5 Ways to Spice Up Your Next Party

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While attending parties is always a blast, throwing a party can be extremely stressful. After all, you want to make sure everyone is having a great time, and that’s a huge responsibility! If you’re throwing a big shindig and want your guests to have the time of their lives, think outside the box to make it the event of the year. Here are some of our favorite ideas for parties we’d R.S.V.P. for in a heartbeat.

Stick to a theme

Some of the most fun parties are those during the Halloween season. Playing dress-up for a night gives you the chance to play a role and be someone else for the evening. Keep that same feeling all year ‘round with throwing a costume party during any season. A masquerade, 80’s prom, Hawaiian luau, roarin’ 20’s, any reason to dress up (and buy a new outfit!) adds a little something extra to the event. Keep the theme going with the food you serve and in the decor to create the right atmosphere. You can even curate a special playlist for the party to really set the mood.

Hire live entertainment

One way to get a party rolling is to hire a band or DJ for your event. Music is an important piece of any real party, but often, that’s the only type of live entertainment we think of for a party. There are so many other options for talented performers that can make a party unforgettable. For a children’s party, we often think of hiring a clown or a magician, but the same idea works for adult events as well. Circus performers, comedians, or impersonators for hire can give your party a fun vibe and entertain guests during times when there might be a lull in conversation.

Play some games

When you think of party games, you might think of two particular types – one, a slow-moving night of Monopoly with a small group of friends, or two, a rowdy game of beer pong and chugging frat-boy-style. There are so many other options for group activities that you may not have considered that will put the family board game night to shame. There is a board game trend resurfacing in popular culture right now that has resulted in a lot of great games for small and big parties alike. The raunchy Cards Against Humanity is a crowd pleaser that everyone is familiar with. If you like something spooky, give Betrayal at House on the Hill a try, or keep it traditional and host a poker night. Games are a great ice breaker, especially if you’re worried about guests who aren’t acquainted mingling with each other.

Get outside

If you’re throwing a party in one of the warmer months and you have a yard, deck, or outdoor venue available, consider bringing the party outside. If you’re worried about rain, a combination indoor-outdoor party works best. Having some room outside to move around allows guests to move outside for more personal conversations or to get some fresh air. Get creative outside and include picnic blankets, string lights, or a bonfire to create a comfortable atmosphere for a relaxing night. You can even create s’mores bags for guests to enjoy around the campfire or set out cushions and blankets for late-night stargazing. Splurge on a projector and create a drive-in-style party in your yard with a movie projected on the side of the house or a large tarp, and let guests enjoy a movie night under the stars.

Spruce up the menu

It’s always great to have some easy items on hand at a party, like pigs in a blanket or chicken wing dip. Don’t be afraid to get creative with a few menu items, though. If you’re throwing a theme party, keep with the aesthetic and create some unforgettable dishes for your guests. You can even incorporate the menu into the theme and host an event like a sushi-making night. Pinterest is a great place for unique food recipes for parties. A popular party staple right now is a donut wall, dessert bar, or a brunch station for midday parties.

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Best Food Finds in Phoenix

More people moved to Maricopa County in 2017 than any other county in the entire nation, the U.S. Census Bureau reported recently. As the largest city in the county, many of those moves were likely to Phoenix. If you’re like so many others considering a move here, you’ve probably searched through homes for sale in Phoenix, AZ, and discovered some rather enticing gems at relatively affordable prices. But before making the leap, you might want to learn more about what else this area has to offer, including its dining scene.

 

Menus here feature everything from authentic Mexican and standard southwestern fare to modern fusion, international cuisine and just about everything in between.

 

For the very best food finds don’t miss these treasures.

Barbecue at Little Miss BBQ

There’s no need to travel hundreds of miles to Texas for mouth-watering barbecue, the state with the greatest number of BBQ eateries, with 2,238 according to a 2015 report. While Texas may be famous for its delectable BBQ dishes, Arizona is home to the highly acclaimed Little Miss BBQ.

 

A hot lunch spot serving BBQ Central Texas style, it’s only open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., or until sold out, Tuesdays through Saturdays. The juicy, tender meat is cooked with pecan wood, Arizona oak using Camelback Smokers, sold by weight and tossed on white bread, topped with jalapenos, pickles and onions. The sandwiches are served with house made potato salad and ranch-style beans, but you’ll want to save room for the smoked pecan pie – heavenly!

CRUjiente

Being so close to the Mexico border, it’s no surprise that Phoenix offers practically an endless number of Mexican restaurants, but of course, some are better than others, like CRUjiente. While you might think a taco is just a taco, Richard Hinojosa takes tacos to a whole new level, with all sorts of interesting, tasty twists. He makes traditional chicken, beef and pork tacos topped with the usual guac and other standard toppings, but he also offers many other unique takes on the taco, like lamb, lobster, octopus and Szechuan beef cheek tacos using beef that’s been braised for 36 hours. He presses his own tortillas using heirloom blue corn mesa and then flavors them with ingredients like dashi, cardamom, poblano, cilantro and Fresno chilis.

Restaurant Progress

Restaurant Progress is one of Phoenix’s newest offerings, with its doors opening in 2017. An instant hit with foodies, it specializes in small plates paired with creatively crafted cocktails that makes it ideal for a date night. The menu changes about every four to six weeks and features dishes like chicken-fried trout, pork belly and soy-cured watermelon. A few of the terms frequently used to describe the experience here among Google reviews include: “truly inspired,” “beautiful, slow food,” “impeccable service” “an instant classic.”

CIBO

Just about every city has a favorite pizza joint, and in Phoenix, that’s CIBO. Located downtown for over a decade, it’s housed in a historic bungalow and features just about every type of gourmet Neapolitan pizza you could ever imagine, with a choice of red or white sauce, along with delectable homemade pasta dishes. The Pomodoro Fresco pie, with mozzarella, basil and grape tomatoes, is considered the very best in the city.