happy halloween!

Good morning party people! I hope you all have an amazing Halloween today!

Here is one last DIY idea for you in case you’re scrambling for last minute party ideas.

Lollipop Witches Brooms From LaurenConrad.com

Image

table top DIY idea from laurenconrad.com

  1. First, take a brown marker and colour the lollipop sticks solid brown. This will make them look like broomsticks.
  2. Cut even squares out of brown or gold tissue paper. We made squares that were about 4 inches by 4 inches.
  3. Poke the lollipop stick through the middle of the tissue square, then pull the tissue down around the candy part of the lollipop.
  4. Scrunch up the tissue then wrap twine around the base of the lollipop, securing the “broom” in place. Trim the edges of the tissue so that they are even and the broom will stand up on its own.
  5. Tie it all off with a name place card and place it on your table!

There you have it! I always love the great DIYs up on their site and they’re usually pretty easy to find materials for them so its the perfect last minute decor idea!

Now go celebrate!

halloween

The Paper Place

With Halloween tomorrow I wanted to share my hidden gem for party planning for any Toronto dwellers reading this!

A couple months ago I was hunting the city looking for the perfect going away present for my friend who was leaving for Singapore for a year. I was interning at a nonprofit organization that supported local food movements and so I was super involved in this whole “going local” and buying from local vendors movement so I decided to take a walk down Queen St W. My friend is an avid reader and so when I stumbled upon Type books I knew it would be perfect. I found a copy of Crazy Rich Asians (a great book by the way) about the Singapore elite and decided immediately it was the exact gift I was looking for. Next door there happened to be a gift wrapping display in the window and so I ventured in to buy some “local” gift wrap and I swear my life was changed forever.

The Paper Place is first of all the cutest place you have ever been to. It’s adorable and just full of gorgeous papers and stationary (which I have already admitted is a huge weakness) and washi tape which at the time I knew nothing about and now I’m obsessed. Here’s what the gift ended up looking like in case you aren’t a paper believer yet:

Gift Wrap and Card from The Paper Place

I was actually so proud of this gift and when I gave it to her Lindsey didn’t even want to unwrap it!

So whenever I’m in the neighbourhood I always make a point to stop by and check out the goods. Yesterday was one of those days and let me tell you it was so worth it!

First off, they just got in the new Kate Spade New York products for the office, like those adorable bow paperclips and pushpins. They also have the planners which is dangerous.

Photo courtesy of Kate Spade New York for Indigo

it was extremely hard to resist these gold paper clips!

But  most importantly, they have the cutest Halloween display ever. There are so many great little items that would be perfect for your Halloween bash! A couple of my faves were black and white chevron paper straws, creepy crawly cupcake baskets, and black cat tape dispenser (just because)!

The Paper Place

my favourite goodies collected from The Paper Place

In honour of the season, I wanted to share some tips for how to make your party stand out!

The Party Girl’s 5 Tips For A Spooktacular Halloween (yeah, I went there!)

1. Don’t Be Afraid [To Get Tacky]

My favourite part about Halloween is that it is the one occasion that totally deserves to be overdone. I think the most important thing to keep in mind when you’re decorating for Halloween is that “tacky” doesn’t have to mean ugly. You can be classy tacky and still totally rock your party. You can’t go too far with Halloween. Get those headstones for your front yard! Toss that crime scene tape in your trees! Halloween is the best theme to play with in the world and why shouldn’t you take it as far as you can? Some of the best parties I’ve been to were so overdone I still remember the details, down to the fake body parts buried under every pieces of furniture in the living room and the fog machine (yeah, it was great).

2. Save Your Pennies

You have a ton of other opportunities to spend your hard earned cash on party decor. I firmly believe that the best party ware you can purchase is functional and reusable for each party. My go to is a chocolate fountain I stole from my parents a couple years ago. It seems like it wouldn’t fit every theme but I’ve used it for Halloween before by making a “blood syrup” which sounds disgusting but was actually hilarious and really yummy. Dollarama rocked Halloween this year by totally catching on with the popular colour scheme of purple, green and orange and I got a bunch of great decorations there for decorating the office. I spent $25 and got enough to deck out two whole floors.

3. Be Crazy About Your Theme

I think any party is automatically a winner when the host has committed to a theme throughout all their party planning. Take the extra time to send out themed invitations about a month before the party date, have themed table cards for your food table with spooky names like “Eye of Newt” or “Witch Fingers”. Take advantage of all the great free printables out there (I posted some on our Facebook page a couple days ago that would work great!) and relabel your wine bottles. I think decor often gets overlooked at parties but its actually the most fun part of hosting–and attending!–a celebration!

4. Do Your Guests a Favour

Party favours aren’t just for kids and weddings anymore! With sites like Pinterest (and The Party Girl!) there are so many ideas for DIY party favours you can give to your guests as a take home. Favours are really great touches because they are personal and fun AND makes your party stand out. Some of my favourite Halloween favour ideas are mason jars with “eyeballs” (gum!) or little jars of candies that look like they belong in an apothecary.

Favour Idea from SweetStyle.com

these great little jars are stuffed with Halloween themed candy and sealed with a little ghost, how crazy cute is that! you can make your own little favours with materials like these right here: http://www.sweetstyle.com.au

5. Wear Your Disguises

I don’t understand why costumes have gone out of style with “adult” Halloween parties but I think it is a tragedy. Put a note on your invites to encourage all your guests to wear a costume and put together a fun prize for “best costume” at the end of the night. If you pump up your guests ahead of time and ensure them everybody will wear a costume, odds are they’ll get into it. Having a bunch of your friends in a well decorated house dressed outrageously makes for some of my favourite memories, so make sure you take advantage of the opportunity! Set up a Photo Booth in an area of the party that’s a little less noisy. Print out fun props or set up a basket with some dollar store goodies like bloody limbs and skulls. Toss in a scary background and have someone take pictures all night. You can print them out afterwards and send them with thank you cards to all your guests!

I hope some of these tips help you host your next party. Even if its not tomorrow, maybe you can get psyched for next Halloween. After all, it’s never too late to plan!

gratitude

ImageI have always had a love affair with stationary. I love paper stores the way a lot of other people love candy stores. I have an entire map on my phone that is solely paper stores in Toronto. If you ever want to know where to get the best wrapping paper or washi tape I am your girl. So it makes a lot of sense that I, perhaps ironically given I’m now officially a “blogger”, mourned the death of the letter.

Thankfully, stationary is making a HUGE come back. I can point you to a couple of my favourites in the city, but if you have Instagram and are as obsessed with checking out invitation suites you HAVE GOT to start following @dabneylee, @prettysmitten, @sugarpaperla, and @smittenonpaper just to name a few of our fave inspirations right now.

Image

a super cute example of gorgeous and classy stationary from Minted

One of the most important pieces of stationary you should carry with you are thank you cards. I keep a box of my current faves (found at the Paper Place on Queen St W by Trinity Bellwoods park for any Toronto dwellers!) on my desk at all times. Even if I’m not using one they remind me it’s always important to show people in your life that you appreciate them.

Image

paper doesn’t mean boring: check out this cheeky note from Ashley Brook Designs, perfect for sending someone a congrats message or thank you for a service performed!

But more importantly, thank you cards are pretty much at the top of the list of party etiquette. It is always appropriate to send a thank you, whether it be for a thoughtful gift or just for coming to your event; people are extremely busy and whenever somebody makes the effort to come and celebrate something with you it’s nice to let them know you appreciate that.

So that brings up an important question: how do you write a thank you card? 

I was doing a little research today (i.e. shopping online) and found this great list on Indigo.ca’s Kate Spade New York page (side note, if you haven’t checked that out yet it’s a MUST, there are so many great pieces coming out it’s an incredibly exciting change for Chapters!) that I think is really helpful:

5 Tips for Writing the Perfect Thank You Card

Image

Thank you’s should be short and sweet. But they should also be heartfelt. My favourite thing about the box of cards I found is that there are options. There are 6 thank you cards and 6 blank cards. Having some blank cards means that I can personalize my own note. If it’s a coworker’s birthday a little note with some flowers is a perfect, inexpensive and classy gift. If you have a meeting with someone send them a thank you for their time. If a friend did you a huge favour send them a little note with a Starbucks gift card with a message to grab a latte break on you.

Image

one of my friends gave me this little note when I moved to Toronto and I kept it this whole time because it was just the sweetest gesture!

Giving thanks is one of the best ways to make sure all your guests remember your parties fondly, and with such gorgeous ways to send notes I think every Party Girl should make the extra effort to be gracious everyday 🙂

2am cookies

I have this horrible compulsive problem where I underestimate the time projects will take me. I know I don’t suffer alone, but sometimes I just cannot accept how horrible I am at time management. I had a million blog posts planned but I had to follow up with this year’s Thanksgiving debacle because it seemed important to share with everybody how sometimes even the best laid plans…well, you know. 

As I mentioned in the last post about how I overachieve Thanksgiving every year, I said I’d contribute cranberry sangria for dinner. This seemed like an amazing idea because a) who doesn’t love wine and fruit? and b) it seemed adorably festive and appropriate. This was before I researched whether cranberry sangria was a thing of course. I just assumed that hey, its a fruit and hey, there’s a juice for that so really it’s gotta be possible. 

I immediately noticed a problem upon researching recipes. Apparently cranberry sangria is some sort of fancy holiday concoction created by professional bartenders and people with a lot more alcohol skills than me. For example, as if I could find a recipe that didn’t involve brandy. What is brandy?! Finally I got tired of feeling like a total loser in the liquor store and I just put together a bunch of different recipes and worked it out. Surprisingly, Frankensteining the crap out of a bunch of alcohol has zero negative results and it tasted amazing, so I’m going to share it with you guys for your parties!

The Party Girl Cranberry Sangria

1 bottle of red wine * Side note, this sounds easy but hell it took FOREVER to find one that wouldn’t clash with all the cranberry I poured in there. I’m going to make your life a little easier because I’m a great person and say go to the California section in LCBO and track down a Zinfandel. There are a bunch that say Zinfandel White, but they’re pink. It makes zero sense and contributed to the ten whole minutes I spent staring at wine. Just don’t get that one. The best suggestion I can make is that I bought one called Dancing Bull Zinfandel and it was perfect, and didn’t seem like anything special so I’d say if you can find it in your LCBO, stick with that!

 

1 cup orange juice

5 cups cranberry juice * Completely of your choice, I used cranberry cocktail because I have no issue with whatever they put in it that makes it not 100% cranberries but I know some people aren’t into that so use your own preference!

1 cup (!!!) Triple Sec *Don’t judge me. 

1/2 cup fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced

1 green apple, cored and sliced (you can leave the skin on or take it off, whichever!)

1/2 sliced lime

1 sliced orange

 

Add all the ingredients together and pop it in the fridge for at least a couple hours. I think the longer you leave it the better, and five hours is always the suggested chill time, but who has time for that? I chilled mine for about two hours before we broke it open and it was still great, and refreshing!

 

Anyways it was a big hit, and pretty easy once the original searching was over. One suggestion then, don’t do what I did and serve it like this:

Image

Important tip: not all spoons are created equal.

I also decided that I couldn’t let last year’s cupcakes disappear into history along with the other nontraditional Thanksgiving desserts, so this year I decided to do some sugar cookies and decorate them. I’m going to post the recipe I use and some better tips in another blog about a birthday party I did because those cookies looked infinitely more professional, but I wanted to share these here to make all those other procrastinators feel better. 

I got home around 7 (I worked until 5 and then stopped off at Target for a rolling pin, because I’d been using a wine bottle and for once didn’t have an empty wine bottle hanging around…which now that I think about it is probably embarrassing…anyways, and then Target became this huge ordeal because I have no willpower and so I was home by 7) and then baked the cookies and whipped up the icing and started to decorate around 9. Huge mistake. My motivation to draw turkeys did not extend beyond 10pm and they slowly started to look really cartoony instead of artistically magical. Not to mention my handwriting broke down around the same time and I wrote “thanks” wrong on the “give thanks” cookies about four times. So this wasn’t a huge success for my culinary portfolio (this, ladies and gents, is why hiring a caterer is never a weakness!) BUT the kids loved the cookies and everybody assumed I made them childish on purpose to appeal to all the under 5s and I just rolled with that because THAT IS WHAT PARTY PLANNERS DO, folks. I didn’t go to bed until 2am so by the time I got them there Sunday for dinner I was just grateful I was contributing anything edible. 

Image

You can really see where everything started to go downhill.

Anyways, I hope everybody had a great Thanksgiving, and don’t forget to check out our website thepartygirl.ca which should be up by the end of this week! So exciting!