Picking the perfect present for a proud party planner isn’t always, well, a party. They have the food, music, and games covered. Yes,they already have everything their guests need to have a great night down, but that doesn’t mean they won’t love to get one of these special gifts to help them create a fresh presentation for appetizers or add a little extra flair to their tablescapes.
I was most excited to put together this collection of jewelry and home decor that reminded me of water. Having grown up on a small island, three blocks from the ocean and one from the bay, water is the element with which I am most comfortable and most familiar. In putting this all together, it became very clear to me that so many of our artists share the same affection for the deep blue as me.
Inspired by the peaceful hues of the ocean and the unique colors and shapes of its many creatures, this is a collection of goods that will evoke the spirit of this element that is as placid as it is exciting.
The best way to say thanks for a great party or weekend is a thoughtful and unique hostess gift. Jeanne Chan of Shop Sweet Things picked out some great gift ideas for the party-planners here.
Growing up in a big Italian family, the dinner table was the hearth of the home. It was where everyone gathered during get-togethers or parties, whether or not there was a formal meal set down. As an adult I love having my friends and loved ones over to feed them but so far all my meals have been spread across a small apartment with plates on laps. However I spent enough time setting tables between stirring my grandmother’s gravy (tomato sauce!), reading my mother’s hip-high pile of Martha Stewart Living magazines, and the studying the copy of Emily Post that I bought at a yard sale when I was 12 to consider myself an expert in-the-making in the art of table setting.
Since I don’t have a big rustic table of my own, I have been living vicariously through my newly betrothed friends and have been dishing out dinner party advice. Here are some Do’s and Don’ts I have put together from years of research.
DO give everyone at the table all the plates and utensils they will need for the entire meal… unless your butler is there to change each place-setting between courses. This means soup spoons, salad forks, any utensil they may need for dessert.
DON’T put out dessert plates until the dessert course. It’s everyone’s favorite part anyway so save all the surprises for later.
Some basics: Utensils are set from in the order they will be used from the outside in. This means the fork to the far left is your salad fork; the one inside is your dinner fork. The spoon to the right of the knife is for soup, a course that comes before dinner. Forks on the left, knife on the right as it’s proper etiquette to hold food down with the fork on your left hand as cut with the knife in your right, then switch the fork when you are ready to eat.
DON’T choose a centerpiece with an overpowering aroma. Stay away from scented candles and very fragrant flowers. You don’t want the décor to upstage your amazing meal.
DO make sure that centerpieces allow guests to see across the table to keep the conversation flowing. Nothing is worse than having to talk to someone’s forehead over a ridiculously large flower arrangement.
DO get funky with your napkins. Fold them, roll them, or use a pretty ring. Napkins can really tie a whole table together.
DO provide your guests with a water glass and another for the alcohol being served with dinner. If you are offering white and red wine, choose a versatile glass.
DON’T play music that will stand out. Like your centerpieces, the music should be noticed but not enough to offend or distract. Try something without lyrics – Pandora has a lot of instrumental options that don’t sound like elevator music.
Her home is always immaculate; her fridge, fully stocked. She’s prepared for out-of-town guests, visiting neighbors, and no-notice pop-ins. There hasn’t been a holiday for which she couldn’t plan the perfect party. And, showers–bridal or baby–she’s ready with cute games and an even cuter cake. She is the Eternal Hostess. She may not need much, but she’s always looking for that extra special something to add just the right touch to any get-together. This holiday season, show her that you appreciate her hospitality with one of these handsome housewares that she’ll be proud to display at her next shindig.
Hello! My name is Melissa and I am a new buyer over here at UncommonGoods. I look for product for a number of categories, including and especially games and toys. Obviously, for these types of items, the question “is it fun?” comes up every time in our decision-making process. The thing about games is that the ideal way to determine how fun a game is going to be is not in reading instructions and checking it out alone at my desk at work – but rather with friends at home. Shocking and insightful observation, I know.
So, in an effort to do my job better (take note, boss!), make new friends (I just moved out to New York City to join UncommonGoods from sunny California – or, in my case, foggy San Francisco), and generally have fun, I decided to start hosting game nights to test the new product that I’m considering. When we were chatting about this in one of our sample review meetings, someone threw out the idea of sharing the experience with our UncommonGoods community, and Melissa’s Game Night was born.
Up first was ZinZig ™:
“ZinZig is the wine tasting and trivia game that will challenge your mind and palate. So sit back, relax, and sip your wine. You’re in for a Zin-ful good time ™!”
I bribed my friends over with offers of pasta & sautéed Brussels sprouts, convinced them that yes, it is a great idea to play a wine tasting board game on a weekday, and raced out of the office to get set up.
[Disclaimer: since I just moved to NY, my living room looks pretty sparse, I know — hopefully it will continue to get more interesting as these blog posts continue!]
Once I cooked dinner for the boys (note to self: make more female friends), I asked/told one of my friends to read out the instructions and help us get set up. Luckily for him, it was fairly straight-forward and user-friendly: the beginning of the game opens with drinking and testing all of the wines. We also each picked a winery as well as a figure to represent us on the board. We each started on the space of the Winery that we chose – since the board is circular, the location that you are on is not really important (until the end) – it is all about the squares that you land on. On each turn, you get a trivia card and have to try to answer correctly – once you answer, the square you are on determines whether you “Swap”, “Trade”, etc. There are a few wild squares (ie: Corked: Wine spoilage detected. Answer wrong and lose one bottle card), as well as my personal favorite – Sip and Savor – in which you “Sit back, relax, and enjoy your wine” while earning a free card.
Each trivia card has a ‘resource’ printed on the back; the point of the game is to collect one of each resource (barrel, grape, bottle, cork) to start production. Once you do that, you move to the middle of the board and go through the stages of production (crushing, fermenting, aging, bottling) by answering a trivia Card. The first player to complete production is the winner of the game. Even though I am overly competitive, I did not manage to win. The shout-out of victory goes to my friend Mike who came in from last to crush us all.
In terms of game play, I thought the range of the level of difficulty of the trivia questions was well-balanced and on the intelligent side. I am a fairly big wine geek, my friend Alex claimed to know nothing, and everyone else fell somewhere in between. All of us got answers right and wrong, which made it a fun learning experience as well. The game lasted roughly 2 hours, and a good time was had by all. This game was approved and is available now HERE.
Thanks to Barry, Matt, Alex, Gabe, Colin, Erik, and Mike for playing!
We’re sure this week saw plenty of backyard parties, thanks to July 4th! While our social media team isn’t taking an extra-long holiday weekend like many lucky folks out there, we are seriously celebrating BBQs, beaches, and backyard parties and we’re pleased to announce the winner of our first ever Backyard Party Pinterest Contest!
But first, we’d like to share a few of the boards that caught our eyes.
Adrienne’s board leaves us longing for the good old days. Her film strips, snapshots hung with clothespins, and family photos in Mason jars help us remember what summer’s all about–making memories with those you love.
Alyssa’s board also had some great examples of nostalgia, but her food selections are what really stand out. Baked s’mores, blackberry frozen yogurt, and an assortment of summer salads–yum!
Dustie’s boho board steers clear of sugary sweets, and features a variety of summer fruits instead. We love how the colorful fruit fits right in with the playful theme. On one pin Dustie commented, ” In a past life I was a GYPSY!”
Zillie Zallie’s red, white, and blue Independence Day party is another great example of a board with a solid theme and a cohesive look. Patriotic punch and watermelon stars, anyone?
And…the winner is…
NYC Recessionista, Alison. Her deep fried Oreos, Nutella popsicles, and cubed pineapples make us hungry, her friendship bracelets evoke memories of summer camp, and the photos of her own family make us want to get to know them. We’d definitely attend her backyard party!
We received nearly 200 entries, but Alison’s stylish board stood out in the end earning her the grand prize. Congratulations, NYC Recessionista!
This week our voting app is loaded with bold handmade jewelry designs, a fortuitous frill for your next dinner party, and home decor both you and your cat will love. Here’s what our voters are saying about these dynamic new designs.
Hmmm. Perhaps if we carry this Modern Cat Scratch Frame Christy can place the first order and finally have an excuse to get that cat she’s always wanted!
Don’t worry, Laura, these Fortune Teller Napkins are something of a cross between fortune cookie fortunes and table linens. No cooties involved!
Although Laura isn’t enthusiastic about the future of these fabulously folded cloth napkins, Elena has another view:
Either the ‘e’ key got stuck down, or Elena really, really loves this product! Either way, thanks for the comment, Elena!
Thanks for the feedback, Xena. Perhaps those with brass allergies won’t be jumping on these lovely Bar and Circle Brass Necklaces, but, fortunately, those folks have options! Artist Kathleen Plate also makes stunning pieces in sterling silver.
We love Kathleen’s jewelry, which is handmade from recycled glass bottles. Janine’s comment says it well:
If you agree with Janine that Kathleen’s 5-piece Brass Lariat Necklace is perfect for UncommonGoods, or want to weigh in on these other potential products, visit our voting app and leave some feedback of your own!