My entertaining style in 5 words or less:
Maddy: Modern tablescapes with fresh flowers.
Shauna: Effortless, pulled together, and colorful.
Love this floral arrangement? Hop on over to Confetti Pop to see how it’s made!
Current favorite color palette for summer fêtes:
M: The one we used for our shoot! I typically steer towards cooler tones personally, but this warm and poppy palette just screams summer. It picks up all the colors that are blooming in my garden, so seasonal and fresh.
S: I’m really loving aqua, lilac, plum, a good dose of white, and gold accents for summer.
The entertaining rule I rarely break:
M: Accent with flowers. It immediately sets a festive mood and adds dimension to the table. I’ve styled everything from supermarket flowers to high-end flowers on my tablescapes. It’s not about what you spend, but the colors and vessels you use. If the flowers fit the theme of the table, it will all be cohesive.
S: Know your guests. As the hostess, it’s my job to be aware of guests’s allergy and dietary concerns so I can plan the menu accordingly. If your guest is vegan, diabetic, gluten-free, has a fish allergy, or is kosher, make sure there’s something delicious for them to eat. When in doubt, simply ask.
The taste I’m always craving:
M: I have a horrible sweet tooth. Chocolate, especially when combined with hazelnut or strawberry, is a particular weakness for me. On the healthier side, I’ll eat tomato anything.
S: Anything that combines both salty and sweet flavors is divine.
The perfect dinner party playlist includes:
M: Devon and I are typically indie nerds, but our music library is pretty eclectic. If we’re going classic, there might be some of the Smiths, Blondie, New Order, and the Beatles. If we’re going more contemporary, then Q-Tip, Janelle Monae, Vampire Weekend (especially the new album), the Shins, Rilo Kiley, and Hot Chip. Devon’s also been on a huge Charlie XCX kick right now, so there’s been a lot of her album playing in the house.
S: I don’t know 78.5% of the bands on Maddy’s list, and my Top 40 smorgasbord will definitely make her cringe. My playlists depend on the season or occasion. For summer, I love music that’s upbeat, youthful, and reminds me the carefree summers past. Must-haves are Beyonce, F.U.N, Will Smith’s “Summertime” and “Welcome to Miami”, classic Dixie Chicks, Miley Cyrus’ “Party in the USA” and “We Don’t Stop”, Taylor Swift, LL Cool J’s “Going Back to Cali”, and Katy Perry’s “Teenage Dream” and “California Gurls”.
What (if anything) scares you about entertaining?
M: I’m always worried I won’t make enough food, so I end up overcompensating… a lot. Not the worst problem to have, because then I get yummy leftovers the next day!
S: I’m a fearless hostess! As a dessert table designer, I’m used to calculating food quantities, starting small talk, mingling at events, and serving food that accommodates a variety of palates.
The restaurant meal I’ll never forget:
M: There’s a very modest Chinese restaurant in the Twin Cities area called Shuang Cheng. You could easily drive past it if you didn’t know about it. When we first moved out here, we had a lot of people recommend the place to us, but it took us a while to get there because we just thought good Chinese food would be, well, good Chinese food. The first bite I had of their Sesame Chicken was a mind blowing experience for me. I’ve never had anything nearly as good. They also have this great ginger sesame stir fried green beans that have even made Shauna a convert. and she dislikes green beans as a rule. Friends and family visiting from both coasts have all acknowledged it’s hands down the best Chinese they’ve had, and I crave it way more than I really should.
S: We visited family in New Orleans, and capped off our day of shopping in the French Quarter at Ralph & Kacoo’s. The hush puppies were amazing!
My dream dinner guests:
M: J.J. Abrams. Matthew Weiner (creator of Mad Men and the Sopranos). Illustrator Julia Rothman. Music producer Mark Ronson. They all are smart, creative people, and though they might not work in the areas I do (graphic design and styling), it would be nice to get insight on how they work and their process over some tasty food.
S: Sheesh. Look at Maddy’s list. Now, if I say Khloe Kardashian, I’ll look shallow. Seriously though, I’d love to munch and mingle with Oprah, Ricky Gervais, Martha Stewart, and Jimmy Fallon. And you know what? I’m going to say it, Khloe.
My signature entertaining dish:
M: My crowd pleasing staple is my signature balsamic glazed tomato bruschetta. It was inspired by a bruschetta from a now-closed restaurant I used to frequent a lot with my husband. Devon even proposed to me over the dish! Shauna’s husband is my newest convert!
S: Is it summer without ice cream and fresh fruit? I think not. My pear berry crumble is perfect with a scoop of vanilla.
Always in my refrigerator:
M: Fresh eggs. Aurora loves eating them scrambled, and I bake quite often, so they’re always on hand.
S: In my fridge, just the staples. But in my cupboard, I always have grits and corn meal for hush puppies and cornbread.
My standard hostess outfit:
M: I’m usually in a casual dress – dressy enough for entertaining but comfortable and flexible enough to move around to serve and finish up in the kitchen.
S: Comfort is key, so anything tight or binding is o-u-t. I love summer dresses paired with sandals. An espadrille wedge is a perfect match for tanks and shorts or dresses.