How to Have a Dirty Dancing Viewing Party

How to have a Dirty Dancing Viewing Party*This post is in conjunction with Netflix #StreamTeam. Each month I share how my family and I are enjoying what’s playing on Netflix. And since every member of my family is addicted to television, we watch a lot of Netflix.

While Netflix creates tons of original programming (if you haven’t watched Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt yet, stop what you are doing and go watch it. It’s freaking hysterical and my fave new show) they also have tons of your older movie favorites. Just this past weekend my oldest son and I watched Ferris Bueller’s Day Off together. It lead to a discussion on how much cursing is in that movie…oops. And he handled it really well so it was really fun to get to share one of my favorite movies with him. One of our favorite ways to explore Netflix is to look for themes that tie certain movies or shows together. In the case of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, she totally reinvents herself after coming out from 15 years in a bunker. Jack Black’s character makes some wonderful self discoveries in School of Rock and Baby comes to Kellerman’s a shy, unworldly girl in Dirty Dancing and leaves a confidant woman in love with great abs.

Life gets super busy but I think it is really necessary to have girl time and get together with friends. Here’s how to have a Dirty Dancing viewing party where your girlfriends can come over, chill out and you can talk about how you all have reinvented yourselves over the years or how you want to in the future.

Don’t make it stressful on yourself. Doing just a few special touches will set the right atmosphere and get your friends excited. Create a simple postcard for Kellerman’s Resort as the invitation. Just find a photo of a resort online, print it out and handwrite the info on the back!

I remember owning this soundtrack and listening the heck out of it. But you can also find some different versions of the songs like this version of “Love is Strange” by Wings.

You KNOW you must have a watermelon cocktail. This watermelon sangria bar is the perfect idea!

If you want to have your guests dress from the movie, there are some really easy outfits to recreate. This tulle skirt look is a fun take on the ballet skirt she pairs with a ribbed white tank for dance rehearsals. Or there is always the long cuffed jean shorts and tied white button up look or shorter rolled jean shorts paired with a coral bodysuit. But don’t make your guests dress up if you think it will stress them out. Themed dress up usually stresses me out.

There is not need to go all out and redecorate your house for one night but how amazing is this watermelon print!

You may remember a post for a while ago where I went to a Dirty Dancing themed party. It was super casual and I DID put Baby in the corner of these rice krispy treats. And check out the Hungry P”eyes” that Kristin brought to the party.

And while you don’t have to send your guests home with a favor, these orange blossom-thyme suckers would be perfect with a little tag that said “I had the thyme of my life.”

See, so easy and so fun!

image credits: Kellerman postcard . watermelon sangria . tulle skirt outfit .  watermelon print (no longer available but this one is similar) . krispy treats with baby in the corner . orange blossom-thyme suckers

Also check out Turbo and Princess Diaries 2 for shows your younger kids will love!

Thank you for supporting the brands, like Netflix, that let me watch television and bring you fun posts.

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What to do in Portland

What to do in Portland, OregonPortland. Have you been? My husband and I recently spent 5 days there and got to explore. And eat. Mostly eat. When I knew I was headed to Portland, I reached out to a blogger I know from the area, Sam Rosen. I asked her if she wouldn’t mind sharing some of her favorite spots with me. Because she is awesome, she put together a really comprehensive list of places for me to try, organized by neighborhoods! Check out her Portland recommendations here.  Be sure to pin it to save it for later! And today I am sharing “What to do in Portland” with you based on our favorites from the trip including tons of spots from her list. [Read more…]

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and Rap for Moms #StreamTeam

My FAVE new show on Netflix, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. I don’t know if you know this, but TV is my favorite hobby. I love to watch the shows. All of them. I prefer reality TV and comedies, but I’m obsessed with Revenge, Nashville, and Hindsight as well. As a member of Netflix’ #StreamTeam, I got the chance to check out a new series last week. BUT YOU ARE IN LUCK BECAUSE THE SHOW, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, STARTS TODAY!!!

You HAVE to watch this show! It is my new favorite and not just because I got to see it before everyone (that was super cool though). This show, starring Ellie Kemper as Kimmy, is produced by Tina Fey and Robert Carlock (who also produced 30 Rock!) and is comedy gold! I burst out laughing on several occasions. And binge watched the 6 preview episodes I was given in one day, ignoring my children as needed.  The basic premise is that Kimmy, and three other gals, were taken in to a cult about 15 years ago and kept in an underground bunker by a very misguided religious leader on the premise that they are the only survivors of the apocalypse. Long story short, they are found and Kimmy chooses to start life over in New York City. She does everything she can to conceal her past (shown through amazing flashbacks) and fit in to present day society. And the hilarity ensues. The supporting cast is SO good, including a genius guest star, an almost unrecognizable Martin Short, in the role of a crazy town plastic surgeon. The dialogue is fast and witty and just so so good! The show is full of heart, a wacky cast of characters (Jane Krakowski! Carole mutha effing Kane!) and off the wall scenarios that make for a really fun show. And while there are lots of smiles and bright colors, there is some darkness as well which makes it really intriguing. I will be watching the rest of the season this afternoon.

Watch Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt on Netflix right now!

Chicken and Waffle appetizer on a DIY gangsta rap tray.But the show got me thinking. Although I was not kept in a bunker for the last 15 years, having kids sometimes keeps you from staying up on what’s cool, new and in style. I’ve accepted that my clothes aren’t always going to be in fashion since I can’t afford to keep buying the newest styles (I’ve got mouths to feed and my youngest has grown out of his toddler bed – we’re just telling him it’s super cozy and that he’ll be able to straighten his legs when he sleeps again soon) and I have to go sit outside in parks for playdates. It’s all about comfort, fashion just sort of falls by the wayside. But one thing that I had to give up was my love of rap music. By the time my oldest was 2, I realized that I would pretty much no longer be able to listen to it. Especially when he started chanting, “f**cker” at the grocery store.

The first two cassette tapes I got were Beastie Boys and Salt and Pepa, at around 8 years old. Yo MTV Raps introduced my sister and I to Kool Mo Dee, Rob Base and we knew every word of Young MC’s Fastest Rhyme. I can’t tell you how many times we played ‘Me So Horny’ in junior high. And high school gave me Too Short and Ghetto Boys on the way to basketball games. I went back to more old school stuff in college with Eric B. and Rakim, Grandmaster Flash and Doug E. Fresh. And while dating my husband we listened to Slick Rick, Biggie, Mace, Beatnuts, Mos Def and Snoop Dogg’s Gin and Juice.

Gin and Juice Cocktail for your next girl's night.These are gin and juice cocktails, served in brown paper bags, for our gangster rap sewing class years ago. Above are the chicken and waffles appetizers I made served on a “gangster rap” tray I made complete with gold chains.

Thanks to super explicit lyrics and adult themes that still make me blush, I had to give up my rap. Especially since I have Sirius and, as a result of giving up the commercial breaks, I get unedited versions of my favorite rap songs on the rap channels. I am so out of touch in the rap game. My listening stopped just after Kanye’s ‘The College Dropout’ dropped. Do people still say that? All I know is that when I say something about “sipping the sizurp” from ‘Through the Wire,’ no one knows what I’m talking about. Fast forward, he’s now pretty much a Kardashian and goes by Weezus or something and has made 150 more albums that I’ve never heard.

So I decided to reach out to my friend, Jazz, who is about 15 years younger than me and doesn’t have kids. She knows what’s up. I asked her to make me a playlist of rappers that I need to know about to catch me up. I thought I’d share the playlist with you so you can get a rap primer if you need it too. I know there are many more songs that I have missed in the last 6 years of being pretty much rap-free. But Kimmy didn’t conquer New York in a day, and I’m not going to be rap fluent that quickly either. Listen on if you enjoy rap and if you have other songs or artists to share, leave them in the comments!

WARNING: THIS PLAYLIST IS UNEDITED AND HAS SWEARING, SLANG THAT I DON’T UNDERSTAND, AND REALLY FILTHY LYRICS. DO NOT PLAY THIS AROUND YOUR KIDS. THIS WILL NOT AUTO PLAY. I WILL NOT BE RESPONSIBLE FOR THERAPY BILLS IF YOUR KIDS HEAR THESE SONGS (Just kidding, my mom let us listen to whatever we wanted and we learned many lessons from them in terms of not repeating things, not using words if you don’t know what they mean, etc. We grew up in the suburbs and did not turn to a life of crime, because of rap, like Nancy Reagan suggested). Oh! And I added Fastest Rhyme because it’s awesome. You’re welcome.

Now, for serious, go watch Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. So funny. Although this post is in conjunction with Netflix, I was not required to post about this. I legit fell for this show hard. Thank you for supporting the companies that let me find cool products, services etc. that make my life better. Laughing is always a good thing. #StreamTeam

Goal Setting – Blog Business

Overcoming obstacles in blog business.Sometimes the things that you think are holding you up, really aren’t. For years, I’ve felt stuck with my blog not growing like I want it to. I’ve blamed it on my branding needing to be redone. I’ve blamed it on the fact that my head doesn’t understand all the backend, coding, SEO, type stuff. I’ve blamed it on my kids and the fact that I don’t have enough time to really focus on the blog. And those things are all true to a certain extent. But recently it hit me. I’m afraid. I’m afraid of the commitment to really take it to the next level. And the possible failure. Fear really is an m effer.

After Bash Conference I had such a clear picture of what I want this blog to be. Finally, after at least 2 years of struggling with it. But it wasn’t anything revolutionary. I simply discovered I was afraid of so many things. Of putting myself out there, of not measuring up to what other people are doing and to not succeeding. I excel at everything I do (or at least I’d like to think that I do). So the thought of putting work in and still coming up short was paralyzing. I think of all the whining I’ve done about not knowing what I wanted the blog to look like or why I’m not being contacted by more brands and I feel sad. Mostly for my friends who had to listen to the whining, but also sad that I couldn’t see what was really going on.

I really credit Coryanne Etienne with helping to open my eyes. In her Bash session, she was able to lay out goal setting in such a way that it wasn’t daunting or scary. Her goal setting comes from a really personal place. And that was exactly what I needed to hear. Success is different for everyone. My numbers don’t have to match another blogger’s to mean success for me. My business goals are directly linked to the things that make myself and my family happy. Once I figured that out I felt ready to tackle my business. This is all still very new and I’m working through obstacles, still. But I feel like I have things that I am working towards and that feels really good.

I am currently trying to come up with a new name for the blog. It is a huge task and I can feel it slowing my progress. It is SO hard to come up with a name that not only shows your personality and won’t pigeon-hole you (because currently people think I either make cupcakes or only blog about food). But I’m not going to let that stop me from moving ahead and working towards my goals. It’s so exciting! By setting goals and taking the time to really think about what would make me happy, I have really demystified my content, what I want my brand to be and SO much more! I have never been happier, even though my numbers could be better.

I can’t wait to share the real ME with you as I move towards my new direction. It’s not all the different from what I’ve been doing, I promise!

Bash Conference: A Recap

My Bash Conference 2015 recapEarly in January I attended a brand new conference called Bash. It was held in Arizona at The Wigwam Resort (beautiful!) and it was two days of sessions, speakers, networking and fun. A fantastic party planner and blogger, that I met years ago at my very first Operation Shower, Michelle of Maddycakes Muse, decided to put on this conference for the party planner/blogger community to learn and grow and lift each other up. Yup, that was a total run on sentence. I’m sure it was no easy task to put on a conference of any size and THIS was awesome. She nailed it. I was super impressed with every aspect of it. I apologize for the iphone photos. Although I took my DSLR, it never left the hotel room. When you go to a conference full of party planners, you kind of just want to party. I wanted to do a Bash Conference recap in case any of you are wondering if you should attend next year. In short, the answer is yes.

Palm trees and blue skiesI want to be super honest. I wasn’t expecting to get a ton out of it. When I started this blog I was strictly party focused and my first real blog friends are all from that world. I wanted the chance to spend time with these gals and at the last-minute was able to attend (side note: Tickets were about $400. BUT there were several opportunities leading up to the conference to win a free ticket. Also, they did a black Friday sale which is where I was able to buy my ticket for $200! Oh! And they offered a VIP option, for an extra $50, which got you preferred seating at the sessions, one on one time with the keynotes and speakers, transportation to and from the hotel to the resort plus some extra special goodies at check in. It was a great feature that I haven’t seen at any other conference.) And it was held in Arizona. I love Arizona. Any who. When the conference was initially announced, it seemed like the sessions were geared towards to party planners. But then they announced another track of sessions and those were more business focused. I wasn’t sure how they would bridge the gap between the attendees who wanted to learn about party planning as a business and building a business from a party blog. I strongly believe, however, that any time you attend a conference you learn somethings, especially if you keep yourself open to it.

My Bash Conference RecapI arrived on Thursday afternoon and had a little time to relax before the first evening’s party. It’s always nice to ease in to a conference. The first night they held a welcome party that included gaming tables (which I sucked at) and craft stations (which after a few glasses of wine, I sucked at). The volunteers for the conference were SO welcoming and made everyone feel right at home. Although I had a bunch of friends with me, I would have had a great time even if I had gone on my own. [Read more…]