christmas dinner party box

party box insider

Get the insider scoop on our Christmas Dinner Party Box, available in the Shop now!

When I was growing up holiday dinners were a big thing at my grandmothers house. We had ornate Christmas displays, colourful Easter decorations, and frivolous little Halloween creatures. My grandmother’s tables are probably responsible for my party planning obsessions, actually. So it’s only fitting that following her lead, we were talking about how people entertain during the holidays. Christmas (and Thanksgiving for that matter, although some people have different traditions for the latter) is one of the primary holidays were people celebrate with family dinners. And dinner parties can seem hard to decorate. You don’t have the same “food table” that you usually have at other parties, and guests aren’t expecting much more in the way of decor other than a tree or so (or so, lol my childhood).

Luckily, no occasion (and I mean NO occasion, you should see my table right now) is celebrated without some little touch somewhere, so decorating for the seemingly-everyday is super fun for us! Creating the Christmas Dinner Party Box was a way to give people the gift of a simpler holiday. Think of what you could do with the time you’d save worrying over a centrepiece or all those dishes (that’s right, we found cute DISPOSABLE dishware for this one, my aunt’s genius trick) or how to give your guests little holiday tokens without breaking the bank?

We’ve got you covered.

holiday dinner party box table set up holiday dinner party box side viewAfter all, planning a party during the holidays can be stressful, and with all that pressure to throw Pinterest-worthy dinners, it can seem impossible! Our goal is to make your holidays seamless.

Think of the tag line as : “Make your table the belle of the Instagram-ball without lifting that manicured finger.”

We want to give you all the tools you need to host the ultimate Christmas dinner party, with the least amount of work. It’s a party delivered to your doorstep!

holiday dinner party box plate setting

What you get:

– 6 chargers (3 red, 3 green)
– 6 red premium plastic dinner plates
– 6 paper appetizer/dessert plates
– 12 paper straws
– 12 cocktail stirrers
– 6 ornament wine tags
– centrepiece (2 large red trees, 2 small gold trees and 2 holiday wreaths)
– 1 gold table runner
– 1 black tablecloth
– 6 snowflake placemats
– 6 ornament place card holders
– 6 custom place cards
– 1 customized invitation (available printed or digital, perfect for last minute, get the invite today and the box delivered just before your party!)
– 1 paper dot bunting
– 6 pre-wrapped (in gold boxes) mini “grow your own” spruce tree favours
– 24 gold foil cupcake liners
– 24 ornament cupcake toppers
– plus a special surprise from The Party Girl!

holiday dinner party box favour holiday dinner party box mini tree

We thought of a lot of little details that can make life a little easier on the average hostess (down to individually wrapped mini spruce trees for your guests) so not everything is pictured here. But we’ve got tons more, so leave us a comment if you want to see what else you get with this Party Box!

We’re here to make sure that the only thing you need to worry about this holiday season is when to bring out the bubbly. Order your Christmas Dinner party box today!

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bloodshed and breaches

shark week header

Okay, so first of all, the title of this post is the name I decided on for our Shark Week party this year. I am still laughing about that. I feel like if you aren’t avid shark week fans (and shame on you if you aren’t, just kidding apparently that’s rude) that’s confusing for you, but basically sharks are the most amazing thing ever. And when they jump out of the water it’s called a breach. It looks like this:

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SO MAJESTIC. Anyways, my obsession with shark week has been known to surpass my holiday spirit. This year I decided to have a shark week themed pool party. And now I’m sharing because it was SO MUCH FUN.

shark week headerSo it is a sad truth that most of our little get togethers are mostly advertised through Facebook these days. Still, I can’t accept not making some sort of little invitation. So I made a cover photo for the event page and then a more stylized invite:

shark week party invite

My friend Lindsey (you may remember her from this post) made these sweet little cupcakes. You can find the toppers on Amazon here.

shark week cupcakes

We had mostly snacks since it was a pool party. I figured we’d order pizza but we actually ate so much it wasn’t a huge issue. And we made sangria that looked like blood. AMAZING. I’d give you a recipe but we just poured whatever we found in. It was the best ever.

We bought some blow up sharks and tossed them in the pool. I also bought some flutter boards at the dollarstore and painted them silver. I cut out giant shark fins from foam boards and painted those too, then hot glued them to the boards to float in the pool. It was so funny. I wish I had a picture but apparently I missed that part. Must have been the mystery sangria.

Lindsey is also super handy with knives. She cut this watermelon into a shark.

watermelon shark

And then, because I’m super creative and not at all weird (there may have been whispers), I suggested we use a big chunk of watermelon as a shark victim. I called it “the dead thing” all day. But it looked awesome.

shark week watermelon

Since it was outdoors we didn’t have many actual decorations. The pool was all decked out with shark themed toys so that added to the appeal, plus the food. But we did get some balloons! The idea was to string them all up around the pool and tape shark fins to them. The goal was also to get 36″ balloons. In reality, my friend Vicky was almost laughed out of the party store for asking for 6 of those giant balloons. Apparently you need a large truck for that. We ended up getting one giant one and then a few little ones. The shark fins were a cute touch though.

shark week balloonPlease note the shark fin on top. Amazing.

We also made jello shooters that were themed. It was the best part. We made them blue like the ocean and then let them set. When they were almost completely set I put a drop of red food colouring in so it sat on top and then shoved the paper shark fins in. It made the red spread out like blood. The blood theme is starting to seem weird but they were delicious.

shark week jello shots

Of course we also had to make nacho dip (you can revisit my love for that here) but I got inspired with some triangular tortilla chips to make little shark fins in that too.

shark week dip

We had a projector set up playing all the highlights from shark week, but we had so much fun sitting around by the pool on a Sunday afternoon I didn’t catch any of the shows.

Luckily I watched them all week. Otherwise that would have been tragic.

how to: throw a last minute party

header lunchIt’s no secret that the Party Girl team is obsessed with celebrating even the smallest of moments. That’s why our meetings have typically been pretty intense, featuring new recipes we’re test running or diy projects we’ve worked on. But with us all busy with our day jobs, keeping up with our amazing social media community, plotting out new blog ideas, and working on the official launch of the first Party Box and it’s prototype photo shoot (!!!), our last meeting snuck up on me.I remembered the night before at like 8pm (while I was stuck downtown at the office until 9 I might add) and hysterically texted Justin a last minute grocery list (and then bribed him to do said shopping, and since I had to suffer through his movie pick that Friday night as a result you better have liked it girls!).

But what exactly can you do when you have no time to prep the night before and you work until 5 on the day of your 5:30 PG meeting? 

The answer? A LOT! Thanks to some easy project ideas we had on our list of posts to do I already had some ideas, and some go to favourites for last minute party snack pleasers. It turned out to be super cute, super delicious, and super easy! It got me thinking about how this set up could work for any last minute get together.

Your girlfriends are coming over on a lazy Sunday? Read this. Your grandmother is surprising you by dropping by for tea in three hours? Yay! We’ve got you covered. Read on for how you can pull off the perfect afternoon snack for any last minute party!

The Goods:

step 1

1. Beverages

Obviously you can change this up depending on what kind of situation you’re in. Our last meeting involved some sangria, and it was amazing, but it also wasn’t super productive. There’s something about summer wine that makes it harder to talk about business permits and more fun to talk about our love lives. Weird. 

Anyways, this time I figured we needed something a little more meeting appropriate, so I stuck with juice. I bought this amazing juice container at Superstore for like $18 or something ridiculous. It’s two stackable dispensers that each hold 1 gallon of juice (or sangria, or whatever), and the third container at the bottom holds ice. It’s amazing. I love it. You may remember it from my birthday where we set it up with red and white sangria and made a sangria bar. I am just now considering how much wine is featured on this blog. 

This time I made ice tea and lemonade, which was perfect for a killer hot summer afternoon, and paired perfectly with the light snacks. 

2. Finger Cookies

Okay, so I am the product of a grandmother obsessed with the perfect snacks for entertaining, so sometimes my Miss Manners-esque education slips into my party planning. Finger cookies is absolutely my favourite lesson I learned from my grandmother. I have no idea why I love them so much, but they fit perfectly on tea cup saucers (that’s probably not the reason but it’s a fun perk; ever balance a cupcake on one of those? no, you haven’t) and they always look so pretty and girly. 

For this meeting, I made a couple different options and placed them on a lace doily (of course I did) on a cake plate. They looked adorable. I had some left over royal icing from who even knows what sugar cookie post at this point, and I dipped the ends of strawberry wafers, fortune cookies (the reason I have those is another post for the future) and Scottish shortbread fingers in them and then rolled them around in sprinkles. I actually couldn’t stop staring at them they looked so cute. The shortbread was the best. 

3. Desserts

I feel like this one speaks for itself. I love mini cupcakes. I actually do. You can eat so many of them and not feel bad, and they’re so fun and sweet. These ones were just little tiny vanilla cupcakes with buttercream icing. I made them yellow and blue because it was the most summery dyes I had in the cupboard AND because I had just made that footed vase with the sunflowers and it just was too perfect to pass up. 

4. Salt

This one is not pictured but its another party staple for me because a) I’m obsessed with nachos and b) the layered nacho dip is a specialty in our household that we’ve perfected to the point it needs to be showcased whenever possible. 

Everybody makes this differently, but I mix 1 package of cream cheese with about 3 generous tablespoons (the kitchen spoon variety) of sour cream and blend in the mixer until smooth. Then I spread it in a glass dish, pour salsa over it, add grated cheese and sliced green onions, and voila. My mother in law makes it with a layer of ground beef with taco spice in between the cream cheese/sour cream and salsa layers, and my friends make it with guacamole added in there somewhere. It’s all good. EVERYTIME.

5. Mini sandwiches

If you don’t look closely, maybe this looks like a lot of horrible sugary desserts (you’re wrong! how dare you!) and some weird girly snack fest, and okay you aren’t totally wrong because we love to eat and it’s damn good food, BUT there are substantial items on that table! Mini sandwiches are the best snack food you can ever learn to make. And they are WAY easier than real sandwiches, which is good because who has time for that? 

I learned how to make mini sandwiches after I had to read The Importance of Being Earnest in university and I couldn’t get over the scene with the cucumber sandwiches. I assumed they were this big fancy deal (and some recipes ARE ridiculous) but then I got the idea to make the easiest tea party snack ever and you’ll love me forever. 

I usually make more than just cucumber because not everybody is obsessed as I am. Some people think these are weird. Those people have questionable taste. Anyways, I always throw in some deli meat in half so they don’t feel bad. I buy a really long baguette at the bakery and then slice it all up into thin-ish slices perfect for mini sandwiches. Your bread choice is crucial. Just get a baguette. It’s already the perfect size and honestly you think you’ll do better with bread but then you’ll have to make weird shapes and get out cookie cutters and it just doesn’t make sense. On a quarter of the slices put some deli meat, mustard, mayo, whatever your guests are into. Put another quarter of the slices on top. To make a sandwich. You see? 

On the REST, spread some cream cheese. You can use any flavour but I stick to the original because the cucumber matches it perfectly. But if you want to be all risqué fine. Slice a cucumber up and place one slice on each cream cheese-covered slice of bread and combine into sandwich form. That’s it. You just made an English delicacy. You’re welcome. 

6. Fruit

Okay this can’t be understated, if you’re going to toss that many dessert options you need salt to tone it down (nachos). If you’re going to have nachos you need beverages to absorb the carbs. This is a real thing. Anyways, that’s the juice. If you have sandwiches you need something light and juicy and delicious to make you feel like you’re eating a meal even if you’re actually shoving seven mini sandwiches in your mouth. Enter: fruit. Fruit platters are like the best party trick ever. All your food tables should have fruit somewhere. EVERYBODY LOVES FRUIT. Unless you’re rich and/or desperate for time, don’t waste your money on a fruit tray. Just buy some berries, some grapes (are grapes berries? hmm…) and you’re good to go. You can also buy a watermelon if it’s summer and you don’t mind the time to cut it up (hint: I do). Berries are versatile. You wash them and throw them in a pretty tray. That’s it. You’re done. You’ve providing something colourful and delicious and good for you and you did it for the quarter of the cost of a professional tray with like zero fruit but a high calorie chocolate yogurt dip which, let’s be honest, is a weird concept. 

7. The “fun” item

If you like trying new things, every party needs to have one fun element that people look at immediately and go “holy crap that’s amazing I love that idea it’s so neat”. People don’t even need to EAT the fun item. Just by virtue of BEING there you have completed your party table. This is the best advice I will ever give you. At our fiesta party I made cactus cupcakes. They were gigantic and almost physically impossible to eat in a social setting, because they were in  clay pots and piled high with icing and a huge mess, but they looked adorable. People still talk about those cupcakes, even though I would see a small fraction ate them at the party (I sent them home with people, and the rest with my brother, who apparently I don’t count as people, because I didn’t want two dozen giant icing cupcakes in my life after my birthday). At our St. Patrick’s Day brunch it was the rainbow jello shooters that looked amazing but turned out to get everybody immediately wasted at 11 in the morning because each layer had a ton of alcohol in them (it was an IRISH brunch okay?) and I didn’t take that into account. But they looked so sweet! They fit the theme perfectly. THERE WAS A GOLD COIN ON TOP! This is the fun item in action.

At our meeting the fun item was the meringue nests. There are a couple of important things to note about this:

1) I found these at the grocery store in the wrong aisle (I was looking for wafers and it was this whole ordeal just never mind) and I was feeling righteous and putting them in the right place but I couldn’t find them (what is meringue? where does that go in a grocery store? come on people) and I just gave up and put them in the cart. It was a really strange “well if I can’t put them away I’LL JUST BUY THEM” moment that makes no sense but oh well. I remembered them the morning of the meeting and decided to use them. But how to display? Age old question.

2) I wanted to do this super cool chalkboard platter but I couldn’t find it in the Chapters across from my office on my way home from work (are you paying attention, this is 5pm and I’m not home yet to prep for the meeting, this is LAST LAST MINUTE people) so I popped into Dollarama on a whim and found a cheap wood cutting board and some black craft paint and thought why not? It turned out AMAZING. Actually I love it. It cost me $3 to make it and I wiped off the chalk with a wet cloth after and it came off fine. I can use it forever. For anything! SO SO SO fun. The moral of #2 is that you should go out right now and buy a cutting board and some black craft paint because it will make any last minute party look like you planned for days when in reality you got home fifteen minutes before your friends come over and whipped this all up. Yes. 

step 2

I wanted you to have a closing image of those finger cookies because I don’t think I can accurately describe how sweet they looked. But that’s it! These 7 steps are literally all you need to toss together an emergency party. If you don’t have time to grocery shop you can amend most of these things from what you dig out of your cupboard, but your guests will never know! 

Unless you laugh about it and tell your friends the whole meeting how little time you put into it and then blog about it on a website you share with those friends. In which case that’s on you. 

Happy Tuesday! Hope you’re recovered from your long weekend 😉

 

 

hooked catering launch party

HEADER HOOKED

I’m so excited to be back online! We’re still getting used to our new design, and how CRAZY IN LOVE we are with it. It’s super cute, and all the new changes have us so excited about the future of The Party Girl! We are so grateful for the overwhelming support we got on our old site, and we hope many of you made the move with us to thepartygirl.ca!

In case you didn’t notice (or see Ashley obsessing over it last week) we have some brand new tabs up there that mean big things for us – and hopefully you guys! Check out the Party Box tab to learn more about the project coming your way, and soon the Shop tab will be full of parties to make your life a little bit easier!

Now for the fun stuff. We were so excited to be invited to the launch party/pop up for Hooked Catering on July 19 at artisan coffee roastery Propeller Coffee Co. in Toronto. Hooked is the product of Toronto based George Brown College student Jessica Lagman. While Jessica’s passion for food led her to found the catering company, her love of storytelling is the true vision behind Hooked‘s sure to be successful rise in the Toronto food industry.

hooked

The Party Girl team rolled up Saturday night excited for a night of creative storytelling through interactive stations and delicious food and cocktails. And we weren’t disappointed! We were immediately charmed by the venue, nestled in artsy warehouse and factory-rich Bloordale Village. Pretty loft lighting and gorgeous wide open spaces set the perfect scene for the pop up party, which not only launched Hooked‘s brand new menu, but also featured booths from artists, photographers, event industry professionals, and some guest djs! I loved the handmade jewellery by Hypatia and Dissian. Their creations were so stunning and unique, I was tempted to buy some for myself! 

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vendor artist

Jessica did an amazing job of creating a fun and interactive experience! We loved browsing the different booths, but the best part was the incredible food Hooked provided. Pulling from Japanese, Korean, Filipino, Polynesian, and modern comfort food for influence, the menu featured mouth watering dishes like lobster rolls, salmon tataki, mushroom pate, and coconut crab cakes (hungry yet?).

food 2

hooked food

As you know we’re huge supporters of food stations, so we were obsessed with delicious options at the rice bowl bar (I couldn’t get over the Kimchi Musubi, I’m still thinking about it), anguished over decisions at the waffle station (caramelized banana or nutella, HOW CAN WE POSSIBLY CHOOSE?!) and argued about the appropriate way to make shaved ice (with tapioca obviously, or shredded coconut, or ube, oh god…).

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We were so impressed by the beer bottles, donated by Collective Arts Brewery.They’re dedicated to bringing together the cultural influences of music, film and the arts with the talents of craft brewmasters. Each bottle features limited edition works of art while the inside is full of well crafted beers. Super cool, and really refreshing idea!

cookies

Overall the event was fabulous! I went home completely full and so excited to write this post! I absolutely recommend trying Hooked Catering next time you are thinking of running an event. Just ask for Jessica and let her handle the rest, you won’t be disappointed!

 

it’s canada day, “eh”?

EH header

 

Happy Canada Day Party Girls! In the spirit of our last minute Canada Day party ideas crunch this past week, we have one final ULTIMATE last minute project that will take you the equivalent of reading this to make. If you’re  a crazy person always ready for crafts like me, you may have these tools on hand. If NOT, get creative. You don’t need to make that stuff out of wooden letters! You don’t need paint! Print of some giant letters, cut those babies out and glue them to some cardboard. The point is that it is ACTUALLY THAT EASY, and takes minimal effort.

That’s basically the best birthday present you can give your nation.

HOW TO MAKE LETTERSSee these four steps? Those are four steps to making this project. I mean okay, technically you need to make a cake, but we aren’t miracle workers. You didn’t make a cake for this party? Where are your manners? Just kidding, no judgement. Stick them in a fruit platter or cupcakes or cookies, or buy a cake (the dedicated grocers are still open today) on your way.

If the pictures aren’t clear enough, I painted some wooden letters red and white, and hot glued them to wooden stir sticks.

Genius, right?

It took like four minutes and cost about the exact same amount of dollars.

eh finalHow fun is that? I decided to do “eh” because I didn’t have enough As to make Canada Day. It was literally a “okay, I have five minutes and no supplies, what do we have here?” sort of decision, which only emphasizes how perfect this project is for you if you’re running out the door for a BBQ this afternoon and haven’t figured out how to make a celebratory (and appropriately patriotic) hostess gift.

So that’s a wrap on our Canada Day projects! We hope between the cookies, the drink stirrers, the garland (featured above, although a bit blurry) the flag cheesecake and this topper you’ve found the perfect last minute post to salvage your national pride today!

We even posted a bit earlier today so you’d have more time (for the paint to dry, am I right?). That…and there’s another little gift coming your way in a bit. So much to celebrate today!

canada day “firework” stir sticks

stir stick fireworks HEADER

So since we’re in the middle of a Canada Day crunch, we obviously wanted to emphasize “quick” ideas that you could make at the last minute. This one is actually one of my favourites for drinks because while it seems a little TOO easy, we pulled similar ones out at a New Years party with the label “firework stir sticks” and people went CRAZY over them. I think once people see them with the idea that they’re “fireworks” it’s super fun.

ANYWAYS, this doesn’t even count as a DIY because it’s actually that easy. Here’s what you need:

stir stick fireworks materials

Use your scissors to cut your pipe cleaners into smaller sections. I cut some in half and others into thirds.

Grab a handful and stick them in the top of your paper straw. You can use glue if you want but the pressure of all of them crammed in there does a great job of securing them.

stir stick fireworks assemblyCurly the pipe cleaner towards the bottom of the paper straw so you have a firework shape. If you can find glittery pipe cleaners that would look great too. You could also add silvery tinsel  as well, or even trade the pipe cleaners for red and white (or red and silver!) tinsel. You’d want to put a dab of glue in the straw if you’re using tinsel though. It doesn’t have the same structure 🙂

stir stick fireworks final

And there you have it! A five minute craft that will dress up your Canada Day drink table, AND stays true to the festivities.

canada day flag cheesecake

cheesecake header

The best part about this project is that it’s one of those things where if you’re headed to a party, odds are you aren’t going empty handed. And cheesecakes are pretty much a party go to. Everybody loves cheesecake. It’s a universal crowd pleaser. So if you’re already baking, and then you remember Canada Day is around the corner, you can just grab some food colouring and make this flag cheesecake. It’s perfect. It’s fast. It’s easy. You have everything you need at home.

Aren’t those the best kinds of party treats?

So how to make a flag cheesecake.

cheesecake step 1

First, separate about 2/3 of a cup of your cheesecake filling, pouring the rest into the cake pan. Pour the extra batter into a bowl and use red food colouring or dye and mix the filling. Spoon into an icing bag or Ziploc bag and cut a small hole to pipe out your flag design.

making the cheesecakeDraw your flag. I used a cookie cutter for the maple leaf, but next time I would free hand it, and make the points more spread out. The design is going to spread so make take that into account. Another option is doing the sides of the cake but not the maple leaf, and waiting until you take it out of the oven to pipe on the maple leaf. It’s a thin layer of cheesecake, so it will chill fine without baking.

cheesecake step 2

Use a toothpick to clean up the filling. Now it’s time to bake! So I have a super specific way of baking cheesecakes, and I don’t know where I learned it but it totally works perfectly so don’t judge.

cheesecake step 3

Put a baking rack on a roasting pan and place your cake pan on top. Fill the roasting pan with boiling water, about halfway up the cake pan (aim for the dashed line in the photo). Pop it in the oven for about 45-50minutes. I baked around 325 because I’m neurotic. You do what you wanna do 🙂 I will warn you the roasting pan will weigh like five million pounds. Justin usually handles the oven transferring, and we fill it up with water while IN the oven. Which is smarter. Because it will weigh about ten million pounds when it’s full. Just a pro tip.

And that’s it! It’s literally the easiest Canada Day themed cake you can make, and you don’t even need icing. That’s like the cherry on top 🙂

OH, and check out how gorgeous and smooth the water trick makes your cake.

cheesecake step 4

That’s right. You’ll knock ’em dead.