‘Tis the season for entertaining! Today, we’re excited to share our pinterview with Sandy Coughlin, your hostess with the mostess and author of ReluctantEntertainer.com. As the holidays are drawing near, she offers tips and tricks for entertaining and secrets behind shopping at the dollar store.
Hi Sandy! First, can you tell us a little about yourself?
I started blogging in 2006 and have recently published my 1376th post. I started blogging to help others who are reluctant to entertain, wanting to give them “permission” to overcome imperfections and embrace hospitality. I share recipes, easy entertaining tips, and inspirational posts on “why” it’s important to “gather.” The best times in our home have been around the table, serving our guests good food and conversation, getting to know people. I’m a wife and mom of 3 (ages 20, 18, 16). I love being a connector of people, and what better way of doing it than at a dinner party! I authored the book, The Reluctant Entertainer, in 2010.
Many of your boards are event inspired, like Valentine’s Day and 4th of July. Do you have any plans for upcoming holidays?
I’ve already started my “Christmas and Traditions” board. The holiday boards are often the most fun to pin to, because they’re so festive, positive, happy, and colorful. I love having too many great entertaining ideas to pull from. Pinterest has changed the world for the reluctant hostesses who say “I can’t do this,” because there are so many inspiring ideas out there. You can organize a dinner party, but keep it simple at the same time.
What are the “dos” and “don’ts” for entertaining?
Do make it fun, do make it your style, and put effort in to it, otherwise you’ll hate it. Asking people in to your home means that you are willing to drop what you are doing to put your guests first. I like to tell my readers to “keep it simple, sister” (KISS). Don’t obsess over the little, silly things. Your guests will never know about the things you’ve worried about. They are coming to see you and your family, not your house or apartment. They are not coming to inspect. In an image-driven world, it’s easy to strive for things to be perfect, so I like to encourage people to use Pinterest for good, like all things. It’s inspiring and helpful. Also, don’t apologize for anything when company comes over. I’m writing a “No Apologies” series for the holidays. Apologies only bring attention to ourselves and make our company feel bad and uncomfortable.
You’re a dollar store fanatic. Do you have any secrets behind dollar store shopping that you’d like to share?
I do. Don’t settle for less, just because it’s at the dollar store. Things can be good quality there, but also on the cheaper side. Don’t stray from “your style” and what you like. I look for things (you can look at my Dollar Store board) that are sturdy, classic, and will last a long time. My classic icon dollar store water goblet on my site has proven to be very popular. The other tip I’d like to share is, you can go online and order bulk dollar store finds, i.e., most glasses, wine glasses, goblets - come in a box of 12 or 24. It’s a great way to stock up inexpensively for a party. Store extras in your garage, and always be willing to share with a friend!
Who are some of your favorite pinners on Pinterest with interesting decor and recipe ideas?
Entertaining and Home, ALL of Pottery Barn’s boards
Chris Nease, Celebrations at Home, ALL of her holiday & event-driven boards
Jessica Merchant, How Sweet Eats—food related boards
Tsh Oxenreider, Simple Mom—intentional living boards
Amy Allen Clark, Mom Advice—all around living
Aggie’s Kitchen—detailed food
Marla Meridith—most colorful and organized boards!
Nester Smith, Nesting Place—cool decor
One of the most rewarding moments on Pinterest is when you come across someone’s boards and instantly realize this person is amazing and you two would probably get along really well.
You can repin, like, write a comment or follow someone to show how you love their taste, but we’re also passionate about the idea of taking moments to celebrate someone who inspires you offline.
This is the concept I brainstormed with one of my “pinspirations,” Jessica Hische.
As a designer, Jessica is someone who I respect a lot in her field of lettering and typography (just some of her clients have included Wes Anderson, Dave Eggers and The New York Times). When she recently moved to San Francisco, we immediately got to thinking about cool project ideas.
Today, we’re really excited to share the holiday cards and posters Jessica Hische designed for us. Each card or poster says “You’re My Pinspiration” in Jessica’s illustrated lettering. They’re available for purchase from the publishing company Sigler Companies. Jessica’s also generously agreed to sell them at cost and we hope these might serve as a special gesture to your personal heroes and friends.
A huge thanks to Jessica for this beautiful design and sharing your art with the Pinterest community! To learn more about Jessica and her work, check out her pinterview below.Hi Jessica! First, can you tell us a little about yourself?
I was born in Charleston South Carolina, but grew up in Hazleton, Pennsylvania, the daughter of two New Jersey born and bred parents. I currently divide my time fairly evenly between San Francisco, Brooklyn, and airplanes en route to conferences.
What inspires you in your work?
I find inspiration everywhere, sometimes from visual sources like beautiful printed type specimens and sometimes from everyday life—simple quiet moments like long walks by myself or a day spent reading in a coffee shop. What inspires me the most is being surrounded by wonderful, supportive and talented people in the design, illustration, and lettering/type community. I meet folks every day in person and online whose work makes me seethe with jealousy and fills me with excitement to work harder on my own projects.
Who are some of your favorite pinners?
My favorite way to use Pinterest is to search by keywords because the community is so good about describing and labeling the work that they post. I search for calligraphy, blackletter, type, spencerian—so many general and specific terms that return amazing results. There are so many talented pinners out there too and I’m infinitely impressed with people’s ability to discover and curate beautiful things. Here are some of my favorites: Jana Hamman, Super WetPaint, mrs. french *, and Natasha Jen. What are some of the recent projects you’ve worked on?
The biggest project that I worked on last year was the movie titles for Wes Anderson’s recent film Moonrise Kingdom. This year, I’m doing a series of classic books with Penguin called Penguin Drop Caps—the series was inspired by my Daily Drop Cap project and each book cover features one large prominent letter—the first letter of the author’s last name. There will be 26 books, a full alphabet, when the project is complete.Thanks for the pinterview, Jessica! To check out Jessica’s work or find out more about her, visit her website and her boards on Pinterest. Happy pinning!
—Evan Sharp, Co-founder, Currently obsessed with pinning to History.
Keeping Pinterest authentic is vital to helping people discover the things they love. That’s why we’ve built a dedicated spam team that has been hard at work investigating reports and building systems that detect, remove and prevent spam. Over the past few months, our team found a number of suspicious, fake or spammy accounts. Starting today, we’re removing these accounts for good.
Removing these accounts helps protect the integrity of Pinterest and helps ensure that followers are real people who are interested in what you share. It also means some of these spam followers may be removed from your follower counts. For more than 99% of accounts, it will be a loss of less than 10 followers. However, spammers tend to focus their attacks, and most of the bad accounts are following a relatively small number of legitimate accounts.
Like all online services, getting rid of spam on Pinterest is an ongoing process. In this case, we’ve used everything we’ve learned from these spam accounts to implement new measures that will help keep bad accounts from being created in the first place.
Thank you for using our blocking and reporting features. Your reports are an important part of our spam fighting strategy. Please continue to let us know whenever you see something suspicious. We’ll keep fighting spam and we appreciate your help in that effort!
—Marty Weiner, Engineering Manager, Currently obsessed with pinning to 3D Models - Robots.