Saturday, September 1, 2018

S2E8: Networking & Parties with Sean Hand

In Episode 8, we spoke with Sean Hand about networking, more specifically how to transfer the networking skills of the office to dinner parties, weddings, and more. In this episode, Sean shares a lot of great stories and tips on how to prepare for an event ahead of time. Not only that, but we talk about how to best utilize your plus ones at an event (and/or be the best plus one you can be). We're looking forward to sharing this episode with you all and hope you enjoy it as much as we did.

Sean is the founder of a professional development website – as well the Awkward Networker Podcast to help his global audience achieve networking success in their personal and professional lives. He has spoken to a wide range of audiences across the country and has been known to help improve the personal brand of thousands of people. Sean is a tireless advocate for young professional mentorship, with a passion for philanthropy, organizational development, and public speaking.  He sits on multiple non-profit and professional organization boards, with many leadership and developmental roles therein.
  • Meet Sean Hand
    • How Chrystina + Sean met
    • Sean's Day Job
    • The start of Awkward Networker
  • Extroverts and Introverts
  • APQ: Audience, Purpose, Questions
    • A: Plan ahead to know your audience
      • Do your research on events
      • Searching Facebook ahead of time for parties
    • P: What's your purpose?
    • Q: Create two questions specific enough to be interesting
  • Tips for Networking
    • What's the first thing you say to somebody
    • Warming up ahead of time
  • Tips for being the / having the Plus One
    • Get the ground rules down
    • The Plus One is responsible for names
  • Tips for being the Host or Hostess
  • What are you planning right now?
    • Chrystina: Her weekends
    • Sean: A Salt Lake City, UT work trip
    • Jessica: Vacation and camping
  • What's happening in your kitchen?
  • How are you staying in touch?
    • Chrystina: One line emails to people
    • Sean: Thank you notes and trinkets
    • Jessica: Photography business hellos
  • What are you into right now?
  • Find us online:
If you have any tips for dealing with awkward networking situations at parties, we'd love to hear about it. Don't hestitate to reach out, you can find us on Facebook and Twitter.

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

S2E7: Keeping It Simple with Ali Rosen

In Episode 7, we had the opportunity to speak with Ali Rosen from Potluck with Ali about keeping things simple while entertaining. The conversation takes a few turns, but there are some great tips throughout about avoiding party tension, setting yourself up for success, pre-party preparation tips, and tips to keep things simple. You'll also hear about that time Ali cooked for a bunch of fancy chefs, another version of the bakers vs. cooks debate, and a breakdown of prioritizing relationships for staying in touch. We're excited for you to take a listen!

Ali Rosen is the founder and host of Potluck with Ali Rosen, a television show, and website dedicated to sharing the best and brightest in food. Potluck airs on NYC Life and its videos have appeared on HuffPost, Edible, and People. She is also the author of Bring It!: Tried and True Recipes for Potlucks and Entertaining. Ali was named as one of Forbes Magazine's 30 Under 30 for Food & Drink. She has also written for sites including Bon Appétit, Epicurious, Fodor's, and Refinery 29. Potluck was nominated for an Emmy as well as two IACP awards and Thrillist said Ali had one of the coolest jobs in food (she agrees). She is from Charleston, South Carolina, but currently lives in New York City.
  • Meet Ali Rosen
    • How Jessica found out about Ali
    • How she got into food & entertaining
    • The metaphor (& literal definition) of "potluck"
  • Jessica and Ali bond over hating baking
  • What Ali brings to potlucks
    • Recipe testing
    • The "this might not be good"self-deprecating tactic
  • Cooks vs. bakers
  • Party tension
    • If you are calm (as the host), it's going to be a great party
    • Jessica's friend's gender reveal party story
    • Surprise parties
    • Removing as many potential obstacles as possible
  • Setting yourself up for success
    • Helping people help themselves
    • Spending money on party help
    • Finding party help
      • Facebook it
      • Local colleges
      • Urbansitter
      • Task rabbit
    • Spending money where it serves you best
  • Pre-party preparation tips
    • Plan hour-by-hour (and using excel)
    • Have dishes that are all served at room temperature
      • Pasta (anchovy and pistachio pasta from Bring It)
      • An interesting salad (roasted corn, tomato, feta, and basil salad from Bring It)
      • Meat (with the right amount of sauce, and the right amount of flavor)
    • Do as much ahead of time as possible
  • Tips to keep things simple
    • Buying pre-cut things
    • Buy pre-peeled garlic (not pre-minced)
    • Have the right equipment on hand (strawberry huller) 
    • Buy things pre-made
  • That time Ali cooked for a bunch of fancy chefs
    • Ask for help
    • Take it back to your roots
    • Make sure you feel comfortable
  • Advice for nervous hosts: 
    • Have fun. 
    • If you look over a recipe and it looks daunting to you, skip it.
    • Cook something that you love and you're excited about.
  • What's going on in your kitchen?
    • Jessica: Grilling
    • Ali: Summer produce (strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries)
    • Chrystina: Clean floors
  • What are you planning right now?
    • Chrystina: Living that travel life
    • Ali: Rhode Island blueberry pies
    • Jessica: Husband's birthday, camping trips
  • How are you staying in touch?
  • What are you into right now?
    • Chrystina: TJMaxx shopping sprees
    • Ali: Crop tops
    • Jessica: Revamping blogs & painting murals
  • Find us online:
We'd love to hear any additional tips that you might have for keeping things simple while party planning. Don't hesitate to reach out and find us on Facebook or Twitter.

Sunday, July 1, 2018

S2E6: Minimalism in Party Planning

In Episode 6, we talk with Jennifer Coyle from Hello Brio about minimalism and party planning. We cover everything from food and drink to table settings, paper products, and more. We also have a detailed discussed about some of our favorite sustainable kitchen items. We all now have plenty of new ideas to make our kitchens more eco-friendly, and would love to hear some of the tips you're using in your kitchen too!

Jennifer is the editor behind Hello Brio, a lifestyle blog dedicated to helping people create their own true happiness. She believes in minimalism, mindfulness, intentional living, and nearo waste (near zero waste). Jenn is a self-taught web developer, momma to baby Beans, hand lettering artist, and burrito lover.
We'd love to hear your thoughts on minimalism and hosting parties, we're always looking for new tricks to add to our repertoire. Don't hesitate to reach out and find us on Facebook or Twitter.

Friday, June 1, 2018

S2E5: How to Plan a Conference

In Episode 5, Jessica interviews Chrystina about starting a conference. Chrystina started a blogger community called PHLbloggers in Philadelphia in September 2014. Since then, it has grown to a community of 350 members with an annual conference called The Blog Connect. This past April was year three. Jessica gets inside Chrystina's head about where the idea came from, how to handle the logistics, and tips she's learned along the way.
  • The Blog Connect Recaps: 2016, 2017, and 2018
  • What made you start a conference?
  • What was the first step from idea to action?
  • What makes a good conference?
  • Is there anything you've wanted to do with the conference so far that hasn't worked out?
  • What's something you thought would be hard that wasn't?
  • What were any unexpected hurdles that you faced?
  • How do you keep everything organized?
  • How do you keep a team in line with your vision?
  • How do you get speakers?
  • How do you get sponsors?
  • How do you set a price point for tickets?
  • What are you planning right now?
    • Chrystina: A work badass babes dinner
    • Jess: !!!!!
  • What's going on in your kitchen?
  • How are you staying in touch?
    • Jess: Actually avoiding people
    • Chrystina: Snail mail!
    • MyPostcard
  • What are you into right now?
    • Chrystina: Cleaning
    • Jess: Television, Lost in Space
  • Find us online:
If you have any questions about hosting conferences - or any of the other things we're into right now, we'd love to hear them, don't hesitate to reach out and find us on Facebook or Twitter.

PS. Our new photo was taken by the lovely Julia Dent.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

S2E4: The Logistics of Hosting (and Attending) Potlucks with Kristin Donnelly

For Episode 4, we had the chance to chat with Kristin Donnelly, the author of the Modern Potluck cookbook, and her newest cookbook, Cauliflower. Throughout this episode we talk about Kristin's past career as a Food & Wine magazine food editor, the logistics of hosting potlucks, potluck tips for guests, and more. We definitely all hit it off and ended up on a few tangents including pyrex outlet stores and pig roasts. Hope you enjoy!
  • Meet Kristin Donnelly 
    • A discussion of what it means to be a food editor of Food & Wine magazine
    • Life of a blogger
    • Work life balance
  • The Modern Potluck cookbook
  • Potlucks & casseroles
  • Tried & true dinner party habits
  • The rules of the potluck
  • The logistics of potlucks
  • Potluck tips for guests
  • Holidays & potlucks
  • What are you planning right now?
    • Jess: Son's and husband's birthdays
    • Kristin: Husband's birthday & pig roasts
    • Chrystina: Roommate's surprise birthday party
  • What's going on in your kitchen?
    • Chrystina: Dino nuggets
    • Kristin: Cleaning out the fridge
    • Jess: Still figuring out sour dough bread & fresh produce
  • How are you staying in touch?
    • Jess: Texting
    • Kristin: Picking up the phone
    • Chrystina: Setting up phone calls
  • What are you into right now?
  • Find us online:
We loved chatting with Kristin about potlucks (among other things). If you have any tips or questions about hosting potlucks, we'd love to hear them, don't hesitate to reach out and find us on Facebook or Twitter.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

S2E3: 10 Overlooked Last Minute Party Items with Madeline from Where Is This Damn Corkscrew

Y'all are in for a treat today. In Season 2, Episode 3 of Gatherings Podcast we sat down with Madeline from Where is the Damn Corkscrew about 10 overlooked party to-dos and went over her handy last minute party checklist. We each shared our own stories about times that things went well (and not so well) in each of these areas, and we're so excited to be sharing the list with you today!

If you are interested in downloading Madeline's freebie, make sure to sign up for her VIP list here.

Madeline is the founder and hostess-in-chief over at Where Is The Damn Corkscrew. She's a checklist champion, recovering people-pleaser, reformed perfectionist, and self-identified ambivert (half introvert, half extrovert). She spent years struggling with awkwardness, disorganization, and psychological barriers when hosting and attending parties and events. Despite those challenges she forged ahead into the abyss anyway, organizing and attending and professionally staffing events left and right, because she loves sharing quality time with friends and family. The struggle was worth it, event planning is now as natural as breathing, and she teaches her Sane Party Planning system over at Where Is The Damn Corkscrew to help ordinary people plan extraordinary parties and events in their personal lives - with sanity and budget intact.
  • Meet Madeline
  • General Awkwardness
  • 10 Overlooked Last Minute Party Items
    • To get a copy of the full list, sign up for Madeline's VIP list
    • Your job as a host is to make your guests not feel like an idiot
  • What are you planning right now?
    • Jess: Summer planning
    • Madeline: Bachelorette Party
    • Chrystina: Murder Mystery Party
  • What's going on in your kitchen?
    • Chrystina: Running out of everything
    • Madeline: Bread baking!
    • Jess: Bread and using green things!
  • How are you staying in touch?
    • Jess: Girls day party, high school friends, and making new mom friends
    • Madeline: One on one girl time via the buddy system
    • Chrystina: Tribe emails
  • What are you into right now?
    • Chrystina: Getting rid of things, no spend March (The Year of Less)
    • Madeline: Fountain pen notebooks
    • Jess: Books on getting your baby to sleep
  • Find us online:
If you've ever run into any of the situations, or have anything else to add to the list, we'd love to hear about it, don't hesitate to reach out and find us on Facebook or Twitter.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

S2E2: The Imposter Syndrome of being a Hostess with Ana from Rosemary & Rye

Episode 2 of Season 2 and we've decided it's time for us to get real with y'all. Even though we've been hosting parties for years, it doesn't mean that we're not affected by imposter syndrome. (Which, in case you didn't know is when you feel like a fraud while you're doing it.) For this discussion we've brought in Ana from Rosemary and Rye to bring her own insight to the discussion. She's the most positive person, and you're going to love her. We're super excited to share the episode with you, enjoy!

Ana is the self taught chef, photographer, baguette lover, and blogger behind Rosemary + Rye. She lives in the beautiful state of Colorado and, naturally, enjoys craft brews and kombucha. If she's not making a huge mess cooking in the kitchen, she can be found snuggling with her rescue pup, Harper; hiking; or sneaking bites of home made ice cream out of the freezer.
  • Meet Ana and Rosemary & Rye
  • Why we're talking about the imposter syndrome
  • Our imposter syndrome moments
    • The social media problem (Pinterest, Instagram, and more)
    • Living in a small space
    • Qualifying things before serving them
      • Taco bars & burrito bars
    • Worried that you're forcing people into things
      • The "here's a bottle of wine" approach
    • Worried about leftover food (and also making too much food)
    • Bringing multiple groups of friends together
    • Not cooking meat
      • Dietary restrictions
      • Meat thermometers
    • Mismatched flatware, glassware, and plates
      • Light brown cloth napkins
    • When the first 10 people RSVP 'No'
    • Worrying your themes are corny
    • How to facilitate good conversation at a party
    • How to deal with some of these things
  • What are you planning right now?
    • Jess: Girls' Day
    • Ana: Pancake Breakfast Bar
    • Chrystina: Badass Babes Dinner #5 and a Murder Mystery Party
  • What's going on in your kitchen?
    • Chrystina: All the Pyrex
    • Ana: Soft dinner rolls
    • Jess: Sour Dough
  • How are you staying in touch?
    • Jess: Girls' Day & Overnight Guests
    • Anna: Mario Kart Party
    • Chrystina: Do something with my staying in touch list
  • What are you into right now?
  • Find us online:
We'd love to hear about any of your imposter syndrome situations. We're sure we've been there too. This hosting and entertaining thing is definitely a "we're all in this together" situation.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

S2E1: Dinners with Field Notes, NY

And we're back, for Episode 1 of Season 2. During this episode, we got the chance to interview Joan Porambo and Kyle MacPherson from Field Notes, NY. During this episode they talk about how they started hosting dinners at the Lansing Farm in upstate New York. We talk about food, timing when cooking for so many people, and the logistics of hosting outdoors. We also get an insider's look at the life of a chef, which was really cool!

A little more about Joan and Kyle: We're two school and industry educated chefs who are looking to gain a better appreciation for where the food we cook with comes from, and who grows it. In order to evolve and learn, we've teamed up with the Lansing family to do dinners on the farm each week, using crops from the surrounding fields. We hope to better understand what goes into growing the produce we use everyday, by not only cooking with it, but also by being a part the process from beginning to end.
  • An Overview of Field Notes, NY
    • How they started hosting these dinners
    • What it means to be a chef
    • How Joan and Kyle met
    • What the setup looks like
    • The Table: Photo 1, Photo 2, Photo 3
  • Let's Talk Food
    • The Courses
    • Seasonal Food
  • Logistics
    • Timing the Food
    • Farm Kitchens
    • Favorite Tools
    • Outdoor Issues
  • Decor
  • When Two Chefs Host a Dinner Party
  • What are you planning right now?
  • What's going on in your kitchen?
    • Jessica: sauerkraut and kimchi
    • J&K: braising stuff and stews
    • Chrystina: getting rid of beer
  • How are you staying in touch?
    • Chrystina: thank you cards
    • J&K: going to the market
    • Jessica: she's not...
  • What are you into right now?
  • Find us online:
We're so glad to be back for season 2 and we hope you loved this first episode. We've got a great season lined up and we're excited to share it with you. Happy 2018!

Friday, December 1, 2017

S1E10: Holiday Traditions with Chrystina and Jessica

During Episode 10 (double digits!) of Gatherings Podcast, Jessica and Chrystina talk about holiday traditions from Thanksgiving through New Year's Eve - and even touch on Valentine's Day.
  • Chrystina's Annual Christmas Party
    • Cookie swaps
    • Getting rid of cookies
  • Jessica's Month of Thanksgiving
    • Slow food
    • Friendsgivings
    • Cinnamon Hot Cocoa
  • Chrystina's Annual Mix CD
  • Chrystina's Random Caroling Party
  • Jessica's Family's Super Sundays
  • Chrystina's Christmas Eve Traditions
  • Jessica's New Year's Traditions
  • What are you planning right now?
    • Jessica: cookie party, brother's birthday, and January get-togethers
    • Chrystina: another badass babes dinner
  • What's going on in your kitchen?
  • How are you staying in touch?
    • Jessica: holiday cards
    • Chrystina: also holiday cards
  • What are you into right now?
    • Chrystina: deva curl haircut
    • Jessica: blog photography
  • Find us online:
Thanks so much for joining us for the first season of Gatherings Podcast. We're excited to come back strong on February 1 with season 2. See you then!

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

S1E9: Wine Pairing for the Holidays with Vicki Miller from Vinocity Events

During Episode 09 of Gatherings Podcast we talk with Vicki Miller, the founder of Vinocity about wine pairing for the holidays. Actually, we start by asking about wines for the holiday and end up asking every question we've ever had about wine when it comes to party hosting. Just for you. (Alright, alright, and a little bit for us.)

Vicki Miller is a long-time student and teacher of wine.  She was a practicing attorney in Philadelphia for 16 years at a major U.S. firm and has studied wine for over 20 years.  She is WSET Level 3 Wines & Spirits Certified.

Five years ago Vicki founded Vinocity and began teaching about wine.  Vinocity plans and hosts wine tasting events for corporate clients, non-profit institutions, and associations, but with a unique approach.  Vinocity events combine the educational aspects of a wine course with the socially engaging aspects of a wine tasting with friends.  These events tell the rich story of wine, from the grapes, to technology, to the natural perils that challenge the winemaker.  Guests gain information they can use the next time they select a wine and a few stories they can tell at their next cocktail party. 
  • Meet Vicki
    • How she got started with wine
    • Starting Vinocity 
  • Wine for the Holidays
    • Wine for Thanksgiving
    • Pairing Wines: Red vs. White, Bold vs. Light
    • "Middle of the Road" Wines
  • All our Wine Questions Answered
    • How much wine should I buy?
    • How do I save open bottles of wine?
    • Jess' weeknight Bolognese sauce recipe
    • How do I pair wines with my menu?
    • Should your wines be consistent through the meal?
    • How much should you spend on wine?
    • When should you take wine out of the fridge to serve?
    • How do you chill wine really quickly?
    • Are there any foods that you should avoid pairing with wine?
    • What wines should you pair with spicy food?
    • What's your favorite wine to bring to a party?
  • More about Wine
    • More about wine for the holidays
    • More about sparkling wines
    • New Year's
  • What are you planning right now?
    • Chrystina: A trip to Texas
    • Vicki: A birthday dinner party!
    • Jessica: Hunting season
  • What's going on in your kitchen?
    • Jessica: Cooking food from new cultures
    • Vicki: Homemade hummus
    • Chrystina: Cleaning up the pickle juice (literally)
  • How are you staying in touch?
    • Chrystina: Conference follow up emails
    • Vicki: Phone calls with friends
    • Jessica: Christening thank yous and Christmas cards
  • What are you into right now?
  • Find Vicki online:
  • Find us online:
We hope you learned something about wine from this conversation, and that it makes pairing wine for the holidays just a little bit easier this year. Stay tuned for our next episode in December!

Sunday, October 1, 2017

S1E8: The Perfect Tea Party with Andy Hayes

During Episode 08 of Gatherings Podcast we talk with Plum Deluxe founder and creator, Andy Hayes, about hosting tea parties, our favorite teas, thoughtful conversation starters, where to even begin when you're hosting a tea party, and many tea party logistics. You're definitely in for a treat!

Andy Hayes is the founder and creator of Plum Deluxe.  When he's not blending teas or baking up something yummy in the kitchen, he's hiking in the hills around his home of Portland, Oregon.
  • Our love of tea parties
  • Meet Andy
    • Starting Plum Deluxe
    • A Discussion of Tea - Why Tea, the Tea Lifestyle, and Tea Culture
  • Our Favorite Teas
    • Andy: White Tea
    • Jessica: Black Tea & Herbal Tea, Mindful Morning
    • Chrystina: Rooibos & Chai
  • Andy's Party Hosting Style & Moments That Matter
    • Type: Relaxed Eclectic
    • Food Bars
    • Taco Parties
  • Thoughtful Conversation Starters
  • Where to Begin When Hosting a Tea Party
    • The Intention
    • The Tea
  • Tea Party Logistics
  • What are you planning right now?
    • Jessica: Her son's Christening
    • Andy: Couples nights
    • Chrystina: Wine tasting dinner party
  • What's going on in your kitchen?
    • Chrystina: Making peach jam
    • Andy: Tomatoes, figs, and plums
    • Jessica: Preserving, canning, blueberry thyme jam, ears of corn, tomatoes, jalapenos, zucchini bread, and more!
  • How are you staying in touch?
    • Jessica: Birth announcements
    • Andy: Postcard swaps
    • Chrystina: Flying to Nashville
  • What are you into right now?
    • Chrystina: Back into blogging and her new podcast
    • Andy: Baking and pumpkin spice
    • Jessica: Going through cookbooks
  • Find Andy online:
  • Find us online:
We (clearly) loved talking about tea with Andy. And so much more fun ideas for parties came out of this discussion. Can't wait to see what fun tea parties you all decide to host! We'd love to hear about it!

Friday, September 1, 2017

S1E7: Sunday Pancakes with Roaa

During Episode 07 of Gatherings Podcast we talk with Roaa Elgabrouny about hosting Sunday pancake parties. She's been hosting them for months, but it started long before then when she was inspired by her family's parties in Egypt. We learn a little bit about how parties in Egypt differ from those in the U.S., the strength that mothers have, and how hosting parties is all about the people.

More about Roaa: My name is Roaa elgabrouny. I am an Egyptian international student at Drexel University. I am an avid globe wanderer, a rent-less nomad at heart, and a committed pacifist with strong humanitarian views. I believe in the power of knowledge. Knowing is the only irreversible act: you can love then hate, but you can never know then un-know. Nothing makes me more excited in life than meeting a new person. It’s the most enjoyable experience and it is what I live for. My goal is to meet as many humans around the world from different backgrounds, as I believe that this is the best way to grow my personality and open my mind. I see humanity as a piece of art where every single dot of paint is equally important for the entire picture. Everything and everyone is interconnected through an invisible web of stories. Whether we are aware of it or not, we are all in a silent conversation.

So it's super clear to see why we interviewed her for this episode - a true party planner and people person.
  • Meet Roaa
    • Background
    • How she got interested in hosting parties
    • Sunday pancakes
  • Differences between Parties in Egypt and Parties in the U.S.
    • Favorite foods
  • Pancake Breakfasts
    • How to prepare
    • Handling other people in the kitchen
    • Keeping food warm
    • Egyptian breakfasts
  • Advice for Beginner Party Hosts
    • Know your goals
    • Decide the location
    • Determine the atmosphere
    • Making it feel like home
    • Wash dishes right away
    • Keep it simple
    • You can never make everyone happy
  • What are you planning right now?
    • Chrystina: The Blog Connect 2018
    • Roaa: YouTube Channel
    • Jessica: Family Vacation & Baby
  • What's going on in your kitchen?
    • Jessica: Herbs
    • Roaa: Quinoa 
    • Chrystina: Trying to use all the food
  • How are you staying in touch?
    • Chrystina: Coffee & breakfast dates
    • Roaa: Celebrating Eid & first Sunday pancakes after Ramadan
    • Jessica: Inviting people over
  • What are you into right now?
    • Jessica: Automatic chicken door
    • Roaa: Traveling
    • Chrystina: Spring cleaning
  • Find us online:
We loved (and love) the idea of this Sunday pancake breakfast. It's such a simple way to get started - especially if you remind yourself that it's about the people, not the food. Let us know if you host one of your own!

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

S1E6: Planning the Ultimate Themed Party with Miranda from Spooky Little Halloween

During Episode 06 we talk with Miranda from Spooky Little Halloween about her annual Halloween party, Halloweenie Roast, how she comes up with her themes, how she incorporates that theme through the decor, and the best place to shop for supplies. Also, don't miss our discussions about craft stores, wolf pack emails, watermelon pumpkins, and grilling in the questions at the end of the episode.

Miranda Enzor is the writer and Halloween lover behind, the blog dedicated to celebrating October 31st all year long. Halloween has been one of her favorite holidays to celebrate for as long as she can remember. Miranda also host an annual party called Halloweenie Roast and teaches fellow Halloween lovers how to host killer parties through her e-course, Killer Halloween Party.
Do you love Halloween as much as Miranda does? (Or even 25% really, that would still be a heck of a lot.) We'd love to hear about it in the comments below.

PS. Thanks for sticking with us as we figure out the minor sound quality stuff on our podcasting journey. There's still a heck of a lot of great content in here and we hope you enjoy the episode!