I do love to entertain friends and family. And I probably don't do it enough because it seems overwhelming unless I've put weeks into planning an "occasion." But it doesn't have to be so. Sometimes the simplest evenings are the most fun. The last three weekends I have been entertained by friends in their homes. Relaxed, casual, laughter, no one looking for dust bunnies in the corners, or white-gloving the buffet! I left my girlfriends homes with a warm heart and full belly. I jumped in Saturday night, a bit unprepared due to hectic week, to host my aunt, uncle, cousins and parents. Going into my "What I Didn't Do" mode, I cleaned the downstairs but not the upstairs. Vacuumed but didn't mop. Made a lovely centerpiece. Bought cooked chickens from the store, made a nice salad and simple pasta. Voila. Done. Sit back, open the wine and enjoy. Or something close to it anyway...there are still the dishes to wash!
Took a picture of the centerpiece the next day with natural light. This was relatively inexpensive to assemble using "Manager Special" discounted flowers from the grocery store and produce that will be recycled into edibles after the party. In fact I had to retrieve an apple from my arrangement for the salad that night!