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Sally Horchow Shares Her Party-Planning Secrets

Author, journalist, lifestyle expert, on-air personality and one of LA's most celebrated hostesses (parties at her Hollywood Hills home are always packed with celebrities like Owen Wilson and Vanessa Carlton), Sally Horchow has just added vlogger to her job title, with the debut of Verygoodlooking.com. The site speaks to her many talents, as she dishes out advice on everything from how to buy a bra to what to see on Broadway. Since many of us are still recovering from our holiday hangover, we challenged Horchow to tell us how to throw a fun and easy mid-winter soiree--one that would entice even the most anti-social out of hibernation. Here, she shares all the details:

SALLY: Just when you've lost all hope that you'll ever see sunshine again, now is the best time to throw a throw-back-to-summer party. Try a Black Tie Bar-b-que, replete with all the fixings you can take out from your local barbeque joint (or fly in from Texas, like I do.) Set up long tables inside, with checkerboard tablecloths and bandana napkins, throw on your best dress and you've got yourself a shin-dig. Hell, clear the tables for square-dancing afterwards—and roast marshmallows for s'mores in the fireplace—and you'll feel like it's June on the Dude Ranch before you know it.

LUCKY: How do you make the setting festive?

SALLY: Oriental Trading Company has great, cheap decorations for every party theme. I get bandana napkins there and Texas flags. I also like to make a grab bag of party favors from the 99 cent store and rent themed decorations, such as hay bales and pitch forks, from a movie prop house.

LUCKY: What kind of cocktails do you serve?

SALLY: I rent a margarita machine from the Margarita Man (if you’re not in Southern California, you can just make your own and garnish with a tiny bit of jalapeño!). I also serve my favorite prosecco cocktail, which is Prosecco with a tiny splash of St. Germain.

LUCKY: What's on the dinner menu?

SALLY: I usually have a BBQ dinner sent in from one of my favorite places in Texas, such as Cooper’s Old Time Bar-b-que, but I've also gotten it from a great place in L.A. called Mr. Cecil's. Pairing the messy barbeque with everyone's black tie attire really makes for a good time. I also have great family recipes for corn pudding and chocolate pecan pie that I make myself. Shiner Bock beer from Texas and a good Australian Shiraz are great drink accompaniments for the spicy BBQ.

LUCKY: What’s the key to making the evening a success?

SALLY: I like to personalize something for each guest, so they feel really welcome. Sometimes I write a thank you card ("thank you for being my friend," "thank you for always making me laugh," etc.) to each person on an appropriate letterpress card. In this case, in keeping with the theme, these ones with a pig from Echo Letterpress are perfect. I'll make sure the place cards are special and a keepsake. Since it's the start of the new year, I'd give my guests a little calendar that they can put on their desks and remind them of how much fun we had during the winter doldrums.

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