About Sandy

Welcome to my home and table, and to my “About Sandy” page from Reluctant Entertainer Blog! I’m Sandy—lover of food, family, cooking, charcuterie and cheese boards, travel, simple hospitality, and bringing people together.

Feasting on Life begins the moment we open our door (and hearts).

Through great recipes (and charcuterie boards) and connection around the table, we become better, stronger, and more courageous people.

Feasting on Life is real, and every time we do it, we grow a little more.

Food is love, but the actual act of serving and making others feel warm and welcome, wherever you are, is what I love.

Here on RE, our home together, I’ll show you how. Trust me, it’s easier than you think.

Sandy Coughlin Reluctant Entertainer Family

(My family–September 2017)

Growing up.

As a little girl, I watched my mom and her sisters entertain. Their main mission was to get a beautiful spread on the table for their guests, so everyone could linger around the table for hours, eventually with a cup of coffee in one hand and a dessert fork in the other. A dinner party lasted for hours. But wait, there’s more. They really cared about the people around the table more than themselves. I watched and I learned, and later in life I started the process myself, of practicing hospitality and entertaining in my own home.

Sandy Coughlin Reluctant Entertainer

My family and life now.

Now, my kids, ages 25, 23, and 21, know how to put on a party and make good food, as well. Because they learned from us.

See how the cycle of hosting others can change our lives? I’m here at RE to show you how. It’s all about the people, new friends and old!

These days my husband and I are empty-nesters … sort of. Our kids are coming and going, depending on their endeavors with school and careers. When everyone is home, our house is full of laughter and love, a lot of music (guitar, piano, violin), and plenty of good food being dished up! There’s way more harmony in the home now that the kids are grown and in their 20’s. (Parent is hard work!)

I started Reluctant Entertainer back in 2006 to document my life in my kitchen, hosting and providing inspiration to “reluctant entertainers.” I felt that connection and community and sharing food together were missing from so many people’s lives, and I wanted to share easy tips and recipes to help inspire and show the long-term benefits of hospitality. (Above, Alder the Whoodle.)

But my life is about more than recipes and entertaining, which is why I also share about my family, travels, and the outdoors. I’m a wife, mother, sister, daughter, friend, blogger; I also volunteer many hours to my husband’s non-profit, The Protectors.org, a freedom from bullying organization.

Feast on life.

My tagline is “feast on life.” Bringing people together around food is what makes me happy! My mom definitely taught me how to burn the entertaining candles, and not just save them in the drawer for special occasions. I hope that my children have learned this from me as well.

This year let's burn the candles. What are we saving them for? Who are we saving them for? -Shauna Niequist

I’m often asked if we really entertain as much as I write about on the blog. The answer is a BIG YES. We’re always hosting, and we feel very grateful for the large group of friends in our lives!

Our home is a lovely kaleidoscope of people coming and going. Sometimes new friends, sometimes old.

Travel opportunities.

I also love to share my travel adventures. Recently I’ve been to Norway, Denmark, Prague, and Australia! We’re headed soon to Switzerland and France!

Coughlin Family 2015

You can follow me on Instagram @ReluctantEntertainer #ReluctantEntertainerTravels and watch my Instagram stories, here.

If you are new to Reluctant Entertainer, welcome! A good place to start is to sign up for my feed by email, and then get started on some delicious recipes.

Random facts about me.

To get to know me a little bit better, here are some random facts about me (no certain order):

  • I lived in the Rogue Valley (Medford, Oregon) for 53+ years, born in southern California, but this past year and a half, we’ve lived in Bend, Oregon.
  • We bought a fixer upper house, and you can take a peek at it, here.
  • My husband can’t figure out why my parents gave me the middle name, Renee’, because there is nothing French, at all, about our family.
  • I went to a community college, and then ended up working in dialysis for 27 years before my blog career began.
  • I work full time+, at home, as a food writer/blogger, plus volunteer for TheProtectors.org.
  • I’ve traveled outside the USA to Ireland, England, Africa, Canada, Caribbean, Belize, Mexico, Turkey, London, Italy, and Cairo.
  • I never played sports growing up, but I skied and rode bikes every chance that I could.
  • I wore dresses to school, because it was against our religion to wear pants. Which–it’s now okay to wears pants, in that same religion. Go figure …
  • I am not a reluctant entertainer myself. My blog offers help for “reluctant entertainers,” from one who has gotten beyond reluctance, to joy!
  • But I still have a brief sense of panic when I see our guests drive up or hear that knock on the door …..
  • My mom passed away in 1997 from Ovarian cancer. My sisters and I decided that we’d not let anything come between us and remain very close. We truly love each other!
  • My dad remarried right away and we are the luckiest family in the world to have Ginny in our lives.
  • My indulgences are (good-quality) malt balls and coffee.
  • My favorite kitchen tool is my Wusthof knife.
  • I grew up on a farm/ranch and at one time had my own bunny, duck, cow, kitty, and shared the family dogs and horses.
  • I grew up playing the piano and flute (and piccolo), and now my kids are musicians. They play violin, piano, and guitar. Our home is heavenly when they are all 3 in the nest.
  • My friend, Barb, reads and edits my writing before I post on RE. She is a saint, and also one of my best friends (who lives in WI, and who I met online).
  • My favorite scents are sunscreen, Baby Magic, and lemon or Windex. (I love the beach, babies, and a clean house!)
  • My favorite holiday is Christmas. But after a month of celebrations, I’m ready to move on.
  • I met Martha Stewart, in passing, and she wasn’t too interested in my life. (HA HA)
  • I had dinner with Rachael Ray in NYC and she was charming, interesting, we talked about our gardens, and she was interested in my life.
  • I rode horses and spent the weekend with The Pioneer Woman on her ranch. Yes, it’s true.
  • My first blogging friends to meet IRL (in real life) were Melissa, The Nester, and Emily.
  • I try to work out daily, but let’s be real. Your body changes big time at 50+!
  • I use a Nikkon camera and shoot all of my own photography, and many times use my iPhone 10.
  • My dad has remodeled 2 beautiful kitchens for us (we’ve lived 10 years in each home), which we are extremely grateful.
  • My best friend growing up, since 4th grade {Lisa} is still one of my best friends today.
  • I love to travel with my sisters. {There’s nothing quite like a sister.}
  • I cannot get into an unmade bed at night.
  • I used to run the Pear Blossom run every year in our home town (1/2 marathon) in my 20’s.
  • I had 10 roommates before I married Paul. (Betsy, Linda, Carol Ann, Debbie, Simone, Lori, Mary Ann, Jane, Leanne, and Laura – all amazing ladies!)
  • I was a bridesmaid 12 times before I married Paul.
  • I met Paul {the love of my life} at a restaurant in Jacksonville, Oregon. We got married 9 months later, and had our first baby boy one year after we were married! This year (2017) was our 26th wedding anniversary!
  • My favorite authors: Henri Nouwen, Shauna Niequist, Brene’ Brown, Bob Goff. I’m currently reading, Walking on Water by Madelieine L’Engle.
  • I wrote a book back in 2009 called The Reluctant Entertainer, a book on the fundamentals of hospitality.
  • My most prized possession is … not a dish collection, or anything material, but my precious family. I’m so thankful to God for what he’s given to me in life, the freedom to live in America, and that I get to be creative and do what I love for a living and help inspire others.
  • Oh, and we have 2 dogs. Who are also prized possessions. Haggis (14) and Alder (6 months). Haggis is a Cairn Terrier, a cute little brindle pup with marble eyes. Alder is a darling Whoodle who has stolen our hearts. BIG TIME. We love our pets!

I hope that joy and grace spills over to you on the pages here at RE!

Thank you for being here with me today!

Let’s connect!

Friend me on Facebook {Sandy Coughlin} or hit “like” to my RE FB page (thank you very much!)

Find me on Twitter. {@SandyCoughlinRE}

Check out my pins on Pinterest.

Peek inside my life on Instagram  (@ReluctantEntertainer)

I love to get emails. Email me any time with a question or just to say hi! Subscribe to my blog by email, here.

I do not accept article submissions or guests posts on RE! Thanks!

Sandy Coughlin, Reluctant Entertainer

My bio & other stuff.

Sandy Coughlin is a full-time blogger and recipe developer at ReluctantEntertainer.com. She enjoys hosting, traveling, sharing secrets about hospitality, and bringing people together in their mountain home in Bend, Oregon. She’s also a lover of a good charcuterie board!  She’s been married to the love of her life, TheProtectors.org author Paul Coughlin, for 28 years, and has 3 adult children of whom she is very proud. 

Sandy’s been featured here at Social MomsRachael Ray’s magazine, Better Homes & GardenTraditional Home, Great KitchensMSN.com, FoodieCrush MagazineThe Huffington Post, Yahoo, Harry & David, Buzz Feed, The Inspired Room, USA Today, and is a contributor at The Art of Simple, RecipeGirl, Bush’s Beans, The Bean Life, Country Living, Woman’s World, and more!

Sandy’s contributed to the following books: Gift of Friendship, by Dawn Camp, and Where Women Cook: Celebrate!

Reluctant Entertainer is a US registered trademark. Please ask my permission before reposting any of my photographs anywhere. Please do not copy any content or recipes I have posted on this site without permission. Here’s an awesome article about recipe attribution. Thank you!

I do not accept article submissions or guests posts on RE! Thanks!