Photo credit: Heroic Photography
I’m Katie Nordine. I love parties.
I was born in Chicago a few weeks after Lennon was shot and a few weeks before Reagan was inaugurated. I’m not sure why that matters, but on Christmas Day of 1980 I came in to this world, ironically given my chosen profession, meaning that my parents had to miss the family Christmas party.
I come from a long line of small business owners, artists, and artisans. I have worked in various fields (advertising, alumni relations, and entertainment, to name a few) for a long time. While I love to work and learned a ton from my experiences in the 9-5 world, as the birth of my second child loomed, I decided it was time to branch out on my own and work for myself. You know, take the genetically bestowed metaphorical entrepreneurial bull by the horns. Thus, Nordine Events was born. I offer creative ideas and solutions to help people make their event as special and magical as they can imagine. Events are work, but they are also great fun. They provide an outlet for boundless creativity within the constructs of something utterly recognizable: a party. You can craft a menu, invitations, decorations, map out the flow of the day or evening. There are countless ways to create an event. These variables create a puzzle to be solved. I am the Indiana Jones or Robert Langdon ready to put together the pieces to your party puzzle. Okay, so it might not be that dramatic, but I sure enjoy doing it.
I also studied ethics in college at Wesleyan University, so if there are ways to complete the needed tasks for an event that can also do good in the world, I am the first to try to find these opportunities. For example, one of the caterers I use creates delicious menus and also runs a program that provides job skills to folks who have fallen on hard times. I think that it is possible to have your cake (a delightful event where the food is exquisite) and eat it too (while supporting a worthwhile cause).
I am kind of a recycling and conservation nut because of my mom. So if there is a way to reuse something that would otherwise be refuse in a creative and decoratively pleasing way, I will find it. I will share some of my ideas for using recycled materials to create whimsical presentations in later posts.
I recall when I was a three year old and my parents threw a sparkling, chic, special party at our house in Uptown–on the occasion of my mother’s 30th birthday. I remember, after being put to bed, still hearing the revelers below in the house. I sneaked out of bed and peered through the cracks between the banisters to watch the grown-ups have their fun. It being the mid-1980s, there were sequins, cocktails, music, dancing, and laughter. I loved watching the people laugh and talk to each other as they enjoyed each other’s company. The live music in the background over the din of conversation seemed to influence the movements of the group as a whole. It was magical. I recognized my parents’ friends, but they were different, changed in their party finery. That was the night I fell in love with parties.
Having a Christmas birthday means you don’t get a lot of birthday parties, which is actually fine by me. While I know many people adore being the center of attention at birthday parties, showers, or weddings, that’s not my style. In my own life, I prefer to host parties that exist for the joy of the party. Connecting with friends and family and enjoying delicious treats are the best reason to throw a good party. That said there are certain occasions in life that warrant having a shindig. While I am not sure I understand the impetus for having a dog birthday party, power to the people that want to throw one. At least the guests will get to accomplish the most important goals of any get-together: connecting, eating, and drinking.
I have always adored the art of presentation. One aspect of any good event is the ambiance or tone the host is trying to create. Achieving this thematic feeling is all about how you decorate, create the menu, craft drink choices, choose tableware, etc. I have always loved making things look camera-ready. My mother, Marcia Bernsten, owned Saturday’s Child, a toy store in Chicago that she opened when I was ten months old and closed when I was 23. At the store I got to play with making displays for the windows and around the shop. It was great fun, which is good considering how many afternoons I spent there after school. Later in life, I transferred these skills to event planning. After all, parties are all about presentation. You present the foods, the wine, the home or venue, the people, the gifts, and at some parties, the fundraising literature.
My sister was a born chef. She works in the bustling Chicago culinary scene, as general manager of Over Easy Café, where she creates menu items and runs the front of house. She also owns Hoppin’ Hots, the Hot Dog Hut where traditional and modern takes on a dressed-up sausage–a meal not to be missed. Since this was clear at an early age, I was relegated to setting the table. I can set a mean table. In hindsight, I’m thrilled it worked out this way as I gained a passion for cooking in college and these days I am no slouch in the kitchen myself. As an adult, I have honed these paired skills and neurotically hope to make any party I host seem like there is a chance that Martha Stewart might just swing by with a camera crew ready to do a spread on my soirée.
It is my opinion that good food speaks for itself, but not just in how it tastes or smells. Truly great food looks good, too. I registered for white dinnerware for our wedding because I always want the food to be what people focus on rather than the china. Food is colorful, and having white plates allows the true colors to jump out at the observer, making something that tastes and smells good also have a truly pleasing visual aesthetic. It is an added bonus. Unless someone is tied to a color scheme that cannot be changed (or is serving ugly food) I would always counsel clients to go with white serving ware. I know some will disagree, but that’s my two cents. Glassware is a totally different story. I find that there can be fun and whimsy when thinking through glassware. In later posts I will explain some of these ideas more fully. Stay tuned!
In this blog you will find out more about me and my Nordine Events family. I hope you find my thoughts informative–and a little humorous. My ideas range from traditional to wacky–to suit the occasion and the hosts. I hope that I can offer you an idea that will act as a catalyst for your own ideas to add something special to your next party.
If you ever want more specific suggestions for party planning, please contact us at Nordine Events and we would love to help you make your party as special as you see it in your mind’s eye. I live in Evanston, just north of Chicago, with my husband, Dave, two children, Nils and Vallely, my mom, Marcia, and her husband, Andrew. While Nordine Events is primarily me, I draw upon the talents of those close to me to ensure that my clients are given the most incredible service imaginable.
I hope you come back to read my thoughts on entertaining. Have a lovely day!