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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 pictureCecelia Zook

Peppermint Bark Taste Test

Happy Foodie Friday! These recipes come courtesy of Penny and Eleazar Martinez.

Each of our Taste Test Reviews comes with the original recipe and the tester's notes/changes listed with the ingredient list in blue. We hope you enjoy!

Peppermint bark is my husband’s favorite Christmas time treat, so he was elated when I made it! It’s a very simple and fun dessert to make for the holidays. There’s a taste of Christmas in every bite!

Peppermint Bark
Download PDF • 1.67MB

Makes 12 Servings

Time: 3.5 hours, including time to harden

Cost: $12


*8 ounces dark chocolate, chopped

*8 ounces premium white chocolate, chopped

*1 teaspoon shortening

*1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract

*1/3 cup crushed candy cane pieces


*Line an 8x8 baking pan with wax paper. Set aside.

*Place chopped dark chocolate in a microwave safe bowl. Heat for 30 seconds. Remove from microwave and stir well. Return to microwave and heat on 15-second increments (stirring well between each) until chocolate is completely melted.

*Spread melted dark chocolate evenly into the bottom of your prepared baking pan. Set aside (do not refrigerate) and prepare your white chocolate layer.

*Place your chopped white chocolate in a microwave safe bowl. Heat for 30 seconds. Remove from microwave and stir well. Return to microwave and heat in 15-second increments (stirring well between each) until white chocolate is completely melted.

*Once white chocolate is melted, place teaspoon of shortening in a small microwave-safe dish and heat until melted (this will only take a few seconds).

*Add peppermint extract to shortening and stir well.

*Add peppermint/shortening mixture to white chocolate and stir well.

*Add 1/4 cup of crushed candy canes to the white chocolate and gently fold in until evenly distributed (leaving the remaining candy cane pieces for the topping).

*Spread white chocolate evenly over dark chocolate layer.

*Immediately sprinkle white chocolate layer with remaining candy cane pieces.

*Allow peppermint bark to harden completely at room temperature before cutting, then break into pieces. Hardening will take several hours at room temperature.

*Place on a tray and enjoy!

Recipe and Taste Tester - Cecelia Zook

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