#BWorleyTips: How to Be a Great Host

Screen Shot 2014-04-22 at 12.17.24 PMHey Y’all,

We’ve all attended a party where the host cannot be found because they’re busy putting out fires the whole night! This isn’t fun for the guests or the host and it’s the reason most people hire event producers so that they can be hands off and actually enjoy being the host! If you’re planning an event and can’t afford to hire help, here’s my advice…

FCG-birthdayQ: What’s the best way to impress guests when entertaining at home? At a rented party venue?

A: When entertaining at home, impress your guests by being prepared before they arrive and allow yourself to also be a guest at your own party. Enjoy your friends and socialize rather than running around and working the entire party.  At a venue, it should work the same as at home, allow yourself to be a guest by making smart event design choices that will allow you to be hands-off so that you can enjoy your family and friends. 

Friday Favorites: Red, White, and Blue – Memorial Day Edition!

Hey Ya’ll,

Since Monday is Memorial Day, I figured today’s ‘Friday Fav’ post should be all about Red, White, and Blue!

First off, I am loving all of the cute, DIY tissue paper projects I’ve been seeing all over Pinterest as of late:
Here are few other crafty ideas that caught my eye for Memorial Day weekend or Fourth of July:

Image via mypartypassion.blogspot.com

And what holiday would be complete without delicious eats and treats!

Here’s a Southwest Sloppy Joes recipe from Snackpicks.com, that I highly recommend trying your hand at this weekend:

1 lb lean ground beef
1 medium onion sliced or chopped
1 small clove garlic minced or 1/4 tsp garlic powder
2 cups Kellogg’s® Rice Krispies® cereal
2 tsp chili powder
2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1 can (19 oz) whole tomatoes undrained
1 can (5.5 oz) tomato paste
8 hamburger buns

1.    In large skillet over medium heat, cook ground beef, onion and garlic, until meat is browned, stirring frequently.
2.    Add cereal, seasonings, tomatoes with juice, and tomato paste. Stir to combine, cutting tomatoes into pieces with spoon. Cover and simmer over low heat about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve on toasted buns.

And here’s a fabulous red, white and blue sangria via Recipe Girl:

2 bottles dry white wine (try Sauvignon Blanc)
1 cup triple sec
1/2 cup berry-flavored vodka
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup simple syrup (see tips below)
1 cup blueberries
1 1/2 cups hulled and sliced strawberries
1 cup raspberries
1 1/2 cups pineapple chunks

Combine all ingredients in a large punch bowl or pitcher and stir well. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours. Serve well-chilled with a good scoop of fruit floating in each drink, or serve over ice.

*To make 1/2 cup simple syrup, boil 1/2 cup water and add 1/2 cup granulated white sugar. Turn heat to simmer and stir until dissolved. Turn off the heat and let cool. Now it’s simple syrup!
*Use fresh fruit for this recipe. Frozen just won’t be great.
*To make star-shaped pineapple pieces, cut long & wide pieces of pineapple off the side of the fresh fruit. use a star cutter to cut shapes.

And for dessert, try this easy recipe from Fancy Frugal Living!

1 Pint of Strawberries
1 Pint of Blueberries
1 Loaf of Pound Cake (Cut out star shapes using a cookie cutter)
1 can of Whipped Cream

For even more fabulous Memorial Day entertaining ideas, head to my friend’s site Hostess with the Mostess!

Happy Memorial Day weekend, everyone!

More of My Oscar Party Tips in PEOPLE Magazine

Hey Ya’ll,

Today I’m giving you a sneak peek at part two of my PEOPLE magazine spread, featuring more of my Oscar party tips, available on newsstands now! (Look for the issue with Elizabeth Smart’s wedding on the cover.)

If you’re putting together an Oscars viewing party for your friends, check out my fun menu of signature cocktails and snack foods based on each of this year’s ‘Best Picture’ nominees. I think you’ll find, there’s a little something for everyone!

My favorite drink idea was inspired by the movie “Midnight in Paris”, it’s called the French 75 Cocktail, and it’s a sexy combination of brandy, orange liqueur, lemon juice and champagne. A close second, though, is the Mint Julep inspired by “The Help”, because everything tastes delicious when there’s fresh mint, crushed ice and bourben involved!

For the snacks, make sure you spread them out throughout your party space. Small bowls or martini glasses work great for this! More guests will be tempted to eat your party snacks if they’re displayed in more than one place, which means less clean-up and waste for you!

What types of cocktails and snacks will you be serving at your Oscars gathering this weekend? Let me know in the comment section below. Click HERE for even more of my Oscar party recipes, themes, and activity ideas!

Oscar Party Activities

Hey Ya’ll,

On Monday, I shared my PEOPLE mag spread of festive Oscar party ideas but today I’ve got even more ideas to take your viewing party up a notch!

First, The Oscars are all about what a celebrity is wearing, that is why the pre-show is almost as long and in-depth as the actual show! So rather than having your guest dress up in their finest designer duds, suggest that all your guests come dressed wearing a costume from their favorite movie…

For example, someone might dress like a baseball player inspired by the movie MoneyBall while another guest might come in a hula skirt or Hawaiian shirt and shorts–like George Clooney’s character says in The Descendants, “the wealthiest people in Hawaii look like surfers and bums”. A few more fun costume ideas include dressing like “The Help” or wearing a vintage 50’s June Cleaver dress or a soldier uniform, or for the really creative: WARHORSE! Regardless of which movie inspires them, costumes are a fun way to get your guests chatting before the show.

If costumes seem like too much work, you can always make your party more interactive by having your guests play games! If you have time, make custom BINGO boards by changing it to OSCARS:

O – can be (5) of the Best Picture nominations in random order
S – can be the (5) Best Actor nominations in random order
C – can be the (5) Best Actress nominations in random order
A – can be the (5) Best Supporting Actor nominations in random order
R – can be the (5) Best Supporting Actress nominations in random order
S – can be the remaining (5) Best Picture nominations in random order

Rather than using a bingo blotter, give everyone gold star stickers to place on the name or title when announced. You can also click HERE to visit a blog called How About Orange, where you can print out 20 different Oscar inspired BINGO boards for free.

Or, you can create a crossword puzzle or one of the many other puzzles at: www.discoveryeducation.com/puzzlemaker. There are a number of fun ways to incorporate the nominees into a puzzle and it is a fun activity for guests to have to figure out.

I hope these activity ideas help you create an extraordinary experience for your Oscar-fest guests this weekend.

My Easy Oscar Party Ideas in PEOPLE Magazine!

Hey Ya’ll,

Are you getting excited for The Oscars this weekend? I absolutely love awards season because it combines two of my favorite things: parties and films! In fact, I created a festive party spread inspired by this year’s ‘Best Picture’ nominees that’s currently being featured in PEOPLE magazine. Check it out…

Here’s a quick rundown of the menu items I selected to represent each movie:

War Horse – Carrots with White bean and Tarragon Dip! An ode to the nominee’s four-legged star!

Midnight in Paris – Vegetable Quiche. A chic and tasty nod to the City of Light.

Tree of Life – Pulled pork BBQ sliders, yum! Serve these mini-sandwiches in honor of the movie’s setting and my home state, Texas!

The Descendants – Serve pineapple chunks on toothpicks because nothing captures island lifestyle more than fresh fruit!

The Help – This was an easy pick: chocolate pie a.k.a. Minny’s specialty—minus the secret ingredient!

The Artist – Sugar cookies glazed with black and white frosting in homage to old silent films.

Moneyball – Cracker Jacks are a ballpark classic, throw some in a bowl and feel free to jazz it up by tossing in extra ingredients (Try: chocolate!).

Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close – Mini soft pretzels perfectly capture the vendor style foods that line the streets of NYC.

As far as party favors go, send everyone home with a delicious mini-croissants in honor of HUGO. You can also hand out ballots to your guests so that everyone can predict the winners, then, hand out mini-Oscar replicas (try local party store or buy them HERE online) to your party’s winners!

Good luck to all the nominees and to any of you hosting an Ocsar party this year! I hope my tips help you create an extraordinary experience!

Give a Little Love: Valentine’s Day Inspired Drinks and Garnishes

Hey Ya’ll,

No matter what kind of Valentine’s Day bash you’re hosting, I recommend making the holiday a bit more memorable (or less, depending on how strong they are!) by creating a specialty cocktail for your party.
As far as ingredients go, anything that creates a pink or red color works great on Valentine’s Day. Recipes that use pink lemonade, cranberry juice, grenadine or pomegranate juice, are the perfect place to start. You can also go all out and make decadent chocolate martinis!

Another fun ingredient to play around with is Goldschlager, a cinnamon liqueur that actually has flecks of gold floating in it, adding a romantic sparkle to any drink! Here’s a sweet recipe that combines a few of these festive ingredients:

1/2 oz. Goldschlager
1/2 oz. Malibu Rum
1 oz. Absolut Vodka
1 splash of Club Soda
1 splash of Grenadine

Combine ingredients over ice and shake very well. Strain and serve over heart shaped ice cubes.

Next, come up with a fun name for your concoction like the “Flaming Heart” or “Love Potion No.9” and add fun garnishes like a heart-shaped lollipops or candy hearts.

You can also buy heart-shaped rubber molds at most party stores to make make heart-shaped ice cubes. Make them extra festive by adding arrow-shaped toothpicks!

Tip: Set out dishes of maraschino cherries, raspberries, strawberries, pink swizzle sticks or even a Twizzlers, so that guests can add another shade of red to any drink!

Tip: Make your drink even more special by hiring a bartender or even a few cocktail servers to work your party. This way, guests don’t have to bother with making their own drinks and you don’t have to spend the evening explaining how to make them! If this isn’t in your budget, write the recipe down and make sure it’s clearly displayed by the bar.

Also, if this is the only drink that you’ll be offering at your party, I recommend splitting the ingredients into a few smaller carafes, so that people can use the same ingredients at the same time.

Do you have a drink recipe you love that’s perfect for V-Day? Leave the ingredients and instructions in comment section below!

Click HERE for a few more fabulous drink recipes and let the good times and Valentine’s Day inspired libations flow!

Give a Little Love: Valentine’s Day Party Activities!

Hey Ya’ll,

Yesterday, I suggested throwing a Valentine’s Day toga party as a reminder that regardless of whether you’re single, in a new or serious relationship, married or have a family—there are plenty of fun ways to feel the love on Feb. 14. Today, I’m featuring a bunch of Valentine’s Day inspired party activities sure to entertain guests of all ages!
“Cupid’s Arrows”
You’ll need one box of straws, a box of Q-tips, a few heart-shaped bowls (try Target or 99-cent stores!) and masking tape. Divide the group, or family up into teams. Place a heart shaped bowl in front of each team and place some tape about 2 feet back from each teams bowl. Each team member needs a straw and the team needs a large pile of arrows (Q-tips). Tell the “Cupids” they have one minute to get as many “arrows” into their heart as possible. To do this you must place the straw in your mouth, load it with an “arrow,” and then blow the “arrow” out the end of the straw towards the heart bowl. The team with the most arrows through the heart wins.
“Heart’s Desire”
Cut several hearts in various sizes out of white construction paper and set them out on a table for your guests to decorate and give to someone special. As far as decorating supplies go, be sure to include tape, Elmer’s glue, glue sticks, glitter, tissue paper, markers, hole punch, yarn or string, stapler, construction paper, tiny candy hearts and anything else your heart desires!
To play this game, everyone must form a circle and think of a sign related to Valentine’s Day such as, crossing your arms for a hug, puckering your lips, signing “I love you”, pointing to your heart, etc. (The signs can be as creative as you’d like!) Next, everyone must show their sign to the group by going around the circle a few times flashing your sign when it’s your turn until you’re all familiar with each sign. Then, the designated leader starts the game by saying, “What’s the name of the game?” Everyone replies, “Thumper!”, as they pound on the table with their fists. The leader continues, “And how do you play?” and everyone responds, “You thump!” Then everyone repeats the following motion throughout the game: Slap both hands on your lap, clap, snap your left hand, snap your right hand. As everyone is repeating this motion over and over, the leader gives his/her sign as well as another person’s sign. The player whose sign was chosen has to then give his/her sign and the sign of a person of his/her choice. And so on and so on. While different people are choosing signs the rest of the group must continue to go through the “slap, clap, snap, snap” motions. This game continues until someone misses a sign, or gives the wrong sign (Then that person is out and the game starts at the beginning with the people who are “out” outside of the circle). The person who doesn’t miss a sign throughout the entire game is the winner!

If you know of a great party activity for a Valentine’s Day soiree, let me know in the comment section below. And be sure to check back tomorrow, for fabulous drink and garnish ideas that will take your party from ordinary to extraordinary!