Thursday, January 27, 2011

New Feature: Ask Me a Question

Planning an event? Have a question? Add your questions to the comment field-I'll answer them on this site. Let's start a conversation. I'm always looking for new ideas and resources. I'll bet you guys are too.
Only serious questions, please.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Re-post: Hosting a children's party in a small space


Take a look at this Good Question featured at Ohdeedoh. Readers have posted alot of great suggestions on how to plan a kid's party in a small house. My favorite tip is one reader's suggestion to invite as many friends as the child is old. So, in this case a four year old can invite four friends. I know this is not for everyone-many a kid's party includes the entire class but if you are looking for way to keep the party under control-in budget, scale and craziness then this is a smart way to go.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Friday Night Dinners (FND)


Several months ago we started up what we call Friday Night Dinners-FND for short. Every Friday we get together with our close friends (besties-really) and take turns hosting. Three of us work near each other and work the same hours, so we go the grocery store to pick up ingredients and start dinner. The ones who work later do the dishes. We try out different themes-such as Greek, Italian, India, Vietnamese. Sometimes we don't feel like cooking and we order takeout.

At first, I was hesitant to host dinner parties on a Friday worried that I wouldn't have time to clean the house and get everything ready. But it's worked out really well. I just tidy up Thursday night and don't stress. As long as the bathroom is clean and the living room/dining room is tidy-who cares about the rest. By now, these friends are close enough we don't really care anyway. Nice to have those kinds of friends. The best part about FND is that it gives us a chance to de-stress after a busy week, and it sure makes the weekend seem longer. We keep it casual and fun. Sometimes we watch a movie, play a game or go for a walk. Sometimes we just sit and talk. Whatever we feel like doing. We keep it casual.

For me, the added bonus is the incentive to try out new foods. I am a terribly picky eater, and this way I can test new recipes and cuisines.

By the way, if you are wondering-tonight's theme is Mexican.

Pingg-Digital Invites and Cards


I recently came across Pingg-artist created invitations, e-cards, announcements and more. I love 'em. The cards run the gambit from the off-beat and quirky, cute and cuddly to elegant. Fabulous designs-for free! You can send them with or without rsvps, and can search the site by keyword.

Check them out here.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Week-end Spa Getaway

This past weekend, husband and I stole away to the spa for the weekend. The Mariott Niagara Falls Fallsview & Spa. We splurged on a king bed, jacuzzi tub, fireplace and a view of the falls. It was well worth it! Friday night we watched the fireworks over the falls from our room, we had the perfect view. The spa, Serenity Spa by the Falls, was located within the hotel on the lower lobby. We specifically wanted a hotel with a spa onsite so we wouldn 't have to travel far. Good choice too-the weather was nasty on Saturday, but we were perfectly cosy enjoying our treatments.

The view-complete with rainbow

The jacuzzi-made for two

The fireplace

The Bed-don't you want to dive in?

I have never been the spa, and have always wanted to. I am glad I finally went for it (with much prodding by husband to enjoy it and forget about the cost). Friday we indulged in the Escape to Fiji couples retreat-one hour massage each, followed by 1/2 hour hydrotherapy. The hydrotherapy room was amazing. Great big tub, a fireplace and candles. We were served a fruit parfait to enjoy while soaking. Sadly I don't have any pictures, couldn't really bring the camera into the spa with me. The staff at the spa were wonderful and the atmosphere was great. The lounge area had complimentary water and teas. The locker room had both a sauna and a steam room. Robes and slippers were provided, and were able to wear them back to our room and keep them for the duration of our stay.

Saturday morning we treated ourselves to the Moor Mud Wrap and a facial. Husband loved the facial, but I have sensitive skin and I found it too rough for me. The wrap was excellent-a full body exfoliation, followed by the mud application. Next, I was wrapped in a warm cocoon. Followed by a hot shower to remove the mud. Then a massage with coconut and honey cream. Fantastic!

I recommend the spa to anyone, but I know it can be a bit pricey. Here are some tips to get the most for your money.

  • Winter off season so deals are available, and it's the best time to go!
  • Try different travel websites, the prices can vary
  • Look for package deals
  • Ask about freebies and extras, such as the fruit parfait we had
  • Book treatments that offer a full body multi-treatment-such as the mud wrap
  • If you have a jacuzzi in your room- skip hydrotherapy, it's basically the same thing
  • Look for coupons, Niagara is full of them. Ask at the hotel desk, online, or pick them up at common tourist sites. You'll find deals on dining and entertainment
  • Skip the room service-it's too pricey. Local take out places will usually deliver to hotels
The spa is perfect for romantic getaways, mother-daughters, sisters, best friends or bachelorette. Guys-don't be shy. The spa told me 30% off their clients are men. Men need the pampering too!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Minute to Win It

For those of you who have not heard of the game show Minute to Win it, I highly recommend it.
The concept-teams of 2 players complete challenges using everyday household items. The challenges must be completed in under one minute-thus the title of the show. As the difficult of the challenges increase, they win increasing amounts of cash.

Last Friday night, we got together with friends and played it ourselves. We had a blast. I love this idea for parties and get together's because a) use household items you already have or can get easily and cheaply and b) the challenges last only a minute so you never get bored!

NBC has all the instructions for free on their website-even better. Here is the link.

Our favourites of the night:

1. Bromski-basically ski ball, created with 3 sizes of garbage bins, a broom stick and tennis balls. We played it in a long hallway. The idea is to get one tennis ball in each of the bins in one minute.

2. Ping Tac Toe-using nine plastic cups, create a tic tac toe grid. Bounce ping pong balls into the cups, to create a three in a row pattern. You need two colours of balls for this.

We played many more, with varying degrees of success.

It seems the key supplies are ping pong balls, marbles, tennis balls and plastic cups as well as other things commonly found around the house such as string, paper clips, hangers etc.

We had a blast with these games, it would be great for teen parties, family reunions and other group gatherings.

Try it, you won't be disappointed.

Check out the game show on NBC on Wednesday nights at 8 pm.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Re-post: Mad Hatter Tea Party

Check out this little girl's birthday party at Ohdeedoh. An Alice in Wonderland themed Mad Hatter Tea Party. I am so jealous! I love Alice in Wonderland. I was thinking about this very same theme for a bridal shower at a tea house. In the end, it didn't happen but this article shows how it works for a garden party. LOVE the cardboard mushroom cut outs and the signs "Eat Me" on the cupcakes.

I really hope I'll be able to execute this theme for a party one day. It's so fabulous.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Organizing and Editing

I haven't posted since December 20th! Shameful. You are probably wondering what they heck I have been up to. Of course, the holidays take up alot of time. With parties, cookie and truffle making, gift wrapping etc.
One huge item on my to do list was to start 2011 off with a clean(er) slate. That means cleaning out all the junk that inevitably collects over the years. A smallish apartment means that storage is always a challenge for me. I love to have things hidden away in baskets or behind doors. Husband likes to have things at hand, so he can see them. As you can imagine, this had lead to some major compromising.

For Christmas, husband bought me 2 of these Ikea dressers. One for each of us. Hooray! Lots of roomy drawers to work with, and I love the clean lines. Putting them together took hours, we felt like Santa Elves. The first one took over 3 hours, but the second one was much easier, since we already knew what went where. Love Ikea, do not love putting it together.


Next, we used nifty drawer organizers to corral all the small items-socks, undies, belts, etc. My jewelery box even fit inside the drawer. Score.

My clothes used to be stored in cheap stacking drawers I bought from walmart years ago. Not sexy. Once my clothes were ever so neatly arranged in the new dresser, the plastic bins were moved to our second bedroom (aka storage/junk room). Husband went to town organizing tools and diy supplies in them. We did have one dresser already, so we moved that one to the kitchen. Husband trimmed the legs a bit, and it is now the perfect height for a counter. With a butcher block cutting board on top, it is now a food prep area.

Then, we set out three bins and pulled out everything from the closets and bookshelves. We did it twice. Six bins of stuff was donated to charity. Alot of other stuff was recycled.

Zellers had storage items on sale on boxing day so went and picked up 8 clear plastic bins. Clear of course, so we can see what is in them. Bonus-we used gift cards so it was free!

Then, we found a handy little battery powered label maker on sale for $15. I went to town corralling and labeling all the boxes.

My closets can breath again! It is so much easier to find what I need and to get dressed in the morning. And that of course is just how I wanted to start off the New Year.