You're So Invited to Cheryl Najafi's Book-Signings

Eat your perfectly shaped heart out, Martha Stewart. Arizona's own Cheryl Najafi is about to give you a run for your (probably) ironed and flawlessly folded money.

Instead of banking on impeccable everything when it comes to entertaining at home, Najafi relies on enjoying herself and her guests, improvisation, and kooky creativity.

Have some terra cotta pots lying around? Use them for tablescaping. Run out of dishes? Repurpose martini glasses for serving dessert. Essentially: Make what you have into what you need it to be.

Call it flying by the seat of your pantyhose, but for Najafi it's a philosophy. In her book, You're So Invited, she explains her entertaining style and tosses in a ton of Pinterest-worthy party ideas.

Her creativity in entertaining guests stems from a childhood desire to dress up the average meat and potatoes dinner. And when she got older and started entertaining business guests and family, she started to incorporate quirky ideas into her dinners through tablescaping, menus, and party favors.

Regardless of what you have available, you can throw a fabulous party, says Najafi. "I've been to perfect parties that I couldn't wait to leave, and I've been to red cup parties where I wished the night would never end," Najafi says.

She remembers hosting a dinner that her husband asked be entirely straitlaced, decorations-wise, because the guests didn't share Cheryl's sense of humor. So instead of livening up the table, she served them "kid food," like macaroni and cheese and chicken nuggets. "They loved it," she said. "And it completely changed the mood."

"You tell your guests how to behave based on what you put out there," she says. "If your table is formal, that tells them they'll have to be well-behaved. But if you do some unexpected, playful things, then they'll know they can loosen up and have fun."

Today, Najafi will host two book-signings and demonstrate some of her tips from the book. The first event will take place at La Grande Orange at 10 a.m., and the second will be at Scottsdale Quarter's Pottery Barn at 6:30 p.m. Both are free to attend.

For more about Cheryl Najafi, check out her blog CherylStyle.

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Becky Bartkowski is an award-winning journalist and the arts and music editor at New Times, where she writes about art, fashion, and pop culture.
Contact: Becky Bartkowski