This year I am making some resolutions to really push myself in terms of entertaining and dining. I need to get my act together and make 2012 amazing. And I need to figure out a way to trick my husband into helping me clean for the parties, but that’s another story. (When I figure out how to make that happen, I’ll post it, ladies…) Here are some things I want to do:

1. Learn to Arrange Flowers:

And I mean for real, not just putting some flowers in a vase. My friend Kirti does this crazy thing where she almost peels open roses so they’re big and beautiful. She talks to them, spritzes them with water and puts them in a vase full of water and a capful of Clorox bleach. She sticks them in the fridge until they’re ready to go.

I figure if you don’t have a Kirti, you can take a class.


San Francisco:

New York:

2. Eat at a restaurant with a Tasting Menu

I always order the same sort of food when I go out — pasta, cheese, pasta…So I think this year, I am going to do something different. Eating at a restaurant with a tasting menu allows the chef to select the food for you. It’s a surprise and it doesn’t allow you to be so picky. It expands your palette a little bit. True, it’s more expensive than your typical burger joint, but oh so delightful. And the cherry on top is that they typically have a wine pairing with each course.

Some places to check out:


San Francisco:

New York:

3. Create a specialty cocktail as part of a menu

A true hostess supplies one specialty drink for her guests. Well, for the ladies at least. My husband drinks Hennessy only, and wouldn’t be caught dead with mint or fruit in his glass. But regardless… Get the book Artisanal Cocktails by Scott Beattie. You won’t regret it. It gives all sorts of ideas for condiments, simple syrups and garnishes. Here’s a link to the recipe for an Autumn Apple Cocktail if you’re still doubting specialty cocktails. Amazing.

4. Make a hostess gift and bring it to someone

While it’s appreciated when a guest shows up with a bottle of wine, as a host, we know that all you’re going to do is drink it. Let’s be real. I would love more thoughtful gifts when I slave over a stove. So I decided, I’m going to bring one when I go to my next dinner party.

Here are some ideas:

  • Gourmet Food: Non perishable, please. Don’t bring something and force me to have to eat it right there. Olives, crackers, spreads. Try crackers from Gilt Taste and pestos from Bella Cucina.
  • Wine Accessories: Not wine, but coasters, napkins and wine stoppers are always great. For those of us who drink wine, we can never get enough. Try napkins with cool prints from Caspari, and coasters from Spit Bucket.
  • Candies/Sweets: Vosges. Done.
  • Candles: Love, love, love. Try ones from Voluspa. Delish.

More resolutions? Let us know!!

~ Dana