Host an Escape Room in Your Own Home

If you and your friends are anything like mine, you’ve done all of the Escape Rooms currently in your city, and can’t wait for a new one to open. Well, luckily, we don’t have to wait anymore: you can now host an Escape Room in your own home! There’s no advanced prep needed and you can even participate.

I have to admit, I was skeptical. Would the Escape Room in the box give the same experience as the actual rooms? Would it be challenging enough for me and my friends? Would it be fun? So when I was given the chance to try out the new game, I jumped at the chance. And spoilers: It was even better than we were all expecting. It was fun and challenging, and I truly think Escape Room noobs and veterans alike will have a good time.

For those who haven’t done an Escape Room before, the basic gist is this: You must solve various puzzles as a group to get information that will let you through a (figuratively) locked door. There is a time limit, and it’s a fast-paced, kinda-stressful-but-actually-fun group activity. It’s exhilarating and gets your mind working. I’d highly recommend them.

This game comes with four different escape “rooms”, and each one is a separate 60 minute adventure. The skill levels vary, and if you go in this order, you can work your way up:

  • Prison Break (2/5)
  • Virus (2/5)
  • Nuclear Countdown (3/5)
  • Temple of the Aztec (4/5)

I decided to have us start with Virus, since my friends have done escape rooms before. And plus, it was the easiest to plan a party around. (Come on, it’s me.)

lab-snacks

I made some laboratory-inspired dishes, like cakes in beakers (don’t use cotton candy thinking it’ll look like smoke. It’ll end up hardening and just looking weird. Lessons learned.) and an awesome “virus punch”.

Thank you to the fabulous Jenn for modeling the drink. And for willingly wearing a Haz-Mat suit.

Thank you to the fabulous Jenn for modeling the drink. And for willingly wearing a HAZMAT suit.

Put some green sherbet in the container of your choice, and slowly fill with lemon-lime soda. It’ll get all foamy and awesome looking! Easy and delicious.

Anyway, back to the game. We beat the “Virus” Escape Room in about 40 minutes, and we were all so jazzed by it, we wanted to do another right away. So we did Nuclear Countdown. (Luckily, if you end up going through a couple in a night, expansion packs will be coming out starting in 2017. And if you want to share the joy of the room with someone else, you can download anything you may have written on/folded/destroyed during the game from the Escape Room website.)

I unfortunately can’t tell you too much about the adventures themselves without spoiling them, but I can give you some peeks at what comes in the box and some tips for when you play:

game

The box does not come with gloves or glasses. We just wanted to be prepared for the virus. You understand.

The box comes with separate envelopes for each adventure, and a “Chrono Decoder” with a set of plastic keys. The Chrono Decoder acts as your timer, counting down the 60 minutes and letting you know when you can take a “hint” card. (Even if you think you don’t need it, it’s helpful to look at the hint. No one will judge you.) It’s also how you prove that you’ve solved the puzzle! You place plastic keys into the Chrono Decoder in a specific way based on the puzzles you’ve solved, and it will let you know if you can move onto the next level or if you were wrong.

chrono-decoder

The decoder also has actual decoders on the side if itself, which will come in handy throughout the adventure.

I would suggest having a couple of things on hand before you begin:

what-you-need

  • A table or clear space to spread everything out and work.
  • Blank paper and a pencil. You’ll need scratch paper and a way to take notes.
  • A working phone. You may need to use it in various ways. Plus, you can use the Escape Room app on it, which has themed music for each adventure and a place to take and upload a picture once you’ve solved the adventure!

Basically, the Escape Room game is amazing, and should be on your holiday list. I’ll be bringing my copy to my family’s place and we’ll be trying the other two adventures down there! Pick up your copy from the Spin Master store. Have you done an Escape Room before? And which adventure in the Escape Room box are you most excited to try?

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of CLEVER and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Avengers Assemble! Avengers Viewing Party

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #AvengersUnite #CollectiveBias

Avengers Table

ASSEMBLE! MARVEL’s The Avengers: Age of Ultron comes out on May 1st, which means you only have a week to plan an epic viewing party. Get your friends together, watch the first Avengers (and the other Marvel movies–I’d recommend Thor and the Iron Mans myself!) and get prepped for the newest addition to the Marvel collection.

I planned such a party this past week. There were food, drink, activities, prizes, and of course, movies. Thanks to Collective Bias, I was able to hit up my local Walmart and grab everything I needed for the party. (You can see everything they have and more at walmart.com/avengers.) I might have had a bit too much fun finding all of the cool Avengers stuff…

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What To Eat With Miracle Berries

IMG_0621

Yesterday, 250,000 people received a gift of “miracle berries” from Cards Against Humanity during their 10 Days or Whatever of Kwanzaa. Being a miracle berry fan for a good amount of years (yes, I’m pulling the Hipster card on miracle berries), I’m thrilled that others are being introduced to this fun activity.

First of all: What are miracle berries? Miracle berries (Synsepalum dulcificum) are a berry native to Africa. The berries coat your taste buds, blocking certain taste receptors (like sour and bitter), making anything you consume taste sweeter than it would without the berry. The effect lasts up to an hour. (I find it lasts around 30 minutes on average.) What you received in the mail is not the berry itself–it’s the berry plus cornstarch, made into a tablet.

While the people who manufacture/sell the berry tablets may tell you this can serve as a daily supplement and a way to live a healthier lifestyle (your vegetables taste sweet and you don’t want to eat as much candy!), I think these are best used for tasting parties. Invite your friends over and have everyone bring a sour or bitter item that they’d like to try on the berries. Then, pop the pill (this sounds way worse than it is), and get tasting! We’ve found that as soon as people try one thing, they start to ravage the spread, wanting to know what everything tastes like. Once the spread is gone, they’ll move onto your pantry and fridge. You’ve been warned.

Below are some of my favorite items to try with miracle berries. These have been tested and approved–they’re musts at your party! But a word of warning: A lot of these foods are acidic or harsh on the stomach, but they won’t taste that way. Although it will be tasty, you’ll still be consuming larger amounts of lemons, limes, vinegar, and other sour/bitter items than you’re used to. Use moderation and keep some Tums/Alka Seltzer nearby!

  • Limes and Lemons (These are just amazing, Particularly limes. It’s my go-to favorite with miracle berries.)
  • Balsamic Vinegar (It’s sweet and not harsh at all. But that doesn’t mean you should chug large amounts! Read the disclaimer in the paragraph above!)
  • Guinness (Tastes like a chocolate shake. Any Porter/Stout will be ridiculously good.)
  • Cream Cheese (Tastes like cheesecake.)
  • Strawberries (It’s like you dipped them in sugar, but you DIDN’T! Magic.)

The following is a list of other suggested foods to try from various sources, including Cards Against Humanity, Amazon, and blogs/forum posts. I can’t vouch for the deliciousness of all of these, but it’s at least a starting off point for your tasting party!

  • BBQ sauce
  • Bitter chocolate
  • Blackberries
  • Celery
  • Cherries
  • Cottage Cheese
  • Cranberries
  • Granny Smith apples
  • Grapefruit
  • Grapes
  • Ketchup
  • Kiwi
  • Mustard
  • Oranges
  • Pickles (or anything pickled)
  • Pineapple
  • Pomegranate
  • Raspberries
  • Rhubarb
  • Salt and Vinegar chips
  • Sour Candies (warheads, sour patch kids)
  • Sour Cream
  • Stinky cheese (bleu cheese and goat cheese, specifically)
  • Tabasco (or other hot sauces)
  • Tea
  • Tequila
  • Tomatoes
  • Tonic water
  • Vinegar
  • Watermelon

What are your fave foods to have with miracle berries? Let me know in the comments! Didn’t receive the berries from Cards Against Humanity, but still want to try it? You can find them on Amazon!

Bob’s Burgers “Build a Burger” Party

Botd Frankly My Dear

Bob’s Burgers’ 5th season premiere is this Sunday, October 5th, and what better way to celebrate than with a burger party?

I invited some friends over to create puntastic Burgers of the Day. (If you haven’t seen the show, Bob creates a different burger of the day for each episode, and they’re all fantastic. This Tumblr catalogs them all.) I supplied the basics: burger patties, a couple different buns, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, and condiments, and encouraged them to bring any weirder ingredients they may need to make their burgers. They outdid themselves. Here is a sampling of some of the burgers, but you can see them all on the Bob’s Burger Party Pinterest Board! (The photo at the top of the post is “Frankly my dear, I don’t give a ham”: Comes with frankfurters and ham. Made by @Satire.)

Botd You Cheddar Believe “You Cheddar Believe It”: Comes with English Cheddar mixed in the patty, topped with more Cheddar. Made by @TifaRobles.

Botd I'm Bacon you “I’m Bacon You to Stop”: Bacon mixed into the burger, comes bacon wrapped. Made by @TheMikeRobles.

Botd Perks of Being “The Perks of Being a Cauliflower”: Comes with fried cauliflower and sriracha mayo. Made by @hudsonfilm.

Botd Cupcake “Piece of Cupcake”: A sneak peek of the burger cupcakes that will be on the blog tomorrow! Stay tuned!

Are you a Bob’s Burgers fan? Will you be tuning in on Sunday for the Season 5 premiere?

A Rustic, Fairy Tale-Inspired Party

Overview

I was contacted by Lesley Stowe Fine Foods recently, and they wanted me to try out her Raincoast Crisps, a delicious cracker that comes in a variety of natural flavors. They looked so rustic and natural, but also fancy–I thought it would be the perfect thing for the Fairy Tale-inspired party I wanted to throw.

I wanted the vibe of the party to be fancy, yet whimsical. Rustic, yet magical. The type of party where you and your friends wear flowy dresses and wings and spend your time talking and singing while making flower crowns and small, delicious meals.

Food:

I wanted to showcase the raincoast crisps and create some fun pairings. These included:

Original Raincoast Crisps with white cheddar, prosciutto, and spinach

Sandwiches

Cranberry and Hazelnut Crisps with brie, honey, and a thin slice of a honey crisp apple

Main Dish

Oat and Rosemary Raisin Crisps–these were put out for those who wanted to try another flavor on its own, or for the gluten free folks. (I love that some of the crisps are gluten free and nut free!)

Crisps

I was concerned about finding fancy enough pairings for these crackers, but the ones I put together were actually very simple, and quite delicious! The original crisps acted like mini sandwiches with the spinach, cheese, and meat, and the cranberry crisps were sweet and refreshing with the brie, honey, and apple. I paired the snacks with loose leaf tea (because it was gorgeous and matched the tone of the party) and a pale ale (which Lesley Stowe recommends pairing with the Cranberry Hazelnut and Rosemary Raisin crisps).

Decor:

As mentioned above, I wanted to keep the atmosphere “rustic yet whimsical.” I decided to work with woods, greenery, and metallics for that magical touch. The greenery and table decor was accented with fairy tale books.

I purchased a light-up twig garland to place around the main dish, and placed candles around for a bit of extra twinkle. Silverware sets were tied up with some greenery and twine. (Plus, look at the silverware! Silver twigs! I’m obsessed.)

Silverware

You don’t have to spend a lot on flowers–a lot of baby’s breath can look really cool (and adds to the fairy feel). All of the flowers on the table were purchased for less than $10–just buy the items florists usually use as filler.

Baby's Breath

You can also use leafy greens and vegetables as decor in place of your flowers. This bunch of spinach wrapped in twine cost me less than $1.

Spinach

And, of course, show off your fairy tale collection. It’s decor and entertainment in one!

Magic of Fairy Tales

Activities:

As mentioned above, you can share your favorite fairy tales at the party. But here are a few more activity ideas to pair with your beautiful table full of food:

  • Host a creative writing session where everyone needs to create their own take on a classic fairy tale
  • Play “Werewolf
  • Make fairy wings and flower crowns
  • Marathon your favorite fairy tale movies
  • Host a “Once Upon a Time” or “Grimm” premiere party

What would you include in your Fairy Tale-themed party? And have you tried Raincoast Crisps? (Be on the lookout for more info from them as I meet Lesley Stowe in person in a week!)

I was provided compensation and product in exchange for this blog post. All thoughts, opinions, and ideas are my own.

Star Wars Cantina Potluck

I’ve gotten really into potlucks lately. It gives you a great opportunity for a get-together without putting the burden of the entire party on one person. Plus, everyone will know they’ll have at least one thing they want to eat, and when you throw themed parties (as I often do), you’ll get to see the creativity of your friends. (Hint: It often surpasses mine!)

So, when I told my friends I was throwing a Cantina party, and they were all to come dressed as aliens and bring a food from their planet, they did so with flair. Their costumes were fantastic–we had aliens from Star Wars, Rocky Horror Picture Show, and Doctor Who. We also had a lot of original characters. And the best part? They all brought delicious (and on-theme) food.

Cantina Potluck Collage

Also, dry ice. Dry ice is the best. They’re the perfect accessory for the Star Wars cocktails I posted about earlier!

Dry Ice

I didn’t do a lot with decor this time, and instead focused on a few central activities. These included:

“Cantina Band Auditions”

Cantina Band

The party store had tons of little party favor musical instruments, including these ridiculous recorders. They were the perfect thing to make party attendees play! They sounded awful. Pretty sure they were unanimously banned from use after the first or second person tried.

“Who Shot First” Game

Who Shot First

Mr. Geek adapted the game Cash and Guns into something he felt was more suitable for the night: We used wooden pegs and metal money instead of the cards and cash the games came with.

Music: 10 Hours of the Cantina Band

This is a thing. You’re welcome/I’m sorry. Our party attendees had the song stuck in their head for days.

Would you throw a Cantina party? What activities/elements would you include? And what alien/potluck dish would you come as/bring? (And don’t forget to check out my other post for fun Star Wars cocktails for your Cantina party!)

Galentine’s Day Party


Waffle Bar Collage

You know Valentine’s Day is coming up on the 14th, but are you prepped for Galentine’s Day? The holiday, created by Leslie Knope from Parks and Recreation, is a celebration of your girlfriends held on February 13th. I thought I’d show my friends some love Leslie Knope-style, by hosting a Waffle Brunch!

The waffle bar included waffles (I used this recipe here, but you can use any you’d like!), butter, Nutella, peanut butter, strawberries, mini chocolate chips, bananas, two types of syrup, whipped cream, and festive sprinkles. Leslie Knope once said that Galentine’s Day was like “Lilith Fair, minus the angst plus frittatas” so I also made a frittata based on this recipe (not pictured). We all washed the waffles down with mimosas!

Table Setting Collage

The Galentine’s Day Brunch gave me a chance to be extra girly with my decorations. I went with a red, pink, and Valentine’s Day theme with a hint of Parks and Rec quotes throughout. Most of the items shown were found at The House of Bachelorette and Party at Display and Costume. You can get individual banner letters from party stores, so you too can make a “TreatYoSelf” banner. I have a feeling I’ll  be reusing mine many times! A couple more fun tidbits about the tablescape:

  • I made the conversation heart vase by putting flowers in a small vase and then putting that into a larger vase. Then you just fill the additional space in the larger vase with candy!
  • The roses were from Whole Foods–you can get 20 roses for $20 (when you’re lucky to find a dozen for $60 at other places) and the roses are “Whole Trade,” meaning the money goes back to help the farm workers and their communities through scholarships and funding of community centers and homes.
  • Sprinkles make a fun substitute for confetti on a table, especially for a waffle party.
  • Use a bracelet, hair elastic, or some other inexpensive but fun gift for the napkin “ring.” Your guests can then take it home with them at the end of the party!

Treat Collage

It’s not Galentine’s Day without gifts! I assigned my friends “Secret Galentines” in advance, so each person could surprise another with a fantastic gift. The ladies didn’t disappoint! Each gift was absolutely perfect for the recipient, and we had a fantastic time going around and sharing them.

I also left a Galentine’s Day gift on each girl’s chair. I thought I’d mix fandoms a bit and go for a Wonder Woman theme (I’m sure Leslie Knope would approve). Each girl received one of my X-Ray Totes with a matching lip gloss and some cute earrings. I made the earrings a bit cuter and more “on-theme” by finding an image of a Wonder Woman comic online and printing it on cardstock. Then I just pierced the earrings through each card! You can do the same thing with images of vintage valentines or anything else that piques your interest.

When we weren’t opening gifts or chowing down on waffles, we were going through Table Topics and just catching up on girl talk. It was fantastic, but don’t worry–I had a plan in place for those who wouldn’t want to participate.

RS Corner

I mean, we’ve all had moments where we just need some bacon, whiskey, and a heavy set of headphones to drown out talking, right?

After we all adequately hydrated ourselves with mimosas, it was time to try out the photo wall.

Galentine Photo Booth Collage
A photo wall’s a great way to make sure pics will be taken at your party. You can set up a camera on a tripod, or you can let everyone Instagram themselves silly. I made mine with two 8 foot sheets of pink butcher paper, and a custom “Happy Galentine’s Day” banner. I then grabbed my trusty box of costumes and props and set it near the wall. The setup was simple, inexpensive, and worked out well!

So, Happy early-Galentine’s Day from my friends to yours. Do you have any Galentine’s Day plans?

Pinterest Day Recap

Yesterday I spent the entire day only doing things found on Pinterest Pins. I wanted to see if I would turn into one of those perfect people you always imagine when going through Pinterest–you know, perfect huge house, rustic accents, perfectly layered clothing with cute makeup and nicely braided hair. Mason jars everywhere. Makes their own organic EVERYTHING. Spoiler alert, I didn’t turn into that. But I did learn a couple of cool new recipes and tricks that I can start adding into my normal life! Here’s a list of everything I did as well as links to the pins (so you can add them to your own board!):

3 Ingredient Pancake
Breakfast: 3 Ingredient Pancakes
The reason I’m not a fan of normal pancakes is because it has a lot of carbs/sugar and lacks protein. These seemed like the perfect solution. They’re only made with bananas, peanut butter, and eggs (and a dash of cinnamon, if you’d like). They started off a bit stickier and more difficult to turn than your average pancakes, but they ended up looking and tasting like the real thing. You’ve gotta like peanut butter and bananas because the taste is strong, but I really enjoyed them. Would make again!

Workout: 7-Minute HIIT Workout
Who knew you could get so sweaty and out of breath in seven minutes? This workout kicked my butt. It recommends you do the full circuit a couple times, but once was good enough for me. It’s the next day and I’m SORE.

Sugar Cookie Scrub
DIY: Sugar Cookie Scrub
I love body scrubs and I love cookies, so this one seemed like a no-brainer. The creator mentions it’s a foot scrub, but there’s no reason you can’t use it elsewhere. The ingredients are all things you probably already have in your pantry: white sugar, brown sugar, vanilla extract, and olive oil. I would reduce the amount of olive oil you use to 1/3 cup, and make sure it doesn’t have a super strong smell. Other than that, I loved this DIY. It feels and smells delicious and may end up being a Christmas gift for some of my friends. I used the scrub in the shower, and ended up with olive oil on my hands when I washed my hair. My hair was SO smooth and wonderful when I got out of the shower–my comb went through it really easily without me having to use any detangler spray/leave-in conditioner! More proof olive oil is magical.

Outfit
Outfit: Plaid, Pearls, Boots, and Layers
I pinned a couple outfits for inspiration, but drew more on the basics I see on Pinterest all the time. Boots, skinny jeans, a plaid shirt underneath a crew neck sweater, and pearls. I learned I have no basic crew neck sweaters and need a new plaid shirt. But hey, I did what I could with what I had!

Hair
Hair: Fishtail Braid
I first attempted to do one of the Game of Thrones hairstyles, but realized that it looked a little fancy for my outfit. Instead, I took the opportunity to learn how to do a fishtail braid with a Pinterest tutorial. It took me a couple tries, but I finally understood what the tutorial was saying and was able to do it! It was a nice, easy (once I learned) hairstyle that I will definitely replicate in the future.

Makeup
Makeup: Light Pink Smoky Eye and Bright Lips
I loved the makeup picture I pinned and did my best to do it justice with colors that would work for my outfit. I still love the look I pinned better than my own, but I don’t think I did too horribly! It was fun to get to play around with different colors and styles on my eyes than I normally do.

Lunch: Homemade Crunch Wrap Supremes
I pinned this recipe on my “Fun Food” board a while ago and had wanted to try it for forever. Mr. Geek enjoys Taco Bell’s Crunch Wrap Supremes and I thought it would be a fun surprise to make it at home. We LOVED it. It was pretty easy to make and a whole lot healthier when you control your own ingredients! (I was starving and apparently forgot to take pics! Whoops!)

Pinterest Potluck
Party: Pinterest Potluck
I invited some Pinterest and food-loving friends over for a Pinterest Potluck. Everyone was asked to bring a dish that they made from a Pinterest pin. It allowed some of them to try things they’ve pinned a long time ago, and others to try Pinterest for the first time. We had a really fun mix of food and I would call everyone’s recipe at least some degree of success. I’ve listed them all below with a link to the pin so you can try them at home! (Let’s just say we all went home stuffed and a few pounds heavier.)

Lasagna
Dinner: Lasagna Rolls
I made lasagna rolls for my contribution to the Pinterest Potluck. I’ve been wanting to try lasagna rolls for a while and thought this would be a good chance! They were delicious! They work better as a sit-down dinner meal than a potluck meal (they’re messy and not as good when they’re cold), but they still went fast.

Cookies
Dessert: Cake Batter Cookies
I prefer cake to cookies, but if I had to eat a cookie, eating one made from cake batter doesn’t seem like a bad way to go. These cookies are super bright and cute (thanks to all the sprinkles) and they taste almost like a sugar cookie, but with a softer, slightly more cakey texture. The only thing that would make it better would be a bit of frosting on top!

Mason Jars
Bonus: Mason Jars
Mason Jars are ALL over Pinterest, so I felt it was necessary to do everything I could with the jars during the day. Mr. Geek and I both drank water out of them all day, I used one to contain the sugar scrub, I put candles in some for the party, and encouraged others to drink out of some as well. It was my first encounter with mason jars (other than seeing them used for the actual purpose of storing jams) and was actually pretty enlightening. Guys, you can do a lot of things with mason jars! But just because you can doesn’t necessarily mean you should.

Are you a Pinterest fan? Do you have pins you’ve wanted to try but haven’t? I encourage you to set up your own Pinterest Day or Pinterest Potluck! Share some of your fave pins in the comments! And check out my Pinterest Day Board for all of the pins!

Halloween Game Night: Creepy Tea Party

For this year’s Halloween post, I wanted to put together a dinner party that incorporated one of my favorite games, Betrayal At House On The Hill. Since the game is focused on exploring a (most likely haunted) house, I thought I would invite people over under the premise of a will reading at an old house. I took inspiration from movies like The Haunting and House on Haunted Hill. They would enjoy a meal then spend time “exploring the house” (or playing the game). To make the party extra fun, I read through some potential scenarios in Betrayal and picked one that would allow me to theme the night. I went with the scenario titled “Voodoo” and decided to do something a bit different than your average Halloween dinner: A tea party.

Tea Party

The tea party. And the dolls.

You see, this tea party had dolls. Creepy, broken-faced dolls. They were on the table and became an important part of the game. Each character had a doll that represented them that they needed to find in the house before it killed them. We painted their dolls with red nail polish to make it look like they were bleeding from their eyes. As guests arrived, they were welcomed to the will reading and told that they could enjoy a favorite meal of the deceased: foods that are all small enough for a doll to eat. We all made small talk as ourselves if we were in the world where we knew eccentric doll collector Harold Winchester III. It was awkward. Delightfully awkward.

Once dinner finished, we cleared the table and started playing Betrayal, or in the party world, “Walked around the house until we found Harold’s favorite room for us to read the will in.” Once the room was “found” (or the haunt started, for those who have played the game), we produced the will and individual clues written for each player. This let them know what would happen in the story of the night, as well as what they would need to know to continue the second half of the game.

Betrayal

The gameplay and props.

The game was very creepy and fun, and everyone seemed to have a great time. Want to plan your own creepy tea party? I recommend the following:

    • Dolls. I visited Goodwill multiple times looking for all of their broken or creepy dolls. The cashier asked me if I was sure that I actually wanted to buy them. I assured him they were for a “creepy Halloween thing.” I ended up having to find pictures of dolls for a small “photo album” I created for the night, and I ended up learning I have a fear of dolls. Don’t Google “pictures of dolls.” Or do. Go ahead, it’s your nightmare. If the dolls you’re finding at thrift stores aren’t creepy enough, consider adding fake blood, rotating their head, or changing their outfit.
    • Table Decor. Now is the time to find your frilliest doilies, tea cups, and platters. You can find tons of doilies on Amazon or at a local party store. I found my tea cups at Goodwill and chose to go with slightly mismatched ones to add a weirder vibe.
    • Dinner. Any small finger food will do. I wanted there to be enough to make a full dinner, but to still feel like a tea party. Trader Joe’s was my saving grace. Their frozen section has tons of delicious frozen appetizers (my favorites are the Pastry Pups!). Other than pre-made food at Trader Joe’s, I also made deviled eggs, tomato, basil, and fresh mozzarella tea sandwiches, and hummus and cucumber tea sandwiches. This worked out well because I could prep eggs and sandwiches while the pre-made food was in the oven.
    • Dessert. You need something to go with your tea! We had shortbread cookies and cupcakes (of course). I went for a plain, pretty vanilla cupcake, but put a tart and “bloody” cherry pie filling in the center as a surprise.
    • Drinks. Tea, of course. Raid your tea selection or grab a few options from a store. Don’t forget the sugar cubes! For those who wanted something more potent, I had a bottle of champagne and a couple bottles of Benefactor Cellars’ Chardonnay (available from Trader Joe’s).
    • Props. Create invitations in the form of a message from a lawyer inviting them to a will reading. Write out directions and clues for the game and give them out as inheritances from the will. Take pictures of dolls and incorporate them into books or framed photos around the house and on the table.
Liz Betrayal

Photos from Liz’s Instagram

Overall, just be as frilly and old fashioned as possible, be extra cheery to your guests, and play weird choral music, classical music, or (if you can find it) children singing.

Kristina Betrayal

Photos from Kristina’s Instagram. See her blog post here: http://kristinahorner.com/look-21-creepy-dinner-party/

Team Hypercube took some video footage of the party. Check it out for more on the dinner and the game:

Want to throw your own combo Dinner and Betrayal party? Many of the scenarios will work. If dolls and tea parties aren’t your thing, I would recommend crafting a theme around one of these (all found in the handbooks that accompany the game):

  • “The Dance of Death”
  • “Lost”
  • “An Invocation of Darkness”
  • “Better with Friends”
  • “Checkmate”
  • “The Heir”
  • “Death Doth Find Us All”
  • “The Feast”

Would you throw a creepy doll tea party? What would you incorporate in yours?

Arrested Development Premiere Party

I’ve told you how excited I am for the new season of Arrested Development, right? Cause I am. “Can’t sleep, too excited,” counting down the days-style. No one will be allowed to bother me on Sunday. So what’s a girl to do who wants to celebrate the show but not have everyone around when she actually watches the episodes for the first time? Have the party a week before! If you’re not as crazy as I am, these ideas will all make for an excellent premiere party. Well, most of them. Just keep reading. We’ll all learn some lessons along the way.

Drinks

Arrested Development Drinks

Arrested Development-themed drinks were easy. We had juice boxes for Buster, Wine boxes for Lucille, and the ingredients for make-your-own “Cloudmir” vodka martinis. Everyone had something, and I didn’t have to do much prep. Win-win!

Food

Arrested Development Food

Oh dear. I went through the food items mentioned in Arrested Development, and took out all of the ones that would potentially give my friends heart attacks or food poisoning. (Goodbye hot ham water and chicken in chicken sauce. Skip’s Scramble, we’ll see you another day.) Unfortunately, the food items left over made for an…interesting…array of party food. What did I include, you may ask?

  • Mayanneggs. They were exactly as you’d expect . Mr. Geek and I were both surprised to see that people actually ate them (although most people chose to have their egg sans mayo.)
  • Ice Cream Sandwiches. As delicious as ice cream sandwiches are, they’re way better when inside of a prison ice cream vending machine. If you plan on keeping them out at a party, get yourself a cooler (full of evidence?) or choose a specific time of the party to bring them out. They melt quickly. I was running back and forth between the freezer for most of the party.
  • Bluth Bananas. See above. The chocolate stayed mostly in tact, but the banana melted and became mushy fairly quickly. A mushy banana is not a fun banana.
  • Candy beans. Delicious. Easy party food. Win-win.
  • Cornballs. Oh, cornballs. It was only appropriate that my cornball recipe did not turn out. I used a hush puppy recipe (it’s essentially cornbread mix, an egg, and some chopped onion), but the oil must have been too hot. The outside would get brown way too quickly, and the inside wouldn’t be completely cooked. If I did wait for the inside to cook, the outside became an unappetizing black. Luckily, no one burned themselves.

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So for those keeping score at home, we have hard boiled eggs, ice cream sandwiches, chocolate covered bananas, candy beans, martinis, wine, and juice. Most bizarre mix of party food I’ve ever had. I don’t recommend it. I ended up making some popcorn later in the night just to even out the food a bit and not put my friends into a sugar shock.

As you may all have known (why didn’t anyone tell me?) the characters on Arrested Development never claimed to be great cooks or have good taste in food.  I had made a huge mistake.

Still looking to make  Bluth Bananas? I’d recommend not making them like I did (with melted chocolate and a bit of butter). Instead, try my Revised Bluth Bananas Recipe! Bring the bananas out of the freezer right before you plan on eating them.

Activities

Arrested Development Mugshots

You’re going to be watching Arrested Development. This is a no-brainer. But if you want something else to do, here are some suggestions:

  • Encourage your guests to come dressed in costume.
  • Host a photo wall. My dad printed the amazing mugshot backdrop for us that he modeled after this promo photo. Mr. Geek created the fantastic quote signs. You can see more photos in the Geeky Hostess Facebook Album.
  • Host an Arrested Development trivia contest. IMDB can get you started.
  • Hold a Chicken Dance competition. Has anyone ever seen a chicken before?

Have fun! Report back here on how your premiere party went, and what you think of the 4th season.