Candace, Author at Loanables

About Candace

Candace is a 3x Start-up Founder. She geeks out on brainstorming bold ideas and then actually brings some of them to life. She is currently the CEO of Loanables, where her mission is to reduce overconsumption by making it as easy to rent as it is to buy.


View all posts by Candace

80s Party Ideas

I recently helped a client find rentals for a 40th birthday party; the theme was 80s.  I also turned 40 within the last year; so, I, too, am a child of the 80s.  I loved everything about this party.

Here’s how they did it:

1. Rented a Rubik’s Cube bar.

The thing about this bar, is that it makes such a big impact.  It sets the tone for the party from the minute the guests arrive.  It comes with LED lights so if you’re venue is dark, it really pops out.

Rubik's Cube Bar

2. Rented Vintage Arcade Games

Nothing screams 80s more than PacMan and Space Invaders!  Added bonus: the guests have a great time taking turns playing.  I envision a high stakes tournament.

Pac Man Vintage Arcade Game

3. Rented Retro Furniture and Rugs

You want your guests to be comfortable and styled lounges can do the trick while keeping in line with the overall theme.  Imagine how much different the vibe of the party would be if they just had a bunch of folding chairs.  Lucky for them, they already had some furniture in storage so they just needed to rent a few more things.

Vintage Green Couch

4. Rented a Shuffleboard

You could also go with a pool table.  The idea here was to give the guests more to do while keeping the 80s vibe.

Shuffleboard Table

I always love before and after pictures.  Check these out:

Warehouse – BEFORE

Warehouse – AFTER

This party had a DJ and dance floor as well.  You could also go with a karaoke machine. Either way, an 80s playlist is the finishing touch for the ultimate 80s party.

Here are some additional 80s party ideas on Pinterest.

The most impressive thing about this party is that it was all planned in less than 2 weeks!  The total cost for the rentals with delivery and tax was $2838 (delivery was higher than normal because they were located out of town a bit).  We got quotes from 8 different rental companies and narrowed it down to 3 companies: one for the arcade games, one for the styled lounges, and one for everything else.  Here’s exactly what was rented:

  • Rubik’s Bar
  • 2 Orange Retro Side Tables
  • 16 Red Velvet Curtain Panels
  • 2 Chairs
  • 4 Pillows
  • 1 Sofa
  • 1 Rug
  • 2 Arcade Games: Pac Man and Space Invaders
  • 1 Pinball Machine
  • 1 Shuffleboard Table

Reach out if you are planning a party or event, I would love to help!  I can also put you in touch with the party planners that planned this 80s event, Julia and Amberlin in Austin, TX.

What size linen fits a 60″ round table?

It is maddening to search for linens online.  I find a fabric I like, but then I have to figure out whether or not any of the available sizes are the sizes I need.  Here’s a chart I put together to help Loanables’ users that are planning events:

If you want a 60″ round to be mid-length, you can use a 90″ or 108″ round tablecloth. (You can also use 72×72 square tablecloth).  If you want it to touch the floor, get a 120″ round.

90 inch tablecloth on 60 inch round table

90 inch tablecloth on 60 inch round table

72x72 inch tablecloth on 60 inch round table

72×72 inch tablecloth on 60 inch round table

120 inch tablecloth on 60 inch round table

120 inch tablecloth on 60 inch round table

 

And, as always, if you have any questions, email info@loanables.com – we are happy to help!

Should You Rent or Buy Linens for Your Event?

The answer: IT DEPENDS

When I first starting looking at linen rental prices, I thought, “This is crazy.  I can buy for less than that!.”  Sometimes, that is in fact true, but there are other things to consider.   So, why do people rent if it is cheaper to buy?!?!

Here are 3 things to think about before you decide between renting and buying linens for your event:

1. CONVENIENCE

If you choose to purchase, you need to plan on ironing or steaming the linens the day of the event. When you purchase linens, they come folded, and there are deep creases in them.  Sometimes, they also have a factory smell to them.  Many people prefer cleaning before using them the first time to get rid of that smell.  If you buy, plan on cleaning twice: before and after your event.

If you choose to rent, the linens will be delivered to you clean and steamed.  They are ready to use.  And, when the event it over, all you have to do is give them back to the rental company.

2.  CLEANING COSTS

It costs $10-15 to dry clean a tablecloth.  That is often higher than the purchase price.  Now, if you purchase a polyester tablecloth, you can launder those yourself, but you will need to iron or press them after they are clean. When deciding whether to rent or buy, make sure you factor this in unless you plan to just throw them away afterwards.  (I’d be remiss if I did not add…please don’t throw them away.  We don’t need more stuff in the landfill – at least donate them.)

3.  RESALE VALUE

You can typically resell your linens for about 1/2 the price you paid.  But, keep in mind, most people purchasing will require them to be clean and stain free.  Also, it is likely that at least one of the tablecloths will get ruined or stained (especially if you are serving red wine).

Here’s an Example:

I’m doing this calculation today for an event we are currently planning at my kids’ school:

The co-chairs have picked out beautiful, silver, satin tablecloths.  These tablecloths are $24.95 to rent, and they need 50 .  That is $1247.50 just for tablecloths (I gulp every time I see that price)!  So, of course, my gut reaction was “let’s just buy these.”  We found similar tablecloths on Amazon for $16.78 including shipping (they are not Prime eligible). So, they will cost us $839 to purchase.

For simplicity sake, let’s say they arrive from the factory and don’t have a bad smell.  Also, since it’s a school event, we can probably find a volunteer willing to iron or steam them before the event.  (I am, however, nervous about being able to transport them without them getting wrinkled.  I’m not sure we will want this extra stress with everything else going on the day of the event).

After the event, though, we will have to clean them before we can sell them.  My local cleaner quoted me $11.50.  That will be an additional $575 so my total costs is $1414.

I believe I could resell them for $8 each.   Of the 50, I’m going to assume 2 of them (about 5%) came back with stains that the cleaners could not remove.  I’ve got 48 for resell at  $8 each, which equals $384.

So, here’s the breakdown:

$839 (to purchase) + $575 (to clean) = $1414 – $384 (resell value) = $1030 total cost to purchase vs. $1247.50 total cost to rent.

The difference is $217.50.   Is it worth my time to iron them beforehand, take them to the cleaners afterwards, and find a buyer plus probably ship them to the buyer?  I could easily argue both sides, and I think it comes down to a personal choice and deciding where you want to spend your budget and your time.

Also, don’t forget I’m taking a risk – if the tablecloths arrive with a factory smell, I have to clean them before the event.   The total purchase expense in that case would be more than renting ($1605 to buy vs $1247.50 to rent).  I have to decide if I’m willing to take that risk and do the extra work.

Couple of other things to consider:

  • If budget is your biggest concern and you are crafty, the most economical thing to do is buy fabric in bulk and make your own tablecloths.
  • If you have a recurring event, it will definitely make more sense to purchase linens and use them over and over again.
  • If you are on the fence, just rent to reduce overconsumption. It’s a big problem that you can read more about here.

Bottom Line:

If the rental price is less than the purchase price, it is always better to rent than to buy (even if only by a small amount).

It isn’t so black and white when the rental price is more than the purchase price.  The main thing you need to consider is what your time is worth.  I’m not a professional party planner so my personal rule is:

Never plan an event that you don’t have time to enjoy.

How Many Glasses Do I Need?

If you are planning a wedding or other event that has a bar, you need to figure out how many glasses you will need for the entire night.  Below is the calculation we use at Loanables to help our customers.

First calculate how many drinks will be served.

You should assume that each guest will have one drink per hour.  Yes, I know some will have more, but some will also have less.  Unless your party is mostly college students, this formula works:

Total number of guests X the length (in hours of the party) = the total number of drinks

So, if you are expecting 500 guests for 4 hours, you should plan on 2000 drinks being served.

Next, calculate how much beer will be served.

Forty percent of all drinks are beer.

In our example above, 2000 drinks x 40% = 800.

I recommend serving beer in the bottles so you don’t have to rent and/or clean all of these glasses. But, if you are getting a keg, plan for 800 pilsner glasses or beer mugs.

Third, calculate how much wine will be served?

Sixty percent of the remaining drinks will be wine.

We will serve a total of 2000 drinks, but 800 of those will be beer.  That leaves 1200 drinks, of which 60% will be wine.  (1200 x 60% = 720). In this example, we need 720 wine glasses.

Last, calculate how many all purpose glasses you need.

The remaining glasses will be all purposes glasses. In our example, we needed a total of 1200 glasses. We got 720 wine glasses so we need 480 all purposes glasses.

I recommend rocks glasses.  These can be used for non-alcoholic and specialty drinks.  This is the most economical way to go as almost all rental companies have this glass.

Do you have staff cleaning glasses during the event?

If so reduce all counts by 25%.

Here are our totals for our 500 person party:

Beer Glasses (unless serving in bottles): 800

Wine Glasses: 720

All Purpose Glasses: 480

If you need help figuring out your specific needs or have questions, email us at info@loanables.com.

Next: check out this blog to find out how much alcohol you should buy.

Meet Lux Limo ❤️

We teamed up with local, Austin company Lux Limo for a giveaway of a 3 hour rental in their Mercedes Sprinter Limo that seats 14 passengers.  Last Friday, we met two of the owners (Shawn and Andrea McAdams) at the Pennybacker Bridge to announce the giveaway on Facebook live.  I love entrepreneurs; so, afterwards, we sat down with them inside the limo and I asked them how they got started and why they do what they do.

When you hear the owners of Lux Limo talk about what they do, you can feel their passion.  Tears came to their eyes (and mine) when they told a recent story of facilitating a magical engagement.  You can see the joy in their smiles when they talk about driving wedding parties.  And, their pride is evident when they discuss quality control and keeping clients safe.  I asked them if they ever escorted any local celebrities. They do. I tried to get some juicy stories, but wouldn’t you know it, they abide by strict confidentiality policies for all of their clientele.

Here is a clip of my favorite story they told. I’ve never heard a more romantic engagement proposal:

This clip tells how Shawn and Andrea teamed up with Blair and Julie Drenner to start Lux Limo:

Here is a clip explaining why you should only used a licensed transportation service (don’t use a “gypsy limo”):


You can learn more about their company by following them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Lux Limo is an independent, locally owned business. Here’s why I ❤️ local businesses:

  1.  Local businesses spend more of the money they make in the local economy, making communities stronger. (See study here).
  2. These studies show that local businesses are linked to higher income growth and lower levels of poverty.
  3. Using local companies reduces the environmental impact.

#KeepAustinLocal

Sous Vide Cooking – What’s all the rage about?

 

Starbucks introduced sous vide egg bites in January, and they sell out nearly every day.  Up until a few months ago, I hadn’t ordered them because I didn’t even know what sous vide meant.  I finally tried them since I’m trying to eat less carbs, and now I understand all the hype.   They are delicious and relatively healthy.

That innocent breakfast order sucked me down a rabbit hole. There is an entire sous vide cult!  Seriously, there are sous vide message boards, sous vide magazines, entire cook books of sous vide recipes, sous vide groups, etc. Who knew?!?

So what is it?

Sous Vide RentalSous Vide is French for “Under Vacuum”. Food is put in a vacuum-sealed bag and cooked in a water bath.  It is often referred to as “precision” cooking because it comes out perfectly every time. 

My Experience

My husband and I love to cook; so, of course we wanted to try it out.  We couldn’t find one to rent and didn’t know anyone that had one; so, we ended up buying one.  (I posted it for rent on Loanables if you’re interested.)

We cooked a pork tenderloin (see recipe we followed here).  It is so easy:  seal the ingredients; set the temperature and timer; sear; enjoy!  While it was cooking, we visited with our company instead of slaving over a hot stove!  It turned out great.  What we found is that you need to season more than you would for a grill to get the same flavor, but the meat is definitely more juicy and tender.

My favorite part…

It was so easy to clean up.  Throw away the bag, dump out the water, and Voila – you’re done!

Sous Vide Pork

Here are some other recipes that we’ve tried and enjoyed:

Sous Vide Filet Mignon Recipe (You can get great quality cuts at Costco for $22.99 per pound.)

Sous Vide Egg Recipe (If you love Eggs Benedict, you will love these!)

Sous Vide Thin Cut French Fry Recipe (These are amazing.)

I love this list of 17 Foods You Didn’t Know You Could Cook Sous Vide.

Here are 2 Secret Ingredients we Love:

Adam’s Reserve House Rub for Ribs, Roast and Steaks
Sweet Baby Ray’s Honey BBQ Sauce for chicken

Have fun on your journey down the rabbit hole – we did 😉

How to Throw a Shrimp Boil

Throwing a great party means having great food.  But, sometimes the food part can be stressful – it’s either a ton of work or you have to pay someone else to do it.  I love shrimp boils because cooking the shrimp is entertainment for the guests.  My husband’s favorite past time is standing around a burner or grill and watching something cook while drinking a beer with friends. (If you have an outdoor TV, turn a game on and everyone is happy for hours).

The great news is that you don’t have to be an excellent chef to pull it off.  It’s fun and easy.

The first rule in cooking shrimp is DO NOT OVERCOOK THEM.  When they are overcooked, they are hard to peel. Also, remember when you take them out, they can continue to cook from all of the steam.

Follow these directions and they will come out perfect:

Boil the water and seasonings (we recommend Slap Ya Mama).  Add potatoes and cook for 5 minutes. Add onions and sausage and cook for an additional 15 minutes.  Add corn and cook another 10 minutes.  Add the shrimp and cook 3 minutes and then pull all the ingredients out in the strainer. Don’t cook the shrimp more than 3 minutes.  See more details here.

Where to get shrimp in Austin:

All grocery stores carry shrimp. If you are having a large party, you should preorder to make sure they have enough.  Here are our favorite places to buy shrimp in Austin:

– HEB – check the location nearest you
– Quality Seafood – on Airport Blvd.

Other Tips:

  • For easy clean-up, get some cardboard box trays (the kind that hold soft drinks).  Convenience stores will usually give them to you for free.  You can also order them here.
  • Want a refresher on the best way to peel shrimp, go here.

Stuff you may need:

Lastly, if you’re in Austin and don’t have the pot and burner, you can rent it here.

Tent Camping Near Austin

It’s summer and way too hot to go tent camping near Austin.  But, it’s NOT too early to start planning and booking spots for the fall.

Here’s a list of camping sites within an hour of Austin:

McKinney Falls State Park – within Austin city limits, you can camp, hike, bike and swim!  They have 81 campsites (starting at $20) and 6 newly remodeled cabins ($86).  It’s also a really fun place for geocaching.  (My kids LOVE this.  You can get the app on your smartphone, find the treasure with GPS coordinates, sign the log book and trade a family-friendly item with something in the cache.)

McKinney Falls

 

Pace Bend Park – enjoy beautiful, sunset views of Lake Travis.  They have 20 campsites with water and electrical hook-ups ($20) and over 400 primitive spots ($15 per vehicle). You can reserve the improved sites, but the primitive spots are on a first come, first server basis.  Make sure to visit nearby Hamilton Pool – it’s one of Austin’s most beautiful treasures. If you go May 1 – September 20, you have to make a reservation.

Hamilton Pool

 

Pedernales Falls – great mountain biking trails, plus you can tube on the river. They have 69 campsites with water and electric hook-ups ($20) and numerous primitive sites ($10).  If you are into mountain biking, this is the place to go.

Blanco State Park – fish, swim and boat.  They have 29 sites with water and electrical hook-ups (starting at $20).  They also have 7 Screened Shelters ($30) – no AC, but they have fans.   If fishing is your primary camping activity, this is the place for you.  

Palmetto State Park – called the “Central Texas Tropics” because it enjoys multiple sources of water.  You can swim, tube, fish and canoe.  They have 19 tent sites ($12) and 18 sites with water and electrical hook-ups (starting at $18). They also have a group camping area for up to 100 ($60).  The San Marcos river has a steady current with no rapids making it a favorite for those that love to canoe.

 

My 5 favorite campsite cooking recipes:

Campfire foil packs – I love these because you can make them ahead of time and then just throw them on the fire.

Cinnamon Roll Ups – The kids love these, and you can indulge since you are burning so many calories with all the activities

Camp Cooker Pizza – As you’ve guessed by now, I have kids, and what kid doesn’t love pizza?

Red Wine Marinated Hanger Steaks – If you feel like getting fancy, this recipe will not disappoint.

Fire Roasted Salmon with Herbs and Lemon – You can also use fresh fish that you catch with this one – so delicious.

Lastly, you need gear…

If you don’t have the gear, you can rent it here.

How to Build the Coolest Playhouse

It took us 2 months of working part-time on the weekends (10 days total) and about $1500 in supplies, but we built the coolest playhouse:

My kids loved it and played in it every day for at least 2 weeks (it does still get a lot of play when friends come over). Today they had a water balloon fight from it.

Here’s how it started…my sister-in-law is a super-crafty mom (the kind that makes you feel wholly inadequate but she’s so nice you can’t hate her for it).  She found this playhouse from The Handmade Home and they built it in a couple of weekends:

 

Of course when my kids saw it, they had to have it!  Here’s the problem though: my husband LOVES to build stuff but refuses to read directions!  So, we loosely followed the directions for the Handmade Hideaway and modified them as we went along.

I put all the tools we used up on Loanables to rent for $50 a month for anyone that lives in Austin.   You can find that listing here.

There are 5 parts to this project:

  1. The Deck: here are the directions.  We put the stairs on the inside of the house instead of the outside.  Also, to make it a little easier on us, we decided to use Plywood for the floors instead of decking.  Here was our deck cut list:
    • 10 – 2 x 8 x 10 (double what Handmade Hideaway calls for)
    • 4 – 2 x 8 x 8 (double what Handmade Hideaway calls for)
    • 2 – 4 x 4 x 12 corner posts cut 6′ (instead of the 3 – 4 x 4 x 8 that the Handmade Hideaway calls for)
    • 6 – 4 x 8 x 3/4 thick plywood (instead of the 22- 5/4 x 6 x 8 that the Handmade Hideaway calls for)
  2. The Walls: here are the directions.  We have 2 floors of walls. Here was our cut list for the walls:
    • 27 – 2 x 4 x 12 (11 at 5′ and 16 at 5.5′)
    • 4 – 2 x 4 x 8 (cut to 7′)
    • 1 – 2 x 4 x 10 (cut at 4′)
    • 90 cedar fence boards with the rounded tops cut off.
  3. The railings and shutters: here are the directions. This is only for 2 windows, but we have a total of 5 windows.  Two on the top level (just like the Handmade Hideaway), and 3 on the bottom level (2 just like the top, but we added one to the front). Change up the Supply List based on how many windows you decide to make.
  4. The Roof: here are the directions for the roof.  Note: we brought our roof over the entire top level. The Handmade Hideaway only covers the back half.  Therefore, you need 2 more rafters and 8 sheets of tin instead of 4.
  5. Painting and/or Staining (this was the least fun part).   I stained the outside with Behr semi-transparent Cape Cod Gray. The trim on top is just a basic exterior white.  The floor and other trim I painted the same color as the trim on our house.  It is an Exterior Behr flat paint that it is brown with a gray hue in it. Like an idiot I got rid of the empty can so I can’t tell you the exact color (nor will it be easy for me to do touchups in the future).  For the inside, I wanted the wall color to pop when looking in so I chose a turquoise.

The last thing to do was finish it out – by far my favorite part.  I bought outdoor, striped curtains on Overstock.com.  I chose the color “spa”, but there are several fun colors.   The “Admiral” blue would be really cute, too. You should be able to find one that goes with whatever color theme you already have going on outside.   (The Handmade Home also gives some good tips for how to make the curtains hang correctly on their blog.)

I really wanted something cute for the porch and found these not-too-expensive kid’s Adirondack chairs.

I put plastic table and chairs on the inside where my daughter likes to play school or do art.  Upstairs, I put some kids folding chairs and a table that we already had.  Mostly, though they like to play and yell down at whoever isn’t up there.  Here are some items I finished it out with:

Outdoor Metal Art

Outdoor Art

Slide

Side Winder Slide

Dinner Bell

Dinner Bell

Telescope

Telescope

Pirate Ship Wheel

Pirate Ship Wheel

Mailbox

Mailbox

This really was a fun project for our family, even though there were times during the project that I thought we would never finish and regretted starting it.  Now that it is done, I’m really glad we did it.  My kids are so proud of it, and they have a playhouse that they will use for a few short years and the memories that will last forever.

Playhouse Tour from Leak on Vimeo.

P.S.  Tim (my husband) and I are happy to answer any questions if you decide to take on this project.

Top 10 New Items Posted

We’ve had some awesome items posted lately so I bring you the top 10:

  1. Pongo Bongo Beer Pong Float – $10 Floatable Beer Pong Austin
  2. Stand Up Paddleboard & Gear – $20Rent SUP Austin
  3. Poker Table – $40Rent Poker Table Austin
  4. Trailer – $40 Rent Trailer Austin
  5. Walk Behind Brush Cutter – $92Rent Brush Cutter Austin
  6. Litter Vacuum – $435 Rent Litter Vaccum Austin
  7. Chipper – $96Rent Chipper Austin
  8. Chocolate Fountain – $65Rent Chocolate Fountain Austin
  9. Hot Dog Cart – $110Rent Hot Dog Cart Austin
  10. Water Slide – $269Rent Water Slide Austin

Why We Do What We Do

The U.S.A. makes up 5% of the world’s population but uses 25% of the natural resources and creates 50% of the solid waste. (Worldwatch Institute).

At Loanables, we believe that people over-consume because there is not a good alternative to buying. Our mission is to make it as easy to rent as it is to buy. We are focused on giving consumers access to the things they want without ownership.

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