So you want to have some friends over, your house is a wreck and you haven't entertained in ages? Well you can relax - help is on the way! We want to share with you some tips for improving the energy of your home through detoxification and daily rituals and practices. And we also want to share a few tricks of the design trade that we hope will make your next event even more successful than your last.
Have you ever been invited to someone’s house for a cocktail or dinner and you just couldn’t put your finger on what it was but there was just something not right? It could be the overall feeling of energy that people can feel immediately when they walk inside. A house does not need to be as neat as a pin, but it should feel and smell clean and healthy.
Indoor air quality is important for all of us but especially for our kids, for those of us who are getting older, and for those of us who might be chronically ill chronic bronchitis, allergies, etc.). The general scientific research suggests that chronic diseases are due primarily to environmental factors. Taking care of common health hazards such as mold and chemical exposure will help to lessen the stress that results from unhealthy living conditions.
Here are some easy detox ideas:
Keep houseplants in every room – the soil bacteria reduces volatile compounds (like formaldehyde) in the air
Leave shoes off at the door – avoids bringing in dust, lead and pesticides
STOP using air fresheners and SYNTHETIC fragrances that are filled with toxins
Switch to Beeswax candles petroleum and soy and palm oil-based candles paraffin release nasty chemicals when burned – benzene (which is linked to cancer), toluene and ketones are just a few toxic compounds that enter the air when these candles are lit.
Smudge your house - inside and out. Sage is used for healing and cleansing and its smoke is used to bless, cleanse and heal the person or object or area being smudged. When you smudge, smudge everywhere… open all the cabinets and drawers, smudge under the beds, in the bathrooms, in your closets – everywhere you want to change the energy in your home. Please open the windows and doors open to let the negative energy escape.
Use everyday ingredients to clean with - vinegar in place of beach, baking soda to scrub the tiles and hydrogen peroxide to remove stains.
Use essential oils like melaluca, lemon or any other citrus oil for their disinfectant properties – commercial, anti-bacterial products typically contain chemicals including formaldehyde. We sell Doterra oils at Sotre: they are triple tested and are certified theraputic grade - they are also 100% pure oil and thus contain no additives.
Vacuum your house regularly with a HEPA filter to reduce the levels of many chemicals in the house and you can use a combo of baking soda and lemon oil to make a great rug cleaner.
Use a diffuser. Diffusers are relatively inexpensive – ultrasonic diffusers work by dispersing essential oils into the air through micro-droplets of water vapor using ultrasonic vibrations. The oil bubbles are trapped within the water droplets and this is how the smell and the therapeutic effects of the oils are carried through space.
Now that you have re-energized and detoxed your environment and living space, its time to invite some friends over!
Set the mood with lighting
For an event during daylight hours, try to host it in a room with exposure to natural light but if you don’t have exposure to natural light, strategic lighting in a room is very important. During the day, turn on only so much light as to bring in a sense of natural light and a feeling of the outdoor space.
At night, you want to create a mood. Invest in a dimmer; your guests will thank you! Create an inviting ambiance with overhead lights on a low dimmer setting, indirect lighting (lamps) and candles.
Never use Fluorescent light in the kitchen – its not exactly flattering and can make the room feel cold and unwelcoming.
Votive candles are wonderful for the cocktail hour space and there is no limit to how many you can add to a room – they are also safer and less messy than candlesticks. Scented candles are great for the bathroom, the entry hall and the cocktail area – just not a good mix with food.
Outdoor Pathways should also be well-lit – inspect before your function and make sure there is lots of light to mark those walkways – you can always add temporary lighting if needed.
Plan for everything
Layout the area where you are planning to host the event so that you can create different party zones.
Create an area that contains your guests – too small a space is better than too open and try to keep everyone out of the kitchen
Cocktail Service – bar or self-serve, the bar should be opposite from where guests enter the room and best if set up in the center of the room. Offer every guest a cocktail including a signature drink of the evening – if there is no bar tender, make it yourself!
Do Note: As a guest, it is acceptable to leave without saying goodbye –it's typically known as the "Irish Goodbye" - because there is nothing worse than ruining the evening for the host by going to up her in front of a lively crowd and announcing your departure – it’s a downer.
Neutralize the background to make your decorations stand out. One way to do this is with a white tablecloth and napkins but sometimes color is great for a theme party such as Mexican Fiesta ( red white and green) or Under the sea (teal and blue)
Swapping out tablecloths, placemats and napkins is a great way to establish the mood as well as the degree of formality as is adding napkin rings.
To monogram or not to monogram? This is a personal question and there are so many options out there - you can actually have fun with monograms.
Dinner is about the people and conversation…..but some guests might be expecting dinner… but consider the time you are willing to commit because everything takes longer than expected so prepare dishes ahead of time if possible and if you only have one oven, choose dishes that can be baked at a similar temperature. Don’t be overly ambitious and if you must serve a new recipe, prepare it as a dress rehearsal for your nearest and dearest before you try it out on your guests. Guests are not good guinea pigs!
Plan on serving ½ bottle per person (more if you live in New Orleans) and choose a wine that is paired with the main course . Wine offered as a gift should not be necessarily served at dinner.
Play music but jazz and retro lounge music are great – or something that is in keeping with the theme and please - Discos are for Dancing so play music in the background only.
Essential oil combinations that can be used with dinner include:
Elevation – a lively citrus blend, Bergamot, Rosemary and Wild Orange – creates an uplifting yet calming aroma or Clove, Wild orange and Black Pepper – awakens the taste buds. All these can be purchased through Grace at Sotre.
PS – you can also cook with essential oils.