Category Archives: manners

Event Planning: Holiday Dinner Party

Let the planning begin!

I’m working on another event for me and my friends. This weekend I am hosting a formal holiday dinner party! How exciting!

Since my last attempt at a large-scale party didn’t work out too well (Halloween, no one could make it!) I’ve decided to scale back and focus on planning smaller, more intimate parties for my closer friends rather than everyone and their brother.

I seem to get better results when I throw the smaller but more deluxe events such as my tea party last spring.

What are “better results” you ask?

  • Close friends attending whom I can count on to actually show up
  • Everyone has a great time
  • I get to plan special things like food and décor to my heart’s content
  • (Sometimes) less mess and destruction compared to a house party!
  • A chance to really connect with each of my guests
  • Less pressure to be perfect
  • Even though I usually spend more money, I feel that there is more value in it since my close friends will appreciate it
  • Having an exclusive event. Everyone feels special!

Readers: Do you prefer smaller gatherings or larger ones when you get together? Why is that? Share in the comments!

You know, between hosting these shindigs and doing the bed & breakfast thing, I think I really like hosting! It can be a lot of work sometimes but for some reason I really enjoy getting all the details just so. Maybe I missed my calling?

I think I’ll keep doing the small, intimate parties and cycle through the groups of people. I think I’d like to do one with some folks I don’t know quite as well but would like to know better. There are a few girls at work that fall into that category. I’d also like to get some local bloggers together at some point… I just need to think of a theme! (omg I love themed parties)

The only downside to hosting parties is that 1. They are a lot of work. Cooking, cleaning, decorating & take-down, plus making sure you look presentable! 2. The costs can really add up. I like to do things on a budget, but the costs DO add up.

I have started asking people to bring a little something with them now, whether it be wine or a dish of food to share. This certainly helps but I wonder if there is any other way I can continue to throw nice get-togethers without blowing the bank? Hmmm. Perhaps it is just one of those things: “If you want to have a party, be prepared to pay for it!” This is what my sense of etiquette tells me.

What do you think?

Tea Party Prep

This coming weekend I am hosting my very first tea party for my closest friends.

I’ve been mulling over the idea for quite some time now, and with the popularity of Alice in Wonderland bringing the focus back on this tradition, I thought the time was ripe for my own!

While I myself am not the biggest tea drinker (although my collection would beg to differ!) I have always loved the classic idea, rituals and etiquette of a traditional tea party.

The usual elements of a tea party include:

  • formal table settings
  • petit fours (little sweet cakes and pastries)
  • tea sandwiches
  • scones with jam and cream
  • TEA!

When most people think of tea parties, they think of stuffy old ladies with hats and gloves sitting around with pinkies up and “hemm-hemming” over the latest faux pas someone in the community has committed. But this isn’t always the case!

I think tea parties offer a great way to get your friends together to appreciate the civilized side of life that we so often neglect in society these days.

Tea parties can be in any theme that you like, from classic traditional to wacky, zaney or even morbid! The key to setting the mood is the decor, menu and etiquette that you choose to observe during the event.

For my party, I’m going with a “funky & elegant” theme, and have asked my guests to dress up with their interpretation of the term “tea party”. I have some diverse friends each with their own unique style so I am really looking forward to seeing their outfits! With their permission I will be posting them on the blog afterwards :) Of course I’ll be dressing up, too!

I don’t have a ton of money to spend on this event, so the decor will be a bit on the eclectic side as I pull together all the cool serving dishes, decorations and linens that I have to make one cohesive theme. Good thing I’m an old hand at the eclectic look!

So far hot pink seems to be the dominant accent colour, but we’ll see what shows up in the end!

This week I will be pulling everything together, including the decor, table set-up, menu and trial runs of some of the tricker treats that I am preparing and posting about it on the blog.

I would love to hear of your own tea party experiences, and if you have any tips or tricks to share with me as I prepare for my own.

Thanks, and cheerio, darling!

A Christmas Conundrum

I need a little input on something to see if I’m just being totally selfish and crass, or if my concerns are valid.

So I spent a bunch of time and money making those giftbaskets for my friends. One of them was for this gal that I spent a lot of time with over the summer (the one who took in a female friend who then seduced her husband and got her kicked out of the relationship and the apartment).

The thing I am struggling with is whether to give her the basket at all at this point. Ever since I helped her get her shit together and move out of the house we’ve barely talked at all. She hasn’t invited me over to her new place or asked me to do anything with her. This is after she tells me that I’m “like a sister to her” in the summer.

See, I’ve never really felt that close to her. She was fun at times and was one of the people who helped me get settled in the Pagan community here. But the problem is that we are from totally different worlds.

You all know enough about me… she is a high school dropout, got pregnant at 16, has 3 kids that she lost custody of to her ex. She has mooched off of the government her whole life via welfare and disability. She’s also incredibly immature in that it’s like she never grew up past high school, which means she’s petty and a gossip and manipulative. She also has a tendency to exaggerate and blow things out of proportion.

I try to look past all of this because she does have a good heart. She loves her children and tries to take care of herself and others, and she has had a real rough life.

But lately, with this lack of contact in any form (and me finding out that she’s off partying with other mutual friends, having dinner parties, etc. without inviting me to anything) I’m not really feeling the love. I don’t really want to give her the basket I put so much effort into when I don’t feel like she “deserves it”; and I know she won’t reciprocate.

So tonight when I saw her at our Solstice/Yule celebration (yay for the birth of the son/sun!) I just gave her a card with a nice note in it instead. I am still on the fence about the gift.

I am so conflicted because I don’t want to give it to her and have myself get shafted, but at the same time it’s a gift for bobsakes! I know you’re not supposed to give gifts and expect anything in return. Plus, it would be a nice thing to do, and we DID have some good times.

Gifting is such a complex, deeply emotional thing for me. I have so many conflicting feelings about it. I want to give because it brings me joy. But I also want to be a scrooge because all my life I have given and given and never gotten anything in return from others. After a while you just have to stop sacrificing yourself for unrequited friendships. That’s how I’ve managed to make it through life so far–withdrawing into myself and trusting no one.

So now I’m left with an extra basket and I’m not sure what to do with it. Should I suck it up and give it to her, and never see her again?  Try and find someone else that I would like to give it to? Disassemble it and use the bits myself?

Am I being a selfish jerk, or am I within my rights to withhold this gift?

Pissed and Put-Out

I just had a friend call me at 10pm asking to crash at my place. It seems she was caught in between moving in and out of an apartment. She was going to stay with her sister but her sister cancelled….

Ok I’m really pissed about this and just had a convo with another friend who doesn’t know her. It sums things up pretty well so you’ll have to suffer with a pasted convo:

Friend says:
Hey. How was your day yesterday?
Ginger says:
it was ok
im kind of pissed right now though
a friend just asked to crash at my place
she didn’t have anywhere else to go tonight, so i said yes
F says:
Damn, that sucks
G says:
i told her to get here before 11pm so i could settle her in
and i went and pulled out all the freaking stuff in the guest room, made her bed, etc
and she’s at a club downtown right now.
it was 1030 by this point after i’ve been cleaning very quietly
F says:
Ugh..
G says:
and i txt her asking her to be here soon
and she fuckin’ txts me back saying she can’t leave right now
her party is more important than a place to stay tonight!?!?!?
so she basically says she won’t be coming anymore
so pissed. i am so put out right now. i went to all that trouble at the last minute for her
and now she’s not even coming. what am i, a hotel?
i really don’t mind helping people out, but fucking follow through, eh?
F says:
I don’t blame you one bit
G says:
i just can’t believe she would ask me a big favour like that and then make me go to the trouble, then not even come!
seriously!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!eleventyone!11!!!!
F says:
So beat her with a nerf bat when you see her next
G says:
urgh
seriously, i don’t mind helping but i HATE being taken advantage of
F says:
That’s because you’re so awesome. So when you’re put out like this, you get super pissed
G says:
yeah no kidding.
i used to be such a doormat. i believe in helping others, but sometimes it makes it worse for me
now she’s changed her mind and has said she’ll come and is offering to make me breakfast
i’m not even here for breakfast
*big sigh*
i don’t know what to do
—————–

Still upset. She keeps waffling back and forth about coming, and it seems to me her glass of wine is more important than her friend that just went the extra mile for her benefit. I’m not letting her come over now.

What I really want to do later is call her and yell at her a little. Tell her that I feel really taken advantage of by her and that she needs to shape up or ship out. I like her and don’t mind helping her, but there has to be some gratitude and respect in there somewhere, and I ain’t feelin’ it.

Am I being unreasonable? Flame away, my friends, flame away.

Happy Birthday?

You know, I’ve never actually had one?

A happy birthday, that is.

I’ve always been let down and disappointed by people (and in some cases the weather too) other than my family this time of year. I’m left feeling insignificant, overlooked and downright ignored on the one day that I feel it is acceptable to feel entitled to a bit of extra attention from your friends and family.

Birthdays are always such a bitter thing for me, and over the years my expectations have been consistantly lowered to the point where I don’t even expect (a common decency IMO) anyone to even wish me happy birthday on the day.

Last year things got a little bit better in the birthday department; my expectations were way below realistic and some people showed up for my birthday outing, sort of (compared to no one in previous years). It still wasn’t what I would call a happy birthday, merely sufficient. (Don’t go preaching to me that I have unrealistic expectations here, folks. I expect friends to show that they care that it’s your special day, wish you happy birthday, attend your party or whatever, buy you a drink and/or possibly a reasonable dinner out. Nothing totally out there, and it’s what I do for others).

Anyway, I was pleasantly surprised this year. I’m hoping its a sign of good things to come. I received many happy birthday wishes both in person as well as a mountain of them on facebook which was refreshing. I didn’t expect any more than 3 people to bother. One of the guys also paid for my Starbucks this morning, and my roomie showed up at lunch with a balloon bouquet and a lovely giant cookie from Mrs. Fields with “Happy Birthday Ginger!” written on it.

I was totally floored by that. No one’s ever done something that nice for me before, the gesture just really made my day! My boss also scheduled a birthday lunch for me next week which is nice.

Really, I’m actually surprised by all of this. I’m so used to having my birthday and surrounding days be some of the worst days of the year that I’ve just come to expect that. While I always make an effort to think positively, I was still caught off guard by everything today.

Part of me is happy that people were nice to me, but part of me is sad that I have to be surprised that someone would actually wish me a happy birthday.

Anyway, I’ve invited some of my closer friends over this weekend for dinner and drinks at my place then a night out dancing. Hopefully everything goes well! Hell, I’ll be happy if people just show up and I don’t burn the dinner!

Pray for me!

*Don’t forget to enter the draw for my give-away of 3 FUZE prize packs!

GWS Readers: Help me with this wedding crap!

I’m not going to lie, I’ve been feeling a little stressed about my friend T’s wedding and related activities. Money has been tight with me lately and now I’ve got to get my eyes zapped again in the middle of the month (more on that later) and she has just told me of another cost I’m going to have to incur for her wedding (All wedding party members must supply a gift for the raffle/door prizes at the stag & doe).

I’m feeling overwhelmed and snappy, so I think I need to sit back and crunch some numbers to see what the revised costs of this wedding fiasco are. I feel as though it’s getting too expensive for me… I want to be the good friend that doesn’t let her down, that goes the extra mile, but I’m becoming frustrated because I’m expected to pay for all this stuff that I don’t feel I should have to pay for. My parents have also pointed out the following:

“You’re doing all this stuff and spending all this time and money on her, stretching yourself thin. Plus you have to travel so far to do all this. Do you really think she would do the same for you? Do you think she would run around to 3 wedding showers, spend all that money on a bachelorette and still go to a stag & doe and spend money while also donating a gift? I don’t think so.”

That was from my mom. Yes, I consider T my best friend and I want to do right by her, but my mom has an excellent point. I have a tendency to go the extra mile for people, but then it is never, ever reciprocated to me, and I end up getting hurt. I do all these nice things for other people, and therefore have higher expectations of my friends and family. If I do it, why can’t they?

But as I’ve learned time and time again, most people are just not as considerate as me. This makes me bitter, angry and sad. I know T has done some really nice things for me in the past and will probably continue to do so in the future; but if I’ve learned anything it’s that you can’t count on anyone for anything.

Which is why I am currently feeling this way about the wedding. She’s asking a lot of me and I don’t think it would ever be reciprocated to me.

Now I want to talk about the events and what is “expected of me” versus what I think I’m actually going to do.

Bridal shower
Expected: To show up to the 2 of them this weekend with a gift. Probably also to go out to dinner and/or shopping with T (something I usually enjoy but can’t afford right now). Or, sit around while I wait for the stupid things to be over. I don’t really want to go to them, I’m sure I’ll be bored stiff. I will also feel awkward because I’m sort of the odd one out… it’s T’s family and local friends who all know each other and I’m the outsider.

What I will do: I’ll go, but I’m only bringing one gift, and will bring my Jenny food to eat. I won’t be able to go shopping or pay for anything additional for T. It’s still going to cost me to travel though.

Gift: $45
Travel: $50
Incidentals: $25
Total: $120

Stag & Doe
Expected: To pay for a ticket, then pay for a lot of drinks to help them raise money. Also to pay for a gift to be raffled off. I hate the idea of a stag & doe, it just a money grab and I find it offensive. If you can’t pay for your wedding, then make it smaller! They invite everyone, literally. Even if you’re not invited to the wedding you’re invited to the stag & doe. Ugh. Apparently this is a common thing with small town folk though, so I’ll have to go along with it. I still don’t like it and it just means more money flowing from my pockets.

What I will do: I’m not going to buy a ticket. And I’m not going to buy any drinks that night either. I either won’t drink, or will mooch off the boys at the party. I’ve bought a $15 item to be raffled off, and that’s all I’m going to contribute, other than my time and effort. I will also bring my Jenny food. I’m still considering whether to even go or not. My mom thinks I should make an excuse not to go

Raffle prize: $15
Travel: $50
Incidentals: $40
Total: $105

Wedding
Expected: To give a nice gift, be a bridesmaid. Also to pay for my dress, shoes, hair, makeup, nails and pedicure, as well as travel expenses, possibly including a cab ride from the middle of nowhere (expensive!).

What I will do: I’m making a special gift for T that will probably cost me around $80 to do. I figure that’s an adequate gift, and will have meaning for her. I will do the bridesmaid thing, but hopefully will be able to carpool with M on the way down to save on gas. I’ll also be staying with her at her mom’s so I don’t need a hotel room. As for hair, I’ll have to pay to get that done because I suck at it. Nails, too. Pedicure I will do myself if I have to, and makeup as well. Though the makeup will probably be done by a Mary Kay girl… but if she’s not as good as me then I will do it. I’m also going to try my darndest not to have to pay for a cab ride anywhere. Out in the boonies it is sure to be expensive.

Gift: $80
Travel: $50
Dress: $300
Shoes: $100
Hair: $60
Nails/Feet: $45
Makeup: $12
Incidentals: $50
Cash bar: $45
Total: $742

Bachelorette is done, it cost me about $150.

Wedding Fiasco Grand Total: $1,117

*sigh* That sucks. I was hoping to cut costs even more, but I’ve done most of what I can. I don’t know whether it’s worth mentioning this to T. On one hand, I don’t think she realizes how much her wedding is costing the rest of us. On the other hand, I don’t want to stress her out or piss her off either. I really wish she knew how much this was costing us so that we could all work together on reducing costs.

If you have been a bridesmaid before (or even a bride!), how much did you spend on the whole wedding dealy-o? What do you suppose is a reasonable amount? Am I right on track, spending more or less than what it probably should be?

What would you do?

Submit Your Blog for Link Love

Hey folks,

Taking the cue from my presentation on the Blogosphere and Netiquitte, I think I’m going to start doing some Link Love posts in here.

Problem is, I don’t really know a lot of blogs! I’m looking to expand my reading and find some more blogs of interest.

If you’d like to be featured in my upcoming Link Love posts, or if you know a great blog that should be, Please drop me a line at gingercorsair @ gmail.com with the name of your blog, direct link, description, and a category or topic you think you fit into.

Thanks guys, I think this will be a great resource for all of us!