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My Top Two Entertaining Tips

After three weeks of planning and prepping 
for my girl's
Tropical Inspired Shower
(I shared HERE and HERE)
I was so happy how everything came out.

And as with any event there was a lot of back stories
in the making of a successful party.

And one of the best stories
involved this beautiful cake.

As a designer
I always have long lists of to do's
to  achieve my visions
I have also learned over the years
to always give myself plenty of time to accomplish what needs to be done.

So when it came to the visual presence of 
a celebratory cake
I knew it would involve an order from my favorite bakery
which I made several days earlier
whir checking the cake off my running list.

I am neither baker or chef
but I know where to find what I need.
So I ordered a four layered cake with clean frosted sides
with no decoration
because I had collected the items
I wanted to decorate and style the cake.

So you can imagine my freak out when my husband
who had gone to pick up my specially ordered cake
sent me this picture 
of 'my cake'.

After an initial 'loosing my mind'
I was able to calm myself down in my own head
after all
we were talking about
I  really didn't want to be
'that person'.

It was still several hours before guesst arrived
a full schedule of prep
for the big day
it was only 
cake to solve.

So once I regained my mind
I asked my husband
(in a much more civil voice)
 to buy two of these cakes
 a can of cream cheese frosting.

It ended up to be a very easy solve.
Much easier than flipping the whole downstairs
because of a possible rain.

We simply scraped off the top frosting decor
layered the two cakes together.

I realized I really loved how the sides looked together
so it was only a quick new coat of frosting for the top that needed to be done!

After that 
it was just adding in the styling I had planned.

First it was placing the cake on the white stone  stand
which had been layered with faux tropical leaves.
I then added the tropical faux flowers I had 
purchased to tie the cake into the shower theme.

Lastly I added the pair to bronze swans
I had found to top the cake.
Since swans mate for life
I just adore the symbolism.

And just like that problem solved.

So after all this cake decorating story 
 what are
 my top two entertaining tips 
you ask?

Well to me learning these two over the years 
has cut down my entertaining stress significantly
have allowed my for the most part
to enjoy my own events.

Entertaining Tip Number One

Remember Something Will Always Go Wrong.

Expect it.
Plan for it.
Always give yourself buffers of time to deal with it.

Even learn to embrace things going wrong.

I once was setting up for a lovely luncheon 
in the last moments of prep
my entire salt  container spilt out all over the table while I was doing a last minute fill.
Instead of freaking out to clean it up
I simply worked it into the table setting
it came out fantastic!

Now when things like the cake fiasco happen
I take a deep breath
 know I have planned for just such occurrences
with my savings account of extra time built into my timeline.

I just remind myself
I got this
the whole event is all about tip number two.

Entertaining Tip Number Two

My tip number two is really
 my very top tip for entertaining

Because no matter how beautiful and delicious
an  event  is 
it really all just boils down to 

How We Make Our Guests Feel.
That's it.

I take entertaining seriously
because to me it is an honor 
for people to take the time out of their life to come to my house.
We are all so busy
I see time as such a valuable resource.

I have been to beautiful parties 
with hosts so stressed
I just want out as quickly as possible.

So I remind myself
it's just as important to show up 
as a loving hostess
as it is
about how things look.

It took me year of entertaining to really 
'get this one'.
But I truly must say
like so many other things
this one is a gift I got with age.

So when a botched cake
happened to my 57 year old self
I was able to see clearly

It was just a cake.

Fixed cake or not
my guests would be much more influenced
by how 
I made them feel.

And I couldn't be at my best 
for my guests
if I spiraled into a mood
a cake.

So the next time you entertain
true entertaining
isn't about recreating Pinterest images.

True entertaining
is welcoming guests into our homes
with respect and an open heart.

True entertaining
is the honor that is exchanged 
guest and host
in moments of time shared.

And the memories made.

As always my friends

I wish you love and joy
as you style your life


  1. Oh I love this, I'd have had a meltdown, but the cake turned out amazing, well done!
    We have invited some 94 year olds that we don't really know to join mum at ours for Easter lunch, I'm setting my table right now, because I like to be organised but I'm now focusing on what you said about making guests feel wonderful, I want them to have a lovely day, they don't get out very often and I'm so grateful for the chance to brighten up their life.

    1. What a wonderful thing to do my dear! I just adore your heart!! I can only imagine how excited your guests must be for a visit to your home! I will be sending much hostessing love and hugs your way, in Scotland, this Easter!


    2. How lovely to focus on the guests and making them feel wonderful - particularly making it a very special day for your mother and her friends.
      Tamera, so agree that something always goes wrong, and usually at the last minute. We lived in a developing country for a couple of years on a diplomatic posting. Things were always going wrong there when we were entertaining, eg there'd be a power cut, or a water outage, or a colossal storm when you were planning on being outdoors. I learned too to always be prepared and have back-up after back-up. On one particular day I was saying goodbye to friends at the local swimming club and mentioned we were holding a cocktail party that evening. They repeated the usual "something will go wrong" (so true, the then German Ambassador once invited guests into the living room when one of them said "there's a cobra under the coffee table" - and there was). But I just replied that I had back-ups for everything, I hoped.
      While we were finishing getting dressed, about 30 minutes before the party, the phone started ringing. People all said the same "So sorry, we'd love to have come, but we just got the invitation now. It was slipped under our door". It turned out that the office messenger began hand delivering the invitations two weeks before but only got around to the top one third (the most important guests) that day and somehow forgot about the rest. He didn't tell anyone but realised late on the day and rushed around town delivering invitations about 30 minutes before it was due to start!
      This was the one thing I hadn't thought of or provided back-up for. Because the phones often didn't work, many people couldn't RSVP and they tended to be a bit casual about it anyway. We usually worked on the basis of 2/3 of invited guests would attend, but pretty much had food and drinks for the full number. Anyway all our VIPs came and they said it worked out well because they were able to discuss with each other and hubby all the important issues they needed to share/resolve. We just had heaps of food over - later distributed around the neighbourhood. But I learned an important lesson. Never assume. And don't freak out. Take it calmly and learn to see the humour in a situation - it's always a good story to tell at the next dinner or cocktail party you attend anyway. Everyone can empathise because somewhere along they've all had some kind of entertaining disaster or at least one that could have been. But of course it's much worse if it's an important family occasion. Your party looked wonderful, Tamera. Best wishes, Pammie

    3. Pammie thank you for sharing your intriguing entertaining story! It's the sharing of stories like you have … that make blogging a much richer experience! Your life during a diplomatic post sounds like what movies are made of! Thank you again for sharing my dear!


  2. Oh so true....I bet your husband sort of freaked out too when he knew Momma wasn't happy with the cake. I relate so much to everything you said. I love to entertain also, and I realize my guests have absolutely no idea if something is not according to my wishes. My husband is such a wonderful dear (looks like yours is too), and he has learned "the drill" when we entertain and helps with everything!

    1. Yes Catherine, you are so right! I felt bad for going off on the poor messenger, but luckily I pulled it together quickly! I am delighted to here your husband also helps with everything! I couldn't do what I do, without the help and support of my dear husband also! Thank you darling for stopping by!!


  3. I always remember Maya Angelou's quote that people will forget what you said, or what you did, but never forget how made them feel. Your party tip captures this perfectly Tamera. The cake incident would have bothered me too, but you saved the day in a fabulous way, and the cake looks brilliant. The swans are the perfect accessory. I have enjoyed following the progress of your daughter's lovely wedding shower. xx

    1. Oh Patricia! Thank you so munch for reminding me of this fabulous quote of Maya Angelou! This quote certainly does encapsulate just what I was trying to convey!

      Thank you my dear for following along these wedding steps to the big day darling! I always so appreciate your visits!


  4. Your tips are right on the money.

    I am often feeling haggard and frayed when in the middle of an event and have to relax and remind myself what it's all truly about.

    Brilliant post!


    1. Thank you ever so much my dear for your kind words and visit!! Yes, it's so easy to get frayed when entertaining! I also learned years ago to finish everything at least half hour early so I can have quiet time to sit and reflect and focus on my intentions for the event before hand … it certainly does help.

      Thanks again for stopping by darling!


  5. Marvelous and inspired fix! Kudos to a helpful and loving husband and to your ability to change direction with grace and humor. A great lesson for all of us. Thanks for sharing.

  6. Wow! That is thinking on your feet. And with a lovely result! So.... when are you going to write your book on entertaining? I'll buy it!

  7. Having been lucky enough to be 'entertained' at your lovely home, Tamera, I know how much thought and effort you put into making it special. Your cake turned out beautifully. You added just the right touches. You are so right, something will always go askew. Plan for it, breath and smile. A little splash of champagne at the beginning of the party doesn't hurt! ;)
    Fantastic post!

  8. LOVE this post!!!! Love how you fixed the cake x