If there are two meals you don’t want to miss, it’s these two: Swift’s Attic Wild Hog Dinner benefitting Operation Turkey and Lost Pines Nursery Benefit Dinner. Here are the details you need to know!
Let’s start with a sustainably-sourced Wild Hog Dinner featuring skilled chefs from WuChow, Eberly and Swift’s Attic. This no rules dinner allows the chefs to make whatever they fancy utilizing wild hog from a sustainable hunt with Michael Moore of River Bottom Trackers. Produce is also sourced from local farms for a true farm-to-table experience.
Who Brian Tolbert, Executive Director of Operation Turkey, began this dinner series about 5 years ago. His original dinner featured seafood, wild-caught by hand (his hands!) during a fishing trip to Alaska and has continued to feature sustainably sourced proteins.
What 5-course, family-style dinner along with donated wines, tequila and live music performed by Big Britches.
Where Swift’s Attic, 3rd & Congress
When Sunday, March 4, 5-9pm, dinner served at 6pm
Why All proceeds benefit Operation Turkey through which every dollar is used for food or food preparation as the organization is 100% volunteer-operated. Last year, 5,000 volunteers worked from 8am until noon on Thanksgiving Day to provide 8,000 Thanksgiving meals in Austin alone. Countless more were fed through Operation Turkey’s volunteer groups in surrounding Austin areas as well as Dallas, Houston, Lubbock, and outside of Texas in Colorado, Georgia, New Mexico and North Carolina. To learn more about how you can volunteer, sign up for informational emails here.
Pro-tip (from the Hunter) You get the best meat by sourcing animals from a place where they have the highest quality diet. For example, many hogs can be found feeding on acorns all day long, but the hogs used for this dinner live in wheat fields, producing a much higher quality protein.
Next, brought to you by a team of acclaimed culinary and botany masters, The Lost Pines Nursery Benefit Dinner at Barr Mansion is an unparalleled opportunity to experience farm-to-table fare with the Farmer-in-Residence, Christian Drake, walking guests through the courses from his unique botanical perspective.
Who Botanists Christian Drake & Ben McMurray have taken on the task of revitalizing Bastrop’s historic nursery. Chefs Jessica Ximenes of Barr Mansion & Bethany DiBaggio of La Pera have curated and designed the evening’s meal.
What The Lost Pines Nursery Dinner at Barr Mansion & Artisan Ballroom will feature a prix fixe menu focused on items grown in the nursery. Don’t miss out on the plant auction!
Where Barr Mansion & Artisan Ballroom 10463 Sprinkle Rd. Austin, TX 78754
When Wednesday, March 7, 6:30-9:30pm
Why Be part of revitalizing Lost Pines Nursery while treating yourself to a special evening. The goal of the evening is to raise capital to begin operations and spread awareness of the nursery’s re-opening to serve the Austin area and beyond in Central Texas. Drake & McMurray have a culinary farming focus and are utilizing unique agricultural solutions like special watering techniques and soil-nutrient mixtures that work together to create the highest quality plant. While they are starting with tomatoes, they will broaden the scope to include both exotic and native plants.
Pro-tip (from the Farmer) Have you ever noticed how some of those tomatoes from the grocery store don’t seem to have much tomato flavor at all? That’s because farms that supply grocery stores over water the plants in order to create the highest yield or poundage. Well, if you stop watering tomatoes as soon as they turn red, you may see a lower yield, but you will have the tastiest tomatoes ever!
I have 3 friends either building a home or completely remodeling a home right now. Listening to all of the decisions that have to be made on a daily basis is overwhelming. There are hundreds of options with every choice you have to make (Do you want tile or hardwood floors? Seems simple enough until you answer that question only to find there are hundreds of choice either way you go). It can be overwhelming and make the whole process of building a house draining. The similarities to planning a large event are staggering.
People call me and they have a simple question like, “how much does it cost to rent dinnerware?” I want to give a straight, simple answer, but the answer is dependent upon so many different things. What you choose to rent is probably different than what the next person I talk to will choose. With that said, there are some general guidelines you can use for budgeting purposes. Please keep in mind this is an over-simplification just to get you started with budgeting. I chose a common range of prices – there are ALWAYS more expensive options when you start customizing.
|Red Wine Glass||$0.55||$0.95||$2.25|
|White Wine Glass||$0.55||$0.95||$2.25|
|Coffee Cup Saucer||$0.50||$0.60||$0.95|
Total Per Person
Total Per Person
I’ve worked with several people who have chosen to just get the Dinner Plate, Beverage Glass, Wine Glass, Dinner Fork, Dinner Knife, Spoon. (I actually prefer this approach unless it is a very formal event). So…on the low end, you can expect to pay about $3 per person for plain white china or glass with stainless still flatware. On the very high-end, you are looking at about $28 per person for gold or silver-rimmed china with silver-plated flatware and crystal stemware.
I really think planning a party should be fun.
“The pleasure isn’t in doing the thing, the pleasure is in planning it.”
― John Green,
I’m on a mission to make this quote true 😉
Here are a couple of other relevant blogs I’ve written:
Let me know what you think or what other topics you’d like me to cover.
SXSW dominates the scene in Austin during the month of March, but there are many other local events to get excited about as well! Let’s start it off with something fun for the whole family…
This is one of Austin’s incredible FREE events. Did you know it is the nation’s oldest kite festival? Brought to you by ABC Home and Commercial Services, the day is filled with kite making, kite flying & kite contests! But wait, there’s more! MossFest, a children’s music concert, a fun run and, of course, great food are all staples at this long-standing event. Proceeds from the day are gifted to Communities in Schools of Central Texas and the Moss Pieratt Foundation. What a great reason to get out and enjoy the day at Zilker Park!
There is so much to do at this year’s SXSW event. From music to emerging tech talks to film and fashion, it is hard to decide what to attend. Here are just a couple of events we are excited about:
BBQ Crash Course: sampling some of Texas’ best barbecue with a chance to meet the pitmasters, at Southbites Trailer Park
AI: Transforming Luxury, Fashion and Beauty: a panel discussion about the future of fashion with AI, at the Four Seasons
Think VC: The Value of Women Investing in Women: a panel discussion about increasing the number of female early stage investors, at the Hilton
Cindy Y. Log (Red Velvet Events): mentor session by one of Austin’s best event planners, at the JW Marriott
Just Press Go: Waymo’s Self-Driving Cars Are Here: CEO John Krafcik shares about the 9 years and 4 million miles that brought the reality of self-driving cars to Arizona and soon to a city near you, at the Austin Convention Center
The Travis County Expo Center is home to Rodeo Austin. Two solid weeks are packed with live music, fair games & food and, of course, the rodeo and stock show. Our favorite rodeo pastime is watching Mutton Bustin’ in which aspiring cowboys and cowgirls (ages 6-8) get 6 seconds to hang on to a sheep for dear life! Signups for your son or daughter to participate are already full but you can still enjoy the show and get them mentally prepared for next year.
This acrobatic comedy has all the components of the perfect western- a lover’s tale, folk music from the likes of Johnny Cash & Patsy Cline and a motley crew with great stories of fortune and folly. See this original western musical on stage at The Long Center. Tickets start at just $29 and the show is appropriate for all ages. Watch a clip of the show here.
Austin lifestyle expert and designer Katie Kime will be designing the runway for the 10th anniversary of Austin Fashion Week. Catch the main live show on March 29th along with soirees at local stores March 31-April 4. The week long event concludes April 5-7 with nightly runways from designers across the country.
Did we miss your favorite March event? Let us know so we can spotlight it!
I went to Target yesterday to get mascara and sat on the make-up aisle just staring at all of the choices. I didn’t want to choose between long, curly, luscious, or thick. I wanted all of those things. There were so many choices, I ended up leaving without mascara. I went home and ordered the last one I had purchased off Amazon. It’s not even one that I love, but it was easier than choosing a new one.
Did you know there is an actual psychological effect dubbed The Paradox of Choice? Barry Schwartz wrote a best-selling book about it. The gist is: we all want choices, but in today’s consumer-driven marketplace, there are too many choices, which is often paralyzing.
I see this paralyzation frequently when someone planning a party needs to rent a tent. There are different types, sizes, structures. It’s overwhelming. Trying to figure out the size tent you need is akin to sitting in high school algebra class – it’s definitely not the most fun part of planning your event.
I’ve put together a chart and some general guidelines to get you started with your planning. And if math isn’t your thing, email email@example.com. We are happy to do the drudgery for you.
|# of Guests
|# of Guests at
Cost to Rent
|10×10||100||15||10 people at 1 tables||$50 – $150|
|20×20||400||68||40 people at 4 tables||$280 – $350|
|20×30||600||90||60 people at 6 tables||$400 – $550|
|20×40||800||100||80 people at 8 tables||$520 – $650|
|30×30||900||125||90 people at 9 tables||$600 – $700|
|30×60||1800||245||180 people at 18 tables||$900 – $1400|
|40×60||2400||342||240 people at 24 tables||$1600 – $1850|
|40×80||3200||450||320 people at 32 tables||$2100 – $2500|
Feet Needed Each
|48″ Round Table (seats 6-8)||80|
|60″ Round Table (seats 10)||100|
|72″ Round Table (seats 12)||120|
|6′ Rectangle Banquet Table (seats 8)||80|
|8′ Rectangle Banquet Table (seats 10)||90|
|Dance Floor||2-4 per guest|
And if figuring out the size wasn’t enough, you also need to figure out the style of tent you want…
|Pole||Secured with stakes – can’t be used on concrete or asphalt. Poles create peaks and dips which makes it look very elegant|
|Frame||Free standing so can be set up on any surface. There are no poles inside so you don’t have to worry about planning or decorating around those|
|Marquee||Hybrid of the pole and frame tent. They give you the elegant peaks of the pole tent but are free standing like the frame tent|
|Frame Structure||Has wider openings and taller ceilings than the standard frame tent. Can support more weight than other types of tents, and has tighter fitting sections and walls, making it the best option for heating and air-conditioning|
Check out this blog for inspiration. It shows pictures of several different types of tents – all gorgeous!
We had to make room for guests tables, buffet table, bar and dance floor. To stay within budget, we selected to go with the pole tent (usually the most economical). Here’s how the math worked out:
We needed a total of 1600 square feet so we went with a 30 x 60 tent. The cost for the tent was $750. A frame tent would have cost about $1,100.
Hopefully this gives you a good starting point. If you have questions, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
When is it best to do a live auction? What about a silent auction? Or a raffle? How do I decide which one, two, or three of these options will work best for me?
These are just a few of the most commonly asked questions from people planning fundraising events. While all of these options have their advantages, it is important to carefully evaluate your event to determine which is going to be the best fit for your audience, your auction items, and your fundraising venue.
Below are some things to consider when trying to decide the best fundraising option for your charity or organization’s next event.
1 – Silent auctions are a good option if the auction is being held as part of another event – an annual dinner or the like. In these situations, a silent auction can be conducted in a side room or in a corner of the event space.
2 – Silent auctions are ideal for charity/benefit events that have a lot of items to sell.
3 – Silent auctions are ideal for low-mid-priced items.
4 – Silent auctions work better for items that need to be observed or examined up close.
4 – Silent auction items typically sell for about 50% of their value. This is important to consider in your fundraising goals
Live auctions are often seen as more fun than silent auctions because they get everyone involved and, if done right, captivate the audience for a short period of time. When trying to decide whether to do a live auction, you should consider the following:
1 – What kinds of items will you be auctioning off? Live auctions are typically reserved for high ticket items – a ski cabin for a week in Colorado, expensive artwork, a car etc. but sometimes include items that just pull on the audience’s heartstrings – for example, a puppy or kitten.
2 – How much time will be dedicated to a live auction? Benefit auctions should encompass no more than 40 minutes in the live auction as guests begin to grow impatient which causes bidding to slow down or stop.
3 – Given that it takes approximately 3 minutes for a professional auctioneer to sell an item, you should have no more than 10 – 12 live auction items to stick to the 40 minute timeline consider a minute to move between items.
4 – Do you have resources to get a professional auctioneer? This is essential to capturing the audience’s attention and getting the most money for the items on auction.
5 – Live auction items will usually sell for close to or above their value, another important thing to consider in your fundraising goals.
There is always a question about whether or not to add raffle items or conduct a raffle rather than a silent auction. Some things to consider are:
1 – How many people will be attending the event? If the numbers are large, it may be better to put most of your items in the silent auction, but if attendance will be low or most people are not expected to participate in a silent auction, a raffle may be more appropriate.
2 – How many volunteers do you have? It takes far fewer volunteers to coordinate a raffle than an auction.
3 – How many tickets can you sell? If you plan to conduct the raffle before as well as during the event, you need to consider how you will sell the tickets and how many you think you can sell. A raffle is only lucrative if you can sell lots of tickets!
4 – There are IRS regulations concerning raffles. When you do a raffle, you must get any winner of a prize worth $600 or more to compete a W-2G (gambling winnings form). For larger prizes you are required to withhold a percentage for federal income taxes.
5 – Higher value prizes and larger numbers of prizes (and winners) may make your raffle more appealing, and therefore, make people more likely to buy tickets! This is important to consider when determining what you will place in your raffle vs. an auction.
Below is a very simple graphic showing how you might decide on the best option for your event. Keep in mind that this does not take into account venue size. This should really be your first decision point as you can be limited by your venue. Also, if you have a lot of items you may choose to do a combination of silent and live auctions keeping in mind that you don’t want a live auction to last too long but you make significantly more money selling the same item in a live auction than you would selling it in a silent auction.
In reality, many events tend to be a blend of a silent and live auction with the option to buy a few raffle tickets for one or two key items.
Attendees are often invited to purchase raffle tickets prior to the event and then again at the door. They also may receive a ticket or two as part of their admission ticket. The events then start with a silent auction allowing guests to enjoy a cocktail and bid on smaller items thus warming them up for the live auction.
This format invites participation as some may be attending the event as a spectator but happy to contribute by way of buying a few raffle tickets, others may be more comfortable with a silent auction and less likely to get into the competitive live auction bidding, and a few may be there for the excitement of the live auction.
Whatever you decide to do, your will be much more successful if you spend some time in the early stages of your event planning process considering your fundraising goal, the size and shape of your venue, the event format, and the types of items you will be giving away/selling.
When you want the inside scoop on an upcoming event, it is best to start with the source. We reached out to Kelly Hyde, chair of this year’s Unmasked Gala, and she took a few moments to share her story and the passion behind her involvement with Wonders & Worries.
In college, both Kelly & her husband pursued studies to prepare themselves for careers in medicine. They took the required classes at the University of Texas, studied and passed the MCAT, and began looking into medical schools. Along the way, they decided to prioritize family over having both of them pursue this career, so Kelly made what she now knows was the best decision for balance and happiness through the tough medical training years and decided to focus on raising their children. As it turned out, this decision also allowed her to develop another passion, culinary arts. Kelly was able to hone her skills and make some extra money while her husband went through medical school and residency by catering lunches at physicians’ offices in Galveston and Clear Lake, and when her husband’s fellowship moved them to Lexington, Kentucky, she went on to work as the head cook and baker at the Gift Box Tea Room. Ultimately, they returned to Austin, where Kelly graduated from the Escoffier School of Culinary Arts and provided personal chef services for several families in Westlake. All while raising her four children– talk about a strong, smart and powerful woman!
Kelly first heard about Wonders & Worries through her involvement with the Travis County Medical Alliance (TCMA), a group that helps foster social networks for the families of medical professionals, among other goals. In Kelly’s case, the organization accomplished just that when she found a kindred spirit in Meredith Cooper, co-founder of Wonders & Worries. She has now been involved on the board for two years and has taken on more responsibility by chairing the committee for the 2018 annual event, Unmasked. The gala committee is comprised of both past participants in the organization as well as those who learned about the organization through friends, like Kelly. They meet regularly with the goal of spreading the word, making the plans, divvying up the work and raising funds to support Wonders & Worries.
Kelly shared that Wonders & Worries helps children with parents suffering from any life-threatening illness, not just cancer. One story at this year’s event will feature a mother of four who is a heart transplant patient. This type of situation is of particular interest to Kelly, as her husband is now a practicing heart surgeon. Wonders & Worries provides support and services to these families as a way to help them navigate the unknown journey of a parent facing a life-threatening illness. It offers services free of charge regardless of financial need so that families going through these difficult situations are not given one more decision to weigh based on finances. Kelly explained that parents are often dealing with their own roller coaster of a changing diagnosis and Wonders & Worries equips them with how to explain things to their children, like what it will be like in the hospital. Wonders & Worries provides individual and group sessions, along with family fun events and parent resources.
This year’s gala will help spread awareness to friends, family and physicians but the extra-special surprise of the soiree is being kept tightly under wraps– perhaps you could say, behind the mask. 😉 We do know there will be a fabulous meal complimented by signature cocktails and wine service, an entertaining live auction led by Cowboy Auctioneers, and after-party entertainment including the spinning styles of DJ Gatsby. You’ll have to attend to experience the full unveiling of Unmasked!
Get tickets for the February 23rd event here.
Looking for a fabulous night out while giving back to the Austin Community? Consider attending the CASAblanca Gala benefitting CASA of Travis County on February 3, 2018 at the JW Marriott in downtown Austin.
If you know anything about CASA, you know just how much they do for kids in our community. If you don’t know anything about CASA, you should definitely take a minute to familiarize yourself with this incredible organization.
CASA’s mission is to promote and protect the best interest of children who have been abused or neglected by training volunteers to advocate for them in the courts, in schools, and in our community to help them find safe, permanent, and loving homes. Currently, CASA serves all children ages 5 and over with court appointed special advocates. Through this year’s CASAblanca Gala, their hope is to be able to add enough volunteers and funding to expand that offering to children ages 2-5 who also need this service.
Victoria Young, Events Manager for CASA, has been working with this year’s magnificent gala chair, Donna Bell, and honorary chair, Catherine Sansbury as well as the gala committee to organize this year’s event entitled “creating brighter futures”. This year marks the 25th anniversary of the gala and will include uniquely told stories of the children whose lives have been impacted by the wonderful work at CASA. It will be moving and inspiring to all who attend.
In addition to the narratives, there will be live music by The Eggmen, performances by Violet Crown Collective, and a Verbena bloom bar with corsages, boutonnieres and other flower adornments for attendees. In addition, there will be mystery boxes featuring Kendra Scott jewelry, a live and silent auction (get a sneak peak of what you can win on the event home page here), bling from Diamonds Direct (who will get to take home the real deal?), and a casino after party. It is definitely an event not to be missed.
So, what are you waiting for? Round up your friends and get your tickets to this fabulous event today. And if you are thinking about volunteering as a CASA advocate yourself, consider this from long time volunteer, K. Brown. “I would say if you have a love for children and basic human rights, then CASA is for you. It will be tough at first and you’ll give your entire heart to each child, but when you form that bond and become their advocate, you have officially changed that child’s life. There is no greater reward than protecting and defending a child from the abuse they have endured.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
You could also go with a pool table. The idea here was to give the guests more to do while keeping the 80s vibe.
I always love before and after pictures. Check these out:
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:
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.
We all love the truly Austin tradition of the festive trees decorated along Highway 360, but those decorations need to be cleaned up now that the holidays are over. 70+ volunteers are needed to join Keep Austin Beautiful from 9-11am on Jan. 6th to restore the natural beauty of this iconic highway. Meet at 7700 N Capital of TX Highway to pick up supplies and meet back at the same location for an appreciation party complete with treats at the end! Volunteers are asked to wear brightly colored clothing and bring a reusable water bottle. Learn more and register on their website.
Each year, Ballet Austin offers a free day of fitness and pilates to celebrate health & wellbeing. Kick start your 2018 goals and try something new like Bollywood Fitness, Pilates Reformer or CardioFUNK. Tons of trial classes and free healthy living presentations will take place between 1-4:30pm on Jan. 14th at their downtown location. Registration is not required but is encouraged to stay informed about event information.
Don’t miss the award winning Broadway musical, Finding Neverland, when it comes to Bass Concert Hall this month! It tells the story behind the beloved character of Peter Pan. For an unique meet & greet experience, join the company members for a free Brown Bag Lunch on Wednesday, Jan. 17th from 11am-noon at the Austin Parks & Recreation Senior Activity Center- Lamar location.
Austin Smiles has been working to create smiles and improve lives for over 30 years in Latin America and the Central Texas region. This year’s annual gala invites you to don your traditional cowboy hat & boots to advance the cause at the UT Alumni Center. Don’t miss the live auction, raffle, live music & more!
Join Stacie & Craig Falls at this year’s Imagine Gala. This annual event benefits the area of greatest need at Dell Children’s Medical Center and includes a cocktail reception, dinner and program. There will be a spectacular live auction and special patient story shared followed by dancing and casino fun!
This month, we’ve teamed up with local, Austin company Hop N Party for a giveaway of a bounce house rental for a full day of fun. We rent a lot of bounce houses through Loanables so we knew our community would love it. What’s not to love? Air it up, add a cake and you’ve got a party!
Last Friday, we met the owners of Hop N Party, David Hieronymus and his dog, Levi, to announce the giveaway on Facebook live. When you get the chance to meet David, you will immediately love him. His military background has clearly impacted the way he runs his business. He and his staff are reliable and responsible. He has a commitment to safety, ensuring that his business is properly insured to serve & protect you and your family on party day. I have rented from him several times – the service is always professional and the bounce house looks brand new (he says he replaces them every 3 years). He has a 5 star rating on yelp after 64 reviews! In this video clip we asked him about that:
During the interview, we fell in love with cute, little Levi. You can hear more about his role at the company here:
Since we love entrepreneurs, we had to ask about how he got started:
And finally here are some quotes from his customers:
All of these reasons are why we chose Hop N Party for our December giveaway. Win a free, full day bounce house rental and your kids will hop through the holidays and into the new year with extra spring in their step! Throw a last-minute holiday office party or add a little bubbly for the adults and celebrate the beginning of the New Year. Or, just make it through the school break by entertaining the kids in the neighborhood for the day. You’ll be the coolest house on the block for sure!