I have been hosting a Ladies Night Out group for over 4 years now. We are a fun group of friends that hang out once a month or so and do “girl” stuff. When I moved to the Bay Area I continued with this tradition with a new group of friends. They all seem to love it up here too so I am assuming that Ladies Night Out is a good idea for a party no matter where you live. When I throw my parties I try to have some kind of theme or purpose; I have an activity, new movie out on DVD, mani/pedi night, facials or make-overs with instruction, crafting project, in-house airbrushed tanning and it always includes wine and snacks. This particular party revolved around a very girl theme; I live in a house with all men and sometimes I crave all that is pink and pretty. Since I was having a craving for “fluff” around Valentine’s Day I decided to use that for inspiration and went from there. You can find some great heart themed décor pieces in craft stores like Michael’s and Joann’s a week or so before the holiday so I was able to pick up some really fun items for 40% to 50% off.
I continued with the “Pink Theme” by having pink and red be the main color scheme of the food too. I found some fun heart- shaped ravioli at our local warehouse store, CostCo, and worked from there. Obviously, you can’t have a Valentine’s Day theme party without chocolate so that was also included with a fondue fountain and homemade fudge. I did add some staples like veggies and dip and cheese and crackers. You can be creative and find crackers shaped like hearts if you have the time but if you have a few “theme” related dishes the rest is just filler and no one really notices. Do not kill yourself to keep with any theme. Another idea that I have done with theme parties is make food cards and I named all the food after the theme. This is one way around having to create a bunch of theme shaped or colored food. Just serve what you want and name it cleaver names; like “love me stuff mushrooms”, “passion peanuts”, “Kissing Karrots and Dip”… You get the idea. Below is my general menu below for ideas and inspiration.
I always include a signature drink anytime I have a party with a particular theme. This time I had two, couldn’t decide they both looked fun and easy. I also make sure to have wine, bottled water and soda so there are choices for everyone. Here are the recipes for the two drinks I served; you can search “Valentine’s Drinks” to find a lot to choose from.
Makes 1 cocktail
Combine vodka, schnapps, and lime juice in a cocktail shaker and gently shake. Strain into a Champagne glass with a few raspberries in the bottom. Fill glass with Champagne.
In a tall glass pour Korbel Brut Rose. Add Lemonade and ice. Add a splash of grenadine for a deeper pink color.
Since I made this party all about Pink (OK, and red and purple) 😉 I also had some fun movies playing in the background. I picked the two Legally Blond movies. They really were not there to watch, the sound was way down, it is just something to add that extra “girl” touch. As busy moms many of us don’t take the time to sit and watch fun movies, relax or pamper ourselves. So even if you are not paying attention it is just nice to feel like you took the time 😉
To continue with the All Girl Valentine theme I decided to treat my girlfriends with a special “goodie” bag full of spa treats. I found most of mine at Michael’s in their party favor section. It is in the back of their store and it is not just for kids. There are some great finds there and nothing is over $2. I added some samples that I had from my business but you could get perfumes or cream samples at most department stores. If you tell the lady at the counter that you are doing bags for a party and offer to put her business card in the bag I am sure she would help if you are not having a huge number of guests. If it is 10 or less most sales people will help. I know, I was a counter manager for a high end cosmetic line at Nordstrom and I would have done this in a heartbeat, if I thought a sale might have come from it (the reason for the card). Note you might have to get a variety of things or go to a few different stores but it all depends what you have time for.
Check out the photos below to see how it looked. Oh, check out the balloons in one of the photos… I got those at Save-On-Crafts; they light up and you can use them over and over again; so cool and very affordable.