When we announced our wellness-focused blog makeover last year, we knew it would bring with it all sorts of wonderful surprises. Since then, we’ve all become a bit more mindful, experimented in the kitchen more, and have been exercising more regularly (give yourselves a pat on the back, ladies). But perhaps the best change of all that’s come from our rebranding has been the amazing like-minded women we’ve connected with over the last 14 months. McKel Hill of Nutrition Stripped is one of those people — a total kindred spirit whose commitment to wellness keeps us motivated on our own journeys, and whose great style makes it look fun too. The blogger and nutrition coach is a Registered Dietician Nutritionist, which means that by attending a dinner party at McKel’s, you’re actually doing something good for you. We’re thrilled to join her virtually today to get a taste of her vibrant, wholesome entertaining style.
What’s your standard hostess outfit?
Depends on the company and the energy of the theme; like is it a brunch, a cocktail hour, a friends birthday? I’m pretty classic with my outfit 100% of the time so it’d be something like a black or white monochrome outfit, dark denim and crop tops, unless it’s summer then I’m full on uber feminine-frilly dress mode!
We couldn’t help but notice the gorgeous furniture and tabletop pieces you used today. Are those all sourced from 12th Table?
Most people consider incorporating rentals for big events — weddings, birthdays, graduations — but I love going to 12th Table for small, intimate occasions. The details turn out to be just right, and the atmosphere just a little more thoughtful than normal.
Current favorite color palette for parties:
No matter what, I love white and cream tones. They’re blank canvases and no matter the vibe, the time of year, or hour of the day, those colors melt in with their surroundings allowing the food, the company, and the decor to shine on their own.
What (if anything) scares you about entertaining?
Most would say awkward pauses at the dinner table, but I would say running out of food or champagne! My motto is to always prep for an additional 5 people, that way you can keep everything flowing and if it ends up you made just the right amount, there’s always leftovers!
Your must-have entertaining tool. Go!
Ambiance! From music and candles to decor and layout, ambiance is key and is my best “tool” for entertaining.
The perfect dinner party playlist includes…
Mixes of genres and moving with the flow of the night! I have about 20 playlists for all kinds of moods, but overall I’ll start out with something pop and upbeat like MGMT, Flume, or top hits; then I move on to something a bit more mellow like LCD Soundsystem or The Shins; then super mellow like Ryan Adams, Jeff Buckley, Yann Tiersen, Yo Yo Ma; and finally, we get weird with a little 80’s hip hop throwback, Portishead, or all jazz.
Do you have a signature entertaining dish?
I never go wrong with a huge vegetable crudite with numerous dips like homemade hummus, my famous Cashew Cheese, baba ghanoush, or pesto. Also, having a salad highlighting the greens of the season with a super simple dressing of fresh lemon, olive oil, sea salt, pepper, and garlic goes a long way!
The entertaining rule you rarely break:
Making it about the guests. I always make sure everyone else is taken care of before I sit down or serve myself, but I also know I need to be present. I’ll often plan ahead or bring in support from my right hand man to help out and that is a recipe for success and enjoyment for everyone.
The taste you’re always craving:
Sweet and salty mix.
You’re such a healthy eater, something tells me the inside of your refrigerator looks very different from that of the average home cook. What are the staples you always have on hand?
Spirulina, multiple mustards (I have a love for this condiment), bee pollen, coconut milk kefir, kimchi, and greens galore!
The restaurant meal you’ll never forget:
Rolf and Daughters here in Nashville, TN. Best meal (rainbow trout with mashed cauliflower and currants with a sidecar to drink), service, atmosphere you’ll see in the city.
Who are your dream dinner guests?
Friends and people who aren’t afraid of deep conversation, which luckily is always the case! I like entertaining with folks who bring raw, real emotion to the conversation and bring energy to the table. I find it’s these people who don’t hold back, are full of love, and view dinner parties as an opportunity to meet new friends and strengthen bonds. It’s an added bonus if they’re up for a foodie adventure since I’m all about sneaking in veggies wherever I can!
Your entertaining style in 5 words or less:
Down to earth, engaging, light, delicious, nourishing on all levels.
Lucky for us, McKel is offering our readers a free download of her ebook. Sign up to get your copy here, and read to learn how you can feel healthier and live happier.