Tips for Hosting a Holiday Party

Ahhh…. the holidays! It is time for mistletoe, eggnog, cozy sweaters, sparkly dresses and PARTIES! I love the thousand excuses that the holidays give us for celebrating. Basically from October til February it is party central in my brain.

There is no end to the different types of parties that are thrown during the holidays. And, whether you are having a cookie exchange or an elegant cocktail party there are a few simple tips that can make hosting a holiday party less stressful and much more fun. The following tips are items I try to keep in mind when hosting events during the holidays.

1. Schedule well— Yes, the holidays are the time for parties…. which means that your guests will probably have other holiday parties to attend as well. You might have a few to attend yourself. I had a couple of good friends plan a holiday party (and invite people) just to find out that one of them had a company holiday party to attend. You don’t need to plan your event around everyone’s schedules (but, you might wanna check your calendar first) but, there are a few simple things that can ensure you and your guests a less stressful event.

  • Plan in advance…. like WAY in advance. Give a lot of notice and a few reminders if you know you want to have an event. Send out invitations at least 3 weeks early if possible.
  • Plan the event at a day and time that will be more accessible to your guests. There are going to be a ton of holiday events on the Friday and Saturday evenings in the month of December. If your event lends itself to a different time or day, try an afternoon party or a fun happy hour type event on a weekday. Or, set up an open house so that people can come and go as needed.
I used the white christmas lights and garland throughout my partyscape!
2. Use your holiday decorations in your party decor! No one wants to take down an entire Christmas tree and all the trimmings because it doesn’t exactly fit with their party theme. And, many venues will have holiday decorations up. Work with it! All the baubles and decor items that are already up can actually help save you a buck or two on the overall party while still keeping the mood festive. Move items around and restyle them to make the space extra special.
3. Limit Yourself! It is easy to go overboard with any party, but especially holiday parties… I make myself set a strict budget and limit myself on the “projects” I am doing for the party. A few ways to limit yourself and still have a successful holiday party include:
  • Do signature drinks! Instead of having a full bar or a crazy array of beverages choose one to two specialty drinks and serve with water and another popular non-alcoholic option. This is for parties with or without alchohol…. there are a lot of fun non-alcoholic specialty beverages that can be made into a delicious signature drink. Not only will you save a lot of money on beverages if you do signature holiday drinks, but you can also have some fun and make the drinks truly memorable. One of my favorite signature drinks that I’ve made in the past are the “Bubble Machine” and “Ginger Jenni” drinks I made for last year’s birthday celebration.
  • Only make a couple of food items… I am such a fan of homemade food for parties. But, spending two days in the kitchen is certainly not stress-free. If I am having an at-home holiday party I either buy at least half of my food pre-made (cheese, veggie, fruit trays are awesome for this– just take out and put on a different platter!) or ask a few guests to bring items. Having the holiday party in a restaurant? No worries! Let the restaurant do the work for you!
  • Limit myself to three DIY projects. This is the hardest part for me because I love putting DIY details into an event. Typically, I  choose to DIY some paper printables for the party, a favor, and a centerpiece item. I always want to also DIY my outfit, all the party decor, and the food and drinks… but, then I go crazy.

I hope these tips will help you in planning your holiday event.

 

 Check out my guest post of
 “Tips for Attending a Holiday Party over at Simple Moments Stick!

Today is my birthday!
Yep, my favorite day of the year… and since it is 12/12/12,
 it is also a day I’ve been looking forward to for YEARS.
I’m throwing a little birthday bash this evening
(Party etiquette says you don’t throw your own birthday parties.
But my hubby, friends, & family forgive this little etiquette misstep because they know that getting to plan a party, for me, is a gift in itself! Thanks y’all! )
Follow along my day and see lots of pretty party pictures by checking out my instagram feed @jennibost or follow the hastag #121212jennibday 

Happy 12/12/12!

Want, Need, Wear, Read– My Wish List

Typically around this time of year I am thinking so much about what I want to do for other people that I get a bunch of messages from my family and friends asking me what is on my wish list. This year was no different.

And, while of course there are things I want (I like things)… very few items come to mind when people ask that question. I’m just happy to celebrate with people, especially this year. It has been a long, tough year and I just want to spend some good quality time with people I care about.

However, my sister and mother never, ever take that as an answer…. if you follow my Pinterest boards you might have seen me go a little online window shopping crazy with my wish list. Sorry about that!

A blogger I follow posted her Want, Need, Wear, Read list and I loved it…. so, I am mimicking her a tad and putting up my own list.

Want: I really want to get some pretty barware. I am in love with the twig barware kit and glass bottles with wood stoppers from West Elm. Seriously… check out that jigger! Lovely.

Need: Oh dear, oh dear… I need new underwear and bras SO bad. Pregnancy and nursing did a number on my body. I’d like to throw out all that I have and replace them with some pretty new things from Victoria’s Secret or something similar.

Wear: This area is always my biggest wants… I love things I can wear. Makeup, perfume, lipstick, shoes, purses, accessories, clothing. I love it all. Two things that are big on my want list are a pair of cute rain boots (Target) (I live in Portland, after all!) and a nice looking camera bag (Jo Totes.)

Read: It has been so very long since I have read something longer than a blog post. There are a couple of books I want right now. But, I’m also craving a magazine subscription or two. BUT, the one book I want the most right now is the 2013 Writer’s Market Deluxe Edition. I wouldn’t mind the short story and novel edition too!

What is on your Want, Need, Wear, Read Wish List!?

Happy Thanksgiving: A Look Back at Thanksgiving 2011

I haven’t always been a big fan of Turkey Day. It wasn’t that I didn’t enjoying eating good food and getting together with family… it was that all of the other holidays overshadowed the day and made it last in my book. However, the last five years we’ve been able to spend Thanksgiving with a wonderful group of friends that I am over-the-moon thankful for! I don’t know if it is my age (starting to actually understand what thankfulness means) or this particular group of people… but, I love this holiday now!

I have so many different things to be truly thankful for, especially this year. We’ve had to depend on our friends and family to get us through a very tough year. There have been huge ups and huge downs that has made this year an especially memorable one. I’m thankful for my family, my husband’s family, my old friends, my new friends, MY SON, and the many memorable moments of the year.
Last year we celebrated as we will this year. It is going to be different with a toddler wondering around… I can’t wait to see how he likes all the tasty Thanksgiving dishes!
What a cutie in suspenders!
YUM! fooooooodddd
Our beautiful hostess!
Me enjoying an Apple Cider Margarita
Little bug was only a couple months old here and only his Oddmom can get him to go to sleep!

How do you spend your Thanksgiving?

Happy Thanksgiving… I hope that you are able to spend time with those you love, reflect on the things you are most thankful, and eat a ton of great food!

Writer’s Block: Thanksgiving Links

My brain is blank at the moment. I’ve been writing a ton lately…. and, today, two days before a HUGE deadline, my brain is fried and I can’t think of anything to write. I don’t know if I am overwhelmed by the sheer amount of work I have, if I have too many ideas to focus on one, or just have good-old-fashioned writer’s block. But, I’m blocked.

So, head on over to these awesome people’s sites who are nice and prolific.

Thanksgiving Posts from Around the Web:

  • Sarah Hearts has adorable FREE printables for your Thanksgiving wine.
  • A really adorable fox is sharing a What to Wear for Thanksgiving post over at Creature Comforts.
  • Hostess with the Mostess is sharing mini baked goods (not to be confused with Hostess brand that is going out of business) for the Thanksgiving season.
  • Glitter and Grace and The Kinas show fun ideas for dressing up and down for the Thanksgiving meals you’ll be attending.
  • Cute Fall decor and great thanksgiving food ideas from the Friendsgiving post from A Beautiful Mess.
If you are looking for other free Thanksgiving Printables or Thanksgiving Outfit Ideas then check out my posts from the past:
Have a good day. And, if my brain shows up over the next few days then I do have some items to share with you. I just need to get them out of the piled high file folders of ideas that are cluttering up my head.
Do you have any Thanksgiving inspiration to share with everyone? I’d love to see it in the comment section! I’ll post the links on my Facebook page throughout the week!

{Recipe} Apple Cider Margarita

Mmmm… is there anything better than the flavors of apples and spices together? Why, yes…there is! Add tequila! 😉 I typically enjoy rum with my apple cider. But, after I saw How Sweet It Is put out a delicious looking Apple Cider Margarita, I knew I would have to try something different. (BTW– one of my favorite food blogs!)

The Apple Cider Margarita was a HUGE hit last thanksgiving as everyone mingled and snacked before the big meal.

I had to use some items that I had on hand, so my drink is a tad different. It was super delicious though. Please let me know what you think if you try it!

Continue Reading…

{Recipe} Smore Cocktail

Last Thanksgiving I had the distinct pleasure of drinking for the first time in nearly a year. I made my plans with pumping/dumping/timing so that I wouldn’t have to worry about nursing my son and created two delicious cocktails for the hour before Thanksgiving dinner. They were AMAZING. I wanted to share these delicious cocktails with you just in case you wanted to make some for your holiday celebrations.

The first of these cocktails combines my favorite thing about the fall (Smores, Roasted Marshmallows!), my favorite flavor (Chocolate!), and alcohol.

Free Printables make the Holidays Happier

I usually don’t like the holidays until my December birthday has passed. But, I guess the addition of the kiddo has made me REALLY look forward to this year’s festivities. I even brought my lil man to see Santa today—something that I swore I’d never do. He loved it. He is a friendly kid.

Anyways… as I was avoiding my real work, I found a couple awesome holiday free printable round-ups by Hey Look. I wanted to share with you!

Colorful Gift Tags— Free Printables from Around the Web
More Free Printables from Around the Web
I’m seriously in love with the feather gift tags from Love VS Design.
Photo via Love Vs Design
I promise to hold off on the rest of my Christmas holiday posts until Thanksgiving has passed…
We’ll start getting all Fall-like and Thankful beginning tomorrow!
Cheers and Happy Holidays!

Friday Finds: Favorite Halloween Posts

One of the coolest costumes of the year! My friends Brandon and Joan. 

Alrighty, Halloween is over and we are heading into the holiday season… but, I can’t let the Halloween season go by without sending out some linking props to some really awesome Halloween parties/posts that went out this week!

And, this one has nothing to do with Halloween… or parties… but, I found this article over being busy and needing to recharge, from Simple Organized Living, super helpful and interesting.
Did you post about Halloween? 
I’d love to see it… Link in the comments and I’ll stop by!
***Photos by the fabulous Macey of Motormouth Studios. ***

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween all… I am taking today off of blogging.
 I spent the whole day having a blast with this kid. I hope you all had the happiest of evenings!

What did you do for the holiday?

Free Halloween Printables in Use

Remember the Halloween Printables I created for all my lovely Facebook fans? Well, I decided to use them in my Halloween party this year as well! I think they really turned out cute in print! Photos were snapped by my good friend Macey from Motormouth Studio while she was off-duty. It is great to have talented friends!

The free printables are still available for download. Create some quick cupcake toppers or a Happy Halloween banner on the fly!

Click here to download the free Halloween printables

{Sneak Peek} Halloween 2012

Just a quick sneak peek of the upcoming {Real Party} Halloween post.
Check in over the next two days to see more pictures and get some last minute ideas before the holiday!
These great black & white photos were snapped by my friend Macey of Motormouth Studio.

{DIY} Quick Party Decor with Glitter Tape

In creating some of the decor items for Suzannah’s Glitz and Glamour 25th Birthday Party I discovered the wonders of glitter tape. AWESOME. 
You can get pre-glittered tape or pre-glittered ribbon to make these quick DIY decor items work for your next shin-dig. If you are using glitter ribbon then use glue or double sided tape to help make things stick. I’ve got two super quick and super easy DIYs for you here. Paired with the pretty sequin vases and you’ve got yourself a Parrrtay. 

Glitter Toothpick Flags How To:

  1. Gather supplies: toothpicks, glitter tape, and scissors.
  2. Cut off a two-inch section of glitter tape.
  3. Press glitter tape on top of each other, sealing it on top of the toothpick. 
  4. Repeat several times to make a set of flagged toothpicks! 
These are great for decking out cupcakes, appetizers, and floral arrangements!

Glitter Tealights How To:

  1. Gather supplies: tealights, glitter tape, and scissors.
  2. Cut off a two-inch section of glitter tape.
  3. Wrap the glitter tape around the metal container of the tea-light candle. Press to adhere.
  4. Repeat several times to make a nice set of candles!
Place in glass tea-light holders around the party venue. It makes for easy, disposable, and inexpensive party decor.

What is your easy, go to party decor? 



{DIY} Sequin Vase with Floating Flower Centerpiece

I love when I go into a party and I see fresh flowers. But, I also know that fresh flowers can be expensive! Lately, I’ve been really into creating floating floral centerpieces because they are more cost effective and just plain gorgeous.

Yesterday I shared a few photos of my friend Suzannah’s Pink and glamorous 25th birthday party. One of my favorite DIY decor elements was the sequin vases filled with floating flowers.

This simple DIY only cost me around $2 per centerpiece! Using only some round vases from the Dollar Tree, a little glue, a bag of sequins from the local craft store, and a small bunch of roses I was able to create several of these little beauties.

How to create your own sequin vases with floating flowers:

  1. Gather your supplies: 1 vase, glue, paint brush, sequins, water, flower, and scissors. I used Elmer’s glue. Mod Podge would also do well. I also prefer roses for this type of centerpiece, but many other flowers would look just as gorgeous. I just happen to love how the rose looks all opened up and floating in water.
  2. Using a paintbrush, paint a thin layer of glue on the bottoms and sides of the vase.
  3. Pour sequins in vase and shake until covered. Let dry.
  4. Prep flowers by cutting the flowers at an angle at the place that the head of the flower meets the stem.
  5. Pour water into the dried vase. Some of the sequins will come loose and float to about an inch or two from the top of the vase. I like this and left it that way for the party.
  6. Drop the flower head into the water with the petals facing upwards. If you are using a rose and it hasn’t opened up just yet, lightly fluff the petals with your fingers or open the bud with running water. Be careful not to open the bud too quickly, as it may fall apart. 
Have fun creating these fun, inexpensive, and beautiful floral arrangements! I’d love to see a photo if you do this at one of your future events! 

{Real Party} Pink and Glamorous 25th Birthday Party Decor

I’m going to let the photos talk today on this Pink and Glamorous 25th Birthday Party I helped throw for my friend, Suzannah of Adventures in Dressmaking. I’ll be going over some great recipe ideas for a vegan bash, DIY decor elements, DIY favors, and party activities throughout the week. 
BTW, the party took place in her beautiful new house that she is blogging all about over at her blog! 

25 Reasons We Love Suzannah Guest “Books”
The Bar

Goofy photo from the “photo booth” area

Lots of pink, glitter, and sequins for this fabulous 25th birthday girl! 
Oh, and yeah… she made that dress! 
Check back tomorrow for some easy, and pretty, DIY decor! 
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