Tag Archives: Party

Plan the Perfect Holiday Party

10 Dec

Need to plan the perfect holiday party this season? Well, you are in luck because we have consulted with our brilliant  friend Ashley of Ashley Nicole Events for helpful tips.  Ashley, the talented owner and creative director of Ashley Nicole Events, shared her 3 simple rules to throw a perfect party.

Let’s get real-you’ve been to a thousand holiday parties and this year is no different.  The thought of throwing yet another one of those “parties” makes you want to dig deep into your liquor stash for something strong. Really strong. Trust me, I get it! But, I’m here today to boost your holiday spirit by offering advice for throwing the perfect (and yes, even last minute) holiday get together that will be original, fun, and festive. You can bet your bootie that by the time you’re done reading this, you will start planning your perfect holiday fete! Let the planning begin…

  1. Know when to have your party.  This sounds pretty simple, right!?  I wish it was!  Most hostesses make the biggest mistake by hosting the event during prime dinner time.  I dread invitations with a start time of 6p.m. because guess what- I’ll be there but I expect dinner.  Don’t you!?  So what ends up happening, you get there at 7:00p.m., when you started getting ready around 5pm, you haven’t had dinner and end up spilling red wine on their new Create and Barrel sofa because your dinner consisted of 3 slices of cheddar cheese and a Triscuit cracker.  Oh, and then you wake up with the worst hangover and eat your face off at breakfast and sleep the entire rest of the day!  So, let’s not make this mistake with YOUR party.  Instead why not host a brunch holiday party!?  After all, who doesn’t love the thought of a delicious Bloody Mary bar and dazzling mimosas!?  You can make your snacks easy as 1-2-3 by purchasing mini cereal boxes and accenting each with a tied plastic spoon and pair it with a simple pitcher of ice cold milk set next to poppy seed muffins, and a fruit parfait.  Voila! You’ve got yourself a party!  Not liking the brunch idea?   Have a holiday champagne and cupcake party…with a 8:30p.m. start time! This way guests have had a delicious dinner and come to your event with a sweet tooth!  Set up a champagne bar with different types of bubbly and toppings and make simple devils food cupcakes with cream cheese icing topped with red sprinkles.  The cardinal rule is know WHEN to host your event.  If it’s during lunch or dinner times, provide guests with food…lots of it!  After all, appropriate pre-party eating is an art: master it. Your ability to do so will have a profound effect on the rest of the night.
  2. Include details of the event in your invitation.  My favorite easy and affordable way to send last minute party invitations is paperless post.  If you haven’t heard of it-right it down and check it out later.  They have an array of festive invitation options and allow you to customize it-all the way down to the invitation liner.  When creating your fancy invitation be sure to include information such as attire, any items you would like guests to bring and other party details so they know exactly what to expect.  In other words, if you’re doing a white elephant party-let them know the budget.  Be specific so everyone knows what to expect-even you!
  3. Relax and enjoy the party…no matter what.  Prepare yourself for the obvious that you tend to overlook when you’re happily cocktailed at someone else’s holiday fete. You know what I mean, the drunk single Uncle that wasn’t really invited but someone in the family leaked your party details on Facebook and now he’s hitting on all of your friends.  Or one of your friends new boyfriend who is awkwardly standing in the corner swaying side to side while crushing yet another vodka tonic.  Or, the friend of a friend who is aggressively competitive during the late night beer pong game and you think a fight may ensue and cops may quickly follow to break it up.  Simply relax and handle these jolly environmental issues with ease.  Call your Uncle a cab and give him a snack for the road, introduce the new boyfriend to one of your co-workers who is as equally as new to your crowd of friends, and distract the aggressive beer pong jock by turning on some great tunes for everyone to dance to.  You can control all of these situations and more, if you stay relaxed and festive!  Tis the season and if you listen to the above 3 simple rules…you will have one kick ass holiday party.  (Just remember to send me an invitation!)

A Very FriendsGiving

19 Nov

For the past 3 years Nathan and I have hosted a pre-Thanksgiving dinner and game night for our friends.  Its great to be able to see everyone and relax together before the hectic holiday season starts.  This has become my favorite event of the year and we always have a full house.  Nathan and I prepare all of the food for the main meal, and ask people bring an appetizer or a dessert to share.

25LB Turkey

This year we had a 25 lb turkey and 10 lb ham!  The usual side dishes made their appearance-the green beans, mashed potatoes, gravy, rolls, and cranberry sauce.  Yet, this year some of the side dishes had a slight spin on them.

Instead of doing corn this year, I made a very delicious Corn Casserole Paula Dean’s Corn Casserole Recipe.  AMAZING! Many thanks to Paula Dean-it turned out great.

Corn Casserole and 10lb Ham

Another difference this year was the stuffing-I fried it!  My coworker Ed gave me this idea and its so simple and oh so good.  Make your stuffing as usual and let it cool enough so that you can roll it. Once you have rolled the stuffing into balls, coat with egg and flour and fry away.

Fried Stuffing Balls!

Elise helping out in the kitchen

I have found that doing prep work early cuts down on the stress of having everything ready at the same time.  The mashed potatoes were made earlier in the day and put in the crockpot to keep warm.  Serving the potatoes in the ceramic pot also cuts down on dishes later.

Make it easy on yourself by making things early.

Finally all sitting to eat

Must be good if Nate is up for seconds:)

After dinner it is game time!  Our yearly tradition is Pictionary with guys vs. gals.  We make up the categories ourselves and think of things for the other team to draw.  I would just like to note that the girls usually win 🙂  This year we also played Cards Against Humanity.  HILARIOUS! This game is always sold out and you have to be on the waiting list if you want to buy it.  I know a few of us have already added it to our Christmas list.

Nate’s turn at Pictionary.  Of course Cheetoes has to see what the fuss is all about.

The holiday season always serves as a reminder of things that are important in life.   I am very thankful to have such wonderful friends and family, both nearby and those far.

I hope you and your families have a very Happy Thanksgiving!

Cheers, Tara

Pampered Chef

14 Nov

A couple of weeks ago I hosted a Pampered Chef party at my house for my good friend, Kristin, who has recently become a consultant.

I have hosted other parties, but this was my first Pampered Chef and I have to say it was quite an experience.   The consultant brings ingredients and a recipe to your house for your group to make together.  In this case we made two recipes-pizza and chocolate lava cake.  While making the recipes, you get to use the Pampered Chef tools to help you decide what you might want to purchase.  Yes, you get to actually use the kitchen tools by making recipes with your friends.  So, it really is a win-win party.  You get to have a party with your friends, make delicious food together, eat it, and shop in the comfort of your home.  Fun girls night!

Kristin-aka the Consultant. She read the recipes and instructions for us to follow.

Becky ended up doing a lot of the prep work, since I seemed to keep wandering away.

According to Pampered Chef they”believe that multipurpose tools are the cornerstone of an efficient kitchen, and we’re committed to developing timesaving tools, tips and recipes that enhance shared mealtime and suit busy lifestyles.”

Elise took control of the coconut for the Chocolate Lava Cake

Kristi just wanted to chop everything

Among my many purchases was a cookie press which I cannot wait to use at Christmas for our cookie swap-and I will let you know how they turn out 🙂

If you love pampered chef and have been wanting to get a jump on Christmas gifts, or would like to host a party here is their site: Pampered Chef

Cheers, T

Shower Power!

10 Aug

This is officially my first blog post…Woo to the Hoo!! I’ve been dreaming of this day for the longest time…so weird, I know!

Fresh off from my little sisters wedding last weekend, I thought it would be fun to share some of the details from her Bridal Shower from earlier this summer.

I always get so excited when I get to plan or host a party! One day, when I grow up along with being blogger, I want to be an event planner! For now, I guess I’ll just have to stick with my day job since it pays the bills. 🙂

As the Matron and Maid of Honor, Hayley and I were so excited to plan Emilie’s shower. Em and Hayley have been friends forever and because of that I pretty much adopted Hayley as my sister when we were little.

For the shower, Hayley and I decided to go for a vintage, tea party theme; so we hit the ground running pinning! My sister is a fan of lace, so when I found the lace runners in the picture below at Good Will, for $3 each, I snatched them up.  Winning!

For the buffet table we layered the two runners over top of a yellow tablecloth that my aunt so graciously lent us. We mixed and matched fine china, with white plates and serving platters to serve the food. A combination of solid colored cloth napkins were rolled and tied with twine to make the silverware look pretty.

Flowers were a pretty easy decision since my sister loves hydrangea. A mixture of vases and tea cups with saucers were used to place on different tables with the hydrangea as the centerpieces.

To dress up the cake/dessert table we used a plain white cloth, tied the corners with twine and added a burlap runner for some more of that vintage, shabby chic goodness we were going for. I don’t know about you, but I loooove me some burlap! I love burlap about as much as I love my husband (which is a whole lot)!! Let’s be serious, if you don’t have a love for burlap then I’m guessing you also don’t have a Pinterest account. 😉

The biggest hit of the shower (besides the bride-to-be) had to be the mimosa bar. My mom found the square glass containers for the fruit at Ikea. The glass carafe’s I found at HomeGoods, score! Something you may not know about me is that I have a Home Goods addiction, it’s probably as bad as my Pinterest addiction, but I won’t go there. The gray and white straws were bought at Michael’s. We used a big metal tub filled with ice to keep the champagne and wine chilled. Pieces of card stock were labeled and tied to each carafe with twine to tell the different juice flavors apart.

To play on the tea party theme, Hayley found an idea for the most adorable and creative favors. Ever! Mason jars filled with a lemon, a sugar packet and a tea bag. All the guests had to do was add water for their own little tea party. Mason jars are my favorite, they are just so fun to drink out of!

“Matt & Emilie A sweet blend!”

We ended up mixing and matching many different fabric textures and old and new pieces, but, I think it all came together nicely in the end. I loved the vintage, yet sophisticated, shabby chic-ness, we were able to create! All in all my sister had a great time, which was of course, the most important part!  🙂

Have you ever heard the saying, “It takes a village?” Well, throwing a surprise bridal shower and having it go off without a hitch really takes a village! As many ideas as Hayley and I had (and pinned) we couldn’t have executed everything without the help of our “village”; so thanks to them (you know who you are)! I also can’t forget to mention my now brother in-law, who helped me in tricking my sister and making sure she made it to the shower on time and unsuspecting! Success!

Shout out to my wonderful husband who showed up as the shower was ending and helped with some of the cleaning up! He’s the best!

Okay, now it’s your turn to sound off in the comments. Have you ever hosted a bridal shower before? Do you have addictions to HomeGoods or Pinterest? What do you dream to be when you grow up? Are you a burlap lover, like me?



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