Sunday, June 1, 2014

5 Tips for Hosting a Stellar North Shore Barbecue!

Summer is upon us on Chicago’s North Shore!  Time to move the dinner party from your dining room table to the backyard.  What a great way to utilize all of your North Shore real estate while showing off all of the time and effort you’ve put into your yard!  The most important things to focus on are keeping your guests comfortable and engaged.  Here are some tips to help you focus on just that.

Plan your menu:  When choosing the food you will be serving, be sure to consider all the guests who will be in attendance.  While steak and burgers are great cookout staples, be conscious of those who may not eat red meat or maybe even any meat at all.  Keep your side dishes varied as well.  Not everyone loves potato salad!  If you are planning to provide alcohol, have a selection of beer and wine at a minimum.  While you can’t necessarily meet everyone’s preference, providing a wide variety will allow you to come as close as you can to doing so.     

Avoid paper plates and plastic forks:  If you have at least one barbecue a year, invest in a set of inexpensive “outdoor” dishes and cutlery.  Even if they're just plastic, they will not only hold up to heavy grilled food better but also create a more formal feel.  If you really want to avoid dish duty, there are also disposable bamboo options available as well.  While more expensive than their flower-designed, wax-coated cousins, they are both more environmentally friendly and create a unique presentation.

Bring on the games:  Avoid lulls in your party by having lawn games available.  Croquet, bocce ball, and badminton are all great options.  They will allow your guests to have a reason to mingle and can all be played without an abundance experience.  If you have children in attendance, consider having some kid-friendly options readily available as well.  

Keep it bright:  Ensure that your outdoor lighting is sufficient once the sun sets.  Strung outdoor lights can be functional while also adding a decorative flare.  Table top lanterns can also be a great way to add illumination to your outdoor area.  You may also want to consider one or two propane heaters.  Again, the comfort of your guests will great affect their enjoyment of your event.

Beware of bugs:  When dusk arrives, so do the bugs.  Citronella candles or torches around the perimeter of the gathering space are a great way to cut down on the pests.  It’s also a good idea to have some sort of repellant spray or cream available for those who choose to use it.  Nothing can kill the mood of a get-together more than being attacked by mosquitos!

Most of us look forward to summer on Chicago’s North Shore all year long.  Now that it’s here, make the best of it!  Many people enjoy backyard gatherings because they tend to be low key compared to those indoors, but we all still want to “wow” our guests.  If you’ve been considering selling your North Shore home, a barbecue can also be a great time to take in the impressions of others regarding the exterior of your home and your curb appeal, both in the front and back of your home.  I would also be happy to supply you an objective opinion of your North Shore home curb appeal.  My years of experience helping others both buy and sell North Shore real estate have given me an eye for the important details.  If you would like assistance with any of your real estate needs, please contact me.  We’ll find you a home or get your current sold in no time at all!

Janie Bress
Your North Shore Real Estate Expert

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