Tag Archives: party

The Things I Wish I’d Known Before Starting College

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The Things I Wish I’d Known Before Starting College

If you are going to be starting college in the fall, then you need to be prepared. There are so many fun things to look forward to, as well as busy times when the exams are on and you’re cramming super late into the night. One thing that anyone will tell you is that the time flies by so quickly. Four years and then you’re out into the ‘real’ world and onto the career path of your choice. So it is important to embrace that time and make the most of it. Here are some of the top things to take into consideration before starting college:

You’ll Never (EVER) Regret Staying In To Study: It can be tempting to just want to go out all of the time. There might be parties everywhere, movie nights, or sports games. But you can’t constantly go out, especially if you’re aiming for top grades (which you should be!). But the thing is, the parties are just parties. There will always be parties or events going on. But you do only get one shot at the test or exam. So if you feel like you should be studying, then you won’t regret it. Work hard, and then you can play even harder after you ace that test.

College Isn’t High School: In high school, people can be quite catty and mean. But you know what, when you hit the ripe old age of college age, it seems that people tend to care less about material stuff or appearances. It doesn’t matter how cool your new bag is or if you’ve got the latest laptop. No one will really care. You’re all there for the same purpose, and that is to get your college education. So you can make an effort with things like that or not. Don’t stress over it!

Work To Pay Off Your Loan: If you are going to college and are needing a loan to do so, then one of the biggest pieces of advice is to get a part-time job when you study. If you are able to take out the smallest loan possible and able to work as you study, it will help tremendously. No one wants to graduate with a load of debt hanging around their neck, right? Otherwise, you’ll need to look for things like debt consolidation for student loans when you finish. They can help as you start out on your career path. But they’re definitely not ideal.

Take Care of Your Health: Getting sick without your parents there to take care of you is the worst (for real). So take care of your health as much as you can. Taking a vitamin supplement is a good idea, as well as keeping hydrated with water. The latter also helps with hangovers, so there is another reason to drink plenty of water! Get rest, eat well, and do some exercise. Your body (and mind) will thank you for it. Especially when mom isn’t there to cook you chicken noodle soup!

College is an exciting time but it can also be an overwhelming wake up call. Be prepared for the twists and turns that your time at uni can take, and all will be well when you’re on your way to graduation! 🙂

Featured Image By: Flickr

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The Ultimate Dinner Party Guide

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The Ultimate Dinner Party Guide

From tableware to menus and seating arrangements, throwing a dinner party is never easy. Not only do you have to create the perfect ambient setting to enjoy a meal, but you also have to plan, prepare, cook, and serve the food! It can sound like more trouble than it’s worth but don’t be put off. Dinner parties are an amazing way to get family and friends together.

If you struggle to find the time to catch up with loved ones individually it can be a great way to get everyone in the room for a wonderful evening. It’s also a good test of your organizational skills and hosting abilities! Above everything else, it’s a lot of fun. As long as you have a plan in place, the evening will be a huge success. This dinner party guide takes you from the menu planning process to the dinner table decors, all the way to puddings and party favors:

The Guest List: The first thing that you need to decide is who you’re inviting. If you’re co-hosting the dinner party with a friend, partner, or family member, sit down together and work out a list. You need to work out what you want out of the dinner party. A big celebration with friends, intimate family meal, or perhaps an open-to-all buffet style event. Whatever the occasion is, this will indicate who you should invite.

Of course, the amount of space you have around the table will also dictate the number of guests. If you’re inviting more than eight people, a sit-down meal might not be the best idea. First of all, who has a table big enough for over eight? Also, you might want to consider a more fluid set up. For large numbers open up the garden and kitchen to guests, too. That way people can mingle without feeling cramped and confined to one room.

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Partayyy

Creating The Menu: If you’re having a sit-down soiree you’ll need to prepare a menu. If you’re having six people or under round for dinner you can probably cook individual courses. If you’re having more than six people or over, sharer style dishes and one-pot recipes are the way to go. If you’re having a huge gathering, then a buffet station set up in the garden or kitchen for food is best. You’ll have to determine whether any of the guests have allergies or intolerances before you come up with a menu. Also come up with some vegetarian and vegan options, too.

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     YUM

     For Smaller Groups:

Get your prep done before guests arrive, this goes for all group sizes. If you’re hosting for a smaller group of people you can afford to have more attention to detail and more ambitious dishes. Prawns are a good starter because they’re easy to prepare in advance. Buy prawns which have been cooked, cleaned, and peeled already. This will save time. There are so many different ways to serve prawns. A fail-safe option is a simple grilled prawn with a pre-prepared sauce. Get some char on your prawns to increase the smokey flavors in the dish. This goes particularly well with a romesco sauce.

For the main course, food preferences permitted, herb crusted lamb is a real show stopper. To make the crust, combine breadcrumbs, parsley, mint, and oil. Smear some mustard over the fatty side of the lamb and top with the breadcrumb mixture. Be sure to brown your lamb before cooking. www.StoneFryingPans.com/the-best-stainless-steel-cookware has some great stainless steel cookware, perfect for searing and deglazing to make a jus for the lamb. Finally, make sure you leave your lamb to rest for at least 10 minutes. This will ensure that the meat is nice and tender and the juices won’t leak onto the plate. Dessert needs to be something that can be prepared in advance and left to chill. Cheesecake is a good idea, because you can make one large one and portion it before serving. It’s also a great ‘blank canvas’ dessert, so you can add your own preferences, too. Lemon, chocolate, hazelnut, berries, and basically any topping ever work well with a cheesecake.

     For Larger Groups:

Cooking for larger groups needn’t be challenging, you’ll just need to tweak the menu accordingly. Choose some large platters or boards and arrange some cured meats and cheeses on them. Serve olives over ice and sourdough bread, too. Balsamic vinegar and oil make a great dip to go alongside this sharing starter, as does tapenade. For the main dish, consider doing a one-pot wonder. A homemade curry or a big paella served straight from the pan works really well for larger groups. You can stick these on and leave them to cook with minimal effort, apart from stirring. Serve curries with homemade flatbreads, onion salad, and a yogurt dip. For dessert opt for an easy crowd pleaser like ice cream or mousse. This can also be made ahead of time and left to chill.

     For Vegetarians:

Buy some spelt pasta from a health food store and use this as the base of your dish. Blend spinach and basil in a blender with some oil, seasoning, and pine nuts. This will create a pesto to use as a sauce over your pasta. Cook some courgettes and asparagus, too. Toss the pesto through the pasta and top with the cooked courgettes and asparagus.

Which Drinks To Serve: Setting up a drinks tray is the best idea. Nobody wants to have to make drinks all night for their guests. Prepare a table in the living room or kitchen with a variety of soft drinks and alcohol for guest to pick and choose. Another good idea is to make one signature drink. Making jugs of cocktails is an especially good idea if it’s a summer party which spills out into the garden.

To make a mojito simply mix lime juice, mint, and sugar in a large jug or bowl. Mash these gently to let the flavors start to seep out and sugar dissolve. Top with rum, soda, and plenty of ice. Put slices of mint and lime to garnish in little bowls next to the jug.

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My kind of party!

Setting The Scene: Whenever you go to a great dinner party, the atmosphere is one of the things that makes it so special. Creating the perfect atmosphere is partly down to planning. If you are having a sit-down meal you’ll need to dress the table. It can be tempting to go overboard with accessories and cram the table but try to avoid this. Guests want to be able to talk, share food, and relax without having to navigate lots of decorative pieces. A few tea light candles with lantern-style covers are a pared back but sophisticated touch. Fresh flowers are also a great centerpiece, but if you have a small table don’t clutter it. Station a drinks table with an ice bucket nearby so that you don’t have to keep rushing backward and forwards.

A seating plan shouldn’t be necessary and can feel a bit too formal. Adding a little gift for each person is a nice touch, too. They don’t have to be expensive, in fact, the more whimsical the better. Masks or joke shop presents are a great idea for a group of friends. Family members may appreciate birthstones or small bags of truffles. These tokens will help to create a warm and welcoming atmosphere, plus they’ll lift your guest’s mood!

After Party? Some dinner parties can continue long into the night and become a party as well as dinner. Make it clear to guests on the invite whether you’re open to that. There’s nothing worse than wanting to go to bed but still having a few guests. If you’re having people stay over, set up the guest bedroom early on in the day. By the end of the night, you won’t feel like changing bed linen and arranging flowers!

Nobody wants to clean up after a party, either, but facing all the debris in the morning is probably worse. Compromise and go around with a bin liner and chuck in any bottles or plastic cups. Wash up your plates and cutlery and leave them to dry. Leave larger pans to soak overnight, and head to bed. That way there will be a manageable amount to tackle in the morning.

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Cheers!!

Featured Image By: Pixabay

So, What Exactly IS Smart Casual?

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So, What Exactly IS Smart Casual?

Ever had one of those occasions where you simply don’t know how to dress for it? Maybe you’ve been invited to a party where you don’t know the people or the vibe or maybe you are going somewhere during the daytime and you don’t want to look overdressed. Although no one will mind if you are dressed a little bit differently (unless you’re in something totally outrageous, that is) it can make you feel awkward and self-conscious. At a social event, that is the absolute last thing you want as it can end up hindering your whole experience there.

But what do you do when you have no idea what kind of outfit is suitable for a specific occasion and you either can’t or don’t want to ask in advance? The best thing to do here is to go smart casual. The ‘smart cas’ look has been around for decades and isn’t always the easiest thing to get right as there is plenty of ambiguity over what constitutes ‘smart’ and what constitutes ‘casual’! The important thing is not to overthink it – as long as it’s not too sparkly, tight, or short you’re probably on the right track! So, with that in mind, here are some easy looks that mean you are ALWAYS dressed for the occasion:

A Dress: You might hear the word ‘dress’ and think immediately, that this is too formal for smart casual. But in reality, there are plenty of ways that you can rock a dress and still not look like you are taking yourself too seriously. Remember, that dresses come in all shapes and styles. A cute tea dress is demure while still being flirty – opt for something that kicks out from the waist, which is a cut that flatters pretty much every body type. Go for a floral print and pair it with some cute pumps for the daytime or with some heeled sandals for a fun evening look.

If you need to look a little more corporate in your smart casual ensemble, stick to muted colors such as grey and choose a classic shift dress. Pair with some knee high boots and a jacket. But remember, if your dress is already very tailored, soften the look with a waterfall jacket, or something else that is a bit less structured. All-over tailoring does, unfortunately, emphasize the ‘smart’ aspect of smart casual a little too much.

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You can’t go wrong with a pretty floral dress.

Top & Jeans: If you were ever looking for a classic smart-casual combination, it doesn’t come much better than the top and jeans pairing. The jeans are the staple piece for this outfit, so make sure that you invest in a pair that is clearly of good quality. It might mean spending a little more money but trust us – other people can spot cheap denim from a mile off. Skinny or slim-fit jeans are the most versatile and the more flattering on basically any figure, despite what social norms about slim fitting clothes are.

If you are a little more conscious of your stomach area, simply opt for a high-waisted pair that will nip you in at your waist. The top can pretty much be anything you like, but try to avoid cotton T-shirts and tank tops as they look a little too low-key. A lace or satin blouse is always a fail safe option. As far as footwear goes, try and judge the occasion as best as you can. Sometimes heels might be necessary, but other times you might even be able to get away with trainers – providing that they are something classic, like women’s Adidas originals.

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Cute boots are always a safe bet!

Co-ords: While it’s advisable not to don anything too outrageous for a smart casual event, that doesn’t mean that you can’t still have fun with some interesting pieces of fashion. We first saw the trend for the co-ord emerge early last year and it remains a useful item in the wardrobe of many women today. Remember that a co-ord is very different from a suit: you can get them in varying prints and colors, so don’t be afraid to go bold! Plus, you can ditch the traditional top and trouser combination for all kinds of different mismatches. Why not go for a wide leg, high waisted trouser paired with a crop top (this will make your legs go on for miles) or opt for a boxy shirt layered over a matching A-line skirt? Whatever you choose, your co-ord set is going to take all of the stress out of deciding what to wear!

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Hello, stilettos!

Featured Image By: Flickr

New Hot Pink & Black Nails

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New Hot Pink & Black Nails

Hiii everyone and TGIF! Yesterday, I had a little pampering party to get myself perfect for the holiday weekend. I got my nails filled in the morning and then spent the evening dyeing my hair to get it nice and bright red for Christmas. As always, my nail tech, Vinny, did an amazing job shaping and sharpening my nails. I opted for a color for the accent nail that I rarely pick but am actually loving right now. Hot pink! It is far from your classic, run of the mill highlighter hot pink but more like a bright fuchsia and I think it is so fun! Take a look:

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The color looks admittedly red in this picture because poor camera quality but you get the point! Normally, when I am picking an accent nail color, I go with red or shades like grey, beige, or white. This new accent nail color is definitely out of my comfort zone considering I don’t own one pink item in my wardrobe but I’m glad that I went for it! Small changes to your daily routine are always fun and the little things like a new nail polish color or lipstick can really set yourself up for having an amazing day. Make sure that you find time to TREAT YOSELF this holiday season!

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I hope everyone has a fab Friday and a great Christmas Eve Eve! What accent color should I pick next time I get my nails filled? What is your go to shade of nail polish? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Easy Peasy Parties: Don’t Miss The Fun With These Time Saving Tips

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Easy Peasy Parties: Don’t Miss The Fun With These Time Saving Tips

If there’s one thing that I love, it’s parties! They’re a great excuse to dress up, gather your friends together, and have a great time. But they’re also hard work. If you’re not careful, you could spend the whole evening in the kitchen preparing food and ensuring everyone’s needs are met. Follow our simple tips to enjoy your parties and still be the hostess with the mostess.

The Right Tools For The Job: Having the right tools for the job will make the process simpler and more efficient. So it follows that having the right kitchen appliances and accessories will make your preparations much smoother. Start with the basics like a good set of kitchen knives. Most food prep requires chopping of some description and the right knife will make your job much easier.

If you enjoy baking, possessing a professional food mixer will save on combining, rubbing in, whisking, etc. You’ll be whipping up Baking Show quality cakes in no time at all. An ice machine is also a godsend when it comes to parties and cocktail hour. Check out reviews such as the Manitowoc Ice Machine Review to find the best machine for your needs.

And finally, a dishwasher is indispensable and will pay for itself time and again in terms of the time you save. At the end of the party, you can stack the dishes, close the door, and switch it on. No more standing at the sink for hours clearing up.

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^ My kind of party!

Food: The food will depend on the type of party that you’re throwing. If it’s a casual affair, maybe chips, dips, and beers will be sufficient. If you’re throwing a dinner party, then that’s a whole different ball game. For anything in between, there are several nifty time-saving methods that you can employ.

  1. Suggest Everyone Brings A Dish: This will take a little organization. Otherwise, you’ll have thirty plates of cupcakes and no savory snacks. Get your friends together and decide who will bring which dish. Ensure that you have a good selection. This will free you up to spend time on your dress preparations, so you can emerge looking effortlessly stylish.
  1. Do A Buffet: Buffets are a great option when it comes to parties. The food is provided on a large table and everyone helps themselves. You can cater for lots of different tastes; just ensure that everything is correctly labeled. You don’t have to worry about trips in and out of the kitchen and ensuring everything is timed to perfection. You won’t even have to serve. Everyone can serve themselves while you get on with having fun. This is how my graduation party was set up and it worked perfectly! Just make sure that you provide for people with dietary restrictions and preferences like allergies or veganism!

For extra time-saving points, provide guests with paper plates and paper napkins. At the end of the night, go around with a plastic bag and toss the plates in the garbage. No washing up. Bonus! (In my opinion, this is a must!)

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 Pixabay Image

  1. Provide a Drinks Table: Providing a drinks table where everyone can help themselves will ease the burden of constantly having to check that everyone’s glass is filled. Pop and water are a necessity but you could also provide the fixings for hot chocolate or a specialty cocktail for some mixing fun!

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Cheers!

Parties are fun and a great way to catch up with all of your friends. Don’t miss out on yours by spending it in the kitchen. Employ a few smart time-saving strategies and the party will run itself.

Featured Image By: Pixabay

Graduation Pictures!

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Graduation Pictures!

Hi everyone and TGIF!! Yesterday was my big day – I graduated from college!! If you don’t already know, I just got my Associate of Arts degree from Cuyahoga Community College. The graduation ceremony was last night and it was great! It was barely over an hour, too, which was especially nice because I much prefer short and sweet over something long and drawn out. My (almost) entire family came out to watch me strut across the stage but unfortunately my dad was really sick and couldn’t make it. Luckily, there are some great pictures and videos to show him, including some of these:

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Walking across the stage to shake hands, kiss some babies, and get my diploma was freaking awesome. AND I was magna cum laude or however you spell it so that’s pretty cool, too! There will definitely be more pictures to come from the ceremony because they had a professional photographer taking pictures and I know he snapped some good ones!

Now, I have my graduation party to look forward to tomorrow! In the afternoon I will have an open house style get together at my home for my family, Special Olympics students, and some former teachers. Then, in the evening my friends and I will go to my favorite bar, the Cashmere Cricket, for some drinks and some good old fashioned white girl wasted tom foolery. I CAN’T WAIT!! I haven’t had a day dedicated just for me in a long time so it is going to be a lot of fun to bask in the glory of being a genius college graduate for the day!

I hope everyone has an amazing weekend and a fabulous day today! How did you celebrate your high school or college graduation? What drink(s) should I get tomorrow night to celebrate? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Pedi Party

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Pedi Party

Hey everyone and happy Sunday! So yesterday I had myself a little Pedi Party with one of my favorite high school teachers and it was such fun. I had never gotten a pedicure before and was treated to it as a college graduation present. And guess what?! I didn’t even let my ticklishness get the best of me – which I unfortunately can’t say for the one and only massage that I have ever gotten!

As you guys know, I am a devout fan of my acrylic nails so you would think that I would have gotten a pedicure by now. Not the case, guys. Not the case. I guess I really just have never cared about my toes enough to pamper them. 1) They’re not pretty to look at. 2) I barely have nails worthy of painting on my tootsies. And 3) My pinkie corn chip toe is an embarrassment to mankind!

Despite the litany of ugliness that I just described, my nail tech did an amazing job of salvaging some dignity out of my toesies and left them looking so pretty! Take a look, and if you have a foot phobia: SORRY but if you have a foot fetish: YOU’RE WELCOME!

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Obviously, I went with black to match my talons! :*)

All in all, the pedicure was fabulous and I had a great time spending the afternoon with my dear friend. However, I do feel like kind of an asshole because my legs were SO. HAIRY. I guess I didn’t really think to myself “Hey, Sarah – your legs are hairier than most guys right now. Maybe you should clean yourself up”. I mean obviously I didn’t because when the poor nail tech was scrubbing up my legs he was fighting against a forest of prickles! What can I say, WINTER IS MY HIBERNATION TIME and don’t think for one minute that I didn’t apologize profusely for him having to rub on woolly mammoth fur. 😉

With my tail hung between my (hairy) legs, I tamed the beast last night and now have legs as smooth and pretty as my little black seashell toenails. GREAT SUCCESS! Thank you to my wonderful friend for such a treat of an afternoon yesterday and thank you to my nail tech for putting up with me! 🙂

I hope everyone is having a fabulous day and my final questions for you are:

  • Would you rather not shave your legs for a year or not wear makeup for six months?
  • Would you rather get a hot stone massage or a mani/pedi combo?

I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah