Monday, May 30, 2016

How to Plan a Party on a Budget

I can't believe June is almost around the corner! That means my month long blogiversary celebration is also right around the corner! In honor of this, I'm sharing some of my budget-friendly party planning tips today. Then, at the very end of this post, you'll find a detailed calendar of everything I have planned for the month long celebration!

I'm not entirely sure where my love of party planning started, but I've been doing it for years. I can even remember many "Christmas parties" that were jointly planned with my sister where we put together a party just for my parents using our stuffed animals. It was a Christmas Eve tradition for years.

My love for saving money and finding bargains started when I was young as well. We would receive $20 a week for allowance and I learned quickly how to stretch my allowance to make the most of it. Party planning can get expensive pretty quickly if you don't budget and watch your money. The tips below will help you have a fabulous party without breaking the bank.

1. Center everything around a theme.
This can be as simple as selecting colors or as extravagant as theming everything around an event or character. I find that a theme helps tie everything together. Pinterest is the perfect place for inspiration. Simply type in the name of the event you're planning and things you like. You'll be surprised how many things come up!

2. Select two or three colors to keep things streamlined.
If you start looking at expensive parties, you'll notice that they have one major thing in common - there are consistent colors throughout the decorations. If you picked a theme, make sure that your colors match up with the theme. These colors will play an important part in saving you money later (see tip #4)!

3. Browse bargain stores.
I suggest browsing dollar stores and bargain stores before you settle on a theme and colors. If they don't have any products that will go with your theme, then it's going to get rather expensive. I also suggest looking at these stores before settling because they could be a source of inspiration for you!

4. Buy colored utensils and paper products.
If you're buying throwaway products for your party, I recommend staying away from the cutesy products (or selectively using them). While they are cute and may even tie in with your theme, it's not necessary to spend the extra money on them. Instead, buy paper products that match your theme colors and use those. They will still match with the party and you won't have wasted extra money for a cute picture on a plate that's going to be thrown away. Save that extra money for cute decorations that will make the party more fun.

5. Browse your house.
Check around your house for items that you can use. If you're theming the party around something you like, then there's a good chance that you have decorations around your house. (For example, I have plenty of nautical d├ęcor to support a beach party without spending a lot of extra cash.)

6. Consider repurposing items.
As your browsing your house, think of ways that you can use things in new ways. Instead of buying a flower vase, repurpose a tin car or mason jar that you already have. Add a crafty touch and your repurposed item could be more memorable than an expensive vase. If the party is for your kids, involve them in the crafting process for an added dose of flare!

7. Borrow when you can.
Several of the items we used in our wedding decorations were borrowed from friends and family, including the hay bales, archway, and mason jars. In fact, I think almost all of our wedding decorations were borrowed - I guess we had that "something borrowed" covered pretty well! It definitely doesn't hurt to check in with your friends to see what items they can lend you for your party.

What are your favorite party planning tips? I'd love to hear about them in the comments!  (Also - don't leave the post quite yet - scroll to the bottom to discover a calendar of all the events coming to the blog in June!)

Since I can't throw a real life party with all of the great friends and followers that I have met through Hodge Podge Moments, I'm throwing a month long online party on the blog! Click on the image below to get a printable (and clickable) calendar with all of the events, including the kick off party and giveaways, that will be happening in June. I also recommend subscribing to the newsletter because I will be announcing more events throughout the month and there will even be a newsletter subscriber gift at some point!ong

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Bloggy Brunch #21

It's Sunday! Time to grab your drink of choice (coffee, tea, mimosa...we don't judge here!) and join Be a Warrior Queen, The Petite Mrs, and me for another edition of Bloggy Brunch.

I had a really hard time picking one post to feature from last week. There were so many great posts with lots of great things shared! I recommend checking out everyone that linked up.

After a lot of debate, I decided to pick a post that spoke to me the most because the blogger shared a very personal story with her audience. After you link up below, I recommend heading over to the Travelvan blog and checking out the story!

Don't forget to check out last week's link up for even more great posts to read! Make sure you link up a favorite post of your own below so that I can check it out (and give it lots of love) this week!

(Grab the button and link back to us to spread the word about our link up!)

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Tips for Adding Smoothies into your Daily Routine

I recently had the pleasure of reviewing a book all about smoothies. To some that might not sound very interesting, but I found it to be quite the enjoyable read. It inspired me to write a post about how you can get ready to add smoothies into your own daily routine. (You might recall that this is not my first post about smoothies.)

This post contains affiliate links. I was also given a copy of The Smoothie Life free for review purposes. All opinions and thoughts are my own.

I'm going to list a few tips below for adding smoothies into your daily routine, but I highly suggest checking out The Smoothie Life by Jessi Andricks for even more great ideas and over 75 different recipes.

1. Decide when you'll start trying smoothies.

It's important to establish a start date. Theoretically, you could go into the kitchen right now and try to pull together a smoothie but you also might not have the supplies needed. This is why I recommend picking a start date. Anytime in the near future is perfect because summer is coming. Summer means warmer weather so a nice, cold smoothie will be a welcome relief. It also means bikini season, which means your waistline will appreciate a healthier food option.

2. Gather all of the supplies you'll need.

You're going to want to check your kitchen and make sure that you have a blender (I love our Nutribullet) and glasses (I recommend colored mason jars). I find that I enjoy smoothies much more when they're in a fun glass. I also recommend getting reuseable straws and drink lids if you plan to take your smoothie on the go.

3. Pick out the recipes that you'd like to try.

This is where I'm going to recommend that you grab a copy of The Smoothie Life for yourself. It's true that you can find lots of recipes on Pinterest but that can be time consuming (and counterproductive). It's also true that you could experiment with your own recipes but that can be intimidating if you're just starting out with smoothies. Jessi's book provides you with over 75 recipes that are easy to follow and delicious. Some of the recipes are super simple (and a great starting place), while other recipes challenge you to take your smoothies to the next level. I'm excited to have a copy of the book on my Kindle so that I can reference it anytime I want. In addition to recipes, you'll also find lots of tips and a couple of plans to incorporate smoothies into your daily life.

4. Buy your ingredients and produce.

Jessi gives lots of tips in The Smoothie Life for picking out produce and ingredients for your smoothie. She shares how you can add protein to your smoothie or transform it into a healthy dessert with little to no extra effort. She also talks about which produce should be organic and which is best bought frozen. I learned quite a few tricks about picking out ingredients from her book. My favorite tip (which I used even before reading the book) is to freeze your fruits to make them last longer and to avoid having to use ice in your smoothie.

I can't wait to start incorporating more smoothies into my daily routine. My only challenge now is to figure out how to make smoothies on the go when we move later this summer. I'm thinking our single serve blender might be making a trip with us.

Do you currently drink smoothies? What's your favorite one to enjoy? I'd love to hear about it in the comments below!