Thursday, January 13, 2011

17 tips for hosting a party

I think now, having (co)hosted at least 6 parties, I have a few things to say about hosting a successful party.

1) If some of the party will take place outside, make sure you use mosquito coils and have mosquito repellant available for the mosquito prone.

2) Supply enough chairs for two thirds / half of the guests. You don't want to have chairs for everybody, there'll be too many chairs and there'll be less "party flow". But some people will want to do some sitting down at some point. That's why I think 2/3 or 1/2 is the optimal ratio. If you are throwing a really big party though, people don't expect chairs as much. I am only talking about 30 or so people.

3) There should be no fluorescent lighting. Everyone looks terrible under fluoro and it makes you feel like you're in a meat fridge or office. Warm/soft/non-direct lighting only!!! For any lightbulbs, 60W or less and not direct! (ie, no ceiling lights, just lamps pointed upward, downward or at a wall).

4) You should have a stock of "emergency drinks" on hand. Ie, a carton of beer for the inevitable occurrence that someone will forget or run out of drinks. Add to that, some dry ginger ale, tonic water and coke, for people to mix with. Add to that, a cheap bottle of spirits.

5) People need to eat snacks if they are drinking. Due to the costs of providing emergency drinks and so-forth, at our last party I asked people to bring their own snacks. I think this worked well and nobody minded.

6) Make sure the party starts at 8pm or later. I think this is the unofficial code for: "we will not be feeding you dinner". For instance, if a party starts at 6pm then I think the host needs to feed food to the guests or at least assist in food facilitation ie, with a barbeque.

7) Have some blankets on hand for when people get cold.

8) Ask your most music obsessed friend/s to DJ/supply the music.

9) Make sure there are no dirty dishes in the sink, people might need to use the sink for preparing their drinks.

10) If you are the host, spend more time with the people you see less frequently and/or the people who don't know many other people at the party. The friends you who see regularly, you'll see them again soon, plus they know your house and can look after themself more easily.

11) Have some ridiculous decorations/something that people can play with. People enjoy novelty items.

12) Take lots of silly photos so you can more easily remember what happened.

13) Put away your valuables/things that could be broken easily.

14) Use lighting to direct flow of people. If there are any rooms/parts of the house that you don't want people to go onto, make sure all the lights in those areas are OFF. People won't really hang out in blackness.

15) Make sure there is an ample supply of toilet paper, very easily accessible in the toilet so there is no possibility of it running out, or people not being able to find it.

16) Don't go to bed until the last person leaves.

17) If someone has passed somewhere, make sure they are breathing/in a position where breathing would not be obstructed by surprise vomit.

So there you have it, Karen's guide to throwing a party. I think if I have to wrap it up in a nutshell, make sure people are physically comfortable, drinks are flowing, and there are no lights shining in their face.

Monday, January 10, 2011


Gosh, I can't believe I haven't blogged here since June 2010. I've decided that this year I will try and blog more regularly. So here goes!

The first topic of the year is life-hacking. If you don't know about life-hacking, just punch it into google as it's all over the internet. The concept/idea started to spread online a few years ago. Basically, people share ideas online about how to make different aspects of their life more efficient/cheap/logical/easy/stream-lined/quick/pain-less.

I am not a life-hacking fanatic, but I am interested generally in this area. I love sleeping and lazing around at home, so if there are any ways of making more time to do this, then I will try and use these.

Anyway, here are some relatively minor "life-hacks" that I am now doing regularly. Some of these probably don't really qualify as "life-hacks" but just as straight domestic sense, but anyhow.

1. Thermos Coffee to work
Late last year I started making my morning coffee at home on our cofee machine, and then bringing it to work in a small thermos. A small coffee at work costs $3.80 (even with staff discount). Drinking one coffee a day would cost $19. Fourty eight weeks of this would cost $912. The coffee beans, electricity and water costs of making my own coffee and taking it to work, I hope wouldn't be more than $200? I don't know exactly, but it's definitely much cheaper to make it yourself.

2. Work clothes laid out the night before
Ever since I started full-time work, I have always laid out my work clothes the night before. That way it only takes about one minute to get dressed in the morning.

3. Smart-rider (RFID transport pass) and work pass put together.
Using coins to catch the bus was a pain in the ass. Fumbling in my purse for my new smart-rider was a pain in the ass. But then I tucked the smart-rider in with my work pass (which I wear around my neck). I haven't lost either of them since that.

4. Sniping cheap clothes off ebay.
Sniping is using a third party website or program to automatically put in a bid on an auction item at the very last moment. Initially I thought that sniping was kind of like cheating and unfair to the other bidders. However, those bidders could also snipe as well if they wanted to. Auction sites don't mind if people snipe and at the end of the day, you only put in the price you are willing to pay anyway. If someone else put in a bid with a higher maximum price than yours, you'll lose the auction.

So what I do, is I trawl ebay for clothes in my size at the lowest possible price (including shipping). I have bought lots of nice clothes for work that would've retailed for over $50 that only cost me $0.99 + $5 shipping.

If you are to buy clothes successfully of ebay then you need to be pretty aware of your body size/shape, what fits you, and also what types of fabric you prefer. For instance, I won't buy anything that is 100% cotton because I can't stand ironing.

My only problem with buying clothes off ebay is that now I have become somewhat addicted, so I need to be a bit more careful of this in 2011.

5. Turn off the TV
About a year ago, my boyfriend and I agreed to switch off the TV and not watch it at all. I think we were getting sick of all the advertising, and were also aware of how much TV saps away your time. Over the past year I only watched about 10 minutes of Channel 7 news (I wanted to see some footage from the huge storm/flood in March 2010), and TV at other people's houses.

When I say that we don't watch TV, that only means that we don't watch any broadcast TV. Actually we still watch DVDs (currently the third season of 30 Rock), downloaded movies, and streamed programs (through ABC iview), youtube etc. The programs that we watch at the moment are:

The 7:30 Report (ABC iView online)
At The Movies (ABC iView online)
PBS News Hour (streamed through the PBS website)
The Keiser Report (streamed through
30 Rock (on DVD)
Equals 3 by Ray William Johnston (youtube)

I think that's all we regularly watch. By not watching free-to-air TV, you only watch the shows you actually enjoy, no filler!

6. Computer in the kitchen

We had a spare computer lying around so we set it up in the kitchen with some speakers. So we can watch all of the above programs while eating dinner. It's also good to stream video and audio (TED talks, youtube lecture, podcasts, news etc) while preparing dinner or cleaning up. is great for streaming music.


Okay that's all I've got today for you. I'm going to try and update my blog a bit more regularly on random topics from life etc from now own, so see ya soon!