as well as drinks and unopened snack bags. Make sure to leave room for the warm dishes you’ll be serving when setting everything in place. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA *I like to do some flower arranging the day before. Simple glass cylinder vases with washi tape and wrapping paper embellishments work great. Simply wrap the vase with wrap and tie some ribbon or washi tape to attach the wrap to the vase. Place your flowers in them and voila! a great centerpiece for your holiday party is done. *Note: simple flowers from the grocery store work perfectly for this purpose, just keep your flower choices on point by using red and white. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Use these fresh decorations from Staples to bring instant life and cheer to your workspace. tree Setting up a beautiful fresh tree not only smells great, but it can be a team building event by encouraging everyone to make an ornament and place it on the tree. Buy wreaths and hang them around the office place for an easy and lovely decorative touch.

You’re ready to party, the table is set and you have a theme. Now enjoy and Happy Holidays!

* make sure you pin along with me on Pinterest for Holiday Essentials from Staples hope to see you there.

*Everything you will need is at Staples (in stores or order online at Staples.com with free delivery for rewards members or for orders over $45 for non-members). This post is in partnership with staples. All opinions are my own.

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IKEA Holiday table setting and booksigning event

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA I had such a fun Saturday afternoon talking all things entertaining and cooking with a great crowd at IKEA Atlanta. Deidra Cunningham, my dear friend and marketing maven for IKEA, set the whole thing up for me. She had a vision for the event to show IKEA customers how to throw a great party, and a great party it was. Filled with enthusiasm, the crowd really challenged me with their smart questions and genuine interest in hosting friends and family at holiday gatherings and beyond! OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA I did 3 table settings: Halloween, Christmas, and Game Day. It was super fun going over some of the easy DIYs featured in my cookbook using basic supplies from IKEA. Let’s just say I have a bit of an addiction problem with their jar selection. I think I have the entire IKEA jar collection housed in my prop stash!! NO kidding. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA I use lots of IKEA products in photo shoots, and of course my cookbook Picture Perfect Parties is filled with IKEA essential basics. Perfect additions for your “Party Pantry”, if you have not been to IKEA lately make sure to check it out before planning your party decor for the holiday season! IKEA Thank you to IKEA and my sweet Deidra for putting together a great event. To the IKEA team: great job, great day!

You guys ROCK! xx

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