Tamala Jones' Holiday Hosting Tricks
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Cooking Style2 of 10
"I never wear an apron," says Jones. "I always cook in leggings and a T-shirt." Her method is to prepare the food first, then clean up and get dressed before her guests arrive.
Maxed Out3 of 10
Jones says that when it comes to hosting attire, the lady of the house should always wear a maxi-dress. "It flows and makes you look like a true queen in your palace," she says. "I always try to wear a dark color, so if I spill anything, you can't see it." But Jones notes that it's always good to have a second change of clothes on standby just in case.
Mood Setter4 of 10
"I love fresh-cut flowers in my house. They are a must, along with plenty of candles," says Jones of her hosting decor. But for dressing up the table, she turns to Buddha. "Buddhas are my centerpieces year-round," she says. "During the holidays, I'll decorate around them with fresh pumpkin and squash. For Christmas, I love to place glitter or sequence candles near them."
You're Invited5 of 10
While paper invitations can be a nice touch and add a sense of formality, Jones suggests sending out e-vites instead when putting together a holiday soiree. "They're cost-effective and very pro-green," she says.
Party 9116 of 10
According to Jones, every host should have a kit filled with emergency-appropriate items, both for the actual and the fashion variety. Hers has "Pepto, Band-Aids, Neosporin, hydro-cortisone cream, safety pins, Icy Hot, hydrogen peroxide, a needle and thread, rubbing alcohol and eye drops."
Freshen Up7 of 10
To help guests feel at home, it's important to also have some beauty products and other necessities on hand for them to use when needed. "Every host should have Burt's Bees hand lotion, a candle, Kleenex, hair spray, mints and facial mist in their bathroom," says Jones.
Take A Nibble8 of 10
When it comes to hors d'oeuvres, Jones' hosting must-haves are four different wines, a fruit platter with strawberries and grapes, and a cheese and cracker platter. "If I happen to run out of wine, vodka and cranberry is always a good go-to beverage," she suggests.
Dish It Out9 of 10
"My rice cooker is my favorite cooking item because it gives me extra time so that I'm able to focus on perfecting the main course," says Jones. But while rice may be an easy side dish option, she'll still whip her signature homemade mac and cheese. "If I don't make it, I never hear the end of it from my guests," she says.
Just Desserts10 of 10
Jones advises keeping Nestlé Toll House cookie dough squares in your fridge. "They're always great to have around," she says. "You can pop them in the oven, and in 20 minutes, everybody's smiling."