Top 6 Holiday Entertaining Tips Sure to Impress. Plus, Rayo Events now featured in ...

     

 

 

Hi everyone!  It's so great to be chatting with ya again! We've missed ya so much! It's been one thing after the other, but we're so glad to be back at blogging and are oh-so grateful for each of you! We definitely could not leave ya hanging during the holidays without sharing some amazing holiday entertaining tips and tricks! We love the holidays; adore the holidays! It's the perfect time to enjoy the beauty of nature, snowflakes (it snowed in Atlanta!), candid yams, butternut squash anything (lol), firesides, baked brie, holiday carols, hot coco overflowing with marshmallows (my fave!), and the laughter of family and friends! So we put together 6 Top Tips for Effortless Holiday Entertaining! These tips are incredibly simple, quick, and so doable. They're so super fantastic that they've been featured in The  Boss Box and Modern Luxury Interiors, Atlanta (page 185)! We are beyond trilled! Thank you, thank you, thank you The Boss Box and ML Interiors, Atlanta! Keep these tips in mind as you're getting those remaining gifts and/or making preparations for incoming family and guests! You'll be so glad you did! Drumroll ...

6 Tips for Effortless Holiday Entertaining!

1. Decorate in No Time
No decorations up yet? Family arriving in a few days? Most home and garden stores have color cards that can easily help you pick a quick scheme. Find one you like and go with it! Add festive accents to popular areas such as the kitchen, family room, and mantles. Hang a colorful wreath on your door and light clusters of candles to create amazing ambiance!

2. Impress with Desserts
Cupcake/cake stands and platters are your friends! Cluster your desserts on a buffet or console table and decorate with pumpkins, pomegranates, or winter squash! For cocktail parties, aim for at least three different bite-size sweets to offer. For sit-down dinners, use a stylish dessert plate, or classic painted china.

3. Gather Around Fire Pits or Fireplaces
When it comes to holiday entertaining with your family and friends, there’s no place like home! Make sure to have a moment where everyone gathers together to share special holiday memories or exchange gifts. Warm fireplaces or pits are the perfect location! Blankets, apple cider, and s’mores increase the cozy-factor!

C decor.jpg

4. Kids Just Want to Have Fun!
Create a kids-only zone filled with holiday crafts and games for your most precious tiny guests. The crafts can double as party favors at the end of the night! Consider enlisting a babysitter to oversee the activities.

5. Ask Before You Post
Guests, check with your host before posting photos on social media! You may unintentionally hurt the feelings of someone who didn’t score an invite, and you also want to respect the host’s home. Hosts, get the ‘OK’ from your guests before clicking ‘post’! Consider creating a special hashtag for everybody to use!

6. Try Electronic Invites
Technology is an effortless way to quickly communicate with guests, especially if high attendance is expected. There is a plethora of creative and stylish electronic invites to excite your guests. This method also makes it easier for your guests to RSVP, and you can conveniently message them with any updates.

 

These tips can also be incorporated into your New Year's Day festivities! Share these tips with a friend and post your photos on social media (tag Rayo Events). We'd love to see your creative creations! :-)

 

photo: verawedding.net

5 Must Try Spring Entertaining Tips!

Happy Tulip Season everyone! I hope everyone has been enjoying the Spring thus far. Here in Atlanta it's been a roller coaster of cold and warm weather, granting invitations to thunderstorms. But it's all well in the ATL. While we're in the heart of Spring - and before it starts storming again - we had to share some of our 5 Must Try Spring Entertaining Tips! Nothing says a Spring shindig like an awesome gathering of family, friends, business partners, etc, all enjoying delicious food, tasty drinks, seasonal décor and - of course - great company! So let's spring to it:

 

#1. BYO - Bartender

I've gone to way too many parties where guests are making their own drinks. And even worse, the host is tied down to the bar taking drink orders. So everyone but the host is enjoying their event, ... and a drink. No, we are totally in support of BYOB!  But if your selection spans beyond beer, wine, soda, and your favorite punch, we'd suggest enlisting a bartender.  It'll take stress off of you as a host, and plus the bartender can whip up any drink of your desire. And you can finally use your bar that you haven't had a chance to use in years!

 

#2. Hello Bright Fresh Flowers

 Photo: wearefound.com

Photo: wearefound.com

Okay, so I'm a totally tulips kind of gal! Especially colored tulips - how fun and unexpected! Ever Spring, we always find a way to incorporate tulips - or really any bright fresh flowers - into our event décor. Fresh flowers are always a plus for their lovely scent, makes you feel like running to the meadows singing, "The hills are alive with the sound of music, la la la la,..." One of the easiest ways, and places, to incorporate fresh flowers into your spring décor: your kitchen countertop or island, the heart of any home. Aim for a bright hue of similar colors already in your home; yellow usually compliments most décor.  Select in-season florals and place in a clear vase (trim stems evenly) or a bright or white vase. You'll already be one step closer to being party ready!  

 

#3. More Ivy Please

We heart ivy! It's a great foundation to use for practically any season. And it's a lovely plant for bringing warmth into your home. Try incorporating an ivy garland as a runner on your dining table or food buffet. Even drape some around the base of your candy/treat jars. Use pillar candles or candle holders and fresh or faux fruit (lemon and limes work well) or bright flowers along the garland to add dept. For an evening event, we'd suggest sticking to candles and flowers. In either case, ensure some ivy hangs off the edges of the table or countertops to preserve the integrity of the plant's beauty and whimsical effects.

 

#4. Use Your Pool or Patio

If you've been getting tons of compliments on your pool or patio, then it's a sign.  It's time to throw a party! Pool and patio parties provide a relaxing ambiance of fresh air and the comfort of your home. The secret to a fantastic pool or patio party: playing good music, providing 30-50% seating, and keeping the food and bar outside (if possible). If the bar and food are kept inside, let it be easily accessible from the patio or pool. Wipe down everything (even if you're using table linens) and dust off seat cushions. Call the pool cleaner - yes, we'll be able to tell the difference. And remember to turn on your pool and patio lights, place gourmet peanuts in dainty bowls at the bar, and fight insects with some cintronella candles!

 

#5. Oscar Worthy Desserts

Have you had a dessert martini? Yes, a martini glass with a dessert in it! Gotcha lol. Use a fancy and unexpected presentation of desserts to keep the party lively well after everyone has eaten. Martini glasses (disposable works just as well and allow for easy clean-up) or even tall shot glasses are good for mousses and custards. But only fill 2/3 of the way to leave room for toppings. Small to medium sized cookies and bite-size desserts (e.g., petit fours) can be nicely displayed on tiered dessert stands. Desserts such as cakes, chesse cake, and anything with frosting should be cut before dessert time and placed on seperte desert plates for each guest to easily grab. And don't forget dessert forks and spoons!

Let us know if you were able to give any of these tips a try! How did they work for you? How did you incorporate these ideas into your party? Do share and share any pictures!

And remember: Joy Designs Homes

 

Nutella Stuffed Strawberries for Valentine's Day!

Happy Valentine's Day everyone! The stores are filled with chocolates, flowers, candies, and everything that make this sweet day sweet. There's still time to put together a creative dessert, dipped and cover with - yes, you guessed it - chocolate!

 photo courtesy: Tastofhome.com

photo courtesy: Tastofhome.com

Thanks to TasteofHome.com for this super easy and delicious recipe. And the best part, this recipe works with your favorite kind of nut or sans nuts. Plus, these can totally be made anytime of the year - did someone say summer shindig?! 

TOTAL TIME: Prep: 15 min. + chilling

MAKES: 12 servings

Ingredients

  • 12 large fresh strawberries
  • 1/4 cup Nutella
  • 1 cup milk chocolate chips, melted
  • 1/4 cup chopped hazelnuts
  • Confectioners' sugar

Directions

  1. Remove stems from strawberries. Using a paring knife, cut out centers; pipe Nutella into strawberries.
  2. Insert a toothpick into the side of each strawberry. Holding toothpick, quickly dip stem end of strawberry into melted chocolate; allow excess to drip off. Sprinkle with hazelnuts; place strawberries on a waxed paper-lined baking sheet, point side up. Remove toothpicks; refrigerate strawberries until set. Just before serving, dust with confectioners' sugar. Yield: 1 dozen

 

If you run out of nutella or chocolate or what have you, you can freeze your extra strawberries until you're able to restock. Rinse the extra strawberries, pat (not rub) dry them with kitchen paper towels until mostly dry, lay in a single layer inside a freezer ziplock bag, push all the air out the bag and seal shut,  and place in freezer. Fresh strawberries can be frozen up to 8 months (whole strawberries) or 4 months (sliced strawberries), but I'd recommend eating them within a month of freezing them to still have a I-just-bought-these taste. And if you're not able to stock up soon enough and just love strawberries, slice them up in your smoothie or salad or eat them just as they are!

Let us know how these turned out for you. And do share any insider tricks or tips.

And remember: Joy Designs Homes! 

 

 

A Yummy Valentine's Breakfast Dessert!

So I have this love/everyday should be Valentine's Day relationship with Valentine's Day! It's such a sweet day to show your honey or those close to you how much you love them. But enough with the strawberries and roses! Don't get me wrong, totally love the combo of red and fabulous fuchsia, and heart strawberries (especially summertime), but it's always cool to add some spice to the way things are usually done. It makes the day so much more exciting, and gives you kudo points for sure! So let's give this a try - a yummy ... and SUPER easy, breakfast dessert! Yes I said it, dessert for breakfast. Why not start this sweet day with a sweet for your sweetie (don't forget a spoon for you too) ...

Raspberry-Chocolate Parfait

photo: foodnetwork.com

This is one of the easiest and quickest desserts you'll every make. All you need and all you need to do:

Toss 1/2 cup raspberries with 1 tablespoon chocolate liqueur and layer with crumbled brownies and chocolate ice cream in 2 glasses. Top with whipped cream and more raspberries.

(recipe: foodnetwork.com)

 

The best part about this recipe, besides my fav raspberries, is that you can totally add a 1/4 cup of your favorite yogurt (I'd recommend vanilla or lemon flavors) in place of the crumble brownies, and you're ready to conquer the day! Please don't forget to use a stem, clear glass dessert bowl.  You can find these at your local home goods store at great prices. It makes the parfait look so elegant and delicious, which means creative point for you! And do serve on your most loved tray. 

For my strawberry-must-include-for-Valentine's Day peep, a strawberry dessert is on the way!

Let us know how yours turned out. And remember: Joy Designs Homes

Holiday Dinner Etiquette Tips for Hosts & Guests

 photo: womensday.com

photo: womensday.com

Who doesn't look forward to attending a great dinner? What else can top tasty food, mellow music, and great company? Even with all the excitement - especially around the holidays - there are simple etiquette responsibilities of hosts and guests than can really make the difference between an unforgettable party or a party everyone would rather forget. So let's check out these etiquette tips that will surely make you shine at your next party. Drum roll please:

Responsibilities of the Host

  • Look your best! Feel your best! If the event is being held at your home, throw on some shoes or pumps to complete your ensemble (at least until all guests have arrived). A stylish host always helps set the party tone! If there is a dress code preferred, be sure to include in your invites.
  • Always greet guests at the door or as soon as you see them.  If you have a greeter, make sure to keep on eye on the door for any new guests so you'll know as soon as they arrive. Greet them accordingly
  • Immediately take jackets/coats. You can hand them to another to hang up or put them in a room set aside for coats.
  • Take any gifts and follow same procedure as coats. Before the party begins, make sure you've designated an area for keeping gifts. If the gift is, for instance, wine, do not feel obligated to open and serve to guests. If the gift is a dessert, feel free to serve and make available to guests, but ask the guest first for permission first.
  • Introduce arriving guests to friends standing in the area. Identify friends by name.
  • Give directions to food and drinks to your arriving guests.
  • After all guests arrive,  the host circulates to make sure everyone has someone with whom to talk.
  • Assign someone to make sure there is enough food and drinks for everyone throughout the party. This can be handled by your event coordinator and/or caterer.         

   Responsibilities of Guests

  • Always take a hostess gift if you are going to someone’s home. If not at a home, it's always still a great idea to bring a token of appreciation.
  •  If it is a large party and your host is not at the door, work your way through the crowd and say hello to your host. Before you head to the bar or buffet or begin speaking with other guests, make sure to greet the host first.
  •  Don’t hesitate to introduce yourself to others, and shake hands when you meet them.
  •  If you are talking to someone and a stranger walks up, introduce yourself, then the person with whom you are talking.
  • If there is an event coordinator, treat he/she as you would the host, as this person is a representative of the host.
  •  If you spill something, let the host know immediately, and offer to help clean it up.
  •  If you break something, let the host know. It is your responsibility to pay for the damage.
  •  Don’t bring a friend to the party unless you have checked with the host first.
  • Always thank the host before you leave. Don’t just walk out.                           -adopted from etiquette-ny.com

What is your experience with these tips? Tell us your perspective. And remember: Joy Designs Homes

 

One of the Best Christmas Decorating Tips!

 

Focus On The Table

And in focusing on the table, feel free to deviate from the standard red-and-green. "Rather than the traditional red and green scheme, try something new like a fabric in malachite and hot pink peonies," says designer Grant Gibson. "Layer in black and white for a graphic pop. The plates [here] are antique French."

Grant Gibson

Elle Decor

Fall is here!

Hi everyone! Please excuse me for my mini-sabbatical! I missed you all. But we're back on board. It's for sure time to get back to entertaining and decoration tips!

It's Fall, so you know what that means: lots of outstanding oranges, rich reds, textured tans, and mysterious mustards. And of course, I can't forget my favorites: shades of burlap, squashes (butternut squash!!!), pumpkin bread, and pomegranate anything! Love the fall!

One of the most fantastic ways to get you and your guests into the Autumn mode, if you haven't already, is having a fall wreath. I love square wreaths because they're different (in a good way), chic, and make a great conversation piece. Try wrapping a seasonally print fabric or (heavy duty) burlap around your wreath or hanger to complete your wreath. You can purchase a square wreath, foam, silk flowers, and wreath hanger and fabric from your local crafts store.

Please share how yours turned out and send your lovely pictures!

As always, remember: Joy Designs Homes!

Resolve #2: Tie Your Scarf 16 Ways

I so heart scarves! I find any excuse to wear them lol. They're such a simple, versatile, and inexpensive way to add style to any outfit and - of course - keep you just warm enough! The extra large, light weight scarves are my particular favorites, because they're small enough to tie around your next, yet big enough to wear as a shawl. Try a new scarf tie for your next lunch-in or casual to cocktail attire shindig. If you're hosting, a shawl style is more graceful. For my male hosts, try a braided style scarf against a crew or V-neck sweater. The best part of all these styles: use them any day you want to add some spunk to your scarf or outfit ... or to a cold temperature day!

 

Shawl-it!

When you're hosting a Winter shindig, don't skip a sleeveless number - just shawl-it with a lovely scarf to kept you warm and to add a total glam factor! Bonus: aim for a soft fabric such as a cashmere blend or modal.

 photo: myplantguides.com

photo: myplantguides.com

 

To Tie-For

When you're hosting a more casual affair, show you're the hostess with the mostess with a fashionably tied scarf - it's a total conversation starter. Bonus tip: try these ties for a coffee or grocery run or whenever you don't feel like 'trying' to look good! 

 all photos: dff.ie/fashion

all photos: dff.ie/fashion

Share how you tied your scarf and how it made you feel! We always love to hear from you.

And remember: Joy Designs Homes. Take care!

Happy Valentine's Day!

 photo - architectureartanddesign.com

photo - architectureartanddesign.com

Happy Friday everyone! So sorry for just now making a post - it's been a little busy here. But good news: wer're going to extend our mini-resolutions into March! Stay tuned! Until then Happy Valentine's Day!  Still need some ideas to tickle your sweetie? Try a gift card for a couple's massage at your local spa!

Remember: Joy Designs Homes