There comes a time when you want to step up your party game and move beyond nacho chips and a six-pack. If the thought of playing hostess at a Big Girl party gives you fits, not to worry, it’s easier than it looks if you remember to K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple, Sister.)

Here are some easy Dos and Don’ts:

  • Do be picky about the guest list. This isn’t the time to invite your entire family, the neighbors, everybody from the office, church and your sorority. You want to invite a set amount of people that will bring good conversation to your table. Plus, the tighter the guest list, the less work for you. Counting on six to eight really fun, interesting folks is good.
  • Don’t overdo it with food selection: You’re not feeding the town. Between food allergies and everyone seemingly on some kind of crazy diet these days, it can be a bit of a headache trying to keep it all straight. We sisters are generous hostesses who like to stuff our guests, but a simple mixed green salad, crowd-pleasing chicken entree and a side of pasta, rice or a potato dish takes care of most folks. You might want to stay away from anything like shellfish or nuts which are common allergens. You can find easy and elegant recipes online at YumSugar.
  • Do include a fun surprise or two, but make it easy on yourself. Go for a special themed cocktail like the Neely-tini or a fun dessert. Try serving hot melted chocolate in small bowls and let the guests  use skewers to dip berries, banana slices and marshmallows. They’ll remember it and you won’t have to spend hours in the kitchen.
  • Do accept help. When guests ask what to bring, suggest wine and tell them what you’re serving so they know how to pick. You might even let them pick up some cookies, but don’t make them do too much work.
  • Don’t forget the coffee. You may not be into the caffeine, but it’s the universal sign to cue guests that it’s time to get up out your house now.
  • Do have fun. It’s your night, enjoy it!
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