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Crafting with Cocktails: Fall Fun Day!

Crafting with Cocktails: Fall Fun Day!

Crafting with Cocktails

In this series, we suggest cocktail and craft pairings – because getting your hands dirty and being creative is a wonderful outlet from the stresses of adulting! And getting together with your friends and a couple of cocktails makes it even better.

 

Fall craft idea – Glitter and painted pumpkins

This craft is so easy to do, not even mimosas will cramp your style!  All it takes is a coat of spray paint to transform your pumpkin – and you can use any type of paint or colour, making it easy to create a décor scheme or coordinate with other decorations.

The effect is gorgeous – get ready to gain major crafting street-cred and lots of compliments!

The drink is the ultimate fall crafting cocktail – all the fun and bubbles of champagne infused with the fall flavors of pear, ginger and sage.  It’s perfect for day drinking, and it can be prepped ahead of time so you can put all the focus on your crafterpieces!

Get your bubbles and your spray paint and let’s get started!

 

Supplies:

Protect your clothes – old sheets work great!

Spray paint – any colours you want.

Pumpkins!

Embellishments – gemstones or stencils

 

Instructions:

It’s so easy, you could even do it after a couple of cocktails!

  1. Lay assorted pumpkins or squashes down newspaper
  2. Put clothing-protectors on. (We used old sheets with holes cut out - classic ghost costume!)
  3. Pour Pear Ginger Sage Champagne Cocktails.
  4. Spray paint those pumpkins! Don’t forget the stem!

Optional – Add glitter, or gemstones, or stencil on patterns.

  1. Pour more cocktails while painted pumpkins dry.  Nibble on autumn-inspired hors d'oeuvres.

Food and Drink Suggestions:

Sipping:

Pear Ginger Sage Champage Cocktails

Get this fabulous seasonal cocktail recipe here from Dishing Up the Dirt.

(It's FriendMatch Test-Kitchen approved!)

Nibbling:

Make use of what's fresh and seasonal. Lots of beautiful vegetables are available now fresh and locally, so take advantage - sprinkling fresh herbs also on everything when possible.

Try grilled cheese-stuffed peppers, use a mix of sweet peppers and jalepenos, stuff them with soft cheese, (goat cheese or cream cheese will do nicely), then drizzle in honey and sprinkled with thyme.

What's Gaby Cooking! breaks down how to serve a gorgeous crudité platter, a beautiful way to make use of fresh veggies. Check out her tips here.

If you're looking for something more filling, a cheese plate, rounded out with fresh seasonal fruits, local honeys, nuts and seeds, is another good option.  We love the Cheese platter from Seven Layer Charlotte - check out her tips on perfecting the cheese tray here

 

 

 

More Fall Crafts Inspiration

 

Want to do something different with your beautiful pumpkins?  

Try stacking them into a pumpkin-witch, or make some creative jack-o-lanterns.   

The spa-day pumpkin, the shark pumpkin, and the hamburger pumpkin were all on display at a Halloween event at the Grand Wailea Resort in Maui, but you could replicate them at home! 

 

 Pin it!

 

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Are Married People Lonelier than Single People?

Are Married People Lonelier than Single People?

 

A recent study published in The Journal of Social and Personal Relationships examined the relationships with friends, neighbors, and extended family members, and compared the connections that single people had versus married couples. 

They found that on average, single people spend more time connecting with friends, neighbors, and relatives than married people.

Single people are more likely to give help to, receive help from, and stay in touch with siblings, friends, parents and neighbors than those who are married.

In fact, even if someone has a divorce, they will still spend less time with friends and neighbors, suggesting that the effects of a less social lifestyle can last beyond marriage.

(And maybe we should all be reaching out to our friends who have just gone through a divorce - they might need the company more than they know!)

The study results were able to rule out other factors, like age, kids, education, and income.

So why are married couples so antisocial?

The authors of the study have a few ideas:

  •  People believe that their husband/wife is their soulmate, and should fulfill all social needs
  • Single people may need to make more effort to fulfill their social needs since there is no one to socialize with at home
  • Another theory? Maybe this is another one we can blame on our busy, modern society!

Married people might feel that by the time work/volunteering/the gym/whatever is caught up with (which is never), there is barely time left over to put into a good marriage relationship.

What do you think?

To see the study, check out this link:

http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0265407515597564

 

If you are married, and worried that you are socializing enough, The Newlywed Handbook (written by the editors of www.thenest.com), has some advice about double dating for married couples:

 

Turn friendly casual friends into new couple friends 

Do you know any cool couples who might be fun to hang out with? These could be friends-of-friends, friends from work, or volunteering, or even neighbors. 

See how you all might enjoy hanging out by starting with a fun activity that gives you lots to talk about, like an "Escape Room", or a ghost tour, or a Teppanyaki - style Japanese restaurant.

Make sure both genders enjoy the company

At first, either the girls or the guys will dominate the conversations and planning - likely the person who set up the connection. But with a bit of effort, you can all enjoy good bonds with new friends at the same time.

The group time will be more satisfying if the girls and the guys get along great - so if the husbands know each other through work, the ladies should eventually make an effort to email each other, and meet for lunch or coffee without the guys too.

Expand your group again!

Four people at a dinner party is great! Three couples is even more fun! If you get four couples - eight people - now you can use your full dishes set from your registry! 

 

Are married people lonelier than single people

 

Make sure to check out our other blog post, "Social tips for Couples"!

 

Do you think married people are lonelier than single people?

 

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Plan a Grownup Birthday Party

 

A birthday party is the perfect excuse to invite friends over for a fun celebration and make the birthday man or lady feel extra special on their day, so don't miss out on this opportunity!

Whether you throw a party for yourself or for a dear friend, here are some ideas to make birthday celebrations special, even after the candles start crowding that cake!

 

Choose a Theme

All your party elements - food, decorations, activity - pull together in a delightful way when your party has some kind of underlying theme or "raison d'etre".

The theme can be all-out, like, "Hawaiian Luau", but it can also be just as effective to have a theme that is more subtle, like, "Classic Birthday Party with a Grownup Twist" (see below for ideas on this theme.)

 

Here are some more examples of easy theme ideas for adult birthday parties:

Pink

Fuchsia theme. Get napkins, balloons, and flowers in this color. Create a punch or signature cocktail to match. Make birthday cake, cupcakes or cookies with icing in the same color.  

Nature-Lover

Woodsy theme. Sprigs of wildflowers in mason jars. Those tree-stump cake stands. Chili bar with fixins'. Ask your guests to wear plaid.

 

 

 

 Fiesta Birthday

So much fun as an adult - hello big batch margaritas! 

Make margaritas, set up a taco bar, and make sure there's lots of guacamole.

Buy (or make!) a pinata and stuff it with candy. Throw some posters of Mexico up on the walls if it's cold or go out on the deck or yard if it's nice out. 

 

 

Set the Mood 

 

Your theme will inspire you with ideas. Decorations, music, and even real invitations can set the tone for your wonderful party.

Putting up decorations is of course completely trivial and not necessary.  THAT'S WHY IT'S SO MUCH FUN! ;)

Birthdays are special occasions, even if you are throwing the party for yourself, show yourself and your guests some love with fresh flowers on the table, or balloons up on the wall!

 

 

Plan your Menu

A theme can help you pull a menu together. 

Depending on the nature of your party, it's nice to have:

  • A signature drink
  • Appetizers
  • A main course 
  • A Birthday cake

Especially a birthday cake. It's so essential. Don't forget the candles!

If your guests offer to bring something, let them! Ask them to bring an appetizer, a side, or even the cake, and let them know about your theme. There, one less thing for you to do!

 

 

Add special touches

Even if you're throwing your own birthday party, elevate it from regular get-together level to "special birthday party level" by throwing in a special touch.

It's not very often as an adult that you get an opportunity to "play", or to be creative for no reason beyond having a few laughs. Take your birthday party as an opportunity to do something fun or creative.

Make a craft, do a painting, or set up a photo booth - because why should kids have all the fun?

 

Some of our Grownup Birthday Party Ideas:

 

Classic Birthday Party with a Grownup Twist

Remember the standard birthday party when you were a kid? So simple and fun!

Balloons, streamers, pizza, pop, and that standard birthday cake.

Take this this idea and elevate it to adult levels with minor changes:

Keep the balloons and streamers. Set up an Italian soda bar or a signature drink in place of the pop. 

Like this Birthday Cake Martini:

 

Keep the pizza on the menu - but make homemade pizzas with gourmet toppings.  Or fire up your own pizza oven!

Get the prettiest, tastiest birthday cake that you can find homemade or from a special bakery, and remember the candles.

 

Send your friends home with grown-up goody bags and good memories, old and new!

 

Paint Night

You can host your very own paint night at home!

For this party, nurture creativity and bright colors in your party accents. 

Grab small canvases and paints for cheap from the dollar store or that big-box store that has everything - get kids paints, they're cheap and they'll do the job, after all it's mostly for fun!

Set up YouTube on your TV in front of the painting station - you can watch full episodes of the ultimate paint-along guide, Bob Ross, and try out this drinking game...

Set your table with big blossoms for that colorful feeling, or set the whole theme based on the painting you do. (Mountain cabin in the woods?)

 

Have you ever celebrated with a unique birthday party?

 

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Spend Valentine's Day with Friends! Some Ideas..

Spend Valentine's Day with Friends! Some Ideas..

Ways to Spend Valentine's Day with Friends

Valentine's Day might make you think of chocolate, flowers, cards and dinners, but this holiday can also be a really wonderful excuse to have fun and get together with your friends!

Here are some things you can do with your friends this Valentine's Day.  What did we miss? Chime in below!

Get Crafty!

Get together and make some of those beautiful diy Valentine's decorations you always see on Pinterest.
It's fun to get creative with friends, and you can pull out your creations year after year and remember your lovely time with your friends.

Bake up a Storm

Join forces and make a giant batch of gorgeous sugar cookies with a friend - give extra cookies to your sweetie or surprise a neighbor or friend in need with a batch.

Coffee + Desserts

We can be so busy during the day.  But it's easy to make time to get together for coffee and dessert after dinner. Go out to a restaurant with your gals or do coffee and homemade dessert in the living room.
So simple, there's lots of time to chat and catch up.

Spa Time

Treat yourself without the sweets! White bathrobes. Face masks. Steam. A Turkish hammam is ideal, but a diy day with homemade concoctions is also fun. Gather your pals and unwind with spa time.

Go Dancing

You don't have a date night planned, but you still want to wear something red and dress up? Go dancing! Lots of clubs have Valentine's Day specials, it's a great way to have fun and hit the town with your friends on Valentine's Day.

Take a Group Class at the Gym

Zumba or yoga, whatever new class you might want to try - drag a friend and have twice the fun! Perfect before that tasty discount chocolate!

 

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Simple Ways to be a Good Neighbour

Simple Ways to be a Good Neighbour

 Simple Ways to be a Good Neighbour

There is a known rule in the community-building playbook, "Start with Petunias".

If you want to transform your neighbourhood into the kind of thriving, safe, attractive, and pleasant community, it's best to start small. Plant flowers. 
Here are seven more small, simple things you can do to make your neighbourhood amazing:

 

1. Spend More Time in Your Front Yard or Front Step  

Jay Walljasper, in his book, "The Great Neighborhood Book", describes sitting on your front stoop a

"great city pastime that has become endangered", and notes that some historians feel that when we spend more time in the backyards, instead of our front yards, we are decreasing our connection with our neighbours. 

What are some ways to pass time in our front porch or steps? Watch the world go by, read the newspaper, have a beer, and wave at your neighbours! 

 

2. Go for Neighbourhood Walks  

You know that quote about how showing up is 99% of the effort you must put in? By strolling your neighbourhood, you are showing up, and that does a lot.

Not only is this good for your health, but it's good for the health of your community. When a community has locals taking regular walks, it is like having a neighbourhood patrol. An active and engaged neighbourhood is a neighbourhood that is monitored and safe - criminals usually prefer to go somewhere more quiet and deserted looking. 

 

3. Welcome New Neighbours

An old-fashioned tradition worth reviving! Drop by with a basket of muffins and introduce yourself.  Share helpful information about the neighbourhood. 

 

4. Celebrate Holidays and Seasons  

It's easy to get caught up in the chaos of everyday life, but the holidays and seasons are a good chance to be thoughtful and to brighten your community. 

The Great Neighborhood Book has many suggestions for ways to embrace the holidays and seasons; 

  • Swap seedlings from your garden in the spring
  • Organize a special trick-or-treat experience for the children at Halloween
  • Coordinate Christmas decorations around the block with your neighbours - make ice lanterns, or decorate all the lamp posts.  
  • Organize a caroling night complete with cookies and cocoa after.
  • Make note of #5! 

 

5. Give Small Gifts  

Gifts for neighbours do not have to be elaborate but they are so rewarding to give! 

A basket of extra tomatoes from your garden will surely be appreciated by your neighbour who doesn't keep a garden.  Use your big snowblower to do your elderly neighbour's walkway. A box of homemade cookies. An offer to collect mail while your neighbour is on vacation.

Everyone has a gift to give. 

Be thoughtful with small gifts, and don't be surprised when you start receiving surprises and gifts too!

 

6. Take Your Kids to the Park  

It's another tried and true, old-fashioned action. Why mess with success? 

And if your neighbourhood park isn't that great... developing one might be a great project to pull together the community! 

 

7. Make it Great for Pets

Some green space, a safe walking path, a community water dish - according to Walljasper, a dog-friendly neighbourhood will have dog-walkers out at all hours. This is a wonderful way to prevent crime and meet new people.

 

 

 

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