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Always be prepared for the unexpected guest. Whether it is a friend stopping by after work or neighbors gathering on the front porch for an impromptu drink, here are a few tips so you are always party ready.

Whether you are entertaining overnight guests or friends just dropping by, the powder room is the one area all will ask to visit. Have you taken inventory of this part of your home lately? Make your bathroom boutique beautiful by implementing our top points below. 

May can be a crazy month with the chaos of end of school activities, home projects, and travel plans. But we need to hit pause for one day to celebrate the special mom in our life. With hearts of gold and putting others before themselves, we have gathered a list of ideas to help you honor the special lady in your life.

A few years back my husband and I attended a play that was an adaptation of the classical movie Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, which originally starred Sidney Poitier, Katharine Hepburn, and Spencer Tracy. It was a beautifully written, and quite comical, story based on the difficulties families faced in the 1960s with inter-racial marriage. The scene that stood out the most to me was when the son was trying to bring both families together for dinner. In the last line of the last act, he turns to his father and says, “Dad, we need you at the table.” With that, the father joined the others, and the audience was left with the understanding that healing had begun.

Giving a party requires a great deal of work. If you have been fortunate enough to be included in a festive soiree, it is nice to arrive with a gift for the hostess. The typical present will cost anywhere from $15-$100. What you spend will be determined by your relationship and the type of event. Is it a formal dinner? A backyard BBQ? Also, when possible, know the likes and dislikes of your hostess. If she is allergic to flowers, you probably will not arrive with a bouquet in hand.

1. Choose the table. Will you use a round that seats four or a rectangle that seats twelve? This decision will determine your centerpiece.

Warmer weather will be arriving soon, and I am seeing more of our four-legged members making an appearance in the dog parks and on walking trails. With pets taking more prominent roles in our lives, I thought it would be good to brush up on basic dog etiquette and ownership responsibilities.

Meeting friends for dinner after work, grabbing coffee with your girlfriend or just ordering pizza on a Friday night with neighbors. We all have a deep desire to be connected in a world that often forgets the importance of relationships. Many of us have the desire to entertain, but we let our circumstances keep us from extending hospitality. Often it revolves around our lack of confidence in our ability to host events. I get this!

A toast may be offered in any setting and made to an individual or a group. Increase your confidence at your next social gathering by learning the ins and outs of this ancient tradition.

A perfect entertaining year for me would be hosting a different themed party each month! Will I do that? No. Will I dream about it? Yes! If I cannot have a party every 4 weeks, I can at least help my Lisa Lou family with ideas so hopefully a few of you can carry the torch of hospitality for the rest of us.

  • Writer's pictureLisa Lou

Chocolate Nutella Cupcakes

This recipe comes courtesy of Chefs Penny and Eli Martinez.

A rich and decedent treat, these chocolate Nutella cupcakes are the perfect unique dessert recipe. The icing is a fluffy and delicious Swiss meringue buttercream. And the addition of chocolate chips on top of the icing adds a fun detail and crunch to the otherwise pillowy cake. This is a dessert you do not want to miss!

Makes 30 mini cupcakes

Preparation Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes + at least 30 minutes to cool

Chocolate Nutella Cupcakes


*3 1/2 cups flour

*2 cups sugar *3/4 cups good cocoa powder *2 teaspoons baking soda *1 teaspoon baking powder *1 teaspoon kosher salt *1 cup buttermilk, shaken *1/2 cup vegetable oil *2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature

*1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract *1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee (strong)


*Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. *Put liners in mini cupcake pan. *Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and mix on low speed until combined. *In another bowl, combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla. *With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry. *With mixer still on low, add the coffee and stir just to combine, scraping the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula. *Pour the batter into cupcake liners until they are 70% full with batter and bake for 12-15 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean. *Cool in the pans for 30 minutes, then turn them out onto a cooling rack and cool completely.

Nutella Swiss Meringue Buttercream


*5 large egg whites *1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar *Pinch of salt *1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons, room temperature

*4 1/2 teaspoons Nutella


*Combine egg whites, sugar, and salt in the heatproof bowl of a standing mixer set over a pan of simmering water. Whisk constantly by hand until mixture is warm to the touch and sugar has dissolved (the mixture should feel completely smooth when rubbed between your fingertips). *Attach the bowl to the mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Starting on low and gradually increasing to medium-high speed, whisk until stiff (but not dry) peaks form. Continue mixing until the mixture is fluffy and glossy, and completely cool (test by touching the bottom of the bowl), about 10 minutes. *With mixer on medium-low speed, add the butter, a few tablespoons at a time, mixing well after each addition. Once all butter has been added, whisk in Nutella. Switch to the paddle attachment and continue beating on low speed until all air bubbles are eliminated, about 2 minutes. *Pipe on to cupcakes or use a spoon to decorate.

PDF of Cupcakes:

Chocolate Nutella Cupcakes
Download PDF • 3.28MB

PDF of Frosting:

Nutella Swiss Meringue Buttercream
Download PDF • 3.28MB

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