Posted in Bon Appetite, Drinks Galore, Festivals/Special Events, Gift Giving

#516 Throw a Surprise Party

My favorite so far is the surprise birthday party my sister and I threw for our mom a few years ago.

This was one of those milestone birthday’s (I won’t say which one so she can’t get mad at me) My sister and I wanted to make sure to do something special. Her birthday is at the end of July and there were several years she had to celebrate it at a swim meet.

I had gone to a friend’s wedding at a little winery not far from our house. It was super cute and their wines were pleasant to taste. I had the place in mind right away when we started discussing this. AND it would serve as a great cover of getting her to it, by using the excuse of wine tasting and then lunch.

We created a list of family and friends and sent out invites. This was my first time planning a big-ish event like this. Lots of little details became clear. Not to mention costs. There was the location, food, drinks, cake, decorations.

My uncle (her brother) was very helpful with the planning and when I became worried about having the money for it all, said he would be willing to help cover the cost of the food. My cousin was dating (and now married to) a very nice gal whose family managed a food place (Armadillo Willy’s). They talked and worked out that they would bring the food as a buffet. It was a perfect choice because it was food we knew my mom would enjoy, especially the coleslaw (side note: I am not much for coleslaw but this one is very yummy).

Next up was ordering a fruit basket cake from Whole Foods. That part wasn’t hard at all. The hard part was getting my sis here from Hawaii and making sure not to blow the party to our mom. I was living in an apartment at the time, so she was able to fly in and stay with me without mom being aware. She went to our house during the day, while mom was at work, and looked for photos to use as part of decorations. We found some fun ones of her throughout her life.

My sis thought she was being clever in setting up a call to mom to make it seem like she was still in Hawaii going about her daily routine. I just had to make sure not to say anything about the party when my mom was around.

We almost got away without her being completing aware, but then the winery made the mistake in calling her house phone instead of my cell phone. They wanted to make sure I was sending the final payment for the event. I was SOOOOO PISSED! It worked out in the end because, as my mom said, I didn’t need to come up with an excuse and she didn’t know what or who might be there.

The day of, we went to the farmer’s market to get a bunch of flowers. Then headed to the winery. Our uncle and family was there to help set up the food and when a few other guests got there a little early, gladly helped us finish setting up tables. We had bought glass jars from Goodwill that we filled with the flowers and then had the photos placed at the different tables. The winery had a table for the wines and set up another one for the cake and any presents people brought. I had a little stereo that had music, but it was small so people couldn’t really hear it (turned out to be unnecessary anyway). Being at the end of July, I wasn’t sure if it’d be super hot like it can often times be. Luckily it was only warm with a slight breeze coming over from the river nearby.

Then I went to go get the guest of honor.

One last thing, the week before my mom had gone out to dinner with a friend. They decided to get a bottle of wine and asked the waitress for a recommendation. She mentioned Scribner Bend to try. My mom came home to tell me that we have to check out this winery and that the wine was very nice. I almost said something then, but I was able to stop myself. Was very glad to know she would enjoy the wine.

So, I went and got her and came back to the winery. Now, where we all were was in the middle of some of the vines, so she couldn’t see it right away. She walked through the flower arch and everyone yelled, “SURPRISE!!” and she was. There were a few people she hadn’t seen in a while. But when she noticed my sister hiding in the back, she said “I KNEW you were here!” Later, she admitted she didn’t really, but had hoped.

In the end, it was a very pleasant afternoon and so fun. Definitely a surprise party to remember and cherish.

Have you thrown a surprise party or been the recipient of one?

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Posted in Festivals/Special Events, It's Artistic/Creative, Super Duper Easy

#1102 Take silly pictures in a photo booth

I can’t seem to take silly pictures. Other people make silly faces, or poses and they turn out. I was at an event with a bunch of friends and we were taking a group photo. the photographer took a couple of photos and then told us to “act goofy” the others made kissing faces or posed in a funny way, what do I do? I threw my hands up in the air and tilted my head. He waited a while to take the shot and by the time he did, I had put my hands down. So, I ended up not “acting goofy”. He then berated my idea and told me I needed to have a couple of drinks and then come back.

Seems like having photo booths and props are a new trend, they are at a lot of events I go to. Or maybe it’s just the type of event I go to that makes sense having a photo booth there.

Have you had fun with photo booths?

Posted in Generic Ones, Home Town, Super Duper Easy

#567 Soak in a Hot Tub

My parents had a hot tub at the house while I grew up. We were very close to a family that shared our back fence. We even made a doorway so we could come and go in each other’s yard and house. They installed a pool. It became fun for us kids to go back and forth, jumping in the pool and then into the hot tub.

Another memory of “soaking” in the hot tub was when I was swimming at the junior college. One of the things swim teams do is shave down before a big race day (like championships). We get together and have a carbed out dinner, and shave our legs so they are nice and smooth and less resistance to go through the water. Some of the guys shaved their heads. I had one of these shave down parties at my house and we crammed a lot of the girls into the tub at one point.

Here’s a fun photo of us showing off our shaved legs.Often times it is nice to just relax and soak in hot tubs. Don’t you think?

Posted in Drinks Galore, It's Artistic/Creative

I CAN Be an Artist

It seems there is a growing trend of learn-to-paint classes, which encourage novice artists to gather with a group of friends and create a piece of artwork, all while enjoying a cocktail or two.

This is not an item written down to check off my list, but it is something I’ve thought would be fun. March 2014, I went with a bunch of friends in my Active 20-30 Club to a place in town called the Painted Cork.

Have you ever felt like taking a painting class to unleash your inner Picasso, but felt as though you couldn’t even paint a stick figure? Are you looking for something different and new to do for a birthday party, ladies night out, team builder, first date, couples or even as a single person who is looking for some unique social interaction in the Folsom or Midtown Sacramento area? The Painted Cork “paint and sip” Art Studio creates a comfortable, fun, hip and exciting atmosphere where you and your friends can enjoy a fantastic time while a professional art instructor teaches you a step by step 2 to 3 hour painting classes. The Painted Cork offers a completely relaxed and social painting class/party where guests are allowed to bring with them their favorite wine or beer and delicious snacks to enjoy throughout the class!

I’m definitely not an artist, so I was guessing that my painting would turn out really bad. Got to the place and found the easels and paints all set up at tables. The artist instructor told me to grab an apron and then drinks, snacks, and a seat. I put down the bottle of wine and snack mix I brought and grabbed a glass and apron and a seat. The canvas had a penciled outline of the skyline we were going to be painting. Up front there were different paintings that were completed, the instructor told us to take a look at each one to use as a baseline for inspiration or ours. Then we started painting.

It was a very simple step by step processing. Mixing colors and watching what she did and then doing similar. By doing it this way, I realized that each person is different in how they paint the same object. This in turn means that no one is a bad artist. I don’t think I’d be able to do a painting like that without watching the steps to get it done.

Overall, it was a very fun evening and I’d totally do this again. I can see why it’s become so popular.

Posted in Generic Ones, Super Duper Easy

#26 Give your best friend a nickname only you can use

shavingI grew up swimming competitively year-round and we all had quite a few nicknames. I can recall one night at practice when we were doing a kicking set (in case it’s not clear, that’s using a kick board and kicking down and back in a swimming pool for a determine length of time) If it was possible, we would pair up to kick side by side and use the time to chat.

Now, I don’t remember what started the conversation, but we got going on saying nicknames that only each of us could use AND it had to do with food. I became Banana, and my two other friends were Cheesecake and Rye-Bread. It was immensely funny at the time. Actually, it still is.

Do you have nicknames that make others wonder at your sanity?

Posted in Drinks Galore, Festivals/Special Events

#23 Drink Champagne With a Crazy Straw

crazy strawI gave this item a try while welcoming in 2016.  I thought it would be fun to have a little bottle to drink from instead of a glass or the regular size.I was hoping to have friends join in, but they were not in the mood. That could be a new goal, to get friends to drink champagne with a crazy straw, at a bar.

Have you drunk any alcohol from a crazy straw?