Memorial Day marks the unofficial start of summer season, grilling season, bikini season and my all time favorite — no-cook summer recipes! If you’re slaving away in the kitchen or standing at a grill all day, you’re not enjoying the party so what’s the point?
My super easy tips will have you spending more time having fun and less time cooking. I like parties that are simple and focused on the guests. Yes, you have to serve food. But, you don’t have to spend the next three days in the kitchen like some Pioneer Woman Wannabe-although, you might want to check out her Dr. Pepper Ribs because they’re really worth the extra workouts.
First things first, Food!
Go food shopping. Just because you’re not really cooking doesn’t mean your family and friends aren’t hungry. One of my fave little tricks is to buy a bunch of fried chicken from the supermarket and lay it out on pretty platters and watch them go to town! Unless you’re from the deep south or your name is Paula Deen, chances are their fried chicken is better than yours. Personally, I think Publix Supermarkets have awesome fried chicken, but just use your judgement depending on your location. You can grab some sliders, buns and tons of fixin’s like cole slaw, potato salad, three bean salad, etc. Then, make your own green salad and there you go! Small plates and single serving food are always popular, too. It looks modern and cute and doesn’t do too much damage on the waistline… especially if there are bathing suits involved. Supermarkets nowadays have have everything you need!
I confess, I like getting people drunk. Parties are just better when the guests have a little buzz on. Make your life easy and get beer, wine, champagne and make one signature drink. That’s it. You can make a special cocktail in some fruity color and you’re done, red usually does the trick. When you use pretty glasses and cute garnishes, it helps. As always, no red plastic cups. It’s not a frat party and I don’t care if “its easier”. There are too many drink recipes to list, but if you Google “party drink recipes” watch what you find..I think champagne and anything is kind of fabulous. But, make sure you have plenty of soft drinks and water for the non-drinkers. (My friends are not these people)
You can pick up this cool steel tub at Home Depot for just over $13.00! It’s a steel tub, there’s not a big difference in quality that requires spending more than that. I also thought this idea was genius..make ahead cocktails! I’m not really into Mason Jars, but you could use bottles instead. LOVE.
Music is Key
You can serve all the fab food and beverages galore, but with no kickin’ tunes, your party sucks. Get a good playlist going and pump it up loud. For my parties, I like to keep it sort of upbeat neutral with a mix of pop, hip hop, dance, salsa and some classic bar music which is a big crowd pleaser..Hello, Brown Eyed Girl! No jazz, classical or easy listening. Ugh, they’ll be out the door after the first drumstick. The best wireless speakers for the price these days are hands down coming from JBL. Trust me, they’re AMAZING and start at under $50. Is it unpatriotic if I just play the Justin Bieber remix of Despacito on a loop ALL DAY?? I know he’s Canadian but Puerto Ricans are our people and well, I’m OBSESSED. Ok, suave suavecito the f-ck down, Cachet. 😉
When it comes to decor for Memorial Day, I say tread lightly. Your home doesn’t have to look like 4th Of July threw up on an American flag. You can go with one color like red, or clean and simple white with a few red or blue touches. Fresh flowers go a long way. And remember, you can reuse a lot of these items for July 4th, so keep that in mind if you buy seasonal decor. Simple is stylish, overkill is tacky. And foil decorations are a horror show.
One Little Detail
Do something your guests will remember. An activity, a cool favor, a fun extra something. You don’t have to spend a lot of money. I love the simplicity of a paper bag of chocolates or potato chips, a jar of BBQ sauce that you used. The simpler, the more chic it is. I also like taking a photo of each person upon entering the party and then sending it along with a thank you. It’s a nice touch and everyone loves photos of themselves, unless they look bad and/or wasted. And don’t post photos of people if they look bad just because you look good, it’s so obnoxious and it’s a really quick way to piss off your friends. Don’t be that person.
Say Thank You
I might be partial because I have a–wait for the shameless self promotion here–>stationery collection, but I’m a stickler for this. Something so small and so inexpensive screams volumes about a person. Emails and texts are okay, but a real card is better, thankyouverymuch. Make the effort, you’re not that busy. As the host, you can make a short video using any number of apps and then email the link to your guests. Fabulous, right? And practically free! Details like that are never about money and always about character.
Most of us have special ways of celebrating the holiday and honoring those who have made the ultimate sacrifice serving their country. In turbulent times there is a special meaning to this holiday, so take a moment to remember those who have given their lives so we can live freely. Be proud to be an American, fly that flag high and party like a rock star.
Happy Memorial Day and God Bless The U.S.A.