Minneapolis Illustrator, Invitation Designer, + DIYer Blog

 

Art, Inspiration, and Life. Sharing all the inspires me to create.

 
Posts tagged Entertaining
Monday Muse: Jamie Preuss, So Happy You Liked It
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Jamie Preuss, food photographer and blogger extraordinaire at So Happy You Liked It, is this week's Monday Muse. I’ve known Jamie for years, working with her many times over the course of my time at Target. In fact, one of my first experiences with her was at a party she was hosting for Stella and Dot (back in the days when I was a rep for them and before we worked together). It was a brunch party, and Jamie didn’t hold back. It was one of the most organized, beautiful, and most importantly delicious parties I had been to. Even back then, this girl knew what she was doing! As someone who also loves to entertain, I can appreciate the time and energy it takes to pull off events like this. Jamie does it with so much joy and makes it look completely effortless. Grab a cup of your favorite coffee (or glass of wine if you’re reading this at night ) and let’s get to know more about Jamie.

How did you start So Happy You Liked it (and how did you come up with the name)? Have you always been in to cooking and entertaining?

So Happy You Liked It was born from my innate desire to share food with others. I realized in my senior year of college that I should have gone to culinary school...I spent just as much time watching cooking shows and researching recipes as I did on my Marketing course load! Realizing that I didn’t need a degree to pursue this passion, I continued to share my creations in the kitchen with others. I soon found that when given a compliment on something I'd made, my response quickly became, “I’m so happy you liked it!”. When I decided to start my own food blog, the name was a no brainer.

Who is your biggest influence in the food? Why?

The home cook who’s looking to try new things, eat seasonally, indulge intelligently, and lead a balanced life. Truly, I find most of my inspiration from those that I’m actually writing and creating for! I love nothing more than hearing, “that one recipe you shared looked so good, but it seemed a little too complex for me”. Direct feedback! When I hear things like this I am so inspired to dig in further and learn more about what my readers are looking for.

Biggest failure you've made in the kitchen? What Happened?

I once made a birthday cake for a dear friend, who is partial to particular light beer. While I was pretty confident in my cake decorating skills, apparently my can-shaped cake vision was not executable AT ALL. Photos of this cake will still send my girlfriends and I in to a fit of hysterical, tear-inducing laughter. 

Favorite ingredient(s) to use ? And is there one ingredient you can't stand or don't like to cook?

I love cooking with fresh and seasonal ingredients...it’s hard to choose just one! With the approaching summer months, I’ll be using fresh veg in every meal. I also love adding citrus to everything. You’d be surprised what a splash of lime juice or zest of a lemon can do to a dish! 

How do you balance the blog, cooking, your corporate job, and all the events you attend ( I get tired just keeping up with your IG! HA)

GREAT QUESTION! I've always been a busy, on the go, schedule-packed-to-the-brim kind of person. But I’d be lying if I said that it doesn’t get exhausting! Pro tip: find something that sets your soul on fire, and keep at it. The “work” I do is far from just that. And of course, having a spouse who supports me, knows when to challenge me to slow down, and when to jump in and do a sink full of dishes (sometimes twice in one day…) - is incredibly helpful too :-)

  • Rapid Fire Questions:

  • Cake or pie? (whines at difficulty of question)....CAKE

  • Favorite Restaurant? My husband and I had an UNREAL experience at La Grolla recently. 

  • If you could eat at any restaurant in the world, what would it be? Lo scoglio la tommado- farm and sea to table restaurant Amalfi coast 

  • Cookbooks or Online recipes? Cookbooks! 

  • Go to food when you don't want to cook? Avocado toast (#basic I know), eggs, or pasta 

  • If you could only make one recipe from your blog, what would it be? My Parmesan Pancakes with Caramelized Corn and Bacon are becoming a weekend go to in my house!

Thanks Jamie for being this week’s Monday Muse. Pop on over to Jamie’s blog to try out all her amazing recipes!

Halloween Entertaining: The Devil is in the Details

This past weekend we hosted our 5th Annual Halloween Party and it was a huge success! I’ve learned a lot hosting these every year and am here to help you pull off a flawless party that your guests will LOVE.

It all starts with a plan. I can’t stress this enough. You don’t need to be as aggressive as I am with the timing (I start planning in August!), but a successful party is not pulled together in a day or two. You need to dedicate time to all the details. Giorgio Armani once said “To create something exceptional, your mindset must be relentlessly focused on the smallest detail”.

The first thing I always begin with is a theme. Choosing a theme for your party provides your guests with direction. It sets expectations if you will. Costumes are always a requirement at my party (it is Halloween!), and by sharing a theme, it helps my guests narrow in on a costume and allows for them to still be as creative as they want. This years theme was TV Characters. To set the tone of the party, I created this invite:

TV Guide Invitation
TV Guide Invitation Cover
TV Guide Invitation Contents

Since the theme was TV Characters, I made the invite to look like a TV Guide. I scoured eBay for TV guides and then adhered my hand drawn invitations to them. The illustrations I chose to draw reflected the various directions my guests could go in terms of TV. I also included those details in the Contents page, where I highlighted the details of the party. It’s details like this that help guide your guests to what the party will entail.

Once invitations have been sent out, I start planning the food. Again, having a theme helps so much with this part. Continuing with the TV theme, I researched shows with food having strong presence or silent character if you will. For example, when you think of House of Cards, BBQ plays a big role in the show. Or Big Bang Theory. Food is a key component for the group - Mondays is Thai, Tuesday Cheesecake Factory, Friday Chinese Take out, etc. I like to have a balance of savory and sweet. After narrowing down my options, this is what I created for the menu and then correlated it back to the show it’s know for:

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Logistics is also key! When setting up the food and drink stations, think about how your guests will mingle, move and interact. We’ve done a lot of trial and error with this one and I think we finally found a set up that works for us. This year we put all the food in the kitchen on our island that you can walk all the way around and then had the drink station in the living room. In years past we’ve had both in the kitchen (which caused a TON of congestion) or food on the dining room table and drinks at our bar (also causing congestion and didn’t give people a lot of seating room). With the food on the island, it freed up our other island (attached to a wall so you can’t walk around it) as well as the dining room table for seating. This allowed people to easily move between rooms for food and drink. I was having such a good time at the party, I didn’t capture photos of either of the set ups! #fail But, my friend Ted snapped this one so you can get an idea of how I set up my food table.

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Lastly, I always do a photo booth of some sort. It doesn’t need to be fancy. In years past, I’ve simply hung a sheet up in front of a wall and set my camera up on a tripod for everyone to snap a photo of themselves. This year I used a photo backdrop stand and set my tripod up so everyone could mount their phones and get photos on their own devices. I still took a bunch with my phone, edited them, and then shared them with all the guests. It’s a great way to have a collective set of photos from the party for all to have.

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It’s that easy to pull of a fabulous party. Just remember the details and plan, plan, plan. Clearly I didn’t plan well for the photos part for this post. If I’d been smart, I would have allocated time before the party began to snap all the photos I’d need to show off each step, something for next year I guess. It’s always a learning process with ways to improve. We’re so geeky about this party, we actually have a discussion the day after on the wins and opportunities of the party and what we would make better next year! HA! Just remember to plan and everything will turn out great.