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Throwing a Fantastic 4th of July Party


Holidays give us a chance to get together with friends and families, eat, tell stories, create memories, and celebrate! One of my favorite holidays is the 4th of July – it is fairly low key with kids out of school, the lazy days of summer, and often the entertainment provided by means of your local fireworks display.

When planning an annual 4th of July bash for our family and friends, I always keep in mind the 3 F’s (which I actually apply to all parties) – Food, Folks, and Fun. If you get the 3 F’s right, your party is sure to be a success.

Food

When I think of 4th of July, I think of potlucks, barbecues, and good American staples – hot dogs, hamburgers, watermelon, vegetables and dip, and Jello. Since I am from the Southwest, I always throw in chips and guacamole. In fact, I add guacamole to pretty much every meal, holiday or not.

Below are a couple of my go-to recipes which are a perfect addition to your 4th of July meal.

12 Layer Jello

I make this Jello for every holiday and change up the flavors to get the color combinations I want. For example, at Christmas I use red and green, at Thanksgiving I use orange and yellow, and for the 4th of July it’s red, white, and blue! It is always a hit with grown ups and kids alike!

Ingredients:

  • 6 (3oz) boxes of Jello in flavors/colors of your choice – for 4th of July I like Strawberry or Cherry and Berry Blue
  • 1 8oz container (227 grams) Sour Cream

Directions:

  1. Choose the color of Jello you want on the bottom layer of your Jello
  2. Add 1 Cup Boiling water to your first box of Jello and stir until Jello is dissolved
  3. Divide Jello in 1/2
  4. Add 2 Tbsp sour cream to one 1/2 of the Jello and stir until smooth
  5. Pour into a 9″ x 13″ pan
  6. Refrigerate for 25 minutes
  7. Pour the remaining 1/2 of your first color of jello over the top of the chilled layer
  8. Refrigerate for 25 minutes
  9. Repeat process for the remaining 5 boxes of Jello alternating colors
  10. When the Jello is done and chilled, cut into squares and serve


Guacamole

I love guacamole as does everyone in my family and during the spring and summer when the avocados are best, I make a batch pretty much every day. When friends and extended family come over they always say “I love your guacamole!” which is pretty funny given that I keep it really simple and rely on the avocados for the flavor.  Here’s my “not so secret” guacamole recipe.

Ingredients:

  • Avocados – I usually use 5-6 for a party but the recipe can easily be adjusted for number of guests/guacamole eaters. Normally I buy my avocados from Costco and they come in a bag of 5 or 6. If you do shop at Costco, however, make sure to buy them 4-5 days in advance and leave them out on the counter to ripen up. As soon as they are ripe throw them in the refrigerator. If you don’t shop at Costco, look for large Haas avocados at your local grocery store.
  • Green Onions – I figure 2 onions per avocado but this may depend on the size of your onions.
  • Lemon juice (or lime juice if you prefer) – I actually buy my lemon juice in a bottle at the grocery store but if you prefer fresh lemons, you will probably only need 1. I use about 1 Tablespoon of lemon juice and then add more to taste. Really the lemon juice helps keep the guacamole from turning brown too quickly. You can also add the pit of one avocado to your prepared guacamole which also helps stop browning.
  • Salt to taste
  • Chile Powder to taste

Directions:

  1. Slice avocados in 1/2 and remove pits. Scoop pulp into a bowl.
  2. Finely chop 1-2 green onions per avocado and add to bowl.
  3. Squeeze 1/2 – 1 Tbsp of lemon juice into bowl.
  4. Add a fair amount of salt. I start with 8 good turns of my sea salt grinder.
  5. Add about 1/2 Tbsp of chile powder.
  6. Smash avocados and mix with the rest of the ingredients.  Taste and add lemon juice, salt, and chile powder as necessary.

If the avocados are in season and perfectly ripe, they do the work with the other ingredients helping to bring out the flavor.

Serve with your favorite tortilla chips or veggies – I love guacamole on carrots – and make sure to reserve some for your burgers!

If you are looking for a way to add some American pride to your food, you can always add some American Flag Toothpicks to your burgers, dogs, and/or Jello.  They are available on Amazon here.

And, if you want to add some extra fun treats to your party, consider renting a cotton candy machine or popcorn machine. Popcorn and cotton candy are two of my kids’ favorite treats and adding them to your menu really makes it seem like a party!

Folks

Who

I always try to remember that the right combination of party guests is key to party success. We all know there are certain people who are easy to have around and others who are a bit more high maintenance. I find that sometimes the higher maintenance guests force me to up my game a bit and make the party extra special. Plus, they often add an extra flair to your party and some memories you won’t forget.

As a mom of 4 kids ages 2, 4, 6, and 8 I know that everyone in our house has a playmate…until we invite a friend or two that are the same ages as some (but not all) of my kids. For this reason, I always consider having a friend for no one or a friend for everyone. The right combination of guests can make my life as a host a lot easier and more enjoyable.

How Many

Besides who you invite, consider how many guests you would like to have at your party. Are you looking to host an all out bash or a small, intimate get together?  Here are some things to consider:

  1. How much food are you planning to have? Potlucks and catered events work well with bigger parties but if you are planning to cook everything yourself, you may want to limit your numbers if you don’t want to be cooking for a week before.
  2. What kind of entertainment (aka “Fun”) are you providing? Will everyone be able to participate in the activities if you have big crowds vs a small get together?

Fun

What kinds of entertainment are you planning to provide? Fireworks are a 4th of July staple and they are something you don’t need to plan yourself. Here is a list of the best Fireworks displays in Austin.

Aside from public fireworks displays, you may want to consider sparklers, party snaps, or other small fireworks at home. Remember to read the instructions and make safety a primary focus when using fireworks at home, especially with children.

At our house, we always have some kind of water fun and/or bounce houses for the kids. One of our favorites is the bounce house/water slide combo to keep everyone busy and cool during the summer party hours. Loanables can find you exactly what you are looking for at the best price for your 4th of July bash.

In addition to fireworks and bounce houses, why not try an outdoor game like giant twister, giant jenga, corn hole, giant connect 4…the sky’s the limit. At our house we often split into teams and have a big playoff – the winner after several games gets a prize (or doesn’t have to help clean up). This helps get everyone involved in the games and gets any spectators cheering. There are several rental options for outdoor games so if you don’t have these at home, check out Loanables.com to get ideas and reserve your event rentals.

Food, Folks, & Fun

So, there you have it. Food, folks, and fun (and a little thought and preparation) – if you get these right, you are sure to have a fun and memorable 4th of July!

 

 

 

5 Event Trends in 2018

Anyone in the event world knows that events, like everything else, are a sign of the times. Current values on Unique Venues, Going Local, Creating Memories, Going Green, and Technology are here and are taking the event world by storm. Halfway through 2018, we are seeing these 5 trends emerge and everyone should take note of them when planning their next event.

Trend #1: Unique venues

Forever gone are the days when events were confined to four walls. The demand for non-traditional spaces has grown and a hotel or traditional conference center is no longer enough.

Ideally, venues should make an impression immediately, even before one sets foot on the location. We hear all the time that people are attending an event because they haven’t been to a specific venue or seen a certain space.

To get guests excited about attending your event, choose an unusual setting that also reflects the personality, values, and purpose of the event. These are those venues that integrate an experiential aspect to events. These include unique places like castles, museums, and boathouses.

For a list of utterly cool and unique venues, check out our Top 10 Event Spaces for Rent in Austin blog.

Trend #2: Going Local

When we talk about going local, we mean more than just the food. The entire event should be infiltrated with local flavor. Some examples of “Going Local” are:
  • Making sure the location is part fo the event’s attraction.  Consider guided tours, dinners, receptions, and more to showcase the best of the event’s locale.
  • Supplying gifts and souvenirs which are characteristic of the location and made locally where possible.
  • Allowing event goers the opportunity to document their experiences as a memory and send some “wish you were here” messages to those who could not attend.
  • And, then there is the food. Where possible it should be sourced locally, prepared by a local chef, and be authentic to the event location.

Trend #3: Creating Memories

Providing an amazing experience that is memorable may seem like an obvious goal for any event, but it can never be overstated. Attendees need to come away having had a brilliant time and in no doubt as to why they were there.

In order to help attendees create more memories, consider customizing your event for each guest. Digital photo walls with real time photo displays, Tweet walls, LED displays, crowd-responsive lighting, etc. Or, varied activities and amenities that will appeal to guests differently. These things can help ensure each guest has his or her own unique take-aways from the event.

Another sure fire way to create a lasting memory is to give each guest a gift from the event. A photo booth picture, a prize won during an event game, or a bottle of local brew. There are really no rules, just something to ensure guests remember and hopefully cherish.

 

Trend #4: Going Green

With all the negative effects of our unsustainable practices are now coming back to haunt us, sustainability on the upward trend.

One of the most common ways to foster sustainable events is to go paperless. Use digital replacements like apps and emails instead of sending out paper invitations or handing out paper materials such as brochures, schedules, and more. If you just can’t avoid using paper, think about using recyclable, recycled or reusable materials instead.

Social responsibility doesn’t stop with simply becoming eco-friendly. You can also include the following activities when thinking about creating a sustainable event:

  • Support local businesses by using them as suppliers for your events. This generates job and income for locals and can help with the mission to “Go Local”, too.
  • Integrate charitable activities into the event, and give back to the local community this way.

And, just to bring the whole “going green” point home, consider green foliage as a backdrop for your event. The trend to decorate with foliage has been around for a few years now and has never disappointed. So look out for stunning garlands, walls and even hoops. We have a feeling it is going to be big and sticking around for a while.

Trend #5: Technology

Technology can be used to both ease and enhance the event experience. Used well, technology can help accomplish all of the aforementioned trends: enhance engagement by creating unique experiences, bringing in local experiences and flavors, creating memories, and making the event more sustainable.

It can also help connect people, create common ground, and shape the course of an event. Imagine an event where people from all over the world come together. Handing out name badges and wine really isn’t going to get the party started, but, you can use technology to encourage interaction. Apps, gamification, RFID, and virtual reality activities are all ways to do this.

Other technology trends that have been around but that are becoming increasingly prevalent are:

  • Virtual speakers at a corporate event, or virtual toasters at a wedding. While we already do this to some extent with screens, a 3D visualization adds a certain depth to the speaker’s virtual presence.
  • Live footage of the event allowing those who could not attend to feel like they are part of the party or event.
  • Host digital hangouts that add a new dimension to networking and interaction. These hangouts can be accessed at any time during the event to engage other participants, speakers, and virtual audiences right from your device.

Take Note

So there you have it, these are the 2018 event trends which are pushing the industry forward and changing the way we think about event planning. If you are planning an event, be an innovator of the industry by taking a close look at each of the above trends and see which ones you can implement to make your next event as memorable and impactful as possible.

3 Things Every Summer Event in Austin Should Have

As much as I love Austin, I hate the summer heat. My dream is to leave for the 3 hottest months every year (July, August and September). I’m a little worried this year because we don’t usually get over 100 degrees until July, but this year we got there in May. Since I’m here, I like to make the best of it by attending events or small get togethers.

Summer events are always fun because people don’t have as hectic of schedules and normally aren’t over-booked so they can linger and really enjoy themselves. If you are planning an event outside, you have to think about how to keep your guests cool.  If it’s not a pool party, you MUST have three things: water, shade, and fans.

1. Water

Of course you need plenty of water for people to drink so no one gets dehydrated, especially if everyone is drinking alcohol.  Use a dispenser and flavor the water with fruit. It’s more eye-catching and so much better for the environment than bottled waters. (80% of plastic water bottles end up in landfills. Read more about that here.)

And don’t forget the ice…

Check out these Pinterest ideas for freezing fruit.

2. Shade

You can get a tent in pretty much any size. The clear top tents look amazing, but do NOT get one of these in the summer – it gets way too hot.

Fans

Misting fans can cool external air temperatures up to 30 degrees (I find that hard to believe, but that is what the manufacturers say and surely they have to prove that, right?!?). The misting fans cost around $80 to rent. Note: these sell out very fast during the summer months so if you are having an event, email info@loanables.com to make your reservation. You will need to have a hose nearby to refill it about every 2 hours.

If you don’t want the misting fan, you could use regular fans to circulate the air. You can get simple box fans for as low as $4.  This larger “Heat Buster” fan cost $45 to rent:

Stay cool, and if you have any topics you want me to cover in future blogs, leave a comment.

3 Steps to the Best Photobooth Experience in Austin

 

Photobooths have become almost standard entertainment at today’s events in Austin. They can be found at school parties, fundraisers, weddings and many corporate events. Want to be sure that your photobooth is a hit with your guests and that they leave with something they will keep? Here are 3 steps to creating the best photobooth experience.

1. Match your Backdrop to your Theme

Antique Castle Doors

Start with the background of your photo. This really sets the stage and should match or at least coordinate with the theme of your event. Is it a school circus-themed carnival? Then a red and white striped backdrop would set the scene perfectly. Here is a fun option on Etsy or make your own with red and white streamers or plastic tables clothes! Is it a princess, fairytale wedding? Perhaps a sparkly tulle or gold sequins would be more appropriate. Most photobooth operators have a backdrop they will bring, and they may even have multiple choices so ask about these options before booking. If your chosen provider doesn’t have something perfect, think outside the box and rent something totally unique like these castle doors we found to use as the backdrop at the Mass Challenge Showcase.

2. Choose Props & Décor with a Story

Next, be sure you will have the appropriate props to inspire your guests and amp up the theme. This may not seem that important to think about because again, most photobooth providers have many choices they will bring with them. However, if you are having a specific themed event, like a roaring 20s party, you may want to have swanky boas, black top hats and fun oversized rings or necklaces to add flair. If you’re having a Mardi Gras event, beads and masks in purple, green and gold will be a much better finishing touch than the typical props.

Keep in mind that too many choices can be overwhelming, so culling down the options provided by your photobooth operator can also be helpful to your guests. Display all of the items that match the color story of your event and then throw in just a few unusual pieces that are sure to get a laugh. This taco hat was a hit at our event!

Additional décor should also be considered. Having a fantastic piece to sit on or stand next to can make the photo completely unique and give guests a story to tell after the event. What about an antique soda machine or a royal throne that has been used in a well-known TV show or movie? Tell your guests the background of the piece and then they will have a story to tell when they share the image on social media or with friends.

3. Incorporate Your Event Logo and Colors

Finally, be sure to plan the photo layout to include your event logo, text and colors on the printed and digital image. Work with your photobooth operator to prepare this in advance so that your guests leave with something to remember your event, company or message. While it is perfectly fine to just use the event title and date, you could also include a call to action or message of gratitude. 

Win a Free Photo Booth Rental

Now that you’re all set on how to prepare for your photo booth, why don’t you enter to win a 2-hour photo booth rental for FREE?! Austintatious Photo Booth is a great affordable photo booth for your wedding, party or corporate event. They come with multiple backdrops, props and will help you prepare your printout to capture the memories for your guests to take home. Last day to enter is 5/26/18 so enter now!

 

Party Theme Idea: Camping

teepee tent decoration

Camping?

Every year, my kids’ preschool hosts a Family Day where families are invited to come and view their children’s artwork, enjoy time with other families, meet new families to the school community, have lunch, and enjoy some sort of entertainment. The event is always centered around a theme and is one of the favorite days of the year.

This year, I was asked to chair the event and when asked what the theme should be, I answered, “Camping”. I hadn’t actually given it much thought and I think the theme took everyone by surprise. Themes in the past have been Fiesta; Peace, Love, and Happiness; Circus; … things that had been tested and proven to be really cute and really fun. Camping was clearly a new one. And, I am so glad we chose it.

How we did it…

Honestly, we probably could have just set up some tents and let the kids play in them, because what kid doesn’t like to play in a tent? Instead, the Family Day Committee came up with some great ideas. If I ever decide to hold another camping theme party, I am simply going to repeat what we did for Family Day and it will be a blast.

Hot Dog Truck

Food

When I think of camping, I think of grilling hot dogs, hamburgers, and marshmallows for s’mores. With that in mind, we went to work looking for cute ways to make that happen using food trucks (our Family Day staple as we also use these to block off the preschool parking lot where we hold the party). After looking near and far for the Oscar Meyer Weiner mobile (which is only available for tours, not hot dog sales), we settled on the next best thing – Hot Dog and Sausage King. With a hot dog on the top, this was a really cute option and the owners promised to have the hot dogs precooked and ready so we wouldn’t have long lines. We also hired an ice cream truck to serve ice cream and shaved ice. Not exactly a camping staple but it is Austin in April so ice cream really helps keep things cool.

To the food trucks, we added lemonade, water, and chips which we purchased at Costco and had sitting out on a table for people to grab. In addition, we put together some really cute s’mores party favors to eat or take home.

Entertainment

Besides the children’s amazing artwork, we had to have a way to entertain 150 kids and parents for 2 hours so we planned a variety of activities for them to choose from.  We had karaoke which we labeled “Campfire Songs”.  We used outside blocks to build a stage and set up a microphone, some music, and gave the kids some blow up instruments to use. We also had a fishing booth where the kids could fish for prizes. We had a corn hole set and giant jenga for those who wanted to play games. And, we hired 2 face painters and 2 balloon tiers from Epic Entertainment. The kids and parents were thrilled and thanks to the creative decorations committee, we were able to tie all of these together with really cute signs, balloons, and other decor.

Decorations

There are so many great camping ideas out there on Pinterest and other sites and our decorations committee absolutely outdid themselves creating an adorable setting for very little money. They bought a few teepees and blankets/tablecloths which the kids loved playing with. They also bought some campfire signs, created fishing poles and other signage out of things from their own homes and backyards, added some woodland animal balloons, and brought a few extra props from home to create a camping experience not to be forgotten.

So Go Camping

This theme turned out so well, it begs to be repeated. While we did have to spend some money buying props, decorations, etc. I am sure similar items could have been rented from a local rental company. In our situation, the items will be used for a Camping Day Camp this summer at the preschool so it made more sense to buy them but if you want to hold a camping party and are looking to rent, loanables is there to help find all of your rental needs at the best price.

So wait no longer, plan your Kids’ Camping Party today and send us pictures from your event. We would love to see them.

Art Bra Austin 2018 – Meet a Model

She always looks this gorgeous.

Like most moms, I’m the last one to get ready to go somewhere because I have to get everyone else ready first. This often results in me showing up to school events with a ponytail, blue jeans and flip flops. I’m always in awe of the moms that are beautifully put together: hair, makeup and gorgeous clothes. Carolyn Skyles is one of these moms. To top it off she had an amazing career as a real estate agent in Austin for over 15 years.

I’ve gotten to know her because she is one of the leaders of my daughter’s Daisy Scout troop. Now until this year, that title would not have meant all that much to me. But, oh my gosh – I thank myself every time we have a meeting that I didn’t volunteer for this position. It requires a TON of prep work plus it’s like herding 25 kittens and getting them to do crafts during the meetings.

You’ve got the picture now – put together, successful, great mom and giving of her time. You would probably look at her and think: “she has nothing to worry about.” Well, what I didn’t know until fairly recently was that a few years ago Carolyn’s life was far from “perfect” when she was going through a divorce at the same time as she was dealing with breast cancer.

While she had an incredible support system of loving friends and family, she still felt extremely overwhelmed especially right after her diagnosis because she really didn’t know any other women in her age group who had been treated for breast cancer. One day she received a call from a patient navigator at BCRC (Breast Cancer Resource Center). This woman (who is also a breast cancer survivor) was reaching out to offer support, guidance, answer questions, and introduce her to the Pink Ribbon Cowgirls, an amazing support group of other breast cancer patients and survivors in Austin. Carolyn said finding out about this group did so much for her because she was then able to connect with and learn about the experiences of other women to whom she could actually relate.

 

Art Bra Austin 2018

Because of her gratitude and appreciation for the BCRC, Carolyn is inspired to give back to this organization that does so much for women battling breast cancer.  She is one of the 40 models at Art Bra Austin 2018. “Art Bra Austin is a fully costumed, professionally produced runway show and auction to raise funds to support local women affected by breast cancer.” Additionally, she has a fundraising page where anyone can donate money to help support the BCRC.

The event is June 2, 2018 at the JW Marriott. I haven’t been to the event yet, but I’ve talked to several that have, and the consensus is that it is amazing to see all of the art and also very fun. I’m a multitasker so I love when I can have a great night out with my husband and also give to a great cause.

 

 

 

I was wrapping up this blog when I found this video, which captures another client’s story. I had to share it (get your tissue out!)

If you can’t attend the event, you can donate to Carolyn’s personal fundraising page here or directly to BCRC.

 

Calculating Dance Floor Size + Average prices in Austin

Dance Floor

Is it truly a “party” without a dance floor?!? I don’t think so. The most fun I’ve had at events (some embarrassing) have be on the dance floor – either dancing or just watching. It’s great entertainment, but you can’t just call a rental company and say “I want a dance floor.” You have to know what you want to get the best quote.

On the chart below, I’m giving you an estimate. For the average party, you can expect that the most amount of people on the dance floor at a given time is around 30 – 40%. Now, there are exceptions to every rule. When I was 23, my life long friend, Claire, got married. She had 10 attendants and most of the guests were in their 20s. For that party, a lot more than 40% were dancing (some even on stage with the band – I won’t name names ;-). Contrast that to my grandparents 50th wedding anniversary: I bet less than 10% were dancing.  (I got the honor of dancing with my grandfather so I was glad they had it there: dance floors make the best memories).

For each person, you need approximately 4 square feet. The chart below is an oversimplification and here’s why: the dance floors typically come in 3×3 or 3×4 sections. Therefore, you can’t get the exact number of square feet you need; you will have to adjust based on how many sections you end up getting. (Pro Tip: just email info@loanables.com, and we’ll figure it out for you  for free).

Dance Floor Size Estimator

Guests Dancing Square Feet Price
100 40 160 $240
150 60  240 $360
200 80  320 $480
250 100  400 $600
300 120  480 $720
400 160  640 $960
500 200  800 $1200
1000 400  1600 $2400
1500 600  2400 $3600

Note: these are prices without delivery fees, and most of the rental companies will require that they deliver and professionally install for liability purposes. Standard delivery fees will vary dramatically based on location, but you can expect them to be  around $75 each way or $150 total. You can easily double that amount if the pick up has to happen after hours (for example after the event ends at night or on Sunday).

Types of Dance Floors

In my chart above, I used an average square foot price of $1.50 per square foot (this is for the commonly used, light wood floor). There are many different types of dance floors with a wide range of prices. This chart will give you the average prices of popular types of floors:

Type Avg. Cost Per Sq. Ft.
Light Wood Dance Floor $1.50 LIght wood dance floor
Vintage Wood Dance Floor $1.75 vintage wood dance floor
Solid White, Solid Black or Checkered

Dance Floor

$2 checkered dance floor
Halographic Dance Floor $2.75 Halographic dance floor
LED Dance Floor $14  LED Dance floor

I hope this helps you with your party planning. Here are a couple of other relevant blogs I’ve written:

Event Tents: Types, Sizes and Prices

Table Sizes and Seating: How Many People Will Fit?!?

Types of Rental Chairs and Average Prices

What Size Linen Fits My Table?

How much does it cost to rent table place settings?

Party Drink Calculator: How Much Alcohol Do I Need?

Let me know what you think or what other topics you’d like me to cover.

Dance Floor

SassTass & The Pour Horse

Mobile bars are all the rage. From airstreams to horse trailers, party throwers and goers across the US are choosing bars on wheels for their next big event. Here in central Texas, Tassie Grantham is making a big splash with her mobile horse trailer bars.

The idea for horse trailer bars came to Tassie in October 2016.  She woke up one morning and was determined to buy a horse trailer.  Why?  Because she lived in Texas and in Texas people want horse trailers!  She bought her first horse trailer that very day and began to customize it to be her first mobile bar.  Today, Tassie is owner of SassTass & the Pour Horse, Mobile Bars, LLC and has a couple of horse trailer bars as well as other portable bar options and her business is booming!

SassTass Mobile Bars and Bartending Services

If you are looking for a unique bar option, fantastic bartending service, or food service staff for your wedding, charity event, or other big party, look no further. SassTass & The Pour Horse has a variety of mobile bars, portable bars, and bartending and food service for hire and even create signature cocktails and offer to personalize the service to make your event extra special.

When it comes to mobile bars, SassTass has a few options:

The Pour Horse
– this charming converted 1975 King horse trailer has vintage charm and becomes a talking point at any event. The Pour Horse rental includes 1 bartender to service your guests.

 

 

 

 

Whinny, The Mini Bar – a 1938 one horse horse trailer renovated and converted into a bar with wood panels on the side, wood bar tops, a canvas roof and really cool lighting. Whinny can also be a coffee or dessert bar

 

 

 

 

 

 


Beelavish “The Laurel Traveler”
– the Laurel Trailer is a Glamping Style Vintage Camper Bar owned by Bee Lavish in Spring Branch, TX.  SassTass & The Pour Horse has partnered with Bee Lavish to offer your favorite cocktails and bar tending service in this really great camper.  It is a slightly different look and feel than a horse trailer bar giving you yet another option for your event than the other mobile bars.

In addition, SassTass has portable bar options, a vintage tea cart, and just standard bartending service. So, no matter what your needs, SassTass is a great option to provide cocktails and food service for your next event.

What should I serve?

If you need some cocktail ideas for your event, how about a Skinny version of a Texas classic to go with the Texas trailers? My favorites are these Easy Skinny Mojitos with all the flavor and none of the sugar found in most mojitos. Serving them in mason jars makes them even more fun.

Easy Skinny Mojito Recipe

Ingredients:

  • Juice of one lime
  • 6 fresh mint leaves
  • 2 oz of white rum
  • 12 oz of diet lemon lime soda (Diet 7UP or Sprite Zero

Instructions:

  1. Divide the mint leaves and lime juice between two glasses.
  2. Add 1 oz of rum to each glass and muddle (use the back of a spoon to mush everything up)
  3. Add a little ice, top with the soda, and stir to combine.

For a light and delicious appetizer, you might try sliced garlic toast with a smear of cream cheese, roasted red pepper, and a slice of cucumber. These go great with the mojitos and are easy finger foods for guests.

No matter what you serve, Tassie Grantham and her team of TABC certified bartenders and insured food handlers and service staff are there to make your event go off without a hitch with a ton of Texas charm.

So, what are you waiting for?  Book SassTass & the Pour Horse for your next event today!

 

Behind the Scenes: SFC’s 11th Annual Farm to Plate

Ronda Rutledge has something everyone wants: a job she she is truly passionate about. She is the Executive Director at the Sustainable Food Center (SFC). I sat down and had coffee with her at Bennu Coffee (they only serve fair-trade coffee and locally sourced food). She’s one of those people that you just immediately love – she’s warm and friendly with a very relaxed manner. She’s the kind of person you just want to hug (even if you aren’t a hugger).

Ronda’s passion for farming is in her DNA. She comes from a long line of farmers dating back to the Cherokees in the Carolinas. Her grandfather 5 generations back was part of the Cherokee Nation that signed the treaty with the federal government that led to the removal of the Trail of Tears (the forced relocation of Native Americans out of their ancestral homelands). When her family was forced to move west, they relocated to Oklahoma, now the seat of the Cherokee Nation. The chief was very angry that the treaty was signed; so, all involved were put on a hit list. To protect his family, her grandfather (5 generations ago) moved to Texas.

They settled in east Texas, but farming in Texas is very different than farming in the Carolinas. Her family had to learn new ways to grow their food. The idea of food sovereignty has been passed down through the generations and is engrained in the way Ronda thinks. “Food sovereignty is the right of peoples to healthy and culturally appropriate food produced through ecologically sound and sustainable methods, and their right to define their own food and agriculture systems.” A major component of that is sustainability and making sure future generations have this same right.

Check out this video from National Geographic about why sustainable food systems matter:

SFC serves the Austin community in 4 ways:

  1. The Grow Local program serves to educate the community. They also provide resources and have has a hand in the majority of the community gardens around town.
  2. The Farm Direct program promotes access to fresh, healthy food via a network of farmer’s markets.
  3. The Happy Kitchen offers community cooking and nutrition education classes. (Note to food lovers: you can have private events here!)
  4. Farmers Markets – they operate one downtown on Guadalupe and another one at the Tony Burger Center in Sunset Valley. Both are on on Saturdays from 9am – 1pm. I’ve gone to both, and always enjoy it and think “I should do this more often”). I usually eat breakfast while I’m there, bring home lunch for my family, and get fresh fruits and vegetables for the week.

I highly encourage you to take a tour of their 4-star rated green energy office and community space. They even serve you lunch, but be sure to RSVP.

 

I love non-profits that couple fundraising with amazing events, and the annual Farm to Plate event is definitely at the top of this list. “This sip-and-stroll event features bites from the best Austin chefs who are dedicated to sourcing local and sustainable food from our area farmers. Farm to Plate also features local artisan cocktails, local wines and beers, live music, and a silent auction on the beautiful indoor/outdoor grounds of Barr Mansion.” You must check out the list of amazing chefs that will be serving during the event (Sway, Fixe, Uchi, Wu Chow and many other amazing chefs will be there).  It’s a great place to check out all of the hot spots in town!

The event is Wednesday, May 9 at Barr Mansion. General admission tickets are $300 and VIP tickets are $500.

 

Behind the Scenes: Ballet Austin Guild Afternoon Tea

The Ballet Austin 2017-18 season concludes on Mother’s Day weekend with the final performance of Peter Pan. Just two weeks before, Ballet Austin Guild will celebrate with “An Afternoon in Neverland” Sunday Tea at the Driskill Hotel. This annual event sold out last year so don’t delay– gather your mothers, daughters and girlfriends to take part. We spoke with Ballet Austin Guild President, Suzanne Mackowiak to learn more about this year’s event and her passion for supporting Ballet Austin through the Guild.

Meet Suzanne Mackowiak, President of Ballet Austin Guild

Suzanne grew up in a small town in East Texas and given the size and location, there was not consistent access to formal training. Ballet, tap and jazz instructors would move in and out of town leaving gaps for the group of girls who practiced there. Her mother knew that having physical, regimented activity could have huge impact on physical development through experience with Suzanne’s older sister. After carrying her for 10 full months, she was born with a crooked foot. Her mother noticed quickly that regular ballet instruction and practice was working to straighten her foot. Fast forward to Suzanne’s childhood, when instructors were not available in their small East Texas town, the group of mothers would take turns piling all the girls into their cars and carpooling to the nearest large city to keep the ballerinas progressing in their skills.

Suzanne learned grace, discipline and teamwork through her ballet training and credits her mother’s commitment for the adventure they took together, leading to lifelong friendships. One of those friends and her mother attended last year’s Ballet Austin Guild Afternoon Tea and will be attending again this year.

In her day job, Suzanne works at the Capitol focusing on Veterans, military and border security policy. She is busy in and out of session but still maintains time for Ballet Austin Guild as well as participating as an active member of Junior League of Austin. Her husband, Matt, is a political pundit, Chairman of Travis County GOP and founder of Potomac Strategy Group.

Ballet Austin Guild

Ballet Austin Guild is an all-volunteer organization whose purpose is to support Ballet Austin in a variety of ways. They provide educational programming for elementary-aged children through school shows during the Holiday season performances of The Nutcracker, as well as docent services in which Guild members go out to area schools and teach about classical ballet. The Guild is also the largest annual non-governmental donor to Ballet Austin, providing funds for youth scholarships for those who would not otherwise be able to afford classical dance instruction. Read the fascinating story of Orlando Canova, a current Ballet Austin Company Dancer who received a similar scholarship at the School of American Ballet. Without these funds, Ballet Austin would miss out on the opportunity to work with some very talented dancers.

Ballet Austin Guild has an open membership, so you can join and get started anytime by attending a general meeting. They will happily introduce you to the group and find how you want to serve with them. Meetings happen all over town as the membership is spread out. Suzanne has been part of the Guild for about five years, serving as President this year and VP of Fundraising Events in 2016-17. This year’s event, has about 15 members actively involved with a mix of fundraising and planning depending on each member’s interest and talents. Suzanne explained that often people surprise themselves when they get involved, as in the case of one member who said she didn’t want to be responsible for soliciting donations. One day, spur of the moment she asked a business owner if they would donate a pearl necklace and after that one success, knocked down businesses left and right ultimately bringing in thousands of dollars worth of donations for the event. 

Suzanne emphasized that we don’t realize how special it is to have ballet, symphony and opera (the big three) in a city like Austin. It takes funds to keep Ballet Austin among the top companies in the country, so the Guild seeks to raise about $60,000 through the annual event and raises additional funds through managing the Gift Barre at Nutcracker Holiday shows. But the volunteer hours are just as important. Last season, Ballet Austin Guild totaled 5,427 volunteer hours which is the equivalent of 2 full time employees and 1 part time employee. 

An Afternoon in Neverland

The annual tea follows the theme of the final performance of Ballet Austin’s 2017-18 season, an is appropriately named An Afternoon in Neverland. The event will have an open format, providing time to visit with girlfriends or family, to enjoy a traditional tea menu while sipping on tea, juice and champagne. There will also be live music, a photo booth and costumes to entertain guests. This event is appropriate for all ages and families are encouraged to bring multiple generations to enjoy the afternoon together. Goody bags will be available to entertain younger guests and word on the street is there may be some stiff competition to beat out Ann Downing’s family hats from last year! So don’t be shy, go all out and make special memories with those you love. You never know, you just might find this to be your perfect Mother’s Day tradition!