Good Friends & Fun Times

Updated: Jan 10, 2019

As you may have read in the last few posts I hosted a year end celebration with some of the Kings and Queens of the event industry. It was such a treat to relax and enjoy a glass of wine and chat during the party...we are all usually on the other end of the entertaining spectrum. I wanted to share some great photos from Hechler Photographers and the fun we had!

Make sure to manage your time and look for shortcuts when you can when entertaining. Trust me I have learned the hard way- trying to do it all yourself doesn't make you superwoman...it just sometimes makes you tired!


Lighting all those candles takes a really long time!



I always have some items out for grazing, quick little bites to pick up. I know it seems pretty ordinary but an antipasto platter and a few fresh veggies always seem to be popular and it is easy to assemble in advance.


I set up a small area for a bar and like to have it well assorted.



I highly encourage you to enlist help whether it be from friends, family or a local service. This really allows you to be a guest and not rush around making sure each person has a drink or worry about clean up as well. If the guests sense you are overwhlemed its hard for them to enjoy themselves, but when you can be relaxed and enjoy with them it just sets the tone for all the others to be relaxed too.

Luckily I had Jimmy and Sergey to help pour all those drinks.


I like to make sure there is variety and easy items that can be put out before guest arrive. I also set up things in all different areas of the living spaces. This was a simple little spot of bubbly and shrimp cocktail.


Plan to be ready in advance so you can take a good deep breath and a nice big sip of wine or whatever you fancy. I'd be lying if I said I did that without the help of like 3 different people constantly giving me 30, 20, 10 minute warnings....everyone around me knows me well and now I just listen to them and know to follow their clock not mine:) so I am ready and have a minute to catch my breath and relax before the guest arrive. ( this goes for my own entertaining and my events at www.carolynbenderevents.com I love this couch from www.mgbw.com it allows for so many people to mingle. Just wait till you see below how many we fit on this couch!



It takes an army to create our events at www.carolynbenderevents.com and this CREW MAKES IT HAPPEN! My kitchen and crew for the night in the below photo. Sergey, Miguel and Jimmy run all the production at my events and they literally can DO anything. They extended their duties for the night for me!@*&^%#@! Miguel made the risotto, Jimmy plated salads and Sergey moves mountains in between making drinks. Rocio helps me with just about anything and everything. Last but not least- that's my daughter, Margo with them. My kids say I never let them cook when they were little that I was "control freak" in the kitchen*&@! ( I was hired to cook for others you can't have a 10 year old making cookies ?!?!) At any rate, the apple hasn't fallen far from the tree- both of my daughters know their way around the kitchen well and she was an amazing help at the party.

Trying not to spill on my white silk camisole....not the best choice for cooking, but looks real good for entertaining:) Nili Lotan from Pamela Robbins.



Christine Traulich of www.redbliss.com arrived first. I am so touched she came straight from the train from New Hampshire! Lucky to have the designer herself with those last minute table details. I just love the www.redbliss.com merchandise. Christine and I have worked on some amazing invitations together for my clients and I just LOVE her placemats. I own them in both gold and silver. I like changing up the look each time. The gold was perfect for this floral tablescape with coral, orange and eggplant accents from www.Spinanyc.com .



Hugs from Gal Jurick. Her husband, Michael Jurick is another fantastic photographer I have had the pleasure to collaborate with. He shot the holiday tablescape we posted earlier in the week.( see the previous post of the holiday table with Spina events and Herend USA ) Unfortunately, Michael was working and couldn't join us:(


Now this was a feat to get these 2 David's in a photo! David Hechler is usually behind the camera and Julio from his studio was the gracious man behind the lens for the night. David Beahm had an opening on his calendar, a rare occurrence, as you never know what country he may be in or what fabulous event he is creating at David Beahm Destinations!

I have been working with these 2 guys for over a dozen years and it's always a pleasure to have the chance to catch up with them. #lucky, #Grateful, #Thankful!


I do have a catering background as I started in the event industry with my own catering business, but I have to say it can be a bit daunting to cook for some of the elite pros in this industry. I can't quite perfect these mini tuna tacos like Peter Callahan but found a source to buy the mini taco shells and I keep the recipe pretty simple- VERY fresh tuna- mixed with mayo and a touch of siracha, simple and easy.


I had the pleasure of some fantastic events this past summer and winter with Peter Callahan Catering. So fun to be able to relax at home and enjoy some bubbly with he and his wife, Josephine.


Here I am with Bill Coyne of Cloud Catering , Timothy Scalett of David Beahm Destinations and David Landgraf of Make it Happen Management. I hope I pass the taste test with Bill and my potato pancakes! I serve them with homemade applesauce and creme fraiche over a nest of cinnamon sticks. Being around the pros you learn a trick or 2!:)



I like to make my old fashioned filo triangles for cocktails as I can do that when I have a bit of down time and put them in the freezer. Less to do the week of the party. They go from the freezer to the oven and are always a favorite. I usually do a mix of wild mushrooms and a garlic and herb cheese but occasionally do the traditional spinach and feta filling. The spinach variety is something that can easily be found in the freezer section at Trader Joes . I encourage you to find simple short cuts so entertaining is made easy. Anything store bought can look homemade and mouth watering with just a few small touches like a beautiful tray. This one is from Party Rental LTD. It's all in the details. If you don't have a lot of serving pieces and the budget allows renting is a great option, it also makes clean up a breeze!

Another catering treat was from Rifko Meier who brought his "traveling" Oysters XO

So fun and interactive with your guests. They have everything right there with them and offer oyster shooters to the guests.


The crew from David Beahm Destinations Timothy Scalett, Ryan Zoeller and Sami Horneff.

Here is David Beahm, Gail Jurick, Sami Horneff and Vinnie Perugini enjoying Oysters Xo.

Vinny owns a gorgeous jewelry store in Pelham, New York. Vincent's Fine Jewelry We are collaborating on a spring event together and I can't wait to share that with you!


Bill Coyne and the girls. Christina Matteucci of David Beahm Destinations, , Josephine Sasso of Peter Callahan Catering Christine Traulich of Red Bliss and Gal Jurick.


We had just under 20 guests. I had enough room to fill my dining table and add a table to our living room. I decided it would be more comfortable if everyone could have an actual seat since we were able to make it happen. I am not at all opposed to buffets and or grazing cocktail parties. It just depends on the day, time and crowd for any particular event. I like to change it up!


The dining table...

the dining table set in the living area. I love this marble top table from Luxe Event Rentals


This is me with Bob Conti of Ed Libby & Co. We just finished the most gorgeous party together. I am waiting in anticipation for the professional pictures to share with everyone!


More hugs and smiles with Matty Pattison, David Beahm and Gal Jurick.


This just sums up the holidays beautifully and gives me so many reasons to be excited about this year ahead! So much happiness and smiles all night. I am vowing to make this year more relaxed and meaningful in every way and nothing sets the tone more than friends, family, hugs and kisses. A little Southern Hospitality and New York Style was the perfect way to end 2018 and greet the new year. Hey, 2019...coming at ya!!!


Here's to 2019....Wishing you all the best for a happy, healthy year filled with lots of love, laughter and happiness!!





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Carolyn Bender 
info@cbealifestyle.com

914-722-9094