How She Hosts: Habitual Hostess

Alston and Leigh were roommates at the University of Alabama, in New York City, and now both reside with their families in Greenwich, Connecticut. Habitual Hostess evolved as a creative outlet to showcase their joint love of cooking, cocktail making and entertaining families and friends whether it be in their homes, on vacation, or on the water. They live their life by the moto, “Life is boring, it’s your job to make it fun!”


How do you like to entertain? What is the vibe (where, feeling, how)? 

Each style of entertaining is fun for different reasons! It’s hard to pick a favorite. Sometimes we like to throw small, intimate, fancy dinner parties - planning the menu weeks in advance and choosing the guest list thoughtfully. And sometimes we invite the neighbors over for a more casual and child-friendly affair. Each fills our bucket differently! 


What are you serving?

Something we can make almost 100% in advance and that we have made before!!! One of our favorite go-to dinner party menu is Beef Bourguignon, truffled mashed potatoes and simple greens dressed with our French vinaigrette. For those less into cooking but still looking to host, we always suggest grilling a really great steak, getting fresh bread from your local bakery and serve it with room temp salted butter, and a big green salad. No one is going to a dinner party with expectations that they are going to have the best meal of their life- they are looking to have the best time! 


What are you sipping?

A core HH party trick is to batch your cocktail! It’s great to be able to put a thoughtful cocktail in guests’ hands as soon as they walk in the door. We will batch out a seasonal margarita or pull out our freezer martinis. We’ll have red and white wine and beer chilled in a beverage tub. Guests don’t want to feel like they are putting you out by having you play bartender and you don’t want to miss out on the fun stuck behind the bar either.


What are you wearing?

Alston - a midi dress or silk pants. And dressy flats. 

Leigh - maxi dress or skirt! Strappy sandals. 


What are you listening to?

Loving Amos Lee radio right now! And Zach Bryan. 


How do you make your guests feel special? How do you make them feel at home? 

Curating a special something in the meal. Not everything has to be perfect or homemade but showing off a little with one or two dishes that you made for them makes your guests feel like you really tried and were thinking about them.

Feeling relaxed yourself will allow everyone else to be relaxed! Start planning the week before and set tasks for each day- plan the menu, grocery shop, prep some foods in advance, tackle a room you want to tidy each day, set the table a day or two ahead. Then, when the party arrives you will feel in control! And always prioritize getting yourself dressed and ready! 


If you are hosting a dinner, what is your go-to centerpiece?

We are not florists, so we normally stick to one type of flower, often just a few flowers in multiple bud vases and lots of candles. Big centerpieces will block views and conversations- go for small, low arrangements and lots of pretty candles.


How do you end a celebration?

We don’t like the party ending so guests always end up staying too late! Alston’s husband is often found with a guitar in hand leading a sing along and we may or may not be mixing up some late night Grasshoppers cocktails. Have you tried them? 


What is your favorite Half Past Seven product to entertain with?

So many! We are always using our rattan ice bucket and have found leftover ice still hanging out in the bucket the next day! It does the job! And our wish list is long! Half Past Seven truly carries so many staples for building your hosting essentials that you will have for decades! 


Let’s play this or that…

  • Charger OR Placemat: Charger
  • Stemmed OR Stem-less: Stemmed
  • Red OR White: …and rosė
  • Tablecloth OR Bare: Bare for indoor, tablecloth for outdoor
  • Votives OR Taper Candle:  both
  • Formal OR Informal: both. Let’s host all the parties!


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  • Great advice ladies!! ❤️

    Reshea Dampier on

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