Jennifer Rubell owns several boutique hotels which she oversees like an eagle-eyed mother hen, making sure every detail is taken care of and that her guests are treated like family. She leads what she describes as a fast-paced, whirlwind life, but still loves to entertain at home. To carry that off and keep her sanity, Jennifer threw out the old rules, realizing that none of us have the time, staff or inclination to follow them and made get-togethers with friends unpretentious and comfortable, an extension of our modern, more casual lifestyle. If you'd like to do the same (and who wouldn't), check out Real Life Entertaining: Easy Recipes and Unconventional Wisdom, due out next month. You can use paper napkins and mismatched plates, serve all the components (salads, mains, etc.) at once, serve from the cooking pan and call friends at the last minute in other words, relax, improvise, have fun. You'll find great ideas, menus and recipes here for drop-in dinners, sit-down dinners without starched tablecloths, silver and crystal, dinners for a crowd, brunch, lunch and no-effort desserts. Get with the program and get real!

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