5 Steps to a Great Holiday Party

foggydress_holiday_party We just had our annual friendsgiving with some long-time best friends of mine. We started doing this in high school and have been going strong for 11 years! Every year there’s a few friends who aren’t able to come because they’re in Africa (Eric!) or somewhere else. And every year there’s a few extra face’s we’ve invited to make the gathering more memorable. This year was our biggest gathering yet; we had a fantastic time together thanks to a few steps that we thought of and prepared for ahead of time. If you’re planning a holiday get-together with some friends or family this December, this if for you! Here are 5 steps that we found led to a great party.

foggydress_holiday_party What kind of party do you want this to be? For a long, goes-until-midnight kind of party, it’s best to choose a friend’s house for obvious reasons (it can last until whenever you’d like). But if your friends have kids or other commitments that only allow for a few hours of gathering, you can choose something more public like a favorite restaurant or a party on the beach (they kick everyone out around 10pm). We went with my friend Ali’s house because he had lots of space (both inside and out) for eating, socializing, and playing sardines! Plus isn’t his house/yard so romantic?foggydress_holiday_party

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foggydress_holiday_party This goes back to the first question: what kind of party do you want to have? An intimate, close one where everyone knows each other well, or a social, larger gathering where friends can meet & make new relationships? Every year we bounce between the two, and this year was a large gathering where we all made new memories and laughed long into the night. Outdoor sardines was traditional game that we’ve played since high school, and bag of nouns was a big hit too–perfect for a large group (although AKG & I were dizzy with exhaustion so we didn’t stick around to play). foggydress_holiday_party

foggydress_holiday_party Since the sun sets early and it’s too hot in Southern California to have a daytime party, we chose an evening setting with plenty of glowing lights & candles for a magical ambiance. We hung lots of white lights in Ali’s trees, and adorned the table with plenty of candles. Because it does get so dark, we opted for the lights to be the main decor for the night. (If you’re having a daytime party you might consider other decorations since light won’t really be an issue.) We also had flower center pieces from Anna’s mom, with candles & mini pumpkins woven down the middle of the table, and hand-made name cards for each of our guests.
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foggydress_holiday_partyfoggydress_holiday_partyfoggydress_holiday_partyfoggydress_holiday_partyfoggydress_holiday_party We opted for a potluck party, and had a delicious variety of home made dishes. Be aware of your guest list–we had many in our party who were Vegan or Vegetarian. I would say most of our dishes (besides the turkey, and a few other treats) were Vegan. We made sure everyone brought something that they made, from drinks and hors d’oeuvres, to main dishes, sides dishes (lots of yummy veggies!) and dessert. It was a feast to be remembered!  foggydress_holiday_partyfoggydress_holiday_partyfoggydress_holiday_party

foggydress_holiday_party I love taking pictures. Mostly because I’m trying to work on my photography skills, but also because I love capturing happy memories together. I think It’s really important to have one or two “designated photographers” to capture all of the laughs, hugs, and pictures with each other. Of course I’m also good at handing the camera off to others, so I can get in a few pictures too. It’s also good to have a tripod handy, for the big group picture (see picture at the end, skyping with Eric!).foggydress_holiday_partyfoggydress_holiday_partyfoggydress_holiday_partyfoggydress_holiday_partyfoggydress_holiday_partyfoggydress_holiday_partyfoggydress_holiday_partyfoggydress_holiday_party

eat: home grown tomato sandwiches & have a fabulous weekend

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My mom has these gorgeous tomatoes from her little tomato garden that I have been literally devouring. See how much flesh and meat is on that tomato?? Normal store bought ones are full of water and seeds when you cut them open, never mind not having any flavor. If you do not know someone who grows tomatoes, I highly recommend you grow some of your own. I have been eating so many tomato sandwiches (always open face), have you ever had one?

foggydress_avo^^ These are from Ventura ^^

Here’s how I make my homegrown tomato sandwiches:

  • whole wheat bread from Costco, toasted sometimes
  • pesto mayo spread on one slice of bread
  • when we get avocados for free (see above) we like to add that on, too
  • a big, thick slice of a meaty, fragrant, home grown tomato
  • a sprinkling of salt & pepper

Try it!

What are your plans this weekend? We are entertaining more family, and celebrating 中秋節 Mid Autumn Festival with moon cakes and moon gazing. Also, an earthquake woke us up at 5 am yesterday, it was kinda scary!

Thanks for reading this really random post…and have a great weekend!

eat: things that your health-nut (pun intended) friends make

foggydress_pbI am slightly jealous of people who can whip up recipes off the top of their head. I’m also slightly jealous of people who know how to make recipes healthy. In this case, my nurse/high school/half-Asian/track & field BFF Anna does both. She recently made some of this healthy and oh so creamy cinnamon peanut butter!! I begged her to share the recipe.
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Eat: Green (Tomato-less) Tomatillo Salsa

tomatillo_salsaNext time you go to a summer BBQ, volunteer to bring some of this ^^ tomato-less salsa along! I love it, my Aunt made it all the time, and her daughter finally gave me the secret recipe. Tomatillo’s are not as sweet as tomatoes, but give a zangy twist to the traditional red, tomato salsa. click here for the simple recipe!

weekend wardrobe: a chilly festival

IMG_0764It was windy & chilly; a typical San Francisco summer day, in Golden Gate Park! But none the less, the Chipotle Cultivate Festival was delicious and hilarious, AND I sure did learn a lot! Buying local-grown, fresh food seemed to be the take-away message. That, and…don’t ever leave home without your trusty magenta Northface windbreaker (and a scarf)! You never know (or in the case of SF locals–you always know) when a chilly wind will come.

June Chipotle Cultivate Festival ALso, who in the whole world can say no to free, ^^ fresh guacamole??? No man can, I say.

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click here to see more pictures!