Tuesday, March 23, 2010

#19 - Occasions

By: Kate Spade
112 pages
Published: 2004
ISBN: 0743250656
My Copy: Received as a Christmas present

I am obsessed with books on etiquette and entertaining. It's kind of weird, but there is something about politeness and welcoming others into my home that just makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. I love having parties and I love coming up with new and creative ways hosting great gatherings. So, as you can imagine, I've read quite a few books on entertaining. My measure of a good hostessing book is one that leaves me with lots of new ideas and has me itching to get started on my next get-together.

Occasions is just that kind of book. Some of the advice is a little upscale for my guests' tastes (I only recently hosted a dinner party where I used place cards and, though it went over well, I felt extremely hoity doing so), but the tone of the book is one of warmth and consideration, guiding the hostess to do all she can to make sure her guests have an enjoyable time.

There is a significant section on alcohol and mixed drinks, which I think might be helpful in the future if I ever do anything like a cocktail party (we typically only serve beers and wine, but I'd like to branch out a little). The book also contains a lot of fun little tips for decorations and gifts. There was one moment while reading that made me very proud of myself - when Kate mentioned keeping a diary of all your parties and going over it to review what is needed for next time. I already do that! Yes, I keep a very detailed hostess diary with records of every gathering I have in my house. It's an great little book and it really has come in useful. For example, I host our book club in my home every month and only have to look back on the previous month's entry to see what drinks or foods were a hit so I can make sure I am preparing snacks my guests will enjoy.

Compared to the previous Kate Spade effort that I undertook, Style, this book is a much more useful resource, one I am glad I have on hand to browse through before any future parties. The layout of the book makes it easy to read and the hand drawn illustrations are extremely helpful. It's not perfect or comprehensive by any means, but it does have loads of helpful tips and hints inside.

Rating: B+

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