Well good morning Party Girls! We are in the middle of planning a pretty amazing (if we do say so ourselves) birthday party for a special little girl this weekend, and trust us when we say we are functioning on very little sleep. This is where we’d insert hashtag partyplannerproblems, but we’re too classy for hashtags in blogs 😉
ANYWAYS, before we get to sharing all those fun details next week, we had another party on our sleeves. This one is an oldie but a goodie. Last summer Meal Exchange, a non-profit organization committed to changing food systems on university/college campuses and communities across Canada, celebrated a big year with three major milestones, marking the anniversary of their creation, the first National Student Food Summit, and their time as a registered charity. To celebrate, I (Ashley) got to help them plan an anniversary party, and it was SO MUCH FUN!
We wanted to take a break from our hectic crafting for the weekend and share some fun photos of a past event. Plus, it makes us nostalgic for summer, which is perfect on this cloudy rainy Toronto day.
First of all, how amazing is this venue? We were super fortunate to partner with the Centre for Social Innovation in the Annex and host the party here. It was the perfect industrial [okay super hipster] vibe for a university student driven, local food movement loving group of people.
The balloon raffle is a sweet personal favourite of mine, because I love the idea of little surprises in balloons. Basically we had about 25 helium balloons with numbers inside, and for $10 guests could buy a balloon, pop it (it was violent and amazing and perfect), and they’d win whatever prize corresponded with that number. It got pretty intense. As a charity event our budget was pretty slim (as in non existent) so we were able to get a bunch of amazing sponsors donate super cool prizes.
We also partnered with some amazing local artisans from Etsy who donated locally sourced and handmade products for our goody bags. We had gluten free/nut free snacks, handmade soaps, cool Meal Exchange swag, and more, it was adorable.
Okay, now I’m starving. The only thing about planning an event for a bunch of socially conscious food-movement activists is the menu. We were super lucky to team up with a catering company that had a lot of experience with vegetarian/gluten free/allergen safe menu planning, so we had a lot of really delicious options. And it gave me an excuse to have those little food labels made. I am a sucker for food labels.
A major part of the event programming was taking the opportunity to thank all the members and volunteers. There was a little award ceremony to recognize some outstanding people who work hard to promote sustainable food practices and Meal Exchange, which was a such a fun and special way to honour the night and celebrate the anniversary aspect.
For me, spending my summer working with these amazing people, laughing and cramped into a tiny office in a gorgeous old building downtown with no air conditioning and full of art and birds (yup, there was a floor bird sanctuary) and designers and weird caves (okay, coolest place ever right?) was so inspiring. The event took place on the Saturday evening of three day student conference, where we woke up at 5am and went to bed at 1am. I didn’t sleep for over 24 hours before party day. It was amazing.
So how about that? All in all it was a super fun party. I tried to include the links below for the vendors, but if I forgot anybody I’m so sorry. Make sure you stay tuned for this weekend’s party craziness, and have an amazing day!
Balloons – Ballontrix
Catering – Delightfully Yours
Venue – CSI Annex
Want to see more photos? Head here 🙂
Hi Party Girls! We hope you enjoyed a good weekend filled with sun and fun. Sorry in advance for the lateness of the post, between working on our special surprise plus starting a new job it has been a super busy couple of days. But never worry, mani monday is here. I have been so inspired by the hot summer days we’ve been having lately, it reminds me of long days at the beach spent by the water. That’s why this week we’re doing a nautical nail design!
Thanks to my friend Anna who did the nail design and took the photographs. As you will see she is amazing at nails! Now normally I would stick to the traditional white, navy blue and red, but this time we wanted to try something a bit different so we added a cool metallic blue and a pink for some change.
So try this summery nail design next time you head up to the cottage!
Hi party girls! We hope you’ve had a good week, cause we sure have! It’s been a packed week and we’ve been working non stop. Did you see the new surprise we have coming your way? We’ve been working hard to bring you something that is going to help you with all of your party needs! Can you guess what it is?
While you’re trying to guess, why not also check out the many cool events happening in Toronto this weekend!
Spring Festival of Craft Breweries
As summer is soon to arrive with patios about to be swarmed, this festival marks the perfect chance to try out some unique craft beers. This year the festival with feature four dozen different craft beers showcasing saison and session beers. This is the perfect festival for all of you beer out there! Admission is free and most sample tickets are $1 so head to C’est What on Front street to check it out!
Woofstock is the largest outdoor festival in North America, designed exclusively for dogs and the people who love them. This fun and quirky event runs for two full days at Woodbine Park in Toronto Beaches. With a variety of vendors, and crazy contests such as “Weiner Dog Races” and “Woofstock Fashion Show”, this event is sure to entertain. So grab your pup and head down!
Doors Open Toronto
For one weekend a year, buildings across Toronto open their doors to the public during the Doors Open Toronto festival. This years’ theme is Secrets and Spirits, focusing on secret spaces and stories from all over Toronto. There will be more than 155 buildings from across the city open that will be hosting architectural and ghostly walking tours, the Doors Open Speaker Series, art exhibits and much more. This is a great opportunity to check out the mystery behind those buildings we walk by every day! Visit http://www.toronto.ca/doorsopen to see the full list of participating sites.
What will you be doing this weekend? Let us know if you’ll be going to one of these are any other events in the comments below!
So for those who didn’t know, earlier this month I (Ashley) celebrated my 23rd birthday. We went back and forth on whether or not we were going to have a party, but at the end of the day we were bummed we were missing Cinco de Mayo (we both had work/plans and it was just way too hard) and I am OBSESSED with the idea of having a fiesta party. And so was born the idea of a [belated] Cinco de Mayo/fiesta themed birthday party.
So because I’m obsessed with food stations, we had TWO (that’s right) different kinds of help yourself food bars, one featuring tacos (oh yeah) and one featuring sangria, mostly because I found the most adorable double drink dispenser and I needed to justify buying it, and also it was fun to have that much wine on hand.
We wanted it to be a really fun late night snack kind of party, so we kept the food pretty simple. This is an acceptable way to say that I made a giant menu, everybody else said I needed to calm down, and then in the end we still had too much food.
Obviously we made cactus cupcakes, because they are adorable, and I can’t not have cupcakes at a party. They were actually super easy and they looked cute in those little clay pots I got at the dollar store. We also made beergaritas, which are basically margaritas with a bottle of Corona in them. Basically they were fantastic, if not a little strong. A lot strong. Very strong.
As someone who has experience with picky taco eaters (hard shell forever, okay?) I graciously decided to have hard, soft and nacho chips at the party, and it was way more fun because we had a million more dips and it was amazing.
Until I found this picture I forgot I made sombrero cookies! They were so fun and colourful and combined sugar cookies and brownies which is like the best dessert in the world. Even though it was spontaneous the sangria bar was so much fun I don’t know why we’ve never done it before. I basically combined my two favourite sangria recipes (one red and one white and both previously blogged because we are sharers here at the Party Girl) and put them in my amazing dispenser. I made the base and then we set out some fruits and mint for people to add as they wanted. So fun!
So that’s that! We wanted to share how simple everything was, and we did most of it ourselves! We have some DIY projects we can share (like how to make those fab numbers!) but for now this seemed like a fun way to share some easy party fun. I wish we’d thought to get more pictures because I found a local supplier for 17″ balloons and went a little crazy. We could have done an entire post on how much fun it is to buy a dizen 17″ balloons and then transport those balloons in the backseat of a normal sized car.
The man at the party store was like, “Do you have a van?”
And I was like “…No, is that bad?”
The answer was yes. It was horribly awkward.
I digress, hope you liked it!
So one of my favourite ways to celebrate at themed parties is themed cookies. I love love love sugar cookies. First of all they’re delicious, second, almost everybody I know loves them, and third, they’re so customizable! No wonder this recipe was one of the first I perfected in all my party-planning prep, and one of my all time favourites. After all this practice I’ve managed to get it down to a science!
If you’ve ever seen our food table set ups at parties then you’ve probably seen some sugar cookies somewhere in there, generally in fun shapes and elaborately decorated (but okay, we aren’t artists so it’s elaborate if you have low standards…). Anyways, we thought it would be fun to share the cookie recipe so you can give it a try too, and of course we added in our favourite Royal Icing recipe as well, so you can practice decorating 🙂
1 cup of unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cup icing sugar
2-3 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 (start with that and add more if dough is too wet/stick)-2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees.
2.Cream together softened butter and icing sugar. If you’re using a mixer, use the paddle attachment for this recipe.
3. Crack the egg into a separate bowl, and add the vanilla. Add that to the butter sugar mixture and mix until the egg is thoroughly incorporated.
4. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt, then add little by little to the mixture. You’ll start noticing the dough sticking to the paddle in chunks. When you give it a little poke it should have a bit of flex but not too much.
5. Roll out the dough to about 1/4 an inch thick (use flour for dusting if you need it!) Cut and bake at 400 degrees for 7-8 minutes. Keep an eye on your oven because of course there’s room for error in the cooking times. This version makes 2-2 1/2 dozen.
1 lbs icing sugar (2 cups approximately)
3 tbsp meringue powder
1/3 cup water
1 tbsp vanilla
1. Begin by stirring the vanilla into half the water in a separate bowl.
2. Using a paddle attachment, gently mix the icing sugar and meringue powder in your mixer.
3. With the mixer on it’s lowest setting slowly add the water/vanilla mix to the dry ingredients. As the water is added, the icing will become thick and lumpy.
4. Continue to add the remaining water (you might not even need the whole amount) until the mixture reaches a thick, honey like consistency. At this point, turn the mixer to medium speed and whip 2-4 minutes until this icing is thick and fluffy. Mixing time can vary greatly so watch carefully and stop mixing when the icing is this enough to form a soft peak.
In terms of decorating, I think our skills have developed as we’ve started using cookies more and more as table decor (the best kind of decorations are the ones you eat afterwards!). Definitely the first time (the One Direction cookies for a birthday party we featured a while back) took a lot longer.
The thing about royal icing too is that you’re making white icing. Any colour you want you have to dye. You can get some good deals on Wilton dyes at Party City and Michaels in little packs of different colours, and those are definitely our favourites because the colours come out really true to what the dye advertises, so it saves you some time playing with food colouring and mixing.
As you get more familiar with your recipes, your dyes, and your tools, you’ll find you get more confident in the types of cookies you can do for each theme, and it opens the door for a lot of really fun interpretations! Our favourite so far were probably the Easter cookies we made, featuring carrots, rabbits, and easter eggs. 🙂
So that’s that! We loved the idea of sharing some of our favourite recipes, so stay tuned for more of our party menu successes!
It’s been a busy week at the Party Girl but we wouldn’t send you into the long weekend without giving you some things to check out! We’re spending our weekend recharging and getting a bunch of new posts ready for you, so stay tuned. In the meantime, check out what you can do if you’re in the Toronto area this weekend!
Feeling a little dangerous this weekend? Why not try out beginners axe throwing? For $40 you too can practice the ancient art of throwing heavy sharp forest tools at targets! It’s BYOB so grab your friends, a couple six packs, and wear your cutest lumberjack heels because nothing says “I had an amazing weekend” like an axe throwing lesson.
Get Your Shop On
Not feeling the axe throwing (come on, you laughed out loud reading that one!)? What better way to spend your Victoria Day weekend stuck in the city (oops, did we say that out loud?) than shopping? You are in luck, because Craft and Guile are doing 50% off their adorable spring lines. All weekend long, 11am-8pm.
Looking to score an even bigger sale? Check out the Kate Spade Outlet at Halton Hills, who are celebrating the long weekend with 50% off the entire store, plus an additional 20% off handbags. That’s right ladies, we already road tripped there last night and got ourselves some goodies and it was glorious. It’s going on until Tuesday May 20 but things are selling out super fast so get out there!
Bloggers Who Brunch
Guess what ladies? If you’re reading this, it means you’re into blogs. And that means there is a space for you at Fat Girl Food Squad’s “Bloggers Who Brunch”, a mid-morning social session for bloggers, writers, photographers and anyone else into that sort of thing. 🙂 Saturday May 17th at 11:30 find them at The Libertine, 1307 Dundas St. W for a $25 prix fixe menu (the BEST KIND OF BRUNCH GIRLS!)
Impress the Littles
Need something to entertain the kids this weekend? Saturday, Sunday and Monday at the Harbourfront Centre check out the International Circus Festival. It’s exactly like a festival, but it’s one giant circus. I can’t even explain how amazing that sounds. If you’re into acrobats, crazy stunts, and comedy, pretty sure this is where it’s at this weekend. Check out their website for more details: http://www.tocircusfestival.com/
That’s probably enough to keep you busy this weekend, but of course there are a TON of other events going on (pretty much every club in the city is having some sort of bash, if you’re into that scene, plus there are a bunch of art parties going on around the city too) so if you feel like wandering the city this weekend you’ll definitely find something to do. That’s the beauty of Toronto, right?
Have an amazing weekend Party Girls!