Retro Game Night Party – Throwback fun with friends!

Looking for something fun to do with a few friends or a small gathering? Plan an unplugged evening of retro food, fun and games (board games, group card games like poker, ‘party’ games, billiards, even ping pong). It can be as easy as a pot of chili or veggie soup, beers and Trivial Pursuit to a mysterious formal dinner party, and a rousing game of ‘Clue‘ in the Billiards room.

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Go as far down the “let’s get authentic”, era-themed path as you’re inclined (or not if you want to keep it low key). Pick a game or two and let the era those games were most popular suggest a fun food and beverage menu. Everything you need to know –from most popular cocktails, to favorite recipes, to fashions of the day, can be determined easily with a few internet searches. Most everything bleeds over several eras or makes a resurgence in several eras so don’t get nitpicky. Conversely, if you have a favorite retro era, find out what games were popular at that particular time period and let that be the game of the evening.

If you’re stepping back to the 50-60’s, pull out a couple of Mom’s old cookbooks, raid her recipe box or head to the library for some hip recipes. Going back even further? Try internet searches for recipes popular at the turn of the century or the ‘roaring twenties’. Another idea on the food, is to ask everyone to bring an era-appropriate dish for a fun (and easy on you) potluck dinner. Also run searches for popular cocktails and beverages.

Miss Party has been thinking a MadMen/Rat Pack-esque 50s Poker night would be some serious fun. Martini or canapĂ©, anyone? Ooh, how about a 1920’s Bunco Parlor speakeasy –now that sounds like the bee’s knees! Sometimes you want to really get into it and go all out, sometimes it’s nice to keep it easy. The other night it was an excellent bottle of wine, snacks and a competitive game of Scrabble. They’re all good! Got any ideas for your game night?

(Miss Party has several posts related to a 50s MadMen-style party, from menu to decor.)

‘Valentine’s Card-Making’ Family Party – Make someone else’s day sweeter!

Valentine’s Day IS for lovers but Miss Party doesn’t believe it has to be just for couples. Host a ‘Valentine’s Card-Making’ family event to make valentines for one of your local non-profit or for-profit organizations that work with ‘at-risk’ residents in your community that could use some cheer in their lives. Every community has folks of all ages that would love your small acts of kindness to brighten their lives and let them know they aren’t forgotten.

On your end, card-making is a perfect ‘all-ages’ activity for a couple of hours. All your guests can and will get in the heartwarming spirit of the day with a table full of Valentine’s-themed supplies and a pile of pink and white card stock. It’s a low-key activity that allows adults to socialize AND have the kids fully occupied with the ‘work’ at hand. Miss Party promises you that every single guest will walk away feeling warm and fuzzy inside knowing they did a kind thing for someone else and you never know how much that heartfelt card might mean to the receiver, knowing that someone, somewhere cared enough for them to make it. Your adult guests will also probably go home and count their own blessings twice that evening…just for good measure.

Miss Party recommends a couple of things with this particular party that will make the day more fulfilling for everyone. Either designate one or two organizations ahead of time who will receive the cards or, if the children are older, have the group vote on who will receive the cards from a list of local organizations. Miss Party’s opinion is that your guests will feel much more connected to the project if they know who (as in what organization and who that group serves) is receiving the cards (as opposed to, for example ‘homeless people’). If you choose a group that has a specific number of clients, for example “Meals on Wheels” has 18 clients in your town, you should provide enough cards to cover all their clients. Contact the group’s Activity Director ahead of your party date. A guest is going to make a different card for an elderly person, than a soldier in the military, than a 5 year old child.

Additionally, you might want to target the organization that will receive the cards specifically because of who the organization serves: your guests are families, you might want to choose a group that helps families; your guests have children, find a group that is helping children specifically; your family has someone struggling with cancer; find a group that is working with cancer survivors and their families, such as Relay for Life.

Since your party has a ‘community service’ theme of sorts, Miss Party also suggests that you request each family to bring along a bag or two of non-perishable and canned goods to be donated to your local food pantry. It’s one more small kindness that helps both the giver and the receiver in a tangible way. Food –having it, not having it, and the sharing of it– is at such an instinctual level that people naturally connect to it and share it happily. Additionally, this particular donation will stay within your local community which is also a good thing.

Start off the party with a warming lunch for a cold afternoon. A big pot of vegetable soup is easy to make in the morning and just the ticket for all ages and most dietary issues. All you need to add is a crusty loaf of bread like Ciabatta or Italian cut into thick slices or made into garlic toast, it’s always a crowd pleaser. Miss Party has an awesome, ‘teen-approved’, “Harvest Vegetable Soup for a Crowd” recipe or use one of your own.

Suggestions for Valentine card-making supplies:

Have a large sign listing what organization(s) your cards will be going to, what they provide and who the organization serves (i.e. provides meals to low-income elderly). You could also provide a copy of the group’s brochure or info page for the benefit of adults who would like to know more.

8 1/2 x 11 pink and white card stock, pre-folded in half
several bins of markers, colored pencils, crayons
heart-shaped lace doilies in white, red, pink, gold and/or silver (in several sizes)
mini, round, white doilies
valentine-themed stickers and scrapbooking paper, other related stickers
pre-cut, red, heart shapes in various sizes
lots of pairs of scissors (child-safe and adult)
lots of glue sticks, and double-sided tape
red, white or pink curly or satin ribbon for embellishing

Make several pages of examples of appropriate sayings or for purposes of spelling for younger children. For example, “Happy Valentine’s Day”, “Thinking of you!”, “You’re sweet!”, or “Thank you for your service!” if for a military-related organization.

** Note: Everyone should be instructed NOT to sign their full name (be especially clear with children), first names only or no name signed on the cards. Also, no messages should start with the word “sorry”, as in “sorry you’re sad” or “sorry you don’t have food”. All messages should be phrased in a happy, positive way.

Suggestions for profit or non-profits that may serve in your area serving ‘at-risk’ groups:

Veterans Hospital or other non-profit assisting active-duty families or veterans of the military
Program that sends ‘care packages’ to overseas soldiers
Elder care facilities
Meals on Wheels for home-bound residents
Food pantry/cupboard for low income residents
Senior center for elderly
Soup kitchen or other ‘free, hot meal’ program for homeless and low income clients
Program that works with ‘at risk’ children or teens in community

If you’re having trouble finding out who works in your area, contact your Town Hall officials, call your local churches or recreation center. They will all be able to make suggestions. Unfortunately, you’ll find you have a lot of options and the tougher decision is which one to choose.

‘Indigo Island’ Summer Party – A boho-chic beach vibe for cocktails & apps!

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‘Indigo Island’ summer cocktail party is more of a vibe than a theme which is all that’s really needed to set a casual tone for your guests. A summery-feeling invitation preps guests for a relaxed evening of cocktails and apps (ask your guests to bring an appetizer to share) and lets them know dress is […]

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DIY Indigo Shibori Table Linens – Modern to boho-chic summertime!

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Miss Party is in indigo heaven and mesmerized by shibori fabrics! The ancient Japanese method of making indigo-dyed prints that are perfectly imperfect called “shibori”, has made a renewed round on the runway and interior design world. Summertime, is the perfect time to jump on board and try this fun DIY trend yourself. So what […]

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Original Mojito (By the glass or for a crowd) – Delightfully refreshing!

Las Casitas, Puerto Rico - Mojitos

The Mojito has enjoyed a resurgence in popularity and Miss Party acquired quite an affection for that mouthwatering sweet and sour flavor on a trip to Puerto Rico. She even came home and planted mint in the herb garden just to be able to make a pitcher of Mojitos over the summer at a moment’s […]

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5 Secrets to Planning the BEST EVER High School Graduation Party!

Grad Party Set Up

This is one of those milestone parties that is planned with excitement and anticipation, but also anxiety and exhaustion from everything else swirling around senior activities. No matter what everyone’s individual drama is, Miss Party encourages you to mark this happy occasion with a celebratory party. So, just how does one plan the ‘Best Ever’ […]

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‘MAD MEN’-inspired 60s Theme Party – The final season to indulge!

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If you’re a ‘MAD MEN’ devotee and have secretly wanted to throw a 60s themed party (not of the hippee variety) but never got around to it all these years the show has been rocking it –now is the perfect time to do it! It’s the final season of ‘MAD MEN’ and there’s no time […]

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Canadian Clubhouse Punch – Fruity and delicious!

Don Draper would have appreciated this delicious whiskey-based punch recipe taken from a 1961 advertisement for Canadian Clubhouse Whisky. Your guests certainly will! Yield: About 2 quarts (which is approximately 12 punch glass-sized servings). The vintage atomic-shaped punch bowl pictured holds 4 quarts of liquid, so Miss Party doubled the recipe to have 1 quart […]

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3 outstanding reasons to throw a BIG pre-summer party this year!

Summer Party

1. “…I like large parties. Large parties are so intimate. At small parties there isn’t any privacy.” —The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald Miss Party loves this quote. The first time she read it, it took a few moments to realize the truth hiding amongst the paradoxical words. Miss Party, herself, has always preferred […]

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DIY Guest of Honor Memory Board – A quick and easy way to display pictures!

Bright and beautiful graduation party

Lots of parties honor a particular guest –grad parties, birthday parties, engagement and baby showers or retirement parties. A ‘through-the-years’ homage to the guest of honor is always a nice and thoughtful touch. If you have access to lots of good pictures showcasing the guest of honor, make a low-tech, montage memory board and/or table […]

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DIY to Living a Beautiful Life – Could it really be that simple?

Cafe in Paris

A DIY to living a beautiful life? Sounds cute, but can there really be something as simple as a DIY tutorial to teach someone how to live a beautiful life? Well, in a nutshell, that’s pretty much what I’m proposing. Years and years ago, I made it a priority to live a beautiful life in […]

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Miss Party’s misadventures in entertaining overnight guests – Part 5, Decorating

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Thought those of you who’ve followed this thread of posts on updating Miss Party’s guest room, might like a peek into the room to see how it’s starting to shape up. Miss Party’s younger daughter is home from college for spring break week so this corner is about the only spot in the room fit […]

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