Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Oh, Oh, Summer Nights!

Today we have two ideas for raising the bar on your typical summer night soirées. These sugJEStions for summertime bashes are great places to start when looking for something familiar yet unique.

Recently there has been a retro-resurgence of parties like game nights; so why not mix in the recent warm weather? Summer is a perfect time to take this from cozy board-games to the great outdoors. Guests of all ages enjoy games like Bocce Ball and Croquet. If you have more active participants set-up a temporary volleyball net, but use a beach-ball to keep the game light. If the party is geared toward kids, scavenger hunts are a wonderful way to keep the little ones occupied in the yard. You could even create a European outdoor Chess area for a more sophisticated party. Be sure to keep the food light and use mini-portions that guests can munch on between competitions. As the evening winds down you can keep the retro coming with a modern version of a drive in movie. Rent a screen from a local company or use the white wall of a garage to project your favorite classics. Toss a collection of throws and floor cushions on the ground to keep guests comfy as they wind down from the day's activities.

A fiesta theme is always popular in the summer. raise the bar on yours by foregoing the typical elements and focus on what really makes Mexican and Spanish culture so unique. You could have a tequila bar that serves specialty tequila with different infusions and spins on the typical margaritas and mojitos. Be sure to have plenty of fresh ingredients on hand to keep everything authentic. If you can, hire a mixologist to turn the bar into a real experience. They can create fresh syrups and mixers from the ingredients and will teach your guests about cultural ingredients and drinks. With the menu embrace the family culture; have people seated at tables with lazy-susans full of toppings and fillers for tacos and fajitas. Serving family style encourages different guests at the tables to get to know each other and share. For entertainment hire Flamenco dancers to put on a show and then teach guests to dance as well.

The main goal with a summer party is to embrace the beautiful weather, extra daylight and fresh food options. With any event idea you can incorporate some of the above suggestions, tailor them to your theme and raise the bar!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Happier Hours

Last Wednesday at The Azure, a luxury apartment on the upper East Side, Jes co-hosted Happier Hour with Aidan Donnelley Rowley, the author of the book LIFE AFTER YES! Also, Aidan was previously one of Jes' Brides!

If you are asking your self, "What is a Happier Hours?" Happier Hour does NOT stand for an extended Happy Hours at the Hog Pit nor a special Happy Hour that starts at 8am in the morning. Happier Hours is a gathering of intellectual, social, political, and cultural women who gather to sip words and wine.

Aidan launched her first Happier Hours in March 2010. She quoted on her blog, "It occurred to me that a simple way to be happier is to have happier hours, more minutes and moments where we do things that make us smile and celebrate and savor existence. Okay, fine. But what do we do? How do we do this? We talk. We Question. We Imagine. We Dream. WE have conversations with other people - interesting and interested people - about things that matter to us. ALL OF US." So that is how it all began...

Aidan Donnelley Rowley?
We should briefly introduce Aidan for those whom have not met this special lady. Aidan was born and raised on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. She is the middle of five sisters, all graduated from Yale. After graduating from college, she continued her schooling at Columbia Law School and became a lawyer. One ordinary day standing in front of the desk covered in piles of papers in the office, Aidan had a light bulb moment. "I don't want to do this. I want to write," said Aidan as she walked out the office. She is now the professor/confessor of insecurities at her blog IVY LEAGUE INSECURITY, a mom of two BEAUTIFUL children, a wife, and a NOVELIST!

Gloriosa Lilies
- Gloriosa Lilies are definitely not your friendly neighborhood flowers. They come from tropical Africa and Asia and they definitely brought a fierce look to the tables. Showy flowers have reflexed petal in colors from yellow, orange, and red. To compliment the striking color in flowers, we used neutral based sand blasted glass vases.

LED Uplight
We always put great emphasis on the lighting because lighting can add so much to the space. Hosting a party at your own space is great, but you don't want your guests to feel like they are at an ordinary home. We want to make our guests feel special and as if they were at a hip yet cosy lounge. That is when we pop battery operated LED lights through out the place. There are 12 color options controlled with an easy to use remote controller. NOW how cool is that?
NIbbles & Wine + friendly bartender
A good friend of Jes's, who owns her own catering business, generously donated food for the event and provided us an AMAZING bartender, Thomas. Yes, it is important to keep the BALANCE of girls and boys in the room, though this time it was sixty or so women vs. one boy. Another generous donation was made by an Argentinian wine label; they donated one of the most important elements to the party, a wine called LA Linda. Abundant wine kept the guests HAPPY!

What an amazing night we had, if you want to find out what really went down at the HAPPIER HOURS, check out Aidan's Blog! www.ivyleagueinsecurities.com

"This is about the Happiness of our hours.
This is about the happiness of our lives. oh and WINE"
- Aidan Donnelley Rowley-