Sunday, May 29, 2011

#11 hostess a tea party

Done...May 22, 2011 & repeated on May 28, 2011.

First about the May 22nd party...

Thank you Tracy, Susan & Meredith for coming over to my very first tea party!  I hope you had as much fun as I did. 

For starters, this mission will end up being the most costly.  From the food, the party favors, the craft project, the teacups & saucers sets, the teapots & oh yea, the tea...this mission will prove to be the most fun to plan.  It will also be the most talked about mission.  And it will be the most repeated mission! 

The invites...a simple blank card found by chance at Michael's.  They are blank cards with a teacup on the cover.  I figured a handwritten invite would be pretty cool.  And to make this a fun invite I will add a Bigelow teabag to it.  Everyone liked that touch.

The tea...Adagio Forest or iced.  I love this flavor.  It is my favorite.  It's my 'go to' flavor any time people come over.  It's only right that it made it to the table for this tea party. Luckily it was a big hit.  Everyone enjoyed several cups of it.

The food...little tea sandwiches made fresh before the party started.  On wheat bread there was sun-dried tomato pesto with fresh slices of tomato.  Very yummy.  And no tea party is complete unless there is a cucumber sandwich.  Mine was a mixture of cream cheese, honey & fresh mint with English cucumber slices.  Very delish!  And the overall favorite...fresh strawberries, honey & cream cheese with slices of strawberries on cinnamon swirl bread.  Tracy said it was 'very refreshing'.  I agree!  It was pretty good.

The desserts...fresh strawberries dipped in chocolate that I had made the night before, tea biscuts, & cake balls.  The cake balls were strawberry cake with cream cheese frosting dipped in chocolate.  I hadn't made these in a long time, but they turned out wonderful!

Tracy, my Irish twin, I am glad you came over...even for a little while.  I was glad to see you.  Thank you for the Cuervo tequila & margarita mix.  How well you know my drinking habit!  I'm sorry you missed the crafting part of the party.  You'll have to come over some night to paint.  I'll make the margarita's!

After Susan & Meri were done eating, I announced it was time for their craft project.  The craft project turned out to be painting a teacup & saucer planter.  Oh the things I find when looking on Amazon!  I put out paints & brushes, little cups, a cup of water & plenty of napkins.  Then I present my friends with their own planter for painting.  They both know I am a kid at heart & that this is going to be fun.  Luckily, they both get into it.  And let me tell you, they both got creative!!!

By the way Susan, after you all left, I copied your ladybug pattern & painted my own planter!!

The party seemed to go on forever.  There were lots of laughs & stories about our days back in junior high & high school.  Reconnecting on Facebook has been a great blessing!  I'm glad I get to talk to these friends again...after all these years!

Now about the May 28th party...

Thank you Maria, Trisha, Nicole & Stephanie for coming to my second tea party!

This party was equally as special as the first party.  This one was more for Nicole & Stephanie who helped offer a ton of the suggestions on my list of 40 things.  They had heard about the tea party...again, it is the most talked about event!  I promised them they could come this second party was in their honor.

The invites were the same. 

The tea was almost the same.  I did serve up the Adagio Forest Berries hot tea.  For iced tea I made this white melon chai that I found on a shopping spree in Home Goods.  It turned out pretty good. 

The food was also similar.  The only addition was making peanut butter & jelly on white bread.  Nicole & Stephanie's brother Ryan has peanut allergies, so they don't have peanut butter in the house at all. 

The desserts were also similar.  The only change, the cake balls were red velvet, with cream cheese frosting dipped in powdered sugar.  And I made some red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting.  It was fun to keep Nicole & Stephanie guessing about the desserts.  I will end up making them guess, but not get it, all through the crafting time!

And thus...we have arrived at crafting time.

Everyone gathers around my coffee table as I put out paints & brushes & cups.  I then present everyone with their own teacup planter.  Nicole & Stephanie are immediately into it.  Maria will take some time to ponder what she wants to do...but we all agree, her's will be the best of the party!

Later on, Ryan will crash the party.  He will immediately want to get in on the painting.  And I'm proud to say he did the best job!  The fact that he wrote I love painting at Traci's house on his has nothing to do with me loving his work the best!!! 

At the end of both parties, my guests will receive favor bags.  Everyone will get this little tin of Sen Cha Green Tea mints.  I love these!  And a pack of Trident Rejuvenate gum...which is white tea with mint.  It's so good!  My friends from school will also get a candy necklace.  I bought them on a whim while in Party City.  Nicole & Stephanie will get some little girlie rings & funky jelly bracelets.  And everyone who painted a teacup planter got a packet of seeds.  Yes, I am this organized & anal retenative when planning a party favor bag!

Overall, I had a blast both times.  I enjoyed using my pretty teacup & saucer set for the first part of the party.  I spent so much time looking for just the right set & I am glad I found them by chance.  And I enjoyed using the second set, the dot pattern, received as a gift.  Both sets were perfect.

I had fun doing this mission.  All the planning, the shopping, the preparing, the fun...oh yes, this mission was a great one.  Glad I picked it.

And for the record, I am sure this is going to get repeated a few more times.  It seems a few people are interested in having tea with me...

Two of forty missions are now done.  I'm looking forward to the next one...

#19 Karaoke night with some friends

Done May 20, 2011

It's official...I'm 40!  And thus began my 40 things to celebrate turning 40. 

Thank you Craig, Sara, Candace, Robin, Raul, Trisha, Fred, Wendy, Gene, Sal & Aisha for coming out to celebrate my birthday while dining on yummy Chinese food & doing some karaoke.

Craig & Sara, you have been so supportive as I have been planning these 40 things.  I love that you both remind me to be silly & have fun!

Candace, my new BFF, I am honored to have shared the karaoke stage with you!  Can't wait to get you here again!  Oh & I told Mikayla you'd get her another Frog book...we love those types of books!

Robin, what can I say?  Who else would bring me a tiara, a coloring book, crayons, bubble, a pail & shovel & little kiddie goodies?  You rock!  Thanks for the laughs!

Raul, I'm sorry you couldn't stay longer, but I'm glad you showed up.  As my oldest & dearest friend, I'm glad I got to share this mission of fun with you!

Trisha, thank you for the beautiful necklace & earring set!  I love it!  And I'm glad you got to come out & join us. 

Fred & Wendy, I am so glad you both came out.  I need to see you both more! 

Gene, it was great seeing you.  Glad we got to chat.  I still miss sitting next to you at work! 

Sal, thanks for coming out at the last minute.  It was good seeing you.

Aisha, no one is going to believe me that you DEMANDED to get on the karaoke stage & sing!  I only have one photo of it...wish I had the video.  But I am honored to have shared the stage with you to close out the show. 

To all of my friends who shared the night's celebration with me, thank you for coming out!  Thank you for being at the first event.  Thank you for making me laugh & enjoy my 40th birthday.  And thank you for being patient with the karaoke DJ...I promise next time we'll find a better place!

So yes, one mission of forty is done.  And there is a slight change in plans...instead of being 40 things over 40 weeks, it's now going to be 40 things over the next year.  Due to scheduling issues & money & well, life in general, I've had to change my set schedule.  I'm still going to do my 40 things & blog about each one.  Stick's going to be a lot of fun!!!

So here are the details on the karaoke night...
King Yum is a local Chinese restaurant in Queens that has been around for nearly 60 years.  I've been going there since I was a little kid with my family.  For us, this place was a real treat.  For the record, this is the only Chinese restaurant outside of Chinatown that I will eat at!

Nestled along Union Turnpike, King Yum is a fun place.  The red awning out front dares you to come inside & see what's on the inside.  And the interior decor should be described in a few words~ Polynesian & luau.

I love the tiki masks on the walls & the private huts in the corners.  The waiters are older gentlemen who bring plenty of character to your dining experience.  I would believe that most of these guys have been working here since the place first opened.

We're seated in the big room, right by the karaoke stage.  Robin & I are the first to arrive.  As we are seated, our waiter brings us a bowl of these delightful fried wonton wrappers & two bowls of dipping sauces; sweet & sour & hot mustard.  I love these!!!  It's the best place to get them as the family that owns King Yum also owns the noodle factory that makes these fried wonton wrappers.  And they are truly the best in NY!

One by one my guests arrive & I am reminded how happy I am to start these 40 missions of fun.  I'm looking forward to seeing these friends at future events...yes my friends, that is a major HINT!!!  Take it!

Robin has brought me a bag of goodies.  Let me explain that Robin is a big kid at heart.  She knows how to make people laugh.  And she knows how I appreciate a great laugh!  In my bag of goodies, a cute little tiara.  I immediately put it on.  Along with the shotglass beaded necklace.  There is a bottle of strawberry scented bubbles that will be brought out a little later on in the night, plus a Strawberry Shortcake coloring book, Disney Princess crayons, a pail & shovel, a bug watch, & a soaker Frog toy.  I will have to thank Robin again for these they all made me laugh!

Russell is the karaoke DJ & his wife Edna works the crowd.  She gets people to sign up to sing.  To sing you have to put your name & song choice onto a little slip of paper.  Russell then calls you to the some point...if you're lucky.  I'll explain that comment in a moment...

Note:remember the preacher who claimed the world was ending on May 21st?  Well, he was a topic of discussion during our dinner.  So everyone was joking about the world coming to an end...

To start the karaoke party off, my brother from another mother Craig will be called to the stage first.  He will get things started with 'It's the End of the World' by REM.  Great choice Craig!  Great performance!  Way to get it started!

Next up, Sara & I will join Craig on the stage to belt out 'Build Me Up Buttercup'.  I love that song!  Classic.

Candace will come to the stage as Craig leaves, then she, Sara & I will rock the 80's with 'Girls Just Wanna Have Fun'.

I will spend the night bouncing from seat to seat around the table to chat with all of my guests.  I will make sure people 'socialize' as we dine & enjoy the karaoke show.  I will also make sure to take tons of pictures.  I can't believe my friends are shocked the camera came out!  Duh!  Are you people new to knowing me?? 

Some of these people I have known for years, a few are from my childhood, some have worked with me, one I now call friend thanks to a mutual friend who I call my sister, & one is a friend I've had for over 30 years!  But all of these people here tonight are very special to me.  I am blessed for knowing them & I am honored that they braved looking for parking in an area with no parking to come out & help me celebrate my birthday.  I am lucky to have these wonderful people in my life.  And I wouldn't have wanted to start my 40 missions without them!

A highlight of the night...Frank!  Frank is this adorable gent who has been to karaoke the other times we have gone.  Sara, Marisol & I first saw him during our first test run on karaoke night at King Yum back in February.  Frank came out & performed 'Quando, Quando, Quando'.  If you don't know the song, get to YouTube & find it.  Frank was quite the showman!  He had us laughing.  So I was thrilled when he took the stage & did his song.

Now...about my comment earlier about Russell calling your name to perform if you're lucky...there was a group at the table next to us also celebrating someone's birthday.  It was the birthday for a little girl.  Now I'm happy to see the kids, but they took over.  They were allowed to sing 10 songs in a row without being told they had to get off the stage.  This was not fair.  I only mention it because my table waited & waited all night to sing & not everyone made it to the stage!  I didn't think this was fair being Russell kept telling my friend Sal to wait as he wanted to 'make sure every table performs'.  Russell, learn to work the room better.  The adults in the parties are the ones drinking & eating all night.  We are the ones bringing the money into the restaurant which will keep you employeed.  Learn to cater to us a little better bud. 

At some point towards the end of the night, Russell will finally call Sal to the stage.  He will sing 'Honesty' by Billy Joel.  Who knew Sally Ribs could sing?  Thanks for the shout out Sal & for the song!  You rocked it!

Robin & I will join Sal to sing 'Help!' by the Beatles.  It was wild!

To close out the show, Aisha will force her way to the stage.  After waiting around all night, she will convince Edna that Russell is ruining the night for us.  Edna will see that my group has since dwindled down from 12 people to now only 5.  Some people got tired of waiting around.  I don't blame them.  Plus it was getting kinda late.  So finally Aisha & I will be asked to the stage.

Please note...Aisha is a great friend.  She is a riot.  She is the first person to make everyone in a room laugh.  She is also the first person in a room to hide away...oddly enough.  She has a great sense of humor, but sometimes hides in her shell.  But I am thrilled she is out tonight & I'm stunned that she is forcing herself onto the stage!

We close out the night by singing 'Easy Lover'' from Phil Collins & Phillip Bailey.  This is actually a good song for us.  Aisha will have fun with it.  She will actually give us a show.  And then to end the night we belt out Prince's '1999'.  The show ends with a round of applause. 

I am honored to have shared the stage with my friends over the night's events.  I am still stunned that Aisha got up there!  I'm just bummed that Fred & Gene missed it.  We are definitely going to have to get her out again to a karaoke place...

So 1 mission of my 40 is now done.  I'm excited.  I'm expecting lots of fun & great laughs & great memories with great friends. 

Stick around folks...the fun is just getting started...

Me in my tiara...who knew 40 would look this great?????

Me blowing out the candle on dessert...a plate of ice cream, Jello & pineapple...the King Yum special!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Change in plans...

I'm still working out details for my 40 weeks.  So while I process these weeks, there is still time to vote on the 20 things you suggest for me.  Here is the list...choose 20 things.  I will tally up the votes shortly & plan out the remaining weeks.  In the meantime, I'll be starting this mission the week of my birthday...May 19th.

5 - learn to speak Spanish
6 - read 'War & Peace'
8 - take Salsa lessons
9 - take a cooking class
10 - get set up on a blind date
13 - buy 40 different pairs of socks
14 - get a make over
16 - go whale watching
20 - visit the gravesite of Billie Burke, Glenda from 'The Wizard of Oz' in Vallhalla, NY
21 - learn sign language
22 - paint my bedroom
23 - clean out the living room closet
25 - Spend the day in Philadelphia
30 - go to the Statue of Liberty
31 - start a book club
32 - go skinny dipping
33 - go on a photo taking tour of Queens
36 - write the next great American novel
37 - go to a movie every day for one week
38 - learn to knit
39 - go to a Zumba class
40 - go to a hot yoga session
41 - try the belly dancing class at the gym
42 - visit a state/city that you've always wanted to visit
43 - try pole-dancing
45 - donate to a charity you never thought you would give money to
46 - volunteer at a soup kitchen
47 - volunteer at an animal shelter
49 - horse drawn carriage ride in Central Park
50 - ice skating at Rockefeller Center
51 - make holiday cards & gifts for 2011
56 - take a trip to the Long Island vineyards
57 - check out the Montauk lighthouse
58 - visit a cranberry bog
59 - go see a Broadway play
60 - visit Mark Twain's house in CT
61 - go to Atlantic City & lay down a $50 bet
62 - hot air balloon ride
65 - take a picture w/the Naked Cowboy in NYC
66 - go to Medievil Times
67 - go to a Murder Mystery Dinner
68 - go for dinner at Havana in NYC
69 - go to the circus
70 - go to a football game
72 - Fleet Week in NYC
77 - take a photography class
78 - bike riding with Hippie Dave
79 - go on a vacation alone
80 - go to the beach looking for seashells with Hippie Dave
82 - go see the Mets at Citifield
83 - rock wall climbing
84 - fly a kite
85 - archery w/Anthony
86 - go to the Halloween parade in the village
87 - go to the Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria
88 - go line dancing
89 - Governor's Island
90 - ride the Staten Island Ferry
91 - ride the Roosevelt Island tram
93 - go to the Noguchi Museum in LIC
94 - go to the King Manor Museum in Jamaica
95 - go to the Fisher Landau Center for Art in LIC
96 - go to the Sculpture Center in LIC
97 - go horseback riding
98 - ride a mechanical bull (Johnny Utah's in NYC)
99 - Mystic Aquarium, CT
102 - plan a surprise party for someone
103 - ride the Cyclone & see the Freak Show in Coney Island
105 - plan a girls night out
106 - try a new hair color
107 - hostess a come as your favorite character/celebrity party
108 - go to the Museum of Sex in NYC
109 - be a nude model for an art class
110 - disco rollerskating
111 - go for pizza in all 5 boros; Queens, Manhattan, Brooklyn, da Bronx & Staten Island
112 - tour the Brooklyn Brewery
113 - plant a garden
114 - get a drivers license
115 - go vegetarian for a week
116 - find out how many licks it takes to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop
117 - go to Adventureland
120 - make a boat out of materials found in nature & see if it floats
121 - go to Five Guys for breakfast, lunch & dinner so you can say you had 15 guys in one day
122 - go on the ferris wheel in the Toys R Us in Times Square
124 - go to the Top of the Rock
125 - paint a realistic flower
126 - spend the day in NYC with the Iglesias' & O'Connors
127 - take a Hudson River cruise
128 - buy a telescope to see the stars
129 - bounce on a trampoline
130 - make a paper mache artwork
131 - go for a helocopter ride over NYC
132 - go to a concert
133 - get new clothes
134 - go through the Corn Maze at the Queens County Farm ~ see if you can get out in 40 minutes or less
135 - grow out your hair for Locks of Love
140 - go see a foreign language film
142 - Magical Nights magic show & dinner in NYC
143 - take a jewelry making class
144 - go to Dylan's Candy Bar in NYC
145 - visit the Lous Armstrong house in Corona
148 - take Sara to White Castle
149 - have a party at Laser Bounce
150 - go to Ellen's Stardust diner in NYC
151 - go for banana pudding at Magnolia Bakery in NYC
153 - lose 40lbs
154 - take a pottery class
155 - plan a brunch at 3 Brothers
156 - hostess a Tupperware party