Entertaining With :: A Beautiful Mess

By Camille Styles

Have you ever followed someone in the online world, only to meet them in person and discover that their offline personality is totally different than what you’d expected? I certainly have, and I’ll admit, it can be… unsettling. Not so with Elsie and Emma, the sister duo behind lifestyle blog A Beautiful Mess. When I met them at a fashion blogger conference earlier this year, I was delighted to learn that they are every bit as smart, sweet and lovely in person as they are on their highly addictive blog, and we hit it off immediately over cocktails at Elizabeth Street Café. They kindly obliged when I begged them to share their cool and unfussy style as our next Entertaining With subjects, and I’m so excited that today’s the day! Take it away, gals…

Current favorite color palette for autumn fêtes:
Denim! We also love mixing bold black and white patterns, egg yolk yellow and moss green.

My signature entertaining dish:
We’re cheese lovers! We plan a lot of last minute parties and cheese is always a good option since it’s so easy to throw together. A lot of our parties tend to focus on signature cocktails. When we’re putting a lot of effort into the drinks, it’s nice to balance that with some low maintenance food that doesn’t take all day to prepare!

The entertaining rule I rarely break:
Never host a party with just one bottle of wine… because that’s not a party.

The taste I’m always craving:
Right now, Basil! It’s weirdly addicting. We love it in cocktails and pizza alike. We love playing with seasonal flavors- it’s nice to have a rotating inspiration palate to pull from.

Always in my refrigerator:
Cheese, champagne and brussels sprouts!

The perfect dinner party playlist includes:
For dinner parties we like to play something weird and unexpected. Old records are nice for this. My husband is always finding the coolest old records, like this vintage Korean record or this French record from the 60s. As much as I love guilty pleasure pop music, I find it’s more appropriate for the gym and not for chill parties at home.

My dream dinner guests:
Martha Stewart, but only if she gets tipsy with us!

What (if anything) scares you about entertaining?
Our biggest fear when throwing a party is that it could turn out lame and boring. To prevent this scary issue we typically plan one too many cocktails. Problem solved!

My must-have entertaining tool:

An instant camera. We have this funny tradition that we make cocktails named after our friends and we save their instant photos in an album- it’s sort of a guestbook to remember all the people we’ve hosted.

The restaurant meal I’ll never forget:
Of all the memorable meals we’ve had while traveling it’s sometimes the simple things like an amazing diner for brunch or the perfect poolside appetizer that stand out. It’s so hard to choose! We love trying new restaurants and inevitably over-ordering almost every time.

My standard hostess outfit:
We’re fans of a comfy dress and sky high heels that can come off halfway though the night. I think it’s important to  never over-dress to your own dinner party. So keeping it simple is cool.

My entertaining style in 5 words or less:
Over-zealous, Spontaneous, Warm, Seasonal.