Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Kate Spade's Occasions - The Best Parts

I love me some Kate Spade. I love my Kate Spade red purse. I love the streamlined, classic a-line dresses I get on sale at the outlet. I love love LOVE my collection of Kate Spade oversized gemstone stud earrings. 

So when I was browsing entertaining books at the library and noticed she had authored a pretty little red book called simply Occasions, I happily checked out and tore in. 
Kate Spade's Occasions | Noble Hostess

Is it cute and fun? Of course! Is it charming? Absolutely. Is it escapist? Damn straight, it is. This "How To" entertaining guide is also an superb example of what I call "lifestyle porn." Think any house from a Nancy Meyers movie. 
Like most entertaining books, this is written for the nervous host or hostess, just beginning to entertain. There are tips and tricks for menus, creative party themes and hostess gift recommendations. Where the lifestyle porn seeps in is with the "everyday" tips for people who own sprawling houses and can afford to hire caterers. My husband, upon me reading some of my favorite parts aloud, harkened back to an episode of the hilariously British BBC series "Black Books." In this, a constantly drunk, acrimonious book store owner describes the hosts of a previous dinner party to his friend.
"Gerald's a food writer. He had a big hit with that thing, you know, "Basic Meals For the Ultra Rich"." - Bernard Black, Black Books
That is what Kate Spade's "Occasions" is reminiscent of. "Basic Meals For the Ultra Rich." And let me tell you, it is a pretty darn fun time. It can even help you entertain, if your friends take turns reading random tips from its pages (as we did one night). So, to make it easier for you (and for my own record-keeping), here are the most comedically lush upper-crust party 'tips!'


"FOR THE GUEST ROOM: ...American quilts, deeply colored (and that includes pink)."
 Do Marshalls and TJ Maxx count as "American?"
"MIDNIGHT BREAKFAST FOR TWO: "You've been dancing, it's late, and you're famished. What better time to make something quick, but with a dash of elegance, such as a plate of softly scrambled eggs with salmon caviar."
Finally, a casual use for all that caviar I have hanging around!  
"OUTDOOR DINING MEANS: ...Throwing open the French doors and moving the inside outside."  
In my mind they open into the gardens of Pemberley.
-A case of wine ("I don't know anyone who doesn't like this.")
-A season's worth of tennis or golf balls
-A wooden bowl with ripe peaches, tied with a pale green ribbon"
These highlights are probably my favorite advice. In my group, my friends are courteous and generous, and always come with a nice bottle of wine, champagne, cheese, etc. Can you imagine if someone brings a CASE of wine? I rarely have a case of wine around the house at any given point! 

The inclusion of a "season's worth of tennis or golf balls" is compelling for two reasons. a) The implication of the reader alternatingly golfing and playing tennis by season is deliciously upper-crust. b) The continued implication that this has been done so often that a season yields a specific, quantitative amount is spectacular. 

...Admittedly, I kind of would like to try out the wooden peach bowl. You have me there, Kate!  
This header alone...  
"And I stay away from canned beer. It makes me think of the Indy 500 or something. All that metal!"  
Fair enough, I can't see Kate downing a Miller Lite.
"Whenever I'm having a party, I explain to a caterer that I think the food should be filling, but also easy to eat and beautifully presented."
I daydream of having a caterer for some of my parties, don't you?
"PETER [THE CATERER'S] SPECIALTIES... Caviar 'ice cream' cones - potato cones filled with crème fraîche and topped with sturgeon caviar."
My God that sounds opulently amazing. Like an h'ors dourve at a very upscale ballroom wedding.
"Instead of using the standard red-and-white checked gingham, use tiny black-and-white [gingham] for your tablecloth and bright red cotton napkins as an accent."
So much gingham!
Again, the header alone. I would love to have a weekend party! Does drinking late into Saturday evening and having a friend spend the night on your couch count as a weekend party?
"GUEST ROOMS... [Buy a] terrycloth robe and slippers. Embroider 'Guest' on the robe and have several pairs of slippers embroidered with 'Guest' on one foot and 'Sleepy,' 'Best,' and 'Hungry' on the other."
This. Just this. 

Final Thoughts

So, in conclusion, if you want to grab a glass of wine and curl up with this little peek into lifestyles of the rich and famous, by all means do! Slip on your embroidered robe and grab the sturgeon caviar, my friends. One last pet-friendly note: it is worth noting our Kate Spade also loves having her dog, Henry, at her cocktail parties. And that is pretty darn cool.


  1. Okay, how delicious are you and your words? - scrumptious with a capital 'S'! I am a forever fan!! Keep on sharing your humorous and oh so noble insights - just lovin' it!!

  2. It's amazing what one can focus on when their reality is taken care of by other people. Also, this makes me want a bucket of caviar.