I’m Not Going to Lie…I Throw a Killer Party

So I know I promised months ago that I’d tell you about our housewarming party, but then LIFE happened…and the housewarming party came and went…and definitely got put on the back burner. But here it is in all it’s gaming glory.

I wanted to throw a game-themed party. And actually I wanted to get crazy into it with a different game theme in every room and people playing games everywhere. I had HUGE plans. I was going to set up a whole CLUE scenario. I was going to have little Jenga pieces for everyone to put house tips on. I was going to make cute little favors for everyone. But, as many of you already know…shit doesn’t happen the way we plan it. We closed on our house on October 15. We moved on October 25. And we threw the housewarming party on November 15. We’re lucky the house was clean and there was food to eat.

Throw an awesome housewarming party

Part of the quick turnaround was because I NEEDED to have an organized, put-together house in order to survive. I would have gone bonkers if we were living amidst boxes and bags that hadn’t been opened and organized. (There are still a few of those, but not many…and none of mine). Part of the quick turnaround was the timing. If it was around Christmastime, I would have had to have Christmas up and running perfectly…and then we were hosting Christmas dinner and it would have been a disaster of too many parties in quick succession. If it were after Christmastime…well let’s just say we’re still recovering and Christmas is still lingering in unseen areas of our home.

ANYWAYS. So we threw a party. Pretty quickly. And had about 65 people show up throughout the day (while expecting about 35-40!). We opened our house up to guests from noon until whenever (which ended up being around midnight), and ran ourselves ragged with tours and food replenishing and beverage duty. We had some wins and we had some fails, but all in all it was a total success.

While no one really played games, the theme was pretty evident throughout the house.

How to throw a game-themed housewarming party (without killing yourself or your partner)

Decor

Set up an AWESOME food display in an open area, where people can grab food, mill around and start one of the bazillion tours you’re about to give.If you don’t have a lot of decorations elsewhere, that’s okay (YOUR NEW HOUSE is the decoration that everyone’s dying to see). I was a caterer in another life, so the buffet set up can be super baller if you know how to use levels and fluff the hell out of tablecloths or fabric. (I use milk crates and similar containers to create my levels). Because I have so many Scrabble boards and pieces from my wanna-be-a-crafter box (and that one time I made Scrabble Christmas ornaments for everyone), I thought that using them on my buffet would be a hit! I labeled all the food with tiles (and even used the board to get all the ingredients for my Blue Cheese and Date Spread on Endive. I also pulled a few more game boards and pieces for good measure, adding just the right amount of nerdy gameyness.

Setting up buffet tables is one of my special skills. I used to be a catering manager so this sort of thing really tickles my jollies.

Setting up buffet tables is one of my special skills. I used to be a catering manager so this sort of thing really tickles my jollies.

dice and trvial pursuit

Food

Choose food that is SUPER easy to make and replenish. I’m a big fan of Crock Pot apps and snacks, so I went with BBQ weenies and buffalo chicken dip. I actually had another Crock Pot in the kitchen with more buffalo chicken dip for easy replenishment. My mom made several deli platters for sandwiches and it was cold enough that we could keep the reserves outside.Obviously there was a cheese platter. I like to to a lot of fan faves and choose one crazy concoction that I hope works out (that would be the blue cheese and date spread – which worked out). I made ALL of the food the night before, so the day of I could focus on the insanity of hiding all our crap in boxes and corners and shit.

BBQ weenies

Note the chess pieces, trivial pursuit cards and scrabble tiles for a mix of beloved classics

Buffalo Chicken Dip

Gratuitous cheese photo

Gratuitous cheese photo. Please note. I spelled cheese wring and am completely ashamed of myself. But don’t you love the risk board below?

Dessert

I REALLY wanted to make domino brownies. And I REALLY didn’t want to do a lot of baking. So I baked chocolate chip cookie bars and gluten-free brownies (both from mixes, homies) and picked up a giant brownie cake thing from Sam’s Club. I sliced the brownie in Domino-size pieces and dotted them with frosting. And it fucking worked.

Domino Brownies

I seriously thought these were going to be a huge Pinterest fail. And then they turned out alright.

mint chocolate chip cookie barsDrinks

We had wine galore. We had beer. We had the soda stream. We had two Keurigs. And we had some epic fails in forgetting to get bottled water and cans of pop. Not realizing just how many people would come, we thought that we’d be fine with soda stream and filtered water from the fridge… Go buy cans of pop and bottled water. Save yourself. Seriously.

Oh. And get these shots – which were a HUGE hit.

Twisted Shots Twisted ShotsPlaying HostessI discovered Twisted Shots while at BlogHer in San Jose last summer. They actually sent me a lovely little box of these delicious treats for my housewarming party! After 7, I figured it was time to get the party going (and most of the touring had ended), so I brought out the shots. I played server and convinced almost everyone to try a shot or two. With flavors like Sex on the Beach, Buttery Nipple and Porn Star, you know you’ve got a good thing going. Almost everyone was down with these sugary sweet twisted shots full of colorful booze that tasted mostly like candy. Even my whiskey-loving friends found a few shots that were right up their alleys.

Tours

Plan on basically spending the majority of the time touring and put someone else in charge of food and beverages once the party starts. Even if there are two of you, you’ll be switching off with the tours on a pretty serious cadence…and I think there were a few moments when we ran out of food. But I don’t know for sure because I was racing all over and mingling and busy and reveling and all of the things! (Yes, that sentence is supposed to give you anxiety.)

In the end, though, all you really want is for the people you love to come over and eat your food, drink your booze, and tell you that your house is pretty. And that’s what happened. I heard all sorts of positive things in regards to our first event in the new place (and then we hosted Second Thanksgiving…and then we hosted Christmas. So there was that.)

Blog friends, tell me about your party throwing experiences? What have you learned? What have you done well? What would you have done for a game-themed party?

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

7 Easy DIY Halloween Costume Ideas for Women and Couples

Halloween is definitely the holiday of all holidays around here.  My family and friends totally jump into Halloween head first. It’s the fourth family holiday. It’s the ONLY holiday my aunt flies in from out of state to celebrate with us. It’s kind of a big deal around here.

I figured you may be looking for some Halloween costume ideas – I know I still am…so I thought I would help you out and share some of the best costumes my people have put together in years past. You’ve already seen my bouquet toss winner Halloween costume…and my Sally costume…but I’m not the only one with the ideas. Several of my friends have given me permission to share their photos and costume ideas with you, so you can see what excellent company I keep over here in the real world.

Fast(ish), Easy DIY Halloween Costumes

My pal, Brookie Banosnapper showed up at my RIDICULOUSLY EARLY (First week of October early) Halloween party last year in this ensemble. Best. Idea. Ever.

Grumpy Cat Halloween Costume

One of my friends from college, Shelli was unrecognizable by many of her friends when she showed up in this costume! I was a big NCIS fan a few years back (which was when Sheli threw down this costume. I wish I could have seen it in person, but she lives a few (hundred) miles away from me.

DIY ABBY NCIS Costume

Deb, one of my favorite English teachers, rocked it in her garden ho costume. Her English/theater background worked well with this punny costume.

DIY Garden Ho Costume

Valerie showed up to one of our Halloween parties in this creative garb a few years back, before everyone was doing it. She already had dark hair and a good chunk of the wardrobe requirements, so this costume was a breeze for her. No one noticed that she had black chucks on (shhhh).

Flo Progressive Halloween Costume DIY

Dynamic Duos: Couples/Pairs Halloween Costumes

Ron and his best friend decided they would be the ultimate best friends for Halloween. Not that I’m a fan of these two dumb dudes, but I hear they’re pretty popular with the ladies.

Lloyd & Harry Dumb and Dumber Costumes

Our friends Ava and Mike are super awesome, and they came to our Halloween party at the apartment last year as Hawkeye and Hawkeye, which I thought was a totally fantastic couples’ costume. Right?

Hawkeye and Hawkeye
And then there was the costume set that Brian and I opted for last year. Captain Mal and Kaylee from Firefly. It wasn’t my favorite (partially because I ordered the coveralls from eBay and they did not fit the way I wanted them to…)

Captain MaL & Kaylee (3)Friends, what should Brian and I do for Halloween this year? It appears we’re going to be moving right around Halloween, so we’re strapped for time. Any suggestions? What are you going to be for Halloween?

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

Christmas Party Favors for Everyone!

Merry Christmas Eve everyone!

I wanted to stop in before my annual Polish Christmas Eve festivities begin and give you one of my favorite new traditions…that I just started THIS year.

Every year for as long as I can remember, I’ve hosted holiday parties. I had to sucker my mom into letting me do it for many of those years, so when Brian and I moved into our little apartment of joy last November, I consider that the first official party.

This year, I wanted to offer my guests party favors, as many people come carting home baked cookies and bottles of wine (which they ABSOLUTELY do NOT have to do, but it’s what people do.) So I made a plethora of my DIY Scrabble ornaments for everyone, placed them on a mini Christmas tree and made a sign explaining that the ornaments were favors for them to take home. I used pastels and fancy paper for the sign, despite the crayon look!

Guests went home with presents and I made good like Clark Griswold with the hap hap happiest Christmas party since Bing Crosby tap danced with Danny Fucking Kaye.

Every year, I’ll make a new homemade craft to share with my guests. Sweet idea, right?

What do you think of my crafty little idea? What did you do this Christmas that you hadn’t done before?

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

Rocking Out at the Windy City Soiree

Last week, I gave you a basic recap of BlogHer; then I whined; and then I whined some more. But I like to leave things on a high note, so this week is all about the joys of BlogHer and the parties and the people and the sponsors. Because shit, you guys, I really did have a great time.

My first party was before the conference. A little “Welcome to Chicago” gathering of bloggy lady friends.

Bloggy lady friends that I knew NONE of.

I left work ridic early to get to this shindiggity at Water Tower Place (a mere couple of miles from the job). I got there and realized, that I knew no one…and was kind of…on my own.

I started completing some fashion missions, because missions and competitions are fun. And so is free shit! AND PRIZES.

Bare Minerals Mascara

They really did make my lashes lashier at Bare Minerals

Sephora's Facial Recognition

Holy Crap. At Sephora, they’ll test out your face and e-mail you what make up matches your skin tone!

I ran into some ladies and we briefly exchanged names…and this girl recognized me (from Twitter, y’all…not that blog famous yet). She was SUPER nice, and then her group was on their merry way.

The Australian BeeGees

See, The Australian BeeGees

It was about time for The Australian BeeGees to perform and I thought I’d wander around aimlessly figuring out what I should do, while I worried that leaving work early was kind of silly…when out of the blue like grey clouds parting, Stacy Jill was all “hey! Come over here!” (She was the sweetie I had previously met). She noted my lost puppy look and adopted me. BOY! Was I glad she did!

From then on, I had a tribe. A tribe of ridiculously sweet lady blogger friends. For the rest of the week, I ran into Stacy EVERYWHERE…She’s the best. If you don’t know her, you should.

Milkshake from M Burger. YUM.

Milkshake from M Burger. YUM. BTW check out those lashy lashes.

We skipped the fashion show for snacks. We at ridiculous amounts of ice cream from M Burger. We raced around the mall looking for candy. We dined at Food Life. We drank wine. We laughed. We talked. We shared. Everyone gave me their gluten free snackies. (This is a trend. It’s kind of entertaining. All of my bloggy friends gave me gluten free snacks that they didn’t want.) It was exactly what I needed to ease my BlogHer anxiety. And from there I was excited. I was more than excited. I couldn’t wait!

Thanks so much to Water Tower Place, the shops, and of course, Chicagonistas MJ Tam and Beth Rosen for an AMAZING time.

By far, this was my favorite BlogHer party (official or unofficial).

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!