This post has been sponsored by Philips Hue. I received product and compensation, but all opinions are my own.
If you are a regular in these parts, then you know I LOVE to entertain. Being able to have bigger groups of friends over is one of the best parts of my new(ish) apartment. It’s really fun getting groups of pals together for dinner, brunch or even drinks. Today, we are talking about Friendsgiving, and I’m really excited to have teamed up with Philips Hue to share all of my best tips and tricks! The Philips Hue smart lighting system is really, really cool. It took me just a few minutes to set up, and now, I can control the lighting in my apartment via my phone – dimming the lights when need be, brightening things up when I need to concentrate and even creating mood lighting (I’m partial to the Tropical Twilight scene!)
For my little Friendsgiving celebration…
I invited 11 friends over for a fun night in. We kept things (moderately healthy) with pork & apples and a ton of delicious vegetable sides. SO yummy.
We had the best time – scroll through for photos and read on for my best tips & tricks for hosting your own Friendsgiving celebration!
one // Set the mood.
I am all about good ambiance ,and the right lighting has such a huge impact on your space. As I mentioned above, I love my Philips Hue lighting system, as it really allows you to set the mood and control the environment so easily. I am partial to the pre-set Dimmed light scene in the Hue app (I didn’t have a dimmer on my lights), as it’s the most romantic setting… but the Savanna Sunset and Tropical Twilight scenes are also fun to play around with. We ended up using “Dimmed” for dinner and then layering the room with colored lighting using Tropical Twilight for dessert.
(And if you’re NOT hosting, I highly recommend the “Energize” or “Concentrate” setting for an added boost to get your through your daily activities — work, cleaning, etc.) There’s so much you can do with this system!
two // Mix up the group.
Did you read The Tipping Point by Malcom Gladwell? If you haven’t, you definitely should – it’s an amazing book. That being said, I am definitely a connector. I love mixing up the group and my favorite thing is when my friends become friends and hang out on their own. I invited a few of my best friends that I’ve known forever, a few friends I’ve made through blogging (Krystal and Jen!), and some friends who have worked for me (Kelly and my current intern Cassidy). Boys were welcome too and of course everyone got along great.
three // Make it easier on yourself.
In the past I have spent the entire day cooking and preparing for a dinner party or brunch. Parties like this can be a lot of work! It was fun to be a little lazy this time. I hired The Culinistas for this dinner to cook (and clean up after). It was amazing. It took a lot of the stress out of hosting – cooking all day, cleaning up after, etc. Also, it was amazing to have someone else do the grunt work. I’m also notorious for ordering Pies & Thighs for a casual fried chicken dinner party. Another thing you could do is make it a potluck and have everyone bring something. And if you do cook all day, it’s also nice to treat yourself to a Task Rabbit to clean up after.
four // Break out the fancy stuff!
I have beautiful violet Limoges china that my mom passed down to me. I brought that out and it made the party even more special!
five // But keep the overall vibe casual.
Since there was a larger group of us we ended up sitting all over the apartment, which I loved. We ultimately ended up gathering around my coffee table – unplanned but so fun! I think dinner parties can get a little stuffy and it’s a really nice twist when you can eat a delicious meal (with beautiful china!) at the couch. Everyone was much more relaxed and the conversation flowed until later in the evening.
six // Wait to clean up/clear dishes!
I’m a bit of a clean freak and often find myself tempted to clear everyone’s plates when they finish eating. I tried waiting a bit longer this time and found it really helped to encourage a more casual, laid back vibe. We ended up talking and talking and talking, which to me is always the sign of a great dinner party.
I was very excited about my new Hue lighting system and had fun showing it off to the group. Maybe too much fun… I kept switching things up all night!
Photography by Carter Fish