Friday, October 10, 2008

It's my party, and you'll pay if I want you to.

There was an article on a few weeks ago about inviting people to a party you are throwing and then expecting them to pay for themselves and, in part, for you. I've been invited to a few such parties in the past, some of which were handled (in my opinion) properly, and some not so much.

Friend A was having a birthday party. She gave me the date/time and name of the restaurant, and never mentioned my paying for myself, her or anyone else. Even when talking about it, somehow it conveniently never came up in our conversations that I would be expected to pay.
I picked out a fabulous gift and arrived eager to celebrate her big day. Fast forward to the end of the evening, after several bottles of champagne and a rather extravagant menu, you can imagine my shock when I was handed a bill for my portion that was well over $200 - between this, her gift and parking in the city, I was out close to $350! Until that moment, I had never even heard of being invited to a party and then being expected to pay. I quietly paid the bill and when I tactfully brought my surprise up with her a few days later, she accused me of being a bad friend and not caring about her happiness. Ummm... what?! Needless to say, she is now simply referred to as "A" since the "Friend" part is long gone.

Friend B also had a birthday party with a set menu with wine/beer/soda, tax and tip included, and notified each of us of the price per person beforehand. Knowing that money was tight for us at the time, in no uncertain terms she explained that she wanted me there to celebrate with her and she didn't want us not having the extra money to keep me from coming. She did not expect anyone to pay for her and she paid for half of each person's cost (the restaurant charged $50/head and we only paid $25). She even arranged for any additional bar tabs to be put on individual checks so that each person was responsible solely for their own consumption. Also, she specifically put on the invitations that gifts would not be accepted since "our presence was all the presents" she wanted.

Personally, I am not a fan of these types of celebrations in any capacity and have graciously turned down the last several such invitations. I would be mortified to surprise my closest friends with a $200 per person bill at the end of an otherwise enjoyable night out. At least with Friend B's approach, I knew what the expectations were before I arrived. I realize people throw parties like this for a variety of reasons, but I just could never ask someone else to pay for my own party. Let's not even discuss people who have (vocally) expected me to pay AND bring an expensive gift.

What do you think? Have you ever been invited to a pay-your-own-way party that was done in a "proper" way? Any horror stories?

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Time Waster of the Day

Test your color IQ! Arrange blocks in order of their hue in 4 different color combinations.

My score was 3 (all in the blue/green spectrum). How about you?

Thanks to Jessica at How About Orange... for the tip!

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Let's Go Etsy Shopping!

I love being able to support fellow crafters whenever I can. Over the past few weeks, I picked up some adorable handmade goodies from tremendously talented Etsy crafters that I just had to share:

Dahlia Headband from Lupin

Felt Flower Necklace from Rosetutu

Peacock Woodgrain Linden Hobo from Enju

Fabric Necklace from FabricFarrago

Scrub Cap from TheHatCottage
I LOVE wearing this when I clean the apartment -- it keeps my hair off my face and sweat free!

His and Hers vinyl wall decals from VinylVineyard
These look adorable marking the doors to our separate bathrooms.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Vital Question of the Day

Was butter really so difficult to cut before?

One Click Butter Cutter

Monday, October 06, 2008

Up to: lately

I haven't had the chance to update lately because of both terribly interesting and absurdly boring life-nonsense. In the midst of all of the kerfuffle, I managed to glitter some pumpkins and turn yet another year older. Technically, much like last year, I celebrated the 3rd Anniversary of my 25th Birthday. Even my cake played along:

The celebration itself was quiet and low key since I haven't been in much of a celebratory mood lately. I cooked my own birthday dinner: Salmon with lemon dill sauce, roasted asparagus and fingerling potatoes. Easy-peasy and SO tasty! I also baked my own (really, really, really yummy) Cookies & Cream cake. Not only was it my own favorite birthday cake, and I've had several fabulous ones from the Cupcake Cafe, but Mr. Cupcake claimed it was the best cake he's ever eaten. And that man has eaten an awful lot of cake in his day! It was a Devil's Food cake with a Vanilla Bean frosting, which I think was the most delicious part. It had the consistency and spread-ability of the frosting in a can, but without all of those stabilizers and preservatives. I can't remember where I originally got the recipe from, but I urge you to try it next time you bake. Heck, I wish I had a bowl of it right now!

Vanilla Bean Frosting
4 oz (1/2 brick) cream cheese, at room temp
1 stick butter, at room temp
16 oz (1 box) confectioners' sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped

1. Combine butter and cream cheese.
2. Slowly add sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, until smooth.
3. Add vanilla beans and extract, stir until combined.

Notes: (1) A hand mixer should work just as well as a stand mixer. (2) If you don't have a vanilla bean, you can add an additional teaspoon of vanilla extract. (3) This recipe makes enough for 12 cupcakes. If frosting a large (9"+) layered cake, you may want to double the recipe. I made a 10" cake and had to keep the filling quite thin in order to have enough to barely cover the top and outside. I cheated and just added cake crumbs to the sides to cover the super thin layer.