We all enjoy a girl’s night, right? But what does that even mean? A girls night to the chicks means time spent with friends in a space that is comfortable and filled with love and laughter (oh, and then there is good food and drinks, too!). Some of my favorite girls’ nights have been those where we can compare notes with friends on life, marriage, motherhood and the newest reality shows! Girls nights can be as few as 2 friends or as many as 10, but no matter what, the main goal is to make it a special way to get together and have fun!
There is a rotation among the chicks where we take turns having each other over — that way we all have the opportunity to get together often without the pressure of hosting all the time. This also means that we each take that opportunity to host seriously and try to find a way to make the most intimate gatherings just a little “extra” special. To help, party chicks have made planning a little easier — by making affordable and adorable party boxes. With the craze of selfies and dessert tables, everyone is looking for the Instagram-perfect picture to share with friends and family. We are excited to announce our first party box themes: the Fiesta Box and the Bollywood Box!
As women in our thirties we pay attention to all the details that go into hosting a girls’ night. The Party Chicks have hand picked these specialty items to make your get together a little different with everything you will need (even the command hooks!) and ten minutes. You can create the perfect atmosphere to make your friends lay back, relax, and enjoy the time you all have set aside for each other.
Check out our introductory boxes in our Etsy Shop here.
Chicks and Salsa is made up of a team of seven women from different backgrounds, ages, and circumstances. One thing we have in common is our love of women centered story lines and comedy. The female experience is unique and we love every minute of it! That being said we are super stoked about a few movies this summer that explore the havoc that women can wreak when they are together. So mark your calendars, here are the movies you simply cannot miss in order of release:
Rough Night – June 16th
Scarlett Johanssen and her passé turn it up for the girl version of Hangover in Miami. This movie complete with all the classic setups for a comedy is a guaranteed girls night movie.
Girls Trip – July 21st
There is nothing like getting out of town and kicking back with friends on vacation. Join Regina Hall, Jada Pinkett Smith, Queen Latifah, and Tiffany Haddish as they zip line across Bourbon Street and flash P.Diddy.
Fun Mom Dinner – August 4th
As many of the chicks are moms, the concept of escaping from the kids is real! In Fun Mom Dinner, Kate Aselton and Toni Collette along with their friend turn up the fun in this hilarious comedy complete with karaoke, inappropriate flirting, and night off mom duty!
These movies are sure to make getting out of the house with your friends worthwhile.
What are your favorite chick flicks of the past? Mine is The Sweetest Thing (remember that!?!?)
Kid’s birthday parties: What they are … and where they’re headed.
When I was growing up and that special time came around, my mom would throw a heartfelt birthday party for me in my backyard. There were hot dogs, games like pin the tail on the donkey, a homemade cake, and presents that were actually opened in front of the guests. That’s all changed.
When my eldest child turned one, I celebrated by throwing her a magnificent birthday party that she would never forget (or at least I wouldn’t). The fact that her birthday lands on St. Patrick’s Day made it even more fun! I hired the local children’s Irish dance troupe to perform. A traditional corned beef and cabbage feast was served to the adults, and there was an amazing spread for the children, which, since it was all over their faces, was mostly lost on them. For the pièce de résistance, there was a huge Shamrock cake. All of our friends in the neighborhood were invited. It was a celebration to remember! The days of elaborate parties are over……
Fast forward 8 years, and the days of elaborate kids birthday parties are over, for the most part, at our house. I’ve changed my ways and become more “practical”. In fact, with my friends, we have started throwing “shared” birthday parties. Even my hubby is on board……
It all started when my husband started to realize the number of birthday parties filling our weekend. He would ask (because he’s usually clueless about our weekend plans), “What are we doing this weekend?” My reply seemed to always be, “We’re going to a birthday party.” He’d reply, “Another one? I just saw those people last week. Don’t we have any other friends? We’ve got to get a life.” You see, we have three children, and each one has around 20 kids in their class. Do the multiplication, and you’re looking at something like 60 parties per year, more than one per week every week of the year.
The goody bags……
No offense, but most of the parties were essentially the same. They were held at huge venues, gifts were collected in a box and never opened in front of the guests, and a pre-written thank you card was handed out in the goody bag as we left. Isn’t being invited to a party gift enough? And, do we have to hand out candy in a gift bag after giving the kids high fructose corn syrup fake juice (sorry), cake and ice cream to say, “Thanks for coming!” More like here’s your fattened, hyper, overtired youngster to deal with for the next two hours. He’s your problem now (thank God). I’m like thanks a lot! See you next week! Once my child even received a basketball as part of an elaborate gift bag! A really nice one too! Actually, that was a score (no pun intended) but my kids have also received gift cards. Am I the only one who thinks this is too much? My Mom wouldn’t believe the extravagance that goes on nowadays. What to give?……
For gifts, I either go to Amazon to buy another $40 birthday gift for a child who already has everything, or (don’t tell) I, sometimes, go to the attic where I hide away the presents my children have received that were duplicates of ones we already had, and find one to re-gift. Come on, you’ve all done it! They’re perfectly good toys! Right? Moving on . . . A lightbulb moment……
One day, the other savvy chick and I were discussing birthday party ideas for our soon-to-be 5 year old boys. We analyzed all the possibilities and dates to have these parties when, at the same time, a light bulb went off in our heads! Let’s throw a “joint” birthday party!……
Not the adult kind some parents need after one of these triple birthday party weekends, but one that celebrates our sons birthdays together! Since our sons were born only 4 days apart, it made total sense! We figured we were saving the rest of the class the rigmarole of another weekend dominated by another lame kid’s birthday party (the party, not the kid)! Ok, do the math!……
On average, I shell out around $500 for each child each year. The first birthday parties were more. Hmmm……3 kids X $500 = $1,500 per year on birthday parties! Now let’s really get into tricky math and base this on 8 years of birthday celebrations! $1,500 X 8 = $12,000. Now that’s some serious cake! I know what you’re thinking……
Before you start thinking, “Oh, I get it, they spend half the amount and receive 100% of the gifts!” WRONG. We make it clear on the invitations, “No Gifts Please”! We find most people adhere to that request. An end to popularity contests……
Sometimes parents aren’t sure if the people they invite will come. They don’t want their child to be hurt and embarrassed so they decide not to throw a party at all. By including all the moms in the class in this planning, every kid will have a birthday and no one will feel left out. Benefits to Shared Birthday Parties……
1) Cost savings! You can spend half the amount! Or share with a couple of people in the class and save 2/3rds on your birthday budget!
2) You get your time back on the weekends!
3) You don’t have to rush around and spend another $40 on a generic gift! (Or search through your cob webbed attic!)
4) Every kid gets a birthday party.
5) The best benefit of all is the relationships you form while planning the parties. You make friends and get to know the parents and kids better!
6) Finally, less sugar….less sugar….less sugar….. If you are a mom like me that watches your children’s sugar intake, you have just reduced the amount of cake and harmful food dyes they are going to consume this year. The idea has caught on……..
These 2 savvy chicks were thrilled with the success of their idea. And this might shock you. Neither child complained or felt cheated! My son loved his party! So much so that we are having it again this year with 4 other kids who’s birthdays are also in the Spring; including our brainy chick’s son! My son actually shares the same birthday with a boy in his class. (May the 4th be with you!) Now two other moms with children in that class are hosting a shared birthday next month! Don’t forget that each child still gets their own family party. That’s important. It’s when our kids can open presents and get attention from those closest to them. In conclusion……
We haven’t done this every year for every child. Some years we still want to throw a party just for our little darling. Other times we allow our child to have a party that brings only a few friends together for a special experience, either because it’s an expensive activity, a long drive away, or it’s an all-day experience. Those are great and memorable too. Key to Successful Shared Birthdays……
1) In order for this to work well, you need to include all the moms who’s children have birthdays the same time of the year. Depending on the class size, maybe 3-5 shared parties a year. Inclusion is the key. Offer it up so everyone has the opportunity to participate if he/she would like.
2) Be flexible! Work with the group of women on finding the venue, time and date.
3) Divide up the responsibilities! You need one person to “coordinate” the master list and start assigning responsibilities! This is best handled by the “spreadsheet” mom. You know who I’m talking about!
4) Make sure each child’s name gets into the Happy Birthday song. It’s funnier the more kids you have sharing a birthday.
Being an informed individual sometimes means facing difficult realities. Social media is a place that people turn for information, or at least it is for me. I like and follow pages on Facebook that give me the information I am looking for. There are times, though, that I am left speechless. The posts with happy endings always leave me with an extra skip in my step, but the ones that don’t, leave me with a feeling of lost hope and helplessness. In thinking of the latter, I realized we all have an immense potential to make a difference, no matter how large or small the scale.
There are two things that I think we all like to do; have a good time, and when possible do something for a good cause!
Chicks, it’s time to do things differently. We all love getting together with friends — it’s a chance to let our hair down, talk about that skinny mom on instagram, and have a glass of wine. Why not, party with purpose?Whether you think that doing charity is for the greater good or charity work is a self-fulfillment activity, either way — charity work is good. And doing it with your friends, wine, and chips and salsa (eh, eh?) is even better! Help do your part and be bigger than yourself with these fun ways
Sole Hope Party-
A great example of this, is to host a “Sole Hope” party. All attendees bring an old pair of jeans (God only knows how many I have laying around) and $10. You simply trace patterns provided by Sole Hope on your jeans and cut them. Once done the cut-outs are sent with the money to make shoes for children in Africa. How easy and purposeful….and all while hanging with the ones you care about and over a glass of wine! More information can be found at solehopeparty.org. Sole Hope is just one of so many ways we can give back. Since some of us simply can’t drop our lives to go first hand to make a difference, there are established and vetted organizations that can help do our part.
(Insert Your Charity of Choice) Fundraiser-
Educating guests on the work of an amazing charity while you are gathered is a great way to spread awareness and take a moment to share your connection to the organization. Do not overthink this!! Just gathering and collecting donations can be as passive or active as you want it to be. However, be clear in your invitation that it is your intention to collect donations while you party. Make it easy for your guests by either setting out a jar or by passing out envelopes to collect donations. I like to leave out some brochures for my guests to browse while we hang out. Check out Invitation Consultants for ways to ‘word’ your invitations.
Bunco For Babies-
Nothing like a game night to get the laughter and fun started. This old housewives gambling game is easy, quick, and fun. With very few materials, and little bit of wine your group of friends can have a lot of fun and do a whole lot of good a the same time. Consider a 50/50 buy in, charge $30 per person to play and then the winner takes 50% and the charity gets 50%. A little competition to kick off the weekend is a great way to party with purpose. Never played bunco before? No problem, get on the bandwagon today and learn here.
Holiday Toy Drive Party-
This is an easy idea and makes getting together during the holidays a little more joyous. Reach out to your local hospital or another local organization that serves children in your area to see what gifts are most needed by the children in your community. Once you have that list, when hosting ANYTHING during the holidays, ask that guests bring an unwrapped toy or book to the party to donate. In the past we have also requested an ‘Angel Tree’ from our local Salvation Army and asked that guests take a name on their way out.
So, when you plan your next get together, I urge you to think about a cause that is meaningful to you and incorporate it into the things that you are already doing. With these ideas, without a doubt, you will feel you’ve partied with a purpose!
Not so long ago, women would go to their neighbor’s houses to socialize. They might chat for hours, sitting around the kitchen table. There was an art to conversation, a give and take. People actually listened and learned from one another.
Today, things are much different. In our fast paced world that already doesn’t allow for “hours around the kitchen table”, too often we squander what little time we have left for our friends by texting other people when we’re supposed to be talking to the people we’re with!
We’ll text others who aren’t there and post selfies on Facebook/Instagram, etc., but are we able to fully enjoy ourselves in the moment if we’re doing that? Sure, humans are social animals and everyone wants to enjoy life to the fullest. But what does this behavior signify? Are we just trying to have fun with the most people all the time, even if we’re spreading ourselves too thin? Or are the reasons more difficult to face? Like maybe we’ve become uncomfortable with real people and our phones have become a crutch? Maybe we don’t have much to say, and we’re trying to hide our insecurity by showily engaging in private conversations with other people through our phone. Maybe we are trying to show off how popular we are. I ask you, do we really need to be distracted by every funny conversation that is texted to us, when we’re sitting with someone who took the time to actually show up to spend time with us?
This savvy chick says obsessively texting while with friends harms those friendships; and when done flagrantly, ostentatiously, or rudely, it displays shockingly bad manners as well.
This is not acceptable behavior! You’re better than that. Don’t you realize that always being available to text actually means that you’re not really doing anything else that’s interesting? Or, even worse, it might mean that you’re so easily distracted by novelties that you’re unable to hold a conversation as a mature adult. Admit it. The message that you’re actually sending to the world when you text while socializing with other people is that you’re immature, and unable to handle your social life like an adult should.
It’s clear that this technology is still new. With the advent of texting and social media, established communication etiquette has broken down. Yet, no one really seems to be speaking out against all this blatant rudeness that contravenes all the well-established social rules. It’s time we recognize that the novelty of smart phones has worn off. We need to reflect on how to comport ourselves when with friends in this age of ubiquitous smart phones, and come down on the side that honors the reality of human contact over the virtual reality of a phone. And we need to stop using the phone as an instrument of power over others. Forcing people to wait while you take pictures and text is impolite and self-important.
Of course, emergency texts are ok. The convenience of real time is nice. Recording a funny moment is too, but you don’t have to text it out right away to get the response you crave. Wait to do it later when you’re alone. Constant texting with friends and taking photos for social media should not be encouraged during social visits. Such behavior does not lead to meaningful interactions with the people you’re with, and may even lead people to resent your behavior.
In reality though, the problem is more complicated. It’s not just one person doing this when friends are together. The fact is everyone is doing it, and it seems to have led to an arms race to see who can do it the most. It seems to be a weird form of a popularity contest. No one wants to be the “uncool” one with no one to text with while they’re talking to someone else; reminiscent of the college days when having a drink or cigarette in hand signified relevance.
It’s become ridiculous. Given this dynamic, I’m not really sure how we’re going to fix this as a society. That’s the problem with arms races. It takes one person to take the first step. Yet, for many of us, it would feel awkward to ask someone to put their phone away when sitting down to talk. However, with someone you know, for whom the problem has persisted, perhaps you can take the first step by announcing “this is going to be a no-phone lunch”. Manners are the unspoken rules of behavior for civilized people.
However, you shouldn’t have to ask people to put down their phones, or even signal for them that they should do so. People should be expected to do that without asking. But try telling that to the worst offenders amongst your friends. Tell them their manners are atrocious. See how that goes over as you study their shocked faces!
We should be building meaningful relationships. By texting during a conversation, you’re missing out! Put down that phone! Not only are you hurting your friendships, you’re hurting yourself! Texting and too much social media creates a lonely place and a false reality! Start living again! Or at a minimum, let’s set an example for the next generation!
So let’s bring real communication back! Our happiness (and friends) will thank us.
Finally…weather we can enjoy! After hosting indoors for the last six months, this Spring weather starts giving us the bug to get our friends together and host an outdoor cocktail party. When it comes to hosting, it doesn’t matter if there are 6 people coming over or 26 there are a few easy things that you can do to get the good vibes flowing and host a fun party. Hosting outdoors can be tricky without the convenience of the kitchen nearby; plus, there is always the chance that the mosquitoes may be hungry too! So, here are a few things to help set the mood and create a perfect (stress free!) evening.
Plan Ahead – With us, food and liquor are everything. If you can get those two things right, then everything else seems to fall into place. If possible, cater. If not…it’s time to run out to Costco and round up about half dozen finger foods. Some of our favorites include: Meatballs on toothpicks, Veggies in Ranch (served up in a shot glass), Organic Tortilla Chips and Salsa (duh!), Pita and Hummus, and Samosas with Chutney are our usual go-to’s. Sonia’s favorite is a Caprese Salad, either layered or on a toothpick. Creating a bar menu can also be super cute, see how we make an authentic and memorableSexy Sangria that you can make ahead of time.
Set the Mood – Often times, setting the tone outdoors with good lighting is key. Fireside is always a good look but if you can pair it up with these super affordable bulb lights, it’s just picture perfect. After the general ambiance has been set, set the table. On occasion we rent printed table cloths from a local party rental shop, but for the most part, over the years, we have accumulated a collection of tablecloths of our own and we share them. We don’t look too far for centerpieces and gather decor from around the house to create an eclectic and romantic atmosphere. In the spring, we cut fresh blooming sprigs from bushes around the house and stick them in vases and in the fall we utilize sticks from our trees to create a really beautiful rustic look to dress up a table. Little table accents and a quick tablecloth can take your dinner or cocktail party to another level.
Use the Fancy Dishes – Ok, ok, hear me out: for more intimate gatherings of 10 people or less, we are thrilled to have the opportunity bring out the wedding china that never gets used. BUT, for an outdoor party, these amazing faux china dishes are our go-to. Guests feel terrible throwing these away every single time. Don’t feel too bad when you use these – they are easy and disposable. And no dish washing required. Get we get an AMEN?
Don’t Forget the Music – It took us a few times to figure out what exactly was missing the first couple of times I hosted at our new house….then it dawned on us: MUSIC! With the pool in the backyard, it was hard to hear using portable speakers like the Beats Pill. They just did not seem good enough. After a little trial and error, we installed some outdoor blue tooth speakers create ambient sound even when the pool is on. It’s amazing how music can make people more fun and relaxed. Fast music makes people move quicker, talk faster and be more energetic; more instrumental music in the background creates a more laid-back environment. Pandora has entire playlists for dinner parties, our personal go to is Tropical Lounge. Figure out what you are going for and round out the party with the right music.
Check the Weather – Now this may seem obvious but having an alternate plan or a rain date are a must unless you are great on the fly — in which case, you don’t even need this post! If you are like us and love the outdoors, it can be disappointing to bring the party inside. Consider setting a rain date, I know it can be inconvenient, but unfortunately that is the risk you take when you planned for the gathering in the first place.
Consider Unwanted Guests – If it is seasonal for mosquitoes to be out, be prepared. Use candles. we recently went to a party where the host put out repellant braceletsfor guests to use. That way, if the guests are having a problem with bugs, they can slap on a bracelet that gives them bug protection wherever they go — they don’t have to be limited to the scope of a candle.
LAST BUT NOT LEAST – Be present, people came to see you!! I know you want to make sure that the food is still hot and that everyone knows where the restroom is, but grab a glass of wine. Throw on a smile and hang out with your friends. It’s supposed to be fun and, with the right kind of planning, it can and should be fun for the host too.