Sunday, December 22, 2019

Happy Holidays 2019!

Ahhh! After all the preparations, shopping, decorating and sheer hard work, the payoff is finally here and the holidays are upon us!

I don't know about you but I'm fairly well exhausted myself. While I'm looking forward as to how it all unfolds, I'm also looking forward to January 2 when it's all finally over and deep, deep winter sets it. A sweet period of rest and respite before the spring social season starts winding up.

Holiday preparations this year have been especially difficult for two reasons. The first being that house renovations (mostly painting and plumbing) have been underway at the same time we've been trying to decorate both the interior and exterior of the house for Christmas, which has been tricky. (Mud tracked through the carpets next to the Christmas tree is not a welcome sight!)

But the other is my employer's new déclassé lady friend who seems like she doesn't know upside from down most of the time. It's not her fault that she's lost in this world of the super rich, and she seems sincere enough in her affections toward my eighty-year-old employer. But her lack of social skills has been maddening. We got through the small Thanksgiving and pre-Christmas cocktail parties without her messing anything up. But suddenly she's decided to throw a soirée of her own to introduce her friends to my employer, right between Christmas and New Year's. And she announced it to me as though I'd take care of everything. But no, no, no!

Her guest list started out at about twenty-five, but swelled to eighty-five when my employer heard about it and decided to add some of his friends as well. Mind you, before my employer's scandalous divorce we've had galas in this house for literally hundreds of people, so eighty-five seems like nothing to me. But this new woman just started to spin around like a child's toy top, as though she had never had to deal with so many guests. To help her out I introduced her to our caterers, and convinced her she needs a bartender and valet parkers. Mercifully this particular time frame is dead for them, so they are able to accommodate her.

But of course with such a late decision she was not able to send out Save-The-Date notices followed by formal invitations to anyone, just phone calls and emails. So her RSVP drop-out rate is a whopping 50%, compared to the usual 20% for a well-planned event. Honestly I'll be surprised if even forty people show up

I hope your holiday preparations have gone more smoothly than mine, and that your drop-out rate is only 20% or even less!

As always, thank you so much for reading and following along this year! Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and all best wishes for a happy and curious New Year!



Sunday, November 24, 2019


With Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah and New Years Eve bearing down upon us in rapid order, most of us have been racking our brains to come up with something unique and fresh for our events and festivals. Even with the help of our events planner and caterers, that's certainly the case around here and my nerves are slightly frayed. Even with tried-and-true recipes and decorations, there's always a way to tweak things so that the event will not only be successful but also different and memorable for our family and friends.

One of my dearest friends recently hosted a book-signing party for her long time pal Alex Hitz - "The very best host in the world" - according to the Wall Street Journal. And she was kind enough to send me a signed copy! Filled with exciting ideas for planning a party and complete with his best recipes, Alex even added a chapter called "The Art of the Guest" which I skipped to first thing, being that it touches my own world as a butler and how guests are theoretically supposed to behave.

Published by none other than Rizzoli International, you can see this sumptuous book and actually take a look inside at this Amazon link: The Art of the Host; Recipes and Rules for Flawless Entertaining by Alex Hitz

Also, more than once in this blog I've recommended a book by the famous Washington DC hostess Sally Quinn. Full of gossip and hysterical from start to finish, Quinn's philosophy for parties was to always expect a disaster!

She didn't feel her events were a true success unless some famous Senator, Congressman or Hollywood persona fell over drunk in the floor and had to be escorted home. She describes what happened one time when her caterers got the date wrong and she had to order buckets of Kentucky Fried Chicken for her fancy guests! And she goes on to call out other DC hostesses whose parties were a flop and why, which created no end to gossip and scandal! Also available on Amazon Books, here's a link to The Party; Adventures in Entertaining.

So, armed with Alex Hitz and Sally Quinn, how could I possibly go wrong with planning any event around here? (And then, why am I still so agitated?)

I hope your party plans are going smoothly! Whether it's a dazzling gala, a small cocktail buffet, or a traditional family dinner with beloved handed-down family recipes, I'm sure you'll make every effort to make it fun and memorable for all.

As always, thanks for dropping by this evening. I'm quite exhausted myself, but excited at the same time. We just have to plow on through, right?