My First Little Party, Featuring QC Shrubs
I’ve always dreamt of entertaining but never had a reason to do so. I’m far too dull to throw a rager and swanky soirees are for monied folk. (Which I am not.) Still, now that I live in a cozy old home instead of a tiny apartment, hosting at least ONE get-together was something I had on my Summer 2018 bucket list.
When QC Shrubs reached out to see if I had any plans that could involve prodigious amounts of their cans of boozy goodness, I was a bit hesitant. After all, my home isn’t very Insta-worthy. in fact, it’s rather dark, so as one who would need to blog about the experience, that puts me at a bit of a disadvantage. Still, how could I turn down the opportunity to imbibe and share some Shrubs with people I hold dear? After all, QB Shrubs are the perfect drink for a casual party. (Or, in my opinion, really any occasion.) There are three flavors to choose from: Blackberry, Apple, and Grapefruit. They’re only 90 calories, FIVE carbs and 4% ABV so you can drink quite a few and be (mostly) sober and not feel guilty.
It seemed like kismet! How could I not? I set out to throw my first get-together and, boy, did I learn some things. In the end though, it was a great night. Shrubs were drank, tacos and nachos were eaten, and each guest went home with a six pack of Shrubs to call their own. (Don’t worry! There was still plenty for me—one of which I just happen to be drinking right now.) So, thinking about throwing your own little party? Here are a few things I learned on my first go-round:
It should go without saying but you really need to provide more food and booze than you think you’ll need. The reason for this is twofold: one, you never know how much your guests are going to consume, and you DEFINITELY don’t want to send them home with empty tummies, and two, leftovers are one of the greatest simple pleasures known to humankind and why would you EVER deprive yourself of them? While it’s not an exact science, there are plenty of guides available online. I found a few that suggested the “one pound rule,” but since I was preparing some items myself and buying some out, this was difficult because I opted for tacos, which typically aren’t sold by weight. (Oh, what a world that would be.) Based on the number of RSVPs and some market research (aka frantically texting my mother and other seasoned party-throwers in my life) I decided that I could get away with two small tacos per person, if there were other options. These other options included chips, salsa, and my homemade guacamole, and two servings of nachos from the same place I was getting the tacos. (Don’t hate on this spread. It was casual by design and all of the food was a huge hit.) Because QC Shrubs was taking care of the booze, I only had to worry about non-alcoholic beverages, and settled on two cases of sparking water (two and a half cans were drank, two of those by me) and a large carafe of ice water, which I infused with fresh basil, lemon, and cucumber. I also picked up ice and additional lemons and sprigs of basil for if anyone wanted to pour their shrub into a cup, add some gin, and garnish. (Sold tip right there, by the way. Don’t miss it.) I determined the amount of food to order based on the 16 people who enthusiastically RSVP’d to my party. I also took that number and tripled it to get the number of napkins (actually, quadrupled it for napkins), cups, and plates I should get. In a perfect world, everyone would use one plate, maybe two napkins, and one cup, but it doesn’t hurt to have more for the next party! However, all of my math was completely scrapped when all but three people cancelled on me a few hours before the party. Which brings me to my next point….
Human beings can be flaky. It sucks planning a party, getting excited for your guests, and having almost all of them drop out at the last minute. (Before I ordered the tacos… not sure if that’s a good or a bad thing, re: leftovers.) However, it happens. It’s a fact of life that the unexpected will come up and when things change, it’s out of your control. I will say though, I was VERY upset in the moment. I cried. I thought that no one liked me but then I remembered my own often crippling social anxiety and propensity to over-book myself and remembered that sometimes, you gotta just stay home in the name of self-care. At least they liked me enough to tell me they couldn’t make it? In such an event, I considered postponing the get-together but instead, I called up a few additional friends and asked if they were busy and would be interested in partaking in some tacos and free booze. Who could turn that down? Adapt. Improvise. What I ended up with was a more tight-knit group of people than influencer-oriented event I’d originally planned. It was a get-together that was good for the soul, as we all stayed awake well past my normal bedtime talking about everything from service industry woes to our enneagram numbers. It was, in a sense, magical.
Oh, and by the way, I’ve since read that people RSVPing and not showing up is a huge problem in the home-party world. What to do about it? Still provide the same amount of food and drinks and just hope for the best. After all, you don’t want to plan for 10 people to show up but then have all 20 appear at your doorstep. RSVP culture is weird, I hate it, but, you know. The show must go on.
Aside from the few (poorly lit… sorry) photos that I snapped for the sake of this post, the occasional re-starting of the playlist, and a few moments to give directions to those who called or texted asking for them, I stayed away from technology. To be a good host, you must be present. I found that it made a big difference. Of course, you can’t forget about your hostly duties such as getting more cold drinks when your supply is running low, refilling the ice water carafe, and tending to spills and the like, but once everyone is in and settled, why not be a part of the party? A few ways you can manage this is by having a great (long) playlist ready ahead of time so you won’t have to worry about the music, (this is the one I chose for my party!) make things like plates, cups, and napkins as accessible as possible, arrange seating in the best way to accommodate the most guests so you won’t have to run around the house looking for additional items for people to sit on, and, if you have animals, take them for a nice long walk before the party so you won’t have to spend a lot of time wrangling them, getting them to stop begging your poor guests for scraps, and calming them down when they get a little too excited for all the new people.
After this one, I think I’m good on get togethers at my home for a while, though I do think a quarterly soiree might have to be a part of my 2019 plan.
Hope you all have a great weekend!