I’m A Reluctant Entertainer

Seriously, do you remember that episode of Modern Family where Alex and Hayley are in their room and the youngest one is being taught by her older sister how to be popular and talk on the phone and then she accidentally says “love you” when trying to be cool at the end of a phone conversation with a popular girl?

Anyhow, if you have yet to get your hands on Sandy’s book you are missing out on the words of the Entertainer Whisperer gently reminding you that good enough is just fine.  It’s a mantra I proclaim but many times fail to apply. Sandy knows how to mix in the perfect amount of encouragement, funny stories, easy ideas and a dash of wonderful recipes.

I really want to try Sandy’s Sweet Potato Cran Apple Gratin.  She made that for the progressive dinner that she and her husband have been a part of with the same three couples for the past FIVE years.  Sandy is heroic. Kind of.  She tells us how anyone can be like her and actively entertain without worry and fear and you know what, I’m starting to believe her.

/></p> <p>Sandy joined me and 5 other bloggers for the 31 Days of Change in October. You can read <a href=Sandy joined me and 5 other bloggers for the 31 Days of Change~ read all of her helpful posts from that series here.

It’s not too late to purchase Reluctant Entertainer in time to get motivated for Christmas Entertaining, or for a gift for a newly married friend. If you are going to Blissdom in January, you can meet Sandy and high five or exchange recipes or watch Modern Family together.

Leave a comment to enter to win one of FIVE copies of Sandy’s book Reluctant Entertainer.  Tell us what your biggest obstacle right now is when it comes to having people over.

I’m off to procrastinate cleaning my house.


  1. My biggest obstacle when it comes to entertaining is cooking. It really is not a favorite thing to do, but since I do like to have great food at my parties, I suck it up and become friends with the stove. A girl’s got to do, what a girl’s got to do.

  2. I always enjoy stopping by your blog. Hugs
    P.S. please stop by and visit and don’t forget to enter my giveaway

  3. Learning to let things be “okay” and trying to prepare a menu, are my biggest obstacles. I know that the more I can have done ahead, the better. All our kids come home…and the numbers just keep rising! lol.. At this point we have 7 kids..5 which are married..3 of those 5 have kids…so we have 5 grands… the youngest son just got ingaged, so I think that takes us up to 20….and then also in the mix is 4 dogs…. yep.. and they all but 1 set of marrieds stay here! lol YIKES!!! but we wouldn’t have it any other way….but….it does take some planning… and some letting go of expections…

  4. i ‘d love to get my hands on this book. My biggest obstacle to entertaining is working around nap schedules and noisy toddlers at mealtime. It’s hard enough for my husband and I to talk, let alone talk to others, during a meal.

  5. So hard to remember that the house doesn’t need to be perfect – family and friends are what really matter.
    Merry Christmas!

  6. Carolyn Maves says

    I would love to have a copy of Sandy’s book. Thanks for your wonderful blog, I so enjoy it.

  7. I love having people over, but right now, in this stage of life and time of year i am so. stinkin. tired. The effort to entertain just overwhelms me. With 3 kids 5 and under, including my very active 8 month old, all i want to do is curl up on the couch and watch christmas movies! cleaning bathrooms and cooking for 8 is at the bottom of my list.

  8. my biggest obstacle is keeping the hubby and little 15 month old from ransacking the whole house…then I realized, this isn’t an obstacle, it’s a BLESSING! I love my little family, so to satisfy my OCDness, I have little totes, boxes, etc that the toys go into…they match my living room decor and everyone is happy!!!
    I tend to worry about things like that, but this Christmas, I want to be simple. Simple elegance, simple schedules, simple and simply love.

  9. My biggest hurdle for entertaining right now is sheer exhaustion. (3 kids: 4, 17 months, and 2 weeks) Too tired to even make my house look “good enough”. Would love to read this book!

  10. The food is my big thing. I don’t have enough confidence in my cooking, I guess. Needing my house to be perfect is another obstacle. When I give in and do it I am in a tizzy before and feeling happy afterwards, so should do more of it.

  11. The size of my house. It is so small and I feel cramped when we have guests. I know, one big excuse.

  12. I have worked with Sandy (on her first book with her husband) and I cannot say enough good things about her. She is amazing, and oh so real. She makes everything sound effortless and like you could actually do it! Which you can.
    My biggest challenge right now – and for many years, actually – is focus. I have too many projects going on at the same time, too many books, too many piles of paper. Must finish my Christmas cards that are taking up half the dining room table, must weed out some books that are stacked in my office, must file these piles (or toss!). I need a week off to clean and organize! I cleaned out my closet in Sept but the question-mark clothes are still laying over the chair in the spare room. sigh. My youngest just went off to college, and you’d think I’d have time, right?
    I have not seen the book yet, but having read her blog and seen Paul’s beautiful photography, I know it’s wonderful. If I win one, I will make someone a very happy gift of it!

  13. I would LOVE a copy! My biggest obstacle right now is probably perfectionism….I want my house to be decorated the way I really want (like yesterday!) and stress over how people see my home. I am slowly learning that it isn’t that big a deal and try to focus on making a comfortable atmosphere when people come over.

  14. My obstacle is the same as soooo many others… my house isn’t “perfect”. Yeah, I know how silly that is- and I’m trying, really trying to get over that and take more chances. The times I have, I’ve been rewarded beyond belief with the joy that only comes when you get people you love together to eat. to laugh. to share. And you know what? No one seemed to be put-off by the jungle of unfinished projects. Guess it’s true- we are our own worst critics!

  15. Oh wow, it has been so long since I have had people over in big crowds and in the past couple of months I have done it so many times. Such a nervous wreck before they got here, loved it when they were here, sad to see them go…and here comes Christmas with around 30 people expected and the nervousness strikes again! I don’t know why I am nervous. That is the tough part. I scurry around my home doing such detailed things and hope no one notices the ones I missed.
    Thanks for showing us your cords behind your chair!! :o) I needed that.
    Thanks also for a chance to win this beautiful book. :o)
    Merry Christmas Nester.
    Sincerely – Trish

  16. I always worry that my house isn’t clean enough or that they will notice that there is a spec of dirt on my floor or dust on my fan and judge me. I worry too much about what others think and then I end up being that woman that is always apoligizing for every little flaw!

  17. My excuse for so long was perfectionism, but now it has to do with the three little ones I have under foot (3,3,1). Balancing keeping my little ones cared for and entertaining my guests most of the time leaves me frazzled and feeling like I really missed out!

  18. I already own a copy of The Reluctant Entertainer and wanted to give my two cents on how wonder-full and inspiring it is! Sandy Coughlin’s attitude about putting fear aside because “it’s a robber of anything good” can apply to so many situations in our daily lives.

  19. Space. We live in a roughly 900 SF condo. It’s hard to fit many people…having a couple over for dinner is great, but a group? A dinner party? Tricky.
    Time. I work full-time, and though my husband and I would both love to be more hospitable, it’s really really hard to find the time and energy for this in the margins of our lives. I can’t wait till I can be a part-time employee!!

  20. Keeping my small townhome clean and neat..especially with 3 teenagers and 2 dogs, working full time and taking online college course. Thank goodness my husband helps and the kids do their own laundry!! especially when your expecting relatives for the holidays

    I love Sandy’s blog. I have purchased her balcony girls book and would love to win a copy of her RE book. I have used her dollar store goblet idea..and received so many compliments.

  21. I need this book!! I love entertaining but often feel like good enough isn’t fine. Thanks for offering it as a giveaway. =)

  22. Kimberly Stotlar says

    My biggest obstacle is cleaning the house so that it’s party-ready, not just family-livable. I really dislike cleaning but love it when I do but then I get discouraged that it’s almost as messy after the party than before I first cleaned…it’s like I should wash the floors after the party rather than before. But then I’d have to tell everyone to wear black socks or bring their slippers. Hey, maybe a pajama party would be fun…

  23. My biggest obstacle is just not feeling on top of things – especially kids toys and paperwork. I’m really making an earnest effort to not let that stop me in 2011 though. We moved into this neighborhood 2 1/2 years ago and I’ve not had a party yet… :-( Must get over the fear and just HOST! :-)

  24. I’d love to win one of her books! My biggest obstacle is feeling like my house is a wreck all the time with a 4 yr. old and 2 yr old twins. I try to stay on top of the toys but it gets out of control very easily!

  25. Self-imposed paralysis! I have so much to do to get the house ready for ANYONE to come over (even kid playdates!) that I do nothing. I’d love to get over that. Don’t know how.

  26. I think my biggest obstacles are time management and stressing over wanting everything perfect. This book would do me wonders and I would love to win…pick me random number thingy!!, PS…cute video…love how you are normal!!

  27. I have big expectations on myself, family and the whole thing. I want the food to be delicious and filling, the house to be inviting, clean, calm and perfect, the children to be polite, calm and mellow. All of these are possible-just not at one time! lOUD, MESSY, & HYPER IS WHAT USUALLY HAPPENS AND THEN I STRESS. However-I have had some friends over and I try to remember its the togetherness thats most imporatant… Thanks Val

  28. My biggest obstacle is space. We live in a tiny house. I do like to entertain but my space issue stops me often.

  29. My biggest obstacle right now is that we have moved again just two months ago…so it’s still a bit chaotic! There have been many moves for our family…this time to a home that was half the size of the last one. It usually takes awhile for me to get it together, but I do, and we do have people over, even when it’s not perfect : )

  30. My biggest obstacle is figuring out how to get everything done but still have a good time. Balancing work and play.

  31. My biggest obstacle is feeling like my house is too small. It works great in the summer when we can be outside too.

  32. The size! I love my little duplex but I used to be able to fit so many more people into my old apartment.

  33. This post was so timely for me when I read it yesterday. Seriously, you have no idea. I had plans to host a party at my house the very next night (tonight) and my house felt like a complete disaster. I thought there was no way that I could possibly be ready, and truthfully, I was starting to dread planning it at all.

    Your post helped me to relax and to pare down my to-do list to something far more manageable. and I’m so glad I did! I even enjoyed myself – straightening my house and baking. Then today it snowed, and everyone stayed home warm and safe in their own homes – but because I didn’t stress about the cleaning and the perfectionism, I don’t regret spending the time I did yesterday to do those things.

    Though I do have quite a few goodies tempting me around here…

  34. My biggest problem is finding enough seating & table space for everyone. We are a family of 6 in a 1200 sq ft home. We’re the smallest family of all of our friends, so a dinner party with one other family is a dozen people (minimum). I’d love to have 3-4 families over, but it doesn’t seem possible without relegating children to the floor/outside.
    I still have people over quite a bit, but would LOVE to have more encouragement & maybe even just commonality.

  35. I loved seeing your mess!!! So comforting to know we are all in the same boat. Just invited people over and then was like why did I do that???? I would so love this book, hope I still have time to get in.

  36. I tried to decorae less, but I feel as if certain things are “expected”. I have left a few things in boxes and maybe a few things won’t make it back into the box-making next year simpler!

  37. My biggest hurdle is that my sweet and adorable children undo everything right after I do it so I feel like it’s no use cleaning until right before we are having company…in the next week, we are having my daughter’s birthday party and 2 holiday parties. Ask me why I am laying on my couch reading blogs instead of cleaning????

  38. My biggest obstacle is ME! -getting too focused on cleaning, decorating, cooking, serving – etc. – that I feel exhausted by the time the guests arrive.

    I need to remember that entertaining is different than hospitality. The evening shouldn’t be all about me trying to impress my guests – but it should be about caring for and encouraging them.

  39. My biggest obstacle is ME! -getting too focused on cleaning, decorating, cooking, serving – etc. – that I feel exhausted by the time the guests arrive.

    I need to remember that entertaining is different than hospitality. The evening shouldn’t be all about me trying to impress my guests – but it should be about caring for and encouraging them.

  40. It’s a challenge to keep the house picked up with two small kids and to have some decent time management.

  41. That book sounds great! I like to entertain and have done it often. My biggest hurdle is keeping the house clean, on a regular basis, so that there isn’t a marathon session right before the party! I know that guests don’t notice the tiny things that I do but still…

  42. My biggest obstacle is my family. My husband preferes a quiet evening at home to having guests – at least that is what it seems till I invite someone and he thoroughly enjoys it. His mindset makes him think it won’t be fun, but he is always glad we did it afterward. Don’t know how to help that except keep having folks over and hope he learns how much he likes it.

  43. Yikes! My biggest obstacle would be that I HATE when others offer no help! My family was raised on a completely different planet than my husband’s family. I was raised to always help the hostess… and his family can’t seem to get their plates back off the table, or to even offer any help. So I tend to resent hosting get togethers, and I tend to have nightmares about all the work I know I’ll be doing when his family comes for a visit (they stay at our place for days). I’d much rather learn how to loosen up and be able to enjoy their long visits. Or how to use a magic wand and get everyone to help, lol.

  44. I know that Modern Family episode – I totally get it and Love It! A lady I worked with years ago was on the phone talking to our manager and did that – out of habit she goes “Bye Love You”. She could have died, but we all thought it was the funniest thing ever!

  45. Kristy Loneske says

    My biggest obstacle is that my living room and kitchen is not completely finished being painted and blue painter’s tape is still hanging around.

  46. My biggest obstacle is that I am a “yes girl”, and get overwhelmed and over scheduled, when I should be planning, cooking, cleaning, and wrapping. And I am having big anxiety this year, as my mother just called and said that they (mother, father, grandmother, little brother, another little brother and sis-in-law) thought it would be great fun for them all just to spend the night Christmas Eve. At my house. Where every bed is full. But, I am thrilled at the prospect of us all being together for all the festivities and I need to relax and remember that there is always “room at the inn”, right?

  47. I feel too sentimental about ALL my stuff. If my children touched it or played with it I must keep it forever. I need to declutter so when the opportunity arises to have family/ friends over I can feel comfortable doing it more spur of the moment.

  48. I am so feeling like the reluctant entertainer right now. On onene hand, I am really excited to be hosting Christmas dinner for the first time and hope to incorporate new traditions for my kids! But on the other hand…how will I ever get my house clean enough? You know, the corners of the bathrooms that just always seem to have dust and little boy grime? Or all the dust on the seemingly millions of slats on the blinds in every.room.of.the.house. HELP

  49. I think my biggest obstacle this year is dealing with the fact that everything is different.
    My babies moved away in September and we lost my dad last Christmas. Since I am big on tradition and “how things always are”, I am struggling this year to have a very entertaining spirit. Normally I am not a “down” person but this year is just hard

  50. My biggest obstacle to entertaining right now is actually my husband, who grew up with great expectations for giving off an appearance of perfection and still struggles with that today.

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