Tips to be a Great Party Hostess featuring Johanna

Tips to be a Great Party Hostess featuring Johanna

Hi everyone. I’m super excited to be sharing the November hostess of the month, Johanna. She has been featured on this blog countless times because she’s one of the best party planners I know in-real-life. She doesn’t even have a blog. Can somebody please tell her that she should have a blog? Thank you.

In the past few years Johanna has been the cook for my first ever dinner party, planned one of the fanciest brunches I’ve ever been to, has supplied countless party hosting tips to the blog (tips 1, tips 2), been the inspiration for the chocolate fondue post pin that has now received +31.8k repins, was the mastermind of the 15-pie Pi Day party, made +1000 mini cupcakes for her sister’s wedding, hosted a really great Hungry Caterpillar birthday party for her son last year that was included in my event photography post, and was the inspiration for a 10 cool kitchen gifts post.

In addition to all of those things, she was one of the people who always made sure I remembered to eat in college, sang with me in my awesome church choir, has the most intense liquor collection I’ve ever seen, and her family has welcomed me in as one of their own in the past 8 years or so, so all of that is cool too. Did I mention she’s an engineer? (Which really explains the mini cupcakes post if you go back and read that one.)

The photos included below are a compilation of all of the parties I’ve been to at Johanna’s house in recent years. I hope you enjoy her responses below!

Tell us about your party-hosting style.

I like to host house parties with food rather than ‘organized other place gatherings’. Some of my parties have been more themed than others. I like to bring people from all aspects of my life together to socialize.

photos from her son’s first birthday party:

Tips to be a Great Party Hostess featuring Johanna via Chrystina Noel

hostess-of-the-month-06

Where did your love of party planning begin?

That’s a good question… I have always like organizing things.  I enjoy putting together spreadsheets for menus and beverages.  I attended bar tending school for fun while I was in college. I always got to decorate my sister’s birthday cake… I guess that’s probably where it started.

a photo from that time she made +1000 mini cupcakes for her sister’s wedding:

Tips to be a Great Party Hostess featuring Johanna via Chrystina Noel

What are your go-to appetizers?

I’m going to answer this question based on an afternoon/evening party… brunch parties and pizza parties are a completely different categories. I like to go homemade as much as possible:

  • Buffalo chicken dip has more recently been superseded by jalapeno popper dip
  • Hummus
  • Guacamole
  • Taco dip
  • Salsa
  • Deviled eggs
  • Baked brie with cranberries
  • Monkey bread

Non-homemade go-tos:

  • Cheese and crackers
  • Chips/pretzels/veggies and Helluvagood dips
  • Pre-made Giant brand appetizers (bake and serve)

only because she mentioned brunch:

Tips to be a Great Party Hostess featuring Johanna via Chrystina Noel

Tips to be a Great Party Hostess featuring Johanna via Chrystina Noel

What are your go-to entrees?

  • Haluski (cabbage and noodles)
  • Sausage and Peppers
  • Chicken Paprikash
  • Chili

What are your go-to desserts?

  • Chocolate fountain with various dippers
  • Cupcakes
  • Cake
  • Fruit tart
  • Pies

the chocolate fondue fountain and pi day ridiculousness:

Tips to be a Great Party Hostess featuring Johanna via Chrystina Noel

Tips to be a Great Party Hostess featuring Johanna via Chrystina Noel

Tips to be a Great Party Hostess featuring Johanna via Chrystina Noel

What are your go-to beverages?

  • Jello shots
  • Beer
  • Wine
  • Soda
  • Juices: cranberry, orange, grapefruit, pineapple, tomato
  • “Nectar of the Gods” (champagne, peach nectar, white peach cranberry juice)
  • Coffee/tea
  • Wassail (mulled apple cider) when in season

What do you usually bring to a potluck?

Jello shots 🙂

(Chrystina here:

Do you decorate for the festivities?

This depends on the reason for the party and the theme. Generally I put more focus into cleaning than decorating.

there was that one time though that she made everything adorable:

Tips to be a Great Party Hostess featuring Johanna via Chrystina Noel

Tips to be a Great Party Hostess featuring Johanna via Chrystina Noel

Tell us about the best party you’ve ever hosted.

This is a tough one… I like the live band aspect of the annual New Year’s Eve party, a wedding reception is a great party to plan, but I think the best theme house party I ever hosted was a semi-surprise party for my husband’s 30th birthday.  He knew there was going to be a party but didn’t know the theme. He was born in the year and month that Epcot opened in Disney World.  A weekend trip to Epcot was prohibitively expensive so I decided to bring Epcot to his party.  Each area of the house represented an area or country from Epcot. To represent Future World – The Living Seas, I had a room set up for viewing Finding Nemo with goldfish snacks (this was a hit with the kids). I did decorate a bit for this party.  Each area had a laminated sign with Epcot style text identifying the land and a few other decorations were used depending on what I had for the countries. Each country had a selection of homemade food based on Disney restaurant menu selections.

Appetizers:

  1. Guacamole and chips (Mexico)
  2. Pretzels (Germany)
  3. Hummus and Pita (Morocco)
  4. Goat cheese and Kalamata dip with balsamic reduction (Morocco)
  5. Quiche Lorraine (France)
  6. Mini croissant sandwiches (France)
  7. Cheese plate (France)

Entrees:

  1. Pork Tenderloin Mole (Mexico)
  2. Lamb shawarma (Morocco)
  3. Steak (Canada)
  4. Burgers and Dogs (American Adventure)
  5. Brats (Germany)
  6. Mac and cheese (France)
  7. Sushi (Japan) – yes, even this was homemade

Salad

  1. Caesar (Canada)
  2. Seaweed (Japan) – ok, this one I bought prepared

Sides

  1. Esquites (Mexico)
  2. Couscous Salad (Morocco)
  3. Lentil Salad (Morocco)
  4. Cheddar Cheese Soup (Canada)
  5. Creamed Spinach with Parmesan (can’t remember what country – it might have just been to add a green vegetable)

Beverages

  1. Beer (Germany)
  2. Saki (Japan)
  3. Bloody Caesar (Canada)
  4. Tea (United Kingdom)

Dessert

  1. Tiramisu (Italy)

What’s your biggest hostess challenge?

Getting all the food ready (semi) on-time and remembering to serve everything.  I use a post-it note system to help with remembering to serve everything.

What’s your best tip for someone who wants to be a great party hostess?

Cover the big things first then worry about the smaller things. Only you will know if something that you had planned didn’t come to fruition by party time. Don’t forget to have fun! It’s easy to get too wrapped up in the details.

Can we please talk for a minute about the fact that I wasn’t able to make it to John’s 30th birthday for one reason or another? (I have no idea where I was, but I’ve got to tell you that at this time it totally doesn’t seem worth it.) Can you imagine the blog post that would have ensued from that? The girl is good. She’s real good. Thanks again, Johanna for answering the questions as the hostess of the month. I can’t wait for the next shindig!

To check out other hosts and hostesses of the month visit the links below:

Tips to be a Great Party Hostess featuring Chrystina NoelChrystina Noel Tips to be a Great Party Hostess featuring DebbieChrystina’s Mom Tips to be a Great Party Hostess featuring Jessica from Sweet Love and GingerSweet Love & Ginger
Tips to be a great party hostess featuring Beth from Recipe for SuccessRecipe for Success Tips to be a Great Party Hostess featuring Brigette from Brigette I Design
Brigette I Design
Tips to be a Great Party Host featuring Heidi from Parties for Pennies
Parties for Pennies
Tips to be a Great Party Hostess featuring Sarah from Pretty Providence
Pretty Providence
Tips to be a Great Party Host featuring Andy from Plum Deluxe via Chrystina Noel
Plum Deluxe
Tips to be a Great Party Hostess featuring Nida from Mommy 411
Mommy 411
Tips to be a Great Party Hostess Featuring Lauren from Lauren Caselli Events
Lauren Caselli Events
Tips to be a Great Party Hostess featuring Johanna
Johanna 

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