A Community for the Influential & Professional Woman


Q&A with an Invitation Designer

Wednesday, 15 February 2012 09:05
We asked our designer Courtney Van Hagen to give us the skinny on designing the perfect invitations for any occasion. Whether you're planning a wedding, baby shower or a dinner with friends, we've got your details covered. West Michigan Woman: How do you choose the colors when you’re designing an invitation?Courtney Van Hagen: I always figure out color by talking to the client and seeing what their favorite color or theme is. Sometimes they already have something in mind, so we go from there, or if they just want to see a bunch of different ideas, I always try to… Read more...

Four Parties in One

Wednesday, 08 February 2012 15:13
If you have several friends who live close together, throw a progression party! Each house has its own theme, and serves an appetizer and drink. Try these real-life ideas from a West Michigan Woman staffer's 2012 New Year's Eve. At the first house, the theme was wine and cheese. They chose a variety of whites and reds to accommodate guests' different tastes. For more ideas for your wine and cheese party, check out "Entertaining by the Numbers." The second house was themed after the popular Nintendo game–Mario Brothers. The hosts dressed as characters from the game, and served stuffed mushrooms… Read more...

Cheers to Game Day

Wednesday, 01 February 2012 10:14
There's more to watching football than beer and chips. Serve up something classy at your Super Bowl party and support your team. For Giants fans: Fire Up Team Spirit White, Blue and Red Flaming ShooterThe coach won't be the only one calling shots on game day. You'll need: Shot GlassesLighter or matchesGrenadineHalf and halfBlue Curacao Directions: Pour grenadine into the bottom third of shot glass. Layer another third of the glass with Half and Half over the red layer. Fill the rest of the glass with Blue Curacao. To get perfect layers, use a spoon, back side up, and pour… Read more...

Super Bowl Ready Recipes

Wednesday, 25 January 2012 09:52
Teams prepared all season for the big game on February 5, and while party planning may not take quite as long, you can get your kitchen ready ahead of time and be able to enjoy the the festivities, your guests, and your delicious appetizers. Try these super recipes for your Super Bowl party.  Cream Cheese Sausage Dip:Ingredients: Cream cheese, one can of diced tomatoes and green chills (Rotel preferred), sausage (Bob Evans preferred)Directions: Cook the sausage in a microwave, drain, mix in cream cheese and rotel. "Voila! Serve with Freetos. It's a hit every time I take it," says Ginger… Read more...

Sensational Centerpieces

Wednesday, 18 January 2012 08:45
So, you’ve invited your friends over for a little get together. You’ve decided on a simple menu, some fun drinks, and have an idea of how the evening should transpire. But take a look at your table. Plates and silverware and glasses—but where’s the fun? The visual delight? No worries, it’s easy to create simple, stunning, and sensational centerpieces. Donna Pilato, who writes the Guide to Entertaining for offers these ideas. Anything can be a vase: Colorful water pitchers, antique china tea cups found at a flea market, tea pots, salad dressing bottles, mayonnaise jars, tin cans, and antique… Read more...

Invite Arugula Salad to Dinner

Tuesday, 10 January 2012 12:50
Grocery List: Farmers' Market Pear & Tangerine, Shaved Fennel, Burrata Cheese Prosciutto San Daniele, Ice Wine Vinegar, Extra Virgin Olive Oil Recipe: Total time: Twenty minutesServes: Four Ingredients:2 TBSP Ice wine (eiswein) or other sweet white dessert wine1 TBSP extra virgin olive oil2 tsp balsamic vinegar preferably aged (25 Year)Salt and freshly ground black pepperToasted Fennel Seed (then Cracked)1 Fennel - Shaved with a mandolin1 Ripe Pear—halved, seeded and cut lengthwise into thick slices1 Tangerine, sliced1/2 pound Burrata (cream-filled mozzarella) or fresh buffalo mozzarella, at room temperature, cut into 4 slices4 thin slices of prosciutto2 cups micro-arugula (1 1/2 ounces)… Read more...

Being a Good Hostess

Wednesday, 04 January 2012 12:21
When you invite friends and family into your home, you want them to have the best time possible. Here are a few rules by which to live when it comes to being the hostess with the most. Take care with your guest list. Invite people who will enjoy one another’s company, of course, but also take note: are you inviting all couples? Only singletons? You want a lively, mixed group for your gathering. Make introductions. If you have chosen guests who don’t know one another, be sure to make introductions. As hostess, you are the common denominator at the party,… Read more...

Crafting Libations

Thursday, 29 December 2011 11:51
Any gathering, be it your book club or a birthday party, is much improved by a cocktail. Even if you didn’t try your hand at bartending during college (but didn’t everyone?) you can still put a special touch on your drinks. A lovely semi-homemade trick is to use bottled pomegranate juice to make your own grenadine. That’s right, that bright red stuff isn’t cherry flavored at all! It’s actually the sweetened juice of pomegranate seeds. Here’s what you do: Boil two cups of pomegranate juice with one half cup of sugar. Simmer over medium heat until the mixture is thick.… Read more...

Entertaining With Ease

Thursday, 29 December 2011 11:47
Entertaining in your home can take many incarnations–from a casual dinner of takeout with close friends to a dinner party of twenty complete with amuse bouche and champagne. However you choose to entertain, it can always be made easier and a bit more fun! Here are some tips! Maggie Mason of inspired us with the concept of a “party jar.” Purchase a large glass jar like this one, and fill it with: dried apricots, fancy crackers, one very good bar of chocolate, and a small jar of olives. This is the party jar and it’s hands off until you… Read more...
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