Sherwood Park jewelry to be included in Grammy Awards gift bag – Edmonton


A Sherwood Park jeweler has been selected to be part of this year’s Grammy Awards. A necklace by Rockstar Jewelry will be included in the gift bags for presenters and performers at the music awards this Sunday.

“I’m excited,” owner Jeremy Willuhn said Monday.

“Let’s just say I was glad I was sitting down when I found out.”

Drake, Shawn Mendes to rep Canada at the 2019 Grammys

Willuhn has been making jewelry for about nine years. He reached out to the public relations company that does the gift bags last year and has been working since mid-May on the 160 pieces that will be given away at the music awards this weekend. Altogether, Willuhn used about 65 metres of sterling silver.

“I was doing one a day just because I wanted to pace myself but near the end, I was doing three a day.”

Lollipops from Fort Saskatchewan small business to be given out at Grammy Awards

The Sherwood Park company uses gemstones from around the world to create unique pieces, including rings, necklaces and bracelets.

The piece being included in the Grammy gift bags is a sterling silver amethyst bar necklace, which the company said “embodies the simplicity of every piece by Rockstar Jewelry and highlights the beauty of the natural amethyst stone.”

“Made with sterling silver chain and four pure amethyst beads nestled on a piece of sterling silver wire, the amethyst has the appearance of floating on air,” reads a press release from the jewelry company.

While excited, Willuhn admits he’s also a bit nervous about the exposure. His products have never been featured like this before.

“It’s a new demographic so I don’t know how well it will be received. You never know with these things,” he said. “I have no idea how this is all going to end up. Your guess is as good as mine.”

Rockstar Jewelry isn’t the only local company being showcased to some of Hollywood’s best singers; handcrafted lollipops from Fort Saskatchewan’s Sumptuous Lollies will also be given out in the Grammy Awards gift bags this weekend.

Watch below: A small business in Fort Saskatchewan is getting the opportunity of a lifetime.

The 2019 Grammy Awards are being held in Los Angeles on Sunday, Feb. 10.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


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Lettuce Wraps with Mushroom Larb Are a Gift From the Weeknight Dinner Gods | Healthyish


There are a few things I know for certain about myself: I love Caesar salad, I love shrimp cocktail and I really love letoose wraps. I make some version of a lettuce wrap situation at least once a week because a) they are infinitely riffable b) they’re supes dupe quick and c) I eat A LOT at work so the meal I wish to come home to generally leans on the lighter side. More often than not I find myself zhuzh-ing up some sort of quick-cooking weeknight protein (think rotisserie chicken, flank steak, ground pork) and serving it alongside lots of crunchy things, spicy things, pickle-y things and herby things, and a big stack of lettuces, and calling it dinner.

Then, one day, this Mushroom Larb recipe came along by way of our beloved Andy Baraghani, and things changed. He opened my mind to the notion of a non-protein element taking center stage in the letoose wraps. This recipe was vegetarian and OWNING it (okay, except for the fish sauce, but you can skip it if you really want). Don’t get me wrong, I love a traditional meat-based larb, but this one is special in a very different way. The shiitake mushrooms, which get treated to a deep charring in a cast iron skillet, are the perfect vehicle for soaking up tons of sour, spicy, salty ingredients and therefore a premium choice for veg-larb. Their sponge-like quality allows for maximum flavor once the garlic, ginger, fish sauce, chiles, and herbs hit the pan.

The recipe comes together in under fifteen minutes, which I think you’ll agree is a major plus. The mushroom mixture gets wrapped up in the crunchiest of crunchy cabbage cups, and what you’ve just made, folks, is a damn good and stupid simple dinner. Want to add a little extra heft? Make a pot of rice and serve that alongside the larb and the cabbage. And don’t forget the squeeze of lime.

Larb is life:


Don’t even think about tossing, stirring, or shaking that pan until the mushrooms are golden brown and crisp. You want to achieve that flavorful texture before incorporating the additional aromatics. This recipe is part of the 2019 Feel Good Food Plan, our ten-day plan for starting the year off right.



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Why Toronto residents’ kitschy Christmas light displays are a gift to the city


From my window I can see the narrow house across the street decorated with a single strand of icicle lights loosely hung from the eave. One at a time, the icicles “drip” with light. It’s slow and melancholy, the visual equivalent of one of those sad Christmas carols about hardship or longing.

It’s kitsch, but I love it and look each evening to see if they have turned it on. I don’t know them, but I know they’re there, and that they’re offering something back to Toronto.

Single strand lights, like basic Lego sets, often offer the biggest opportunity to get creative, writes Shawn Micallef.
Single strand lights, like basic Lego sets, often offer the biggest opportunity to get creative, writes Shawn Micallef.  (Steve Russell / Toronto Star)

As the nights get longer we feel compelled to fight against the darkness with light. As late November rolls into December, Christmas lights begin to appear on porches and in windows like warm little flames. Never mind the shops that started decorating too early; the domestic displays are signs of life and individual acts of creativity.

There are hundreds of thousands of amateur lighting designers in action across the city whose decisions have determined how our streets look. Are the lights clipped to the eaves in a perfectly straight line like a laser beam of festive cheer, or do they hang from hooks, crooked and ever so slightly haphazard, like a lovable person who’s always in slight disarray?

There are folks who take this job very seriously and go all out, like the wee house with its postage stamp lawn on Brock Ave., two blocks south of Dundas St., that’s entirely covered in Christmas ornamentation. Lights, wreaths, Santas, snowmen, bells, polar bears and an entire menagerie of other electrified animals and characters. I think they must have a second house to store it all in and their hydrometer must spin like a top.

A house on Brock Ave., near Dundas St. W., takes Christmas displays seriously.
A house on Brock Ave., near Dundas St. W., takes Christmas displays seriously.  (Rene Johnston/Toronto Star)

Another house by the corner of Indian Grove and Glenlake Ave. in the Junction neighbourhood is covered in LED lights that are programmed with elaborate patterns worthy of a discotheque. There’s even a sign out front with an FM radio frequency so you can tune in to hear an accompanying soundtrack.

A few blocks east along Glenlake Ave. at Dorval Rd., a large house is covered in lights and the yard even includes a recreated Christmas tree lot, as if their lawn is a stage for a Christmas pantomime.

These are the superstars that get all the attention and Instagram snaps, but don’t overlook the humbler displays. I’m particular fond of the single string of lights that might run down a handrail and out onto a bush, or a window lit up with blinking lights on the third floor of a house, or a balcony shining high in the sky. All of them are public gestures.

For those driving at night on Hwy. 401 away from Toronto for the holidays, perhaps while it’s snowing, a house lit up in the countryside is a welcome sign, too, on a lonely drive.

When we were young and being transported in the back seat of our parents’ car around Windsor, Ont., my sister and I would rate the displays. “There’s a 6” or “That’s a 10.” I still do that in my head, though I’m more generous with my ratings.

Living in Toronto, I see things mostly on foot now. Speeding by in a car it’s a bit of a blur: a highlighted roofline, a sense of depth if there are lights on trees around a yard, and perhaps a glimpse of those ever-present inflatables that are around today.

A house on the southeast corner of Glenlake Ave. and Dorval Rd. does modern lighting with an inflatable Rudolph.
A house on the southeast corner of Glenlake Ave. and Dorval Rd. does modern lighting with an inflatable Rudolph.  (Rene Johnston/Toronto Star)

On foot you see all the finer details you might otherwise miss. You can also hear the whirl of fans from the inflatables, perhaps breaking the winter wonderland illusion ever so slightly. There are views inside, too, as curtains are left parted to show off a decorated tree, so our gaze is invited into homes for a moment.

Technology has changed things. Now you can buy lights you can control with an app on your phone. There are those ready-made icicle strands that go up fast, and light nettings you can instantly wrap a tree with.

Maybe I’m nostalgic for my own childhood Christmas displays, but the houses that use the simplest materials, lights on a string, get the highest ratings in my mind. They’re artisanal, handmade rather than simply purchased. Like the basic Lego sets that were little more than multicoloured bricks, they’re the ones that allow for the most creative freedom.

Some people hire cherry pickers to do entire trees, while others will put lights just where they can reach. Much respect to those who went up precarious ladders to reach the highest peaks on their houses. All of it, even those inflatables, is appreciated.

The city is at its brightest this week, especially on Christmas Eve. Soon we’ll plunge into the January darkness, so don’t rush to take down your lights. If they’re efficient LEDs, maybe keep them up a little too long.

It’s your gift to the city.

Shawn Micallef is a Toronto-based writer and a freelance contributor for the Star. Follow him on Twitter: @shawnmicallef


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Cocoa Almonds Are the Last-Minute Edible Gift You Need This Week


The only thing better than a good recipe? When something’s so easy to make that you don’t even need one. Welcome to It’s That Simple, a column where our staffers talk you through the process of making the dishes and drinks that they can make with their eyes closed. This week: last-minute cocoa almonds!

The holiday season is a marathon. Tonight is another party, but this time you didn’t have time to make cookies, or bake a cake, or run out to buy a bottle of nice wine for your hosts. You wish you did—you just…didn’t. Well, guess what? This is the perfect time to make these super-simple cocoa almonds—my favorite last-minute edible gift that is comprised of just five ingredients, and comes together in 15 minutes. I repeat: 15 minutes!

Nutty Browned Butter Wedding Cookies

First things first: Preheat your oven to 350°. Spread 2 cups of whole raw almonds on a sheet tray and pop them in the oven for about 10 minutes, making sure to give them a toss at about the halfway mark so that they toast evenly. You can tell when they’re really done by giving them a sniff—they should smell roasty-toasty and delicious. (You can use already-roasted almonds, but you’ll still need to pop them in the oven to heat up a bit; they need to be warm for the coating to stick.) Once your nuts are nicely toasted, transfer them to a medium heat proof bowl and drizzle over 3 tablespoons of maple syrup and ½ teaspoon vanilla extract. Toss them vigorously until each almond is coated and shiny, which will take about two minutes—be patient!


Photo by Ted Cavanaugh

Not an almond fan? Other nuts will work here too—just keep an eye on the roasting time.

Once the almonds are all glossy, use a fine mesh strainer to sift 3 tablespoons of powdered sugar over them. (This is my favorite part because powdered sugar is like the sweet equivalent to snow—sing a little Christmas jingle while it floats down over Almond Town!) Now, toss the almonds thoroughly again until each nut is evenly coated in a thick, sugary coating. Dump them back onto the same sheet tray you used to toast them, spread them out, and let them hang out for a few minutes so the syrup has a bit of time to set. Then grab your fine mesh strainer again and sift 1 tablespoon of cocoa powder over the almonds, tossing with your hands to make sure they’re evenly coated. And just like that: You’re done! If this isn’t a good enough reason to start buying almonds in bulk, I don’t know what is.

The cocoa almonds are best if you let them cool completely before storing in an airtight container, but if you’re in a real hurry you can just go ahead and pack them up (they’ll be cool by the time you get to that party). I love to pack them in a Mason jar and tie a little red ribbon around the lid—a little flair to show you care. And there you have it: a cocoa almond recipe that will ensure you never show up empty-handed to a holiday party ever gain.

Looking for a savory edible gift? We got you:



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The Cookbook Gift Guide That Covers EVERYONE You Know


Everyone at BA loved Almonds, Anchovies, and Pancetta, the tiny but mighty cookbook that uses three simple, fatty ingredients in exceptional ways. At our cookbook club dinner, the standout recipes were cucumber and green tomato salad with avocado, fish sauce, cilantro, and lime; almond butter cookies with chocolate; Bagna cauda salad with optional truffle upgrade; spicy almond crack; and the pork meatballs with farro, hazelnuts, and sage. The recipes are fab, and that’s what we’re here for, but the writing is so damn funny you’ll want to read it cover-to-cover while snacking on toast bites with basil, anchovy, sambal oelek, and a single peanut (a “fucked-up Frankensnack”). Salty fishes forever!

Buy it: Almonds, Anchovies, and Pancetta: A Vegetarian Cookbook, Kind Of, $18 on Amazon


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Ontario auditor general report will be gift to Doug Ford government


Ontario’s spending watchdog is expected to provide plenty of ammunition to Premier Doug Ford’s Progressive Conservatives on Wednesday when she reveals her latest findings of government waste and inefficiency.  

At noon, auditor Bonnie Lysyk will release her annual report investigating whether taxpayers are getting value for money from 15 government programs or projects, including Metrolinx light-rail transit construction and the Darlington nuclear plant refurbishment. 

Because the auditor is probing spending that was largely done during the previous Liberal government’s time in power, the PC government will almost certainly greet her recommendations with enthusiasm. 

« Any time the auditor general does the value-for-money audits, you want to look where government can do things better, » said Treasury Board President Peter Bethlenfalvy, the cabinet minister who keeps an eye on spending.  

Ford has already indicated he is a fan of Lysyk’s work. Throughout the election campaign, he frequently referenced last year’s auditor’s report, in which the auditor tallied waste worth about $1 billion by looking at just 14 programs.

Although that money was spent over a period of much more than one year, Ford used Lysyk’s report as evidence that he could easily find the $6 billion a year in efficiencies he’d promised on the campaign trail without cutting any jobs. 

Ontario Premier Doug Ford has pointed to last year’s auditor general report as evidence that he could find $6 billion a year in spending efficiencies without cutting any jobs. (Christopher Katsarov/Canadian Press)

Lysyk has already published a list of the 15 audits she will release on Wednesday. 

Metrolinx, the provincial agency that runs GO Transit and oversees major transit construction projects in the Greater Toronto Area, goes under the auditor’s microscope twice.

Lysyk will report on Metrolinx’s controversial plans to build two new GO stations: one in Vaughan (at Kirby) and another in Scarborough (at Lawrence East). The planned Kirby stop is in the riding previously represented by former Liberal transportation minister Steven Del Duca. The Lawrence East stop is to be part of Mayor John Tory’s SmartTrack plan.

The auditor is also probing how Metrolinx is managing the $5.3 billion Eglinton Crosstown project and other unspecified light-rail transit (LRT) lines. 

The « use of consultants and senior advisers » by the provincial government gets its own chapter in the auditor’s report. Lysyk is assessing whether ministries are ensuring « efficient service delivery » by these external contractors.  

‘Any time the auditor general does the value for money audits, you want to look where government can do things better,’ said Peter Bethlenfalvy, president of the Ontario Treasury Board, in an interview Tuesday. (CBC)

With health care accounting for more than 40 per cent of the provincial budget, health care programs always catch the auditor’s eye. This year, she is examining the timeliness of MRI and CT scans in hospitals, OHIP’s spending on out-of-province and out-of-country medical treatment, and the Health Ministry’s program to help people with disabilities purchase devices like wheelchairs and hearing aids. 

Other programs to be audited include: 

  • Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP), including whether student loans are collected promptly when due.
  • Waterfront Toronto, including its management of more than $1.5 billion in revitalization funding.
  • Legal Aid Ontario and the cost effectiveness of its delivery of legal services.
  • The Technical Standards and Safety Authority, the agency that inspects such public-safety concerns as propane storage and elevators.
  • Ontario Works, the social assistance benefit provided to about 450,000 people every month.

The auditor also examines government spending on advertising, and whether the party in power is using it for partisan purposes. Under former premier Kathleen Wynne, the Liberals weakened the auditor’s authority over ads, allowing the government to spend public money on ads that simply toot its own horn. It’s a move the Liberals may come to regret, now that the PCs are in government and in control of the province’s multi-million-dollar advertising budget.

The Ford government has already embraced Lysyk’s pre-election critique that the Wynne Liberals were low-balling the provincial deficit. Using the auditor’s accounting, the PCs say this year’s deficit is actually $14.5 billion, far more than the $6.7 billion the Liberals projected last March.

A significant portion of the deficit difference comes from the Liberals’ Fair Hydro Plan, which the PCs have adopted but are accounting for on the government’s books instead of on Ontario Power Generation’s.  


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Basically Gift Guide 2018: The Cheap, Chic Glassware You Need for Your Next Party


I’ve flown first class exactly one time. (Don’t look at me like that, it was a free upgrade!) And while getting to board first and all that extra legroom certainly didn’t suck, those luxuries paled in comparison to one small, simple gesture: When I ordered a gin and tonic, it was served to me in a real glass. An actual glass! Made of glass! I was sipping an alcoholic beverage from a clear vessel made out of melted sand at 30,000 feet. I felt like A Million Dollars.

And you know who else will feel like A Million Dollars? All of your friends when you invite them over to your house for a party and have real glasses for them to pour their beverages into instead of a stack of disposable plastic cups. And no, I’m not talking about the random assortment of branded pint glasses you stole from bars in college—nice glasses, ones that match and feel good to hold in your hand and aren’t too big or too small. It’s classy! It’s grown-up! It’s better for the environment! And before you groan about being asked to buy more stuff, just relax: The glasses you’re looking for are affordable enough to buy in quantity, durable enough to survive a party, and low-profile, meaning they’re easy to stash on a high shelf until you need them again. Where can you find glasses that fit this description? Well, right here, of course! Here are six options you should buy right now.

Basically GiftGuide Picardie Clear Tumbler

Chelsie Craig

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: When it comes to durable, stackable, iconic glassware, Duralex is the reigning champ. These simple cafe glasses will never go out of style, and we’d love to see even your clumsiest friend try to break one.

Basically GiftGuide BormioliRoccoBodega Glassware

Chelsie Craig

Sleek, stackable, and easy to love, the Bormioli Rocco Bodgea Modern Red Wine Glasses from West Elm feel about 100 percent fancier than any two-buck-a-pop glass should. Bonus: They’re low-profile enough that they can do double duty as bowls for olives or ramekins for individual puddings.

Basically GiftGuide IKEA Godis Glassware

Chelsie Craig

Sturdy, no-nonsense, restaurant supply store-chic. We’re big fans of red wine that tastes like juice, so what better vessel to drink it out of than a sturdy little diner-style juice glass?

Basically GiftGuide UnieTumblers

Chelsie Craig

Like the Libbey juice glasses above, but fashion. A bit taller, a bit more sophisticated, these are the glasses your cool aunt who sometimes bums you cigarettes after Thanksgiving dinner has in her loft.

Basically GiftGuide HeavyBaseJuiceGlass

Chelsie Craig

The. Price. Is. Right. Daaaaamn, IKEA! Back at it again with the inexplicably-cheap version of the thing you can get for more-expensive elsewhere! These Chunky Bois may not have the same soigné as some of the above options, but if you need a lot of glasses, well, you know what to do.

Basically GiftGuide Target Stackable Short Tumbler

Chelsie Craig

At nearly 13-ounces, these simple stackable tumblers from Tar-Jay are bit bigger than the other options on this list—great if you’re pouring more on-the-rocks cocktails and craft beer than wine.

And once you’ve got enough glasses, you’re ready to upgrade your dinner party table…


All products featured on are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.


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Trudeau criticized for tweet to Trevor Noah pledging $50M charity gift


Canada will contribute $50 million to a global charity for children’s education, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tweeted to comedian Trevor Noah, a pledge that quickly drew criticism both for its content and its form.

Celebrities gathered in Johannesburg on Sunday for the Global Citizen Festival: Mandela 100, a charity concert honouring Nelson Mandela a century after he was born.

Trudeau tweeted to Noah, who is hosting the festival, that Canada would give the money to Education Cannot Wait, an organization that funds education for children affected by conflicts, natural disasters and other crises.

Global Citizen is an organization that wants to end extreme poverty by 2030. Its Mandela 100 campaign sought to bring in $1 billion US in donations, and Global Citizen tweeted that the campaign surpassed that goal, bringing in over $7 billion.

« Hey @Trevornoah – thanks for everything you’re doing to celebrate Nelson Mandela’s legacy at the @GlblCtzn festival. Sorry I can’t be with you – but how about Canada pledges $50M to @EduCannotWait to support education for women & girls around the world? Work for you? Let’s do it, » Trudeau tweeted to the South African comedian and The Daily Show host.

Noah said « This is amazing! » as Trudeau’s tweet was shown on a big screen at the concert.

But back in Canada, critics were less enthusiastic. Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer accused Trudeau of pledging $50 million in a tweet to impress a TV personality.

« Taxpayers need a defender not somebody who throws their money around to be popular with celebrities, » Scheer tweeted.

‘Tone deaf’ tweet says Rempel

Similarly, Conservative MP Michelle Rempel tweeted that Trudeau’s message was « tone deaf » and also accused him of trying to get noticed by a TV star, and said the money had not been budgeted for.

Louis Belanger, director of communications for Canadian International Development Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau, said the $50 million is part of $400 million in aid previously announced during the G7 Summit in Charlevoix near Quebec City, in June.

Belanger said Education Cannot Wait is one of the only funds that specifically helps girls’ education in places such as refugee camps and war zones.

« This is the type of funding that we had our eye on since we announced it in Quebec City, » he said.

Belanger said the decision to announce the $50 million was made three weeks ago, but officials had been talking about giving to Education Cannot Wait for months.

He said the organization operates in Jordan, Lebanon and South Sudan, and in camps where people have been displaced by the west African terrorist group Boko Haram, for example.

« We think it’s important for girls to continue their education and that’s why we’re moving forward, » he said.

Trudeau’s principal secretary, Gerald Butts, took to Twitter to defend the move.

« This money is going to educate women and girls in the developing world, in commemoration of Nelson Mandela’s 100th birthday, » he tweeted, adding, « And the Leader of the Conservative Party of Canada’s reaction… » and included a link to Scheer’s tweet.

Toronto-based lawyer and former Liberal staffer Warren Kinsella tweeted that Education Cannot Wait is a worthy cause, but called Trudeau’s tweet an « appalling » way for the decision to be communicated, « to a American-based TV host, no less. »


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7 Luxurious Products That Give the Gift of Self-Care | Healthyish


The holidays can feel like that person you meet on Tinder who whips you into a frenzy of parties and dinners, then drops you at the end of the month like last year’s news. To prepare for the inevitable split, you need to take good care of yourself and your crew. These gifts are great receive, but they’re even better on January 1st when you wake up to three more months of winter and a desperate need for some self-care.

All products featured on Healthyish are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.


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Basically Gift Guide 2018: The (Affordable!) Platters, Bowls, and Utensils You Need to Host a Proper Dinner Party


You’re past paper plates and plastic forks. By this point you’ve been cooking (and eating) long enough to know that the platters, bowls, and utensils used to serve a meal are (almost) as important as the food itself—and even more so when you’re having people over. The real-real? You need to invest in some gear if you want to up your dinner party game.

But you don’t need to have a ton of stuff! Or even expensive stuff! You can get by with a pretty lean list of dinner party essentials. Oh, you’re curious as to what might be on that list? Yeah, we’ll share. Here’s everything you need to throw the raddest dinner party your friends have ever been to:

Basically GiftGuide SaladBowl

Chelsie Craig

A Salad Bowl

Yeah, you know about vegetables. Your friends know about vegetables. So you’re definitely going to serve a salad at your dinner party. Salads are easy! And a great way to get some brightness and color on the table. The salad bowl you’re serving out of should be big. You want enough room to dress the salad in the bowl before you serve it. We like a wooden bowl with a finish, which protects that beautiful wood grain from your acidic (but delicious) dressing.

Buy It Here: Providence Wooden Salad Bowl, $49 from Williams Sonoma.

Basically GiftGuide Platter

Chelsie Craig

A Platter

Whether you spent twenty minutes or three hours on your main course, you want it to look good. Which means you want it on a platter. The world is full of platters, but we gravitate towards a simple white platter with enough of a lipped edge to contain the tasty sauces hanging out under whatever you’re serving for dinner.

Buy It Here: Black Clay Round Platter, $18 from CB2.

Basically Gift Guide PastaBowl

Chelsie Craig

A Deep Shallow Pasta Bowl

And for the stuff that a platter can’t handle, there’s the serving bowl. We’re mostly talking about pasta here. People love pasta. And we like pleasing people, so you’ll catch us serving pasta at a dinner party pretty frequently, especially something with a simple sauce that comes together quickly.

Buy It Here: White Serving Bowl, $14 from CB2.

Basically GiftGuide Serving Spoons

Chelsie Craig

Serving Spoons

Serving spoons separate the children from the adults. Sure, you could just use the fork that was placed at your seat, but having a spoon that’s big enough to serve chicken thighs and scoop up the juices below will make everyone significantly happier. Plus, your friend is getting over a cold, so let’s keep our germs to ourselves, shall we?

Buy It Here: Stainless Steel 3pc. Serving Set, $8 from Target.

Basically GiftGuide salad tongs

Salad Tongs

Remember when you put that big wooden bowl of salad on the table? Yeah, you need some serving utensils for that nutritious masterpiece, and a normal-sized fork and spoon from the depths of your cutlery drawer won’t do. Grab a pair of salad tongs to pick up those leafy greens.

Buy It Here: Olivewood 2-Piece Salad Serving Set, $24 from Crate and Barrel.

Basically GiftGuide DipBowl

Dip Bowls (parm, pesto, dips, etc.)

If you’re not dipping something into something else, you’re probably not at a dinner party. Dip bowls hold the dinner party snack hour essential: Dips. Duh. But they’re also good for accompanying sauces and toppings like pesto, chile oil, or grated Parmesan cheese.

Buy It Here: 4 Open Kitchen Dip Bowls, $12 from Williams Sonoma.

Basically GiftGuide Candle Holder

Candle Holders

Candle holders should really be called vibe holders. That’s what they do. They hold the vibes, especially when dinner is coming to a close and the after-dinner drinks are being poured. Whether you’re going for a short tea or votive candle or a tall tapered candle, having a set of matching holders makes the vibes glow even stronger.

Buy It Here: Bronn Taper Candle Holder, $6 from CB2.

Basically GiftGuide Ice Bucket

Ice Bucket

Room temperature beverages are tough to sell. Cold ones? Those fly off the shelves, which is why you need an ice bucket. Whether you’re working with a 30-rack of Budweiser or some naturally sparkling wine (or both!), you want a tub with some serious volume. And please, don’t empty all the ice in and then add the drinks. Fill the tub with drinks, give them space to breathe, and then empty the ice on top, so it fills in all the cracks.

Buy It Here: Hammered Metal Beverage Tub, $24 from Target.

Basically GiftGuide WaterPitcher

Chelsie Craig

Water Pitcher

Hydration is key. For health. For life in general. But also for dinner parties. You don’t want people running to the kitchen every time they’re feeling thirsty. Keeping a pitcher of water on the table for easy access is the professional move. A simple glass pitcher is best. If anyone needs ice, they know where the ice bucket is.

Buy It Here: Trap Water Pitcher, $14 from CB2.

Basically GiftGuide Zeppoli Kitchen Towel

Chelsie Craig

Cloth Napkins/Dish Towels

You don’t have to spring for the ultra-fancy, hand-dyed linen napkins, but you definitely shouldn’t be putting a paper towel next to the plates on your table. Cloth napkins that can double as dish towels? Yeah, that sounds about our speed. Picking up a bunch of multipurpose pieces of cloth on the cheap makes dinner more impressive and cleaning up a hell of a lot easier.

Buy It Here: 30 White Kitchen Towels, $28 from Amazon.

Want more kitchen upgrades? These cost less than 25 bucks:


All products featured on are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.


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