As a natural born reader and writer, I’ve kept a diary/journal for as long as I can remember. There’s something about writing things down that I find comforting. I also keep a hostess diary. I got it years ago, but Chronicle Books still makes it! This little book is awesome and even if you don’t get this specific one, if you entertain a lot, I highly recommend keeping a hostess diary.
In mine I record everything from the guest list to the menu to highlights from the party. When I go to plan any fiesta, the first thing I do is sit down with the hostess diary. If it’s an annual event, like my upcoming half birthday, I start by looking at what I did in previous years.
According to the diary, in 2008 I hosted a happy hour at one of my favorite bars, Rye, and in 2010, I threw a half birthday housewarming party in my (then) new apartment. If I had not written down the menu, I would have forgotten that this celebration’s cuisine was inspired by a recent trip to Costa Rica. I served black bean dip, swiss chard empanadas, spicy shrimp, and mini carnita tacos. No matter how small the event, I never leave a party out of the diary. Even if it’s totally trivial: I hosted a viewing for Bentley’s return on the Bachelorette and I made these s’more ice cream sandwiches for dessert.
It’s also important to note what works and what doesn’t really work. For example, I know that the salsa borracha recipe I made for the aforementioned housewarming was not a hit. I had so much leftover I didn’t know what to do with it and I’ve never made it again. The best thing about the journal is that years from now, I’ll be able to flip threw it and remember the amazing parties I hosted. That in itself is worth taking the time to write down all the little details.