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Favorite Things Party - 2017 Edition

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One of the most popular blog posts of My Life at Playtime has been How to Host a Favorite Things Party. And I love it! I love that so many find themselves here from Pinterest and googling how to throw a favorite things party, and ideas of what to get as their favorite thing. Since it's been awhile I decided it would be fun to share some 2017 highlights from a recent Favorite Things party. 

A girlfriend and I decided to throw it a bit last minute and just crossed our fingers our friends would be in town. We split the guest list and got to work planning around our favorite things, which happened to be pink, a fun British cocktail that my co-host rocked, and the most delicious food we could put together! Who doesn't love girlfriends, yummy food, a delicious themed cocktail, and presents? Sign us up!

I got to work on my charcuterie board skills and was quite pleased with the end result. For reference I had rosemary sprigs as accents throughout the board(s), since I ran out of space for one board, we had 2. I served white truffle salami (everything by the way can be found at Trader Joe's), caper berries, truffle almonds, dried figs cut in half, fresh grapes, rosemary crackers, mini pickles(forget the proper name), potato chips, raw almonds, olives, and satsuma oranges. It was delicious if I do say so myself. Some of the other appetizers we prepared and others friends brought to share include:

  • caprese salad
  • lentil dip with chips
  • roasted gorgonzola on baguettes
  • humus and crudite platter
  • guacamole
  • shaved brussel sprout salad 
  • assorted cheeses and crackers
  • meringue and marscapone
  • homemade cookies
  • 3-ingredient fudge which I will have to share in another post
  • and MORE!

 

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For our cocktail of the night we had Pimm's which apparently is a proper British drink, often served during an afternoon watching Wimbledon. So of course we served it! To make at home you might want to double check my amounts, but I'm guessing equal parts Pimm's and either sparkling lemonade or Sprite. Cut up strawberries, cucumbers, mint and oranges and add ice in a big pitcher. In separate cups we garnished them with smaller pieces of fruit on the cutest pink flamingo drink stirrers. They were DEElicious!

An easy list of supplies for our drinks, plates and serving ware:

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And now for the presents! The first photo is what I gave as my favorite things. I went with multiple items this year as opposed to my usual one item. Our item max this year was $15 (x3), so here's how it broke down:

  • french farmers market tote-  $22 for set of 6 which breaks down to $3.66 a piece
  • Mrs. Meyers hand soap- $3.79 I found the special Peppermint edition at Target and got 5% off with my redcard
  • Rodial Dragon's Blood Lip Mask- this is where I cheated a tiny bit because I get these at a discount because of my job, I got them for $5.60 a piece
  • Trader Joe's Dark Chocolate Sea Salted Caramels- $1.99
  • TOTAL: $15.04 and I don't count tax or wrapping so there, I made it :)

One of the funnest parts of these parties is learning about your friends and seeing what they come up with to gift. Part of the challenge is sticking to the budget and having it reflect who you are. A few of the gifts we shared...

  • homemade spice mix with stainless salad tongs (I can't find the exact match of the tongs, but these are close)
  •  mug and tea set
  • linen spray
  • glass water bottle- similar here, and $5 gift card to favorite donut/coffee shop
  • swiss army knife in a cute Ikea bag with a See's chocolate bar
  • Favorite jam with a $10 gift card to Eataly
  • bag filled with favorite food items like coffee creamer, la croix, snack items, chocolate treats, etc.
  • Dominoes Set
  • Nordstrom giftcard
  • car essential oil diffuser 
  • cooking trivets
  • Lush bath goodies
  • essential oils
  • Candle and bath salts
  • and I know I am forgetting others! All so creative and awesome, everyone left happy with their new found goodies and knowing more about each other. 

Now go host your own party, and if you need instructions on how the party works, see this post

Graduation Party Ice Cream Bar

Dessert bars at parties are probably one of the most exciting things for kids, and each time I've thrown a graduation party I've let my kids take ownership of the the whole dessert she-bang. It's one of the parts of the party that they can scour ideas for, inject their own personality into, and it's fun to create what they envision. 

In the past Sawyer's candy bar was a huge success, and Gunnar chose root beer floats.

 This time Greta opted for an ice cream bar with all the toppings. I found these cute sturdy paper ice cream cups, 8 oz was the size we ordered. They come in a variety of colors and patterns.

We debated on cups or cones and ultimately we bought these cones and stuck the cone inside the cup of ice cream as we handed them to each kid. There was plenty of space for toppings and they could enjoy the cone without having to sacrifice toppings because of space. Win-win.

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For spoons, we went with these cute but sturdy wooden ones, and Greta designed a few patterns with Sharpie and decorated them all. We attached them to the outside of the cups with different patterned washi tape and fanned them out as we stacked them. 

For toppings we went with the following:

We served up vanilla or chocolate ice cream, and a few fruit sorbets and dairy free options that Ben & Jerry's carries now which we discovered that day. I think the ice cream bar was a big hit and most of all my girl had a smile on her face the whole night. 

Simple & Easy DIY Photo Booth

I have shared a few photo booth DIYs on the blog you can see here and here. But I feel like each time I host a grad party I do it a little differently, and try to tweak the process. This photo booth was super simple to put together and inexpensive too. 

I have borrowed in years past the structural part from a friend, with a heavy fabric liner as the backdrop which I then decorate. But this year I decided to check out how much a setup would be to permanently add to my party supplies. I was surprised to find that they weren't that expensive. The only thing missing that was crucial was the black fabric/liner which I rectified for a few dollars! Below is a list of all the items you'll need to make the above photo booth and prices (at time of posting). 

PhotoBooth Backdrop Supplies

  • Structural Backdrop- poles and sides to hold everything together- $34.99
  • Solid Black Tablecloths- you can pick up at your local party store as well, we just taped it at the top with gaffer's tape and no one knew it was a $3.50 plastic tablecloth. Depending on how wide your photo booth is, you may need two. I only needed 1. 
  • Black Fringe Curtain- for roughly $5.25, I ordered 3 of these black fringe curtains that you can order in varying colors. Again, we taped it to the top pole with black gaffer's tape. About $15 for all 3. 
  • Gold Star Hanging Decor- last but not least I ordered 4 of these gold star decorations, and then cut then in two because they were quite long. That gave us 8 hanging star lines to finish off the look. They are $1.99 a piece. Total for 4 about $8. 

Grand Total for this photo booth : $61.50 plus tax (free shipping for Amazon prime members)

I've collected props through the years for photo booths so didn't really need to buy much, but you can hit up your local party supply store or Amazon for props and hats. 

I also love using Build-A-Head for a fun oversize photo prop of the graduate. 

Happy photoboothing friends!!!