TGIF… thank god it’s Friday. What a week!! – John turned 27 on Tuesday, and we literally celebrated 3 nights in a row therefore today I am not feelin’ so hawt (probably had a few too many mojitos last night). But, that’s always the sign of a GREAT time! So Tuesday we blew off our dinner reservation last minute at Lonesome Dove to have good ole Tex Mex at Joe T. Garcia’s… the birthday boy wasn’t in the mood for a blue blazer kinda night, and I was perfectly content trading in red wine and wild game for queso, margs and fajitas. Sorry Lonesome Dove, we’ll catch you and your Western Bistro next time. Wednesday was spent getting ready for last night’s backyard birthday party and indulging in more cake… woof. Now to the party — long story short, last year I wasn’t able to celebrate with John on his actual birthday, so our guy friends threw him a pizza party and made it a contest. Everyone had to bring a pizza from their favorite spot in cowtown, and the guys sat around drank beer, ate pizza and determined the winner (and probably watched sports).
Flash forward to last night, the 2nd Annual Pizza Invitational was on steroids compared to last year’s event. OF course I was gonna step it up? duh. Okay so getting ready for a party is obviously way more fun than cleaning one up… and my lunch break today was spent tidying, putting away serving pieces, and throwing away empty bottles and full beer cans… seriously why is that people open a beer… take two sips… and then mysteriously leave it in odd places? Drink it! The clean up part ain’t that grand but the prepping sure is… and I usually start getting ready for a party a few days in advance. Hosting a shindig can really intimidate some people, but have no fear, read this post, and start entertaining… it’s really gratifying and also a calorie burner, until the party starts and the wine gets opened.
The first thing that I did was I called the owner of The Original Mexican Cafe, one of the oldest Mexican restaurants in town, and I politely asked him to come and judge a pizza contest at my house. Yes, he laughed and seemed confused but happily agreed and gawked that he would be trying around 15 different types. How do I know the owner of The Original? He (his worker men) remodeled our house – quite the renaissance man. Everyone arrived around 7, and we sipped on 95 calorie Bacardi Mojitos (they are premixed & amazing and you just pour over ice), tried lots of different yummy pizzas, and discovered that a breakfast pizza from Campisi’s was the #1 winner in the challenge. The next thing I did after I booked committed judge was make a long to do list. I really can’t stress how many lists I make (I love sticky notes – I get that from my mom, who also loves to entertain and she’s pretty darn good at it). I also have to utilize running errands during lunch and after work as I am in the office everyday – try to start running errands the week before – parties can sneak up, and last minute stress is never appreciated. Below you will find the order of how I got ready for the party with a few helpful tips. Spring brought us beautiful weather, we had a really fun time with all of our pals, and I think I shall go nap in the office bathroom right about now with a wet paper towel on my forehead. JK! Talk to you on Monday my peeps.
- selected the party date and booked the pizza judge
- sent an invitation by email, I usually use Paperless Post or hand mail but dropped the ball this time. whoops!
- called J. Rae’s Bakery and ordered these adorable pizza and monogrammed cookies – oh I just love that shop!
- called The Swiss Pastry Shop and ordered a black forest birthday cake… they are famous for it and it’s frozen and flourless and pictured below. Yes, the peonies are real. The blooms are so big that they almost look fake – which sort of gave me anxiety bc apologies to my fake flower loving readers… one should always use fresh flowers… except for a very real looking synthetic orchid. maybe.
- ordered tables and linens from Taylor’s Rentals – they deliver and pick-up — convenience please.
- made a Target run for clear plastic plates and forks, striped napkins & straws, pom pom lanterns, birthday candles and I ended up with a new work out outfit. Typical.
- went to the liquor store to grab TX Whiskey, Tito’s Vodka, Light Bacardi rum mojito style, mini Firefly sweet tea vodka bottles, red & white wine, beer and mixers (tonic, club soda, San Pellegrino and Topo Chico sparkling mineral water) – I think my bar turned out okay, don’t you think? I also picked up that little lucite wine holder at Target, and they are still in stock.
- Keep in mind that I ran all of these errands over the course of two weeks; try to start preparing early so you can visualize your setup and realize any forgotten items you over looked before it’s too late!
- quick trip to Pier 1 to pick up some glass hurricanes, votives and outdoor candles — they always have a broad selection and fairly inexpensive – I bought the large version of this hurricane for our black iron table and this vase for the pizza table centerpiece.
- flower shopped the day before the party at my favorite local wholesale florist shop and was able to put together a springy green arrangement pictured below. I added peonies to the dessert table and powder room, tulips in the dining room, and roses in the entry and sun porch. Flowers instantly make a home so cozy and inviting, and it’s best to arrange them the night before your event so the blooms can open up.
- I really didn’t have to buy too many groceries as people were bringing their own pizza for the contest (this made life very easy), and the desserts were clearly not baked by me. I am a horrible baker – but I am slowly learning! Maybe it’s all of the steps and the rule following, I’m more of a dash of this and add a pinch of that kinda girl. I picked up the ingredients for the Herb Garden Hummus (click for recipe), pita chips, mixed spicy nuts, crudites, and I made a very simple dill dip… pint of light sour cream, 1 packet Hidden Valley Ranch dip, chopped fresh dill and rosemary for garnish. I also added mini waters to my cart and lots of lemons and limes… you can never have enough. Plus, I always like to have a few in a bowl on the kitchen counter – adds a little color.
- last but certainly not least I got John a little birthday present… a painting titled, Bulls on Parade, by local Fort Worth artist, Mindy Page. It was purchased at one of my favorite boutique’s Maven, and I snagged an apricot scented candle to go along with it. I added a few white roses to the empty vase and presto, my entry way finally complete 😉 – oh and John loved his new piece of art!
Have a fabulous weekend!