Throwing a Party with +50 Guests

I was terrible about snapping pictures at Kyle’s 30th birthday party, but if you followed along on Snapchat you may have seen a few quick moments from the event. A few weeks ago I threw K a party and invited over 75 people. Roughly 50 to 60 showed up.

Only after I counted all the “yes” RSVPs did I realize that this party was going to be the size of a small wedding reception. (Whoops. ) I’m no stranger to throwing large parties, but it’s still a pretty daunting task. Just in case you were wondering, here’s how I did it and here’s how it went!

I made a Facebook event about 4-5 weeks in advance. While I love paper invites and prefer them 100xs over any kind of e-vite, FB was the way to cut costs and get the word out quickly.

We had the party in the company warehouse. Thank God for K’s employees Jake, Jordan, and K’s dad Jeff*. Together the five of us cleaned, rearranged, and set up the open space on Friday before the party. (It’s our slow-ish season so we were able to take a day and deep clean/set up.)

(* We only hire people with J names obviously, lol.)

This is how the warehouse typically looks. We cleaned and put everything in its place.

I sure wish I had an “after” photo. *facepalm* Anyway, we converted two of the workbenches into a salsa and taco bar and then set up another mobile workbench with the cakes (one decorated vanilla on vanilla and one yellow with chocolate frosting) and drinks (margaritas, beer, water).

We trailer-ed in three picnic tables and two long folding tables from my parents house for dining. We borrowed two sets of cornhole boards from my aunt and uncle, we borrowed a large backyard Jenga set from friends, and we set out Blockus, Twister, and domino men for the kids to play with. (Turns out the 2 to 4 year olds loved the domino men, I ended up playing Blockus at 12:45am, and no one touched Twister.)

We have a 20′ x 20′ tile carpet area that we use in the booth at trade shows so we broke it out for a seating area complete with couches, chairs, a TV and Wii system, and the little kids area. My brother-in-law also brought his Nintendo Switch for the teens/adults to use. And we definitely did.

I’m getting a little bit better about asking for help/delegating. My mother-in-law brought the margaritas and some queso dip. (Thank you!) My grandma and my mom made some cookies. (Thank you!) And K’s aunt, dad, and mom were on call when I needed anything. (Thank you!) The party would not have gone so smoothly without them.

I made a “baby chalkboard” for Kyle, I bought “3-0” balloons, and I hung a happy birthday banner for the event. Other than some table cloths and fabric to cover the warehouse mess, there wasn’t much decorating.

I made 20lbs. of beef, chopped 14 onions & 15 tomatoes, and bought 180 tacos (100 soft, 80 hard), four large bags of cheese, and 10 small bags of shredded lettuce. Also, I got 3 large jars of salsa, some store-bought guac, and 6 bags of tortilla chips. To be honest, we had WAY too much onion and tomato, but I only had 1/4 of the beef left over which impressed me. I could’ve cut the cheese and lettuce inventory in half, but who knew. I provided taco lunches for the warehouse guys in the days following the party.

All that remained of the party on Monday…

Our party started at 4pm and we had a steady flow of people all night. Some even left (and dropped off a kid or spouse) and came back. We invited family and friends and friends of the family, ha. Overall, we had a fantastic time 🙂 Our last guests left around 1:30am. I was so exhausted.

Seeing all our friends and family was fun, although I think I will request a vacation for my 30th birthday 😉 What are some fun things you’ve done for “monumental” birthdays?

Advertisements

Birthday Vibes

Today, twenty-six years ago, I was born. My mom was 27 years old and my dad was 25. Now I’m in the middle of that.

birthday-vibes

Do you ever sit and wonder what makes us us? I am fascinated by human behavior & thought. When I was a child a waitress was just a waitress, but now I look at people I interact with every day and wonder what their family is like, what do they do for fun, do they have dark secrets, why are they here and where do they want to be? It’s insane that each and every one of us has a complicated, diverse, unique web of coding that makes us (and our lives) so radically different. Even my brother & I are different despite the same upbringing. I don’t know- I just find it really interesting.

So today I officially have 26 years of life under my belt. That’s not much to a 76 year old, but a six year old would find me pretty ancient. In the grand scheme of things, I’m not doing much right now. I’m not climbing a corporate ladder, I’m not tracking my ovulation for babies, I’m not working toward a degree, I’m not planning a wedding or a vacation. I’m just kind of existing today. Surprisingly, I’m ok with that right now.

It’s odd to try to track how I got here… If my parents hadn’t made me march high school band I wouldn’t have met K. If I hadn’t joined an independent drumline and met a girl named Kelsey then we wouldn’t have Lylee. If we’d have listened to our realtor and not gone through our house (b/c it was in an old flood zone) then we wouldn’t be where we are and we wouldn’t have been ready for a second dog and Enzo wouldn’t be ours. Life is so darn weird. I’m sure there are missed opportunities that I’ll never  know about, but I’m pretty thankful for the taken opportunities thus far.

I have nothing witty or smart to leave you with today; I’m just reflecting on my existence. I’m very grateful to have been born to my parents. I feel so blessed to have been gifted a brother. When I think about the string of events that led me to K I honestly want to cry. In conclusion, I’ve just had a very nice 26 years.

I recognize that people are born into different situations. I know that some people make poor decisions or have tragic things happen to them. I know that my life could turn in an instant. So as a birthday gift to me, I ask you to do something nice today- whether for yourself or someone else. And extend a little grace when dealing with frustrating people and situations. Maybe pick up an extra bag of dog food when you’re at the store and drop it by your local shelter. Or just take 5 minutes out of your day to think about the things that make you happy.

That’s it. That’s all I’ve got. Now I’m off to work with a birthday coffee in hand ❤︎

audielou.com_signature

Freddie Gets Married

I never talked much about my baby brother’s wedding so I figured I’d share a little bit today. Mostly it’s a photo dump with all untagged photos taken by Kylie Noelle Photography.

Fred & Christina got married on Saturday, July 23rd in Columbus, Ohio. They had a pretty large wedding party (8 and 8) but that made the set up and tear down a little easier. I’m sure it was different for other people, but I knew most of the groomsmen through Fred and I’d met all the bridesmaids during a shower or shopping trip, so the whole weekend was awesome. It’s way more enjoyable when you know the wedding group you’re a part of!

Christina-Fred-Wedding-26
*First Look* Christina’s girls included her two cousins, her sister, four of her closest friends, and me
Christina-Fred-Wedding-47
My handsome brother in the middle with the bow tie & my smokin’ hot husband to the left of him.

On Friday night all but one bridesmaid stayed at the hotel with Christina while the men crashed at Fred’s apartment. Our morning was laid back and included breakfast and primping. The music at the church didn’t start until 4:15pm so we had plenty of time to get (more) beautiful and excited!

LaL_1

Christina-Fred-Wedding-16

Christina-Fred-Wedding-01

Christina-Fred-Wedding-02

Christina-Fred-Wedding-03

Christina is a fashion guru & she didn’t miss a single detail. We all picked out our own dresses and shoes but it came together perfectly under her direction & guidance. As avid F. Scott Fitzgerald fans and lovers of the Art Deco movement, Fred and Christina steered the style in a direction Daisy Buchanan herself would envy.

Christina-Fred-Wedding-13

Christina-Fred-Wedding-42

The ceremony was spiritual and personal- a perfect balance that mirrors my brother & his wife’s relationship with one another and God. Apparently my family took bets as to if when I’d pass out in my heels. I’m happy to report I made it through the ceremony & out to the receiving line before I had to peel my shoes off. K was a sweaty mess in his heavy, burgundy tux… but damn he looked good 😉

Christina-Fred-Wedding-64

Christina-Fred-Wedding-70

Christina-Fred-Wedding-78

Christina-Fred-Wedding-82

Christina-Fred-Wedding-75

As much as I love a good wedding ceremony, I’m alllll about that party reception! A few weeks before the wedding Fred asked if I’d give a toast. I don’t shy away from public speaking and I am so proud of my little brother so I accepted and spent days perfecting and practicing.

Christina-Fred-Wedding-102

Christina-Fred-Wedding-109
My favorite picture from the whole day!

Christina-Fred-Wedding-120

The reception was at a theatre/ballroom, originally built in 1896. (The Columbus Athenaeum.) It was pretty awesome. The head table was on the stage and then was taken down to allow for a large dance floor. Since my best friend lives in Columbus I told her to pull on a dress and crash the wedding. There are no pictures, but she showed up after the meal and danced all night with me, then came out with us!

Christina-Fred-Wedding-127
Not so flattering for me, but I love that this pic has my four cousins in it.

Christina-Fred-Wedding-139

The party ended for most of the guests after the gorgeous sparkler exit… except my crazy parents and their friends and my in-laws; they took the party back to their hotel bar lobby with R. Kelly. And since we can’t turn down an invite from my dad we ended up at the hotel bar and then a late night taco restaurant. We finally hit the sack at 3:30am. (And then I drove Fred & Christina to the airport at 6am. WOOF.)

Christina-Fred-Wedding-91

So there’s the recap of our crazy, fun, tiring, sleepless weekend at my brother & sister (in-law)’s wedding. Of course there are millions of little stories and funny moments from the day, but it’d take months to blog all that. Suffice it to say, if Fred & Christina’s wedding is any indication of their marriage it’s going to be long, fun, full of love, and total unpredictable. But only the best things are 🙂

audielou.com_signature

*Like I said, kudos to Kylie Noelle and her gorgeous photography skills!!

Currently…

I always feel like I’m out of touch (in Blogland) when it comes to link-ups. I keep a calendar for my blog but I always forget to note the link-ups that go along with popular prompts… (If you can think of any offhand feel free to mention them in the comments! Thanks to Kristen’s reminder I did remember to link up with her & Gretchen.)

Currently

Since my last “currently” post was in April I figured I’m due for an update! (The photos are some favorite random pictures from my phone.)

Reading… Death Wears a Mask by Ashley Weaver. I’m also working on The Royal We. (Is anyone else shocked by how thick that book is??)

Listing to… The Harry Potter soundtracks. K makes fun of me, but I love sitting and listening to the music from the movies. Order of the Phoenix is my favorite.

LaL_1
a pic with my new sister-in-law hours before she became my new sister-in-law

Eating… Prepped carrot and celery sticks. When I got home from the store this week I actually prepped some snack food right away! Also, I made this recipe Monday night. It’s a little different, but perfect for my sick hubby.

Drinking… Lots of water. But also coffee 😉

Loving… Our Fur Babes. Ever since their mini-escape I’ve been much more vigilant. Also, posts from incredible organizations like this one make me hug my babies tighter and long to comfort other pups who’ve had a rough life.

LaL_3

Planning… A Pure Romance Party. I’m not usually one to host these retail parties, but the brand rep is so funny and sweet- I think all my guests will get a kick out of her! Plus, PR has some really good smelling lotions and shower scrubs!

Feeling… So Tired. After vacations and weddings and overtime I just can’t find any energy. K is sick this week and the dogs are extra cuddly and there are a lot of dishes and clothes going unwashed right now. Whew.

Watching… The Newsroom. We’re on an Aaron Sorkin-spree right now. We finished The West Wing last month and we’re already in season two of The Newsroom. This is also detrimental to clean dishes and clothes…

LaL_2

Wanting… Some nice, cool weather for the two 5Ks I’m in this weekend. (That makes me sound athletic… I’m actually just walking in both of them.)

Avoiding… The weeds in my driveway. Um… how is ALL MY GRASS DEAD but the weeds are thriving?! I need to set aside a few hours and rip them all out but I really, really don’t want to.

LaL_4
I look ROUGH but Mom & I painted these tails for Reading Week at her school and we needed a picture of it…

Hating… Politics. Violence. Hate. D) All the above.

Missing… College. My oldest little cousin ships off to school this month and it’s making me all nostalgic for 3am coffee, quick ramon noddle lunches, and Panera or Sheetz dinners on the apartment floor with all my closest friends and roommates. *sigh*

Anticipating… My Volunteer Interview. Next week I have an interview with an animal rehabilitation/trail & parks center. I’m sure the interview is a formality, but I’m so nervous and excited!

Creating… A New Event on Facebook! October is less than two months away and Halloween is in October so you know what that means… OUR ANNUAL HALLOWEEN PARTY. I’m not kidding- I created the event and invited people on FB yesterday. I wish my blog friends could come!

Dreaming about… A Getaway. K and I just went on vacation with my parents last month, but I keep dreaming about clear beaches and white sand and a fruity cocktail. I feel like that might re-energize me. Hehe 😉

And that about sums it up. What are you currently up to?

audielou.com_signature

What's New With You

Mid-Week Confessions

Before I start, I need to be serious for a moment.
My thoughts go out to those in Belgium right now as well as anyone who has been targeted, attacked, or killed by terrorism anywhere in the world. Terrorism is supposed to strike fear into our hearts- it’s the whole premise behind the act- but it stirs up anger in me. I’m angry that someone (or a group of someones) intentionally hurt others. I’m angry that the media picks and chooses what and who to report about. I’m angry that terrorist attacks are “nothing new” or “surprising” to us. Keep the world in your thoughts and prayers, friends. We can’t tolerate violence.

Let’s try to focus on some happier things & spread some cheer now.

For example… today is my Friday!! I have Thurs./Fri. off and I’m so so happy about it!

Now on to some confessions & hashtags…

Did I mention today is my “Friday”? #CanYouTellImPumped #It’sTheFreakinWeekend

Parks_and_Rec_friday

K and I watched three episodes on The West Wing last night… and four on Monday. We’re on Season 5, episode 3 now. So we’ve watched 91 episodes (44 minutes each) since January 1st. That’s 67 hours or roughly 4,000 minutes this year… #GiveMeMore #Obsession #LymanSeaborn2016ForPresident #IMissSam

Also, Will Bailey Josh Malina is starting a weekly podcast about TWW. #Yaaaaas #AlreadySubscribed #BillyBailey

the_west_wing

On Sunday K’s side of the family is coming to our house for Easter dinner (minus his sister’s tribe 😦 )! I’m excited to clean and cook! #NotKidding #ILoveHosting #WeWillMissYouLori #CrazyHouse

I should probably bathe the dogs before company comes… #DirtyDogs #BathtimeIsLikeAWaterPark #TripleBath

dog_bath

Also on Sunday, Jesus has risen! (…will rise? How should I phrase that…?) And Thursday is my second favorite church service of the year! #MaundyThursday #IsThatWeird? #ChristmasEveIsMyNumber1

Guess who’s only going to have two books finished (three, if I’m lucky) for her recap next week… #PatheticOnMyPart #ThankALotWestWing #BigGoals

the_west_wing

And that’s a wrap, y’all. My life consists of The West Wing, dogs, & Easter prep… #exciting #INeedMoreFriends

So before I go, if you want to hang out all over the web follow me on these platforms:

BlogLovin’ | Twitter | Instagram | SnapChat: audie_lou| Facebook (NEW!)

#ShamelessPlus

Ok, time to link up with Lauren & Laura and Kathy & Nadine!

audielou.com_signature

 

Dear Mom

Happy Mother’s Day!

MOM
Prof. Trelawney (a.k.a. my mom)

I was a difficult pre-teen/teenager. I wasn’t into anything bad or harmful, but my attitude stunk like rotten eggs blending with sour milk. Like, it was bad.

No one took a harsher beating than my mother. She should’ve had my mouth surgically sewn shut- but she didn’t. We bickered and snapped and yelled and forced my dad to take shelter in his bedroom on more than one occasion.

We certainly didn’t like each other most of the time… but my mom has always loved me. And in hindsight, I love her even more for that. (Seriously, I was a little sh*t.) Of course, my mother is no saint- she’s as volatile as me with a hankering for nagging- but she taught me all the important stuff and made me who I am. Now, as a grown, married, 24-year old daughter, we get along pretty well.

. . .

Dear Mom,

When I was younger I thought you told me “no” a lot. No, you can’t go out with your friends at 10pm. No, we’re not going to let you drink alcohol at home with us. No, you can’t take a trip with your friends. No, you don’t need a new car. No, you can’t sleep in- we’re going to church. No, no, no.

Sometimes you didn’t say anything, even though you wanted to say “no.” You didn’t say anything about my insane first boyfriend. You didn’t say anything about my questionable friends. You didn’t say anything about the college I should attend or the instrument I should play or the color I dyed my hair… even though you definitely had opinions on all that.

But sometimes you said “yes.” And those “yes”s changed my life.

Yes, you may go get ice cream with your friend Kyle. (That was April 16, 2007. That was our first date because you said yes, even though it was a school night and it was already 8pm.)

Yes, you can bring that dog home. (Lylee will never know how much she owes to you. Thank you for letting us bring home our fur baby.)

Yes, we will pay for your college education. (I don’t even need to explain how lucky I am to have you (and dad) financially supporting my education.)

Yes, yes, yes.

Now I call you on a Friday night to see if you want to hang out. Now I think about what a fabulous grandma you’ll make someday. Now I look back and think that the best gift you gave me was my baby brother. Now I can’t imagine being raised by another other woman.

Thank God for Mom. Happy Mother’s Day, Elsie! I love you.

. . .

Happy Mother’s Day to my mom and my mother-in-law.

Happy Mother’s Day to my grandmothers and the great-grandmothers out there.

Happy Mother’s Day to foster moms, step-moms, and “moms.”

Happy Mother’s Day to all the new moms I know- especially my best friend, Erica!

Happy Mother’s Day to moms that have lost a child or are fighting to have a child.

Happy Mother’s Day to the dads that fill the role of “mom.”

Happy Mother’s Day, y’all.

-Louise

My Best Friend’s Baby

My new favorite baby is due on February 9th. Her parents, Nic & Erica, just happen to be our best friends. This is their first baby and they are going to be such amazing parents! We are 1 month and 3 days away from the arrive of their new nugget and just less than a month ago Erica had her baby shower.

Erica’s shower was themed:

Erica is About to POP!

Invite
Invitation

_______________________________________

Welcome Sign
Welcome Sign

We decorated with balloons and popcorn bags, and served popcorn, cake pops, snap-crackle-POP rice crispy treats, and popcorn-themed cupcakes! We also had veggies, croissant sandwiches, and fruit bowls.

Centerpiece_______________________________________

Balloon

The day before the shower we met at Erica’s parents’ house to organize the decorations and make the snacks. Between her mom, aunts, cousins, and friends, Erica & Nic have an incredible support system.

Cousin, Aunt, & Mom
Cousin, Aunt, & Mom

Erica and I slaved over cake pops (which we gave out as favors), but the most tedious task was the popcorn cupcakes.

Cake pop

We cut the marshmallows, stuck them to the cupcakes with icing, and then sprayed an edible yellow coloring over the finished products.

image
The first step was to cut an “X” into mini-marshmallows.

_______________________________________

 image(1)_______________________________________

Our popcorn cupcakes!
Our popcorn cupcakes!

_______________________________________

image(3)
Dessert table

_______________________________________

image(7)
Punch & water

_______________________________________

image(5)
Popcorn table: butter, white chocolate hull-less, white cheddar, & chocolate-drizzled caramel corn.

We played three games before eating. The first game was a memorization game with a tray of baby objects. The second game was a POP Quiz about Erica, Nic, and pregnancy in general. The last game was a word scramble.

Scramble
Click on the picture to find your own printable games!

_______________________________________

Quiz

I didn’t get a picture of the trophies, but they were based on these Pinterest beauties:

My based was square and the bottles were painted gold, silver, and pink, then filled with candy.
My bases were square and the bottles were painted gold, silver, and pink, then filled with candy.

It was such a fun day and the new parents got so many adorable outfits and useful items!

image(6)_______________________________________

image(8)_______________________________________

Erica & her mom, Paula
Erica & her mom, Paula

I am SO excited to meet their baby girl! Congratulations, Nic & Erica!

Erica

-Louise

<a href=”http://www.bloglovin.com/blog/13433309/?claim=5e5brj5g2hb”>Follow my blog with Bloglovin</a>