How to Socialize your Summer with the Help of your Friends

(ARA) – Summer is in full swing and so is the busiest social season of the year. Longer days mean more time for family, friends and fun in the sun.

Whether you have a packed social calendar complete with weddings, birthday parties and family reunions, or you just spontaneously decided to throw a backyard barbecue on Friday night, your network of friends will likely play a big role in your plans. Lifestyle expert Lisa Gurry offers these tips with the help of on how to socialize your summer, so whether you’re planning, hosting or simply attending an event, you won’t have to go it alone.

Hectic-free hosting: Let’s face it – planning and hosting an event can be stressful. But no one expects you to be Martha Stewart, so embrace the craziness of entertaining and enlist help from your friends. Your guests will feel more comfortable if they get to be a part of the preparation. Consider these tips for hectic-free hosting, and allow the stress to turn into laughter so you can enjoy the party too.

*Do your homework. Line up the menu early so you have time to do your grocery shopping, baking and set-up prior to the day of the party. The last thing you need is a tray of burnt cookies one hour before guests arrive.

*Pot-luck parties are a great way to divvy up preparation and shorten the length of your to-do list. The vibe will feel more casual and guests will get to enjoy a unique variety of dishes on the table.

*Set the mood with some easy decorations and a killer playlist, and get input from your Facebook friends with Bing’s shared shopping lists. They can help you choose between inflatable palm trees and mini tiki torches, and Carry Underwood or Dave Matthews Band. Everyone wins.

Show up in style: A guest’s job is typically to make themselves comfortable and have a great time. But there are some unspoken rules to keep in mind to be a gracious guest at this summer’s hottest parties.

*Don’t show up empty-handed or without a smile. Whether you’re bringing a dish to contribute to the barbecue, a gift for the birthday boy or a small token of appreciation for the host, bring something. Personalize your present at where you can see what the recipient “likes” best on Facebook, guaranteeing that you’ll impress with your gift selection. You’ll feel so confident with your perfectly wrapped choice; you won’t even need to include a gift receipt. Most importantly, remember that you are at a party – enjoy yourself and let it show.

*Planning to attend with a plus-one? Always be sure to give the host a heads-up. Unexpected party guests can cause awkward conversations and unnecessary stress for the party planner.

Get out of town: Sometimes the best summer events are nowhere near your home town, and weekend getaways are what summer is all about. The days are longer, the temperature is warmer and it’s not unheard of to sneak away from your desk a little early on a Friday afternoon. Now’s the time to embrace your summer travel wishes, so consider these tips to get out of town before summer’s end.

*Pack light. Chances are, wherever you’re headed, it’s going to be warm. Plan to live in your swimsuit, some jean shorts and a few stylish tank tops. The last thing you need to worry about while vacationing at the beach is how you’re going to lug a giant suitcase up three flights of stairs. All you need to have fun is good company and good weather, so leave the closet at home.

*If steep prices have been keeping you on travel lockdown, break free. Opt for a road trip if your destination is close enough. It’ll save you money and provide a great opportunity to belt out your favorite tunes on the road with your closest friends. If driving is not an option, search for flights on Bing and “like” your desired route to receive notifications of great airfare deals to that city directly in your Facebook feed. What’s more, you can find a free place to stay with the Friends Who Live Here feature – Bing will show you which of your friends live in the cities you’re traveling to so you can save your hotel money and catch up with old friends.

*Once you’ve arrived, unplug from status updates, Tweets and text messages. Be present and enjoy the time spent away from real-time updates. Put down the phone and relax – you’re on summer vacation.

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