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

Hello Weekend! + how to survive without the internet for one week

When the internet goes out in your home and for some reason the internet company doesn’t get around to actually fixing the problem for a whole week,  don’t start pulling your hair out. Don’t send out a bunch of of hate-tweets because you will probably regret it later (ok I only sent one tweet of anger–it was well deserved). Don’t keep opening your computer every 5 minutes to check & see if it has magically started working again, because it hasn’t and it won’t.

Here are a few ways to survive when you are abruptly cut off from the internet world:
foggydress_tulips1. Take lots of pictures of flowers with your fancy DSLR

foggydress2. Go hiking with your friends ^^

foggydress_hobag3. Make a HoBag

Instead of complaining about how horrible internet companies can be sometimes, I’ll just focus how much I was able to get done without it. Mostly, I am excited about almost finishing up this ^ HoBag. I have a few more seams to sew before she’s finished. Pictures will be up soon!

Have a great weekend, and hopefully you have Labor day off! Let’s not talk about how summer is pretty much over. Actually, what am I saying? Southern California only has two types of weather: hot summer and cold summer. Phew…I am too used to trying to mentally prepare myself for terribly cold winters in San Fran & Utah (ok SF isn’t quite as cold as Utah, but it sure is chilly all year round). You are all welcome to come visit, if you don’t already live here. Summer will be waiting for you.

hugs, hanalei.

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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