Part III of the Snowflake Series: How To Plan A New Years/Winter Party from a Non- Party Expert

Right out of the gate, I’m going to say that I’m not a professional party planner. In fact, not even close. So not close that I have to say that this was the 1st party that I’d ever planned. You’re probably wondering, “Why should I be reading some blog post by someone who’s only planned one party in her life?” Well, I believe that you can learn a lot from people who are curious about a certain topic and are in the learning stages. You can obtain a wealth of information from those who are passionate and honest about their experiences. I’m writing this post to inspire others to plan a winter themed party, but also to give them tips and tricks on mistakes to avoid. Because we wouldn’t be human if we didn’t make mistakes, right? So here’s how to plan a New Years/Winter Party!

This past semester, I was an intern for an art organization that provides after-school, vacation, and summer opportunities for teens to explore the artistic areas of theater, dance, music, and the fine arts. I recognized a need for there to be more in between activities since the art organization that I interned for focuses on building a community and not just the programs. Therefore, I decided to plan a New Years Party. Mind you that this was for teen girls, so there was no alcohol involved. However, I think that learning how to plan fun non-alcohol parties are just as important, especially if you yourself are non-drinker . This party was a success and I learned through this experience on what makes a successful party and what doesn’t.

Decoration Tips: First pick out a theme for your party to make sure that all of the decorations coordinate together. Mine was easy; New Years/Winter Themed. So I went with a lot of white and sparkly/shimmery things. It is however, important to balance out the whiteness of the decor. I chose purple since that was the organization’s signature color. If I had to go back and do it all over again, I would have picked out more purple decorations to keep a party homeostasis :).

The best place to shop for decorations if you’re on a tight budget is the Dollar Store. Everything there is literally $1 if you can believe that! I thought it was some sort of advertising joke-ism, but nope, it’s all $1. I got almost all of the decorations needed there for $24 dollars. Needless to say, I was proud of myself.

Food Tips: Most people do not have tons of time to cook everything. Therefore, make it a potluck. Everyone will feel like they are contributing and it is always fun to try other people’s food ;P. The only thing I might have changed in this area is to not of been as vague on what to bring. In the invitation I was all like, “Bring a main dish, a side, a dessert, whatever suits your fancy”. However, the problem was that almost everyone brought desserts. While it certainly wasn’t a food disaster, having glazed amaretto  apricot carrots as the main meal attraction is not what I’d exactly call a potluck dinner. I’m honestly still not sure how to solve this problem. Do you ask people what they’re bringing ahead of time and limit the amount of people who can bring desserts? I don’t know, I don’t want to sound like a food dictator. Readers, how would you solve this problem? Suggestions are welcome!

New Years Related Activity Tips: An awesome activity to ring in the New Year is for people to write down predictions for the upcoming year. This can be about themselves, the people they know, or the world in general. Then, people put them in a hat and then they are pulled out and read off to the crowd. This activity was extremely sentimental/humorous and I’d highly recommend it as a New Years Activity.

Party Activities That Can Be Done Anytime, Anywhere Tips: Since this was an art organization and a lot of the girls that attended did theater, I thought we’d play one of my favorite improv games, Park Bench. Mind you, nobody needs ANY theater experience at all to play, just a desire to be extremely silly and goofy. Basically, all you need are two chairs and one person is the ‘straight man’ and the other person is trying to be so annoying that they get them off the bench. The way to do this is to get the other person to laugh. The audience also can become involved by giving the players a situation. Some that we had was “an angry customer at a grocery store, a Mom trying to get her angsty teen out of her room, etc.” It was a huge hit and everybody had an awesome time.

Photo Booth: This activity was a huge hit at the party. Put up a black background with a decorative garland and set up funny props that people can use in photos with their friends. The results were HYSTERICAL and people loved seeing them on the organization’s Facebook page afterwards. Unfortunately, I cannot post the photos as an example to protect the privacy of the girls, but watch this video by Bethany Mota to get an idea. However, to save time, I would suggest a plain long black table cloth and just using the garland and props as decoration.

I also highly suggest planning a raffle. We picked out a few inexpensive items and gave everyone tickets. Everyone thought that the raffle was an exciting addition to the party and the people who won were very pleased with their prizes.

 

Hope you all enjoyed my “non-expert” advice on how to plan a party. Be sure to comment below any questions you might have or other suggestions on how to plan an awesome New Year’s/Winter Party!

xoxo

Alex

 

Part II of the Snowflake Series: Winter Favorites

For part II of the Snowflake Series, I’m going to be compiling a list of my winter favorites. Some things just make getting through the winter just a wee-bit easier and these are my favorites that always get me into a good winter mood. Without further adieu, let’s get started.

Skincare: I don’t use a lot of skincare products because I’ve been blessed to have pretty clear skin. However, my skin does tend to be on the drier side, so there are two things I like to use to moisturize. The first product I like to use jojoba oil. This oil always gives me the most beautiful glow and is also the perfect base to blend your makeup with (my extremely dry skin makes it difficult to put blush on without me looking like a clown, lol). I actually like to use this product all year round, but especially during the winter time. My new current favorite is the Nubian Heritage Indian Hemp and Haitian Vetiver Body Lotion   I mostly use this on my face, neck, and chest area. The scent of this body butter is very calming to my system and makes my skin feel less tight. I tend to like to put on this butter before bed for a peaceful sleep. So yeah, if you have dry skin, I definitely recommend this butter.

Fashion: SWEATERS AND CARDIGANS! I live in these during the winter. I get cold like nobody’s business, so staying warm and comfortable is my number one priority. I recently got this new sweater from H & M , which is my absolute favorite. I love how it’s not overly decorated enough that it can go with anybody, but yet it also has this fashionable winter print on the sleeves. The many different tones of blue and neutral winter colors is very calming for some reason that I can’t explain. My #1 tip for winter shopping is don’t settle with so-called long sleeved tops that are made with cheap thin fabric, get clothes that will make you not want to jump to spring and enjoy the pleasures of winter instead.

Movies: I love old classic books that are turned into movies during the winter. Here are my favorite winter movies:

Anne of Green Gables Trilogy : I’m ashamed to say that I’ve never read the books, but the Anne of Green Gables movies have always been a favorite of mine since I was a little girl. Anne was a character that always inspired and resonated with me as a kid. This trilogy definitely helped me during my teen years whenever I felt lost or when I felt nobody got me (and even to this day). The acting in this series is impeccable and the filmography of the movies is absolutley exquisite. You would never know that it wasn’t filled in Prince Edward Island. Not to mention, the winter scenes that were shot always looked so beautiful and actually made me WANT winter to come whenever I watched this movie during a different season. I mean, how could a Victorian Christmas Ball not make you want winter to come?

Little Women: This was always my favorite movie as a little girl. I think I’ve watched this movie at least 30 times. Once again, all of the sisters in this book (and Marmie!) are so inspiring and I love how they are all imperfect, but at the end of the day are wonderful people who you can look up to. Often times during the winter, we can feel down about ourselves and feel like our imperfections outweigh our good traits. However, Little Women is a great pick me up that makes you realize that your imperfections are what make you beautiful. We don’t love Jo March because she’s perfect, we love her because she is multi-dimensional. Plus, once again, the winter scenes are shot so beautifully, that it makes you want go outside and embrace winter into a big hug.

My Winter Jam at the Moment: River by Sarah Mclachlan   Luka by Suzanne Vega  Goddess by BANKS  Breathe In by Amarante Liquid Diamonds by Tori Amos  Carnival by Natalie Merchant I See Fire by Ed Sheeran (Kygo Remix)  Human Behavior by Bjork  Full of Grace by Sarah Mclachlan Trains and Winter Rains by Enya

Favorite Winter Sport: By far skiing! I learned how to ski when I was 4 and it is one of the most exhilarating and fulfilling things I’ve ever done. My soul is also always struck by the movie picture perfect beauty at the top of the mountain. However, I haven’t been in years because it’s extremely $$$. I hope that one of these days I can go skiing again :).

 A Winter Recipe That I Want To Try: HEARTY GREENS SOUP WITH BOWTIE PASTA AND TOMATOES

Question for my readers; has anyone even found gluten-free bowtie pasta??? I’ve been gluten-free for 5+ years and I have yet to find any.

My Favorite Winter Photograph Taken By Me: 820875_211418289004874_548963955_o

That’s all for now! What are some of your winter favorites? Are any of what I mentioned your winter favorites?

 

 

 

Part I of the Snowflake Series: Enjoying Winter As A Non-Winter Person

I love the sound of the season winter. I might even name my future daughter winter. The 1st snowfall is always very special to me, especially during Christmas time; everything looks so picturesque with all of the lights. But that’s pretty much the extent of it. After the first 3 weeks or so, I want winter to be over. Done. Co-put. Fin. Okay, I don’t hate winter that much, but if I had to chose a least favorite season it’d probably winter. Actually no, it’d probably be March- early to mid April. These muddy, disgusting months filled with slush and cold rain need to go. Plus, April is my worst month for environmental allergy season. Yeah, leprechauns and bunnies are cute and all, but this time period doesn’t even really feel like a season. Just 6 weeks of pure mush. It deserves its own season. Let’s call it, Marp. An unattractive name that fits what I’ve been describing perfectly.

Febuary

Here’s the peculiar part. I would never get rid of Marp or winter. As a New Englander, I truly appreciate the 4 seasons, because there is something special to each of them, even Marp. This has made me come to the realization that I no longer want to sit through winter complaining about it all the time and praying for an early spring. I want to enjoy the best of each season; including those that I don’t like normally. As a result of this new found revelation, I have decided to compile a list of tips on how to enjoy winter as a non-winter person. I hope that with this post, I can help others who usually bundle up under a million blankets looking at photos of flowers on Instagram just like me. Without further adieu, here are some of my tips and tricks!

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Force Yourself To Go Outside and Enjoy Winter: Yes, this a tough one even for me, but I think that the 1st step to appreciating winter is not admiring it from indoors. Put your long johns on underneath your clothes, dress up like a marshmallow, and get outdoors to breathe in that fresh winter air. Take neighborhood walks with your family, friend, or loved one. You will start to warm up once you start moving, so much so that you might not even hats and gloves! I mean, don’t go walking around in sub-zero degree temperatures in the middle of blizzard, but when the weather is in favor, it’s worth a try. Snap pictures outside of all the pretty snow patterns and frosty trees. The whiteness of winter also makes for some amazing backgrounds for portraits, so be sure to consider taking photos of your friends or yourself outside.

Become a Child Again: Yup, you heard me right! I think that when winter comes, we forget about the glee that we once felt as children from going down our sleds or cutting out snowflakes. Find a hill to go sledding/tubing down or go to your local ski area as they usually have tubing nights (even glow in the dark, now how wicked is that?!). See if there is an outdoor ice rink somewhere near you. If you don’t have an outdoor ice rink, go to your local rink’s rock night. Many rinks have nights where you get to skate under disco lights to awesome music. If you don’t quite feel like going outside and walking up and back again each time you sled or falling on your ass when you skate, than do something child-like indoors! Learn how to make a paper snowflake again or pick out some old winter photos from when you were little and make a winter collage/scrapbook. If you aren’t an artsy type of person, than play your childhood favorite board games with your friends and family while sipping hot coco. See if you can finally beat Mom or Dad at monopoly after all of these years. There is no reason why you can’t let your inner childhood spirit run free during the wintertime.

Cook: Winter is the perfect time to try out those new recipes since the oven will warm up your house. Make a soup, stew, freshly baked bread, anything warm! If you are having trouble finding an incentive to cook, make an event out of it. Invite your friends and/or family for a warm potluck dinner or do soup and movie night, I don’t know, you’re smart, you can think of something :).

Get A Light Lamp: I personally haven’t suffered from seasonal effective disorder so far, but I know many that do. Purchase a light lamp to brighten your mood!

Stay Well: Becoming ill during the wintertime can definitely dampen the mood. Wash your hands more frequently! Don’t eat too much sugar! Stay physically active! If you find that you get sick a lot during the winter, consider purchasing vitamin D. drops. I used to get sick all the time in the winter as a kid and now that I take vitamin D. drops I rarely fall ill.  Of course, consult a doctor before starting anything new. Going through winter without the sniffles every two weeks is a great feeling :D.

Dress Cute: Often times in winter, myself included, we just want to sit home in our chunky sweaters and fleeced lined leggings. While this is definitely okay and encouraged during the winter, sometimes it’s fun to dress cute. Experiment with different types of outfits that not only keep you cozy, but are fashionable. It’s a tough challenge, but that’s the fun of it! For the makeup lovers here, winter is also a great time to try out new makeup looks. Dare to try that red lipstick you’ve been afraid to put on or look for a tutorial on how eyeliner like Adele. You deserve to feel glamorous, don’t let winter stop you :D.

Party: Plan a winter get together filled with a wonderland decor, games, and yummy warm food. Integrate some of the ideas that I mentioned above into a party. And after you’re done with all of the activities, Netflix and Chill (and I don’t mean that kind of chill. I don’t know why Netflix and Chill is a code for sex lol) your favorite winter movies with your guests. I recently planned an After New Years Party that I feel definitely made everyone’s winter a bit more special. Be on the lookout for a future blog post that describes how I made a successful non-alcoholic New Years Party.

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This blog post is the first part to what I’m going to call: The Snowflake Series! My goal is to make winter more fun for myself and I want you all to join me. Let’s do this together!

xoxo

Alex