Comments: Professional party-planner Karen Bussen is – for us – scaling her day job down to a manageable size, and sharing her thoughts and ideas with those who like to entertain at home but sometimes view it as overwhelming
Her approach sounds ideal: create menus featuring homemade and store-bought ingredients in fresh, manageable preparations; tailor colors, tableware, and lighting for visual impact; throw in the right mix of music; and limit effort, expense, and waste.
One section of the book details 12 complete party plans – a Latin cocktail party, a wine & cheese tasting, a holiday cocktail party, game night with a casual supper, "zen ladies' night" (including yoga and a light dinner), a global potluck, a full dinner with an herbal theme, a harvest feast, a New Year's Eve steakhouse-style dinner, a "regift exchange brunch," a panini picnic, and a backyard barbecue. The rest of the book has general suggestions for stocking the bar and pantry, choosing wine and music, decorating, a few gift ideas (for host or guest), and a list of online and traditional resources for supplies. There are also 75 recipes for drinks, hors d'oeuvres, entrees, side dishes, and desserts.
Bussen clearly has a lot of creative ideas, but when you look at them you realize they're not rocket science – you could throw these parties (and others) without killing yourself. She's just giving you a big boost.