The not so surprising party.

The not so surprising party.

The not so surprising party…

As an only child, birthdays in my family have always been a huge deal. April is basically my birthday month, why limit your celebrations to just a day?

However, the hubs, youngest of five, was never really much of a birthday/celebration kind of guy but he’s come a long way. 

This year, he kept insisting that I keep his birthday a low-key, low budget ordeal.  But he was turning 35 – how could I not do something? And so I thought long and hard until I came up with the perfect plan, something that would celebrate him but would still fall into his low-key/low-budget rules. 

I planned an intimate surprise dinner party with some of our closest friends.  However, when you’re living with someone it’s hard to keep a surprise, especially when he knows you’re up to something.  

Honestly, surprising someone you live with, with a party at home is really tough… so I was able to keep the surprise until day of until he found the balloons… In the end, he was pleasantly surprised that some of his dearest friends made it & in my eyes, that’s all that matters. Happy Birthday Meri Jaan.

Planning any event big or small especially for the first time can be a little overwhelming. I wanted to have a nice evening but didn’t want to stress myself out over the details. Here’s the nitty gritty of planning a low-key party:

Once you’ve decided on a budget, date, and guest list –

Send out invites – I used an evite template and texted it to all our friends.  Wanted to have somewhat of a theme – so I chose Karaoke since he very recently got one as a Christmas present. Not all occasions call for this and that’s okay, but I like adding my own creative touch.

Food – usually requires the most amount of work and preparation but I also wanted to enjoy the evening so I chose to cater his favorite food.  Luckily his favorite food is Halal Guys. (if someone at Halal Guys is reading this post – please hire him as your Brand Ambassador)

I also picked up some dips with chips and created a cheeseboard.

Also picked up some crowd pleasing drinks. 

Ordered a cake from our local baker and picked up some classic Indian desserts to add some options.

Tabla Cake

Décor – The only décor I opted for was a balloon banner and some hanging tassels as well as some high quality paper plates, utensils, and napkins.

Prepping – I used a couple hours cleaning up our place and decorating our dining area where we’d set up food/drink stations.  Quickly dusted and vacuumed, and wiped down the powder room. 

Cleaning up –As the party comes to a close, start cleaning up the table and putting away the food.  We had WAY too many left overs and so I used the foil trays that the food was delivered in to make to-go boxes for everyone. And tupperwar-ed the rest for ourselves.  Luckily everything was in foil trays so there was minimal dish washing required. #smallwins
It was a long day, so I saved the rest for the next morning.  After eating breakfast (aka left over cake), I cleaned up the kitchen, loaded up and ran the dishwasher, wiped down the countertops, oven and stovetop.  Swept and mopped.  Moved onto the party spaces- picked up all the remaining trash, wiped down tables and vacuumed.  Put the dining table and chairs back, and the place settings as well.   Dimmed the lights, lit some candles and used the remainder of the day to have a relaxing evening. 

Hope this post helps you plan and streamline your next party with a low stress mindset.  It’s always been my dream job to be the Desi Martha Stewart & maybe she would advise against using foil trays but ain’t nobody got time for that. Leave some of your best party prep/clean-up hacks in the comments below! I’m working on my next couple of posts –sharing some of my favorite winter recipes and how to host the perfect, Classy Desi Dawat – no foil trays this time – I Promise!

If any of this was helpful to you – tag me in your next party post!

Happy rest of the week lovies. 

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We bought our first home

Grab your cup of *insert preferred beverage here* Lets get back on this grind.

I started writing this post over 3 weeks ago and life literally flew by and I wasn’t able to get it up for you guys – I’m so sorry. I have two more posts coming soon after this too! But now that I’m sitting on my deck taking in our undone backyard, there is nothing that should stop me from getting this post up.  No our place isn’t ready, but we’re settled enough to finally be able to call this place home ❤ and we’re more than ready to get back to a normal routine, of cooking dinner and catching up on all our favorite shows.

Buying our first home together was nothing short of an emotional roller coaster.  With boxes covering our entire apartment and then our house, it felt extremely overwhelming.   I sit here trying to gather all the sweet memories we’ve created in our apartment.  Now don’t get me wrong, I’m super excited to grow into our knew home and start a new phase in our lives, but I’m an emotional/get-attached-to-everything type of person… so you know I was crying on my last day there & happy tears on our first night in our new bed. Since I announced the big move on Instagram, I was surprised to hear how many of you had terrible home-buying experiences that you gave up or the number of those that didn’t even want to shop around because the process was so daunting. We definitely hit some obstacles along the way as well… As a first-time-home-buyer we walked into the process so spontaneously and it probably wasn’t the smartest idea – so here are a few pieces of advice for those in the process or one-day-hoping to be…

1.        Do your research.

A.        Know your housing market – are homes selling for over or under asking price? In our case it was well over! And after putting down our first offer, we were shocked.  Offering $20K over asking – we thought we were doing well but the property sold for $65K over asking.  This gave us a reality check – are we really ready to buy a house? Fast forward 6 months and we were in a bidding war – we got lucky and settled on $40K over asking.

B.       Seriously look at your finances – if you have a pre-approval for $600K – it doesn’t necessarily mean that you should necessarily go buy a house for that price.  Work backwards – figure out what your ideal monthly payment would be and then look at homes in that price range.  If you’re married look at your combined income vs. expenses look like, with room for contingencies.  Also, take a look at all your mortgage options and first time home-buyer credits.  If you had a hiccup along the way with your credit score, talk to a mortgage officer – they can guide you and break down numbers for you so you know exactly what you’re monthly payment will be with a conventional vs. FHA mortgage.

C.       Have trusted resources – are your parents’ home-owners? They were my biggest resource – my dad was able to give us a solid idea of what kinds of things we’d have to do once we bought the house. I had no clue there was a difference between home-owners insurance and a home warranty… how often do ducts need to be cleaned, but really though, what are ducts?  We relied on our trusted family to give us referrals to their landscapers, contractors, and other services.  We’re so grateful! However if you don’t have access to these resources – become friendly with your neighbors quickly they may be able to give you list of their contacts, (i.e.- landscapers that visit the neighborhood biweekly)  Home Advisor was our other handy tool for all questions left unanswered!

D.       Buying a house is EXPENSIVE. Know what kind of funds you’ll be left with at the end of the move and what kind of costs you’re looking at for either renovations, additions, or in-home décor.  We were extremely lucky and only had minor updates and some larger purchases –  PC Richard was extremely helpful and the most budget friendly! While the mortgage process was having its ups and downs – I spent my time online shopping comparing washer/dryer models so I knew exactly what I wanted lol #adulting  Don’t’ worry a separate post on a home tour will follow soon – I’m so excited to share that with you!

2.        Before you move…

Reality honestly didn’t hit us until the night before closing.  I packed a couple of seasonal boxes in the very beginning of  being in escrow and then was so overwhelmed with all my clutter that I stopped.  Flash forward a week after closing day and I’m still not packed – because I just didn’t know where to start..  Renovations are about to be over and its crunch time.  My honest desire was to leave the apartment and few personal belongings and start brand new but we had invested 4 years of our lives in making our apartment our home, how could I part with these things?  This honestly was the hardest part for me.  One of the biggest recommendations given to me was the Marie Kondo book.  De-clutter your life before you get into the place and leave the junk behind.  We made 2 piles of our stuff initially – take/discard.  Once our “take” boxes arrived at our new home, we went back to the apartment and went through the discard pile – either gave it away or threw it away.

3.        Moving/moved in.

a.        We had a months’ time to move out of our apartment, luckily that was  plenty of time to get everything out of the old place and into the
new.  We decided against hiring movers, because the new place was only a quick 10 minute ride away.  And, instead of rushing the move – it was important for me to declutter and rid of the all stuff.

b.       Don’t feel pressured to furnish your place because X,Y, and Z were settled in a few weeks. We really wanted to love our place and not get bored 6 months in.  I felt the anxiety of everyone wanting to come over and check out our new place, which came from all the right places of genuine love and excitement but to me it felt like I was displaying something incomplete… and realized later that – that’s okay.

c.        This checklist really helped me get organized and make my first few trips to the grocery store and put together some quick home-made meals. We were extremely sick of eating takeout.

I hope this helped some of you organize your thoughts and prepare for this wonderful yet HUGE decision in your life.  Have any other specific questions – let me know in the comments below.  I can’t wait to share the decor process with you guys.

Stay Blessed & Happy Lovies.