Filtered by Category: gatherings

Anomia is my new favorite group game

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I played a new-to-me game called Anomia ($14.39 from Amazon) for the first time with friends last weekend and I liked it so much, I ordered it for myself before I’d even left the party!

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Here’s the high-level explanation of how it works: players take turns drawing cards; the goal is to be the first person to blurt out a word that fits the category on any other card that has the same symbol as your card does. So if you are holding a card with a yellow diamond that says “U.S. president,” and someone draws a card with a yellow diamond that says “something with wings,” then you want to shout out something with wings before the person with the other card names a U.S. president.

Anomia is mostly about concentration and creativity, and I really enjoyed it! It’s very portable (important!!!) and park-friendly, a single game goes quickly, and it’s just fun. It’s much easier to learn than Codenames (though I do love Codenames); it’s more fun than Apples to Apples; and it’s way more wholesome/SFW than Cards Against Humanity. (That said, if you do enjoy CAH, you might like Anomia X, a sold-separately version of the game that has “bad manners.”)

Per the product page, it’s for 3-6 players, ages 10+ (but there’s a kids’ version for ages 5+), and it’s possible to play it if you’re colorblind (because the colors on the cards don’t matter — only the symbols do).

Overall, it’s just incredibly low-maintenance and fun, and I’ll definitely be packing it for my family vacation next month!

Buy it from Amazon for $14.39. (There is also a “party version” that has four additional decks aka more variety for $24.) ✨

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Rosé + Spindrift is my go-to drink for summer 2019

Image of bottle of rosé and can of Spindrift on red wooden table on sunny rooftop with patio furniture and string lights

Last month, I came across this tweet from Maris Kreizman: “I don’t know who needs to hear this but Raspberry Lime Spindrift mixed with rosé is the ideal summer spritzer.”

Reader, it is good. I don’t actually love Spindrift, rosé, or lime flavoring alone, but the combination just works. I’ve brought it to a few parties and it’s been a hit every time! Highly recommend. ✨

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Notes on Camp (Pride)

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A couple weeks ago, my girlfriend and I threw a Pride party. Pride means something different to every queer person; this year, she and I were both in need of community, friendship, joy, humor, creativity, and something public(ish), and that’s exactly what we got. The party was affirming and special and lovely and fun, and I’m so glad we did it.

So that is what the party was about, but that’s not what Pride as a whole is about (read more on that topic in the New York Times here and here), and it’s not what this post is about! This post is about cute enamel pins, delicious jello shots, and tips for assembling beaded friendship bracelets when you’ve consumed several of said jello shots and are sitting on a very windy roof. I actually wasn’t planning to write about the party at all, but after I got some questions about it on Instagram, I decided to share some details about the DIY projects, the relevant shopping links*, and my thoughts on what worked well. But I don’t want to give the impression that that’s all that this party (or Pride in general) meant to me.


*If this post happens to generate any affiliate revenue, I’m planning to donate it to the Audre Lorde project.

Cool? Cool. Onto the party!

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The theme

We started planning this party right after the Met Gala, so when the topic of theme came up, I was like, “Literal camp? Please, I’m begging you????” (I’ve always just loved summer camp shit.) The camp theme worked out well — it’s summery, it’s equal parts wholesome and horny, and it’s really practical/inexpensive to pull off. (Like, most of what we needed could be found at any party store/craft store/big-box store.) Plus, allies could easily dress on theme without worrying about being appropriative.

The week leading up to the party felt like a combination of Halloween, school plays, and summer camp, and I was living for it. It’s been a while since I got to do a big burst of arts and crafts like this, and it felt great.

The refreshments

We didn’t do anything too special in this regard, but we did make these cherry lemonade jello shots. I tend to hate the taste of jello shots but these did not taste like vodka at all. Definitely recommend! I also made French onion dip using the classic Lipton mix because it never fails, and I believe in giving people what they want!

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The decorations

We kept the decor very low-key overall, and bought everything from Michaels and Party City. Early on, we talked about doing more in terms of decor, but it wasn’t logistically possible and it wouldn’t have been worth it anyway. As someone who always wants to do The Most (I take after my mom in this regard!), it was nice to give myself permission to just…not.

We did spend a not-insignificant amount of time at Party City on 14th Street trying to figure out the exact right combination of colored cups for our rainbow. (They stock…way more options than you might think?!) I think every single color was in our cart briefly at some point, but honestly, it was worth it. And the coral cups we found on a Pantone Color of the Year display at the last minute really pulled their weight. Also, the Pendleton-knockoff blanket my girlfriend found in the back of her closet two days before the party made a great second tablecloth. We also bought glow sticks and bubbles, and asked a friend to bring her Instax camera.

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The pennants

My girlfriend suggested we make collegiate-style pennants as part of the decor, and I had made some in the past and thought it would be a good low-lift option for this party! This project was mostly just a treat for me, and an excuse to dust off my beloved Cricut (gifted to me years ago). The pennant slogans were Gal Pals, Gay!, Bottoms, We’re Tops!, Both Teams, Pride, and Horny. And you might not be able to tell from the photos, but the lettering was glittery/holographic. 

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The pronoun koozies

I decided to buy a set of 12 solid colored koozies on Amazon during one of our big party purchases, thinking they’d be cute/colorful/festive, and that maybe I could add some fun text onto them. The colors were a bit disappointing IRL — like, a third of them were really muddy — so I decided to buy a second 12-pack of all lavender koozies, which were perfect, especially alongside the brighter colors. I really wanted to Cricut some kind of word or phrase onto them, but I knew whatever I went with would have to be really short to fit/be legible. Meanwhile, we’d had a difficult time finding pronoun stickers or temporary tattoos in time for the party. It was my girlfriend’s idea to just put the pronouns on the koozies, and it felt like a win-win. (I also left several blank so there were options.)

For reasons too boring and complicated to get into here, I had a bunch of unexpected trouble with the iron-on vinyl at first, so these projects could have looked a lot better, but I think they still looked pretty OK! The rainbow holographic vinyl is really special and looked so beautiful on the koozies IRL, and I’m excited to use it on other projects! (Oh, and if you’re wondering, that font is Corben Bold.)

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The friendship bracelets

This was also my girlfriend’s idea, and I was all for it, as I love friendship bracelets. I’m also a big fan of having some sort of activity at every party that’s neither drinking nor dancing. We had a bunch of embroidery floss for braided bracelets at the ready, but — perhaps unsurprisingly — everyone wanted to make letter bead bracelets that said things like “horny” and “butthole” and “Kirstie Alley” instead.


Here’s what I will say: I spent my evenings the week leading up to the party making beaded bracelets for my girlfriend and I and for some of my close friends, because I wanted to get good at it before we unleashed them on the world. And it turns out, this was the right move — letter bead bracelets are surprisingly fussy! For starters, you can’t put most letter beads on embroidery floss (it’s too thick), and working with the elastic cord definitely takes some getting used to. And you need to have some kind of stopper on the string when you are adding the beads so they don’t fall off. Also, if people fuck up when tying a completed bead bracelet, it’ll break. They’ll have wasted all that time and energy making a bracelet, and you’ll end up with beads everywhere, which no one wants. In our case, I ended up printing out a bunch of tips for making the beaded bracelets + an image of how to tie them in case I wasn’t around to do it, which felt a tiny bit extra but turned out to be a good idea. Another tip: keep all of the supplies on large tray to help avoid a major bead incident and to make cleanup easier. (The tray was also very helpful when I was working on the bracelets in the apartment.) And don’t ignore the advice to pre-stretch the cord, and to reinforce the knot with super glue.


That said, it was completely worth the effort because the bracelets were cute and funny and fun and very photogenic. And a lot more people than I was expecting to made bracelets, which made me happy! But it’s not the kind of thing we could have just decided to do a day before and had it work.

Tutorials I used:

Shopping list:

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The outfits

Our guests showed up in a range of great on-theme looks that included “slutty Boy Scout,” a Smokey Bear–style uniform and hat, and an extremely minor character in The Parent Trap. There were also lots of good neckerchiefs and accessories, and everyone looked so summery and cute! (We also bought a pack of 12 neckerchiefs in solid colors in case anyone was feeling stressed about what to wear.) 


For our part, my girlfriend and I decided to bring Big Camp Counselor Energy. (TBH, I think I bring that energy…most days.)


I wore a light blue ringer tee, mustard yellow dolphin shorts with a pastel rainbow patch, a rainbow striped bandanna, my sparkle emoji pin, and my National Parks–inspired rainbow pin that says “This land was made for you and me.” (This pin makes me and also everyone who reads it surprisingly emotional???) And I wore striped camp socks and my blue Crocinstocks from Freedom Moses. My girlfriend’s outfit was essentially the same, but she had a mustard yellow ringer tee, lavender shorts, lavender slides, and her own enamel pins. And we both had gold whistles, plus friendship bracelets we made ourselves that matched our own personal aesthetics.

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I also went to Sephora for a makeup mini the day of, which is a free thing anyone can do! You just have to book ahead (go here, and then filter by “services”) and they’ll do a 15-minute makeup application of your choosing (so, in my case, eye makeup and fake lashes). It was nice to not have to worry about it, and meant I didn’t have to buy the incredibly beautiful $40 Tarte palette for just a single use of that amazing gold glittery shadow.

Shopping list: 

One final thing…

I’ve written before about how much I love The Art of Gathering by Priya Parker, and once again, it really came in handy! We put so much of the advice from the book into practice for this party, including pre-game your guests, don’t be a chill host, and don’t end a funeral with logistics. But the tip that really served us was setting a purpose for the gathering. Doing that back in May was really helpful, and it meant we knew exactly what a “good” party would feel like. It was just a great night all around, and everyone who came really showed up for us. It was all really special, and I just feel so happy and grateful right now! ☀️

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I just really love Paperless Post Flyers

I mentioned Paperless Post Flyers a few months ago in my newsletter, but because they got such a good reaction (seriously, very rarely do people reach out to tell me they liked a thing, but multiple people told me they found the Flyers mention helpful) and because I was just working on one last night, I thought I’d mention them again!

The flyers (which are free!) are perfect for casual parties/gatherings. The templates and available images/gifs are trendy and cute, and you can also customize them/upload your own stuff. And they look good on mobile! (You can view the live — far less blurry! — version of the example flyer shown above here on desktop or mobile. BTW, I turned off the RSVP button — since it’s a fake party — but every template has the option.) I also love that you have the option to text people the link to the flyer (vs. having of send it over email). Mainly, they offer a much-needed alternative to FB party invites.

Overall, they are just a bit cooler than regular Paperless Post e-vites — truly more like a flyer than a traditional mailed invitation. Since we’re heading into summer party season, I thought it was worth putting them back on everyone’s radar! 🎉

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Tiny party tip: change your guest Wi-Fi network name to something fun/relevant before you host

Image: Kiyana Salkeld / Just Good Shit

Image: Kiyana Salkeld / Just Good Shit

Here’s a cute idea that I picked up from my friend Tashween: if you’re having a party or hosting out-of-town guests, change the name of your guest Wi-Fi network and the password to something related to the event, and then give everyone the info in the invitation (and/or at the gathering itself).

For example, when I threw a potato party in March 2015, I named the guest Wi-Fi network Starch Madness, and the password was something like tatersgonnatate. More recently, I’ve just been making the network name the name of the party itself, and then doing a cute/relevant/easy to type but still secure password.

Is changing your guest network name absolutely necessary? Of course not. Is it silly and fun and a cute way to pre-game your gathering? It is! It’s also also a subtle flex, implying that you have your shit together enough to actually know your internet provider login information, and can therefore easily change your Wi-Fi password whenever you feel like it. Your parents’ “6hNq_27vhUo5nME” could never. ✨

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A modest proposal: Take notes when you’re hanging out with friends

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I’ve written before about my friend Julia’s Ladies Article Club, which I’ve had the pleasure of attending on a couple of occasions when I’ve been in D.C. visiting her. I love a lot of things about it, but one of my favorite aspects is that someone always takes notes during the gathering. The note-taker writes down anything that comes up during the conversation that warrants some kind of follow-up — so basically, if someone mentions a product or a recipe or a podcast episode or a good Instagram account, the note-taker adds it to her list. Then she’ll start an email thread with everyone later on to collect/share the items mentioned.

I’ve always thought this idea was so smart and efficient, and I’ve started doing it more when hanging out with friends — even, just, like, during a coffee date. I like doing it because it’s practical, but also because writing these items down in my journal creates a mini diary entry about the hangout/the conversation.


Last month, I was at my friend Emily’s apartment for a little friend dinner party, and when she mentioned a book she liked, I said, “Wait, I’m going to write down the stuff we talk about so I can look it up later.” I pulled out my notebook and pen and Jess said, “Welcome to Rachel’s meeting,” and everyone laughed. AND YET! An hour or so later, Emily asked me where my pullover and my socks were from, and when I told her, she said, “Wait, I want to write all this down,” and took out her phone and opened the Notes app. And later that night, after we’d all gone home, Jess texted the group and said, “Who is sending out the meeting notes?” And we all sent around the things that we’d discussed and made note of.

I always think I’m going to remember all the things I mention or that my friend mentions when we’re hanging out, but when you’re with smart/well-read/interesting people, that’s basically impossible. Just take notes! ✍🏽

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