Diamonds are Forever

Engagement season seems to come in hot and heavy around the conclusion of the summer, as well as the major holidays. For my cousin, Carlee Anne, she was able to celebrate around both times. Carlee and her now husband, Dalton, got engaged Christmas of 2012 and married in September of 2013. This allowed the perfect summertime bachelorette party, in which we all had a blast.

There are endless entertaining games and ideas that may go into a bachelorette party. For our wedding party, the fun began in the afternoon. All of the bridesmaids, maid of honor and bride-to-be ate lunch in downtown Tulsa at one of the brides favorite restaurants. Following this, we were all required to step out of our comfort zone a bit: a pole dancing class. Although 9 times out of 10 the wedding party will say “No” if asked if they want to attend a class such as this, it is something I would recommend for any Bridal party. The key to getting everyone to participate? Don’t ask questions. Make sure everyone keeps in the front of their mind that this party is solely for the bride and you all are there for the same reason: To celebrate the love of your friend/family and make fools of yourselves together! As we entered, our instructor popped open some champagne for us to “Cheers!” to the bride-to-be. As the class proceeded, we all loosened up a bit and just had fun with it. It’s the perfect combination of awkward, amusing, and an ab workout for all involved!

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ABOVE: The bride-to-be with one of the bridesmaids! As you can tell, this made everyone feel a little sassy along with extremely silly.

Following the pole dancing class, we returned to the hotel to get ready for the Bridal shower and the night-out ahead of us. After everyone had gotten ready, we all joined the bride in her suite for the shower part of the night. Upon entry, there was a table for presents, and a separate table with drinks and cupcakes. We all sat in a giant circle around the room and watched as Carlee opened presents. We also indulged in a concoction made by the Maid-of-Honor: The Blushing Bride, definitely one to try!

After the Bridal shower we had a little bit of time to go around in the circle and tell our favorite memory/story each of us had with Carlee. Things like this are important in making the bride feel special and reiterate the reason why each person that is present is there. As I stated before, all of the girls attending are there for the same reason. It’s very important to make sure no one loses sight of that through the night. A girl only gets married once!!

Before departing the on the limo to begin the festivities out and about in Tulsa, we were informed of the game we were to play throughout the night. Each person was handed three cards, and was to perform at least one of the three cards. However, this wasn’t just any deck of cards. Each card had a form of a dare on it, such as, “Dance with a Cowboy”, “Switch shirts with a stranger”, “Feel on a guy’s guns or buns”, “Kiss the bartender”, “Take a picture in the Men’s restroom” and the absurd list goes on! Just as the pole dancing class pushed everyone out of their comfort zone a bit, so do games like this. Bachelorette parties are intended to be spontaneous, memorable events that cause you to do things you normally would never do otherwise. Have fun with it! Take advantage of the special events, such as this, because they aren’t parties you are able to throw every day. Just as diamonds are forever, this party should be a memory that lasts forever.

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We Love Game Days!

It is the kick off to the first Sunday of NFL season games beginning.. So what do we do? Have a little gathering with all the best game day foods you can think of, of course!

Yesterday was the perfect day to enjoy lots of food, and a cold beer while watching one of America’s most loved sports: football. The preparation for such an event is simple and not very time-consuming. On the menu was mild and barbecue chicken wings, Velveeta cheese dip, home-made pizzas, frito chili pies and vegetables with ranch dip.

For our home-made pizzas, you begin with the already made, store-bought crust. In my opinion, there is nothing wrong with using already made, store-bought products. Especially if your time schedule doesn’t allow you for all the preparation otherwise. The crust’s we used were Boboli and are available in thin crust, or hand tossed. Atop the crust is Prego Pizza Sauce, (pictured below) mozzarella cheese and whatever toppings of your choosing. In this case, we made one pepperoni pizza, two sausage and pepperoni pizza’s and one supreme.

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ABOVE: Pre-made pizza crust and diced onions and chives for the supreme pizza, as well as just the original pepperoni’s shown. Also pictured, the Prego pizza sauce used on all four pizza’s. BELOW: the calm before the fire, literally.

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The baking process is as simple as preheating a conventional oven to 350 degrees and allowing the pizza’s to bake for up to 15 minutes. How long you leave the pizza’s in the oven is dependent upon how crispy you want the crust. In our case, we chose to smoke the pizza’s in our smoker to add a little additional flavor. For this, you must keep an eye on the pizza’s and when all the cheese is melted and turning a little gold, they are done.

Next on the menu was a smoked fattie. This heavenly dish is sausage wrapped in bacon and stuffed like a cinnamon roll with cream cheese, onions, pepperoni and sliced jalapeno’s. To prepare something of this nature it took a little more time, but is well worth it. The fattie must be placed in the smoker until its internal temperature reaches 170 degrees. Inserting a meat thermometer into the center of  the meat will provide you with an approximate temp.

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ABOVE: The process in which our food was being smoked as well as the aftermath: mouth-watering final product!

BELOW: In the process of throwing events and trying out new things, every host and/or hostess experiences a few hiccups. For us, we had some fiery issues that induced a bit too much smoke from our smoker. When encountering difficulties as a host, find a resolution or alternative means to provide the same outcome as planned. In our case, the guests were wrapped up in trash-talking each other’s teams to even take notice in the little mishap. Lol! Luckily, my dad quickly took over and manned the equipment properly.

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Continuing on, the next thing made were our wings. (mild & barbecue) For this, one must have a fryer (with peanut oil), raw chicken wings, and the sauces of your choice. (We used Ott’s original wing sauce and Head and Country’s original Bar-B-Q sauce) For preparation, flour is placed in a mixing bowl. How much flour is dependent upon how many wings you are preparing. Added into this flour is paprika and ground cayenne red pepper for a bit of spice and flavoring. Place 5-8 wings in the mixing bowl until they are completely covered in flour. Take the wings and arrange them in the fryer’s wire basket. After doing so, dip the chicken into the fryer and watch them as they cook. There is not a specific amount of time to leave the wings in the fryer, once again, it is just something you have to watch. Once the wings have a golden brown look, they are ready to be placed in the sauce of your choice. For the sauces, simply pour each one in a separate mixing bowl and lather the wings in them. Following this, place wings in a bowl to cool before consumption.

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ABOVE: From raw, to ready! The second picture displays what the wings should look like when they are done frying. The fryer is just a FARBERWARE 2.5 liter, 8 cup appliance that may be purchased at Wal-Mart.

The remainder of our food were frito chili pies, Velveeta cheese dip and vegetables with ranch dip. The frito chili pie came straight from a can and was prepared on the stove. The Velveeta cheese dip ingredients include a block of Velveeta cheese (cut into small squares), three cans of Rotel spicy diced tomatoes (two are completely emptied into the diced cheese, while the last one is simply just the drained juices inserted in) all placed in a Crock-pot and consistently stirred until the cheese is completely melted. The ranch dip is prepared with Hidden Valley packaged ranch. (Instructions on packaging)

For game days there isn’t much more for one to do as a hostess besides, provide the television that has the games on it, as well as the delicious food and cold beverages. It makes for an overall fun day and your guests leave happy!

The Tackier, The Better!

As the holiday seasons begin to arouse, one will hear of many different themed parties occurring around the neighborhood. From Autumn colors blooming, to red and green lights hanging on every house on the block, this time of the year sparks for the fun of party planning to begin! I wanted to start my blog with one of my personal favorite holiday parties: A Christmas party. When planning a Christmas party, a hostess has many options on the theme she may choose. Last December, it seemed the perfect amount of cliché and tacky to decide upon an Ugly Christmas Sweater themed party. The details that go into a themed party are very simple and those exact details are what allow your party to be precisely what you want.

First thing’s first: Creating the atmosphere. For our Ugly Christmas Sweater Party, we began with the decor around the house. As the guests walk in, they are greeted with joyful Christmas tunes and a large Christmas tree in the entryway. In correlation, we made sure to have tinsel wrapped around the banister to set the perfect scene for the photo-shoots that would occur on the staircase later that evening.

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ABOVE: My brother, myself, our close family friend, and my step-mom being goofy and having a blast. Best Christmas card, ever, right?

In the kitchen, dining room, and living room is where the party remained for the most part. The atmosphere there included yummy food, tasty drinks and lots of good conversation and laughter. As a hostess, it is vital to make sure the atmosphere is fun, relaxed and entertaining for ALL the guests attending. In this case, that wasn’t too difficult because the theme itself permitted plenty of entertainment. As the title of this party describes, each guest was to wear an ugly Christmas sweater. There were no guidelines other than the person who was the most creative with envisioning the ugliest/most tacky (or most amusing) Christmas sweater, would win a prize after a vote at the end of the night. Let me tell ya, there was quite the creativity!

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ABOVE: A couple of guests showing off their ugly (and somewhat inappropriate, lol) sweaters! The tackier, the BETTER.

BELOW: My dad (left) and another fun guest. Yes, that is an actual mini Christmas tree stuck onto the sweater.

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Included in the importance of a party is the food and drinks you provide. For this party, we kept it quite simple and it was a hit! With it being an adult Christmas party, we stuck with finger foods and Christmas inspired beverages. The foods included: spicy meatballs, star wontons, Christmas sugar cookies, and buffalo cheese dip. The drinks provided were an assortment of nonalcoholic beverages (Cranberry juice, Fresca, etc), and the rave of the night: Jingle Juice. (ingredients: one bottle of pink champagne, 2 cups of vodka, and 2 liter of sprite. Also, optional to add strawberry sherbet ice cream)

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ABOVE: This was snapped before some of the food was placed, but gives a good idea of what the decor included. You can never go wrong with snowflakes, and candy canes around Christmas!

Throughout the evening, everyone had a blast. Because of all the fun had, this will now be an annual party thrown in the Tate Household. In conclusion to the memorable party, we made sure everyone had voted for who they believed had the ugliest, most tacky or most creative sweater and counted the votes. Pictured below is the winner… I’m not sure if he won for wit, or entertainment. But no matter, it was a successful party!

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This is the Beginning

As an introduction, this blog has been assigned to our Electronic Communications class as our first project. I have wanted to start blogging prior to enrolling in this course, but I was worried it would be difficult to keep those who follow me entangled in what I am blogging about. However, with being given the opportunity, I am excited to start this blog in hopes to spark more creativity and fun within myself when planning parties and events. I also hope that the themed events I share will inspire others for themselves! In the past, I have assisted my Step Mom, as well as my Mom, when they plan events (They both are geared to become Hostess’ of the year, basically) and as I have gotten older, I have become more involved. Being a college student, it is important to remain on budget, but be able to still make your idea come to life. Following this post will begin the adventure of entertaining, spontaneous, bright, fun-filled parties and events. In continuation with my Step Mom and Mom being inspirations to me, I have taken interest in much of Tori Spelling’s advice on party planning. This is the beginning – time to have fun.