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46 of 47 people found the following review helpful
Instyle's latest book "InStyle Parties (The Complete Guide to Easy, Elegant Entertaining), is a step by step guide to hosting your best party!

The 192 page hardcover, coffee table sized book (10x9x1/2)describes in detail the invitations, decor and menu for a variety of parties ranging from a backyard luau to a mediterranean dinner. Other parties include super bowl, afternoon spa, baby shower, birthday dinner, thanksgiving dinner and more. The super bowl party for example suggests a buffet menu that includes chili with turkey and white beans, sugar and spice pecans, tortilla chips with bean dip and an ice cream sundae dessert bar. Make the invites by writing on card stock glued on mini football pennants and decorate with mini plastic football players and goalposts. The book tells you exactly what to do from week to week to prepare for the party.

It also suggests modifications for each party. Don't feel like fixing food? Order a platter of preassembled gourmet deli sandwiches.

There are a lot of cute, novel ideas in the book. The holiday cocktail party has you crushing candy canes in martini glasses. Oscar night suggests sending invites in film canisters. The baby shower party would have you decorating with tea lights in baby food jars and serving goodies in silver baby cups with baby spoons.

The book serves as a launching pad for ideas. The spa party suggests you consider splurging on Swarovski crystal studded spa invites..well I am not likely to do that..but using this idea I might buy some crystals at a craft store and doctor up a another cute invite. The book does give some "over the top" ideas for parties but it also gives substitutes. It all depends on your budget and desire.

The book also includes chapters with some great basic information; how to stock a bar, the decor, the table, the food and the invitations. The table section for example, details tableware. linens, setting the table, serving styles, seating and extra help.

Choc o' bloc with full color photographs of different parties and interspersed with the occasional picture of a celeb noshing on this or that, Instyle Parties is a super resource and sure to make your next event even more special!

Lee Mellott
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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
I can't imagine someone getting married or starting out in an apartment or house and NOT having a copy of "In Style Parties" on their shelf. If you are looking for a housewarming present or a bridal gift, this is something you really should consider.

"In Style Parties" contains basic instructions for hosting anything from a baby shower to a cocktail party, Thankgiving Day feast or a Mediterranean-inspired evening. The chapters give day-by-day schedules (what to do three weeks, two weeks, day of, etc), full menus, shopping lists, what dishes you need. Simpler versions of each party are given to make it easy if you are short on time, funds or ambition.

One chapter includes how to stock a basic liquor shelf and how to make some popular cocktails like cosmopolitans, margaritas and martinis (hint, pour the vermouth over the ice in the shaker, then pour it out; the perfect dry martini.)

The food looked simple yet elegant and the photography makes you want to dive in and write those invitations. If you are uncomfortable entertaining and want to get started, this is for you. Highly recommended
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon February 19, 2006
This book is loaded with help and ideas, and will save even the most clueless host/hostess. You get tips for setting up your bar, decorations, and invitations. You get information about wines and beers. But the best part are the individual party ideas. There are cocktail parties and dinner parties. Holiday parties and unique theme parties. Each party comes with a schedule for planning ahead, so you don't have to do any mad scrambling around the day of the party. Each party comes with a unique "signature drink", so you can cut costs by just offering a signature drink, wine, and beer. There are recipies for each party and shortcut ideas if you don't have time or don't want to cook. There are also music ideas and decor ideas, in good detail, to really help you. No other entertaining book I've ever seen includes help with so many aspects of your party so well. And unlike most entertaining books, there's a resource section so you know where you can actually find the items featured in the parties (food, decor, etc.), so you don't see something you love but can't copy. (There is one problem, however, I've found some of their resources only sell wholesale and won't sell to you unless you have a reseller ID, which is really disappointing. They should have only included retail resources anyone can use.) Everyone who either entertains or likes to daydream about it should have this book - the ideas are unique and fabulous. I bought this book because I needed an idea for our wedding rehearsal dinner. Within 20 minutes of looking through the book I had a brilliant idea (there is no "rehearsal dinner", but I found a perfect theme party to use). I have many party and entertaining books, and this one is definitely my favorite. I love it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon October 18, 2008
Beautiful color photos and brightly colored text immediately caught my eye. I was pleased that the vast majority of photos are of the food and the decor. There are only a handful of photos of celebrities at parties. I'd rather see what the food and centerpiece should look like than a photo of another celebrity in a black dress.

The chapter on the basics includes many helpful lists (suggested kitchen equipment, standard bar utensils, wine descriptions, table settings, lighting, furniture arrangement and more).

Chapters on parties are divided into Dinner Parties (spring dinner, early autumn supper, and Mediterrannean dinner); Holiday Parties (Thanksgiving dinner, holiday cocktail party, New Year Eve's supper and Halloween cocktail buffet); Occasions and Theme Parties (Super Bowl party, Oscar party, game night, afternoon spa party, baby shower and birthday dinner party); and Summer Parties (backyard luau, backyard barbeque and tuscan dinner). There is also an extensive resource list for invitations; barware; hors d'oeuvres; pantry items such as spices; cheese; fresh and prepared meats; seafood; specialty foods; desserts; tabletop; decor; theme elements; etc.).

Each party is photographed beautifully. There is a menu, a suggestion for setting the scene (from the invitation to room decor to music), a countdown (what to do three weeks, two weeks, one week, two days, day before, morning of, etc.), wine pairing suggestions, recipes and a section on how to make it all "even easier" (such as buying rather than making dessert, paring down the centerpiece, etc.).

I like many of the themes and the choice of a signature beverage for each one. The music suggestions are varied and perfectly fit each theme. The centerpieces are also gorgeous.

I would have preferred more recipes for each theme (to allow the reader to easily choose 3 out of 4 possible appetizers, for instance). The Thanksgiving menu was particularly disappointing - so many books do it better so they should have just left it out.

The bottom line is that I won't be replicating any party in its entirety. I won't special order film canisters to use to mail invitations to an Oscar party, and I'll skip ordering wheat grass from a florist for the centerpiece for a Super Bowl party. I will use this book to get an idea for a party theme, and I'll look at the signature drink and music suggestions. I'll look at the decorating ideas and figure out how to make them my own (with what I have on hand or can pick up at the grocery store).

If you want a party guide and you're on a modest budget, I suggest checking out Real Simple: Celebrations. That book also has fun themes and beautiful photos, and you may have less trouble translating those ideas into an affordable soiree.

As the book points out, what your guests will remember is good conversations, laughter, and maybe some dancing - not the specific flowers in your centerpiece or what the invitation looked like.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on February 28, 2009
I love InStyle and I particularly enjoyed the party planning section - I'm so bummed that they no longer have this!
I've been wanting this book for so long because I've enjoyed the tips in the magazine. The books covers tips on the basics (invitations, bar, food, table, decor, hostess), suggestions and ideas for themed parties and suggested resources. There are both illustrations and pictures of celebrities at parties - I didn't like it. Such a waste of space with celebrity photos covering several pages!
Lots of good basic advice on cocktails and wines, the cheese plate etc. Basic advice - but usually covered in every party planning book! The best part of this book are the theme party ideas. Lots of budget options and fun suggestions from colcr scheme, to snacks and decor. If you don't read InStyle this is a great book with useful tips and fun ideas, but if you have been reading InStyle and their party pages - there's no need for this book - there are some new ideas and suggestions for theme parties, but the best ones have all been featured in the magazine! No need for the book then!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on January 9, 2007
I read Instyle Magazine, and always would look in the Party/Host section. How great to have a book dedicated to them. Detailed great ideas, colorful pictures for inspiration. I always lend it to any friend that is getting ready to host a party or just for fun.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on July 17, 2007
This great recipe book does it all for you--gives you the recipes built for 10 or more, which is invaluable; the timetable for planning the meal starting, sometimes, as far back as three weeks; helps you with decor, color scheme, and centerpieces; and pulls it all together for you.

Parties are organized by seasons (several summer outdoor parties along with comfortable autumn dinners); holidays (includes traditional halloween and Thanksgiving but also a contemporary Christmas and New YEars party) and Themes (Oscar party, game night).

I have had great success with just about everything I've pulled from this book in terms of recipes. They are road-tested and inventive, so that even the Backyard Luau (not the most original theme) has twists on the main dishes and appetizers that are creative enough for the most seasoned Hawaiian diner.

My particular favorite was the Girlfriend's Birthday Party which I threw for my mother-in-law's most recent birthday; the pink peonies, rose-scented votives, and be-ribboned chair backs were simple but together made a beautiful backdrop for the light and delicious fare. The flavorful spinach-bacon-herb salad was such a hit I now make it every time I get the chance and always to rave reviews.

Highly Recommended
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on October 12, 2008
Verified Purchase
Planning for a shower? We found this a great resource for any event. The book visually expresses itself with colorful pages of table presentations and recipe ideas. Recipe for BLT tomatoes was simple and presented well with many comments from the guests about what's in the tomatoes? Delish! Recipes are easy to follow and look tantalizing.

Great book to spring ideas from and brainstorm with. Every party has a what-to-pour idea that includes punches, wines and/or mixed drinks. There are timesaving ideas as well as a schedule for getting ready and prepping. Mostly, this book kicks up your old party ideas with new tricks and trends that work for the casual party or a storied event.

It's now my 1st book to grab and plan with.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on November 4, 2008
As a professional event planner, I completely support the motto embraced in "InStyle Parties" that "entertaining should be, simply put, entertaining."

True to form, this well written book provides engaging and simple instructions on key entertaining elements including how to stock your bar (complete with cocktail recipes and money-saving tips), how to set your table, decor, music, flowers etc.

Furthermore, the events spotlighted in the book run the gamut from seasonal dinner parties, to holiday fetes, to special occasion nights and summer parties.

Last but certainly not least, "InStyle Parties" is rife with gorgeous photos, full recipes and a huge resource directory.

I highly recommend "InStyle Parties".
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on March 25, 2009
I have several entertainment cookbooks and this one has all of the information in one book. Love the table decorating suggestions and menus not complicated. Very pleased. Attractive cover to display
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