Wednesday, September 09, 2009

I Survived the Party






Remember my frantic decorating in anticipation of the party I was hosting for my sister? Well, said party took place a few weeks ago, and it seemed a good time was had by all...including the hostess. (And believe it or not, my good time was had without any wine. You have to stay sharp while hostessing.) Before the party, there was the mad rush to get my powder room finished. My poor sister made that valance the week of the party. She's refusing to come home for Christmas unless I promise that I won't cook up another project for her.

Now I must admit that I had some anxiety before the party because my dining room really isn't finished yet. I don't yet have a rug in there because I'm looking for the perfect rug. There is one wall that is completely bare and will be until I find the perfect piece of art. So, while I'm waiting for perfection, the dining room remains a bit incomplete. I started to wonder what the guests would think about the bare floor, the bare wall. But then I thought about Dorothy Draper and what she might say about my dilemma. I feel confident that she would have said to get over the will to be dreary and have the party. And you know what? Once the guests were in place and the room was bathed in candlelight, I don't think anyone really noticed the bare spots!

When I entertain, I don't have a theme per se. This time, however, I chose a color theme for the party: fuchsia with hints of silver, black, and white. I covered the dining table in a hot pink tablecloth which was inspired by those gorgeous fuchsia table linens that Mathilde Agostinelli had in her Jacques Grange designed dining room. I stuck with silver trays for a dash of glimmer, and pink and white ikat votives added another punch of pink. Oh, and I went with bright pink hydrangeas for tight little arrangements in the center of the table.


That's me shortly before the party wringing my hands over the bare floor.




I hired Cafe Lapin to cater the party. Mattie Hines, the proprietor who also happens to be a major design devotee like the rest of us, did a fabulous job helping me come up with a menu which included:

Ham and Gruyère Biscuits
Fig, Prosciutto, and Arugula Crepes
Asparagus on Puffed Pastry
Parmesan Shortbread Stars with Caramelized Onion Marmalade
Chicken Satay
Billionaire's Bacon



You know we like our bacon here in the South. The sugared bacon on skewers were a hit.



On the other side of the dining room, I set up a dessert table with macaroons in pink, brown, and cream (had they made black macaroons that would have been perfect!) and a tray of petits fours.






I kept with the color theme on the dessert table by using fuchsia cocktail napkins and pink butter mints. Yes, I realize that the mints were a rather old school touch, but they looked good on the table.


I made tiny arrangements of dark purple calla lilies and white fancy tulips. I love nothing more than a floral arrangement that looks black and white- so graphic.



And I couldn't neglect the balcony. The fuchsia lanterns looked great for all of five minutes, but then a thunderstorm hit and the wind ripped them down. And to think that my poor father was up on a ladder for half an hour before the party in the sweltering heat hanging the darn things!

What about the bar you say? I set that up in the living room, as seen in the top two photos. It's not easy trying to make room for the liquor, the wine, the beer, the mixers, and all of the other accoutrements. The lack of space on the bar, though, did not seem to deter anyone from partaking in the libations. One thing that really came in handy was my Dash and Albert outdoor rug (full disclosure: a number of bloggers were given the opportunity to select a small rug of their choosing from the Dash & Albert website). I was trying to figure out where to use it when I realized that it would be perfect under the temporary bar. It protected the hardwood floor from spills, which meant one less thing for this harried hostess to worry about!

So when is the next party? I'm thinking Christmas. And hopefully I will have a rug and some art by that time!

(To contact Mattie at Cafe Lapin, the telephone number is (404) 812-9171. I highly recommend them!)

48 comments:

  1. Well, first of all the terrace furniture looks great!

    Jennifer it all is incredibly chic and uplifting. I love how you used color. I'm sure we are all more inspired to go ahead and have a party! It's fun to see glimpses of all your beautiful things too. Thanks for sharing.

    P.S. You look stunning.

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  2. Luscious! I am so glad you are not waiting for "perfect" to enjoy a perfectly wonderful time. I think your sister's valance (which I thought was stunning and so well executed) has been given a most gracious and edible (the very best kind) "Thank You."

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  3. Courtney- First, the patio furniture does look great thanks to you! And thank you for the sweet comment too!

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  4. Home- Perhaps I can lure my sister into a new project with the promise of another party! I've also realized that if you wait to entertain until everything is perfect, you'll never entertain!

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  5. So much work goes into something like this when thinking the details through as you've done. Beautifully executed and yes the sugared bacon and the pink butter mints should be at the top of any savvy hosts lists. I love the fuchsia and black

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  6. This is inspiring me in more ways than you know! I am hosting a party for my husband's colleagues next month, and I love the idea of having a color theme. I am going to get to work on it right away - the napkins and tablecloth are a great touch.

    Your place looks great!

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  7. Love the color scheme you chose! The food sounds heavenly. I don't usually drink during a party either, except that BEFORE the party starts or any guests arrive {you know, when you are walking around wringing your hands and hope you've got everything out}, I have a little wine or vermouth to try and relax myself a little bit. Then I stick to iced water for the night.

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  8. jerseygirl11:17 AM

    The sugared bacon looks amazing! I'm a Northerner...I've never heard of it before. Can you give a recipe? Oh and the pink ikat votives are amazing...where did you find those?!?!

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  9. The layers of pink are perfect, including the mints! I'm curious about the billionaires bacon, is it just bacon rolled in sugar and roasted?? It all looks very nice!

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  10. I love the furniture on the terrace and darn that weather doing that to your dad's hard work and your pretty lanterns!
    Everything looks beautiful, and you are so right - once the people are there, the candles are lit, nobody is looking at bare spots, they are there for your good company - and it all looks like a beautiful, delicious, and smashing success!
    xo Isa

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  11. Yum!!! Your family sounds amazing.... great Dad. Congratulations on the party-thanks for sharing. What did everyone think of that amazing bathroom?

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  12. Thanks all! The votives are from lunabazaar.com (as well as the lanterns). The votives are actually covered in thin paper with various patterns like ikat, cane, and greek key- all of which I used out on my balcony as well. I believe that the bacon is rolled in brown sugar and then baked (?) I tried to make something similar a few years back- I sprinkled brown sugar over bacon and baked it in the oven. The sugar ended up caramelizing; Mattie's bacon wasn't like that. It was still sugary.

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  13. everything looks so chic - and delicious!

    sugared bacon? I have never even HEARD of sugared bacon. But it sounds like heaven rolled up in cholesterol LOL.

    ...and I'm not remotely embarrassed to admit that I love buttermints! I buy them for myself without even having a party as an excuse!

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  14. Everything looks so chic and delicious. The fabric in photo #2 especially.

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  15. Hi Peak of Chic:
    I seem to be going through the same thing; just moved powder room dilemmas & trying to have a party! Although, I seem to be missing a chandelier in my dinning room! I think I'll have our party outside & it will probably rain. Loved all your suggestion & recipes,especially the bacon! Great job! Thank You

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  16. After reading this and seeing your pictures I am ready to host a party! I have been looking forever for mirrored vases (similiar to the pair on the dining table) where did you find those? As a transplanted Southerner who now resides in San Francisco I have more trouble sourcing great looks.

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  17. Anonymous11:41 AM

    Jennifer, it looks beautiful! I love the fuchsia and it ties in so nicely with your sofa. I love the candle holders on the pink table. They make such a statement! I don't see the ikat votives anywhere in the photos. can we have a peak at those sometime?

    By the way, I love the painting you have over your table. I have seen that artist's work before, but I can't place him/her. Would you be so generous as to reveal who it is?

    I don't know that you have ever discussed your taste in art before, but I would love to have you share your favorite artists. You have such good taste in design, I am sure your art is just as tasteful and pretty.

    Kathy from MN

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  18. Beth- There is a great shop in SF in Union Square that sells great vases, candles, and other fun things. It's on that small street that runs behind Gumps- a few shops up from DeVera. Unfortunately, I can't think of the name right now. I found my vases at Lush Life here in Atlanta.

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  19. Kathy- The votives are on the table next to the mirrored cachepots with the hydrangea. You might have to blow up the image to see them. The artist is my sister, Laura Boles Faw. She painted that about 5 or 6 years ago!

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  20. Lisa D.- I forgot to mention that I don't have a chandelier in the dining room either! I just used a lot of candles that night!

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  21. What an inspiration. I am preparing to help a friend do a House Warming this Friday and this sparks my imagination. But I must ask, was this most wonderful setting & menu intended for ladies or was it co-ed? Does you caterer post the recipes, probably not, darn it. The pictures alone nourish the mind. Too bad there's no scent component to Blogs; how amazing our computers might be! Many thanks!

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  22. David- It was co-ed. The color scheme is on the feminine side, but I decided that since the party was for my sister, I could go with a more feminine look. Unfortunately, I don't think Mattie has the recipes on his site. I wish he did b/c I'd make that sugared bacon all the time- although, my waistline might rebel.

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  23. Looks perfect to my eyes.

    And great tip about the outdoor carpet under the bar...

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  24. It looks so great. I love all your silver trays and use of pink! How fun! The hydrangeas in the center look super in those small planters!

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  25. Very nice. Decorating with bacon - sugared bacon no less - brings tears to my eyes.

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  26. Very, very beautiful!!

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  27. What a party! Brilliant use of color, and the food looks scrumptious. Lucky sister! Thanks for sharing the beauty. :)

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  28. Robin7:17 PM

    The lane behind Gumps is Maiden Lane. :)

    Thanks for all you do.

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  29. Gorgeous! Love love love the skewered bacon. Hope you don't mind if I borrow that for my next soiree. Maybe I'll do half of them in chocolate (are people flipping over chocolate covered bacon in ATL like they are in Columbia? It's gone viral here!). You did a beautiful job!

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  30. Evening Greetings,
    I began to obsess about the Bacon recipe until I googled the name and there arrived a recipe from Saveur (issue 82) www.saveur.com, as done by Gene Hovis who then gave the recipe to Mortimer's in NYC. Wasn't there a column on Mr Hovis about a year ago? Its in the oven now, (a practice run for a friend's House Warming - honest) I pray I don't eat all of it. Thanks for the inspiration! Your blog is health food for the spirit!

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  31. What a fabulous spread! I love the pink and adore the painting on the wall behind your table. Your sister must be one talented lady as well...made the powder valence and the painting? Wow.

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  32. Courtney,
    I just love a pretty table and you did a lovely one! I adore the pink theme and everything looks just so yummy!
    I can't remember if I told you how much I loved your powder room too! Great job.
    Blessings...

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  33. Lucky sister! I love that calla lily and daffodil arrangement! My policy on guests who notice my shortcomings in decor is not to invite them back :)--I'm sure your hospitality and great food more than made up for the lack of a rug! Bacon looks divine!

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  34. Maiden Lane! Yes, how unchic of me not to remember that!! ;)

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  35. David- I'm going to consult the Gene Hovis cookbook tomorrow and see if he lists Billionaire's Bacon in it. But based on what I've seen on the internet, you are correct! Let me know how it turns out. Very curious...

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  36. You had me at the sugared bacon.
    I really must be from the south!

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  37. Beautiful - love the colour combinations, and more importantly the food looks delicious!

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  38. It looks like a festive, yet sophisticate soiree. So fun to see glimpses of your pretty home. Thanks for sharing the party decor with us!

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  39. Just beautiful.

    I know how you feel, I have those same worries about any of my unfinished thoughts each time too but I prefer company to anxiety too!

    I did the bacon for the holiday cocktail party last year skewered in a huge pineapple a la Brady Bunch 1960's... such a great conversation piece. Food sculpture - or as close as I am going to get to it!

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  40. Jennifer everything looks so beautiful...including you!!

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  41. Anonymous1:56 PM

    I love your posts! I check them every day. I Love the color of your rooms any chance you would share. Thanks

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  42. Everythings looks great! The food sounds delicious!

    Eddie + Jaithan

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  43. Always love a peek at Peak - it looks terrific and I bet everyone had fun. NO wine? That is admirable.

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  44. Nice drinks! The food is beautifully presented by the way.

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  45. What a sophisticate party. Love to make pink parties . I have tons of ideas for that.
    I haven't noticed anything bare

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  46. WOW Gorgeous set up in photo 1 and 2.
    I may steal t his idea for my next party! :)

    Jen Ramos
    www.madebygirl.com
    madebygirl.blogspot.com

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  47. Love the spirit of the party atmosphere! Great use of color, I'm sure everyone had a blast! You've got that quintessential Southern style that looks easy but gracious!

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