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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.

Lux Limo’s Ultimate Luxury Fleet

Lux Limo is providing a killer giveaway this week with 3 hours of transportation in their “party bus on wheels” Mercedes Sprinter 14 Passenger Van. This vehicle is decked out with the latest in entertainment & technology: like multiple TVs with AppleTV, FireTV, DVD, a high-end sound system, mood & pattern lighting, free WiFi and social media capabilities. Bring your own device and plug in your custom playlist to get the party going before you’ve even left home! The refrigerated entertainment bar comes stocked with water, soda & mixers. You won’t want to get out! And one extra special privacy feature: instead of simply tinted windows to darken the image, this vehicle comes equipped with black out shades so there is no way to see from outside in!

Lux Limo offers even more luxury in their full fleet of vehicles designed to serve literally any luxury transportation need.

 

Two minibuses can transport 27 or 35 passengers.

The Lincoln Limousine is perfect for airport transfers or to add that extra special touch to your wedding send off.

And of course, the classic black car Mercedes S Class or Escalade are available to get smaller groups to their destination and arriving in style.

All vehicles come with a dedicated driver who does more than just drive. They take their client’s privacy and safety very seriously and ensure that everyone is having fun and kept safe from the moment they enter the vehicle until they have been delivered to their final location.

Do not miss out on this opportunity to be pampered in the ultimate luxury vehicle for a fantastic night out with your friends! Follow Lux Limo on Facebook & Instagram to keep up with their luxury offering!

 

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

Throwing a Great Office Party

 When it comes to office parties, one size definitely does not fit all.  Depending on Company age, lifecycle stage, culture, age of employees, etc., a great office party can mean very different things.  In addition, a great office party may mean different things as a Company evolves.  For example, a small, relatively young company may love beer pong and Karaoke while a more mature family business may like an outdoor barbecue with food and games for the whole family.  Whether its outdoor games and cotton candy or pizza, beer, and singing office parties can play an important part in a Company’s culture, creating social networks, and ultimately retaining their employees – after all, employees who have a personal connection to their co-workers are less likely to go somewhere else!

Throughout my career, I have been responsible for and involved in office party planning and I have seen great parties where people come, stay, and talk about them the next day, and I have seen horrible parties with low attendance and zero posts to Social Media.  The key to this is know the Company, the employees and the best time to throw the party – the middle of a big deadline is never a good time!

Here are a few ideas for Office Parties which may help get your party brainstorming juices flowing:

Ultimate Office PartyThe Start Up – usually filled with young, energetic people who don’t mind spending their evenings hanging out in the office with work colleagues (after all, they are there working until early morning hours anyway).  Loanables.com has a great Ultimate Office Party bundle for start up companies in Austin.  It includes everything you need for:

  • Giant Connect Four
  • Giant Jenga
  • 8 Foot Table and Supplies for Beer Pong
  • Speaker System with Microphone and Karaoke Machine
  • Margarita/Granita Machine

You can even add a bounce house, dunk tank, other giant games, tug of war, or whatever else you can dream up…and, for $100 they will deliver it straight to your office.  Add some pizza and drinks and the party is basically done!

tug of war ropeSmall Sized Family Owned Business – These business tend to have close
personal relationships among employees (often related to each other in some way).  Why not treat this as a backyard family barbecue – large or small?  You can order some Barbecue, sodas, and beer and organize a few games/activities like:

  • Tug of War
  • Foosball or ping pong tournament
  • Sack races
  • Karaoke

Loanables.com even has a Backyard BBQ Party Bundle which includes

  • White 12×12 Pop Up Canopy/Tent
  • 2 6-ft Folding Tables
  • Giant Jenga
  • Giant Checker Board
  • Tug of War Rope

They can also supply all the tables, chairs, and linens you need…and, they have a delivery option!

Young – Mature Medium to Large Sized Family Oriented Companies – Employees often want to spend their time outside of work with their families and friends so why not throw a daytime family oriented party – think “Office Carnival”.  You can rent:

  • Dunk Tank
  • Bounce House
  • Euro Bungee

Or any other big carnival things you can dream up – remember if Loanables doesn’t have something, they will find it for you – just send an email to info@loanables.com.

For food and drink, you can hire some good food trucks Pizza, Sno-cones, Corn Dogs on a Stick, etc – they drive up and do all of the food service for you!  Then, you can set up a bar and hire a bar tender, rent some tables and chairs from Loanables and you are done!

Other – what kind of Company do you work for?  Let the team at loanables.com help plan your next office party and find everything you need to rent to make it a huge success.

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 😉

3 Bachelor Party Ideas in Austin

There is no better place to celebrate the end of the bachelor era than in Austin, TX. With live music, craft breweries, great barbeque and a myriad of unique activities, no doubt you & your buddies will make it a once-in-a-lifetime trip.  Here are 3 themes to consider for an epic bachelor weekend (hint: the last one involves FIRE so read to the end).

Live Music Lovers

If your dates just so happen to align with Austin City Limits Music Festival, Formula 1, or SXSW then you’re definitely in luck for the music loving group! Outdoor music festivals are the perfect way to experience the best Austin has to offer- both in new, up & coming bands as well as your all-time favorites. Make plans for flights, accommodations and ticket purchases well in advance if this is your goal! If you’re heading to Austin on any other week(end) then plan to view a taping of ACL Live or check out do512 for a variety of music performances happening every day, all around town.

BBQ & Beer Fans

No trip to Austin is complete without some Texas barbeque and tastings from the local breweries. Sadly, Franklin BBQ on the East side of Austin is closed until further notice due to a fire earlier this year. But you can still try the la Barbecue or Kerlin BBQ, two food trucks on E. Cesar Chavez. Then check out Zilker Brewing Co. where you can visualize the brewing process and enjoy Dick Clark’s architectural genius. And stop by Hops & Grain while you are on the east side of town for a FREE tour before tasting in the taproom. Finally, don’t miss The ABGB on Oltorf which was awarded the 2016 Great American Beer Festival Brewpub of the Year.

Next, head out west to visit the iconic Salt Lick Barbecue and breathe in some fresh hill country air, flavored with smoke from the BBQ pit. Read about the beginnings of this half-century old establishment and watch Man vs. Food’s favorite feature here. Just a few miles further west you’ll find Twisted X Brewing in Dripping Springs, which specializes in Tex-Mex Beer. Jester King Brewery and Last Stand Brewing Co. are close by to complete your tastings in the rolling hills of Austin’s Hill Country.

Competition Junkies

For the group that wants to get out, be active and add a flare of competition to everything they do, Austin has some fun & unique experiences to try together. Starting down south of town, the newly opened, The Range at Austin provides the opportunity to hone your skills on the country’s “finest precision shooting range.” It will be great for a crowd of both new & experienced shooters.

Similarly, but in the opposite direction north, near The Domain shopping area, Top Golf Austin, is a unique venue for your group. It provides all the fun of a friendly wager for the longest (or most accurate) drive, while offering easy access to good food & drinks and some relief from Texas’ unbearable heat that you simply can’t get out on the typical country club course! If you haven’t been before, watch this video to get an idea of the experience. They have clubs for you, so you can enjoy without dragging your bag through the airport.

Finally, no bachelor party would be complete without some wild stories to take home. Consider stopping by Stunt Ranch to try your hand at Action Hero Training, Pyro School or even a fun game of Paintball. You can customize your experience with special effects and stunt experts to create an over the top adventure for your crew. Get more ideas from the Stunt Ranch Video Gallery.

Pro Tip: Grab Some Gear

No matter what your theme, make sure you’ve planned a couple of low-key, easy activities to enjoy while you’re back chillin’ out at your Airbnb. Loanables.com has a complete Bachelor Party Bundle that turns your house into a party with everything you need have fun in your downtime. Some late-night Beer Pong, Cards Against Humanity and Poker games are surely on the must-do list when you get the chance to get away with the guys.

Bean Bag Toss GamePoker chipsCardsLarge Ice Chest

 

 

Camping – On the Bright Side

I admit it. I am not a camper.  I love bathrooms, showers, my own big comfy bed, and most of all, 8 kid free hours every night after they all fall fast asleep.  To me, all I can think of when I think about camping is depriving myself of some of these simple pleasures.  That being said, I know that with 4 outdoors-y kids, an occasional camping trip is inevitable.

Since this month’s loanables giveaway is a camping trip (click here for details), I have decided to put on my optimist hat and consider all the positive aspects to camping.  So, here’s what I came up with:

  • A technology free vacation.  This has to be at the top of my list.  No whining about wanting to watch a video, play on a game station, or tune in to YouTube…it sounds like paradise.  Plus, it would be such a great impetus for my husband and I to turn off our phones and enjoy the great out-of-doors.
  • Cooking outside – everything tastes better when you cook it on a fire.  Hot dogs and hamburgers are my personal favorite because they taste best cooked over a campfire but if you are feeling ambitious, you can cook almost anything – pizza, veggies, shrimp, cheese dip…the sky’s the limit!  Check out this great collection of campfire recipes – some of them are making my mouth water as I type!
  • S-mores – this deserves a mention all its own. I know I can make s’mores anytime or even throw a s’mores party and rent this awesome s’mores maker but there’s just something special about sitting around a campfire singing songs and playing games and cooking marshmallow after marshmallow over an open fire.
  • Outdoor activities.  Our family loves to be outside doing just about anything – swimming, hiking, throwing a football, climbing trees, etc.  I found this list of great outdoor camping games to keep everyone entertained outside.  If you are thinking about things to bring with you on your trip, why not rent a corn hole set or giant Jenga?  These would be great entertainment at a campsite and everyone can play!
  • Time to read a book – Everyone can read their own or you can read out loud as a family.  In our house there are only 2.5 readers out of 6 of us so a family book works great.  For little kids I love A Camping Spree for Mr. Magee and Curious George Goes Camping.  Teenagers and adults alike might find some good camping reads here.  Wild or Into the Wild are two of my favorite books of all time and would be great for an outdoor trip!  Whatever your pleasure, being outside can offer a chance to relax…and how better to relax than with a great book.

And just like that, I am kind of excited about the prospect of a camping trip – talk about the art of positive thinking.  So, I guess I will have to overlook comfort and take some time to truly enjoy the things I have listed above, and, of course, my family.  I’m off to enter the giveaway!

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.

Thrifty Mom’s Guide to Halloween Costumes

Love it or hate it, we are now in September and Halloween is right around the corner. The sugar coma which begins Oct. 31st and doesn’t end until Christmas is inevitable, but our wallets don’t have to be emptied quite yet. We’ve got 4 ideas for you to save money and still have a fabulous Halloween costume this year.

DIY

We can’t begin a thrifty guide without a DIY option. Make-your-own costumes have been a staple for savvy moms since the beginning of time. This summer, at our church’s vacation bible school, they had Robot Day and kids came decked out in all sorts of homemade costumes crafted from cardboard, paper bags, and aluminum foil. Dryer vents for arms and plastic cups as antenna were popular. These costumes were practically free since the cardboard came out of the recycling bin from our most recent Amazon order and the other supplies were in the pantry. (Most things are available at the Dollar Store too!) Keep it super simple or get really technical depending on your child’s imagination and your resources. There are some awesome instructions here on PagingFunMums if you want the play by play. And, of course, Pinterest is always full of fabulous DIY costume ideas.

REUSE

Of course, dressing your child in the uniform they already have from their favorite activities is also a great way to save. Going as a ballerina or baseball player allows you to get some additional use out of old performance or game-day outfits. Plus, my kids love to re-live their “glory days” by telling friends and family about the time they were up on stage or hit that homerun!

SWAP

Many groups in our area hold costume swaps right around this time of year. My kids’ school has a costume swap in just one week so that families can exchange and pass down outfits used for our Pilgrim & Indian Thanksgiving celebration, Renaissance Day and other parties happening this fall. These are perfectly good costumes for Halloween as well.

Also, a local mom’s Facebook group is hosting an online costume swap until October 31. You snap a photo, name your price and list it for other mom’s to buy, while also checking out what is already posted that you can snag for yourself. So check out your online neighborhood group or a mom’s group and if one isn’t already planned, suggest a costume swap and see who else would like to trade for some new threads!

RENT

Some moms go all out for things like Halloween, and can even convince their husbands to join in the fun and dress up with the whole family! One such mom has listed ALL of her families past costumes on Loanables.com and they are available to rent for only $5 each!! When someone prides themselves in finding the perfect theme and even holds on to these costumes for years to come, I am astonished, but say “Thank you! I’ll go ahead and rent that…and that…and that!” So I don’t have to work nearly so hard myself!

 

Hopefully these tips have launched your imagination for inexpensive ways to deck the kids out this year. If you’re inspired to make some money and help another thrifty mom out, dig out those old costumes and post them for rent on Loanables so we can all share and save some cash!

Everyone Screams for an Ice Cream Party

I love parties (and planning them) but there just aren’t enough days in the year to plan and throw all the parties I want to.  This week, I decided to focus on a party that won’t take up too much precious party planning time – an ice cream party!

With an ice cream party, the food and entertainment collide making it an easy party to plan or even to throw together at the last minute.  All you need is the tools and ingredients to make the ice cream, some bowls to serve it in, and the accompaniments to make sundaes and banana splits galore!  Loanables.com has a great Ice Cream Party Bundle for rent which includes everything you need for your party.  It includes an ice cream maker, Ben and Jerry’s book of recipes, an Ice cream scoop, and a waffle cone maker.  There is even an option to purchase an Ultimate Toppings Kit which makes throwing a party super easy!

On top of the bundle, you may want to do Invitations, decorations, and a game (to play during any waiting time or when the guests are done eating their ice cream).  Below are some easy ideas (if you are ambitious you can do even more – I have seen some pretty over the top ice cream parties!):

Invitations

In today’s world, most people use Evite, Paperless Post, etc. to invite guests and luckily these sites have loads of online Ice Cream party invite options – check these out!  But, if you just love a paper invite, there are lots of options for that as well.   Check out these really cute printables.  Or, if you are feeling really crafty, you can make your own – how cute are these? or these?  And there are plenty more great ideas on Pinterest so browse away … but don’t forget, the invites are not the fun part of the party.

Decorations

I think of colorful paper goods when I think of Ice Cream parties.  There are a million ideas on Pinterest for decorating for the cutest party ever.  Here are just a few.  I say keep it simple and let the toppings act as part of the decor.

Some staples that will make your party cute without breaking the bank and creating extra waste are:

  • Tablecloth – any bright color will do but I think of pink when I think of ice cream parties!
  • Napkins – pair these with some plain napkins in bright coordinating colors.
  • Bowls, spoons, etc. – this set comes with bowls and spoons and if you are ambitious you could even reuse them!
  • Balloons – they are great for adding color and make a great favor at the end of the party.
  • I also LOVE this Ice Cream truck – you could turn it into a party photo booth (think extra activity and memory maker) and kids would play with it all year – it could easily double as a birthday present for a birthday party.  You could even repurpose an old appliance box and make your own, even better!

Party Games

The options are endless – you can stick with the ice cream theme or just pick games you love to play.  Here are some ideas:

  • Pin the cherry on the ice cream cone – this one on Etsy is super-cute but you can easily make your own just like it if you have some spare time.
  • Create and name your own Ice Cream Flavor – have each person (or team) use toppings, extract, or whatever to create unique flavors and name them.  Then have a taste test and vote on the best, worst, and most creative!
  • Taste test – buy a bunch of flavors and have a blindfold test – see who can name each flavor correctly.
  • Ice Cream Bingo – here‘s a great print and play version.
  • Ice Cream Eating Contest – see who can eat the most in a minute.

Or, why not combine your ice cream party with some fantastic outdoor games by renting the Birthday Party Picnic Bundle or the Outdoor Movie Bundle from loanables.com?  The Birthday Party Picnic bundle  even comes with an egg and spoon race game – wouldn’t it be fun (and a lot less messy) to substitute cherries for the eggs?

This is really just a starting point.  You could take this and create the diy party of the year or just rent the bundle once a month and have a standing ice cream party…you can’t lose because after all, EVERYONE screams for Ice Cream!!!