Though I don’t get to do it too often, I love entertaining. To me, there’s nothing better than coming up with a theme and revolving the food, drinks, decor and activities around it in creative ways. If I had a bigger apartment and unlimited funds, I would totally be throwing parties nonstop. But alas, I do not, so instead I focus on doing one around my birthday, which is coming up on October 6th. It’s become a fun tradition that I enjoy putting together, and I like that it doesn’t put added stress on my friends (when people do those crazy birthday weekends or like three separate birthday events it just drives me crazy! Even just going out to a bar or club one night really seems to wreak havoc on my wallet).
The first year we moved into our apartment I did a “Birthday Brunch BOO!nanza” (get it? Halloween themed!), and made two types of quiche, a French toast bake, bacon and sausage, fruit salad, my famous pumpkin chocolate chip muffins, apple cider mimosas, and got spooky dollar store decor. Though I won’t reveal the theme of this year’s party yet (I’ll probably do a post about it after!), I thought it would be fun to share how I planned last year’s – a total throwback to childhood birthdays, but with adults twists in all the right ways (ie: alcohol)…
Since it’s the digital age (plus it’s free and more environmentally friendly), I decided to send an e-vite. I’ve used Punchbowl all three years so far (I think it must have just been one of the first websites that came up) and have happy with it. It was easy to use and had a lot of free options. I also like the animation of the card coming out of an envelope when the guest receives it! I remember I had a little trouble with this one because I wanted to use a more “juvenile” theme, but a lot of the ones they had were too kiddie or involved TV/movie characters. These bright colors worked out in the end and I thought it was a cute way to get the theme across! I also had to do a play on the famous #TBT hashtag of course – I called it #CBT “Claire’s Birthday Throwback.”
I had a lot of fun with the food, reminiscing about my favorite meals as a kid and what was served at bday parties. I tried to elevate each item a little to make it more adult-appropriate–by cutting the PB&J’s into finger sandwiches, providing a medley of dipping sauces for the nuggets, fresh mozzarella on the pizza bagels, etc., and you could do it even a bit more. I originally was going to make homemade pigs in a blanket with fancy sausage but at the last minute just opted for frozen – less work! Though warning, everyone probably will have stomach aches after this party…
Kool Aid Bursts
Capri Suns Spiked with Tequila
Yoohoo Spiked with Rum
(with cute striped straws)
PB&J Finger Sandwiches (with Wonder Bread, Skippy and Smucker’s!)
Pigs in a Blanket
Homemade Mac n’ Cheese
Homemade Pizza Bagels with Fresh Mozzarella
Chicken Nuggets with a Medley of Dipping Sauces (homemade honey mustard, BBQ sauce, sriracha mayo)
Veggie Platter with Ranch
Variety of Throwback Candy (Fun Dip, Fruit by the Foot, Push Pops, Nerds, Pop Rocks, Ring Pops, Pixie Sticks)
Little Debbie Tiered Cake
Decor was easy for this party – I just got basic party decor from my favorite place, the Dollar Tree, and tried to do a mix of primary colors to keep it “child-friendly.” Streamers, bright balloons and table clothes, happy birthday signs, and of course, party hats and noise makers kept it feeling light. I also saw in this wonderful book the idea of using painter’s tape to adhere candy button strips to the wall. I was originally going to spell something out, but didn’t have enough room on my walls so we just put it up in one section.
Ah, arguably the most fun part: the games/activities. This is where I really invested since I knew it would make it feel like the ultimate throwback. I purchased classic board games (Twister, Sorry!, and Candyland); scented magic markers and jumbo crayons, along with those stress-relief adult coloring books I already had; pin the tail on the donkey; temporary tattoos; a bracelet-making kit, and Play-Doh (a last minute buy I couldn’t resist). To complete the atmosphere, I queued up the kids section of Netflix and played ’90s favorites like Space Jam, the Magic School Bus, and Rugrats in the background.
Over all it was a super fun day – and I think came at the perfect time since we were all working full-time, getting used to adult life and stressed – so it felt amazing just to be kids again for a day!
See you next week! To see what I’m eating in the meantime, follow me on Instagram or Twitter @ClaireLeaden