Ever have a time when people are coming over and maybe all you can muster up is pizza and beer? Well, this was not one of those times.  And not to be insulting, but if you're having company and your efforts stop at white paper plates and plastic utensils you are deemed drab, for the sake of this blog!

This was not the case two weeks ago when we headed north to celebrate the big 5 0 for my sister-in-law and brother-in-law whose birthdays are conveniently close together. I love visiting them, they live in a gorgeous development on a golf course about 3 hours from us.  Really 2 1/2  if not for my excessive totally normal potty and tea stops.  It's a beautiful drive up the coast and road trips are great for me and the hubbs to have conversations uninterrupted by our busy schedules.

Carlyn, my sister-in-law, made such a beautiful dinner, for 25 people, so effortlessly, that I ended up taking pictures of all the food and not many of family and friends (oops.)  And pardon moi for the iphone pics, I didn't bring my camera! (blogger faux pas.)

Carlyn doesn't think she's creative, like many of my friends who say that, they don't realize just how creative they are! Creativity comes in many different forms, like the party favors she created and the food she made.  Bravery is also creative and although she had total confidence in her recipes, (they came from a cook book written by a friend), this was the first time she had made any of them! Now that's brave.

The food was not only delicious, it was beautiful too!  I can't wait to try some of the recipes from this amazing cook book called Who Wants Seconds? Sociable Suppers For Vegans, Omnivores and Everyone in Between by Jennie Cook.  I highly recommend it, the recipes are amazing! And yes that's her real last name, destiny called!

So if you're having people over and you think you're not creative and/or you hate to cook and you order in - here's a few tips to bring your party from drab to fab:
  • Use your dishes, they don't have to be expensive china, use what you have. Paper plates are drab, even if they're cute ones (with one exception - if you're having a garden party.)
  • Light candles, they instantly and inexpensively add lots of ambiance.
  • Add some twinkling white Christmas lights.
  • Use glasses (save those red solos for the outside party.)
  • Use cloth napkins.
  • Mix up your serving plates - NOT matching is fabulous.
  • Guest will most likely visit your powder room at least once (or 10 times like me) so have nice disposable hand towels and a candle in there. Use a battery operated one if you're concerned about burning down the house. 
  • Use baskets, they are great for holding the silverware, (again no plastic!), napkins and odds and ends.
  • Have a party favor, this can be anything from a goody bag to a warm cookie for the road.
The party favors were little wine bottles with custom labels made by the hostess with the mostess called 'Vintage Fifty', 'bottled in 1965, well aged, full bodied with robust character, nutty top notes and an unforgettable finish!'  Also personalized golf balls. Perfect as the birthday girl is a wine connoisseur and the birthday boy being an avid golfer.
These gorgeous carrots.
Roasted with honey.
So yummy!
Green Beans with Chili Pecans, looked just like the picture!
Exotic Salad with vinaigrette
Silver Palate Party Chicken, with orange slices so amazing!
Vegan Cashew Cream Lasagna with spinach and mushroom, before it went in the oven. It was devoured so fast I didn't get a finished picture of it. And I'm the one that devoured it!
Fruit Crumble with whipped cream, also devoured too fast to get a picture of the finished product, so so good!

Party On!