Tasty Snacks to Keep Guests Awake


Maintain a lively get-together from start to end with food and drink that are naturally stimulating.

Bring a Cool Caffeine Kick
As we head into the summer months, consider serving an iced coffee or tea. In particular, coffee is particularly amenable to recipe variations that can be customized to match the level of formality of the event and the amount of complexity you have time for. Whether it’s for a simple iced coffee, gorgeous southern-inspired coffee punch or clever coffee cocktails, you start with a basic pick-me-up ingredient that can be dressed up or down and made in advance for convenience.

If iced tea is your preference, you might try a green tea brewed from scratch (not too strong, as too strong a brew of green can upset the stomach) and packed while still warm with a tied bunch of bruised mint and slices of lemon or orange.

Taking some care with the preparation and presentation of these beverages creates natural opportunities to present coasters, personalized mugs or other personalized glassware as party favors.

Cut the Carbs a Little
Keep party guests from becoming sluggish by offering alternatives or antidotes to carbohydrate-heavy treats such as birthday cake. Vegetables and a wee bit of protein in the right proportions are key.

Your favorite Swedish or sweet-and-sour cocktail meatballs could play a part, as could the classic presentation of chilled shrimp and a zesty cocktail sauce. Keep bread to a minimum and fresh raw veggies abundant.

For a real dazzler, put together an antipasto platter. Antipasti consist of a couple of cured meats sliced razor-thin, morsels of one or two cheeses, and loads of fresh, pickled and marinated vegetables and olives. If you can, find marinade recipes for one or two of the foods yourself because it’s easy but then you can say, “Yes, I made that.”

Half of the antipasto platter’s reason for existence is the beauty arising from thoughtful assembly of colors, shapes and textures. Visit your favorite Web search engine for tips if needed, and be sure to choose pretty party picks and tongs from catering supplies to complete your work of art.

Apply Direct Heat
Another way to keep the munching lively is to introduce a little spice or even pack a snack with real heat. Slice a spicy sausage into bite-sized chunks, cook and pair it with an appropriate dipping sauce (marinara with a hot Italian, chutney with a curried variety, etc.) or break out your favorite stuffed jalapeno recipe.

If you are looking for a spicy-sweet snack, go for a glazed nut recipe that includes a touch of cayenne.

Serve Sangria
Another suggestion for maintaining alertness through an event – especially in hot weather – is to lighten up alcoholic offerings. Instead of hard liquor, opt for beer; instead of wine, mix up wine spritzers and so on. A favorite in this category is sangria, a refreshing mixture of wine and fruit juices with a little sparkle.

To make sangria serving 6-8, pour a bottle of a cabernet sauvignon you like into a pitcher that holds at least two quarts. Stir in a heaping tablespoon of sugar, a couple ounces of orange juice and a couple ounces of dry gin. Drop a couple handfuls of chunked fresh or canned pineapple into the pitcher. Quarter a lemon, a lime and an orange, squeeze their juices into the pitcher and then drop them into the pitcher too. Chill the sangria for eight hours minimum.

Serve the sangria half-and-half with chilled ginger ale in festive party drinkware. If you like, garnish the drinks with lemon half-moons or skewered pineapple chunks.

Show-Stopper Decorations for Summer Corporate Mixers


Begin your search for show-stopper decorations for your corporate mixer by considering party themes first. Once you do, the rest of the planning will fall into place.

Popular Summer Mixer Themes
Themes that go over well for summer and remind us of the outdoors (whether we are actually outdoors or not) also readily help achieve the usual goals of a mixer to be relaxed, casual and fun. Some of our summer favorites are Luau, Western, Safari and Picnic. Each lends itself to an easily-recognizable identity, set of activities (e.g., picnic with softball games, luau with hula or limbo contests), certain types of food and drink, and entertaining wearables. Knowing the “script” helps guests feel comfortable right away.

Show-Stopper Theme Decorations
A “show stopper” is a decoration that generates immediate conversation and enthusiasm, so it will function initially as your first ice-breaker. You can achieve this result simply with a large decoration, but most often kudos is earned not just due to size but because the decoration is unique by itself or cleverly accompanied or customized in some way.

Entrances & Arches: Start the buzz early right at the entrance to banquet room, beer garden or park shelter with an arch or other entrance decorations from your chosen theme decorations kit, such as shown at right. Most arches come with personalization options so you can customize a welcome greeting, mixer slogan and/or sponsor credit. Leave off the date/year if you intend for the mixer to become an annual event with the same theme, so that you can re-use the decorations.

If the event absolutely is outdoors with little or no shelter, adorn the entrance with a heavy-duty vinyl theme banner that meets your specific specifications as to size and customization.

Party Backgrounds: Once inside the entrance, party backgrounds and murals can draw the eye (and the rest of the guest) inward and further the theme. Use them also as backdrops for guest speakers, entertainers and group photos.

Backgrounds and backdrops can be customized by material and size, and personalized with event information just as banners can.

Free-Standing Decorations: Large free-standing themed decorations, such as cardboard cutouts or decorative trees, likewise deliver additional points of interest and add depth to wall décor. They can also be used to help break up larger spaces into more intimate settings for smaller conversation groups or to create separations between teams for structured activities.

You will find such props indispensable for photo ops for a roving photographer – imagine the attractiveness of different theme items showing up with guests in a photo album on a website or social media site afterward.

Other Advantages of Theme for a Corporate Mixer
Selecting a theme for your summer mixer presents you with an array of show-stopper decorations, but don’t stop there. Take a look at the low cost of our event printing on invitations as a standout alternative to today’s ubiquitous email invitations. Also, check out tableware in your theme for wowza centerpieces, and be sure to shop for matching gift bags or boxes ready to receive guest contact information lists and corporate spirit supplies.

Top Ten Worst Party Foods


Everyone knows what their favorite party foods are.  There are always one or two foods that you look forward to when you go to a party.  However, how many people think about bad party foods?  The list of least-liked party foods might be longer than you think.  Here are some foods you might want to avoid at your next party:

  1. Pigs in a blanket: While quick, tasty, and easy to make, pigs in a blanket quickly make too many appearances on party platters.  Also, they are so similar to hot dogs that, after each makes a few appearances at summer parties, guests will not look forward to seeing them again.
  2. Salad:  While, yes, salad is healthy, it’s also something that is rather difficult to serve at parties.  It’s also something that, when left out, will get warm and go bad.  No one wants to arrive late at a party to see spoiled salad sitting on the food table.
  3. Nachos: While nachos are definitely a crowd-pleaser, they make the bad party food list because they’re messy and they are full of sodium, which will cause your party guests to slow down and become sluggish
  4. Prepared sandwiches:  While everyone appreciates prepared party foods, prepared sandwiches are not the best idea for a party food because you never know what your guests might be allergic to.  In this sense, you’re better off setting out a platter of sandwich meats and cheese, condiments, bread, and invite your guests to make their own sandwiches.
  5. Sliders: These are another extremely messy party food.  Also, they’re another food that will make your party gets sluggish.
  6. Sloppy Joes:  The name says it all—sloppy!  Though Sloppy Joes are delicious and a great summer cookout option, as an indoor party food, they will likely fall flat.
  7. Jell-O: Yes, Jell-O gigglers are great for kids, but they’ll quickly cause any children at your party to becoming exceptionally sticky.  They’re yummy, but they’re surprisingly messy.
  8. Fried Chicken:  Yet another food that will make your guests slow and sluggish.  Also, fried chicken produces a lot of grease, which, if guests are not careful, will end up on either their clothing or your furniture.
  9. French Fries:  Rather than French Fries, try preparing baked sweet potato or carrot fries.  Even potato wedges, if baked, will be a better option than the unhealthy fried counterpart.
  10. Chili: This might be an acceptable food for around a bonfire on a chilled autumn night, but for any other sort of party, it’s one of the worst choices a party planner could make.

While this list is not exhaustive, it’s definitely a good place to start if you have questions about whether or not to serve a certain food at your next party.  After reading this, get creative and plan healthy and fun party foods!

Princess Party Quinceañera Ideas


An Occasion Fit for a Princess

A Sweet Sixteenth birthday is a special occasion to almost every girl in America.  For young ladies in the Hispanic culture, a Quinceañera is a similar (but more formal) occasion.  The birthday girl gets to dress up in a beautiful ball gown and has a court of girls and boys, as well as an escort, to attend her.  There’s a fancy dinner, a dance (occasionally a rehearsed dance performed by the guest of honor, her escort, and the court), and, of course, a cake.  Those are only a few of the main components, though.  Don’t forget about the decorations!

Princess Party Quinceañera Decorations

For an elegant Quinceañera celebration, elegant decorations are the key to a memorable party.  Elegant tableware, as well as elegant draperies, will set the initial tone.  However, no Quince party (no matter how elegant) is complete without balloons.  You have a few options.  You could get Quince-specific balloons and display them around the room.  Then again, you could find colors that fit with the color of your birthday girl’s dress and a few other colors that match it and place clusters of the matching colors throughout the room.

Once you have balloons and a few other decorations chosen, you need to look into tableware.  If you want an elegant, polished look for your event, try silver-banded dinner plates and clear utensils and glasses.  Choose a solid-colored table cover and look into monogrammed napkins.  Also, for a final, finishing touch on your tables, select an elegant centerpiece.  For a princess Quinceañera party, you have a few options.  You could choose a centerpiece modeled after a pumpkin-shaped carriage or you could look for a small candelabra centerpiece.

Princess Party Quinceañera Gift Ideas

Traditionally, the parents of the birthday girl are the ones to put together the party.  However, a small gift is usually expected, also.  What better gift can parents give their princess but a tiara?  There are a wide variety of tiaras to choose from no matter where you go to find one, so you’ll definitely be able to find one to fit your birthday girl perfectly.  Whatever other gifts you choose to give your birthday girl should be much more personal, but the princess Quinceañera party of her dreams and a beautiful tiara to wear at her party will remind her of how special she really is to you and will make her very thankful.

Decorating Tips for Crashing Dull Meetings


Wake Up a Dull Meeting

No one likes to go to a dull meeting at 8:00 am just to be talked at (while you slowly fall asleep).  Why not plan a fun, possibly interactive meeting to wake your staff up next time?  You can easily plan entertaining things that will startle your meeting attendees awake.  Here are a few ideas:

  • Balloons, Balloons Everywhere!  As you’re delivering your speech to the team members, explain that you have a few visual aids to help keep your listeners on track.  Then, pick up a cardboard box and set it on the table in front of you.  Prior to the meeting, fill the cardboard box with as many helium-filled latex balloons as you can, so when you open the box, the balloons fly out everywhere and surprise your audience!
  • Candy Rewards:  Ask your staff to plan to participate in the meeting.  Request that everyone come up with a few ideas to improve productivity or boost morale or something along those lines.  Then, during the meeting, when you begin to discuss the topics you’ve requested their input on, be prepared to toss everyone a personalized candy bar as they answer questions or give their comments.
  • Themed Sales Meetings Attract Attention:  With themes like Reach for the Stars, Ride the Wave, or Showdown at High Noon, your sales meeting will be the talk of the company.  Themes are a great way to wake up a sleepy staff, especially if it’s early morning.  They’ll have decorations to look at and things other than charts and posters to focus on, even if it’s only for fun and for a little while.
  • Fun Banners Act as Attention-Getters!  Hang a banner at the entrance to your meeting room so that your employees will not only know for sure which room the meeting is in, but so they feel welcome.  Then, when they walk in, offer coffee, juice, and a variety of snacks (healthy or sugary).

There are many other ways to grab the attention of your meeting attendees; these were just a few jumping-off points for you to start with.  Plan your next few meetings far enough ahead of time that you can create personalized favors for your meeting so that your attendees will be more likely to stay awake and be more alert.

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