The Art of Living: Hosting Brunch

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Want to spoil Mom for Mother’s Day. Host a brunch. Brunch combines the best of all meals: You get to enjoy breakfast favorites like eggs and French toast and lunch favorites like savory breads and charcuterie. Toast her with a delicious “mom-osa,” and finish the meal with an indulgent dessert. What’s not to love?

Making brunch reservations at your favorite restaurant is easy and fun, but inviting your family to brunch at your home is an even better way to linger over conversation. Enjoy the Art of Living with these six tips for hosting brunch:

Ask For Help

Coordinate the meal by asking friends and family members to bring a dish. Those who love to cook can bring an entrée while others can pick up croissants or fresh fruit.

Keep The Brunch Menu Simple

Scrambled eggs are quicker and easier than individual omelets. Better yet, choose foods that can be made ahead of time and reheated, such as quiche or baked French toast.

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Have One Main Course

While restaurant brunches have buffets that go on forever, at home limit the choices. The star of the show can be a spiral ham or tenderloin. (Here’s a great recipe from the Food Network.) Then add dishes by using a combination of savory and sweet, such as coffee cakes, fruit and herbed breads. Brunch is all about lingering over food, not being a slave to the kitchen.

Keep Place Settings Simple

If your garden has anything in bloom, cut springs and place one at each setting in a small bottle or glass. Brunch isn’t fussy; it’s casual and fun.

Set Up the Bar 

Mimosas and Bloody Marys are brunch favorites and guests can serve themselves. Set up pitchers of orange and tomato juice near chilled bottles of champagne and vodka. Add garnishes such as orange slices and olives, and you’re ready to go.

Don’t Forget Caffeine 

Get out your coffee maker and brew a pot before your guests arrive. Put out cream, sugar and mugs and let everyone help themselves. Prepare your coffee and filters ahead of time so you’re able to quickly replenish with another pot. Or you can always pick up a carryout container from your favorite coffee shop.

 

Mom is sure to feel special, especially when you do the cooking and clean up!

 

A Festival of Outdoor Lights

It’s amazing how a simple string of lights can transform your outdoor spaces. Creating instant ambience, café style lights make your back yard feel like a trendy night spot. And hanging lights is an easy way to update your summer entertaining.

From the patio to the balcony, here are four spots that will be elegantly enhanced when you shed a little light their way.

String of lights under an umbrella
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Under an Umbrella

Just enough light for a cozy evening gathering, attach lights to the edge or the ribs of your umbrella.

Art Van Furniture Trenton Seating Collection
Art Van Furniture Trenton Seating Collection
Across Your Patio

Crisscross your space for a dramatic show of light. You can attach lights to your outdoor structures, such as the exterior of your home, your fence or to a pole used just for this purpose.

String of Lights on Balcony
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On Your Balcony

Hang lights from your railings to dress up the perimeter of your balcony. Not only will you get subtle illumination; you can highlight your architecture.

Lights on a pergola
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In Your Gazebo or Pergola

Define the “ceiling” by hanging lights from the roof or wooden beams. This simple step makes your outdoor space usable 24/7.

Game Plan: Throw a Smashing Super Bowl Party

Any gridiron fan knows that the biggest event of the New Year is Super Bowl Sunday. It’s a fabulous excuse to get your favorite fans together, so make sure you kick-off the big game right with a winning play for a party more memorable than the half-time show.

Stadium Seating

Go on the offense with your seating options to create a space that lets everyone catch each play in comfortable style. Start with a roomy piece, like a reclining sofa. Spacious enough to accommodate all your fellow fans, power recline options allow you and your guests to get into the perfect position at the touch of a button.

Or get the next best thing to 50-yard line tickets with a Human Touch Robotic Massage Recliner. This chair provides such amazing stress relief, you can enjoy the game even when your team misses a critical kick.   

 

Set It Up

With your primo seating in place, make sure you have the goods to watch the game in true sports-lover style. A wall media center provides a spot for everything, from the big-screen TV and surround-sound speakers to the DVR for replaying the winning drive.

 

Let the Games Begin

Make sure you serve up something tasty to your famished fans. Finger foods that guests can grab are a great fit for this casual party. You could also make it a potluck and ask guests to bring a favorite dish, adding variety to the menu and taking some of the stress off you.

Keep fully loaded trays on tables nearby, so no one has to miss a moment of the action (or legendary commercials) by running to the kitchen for refills. Ask guests to don apparel of their favorite sports team (although this will probably happen on its own!) then divide them into two teams, and have a quiz to get a little friendly competition going before kick-off. Losers have to plan next year’s party!

With these tips, you be able to throw a memorable bash your friends will love. Stop by your local Art Van Furniture or shop online to check out even more ideas to make this Super Bowl party a super success. Touchdown!

 

Four End Tables That Are Ready for Entertaining

When you entertain friends, you want them to feel comfortable. That means setting the stage for conversation, mingling and relaxation. End tables are a great way to make friends and family feel welcome as they provide a convenient spot to set down a drink or offer a snack, and choosing the right style can give your room a chic, club-like feel. Here are four entertaining-ready tables that will elevate your next soiree.

 

The Como Accent Table Set adds high style to your room, with its antique brass artisan finish and long lean legs. The tray-style top makes this set is perfect for entertaining, and since the tables nest, you can separate the pair and put them around the room where needed.

 

The fashion-forward design of the Cercie Tray Table would be a perfect choice for entertaining in a modern home. The acrylic tray top removes to make serving drinks or appetizers a breeze, and the metal stand features a trendy copper finish.

 

The Lajos Tray Table is another stylish option for entertaining. Chrome bamboo-inspired legs and a black woven tray top look downright elegant for a great addition to any style décor.

 

The welcoming feeling of Farmhouse style is a natural for entertaining, and the Frisco Green Tray Table will move with your party. On wheels, it’s perfect in the kitchen when extra counter space is needed. And the removable tray allows you to serve guests in another room.

Plan Your Thanksgiving Tablescape

The turkey is definitely the star of the Thanksgiving table, but Tom deserves the proper backdrop. In addition to breaking out your best dinnerware and crystal, create a holiday memory by carefully choosing the rest of the table setting.

Start with a tablecloth. Protect your table by using a tablecloth over a table pad. From crisp white to a rich autumn tone, you will add some color to the meal with the right cloth.

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Here’s a great craft project you can do to create a personalized tablecloth. Simply purchase a drop cloth and decorate it with words that represent the things you’re thankful for.

Or don’t. Rules are made to be broken, so feel free to skip the tablecloth and let your table go au natural. Use beautiful placemats or table runners to protect the wood.

Photo credit: The Stir

Mix and match plates, silverware and glassware. Don’t worry about not having enough table settings; purposefully mix and match what you have and no one will ever know. You can even go ultra casual chic by using Mason jars as water glasses.

Let Mother Nature provide decorations. Fall is the time of year when everything outside is in its most colorful glory. Bring in gorgeous leaves and scatter them down the center of the table. You can also use a metallic marker and write names or reasons you’re thankful on the leaves to make them even more special. Place small gourds down the center of the table, and put cut flowers in small pots or thin vases. Add candles and you’ve created a gorgeous fall scene.

Photo credit: Bloom Designs Online

Make it personal. Finally, make guests feel welcome by creating personalized place cards. If you’re hosting friends who aren’t well acquainted, place a little bit of information about each guest on the place card as a way for everyone to get to know each other. You could also include a reason why you’re thankful they are your friend or family member.