Friday, March 12, 2010

Let the Madness Begin!

Second to Christmas, this may just be my favorite time of the year.  St. Patrick's Day is upon us.  And so is March Madness!  This is a great time to get together with friends and family to watch all the big games, cheer on your alma mater, and talk some smack! But most of all, it's a great excuse to throw a party.
Selection Sunday is just over 48 hours away.  Why not invite the whole gang over for an impromtu gathering?  This would also be a great time to organize a basketball pool (if you're into that sort of thing).  For me, this week is all about cinderallas, bracket-busters, 12s vs 5s, and a whole lot of crazy prognosticating (my inner-voice sounds a lot like Dickie V). 

So you're throwing together a last-minute shin-dig for this weekend's Selection Show. What do you need?

The show is on at 6 pm (est). Invite your friends over around 5 and do light hors d'oeuvres and drinks, and they'll be headed home to dinner when the show's over. Mini pigs in a blanket are always a big hit and super easy!  Baked sweet potato chips with dill dip and mini soft pretzels are also sure to be a success! For dessert, how about some basketball themed cakeballs?  With chocolate coating and a thin black icing gel, these would be darling for the party.

It's Sunday, and after a long weekend of early St. Patrick's Day revelry, your guests will probably want to take it easy.  White wine citrus sangria is one of my favorite laid-back drinks. It's so easy and so pretty. Your guests will love it.  Of course, we also recommend having some beer on hand for the guys, who will probably scoff at drinking sangria.

While this is a last-minute gathering, you shouldn't shirk on decor.  As my mother always says, "Presentation is everything."  If your guests are all primarily fans of the same team, go for your school's colors as the motif.  Plates, napkins and cups can reflect this theme easily enough.  A few small vases of flowers or candles in the right colors, while subtle, can create a more welcoming atmosphere.  Mildly scented decor can also add a pick-me-up to any room that needs a bit of freshening up.  If you've got a party store nearby, stop in to pick up some pom-poms in your school's colors.  Arrange them in a vase just like flowers.  If you have a little extra time, make some of the infamous Martha Stewart pom poms to hang over your buffet table.

Who will you be rooting for this year in the NCAA tournament?  Are you planning any festivities to cheer on your team along the way?

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