Hosting a dinner party is a great way to enjoy an intimate evening with friends and family. But it can feel like the pressure is on: the menu, the music, and the atmosphere all come into play. We’ve collected a few top tips to hosting a successful dinner party. Get cooking!
A coordinating, at-home tablescape. (Photo via 100layercake.com)
Dinner Party Tips
Plan ahead. You’ll want to give your guests plenty of notice about when you’re hosting your party, and you’ll also want to ask about any food allergies in advance. Remember to choose friends who get along together (or whom you think will get along), and aim to keep the group at about six people.
Failsafe food. Your dinner party should include menu items that can largely be prepped in advance and simply need to cook through in the oven. No made-to-order entrees or desserts here (souffles? Just say no). Instead, opt for family-style preparations when possible. Take a look at our sample dinner party menu below, featuring a Mexican flair:
Set the table the night before. Trust us: even with the most careful planning in place, chances are you’ll have your hands full the night of the dinner party. Do what you can in advance, including setting the table the night before. Make sure you have enough chairs plus proper utensils, extra napkins, and a bit of design elements — candles or flowers (or both!) are usually a nice touch.
Buy ice. Whether your dinner party includes a signature drink or not, no beverage is quite as palatable when it’s warm. Even if you have an ice maker in your apartment, have at least one bag of ice on hand if the drinks really start to flow!
Make a playlist. Or rely on someone else’s! Music is an integral part of a dinner party, and streaming services like Spotify and Pandora offer pre-made lists based on artists you enjoy or a particular mood you’re after.
Lighting, lighting, lighting! Both you and your guests will likely appreciate soft lighting. Dim the lights a bit and use lamps where possible to strike a mood that feels fancy and fun, but not too formal.
It’s easy to personalize nearly every room in the house while you’re a renter — just ask local interior designer Whitney Jones. But one room is a little more difficult to customize: the kitchen. While we’re pleased to offer spacious, modern kitchens within our 1st Lake Properties, we know custom kitchen redos just aren’t in the cards for renters. However, with a little creativity, you can apply modern kitchen trends to your space. See a few of our favorite tips and tricks below.
A soft palette ties together the kitchen in our Lakes of Chateau Estates North apartment community.
Modern Kitchen Trends for Apartments
Mid-Century Modern Accents — The mid-century modern resurgence has been a huge trend for the past few seasons, and by choosing pared-down shapes and palettes, you can ensure that these vintage-inspired pieces will continue to look fresh. We love the look Eames-style bar stools and a retro bar cart, which can serve as extra storage.
Texture — Another trend in kitchen decor is texture: think textured tile, countertops, and patterns all together to create a layered look. Accents like woven placemats are a great and affordable way to incorporate texture.
Soft Color Palettes — Both the mid-century and textural trends lean on soft color palettes as an underlying theme. By choosing light tones, you’ll create the look and feel of more space. Opt for light-colored accent pieces and appliances wherever you can for a fresh, on-trend look.
Smart Storage — When incorporating decor, plan to add pieces with function. Wire baskets add a chic, industrial feel and are perfect for storing utensils, packaged food, linens, and more. You can also purchase a standalone island for added counter space and a pop of personal style.
Open Kitchen/Living Spaces — Many of our properties feature joint kitchen and living spaces. Remember, it’s easy to transfer between properties at 1st Lake if you’re interested in moving to one of our properties with state-of-the-art kitchens.
Our Surf Rider apartment community in Metairie offers spacious kitchens adjacent to the living space for an open feel.
Rent-Friendly Kitchen Updates
Utilize rugs — Rugs are a great way to add color and texture to the kitchen. Opt for a pattern, if possible, to mitigate any visible stains (hey, kitchen mishaps happen!).
Add a mirror — Mirrors create the illusion of more space while also reflecting light. The kitchen probably isn’t the first place you’d think of to add a mirror, but you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the results!
Incorporate a temporary backsplash — Peel-and-stick tiles or vinyl decals are an easy way to customize your rental kitchen. Take a look at Apartment Therapy for some ideas!
Swap out hardware — Update pieces like drawer pulls, cabinet knobs, and even light switch plates. Just remember to make note of where all the original hardware was prior to removal, and keep it all in a safe spot! You’ll need to change everything back before you move.
Bring the outdoors in — It’s amazing what a simple plant can do. Add easy-care indoor plants to your kitchen for increased oxygen and a splash of color.
You’re invited to Eats at the Creeks from 5-7 p.m. on Wednesday, September 7, 2016. Located in The Creeks of River Ridge at 2001 Oak Creek Rd., local food trucks will offer some of the city’s best grub: Diva Dawg, Burgers Ya Heard, Crepes a la Cart, and Kona Ice will all join in on the local flavor!
Come on over and join us in supporting local businesses, while adding a dash of fun to the midweek work grind! Entrance to this event is free and open to the public — just remember to bring some spare change for Kona Ice since it’s cash-only.
A heart-pumping workout is a great way to reduce stress — unless the gym creates a stressful environment in and of itself. While you can’t always control the actions of others, you can help create a focused workout zone by following basic gym etiquette. Take a look below, and follow these simple rules while you get your burn on at one of our many 1st Lake Fitness centers!
The fitness center at Bella Ridge.
Fitness Center Etiquette
Pack your gym bag like a pro. Stash your gym bag with essentials like a towel, wet wipes, and a water bottle. This means you won’t have to hog the water fountain, and if for some reason the gym is out of towels or wet wipes, you’ll be prepared.
Wipe down equipment. Most gyms provide antibacterial wipes specifically for gym equipment. After your workout, wipe down any surfaces you’ve touched, whether a bench, weights, treadmill, bicycle, etc. Remember, even if you can’t see any evidence of sweat, germs are still present. Clean up after yourself to ensure the next person using the machine gets a truly fresh start.
Follow time limits on machines. Gyms can be busy places, especially at peak hours like after work or early in the morning. Because of this, many fitness centers implement a time limit rule on machines like treadmills or ellipticals. Be courteous of others and only exercise for the allotted period of time. If you’re not quite finished working out, use the opportunity to try out a new machine instead.
Stay home if you’re sick. While some doctors recommend a light workout to help your body recover more quickly from ailments like a cold or virus, plan to do an at-home workout video rather than put others at risk at the gym. If you do go, take extra care wiping down all the equipment, and wash your hands before and after you’re finished exercising.
Mind headphones. You might be tempted to chat to your neighbor to help you get through a tough workout, but if they have headphones on, be respectful: they’re in the zone!
Dress appropriately. Gyms are for focusing on your workout — not on someone else’s distracting clothing. If you’re worried about your outfit, test it out first at home to make sure everything stays put as you exercise.
Put weights away. Dumbells can be hazardous when left on the mat for people to trip over. Always put free weights back after you use them. Please unload the weight bar as well to keep the weights area accessible for everyone and free of any obstacles.
Watch your rest time between sets. If you’re resting for more than 10-20 seconds between sets, plan to excuse yourself from a machine to give someone else a chance to use it. However, keep in mind that ideally you’ll want to rest for no more than 10 seconds: studies show that short rest periods lead to increased caloric burn and a higher metabolic rate.
Be courteous. Allow other gym-goers their space and respect during a workout session. If the gym is busy and you have the flexibility to come back later, consider adjusting your time.
Ice Cream, cake, pie — delicious desserts come in many forms, but we have yet to find a dessert that rivals fresh-out-the-oven chocolate chip cookies. There’s simply nothing like gooey, warm chocolate morsels melting in your mouth and soaking up some ice cold milk! So, we took our taste buds to the kitchen and crafted chocolate chip cookie perfection! On one of our apartment’s new granite counter tops, we might add!
Take a look at a few of our favorite chocolate chip cookie recipes and get your bake on! Click on the cookie of your choice to be whisked away to its recipe! (Or just scroll down.)