Long Live the Guest Book

A few years ago I took a history walk from a local historian and our current mayor, John Sellers. Now, while John knows just about everything there is to know about Hopkins County, he actually speaks all over Texas and the USA. We were touring an old home on College Street, and this home was once the hub for many parties. He said that prior to the tour he was looking through an old guest book, and he came across his mother’s signature, signed with her maiden name. For some reason, this story left a major impression on me.

I think back to all of the parties and gatherings we’ve had at our home, and, while we do a great job of taking a group picture at every event, I couldn’t help but wonder what piece of history we may have missed. So, I started looking for guest books. I found dozens in the $100+ range. Most were designed for weddings, but I found this Guest Book: Illustrated Nature Edition for less than $15.
I absolutely love it! I’m doing my best to find another one that allowed for menus of parties, etc., which I thought would be too fun to look back on. One day I have a feeling the pendulum will swing the other way, and our grandkids will enjoy the hardcopy items of things the internet just can’t replace. I’ve purchased this book and have it in our entryway. If you visit, plan to sign. 🙂

 

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The Best Way to Start Entertaining

I truly love having people over. I have an extroverted personality, and being around people refreshes me. My husband, though, is the exact opposite. He needs alone time to rejunvenate. I think for some introverts the planning and anticipation can often be as exhausting as the actual event.

Now that my kids are four and six and sleep through the night, I enjoy reading for a while before bed. One blogger I enjoy following, Money Saving Mom, has recently recommended the book Just Open the Door: How One Invitation Can Change a Generation.

So often we build things up that we become overwhelmed with just the idea of it.

The best way to start entertaining is to simply open up your home.

I believe we are social creatures, which is why etiquette has such a big part in our lives. Etiquette, at its core, is about respect of others. While etiquette is so much more than knowing which fork to use, using the correct fork is respectful of your host. Knowing that it’s respectful is what etiquette is all about.

Now, you absolutely don’t need anything other than an open door to entertain.

Having an open heart and an open door leads to lasting relationships.

Use what you have, which is yourself. Offer a compassionate heart and open ear. Just take that first step to allow someone into your home and into your life. You’ll be so thankful you did.

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A Piece of Cake

“A party without cake is just a meeting.” – Julia Child

 

Mrs. Child and I wholeheartedly agree on the necessity of cake (or another sweet) at a party. My mother-in-law’s birthday was this past Saturday, and she, my brother-in-law and my nephew all came over to our house for a family party. We grilled hotdogs and hamburgers, and I make Paula Deen’s Simply Delicious Strawberry Cake. It lives up to its name. It’s simple to make, but it tastes wonderful (even if you fail to realize you don’t have McCormick Imitation Strawberry Extract).

Considering that I have four patterns of china (Lenox Vintage Jewel Platinum-Banded Bone China 5-Piece Place Setting, Service for 1, Lenox Autumn Gold-Banded Fine China 5-Piece Place Setting, Service for 1, Noritake Crestwood Cobalt Platinum 5-Piece Place Setting and Noritake Crestwood Platinum – 5 piece place setting) and two full sets of silver-plated flatware, you would think that somewhere along the way I’d use my silver-plated cake server. I just rarely think to go to my dining room, sadly, to get my utensils. My go-to is a much less expensive set I’ve picked up along the way. It doesn’t match my everyday flatware, which is Oneida Julliard 20-Piece Flatware Set, Service for 4, but that’s completely ok.

I enjoy using my serving utensils, and I love how decadent it feels slicing into a frosted cake. If you do not have a set that currently matches your pattern, here are two lower-cost options I recommend: Reed & Barton 04230800 Lyndon 2-Piece Dessert Set with 13-Inch Knife and 11-Inch Server and Wallace Hotel Pie Server and Cake Knife Set.

Reed & Barton Serving Set

Wallace Hotel Serving Set

Both options include the knife and server, which is my preference over a serated server. I think these options are both beautiful and are a perfect house warming or hostess gift, as it’s sure to get lots of use over the years.

Even if you don’t entertain often, it’s okay to want to enjoy to small things. Sometimes the kids and I will make a cake or pie, and we’ll serve it up on some of my china dessert plates on a random Tuesday.  These are the memories I hope last them for a lifetime. I hope you’re able to make memories like these, as well! Happy eating!

 

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Upcoming Gilmore Girls Garden Tea

On June 3rd this year I’ll have the opportunity to combine two of my all-time favorite things – Gilmore Girls and tea!! This tea will be more interactive and will target a different demographic than most of my other teas.

When I first started Etiquette By Emily, I wanted to bring opportunites to our small town that we wouldn’t otherwise have. In addition to cotillion, teas were another activity we lacked in this area. When I had EBE’s first tea, I only had about a dozen people come. Many later messaged me and said they just had no idea what to expect, such as if there would be food, if men were allowed, etc.

At your standard tea, there is food (and plenty of it), tea with stir ins, relaxed conversatioon, usually some music, etc. Most afternoon teas include three types of food: finger sandwiches, scones and bite-size desserts. While you should never overload your plate, you’re welcome to refill it as often as you’d like.

Teas are meant to be a way of relaxing and socializing with friends and acquaintances.

In today’s fast-paced world, we rarely get together without having a goal for that time spent together, whether it’s to raise money or volunteer. Clearly, those are both wonderful and needed traits. However, I strongly believe that humans are social creatures who need that social interaction. We learn empathy and respect by being around others. We improve our communication skills, and we fill a vital need.

Teas allow for the time together for no other reason than simply being together. Thankfully, I’ve had many successful teas since my inagural tea.

Now, for the Gilmore Girls part. Gilmore Girls is truly one of my favorite shows. I could probably quote most it, and I love every character – even Taylor Doose. I think each of the Gilmore girls (Emily, Lorelai and Rory) have a uniquely special bond with each other, and I loved seeing how each relationship developed. Each one truly loved the other, though it was shown in very different ways.

When I noticed that June 3rd was on a weekend, I couldn’t think of a better date to have this tea! June 3rd, for those of you who don’t know, is the date that Lorelai and Luke (another primary character) were to be married. When she began planning their wedding, everything fell into place for that date except for Luke.

This tea will be inspired strongly by the Gilmore Girls series, including the food and decor, which will lean towards coffee (their drink of preference). There will a nod to each character throughout the afternoon. I truly hope you’ll consider joining us on Sunday, June 3rd for a special treat at The Oaks Bed and Breakfast at 2pm. There will be plenty of prizes along the way, too!

Also, just to whet your whistle, check out this precious Luke’s mug I found! I just love it!

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A Fun Party Idea – Tea Party with Dolls!

I had a reader write in to ask what “just because” party she could do for her daughter. Her daughter is in the 2nd grade. They’re newer to their area, but they have already made several friends. I couldn’t think of a better party than a doll tea party!

While it’s still spring, you could take advantage of the warmer (but not hot) days by having the party outside. Have all of the girls bring a doll or stuffed animal with them. You could even lay out a blanket like a picnic for the dolls. If you have plastic play plates, set those out. If not, paper is perfect! It definitely doesn’t have to cost a lot.

For food, think easy-to-eat foods.

If your daughter loves PB&Js, go with that! Make the food your own. An easy-to-make craft is to have each of the girls make their own paper plate party hat!

You can find lots of tea-centered games and craft on Pinterest, too! If a little girl in your life loves tea and the classic 18″ dolls, this American Girl – Beforever Rebecca – Rebecca’s Teatime Traditions is amazing!

American Girl tea set

American Girl-brand items are always more expensive than their counterparts (Our Generation, My Life, etc.), and *surprise, surprise,* I don’t always like the American Girl items better. However, I do love the above tea set. My daughter has the 18 Inch Doll Tea Party & Dessert Food Set, Two Complete Doll Sets for Your Favorite 18 Inch Doll | Includes 64 Pieces of Pretend Doll Food & Accessories, which has plenty of items to share. It’s definitely a bigger bang for your buck, and, as often as we have friends over, it was the better choice for us!

18″ Doll Tea Party Set

Hospitality is very important to me, so I’m thankful that she is so willing and eager to entertain! If this isn’t something you’re comfortable with, I highly suggest the book Just Open the Door: How One Invitation Can Change a Generation. I first heard about this book from Money Saving Mom.

I feel like Garrett and I became overly busy at one point in our lives, and we’re getting back on track for making time for what’s important to us. Afterall, when we say yes to something, we’re saying no to something else.

I hope you feel inspired to have a party or get-together of your own! I’d love to hear about it if you do. 🙂

 

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