I am a self-proclaimed homebody. Even a restaurant die-hard like me enjoys a night in, not just for the relaxation factor, but for the money-saving benefits as well. A night in is also completely in your control – food, activities, company, etc, it’s all up to you! Some of my best times have been had with my girlfriends as we spent cozy evenings at one of our houses, gossiping and snacking. Girl’s nights can go far beyond that though – check out some of my ideas and you’ll see that the get-togethers you’ve been having may need an (easy) upgrade!
Chocolate and Wine Tasting:
Ask some guests to bring different kinds of chocolate, and some to bring a bottle of wine (everyone doesn’t need to bring a bottle – unless no one plans on driving home)! Make it clear that you are supplying the milk chocolate – that way, guests will be forced to think outside the box! The goal is to get different varieties of dark chocolates for tasting (varying cacao percentages, flavors, brands, etc). Once everyone arrives, assemble the wines and chocolates and pair them – the sweetest wines (like White Zinfandels, Roses, and light Pinot Noirs) go with the milk chocolate, the driest wines (like Chiantis, Riojas, and dry Shiraz) go with the darkest chocolates, and the in-between wines go with the dark chocolates with an “average” cacao percentage – you’ll learn as you taste what works and what doesn’t. No pressure on making the pairings perfect, just have fun with it! At the end, have everyone vote on a) their favorite wine, b) their favorite chocolate, and c) their favorite duo. The tasting doesn’t have to be organized, everyone can just mingle and gossip as they do so, but be sure to provide little notepads and writing utensils so notes can be taken!
Another option is to use chocolate that’s specifically meant to be paired with wine – an example of a company that makes this is Brix Chocolate – but that’s totally not required!
Bingo & Hummus Party:
Why bingo and hummus? Well, bingo is a really fun game that you probably don’t remember the last time you played – but come on, don’t you have fond memories of it? The suspense, the frustration, the satisfaction you always get from filling in that “free space” in the middle? And hummus is just an awesome, healthy snack that can ALWAYS be switched up via hummus flavor variety or the food chosen for dipping. Put the two together and you’ve got an action-packed, nostalgic, healthy night in. Assign half of your guests the duty of bringing dipping food, and half the duty of bringing hummus. It does NOT have to be homemade – but bonus points (extra bingo card perhaps?) if it is! Also, make sure your guests report to you WHAT they are bringing so there are no repeats. This also provides incentive for them to make the decision early to avoid any half-hearted offerings, like plain Sabra (not that it isn’t delicious) purchased on the way to the party. Your friends will want to call dibs on the kind of hummus or food that they want to bring early, so that they can bring what they want. Commence bingo playing as you dunk, devour, and discuss which foods go best with which hummus flavors. Bingo winners get first dibs on leftovers (if any)!
“Mad Men” Night:
Travel back in time for an evening and ask that your friends dress in their best “Mad Men”-inspired, 60’s city chic outfits. Have one area for mixing and mingling, and one area with a TV playing your guests’ favorite episodes – just ask beforehand for suggestions and see which ones come up most often. The drink decision work has already been done for you – check out AMC’s nifty Mad Men Cocktail Guide
, complete with photos and recipes. Epicurious has a handy list of Mad Men-inspired food ideas
as well! Have a serve-yourself area in the kitchen, so that plates can be transported between mingling and viewing rooms. If all these drink and food ideas are overwhelming you, consider asking your guests to lend a hand and bring pre-mixed cocktails or dishes. You can easily send them the links!
Got my martini, now all I’m missing is the Mad Men outfit!
Inspiration Board Making:
You are probably familiar with inspiration boards, which are self-created collages made up of images and words that inspire and motivate you, whatever your goals may be. I have been meaning to get around to making one for awhile – it’s something that can easily get pushed by the wayside in our busy lives. A night like this, devoted to the activity, is the best time to make your inspiration board because not only are you finally sitting down to put it together, but you can also draw upon ideas from your friends as they make theirs! Have each guest bring their own supplies (the must-haves are scissors, glue/glue sticks, a posterboard, and the things to put on the inspiration board) and also supplies to share with everyone (old magazines, markers, stamps, glitter, whatever they can bring). No chick flicks in the background please – just girl talk and good old-fashioned, uninterrupted crafting. You’re probably wondering what my food suggestion is here – go with the flow on this one! Guests are already bringing craft supplies, so suggest that each person bring an appetizer or snack, no homemade offering required. If you want to make it a particularly fit evening (after all, there may be a lot of fitness aspirations motivating these inspiration boards!) then you can suggest that all snacks are on the lighter side.
There you have it – four great ideas for an amped-up girl’s night in. Now you’ve got something low-key to do the weekend night before that big race or a weeknight when staying out late is an absolute no-no. If you try any of these ideas out or have any suggestions of your own, please let me know – tweet me @CaitPlusAte
or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org!