Saturday, April 3, 2010

User Guide: How to Party Like a Grown-up

I work in the energy industry and regularly travel to Houston for a project that I'm working on. It is a BIG project, with hundreds of people working on it. As a result, I have a lot of friends in Texas. A lot of them aren't even from Texas though. Like me, they travel in from different cities, even different countries. So we're always looking for a party. And I provide.

It started as dinner parties where I would play chef. I just cooked during the first few parties, but soon introduced other activities like beer making and wine tasting, all the while listening to my eclectic party playlist of old school rap, 80's music, and blues rock. Unfortunately my place in Houston is only big enough to accommodate an invite list of about 15 people. So once I realized that I wanted to party with more people than could fit in my apartment, I decided that we needed to hit the streets. Here's a breakdown of how to party like a grown-up:
  • The Standard Dinner Party: invite over 10-15 friends. Serve two appetizers and a main course. The main course should have a side or two, like salad or veggies. Bump some fresh beats, and have some interactive games out in case people are interested. Or you can introduce other themes, like beer making or wine tasting.
  • The Beer Making Party: find a homebrew store in your area. I forked out a one-time fee of about $120 for the equipment, and then spend about $50-70 per batch of 50 beers. I get money from people that are interested in getting some of the finished product. I try to get $100 per batch from people. So if ten people want in, each pays $10 and gets 5 homemade beers.

Sometimes grown-ups like to pretend they are still in college.
Photo on left shows part of my kitchen after the last beer making party.
Photo on right is the result of bustin' out a roundhouse kick to a bag
of malted grains that we used for making the beer.
  • The Wine Tasting Party: I'm secretly compiling a database of wine ratings done by real people. So far I have been able to statistically illustrate that there is no correlation between price and taste. Some people have asked me, "But how do you know these people know anything about wine?" Well, maybe they don't. But that's exactly the point. I want to know what the average person thinks, not a group solely of pretentious wine snobs like myself! Have everyone bring a bottle of a similar type of wine. You can't expect a fair experiment if somebody is finishing each sample before moving on to the next (...because they are getting more and more drunk with each sample). So you need to pour them ALL at the same time and present them to the tasters. Yes, you'll need a ton of cups, so just go with cheap plastic ones. People love this event! Especially when you start giving people a hard time because they LOVED the $2 bottle. :)
  • The Wine Crawl: Choose four wine bars. Spend 45-60 minutes at each. I plan them out so the least amount of transportation is required. Oh, and grown-ups take taxis when they're drunk. Also, I've learned that having the last wine bar next to a bar with a dance floor is always a hit. I don't know a single person that isn't ready to tear up the dance floor after visiting four wine bars.

Tips on throwing a House Party like a Grown-up:
  • Try to ensure that everybody on your invite list has at least one friend there besides yourself. For those that don't, tell them they can bring a friend to the party.
  • Immediately get people a drink upon their arrival. Offer a drink with hard liquor, like a margarita or mojito. The sooner people get a little sloshed the better.
  • Have music playing. Ensure you have some old school beats on your playlist. Every time I play Rumpshaker by Wreckx-N-Effect it creates a buzz of conversation. People go nuts when they hear a song that they used to love but have forgotten about.
  • Kill your TV (Unless, of course, the theme of your party is to watch a game or some specific TV show).
  • Prep the food so that you spend the least amount of time possible in the kitchen during the party.
  • Have interactive games out in case people want to play them. I don't normally try to gather people for playing them. I leave that for the guests to initiate.
  • If you regularly throw parties, don't be afraid to let people know that they can bring drinks or just contribute to the cooking fund. I always have an inconspicuous "cooking fund" box, and find that many people will throw in some money. I never ask for money, but definitely accept donations.
So there you have it. Now get out there and party like a Grown-up!
Do you have any grown-up tips you'd like to share?


  1. Thanks for commenting on my post...that's exactly what I was talking about. I'm really glad you found a way to reframe your perspective when it came to getting your runs in. So much better to be enjoying them...even when you get a personnal worst :) (saw the title of your last post). Keep on keeping on and having fun!!

  2. The wine party sounds like ton of fun. Of course, my "party" nights are more along the lines of sitting on the couch, eating popcorn, and watching Toy Store for the 100th time with my 2 year old. But I usually drink wine during the movie. :)

  3. Let's just say "YOU KNOW HOW TO PARTY!"

  4. You're parties sound like a blast - and I'm continuing to learn new tips - thanks!

  5. I suddenly feel the need to try out your Grown Up party, too bad it's Sunday.

  6. I'm not much of a partier, at least not one to get pucky sick anymore...hehe...but I say when you make it to Boston, as I know you will, bring on every single party you can think of!! :)

  7. Wow, that looks like one hell of a I'm starting to think my parties are a little lame.

    Thanks for stopping by my blog. I see you've done the Escape from Alcatraz swim. I went to SF for the first time last fall and fell in love with it, and decided that if I ever do a tri my first one needs to be at Alcatraz. Which could be a fairly interesting experience seeing as I live in Kansas and our opportunities for open water swimming are pretty limited. :)

  8. Oh, I should also mention that it did warm up to 60+ degrees by the end of that long run. 20+ degree temperature shifts in 3 hours = crazy Kansas weather. But I did do one of my 20 mile runs this training plan in what was probably 20 degree weather, so I'm still gonna say that's pretty badass.

  9. Wow. You're like the Martha Stewart of collegesque drinking parties. That pic of your kitchen is pretty astonishing..

    Thanks for the comment on my blog..You may not remember it but you said you thought I would go all the way with my endeavor (to lose 100 pounds). That really fired me up!

  10. Awww I love this post! We're hosting a party this Saturday and I will definitely be incorporating some of these tips. I like the 'turn the tv off". I think we often leave it on as background noise in case things get really boring but it becomes distracting and stops conversations.

    And thanks for your comment on my blog :) I want to be prepraed as possible for the marathon and I hear you hit the wall where your last long run ended or something like that. But I'm run/walking so 26 miles isn't as bad as if I were running. I think if you're not taking walking breaks in your training you shouldn't go more than 20 miles. At least that seems to be the consenus I've noticed.

  11. You do know how to throw a party!

    And thanks for stopping by my blog!

  12. wow that was amazing advice... I have actually been to parties like these... guess I am a grown up now.

  13. This sounds like my type of party!

    BTW your Personal Bests are amazing! 1 mile in under 5 minutes?!?! Gasp!

    Thanks for stopping by my blog and reading Sarah's Story =) come back again =)

  14. Ohan .... You are incredible. Seriously? Dinner parties? For 15?

    Sounds like a blast.

    I want recipies!! ;)

    Love your blog.

  15. Ummm ya so that should have read," oh man".

    Nice. Freaking fat fingers. ;) freaking iPhone. ;)

  16. hahah. love this! thanks for sharin!! Cool blog. Thanks so much for your comment :)

  17. I love partying like a grown-up (or as one, i guess, i think i'm a grown-up).... just because I remember things afterwards and they are way more entertaining and better organized than what we had in college, haha! And the drinks are better quality. It just gets better with time, haha.

  18. funny how in college your goal was to get trashed... and now, if someone gets trashed at a party, they are that drunk who can't handle their alcohol, lol.

  19. um, the pictures are pricless. thanks for the comment, somehow it DOES make me feel better knowing other people had horrid first marathons. yep, i'm hoping for redemtion in 10 days! we'll see. i guess my dilemma is that i currently do XT quite a bit, and my legs are feeling shot, so i don't know what to do! the marathon crazy has begun :)