biz chick’s guide to summer entertaining!

in Culture, You

With summer in full swing, I’ve asked a few really cool people to put together some great ideas to make your get-togethers and parties awesome. No more last minute rifling through magazines in the grocery aisle to come up with something to eat, or how to decorate, or the right wines for the occasion!

biz-chick-summer-entertainingCheck out the summer guide below for tips on

These tips, wines, and recipes have been personally picked out for you by Carrie, Mark, and Aaron. I asked them to focus on tips for a barbecue or cocktail party. They all faithfully obliged and for that I am grateful!

Big thank you to them!!

Summer Entertaining 101

Before you get set to throw you and your friends or family a big shin-dig, here are some general tips for staying safe, healthy, and making sure that everyone has a good time!

Pool Safety

If you’re throwing a pool party and you’re inviting families with young children, keep in mind that it’s not only the responsibility of the parents to keep their kids safe around pools. The biggest responsibility falls on you as the pool owner. In some states, you can be held legally responsible for an accident involving your pool. More tips:

  • Keep rescue equipment and a phone nearby the pool at all times.
  • Assign yourself or someone else to doing a “pool check” at designated times, especially at night.
  • Create a space for the kids to congregate that is not very near the pool, such as a sandbox, kids table, or a special picnic area just for them.
  • Make sure that someone knows CPR.
  • Request that parents or older siblings who know how to swim stay in contact with young swimmers at all times.

Make Sure Everyone Driving Leaves Sober

This is easier said than done, but I’ve seen it executed very well at parties I’ve thrown in the past as well as parties friends of mine have thrown. At a large New Year’s Eve party my then-roommates and I had in 2006, we simply took everyone’s keys. You would think it would have been an issue, but if your crowd is mature, it won’t be. And if it is, well, that person or couple can find another place to party.

  • Put a basket for keys near all of the entrances.
  • Don’t argue. Either they drop the keys or don’t drink.
  • Don’t continue to serve someone who’s already drunk.
  • Keep a number for a cab company nearby.
  • Be ready to report a drunk driver who leaves your party.

Drunk driving is serious. It’s always a non-issue until it becomes an issue, and trust me, if someone leaves your party plastered and gets into an accident, it will quickly become your issue, too. Don’t risk it.

Have Something For Non-Drinkers

On that note, not everyone who attends your party wants to drink. Be kind and keep a number of non-alcoholic beverages on hand, and not just soda or plain iced tea. Flavored lemonades, sparkling juices, virgin cocktails, and smoothies make great choices.

Water, Water, Water

I don’t know about you, but it’s HOT here in Arizona. When people are having a great time at a party, it’s possible that hydration is the furthest thing from their minds. Beer is not hydration, by the way. Keep lots of water on hand, and push it. Yes, for the day, become a water pusher. De-hydration is serious.

Okay… On to the fun stuff! Enjoy the tips from everyone below!

carrie hansen

Setting the Scene with Carrie Hansen

Mark Oldman

Great Summer Wines with Mark Oldman

aaron mccargo

Summer Recipes with Aaron McCargo









Image: Rosen Georgiev

Leave a Comment


{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

GingerAndScotch July 13, 2011 at 5:03 am

What great tips from all three posts but especially love the beef salad recipe from Aaron.

kellypdxlawyer July 12, 2011 at 12:21 pm


Great party post. I feel simple pleasures with friends really reduce the stress of the daily grind. As a <a href=””>Portland Bankruptcy Lawyer</a> I help people make fresh starts. Maybe I should host “Fresh Start” pool parties for my clients. Thanks for the entertaining ideas.

closetwriter July 11, 2011 at 3:04 pm

Great stuff Tia. And, wow, way to pull in the Big Hitters. I love that water is stressed. So important!!

Evelyn Parham July 9, 2011 at 2:06 pm

Hi Tia!

Good pool safety tips! I use to inspect swimming pools for codes and safety. Looking good! 😉

People tend to be stubborn when it comes to driving and not being sober, but when you have a definite plan in place it can really help.

I love beverages for non-drinkers. Who wants soda and water all the time..switch up and make it fun.

Looking forward to reading more summer entertaining tips!

Take care,


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Tia Peterson July 6, 2011 at 5:24 pm

@KimberlyMoore Thanks, Kimberly!

Tia Peterson July 6, 2011 at 5:22 pm

@annedreshfield Exactly! It’s such a bummer when a host hasn’t planned for non-drinkers, especially when there are so many alcohol free fun party drinks. In fact, that seems like a great follow-up post! 🙂

Tia Peterson July 6, 2011 at 5:21 pm

@Mywritingworld Hi Fran! Agreed. The party should be as much fun for the host as it is for the guests!

StephRWong July 6, 2011 at 4:06 pm


Mywritingworld July 6, 2011 at 3:57 pm

Hi Tia:

You have put together a cool post here. From pool saftey to leaving sober all is very important. But I am really liking that simple plan is becoming the trend. When plan is simple you can enjoy the summer social gathering twice instead of once, but when there is too much elegance, plan is big, work is unbelieveable and fun is zero, at least for the host. However I will still like everyone to have a blast.

Thanks for another wonderful post.

Fran A

JennaTest July 6, 2011 at 3:43 pm

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bodynsoil July 6, 2011 at 11:03 am

@Tia Peterson @jasonmitchev We like simple as well, the theme should be summer fun not country club fussy.. What better way to spend summer than with friends in a sundress and flip flops eating fresh veggies, fruits and berries..

bodynsoil July 6, 2011 at 11:01 am

@annedreshfield Oh my, you can tell what age I am when I read the “key in the bowl by the door” as that goes back to a time of wild parties that has nothing to do with safe driving. (Key parties were from my parents generation but I have heard much about them.)

These are great thoughts as I am not a drinker but do have many friends that are, we have a spare room always ready just incase but strive to keep everyone sober.

annedreshfield July 5, 2011 at 2:34 pm

Fantastic tips, Tia! The keys in the bowl by the door is a great way to keep people from drinking and driving — and thank you for the reminder for non-alcoholic drinks! I usually have one drink, if any, and I usually feel left out when the hosts say “oh! Well, we have water…” Does everyone have to drink to enjoy themselves? Sigh.

KimberlyMoore July 5, 2011 at 3:45 am

I absolutely ADORE this – what a cool idea!

Tia Peterson July 5, 2011 at 12:30 am

@jasonmitchev Simple is a great plan, especially if you do a lot of entertaining. Plus, I think simplicity makes people feel more comfortable and they end up having a better time overall! Thanks for your comment!

jasonmitchev July 4, 2011 at 5:30 pm

Summer entertaining in our house usually falls under one category: Simple. We try to keep the heat out of the house by either cooking out or ordering in, or we have friends over dessert and games in the evening. I do agree with you on the water! We live in a hot and humid area and the soda doesn’t fix the dehydration either.

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