Book Review: Extreme Entertaining Made Simple by Eduardo Xol

This article first appeared on KeepingtheCastle.com.

extreme-entertaining-eduardo-xol4_thumbA new book by Eduardo Xol, one of the designers on ABC’s Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, will be out next week. Ahead of the release, I received a copy of Extreme Entertaining Made Simple to look over and review for Keeping the Castle.

In Extreme Entertaining Made Simple, Eduardo shares his philosophy of using the five senses to create and celebrate a memorable occasion. The taste, sound, feel, smell and look of an event are given equal attention according to its chosen theme. A sixth sense, intuition, is also given its due in the book.

The parties in our large extended family usually happens somewhere other than in my home. But I’m eager to learn how to put together a well-planned gathering, for the next time that the party does happen in my house. Eduardo’s new book offers ideas that I’ve never considered before, and which I’m excited to try out. His approach of catering to the senses is new to me, yet it makes a lot of sense.

Eduardo starts by discussing the five six senses and how they should be considered in design and entertaining. The rest of the book is taken up by sections focused on six events:

  • classic dinner party
  • princess party
  • spa party
  • white party
  • margarita party
  • beach party

For each party, Eduardo goes through all the steps to put it together. His narratives are accompanied by beautiful colored photos, specific instructions (eg., napkin folding), gift and centerpiece suggestions, and easy recipes. There is also a CD included, with music that’s appropriate for the parties above. As I was reading through the book, I felt that I was being walked through the entire planning process for each party.

I did get the sense that the parties that Eduardo designed for this book are extreme, just as the title says. They’re not your everyday dinner parties (the spa party had a sofa topped with real grass!). But these ideas are not just for expensive gatherings. Eduardo also gives alternatives to keep costs down and allow for variations to the themes. The key is to lift inspirations, scale them down (or up!) as needed, and involve all the senses in the celebration.

Extreme Entertaining Made Simple is an exciting, do-it-yourself resource for party planning. Though you can certainly go the whole distance and copy one or two (or all) of the parties here, the value in this book is in the approach it takes in preparing for a gathering. The possibilities are endless; just apply the principles here and you’re on your way to a very special party. And if you’re not someone who usually hosts gatherings, the book makes an excellent gift for the event planner in your family.

image from Amazon; affiliate links