Your Guide To Hosting

Hollywood’s most glamorous evening, the 88th Annual Academy Awards will begin at 7:00pm on Sunday, February 28th on ABC. If you are thinking about hosting an Academy Awards party, I’ve assembled some ideas and tips that will help inspire you! And don’t think that you have to break the bank, you can pull off a festive party that’s totally budget-friendly.

But, I have a little housekeeping to do before we launch into the main topic of this post. Over the weekend, I added a dozen more photos to the Kitchen Makeover Reveal here. These are additional before and after photos and show the entire kitchen. Secondly, as promised, here is my Monday update on the results of the Luster Smile Illuminator experiment. Did I have whiter teeth in 5 days? Absolutely! I can see a visible difference since I started using the products in the kit. There’s some magic in the bright blue toothpaste, I don’t know what it is, but it works wonders.

Sarah O'Brien Connecticut in Style

{Sarah O’Brien, Founder & Creative Director of Connecticut in Style}

Academy Awards Party Ideas – Act I


Today, Connecticut in Style is kicking off a week-long series devoted to creating a fun and glamorous Academy Awards Viewing Party that will thrill your guests. Here are my top tips for making this party great for everyone (including the host). Let’s start with Act I: A Sandwich Bar!

Sandwich Bar

  1. The Academy Awards begins with the red carpet (my favorite part!) and ends 4-5 hours later with the award for Best Film. Since this is a TV-viewing party (versus mingling) you will not want to miss any part of the broadcast. The best way to ensure that you can be a guest at your own party is to set up a buffet so your friends can help themselves to food throughout the evening.
  2. A budget-friendly way to feed your guests is prepare a sandwich bar with a delectable assortment of breads, rolls, sliced meats and cheeses, spreads and condiments. Tip: A sandwich bar does not have to be casual, you can lean towards the finer varieties of meats and cheeses such as Kobe Roast Beef paired with Imported Swiss Cheese or Maple Smoked Bourbon Ham paired with Tillamook Cheddar. For advice on how to elevate a sandwich to make it a little more special, I met with Chef Wil Garcia-Colondres at Balducci’s in Westport, Connecticut. Here are the sandwich flavor profiles that he recommended and I assembled at home:
    1. Roast Beef and Imported Swiss Cheese with a horseradish aioli garnished with baby arugula leaves
    2. Smoked Ham and Cheddar Cheese with Balducci’s own, Dan’s mustard
    3. Fresh Mozzarella with sliced tomatoes, basil leaves and a pesto spread on a french baguette (Chef says that it is important to have a substantial bread to balance the softness of the cheese and tomato)
    4. Classic Chicken Salad with watercress garnish on roll (I hollowed out the rolls and filled them with chicken salad, it was so quick and easy)Sandwich Bar 2

Tip: Sandwich Sliders – use small dinner rolls instead of traditional sliced loaf bread. Small rolls are like “sandwich sliders” and this way, guests can sample several different sandwich combinations without getting filled up on one. You can assemble them, or better yet, let your guests build their own sandwiches. Regardless of which types of meats and cheeses you are thinking about, having flavored mayonnaise or special spreads to put on the bread is absolutely essential to making the sandwich delicious! Chipotle mayonnaise, mustard, pesto, etc. You can also pre-slice condiments such as tomatoes, lettuce, purple onion and pickles or serve cornichons – my personal favorite.

Roast Beef and Imported Swiss

Chicken Salad Boat

Chicken Salaad closeup

Mozzarella, Tomato and Basil

Ham and Cheddar

Ham and Cheese

Dan's Mustard

Balducci's Basil Pesto

Horseradish Aioli



Thank to Balducci’s for sponsoring this post, as always, all opinions are my own.