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Myth 1: The Hostess Never Has Fun at Her Own Party
Why throw a party if you're not going to enjoy it? That's the attitude of Rita Konig, the author of Rita's Culinary Trickery: How to Get Dinner on the Table Even If You Can't Cook. England's low-maintenance entertaining expert says rule number one is to avoid obsessing over pleasing every individual guest.

It's your party: play the music you love, serve what you like to eat, keep it simple, and lead by example. "Just remember to have a drink, smile, and dance," she says. "That's about all you need to do." Konig also suggests stirring things up by inviting a few people you don't know very well but whom you think will have a good time, which keeps things interesting for all.

If you're going for hostess of the year, make inexpensive but thoughtful goodie bags. For a Saturday night gathering, Konig picks up the first run of the Sunday papers and hands them out with breakfast treats (such as scones) to departing guests. And for those who are going to be nervous about running the show no matter how prepared they are, Konig suggests teaming up to throw the party with a pal. That way you share the responsibility, the expenses, and the rockin' good time. 

Charlotte Druckman