I like parties. Throwing them, going to them, hearing about them. Everything from big, fancy, over-the-top weddings to small, cozy potlucks. I am in. Every time. The sad part of working crazy hours is that I haven't had much time to host as many gatherings as I'd like. Even sadder, I've had to decline attending certain soirees. Food, friends, fun times and I have to say no. The worst part about it is that I'm always well intentioned. I'll meet new people and think, "They're lovely, we should have them over to dinner." Or I'll get an invitation and plan what I'll wear and what I'll bring (because I'm brown and my mother taught me never to go to someone's home empty handed) but then won't be able to attend because of work. This is the point where someone asks, "But I thought law firms always had great parties?" Sure, if your idea of a good time is standing around with a luke-warm drink making small talk with your business colleagues. Good times indeed. Even the "fun" firm outings are awkward because you know that Friday night will soon be Monday morning and you'll have to keep a straight face during a presentation delivered by a guy that was doing the freaky chicken dance not that long ago.
There's a point to all of this. The point is that my latest soiree was a long time in the making. I actually think I spent more time thinking about it than executing it. It's obvious my meticulous, research happy, work personality carries over to my personal life. It's an illness and I'm trying to get rid of it. See, a few months ago, I read an article in Better Homes and Gardens (yes, I read BH&G. You can quit smirking now) about hosting a swap. The BH&G swap had pictures of everything from lamps to books to dishes. I was intrigued by the idea but wasn't particularly interested in other people's housewares. We live in a tiny apartment that barely has enough room for our stuff. Then, one of my favorite bloggers hosted a clothing swap. Ding (that was the lightbulb going off above my head). Clothes and accesories? A girl can never have enough of those (a significant other may disagree). An idea for a clothing swap was hatched.
I recruited a fabulous attorney friend to help, knowing she'd be the perfect partner in crime for this soiree. A location was chosen, invitations were sent, swap items were contemplated. We asked each of the girls to bring five pieces of clothing, accessories, or shoes they no longer loved and wished to swap for new items. We made a giant "number tree" and planned on having each of the girls pick a tag with a number inside to determine the swapping order because frankly, I'd be afraid to break up a fight between two girls fighting over the same pair of shoes.
And what's a party without party favors, right? Bath&Body Works, I love your products and would be ecstatic if you wished to sponsor my next soiree ;)
What about food, you ask? Oh, there was food. Food galore.
Thai noodle salad.
Cranberry turkey salad
THREE kinds of sandwich spirals including tomato provolone, turkey bacon, and club.
Chocolate cake with the best-ever-I'm-not-counting-calories-today chocolate ganache and raspberries.There was also a delicious broccoli slaw that I forgot to photograph in my rush to eat. Oh, and some uber tasty lemon and mint cake balls that I also did not photograph because I was using my hands to eat them as fast as possible. Oh, and a refreshing berry limeade. Yup, also forgot to photograph that because I was eating (hey, at least I'm consistent). In hindsight, it's suprising I managed to get any clothes at all given I spent most of the party eating, drinking and chatting.
We ate, we giggled and we swapped. The clothes were set up in little group all around the giant room. In hindsight, neurotically organized me would have probably grouped the shirts with other shirts, the dresses with other dresses, the pants with other pants but we just kinda mixed things up like a trendy boutique and it worked out really well (and yes, it took a lot for a detail-oriented, control freak me to admit that). Ultimately, we ended up not even needing to draw numbers and the girls just "shopped" freely because everyone was so nice! When two girls reached for the same item, they actually offered it to each other!?! Needless to say, I was not one of those girls. I would have grabbed the item I wanted and ran for the door. They complimented each other when someone tried something on and they even suggested items they thought would look good on someone else. I was truly amazed at how supportive everyone was even though the majority of girls had never met before.
I was also totally impressed by the selection of items. We had everything from dress shirts to cute, summer dresses to sparkly high heels. I even walked away with a few things that still had tags on them! I would be more surprised but I bet everyone has new items in their closet that have sat there for quite a while because they looked so much better in the store.
Everyone left with a bag full of cute, new items and delicious food leftovers and we bagged up the leftover items and took 'em to our local Salvation Army. Judging from the fabulous items I will be wearing this upcoming week (and the decadent leftover cake I'm eating as I type this), the clothing swap was a success. Maybe the whole law thing is overrated. Maybe I'll be a party planner instead. No? You sure?