Confessions: I Was a Reluctant Entertainer
:: Apron, Tea Towel & Book Giveaway!

Confessions: I Was a Reluctant Entertainer <br>:: Apron, Tea Towel & Book Giveaway!

Once upon a time, I was definitely a reluctant entertainer. I wasn’t reluctant about having people over, though, I was reluctant to have them over for dinner. I didn’t know how to cook anything that resembled what I thought was a “guest worthy dinner.”  I was intimidated by friends who made delicious four course sit down dinners, always had their houses clean, and would never put the salad plate where the bread plate was supposed to go. It was just all too much for me.

Confessions: I Was a Reluctant Entertainer <br>:: Apron, Tea Towel & Book Giveaway!

I knew I’d never measure up to my own expectations of what I thought “having guests for dinner” meant. In order to hide my lack of confidence — and quite honestly to hide my lack of desire to gain gourmet cooking skills, I would throw Make Your Own Pizza parties, Ice Cream Sundae parties, and Taco Salad bars. Cause I am fancy like that.

If it was easy to make and preferably if people had to assemble it themselves, I was safe. I mean, if your ice cream sundae tasted awful it was your own fault. Right? Right. BRILLIANT I tell ya!

Looking back, I now realize there should have been no shame in any of my attempts at entertaining. At the time I felt I was an epic fail as a hostess, even though in hindsight I was just trying to find a way to have people over that was manageable for me and allowed me to let go of unrealistic expectations (and let’s be honest here, I wanted to be able to spend more time decorating than I spent cooking! Soooo true, I cannot make this stuff up. )Confessions: I Was a Reluctant Entertainer <br>:: Apron, Tea Towel & Book Giveaway!

Little did I know my desire to focus on authenticity over perfection in entertaining and decorating, {and my passion for creating ambience in decorating over the task of preparing a gourmet meal in a kitchen}, would someday lead to this blog The Inspired Room. Clearly I would never be writing a cooking blog. AND The Inspired Room would lead me to some of my best friends in the whole wide web world, Sandy and Nester, and the three of us would write a book about ourselves called The Reluctant Entertainer.

OK, that last part is a lie.

Sandy is the only one who wrote the book. But you knew that.

I just feel pretty special to see my name on the back, even though I knew it was going to be there. And this weekend was the first time I had actually seen it in real life!!

Confessions: I Was a Reluctant Entertainer <br>:: Apron, Tea Towel & Book Giveaway!

I took this picture at night holding it up to my camera. And somehow a black smudge got on the book and I didn’t even notice until just now.

I might have written 20 bazillion blog posts over the years but I have never written a book. So it might be a small thing to celebrate, but I am SO EXCITED to have my name on a book! ESPECIALLY on the back of THIS ONE, right next to my pal Nester. Nester and I completely and wholeheartedly believe in the message Sandy shares:

Entertaining is not about perfection, it is about connection.



Confessions: I Was a Reluctant Entertainer <br>:: Apron, Tea Towel & Book Giveaway!

Confessions: I Was a Reluctant Entertainer <br>:: Apron, Tea Towel & Book Giveaway!

Giveaway: Book, Apron & Tea Towel

TWO lucky winners.

To celebrate my dear friend Sandy’s new book, today I am giving away a copy of The Reluctant Entertainer to TWO lucky winners and if that is not so amazing by itself, each winner will ALSO receive a beautiful demi pink sorbet apron and tea towel (pictured above) from The Hip Hostess! SOOO adorable, you will totally want to have a party just to wear this apron and set out your tea towel. And with your handy dandy guide from Sandy on how to make entertaining doable, you’ll be all set to invite people over tomorrow night!

If you want to buy a copy of Sandy’s book for yourself or for a gift, you can find it here in my amazon store! This book is truly amazing and inspiring, you really will love it! I promise!

To enter this giveaway, leave a comment here about your most embarrassing entertaining story or your biggest reluctance in having people over. Then go let your friends know about the giveaway on Facebook, Twitter and your blog and come back to let me know where you posted about this and you’ll get extra entries!

Giveaway is now closed!

Thanks for entering!
Confessions: I Was a Reluctant Entertainer <br>:: Apron, Tea Towel & Book Giveaway!

Comments

  1. Loribeth says:

    My most embarrassing entertaining story is about a New Year’s Eve party that didn’t happen. I had gone all out and made the house look beautiful, and I had lots of food. I even created a special drink. No one showed up. It turns out no one got invited. :(

  2. Carolyn Maves says:

    I would like to be entered in your contest for the RE book. Thanks!

    My most embarrassing hostess story, I invited a family (of six) over for dessert, so it was a later hour, like 7:00. If I had invited them for dinner it would have been 5:30 or 6:00. Anyway, they came in looking for supper, everyone hungry, moment of panic for me to say the least. I made grilled cheese sandwiches and don’t remember what else. I do know I had a special dessert. :)

  3. Miss Clair says:

    Not long after we were married, I had my husband’s family over for his birthday, cousins and all. It was the first time I made a birthday cake and I used lowfat margarine instead of butter for the icing. I had to put the cake in the freezer to try to keep the icing from dripping off!!! What a mess, thankfully it tasted ok!! I don’t skimp on calories anymore when baking desserts:)

  4. My biggest fear is usually that the house will not be clean enough. I am not (ahem) obsessive about cleaning, I like a clean house but I lead a busy life and sometimes the dust bunnies procreate when I’m not looking. When I do have a party it’s always a good one and if anyone notices dust they are kind enough not to draw in it:>)

  5. I just tweeted the give away!

  6. Sarah T says:

    I would love to entertain more but my house is soooo small. It feels cramped when there are more than 4 adults around at a time, which makes entertaining difficult :(

  7. Arielle says:

    I actually love entertaining – in theory! The worst moment for me was cooking for my boyfriend a couple of years ago at my parent’s house. I was vegan and tried to make a potato gratin with rice milk – no one told me that’s impossible! We ended up with a sort of baked potato soup that tasted entirely of rice. Ever eat a potato that tasted like rice? It makes one wonder if one’s been poisoned and/or drugged.

    Now I make it with cream, and it’s heaven. :D

  8. When we were first married, our house was tiny and getting ready for company meant even drawers had to be cleaned out to make everything fit. We invited a couple to dinner and I went to work, frantically cleaning every inch. My daughter bumped her head and I tried to console her. She kept asking “Play with me, please?” I stopped cleaning, pulled her onto my lap and read to her. The couple stayed less than two hours. The next day I sat down at the dining table and began to laugh. A huge cobweb was dangling from the ceiling. The very tidy wife had to have seen it while eating dinner. My daughter is now an English teacher and we both love to entertain, dust bunnies and all!

  9. Hi Melissa! Sandy’s book sounds great – that apron is so cute too! I’m agree with Kathleen {above} I am a neat freak to and I am always worried about how clean my house is & cleaning up afterwards. I always want everything to be perfect!

  10. I received Sandy’s book in the mail a week ago. I had it read in two days!! I just echo everything you said about the book! It is so real and encouraging about opening up our homes and our lives to others!

  11. My reluctance? Having two littles at my feet while trying to keep the house presentable (with random 2 & 5 year old toys strewn about) and having those same two helpers in the kitchen while preparing a meal. Will I ever get it done in time??? My other hangup is that I always want my house to be perfect. Must.let.all.of.that.go! I’d love to win this fabulous giveaway so I can start entertaining more with confidence.

  12. My worst entertaining experience occurred when I was a young bride. I made a meal for my husband’s family that required fresh herbs, but I didn’t have fresh so I substituted with equal amounts of dried herbs, not thinking about how the dried herbs were concentrated. The dish was totally inedible and we had to throw the whole thing down the drain and order pizza! It’s taken me many years to overcome the reputation of being the worst cook in the family!! But hey, at least my tablescape looked good!
    Melissa, thank you for this opportunity to win Sandy’s book. I’m dying to get my hands on a copy of it!!

  13. My house is not very big and there is only seating for 4, maybe 5 adults at the table. All of our friends have kids (including us) so it feels really cramped when we have folks over. I would love to win this book – I have been reading her website for a while trying to convince myself that I CAN entertain!

  14. I know part of being a homemaker is hosting friends and family but it just scares me….cuz I am not perfect…oh, did you know that? I love this post cuz it reminds me of me. I am so going to get this book. I have been waiting for it since I heard about it at the “A Woman Inspired” conference. So glad you got to be in it!!! Have a blessed day!

  15. Michelle C. says:

    I am fascinated by people who love to cook, I too would prefer to make the house pretty, or the table center piece, than a tasty meal. I view cooking as a chore, and fear that comes out in the meals I prepare for my guests. I think I need to learn to ENJOY the process of cooking more.

  16. I was a brand new mum, baby just 4 weeks old, when my husband decided to entertain business clients at home. In order to make the evening a simple as possible I thought I would make Nasi Goreng. I prepped most of the ingredients in advance….clever me. However when it came to serving the meal, through my fog of tiredness I could not understand why the paella looked so bland and my guests looked so startled at what they were being served.
    Long story short, 2 days later I found half of the missing ingredients that should have been in the nasi goring, dried out in the warming draw.
    I laughed and laughed and laughed……….

  17. My reluctance in having others over is usually what to serve for the food. I usually end up inviting others over anyways and then worrying about the food an hour or two before they come. I’m crazy like that. I have friends coming for lunch TODAY and have absolutely no idea what I’m going to serve. Makes me a wreck for a little bit, but it’s always worked out!

  18. I spent so much time focusing on perfection that I never enjoyed my guests. Most of the time I stayed in a panic or frenzy never enjoying the time together, because I was trying to keep everything perfect. I have come a long way, but still have to make the effort not to want constant perfection, but desire the company of friends more. Jackie

  19. I was so excited to make my first cobbler for guests. Luckily, I bought enough to make two, because… I wrote down the recipe wrong! I wrote down 1 tbsp of salt instead of 1/8 tsp of salt! It was like a salt lick! My poor husband ate a few bites and said “… but it looks so good!” I looked up the recipe again and realized my mistake before making the second one! I can never hear the end of that one though! I can’t wait to get this book! Looks adorable!!

  20. hmmmm…there are so many! Like the time I tried to make club pizza as an appetizer. I was 3 months postpartum, My hair was falling out like crazy and sitting down to enjoy a snack with my friends…they found my HAIR in their food. So embarrassing. There are many more that’s just the one that I thought of first. I am definitely the reluctant entertainer.

  21. I hosted my first ever Thanksgiving dinner, and cooked the turkey in a bag. Since I had two guy friends over helping to do prep work, I asked them to move the turkey from the bag to the platter, but apparently they didnt realize how hot it was. They dropped the turkey, and it FLEW across the room. I was mortified to serve Thanksgiving dinner sans turkey, but everyone else had a good laugh, and it’s come to be one of my favorite stories.

  22. Kristine says:

    I’ve always been an uptight hostess. My mother was from the ‘hat and glove’ generation and always hosted parties to perfection. I picked up many of her skills but it was never enjoyable for me to have people over and I sweated the many details, always scurrying around during the party. It’s part of my duties as a military spouse to entertain and I’ve done so many times, sometimes willingly and sometimes not so willingly. It wasn’t until I hit 40 and my husband became senior enough that I stopped worrying about entertaining to impress and began to enjoy the process and the company. Getting older can be liberating but unfortunately, with age, I no longer have the cute figure your model does so I’ll be sportin’ that apron with a dress with sleeves : )

  23. I could come up with a million excuses, but the one that seems to hit me in the eyes right now…I hate my kitchen and I don’t want anyone to see it. Perhaps I should be throwing outdoor dinner parties!

  24. Marilyn says:

    Melissa–I thought I was reading about myself when I read that you did “make-it-yourself” parties and cared more about decorating than the food. It is so great to know there are others like me! My best “I don’t have to cook” party was a chili cook-off. Every one had to bring a pot of their best chili and we had a contest. My house looked like a true western saloon and all the contest papers were adorable. And my husband made our chili entry! I think I need to buy this book if I don’t win a copy.

  25. I’ve had several “worsts” but I keep entertaining anyway, because I love to nourish people on every level. One of those moments was when I had a dinner group of 12. After I served the dessert and the group began eating it, I noticed everyone seemed awkwardly quiet. When I took a bite, I realized why: my new dessert recipe tasted just like minty toothpaste squeezed on a chocolate cookie base . . . When I said so and asked if everyone brought their toothbrushes, the table exploded in relieved laughter; we all pushed our desserts aside, and had a bag of Oreos instead. Delicious!

  26. Annette Taylor says:

    My reluctance to entertain is I worry about my house not being clean enough, or big enough!! I don’t know why I worry about these things because in the end it all works out great!! I guess I don’t have enough confidence.
    Love following along with your blog. Hope you have a blessed day:)

  27. My biggest “reluctance”? I just never know what I should cook! Should it be shophisticated? should I keep it simple & cook something I regularly cook for our everyday meals?
    So yes, I’m a reluctant entertainer… and so, that book is for me! ;-)
    Thanks for the chance!
    linedupuy(at)hotmail(dot)fr

  28. It’s funny but I have the cooking thing down but for me the hardest part of entertaining is getting the house tidied up. I love it when it is done mind you but it takes a fair effort.

  29. I would love to entertain, but the layout on our first floor is terrible. There is no room.

  30. I wish I could pinpoint my reluctance, I must be suppressing it–because I know it is there or I would invite more guests! I don’t fear what to cook or having the house presentable. I actually think I fear the mess it makes, which is horrible because every time we have guests for a meal the blessing FAR out weights the mess.

  31. I always worry that the food just won’t turn out just right. You know how you can make something a hundred times, then you make it for guests and it just doesn’t work. And time management is always an issue. You want entertaining to look effortless, but of course it’s not. But I’ve learned to be fearless and just go for it. The best part is just being with people you care about!

  32. Melissa, I’m a pastor’s wife too and I think the thing I’ve been most reluctant about is the state of my house. Whether or not it’s clean. Whether or not it meets the expectations of those coming to visit. Whether or not it’s as beautiful as the next girl’s. Most times I can overcome the reluctance, but then sometimes I’m just plain nervous. (And I’d SO love to have a copy of this book!)

  33. Kelley L. says:

    My biggest hang up about having people over, is getting my house clean. I work full time and have 4 kids, so my house is NEVER clean.

  34. Jamie Sheppard says:

    I am slowly getting better at hosting but the key is planning. One time I cooked Thanksgiving dinner for several friends in college while on study abroad. I wanted to show them wha ta real Thanksgiving was like. I dropped a pie face down on the floor, my french roommate thought lemon meringue pie should be hot and microwaved it, and then the turkey didn’t quite fit in our tiny overseas oven so I had to bend the sides of the oven to make it fit. Turkey didn’t quite fully cook so we microwaved everyones portions to ensure it was done. It was a disaster but everyone had a great time. 10 years later it is still the best Thanksgiving I have ever had.

  35. I was making dinner for a friend/coworker of my husband’s that had graciously volunteered his time to help us lay our hardwood floors. I made a HUGE (and expensive) spread of food. I decided when I made all the dishes to change it up a little, and use seasoning salt instead of regular salt. Well, I didn’t know that I needed to use MUCH LESS of the seasoning salt. The entire meal was HORRIBLE! Even my husband, who is a salt-aholic, couldn’t eat it.

    I was so embarrassed! It has taken me THREE years to get brave enough to cook for anyone else again!

  36. Oh my goodness, it has to be the time I cooked ribs for friends when we were first married. I had no idea how to cook ribs and I should never have attempted it because we had blackened, charred, shoe-leather ribs for dinner that night. They were AWFUL, and I was so embarrassed.

    Let’s just say I’ve come a long way in 25 years! :)

  37. Once, only once, mind you, we had a priest over for dinner. I served tacos because I knew it was something the kids would eat without complaining, and I’m sure they get lots of fancy dinners. To simplify, I prepared all the tacos and put them in a basket for serving. Father took his, and passed it to my son who took his and dropped the whole basket on the floor!

    The stain is still on the floor and I dread having people over, though I really want to entertain!

  38. My biggest hesitation when it comes to having people over is having time to get things set up and the house clean. I’m not a messy housekeeper, but I do have a very furry dog that can take the house from spotless to a pigpen in a matter of hours. So with all the cooking that I inevitably want to do to have people come over there’s precious little time to dash through the house fluffing pillows and clearing away the dog hair tumbleweeds! I’m probably the only one who notices, but still!

  39. Leah Peck says:

    I think my biggest hangup with entertaining is that my house is never clean enough. I live with a messy man, dontcha know?

  40. Most embarrassing entertainment faux pas: Christmas, 19-ninety-something. Eggnog. In a carton. Went to pour it into a lovely bowl for serving. In front of the whole family. The carton was bloated and the eggnog was lumpy – and I didn’t know it wasn’t supposed to be that way. Siblings are still laughing at me. Glad no one else was there!

  41. Diane Gill says:

    My husband and I were invited to an acquaitance home for dinner. She was a gourmet cook and a perfectionist. I had made strawberry ice cream for dessert and my husband had raved about how great it was. It was my mother’s receipe, but I had failed to cut and smash the strawberries. We had wonderful vanilla ice cream with rock solid strawberries! The look on that woman’s face was priceless and I wanted to hide behind a rock. I have been making ice cream now for 30 years and it is always vanilla. Somehow this story is repeated to family and friends and I just smile and said it was a great learning experience.

  42. My most embarrassing moment was Thanksgiving about 30 years ago. I was fairly new at hosting, cooking for large numbers etc. We were having my family for Thanksgiving dinner. It was my first experience cooking a turkey. I took the bird out of the oven and started carving. I did not know there would be a sack of turkey parts under the flap at the neck! After we all had a good laugh, my mother talked me through the finer points of turkey baking. The book sounds great!

  43. I can’t wait to entertain, we just moved from a small apartment to a large house – all I need to do is get things together, unpack, find the pots & pans & dishes, and send out the invites. Oh yeah and train two outta control labs! :)

  44. …well my goodness…i am just so thankful for “the inspired room”…because i never ever would have looked at the “inspired meal”…and then i would have missed out on so much…there is not a thing in this world any of you should be reluctant about…you make me smile everyday…

  45. When we first moved into our new house, we wanted to have everyone over family and friends. It coincided with our son’s blessing celebration. My mom and I wanted to make her infamous blackberry cobbler for one of the desserts. We could not wait until it cooled down to take that first wonderful bite. Mom took the first bite and made an awful face and said. “don’t eat it.” Of course, we asked why and she said she must have grabbed the salt instead of the sugar when making the cobbler. I have a set of white canisters and a salt box. She put in a cup of salt instead of sugar. Oh, well, we did have several other wonderful dishes and desserts and no one worried much over it except mom who was disappointed to waste such wonderful blackberries.

  46. ps..allow me to graciously take my name out of the wonderful giveaway…i am too old to be reluctant about anything…

  47. Both of my wonderful children are autistic, and although our friends and family love them and don’t care that their behavior is inappropriate at times, I’m always worried that a meltdown, or stripping of clothes, or diaper removal may occur just as we’re sitting down to eat. Between those possibilities and my perfectionist tendencies (causing a general distaste of the clutter in my house) I am a reluctant entertainer who dreams of hosting the perfect dinner party.

  48. My husband & I grocery shopped prior to having friends over for a cookout. When home he put the over flow in our basement refrigerator. The day of the party he fired up the grill, I went down to get the steaks and discovered he had put them in the freezer. I had to go out & buy more steaks. All our guests out a good laugh.

  49. I’m not sure if I can (or want to) handle preparing food for others to eat and enjoy when it’ll be the only thing to eat! What if they don’t like it or someone has an allergy or just thinking about worse-case scenarios even before it all happens.

  50. I love entertaining, but am always worrying until the last minute about what couple things I still need to get down. In reality, I could let quite a few of those things go undone and the guests would never notice. My worst entertaining story is when we had a get together with some cousins of mine – about 25 at the time. Our wonderful dog decided she needed to go #2 in the living room while we were all congregated there and she could not wait until she was outside. I was completely embarassed and ready to get rid of the dog (she is still here). Thanks for the chance at a great giveaway!!!

  51. Congratulations and it looks like a great book…and great giveaway. I am no cook, that is for sure, though do love having people over, pot luck style! Janell

  52. Quite frankly, I’ve been so caught up in the impress race for so much of the last couple of years that I’ve not done nearly as much entertaining as I’d like. And that means I don’t have too many crazy stories. I think the thing that gets in the way is my perceived lack of space – I don’t want people to feel uncomfortable or cramped. I did host a small pre-Thanksgiving dinner last year. We didn’t get a turkey with the automatic timer that pops up, and it ended up pretty undercooked. Our guests had to wait around for the bird to finish and ended up eating a pretty cold dinner. But we had fun nonetheless and I suppose that’s the whole point!

  53. Seven words: hair in the spinach and gruyere bake. Thankfully I was serving family and they were very forgiving.

  54. My biggest hang up is very similar to yours- I don’t feel like I can make anything worty of guests for dinner. Plus, it seems like I never make anything the same way twice- which can be tricky when other people- besides an adoring husband- are eating them! Some times I worry other people won’t think our house is clean enough…even if I clean it right before they walk through the door. This book may help me to get over these issues. :-)

  55. I’m a bit reluctant because our house is really small and there isn’t enough seating a lot of times!

  56. Jennifer says:

    I would have to say that I am reluctant to entertain as my house is never in perfection mode all at one time! Either the inside of the house is clean and the windows are dirty or vice versa.

  57. Biggest reluctance in entertaining? Knowing the guests will leave and I’ll have a heck of a mess to put away. It feels like so much effort goes in, and then it’s over in an hour or two. sigh..

  58. I’ve always been reluctant to entertain because I have 2 dogs and a cat. I envision someone pulling a pet hair out of their food. This doesn’t normally happen around here, but i still worry about it.

  59. Mary Jenkins says:

    I once made a stunning chocolate cake for the grand finale of a dinner party. It had velvety icing and frosted violets. It was so pretty no one wanted to cut it. And then we couldn’t cut it. We tried, but no knife could penetrate it. The cake was solid rock. Everyone had a goodlaugh at my expense, and I had a good cry.
    quitecontrary1977@hotmail.com

  60. I really enjoy having folks over, and I know that once I get the house tidied and the food made it’s time to have fun. My reluctance comes in having guests while my husband is here. He gets nervous and stressed over the housecleaning and tends to suck the fun right out of it. It almost makes me NOT want to have company, just because the getting ready part ends up so stressful. My way around this is to have company over while my husband is away on business. This works best for me. If I won this book, I’d give it to him, maybe it would help him relax and enjoy the people. That is after all, the point of having people over!

  61. Biggest Reluctance= our tiny kitchen table

  62. I’m not sure why I’m so reluctant. I’m Italian. It should come naturally to me. It does for my mom and sister. Me? Not so much. I always fear serving others. I will delegate the cooking to the grill a lot so that it will be his fault if it goes badly. Which it has. Dry chicken, undercooked burgers. I have to branch out!

  63. Biggest reluctance = wanting perfection.

  64. Jennie K. says:

    My first dinner as a newlywed resulted in the fire alarm going off and the 3 family building my husband and I owned being evacuated. Luckily it was just some smoke and the two other young couples who lived above us were good humored. I also am terrified of “big meat”…roasts, sides of whatever, etc.

  65. I love to entertain….really! I live in an apt and space is my concern.
    Thanks for the opportunity to win this beautiful book, apron & tea towel. I would be thrilled.

  66. Aside from family birthday parties, I’m reluctant because I can’t seem to get everything together at the same time. If we plan something for outside, what if it rains? Is “plan B” ready to go? It’s so overwhelming. It’s the perfectionism in me. Everything has to be just right. I must learn to let it go and realize that’s all part of entertaining! Love the adorable apron. Thanks for the chance to win.

  67. Meredith says:

    I’m always afraid my house is not clean enough. It looks great until the sunlight hits the hardwood floors. Then it looks awful.

  68. Ellen S. says:

    I’m always worried that things won’t be perfect…I want the house spotless and the food perfect. Because “perfect” is so overwhelming, I don’t entertain as much as I’d like to.

    Thanks for doing a giveaway!

  69. My jaw dropped open when I read your post. Could it be true that there are others out there who are just like me, too much of a perfectionist to ever actually do things???

    I want people to think that I’m a great cook and a great hostess but my fear of anyone finding out the truth (that I’m not!) prevents me from having friends over more regularly.

    Although I did have Thanksgiving dinner here the last two years and I had sleepless nights but times. ;)

    Sarah

  70. I am the ultimate *reluctant* entertainer! I struggle with wanting everything to be perfect…and then wanting to postpone entertaining till it is. The worst thing that happened at one of my dinner parties….I was talking to the guests while trying to clear the table and load the dishwasher…and my 1 year old son Jack came traipsing into the dining room from the kitchen with a giant butcher knife he’d retrieved from the dishwasher that I left open. It was such a HUGE knife!!! He could have totally chopped himself in half!! I felt like a horrid mother, and I was SO embarrassed!

  71. Linda M says:

    I could have written Carol’s post (above)—I worry if the state of my home meets others’ expectations. Sigh. When typing that I realize how unimportant that should be, but it’s hard to turn off those ‘tapes’.

  72. You describe me exactly as a reluctant entertainer! Now I feel as though I dont reciprocate as much as I should becuase of the fear of the house not being clean, and the food not being good enough. I would love to learn how to let all that go and just enjoy the “connection!”

  73. I’m a reluctant entertainer because with 3 young kids my house is always a mess.

  74. We love to entertain and learned early that the key to success is lots of wine and a great dessert (does not have to be homemade) and lots can be forgiven. After our first newlywed dinner party where we put all the food on the table family style (we were both from large families), and people just accepted it as normal, we realized that people come for the company and not the presentation and thus we relaxed. Since then, we have had casual and formal dinner parties ranging in size from 8 to 120 and had a great time at all of them. PS: Dimming lights and using lots of candles hides a lot of dust bunnies!

  75. I *love* having people over but we have a small-ish apartment and therefore it looks messy very very easily. I definitely struggle with wanting to have everything neat, tidy and hopefully clean too. Since I spend at least 10 hours a day at work/driving to or from work I don’t want to clean when I’m home. I’m learning that 5 minutes straightening is good enough most of the time.

  76. SmilingJudy says:

    I’m a reluctant entertainer because I am gluten-free and it’s always a risk to how people might react to the “different” food I feed them. That apron is gorgeous!

  77. I love to entertain but I go crazy when I do because I want everything perfect. I super clean everything and I mean everything and worry that things will not be perfect. I need to get over the worry and just enjoy myself!!

  78. Gretchen says:

    I am always afraid of not having anything to talk about and that I am not like Martha Stewart, so I talk myself out of having people over (being a pastors wife, this is a def problem!!!) ~this book sounds like an awesome read!!! And the apron is super cute!!! thanks for the chance to win :)

  79. The worst dinner party I ever threw was when we had one other couple over… I had cooked all day long. Little did I know, my friend hated vegetables. Practically everything I made had veggies in it. I think she ate bread and that was it….uggg.

  80. I’m just reluctant about the kids. I feel like I need to keep them entertained as well. But shouldn’t kids just “play”?!

  81. I’m a reluctant entertainer, because I have a genuine fear of inviting people over and then wondering if everyone is having a good time, which is usually fueled by the “oh my gosh, nobody is talking” syndrome.

  82. Sabrina says:

    Off the top of my head, I can’t remember any MAJOR mishaps while entertaining. There has been the occasional small problem, but nothing that stands out. And I’m not a bad cook either. Which I think is all the more reason I should entertain without fear! And yet, every time I think about doing it, I get all nervous about what to cook, will it turn out alright, and how my house is just never perfect enough for company. I usually shut down any thoughts of having company after a minor panic attack like that! So, I’d love to be able to entertain without a big fuss and without feeling terrified.

  83. Oh wow! Congrats, Melissa!!! How exciting!!! That is a book I would love to have in my library, I would devour the pages and ideas! (grin)

    And the apron and tea towel are so adorable!!! I would love to have them in my “newlywed” pretties as I am beginning to entertain more.

    Melissa, I love entertaining but gave up on all of the stress with it years ago…I love the potlucks, pasta parties, BBQs and sundae parties too!!! Its so much easier to enjoy our guests when I am not fluttering around stressed about the meal!!! LOL And that is what is supposed to be all about right? Being a blessing to others and getting to know one another and encouraging others…

    Thanks for the opportunity!!! I can’t wait to hear who wins (maybe me?) LOL

  84. Vanessa says:

    I used our tiny apartment (barely enough room for another couple!) as an excuse for not entertaining – and now that we are in a new large house the excuses have dried up. I really want to use this house to extend hospitality and bless others but feel so overwhelmed and underpracticed :( This book sounds like it’d be a life saver to me :)

    — Vanessa

  85. Claudia says:

    I’m glad I’m not the only one that goes through this dilemma. I always feel that my house is too small and with my long hair kitty, I would also feel sooooo embarrassed if any of his beautiful blond locks found their way to one of my guest’s plates. Can you imagine?!

  86. Just a few short months ago, I hosted my first EVER dinner party. I had planned on everyone gathering around 6:30 and mingling until 7 when dinner would be ready. NOTHING was ready! One side was done 30 minutes later…the other 45 minutes after that…and the main dish 45 minutes after that! A complete disaster….or so I thought. My friends are so forgiving. They calmed my nerves as I trudged through the cooking. Once we sat down and ate….it was wonderful. We all loved the food (or so they said)….I choose to believe them because I myself thought it was delicious!

  87. My biggest reluctance is that our house is in the long process of being remodeled and we’re always missing baseboards or we have half-painted walls. Hopefully we will be eventually finished with the house and it will be more of a home!

  88. My most embarrassing experience involves a surprise family dropping off a huge play structure for our kiddos that needed to get to our basement, a 9×13 pan that cracked in half in the oven and the salmon had to get thrown out, and cheese sauce that looked more like the blob!

  89. My biggest fear is that people will be bored!

  90. Great Giveaway!! I love to entertain but have had my share of mishaps…one involving a boston cream pie that collapsed in the fridge and slid down two shelves over all the rest of the food. What…a…mess. The family still laughs about it :)

  91. luludesigns says:

    I’ve always loved entertaining….cooking is just too much trouble not to share. There have been those moments when things didn’t turn out so well, like with coconut cream pie which was more like coconut soup with meringue. That cook until thickened thing gets me every time! Anyway, the taste was OK so we just put the pie in the middle of the table and ate it with spoons. There wasn’t a bit left!

  92. My biggest fear is that I will run out of food… so I usually over compensate and end up with a zillion leftovers! I probably stress the most about having all components to the meal done and ready at the same time… or that Grandma will notice that I haven’t cleaned the burners on my stove since we moved in! :)

  93. My hubby and I bought a fixer upper house and I always feel like it isn’t fixed up enough to have people over. I’d always say well I’ll cook but lets do it at your place ours is under construction.

    Great giveaway!

  94. For years we had a home large enough to entertain my entire family and everyone always gathered at our place for the holidays and special occasions like graduations and birthdays. Then we downsized and I was very reluctant to have everyone in our home one top of one another…so I found other places to hold these gatherings. Like when we were in our apartment we rented the complex’s multi-room and everyone brought a dish and it wall worked out beautifully. Now we have a very small house but we do have a back-yard/patio and now that our kids have moved all over the country I can still host for the rest of us that are still in the area. I’d love the book and the apron and tea towel…so pretty. Thanks for the giveaway ;) Fondly, Roberta

  95. The first time I cooked Christmas dinner…I was 24. Made dinner for my fiance, my parents, and three friends who were alone on Christmas. I way overshot my abilities. Started cooking at noon on Christmas Eve, stopped long enough to go to church services, came home, cooked till 1am. Went to bed and got up at 6am and continued cooking. When my mother and friends arrived at noon, I was a babbling idiot. They took control, and we got a pretty darned tasty dinner on the table by 3pm – 15 hours after I’d started cooking! I sat down at the table, we loaded up our plates…and I promptly fell asleep at the table.

  96. luludesigns says:

    You are linked to Facebook and my website.

  97. Melissa,
    Congratulations! I feel your giddyness and am so happy for you! You are right, it IS a big deal and you know what…it’s probably just the beginning. There will need to be volumne 2 & 3 you know.
    Ok, embarrasing holiday moment.
    Our family was comming to Lexington for the first time ever. It was Thanksgiving, it was snowing, we had just moved here from SoCal, I didn’t have a stick of real “dining room” furniture but was determined to serve Thanksgiving dinner IN THAT ROOM!
    So I got a giant Christmas tree to fill up the space, I couldn’t locate our tree stand so I put it in a big giant basket ..was thinking about ambience more than the meal. I decorated with lights, fruit, fresh pinecones and grapevines like Martha would do. It was perfect!
    I had to use the ugly existing chandelier …no worries…I wrapped more grapevine around it, cut fresh pine from my trees, had twiggs sticking out all around at the ceiling, filled any empty spots with fresh pinecones….
    I know I’m long here….here’s the embarrassing part. Halfway through dinner, the heat from the chandelier lights had the greens
    smouldering and seriously starting to droop, I mean reeeally droop. Sap and pinecones started falling into the wine and the tree started to lean. I watched that tree & willed it to stay through 4 courses. Ok, dinner’s over, my father-in-law got up, hit his head on the pinetree chandelier & backed into the tree….down it came, shoving him back into his chair! He raised his glass, toasted his daughter-in-law, and asked what was for dessert. : ) Am so looking forward to reading the book and if I’m going to entertain, I must have that adorable apron and a baby on my hip…i miss those days!
    Lisa

  98. Our book is so great. I mean Sandy, SANDY’s book is so great!

  99. The first time I had my mother in law over for dinner, we also expected my husbands brother to come as well. So I made a lot of food for some reason, even though there were only to be four guests. I had NO clue about portion sizes or amounts of food to make. I ended up having an entire plate full of left over pork chops. Not just a few either, more like 10!

  100. I tend to really stress out about having company over. I feel like everything has to be perfect – and nothing is ever perfect enough. I don’t know why I’m like that. I just feel like I’ll be judged somehow. I have a friend I love to visit though. It doesn’t matter what her house looks like, when you’re there you have her undivided attention. Like there’s nothing else she’d rather be doing than chatting with you. It’s awesome and I wish I could be more like her!

  101. I would love this book, I have a small ranch that I love but I am always nervous to entertain because I feel like I should have a more formal dining room for everyone. I need to get over it and just do it because I know at the end of the day the friends coming over don’t care about all of that, its about sharing a meal and making memories.

  102. I am reluctant to entertain because I am always afraid that the food will not be good enough, my house clean enough etc. I also really do not enjoy cleaning up after a get together. Though this weekend we solved that by having a crab boil. Easiest entertaining we have ever done!

  103. Young wives and mothers, take heart! Your little ones will grow up and YOU will have to chase after them to spend time with them. Cherish their momentary “interruptions” and think of their pleas to spend time with you the most honored invitation you’ll ever receive. But I digress. When I was dating my future husband, I created and prepared eggplant parmesan as well as some other odd vegetable side dishes. We had an enjoyable time and it wasn’t until many MARRIED eggplant-free years later he told me his most hated food was eggplant! Talk about embarassing! We celebrate thirty years of marriage this September and I always think of what might have happened if he’d refused to eat my culinary creation or not called for another date! He’s a keeper!

  104. Susan Royer says:

    Somehow I always tend to forget a key ingredient at the store and it’s usually something strange that I can’t borrow from neighbors!
    One time we were having so much fun visiting didn’t hear the timer and burnt the whole dinner, now I pin it to me :)

  105. It was when we were newlyweds and we had invited another couple over. I made a cheesecake early in the day with plans to let it cool, then put it in the fridge. Instead, I ended up placing a tray of chicken on the cake while it was still in the oven and took a quick nap.
    When I awoke, I could not find the cheesecake ANY WHERE and came up with the idea that we had been robbed of the cheesecake
    (I am not kidding) My husband came home shortly after that, and once he became convinced that we had indeed been robbed, went to the hardware store to buy new front door locks!!!
    Our company arrived to find just me and reinacted the scene of the crime. The visitors found the pancake-like cheesecake in the oven just as my dear hubby arrived back at home. We still laugh at that story.

    Dee
    drobbins111@me.com

  106. The biggest thing that holds me back from having people over is just simply taking the time to DO IT!! Days get filled with all sorts of things and sometimes I just need to slow down and take the time to send out an invitation. I really enjoy entertaining after I finally get the ball rolling! Thanks for the giveaway Melissa!

  107. would love to win this spectacular give away!

  108. Our most embarrassing moment, might have to be the night we had Mrs. “Perfect Hostess” over. She and her husband had just complimented us on our beautiful dining room table, hubby explained rather proudly what a great deal we got on the table. It had two pedestal legs, & each leg had three “feet”, one of the feet at that very instant, popped off, causing the table to be off balance, and almost sent hubby’s plate into his lap. Embarrassing to say the least.

    Or could it be the next time we had several couples over, and before I could even sit down, one of the guests asked if I had anymore salad dressing? The homemade dressing I had whipped up WITHOUT a recipe was GONE before the bottle had made it around the table to each guest. “Oh, (awkward pause)… it’s all gone???” “Uh, just a minute I’ll be right back!” Ran to the kitchen, tried to whip up more, hoping it tasted similar to the last, whew, what pressure! And very embarrassing!

  109. At my daughter’s Kindergarten birthday party three of the girls had to use the bathroom at the same time. Fortunately I had three bathrooms. Unfortunately only two of them actually had toilet paper. Yeah.

    I had to explain to the girl’s mom why she was a bit wet and uncomfortable. And I worried a GREAT deal about whether or not she had washed her hands well….

  110. Although we do entertain some, my reluctance to have friends over more often for dinner is space. We live in a small rental home and there is barely enough room for the 6 of us much less our friends and their kids!

  111. I placed a link to the giveaway on my blog, on the top right-hand corner. What a cute apron, would love to win!

  112. My biggest reluctance in having people over is not wanting to go through that last hour of uptightness I feel about not being as far along in the process as I would like.
    And the other thing is I find people stay too late and I am wiped out by the time they leave.
    How do you get people to leave? I’m serious. I’m good for 3 hours…4 at the max.

  113. I was carrying dinner to the table when it slipped from my hands and smashed all over the dining room floor. After a few tears were shed (mine), we ended up ordering pizza and having a great time.

  114. Sandy’s book arrived while I was out of town over the weekend. It was waiting for me by my front door! I can’t wait to read it. I am trying not to pick it up because I know if I do, I won’t want to put it down!

    Kelly

  115. Hi Melissa, I also get very stressed out when having people over for dinner. I really am trying to ease up on myself and just enjoy the time spent with my friends and family. My worst entertaining experience was when a good friend and his date came for dinner. I fixed Lasagna and caesar salad only to find out she hated cheese! I offered to make her other things but she didn’t like anything I suggested. His date ended up eating a ham sandwich and pouted all night. Our friend never went out with her again!
    Hugs, Sherry

  116. I am always reluctant to have company because I am a perfectionist and things are never quite perfect enough – I get stressed out because I judge myself too harshly and am afraid others are judging me, too. I like cooking for company (though I often take on projects that are too big and don’t give myself enough time to get them done), but I am afraid people will be bored and I won’t have properly “entertained” them. I would love this book!

  117. Wonderful giveaway! I have so many disaster stories, including Christmas dinner being two hours late! but over the years I have learned to embrace Plan B and now I might even say I look forward to it :)

  118. I remember having another couple over for a simple dinner in our first year of marriage. My friend wanted to help me so I let her help with making the gravy. Little did I realize that the lid on my Tupperware gravy shaker was not tightly sealed…after a good healthy shake, my guest had a paste of flour and water all over herself and my kitchen. At the time, it definitely wasn’t funny but after some time, we had some great chuckles over it. Thanks for the opportunity to share and win the wonderful book and cute apron!

  119. Some friends of mine were traveling the country in an RV and stopped at our house. I wanted to cook them a good, warm meal for their efforts. I knew they preferred to eat vegetarian, so I made them my yummy black-eyed peas and corn bread. They very sweetly ate it and made the appropriate noises about its deliciousness. Then one of them slyly asked, “So, how do you get them to taste this good?”

    I glibly answered, “Oh, I put in a ham bone, makes all the diff… OH NO!!!”

    We all remained friends. It was a vegetarian miracle.

  120. I tweeted about the giveAway here:
    http://twitter.com/BellaMellaMel

  121. Monique says:

    When I entertain, I’m constantly worried about whether everything is perfect; perfect food, perfect ambiance, perfect seating. Consequently, I rarely entertain. It’s just not that much fun but I love being around others who seem to have dotted every “I” and crossed every “T” when they entertain.

  122. One time we had a bunch of friends over for dinner. We’re newlyweds, so our furniture situation is a bit sparse still…well, with more than 15 people, several folks had to sit on some pillows on the floor! I was incredibly embarrassed, but they didn’t seem to mind.

    Thanks for the chance to win the book and the apron – super exciting!

  123. Christina says:

    My reluctance is because I’m a perfectionist. I feel everything has to be perfect, and it stresses me out. In the end, it’s all about the company. Also, it’s hard to find the time, and find a time that works for everyone else as well. Great giveaway, btw!

  124. melissa says:

    I would LOVE to win this book – We live about 30 minutes away from EVERYONE we know (which to us, 30 minutes is no big deal) but to EVERYONE, it’s like we’re asking people to drive across the country! I feel like I need to have something great when people finally do come so they feel their time has been worth their drive!

  125. Housewife bliss says:

    Where do I begin…except to say that I found your blog via the Hip Hostess and am so very delighted that I did, I could spend hours here and plan to this evening once the children are in bed. Who would not love your darling giveaway, so off to tweet about it now.

    …at the moment I am reluctant to ET because everything we own is sitting on a cargo ship and we are living in a rental…not to mention, we have yet to meet anyone in our new town, but it has only been a month so with any luck time will change all that ;-)

  126. I don’t recall a horrible story, which I suppose is a blessing ;-), but I still struggle with wanting everything to be perfect when I have people over. But we have a few really close friends whom I’ve learned really don’t care about what is served, it’s great to just spend time together even if we just order a pizza!

  127. I am the biggest reluctant entertainer…I am hesitant to try new recipes and really get into the kitchen. I would much rather plan an evening to go out to dinner with friends. But, I am really making an effort to change that :c) Times together at home talking, catching up, playing games, having the kids run around etc are so much more enjoyable and memorable!

  128. I love entertaining and so far no embarrasing moments have taken place but I’m sure soon enough now that I have 2 little girls thrown into the mix something will come up. I would entertain more often if it wasn’t expensive buying all the food and of course all of the little decorations that come along with it!

  129. What a fantastic giveway, I am a reluctant entertainer because I always stress out to the last minute.

  130. Jami & Anna says:

    BEAUTIFUL blog and beautiful aprons…oh my, I am in love with them!!!

  131. i think my house isn’t pretty enough or i spend all this time prepping food just for people to shove it down and say thanks without giving any thought to all the effort

  132. That apron is so cute! I’d have people over just so I could wear it. Then I’d have to decorate with a theme that went with it …. and then, like you, come up with a worthy dinner to serve! My funnest events have been having friends over for a dress-up tea party, with big brimmed hats
    and pretty decor. It’s so much work that I don’t do it often. I need to focus on smaller ‘less big deal’ dinners.

    Thinking back, the most embarrassing dinner party I ever had was probably way back before I knew how to cook anything, and my room-mate and I had two guys over to our tiny place for a fancy dinner. I made my one and only ever ~ oh, I can’t remember what it’s called now ~ a roast that is marinated in wine and then baked covered with pie crust.

    The guy ~ he’s been my husband now for a zillion years, which is a miracle in itself, as I found out later he only likes ‘plain’ food.
    I should have just thrown the roast in a crock pot with some potatos!

    ~ Violet

  133. April in CT says:

    I always, always get stressed thinking something will go horribly wrong. What I need to realize is I’m picking things apart nobody would even notice!

  134. BrendaDe says:

    a couple of years ago for New Years Day – we had a table full of company – and dinner was almost ready. I had my pork and sour kraut done and was heating up the pork gravy on the stove – when all of a sudden the glass dish that the gravy was in shattered into a hundred (or more) pieces. Gravy and glass scattered all over my stove and counter! Embarrassing – but a great dinner, nonetheless!

    What a great giveaway! Thanks.

  135. I really need to read this book!

  136. Oh, I am trying so hard to get over my reluctance. I really want to have people over, but I’ve really only started to learn to cook in the last year or so, and I always wish our house was prettier.

    For a long time we were renters, and one of our houses had hideous paint and carpets and paneling, but we couldn’t really do anything about it. It’s taken me a while to realize that my real friends don’t really care if everything is pretty or neat or whatever. I can just do my best, and we can enjoy each others’ company!

  137. I had recently divorced and moved two states away where I knew almost no one. I had a date that wanted to double with friends of his that I had met once before. The plan was dinner at my place, then out to a movie (how did THAT happen??). Things went along fabulously — nothing burnt, found enough chairs to wedge us all in around my tiny table, everything done at the same time….. now, WHERE are the steak knives? Anyone? Yeah, still in a box in the basement I guess….or maybe I never even packed any when I moved? Thankfully, no one minded sharing.

  138. Congratulations on your mention—I loved your story about your reluctance to entertain. I used to feel the same way, especially since the woman who introduced me to my husband of 37 years is a gourmet and when we invited her to dinner my meal was a disaster…I prepared a jello kind of pie that didn’t set up and I cooked Green Giant veggies in a frozen pouch—when I served them they had little chunks of ice in them…my husband comforted and encouraged me to continue to try and while I’ll never be a gourmet I love to cook and entertain!

  139. Tweeted!

  140. How about the time I was making beef stroganoff and cream corn on the stove and added the ketchup to the corn…right in front of all my guests. I managed to get most of it out, but we had slightly pink corn that night….

  141. Growing up with a mom who made everything on the fly sans recipes and made such a production out of the Thanksgiving turkey (roasting in the oven through the odd hours and getting up every hour on the hour to check it), I was always disappointed that I had not inherited her domestic intuition gene. However, following recipes and cooking “intellectually” got me by the first few months of my marriage. I felt confident enough that I could pull off a Thanksgiving turkey contribution for my then-husband’s ginormous extended family. I was rather smug that I’d remembered to allow sufficient time to thaw said turkey, not to mention the incredible bargain. All proceeded well, and I learned roasting a turkey did not have to be the overnight production my mom made it out to be. A perfectly browned turkey was proudly, if not a little smugly, turned over to my mother in-law to add to the spread. But wait…what was this? A little surprise package tucked neatly inside the turkey. I had forgotten to remove the giblet goody packet when washing the turkey! I had horrific visions of food-poisoned relatives or some other awful consequence. I didn’t rest or breathe easily again until weeks had passed without any news of any untimely passing of any relatives due to food issues. Whew!

  142. Francheska says:

    I accidentally subbed salt for sugar in a recipe. Nuff said?

  143. I really had to learn to cook everything. (I guess we all do.) Over the years I have mastered many dishes but my reluctance in having people over right now is space, my house is so small. I hope to get to do more entraining again soon. I am soexcited about this book and I LOVE the beautiful demi pink sorbet apron and tea towel from The Hip Hostess!
    Some of my most favorites blogs, The Inspired Room, Reluctant Entertainer and the The Hip Hostess! :-)

  144. Hmmm…I think my most embarrassing moment was when I decided to make (for the first time) Beef Wellington. I spent more time “testing” the Madeira wine then putting together the beef with the dough. My dad had to help me complete it. I had to sit down for a bit. They weren’t pretty but the tasted good!

  145. Getting ready for hosting a dinner, putting in a table leaf and the other person pushed too hard and my bum went through a glass window. Funny part – hubby not home to check “it” out so I had to let my friend see if there was glass in my…

  146. Heather says:

    i hate when the food is taking longer to cook and people are waiting.

  147. I was hosting bunco at my house (which is quite a project since the house has to be spotless, the yard beautiful and the food and gifts impressive), and I was serving grilled Hawaiian chicken; after about two minutes on the grill my grill ran out of gas, so I had to finish it in the oven which took a lot longer than I expected. We had to eat about 40 minutes later than usual. I now only serve items that can be prepared in advance!!

  148. I shared about the giveaway on Facebook

  149. I am reluctant to have people over because I don’t want my home to be judged, which is why I don’t mind having over the high school girls from church all of the time – high school girls are suprsingly non-judgemental about certain things ;)

  150. Elizabeth says:

    I have way too many bad stories…but I’m afraid that I’m mostly reluctant because I don’t feel like my house is “finished” much less stylish.

  151. One of my most embarrassing entertaining moments took place when my family and I were living in South America. The bigwig board members were in town for meetings and were assigned different homes for dinner. The night before the dinner was a general meet and greet dessert night. When I introduced myself to one couple, the woman gushed, “We’re coming to your house for dinner tomorrow night and I heard that you are the best cook in Shell.” No pressure there.
    The dinner guests arrived. Meat was always iffy because it came from the jungle. Well, the meat I served was absolutely inedible. We sawed and hacked and finally I removed it from the table and told everyone to quit trying. And I offered seconds of dessert.

  152. My biggest fear about having people over is that my house will not meet up to their approval. I have no idea why I have this fear…our home is beautiful and always clean and neat…it’s just my perfectionist personality. I need to get over it and have people over more often!

  153. I am the same way you described yourself. Not confident in my own cooking, but also not really wanting to get something already prepared. Over the past few years though, I have really come out of my shell a bit and enjoy having others over.

  154. I can’t think of an embarassing moment, though I’m sure I’ve had some, but I think one of my reluctances is having people over whom I know are particular about what they eat and hoping that what I serve is acceptable to them. While I know I can cook a variety of things, I have friends who make known their “particularness” and it makes me a bit paranoid at times.

  155. I posted this on my facebook

  156. A friend of mine brought over a loaf of bread for a birthday dinner for another person. I put the bread wrapped in tin foil on the second shelf of the grill. It caught that and everything else on fire on the grill..

  157. I just did a post on this giveaway on my blog. Whoo hoo

  158. Being a mom of 3 little ones (5, 3 and 7 months) I can’t count on both hands how many times they have interrupted beautiful dinners with “potty disasters”, throwing up, or bloody injuries! I consider it their contribution to making sure the adults have plenty to talk (or laugh) about!

  159. I always want to have people over but honestly think I’m not good enough. There are a thousand excuses, my home is to small, I can’t cook them fancy steaks, you name it I’ve said it. I was so excited to see this book come out. After reading your story I feel like I was reading my own. Can’t wait to follow your blog.

  160. Lauren Davison says:

    Oh man. My biggest reluctance would have to be the cooking part. I’m still working on that. I can make a killer flank steak, but that’s not usually in the budget!

  161. When I got married, I had never cooked before. The first guests we had over for dinner a few weeks later were my in-laws. I was mortified when they arrived early because I was hoping to have finished all of the cooking before they arrived (if you don’t know how to cook, it is SO much worse when someone is watching you struggle). It was actually a good thing, because I was about to put an ENTIRE bulb of garlic in the dish because I didn’t know that it broke apart into things called “cloves.” I’m glad my MIL mentioned that before it all went in the pot!

  162. When I cook for others I always feel my food does not add up. If people tell me its good, I tend to not believe them – even if I think its good. Why is that?

  163. My biggest fear/obstacle regarding entertaining is the mess. What if one of the kids opens the door to the den, where I just tossed everything to get it out of the way?!?! The book sounds wonderful, and the apron is gorgeous! What a fun giveaway! Thank you!

  164. As our family has grown, I’ve entertained less instead of more. I feel like our house it too small – it’s full with just my family. If we have another family over with kids, it’s hard for the adults to hear well enough to visit.

  165. I am so reluctant to entertain because I always feel like I don’t have enough space! I am dying to read this book and the apron is so adorable!

  166. My aunt is a woman we called “the world’s best cook”. She made delicious ‘crumb buns’ which were a fluffy white bread that were dipped into a flour, butter, and sugar mixture before baking. In our family, they were a treat even better than dessert! When I was a teen she shared her recipe with me. I had learned to cook from my mother, but having aunt’s recipe was a special treat. I was sure to make the recipe exactly as her written recipe directed. Company was coming and the crumb buns were to be served! Unfortunately, aunt forgot to add the yeast to her recipe and my crumb buns fell flat. What a disappointment! Aunt thought it quite funny — I think she felt I was quite inexperienced to not realize that I should add yeast, even if she hadn’t!

  167. Rebekah says:

    I don’t have any horror stories yet (thankfully!), but I am not always confident in my own cooking. We have only been married for 6 months, and I am getting better, but I’m still learing the ropes in some areas. Thanks so much for the chance to win Sandy’s awesome book!!

  168. Several years ago, we invited a couple for dinner from my husbands new job. We were showing them around when our very old dog proceeded to leave a present at the woman’s feet…let’s just say it wasn’t pretty. Then as they were leaving, the same dog Max, managed to get up on the kitchen table to wag goodbye! Very embarrassing!

  169. The second time I cooked dinner for my husband, then boyfriend, I had a piece of very tough roast lodged in my throat. He noticed and asked if I was okay as there was no sound coming out of my throat. I smiled and waved him off while quickly excusing myself (pride would not allow me to receive the Heimlich on a second date–I’d just assume suffocate by way of beef). I hid myself away and frantically started throwing myself over the back of a chair thereby dislodging said beef. I’ve since improved my roast and set my pride aside–child birth will do that to a girl (diminish your pride…not improve your roast).

  170. This book look’s a amazing and love the kitchen set-I really enjoy entertaining – but am reluctant . Don’t feel like my house is “finished” much less stylish or it costs too much.
    Most embarassing moment was greeting company at the front door and realizing I had forgot to put in my false teeth– Not a pretty Picture-LOL

  171. Laura G says:

    I love having people over, but I live in a small apartment and feel as if I am always waiting for the day that we have a house and I can do some “REAL” entertaining. I think this book would definitely help me out, even in small living quarters.

  172. My biggest embarassment was when I invited my brother and his new wife over for dinner. Now she was that rare woman who is always nicely dressed, fully made up, sweet, organized, and nice (see why he married her)? I always felt slightly grubby and rough hewn around her.

    They arrived, I was flustered, and I turned on the wrong stove burner (the one underneath the pyrex casserole dish that I set up there to cool, instead of the one underneath the vegetables). I greeted them, we chit chatted, and then my pyrex exploded. The hot glass ruined the vinyl floor in the kitchen, too, costing us our security deposit!

  173. Yep, my perfectionism has kept me having people over. I’m working on it! I would love to be entered to win these GREAT products!

  174. my biggest reluctance to having people over is the state of my house. It’s not always super clean, but I’ve been working on that and letting go.

  175. Bonnie Jones says:

    I am reluctant to have people over because of several reasons….my very small kitchen and table for only 4, and because I never know what to cook when entertaining. I have trouble thinking of what goes together well.

  176. Pam Keener says:

    I am truly the Reluctant entertainer. I love to cook but……when I have people over I want everything to be good so I stress over it so badly that it seems better to not do it then do it. Now I have no stories because I entertain so infrequently that there has never been a mishap. I also have 2 dogs and a crzy cat and I refuse to lock them up while the party goes on. Also I stress that my house is not clean enough. Do you get the picture *wink*. Is there help for me?
    Love & Hugs, Pam

  177. Fortunately, I have a husband who loves to cook. When I have people over, I get easily distracted, so the thought of actually preparing a meal with multiple items to be times to come out all at the same time is overwhelming. This book sounds like it would be a big help!

  178. KittenJen says:

    One Thanksgiving morning the heating element in the oven broke. I had to cook all the sides on the stovetop and serve my family and friends a Turkey dinner without the Turkey!

  179. Chelley Black says:

    My worst fear when entertaining is that guests will show up early. I am always trying to finish things at the last minute. For my daughter’s first birthday party, my husband’s family showed up almost 2 hours early! I had showered, but had no makeup on, hadn’t bathed the baby, hadn’t iced the cake, etc. UGH!!! I wish I could be better at preparing ahead of time.

  180. Susan Smith says:

    Coming home from church to find the puppy had eaten half the Easter ham…with the extended family coming in the door right behind me for Easter dinner. That was THIS year, by the way!

  181. Susan Smith says:

    And I tweeted about the giveaway (smiths2boys1gir) and facebooked about it, too!

  182. My most embarrassing hostessing moment was when I realized that substituting frozen green beans for canned required more cooking time. I was a newlywed and hadn’t made it before, so I just cooked it like the directions said. I served it to our guests and THEN realized that the beans were still frozen!! Doh.

  183. Connie Buckley says:

    No matter how many times I have guests, I still get worked up about it. Would love to read Sandy’s advice!

  184. The lights went out during a BBQ – we were eating in the dark and when the lights came back on there were bugs all over our chicken.

  185. I am always so paranoid the food won’t taste good. Especially those items you can’t sample ahead of time, like bakes casserole’s or pastas, and pies.

  186. Brittany says:

    What an awesome giveaway! I definetly could use a little help. I’ve hosted baby showers & helped with my neices birthday party. But i would never have a party of my own. I honestly don’t know if I am the person to be responsible for entertaining others, they may get bored & never want to come over again! That’s what I am most scared of!

  187. Way, way back in the day as a newlywed, my husband and I were hosting a gentleman for “brunch” who was in town to interview us for an overseas position. I worked so hard to make everything as special as I knew how. As part of the meal, I prepared a beautiful “quiche lorraine” but instead of adding evaporated milk, I added a nice big can of SWEETENED condensed milk! Oh my goodness, we had what we now refer to as an amazing “dessert quiche” for brunch. But hey, we got the job and moved to France that fall!

  188. I tweeted your giveaway!

  189. Christy says:

    Our most embarrassing entertaining moment happened a few years ago when we had a new couple from our church over for dinner. My husband thought he would “tweak” a chocolate cake recipe and substitute whole wheat flour for cake flour. Needless to say, the cake weighed about five pounds and tasted like cardboard with frosting. We still laugh about that dinner party! I love the Reluctant Entertainer and cannot wait to read her book!

  190. I posted on FB !

  191. Your blog is daily eye candy; thank you!

    What holds me back from entertaining more? A small house that is not decorated as well as I would like because of time and money, not knowing what to serve and how to it serve, insecurity and fear of not communicating love and welcome.
    Wow! I need this book!

  192. All my fingers and toes are crossed to win Sandy’s book! Her blog has really changed my thinking as I was reluctant to entertain mostly at short notice. I felt like I could only entertain if I had a long time ahead to plan and plan. But some of our most fun times have been when we invited someone over, spur-of-the-moment! Love your blog too. esp that you have Westies!

  193. The only time I truly “entertain” is when I’m hosting my book club group and I swear I stress out more and more each time. Most of the women in my group have large, gorgeous houses and entertain at the drop of a hat – so that is where the stress comes. I entertain rarely and have a small but sweet house I call my home. But – it never fails that people ooh and ahh when they come over and compliment not only what I made but my decor. I love that. Maybe when I win the book I will become a not so reluctant and spread my wings and fly. Thanks for the giveaway – I love, love, love the pink.

  194. Jennifer says:

    What’s holding me back??? I actually love to entertain, but lately it seems like we always have some room in a state of redecorating shambles and my perfectionistic nature does not want anyone over unless everything is in it’s rightful place. Yes, I know it is crazy and the hoards of children over at my house each day do not seem to notice, well as long as I continue to keep popsicles in their hands and direct them back outside to the pool :)

  195. Soon after being married, we had a couple of people over for dinner. I decided to replicate a delicious meal we had had while on vacation that summer–chicken breast with a raspberry yogurt sauce. Unfortunately I did not have a recipe. What I lacked in culinary experience, I made up for in bravado. Now, being older and somewhat wiser, I would never attempt something for-company-without-a-recipe-never-been-tried-before. Oh, the insanity of youth!! No, it did not turn out well. It took longer than I thought to cook it, it was tough, and the yogurt curdled (no surprise!). My guests were sweet, though, and ate it bravely and without complaint. I learned my lesson ;-)

  196. I love to entertain and like that this pink apron is super cute. My most embarassing entertaining moment all involve my cat, Bailey. She is normally a very nice kitty when it’s just me but she has this crazy case of fear aggression and feels the need to attack all of my guests. I mostly lock her up now but sometimes I forget and it’s a big cat attack scene that would embarass almost anyone. Love all the inspiration on your blog.

  197. Hmmm some of my more embarrassing stories really should better be forgotten, but what always is my biggest stumble block is the food, it isn’t ready yet, it doesn’t turn out the way I intended (might have something to do with the fact that I tend to try out new things when guests come), or projects I felt I really needed to do before the guest come and that are not going like planned.
    Plenty of reluctance in my entertaining.

  198. We hosted a staff meeting with our team of 11 people. I offered to have lunch for everyone so we could celebrate Cinco de Mayo as well. I decided to make pork carnitas. I didn’t have the time (or make the time) to clean the oven, so as the delicious meat was cooking in the oven, the oven was smoking! So, as we sat there smelling the wonderful aroma of this meat, the room was slowly getting cloudy during our meeting (there is no vent in our kitchen). It all turned out alright (actually everything was REALLY delicious), but it was a bit embarrassing, to say the least. ;)

  199. I’m not a reluctant entertainer, but my husband is. He would rather just have the house to himself and relax. We had a “discussion” about this just a couple days ago. I am having him give me a date and put it on his calendar so I can invite some couples to come over. It has been a long, long time since we have. Time to do it again!

  200. I worry the most about my cooking.

  201. This summer, my husband and I threw a farewell party for some friends who were moving out of town. Being nearly 9 months pregnant at the time, I opted for a “Build Your Own Burger” night (similar to your aforementioned Taco Salad bar). Easy enough, right? The embarrassment began as my guests, one by one, bit into their burgers and had to extract the little wax paper squares that divide pre-sliced cheese. When I had set the cheese out on the tray, I didn’t remove the paper, thinking my guests would do it themselves. So much for a simple supper–obviously unexpected things can happen no matter the fare you serve!

  202. I am a professional organizer with lots of children. Every time people come to the house they expect it to be immaculate. Just can’t happen all the time. It was stressful. So now I only invite close friends, people who don’t know about my employment, or those who will not judge me over for dinner and such. All the rest are really missing a good time. I guess the point, look for fun and a great time rather than dust bunnies and a closet of last minute pick-up clutter.

  203. I think my biggest problem over the year is that I can be something of a perfectionist. I have tried really hard to let that go, because my house is always in a state of flux. Not only that but the last few years I have had college girls moving in and out, it seems just when we get them settled, they are moving out again. So there can be at times, STUFF EVERYWHERE. Packing, unpacking, then repacking.

    I decided that if I wait til it’s all perfect, I would never invite people over again. So out the window it has to go!

    But I like the idea of doing Sunday parties, taco parties etc. That was a brilliant way to cope Melissa, especially if cooking isn’t your thing.

    Big hugs!
    Fi
    PS I will be posting to my blog TODAY about your give away here. GREAT idea!!

  204. What a darling giveaway. Thanks and congratulations on the book!

  205. Awesome Giveaway! My biggest reluctance is my insecurity over the size/appearance of my home in comparison to others.’ My friends live in McMansions and I live in a 1977 Colonial. Oh, yeah. ;)

  206. I’d love to win!! One of the most embarrassing entertaining moments for me was one time when we had friends over & I as we were sitting in the dining room, I looked up at my chandelier to see a cobweb right above our heads! It was in October, so I just laughed & said it was a Halloween decoration!

  207. Katie van der Meer says:

    My most embarrassing hosting story was shortly after my first sone was born. I had made a great pumpkin soup and we were all sitting down to eat. While enjoying the soup, my son started really fussing so I picked him up and tried to calm him down. As I worked on calming him i noticed I had got some soup on my wrist so I licked it off… it wasnt soup. My son had soiled through his diaper and I had just licked some off my arm! Thankfully it was just breast fed poop but oh how embarrassing… and disgusting.

  208. If it’s time for confessions I have two:
    I’ve never really been reluctant to entertain.
    I’ve never really been a hip hostess either.
    When it came to entertaining…I always over did it and made myself crazy in the process. You know, perfectly cleaned house, perfectly ironed tablecloth, and too many course meals! After getting to know Sandy and her gracious and heartwarming real life approach to entertaining I’ve changed all that because you know what? Nobody cares. They don’t. My guests will remember the conversations, the simple but tasty dishes, and the laughter. They will remember doing the dishes together, wearing our aprons, and all that girl talk in the kitchen. Since taking a few lessons from Sandy, I’ve learned to relax and to actually enjoy playing hostess! She has made me see that a simple supper with dear friends can bring a lifetime of wonderful memories, Thank you Sandy!
    Melissa, you my dear are amazing! Thank YOU for this post and for sharing your fabulous sense of style!

  209. since i think every time we have guests over there’s SOME sort of snafu . . . none of those have led to tears, though. Tears usually come BEFORE the guests get there and I’m flustered and wondering WHY we decided to do this again?! then my husband reminds me that it’s not about the show, it’s about the people, and i do my best to take that to heart!

  210. seriouslyahomemaker says:

    seems like every time i host a par-tay, or just dinner for 1 or 2 guests, something is cooked wrong. last night half the peas were cooked and the other half were still crunchy. what’s worse? there were little rocks/grains of sand mixed in apparently… the guests pretended they didn’t notice. my husband and i looked at each other and said, “wow, those are some nasty peas!!!”

    i am dying to get my hands on this book! and i lurve the apron too!

    angie

  211. Hi Melissa,
    Thank you and Sandy both for offering such a sweet giveaway. I don’t mean ‘cute’, I mean thoughtful/considerate/kind/lovely/gracious, and yes, even merciful!

    Can’t we all relate to each of the stories we have shared here?! I have learned that the best thing I can do as a guest, is be gracious and offer to help any way I can, including by offering empathy by sharing my own entertaining ‘horror’ stories. (i.e. when my first ‘p’ (perfect) gorgeous 25 lb. turkey was devoured by my parents’ cat while cooling atop the wash machine in the laundry room, and so.many.more…)

    One dinner party I remember well. We attended the newly married’s group at the church we attended at the time. The group had decided to start dinner rotation groups and we were to host the first evening party of 8. After bringing in dessert and coffee, I obviously had missed something. Everyone but my DH was roaring with laughter. They continued their story. My DH and I exchanged ‘totally lost’ glances. When my DH inquired as to which occasion it was that this story took place we found out that the ‘group’ had a BBQ gathering the day before. We were the only ones from the class not invited. DH & I continued to be warm and gracious hosts, presenting each guest with their ‘Thank You’ gift (long tradition) as they left, and thanked them so much for coming and allowing us the privlege to serve them. THe next day at church each one raved about the meal and announced in class that we should host EVERY week! Thanks, but no thanks.

    There was the time that our neighbors house caught fire and our BBQ/Back Yard party got a little wet (they lived above us on a hill at that time). It never occured to me before where all the water goes that the firemen spray on fires! Never saw white water rapids in a yard before. Huh.

    You have to learn to take it all with a grain of salt and just laugh! It’s funny how if we the hosts will laugh about something, it puts our guests at ease and they laugh too. It makes for a great time. Even if all you serve is p-nut butter on crackers, celery stalks, and sparkling cider.:)
    Melissa, you are so right. It truly is all about relationship!

  212. The worst party I ever gave was for my son’s 1st bday while my husband was deployed. My brother in law was supposed to grill, but he chose not to. I had 30 people eating all my finger foods, and no one would help me. (this is after a full days work on a Fri)

    Once dinner was cooked, one of my Aunts asked me why I didn’t make a certain dish and why I didn’t put out all my fruit I bought. Seriously? I told her that I had asked her to help me and she said no so she had no right to complain.

    Normally, I would have been way better organized, but everything is more difficult with a deployed spouse. Single parenting isn’t easy.

    Thanks for the giveaway. Your apron is totally fab!

  213. Soon after marrying into staff at church, we had a ladies gathering at our newlywed, newly furnished and sparkling clean home. I’d spent hours preparing myself and the house for our guests. While moving some beverages from the pantry to the beverage area, I somehow managed to explode several cans of soda all over myself and my white kitchen, from floors to cabinets to sinks to ceiling. About two minutes before everyone and their mama showed up. It was awesomeness, but an excellent reminder that it wasn’t about me — or my house!

  214. I always feel my home needs to be cleaned to the utmost before I can invite anyone over.

  215. I enjoy having people over, just never know what to fix and it never seems fancy enough…
    I know it is the company that is the most important element of entertaining and enjoying the time we have with our friends and family.
    Looking forward to perusing your book!

  216. I always leave inspired whenever I visit any of your blogs. I do the build your own ____ too and it works for me! LOL!
    This is a wonderful giveaway. So cute!
    Have a fabulous day! And I’m having a little Christmas in July with a little giveaway over at my blog if you want to stop by!
    Blessings!

  217. seriouslyahomemaker says:

    i tweeted your giveaway! @seriouslyahome

  218. seriouslyahomemaker says:

    i mentioned your giveaway on my facebook page!
    http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/SeriouslyAHomeMaker/372733000298

  219. Posted you on facebook.. :0)

  220. rebecca s says:

    I can’t ever figure out what to feed people.

  221. I always worry about the clutter. I’ve learned as I’ve aged, make friends with people who also have clutter! :)

  222. Once we were having friends over, I didn’t want to wash the dishes so I just put them in the oven to “hide.” Forgot all about them, turned on the oven to make cookies for my friends….yes, a very very big mess.

  223. Christie says:

    My biggest problem with entertaining is getting everything done when it’s supposed to be. I have 3 little boys, so I’m constantly interrupted and everything ends up running late.

  224. Katie H. says:

    I recently discovered the reluctant entertainer blog and LOVE it!
    I don’t have any super embarrassing entertaining stories, just simple things that go wrong. A few years back I had a mini reunion of high school friends, and we had a BBQ at my condo’s clubhouse. They had always had a gas grill for use, and so we planned on that. Getting there, it was broken. So we had to go borrow one, and a truck to get it there! We started cooking dinner late b/c of the mishap. Now I always make sure to do my research!

  225. I am always afraid the food won’t turn out! Its only happened once – lasagna that resembled soup. I had made it several times before just fine, but wait till company comes, and flop!

  226. I’m continuing to learn over the years that having people over is about the friendship and fellowship and not perfection. If my house is messy it makes others feel better about their own lack of perfection and helps them be at ease. If I am not exhausted from my house cleaning efforts, I am much more fun to be around.

  227. Aileen W says:

    With 3 kids under 6, my house is never pristine, so I’m hesitant to have people over b/c I feel like I have to clean the whole house. I also feel like I have to cook something fancy when we have company, so added to the cleaning, it’s pretty overwhelming.

  228. When I was first married we had an older couple come to our apartment for dinner. I decided to make a pot roast. About 1/2 hour before company arrived, I checked the roast to see the top was completely burned. Thankfully I had ingredients for spaghetti. I just turned the oven off and cooked spaghetti for supper. Hopefully the place didn’t smelled like burnt pot roast!

  229. I cannot seem to concentrate on cooking when there are friends in the room! Too much multi-tasking for me! I can’t seem to keep guests drinks filled, appetizers out, and a meal cooking and relax all at the same time!!

  230. CourtneyM says:

    My most embarrassing entertaining moment was way back when I was 23 & invited people over for dinner. I thought the recipe that called for 3 cloves of garlic meant 3 bulbs. I peeled & peeled…and my paint on the walls peeled & peeled.

  231. Tammy Stonebrook says:

    I will never forget the time that I had a large dinner party at my house and it was literally the first one that I had ever attempted. I was trying to perfect EVERY detail. To make a long story short – When it came time to get the dish out of the oven, I was mortified to realize that I HAD NEVER TURNED THE OVEN ON!!!!!!!!!!!. By that time, everyone was starving so I only had the side dishes to serve. Before I walked into the room to announce my horrific situation – I decided I “needed” chocolate (we all know what that is like) and so I decided to eat a quick brownie for a therapy fix and afterwards I rushed into the room to announce I had ruined dinner – I not only had to tell them that the oven was never turned on (how humilating) but I soon realized that I had chocolate ALL IN MY TEETH! So here I am , crying, chocolate in my teeth, a house full of hungry guests and dinner uncooked in the oven:-( I can laugh about it now but at the time, I wanted to run as far away as possible!!!

    Since I just moved into my house and I am having blog issues, I cannot share this on my blog right now and I need to activate my FB account again so I am sorry that I cannot share this with FB and my blog but I wanted to share my story in hopes of winning the contest and making you laugh Melissa:)

    Tammy Stonebrook

  232. i’m always hyper sensitive about whether the floors have been vacuumed! we have a dark rug that shows anything light over light tile, that shows anything dark… so we’re basically always needing to vacuum!

  233. Nicole Weldon says:

    My biggest fear related to entertaining was constantly having to get over the awkwardness of living in a tiny studio apartment! I’m married and before anyone came over we’d have to make sure the bed was made and there were no clothes out, then our friends would sit on our two little “living room” chairs and we’d have to perch on the edge of the bed. I was always afraid it would be awkward, but it never really was. We’re in a bigger place as of this week, and now the thing I need to overcome is the self-consciousness of a very sparsely decorated apartment!

    I have just discovered your blog and am very excited about it! I’ll be sharing it on my facebook today. :)

  234. The most embarassing moment entertaining; we had family over from Florida, (we live in CA)….I made a delicious potato, egg, sausage, cheese and green chili bake. TWO in fact; a small one for the kiddies (of which there were 6) and a large one for the adults (of which there were 9). I kept smelling a burning in the oven, checked it, looked fine. When I went to pull out the casseroles, one had cracked in the bottom and all the egg was bubbling on the bottom of my oven! And it had a bit of bisquick in the mix, so it was REALLY bubbling about 4 inches think; I just couldn’t see it when I checked because it was under the pans and the tops looked fine. WHAT TO DO with 13 people coming? You serve the one casserole, cut the squares smaller, add more fruit to the fruit bowl, and make…..pigs in a blanket! No one was the wiser and luckily everyone was full too! I will be picking up your book soon and look forward to it.

  235. I worry about people that don’t know each other having a difficult time visiting with each other. I need to remind myself that I am friends with all these people so I should feel comfortable knowing they will find SOMETHING in common…

  236. I had my in-laws over for dinner. I felt so proud of myself because I’d made the enchiladas the night before. Foolproof, right? No. Once it was in the oven we started to smell a funny smell. I realized that I’d left the PLASTIC lid on the top of the cake pan I was using. (Funny thing, when I got the pan at a bridal shower, the lady said “Now, don’t forget to take the lid off in the oven.”) Yes, I’m embarrassed to say that I just took off the ruined lid and served the enchiladas anyway.

  237. Oh how lovely!

  238. I forgot to mention my hostess horror story. Would you believe it was at my daughter’s wedding where I was of course, playing hostess and Mother of the Bride. I mistakenly assumed the florist would have a water source for the blue hydrangea bridesmaids bouquets. She did not.By the end of the ceremony they looked like the last rose of summer: Dead. The bridesmaids walked into the reception looking like they were carrying some kind of blue feather dusters. Adding fuel to the fire, the tall pillar candles on the guests tables started to burn the petals on the table arrangements sending clouds of smoke everywhere, before finally melting into steamy puddles on the table linens. All this before dinner was served. The candles failed and the flowers flopped I was mortified for a moment, but 5 years later my friends and I love to re-tell this story and laugh like crazy! So does the daughter. Hey, stuff happens.

  239. The first time I had the family over for Christmas–and we are a BIG family–I didn’t think to check my toilet paper stores. About a half-hour in, someone said we were out of toilet paper, I looked and realized we didn’t have any more, and of course all the stores are closed! So, I just put a box of kleenex on the toilet for people to use that day, and I think people “held it” more than they normally would have. You better believe I check the toilet paper situation before parties now!

  240. I used to be reluctant about having people over because my dining room chairs needed to be recovered! That’s done so now I have no excuse at least in regards to seating! :)

  241. Janna C. says:

    We enjoy having people over one family at a time. I am always scared to do large groups or gatherings. It just feels overwhelming to me. Would love to get some help from the book!

  242. Marilyn Holeman says:

    Even though I live in a small house, it’s never clean enough–or maybe BECAUSE I live in a small house (and I’m not very organized–yet) it’s not neat enough. But my family reminds me that our friends aren’t coming to look at the house, but to eat and fellowship. And even though I AM a reluctant hostess many times for these reasons, we do have people over, and afterwards I am glad. (It helps that my husband is a talented cook! :-)

  243. Wendysuzyq says:

    First thanksgiving of my then boyfriend’s (now husband) and my family to all get together I overcooked the Ham to a dry shrivelled up mess. Thank good then they are very forgiving :)

  244. Probably when throwing a party for my 5-year old’s birthday (first big party for her) and I was so scattered I introduced two people to each other who not only knew each other, but met at my house and I had introduced them to each other THEN.

  245. Hi Melissa,
    My reluctance about having company over cost me the friendship of a dear friend. She had emailed me and asked if she could come over so that I could fill out a survey for a new job she had taken. She said I didn’t have to be concerned with how my house looked or even about serving her any food. She just needed me to fill out the survey in person. As I read her email, the thought of having her over my less than perfect house just about paralyzed me. Needless to say I never answered her and she has never contacted me again eventhough I have sent her several emails asking her to go out to a restaurant to eat.

  246. I focus too much on the details and wanting everything to be perfect!

  247. Jennifer S says:

    I love to have people over, but I always wear myself out cleaning house and preparing the food, by the time people arrive I’m ready for them to leave so I can go to bed! I need to learn not to worry so much about things being “perfect” and just have fun with it.

  248. I would love to just invite people over after church, but I’m so hesitant, because my house is not usually “guest ready”, when we fly out the door, trying to just get to church on time! I’m also pretty much a last minute person, as in, I’m deciding at 3:00 in the afternoon, what’s going to be for dinner that evening, and I have nothing thawed! I’m not so good at coming up with a great menu and then sticking by it for the week, let alone for company!

  249. Melissa Lynch says:

    The children decide to run through the house naked!

  250. We’re just so busy that finding time to invite friends and them finding time too just seems like too much effort. I’d love to be more hospitable.

  251. I am reluctant to host because I am in a new house which is not fully decorated to my taste. It’s o.k. right now, and that’s about as far as it will probably be for a while.

  252. Always worry about the cooking and getting all the food done at the same time!

  253. Carolyn says:

    One of my most embarrassing entertaining stories recently was when my toddler screamed for HOURS while we had guests here. Right now that is my biggest reluctance in having people over! I’d love to win!

  254. I was trying a new reciepe for lentil burgers. My friend helping me cook repeatedly said, “This is a lot of food.” I kept reassuring her that the burgers are big, fat burgers. Eventually it seemed like the mixed was having a difficult time fitting in the pot, and my friend realized I had triple the receipe without meaning to. Instead of 4 burger patties we made 12 burger patties. I read the directions wrong and mistaken dry cup of rice and lentils for cooked rice and lentils. Oh so funny!

  255. Mary Ann says:

    my house isn’t perfectly done the way I dream it should be! silly, huh? thank you for your post….it gives me ALOT of perspective!

  256. I’ll try for a win, but I’ll be buying the book if I don’t! Sandy rocks!

  257. flybabymom says:

    Hmmm…most embarassing. Well, fortunately, I don’t embarass easily! Or I’d probably remember a lot more of the things that have happened. I’ve always been a pretty enthusiastic entertainer. But at the moment my living room is a wreck, with the fireplace torn out for reno and my furniture has finally reached the stage of old that is getting embarassing. At least a cute apron makes me feel better about things!!! :)

  258. Oh goodness. I have so many! I’m always in the middle of renovating this or tearing apart that, so trying to hide my dust it usually at the top of my list of concerns!

    Kelly

  259. Antinette says:

    I’m not sure this is entertaining, per se, but my most challenging moment was having our social worker over for the first homestudy visit for our adoption. I was a wreck! I wouldn’t even let my husband use the bathroom because I didn’t want him to mess it up! Then I made tea with a lovely plate of pastry and forgot the napkins. Poor guy had to ask for one!

  260. My reluctance: not enough room. My most embarrassing moment: serving chicken that wasn’t done; we had to microwave each plate individually to get the chicken cooked through! Agh!

  261. We decided to have a Christmas sweater party last December. Since we just moved, it was also a housewarming party. Our 2 month old puppy thought it was a great opportunity to show off her digging skills – and she dug a hole in our dining room carpet about 10 minutes before guests arrived. Guess I was paying too much attention to the apps and not enough to the puppy!?! :)

  262. I never think my home will be clean enough, organized enough, or cool enough to have people over. I need to get over it!

  263. Linda R. says:

    Our family moved into a bit of a fixer-upper this spring. So it kills me just a little bit to invite people over when a huge portion of our family room ceiling is missing (my husband re-plumbed the whole house) and most of our “nice” furniture (I use the term “nice” very loosely) is at our old house for staging purposes. But we figure our real friends don’t care. And if they do care, then they’re not very good friends, are they? :)

  264. Soon after my hubby and I got married (almost 13 years ago) we had his college roommate over for dinner. The lasagna was overcooked, the salad was wilted, and the homemade chocolate pudding was lumpy! But roommate was a very gracious guest even though I was mortified!

  265. Susan Cox says:

    I was having my husbands family for casual picnic of sandwiches and snacks and had gotten meats cut at a deli – fast forward, I packed all the goodies and got to the park for picnic and had forgotten the meat so we had tomato, lettuc and pickle sandwiches – my brother-in-law never lets me forget the meatless event.

  266. I can’t think of any real disasters or embarrassing stories, but entertaining gets me so stressed out that I end up a cranky wreck who can’t really enjoy the first half of her own party. I love it when guests are gone, though – clean house and yummy leftovers.

  267. My biggest reluctance: the “entertaining” part. I can cook, clean, serve…but what do you do with them after that?!! :)

  268. I’m always worried that my house is not up to par and the guests will notice.

  269. It’s not really an embarassing story, but we had people over once when our dog was a puppy and she wouldn’t stop peeing everywhere. Our guests laughed, but in their heads they were probably thinking “These people need to get control of their dog!”

  270. My biggest fear about entertaining is being like MY MOTHER. Growing up, we had people over often and it was fun during but the before and the after were horrible. My mother would run around crazy for days cleaning, preparing, and, generally, making even more clutter decorating for the dinner. Then after, she’d be sick in bed with a migraine for a day or two. So, I always feel like my home is never clean enough to entertain because I’m not doing all of that. Plus, I’ve kind of become my Mom’s opposite and try to keep everything uber-simple. On more than one occassion, I’ve even forgotten to put salt and pepper on the table. When I do remember, the salt and pepper are in these little snowmen and snowwomen shakers (even in July) because we don’t use it that often. Why should I have another set of shakers when we really don’t use the ones we’ve already got?

    They say confession is good for the soul, so, yeah, I’m admitting that I’m a very reluctant entertainer.

  271. Looks like a great book. I’m also a reluctant entertainer – we like to ‘have people over’ which lowers the bar considerably. I think part of my reluctance is that my husband doesn’t care one iota about how the house looks (and thinks I’m ridiculous for caring). It helps take the edge off, but then when I go to someone else’s house who IS good at entertaining, it’s quite the blow. Anyway, congratulations to all three of you!

  272. cathy m says:

    My worst entertaining nightmare occured when trying to make gravy. I was making the water/cornstarch for thickening and accidentally made it with hot water. When I shook the plastic container it exploded all over the kitchen. I mean everywhere!!

  273. Just posted on Facebook for another entry…http://www.facebook.com/nikki.merritt

  274. My biggest reluctance to have people over is because of my hyper dog. :)

    Thanks for the giveaway and congrats on being in a book! :)

  275. Just tweeted for another chance to win….
    http://twitter.com/Tex710

  276. I worry the most about entertaining is having enough energy to put if off with my disability, winning this great pkg would motivate me enough to want to host at least a couple for lunch or dinner! Hope I get picked as a winner….;)

  277. Tammy C says:

    I worry the food will not turn out right…and that I won’t be able to keep the guests entertained. I could really use this book. Thanks!

  278. My biggest reluctance is that someone will see something like spider webs in the corner (they are there less than one day after I clean….I swear!) or a booger or something. Lord only knows.

  279. We have had two sons graduate from High School and I was too
    reluctant to host their parties at our home! I paid for a room, a
    caterer, decorations, etc. It cost my husband and me a lot of money
    to have the parties, when it would have been less expensive and
    more homey to host friends and family in our home.
    Your prizes are delightful…I am always hoping to win. These may
    actually boost my hosting self-esteem…
    Thanks, Cindi

  280. I could say “ditto” to everything you shared. I do cook, but I also fret. Congrats to Sandy on her book and I know what a thrill it is for your commendation to be included so prominently. Wonderful!

  281. What a Fantastic giveaway! Not only Sandy’s book but a Hip Hostess apron and towel! WOW!

    Let’s see, my most embarrassing entertaining story… I could share about the first year we hosted Christmas and the kitchen sink plugged requiring the use of a plunger right there in the middle of it all. UGH!

    Or the time we had friends over and the cat had brought in a mouse from the fields putting it in her food bowl in the kitchen unknown to us until our guests pointed it out. UGH again!

    Thankfully, all of those in attendance at each of these occasions have been so kind and willing to return to our home again since those situations. :-)

    Again, thanks for such a FANTASTIC giveaway and the opportunity to win!

  282. I would love to win this!
    I love the entertain, but I stress over planning it. I wish I could be more relaxed in the prep.

  283. I tweeted about this giveaway!!

  284. Oh my – it is like I wrote this! I get so intimidated to cook for friends since all of my friends are excellent cooks. I too have felt so self-conscious, even though I know that I can cook. Ugh – self-doubt is no fun at all. This book looks great and I think I could really benefit, so, good luck to me :) Thank you for this chance to win!

  285. my biggest reluctance is that I don’t know how to get it “all together” for people to come early. The perfecionist/OCD part of my FREAKS out at the thought of not getting it right!

  286. I’m not sure if I have ever been reluctant but I wasn’t always wise. I would overdo it and try to make everything perfect and be crabby at my family. Now, I just do what I can and we all have fun. :) I’m so thankful for the freedom to be able to finally let myself just do that and let go of perfection for the benefit of good fellowship!

  287. Oh Melissa, you out-did yourself today with such kind words! I love all the comments, too. I shared an embarrassing moment in the book when the sprinklers went off in the backyard at a dinner party. Sigh …

    Thank you for today! XO Sandy (RE)

  288. One month after my wedding, i cooked for the inlaws—AWFUL and that sat there and ate every bite, not saying a word. bless them.

  289. I always want to wait until everything is perfect before I have people over – I need to remember that the fellowship is more important than the setting.

    Thanks for a chance at an incredible giveaway!

  290. I’m just learning to cook so that is what makes me nervous about people coming over for dinner.

  291. L. Neal says:

    Early twenties, making my sweetheart (now husband) a chicken casserole. I was not taught to cook, the women in my family either didn’t cook or didn’t do it well. Well, I baked it & put it on the stove to wait for the vegetables to cook. I turned on the wrong “eye” and about 10-15 minutes later my casserole exploded, burning the floor and just about anything else the glass touched. The man did not marry me for my cooking or entertaining abilities and I am to this day…reluctant about entertaining.

  292. L. Neal says:

    Shared on facebook! :D

  293. Karen Miles says:

    Oh, I need to hang out with you gals for inspiration. I love to entertain, but I make myself crazy. I love to plan the party (especially the tablesetting) and celebrate once folks are here, but the two days before my expectations are ridiculous. I expect the entire garden to be perfectly weeded, the house perfectly clean and decorated, and the food prepared ahead (everything from scratch of course) so I can enjoy my guests. I obviously have some lessons to learn! I absolutely love the apron, though I know it won’t be quite as pretty around my waist as it is around this lovely lady’s! And if you can tell a book by its cover, I’ll love this one!

  294. My biggest reluctance is cleaning up after everyone leaves.

  295. I think my biggest challenge is just finding the time! I am pretty confident in my cooking skills, and I genuinely like having people over – I just get so caught up in the “busyness” of life that before I know it, it’s Monday again.

    I would *love* to win this giveaway – I’ve been a fan of Sandy for years and I know her book will be fabulous! Oh and pink is my favorite color! lol

  296. My biggest reluctance is that we have some much work to do in our house. With jobs, kids, and activities there seems hardly any time for major cleaning and/or updating. Hopefully someday….

  297. One big hurdle in my mind: we only have 1 nine year old daughter, many of our friends, new acquaintances etc. have 3+ children… My question is how do you cater for their entertainment? All different ages… boys and girls? This often stops me from inviting people over, as we don’t have a big play room, or rumpus room.

  298. Jen Sore says:

    I have totally forgot to clean the bathroom! I spent so much time on the entertaining areas, but of course they will need the bathroom.

    Love the apron and I would love to win!

  299. Dawn S. says:

    I have two that stick out as, “Why did we have people over at this time.” When we were first married, we had my BIL & SIL over to play cards. I made a rhubarb pie and sort of FORGOT to put in the sugar! Talk about puckering up. My all time fav, invite three families from church (total of 21 people) and realize your plumbing doesn’t work.

  300. I don’t entertain because my house is small, no central air or heat and no dishwasher…and the backyard has mosquitoes, but I would love to try!
    sylviarj at yahoo dot com

  301. My husband and I had some friends over and after a long night of talking and entertaining I was completely worn out. Realizing I had to work early that morning, I said something to the effect of, ” well, I am going to go to bed now…so…..” and waited for them to say they would leave! thankfully they turned out to be some of our best friends and we have had plenty of time to make up for my ridiculous rudeness…!

  302. I posted your giveaway on my facebook! http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#!/profile.php?id=693208452

  303. the first time i made thanksgiving dinner, i woke at 6 am, whacked my husband awake, and screamed “i forgot to take the turkey out of the freezer!!!” oops…. a meal that was planned as a late lunch ended up being dinner. :) everyone ate though and it still tasted great and i made up for it with pumplin cheesecake.

  304. I’m not a good cook – I don’t know WHAT to cook – and my house is not decorated! So I get very stressed havingpeople over!

  305. I love to hang out with people … and I have a house so it makes sense to use it for entertaining. BUT I feel like my house must be absolutely spick-n-span clean before anyone can come over. Ridiculous, I know … but it’s true!

    http://iblog4books.blogspot.com/2010/07/check-out-this-giveaway.html

    Also, linked to from my FB!

  306. Kris Freitag says:

    Most embarressing, oh gosh there are so many. Um, how about the time that the meat was burned to a crisp and there was only potatoes to eat. Or the time the meat was fine but the potatoes were scorched to the bottom of the pan. I enjoy entertaining once its started and happening, but I tend to talk myself out of it. I am sure i miss out on a lot of fun because of it.

  307. Like you, I just cannot live up to my own expectations. I want everything to be perfect and it’s not…so I don’t entertain. :(

  308. What a fun giveaway. I guess my reluctance to having people over is time. Taking time out of our busy schedule to have people over when our time at home together as a family is so precious. I guess I am being selfish. I need to do better in this area. thehooksfam at yahoo dot com

  309. My biggest reluctance in having people over is that our house was 988 sf. Really just big enough for the four of us and not many more. Luckily we’ve upgraded to 2200 sf and I TOTALLY plan on having people over once we get this place updated and cleaned!! :)

  310. One time after we had some people from my hubbies work for dinner he told me after everyone left the tea was undrinkable. I had bought tea. I later found our he just didn’t like sweet tea….so I’m not sure how bad it was. (i hate tea)

  311. Oh, I have the most embarrassing entertaining story! And it really is a LONG story….so here’s the short version: A cheesecake exploded in my tiny kitchen setting it on fire!!!!!! While the guests were there!!! No worries….the fire department was not needed and my guests did not leave! I was so devastated at not getting to eat my homemade cheesecake though…Never mind the enormous mess!!! :)

    Fantastic giveaway! Love your blog!

  312. Shannon Fox says:

    I am also very nervous about my cooking skills. My husband on the other hand loves to cook for a group. So…I usually let him handle the kitchen magic. A couple of weeks ago we had a client of my husband’s and his wife over for dinner. We did this salmon dish with balsamic potatoes on the side. We’ve made this on at least two other occasions and it was delish. This time…it totally bombed. The salmon was really salty and the potatoes…oh…the potatoes were horrid. The experience was enlightening though. The worst case scenario totally happened and we lived, and we laughed, and we moved on! Yay for us!

  313. First year Cody and I were married we REALLY wanted to have everyone over to our new house for Christmas dinner. We made a turkey. I was very concerned about when and how you know the turkey is done. My mom kept telling me you will know when the popper pops out.. I kept looking for a popper but never could find one! I just figured ours didn’t come with a popper. We took the turkey out and it looked beautiful. My mom started laughing. We cooked the turkey upside down. The popper was underneath! Oh well!

    Posted on FB (personal and biz) and twitter!

  314. We had our pastor and his wife for dinner for the first time. I made a curry dish that I have made dozens of times, however this was the first time on our gas stove. I burned the dish, but it was not evident until you tasted it. Our guests were so gracious and ate their dinner, but didn’t go back for seconds. :-)

  315. I’d have to say the most embarrassing thing I have had happen to me while entertaining happened recently. My husband turned 40 this year so I threw a big to-do – backyard bbq, hired a magician, went all out. I made cupcakes ala Bakerella (the Father’s Day hamburger/fries – you have to see it if you don’t know which one I’m referring to) and when I started putting cupcakes out, before the magician was done, a couple of people snagged a cupcake before they were all out AND before we said happy birthday. Before I could even think about what I was doing, I started hollering “Who took a cupcake? WHO took a cupcake??? WHO takes a piece of birthday cake BEFORE you sing happy birthday?” Well….. lo & behold… my mother-in-law comes walking up to the table holding a cupcake. I was mortified…yelling about my mother-in-law in front of about 30 people. Oh ugh!! I still haven’t lived that one down…

  316. So I’m having a bunch of ladies over for a celebratory birthday dinner and smack dab in cooking the main dish my pan flips over, linguini and chicken and mushrooms everywhere! How did I recover from that one? Luckly, I had bruschetta and salad and plenty of wine!

    Take care,

    Lisa

  317. My biggest fear of entertaining is doing so at my parents house. My husband has deployed until the holiday season so to save money and pay back school loans. I moved in with my parents but they are always on the go with no time to decorate (according to them) and their style is nothing like my own. But I love them none the less. :)

  318. I never feel like my house is fancy, clean, cute, enough. I am not a great cook and it all just seems a little too overwhelming. I hate this mind set. I want to have people over and be more social. This book sounds like what I need!

  319. I mentioned your give away on my blog and I also shared your awesome quote too! Thanks for all your inspiration.

  320. We have people over fairly often…but I wish I could go with the flow a bit more, and not spend a day cleaning the house ahead of time. This stops me from spontaneously inviting people.

  321. I have recently discovered Sandy’s blog– not quite sure how I ended up here, but so glad I did. One time at a dinner party, I asked a guest to “toss” the salad and she took the container of salad out of the refrig and gave it a good shake — yeah, the lid flew off and salad went everywhere — we still laugh about that. Thanks for the give away –I hope I win.

  322. I was always willing to open my home for family members but was hesitant to invite friends and acquaintances because I always wanted to wait until everything was perfect. Then I read “Cranberry Thanksgiving” to my kids for school and realized that things don’t have to be perfect you just need to have a home that welcomes others in. =)

  323. My most embarrassing entertaining took place a number of years ago when my husband’s aunt and uncle came to visit from out of town. I had planned a yummy meal, set the timer on the oven (I thought) and we left for church. When we returned I realized I had not set the timer after all! We had KFC instead. :(

  324. I Facebooked my friends and told them about the giveaway!

  325. My most embarrassing entertaining moment was when we had my sister and her family over for dinner. I made a new recipe (ha!) and it was not very good at all! Too lemony and sour! Anyways, they were very nice about it, but I knew no one liked it, including myself! Thanks for the giveaway!

  326. Howdy Doody! I have blogged about the book and about my recent entertaining catastrophe:

    http://dustbunniesandcobwebs.blogspot.com/2010/07/reluctant-entertainer.html

  327. I am not sure this is the most embarrassing entertaining moment, but it is very funny to our family now. We had my brother-in-law, sister-inlaw and their 3 girls over for Thanksgiving dinner several years ago. I have cooked many turkeys, but it had been awhile. Because there is so much prep I tried to do alot beforehand. I read a tip that if you was fresh green bean and wrap them in a towel they will stay fresher longer. So, I did just that the night before and stored them in the refrigerator like that. On Thanksgiving day when our guests arrived I apparently had the towel with green beans in my hand and started to go to the front door with it, but put it down in the laundry room on the dryer. It is on the way to the front door. Along the way I forgot where I put them or so I thought. I was searching all over while doing other things and finally my husband asked me what I was looking for. I told him I lost the green beans. At 1st he did not realized I had wrapped them in a towel. When I finally told him he said that our youngest niece had taken a towel off the dryer to put upstairs per his request because he thought it belonged in my “studio” (art and quilt stuff). No one looked in the towel to see why it was so lumpy. We all had quite a laugh over that.

  328. I love to entertain, but I am scared to death by the cooking part!

  329. I am always trying to get over the feeling that everything has to be perfect before I have guests. Some of my best times have been when people have just dropped by. One of my most embarrassing hostess moments was when my husband and i were first marries. I made him the traditional cake his mom always made him called a mocha torte- this cake has pale green whipped cream icing- my hand slipped and my cake was a vivid green. When I brought the cake out my father in law laughed for what seemed an eternity. I laugh now but at the time was mortified.
    Anyway- my mom always told me that when her and my father were first married they entertained in their 1 room trailer and cooked meals for their guests on a hot plate. She always says that people don’t care about perfection- they just want to asked over and more and more i know this is true. The book looks great and I Love the apron!

  330. Melissa says:

    I’m not sure this was my most embarrassing entertaining moment, but it was certainly embarrassing. I had run out of the garlic salt blend I usually use (Suzy Q’s Santa Maria seasoning) so I just used regular old garlic salt. We were having a spaghetti dinner with a couple and their four daughters. One of the girls took a bite, spit it out, then proceeded to scrape off the top of the bread with her fork. When I asked her if she liked garlic bread she said yes, but this was way too salty to eat. So, I took a bite. I quickly agreed and apologized, and we all scraped the tops off our bread. Not my finest moment for sure. I would love to be entered in your giveaway! The apron is darling, and the book sounds like it would be an entertaining read!

  331. It always seems like a good idea until a day or so before and then I am wishing I hadn’t. It always goes well though and I end up having fun but I question the stress.

  332. Charity says:

    Thankfully this happened when my best friend was over for dinner and not strangers: I made chicken and dumplins – which I am usually quite good at. However, it seemed a bit runny to me, so I grabbed the can of cream of tartar to thicken it (WHAT!!). Well, needless to say, it didn’t get thicker, but it did get tarter.

  333. When we first got married, we invited friends over for red beans and rice (a staple in Louisiana). I had no experience cooking. The recipe called for two pods of garlic. I thought it meant two whole garlics. Big oops. Needless to say, it was quite pungent. Funny thing is – we have NEVER seen those friends again – and it has been many, many years. BTW, I really, really want this book!!!!! And I will probably be buying some for Christmas gifts for some young women who are just stretching their wings in the ‘entertaining’ world.

  334. I would have to say the time I had everyone over for Italian night, and my spaghetti stuck together soooo bad that it was a big glod of sauce covered goo. What a nightmare!
    I love to have people over to our house. My favorite times are when everyone is casual, relaxed and enjoying no fuss food.

  335. Victoria says:

    I am reluctant to host anything because I am afraid my house isn’t clean or decorated good enough, I worry that my walls need a new coat of paint so that they don’t look so scratched up. Another reason I do not entertain is because I am afraid my food won’t be good. I hope to get over that soon so that I can host Pampered Chef and Tupperware parties as well as fix a nice meal once in a while too.

  336. My biggest obstacle is I feel my house in never organized enough, decorated enough, clutter free enough, and so on and so on…. I think of how many relationship building times I have missed out on because of “these” obstacles. I am working on not worrying over the small stuff and just enjoying the chance to fellowship.
    ~Yvette :)

  337. I always feel like my house has to be spotless when I entertain. One time we hosted a big graduation open house for my daughter and I spent several days shopping, cooking and, of course, cleaning. I guess I did a really good job, perhaps too good a job, washing the full-pane glass patio door because that evening four different people walked right into it! Thankfully no one was hurt but maybe I’ll leave a few smudged next time.

  338. Crystal says:

    I didn’t know there was a name for my “condition”! Boy is that me! Thanks for all the fun stuff on your Blog! Love it!

    Crystal :)

  339. I am a recovering perfectionist and just learning to relax and share my ‘imperfect’ space with others. Just last week, I had friends over for dinner during my five-day paint my space project.

    My *worst* experience was about six weeks after the arrival of my firstborn, the first time I invited friends over for lunch. Everything was perfect (I hadn’t yet learned) or so I thought, when a friend asked me where to put the very soiled, very slimy bottoms that were accidentally left soaking in the sink! Luckily, all were young mothers and completely understood!

  340. This weekend we had a BBQ for my boyfriend’s 30th birthday – our first time entertaining in our first garden! I was so exciting and it went really well. We only moved in recently and didn’t have lightshades or curtains in many of the rooms but I still invited lots of people round. It was a pretty windy day and our gazebo, which we were all sitting under decided to take off up the street and landed in our neighbours garden – so our guests had to help us retrieve it – it was quite funny though!

    My main reluctance to entertain is because my house is never tidy enough by my standard to ask people over – there’s so much clutter. I try not to worry too much though but I often have a mad run around before people arrive and tidy up!

  341. I re-tweeted your giveaway too, not sure how to get a link to just the one tweet, but here is the link to my twitter page and you can see it there!

    http://twitter.com/jadedickinson

  342. Chrissy S. says:

    Most embarrassing? Probably slicing my hand trying to cut cheese for the cheese tray … or making a new lasagna recipe that tasted TERRIBLE … or having my child (who has autism) dump sand all over a baby’s head when he saw older kids throwing sand at each other and laughing about it. THAT was mortifying … I saw what my son was looking at and KNEW what as coming but I couldn’t get there fast enough to stop it.

    Looks like a great book and what a beautiful apron!!!!

  343. I get extremely anxious at the thought of entertaining, not sure why buts its a very uncomfortable feeling.

  344. My most embarrassing moment was when I left the 2nd layer of plastic on the ham! I didn’t notice this until almost an hour into cooking! Thankfully, no one was poisoned and everyone commented on how juicy the ham was! Guess the plastic helped! ;-)

  345. Several years ago, Sugar Daddy and I became part of a circle of friends that hosted dinner parties. They were all much further in years than us, so I felt very intimidated by their experience vs my lack of in the entertaining department.

    Sugar Daddy and I decided to host a “Southern” theme dinner party since none of the people involved had lived in the south like we had. Sugar Daddy planned to smoke a pork butt and we would serve Southern sides.

    Have you ever smoked a pork butt? It takes hours when done properly. This day happened to be a very cold day, so it took even longer. As guests arrived we knew the pork was a few hours from being ready. One hour went by and I knew the guests were getting hungry. Another hour went by and I was in panic mode.

    finally, the pork was ready, but Sugar Daddy was dripping with sweat, smelled like the smoker, and was exhausted. I was stressed. It was a disaster.

    I learned that it’s more important to have a good time than it is to impress. If that’s not the case, then I’m inviting the wrong people to my party.

  346. I become very apprehensive because I want to do it all. Growing up my mother never let anyone else bring a dish to share. She made all the food, did all the decorating, cleaning, dish washing, etc. herself.

  347. Juliann says:

    The first year I hosted Thanksgiving for my family all I had to provide were the place, turkey and bread. I opened my cupboard that morning to get the turkey bag out and the box was empty. I had no idea how to prepare the turkey without the bag. All the stores around us were closed and thankfully my sister was able to come to the rescue as she had one.
    I am certainly a reluctant entertainer as I can never come up with suitable meals.

  348. I am the most reluctant entertainer ever. I know it stems back from childhood and a mean trick some kids played on me… far to pathetic to share. But it also stems from my mother’s amazing ability! She always went so over the top that I never feel like I could ever live up to it! I honestly avoid having to host anything at all costs… which is really terribly sad. It really is kind of a phobia for me.

    So HELP! Plus I LOVE aprons! :)

  349. Sandra Newman says:

    I need this book desperately! I would love to be a hostess that was relaxed and could actually enjoy the company of the people that you have invited over. My house is small and I try to have outside gatherings but I worry so much about rain that I make myself sick!

  350. How about trying to make twice-baked potatoes without knowing you have to bake them the first time WITHOUT tin foil – We ended up having loaded mashed potatoes instead :(

    P.S. That apron is TO DIE!

  351. I had a ‘big reluctance’ event just last night. My husband’s brother, sister-in-law and nephew were heading home from vacation and decided to stop by our ‘new’ house (that they haven’t seen before) on their way back down to FL. They called mid-morning yesterday and would be here by dinner time. The funny thing was that my husband (the one related to everyone that was coming) was leaving before they got here to head out of state for the night. (A trip that couldn’t be put off) My husband and I have been married less then 6 years and we live so far from his family so I haven’t had the chance to ‘hang out’ with them a whole lot. I was a little bit nervous about it but my husband told me to relax that they are really laid back and that I didn’t need to feel like I have to put on a dinner party for them. Things went great. It was a very relaxed, laid back evening. I thoroughly enjoyed myself and realized that my hubby was right. I didn’t need to worry about a thing. Thanks for the opportunity to win this give-a-way. I would love these items.

  352. Such a classy giveaway! I made banana pudding (the kind you can do without cooking in a trifle dish) once when we were first married and realized later that I had not put the bananas in! I don’t know if any guests realized or not- regardless, it tasted good!

  353. I think I am most reluctant because:

    1. We live ‘in the hood’. I love our big, old house but some folks are intimidated by our ‘hood’.

    2. Because we ‘live in the hood’, we have two large dogs. Some folks are more intimidated by them……

  354. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE to have people over…. except….. I have a 3 year old and a 5 month old. So, if it’s a playdate, and I don’t have to clean up all the toys or cook (which means making the kitchen presentable) then I’m good to go. Pre-children, and when it was just one (and he was in the baby stage) we would have friends over to eat and watch our favorite show. People don’t want to come over to eat PB&J and watch Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, they can do that at their OWN homes!

  355. Sarah Kirkpatrick says:

    When my husband and I were first married and lived in tiny apartments, I was definitely reluctant to entertain because of having so little space, a miniscule table, and pretty humble food. But, we did have a few people over during those days, and although slightly embarrassed at times, we always had a great time. That was the beginning of me letting go of perfectionism.

    Would love to win!!

  356. My biggest reluctance is that I am a terrible house keeper and it requires so much work to get my house clean because of this.

  357. Years ago we invited a couple over for dessert on a Sunday night, and they arrived expecting dinner! It was a little bit tricky, but we worked it out.

    I am both an idealist and a perfectionist. My biggest problem is that I always expect the perfected me to be here when the guests arrive … which, of course, never happens. We have 8 young children, and life is VERY real at our house. I’m getting better at taking a deep breath and doing my best. There’s nothing to apologize for if we all have a great time visiting. I’ve actually looked at Sandy’s book – it’s awesome! Thanks!

  358. I love to cook and entertain but I never entertain because I am worn out. I value family time with my little family and I am reluctant to feel obligated in my own home. Terrible, sounds selfish, etc…and so weird in that I love to cook, decorate, etc….I feel like I will entertain more when the kids are a little older! But I am also a perfectionist and it seems like a lot of work…so I need to work on my attitude about it! Working on attitude now…cookbook looks lovely!

  359. I decided to throw an engagement dinner for me and my fiance (since no one else would do it for us). I decorated and cooked everything myself. On each place setting, I put a tea candle cradled in a bed of fake moss in a small bowl. Let me tell you that there were probably four or more fire “incidents” during the dinner. The fake moss and the free standing tea lights were not really a good idea. Most of the cloth napkins were burned in the process. Looked really cute though!

  360. When my husband and I first got married, we realized we didn’t know how much food to cook per person. We had a small dinner party and as soon as we started filling plates, it was very obvious that we did not prepare enough for everyone.

  361. I always remember the time my mom dropped dinner on the floor face down. It was pretty awful. And yes, we picked it up and still ate it. She was mortified.

  362. My most embarrassing “having people over” story was we had invited the pastor and his wife of our church over for dinner. The wife brought a homemade cake for dessert. After dinner we put on some coffee and went to cut the cake and ants were all over the cake. .all over it!! I was so embarrassed. And did not know them well enough. . was this gonna gross them out to cut off the outer layer and eat it anyway. . .we certainly could not throw it away, could we? I mean she spent how much time making that for us. I did cut off the outer layer and served the insides and we laugh now at that first time we had dinner together.

    Thanks for the opportunity to win this book-
    Su

  363. Well, my most recent embarrassing hostess story is from this past Friday… when I was about to put the homemade pizza in the oven, one of my guests pointed out that there was a hair on it. And since it was long and red, it was definitely mine. I pulled it off and they still ate the pizza after it was baked.

  364. We held Christmas at our house soon after we were married. My husband was moving the glass top table into another room and completely shattered the table top into a million pieces. The house was small so there was no way to get around it and there were little children there too. Thankfully, no one was hurt but everyone ate with plate in hand a full course meal. It has been 9 years, and we are still reminded of it by family members.

  365. One time I decided to try a new recipe out on company; something I had successfully done before. This time however the meal was horrible, I mean truly, truly inedible and we had to order pizza.

  366. The first time we had my Dad over for dinner after we were married, I really wanted to impress him. I decided to do a scallop stir fry. I kept cooking and cooking them, thinking they looked too white to be “done.” They turned out like rubber super balls! Thanks for the chance to win the book and other goodies!

  367. Debby A. says:

    My latent perfectionist, borderline OCD, procrastinating tendencies rear their ugly heads and stifle me!!!! Working to overcome them….this book would be a start in the right direction!! Thanks for offering the give-away. :)

  368. Ohhh there’s the time I baked cookies and didn’t realize I added too much baking soda cause I measured it wrong by misreading the recipe. The monster cookies were so salty and gross!

  369. kathy brewer says:

    I am most reluctant to have guests over unless everything is perfect….I am working on this, and am doing much better. Sandy’s blog has been a huge encouragement to me and I love your blog too!
    blessings, kathy

  370. Lately, I am so reluctant to entertain because of all this baby gear around and the little time I have to keep up with the house!!! I just can’t seem to prepare for guest like I use to and it makes me shy away from having people over. I know its so ridiculous because when we do entertain we have such a wonderful time with our friends!

  371. Michelle says:

    I just found this website today. I am so excited about it! My husband and I enjoy having friends over, but we have a hard time with entertaining people with dinner. It is always so stressful! I’m not a great cook and my expectations for myself are ridiculously high. I have a friend who could give Martha Stewart a run for her money and I love going to her dinner parties. How in the world can I live up to that? Especially since we have mutual friends who may be comparing me to her! Ugh! I just wish I could get over it and enjoy entertaining.

  372. I rarely entertain guests because of mainly because of space restrictions, but also because I want everthing to be perfect. It doesn’t help that our carpets need replaced badly….Embarrassing!

  373. Your blog is divine!

  374. I love having people over, but I will say that I think my small home scares me from entertaining more.

  375. I am a good cook but it was the holidays & I was very busy. My husband had received a gift of a Beef Wellington from a company–I thought, why not entertain a little simply, for a change. Well, everyone raved about the meal & of course, assumed it was homemade because I would never consider anything else. I felt very guilty but never admitted that I did not make it. The next day a guest called for the RECIPE!! Luckily, I pour over my cookbooks – I was able to put my finger on a similar recipe in no time. Hope it tasted just as good ;)!!

  376. Michelle Benzinger says:

    I love this giveaway and would love to dive into this book :) so fun !! Blessings ,Michelle

  377. The one thing holding me back from having guests over right now is our new puppy! She is the rudest little thing ever. She’s lucky she’s cute!

  378. My most embarrassing “hostessing” moment was when the stromboli that I had in the oven decided to leak. The cheese oozed all out of the dough, dripped onto the bottom of the oven, set all three smoke alarms off in my house, smelled AWFUL…all just in time for me to welcome our whole new community group from our church (most of whom I hadn’t met yet) by opening all the windows to let out the smoke. What a great greeting…they were probably thinking they should eat before they came to the next meeting!

  379. I love to entertain and show off my house. I did however throw a party a few years ago, and some of the guests showed up early. I answered the door in my bathrobe, and my hair in a towel!

  380. verlan day says:

    I love to have people over, but don’t do it very often because I feel like their homes are decorated so much nicer. I am trying to get better about this and force myself to volunteer my home for parties. God has blessed me with a nice home and I need to be more willing to open it to others.

  381. SheilaM says:

    Would love to entertain in my home but have been so intimidated to do so! Don’t know why…perhaps, one day, will have a successful dinner party. Thanks for the giveaway!!!

  382. As a working mom, I always feel like I don’t have time to cook for friends. I barely get my family fed, let alone thinking about others…

  383. I want to cook everything myself and never ask anyone to bring anything. I’m getting too old to keep doing this. I know I’ll have a much better time.

  384. i’m scared to entertain too much!
    my home is small and i’m
    always worried that something is
    going to go wrong!
    but, i would love to be
    comfortable
    with entertaining!
    one day…

  385. My most embarrassing entertainment was a cooking disaster….because
    I locked myself out of the house with dinner on the stove. A neighbor had to pick the lock. Thankfully the house didn’t burn down. Needless to say we went to a restuarant!

  386. What a great giveaway and a way to inspire entertaining! I think my biggest reluctance towards entertaining is worrying that my house isn’t clean enough!!

  387. Sarah S. says:

    My most embarrasing hosting moment…serving a beautiful bruchetta chicken dish only to serve it out and find out that the chicken was still raw! I was mortified.

  388. Gale Starnes says:

    I am reluctant to entertain, because I am not very good at small talk and I hate long pauses in conversation. I feel like I should say something witty or funny and I really want to, but I never know what to say…and I end up wishing I could be quiet and go to bed!!!

  389. karissa says:

    I have 3 or 4 dinner recipes that are “guest worthy”, and all my potential guests have had them all! NOW what do I make?!

  390. I LOVE entertaining! However, I rarely do so. We have 5 kids 7 1/2 and younger and I feel like it’s so much work to get the house “company ready”, so it’s easier to just meet at a park, etc. I am trying to get over myself and take baby steps to getting back to what I love!

  391. Shared on facebook:)

  392. I’m willing to entertain, but like so many others have eXpressed, I struggle with trying to make everything perfectly perfect and wind up too stressed and eXhausted to enjoy myself or my guests. Silly, I know. Sounds like I NEED Sandy’s book! ThanX for the chance to win.

  393. Jennifer M. says:

    My most embarrassing moment while entertaining was when I lost my grip on a bowl of cucumber salad and spilled it all over my friend’s lap! I’m was so glad we are great friends and she understood. But still, I felt horrible!

  394. Becky E. says:

    The reluctance I’ve had of entertaining has come most out of insecurity and a ton of excuses. “My house is too small.” “Can I carry a conversation?” “Will they even show up?” All the excuses were focused on me instead of my guest. I’m learning to make it less about myself and more about my guest or intended guest. If I’m focused on my friends, they’ll probably enjoy our time together instead of worrying about the dust on my lampshade!

  395. Becky E. says:

    I shared on Facebook! :)

  396. I share it on Facebook!

  397. I think I want to have everything perfect; food, table, conversation, home. It’s easier just not to do it.

  398. I think I would love to entertain if I didn’t have so many insecurities! Our place is small, kitchen tiny, outdoor patio too close to doggie potty spot, and I really want to make people comfortable. What if they feel awkward in my house?!!?

    Haha. someday. Someday I won’t care…

  399. It was my first dinner party. I had the table set so that Martha Stewart would be proud. I even made time for me to be freshly showered and full makeup on. The house smelled wonderful. I had fresh baked homemade rolls. The cake was perfect on the platter for dessert. Everything was on the table except for the chicken. It was perfect, well so I thought. So the chicken hits the table and we start in on it and every single piece of chicken is raw on the inside.. Sometime among all my preparing I never thought to see if the crock-pot was working. I later figured out it had blown a fuse and the outlet stopped working. It turned out to be a meatless meal. I was mortified who serves RAW chicken? Apparently I did.

  400. I wrote a blog post about the giveaway on Heart Choices.

    I also created a widget that I posted for anyone who has read the book to give feedback.

  401. Tamrah T. says:

    Embarassing moment was having the main course OVER cooked! Thankfully there was enough sides, drinks to make up for it. Anyway, I guess I’d add this as being a hang up for my not inviting friends and family over very often.

  402. Biggest fear? That guests will be bored. Really. Bored. Thanks for the great giveaway. Blessings, SusanD

  403. Sandra Perkins says:

    When I was a newlywed, my groom and I invited friends over for canned beans and hot dogs boiled stovetop. I forgot all about the food cooking and burned everything to a crisp. That was 36 years ago and I am a fine entertainer now :-)

  404. Oh my gosh, my best story comes from just a week ago. At around 4:30 p.m. that Friday afternoon my dear hubby invited the neighbors over for dinner at 6 p.m. (a rare event). Well, I was still holding the baby I provide child care for but happily agreed. “That will be fun”, I thought. Until I realized there was dog hair and cobwebs and mess all over the house. As soon as baby got picked up (around 5), I started screaming and yelling that EVERYONE had better start cleaning and not just sitting there any longer. I got out the vacuum while the kids started hauling junk to their rooms. I told hubby to stay in the kitchen and cook while I huffed and puffed around the house with vacuum cleaner in hand. Boy, was I steaming and regretting that we’d invited them over. Then, at 5:15 I heard a knock at the door. A young man was standing there and I thought to myself (“oh, cr*p! It’s that kid selling knives!). Yes, I had made an appt. with him, to “help” him with his new job, and forgotten about it. So there I was, vacuum in hand and job not done, having to stash it all away and sit down to hear a presentation on knives which I had no intention of buying. At some point I broke free and whispered to hubby, “keep cooking and call the neighbors to come 1/2 an hour later!”.

    In the end, having to sit and listen to this kid try to sell me knives for an hour calmed me down. The food was cooked and delicious. The house was “clean enough” and I drank maybe one glass of wine more than usual (two instead of one, I’m not much of a drinker) and was able to relax just fine. I went from eager entertainer to reluctant entertainer to someone who had a great time in spite of it all.

  405. I also shared this on Facebook.

  406. I try to have everything perfect….even if it means staying up the entire night before…then I am too exhausted to enjoy anything or anybody….I know….ridiculous….but sad, too….would love a chance to win this book….

  407. I think my most embarrassing moment would be shortly after my husband and I were married we decided to have a little housewarming back yard party. Well I had some bff’s over and they had brought some wine and helped me get everything together. By the time the rest of the guests had arrived I was pretty toasted. Well I had gotten so consumed in conversation I had forgotten about the pies I had baking. The kitchen began smoking and all of our fire alarms started going off and since we were all in the back yard and didnt hear them , the fire department showed up. I was so embarrassed and to this day my husband still brings that up at dinner parties. I didnt catch the house on fire , just a whole lot of smoke and a couple of charcoal pies , thank God.

  408. I tweeted this @kasexton

  409. Yes, it was I who thought it was a lovely idea to invite the neighbors over for dinner; after all, we had already invited them for wine earlier in the day. Why not dinner to go with it? It was all pretty much as Lisa described above, including the vacuuming and ranting and the visit from the knife saleskid. Once she told me to “just stay in the kitchen and cook,” I was fine, I just kept working. It was amazing watching her accept her fate and calmly sit and listen when there were probably 37 other things she might find to stress about, but couldn’t at that point. In the end, I think we enjoyed our dinner(spicy fish with arugula, beets and green beans from the garden and ice cream with berries from the yard) with two of our many terrific neighbors. It might not be the last time we invite folks over for dinner, but I hope it is the last time we do it under those conditions!

  410. Biggest fear, or REASON for “hesitation” has been: this house has been an “extreme makeover” in the works for several years. What was supposed to take “Two Weeks” (hubby says he’ll never live that one down LOL) has taken five years! But, thank the Lord, we’ve gotten past the “no-kitchen-counters-or cabinets; knocked out walls” phase. The house is big enough to have a special gathering…and thankfully we were able to enjoy our extended families here together at Christmas—which leads me to my FIASCO—Being up on my feet almost non-stop, for several days leading up to Christmas Eve (2009) in order to “provide the most perfect Christmas ambiance and neatly organized buffet in the dining area,” I ended up in the ER! Yep…my back went out..thank the Lord it went out the day AFTER Christmas, when everyone had their tummies full! LOL My husband says, “never again! You ‘over-did’ it!” I say, “Oh please! Give me one more chance!” LOL It was so much fun cooking, cleaning, preparing and especially watching everyone enjoying themselves. HOWEVER, I hope to get my eager hands on a copy of this book soon. Maybe it will help keep me balanced and OUT of the ER this Christmas season! Thanks for the chance!

Trackbacks

  1. […] at The Inspired Room, Melissa is sharing her story … I was a Reluctant Entertainer! Once upon a time, I was […]

  2. […] you haven’t joined the GIVEAWAY excitement over at The Inspired Room, Melissa is giving away a RE books, Hip Hostess apron and tea towel for 2 people!) Like this […]

  3. Reluctant Entertainer & Hip Hostess Winners! says:

    […] Thanks so much for entering the Reluctant Entertainer and Hip Hostess giveaway! […]

css.php