Dinner in my backyard.

Dinner in my backyard.

I didn’t even realize I was being a psycho until most of my so-called friends called me that when I told them my plans for not one, but two, dinner parties in three days. I was thinking it was super efficient to entertain a couple of days apart since I was renting tables, dishes, etc. Am I right? The first group were U.S. members of my husband’s cult¬†board and the second group was the international cult¬†board. I like to be compared to Martha Stewart (but with a pinch of Jennifer Aniston) as often as possible AND I just traveled to Italy where every meal is described by region, so I decided everything had to be local.

I dragged my husband’s sober ass to a winery about 15 miles south of my backyard to pick out wine. Did I mention that he doesn’t drink and my favorite wine is Coors Light? Luckily we have lots of alcoholic friends who are willing to educate us. We picked out a Pinot Noir (which is apparently what the Kool Kids are drinking) and a Chardonnay for those who prefer beer and juice boxes. Of course we had to have wine from Napa Valley, since it’s a stone’s throw away and known around the world.

Custom maps so my not-local guests could see where the wine comes from...

Custom maps so my not-local guests could see where the wine comes from…

I thought beer tasting would be a nice start (not because I was trying to get everybody wasted in case they were no fun) so I got local beers too, from hubby’s college town and San Francisco (also in the hood) and one from San Diego just because it’s called Arrogant Bastard. How could I NOT serve that? I included salty crunchies on the bar because I know how people love to feel like a blowfish and because you need something to taste between beers so they don’t all taste the same. Turns out the guests were fun and they REALLY like beer so my next event will definitely include beer tasting. It also kept them happy while I got dinner on the table.

Itty bitty beer glasses so we don't get too hammered.

Itty bitty beer glasses so we don’t get too hammered.

The food was totally California, basically healthy with lots of fresh veggies. From my garden. (fist bump with explosion here) I’m way more into setting a sassy table than cooking so I won’t bore myself with descriptions of food that was already made and consumed. In summary, it was good. I did different dishes for each dinner so that I wouldn’t have to eat the same thing twice in 72 hours cuz it’s all about me. I made some of it and ordered some from a friend’s super awesome gourmet food delivery company, Culinary Courier. I highly recommend this option if you are a dumbass with tendencies to over commit.

Custom coasters in case anyone forgot I like to design stuff.

Custom coasters in case anyone forgot I like to design stuff.

I think it’s the little details that make some parties way more awesome than others. It’s the small flower arrangements (so you can see the person across the table from you), fun coasters (design your own and order them from StationeryHQ.com), mixing elegance with down home goodness… we had s’mores around a fire pit for dessert and since I won’t eat manufactured marshmallows (read the ingredients sometime) I ordered all natural buttercream marshmallows from Kerfluffles. Hence my reputation as a psycho party hostess. For the record, I’m not quite crazy enough to make marshmallows myself.


Casual and simple, feet in the grass. That’s how we do it in California.

I think the whole “California” thing was a hit with our guests, I can’t tell you how many times I heard, “we could never have a nice dinner outside like this, it would be too cold or too hot/humid/mosquito-filled.” There was a lot of prep involved but most of it took place before everyone arrived so I actually got to relax and enjoy the evening too. Which is nice, since we’ve already established that it’s all about me.