Time to celebrate
A bible in the frugal but fabulous periodicals category, Real Simple magazine and its associated books are packed with arty still lifes and easy and adaptable templates for parties that whisper hip without trying too hard. Among those featured in Real Simple Celebrations include Thanksgiving dinner; a holiday open house; New Year's Eve potluck; an all-purpose shower; and a backyard barbeque with Campbell's soup cans adding a Warholian touch. Clever and inexpensive invitations, decorations, table settings, guest activities and party favors using easy-to-find items are enticingly illustrated. Simple, classy and mostly make-ahead recipes and festive alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks are featured for each event. Add preparation and clean-up lists, etiquette tips (like the brilliant suggestion for getting guests to leave an open house), a pull-out "Party by Numbers" wheel to help figure booze and food quantities and inventive ways to use party leftovers, and the book becomes indispensable for the sociable and stylish short on time and cash.