“That reminds me of a story,” Liza Utter, America’s Host chimed in many times during her class, Liza’s Life of the Party Holiday Party Food and Menu Planning Event on Friday afternoon. The stories ranged from mistaking “Tiffany’s Toy Box” for a kid-friendly gift website to ceiling plaster falling on Michelle Pfeiffer’s table at her restaurant, immediately giving insight to her accessibility regardless of her playing hostess to the top celebrities in the industry!
Liza treated an intimate group of professional and novice party planners alike to a crash course in party planning for the holidays 101. Guests were immediately greeted with a Pomegranate Champagne cocktail upon entering the secretive event space in the back of New York Vintners. Attendees were then escorted to what looked like the high top tables at wedding cocktail parties with a wide array of foods to snack on throughout the event. The space was decorated with tree branches with dried leaves and cranberries still on their stems in tall glass vases, twinkling lights and pinecones decorated with white-out (Liza’s quick fix to look like snow) for good measure to give the holiday party feel and to show attendees how easy it is to decorate a space. Like any perfect host, Liza walked around introducing herself as if you were best friends for years without the air of being the least bit insincere.
Liza conducted her course via powerpoint while butternut squash soup shooters topped with garlic croutons were passed out. Liza explained that she started these classes because her friends would always automatically suggest making a reservation instead of entertaining her at home when she went to visit them. They assumed she would expect a grandiose show when all she was looking for was to open a bottle of wine with some of her girlfriends to catch up. When they would agree to an at home visit, they would turn in to a stressed out version of themselves because it was too much pressure to host. Liza wanted an opportunity to show that entertaining can be easy and fun while still having an ambiance of a well planned party.
Liza gave guests a step by step guide of how to step up the hostess game and made a lot of really good common sense points that people always overlook when hosting. A great example of this is the host that is always apologizing for everything that went wrong with their party that no one would’ve noticed if they didn’t point it out. Liza likened it to someone pointing out a pimple that no one sees until attention is brought to it! Another great point that was stressed throughout the event was that guests are expecting a great experience not perfection and that when you do stress about the small stuff, people notice.
Everyone then headed into the kitchen to learn how to make flatbread pizzas complete with pomegranate and leeks and apples and sage combinations respectively, which were so easy a child could make them too! It was like cooking with a friend in the kitchen and had everyone laughing up a storm. The course then moved on to making the easiest gourmet concoction of brownies with peppermint ice cream, which would the cherry on top for any holiday party!
Guests stayed an extra HOUR they were having so much fun to give you an idea of how unbelievable this event was! Make sure to check out Liza’s blog to also get a chance to soak up as much of her genius as you can. If you get the chance definitely attend the next event she has to get firsthand insight on how to plan the best party while still making it look effortless, because it is!
– Stephanie Carino