Saturday, June 30, 2012

Myth 3. I Can't Throw a Party Because I Don't Have Any Money.

The other day, my daughter and I were having a fun date and as I was fixing my coffee, I looked up and saw this.

I was shocked that here in plain print, I was being told that the only way I could "throw a perfect dessert party" was to buy these things and spend over one hundred dollars, and not even including the food!  As you can see, I was so irritated, I had to take a picture.  I wanted to hold it up and say, "NO YOU DON'T! Don't buy these things, and have an even BETTER DESSERT PARTY!!"  But, thankfully for my daughter, and my reputation, I refrained.

I say all that to say, even though you can feel overwhelmed by all that's out there that you could have at your parties, there are really only a few things that are necessary to make a party awesome.  And, surprisingly enough, money isn't one of them.

Of course, like anything, you can go spend hundreds, even thousands of dollars to hire a band and a caterer and all that's in between, but let's face it...who has that to throw around?  Not me!

So, instead of spending tons of money to make your party amazing, why not keep it simple?  Here are a few tips to remember when you're trying to save on your budget:

1. Have friends each bring a food item to share.  You can designate what type of food you're hoping they'll bring, but that way, you don't blow a ton of money on providing all the food, or on hiring a caterer.

2. If you want the most bang for your buck when it comes to decor, grab some fresh flowers.  They're the most beautiful thing you can put on your table, and take no time to make (and you don't get paper cuts from crafting all day).  Even if you don't have the budget for a bouquet, simply cut some fresh greenery from your trees and plants in your yard.  It's amazing what a difference bringing plants in can make.

3. You don't have to provide alcohol.  People ask me sometimes, "Do you think it's okay to just have water or tea?"  The answer is absolutely yes.  You can check out my favorite way to spruce up your water here.  And, people go crazy for some fancy water, let me tell ya.  Just let people know to BYOB (bring their own beer or wine) when you invite them.

4. Keep the menu to a minimum.  Rather than feeling like you have to do every course, just stick to the basics. You can get away with making it as simple or extravagant as you want.  To keep it less expensive, just limit what you have.  All you need is something to munch on, and something to drink.  You don't need to have appetizers, salads, entrees, dessert, and coffee.  You could just have drinks and apps.  Or just dessert. Remember, this is your party.  Make it what works best for your budget.

There are lots of things you can spend money on to make your event one to remember, but I'm not convinced that money is what makes that happen.  I'm pretty sure that it would be well remembered simply by having it.  You don't have to break the bank to have your friends over and have a good time.  So, why would you?

Monday, June 25, 2012

Myth 2. "I Can't Have a Party Because I'm Not Crafty"

I absolutely love looking on blogs, in magazines and on Pinterest for inspiration. Really, I do.  However sadly, sometimes it has the opposite effect on me.

The hope is that these sources would motivate and inspire us. But, many times in actuality, we end up having feelings of discouragement, frustration, even anger, just because it feels so far from our reality.  And, even though I'm somewhat crafty, the downward spiral of feeling like I'm not enough still tries to trap me in it's grip.

Maybe some of these thoughts sound familiar. Thoughts like...

"You wouldn't be able to do something like that."

"Geeze, are you kidding me!?  There's NO way I could make that! I shouldn't even try, because I'll just feel like a failure if it doesn't work."

Or maybe you feel like this...

"I'm not a DIY (do-it-yourself) person, so I'm not even gonna try to host a party."

I read this quote not long ago and I loved it so much I pinned it to one of my boards.

I think so much of who we are comes out of us learning to loose our fear of being wrong. If I never design a table again out of fear that it might not be the best ever, I am choosing to squelch a part of who I am.  A part of how God has gifted me to be.

If I am afraid that my event design business, not might turn out to be world renown and Oprah-worthy, would that really mean that it was altogether bad?

Of course not.  Let me say that again.  OF COURSE NOT!!!!!

I love that as we are willing to not be the "best" often, the best comes out of us.  Our best.  Not Martha's.  Not that blogger that you aspire to be.  It's even better... it's your best.

You don't have to be crafty to throw a party.  You don't even have to have DIY stuff there.  Unless you want to.  Unless it's something you're dying to make, and you are willing for it to be YOURS.

My mom used to say all the time, "Melissa, comparisons are odious."  I used to hate that saying, and even more I hated the word "odious."  I mean who says that?!?  What does that even mean???  But, the longer I live, the more I've come to understand how very perfect that word is.

When we choose to believe those foul smelling comparisons, we are completely robbed of any joy to be ourselves.  And being you, is really the only thing you need to do.  And you're the only one who can do that.

So, go grab your own dishes (paper or not), and grab your favorite food (homemade or not) and have your besties over.  They'll be so glad you asked.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Speaking of Parties...(My Simple Mom Podcast!)

You probably have heard of Simple Mom...she's awesome and has an amazing blog.  Last year, I had such a blast meeting Tsh at a conference.  We hit it off, and had a ton of fun hanging out that weekend.

We did a podcast about party planning, life, and working from home, and laughed a lot.  It's totally fun, and I'd love for you to grab a cup of coffee or your laundry basket, and listen in as we chat it up!

I couldn't wait to share with you all, but I'll be back to the "Myths" on Monday!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Myth 1. "I Can't Host a Party Because My House is Too Small and I Don't Have Enough Seats."

Over the years of planning parties, I've managed to learn a few things.

1.  People like to stand at parties.

2.  People like to be in the kitchen, crammed in with the most action going on around them.

3. People like to help.

4. People like to be outside.

Last year we had an event at our house that was a blast.  Our neighborhood is awesome and loves doing lots of year round fun things.  In December, we do a progressive dinner, and move to different houses to have all the different courses.  My house was the final stop of the evening for desserts.  (Big surprise that I chose dessert, heehee.)

We had more people squeezed into this house than we knew what to do with, but it was fabulous.  But, even with all those people...everyone was standing.  And, about 60% of them were in the kitchen.

I glanced into the den at one point, and there were like 2 people in the den.  And then, the living room...maybe 3 people.   But between all our comfy chairs and sofas offering seats for about 20, there weren't many takers.  All 50+ people were either standing around the kitchen and eating nook, or out by the fire pit in the back yard.

I love how people like to be squished into the kitchen, even when it's usually not the biggest or most comfortable room.  I think it's because we feel so at home in kitchens.  We spend so much of our days there, that we are drawn to want to be in a place that is familiar. A place where we can help.  A place that feels like home.

Another great solution for small spaces is to take the party outside. When the weather is cooperating, take your party outdoors.  It opens up your level of space tremendously, and allows your house to be a little less crowded.  Blankets and quilts are a quick and easy answer for seating, not to mention, your house stays a bit cleaner with keeping the fun outdoors!

I think that when we manage to get over the insecurity of feeling like our homes aren't "good enough" we'll realize how perfect they truly are and we'll begin to more freely invite our family and friends right on in...even to our messy kitchens.  Chances are, they might even help with the dishes.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Myths About Hosting Parties...

One thing I like about hosting parties, is that it always motivates me to get my house somewhat straight. The key word there is somewhat.  But, one thing that makes me sad is when I hear people say things like...

"I can't host parties because my house is just too messy."


"We'd love to have people over more, we just don't have enough places for people to sit."

There are these party myths that I think we've begun believing  a little too much.

I think sometimes, we believe that if we don't have a 3,500 square foot house with several living areas, and lots of seats that we can't "host" well.  I'm here to tell you otherwise.

Last week, one of my friends had her son's birthday party, and I overheard one of the 5 year old guests say, "This was the best party I've ever been to."  You wanna know what they did? Nothing special.  They just played.  Played with legos, rode scooters, ran around with water guns soaking each other, and ate hot dogs and cake.  That's it.  There was no magician with special tricks or a ginormous bouncy house with slides.  They just played.

If we translate this little boy's lesson to what I know about people, I can easily see that the key to a great party isn't in the most expensive location, or the biggest house, or the nicest food, or the cutest favors. The key is simply feeling welcomed and glad that you're there.

The next couple weeks I'm going to write a few posts on party myths and how to overcome them. And then, I'm gonna have a party...I hope you do the same.

Monday, June 4, 2012


I finally did it.  I renewed my RealSimple subscription.  And, what's more?!  All the old magazines that had taken up a whole shelf in my closet are now gone.  I love this purging thing.

Part of what I love about the summer is actually taking the time to enjoy that it's summertime.  I love not having to rush to be somewhere every day.  I love knowing that we can go to the park at 8pm if we want and not pay the consequences the next day for missing "bedtime".  But, something that I struggle to do even in the summer, is to simply sit and enjoy being still.  There's some lie that whispers that sitting still is being lazy or unproductive, but I'm not buying it this time.

It usually takes me going on vacation to actually sit and read a magazine. Which is ridiculous.  I mean, I'm not talking hours here, but just a few minutes to sit down and read a good editorial, or the latest styles that have hit the scene.  So, I had one of those great offers at %70 off the regular price, and I was suckered in to saying yes.  Except, I don't feel like a sucker at all. I can't wait to get my first one in my mailbox, and flip those real (not just virtual) pages in my hands.  I love a new magazine.

When I said yes to getting the magazine, I knew I was saying yes to renewing my soul, not just to renewing a subscription.  It sounds funny to say, but it's those little things that help me stop, take a breath and simply enjoy life right where I am, rather than just missing all that's whizzing by me.

What is going to help you enjoy your summer?  What will it take to get you to rest for just a few minutes every day? Maybe it's reading a book. Maybe it's baking a pie. Maybe it's bird watching.

Whatever it is, make sure you do it. It will be worth more than gold for your soul.

Friday, June 1, 2012

The Process of Purging

So, my summer goal is to purge.  Seriously, y'all.  I need stuff out and gone and good riddance, too.

It's really easy to say you need to purge.  It's another thing to actually let go of the things that fill your home. Even when it's just "junk".

Last week when I started clearing some things out of the house, I started making sure the kids were okay with me passing on some of their older toys and games.  My throat literally caught in my chest when they said they were done with Candyland.

"What?!  Are you serious?" I replied with ease and calm of course.

Today, I took a few bags over to Salvation Army.  I asked as I went to the donation door if they accepted games and toys, and (almost) wanted them to say no, so that we could hang onto them a little longer.  Just in case they'd still like to play sometimes.

It does feel great to clear away and de-clutter, but going through things also reminds me that we are coming into a new phase.  We're finished with PreSchool, and I've become one of those moms who can't go to MOPS anymore.  I'm in the realm of the "school aged" family, and it's pretty wild.  Though, it's wonderful, there's a tinge of wondering where in the world the time has gone, and how it really does fly by.