So You’re Having a Housewarming Party and You Don’t Have a Clue What to Do?

ATLANTA – Written by Mel

Well done! You have finally purchased your home and now you are ready to show it off to those who you care most about.  You have spent months telling them about the purchase and now you can stop talking about it and instead be about it.  So just how do you go about putting together a housewarming party?

Just like any party, a housewarming will take planning.  But just how much planning will be necessary?  Well, it depends on your level of involvement and how much you want to impress your audience.  If you have a mansion to show off, then you might want to hire the help of a professional team to help you prepare for your housewarming.  However, if you’re like most of us who have a quaint home that you just want to show of to a few friends and family, then you won’t need to hire help.

I want to begin by first saying that I am not an expert at planning housewarmings by any stretch of the imagination.  I decided to explore this topic just like you because I don’t know what to do to pull off a successful housewarming party.  However, I gathered all the information that I could about the topic in order to help me prepare for this very special event in your home’s history.

Before the day of the party…

 

Start planning your housewarming in the decorating phase.

Believe it or not, I think the housewarming party planning begins in the stages of decorating your home.  Why?  Because if you are going to be showing off your gorgeous home, don’t you have to first make it — gorgeous?  But don’t get too outrageous with the decorating.  You want to leave key spaces empty just in case generous friends and family want to buy specific gifts for you.  In this case, you should purposefully not decorate particular areas of the room to subtly throw out a hint that you need a toaster, or a coffeepot, or a nice painting. Likewise, you want to also include showoff pieces in every room.  This gives you the opportunity have something to talk about, allowing people to linger and really enjoy the experience during the tour.

Clean and clear out all boxes from the move.

I did say that you want to give subtle hints to friends and family about your needs for the house.  You don’t want to invite them over only for them to see that you have nothing to show.  The last thing you want them to see is rooms full of half-opened items at every turn.

“And as we proceed down the hallway, if you look to the left, you will see yet another room of furniture still wrapped in plastic surrounded by boxes of my work clothing tossed all over the floor near them.”

Trust me, this is not the type of tour you want to give.

Pick a theme.

This should also be done during the decorating stage because the theme could set the stage for what type of furniture you would like to display.  However, if you are not this organized or you don’t want the theme to define your living quarters, then at least choose a theme that is suitable for the party.  For instance, if you live on the east coast but love the southwest then you may be privy to decorate in such a manner and have southwestern food at your party.  But if you love cosplay, it might make sense to just limit this theme to a party.  There’s no need to fill your home with comic book memorabilia and wallpaper but, it’s your home, so feel free to do what you want.

Create a list of invitees.

EVERYBODY shouldn’t be on your list.  Your home is your abode and you want to invite people who won’t be so annoying that they make you want to leave.  Also, a housewarming should ideally be a small, intimate affair so you want to invite those who can make the experience “warm.”

Pick a date for the party and spread the word about the party.

Everyone is busy, so the worst thing to do is plan a party that no one will come to simply because you chose a bad date.  Luckily, social media, phone apps, and email make it quicker and easier to pick a target date for a party.  One that I found that is convenient is called Doodle.com. 

Plan for what food you want at the party.  

This may be related to your theme but doesn’t have to be.  It may be wise to include a list of options in your invite because some people may have allergies or dietary restrictions.  This would be good to know ahead of time.  I found a cool site called Pollmaker.com that can help with deciding on what type of food to include at the party.  If your invitees determine that they want to help out with the party by bringing food, PerfectPotluck.com can help everyone determine who is bringing what.

Hire a DJ or at least get together an awesome playlist of music.

If you happen to know someone with great turntable skills or you are able to hire a DJ to keep the party going, by all means invite them.  However, you may not need one.  A great smartphone with a music app and a high quality speaker may be all you need.

While you’re at it, hire a bartender or plan to make cocktails yourself.

If you don’t intend to have anyone drinking alcoholic beverages, then don’t worry about hiring a bartender.  But, if you do and you have a large group of people attending, then this may be essential, even if its just for a few hours.  You can also make some simple cocktails yourself.

Plan for the activities to be executed that day.

Some people may just be coming by to visit while others may want to stay a while and enjoy the ambiance.  In that case, you should have some fun things planned for them to do.  Card and board games are always essential.  I like to play HeadsUp Charades using my phone app because it is a very fun, interactive game to play.  Watching sports in the man cave or the latest TV drama in the she shed portion of the house while eating finger foods could be another option.  Performing karaoke is also another option.  There are countless other fun things that you can dream up if you put your mind to it.

Send reminders.

Some people are great at remembering things.  Unfortunately, I’m not one of those people.  So you may want to keep reminding people about the event leading up to it.    Also, don’t just rely on snail mail either.  You can email, post on social media, text and a host of other things to ensure that your invitees remember to attend.  Try to get an RSVP in place too in order to make sure you know who is definitely coming.

Tackle parking issues head on.

I know this seems like a futile mission prior to the day of the party.  But it could quickly become a nightmare on the day of the party.  Instead, figure out ahead of time just where everyone will need to park and if you will need to designate an area near your home for everyone to park (without getting tickets in the process) or if certain people will have to car pool.  This will keep your guests and your neighbors happy.

Go shopping.

With all this planning to do, don’t forget to do the most important thing:  shop!  Get your plastic cutlery and paper plates if you need to.  Get the food for the party if you aren’t doing the potluck thingy.  Get your guest book if you need one for guests to sign.  Pick up all that you can in one trip but be prepared to go back because we always forget something.

Get everything ready including the designated gift space.

Clean up the house.  Prep the food.  Get the seating ready.  Do everything that you need to do to make your home presentable for the big event, preferably a day in advance.

On the day of the party…

 

Prepare for Murphy’s law to be in effect all day long.

You know the saying:  “Anything that can go wrong will go wrong.”  This will be the case with your party; so, don’t get bent out of shape about it.  The most stressful things have already been done:  you’ve closed on the house and moved in.  Therefore, a party shouldn’t stress you out at all.  Just grab some wine and keep the music playing.

Dress to impress.

I know that this is a housewarming party but that doesn’t mean that you should neglect the way that you look.  You want to be one of the best dressed at the party so that everyone visibly can see that you are the host.  Keep it comfortable, though.  There is nothing more annoying than greeting guest while you are wearing uncomfortable shoes or tight clothing.

Make someone the designated greeter and phone answerer.

You may assume that your home is easy to find but keep in mind some people are direction-ally challenged.  I’m sure you probably know a few folks that simply can’t find things no matter how many times you tell them where it is.  Try to get someone other than yourself to be designated to do this so that you can focus on other aspects of the party.  This person can also be responsible for ensuring everyone signs the guest book (so you can send guests thank you cards later) and showing people where things are such as the bathroom.

Sit the food out.

Preparation of the food should actually take place the night before but depending on what the food is you may want to sit it out for guests to help themselves.

Give the grand tour once everyone arrives or…

You could resort to giving small guided tours as people come in especially if you expect a big crowd.  This will allow others to play games or do other planned activities while you show the new group around.

Take memorable photos to share.

I can’t emphasize this one enough.  Sometimes you’re so caught up in all that’s going on that you don’t remember to do this.  Taking photos is not only something fun to record for your own memories but it is also something you can include with your thank you notes or to send in an email.

Thank your guests for coming.

Once again your home is your abode so you need to make sure that you wrap up the party at a descent time.  Of course you will have attendees who are so bored with their own personal lives that they will try to turn up the party when you are trying to tone it down.  Politely thank them for coming and show them the exit along with the other guests.  Keep in mind that “Ain’t nobody got time for that” as you show them the door.

Send thank you notes.  

Finally and most importantly, a few days after the event.  Show your gratitude by sending “Thank you” notes.  You can personalize them or digitize them but the key is to try to include images from the party as a memento.

What are some of your party planning tips?  Keep the conversation going on the Move Me To ATL group page here.

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Quick and Easy Meal of the Month – Shrimp, Vegetables, and Quinoa

Image courtesy of Mel

 

ATLANTA – Written by Mel

 

We are all busy!  There just isn’t enough time to sit down with friends or family to enjoy a tasty, home-cooked meal.  But you just have to do it — you have to commit to a home-cooked meal with friends and family as much as you can.

To help you to do this, I have created this segment of the blog to give you an idea for something simple and delicious so that you can enjoy family time — together.

I recently started eating quinoa and I have to say it tastes good but it doesn’t have much of a flavor unless you get a box with seasons added.  For this dish, I used Near East roasted red pepper and basil quinoa.  I then added shrimp, fresh cut peppers and onions to this dish.  It takes about 25 minutes to prepare the meal.

First, put the quinoa on to cook since it will take the longest to prepare.

While this is doing its thing, go ahead and prepare the other half of the meal.  You can start by cutting up the peppers and some onions.  I usually dice my peppers  and onions for most dishes but for this one, I used strips.  You can also purchase sliced peppers and onions from the frozen section of your grocery store (just make sure you let them thaw before using) but fresh peppers will really make a huge difference with this dish.

Then, turn your attention to preparing the shrimp.

You can purchase already cooked shrimp to make this process very easy.  Otherwise, you will have to peel and de-vein them yourself.  Either way make sure they are thawed.  If you opt for raw shrimp, then you will need to cook them before sautéing them with the peppers.  You can boil them on low on the stove or take the juice of a lemon and apply it liberally all over the shrimp.  This method turns the shrimp pink but may give the shrimp a lemon taste.  If you like, you can rinse the lemon juice off before sautéing.

Finally, when the veggies are cut and the shrimp are ready, pour some olive oil in a skillet and lightly sauté the shrimp and vegetables.

Add a little salt and pepper or any other season if you like.  After the shrimp and veggies are done cooking, drain them.  By this time, the quinoa should be also finished.  After about 7-10 minutes of letting the meal cool, serve the dish with the shrimp and veggies over the bed of quinoa.  You can serve it right after heating it but I find that the meal is more tasty when it’s had time to cool.  If you don’t like either of these ingredients in this recipe, consider substituting white, brown or yellow rice and chopped chicken.

How did your dish turn out? Share your thoughts about this dish in our Facebook group.

 

Don’t forget to follow our social media pages and check back next month for another quick and easy dinner idea.

 

Do It Yourself Feng Shui – Career Area Improvements

Image courtesy of Stocksnap

 

ATLANTA – Written by Mel

You may recall from my last feng shui post about career and family area enhancements that I discovered some problems that aren’t necessarily found in most feng shui books.  Well, I was at it again but this time the problems were primarily in the career area.

Just as a recap, for those of you not familiar with Feng Shui, there are 9 areas of importance in your home and they are as follows:

  • Prosperity area
  • Fame area
  • Relationship area
  • Family and ancestors area
  • Health area
  • Creativity area
  • Knowledge area
  • Career Area
  • Travel and helpful people area

Each of these areas are a part of a bagua and the bagua is a map that goes over your floor plan or layout of your home.  This map is used to assist you with improving the feng shui of each area.  Each area has its own set of colors and/or elements that you should or should not use in that particular area because hypothetically it can lead to either great success or major problems.  So, for instance, the “Family and Ancestor area” relies heavily on the element of wood.  If you have a fireplace in that area, this symbolically destroys the element of wood.  Since this area is related to family and ancestry, if you have fire elements in this area, you more than likely experience constant feuds with family members or a disconnect from your family or lineage altogether.

As you recall from that last post, I made some enhancements to the family area and I did get some better results.  However, the career enhancements still seemed stagnated even after adding the mirror and water feature.  Water is the element for this area so I thought I was doing a great deed by adding water elements to the area.  This area is my office area so naturally it is perfect for my career area; however, there is also a restroom located in this area.  What this symbolizes is chi rapidly going out as fast as it is coming in.  So, enhancing the area actually makes matters worse.  As author Karen Rauch Carter points out in an article about toilets in the prosperity corner, you must counterbalance the area.  In other words, if water enhances the area but there is a toilet in it, then you must think counter intuitively to improve the area.  In essence, fire elements will be counter-balance the area and thus stabilize the rapid loss of water in the area.

The same is true with a toilet in the career area.  When I added the water fountain hoping it would improve the area, it didn’t improve my career but made it even more stagnated.

Image courtesy of Stocksnap

Another thing that I hadn’t paid attention to is the fact that I had books in the area.  This area of my home has built-in shelves so naturally I wanted to use this space as a place for all my career-related books thinking that it would help enhance the area; but, this turned out to be a bad idea — a seven year long bad idea.  In this area, a bad element is the earth element and since books are made of pulp which is an earthy element associated with trees, this wasn’t a good idea.  Even if most don’t consider this an “earthy” element like mud or clay, it still is an enhancement for the water element which needed to be counter-balanced in this area.  So, I removed all the books from this area and moved them to my family area which is always in need of more wood elements since unfortunately I have a stove in this area.

Another problem with books is that they create shars, or invisible poison arrow energy.  According to Feng Shui, shars can create loss of any kind and in my case, I was losing out on opportunities to grow my career and thus it remained stagnated.  Not only was the element wrong but I also had an enormous amount of shars pointing right at me.  I had a cesspool of negative energy brewing in my career area and I didn’t even know it!

The moral of the story is that you have to learn Feng Shui well and learn to look for problems beyond the examples listed in most Feng Shui books.    Remember, those are just generalized interpretations and your home may be very different from the general information included in the books.  The best option is to get a Feng Shui practitioner to evaluate the problem and make suggestions.  The next best thing to do is to become a sleuth like myself and investigate the problems yourself and then discover how to use elements, colors or arrangements to balance or counter-balance the area so that you can improve your livelihood.

Do you have any tried-and-true methods of feng shui that you used to improve the energy of your home that aren’t necessarily found in a feng shui book?  Share your experiences below in the comment section or join the group discussion on Facebook here.

 

Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram @movemetoATL.

Mel Around the ATL – Pickett Mill Battlefield

ATLANTA – Written by Mel

A few weeks ago, I was skimming through the Georgia National Park guide looking for somewhere to go.  As you may already know from living here or from reading one of my previous posts, if you have a valid library card, you can visit most of these parks for no charge (there are limitations).  You just go and pick up your pass from your local library and you’re off to explore some of Georgia’s most exciting parks.  I decided to go to Pickett Mill Battlefield primarily because I live near this park and also because I recently found out that my great, great, great, grandfather was a soldier in the Civil War.  Growing up, learning about the Civil War wasn’t on my list of priorities; but, when I discovered this tidbit from my family’s past, it ignited a newfound passion in me to explore the topic.

The battlefield is located in a remote part of a town called Dallas, Georgia.  When I drove up to the place, I was a bit confused because I expected the museum to be right there at the entrance; however, it was not.  I had to drive down a little further to actually get to the museum and let me tell you, driving down that road was a bit scary.  It’s not that anything happened or was going to happen, but driving down such a narrow stretch of road with nothing but woods on each side seemed so scary.  Good thing I was driving down this road during the day because driving it at night would have been even scarier.

Despite how remote the place is, once I reached the museum, it was quite quaint and pleasant.  I started the day off with a picnic because I didn’t know what to expect in terms of walking the grounds.  I didn’t want to be hungry or better yet, “hangry” during the tour.  They have some picnic tables out front.  Even though they didn’t seem like they were used much – and this could have been because of the time of year I went – the area was nice, clean and perfect to use for eating lunch.  After lunch, I walked into the museum and was greeted by the very gregarious gentleman at the welcome center.  He briefly explained some aspects of the site and then allowed me to watch a short film that really gave me a general idea about the Civil War and the importance of the battle of Pickett Mill.

After watching the film, I proceeded to the display within the museum.  It’s not a huge display but I enjoyed the pieces that they had showing.  Key things were a cannon, guns, and soldiers uniforms.  Once I viewed the display, I had the option of purchasing memorabilia from the gift store such as books and t-shirts but I was a bit adventurous and decided to save this for last.  I wanted to explore the battlegrounds, especially to see the cabin that the gentlemen mentioned in the welcome center.

On my journey, I saw a variety of museum workers out in the battlefield dressed in Civil War attire.  I came across two ladies who were burning a fire  that they built from chopped wood.  They talked about what life would have been like during those times.  On my stroll, I also saw old artifacts such as more cannons, makeshift firepits, and an ax, designed to give the viewers a feel for what those times were like.

The crowning jewel of the trip was the log cabin that still looks like it is in great condition.  It was hard to envision a large family living in the one room cabin but it was certainly a humbling experience and it made me appreciate the modern conveniences that we have.

After completing my tour, I headed back to the gift store.  In honor of my grandfather’s legacy, I decided to purchase two uniform hats – one representing the Union Army and one representing the Confederacy.  Now I own a little piece of history.

 

See you on my next outing!

 

 

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Photos by Mel.

 

Developing the Mindset of a Mover

Image of frustrated mover on Move Me To ATL website

Atlanta – Written by Mel

Does the thought of moving make you want to crawl up under your bed sheets and go to sleep for days hoping that when you wake up you will be in your new place with everything already done?

 

Unfortunately there hasn’t been a Rip Van Winkle approach to moving developed yet. Besides, not being involved in the moving process is not a realistic approach to moving. After all, how can you really kick back and enjoy a margarita after all the work is done if you aren’t involved in the process?

Moving ranks high with things you have to do but would rather avoid like necessary dentists appointments and meetings with tax planners. On the bright side, once these things are over there will be a tremendous amount of relief, right? Well – there will be relief as long as you are not in immense pain after the dentist appointment or you don’t have to move to another planet to escape an audit from the IRS. These are worst-case scenarios but in developing the mindset of a mover, we are only going to focus on the best outcomes.

So just how do you “develop a mindset of a mover.”

First, and most important, mentally move yourself into your new place before you actually move.

I once heard a saying that everything is created twice.  Once in your head and then again in reality.  Moving is no different.  Before you actually move to a new home or relocate to a new state, go there and feel the ambiance of the place.  Don’t just be thrilled by the beauty of the home; instead, really get a feel for it.  Drive through the neighborhood and act as if you are living in the neighborhood.  Walk down the street and waive to the neighbors and breathe in the air, basking in the essence of your newfound home.  Visit the local park and talk to some of your neighbors about what they enjoy about the neighborhood so you can start to mentally enjoy those possibilities, too.

Also, mentally tune out frustration.

Everyone hates the process of moving. Why? Because it involves change and change, whether good or bad just irks us at the core. But when the transition is final, a peace comes over us, knowing that the change has been completed and the past is behind us.  That euphoria that you often feel when you change your life for the better is what you have to visualize at all times during the moving process; not the frustration that comes from the process of making the change.

Stay organized with a checklist.

Another way to develop the mindset of a mover is to feel as though you are accomplishing goals.  There is extreme mental satisfaction in knowing that you are making progress.  The best way to know that you are accomplishing your goals is to have a defined list of outcomes that you can check off such as this one.

Remain optimistic and thankful.

I know that this sounds hokey but looking forward to the best outcome and being thankful for what good is coming your way will make moving a bit easier.  Instead of thinking about how overwhelming the packing and moving process is, focus on how enjoyable it will be when you have your first entertaining event at your home.  Whether it be a housewarming, tailgate party, baby shower, or birthday party, think about how much fun that will be and this will take your mind off of how annoying moving is.  After all, the move will probably happen once and you hosting fun events in your new home will happen much more frequently than this one-time move, and be more enjoyable.

Come on, let’s use positive thoughts to assist us in our move!

 

Image courtesy of Dreamstime.com