A home should be comfortable, open, beautiful, and private to create a recipe for a great party. A good host or hostess will not only anticipate his guest’s needs, but also provide entertainment. Part of the mix is also selecting guests with similar interests, or vary personalities from the life of the party to the intellectual.


Here are some tips for making your home more aesthetically appealing. First, let’s have a look at your furniture. Large overstuffed comfy couches near expansive coffee tables and cushiony chairs create a welcoming spot for groups. Create other interactive areas, such as outdoor seating arranged in a circle and seating at the bar. Carpeting mixed with wood and tile accents help keep people comfortable on their feet, chatting and circulating. For privacy, having tinted windows is a plus, so that your guests can enjoy the outdoors from within and not feel confined. Things like pool tables help people relax and make for casual play. Fire pits in colder weather and pools in warm weather create a focal point for fun.


Plenty of food and drink is a must. A fully stocked bar, snacks and a complete meal with dessert, catered or homemade is best. You don’t want your guests having to leave because they are hungry.


You can hire a DJ, but be sure there is room for dancing if you do. The right music per your crowd is important. Group games can really open people up. Be sure to include everyone in your games. This is a chance for the host to shine and employ all diplomatic skills.


I especially love to have everything ready before hand. Then I can enjoy my party just as much as anyone.






We don’t have an ocean here in Phoenix, so pool parties are all the rage. Your first step is making sure your pool is ready. Contact a pool cleaning and maintenance service to make sure your swimming pool is sparkling clean and functioning properly.

Next, let’s pick a theme. Hawaiian themes are very popular. Encourage your guests to wear bright, flowered shirts and dresses, then present them with a lei at the door. The hostess might wear a grass skirt and skimpy top, the host a Hawaiian shirt and shorts with a straw hat. Decorate with tropical flowers, tiki torches and bamboo. Add tropical fruits to your menu and perhaps a pig roast. Here is a great punch recipe:

Puree 4 cups watermelon chunks; strain. Stir in 4 ounces Alize Red Passion or other fruit-flavored liqueur, 8 ounces gin and 2 cups sour mix; chill. Add sparkling rose before serving. Garnish with lime. Makes 10 to 12 drinks.

Beach party themes are fun. Attire is casual beach ware, flip-flops and swimsuits. Decorate with seashells and fish net. Have Frisbees and beach towels around the pool. Below are two great recipes, one for BBQ ribs and the other for potato salad.

Ingredients for ribs:
• 2 racks of baby back pork ribs
• 3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
• 1/2 cup smoked paprika
• 1/4 cup cayenne pepper
• 1/4 cup garlic powder
• 1/4 cup onion powder
• 2 tbs. ginger powder
• 1/4 cup kosher salt
• 2 tbs. ground black pepper
Ingredients for bourbon BBQ sauce:
• 2 cups bourbon
• 1 cup ketchup
• 1/2 packed brown sugar
• 2 tbs. molasses
• 2 tbs. Worcestershire sauce
• 2 tbs. malt vinegar
1 tsp. liquid smoke

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare your ribs by removing the filmy membrane on the bone side of the rack. This tough material blocks flavor reaching the meat and will make the ribs tough. With a paring knife, start at one end of the rack and carefully peel the membrane away from the surface of the last bone. Use a paper towel to grip and remove it with one easy motion. Combine all the dry ingredients together in a bowl – this is your dry rub. Spring 2-3 tablespoons on each rack and rub the spices into the ribs. Wrap each rack in foil and put them in the oven for 2.5 hours. Save the rest of the rub in an airlock container for future use.

While the ribs are baking, combine the wet ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Simmer over low heat until the sauce has reduced to about half. After the ribs have finished baking, let them cool to room temperature or leave them in the fridge overnight. They are fall of the bone tender at this point so you want them to hold shape before putting them on the grill. Turn your gas grill to medium high, or create a medium-hot fire in your charcoal grill. Brush both sides of both racks of ribs before placing them on the grill. Baste and turn frequently until the sauce is caramelized and charred. Cut and serve with the remainder of the sauce for dipping.

6-7 medium red potatoes, scrubbed and cut into 3/4-1 inch pieces
1 cup mayonnaise
1.5 Tbsp. brown mustard
1 1/2 Tbsp. white vinegar
3/4 tsp. celery salt
1 tsp. black pepper
1-2 celery stalks, thinly sliced
3/4 cup onion, diced
4 hard-boiled eggs, coarsely chopped
4 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
freshly chopped chives, garnish (optional)

• Place potato chunks in medium saucepan and cover with cold water.
• Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
• Reduce heat to medium-low and continue cooking for 8-10 more minutes, or until potatoes are tender. Drain potatoes and set aside.
• In a large bowl, combine mayonnaise, mustard, vinegar, salt, pepper, celery, onion, eggs, and bacon. Mix until well combined. Add potatoes and stir until coated.
• Chill for 2 hours or overnight. Garnish with chives.


Potluck parties are fashionable in some circles. I am usually at a loss when trying to think of the right dish to bring that will satisfy all palates, and isn’t too complicated to prepare. Here are some recipes I have used, but make sure these do not set out for too long.

TURKEY WALDORF Serves 4 so multiple per number of guests

Whisk together: ¼ cup sour cream, ¼ cup mayonnaise, 1 tbsp. rice vinegar, 2 tsp. brown sugar, 1 tsp. soy sauce, ¼ tsp. salt, ¼ tsp. lemon-pepper seasoning

In large bowl combine: 2 cups cubed cooked turkey breast, 2 celery ribs, thinly sliced, ¼ cup dried cranberries.

Pour dressing over and toss to coat

Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour

Before serving stir in: 1 large diced apple, 2/3 chopped toasted walnuts.

Serve on Bibb lettuce leaves


Mix all ingredients: 15 oz. can salmon, ½ cup crushed saltines, ½ cup milk, 1 beaten egg, salt and pepper to taste, 2 tbs. melted butter.

Press into a 9 X 5 loaf pan

Bake at 350 for 45 minutes

These are easy recipes, sure to be a hit. Now have a good time.