Party Tips Your Mama May or May Not Have Taught You

As I walk out adulthood on a new level… married, making “couple friends” with my husband, hosting parties and attempting to be a good guest at other events… there are a couple of “tips” I wanted to get out in writing to remember for myself and also share with others. Some lessons I’m learning on my own through experience and some I’ve gleaned from my mom through the years.

In particular, this summer I’ve had flashbacks of memories of advice my mom gave me about going to and hosting parties and picnics. And a couple of these tips I realized on my own that are important to have an easy, fun time at social gatherings like picnics and barbecues.

  1. Bring a dish you know YOU will like to potlucks and parties

So many times through the years, I’ve arrived to a picnic or potluck and looking at the spread of food my eyes (bigger than my stomach of course) have grown big with disappointment as I looked at all there was to eat, yet nothing appealed to me. Allergies, food sensitivities, and general preferences can keep a lot of people from eating “just anything.” When it comes to parties, you will have a more enjoyable time knowing you can put something on your plate that you prepared and know you like, especially if you have a longer day out planned.

I made the mistake of counting on food at a party once and brought a dessert that I knew would be enjoyed by most people (No Bake Cookies anyone?). Well, when it came to the main course, I was stuck with a plate of fruit and salad that I had to pick through to avoid the cheese tossed through it (lactose intolerant over here). I could have had a more pleasurable meal had I not just considered dessert, but also a more filling main dish or side dish of my own to bring that I knew I would and could eat.

2. When hosting a party, share what you’ll be providing in advance

This relates to point number 1. It’s just polite to share what you’ll be serving or providing in advance so others can make plans if they have allergies or food preferences that are different. They can bring a side or main meal that appeals to them. Don’t assume that what you like everyone will like. Let others get in on the fun and share… I know people enjoy sharing recipes and food, it’s part of what makes humanity so great, sharing a meal together. Let others get in on the process and give proper notice so they can plan on their end.

3. If you can leave a topping on the side, do it

Things like cheese, croutons, nuts, etc. can make the difference of someone eating or not eating a food at a party. If you can, leave the easy toppings on the side that people can choose to put on their portion.

My Jamaican husband makes some of the spiciest food for other people. I’ve always loved spicy foods, and love his cooking, but not everyone can handle it. We have learned that his cooking is too spicy for some group events and decided we can add some spice for flavor/ effect, but if we want it “extra spicy” (aka traditional Jamaican flavor), then we need to keep the hot sauce and peppers on the side. Once it’s in the dish it can’t be taken out. Similarly, I have an aunt who always says at events, “Now there’s no salt in this, so you’ll want to add your own amount that you like.” She knows people may have sodium problems or just don’t like foods as salty, and that’s totally fine. A salt shaker is always there to add more.

These are a few tips that I’ve applied to my own life this summer. Events centered on good food are important and fun, and when the food goes well, the party goes well! What other tips do you have for potlucks, picnics, and barbecues? Summer may be closing out soon, but fall socials and the holiday season are just as important to remembering food tips for yourself and others.





Or at least that’s what a man at the Venetian hotel passed along to my friends and I, while in search of brunch on our second day in Vegas.

This isn’t going to be a  long post, but as a Vegas first timer celebrating my birthday weekend with friends, there were a lot of things that surprised me about this Disneyland for grownups.

It was so clean! Disney is the one other place I know that spends resources on clean up. With all the partying, shows, and people from around the world, Vegas was on point with looking pristine.

Everyone was so nice! I assumed there would be a lot of people super into themselves, but everyone just wanted to have a good time. People smiled at each other. Men held doors open for women. Waiters and waitresses started short conversations with us. There was even one group of women who looked out for me at a pool party when I had a small incident with my swim suit. The kindness of people around us was a welcome surprise.

The food was amazing! It didn’t matter where we ate, I loved the food. Brunch with coffee I didn’t even need creamer for. Buffets with all you can eat crab legs. Hotels with an endless amount of choices for food spots. I came back and had to detox from everything. I’d do it again though.

Lastly, the variety of people who come and how they do Vegas. Old, young, families, bachelors… There are shows, site seeing, gambling, clubs. The weekend I went to celebrate my birthday there was a big Nascar race, Rugby game, MMA fight, and it was the first weekend of Spring Break for many students. So much happens in Vegas, and you can keep it classy if you want!

Of course, as I work in media, I borrowed my friends GoPro for the weekend and had fun remembering my trip from last weekend by putting together the short video below. Though my feet were sore from dancing and I went on a detox from all the food quickly after returning home, it was the best way to ring in a new birthday year!

Shout out to the friends who were down to celebrate! You ladies made it worth it on so many levels. LOVE YOU!