Entertaining & Gathering

5 Rules for Making an Ugly Birthday Cake (and Celebrating with Your Friends) — Life in the Kitchen

There is no dessert more special than a birthday cake. It's the most personal and celebratory of treats. Far superior to weeknight cookies and less fussy than something as monumental as wedding cake, it's a dessert with a purpose. And there's also no greater baking joy, in my opinion, than making a birthday cake for someone you love.

I always have the best intentions when I decide to make someone a birthday cake, but it rarely goes as planned. I wait too long to find the perfect recipe or don't have the right supplies on hand, and I end up skipping the whole process entirely in favor or a simpler dessert or, even worse, nothing at all. This is a total shame, because everyone should eat cake on their birthday — baking plans be damned. That's why I'm in favor of embracing the ugly semi-homemade birthday cake.

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5 Ways to Get Party Guests Out of the Kitchen — Ready for Company

No matter how small your kitchen happens to be, people always end up hanging out in there during parties. Bummer, right? It leaves you wondering if you should have skipped cleaning every other room of your house and just focused on cooking the food instead.

The problem, of course, is that it can become a logistical issue for you if you're trying to get stuff done and people are all sorts of in the way. Here's how to give your well-meaning guests the boot.

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10 Bridal Shower Favors Guests Will Actually Want to Keep — The Spring Bridal Shower

When it comes to throwing a bridal shower, whether it's for your sister or your BFF, picking the favors for guests can be one of the hardest decisions. You want the favors to be cute, not cheesy, and something guests will actually use (read: you don't want to give everyone another cheap-o wooden cheeseboard emblazoned with the couple's monogram).

Keep calm: We've rounded up 10 bridal shower favor ideas that definitely won't be left behind. Carry on.

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10 Cute and Easy Bridal Shower Themes — The Spring Bridal Shower

Good news, all you maids of honor: You only need two things in order to come up with the most ingenious bridal shower theme of all time. First, start with a food the bride really likes. Got it? Now just think of one other thing that goes with it. That's it! There's your theme for the bridal shower! From there, planning the menu and the decorations is a piece of, um, three-tiered wedding cake.

Here are 10 ideas to get your wheels spinning. Of course, you can just steal one of these and call it a day.

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The Best (and Cheapest) Way to Keep Track of Drinks at a Cocktail Party — Birthday Cocktail Party

Whenever my mom sets up for a party, she always leaves a Sharpie marker next to a stack of plastic cups and the ice bucket. "This way, people can write their names on their cups," she'd tell me when I was a kid, as if I hadn't seen her do it a million times. Or as if she didn't make me and my brother put our names on our cups even when we weren't entertaining.

I used to hate it! Mostly because I thought it looked kinda cheesy. (But also because my handwriting was terrible and it almost always looked like I was drinking out of Hisa's cup. What? Fancy Ls are hard!)

Now I totally understand the need for a drink marker system, but I've found a better way.

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What’s a Stock-the-Kitchen Bridal Shower? — The Spring Bridal Shower

Bridal showers have come a long way since our moms (or maybe even some of us!) got married. These days, the guest list sometimes now includes the groom and all his buddies. Sometimes the gifts don't even get wrapped (it's called a display shower). And sometimes there are no gifts at all!

There are all sorts of themes, games, and decoration ideas (thanks, Pinterest!). And we love seeing all the new takes on the traditional event, but there's one that's quickly become our favorite: the super-fun — and appropriately named — stock-the-kitchen bridal shower.

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