How to Host A Party Without Freaking Out

Let’s be honest- having people over is stressful…unless:

A: You are a total dude (like my husband) and you think a few bags of doritos and burger patties =’s party central

B: You are a gazillionaire and have party planners, caters, and servers

C: You just don’t give a snake’s rattle and you enjoy things as they come (if this is you, let’s talk…I’ll $$$ for your info on how you do it)


You have The Wifey’s Survival Advice!

I used to attend BBQ’s like a deer in headlights- stunned by my friend’s abilities to put on a culinary show and was terrified to try to follow their efforts.

Then I realized something: people like to eat. And drink. And enjoy themselves. If you serve them enough to fill them up they will be happy.

Also? People love tacos. Which is how I came up with Wifey Fiesta Night- a DIY extravaganza. And now I’m sharing the wealth*.


You ready? Let’s Get Wife’d Up!


What You Need/Grocery List:

  • fish/shrimps/meat/chicken of your choice (I like to get pre seasoned shrimp and fish from the counter if they have have it)
  • tortillas (I polled the ladies and flour wins every time)  – a package of flour tortillas is perfect
  • salsa/pico de gallo- it’s your choice (I’d include a mild and medium…if you serve a pico de gallo- you also get your onion serving in there)
  • gauc- make your own or buy pre made – *I like to buy pre made
  • cheese- Mexican blend cheese ideal
  • sour cream/greek yogurt
  • hot sauces of choice
  • tortilla chips! ( I like to have a low fat/organic option and an old stand by as well)
  • put out every hot sauce you own- the more the merrier
  • I like to serve a fruit salad as well, for those who don’t feel like Mexican
  • cut up a few avocados and serve those – they make everything look a little more fancy
  • a tequila drink or Coronas with cut limes

What To Do:

  • KNOW YOUR GUEST ARRIVAL TIME- For a fiesta- most things need to happen right before or as guests arrive
  • fire up your grill
  • put our your guac, hot sauce, salsas, cheese, sour cream/yogut, chips…..
  • set out  tortillas in tin foil and put to the side ( they will go on the grill for 2 mins per side at the last moment)
  • grill ears of corn for about 10 mins on medium, turning every 4 mins or so, season with salt. pepper and a little butter. Cut off ear and serve as a side.
  • microwave a bag of instant Spanish rice (90 seconds) and serve in a fancy bowl
  • Amy’s brand refried beans (or any brand really), is so simple to make- put the beans in a microwave safe dish, nuke for a min or so and stir, serve in a fancy bowl
  • cut some limes up for people to squeeze over the shrimp/fish/meat and beer
  • throw your shrimp on the grill, cook for about 2 mins per side or until shrimp isn’t pink or translucent
  • toss foil wrapped tortillas on – 2 mins per side- then serve on a plate or in a basket , covered with a napkin
  • set everything else out with some pretty plates (paper or not), silverware and napkins and FIESTA!

Jazz Up Your Dinner Party Setting

Everyone likes music, right?

And the great thing about music is that it transports us to moments and connects us with memories of people.

My brother Kyle turned 30 this week and hosted a dinner party at Michael Mina in SF for 35 of his closest friends and family.

I hijacked the paperless post invite months ago and sent each guest a direct message, asking them to send me a song that reminds them of Kyle. I then planned to present these menu-style on each place setting and surprise him at the dinner.

After some Google time, I found the site: MenuMustHaves and used them to create and print the menus. They were prompt, arrived on time and looked great. Plus they make it pretty simple to create any form of menu you can dream up.

Here is the finished product:

photo 1

NOW, what I didn’t plan for was Kyle to also make menus (with the meal on them) for the table, so I had the servers bring mine with the first course- which worked well if you want to do both types of menu.

Kyle also had personalized coasters for each guest with their name on them (served as place settings) and what they meant to him on the back. He said he had them done thru Etsy and let me tell you- they were an EXTREMELY thoughtful touch.

I would show you the back of Alex's coaster, but it's very personal and thoughtful

I would show you the back of Alex’s coaster, but it’s very personal and thoughtful

He also gave everyone “Birthday Mad Libs/Advice” with a bowl of pencils and a cigar box for people to leave them in when they were done.

Next time you’re throwing a dinner party or event- try these little touches that both the guest of honor and party guests are sure to remember… they may even forget what you used to look like.

Me and Kyle at ages 12 and 7??

Me and Kyle at ages 12 and 7??

Kyle's friend Alex took this at the dinner

Kyle’s friend Alex took this at the dinner