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Monday, December 17, 2012

Sandy Coughlin: The Reluctant Entertainer

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'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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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

Thanks for the pinterview, Sandy! To check out Sandy’s recipes, visit her blog and her boards on Pinterest. Happy pinning!