Monday, January 31, 2011

How-To: Throwing a Mystery Dinner Party

Hello everyone!
It has been ages since I have blogged...I nearly forgot I had a blog. But I am sitting in a very dull class right now, so the way I see it I have 3 hours devoted to blogging :)

This weekend was pretty splendid. It was my roommate Keren's 21st birthday, and so me and 2 of my other roommates decided to throw her a surprise mystery dinner party. It wasn't the first mystery dinner I've been a part of, and it for sure won't be the last-they are so much fun!

Mystery dinners are great for many different I thought I'd share a little how-to for throwing one. I dare you to try it-maybe for a valentines event?

Step 1.
Create a "mystery menu"
What this means is that you will be creating a menu that has food items in code words. I will give an example of one in a bit. Basically, your guests will be "ordering" their food in whatever order they want based on the code names of food, however they won't really know what they are ordering. You (or whoever you have roped into helping you serve) will be bringing the guests their food in the order they have written, and they must eat their food in that order. (if this is getting complicated, just go with it. Hopefully it will become clearer!)
Here is what our mystery menu contained this weekend:

A Formal Knot (bow-tie pasta)
A Small Raise (garlic bread)
Bamboo Shoots (carrots)
Roman Mix-Up (salad)
Pants & Shirts (dressing)
Divided Branches (fork)
Cuddling (spoon)
Ripper's Choice (knife)
Rolly Pollies (olives)
Farmer's Friend (water)
Solid State (ice)
Sleepy Relative (napkin)
Smiles Galore (Parmesan cheese)
Green Dilemma (pickle)
Lover's Delight (chocolate kiss)
8 oz. Birthday (cupcake)

...and so forth. You can make up whatever clues you want for the food, or look up other menus online. The menu your guests receive DO NOT have the actual food names on them, I included those for your benefit. They will only see the code words. Have fun with it and make up your own codes for whatever food you want to serve!

Step 2.
Prepare an ordering sheet.
This is what your guests will use to write their "order". The rule is they must order everything on the menu, but cannot order anything twice. The ordering sheet should look something like this:

Course 1
Course 2
Course 3

Each guest will write the code names down in the spaces provided however they choose. They then turn this in to their "server" in order to have their plate prepared.

Step 3.
Serve the food.
As you can see from the menu, guests only receive their silverware, napkin, food, and drink in the order they chose. Bring out the food by course depending on each guest's order. If they ordered their salad without the dressing, they do not get to have dressing on their salad. If they ordered pasta with no fork, they have to find another way to eat the pasta. It is extremely fun to watch and to be a part of, and it's also always fun to see what each person ordered and in what order it comes in.

This type of party is really easy and fun to pull off. I suggest having at least 1 server per 3 guests to prepare plates. Make sure your guests do not know what the food is that you are serving (you don't want them guessing the codes!) Also try to make food that isn't too complicated or that gets cold easily. Some people won't be ordering things until the 3rd course, and so it needs to stay warm and fresh for the entire meal.

We had a lot of fun with this party this weekend by making cute name cards and menus for each person, decorating the table with pearls, rhinestones, candles, and plates, and making fancy "mocktail" drinks for everyone. I will show pictures of our event later once I have access to them *cough Kelsey and Brittney cough*. We were so proud of our table and the meal we made. I also suggest playing music to set the mood of the event and having it in a special location. We chose a very nice, large home with a separate dining room and a huge kitchen. It would also be really fun to have an outdoor event with a BBQ meal and a more casual feel.

I hope you try an event like this! It really is a blast, and a lot of people haven't participated in anything like it. If you have any questions just shoot me a comment and I'll try to help :)

And now I will leave you with some pretty table decoration inspiration!

XO, Ashley

Monday, January 10, 2011

Break is over, say goodbye.

Well, winter break is almost officially over. School starts Wednesday and I am heading back to the midwest tomorrow. So I thought since I haven't blogged in a long while and since I probably won't be blogging in another long while (let's be real here) I'd tie all three of my readers out there over with some of my own blog lovin. Here are some things I've found on the world wide web that I love:

Yard Sale Bloodbath is a super hilarious blog that chronicles two women's yard saleing experiences. Seriously, you don't even have to like going to yard sales to find this blog entertaining.

Even though I don't even like spiders, I can't help but want one of these amazing necklaces from Dollybird (found via I go by Katie)

Calivintage is pretty much always full of magic.

Um...this will DEFINITELY be in my living space next winter. (via Color Me Katie)

This dessert table makes me want to have a party....with a dessert table.

I just learned about this new nail polish by OPI, which I am a little too excited about.

Who doesn't love one? A friend shared with me a few weeks ago and I am completely addicted.

I made a few necklaces out of jersey t-shirts before, but I really want to try these ones. So cute!

Last Christmas I made granny square slippers for more than 7 people on my gift list-I'm thinking about making a few more this year as well, just for fun. They are so cute and so fun to make!

Which also reminded me of these washer necklaces I made this summer. Cute, cheap, unique, and SO easy it's ridiculous.

Time for bed for me. I have a flight to catch tomorrow :)

XO, Ashley