I have somehow become the person in charge of parties at my office, aka Angela from “The Office.” We have zero budget so parties really mean potlucks. I have been hosting monthly gatherings for about six months now and have learned a lot! I wanted to share what I have learned to help others throw an awesome workplace potluck lunch.
Pick a popular theme – Potluck is not a theme. I learned that the hard way. Here are some of our favorites:
Chili cook off (chili, potatoes, corn bread, and fixings)
Noodle bar (with a variety of sauces, salad, bread)
Taco bar (with shells, meat, cheese, lettuce, salsa, guac)
Salad + baked potato bar with fixings (potatoes cook great in a crock pot!)
Pho noodle bar (with shredded meat, broth, and veggie toppings)
Breakfast bar (eggs on an electric griddle, pancakes, waffles, sausage, fruit)
Grilling outside in the parking lot (with fixings & traditional “salad” type sides)
Have specific sign up sheets – I make a flier that hangs in the kitchen with a specific list of things to sign up for. This makes sure that we have a balanced meal and don’t forget anything crucial. It also helps people who are not feeling creative to know what to bring!
Have a variety of items to sign up for – Some people want to cook and some do not. It’s important to have dishes people can cook (like rice, pulled pork, or salads) as well as things people can easily purchase (like sour cream, shredded cheese, or salsa)
Leave some “other” spots on the sign up – someone might have a specific thing that they love, like corn salsa for the taco bar. Leaving a couple of “other” slots lets them feel like they can show off their favorites!
Give 2 weeks notice – too much more and people forget, less and they feel rushed or caught off guard.
Be aware of your kitchen situation – we have no stove or oven, only a toaster and a microwave. So, we have relied heavily on crock pots to cook and keep things warm.
Do you have any tips for throwing an awesome workplace potluck?
It is quickly becoming summertime, and for me that means lots of backyard parties. Some are planned (like Sean’s upcoming 30th!) but more often than not we run into some friends and decide we all want to hang in the back yard. Hosting guests, even just a few, with only an hour’s notice could be really stressful. Here are my 7 favorite tips to make last minute entertaining fun and not stressful!
Pick a go-to food and keep it on hand – For me, it is cheese and crackers. I buy boxes of crackers in bulk at Costco (filled with individual sleeves so they don’t go stale) as well as blocks of wrapped cheeses that stay fresh for a long time when unopened. I can whip together a cheese plate with cheese + crackers + jelly + pickles + olives + bagged nuts and fresh fruit if I’m feeling extra deluxe in under 10 minutes. Pick something simple like this and stock it up!
Presentation matters more than what it is – We actually met a guy last weekend who claims to serve KFC to first dates, but serves it on nice plates at his house. He said that almost no one questions that he made it and that they all say it’s delicious! Take out food, dished into pretty ceramic bowls, can look like a gourmet meal. If it’s last minute, don’t worry about the what so much. Just getting rid of packaging can be enough!
Stick to matching serve ware – When everything matches, you can do no wrong. The easiest thing to do is buy only white serving pieces. Let the food be the star, and don’t stress about grabbing mismatching pieces. Plus, white plates go with every theme!
Music -> instant party – When in doubt, just cut on some tunes. From beach music in the yard to dance music after dark, it creates a party mood for $0 and in ten seconds.
Keep your bar stocked – Keep beer and wine and liquor on hand. A mixer or two (like tiny bottles of tonic water or club soda) is a bonus. It’s always great to offer guests a drink and can be awkward if you have only 1 beer left (if your group is drinkers).
Never apologize – No matter what, people are at your house, eating your food, and enjoying your company. Probably by their own free will! Don’t apologize for what you perceive as short comings – act like it is awesome and low stress and your guests will act the same way!
It is finally spring around here (for real this time?) and I am so excited to reflect that in our decor. We shared a spring mantel with you last week and I am so excited to share a spring tablescape with you today. We are pairing up with 25 other bloggers for a huge Spring Tablescape Blog Hop & I hope that you will use the links below to click through and check them all out!
I set this table up for a beautiful springtime lunch. I love having friends over to enjoy our back yard (now that we have a canoe we are excited to really put the pond to use!)
DIY Trough Centerpiece
To make this really feel like spring, I wanted a floral centerpiece. So, it was just perfect when Silk Plants Direct reached out to me to see if I would review their products. I’m not going to lie – I am not normally into silk flowers. However, I really wanted peonies for this tablescape and knew that they wouldn’t be in season yet! I ordered a pack of these bouquets, which include hydrangeas, peonies, and spray roses. They are really stunning, shipped extremely quickly, and of a much higher quality than what you find in craft stores. Call me impressed!
I wanted a long trough-like container to draw attention to the length of the table. Sean constructed me a simple box out of one piece of 1″x 6″ wood. He used his miter saw and kreg jig to get a seamless look. I stained it Minwax Weathered Oak, which takes quite a few coats but ends up a beautiful gray color. It’s one of the colors from our table so I think that it ties together nicely.
I then stuck the bouquets directly into the trough. Sean built it to be 20″ long and 4″ wide, which we determined would be perfect for this set of six bouquets (I trimmed about 2 inches off each stem to get the correct height). I wanted it to look like an overflowing window box and I really love the end effect.
DIY Faux Grass Chargers
As for the place settings, I wanted to keep it simple but a little bit special. I paired our everyday white dishes with handmade faux grass chargers. They were very simple to make – I have bought a roll of astroturf for some football themed projects (like these koozies) so I already had plenty on hand, but you can also order it on Amazon. I simply used a piece of chalk to trace an existing charger onto the back and cut it out with scissors.
I paired the set up with these light pink cloth napkins (now going into our regular rotation!) and tied with a small piece of rope and a spring of greenery from our yard (actually a boxwood bush!)
I also wanted to provide a few appetizer bites to enjoy. I’d follow up this set up with a green salad and grilled chicken and veggies. We’ve been on a brussels sprouts + sweet potato kick lately, both of which grill really nicely in foil packets. Just a little dive into grilling before the really seafood and hamburger fest that is summertime.
Guacamole Deviled Eggs
Sean loves deviled eggs, but I prefer this green version. Blame my avocado addiction! To make them, simply hard boil and peel a dozen eggs. While they cool, prepare your favorite guacamole recipe (or use store bought! I won’t tell!). Add the guacamole to a plastic bag and cut the tip to pipe in neat balls of goodness. Top with chives if you like!
Goat Cheese Berry Bites
I also wanted a pink appetizer to match my theme, so I went with an old standby – goat cheese crackers. Top each cracker with a smear of goat cheese and a couple of berries of your choice. Strawberries are in season so that is what I used. A couple of toasted sliced almonds complete the flavor and texture profile.
I really enjoyed setting up this tablescape and hope that you enjoyed it, too! Now I am itching to have a party. Please click over to the other participants in this link party and let yourself really get into that springtime feeling!
I was provided with the above flowers in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are true and my own. This post also contains affiliate links, meaning that if you click thru and make a purchase, I receive a very small percentage of the sale. Thanks for supporting the brands that make Charleston Crafted possible!
We aren’t super into the Superbowl this year (the Patriots and the Falcons are actually Sean’s 2 least favorite teams so yay!) but I am still into the food. I wanted to share our favorite Superbowl Foods so if you are planning a party or just a gathering for your family, here is a little inspiration.
This weekend we had the pleasure of hosting a baby shower for one of my really good girlfriends. She is expecting her second – a girl this time! – in November and we are so happy and excited for them. To celebrated, I planned a fiesta!
We kept it very casual and set up a nacho and taco bar in the kitchen. My friend loves nachos and that was my inspiration for the theme.
I made some simple tissue paper tassels and paper banners for decor. My biggest tip for simple party decor is to pick a specific color scheme to keep things cohesive. In addition to the pink, yellow, and orange banners, I also got 3 bundles of spray roses from the grocery store (pink, yellow, and orange) and put them in vases around the space.
I didn’t go with too many games or activities as it was more of a celebration than a shower, but I did set up a baby headband making station which was a big hit! We also had a pinata outside for the kids 🙂
Finally, I made a simple diaper cake also incorporating the color scheme. I loved this method of placing the diapers in a circle instead of rolling them – it saved a lot of rubber bands! The mariachi rubber duckies were the perfect take-away for the new big brother!