Miss A Columnist

Taylor Lopez is a native Floridian, temporary Texan and current Chicagoan. She is a 2010 graduate of Southern Methodist University with a degree in International Studies and minors in Spanish and Art History.

After spending a semester in Madrid, Spain, Taylor set a goal of combining her education with her passions of design and travel and one day working abroad as an interior designer. She is currently pursuing her Masters degree in Interior Design at Harrington College of Design in Chicago. She is building up her commercial and residential design business, Taylormade Interiors, Inc. and dabbling in event design.

In her free time, she enjoys painting, antiquing, volunteering, biking with her boyfriend and dog, and capturing Chicago on film with her vintage camera. She adores cowboys, classic Mustangs, Hemingway novels and Paul Newman.

Host A Charitable And Eco-Friendly Wine Tasting Party To Kick Off Summer

Wines for Humanity is a wine tasting company dedicated to introducing the public to the joy of fine wines while raising funds for charity. Their charity of choice helps to prevent homelessness in families with children. The host or hostess has the opportunity to choose their preferred charity instead, and part of the proceeds from any wine sold at their event will be donated. The wine advisers are both knowledgeable and fun, and the website tells you everything you need to know to prepare for your party.

The Author's Simple Wine Party Tablescape

We got a YouSwoop deal for Wines for Humanity, came up with a menu, and decided to hold the tasting in our building’s rooftop party room. So as not to compete with the view, we created a simple table scape from things we already had at home: paper lanterns, glass vases, and fresh flowers. If you have plenty of time to devote to the decor, try using corks, which are perfect for this type of party and also Eco-friendly! Make strands of cork garland to drape around the room. As favors, hand out cork coasters, pots of herbs with corks as garden tags, or mini cork planters for cacti and succulents (see photo).

Photo Credits: 1) Etsy Shop Courtney’s Corks, 2) MyChicLife.com, 3) CraftfulThinking.tumblr.com, 4) Etsy Shop KZannoArt, 5) rock-ur-party.tablespoon.com

Here are some of the more popular hors d’oeuvres from our party:

Avocado Stuffed Portabello Mushrooms

Potato Nests with Sour Cream and Smoked Salmon

Goat Cheese Stuffed Dates

Pancetta Crisps with Goat Cheese and Pear

All of these dishes can be served at room temperature, meaning your job will be done once the table is set, and you can mingle with your guests rather than spending the evening in the kitchen. If you prefer, use this Pairing Tool (for wines as well as beer and liquor) to come up with your own menu. A cute idea from Rock UR Party is to use chalkboard contact paper as a table covering and write notes to your guests to help them with cheese pairing.

If there is no service like Wines for Humanity in your city, you can still host a memorable wine party.  Advise your guests to bring two bottles of wine. One is shared with everyone and used in the tasting, and the other goes into a wine swap so that everyone leaves with a wine they’ve never tried. Or, check out some ideas for Wine Related Party Games.

Here’s to great wine, good friends, and summer!

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