Essentials for Throwing an Outdoor Soiree

It’s not even summer yet and already people are ditching their desks and heading for the beach and backyard barbecues. Sure you’ll need great food and fabulous music but what else makes an outdoor soiree a success?  I asked entertainment expert Mindy Kobrin from Meals on Heels by Mindy for her outdoor-party checklist.

Giant Umbrella

A giant umbrella shields party guests from the blazing afternoon sun and hanging lanterns will illuminate the table come nightfall.

Citronella Candles

Mix citronella candles with other colorful tea lights to keep away pests and offer diners light cotton shawls to ward off a chill in the evening.

Fragrant DIY Misters

Give guests a gift that keeps giving by using small spritzer bottles as natural hydraters. Simply add fresh mint and lavender sprigs to each spritzer bottle before filling with water. Affix cute labels and serve on a large platter. Read more

A List for the Low-Maintenance Bride

Shows like Bridezillas give brides a bad name. No one wants to be “that girl,” so some new brides play down their excitement and take a more laid-back approach. Others – genuinely aren’t into all the details. It’s OK — some women just don’t have the “wedding planning gene.” As you can imagine…I am not one of those women.

Fun fact: I once had a short-lived wedding planning business with my best friend and fellow journalist, Danielle. The business was thriving until we worked on the wedding from hell and threw in the towel. But we found that planning a wedding is a lot like planning a newscast – and my producing background really helped me pay attention to every last detail. It made planning my own wedding a lot of fun too.

Laid-back brides might view some of these details as “no big deal” – but they are and here’s why they should be on your wedding to-do list:

1. A Planning Binder: I know you think this will make you look like a total nerd but you need one. All of your ideas, invoices, addresses and vendor contacts must be kept in one place. It will save you time and make planning less stressful. You don’t have to buy a fancy wedding-themed binder but you should have a place to keep all your wedding stuff. You can also keep all your questions for vendors in this binder and take it with you when you have meetings. You’ll look smart and prepared. Read more

List-Nerd Paradise: Smithsonian Archives’ Famous Lists

Lists are everywhere. They’re in our everyday lives, in history and even in art. I was reminded of this as I walked through the Morgan Library and Museum in New York City this weekend. I went to see their newest exhibit – “Lists: To-dos, Illustrated Inventories, Collected Thoughts, and Other Artists Enumerations from the Smithonian’s Archives of American Art” – also known as…”List-nerd paradise.” I was in heaven.

I’m a serious list maker – but these lists put even me to shame. There were lists of everything! Some were handwritten, some typed, some in drawings and doodles. Lists of animals, jewelry in production, things that made the author happy, models for paintings, expenses, clients, instructions, reasons for being too busy, inappropriate words and more desirable alternatives, resumes, receipts, addresses, costumes, slogans and even paint colors! You name it – there was a list for it.

Here’s a list (of course) of my favorites:

A Packing List

This is artist Adolf Konrad’s packing list. It’s from December 16, 1963. I love how he drew out every one of his paintbrushes, his comb, camera and all of his outfits. Just goes to show – it doesn’t matter HOW you make a packing list…as long as you make one to stay organized when you travel.

Read more