Woman at table smiling
Successful hosts attract all types for one simple reason: They know how to make every single guest feel like a rock star. Make your home a reliable address for a good time, whether the table's set for two or 20.
While money and elegance are nice, the crucial ingredients for any host are enthusiasm and confidence. The trick is to leave an imprint—personalizing the way you entertain. Slip awkward formality a mickey and go straight to the living out loud part.

Human interaction transforms a guest list into the magic formula for fun, so give your guests the tools and toys to ignite it!

Create opportunities for guests to mix, mingle and flirt.
Here are a few ideas to give your guests a reason to interact.

Tie resolution tags around wine and champagne glass stems and watch your crowd loosen up as they compare and contrast. Here are a few examples to get you started, but be sure to leave a few blank cards and pens lying around so they can fill in their own resolutions as they think them up!

  • I resolve to use more creative passwords.
  • I resolve to think outside my demographic.
  • I resolve to learn cuss words in different languages.
  • I resolve to live each day as if it were my birthday (or someone else's).
  • I resolve to dance at parties—and if I suck, get lessons.
Remember place cards? This once-stuffy table accessory is transformed when featuring soft or spicy words for starting conversations. Here are a few ideas:

  • Make a toast using the word "slippery."
  • Tell a joke to the person on your left.
  • Demonstrate your hidden talent (we know you have one!).
  • Drink only using your left hand.
For party planning experts, any excuse will do.

Sure the biggies (weddings, birthdays, holidays) might require a full-court press, but making a ta-da! out of nada, is where a great host struts her stuff.

  • Snag grandma's secret tamale recipe for an instant ¡Viva la Fiesta! For an adult spin, add a spicy piñata filled with naughty toys.
  • Got a great deal on a bucket of apples at the warehouse club? Apple night at your place! Think pie-tasting and bobbing for apples. How about a flirty game of passing apples chin-to-chin or even maybe mouth-to-mouth? Oh yes.
  • American Idol night calls for karaoke exorcisms of songs that you still can't get out of your head. As of this writing, it's Ke$ha's "TiK ToK" ("pedicures on our toes, toes, tryin' on all our clothes, clothes"). Brushing your teeth with Jack (Ke$ha strikes again!) is optional, but not advised! Better to just serve all-American foods like burgers and milkshakes (go ahead and spike the shakes if you are really feeling it).
For more intimate affairs, jump on any opportunity for a party of two.

  • Are the kids are crashing at friends' houses tonight? Then, how about a slumber party for two? Even if you're exhausted, don't fight the mellow—just chill by the fireplace. Read magazines and books together, sip wine and snack on fruits, vegetables and hummus. Don't sweat a full-on, sit-down meal!

  • If you are channeling the declutter bug, how about a garage sale? It may not sound all that romantic at first, but happiness is a clean slate. He'll have space to create his "man cave," and you'll free your mind with less junk staring back at you. Drag out the lawn chairs, the coffee and bagels, and wait for the early-bird bargain-hunting army to remove your trash for cash.
The secret to hosting is not in the food you serve, it's the conversations and smiles you inspire. So own your "specialty," whatever it may be—martinis, crab cakes, lasagna, chicken and dumplings, chocolate cake—and order in or pick up the rest from a place with just as much confidence in their specialty as you have in yours!


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