Thank you JaM Cellars for sponsoring this post. Want to buy JaM Cabernet? Find a store near you with the JaM Cellars WineFinder!

Summer is sadly coming to an end so I  wanted to invite a few friends over. I recently moved into a new condo which is a still a bit of a work in progress {renovations are the worst!} and I wanted to show my friends the progress.

With the help of JaM Cellars Wines I was able to create an effortless get together filled with friends and fun appetizers to share. JaM Cellars makes three easy-to-love, everyday California wines: Butter Chardonnay, JaM Cabernet, and Toast Sparkling. All the wines are made in the tradition of great California winemaking- rich, bold, and luscious. My friends tried out their JaM Cabernet and said it was delicious. Don’t worry, I didn’t try any because I’m pregnant of course 😉 .

To pair with the wine I created a variety of crostinis {inspired from one of my favorite restaurants Fig & Olive}, a pesto pasta salad, and some coconut macaroons. The whole theme of the party was to be easy, fun, and low-key which went well with the wine choice. I was able to make everything ahead of time so I could just catch up with my friends.

Entertaining doesn’t have to be stressful. There are simple ways to make it both fun and easy:

Whenever I am hosting, I like to make recipes that you can put together ahead of time. That way I can focus more on my guests and less on the kitchen.

If you are having a small gathering, it is best to serve one type of cocktail that you all can share. Wine is always a great choice and you can’t go wrong with JaM Cellars.

When creating the menu, I am all about recipes that are easy to make and sharable. For this party I was thinking mostly finger foods {like the assorted crostinis and coconut macaroons}. I also added an effortless pesto pasta salad that could be made ahead of time and kept in the refrigerator until needed.

I like to keep my parties intimate. I think the smaller the guest list, the easier to manage. Also it is a lot better when it comes to the clean up because less dishes are always a plus!

If everything doesn’t go according to plan, no worries. These are your friends and I’m sure they don’t care.  Just relax and have fun!

Take a peek at our party and find all the recipes below…
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Pesto Pasta Salad

  • 1 package of rotini pasta
  • 1 package of cherry tomatoes
  • 1 package of fresh mozzarella balls
  • 2 handfuls of fresh arugula
  • 5oz. of pesto
  1. Boil the pasta according to the package.
  2. Drain the pasta and mix in the pesto. Place in a bowl and refrigerate for a half hour.
  3. Chop the both the tomatoes and mozzarella balls in half.
  4. Remove the pasta from the refrigerator and mix in the tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, and fresh arugula.
  5. Refrigerate until serving.

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Assorted Crostini

  • 1 French baguette
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 handful of arugula
  • 2 slices of prosciutto
  • parmesan cheese
  • orange marmelade
  • brie cheese
  • caramelized onions
  • goat cheese
  • chives
  • pesto
  • cherry tomatoes
  • mozzarella
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Slice the french bread on an angle into thin slices and arrange on a sheet pan. Bake for 10-15 minutes.
  3. Assemble each crostini accordingly:
  4. Avocado Prosciutto: smashed avocado, arugula, prosciutto, parmesan cheese
  5. Brie and Marmelade: sliced brie cheese, orange marmalade
  6. Caramelized Onion with Goat Cheese: goat cheese, caramelized onions, chives
  7. Pesto Tomato: pesto, sliced cherry tomato, mozzarella cheese

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Easy Coconut Macaroons

  • 3 large egg whites
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 14 -ounce package sweetened shredded coconut
  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Whisk the egg whites, sugar, salt and vanilla in a large bowl until combined. Then fold in the coconut.
  3. Scoop heaping tablespoonfuls of the coconut mixture about 1 inch apart onto the baking sheet {GCG TIP: use your fingers to form into pyramids}.
  4. Bake until golden brown around the edges, 20 to 25 minutes.
  5. Let cool 10 minutes on the baking sheet, then transfer to a rack to cool completely.

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Make sure to check out JaM Cellars Wines and click here for more entertaining ideas and to download a summer playlist.

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

  • Biana Perez

    Your #1 tip is so impt – prepping as much before as possible is the best thing to do! xo, Biana – BlovedBoston

  • Give me pasta salad and you have a happy girl! I am obsessed with this recipe I must try! ASAP! And may I say tip #1 is so important!

  • Some great tips here! Agreed to prep ahead of time, I’m currently planning my wedding and with only 14 weeks to go I know how important it is lol.

    Good to have one cocktail only, I did this at a house party we had a few year ago.

    The food here looks really tasty!

    Laura xo

  • Those crostinis look DELISH! And I love the advice of prepping ahead of time, and only serving one beverage. Makes everything so much easier and enjoyable! <3
    Green Fashionista

  • Shauna C

    I’m with you on the 1 cocktail tip. Makes it so much easier!



  • I am definitely saving this for the weekend, it looks so good and now I am so hungry!!

    My Vogue Style | http://www.myvoguestyle.com

  • This post couldn’t have come at a more perfect time! We just moved into our new place and are planning on having a little gathering to celebrate, combined with celebrating my hubby’s birthday next weekend and I’ve never entertained before! Our old apartment was SO small for it, so now that we have a larger space, it’s something we’re looking forward to, but I’ve been a bit stressed thinking of how to do it exactly. This post gave me some really great tips, very helpful! Thanks so much, beauty, and I hope you have a great week ahead!



  • Having a small appartment forces me to keep the guest list small, which is better and more intimate! I really love how you laid all the crostini, they look so delish!

    Have a great week !


    Tamara – LoveofMode.com

  • All such good tips! The times I have kept it small, decided on dishes I could make in advance, and let go of being a perfectionist are definitely when I enjoy hosting the most.

    Amy Ann
    Straight A Style

  • Number five is so hard! Haha. I always try to do a ton of prep before guests arrive. It saves so much time and stress. Great tips lady!

    -Emily http://www.coatandcoffee.com

  • These are great tips and I’m loving the food you chose. Looks so good!
    Jeans and a Teacup

  • Great tips and thanks for the recipes! =)

    – Cielo
    Mermaid in Heels

  • These are such great time Samantha, I’ll take any advice for easy entertaining that I can get! Those crostinis look SO delicious, yum!

  • Such a lovely post!! All of these things look so yummy and amazing! I love all your tips and your photography is stunning!! <3

    Amelia | Amelia Grace

  • Wonderful tips lovely!! I love your photos! You’ve made me hungry now haha! That pesto pasta looks so delicious, definitely going to make it myself! Xx


  • I love the no-fuss approach to entertaining–esp the one cocktail. Great tips!

  • Great ideas Sam, I love the effortless and carefree approach! and really great easy recipes, I’ll have to give them a try!

    xo, Sarah

  • Great suggestions, and the food looks amazing! I love entertaining, but it can get so stressful! I am so saved by preparing things ahead of time, and not stressing over the small stuff! It can drive you crazy trying to be perfect!

    xoxo http://www.touchofcurl.com