A 22-ounce Beer Party

Hosting a 22-Ounce Beer Party via Chrystina Noel

This past weekend I hosted another party about beer. This time the theme was 22-ounce bottles of beer. (Yes, I decided that can be a party theme. Hear me out.)

You know when you go to a restaurant that has a lot of craft beer and you start reading through the list and you want to try a bunch of them but realize that they’re all sold in the big bottles so you could barely commit to finishing one let alone trying more than one of them – partially because of the volume of liquid in the bottle and partially because the level of alcohol is usually higher in the big bottles beers. Well this party was designed to help with that.

I asked everybody to bring a 22-ounce bottle of beer that they wanted to try and decided that we would all share them. That way you could try a bunch of high-quality beers in one night at a minimal cost with minimal damage to your liver. (See, I told you it could totally be a party theme.)

This party was a little bit different than most for me. I’ve been looking at and reading many different sources of party inspiration recently. I’ve been pinning up a storm, recently just bought the book Great Get-Togethers by Anna and Lizzie Post of the Emily Post Institute, and have been talking to a handful of friends about parties that they want to host. So my brain has been spinning out of control with party ideas. I decided this was going to be the party I implemented all of my new ideas at. And you know what? It kind of made me feel like a brand new party hostess again. I was anxious/nervous/excited before the party started, and when everybody left I found myself with a decent-sized list of “I would totally do this differently next time” items. First, let me set the scene.

Sending the Invitations

I sent the invitations for this party two months ahead of time because my schedule was filling out quickly, so I had a feeling other people’s schedules would be filling up quickly as well. Evite has been my go-to way to send invitations recently. I’ve found it has the most successful response rate because it goes to everyone’s inboxes. I also like that it makes it very easy for guests to see who was invited to the party. I set the party start time to 7:00pm hoping that people would realize that they should eat dinner beforehand and made sure to include on the Evite that everybody should bring a 22-ounce beer for the party.

Making the Guest List

Usually when I get inspired to throw a party there is a specific set of people in my brain that I am already thinking about inviting. When I have tea parties I tend to think of the bloggers. When I have alcohol parties I tend to think of the folks I went to college with. I usually invite the core group I was thinking at the time that I sent the party list, plus a few folks from different groups that I think would get along well with them.

I set the party start time to 7:00pm and I invited 40 people. I usually invite 40 people to my parties. What usually happens is that I invite 40 people, 16 say yes, and the day of the event 10 show up. Well, it went a little bit differently this time. I invited 40 people, 18 said yes, and 15 showed up. That’s five extra people in my little row house. I was nervous. Especially because we just recently moved the futon from the first floor to the second floor as a guest bed so my living room only had one small love seat in it. And a dining room table right in the middle.

Preparing for the Party

The first thing I do after I invite the guests is make a list of food I want to serve. I decided to try to keep it to simple snacks to munch on for this party. I was once at a party where a friend had chili and really enjoyed that, so I added Trader Joe’s vegetarian chili to my list. I was inspired by a pin to recreate making pumpkin patch dirt for dessert (oreo crumbs, chocolate pudding, and candy corn pumpkins). I decided instead of pretzels this time to make corn muffins as my main carbohydrate to absorb the alcohol. Then I filled in the remainder of the food with cheeses, raw vegetables and hummus, brownies, and berries.

Once I had my menu, I went shopping a week beforehand for 95% of the groceries leaving fresh flowers and berries for later in the week closer to the party. I bought ice immediately before the party started.

The first issue I needed to deal with was the fact that I would have more people in my house than I’ve ever had before. I decided it was about time to buy some folding chairs. I purchased four, all of which we used throughout the course of the night, so that was a good decision. In addition, I decided I should make the back patio presentable in case the house got too crowded. We never actually ended up using this space.

I also made a party preparations list that was sorted by room. This is the first time I have ever done it this way and I really liked it. It looked a little bit like this:

  • Outside Front: Sweep front steps, Turn lights on
  • Back Patio: Weed, Sweep, Turn lights on
  • Living Room: Set buffet, Create a table centerpiece, Flowers, Set out cups and markers, Set out ice bin and water, Turn on music
  • Kitchen: Clean, Set out ice bin and water
  • Guest Room: Use as coat room, Turn lights on
  • Bathroom: Clean, Light a candle before the party

Hosting a 22-Ounce Beer Party via Chrystina Noel
This was an incredibly useful list to have. It helped me to realize things earlier than I normally would during the week; for example, I remembered that the front porch light had recently gone out so I needed to find a new bulb before the party. Also, it was super useful to have this list the hour before the party started because most of these things were things that needed to be done in the last little bit of time.

I also divided the food into four categories that arranged it by room, what needed to be done ahead of time, and what I needed specific servingware for.

  • Living Room: Cheese, crackers, carrots, hummus, snap peas, candy
  • Kitchen: Chili, dirt, berries, corn muffins, chips, salsa, hide beer I don’t want being drank
  • Make the night before: Oreo crumbs, pudding, corn muffins
  • Serving: Cups, dirt bowls, chili bowls, appetizer dishes, napkins

This was also an incredibly useful list. That said, I bought cookies that never actually made it onto the list so I didn’t remember to put them out. We also bought some extra beer because we were worried that 22 oz. per person wasn’t going to be enough. (Because remember, if everybody brings 22 oz. of beer and you split it evenly that means everybody leaves having had 22 oz. of beer.)

Hosting a 22-Ounce Beer Party via Chrystina Noel

Kicking Off the Party

As the guests started to arrive I told them they could put their coats upstairs and offered them a beverage. Around 7:30 most of the guests had arrived and I interrupted everyone to explain how the evening was going to go down. This is something that you will pretty much always see me do at my parties. I think that it sets the stage to let everybody know what to expect and also gives you the chance to point out important things to everybody.

During my introduction I explained that there was food both upstairs and downstairs and downstairs guests could find ingredients to make their own dirt (I figured they’d be confused if they just saw all the ingredients, I know I would have), I told them there was chili downstairs, and I told them that the plan was for each of us to try all of the beers. I then reminded them that that meant that everybody should only pour about 1-1.5 oz. of each beer in their tasting cup.

Then we did an icebreaker. Everybody went around, said their name, how they knew me, and what the biggest lie they told as a child was. We got the inspiration for this question from a Table Topics game that I opened and put on the table right as the first people were walking in. A friend pointed out to me that since my parties are usually activity-based it’s always good for people to know everyone’s names before the party starts.

We kicked off the evening with Pliny the Elder, which was given to us by our Napa tour guide the week prior after we told him about the party. This was a beer that beer connoisseurs love that’s hard to get on the east coast because they only sell it in bottles from the brewery (which is in northern California). So it was awesome to get to start off with this one. We cheers-ed to our tour guide, Doug and the evening began.

Hosting a 22-Ounce Beer Party via Chrystina Noel

Hosting a 22-Ounce Beer Party via Chrystina Noel

Hosting a 22-Ounce Beer Party via Chrystina Noel

What I Thought Was Going To Happen vs. What Happened

Here’s what I thought was going to happen. I thought that I was going to split all of the beer between an ice bin in the living room and an ice bin in the kitchen (which are on two different floors) and that was going to keep the circulation of the party moving. What actually happened was that everybody made themselves comfortable in the living room and we just passed the beer around and each poured it into our own glasses with the exception of three folks who setup shop for the evening in the kitchen. In fairness, there weren’t any more seats in the living room. Which was okay. It didn’t make for quite the mix and mingle atmosphere that I had hoped for, but considering that the purpose of the party was to drink beer, that was probably a mission accomplished.

Also, I was originally going to try to get the names of the beer from everyone beforehand so that I could make up tasting cards for everybody, but I realized about a week out that there was no way I was going to get this information ahead of time, which I realized was fine. However, a suggestion was made during the party to turn one of the walls in my living room into a chalkboard wall so that we could write important party facts and voting right on the wall. I think this is brilliant and I really hope we can make it happen soon.

What I Would Do Again

  • I thought it worked out really nicely not having a specific type of beer that everyone was supposed to bring. It left us with a good variety. When we started tasting, somehow we ended up having the strongest, darkest beers last, which was a bit much for the end of the night. That said, if we had had them earlier in the night, we may not have appreciated the flavor of the lighter beers. So I’m not actually sure what the best way to facilitate this would be going forward. It might actually be to have less overall beers, but what fun would that be?
  • I really liked having a designated coat room with the lights on. I think it was good to have that set apart from where everybody was hanging out – mostly because there actually wasn’t any room in my living room for the coats.
  • I really liked having the candle lit in the bathroom. Yes, it helps to make it smell nice, but there were also way fewer “where’s the light in the bathroom” questions yelled down the stairs because people were at least able to see a little bit.
  • Having music on in the background was really nice too. It made it seem like more of a party atmosphere. I didn’t have time to curate a playlist beforehand, but whatever Pandora playlist Ben chose worked out pretty well.
  • I put out small quantities of some of the food and just kept refilling the plates. This worked really well for me because I could use smaller serving dishes and keep the rest of the food in my not-as-pretty storage containers in the kitchen. This worked great with crackers, brownies, and corn muffins.
  • Keeping the pitcher of water out and on the table was a solid choice. It kept people hydrated during the party.
  • Having the extra folding chairs was great. I love that they’re easy to move and that they pull up to the table nicely. This was a solid long-term investment.
  • I would absolutely consider just putting all the beer in the fridge to not need to deal with the ice bins. We only opened one at a time anyway. I could have kept it way less complicated.

Hosting a 22-Ounce Beer Party via Chrystina Noel

Hosting a 22-Ounce Beer Party via Chrystina Noel

What I Would Do Differently Next Time

  • I would buy 3 cheeses for 15 people instead of 2 cheeses. I figured since the focus wasn’t cheese that we didn’t need that much of it. False. I should have had 3.
  • This next one was poor form for an Italian. I only bought 5 cans of chili from Trader Joe’s, which was essentially 10 servings. I was originally thinking that chili would just be something that some people would want on the side. We actually ran out of this. In the future I would have definitely just gotten 10 cans and assumed that I would eat whatever didn’t get eaten for lunch during the week. That said, I ran out of food and the world didn’t end, so that was at least good to confirm.
  • I tried to be fancy and make corn muffins instead of buying my usual pretzels, but at the end of the day I think the pretzels absorb the beer better. Plus, I think they pair with beer a little bit better.
  • I would put the flowers in a different location. Before everybody got there I worked hard to set flowers all around the house and made a nice centerpiece in the middle of the table. However, almost immediately after the beer was broken out we moved all of the stuff off of the middle of the table to replace it with food. I’m not exactly sure where I would move the flowers to, but in the middle of the table didn’t end up being practical at all. People like food way better than flowers. (Understandable.)
  • I would open the windows with the screens instead of open the door for air. This is probably obvious to people, but I kind of forgot I had windows. The amount of bug bites I now have is actually ridiculous.

Oh, and in case you were wondering, here’s all of the beers we tried in order:

Hosting a 22-Ounce Beer Party via Chrystina Noel

Hosting Your Own Party

  • Create an attending party guest list of 10-15 people. Any more than that and it’s an oddly small amount of alcohol to try. Any less than that and it’s not allll that many beers to try.
  • Have everybody post what beers they get so there aren’t any duplicates.
  • Find a quick and cheap dinner that you can make in a crock pot to serve.
  • Set your attendees up for success: get carbohydrate-y food and put out water pitchers.
  • Put out enough snacks to keep people well fed. Buy things that when you’re left with them you like the leftovers.
  • Lay out the rules for the games right at the beginning and everybody will get involved.
  • Come up with an icebreaker came right a the beginning so everybody will learn each other’s names.

All in all, the party was a lot of fun. It was great to try new beers that I normally wouldn’t get to try. It was really fun to watch people meet new people. And everyone said that they had a great time. So that was cool. Mission accomplished.

Do you have any favorite 22 oz. beers? Have you ever hosted a party like this? I’d love to hear what you think or any new ideas!

Simple Tips for Planning a Movie Night

Simple tips for planning a chick flick and hot beverages movie night. Once you do the first step the rest is easy!

This party was sponsored by Uncommon Goods. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Over a month ago I emailed a few friends to see if anybody wanted to come over for a movie night of chick flicks and hot beverages. There’s a few reasons I chose hot beverages instead of wine: (1) the day I was available to have this party was a Sunday, and who wants to start their week already feeling behind, (2) I’ve been trying to be a little bit healthier recently and to avoid unnecessary extra calories, and (3) it gave me a chance to use my fancy new cuddle mugs given to me by Uncommon Goods.

My favorite parts about Uncommon Goods are that you’re getting something unique, supporting artists and designers (and handmade goodness), supporting upcycling and recycling, and giving back to non-profits. Uncommon Goods also gives back to charities around the world with their Better to Give program. In the past 12 years they have donated over $1 million to charities including RAINN (anti sexual violence), American Forests, Women for Women International (support for women survivors of war), and City Harvest (ending hunger in NYC). And did I mention these cuddle mugs made by Steven R. Nezda are just beautiful? (If you’re feeling really ambitious and want to start shopping for Mother’s Day gifts early, props to you.)

Cuddle Mugs from Uncommon Goods

As for why I chose chick flicks, I don’t think that needs any explanation.

My favorite part about planning a low-key girls’ movie night in is that it’s a simple way to see your friends and relax. All you need is a date on the calendar, an assortment of beverages, an array of snacks, a good selection of movies, and a television. There’s definitely a way to do a not low-key movie night, but that goes against the post I wrote about why I will never have a party blog.

Here are my tips and tricks for planning a movie night with chick flicks and cozy hot beverages:

Get the date on the calendar

This might be the hardest part of this whole process, getting the date on the calendar. I started planning this part in February and the first date available for me was in April. Doesn’t matter how far out it is; email your friends and get the date on the calendar. Then as it gets closer you’ll have something to look forward to that’s relaxing already built-in to your to-do list. Also, I totally gave people an “out” on the invitation that said “if chick flicks aren’t your jam, don’t worry about coming, there will absolutely be other parties.” Because contrary to popular belief, not all girls like chick flicks.

Only buy what you need to buy, only make what you need to make

I was really proud of myself, guys. I spent $16 on this party by just taking a good look in my pantry before going shopping. And no, it’s not cheap, it’s resourceful. I realized I had all the ingredients for rice krispie treats already in the pantry – not only that, but rice krispie treats are also scalable so you don’t need to end up with a million extras. I also had Easter basket goodies available, which there’s pretty much no way I can eat through alone, so that was a good chance to put out some Hershey kisses and open a box of Girl Scout cookies. (Let’s be honest, I could have eaten through all of that, but I’m trying this new “healthy” thing.) I also always already keep popcorn on hand, so I just supplemented what I already had with guacamole, hummus dip, carrots, and a small bouquet of flowers (for ambiance).

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Choose all your favorite things

This is one of the best parts about hosting a party – sharing all your favorite things with your guests – your favorite teas, your favorite movies, your favorite mugs, etc. Have fun with it and choose to share things that your guests might love as much as you do. I pulled out my favorite teas (although everyone ended up wanting hot chocolate) and my favorite movies and even just physically pulling all of those things out relaxed me and made me very happy. (Aside: Did anybody else know Aveda sells tea? It’s flipping amazing.)

Hot Beverages and Chick Flicks Movie Night Party 05Hot Beverages and Chick Flicks Movie Night Party 09

Check the technology ahead of time

There had to be something that went wrong, right? I pulled out (and guests brought) their favorite DVDs and then I found out that my DVD player didn’t work. You’ve Got Mail got stuck in the DVD player and it took me 10 minutes to get out. Then When Harry Met Sally Got Stuck in the DVD player. So then we hooked my computer up to the television to try to choose a Netflix movie, but I couldn’t get the sound to come out of the television speakers. So then I ran upstairs to get my speakers to hook up. This all took far longer than it should have, but everyone was a good sport about it. We ended up watching Notting Hill, which I’d somehow never seen and all we loved it.

Set the mood to cozy

There are three things we did to set the mood:

  1. We deemed it a no-real-pants-necessary zone. Stretchy pants and sweat pants are more than acceptable. I was wearing slippers. That’s how we roll. Next time I would definitely put “no real pants needed” on the invitation.
  2. We pulled out blankets and turned up the heat a bit to make everything feel cozier.
  3. We used cuddle mugs from Uncommon Goods. I had been looking for mugs like this for a long time, the ones that have indents for you to wrap your fingers all the way around and feel like you’re part of the mug (the prime cozy position). While I was fixing my technology setup the other girls started pulling out their phone and looking through other items on Uncommon Goods, which was a lot of fun as well. (You can get lost in that site for hours, man. This cutting board is pretty much ideal for any newly weds – and I can’t wait to check out their host & hostess gift section.) So we each made our hot chocolate and tea and cuddled up with our mugs on the couch to get started with the feature presentation.

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Thanks again to Uncommon Goods for sharing these mugs with us, it definitely added to the experience and provided just the right level of cozy on an overwhelmingly cold Sunday evening in Philadelphia.

I hope I’ve made a party like this sound easy enough that you could throw one together. Remember, the hardest part is getting a date on the calendar. Once you do that it’s all a breeze.

Anybody have any movie suggestions for next time? All chick flick suggestions welcome.

The Chrystina Noel Christmas Party

This past weekend I got the chance to host my first in-real-life Chrystina Noel blog event. Nineteen of my closest friends and I took over Williams-Sonoma in Philadelphia on Sunday evening. We decorated Christmas cookies, made handmade greeting cards, and drank some pretty delicious hot chocolate. Thank you times a million to everyone who came out, it really means a lot to me.

So here’s how it went down. Months ago Williams-Sonoma hooked me up with some pretty delicious hot fudge for my Hot Fudge Party. That’s when the discussions started about me hosting an event at Williams-Sonoma. They told me I could use the cooktop and everything. That’s approximately when I freaked. I can’t cook. I mean, I get by. And if I try really hard and plan in advance I can make something happen, but goodness gracious does it stress me out. It wasn’t until a few weeks later that I realized even though I can’t cook, I can definitely bake. Baking turned into cookies, cookies turned into Christmas cookies, and all of a sudden I had the vision of having a Christmas party at Williams-Sonoma for my friends & blog readers. And that’s how it happened.

The Friday before the event I stopped by Williams-Sonoma to pick up all of my supplies and I spent a good chunk of Saturday and Sunday baking cookies at home and making dough to take to Williams-Sonoma to cook in-store on Sunday evening. (Both the sugar cookie and gingerbread cookie mixes from Williams-Sonoma are delicious in case you were wondering.) I also made two batches of buttercream frosting – one white and one green. I also went through all of my craft supplies to pull out all of the holiday supplies that I had for people to make cards with. I realized on Sunday morning that I would probably need to provide some guidance on how to make a greeting card, so I made little signs to help guide people along. I also made party favors for everybody who attended the event. Because party favors.

Chrystina Noel Christmas Party 04

I also made party favors for everybody who attended the event. Because party favors.

Chrystina Noel Christmas Party 05

I showed up about an hour-and-a-half before the party to get things ready, figure out how to use the stove, and start cooking some gingerbread men. The staff was incredibly helpful (one person even helped me make my frosting more spreadable). I never quite did learn how to use a convection oven. And I was mind-blown how weird it felt to be on the other side of the counter.

In true Chrystina Noel fashion, it’s now time to do a recap of what I learned from hosting my first blog event. For you guys – and for me the next time I go to host my second event. I was excited to find out that my party planning skills translated to blog event planning skills. It’s all about planning ahead, making people feel comfortable, and capturing the memories. The third of which I moderately failed at.

How to Host an In-Person Blog Event

Promote your event

I used Eventbrite to “sell” tickets for my event. I created the event (which was super easy) and then sent it out to my mailing list, added it to the end of a few blog posts, and personally emailed a bunch of my friends in the city. The key part of this was emailing my friends in the city. Of the 19 people, I knew 19 of them before they showed up to this event. In the future, admittedly, I’m going to consider charging $5 per ticket instead of having them be free because it will deter people from just signing up for tickets for fun. One lady signed up for 12 tickets and I emailed her ahead of time to find out if she was part of a group and I never got a response. I guess that should have been my first sign that she wasn’t actually going to show up. In total 46 people “bought” tickets, and 19 of my favorite people showed up. For my first event I would call that pretty good.

Create a hashtag

It occurred to me the morning of the event that I should have a hashtag. My goal was to come up with one that could be used for this event, as well as future Chrystina Noel events, so I came up with #chrystinanoelparty. Then I made signs and put them out so that people would know what to hashtag. Look at some of the fun pictures people posted!

Chrystina Noel Christmas Party Instagram

Thanks, Aquiera, Melissa, & Tara!

Give people guidance

Have you ever walked into a party and felt uncomfortable because you realized you didn’t know where you were supposed to be, what you were supposed to be doing, or who anybody else was? We’ve all be there and it’s not super fun. I (hopefully) avoided this feeling by giving everybody a spiel on what was what and what was where. When people walked in I said, “This is hot chocolate world over here. This is cookie-making world over here. And this is card-decorating world over there. And everything in the store is 10% off right now.” (Yes, I decided that there were different worlds at my party, that’s a thing. I was essesntially inventing my own video game or children’s cartoon. It’s a thing.) Most people headed for the hot chocolate first, added some Baileys and then had some time to think about where they wanted to head next.

Chrystina Noel Christmas Party 02

Show up early

I planned my entire day around this event. When I went to church I took two bags of stuff to drop off at the store. I went home and made 6 dozen cookies. I showered and then went back to the store an hour-and-a-half before the event started and I’m seriously so glad I did. It gave me time to feel things out, figure out what was going to be where, find somebody to show me how to use a convection oven, and just in general feel more comfortable.

Take pictures

This one I failed miserably at. I think if I have another event I’m going to try to find somebody to hand a camera off to. I only took four pictures at the whole event, and I didn’t get any of the greeting card station set up, which is a bummer because it turned out pretty cool, if I do say so myself. So, note for next time. Take some pictures.

Chrystina Noel Christmas Party 03

Thank you again to everybody who showed up. I cannot thank you enough. I hope all of your handmade cards are well-received, that your cookies were just the sugar rush you needed, and that you buy yourself a bottle of Baileys to use in your own hot chocolate in the future. A special thanks to everybody who helped me cleaned up – and then even helped me carry things home. Seriously, I have the best friends ever. The end.

What I Learned from Hosting a Surprise Party

what I learned from surprise party bowling by Chrystina Noel

The Sunday after Thanksgiving my sister and I hosted a surprise birthday party for my dad. It’s the third surprise party I’ve ever been a part of planning. The first one was for my two best friends in middle school, the second one was a birthday brunch for a friend in Louisiana, and now this one. Three completely different experiences and I learn something new every time.

My sister and I decided to host the party at a bowling alley. We invited bunches of family members and a few of my dad’s friends and told them that we wanted them to celebrate by bowling with us! This was probably the most diverse crowd I’ve ever hosted a party for – mixing family and friends can be a challenge (it turned out fine though) and the age range was 23 to 90. Not only that, but I’m pretty sure it’s the first time that “the kids” generation has hosted a party for the family. No pressure.

what I learned from surprise party bowling by Chrystina Noel 03

Remember to plan a party your guest of honor will have fun at

We planned a party that we thought my dad would have fun at. We have a lot of family parties throughout the year and at each one my dad usually finds a place in front of the television when we’re not eating. It’s not that he’s not social, it’s just that he doesn’t really have a place in the ‘lets’ eat all day’ world that we usually throw family parties in. So we wanted him to be in his element. My dad’s been bowling since he was a kid, his uncle owned a bowling alley, and it’s something he really enjoys doing. We even videoed him bowling a strike a year ago thinking we could send it out with an electronic invitation (which we unfortunately failed at executing). We also got cupcakes from his favorite cupcake shop – and his favorite flavor, coconut. While my mother thought we were crazy for choosing a bowling alley, in the end everybody ended up having a great time. Even my mom! We found her a 6 pound bowling ball and she took a turn for one of us. Her first shot was a gutter ball, but her second was a strike!

what I learned from surprise party bowling by Chrystina Noel

But don’t forget to remember who the guests are

My mom started on me at the beginning about how I needed to make sure that all of the people older than me were comfortable at this party. They needed a comfortable place to sit. What if they didn’t want to bowl? They needed something to do? What were they going to eat? Was there going to be coffee? There were a million questions. After a few weeks of rolling my eyes and getting frustrated that she was complicating our plans I realized there might be some merit to what she was saying. After all, I’d only ever really hosted parties for 15 to 35 year olds, what did I know? (I also didn’t realize that if you have back problems you can’t bowl, who knew?) We ordered a little bit of extra food, we ordered some coffee, and we booked an extra party room in case somebody wanted a different place to sit. While all of these precautions probably weren’t necessarily (especially the extra party room, which the alley was nice enough to take off the final bill because we didn’t use it), it was nice to have them in place from the beginning.

what I learned from surprise party bowling by Chrystina Noell

I absolutely hate lying (even for surprise parties)

Goodness gracious I suck at lying. Actually, that’s not true, I’m actually pretty good at lying. It’s because 99.9% of the time I tell the truth, so that 0.1% of the time I decide to lie people think it’s true. Also, I’m very good at thinking logistical details out ahead of time. That said, when my dad called me up to see if he and mom could take me, my boyfriend, my sister, and her boyfriend out to brunch “because we’re all not home at the same time very often anymore” and I had to tell him no (because the time conflicted with the party) that was hard. We decided to say that my sister had plans so she couldn’t go that day so we should just go bowling instead. However, I would prefer never to be in that situation again, although it probably could have been avoided by asking him to go bowling earlier. Seriously not my favorite though. Also, I remember my two best friends telling me that before we threw them their sweet 16 surprise party they talked with each other a few times about how everybody must hate them and it didn’t make sense why nobody wanted to spend their birthdays with them. Super, super sad. It always makes me not 100% sure that the surprise party was worth it.

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All in all the party turned out really well. Unfortunately only 12 people bowled, but I think we gave the crowd something fun to watch. My dad ended up bowling a 221 one round, which was really awesome and I actually managed my high score of all-time of 154. The family all had fun, the boyfriends managed to make small talk the entire time, I don’t think anybody was too disappointed by the fact that we didn’t serve a full meal, the coconut cupcakes were a hit, and even Pop seemed to have a good time sitting there watching everyone bowl! I’d call that a success.

Do you have any surprise birthday party success (or failure) stories? Were you the one surprised or the one hosting the party?