Tag: parties

Jane Austen Tea Party

I’ve been having a great time the last few days.  My sister Anna is here for a visit after having been in Japan for the last year.  It has been great catching up and spending time together.  As a special treat for her visit I decided I wanted to throw a little party.

I love entertaining but had gotten a little burnt out last year and so hadn’t done much.  I also got a game from a kickstarter I sponsored called The Jane Game.  It is all based on Jane Austen and was done by a woman here in Utah.  I also got a party pack as a perk for my kickstarter, which I hadn’t used.  It seemed like the perfect time to combine both needs and have a Jane Austen Tea Party!

tea partyThe party turned out really well.  I had teas/hot cocoa to choose from with sweeteners and cream.  Then for food we had chicken salad croissants, cucumber sandwiches, meringue cookies, strawberries, shortbread and two treats from bake 360.

wpid-snapchat-7897501167389300295.jpgI think it all looked very pretty and I enjoyed putting it all together. I also dressed up in as close to a regency dress as I have!  Most importantly in any party I enjoyed spending time with my friends and catching up since I don’t get to see any of them as much as I would like.

After visiting we played the Jane Game and it was a lot of fun.  And I am proud to say none of us ended up as old maids!  We also learned that all of us need to brush up on our Northanger Abbey and Mansfield Park.  I’m seeing a movie night in our future.

jane gameOverall the party was a great success and everyone seemed to have a good time.  I feel encouraged to try again and get back to entertaining regularly.  It’s a part of my life I really missed and had been feeling very discouraged about it last year.  It seemed so hard to get anyone together for anything that I wondered if my party planning days were over.  Today let’s me know it’s not.

Hurray!  I think Miss Austen would approve. 🙂

A Royal Engagement

As everyone in the whole world knows, today was the big royal wedding between Prince William and Kate Middleton!  I don’t normally get into celebrity news or gossip but this wedding was different.  I have been through so much lately that I absorbed every bit of info I could get.  With tornadoes, earthquakes, chaos in the middle east and my own medical freak show, it was nice to have something genuinely happy to divert my mind.  For one day (in fact, many days)  I could think about what dress Kate would wear or the crazy hats  instead of focusing on trainers, shots and medicine. (After all, how often does a normal girl become a princess in real life? So cool!)

To commemorate the big day I decided to throw a little soiree.  I looked at it as a welcome diversion from my problems and a chance to thank my friends for all their love and support- plus, it was a blast to plan!

A delightful after dinner tea- herbal tea, almond chocolate chip scones, cucumber sandwiches. Someday I'd like to get a silver tea service...Someday!

The theme of the night was naturally all things British.  I had a lot of fun finding little British flags and an almond flour scone recipe I can eat. (From Elana’s cookbook of course).  I also made cucumber sandwiches with whole wheat bread and had an assortment of herbal teas.  For some people putting together such a menu and finding the decor would be a lot of hard work and it was, but for me, it is the part I most enjoy.  I love entertaining and I can’t completely explain why.  I just find it extremely satisfying to take a boring space and make it beautiful, full of life.  Its also wonderful to have an idea for a party and see it come to fruition.    Plus, like I said, it was nice to think about something other than my health for a change!

I’m not normally a very crafty person but a couple of weeks ago I got the idea to decorate hats for the party.  The British are known for their over-the-top hats and the wedding was no exception (I learned that sometimes the hats are called fascinators.  Btw, I could do really well on a royal trivia category of Jeopardy this week!).  I thought it would be neat to adorn our own hats with flowers, ribbons etc. (Evidently every one else in Utah had this idea because straw hats were sold out everywhere I went!).  I’m glad I persevered because it was a lot of fun.  It was also neat to see how individual everyone’s hat turned out.  Some of the girls have agreed to go out to dinner wearing our hats.  I think it would be great to see people’s responses!

Don't you think they turned out cute!

Thanks to the girls who came and made the event memorable and thanks to William and Kate for giving me something to smile about!  I hope they are very happy.  From everything I can tell they seem like a real love match- a wonderful couple.  The wedding was beautiful and she looked like the perfect princess. It was a great day and  terrific end to a stressful week!  Now I’m exhausted from all the fun and going to sleep!  Love you all!

Halloween and a Visit from Julia

Over the last few years my friend Julia and I have been exchanging visits.  It is truly the most lovely thing.   I go to Vegas to see her, she comes to SLC to visit me.  These trips have ranged from a weekend to a full week and have been at all different times of the year.  Honestly, is there anything better than a visit from a friend?  I don’t think there is and our visits are no exception.  We usually pack in a lot of activities and experiences but more than that, we just in enjoy being together.  (I’m still trying to convince her to move her…Someday!).

So it is with this history that made me especially delighted when last Sunday Julia called me and said she’d like to make a visit this week.  She asked if it was ok and if she could stay with me!  I was thrilled!  Julia arrived on Thursday and left on Monday, so it was a nice sized trip that was a lot of fun.

I am including some highlight photos below with descriptions.  Saturday was my Halloween party, which was a great success.  There was practically too many people!  We had fun playing wii karaoke, wii sports, Halloween charades and watching It’s a Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown.  We also had a costume contest with entries as diverse as the Norton salt girl, a ladybug and a football player.  I think everyone who came had a good time.  I certainly did.  It was one of the best parties I have ever hosted alone, which was great because I have had a few duds lately.  I needed a win!  Thanks to all who came and made it fun.  The only funny thing about the party is that nobody ate any food/candy.  It was like a dieters party.  Strange hah? So now I have bags and bags of candy that I suppose I will save and give to the sweet stand at Festival of Trees. Still, it is taunting me until then.  Candy, candy, candy…

On Friday Julia and I went up to BYU, saw the museum and had lunch with Anna. They had a neat exhibit using mirrors and light.
Then we did some shopping and Julia looked pretty cute in this hat!
Then Friday night we went to Buca di Bepo which was a place from our mission. Then we stayed the night in the SLC Radison. In the morning we took the tour of the welfare square. Great time!
The Halloween party turned out great. Julia was such a help.
halloween party
Doesn't the table spread look great! I was so proud.
This is a new friend Caron who was the Norton Salt girl. She made that jacket. Isn't that impressive?
Monday we went for a scenic drive to see what's left of the fall color. It was beautiful.




















I really like this picture of me. After the scenic drive we went to Where the Wild Things and loved it. Very creative. What a great weekend!

Does it make all you far away friends want to come out for a visit?  I hope so!  I am always thrilled to have visitors.  Please come!

500 Days of Summer, 100 Posts


I have exciting news- this is my 100th post!  This means since May of last year I have written a post about every 5 days.  So far there have been 8,700 hits and 233 comments.  I wish there were even more comments, but am thoroughly grateful for the ones I’ve gotten! Thanks everyone.  The blog has turned into one of my favorite hobbies.  I love it!   (by the way, I should have my rightwingchickie guest blog ready tomorrow or Saturday. Just doing some final edits.  I am so excited!).

This week has been a fun week.  It has gone by quickly starting with getting our home, the Sammy, ready for the long term tennants.  This was quite the task with cleaning, gardening, moving furniture and more.  The new tenants came on Tuesday and are thrilled (not that there was any doubt!).  Now I have 2 vacation rentals and 2 long-term rentals.  In addition, today I got a call from a friend of my dad’s wanting me to find tenants for his long-term rental.  The business is growing so fast I can hardly keep up with it, but I am grateful to be busy.  As long as I can continue to work independently and be my own boss then I am happy.  Even with all the stresses and the never-ending work, the idea of going back to a regular job makes me nauseated.  I hope it never happens.

Once Tuesday was over (and the long days getting the house ready) I got to work Wednesday on my events calendar for Grabber warmers.  I have a booth and a warm team van I take to events all around Utah, and I had to get the calendar ready for my supervisor to approve.  It has been next to impossible to get this calendar ready by the end of the August (so I missed it by 3 days, it counts), but somehow I squeezed it in and it is done! Isn’t it the best feeling when a project is finished? Especially one you doubted your ability to complete?  It is the best!

With all this work you might wonder if I had any fun this week.  Fortunately last month I planned a long overdue Mary Kay party with my friend Laura South.  She had been encouraging me to host a party for a year or more and finally I found the time to do it on Wednesday.  After my recent debacles with enrichment parties (see Thoroughly Uncool) I wondered if anyone would come- particularly after several last minute cancellations.  I was seriously worried it would be me, Laura and my friend Suzanna.  To my surprise and delight the turn-out was great.  My friend Rachel H. brought 3 of her friends!  This in a addition to Suzanna, Melany, Anna and Becca.  Including Laura and myself we had 10 people.  My only regret is I was so busy hosting I forgot to take a picture! The food was good, the make up was fun and we all got great prices on good quality make-up.  I will definitely consider throwing another party.  Is it terrible to feel a little popular after such a party?  That is how I felt yesterday.  It was a nice feeling after a summer consumed with work (since Hawaii at least).

Today I took some time off wrote my article for right chicks, attended voice lessons with Anna (so excited!), and then had a lovely dinner with my great friend Angie Powell Barratt.  She recently got married and this was my first time to her house.  It is a charming house built in 1901 they are restoring bit-by-bit (so much cuter than some bland new house).  We talked the night away and it was a lovely evening.  I turned my phone on silent and just enjoyed myself.  Sometimes the best thing is eating a good meal with a lovely friend.

My last comment is on the movie 500 days of summer.  Maybe it is because I feel like there has been 500 days this summer, but I loved it.  There are so few movies which feel  authentically creative- too many are sequels or rip-offs of earlier, better movies.  The plot is about a young couple (Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zoey Deschanel) that have a 500 day relationship.  In a very  creative way the story jumps around from one moment to another showing day 5,  301, 499 and back to 1 etc.  It takes a bunch of creative risks including non-linear storytelling, over-the-top narration, a large musical number, sketch drawing on the whole screen, dual panels with different story-lines, and more.  The acting was good,  writing funny, and the music was cool.  It does have a few objectionable things and probably earns its PG-13, but for adults it is wonderful.

One small thing I appreciated about the movie is its non-cliche ending.  The characters are not in a storybook relationship, but they still learn much from each other.   They are even unlikable  in whole sections of the movie- particularly Deschanel (her character is named Summer, hence 500 days of Summer).  In real life most people have a series of teaching relationships before meeting the right person. This movie shows the process of becoming the right person for someone else through a relationship. It is an unexpected and interesting movie on so many levels- characters, plot, sets, style and more.  It is also the kind of movie that is better in the theaters.  You will appreciate the creative touches more on the big screen.  I hope you all like it.  Let me know what you think!

Thoroughly Uncool


I like to think of myself as a fun person- as a social person that people enjoy being around and for the most part I am. However, as I get older it seems to get harder to make friends and form groups?  Does anyone else find this to be the case? I don’t know if it is because I have such great friends and do not feel the need to make new ones or if other people are too busy, or perhaps I’m not as agreeable as I used to be? It’s funny because I think my skills as a host have only improved as I’ve gotten older- and yet there seems to be less to host!

What brought all of these thoughts up is I have been trying to organize small groups for our church ladies organization called Enrichment.  These groups are supposed to focus on a variety of topics and help all the women in the congregation feel included.  In past wards I have had success in gathering girls for book clubs, cooking groups, and movie nights, but not in this ward.  It is like pulling teeth to get anyone to come to anything.  Yesterday we had book club and I picked a Jane Austen- Persuasion (so good!)- and I am embarrassed to say nobody came except for my roommate.  A bunch of people had said they could come on Sunday but then nobody showed.   Only 2 called with excuses (one had a flooded basement and another had a bad flu).  On a side note- whatever happened to the notion of RSVP’ing.  I grew up in Maryland where a little of that Southern hospitality creeped into the culture.  If you said you were going to be somewhere, you better be in a hospital if you don’t show up.  At least a call explaining why you can’t come should be common courtesy.

Don’t worry- I wasn’t devastated or anything merely disappointed that I couldn’t talk about the book and that my pretty tea party went unappreciated. Boo hoo!  Thankfully Megan had read the book for her book club last month and so I called and we had a good discussion.  Plus, my cute nieces and sisters are coming into town so we will have a tea party together! (In fact, on Saturday we are going to the Princess Festival in Lindon- how fun will that be!).  The whole family is arriving tomorrow, and I can’t wait.  It has only been a couple months since I saw them but it feels longer.  Baby Nelle is crawling and pulling herself up already! Wow!

I am not intending this posting to engender pity- I have great friends, and I have a full life.  I am merely puzzled by my recent inability to attract new friends.  It isn’t just with Enrichment but the few times I have had parties the turnout is low.  I used to be able to always attract a crowd. Weird, hah? I’ve even offered to have a party up at the rental homes with a hot tub and pool table, but nobody has taken me up on it.  What do you all think?  Is there an age where movie nights and game parties are passe?

This is a funny entry on SWPL that applies to the need to host dinner parties.  Enjoy!

Though many would have you believe that white people come of age at Summer Camp, it’s simply not the truth. Immediately following graduation but prior to renovating a house, white people take their first step from childhood to maturity by hosting a successful dinner party.

It is imperative that white people know how to host a good dinner party as they will be expected to do it well into retirement.

At the most basic level, these simple gatherings involve 3-6 couples getting together at a single house or apartment, having dinner and talking for 5-6 hours. Though it might seem basic these events are some of the most stressful situations in all of white culture.

Hosts are expected to deliver a magical evening. The food must be home made with fresh, organic ingredients, the music must be just right (ambient, new, but not too loud), and the decorations inside the house should be subtle but elegant. The ultimate goal is to do a better job than the couple at the last dinner party while attempting to make everyone jealous and sort of dislike you.

The dinner party is the opportunity for white people to be judged on their taste in food, wine, furniture, art, interior design, music, and books. Outside of dictatorships and a few murder trials, there might not be a more rigorous judgment process in the modern world. Everything must be perfect. One copy of US Weekly, a McDonalds wrapper, a book by John Grisham, a Third Eye Blind CD, or an Old School DVD can undo months and maybe even years of work.

Even before guests arrive the pressure on the host is immense and it does not let up once people begin to arrive. While eating, drinking, and conversation are expected to fill up 5-6 hours, sometimes it’s just not enough. In order to fill the silence, white people will often turn to board games (Cranium!) or Wii Bowling. This lets everyone have fun together without having to really talk to each other, which is usually more fun anyways.

It is strongly encouraged to bring a gift to these dinner parties, usually either wine or some kind of dessert. If you are able to bring a particularly rare dish from your culture, you will be the star of the party. To seal the deal, be sure to explain as much as you possibly can about the dish: history, availability, and the proper way to eat it. Every white person at the party will be taking mental notes and will be in your debt for introducing them to something new and authentic. If a white person says they have eaten the dish before, it is best to respond by saying “you ate a watered down version. They don’t even sell this to white people, it’s that intense. Even I had to show ID.”

The entire party will universally acknowledge you as the top guests, even the hosts will appreciate you for bringing diversity to the table in both food and person form.