Carrying out a Dinner Party Theme

Carrying out a Dinner Party Theme

 Last, but not least, part three of my interview by Bonjour Events for Dinner Party tips. We asked Cindy Zuccarino of Ciao Tavola how she tastefully carries out a dinner party theme for her clients.  Below is a great excerpt from her interview.  Theme dinners are fun.  It is important however, to keep the decorations tasteful.  You don’t want your guests to think they are at the local amusement park or at your child’s birthday party. Once I hosted a fundraiser dinner – the theme was “A Trip to Italy”.  The handmade invitations (your guests will appreciate the creativity and effort) were written in Italian, thanks to my Italian mother-in-law. I also included an English translation.  Upon arrival, my guests were treated to Prosecco and Italian-style appetizers.  After 45 minutes, I summoned them to the family room where I had an opera singer waiting to serenade them for the next 45 minutes.  The singer was a complete surprise! Dinner was served on my Deruta place settings…all the while, opera CD’s were playing softly in the background.  We finished the evening on the terrace enjoying my homemade Tiramisu and coffee. Your dinner party can be whatever you make of it; it just depends on how much energy you invest.  Remember…the idea is to have fun!

Essentials to a Beautiful Dinner Table

Essentials to a beautiful dinner table

Part two of my interview with Bonjour Events for Dinner Party tips. Part three, coming soon.

With the entertaining season around the corner we asked Cindy Zuccarino of Ciao Tavola for a crash course on creating a beautiful dinner table.  Known for her elegant, yet relaxed dinner parties, friends began asking Cindy for help planning dinners in their homes and thus launched her business Ciao Tavola, helping bay area hostesses create unique dinner parties. Below are her top five tips for creating an attractive dinner table.
1) A must for a beautiful table is unscented candles.  Try to use different sizes and heights using odd number quantities.  Dim the overhead lights – you want to see what’s on your plate, not your neighbor’s facial blemishes.

2) Fresh flowers, without a doubt will soften any table…keep strong scented flowers to a minimum.  Using greenery such as branches, bay leaves or pine (watch the sap!) or vines gives the table a cozy, rustic look.

3) Name cards are a good idea.  Be creative!  If you are giving parting gifts, tie a name card around them and place on top of the plates.  You can also use a photo (small, of course) of each guest in a frame and place at each seat – the frame can be the parting gift, too.

4) I like to remember to use the rule “less is more” and give your guests personal space at the table.

5) Try to stick to three colors; one dominant and two complimentary.

Thank you Cindy. Watch for a few more tips from Cindy this week.

Preparing for a Dinner Party

Preparing for a Dinner Party

In 2008, I was interviewed by Bonjour Events for Dinner Party tips. Here is part one. Two and three, coming soon.

Prepping for a dinner party is never an easy task. We asked dinner hostess Cindy Zuccarino of Ciao Tavola: What are five things every hostess can do to feel more prepared for her next dinner party?

*  When creating your guest list, consider who you are inviting…make sure there are not underlying problems.  If you know there will be a couple/people who do not know the other guests, think ahead for a common thread.  It is up to the hostess to make sure everyone feels included.

*  Try to come up with a general menu at least a week ahead of time.

*  Learn from your mistakes!  If something did not work before (food, people, conversation), do not do it again.

*  Create a general “to do” list.  Try to think of everything, especially things that don’t have to do with the food like reserving the babysitter, taking the dogs to the kennel, etc.

*  Make a mental note of a rough time-table for the evening…how long will cocktails take, at what time should the guests be seated, etc.

And most importantly, be flexible, relax, and always have a good sense of humor!


You Look Mahvelous!

Know and embrace your body’s shape and you will save a considerable amount of time and money on clothes. Now ladies, I’m talking about the body you’re schlepping around now – not the one you occupied 20 years ago. Your body is beautiful, regardless of what stage of life you may find yourself…at least, that’s what I say when I exit the shower. It works – or could it be because I haven’t yet put in my contacts?

Believe me, I have morphed over time, too. My late teens to 30, I was lucky enough to have a nice figure. Then came the kids. Don’t get me wrong – I was happy and blessed to have birthed 2 healthy babes, but what the heck happened to my innards? Gravity was not my friend. I couldn’t put things back into place, no matter how many Zumba, yoga, Pilates class memberships I bought (notice I wrote “memberships I bought” and not classes I attended?).

I was guilty of making shopping errors. There are clothes hanging in my closet with the tags still on them. My “education” began years ago when I started working as a wardrobe consultant. The classes and training opened my eyes to a whole new way of seeing how clothes should fit. Also, being in a studio with a bunch of women hell-bent on dressing well is a learning experience on its own.

Now I’m confident and relaxed when I shop. I am also less critical of myself. Gone are the days when I would try to squeeze into something that was not complimentary to my figure. No matter how hard I try to channel my inner Sofia Vergara, reality and dressing room mirrors will smack me back to my true self. Keep things in perspective, too – when you see that an outfit looks good on the 18 year old sales girl, that doesn’t necessarily mean it will look good on you.

Take a look at the chart and find which category best describes your figure and become familiar with the types of clothes that will compliment your silhouette. Me? I’m short, full bust and short-waisted. How about you? When you look mahvelous, you feel mahvelous!