Top 10 tips from a crafty queen…

Lynn Lilly, creative lifestyle expert and founder of Craft Box Girls, has been creating, designing and hosting parties her entire life. From DIY projects to creative recipes for entertaining, Lilly loves sharing her ideas not only on craftboxgirls.com, but also on her weekly television segments every Thursday on “Atlanta & Company” and daytime shows across the country.

Lynn Lilly, creative lifestyle expert and founder of Craft Box Girls, has been creating, designing and hosting parties her entire life. From DIY projects to creative recipes for entertaining, Lilly loves sharing her ideas not only on craftboxgirls.com, but also on her weekly television segments every Thursday on “Atlanta & Company” and daytime shows across the country.

The holidays are my favorite time of year, primarily because of all parties that fill up my calendar. Hosting a cocktail party can be daunting if entertaining is not your forte. Don’t fret. We have all the best resources right here in Buckhead to help you host a fabulous gathering with little effort and results that will wow your guests.

IMG_1692-11) A cocktail party is not a cocktail party without a delicious craft cocktail. My go-to spirit for fall/winter is locally produced J.R. Revelry Bourbon (available at Buckhead’s Tower Beer, Wine & Spirits and Savi Provisions). Your guests will love an easy Bourbon Sipper with 2 tablespoons bourbon, 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice, 3 tablespoons cranberry juice, 1 tablespoon lemon juice and 2 teaspoons simple syrup, all shaken with ice, strained in a martini glass and garnished with fresh orange wedges and rosemary.

IMG_1717-12) Make sure you have delicious and easy to eat food. Seasons 52 is the perfect option for catering: They offer delicious flat breads, mushrooms stuffed with lump crab and shrimp, cider-glazed chicken skewers and mini desserts. The best part? The majority of the menu items have fewer than 500 calories.

3) Creating the perfect tablescape to display your food can be a challenge, but selecting the right serving ware and glassware can drive a creative table design. Bloomingdale’s has a large selection of plates, platters, vases, decanters and glassware. My favorite pattern is the Vietri Incanto Lace Dinnerware paired with Kate Spade Library Striped Glassware.

IMG_1744-14) Flowers are key to setting the mood for your party. Let the blooms drive your food display. You absolutely cannot go wrong with James Hurley Designs. He creates artistic arrangements with flowers flown in three times a week from Holland.

5) Use linen placemats and napkins to add hints of color and patterns to your tablescape. I fell in love with Bloomingdale’s Kate Spade Harbour Drive collection and the Spike the Punch placemats.

IMG_1710-16) Welcome guests to your home with an inviting aroma. My inner “craftinista” loves to make homemade potpourri. Sprinkle thinly sliced apples and oranges with cinnamon, pull the petals off carnations or roses and bake all three on a parchment-paper-lined pan at 200 degrees. The petals will dry in 30 to 45 minutes. The apples and oranges will take 1.5 to 2 hours. Remove from the oven and mix with cloves and cinnamon sticks, then sprinkle with nutmeg.

7) Always plan for at least five extra people. You never know if unexpected guests will show up or if your guests will be extra hungry. It’s always better to have too much than not enough!

8) Ask for help! Don’t be afraid to recruit your significant other or friends to run errands, set up or, most importantly, clean up. That is what friends are for, right?
IMG_1674_pp-19) My favorite part of hosting a party is getting a new party dress. Aqua’s Winter white, embellished scuba dress from Bloomingdale’s is my fabulous party dress pick for my next cocktail party.

10) The most important tip to remember when hosting any type of party is to enjoy yourself. Parties and gatherings are about making memories and coming together to celebrate each other’s company. Happy entertaining!

Bloomingdale’s
Lenox Square
3393 Peachtree Road N.E.
Atlanta 30326
404.495.2800
bloomingdales.com

James Hurley Designs
1425 Piedmont Ave N.E.
Atlanta 30309
404.329.9444
jameshurleydesigns.com

J.R. Revelry Bourbon
jrrevelry.com

Seasons 52
3050 Peachtree Road N.W.
Atlanta 30305
404.846.1552
seasons52.com

STORY AND STYLING: Lynn Lilly
PHOTOS: Sara Hanna