Archive | Party Planning

How to Create the Perfect Bar Set Up

Recently, we had a get together with most of the people my husband works with.  The party started with a navy, white, and burlap theme, but because my husband is in the military, the theme really started to reflect that.  The biggest reflection was in our bar set up.

I was so excited as it started coming together because we were using things we hadn’t used before to entertain with.  I love using things around the house to entertain that normally aren’t for entertaining.  Options are great!  I want to show you in just a few steps how you can set up your own bar.

Create the perfect bar set up. Click here for step by step instructions.Step 1-A Great Location

Here is where we went a little wrong with our set up.  You want your bar to be in a central location so your guests can have quick access to refill their drink.  Typically, the best central location is going to be where your guests are hanging out.

During our party we had our garage set up with heaters and an outdoor couch so everyone congregated there, but our bar was inside.  Needless to say, not many people made a drink at the bar.  Don’t worry though, they had beer within an arms reach!

Create the perfect bar set up. Click here for step by step instructions.Step 2- Provide the Liquor

I recommend having a good variety of liquor becuase everyone’s tastes are so different.  Some people like gin, others hate it.  A good mix is to include two clear liquors (vodka, gin, or tequila), a rum, and a whiskey.  If you have four different kinds you’ll cover all of your bases.

Step 3- Provide the Mixers

There are a few things that are required when it comes to mixers in my opinion.  You need something fruity/sweet, something bubbly, and something interesting.  So for our bar set up I provided a variety of sodas (sweet and bubbly), club soda and tonic (bubbly), juice (fruity/sweet), and ginger beer (interesting).

Here’s where thinking outside of the entertaining box comes into play.  I used this completely versatile cart from Ikea as a drink station to hold all of our mixers.  It helped to ensure there was plenty of room on the bar to mix up a drink.  You just have to look around your house to find things that will work.  This cart is normally in my office holding my sewing machine, but transformed into the perfect bar accessory for our party.

Create the perfect bar set up. Click here for step by step instructions.Create the perfect bar set up. Click here for step by step instructions.Step 4-Provide all the Tools

Be sure to include all the tools necessary to mix up a great cocktail.  Things like a shot measuring cup, something to stir with, shakers, strainers, and bottle openers.  Plus you’ll want to be sure your bar is fully stocked with plenty of cups.

It may say something about my husband, but most of our bar gear was received as a gift for my husband’s 30th birthday a few years ago.  Either way, they’ve been great gifts that we use regularly.

Create the perfect bar set up. Click here for step by step instructions.Step 5- Provide Ice

One thing that is critical to making a cocktail is having plenty of ice to chill it.  We were able to fit a small ice bucket on our bar so ice was always accessible for our party.  Putting the ice in a convenient spot to cocktail making eases the cocktail making process.  You know so when you’re feeling lazy and don’t want to walk across the room to get ice it’s right where you need it!  Just be sure as the hostess to check it regularly in case it needs a refill.

Step 6-Provide the Garnish

Adding a garnish to your homemade cocktail really elevates it.  I recommend a couple simple garnishes that will work for almost any cocktail and make a great addition to your bar.  Cut up a lime and lemon, place in a little bowl or dish and you’ve instantly rounded out your bar set up.  Other options are oranges, maraschino cherries, or mint (hello mojitos!).  Adding a few garnishes adds some life and color to your bar too.

Create the perfect bar set up. Click here for step by step instructions.Create the perfect bar set up. Click here for step by step instructions.Six easy steps to setting up a great bar ready for any party and any cocktail.  What are your must have bar staples?  Who’s ready to mix up a cocktail and celebrate the weekend?  I hope you enjoy yourself this weekend!

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The Ultimate Thanksgiving Planning Guide with FREE Printables

We’re 9 days away from Thanksgiving!!!  However, does hosting Thanksgiving stress you out? Well, no fear, I’m here to help you have a smooth, less stressful, and easy Thanksgiving. You can print out everything you need to plan your Thanksgiving festivities.

To get you started print out this great grocery and shopping list. It has categories for everything you will need to buy. I modeled my lists after the amazing paper creation that Emily from Jones Design Company does with her Paperworks subscription.  I use to be a subscriber and her grocery list lay out alone completely changed the way I grocery shop.

Need help planning your Thanksgiving feast? Use these printables to make it easy as pie!Categorizing your grocery list based on how the grocery store is designed totally reduces the amount of time you’ll be in the store. If you find yourself forgetting things or having to go back and forth between aisles, try categorizing your grocery list. You’ll be able to just hit one area of the store and get everything you need and won’t have to go back for something you forgot. Meat all in one area, baking stuff all in one area, dairy, produce, frozen items all categorized, yippee, in and out of the store quickly!

The shopping list creates a space for all of those other things that you’ll need for Thanksgiving. For a great Thanksgiving you’ll have to have serving ware, drinks, table décor, and for certain people I know they like to plan out outfits for these kinds of things. If you’re like that too, there’s a place specifically for clothing. Use it as a list of what to buy, or a list of what you plan to wear.

Need help planning your Thanksgiving feast? Use these printables to make it easy as pie!Next in this planning bundle is a set of place cards. What I love about these is that they can be used as name cards, place cards, or even as food labels. If Thanksgiving is more of a buffet style than a family dinner around the table, it’s a great way to label all of the food. Use them to include which dishes contain common allergy ingredients like nuts, dairy, or eggs.

To make the place cards, just print them out on a thicker paper like card stock, cut out the orange card, write names in the blank area and fold in half to create a little tent. Easy as 1, 2, 3, 4!

Now, something revolutionary I’ve started doing in the past few years is using an oven/cooking rotation timeline on Thanksgiving. Our new house is great, and has pretty much everything we could ever want. However, every year when Thanksgiving rolls around, I dream of having double ovens. The dream hasn’t come true yet, therefore I need this cooking timeline sheet.

Need help planning your Thanksgiving feast? Use these printables to make it easy as pie!This printable allows you to plan out when each of your favorite Thanksgiving dishes needs to go in the oven and when it needs to come out. Also include what temperature the dish needs to cook at so you can plan your oven temperatures accordingly. I always recommend starting with the dish that requires the highest temperature.  Therefore you won’t have to wait for your oven to heat up in between dishes. #gamechanger

Hopefully these fun, easy to use sheets help you make Thanksgiving a smashing success! All it takes is a little planning ahead of time to set you on the path to successful hosting.  Just click on the photos above of the printable to download, print, and start planning.

Happy Thanksgiving planning!!  Reminder…9 days people!

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Get Your House Ready for A Party In 5 Minutes

Do you ever feel like the state of your house is the reason you don’t invite people over?  I know we’ve all read articles online about how true friends don’t care what your house looks like, and I totally agree.  But sometimes, it just makes you feel better and more prepared to have guests when your house isn’t a disaster area.

A few weeks ago we invited some friends over for a little happy hour at the last minute.  Before they arrived, my husband and I went around a did a few things to kind of clean up and get ready for them.  Afterwards I realized, that it only took a few minutes to feel like our house was presentable and clean.

Now, it’s your turn! I’m giving you a checklist to get your house ready for guests in five minutes or less and stop not inviting people over because of your mess!

Get your house ready for a party quick! Use this checklist to prepare for guests in 5 minutes! Click through to get the checklist printable!It’s pretty simple really, you just need to do a few things and only focus on the areas where your guests are going to be.  Most of the time guests tend to stay downstairs in the main living areas if you have a two story house, only use one bathroom, and typically congregate where the food is.  Knowing this there are really only about three places that you’ll have to tidy; your living room or seating area, the kitchen or wherever the food is, and the most used bathroom.  Don’t waste your time with the rest of it because your friends and guests won’t notice and probably won’t care.

First, I like to make sure my floors are clean.  We have hardwood floors and a messy toddler, so there are usually always crumbs visible.  I love my Dyson cordless stick vacuum.  It makes cleaning the floors quick and easy.  If you don’t have a Dyson, just use a broom.  Spend about a minute to two minutes doing a really quick sweep of your floors, making sure to just pick up all of the big stuff.  This is not a deep clean.

Next, take about 30 seconds to clean your counters off.  Because our house is such an open plan, the kitchen and it’s counters are always visible.  So it’s really important to put dishes away, stash piles of mail and paper into a drawer, or for bigger items put them in the pantry and close the door.  If you don’t have time to do a bunch of dishes, one of my best tips is to use the dishwasher as a storage area.  Just shove them all in there quickly and close the door.  You can always go back later and clean your dishes.  It’s the fastest way to make sure your sink is clean.

Then, it’s time to clean the most used bathroom.  I’m sure cleaning the bathroom is not appealing to most, but I promise this way is so quick.  Grab one disinfecting wipe and clean in the following order. Wipe the light switch, then the sink handles, around the sink, inside the sink, then the outside of the toilet, and lastly the toilet seat and the toilet bowl rim.  Cleaning this way keeps the least amount of germs on the most touched things.  I promise it will only take 30 seconds to clean a bathroom using these instructions.

Onto the seating area, or where your guests will congregate.  Maybe that’s the dining room table, the living room couch, or on a patio.  Either way, you just want to make sure your seating area is picked up, fluffed, and ready for your friends’ behinds.  I typically make sure to fluff pillows, put blankets away, and move anything that may be in the way (i.e. toddler toys).  We’re trying to be fast here so if you have a bunch of stuff to put away, throw it all in a basket that’s hidden, in a closet, or run it all upstairs where guests’ aren’t going to go.

Lastly, it only takes a few seconds to make sure your house smells nice.  All you have to do is light a candle, spray an air freshener, turn on an oil diffuser, or recharge some potpourri by giving it a quick stir.

Following the checklist, you should be able to do all of this in about 5 minutes.  It’s just enough time to get everything done once your friends or family text and say they are on their way.

Download your checklist by clicking on the image above or here.  Print it out and stash it somewhere handy to refer to all season long.

What are your go to things to do when you have guests coming over?

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Hosting a Direct Sales Party and Growing a Business

Do you have friends that are in Direct Sales?  I’m sure you do.  These days it seems everyone is trying to earn a little more, reach goals, and build an empire.  Once I started in direct sales, I had a new appreciation for anyone else that is in direct sales.  I recently hosted a party for a jewelry company. A friend I met through attending one of these parties is working her business to pay off medical bills from her son’s numerous trips to the hospital.

That’s the thing with direct sales.  Your friend that is selling is probably trying to pay for something really important, or contribute to the family so there can be more family time.  That’s been my biggest realization with Rodan and Fields, we’re all just people trying to do what’s best and we believe in what we’re selling.  It’s not about trying to get all of our friend’s money, it’s about sharing products we love and helping our families.

Jewelry DisplaySo, as I was saying, the jewelry party.  I met the jeweler through another friend and really liked how versatile the jewelry is.  You can wear things long, short, flip them around for a different color/look, it’s like getting three pieces in one!  Here’s how I recommend hosting a jewelry party, or any direct sales party for that matter.

1. Invite a Lot of People

Be sure to invite more people than you think will come.  Typically for this type of party, there is a 4 to 1 ratio.  So if you invite four people, it’s likely that only one of them is going to show up.  With that in mind, be sure to invite everyone.  Coworkers, neighbors, friends, church members, and encourage your guests to bring a friend.  It also helps to send several reminders leading up to your party.  Get them excited about the party with information on the products.

2. Communicate with the Seller

Confirm with the seller what the party will entail.  Will there be a formal presentation?  Do they need table space? Do they need any audio/visual equipment?  How long will the party or presentation be?  Typically most sellers will give you all of this information right up front, but as you’re planning your party make sure you are prepared for what they need and to make it the best possible party for them and your guests.  All we needed for my jewelry party was some table space and a short informal presentation of the jewelry.  The jeweler brought everything with her and set it all up.

Jewelry DisplayOne thing to take into account is lighting.  After the sun went down, my living room got a lot darker than I realized so I had to bring in another lamp to make sure we could see everything well.

3. Food/Snacks/Drinks

It always helps when hosting these parties to include some sort of snacks and drinks.  My jewelry party was hosted after dinner so I provided some snacks, sweets, and drinks.  I made a specialty pink cocktail since this was a girly type of party.

Drink StationFun straws are always a must!

I offered a variety of cheeses, my Perfect Little Appetizers, and some sweets.  One thing I did notice was that everyone seemed to gravitate towards the sweets.  I think maybe because my party was after dinner, people were already full and didn’t need as many snacks.  So be sure to take into account the time of your party and gear your snacks towards that.  In hindsight, having just a variety of desserts may have been better.

Cheese PlateThis fruit dip was a big success!  Everyone seemed to love it, and I could probably just eat it with a spoon!

The recipe I linked is pretty close to the one I used, except mine had two cups of powdered sugar instead of one.  Basically, it’s all sugar, but delicious!

Sweet TreatsThree easy steps to hosting a jewelry party, or any direct sales party is all it takes.  Initially you may think it’s a pain to host a direct sales party, but it’s actually a pretty fun night, and you’re helping someone grow their business.  What’s better than that?

Help share the love, if you or someone you know is in direct sales post a link to their website or products in the comments below!  A follow up post with all of their information may be in the future!  I hope your week is off to a great start!

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Party Mistakes I’ve Made

As this blog has grown, I find many friends and even acquaintances approaching me for advice (and sometimes approval) when it comes to parties.  It’s humbling really, because party planning and entertaining is just something I love to do.  I want to inspire people to enjoy it as much as I do.

However, even if having a party planning blog makes you some kind of expert, I think it’s necessary to admit when you make mistakes.  Want to hear all about a few mistakes I’ve made when it comes to parties, and what I could have done to solve them.  Solving them is so much easier after the fact, right?

Birthday BalloonsA recent mistake I made was at my daughter’s birthday.  I had ordered balloons in colors coordinating to the party along with a big number 2.  Perfect for her Daniel Tiger themed birthday.  I was smart and ordered and paid for the balloons about a week before the party.  I thought I was way on top of my game.

Turns out, if you aren’t clear when you communicate it will cost you.  I asked my husband to go pick up the balloons while I was getting ready for the party.  I thought I was so smart by writing down a list for him.  On the list?  Pick up balloons.  Three red, Three orange, and a gold #2 at the party store.  However, I failed to mention that I had already ordered and paid for the balloons.  So he did what he was asked and picked up the balloons, not realizing I had already paid for them, and paid for them AGAIN!  Probably some of the most expensive balloons we’ve ever had.

My solution, be sure to clearly communicate what you want done, what you’ve already done, and if you’ve already paid.

PizzaThis next mistake is one that has kind of haunted me.  For my husband’s 30th birthday I organized a really extravagant party with pool side cabanas, party buses, and flying friends in.  One detail I totally overlooked was how hungry a bunch of drunk people can get.  After the party we returned to our house with a bunch of friends and everyone wanted a late night snack.  I hadn’t planned on that so I made the only thing we had and started whipping up grilled cheese sandwiches.  It sufficed, but wasn’t ideal.

If I had just thought out the entire night, including the after party, I could have avoided making a million grilled cheese sandwiches at 2:00 in the morning.  A quick run to pick up pizza before we left would have been all that was needed.  Keeping them in the oven until we returned home would have kept them semi-warm.  If not, those drunk people wouldn’t have even cared to chow down on cold pizza.

Birthday InvitationThis was the invitation from my daughter’s latest birthday.  Nothing special, I just printed it out on the computer and glued some coordinating colored paper together.  There is one kind of major detail that I left out.  Did you catch it?  My daughter’s name is no where on it.  This caused quite a lot of confusion for the guests we mailed invitations to.  Thank goodness for return addresses or else they never would have known who was inviting them.

This just goes to show you that attention to detail is really important.  If I had enlisted the help of a proofreader  I may have been able to prevent this mistake.

I hope by letting you in on a few of my mistakes you realize we’re not all perfect.  More importantly, I hope you realize that it’s just a party.  If something goes wrong, most of your guests probably won’t even notice and will still have fun.  You shouldn’t let party mistakes ruin your good time.

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Celebrating everyday!