So, what do you do when your friend, who’s been in bed with the flu, suddenly feels better on her birthday and you have an hours notice to whip up a dinner party for four? And panic is not the answer! Being faced with this situation a few days ago, I surprisingly remained calm. Maybe it was because I tend to be a procrastinator so I would have been doing everything last minute anyway, but I really wanted this small soiree to be special. After having a terrible week of the sniffles and a cough, my friend deserved to enjoy her birthday. My initial thought was Chinese food but then my inner Martha Stewart kicked in. I couldn’t serve takeout to someone on their birthday… who does that?… that’s not special! Quick – Quick – Quick … think Lauren, think!!!
I knew three things… 1. The weather was beautiful so we could eat outside on the back porch. 2. Jenni (the birthday girl) loved pink and 3. My husband was going to the grocery for me. My plan was born. I sent my wonderful hubby to the store with a short list, four filet mignons (that I would later pepper encrust and grill), a bag of red potatoes which I could roast, fresh mushrooms to saute and some fancy cheeses, olives and crackers… ok, dinner was done. On my way home from work, I stopped at my favorite cupcake shop, Ivy Cake, and picked up four red velvet cupcakes… dessert done! Upon getting home, I grabbed a sheet of wrapping paper and two spools of ribbon. Yes, I own a stationery boutique so wrapping paper is at my disposal, but everyone must have a little something hanging around the house, right? This particular wrapping paper was perfect because it was double-sided with coordinating patterns and it was in shades of pink… perfect! I immediately got out my trusty ruler and cut out 11″ x 17″ inch rectangles… placemats done! I took the extra scraps and cut them into 1″ inch strips and wrapped them around the napkins. A simple ribbon finished off the look… napkins done!
Then I remembered, I had no flowers. A quick phone call to my husband fixed that and he would be adding pink gerber daisies to the shopping list, Jenni’s favorite. I grabbed a bunch of tissue paper and made one of Marthat Stewart’s puff balls…. and hung it from the ceiling of the back porch with some fishing line from the ceiling fan. Thinking back, perhaps standing on a table with champagne glasses teetering next to me, was probably not the smartest thing to do, but I digress. Next, I grabbed my white table runner, which I have found was the best investment I could have made for setting a table, and laid it down the center of the table. A 1.5 inch ribbon set down the center of the runner finished off the look. As my husband walked through the door, I realized with 5 minutes left on the clock, there was no time for an arrangement. I quickly cut them short and laid them casually on the table… hmmm, it looked like I had planned that all along. Some simple candles and the table was finished.
As my friends arrived, I put the potatoes in the oven to roast and peppered the steaks. As we waited, we sipped on some wine and enjoyed our cheese nibbles. And besides my flushed cheeks and beads of perspiration, I hope my guests were none the wiser to my frantic planning just the hour before. And even though I was running around like a crazy woman, I loved every minute of it!!!
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Wrapping paper and ribbon from Rock Paper Scissors.