Ta­blescapes + Host­ing

with Camille Styles

Athleisure - - Table of contents - PHO­TOS COUR­TESY | Marc Babin

We chat with Camille Styles to find out how we can be a bet­ter host, set a great ta­ble and en­joy our guests!

The hol­i­day sea­son is ex­cit­ing be­cause you have the chance to see a num­ber of your friends, fam­ily and col­leagues in one place and at var­i­ous gath­er­ings within a dizzy­ing 6 weeks. You know there are a num­ber of events that you will at­tend and of course, you will be host­ing. In the­ory, it's ex­cit­ing un­til you re­al­ize that you will be host­ing and throw­ing a din­ner, event or a com­bi­na­tion of the two. Be­fore you stress out, we sat down with Camille Styles who knows a thing or two about plan­ning events, cook­ing meals and be­ing a great host­ess. This event planner got her start in the in­dus­try plan­ning events and pair­ing it with food. In ad­di­tion to shar­ing her cre­ations and tips on HGTV.com, Cook­ing Chan­nel, O Mag­a­zine, Real Sim­ple, Martha Stewart Liv­ing and more, Camille also shares her tips on her name­sake site.

We took some time to talk with her about how we can tackle be­ing a great host, the ap­proach­able way to cre­at­ing ta­blescapes, her fa­vorite places in Austin and her part­ner­ship with Bounty.

ATH­LEISURE MAG: Can you tell us how you got into the event space as we know you have done a lot with HGTV. com and your web­site is beau­ti­ful.

CAMILLE STYLES: So part of my ca­reer is in events as you said. About 12 years ago, in my 20’s, I was an event planner for a cater­ing com­pany so I am re­ally thank­ful that I was able to start as an event planner with a fo­cus on food. I feel that num­ber 1, food is my fa­vorite part and the fo­cal point to any kind of gath­er­ing and it also re­ally taught me the nitty gritty ends and outs on what it takes to re­ally cre­ate a great event. I got my feet wet there and fell in love with en­ter­tain­ing, par­ties, host­ing and bring­ing peo­ple to­gether. As a side cre­ative out­let, I started CamilleStyles.com re­ally as a cre­ative project. I mean at that time, it was 10 years ago so blogs were re­ally more of a hobby and some­thing to do for fun on the side. Over the next year or two, it started to re­ally pick up speed and gain an au­di­ence and as a Jour­nal­ism ma­jor I have al­ways loved to be able to right and re­ally to use that de­gree to cre­ate con­tent even if it was just for fun.

Over time, I built an au­di­ence where I was able to see that this was some­thing that could be a full time gig and so I stopped plan­ning events and put my time into cre­at­ing con­tent for the web­site. For the next 9 years, I con­tin­ued to build and built a team of 7 right here in Austin – which I can’t be­lieve that it’s been that long. I also have a few con­trib­u­tors from around the coun­try as well. The con­tent that we cre­ated it’s grown from fo­cus­ing on en­ter­tain­ing to a num­ber of life­style top­ics from de­sign to in­te­ri­ors. But we re­ally do keep the heart of what we do, which is about en­ter­tain­ing and for me it re­ally is about those gath­er­ings and find­ing ways to con­nect with peo­ple – es­pe­cially dur­ing this time of year around the hol­i­days. It’s about cre­at­ing these feel­ings and spa­ces with those you love.

I’m truly able to do my dream job to cre­ate this kind of con­tent around these ver­ti­cals.

AM: Fo­cus­ing on en­ter­tain­ing, what ad­vice do you have for some­one who is about to em­bark upon host­ing their first hol­i­day din­ner with 10 peo­ple? How can we curb the anx­i­ety that comes around host­ing and mak­ing that per­son feel that this is an at­tain­able task?

CS: This is a topic that is re­ally near and dear to my heart. En­ter­tain­ing is not just about bring­ing peo­ple to­gether, but also be­ing able to in­ter­act with them! Find­ing ways to host hol­i­day gath­er­ings with­out feel­ing stressed is so key be­cause the host should be able to have fun right be­side their guests. I think that for me, it all starts with mak­ing a de­tailed plan, es­pe­cially when it

comes to host­ing a meal like, Thanks­giv­ing or Christ­mas that has a lot of com­po­nents where you are jug­gling a lot of dif­fer­ent menu items. You want to hone in on ex­actly who is com­ing, mak­ing a spe­cific plan about when they should show up, when din­ner will be and of course – plan­ning the venue. A de­tailed list of ex­act recipes, in­gre­di­ents needed and most im­por­tantly, what can be done in ad­vance so you can get as much done that’s not on the hol­i­day so that when the day rolls around – you’re not too over­whelmed on what needs to get done.

AM: What are your go to’s that you like to make in ad­vance?

CS: Make ahead recipe wise, there are a few things I al­ways do, like sauces and sal ad dress­ings can be made a day or two ahead. I pop them in Ma­son Jars in the fridge. Pie crusts can be made re­ally far in ad­vance and you can ac­tu­ally freeze them. Things like cran­berry sauce can be made 3 days ahead. Roasted veg­eta­bles are per­fect to make a day ahead and then you can pop them in the oven to warm them up. We ac­tu­ally just posted Make Ahead Recipes which are per­fect for hol­i­day meals! I have a lot of my fa­vorites in there that re­ally show­cases how im­por­tant it is to do things in ad­vance. If you are ac­tu­ally try­ing to make 8 dishes ON Thanks­giv­ing or Christ­mas, you are go­ing to be run­ning around like a crazy per­son! This is the best way to main­tain your san­ity.

AM: In terms of ta­blescapes, what op­tions do peo­ple have whether it’s go­ing to Wil­liams-Sonoma, your fa­vorite depart­ment store or just go­ing out­side? Peo­ple want to be able to show­case that they took time to present their meal in a beau­ti­ful and fun way.

CS: I love dur­ing this time of year to re­ally take in­spi­ra­tion from na­ture. Where I live, we can go on a na­ture walk and col­lect branches, leaves, acorns or berries and gather them into a bowl. I’ll go to the gro­cery store and pick up some pomegranates and put them in a big shal­low bowl to place them on the ta­ble. Any­thing that you can do to bring in some of those nat­u­ral el­e­ments and re­ally speak to what is hap­pen­ing out­doors, re­ally speaks to the fall and sea­son. Right now, there are a num­ber of stores that are car­ry­ing some re­ally beau­ti­ful faux green­ery and branches – it’s such a great op­tion for some­one that doesn’t have those nat­u­ral el­e­ments – to be able to place them on their ta­ble.

AM: In terms of clean­ing up from such a feast, what are your tips there – should they be clean­ing as they go or ac­cept guests re­quests to pitch in?

CS: I’m all for guests be­ing in­vited to par­tic­i­pate in any realm ex­cept for clean

up. Clean up is the one area that I think your guests should not be in­volved un­less you have that one guest that ab­so­lutely in­sists. If it helps them to not feel guilty that’s ok but gen­er­ally – it’s not some­thing I would ac­cept. When guests ar­rive, I want them to feel re­laxed, so the kitchen shouldn’t look like a mess where they feel com­pelled to jump in and start cook­ing. For me, that’s where Bounty comes in as I pretty re­cently ditched my sponges as it was the one thing in my kitchen that got re­ally gross and make my space look so messy. When you’re us­ing the same sponge to wipe off the coun­ters all day and to clean your uten­sils it just doesn’t look invit­ing when you see them there. I don’t want my guests to walk in to see gross dirty sponges and dish­tow­els when they walk in. I have my Bounty pa­per­tow­els to wipe things down and to use a good clean­ing spray. I can keep my pans clean as I go and it’s like us­ing a dish­towel in that it doesn’t tear apart when you are us­ing it and I can sim­ply throw it away when I am done as op­posed to hav­ing it out vis­i­bly. It’s my biggest clean­ing hack.

AM: We know that you re­cently part­nered with Bounty?

CS: For me, I re­ally be­lieve in the prod­uct and qual­ity and I use it ev­ery­day my­self. We re­ally, at our com­pany think re­ally care­fully about the prod­ucts and brands we work with and don't have that many

that we do part­ner with. We want to work with the ones that are in­te­gral in my life as well as within the stu­dio as we cre­ate con­tent. It’s al­ways great when you have the chance to work with a brand that has a nat­u­ral co­he­sion with the things that you are al­ready do­ing. For us around the hol­i­day sea­son, we’re al­ways talk­ing about how to sim­plify, how to have beau­ti­ful sur­round­ing throw re­ally great par­ties with­out be­ing stressed and Bounty is one of the ways that we are able to do that.

AM: With Christ­mas and Hanukkah and other win­ter hol­i­days – peo­ple have a num­ber of gath­er­ings that are not as in­ten­sive as host­ing a din­ner. What are re­ally sim­ple ways that peo­ple can host to en­joy their guests while keep­ing it stress free?

CS: I like events where guests can jump in and have a bit of in­ter­ac­tiv­ity and can lighten the load on the host. So, any type of do it your­self menus like Build Your Own Flat­bread Bar where you can make flat­breads and bring them out and they can put on their own top­pings and they can build them them­selves. It’s per­fect with those that have di­etary re­stric­tions as they can en­sure that they are only adding in items that work for their needs. The same with cock­tails, think of a spe­cialty cock­tail and have a self-serve bar with a few recipe cards and let them mix their own for the sea­son. I love things like that as it’s a great way to get guests min­gling and to use their hands to do some­thing. It also makes my job eas­ier as I’m not mix­ing up cock­tails or mak­ing in­di­vid­ual plates when my guests are hang­ing out. I can jump in and en­joy my guests and cre­ate along­side them.

AM: We know you’re based in Austin, TX. Where can we find you grab­bing a bite/cock­tail, work­ing out and shop­ping? CS: I love this – I’m such a proud Aus­ti­nite. In terms of get­ting a bite to eat, there are so many! I would prob­a­bly say, oh my gosh I have to break it down by sea­son. In the win­ter, I love to go to June’s it’s a re­ally cozy spot on South Congress. They have an amaz­ing Chicken Matzah Ball Soup – if you go there, you have to get it! Its so heart­warm­ing and cozy and a fun ca­sual en­vi­ron­ment. That’s prob­a­bly my go to win­ter spot. In the sum­mer, I like to sit on the pa­tio of Laun­durette and or­der a glass of rose and they have an amaz­ing bur­rata dish and ev­ery­thing they do is re­ally cre­ative and in­ter­est­ing with spicy fla­vors. Shop­ping, if I had to choose one place – I LOVE, I’d say Sun­room it’s a re­ally cool shop on South Congress that has a cool beachy vibes. They carry de­sign­ers and brands that you don’t find any­where else in Austin and their buyer buys the coolest pieces. I just feel I wouldn’t find it any­where on­line and I do a lot of on­line shop­ping so when I go there, it is al­ways an ex­pe­ri­ence and dif­fer­ent. I work out at MOD Fit­ness (mod­fit­ness.com), my barre stu­dio and I also do SoulCy­cle and I also love to walk and run with a good friend around Lady Bird Lake.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.