Saturday, March 23, 2013


So that is the title of a new fun program that was implemented by an organization to which I belong. The purpose is for everyone to kinda move out of their humdrum comfort zone in terms of hanging with people they know really well, and instead, try hooking up with people they DON'T know really all that well. Broaden your social base in other words. It's a totally great idea if you ask me.

So what you do is put your name into the box for lack of a better word, and via the chairman of this program, lo and behold... groups of six people, usually couples, are drawn and bingo. You have a group of six. Everyone in that group then hosts a dinner, brunch, whatever, in the hopes of possibly learning more about each other and hence, make new friends. Again... a totally great idea if you ask me.

So the first couple of the group I'm in had a beautiful dinner in the month of February thus naturally, the theme of the evening was Valentine's Day. Absolutely beautiful tablescape. Absolutely delicious dinner. And absolutely wonderful company. You could tell immediately that the hostess put forth alot of effort and in the end it was a major hit.

Then came March. As in: MY TURN. Oh yeah... there I am in the picture up above as hostess of the evening. Wanna know why I'm smiling so happily, btw? Basically because the dinner got wonderful reviews but more importantly... because I am also sipping my almost finished fourth glass of champagne. Do I LOOK sorta tipsy? Well, probably I am. But talk about a fantastic way to enjoy a fantastic evening!

I happen to love champagne. Way more than a mere cocktail. Or a glass of wine. Even more than my beloved Diet Coke, too. So in honor of my dinner, I served champagne as our drink of choice. And, as you can see, I thoroughly enjoyed each and every glassful. Takes way little to amuse me. Anyway...

Everything about the evening was lovely. Especially since I decided to break the rules from the get go and make it Dinner for Eight by having invited an extra couple altogether. But whatever. No one cared. I started out with a beautiful table setting and ended with a parfait of three flavors of layered sherbets, drizzled with chocolate sauce and topped with sliced strawberries. In between were or'derves and then salad and then beef tenderloin and fillet of salmon as entrees. But my FAVORITE part was the party favors I had for each guest. Which btw, once I set them at each place setting, made my tablescape look even prettier.

Went down like this: While I had the menu planned a week ahead of time, I had no clue until almost the day before what I was going to do about party gifts for everyone. Then eureka. An idea struck me. Know all those spring flowers I had left over from the second run to the nursery last week? Guess what. I finally found a way to use the leftover plants!

I told Claudia to come over the day before the dinner, which she did... and which was pretty nice given she wasn't even going to BE at the dinner... and voilâ. The two of us began creating great  party favors in no time. We took six baby little blooming plants at a time, wrapped them in clear cellophane and simply tied the top of that with ribbon. Bingo. In no time flat, we had very pretty gifts for my guests to take home and plant right smack into their OWN garden. Talk about welcoming Spring, right?? You can sort of get an idea of how it looked in the picture of the partially set table below.

In the meantime, I definitely killed two birds with one stone in this deal. I got rid of alot of my leftover baby plants plus I had an instant party favor. Of course it took me three days to complete all the cleanup from the entire dinner, but time is one thing I have plenty of. Although now that I think of it... I still haven't emptied the second load of dishes from my dishwasher yet. In fact, I still haven't even opened all my hostess gifts either. Oops.

On the other hand, I did get two of THE most gushing thank you notes you ever saw, going on and on about what a great time everyone had. Who could ask for more. Besides... in April the wonderful southern belle from Louisiana who is up next will apparently be making shrimp and grits for dinner. Very southern, very delicious and very up my alley. Man, I love to eat.

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