By contributor Ashley T. Strickland, Oxmoor House Food Editor


You know the movie, 27 Dresses, with Katherine Heigl and James Marsden? Well I’m Jane (Katherine’s character). While I haven’t had to wear any interesting get-ups like she did (both the Gone with the Wind and underwater-themed weddings come to mind), my closet is full of dresses—in varying shades of mostly pink, blue and green. After graduating from college, I’ve averaged being a bridesmaid in about two weddings every year. I absolutely love weddings, and I am honored when my friends ask me to be involved in their special day. I especially love all of the showers and parties leading up to the “I-do’s.” It’s a great excuse to get everyone together to enjoy some great food and drinks, mingle, and give gifts. After all of the showers I’ve given though, it’s hard not to get stuck in a rut and serve the same ‘ole thing every time. That’s why I’m so excited about Southern Living’s "The Half-Hour Hostess" by Oxmoor House.

This book is jam-packed with menu ideas and decorating tips to make entertaining easy and effortless. For the next shower I host, I’ll definitely use recipes like the Raspberry Beer Cocktail from “Rush Hour Shower” menu, the Curried Shrimp Tarts from the “Baby Shower” menu, and Free-form Strawberry Cheesecake from the “Mother’s Day” menu. With over 250 pages of great recipes, party planning for any occasion will be a snap.