Stylish Entertaining

Welcome to my blog, A place where I can share my ideas with you. From great tips on entertaining to tasty cocktail recipes that make it all easier for you to host with style in a flash. You’ll find lots of projects to inspire you for your home and garden, friends and family. Plus some kitchen gossip, for good measure of course, because everyone needs a little dish now and then.

So visit often!








Pop-Up Party

I do love parties, any type of party -- a holiday party, birthday party -- but in the summer, I just absolutely love any party outside. The pool, beach, patio or porch ... any fun place will do. The sunshine-filled days and lazy afternoons are perfect settings for hosting a pop-up party! 

Last weekend I had a group of friends in for cocktails and snacks. We ending up chatting and dancing on the patio until midnight. Now that's a pop-up with staying power! For you own party, no formal invitations are needed. Just call around to get a group together at the spur of the moment, invite neighbors over spontaneously and host your friends with easy summer style. After all, it's not about being a perfect host. It's about having fun and great conversation. That's the kind of party everyone remembers.

It's easy. Just make a big batch of a crowd pleasing cocktail and let it go from there. I usually whip up a yummy punch and served it in a drinks dispenser, self serve style to quench any summer thirst. The rum mixes swimmingly with the fruit juices with just the right hint of blackberry and sure to help everyone beat the heat. So get up, get mixing and get dancing!

Dockside Delight

serves 10

adapted from PUNCH

  • 4 cups cranberry juice
  • 3 cups pineapple juice
  • 1 cup light rum
  • 1 cup dark rum
  • 1/2 cup creme de banane
  • 1/2 cup cherry juice
  • 1/2 blackberry brandy
  • ice cubes to fill vessel
  • Maraschino cherries and pineapple chunks for garnish

Combine all ingredients in drinks dispenser, add ice, let chill and serve.


Keep the scene and menu light, adding to the fun festive atmosphere. I love to set out cheese and fruit to pick on, or make a batch of fresh guacamole with lots of cilantro from the garden. If dinner is on the menu, grill something light, like fish and supplement with store bought salads and dessert. Keep it light and easy, it's summer after all!

Night Lights

Glass hurricanes cast a summer glow. Simply fill the bottoms with shells or sand for a beachy look that will also keep the candles secure. I put out a bunch of different sized hurricanes, grouping them together or lining steps to the patio.

Continue the soft natural tones with the table. Here, curly willow stands perfectly in glass vessels that have been wrapped in corugated paper. Raffia ties it all together for a chic, easy summer table, ready for a pop-up party anytime.

Keep the party going with fun dance tunes. I love George Michael, Black Eyed Peas, or Madonna. Grab a cocktail, strike a pose and party on!



4th of July--Party in the U.S.A.!

 Party in the U.S.A.

You don't need fireworks to show your patriotic colors this weekend. At my house, cool drinks add just the right splash to our annual party. I love the long holiday weekends, and especially the 4th when the kids are done with school and ready to let summer really begin. Independence Day is all about family, friends, and neighbors getting together to celebrate country pride. So get hosting this 4th of July and create your own Classic All-American Bash!

It's easy ... No need for formal invites. Ask friends you see in the next few days or make a few quick calls. Then, mix up some chilled cocktails, set out an easy buffet, add a few fun projects for the kids, and you'll be off and running in Star-Spangled style.

This year I'm seeing stars! To add sparkle to my outdoor space, I'm adding star shaped lights in my shrubs lining the patio and red, white and blue paper lanterns hung in bunches from the trees and umbrellas to cast a soft glow and help light up the night. (Check or your local party supply store). Set a stylish table with bunches of garden flowers (my favorites are hydrangeas and zinnias) in low glass containers, and add hurricanes with pillar candles to illuminate your tabletop.

Set up a self-serve bar, with big ice-filled galvanized bins of sparkling waters and sodas, and drinks dispensers filled with lemonade for the little ones and Nantucket Lemonade for the adults! This frees you up as the host, allowing for more time to enjoy your party, and isn't that what summer entertaining is all about?

Serve the meal buffet style, so guests can help themselves whenever they want, and will feel instantly at ease. Keep the menu simple, and transportable to the patio, park, beach or wherever you might be going. Some of my favorites are marinated flank steak, which can be grilled and sliced ahead of time. I put out a basket of French rolls for a grab and go steak sandwich. Paired with potato salad and a simple mixed green salad with hearts of palm and fresh corn makes for an easy, fresh from the farmstand meal.

Desserts should be simple, have guests bring cookies or brownies, or pick up a trayful at your local market. I baked these star shaped sugar cookies and covered painted stripes of frosting with sprinkles in patriotic hues for a delish and colorful dessert, how easy is that?

Keep the little ones happy with foamy pinwheels that are perfect for any parade or patriotic bike ride. Set up a little crafting table and watch them go!! These have clothespin bases for easy clipping to bike baskets or wagons, or backpacks. For a hand held pinwheel, simply use a lollipop stick.

I hope these ideas inspire you to wave your flag high and enjoy the holiday. Not hosting this year? No problem, bring is a big batch of my delicious Nantucket Lemonade--just mix it up in a drinks'll be a star!!

 Nantucket Lemonade

Serves 12

5 cups lemonade

2 cups cranberry juice

¼ cup lime juice

3 cups vodka

2 cups ginger ale

4 cups ice cubes

Frozen cranberries and lemon wheels to garnish

Combine the lemonade, cranberry juice, lime juice, and vodka in the punch bowl and mix well. Add the ice cubes, pour in ginger ale, add the frozen cranberries and lemon wheels and serve.

Tip: For a picnic or harbor cruise, mix the punch directly in a small insulated cooler for instant and easy transportability.

Easy 4th of July Menu

Nantucket Lemonade

Marinated Flank Steak

Potato Salad

Mixed green salad with hearts of palm and fresh corn

Starry sugar cookies

All-American lemonade 

Kids Crafts

Foamy Pinwheels

Foamy star straws

 Add a festive touch to a simple starw. Garnish summer drinks with starry shapes, and have a star spangled sip!


Starry Straws

You’ll Need:

Red, white , and blue foamy sheets

Star cookie cutters in different sizes



Hole punch




Trace star shapes onto foam sheets using the three different sized cookie cutters. Cut out star shapes and  hole punch the centers. Stack stars and push top of straw through holes.


Pretty Pinwheels


You’ll Need:

Foamy Sheets in red and blue

Pony beads

Pipe cleaners

Clothes pins




Measure and cut an 8-inch square from a foam sheet . Cut from the corners diagonally towards center, stopping just before center.
Push and end of the pipe-cleaner through the center of the foamy square, push out about 1-inch length. Bend every other corner of the foamy sheet toward the center and push the pipe-cleaner through so that you have 4 corners or points stacked. 
Thread a pony bead through the pipe-cleaner and twist pipe-cleaner to secure. Pull other end of pipe-cleaner to tighten, and wrap end around clothes pin to secure.


WISHing for Cocktails in Rye!

It seems the stylish girl is very busy these days! I had a fantastic day in Rye at WISH signing my new book, The Stylish Girl's Guide to Fabulous Cocktails. There was all kinds of chatter going on about cocktails and entertaining, two of my favorite subjects! It was Thursday and everyone was gearing up for the holiday weekend, I was deciding whether to make a batch of Strawberry Mojitos or Mango Margaritas.....the Mojitos won...and they were divine I tell you......and yes, I will absolutely share the recipe. Thank you to all who came from near and far! Cheers! Colleen

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Copyright © 2010 Colleen Mullaney, All Rights Reserved.