“Be Mine” Party Time

Next on the checklist of epic parties would be the traditional Valentine’s Day party. A lot of times, people who do not have a “Valentine” take this day harshly. But why not celebrate it, single or not? For this event, all are welcome. You can have single, married, or just dating couples come to the event and there will be enough fun for all!

To start off: the colors will, obviously, be shades of pink and red. Heart shapes, cupid’s arrows, and candy will be predominantly seen throughout this party. Having a few vases of pink and red roses throughout the home won’t hurt to set the mood as well.

As for the dishes being served, you can never have too many sweets present! Below is a list of some of my personal favorites that I have accumulated over the years

Heart shaped Rice Krispies treats: It is very simple to make these sweet-tooth addictions. All you need is a heart shaped cookie cutter, a box of Rice Krispies, a bag of marshmallows, white baking chips and sprinkles. First, you will want to melt down the marshmallows. This may be done over the stove or in the microwave. Whichever way you choose, you must be sure to combine butter with the marshmallows to keep evenness and the right texture. While melting, stir periodically – if in the microwave, stir every minute. If on the stove, stir periodically. During this time, pour the box of Rice Krispies into a mixing bowl. After completely melting the marshmallows, pour solution over cereal and nead the two ingredients together until the marshmallows are evenly dispersed throughout the Rice Krispies. After doing so, place the mixture onto a flat cookie sheet. Make sure it is spread evenly throughout the pan in a flat manner. Then start cutting into the morsels with the heart shaped cookie cutter. After doing so, you may melt down the white baking chips (in the same manner as the marshmallows) and cover the Krispies completely, or only half, and then add sprinkles on top of the chocolate! Let the sweets refrigerate for an hour and then they will be edible!

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White Chocolate Chex-Mix: This is one of my ALL time favorites that my mom has made since I was a little girl. It is the perfect snack around any holiday! Ingredients needed: 10 cups Cheerios, 10 cups Corn Chex, 4 cups roasted peanuts, 2 pounds (or two bags) chocolate M&M’s (depending upon what event you are making this delicious snack for, you may buy M&M’s with according colors: Christmas-red & green, Easter-pastel pink & purple, Valentine’s Day-pink & red, etc), 2 packages of mini pretzels, 4 packages of white baking chips, 6 tablespoons canola oil. How to: In a large bowl, combine the first five ingredients; set aside. In a bowl, heat the white baking chips and oil for 1 minute then stir. Repeat until evenly melted. After melted, pour over the first 5 ingredients and mix very well so that, just as you did for the Rice Krispies, the melted mixture is even over all of the cereal and Chex Mix. After doing so, spread onto sheets of waxed paper-lined baking sheets. Cool; break apart. Then it’s ready to serve! (the above ingredients make 3 gallon zip lock baggies worth. You will probably have some left over – store in an airtight container.)

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Next are the games you can play: for couples, as well as singles

Lovers Line-Up: for this game anyone can play, just as long as they know their partner well. Couples, friends, etc. It’s all about seeing how well you know the partner that you choose. Beforehand, you will need to prepare a list of random questions for each guest to answer on a separate piece of paper. Examples include: “What is your favorite thing to do when alone? What is your favorite color? What is your middle name? Where were you born? What is your eye color? What is your favorite thing to do in your spare time? The participating guests will write down their answers and put their name on the paper. No one is to discuss their answers, just write down their answers. You will then have each team sit in a chair back to back. Keep each of the participants answers together. Now, take turns asking them the questions and seeing if they can guess correctly what their partner said about them. The team with the most correct answers wins.

Name that Love Song: Pick out several famous lines from popular love songs, write them down on sheets of paper and place them in a hat or bowl. You can use old songs like “I Will Survive”, “Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch”, “That’s the Way Love Goes” or more current songs like  and “Drunk In Love”, “All of Me” and “Look at You”. Each guest picks a song from the selection in the hat/bowl and they are to do a dramatic enactment of the song. Then, the other players are to guess the name of the song. The one with the most correct guesses at the end of the game wins!

Sing Your Heart Out

Another top-of-the-list party that is bound to leave you with nothing but laughter and loony pictures is a Karaoke party. It doesn’t take anymore than any of the other events below, aside from purchasing a karaoke machine. And it is guaranteed to be worth it, without disappointment!

Karaoke machine prices range anywhere between $50-$250. If you’re on a budge like me, you won’t see a need to spend oodles of your precious dollars to buy a karaoke machine that you will probably use 10 times a year. (Until you have kids, because goodness kiddo’s love the karaoke machines!) So, theres an alternative to entertain this party theme: Karaoke games. If you look on Amazon, or any Gaming store around – you can find Karaoke games. They vary from the Wii equipment, to the PS2’s and PS3’s. All you have to do is buy a couple microphones with speakers that you may connect and the party is on! If you do not have any of the above electronics, you can get on amazon.com and purchase the Singing Machine SMG. The price ranges, depending on the model, between $35-120. This system has the words on the screen and also attaches to your TV for visibility as well!

To begin this party, the invites themselves can be creative and impossible to decline. The idea of inviting to them to a “concert” can’t get any better. Have the invites be tickets to this concert, entailing the date, time, location, and what is to follow at the event.

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With parties such as this, a lot of the time your guests will be timid to get on the mic and sing their heart out. That is where you as a hostess need to break the ice by volunteering first and dragging a friend or two up with you. Also, alcohol always loosens up the nervous jitters for people that are a little more timid than most to sing.

The perfect concoctions for this fun filled festival:

Sidecar Serenade

Berry A’Peeling

Breathe Easy Aquatini

And to top off the yummy drinks: Spiked Fruit Cups

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In addition to the drinks, provide fun props for your guests to use when they “take the stage”. Some great ideas include: crazy colored wigs, plastic microphones for back-up singers, sunglasses, blow-up guitars, obnoxious beads to throw to your fans, and much more.

Hawaiian Luau

When thinking of the dream vacation I immediately picture myself on a beach somewhere hot and sunny. I don’t know about most of you, but Hawaii is an ideal spot to vacation in my eyes. Well, because I’m a broke college student, that isn’t very realistic right now. So what better than to bring the beach to you with a Hawaiian Luau themed party?

The main focus for parties such as this are bright colors, grass table skirts, and lots of fruit and flowers.

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ABOVE: Perfect example (found on uncommondesignsonline.com) of a Luau table serving drinks and finger foods. The bright flowers convey the flowers you would find in Hawaii and cost under $10 to make! All are made out of tissue paper and are quick and easy to create; refer to previous post Cinco De Drinko to find instructions to make tissue paper flowers. There are also videos on youtube.

Depending on the weather/season that you decide to throw this party, it may be indoors or out. If outdoors, set up picnic tables all with similar decor as above. If indoors, the decor may be dispersed throughout the kitchen, dining room, living room, etc.

A great list of ideas for food at a Hawaiian Luau are:

ANY sliced fruit: pineapples, strawberries, watermelon, bananas, etc. Even better is to create little shish-kabobs of fruit. Layer from top to bottom your favorite fruits. Another lovable shish-kabob is chocolate covered fruit. Mix and match the two, with half plain fruit and the other half chocolate covered shish-kabobs.

Spicy Hawaiian Chicken Burgers: This recipe is to die for, no matter the event. However, it seems quite fitting when throwing a Hawaiian Luau. What you will need (measurements of ingredients differ according to how many guests you are expecting/how many burgers you want to make) – Ground chicken, pineapple rings, pepper jack cheese, hamburger buns, paprika, chili powder, seasoned salt and garlic. To make (ingredients following are in order to make about 6 burgers) – Mix 2 lbs of ground chicken, 1/2 tsp paprika, 1/2 tsp chili powder, 1/2 tsp of seasoning salt and 1 clove of garlic into a mixing bowl. After mixing, portion mixture into 6 balls, then flatten. Grill burgers over medium heat for about 6 minutes each side. In the last 2-3 minutes, place pepperjack cheese atop the burgers to melt. After the burgers are cooked, place on plate covered with aluminum foil for a few minutes. Meanwhile, grill pineapple slices, turning carefully after 1-2 minutes. After this, your dish is complete!

Other dishes include: Macaroni salad, Ham and Cheese sliders, and Pimento Cheese Crisps.

For the drinks served, we of course stick with the theme. A yummy adult beverage is the Sea Water drink.

Ingredients: Blue Gatorade, Blue Hawaiian Punch, Vodka and Sprite layered over ice.

Another guaranteed hit is the Paradise drink.

Ingredients: Light Rum, Malibu Rum, Blue Curacao, Pineapple Juice and Grenadine.

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ABOVE: The Paradise drink.

Totally 80s!

Last weekend we were able to throw one of the most successful/fun parties of all time: A surprise 80s birthday party! Chris Lloyd turned 40, so what better way to celebrate that milestone than to surprise him with one of the best decades, the 80s.

Each guest was to dress up in their favorite 80s outfit and a prize was awarded at the end of the evening. The preparation for this party was composed with lots of creativity in the decorations. Decorations are not just for the looks and atmosphere, but also to get the guests to have more fun while attending the party. I believe our party nailed that aspect right on the head, as seen below. Every little touch matters!

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The first picture is an AWESOME backdrop for a photo booth. (May be purchased at any almost any party store near you) This allows your guests to be goofy with different props and poses. This also allows guests to loosen up and just have fun. The three pictures following that (above and below) are examples of décor throughout the house. The purple boom box is actually an iHome that hooks up to your cellphone through Bluetooth. It is bright purple and has the same look as the stereos found in the eighties, so we couldn’t resist blasting all the classic eighties hits through it’s speakers. As you can see, banners on the staircase, balloons galore, and tons of dangling swirl-tops that had sunglasses, boom boxes, and music notes on them. For parties with a theme such as this: MORE IS BETTER. There is no such thing as “tacky” when remaking the 80s!

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As for the food presented, we stuck with simple finger foods. Pigs-in-a-blanket, crackers and dip, mini sandwiches, and many more are good go-to’s. There were also plenty of sweets available.

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ABOVE: A cake made for the birthday boy! Classic stereo, cassette tape and all. BELOW: Props used in the photo booth. The buttons were bought at the same party store as the banner, for under 5$. The plastic 80s themed sunglasses were bought there as well: $3.99 for a dozen!

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The night overall was a complete hit and allowed everyone to relive the “glory days”! The poster made for Chris included pictures throughout the years, many of which were throwbacks. Because who doesn’t love the 80s?

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Cinco De Drinko

Happy Cinco De Mayo! (Hypothetically speaking) This holiday is predominantly celebrated by the Hispanic culture, however, in American it is often an excuse to throw a party, and have a blast while doing so. Although this holiday, as most of you are aware, is often celebrated with lots of tequila and tacos – you may throw a party with yummy food and non-alcoholic drinks as well! I will cover that base in this post as well.

The first touch for this event would have to be the decorations and atmosphere you create throughout the location. Begin with the traditional tissue paper flowers (pictured below), piñatas hanging above the food table, and top off the décor with playing Mexican salsa, mariachi, or merengue music. Celebrate Express (or any other party store) provides endless ideas for additional decorations. Fiesta fun table runners, taco napkins, and sombrero fanci-fetti are perfect for an event such as this!

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In the Hispanic culture, it is very common for the women to create these tissue paper flowers. It is a very simple decoration to include at your Cinco De Mayo Fiesta! Don’t know how? Follow directions here.

In correlation with the fun decorations, the food and drinks are the most important piece to the party being a success. For our party, we created an “All you can drink Margarita” station at our bar, a “Make your own Taco” stand on our center island, as well as a Tequila Tasting later in the evening. The guests loved the idea, and it was a sensation the entire night to allow the guests with ease to choose what they wanted, and when they wanted it, without limit. By convenience, we already had a Margaritaville machine at hand for our event. The machine allows making the bottomless margaritas to be very simple, however, you do not have to have this equipment in order to serve your guests endlessly. A simple blender, or Ninja blender work just the same! The ingredients for margaritas include:

1/2 part DeKuyper Triple Sec, 1 part Pucker Strawberry Schnapps (this flavor is dependent upon what flavor of margaritas you decide to serve. The options are sky-high!), 1 1/2 parts Sauza tequila, 3 parts Sweet/Sour mix. Place ingredients in blender/mixer with ice filled to the top. As the mixture begins to blend, you may add more ice, or more liquid dependent upon how thick or thin it is.

{the brands listed above are also interchangeable according to the user}

For the “Make your own Taco” stand, it is as easy as you can imagine. Place all ingredients from start to finish along a counter, bar, or table so guests may navigate with ease alongside while creating their perfect taco. An examples would include; Beginning the line with hard taco shells, tortillas – corn and flour, followed by bean dip, sour cream, melted cheese and guacamole. Continued with the types of meat you choose: Grilled chicken, ground beef, or fajita steak/chicken. Ending with grated cheese, chopped onions, and sliced jalapeños.

As for those that do not want to have any adult beverages present, you can stick with the exact same ideas as above! Nothing will change, aside from the ingredients in the drink. Virgin margaritas are made by purchasing the “Big Bucket Margarita” mix at locations such as Walmart and pour over ice in a blender for frozen virgin margaritas, or just over a cup of ice for on the rocks! Tastes the same, minus the alcohol. You may also provide both options if you believe any of your guests may not want to drink. It works for all those involved.