Deer Lord: The Perfect Dinner Party Game

Thank you Deer Lord! for sponsoring this post. Grab your new edition of Deer Lord! social party game, available through Target retail stores starting July 30.

You know that feeling when you find the perfect party game, and it just makes you exclaim “Dear Lord!”? Well, meet Deer Lord.

Deer Lord is a social party game that encourages you to challenge your friends to “duels” (or silly dares) and “dupe” your friends by behaving bizarrely, but hopefully discreetly enough that they won’t notice. It just recently came to the US, and is now available in Target! (Have you noticed that Target has been rocking their game section lately?) The Target set will include the base game, as well as “Broadway” and “Gangsta” sets that include themed duels and dupes.

While you can easily play this game on its own, I wanted to throw a themed party around the idea of dueling your friends. And where else would you do that than the fanciest dinner party? (Exclaiming “Dear Lord!” whenever you catch your friends doing something out-of-the-ordinary was a ridiculously fancy bonus.) I emailed the following invitation to some of my most charismatic and daring friends:

And I began prepping the dinner party. I decided to go with a white and slate theme to tie into the board game box, and as an excuse to give everyone their own mini cheese plate.

I made name tags with toothpicks and stuck them into the individual cheeses. (I may have also embellished my friends’ names a bit. Because FANCY.) And a simple white table cloth and some candles added to the elegance of the table.

As they arrived, I greeted them at the door with prosciutto wrapped melon (literally the easiest thing to prepare and it looks SO fancy) and an Old Fashioned. They then found their place setting and were able to share their various cheeses with each other, and pair them with the cracker assortment in the middle of the table. At this point, we went over the rules of the game, looked at our cards, and began the challenges. We got so into the game, that it wasn’t until we were nearly finished that I remembered to serve the rest of dinner! (This is really why every great dinner party needs a butler or three.)

For dinner, we had salad in Parmesan cups, steak and broccolini, and some small cakes from Trader Joe’s gussied up with some caramel and chocolate syrups. My goal was to do the least amount of work and still have a wonderful meal. The item I was most proud of was the Parmesan cup salad. All of my guests were impressed with the cups, and they were so easy to make. You just put 2 TBS of shredded Parmesan in a circle on top of a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet, and place it in an oven heated to 350 degrees for 5 minutes. As soon as you remove it, carefully place the melted circle into the cavity of a muffin pan, forming a circular bowl. Let it cool, and voila! I was able to make these a couple hours in advance and put the salads together in minutes once we were ready.

But back to the game. Duels included things like “Who can do the most amount of push-ups,” “who can gargle the longest,” “who can come up with the best one-liner,” and “who can tell the most exciting story.” Dupes included “take a phone call,” “touch another player,” “ask another player about their family,” and “give a standing ovation.” My friend Liz took a phone call from her dad, and I “duped” her by asking how he was doing. Little did I know that she was also “duping” me by faking the phone call! This game gets into Inception-level layers of deceit.

If you’re interested in seeing more of the game in action, check out this video from Lark and Clam below:

What are your thoughts on party games? Will you be picking up Deer Lord? And do you think you’d be able to dupe all of your friends?

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

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…

Read more

The Ultimate Geeky Holiday Calendar

Need an excuse to party? This list will help you find a reason to celebrate every day of the year! This list will continue to be updated, so check back often! Know of a special geeky day we missed? Let us know in the comments!

January

Isaac Asimov’s Birthday

J.R.R. Tolkien’s Birthday

17 Ben Franklin’s Birthday

25 Macintosh Computer Day

February

2 Opposite Day

11 National Inventors’ Day

12 Darwin Day

March

4 National Grammar Day

8 Ralph Baer’s Birthday

11 Douglas Adam’s Birthday

14 Pi Day, Albert Einstein’s Birthday

25 Tolkien Reading Day

26 Leonard Nemoy’s Birthday

31 World Backup Day

April

11 International TableTop Day

12 Yuri’s Night

23 William Shakespeare’s Birthday

25 DNA Day

27 Morse Code Day

May

2 Free Comic Book Day

4 Star Wars Day

11 Twilight Zone Day

13 Stephen Colbert’s Birthday

14 George Lucas’s Birthday

23 Alan Turing’s Birthday

25 Geek Pride Day, Towel Day

June

10 Ballpoint Pen Day

16 Captain Picard Day

July

2 World UFO Day

5 Newton’s Principal Day

6 Take Your Webmaster to Lunch Day

11 Laser Day

13 Embrace Your Geekness Day

20 Moon Day

22 Pi Approximation Day

26 SysAdmin Day

27 Gary Gygax’s Birthday

29 Wil Wheaton’s Birthday

August

12 IBM PC Day

22 Ray Bradbury‘s Birthday

September

7 Google Commemoration Day

13 Programmer Day

17 Optimus Prime Day

19 Talk Like a Pirate Day

22 Hobbit Day

October

3 Techie Appreciation Day

14 Ada Lovelace Day

16 Steve Jobs Day

23 Mole Day

26 Back To The Future Day

November

7 Marie Curie‘s Birthday

24 Evolution Day

30 Computer Security Day

December

5 Day of the Ninja, Walt Disney’s Birthday

23 Festivus

28 Stan Lee’s Birthday

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!)

Inside the Oscar Envelope

OscarEnvelope

The Oscars are tonight, and like any big event, every detail has been thought of, including the look of the outside AND inside of the famous Oscar envelopes. Only presenters have really gotten to see the inside of these envelopes until now!

I personally think they’re gorgeous and make a really fun keepsake for the winners at the end of the night. Just goes to show how important of a role stationary can play in an event!

Source: Marc Friedland Inc., Hat Tip: Business Insider

Using Tech to Plan Your Parties

party android

I was recently invited to be a part of the “Intel Tablet Crew” and in the process was given a Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 to play with. I’ve had an iPad in the past, but since I’m Android all the way, I was thrilled to start playing around with a tablet that actually plays nice with my phone. It synced in all of the apps I was already using and everything!

In order to get used to the tablet, I’ve been downloading a ton of apps and I’ve been trying to find ways I can use it on a daily basis to make my life easier. So naturally, the first thing I look for is party apps. These apps all make the party planning process easier and makes the party better overall. Check them out!

Party Inspiration: Pinterest

Ok, if you use Pinterest, you probably already use it on your computer or phone. But when you’re looking for party ideas–whether it’s themes, decor, invitation ideas, recipes, anything: Pinterest is the place to go. And it’s SO pretty on a tablet! It takes up the whole screen so it’s just you and Pinterest, forever. (Use with caution, or else you’ll go crazy trying to create the most beautiful mason jar dessert table next to a couch in a field of wild flowers.)

Recipes: BigOven

This recipe site has a special “Party Time” category with a lot of fun party food ideas. In addition, you can create and store your own recipes (even scan them in), see friends’ recipes, write private notes on recipes so you can remember your changes, create a grocery list, create menus, and more. One non-party thing I love: You can put in three ingredients you have at home already and it will show you recipes that use those.

Drinks: Mixology

Mixology is a drink recipe app (and even does a cool party trick where you can shake the tablet for a random drink), but my favorite thing about it is the “Liquor Cabinet.” Check off the types of liquor you have, and it will show you the drinks you can make. I recommend checking off the liquor you’ll have available at the party before it begins, and then leave the tablet on the bar open to the page of available recipes. People can mix what they want using the items you’ve chosen to have!

Music: Pandora and Party Mixer

Pandora is my go-to music player. Whether I’m at work, exercising, or hosting a party, it’s up on my computer, phone, or tablet. I love that I can tell it an artist or find an existing mood playlist that will suit the mood of the party. (I even use it for game nights to fit the mood of the board game!) If you own a lot of music of your own and want to get a bit more creative, get Party Mixer. It allows you to play DJ for the night–fading between two songs, changing tempo and pitch to make them work for mashups. All you need is your tablet!

Party Game: 4 Player Reactor

4 Player Reactor is a great game to bring out when you’re hanging out with a group of friends wanting to kill a bit of time, or people have been drinking. The game just encourage people to touch the tablet (or phone) quickly. There are a variety of mini games that test timing, geography knowledge, math, and more. You can get the 2 Player Reactor for free, but the more friends involved, the better!

What are your favorite apps for your tablet? Anything I missed? (I’d love to hear about other fun party games made for tablets!)

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!