Celebrate!

Ice Cream and Cake Birthday Party

icecreamcakebirthdaypartyplanningThis year I decided at the last minute to have an ice cream and cake birthday party.

Here’s how I pulled off a fabulous 40th Birthday Party in a few days.

I texted/emailed my friends and family the invite. I sent each one individually so that my guests wouldn’t be bothered with reply all answers.

Trust me, this is very important.

Plus, the personal note was a nice touch, especially given the timing.

Next I ordered a custom cake.

40th birthday cake edible bowThe other supplies were easy to purchase, but the cake needed personalization. I chose Sweet It Is and luckily they could fit me in. You can also try your local grocery store in a pinch.

Once the cake was ordered, I worked on my party shopping list.

For decorations I made a sign to frame in an 8×10 frame for the ice cream buffet table.

ice cream party bar free printable signFeel free to download the free ice cream buffet printable and use!

I went with gold and white, and splashes of pink, for my theme colors. This saved time and money because I was able to repurpose Christmas decorations.

I love using white for entertaining because it is the perfect backdrop for almost everything. For this event, my white was the tablecloth and some of the serving pieces.

The white tablecloth was a nice balance for the glitzy gold. I draped a bright pink cloth over the cake stand to add a pop of color to the table and to bring out the pink flowers in the floral arrangements. I picked the flowers at Trader Joe’s.

toppingsicecreambarI wanted to keep a carefree atmosphere (and limit the amount of work I needed to do) so I let the ice cream and cake buffet table serve as the decorations. It served as a focal point, and even better, there was only one area to clean up at the end of the night.

I set up a smaller table with drinks and supplies for overflow.

Here are some things to keep in mind if you’re having an ice cream and cake party.

Make sure you have dairy and non-dairy options. I purchased vanilla, strawberry and chocolate ice cream. I also purchased coconut milk ice cream and soy milk ice cream. This provided options for guests that were vegan and/or dairy free.

Offer different types of toppings. I included fruit (strawberries and blueberries), candy, chocolate and hot fudge. I also added cookies and cake. This way each person could make their own favorite dish.

Start later in the evening. I had a start time of 7 p.m. so that guests could have dinner before coming. I made sure everyone understood it was an ice cream and cake party, but the time was a further reminder to eat dinner beforehand. This also worked for the kids, because it was a great treat after their dinner.

Set everything out and let your guests serve themselves. This was an easy party to organize in a short period of time, because most of the supplies could be purchased in one place, and the buffet was self-explanatory. This also meant I had time to socialize and enjoy the party, not work the party.

Enjoy and good luck with your shindig!

Cinderella on Broadway – A Review of our Girls Day Out

cinderellaonbroadwayreviewWhen I heard Keke Palmer was joining the cast of Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella on Broadway I knew my princesses had to see it. First of all, they love everything princess and secondly, they’ve loved Keke since watching Akeelah and the Bee.

I’m also an advocate of taking children to live shows.

We went on a Saturday afternoon and the audience was sprinkled with little girls and adults wearing tutus and tiaras. It was a beautiful and delightful atmosphere, even before the show started.

Once the lights went down my girls were hooked. The show is 2 ½ hours, with a 15-minute intermission, and not once did they complain about the time.

In true Broadway fashion, this was a magical experience. The sets, the costumes and the acting were stellar.

I can’t say enough about the costumes, especially the dresses. We were all awestruck with Cinderella’s dress transformations. The first time we were like, “WOW!” and the second time we were trying to figure out how they did it!

Keke does an amazing job as Cinderella. She has a beautiful singing voice, which complements her acting. She truly transforms into Cinderella on the stage.

I must also highlight Sherri Shepherd as the wicked stepmother. Sometimes an actress’ personality can overshadow the role they are playing. This is not the case with Sherri. Her personality adds to the role and even though you don’t like the stepmother, you find yourself not hating Sherri.

Other things to mention:

  • This adaptation of Cinderella is similar to the story you’ve read, but there are enough differences to keep your attention.
  • They have done a good job of adding humor, and you will laugh out loud.
  • This adaptation shows more of the personality of the stepsisters, which is a good thing.
  • The wedding scene is GORGEOUS!!!

Enjoy and I’d love to know what you think of the show!

Girls Night Out at BoneFish Grill

bonefishgrillreviewgirlsnightoutReview of Bonefish Grill New Menu

Last week I had the pleasure of a Girls’ Night Out to try the new menu at Bonefish Grill. Let me start by saying I love their bang bang shrimp! It has been a favorite for many years, so I was happy to see it stayed on the menu.

As part of the new dishes, there’s a Bang Bang Shrimp flatbread on the starter menu (top photo). It was VERY. GOOD!

However, let me warn you, it is spicy so make sure you have a drink ready. I wasn’t expecting the spicy so I had to take a minute to pull myself together after the first bite, :-).

Luckily I love spicy foods, so yeah, I was HAPPY!

For my meal I tried the ahi tuna steak with the newly added crab fried rice. The tuna was fine (order it medium rare), but the crab fried rice was definitely the highlight. This was my first time trying this dish and it won’t be my last.

Overall, it was a nice night out for dinner with people I like.

Bonefish Grill has a nice ambiance that works for a Girls’ Night Out as well as a romantic evening or even a family dinner. During my visit all of the above was there and everyone looked like they were having a good time.

We went on a weekday, so there wasn’t a wait, but it can get busy on weekends. If possible, make a reservation.

Enjoy your visit and I’d love to know if you find a favorite on the new menu.

Disclaimer: As a member of #BlogCharlotte my meal was complimentary. However, all opinions expressed here are my own. I value your trust and would never post something I didn’t believe.

Chocolate Ruled My Birthday Gifts This Year

rockymountainchocolatefactorycaramelapplegiftreviewOne of the great things about publicly declaring my love of chocolate is the great gifts I get for my birthday.

This year my girls and Hubby treated me to this candy apple from Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, along with chocolate-covered strawberries.

This is one of their fabulous caramel apples covered with white chocolate and more.

And yes, I’m a chocoholic that loves white chocolate, too, :-).

If you have never treated yourself to one of their caramel apples you should. It’s the perfect mix of sweet and tart.

At a lunch with friends they surprised me with this array of chocolate! I was happy for their company, so this was definitely a sweet bonus.

chocolatebirthdaygiftideas

On another note, I feel so extremely blessed to have such amazing family and friends. Birthdays are a great time of reflection and I can truly say I have a beautiful life. Not because everything has worked out perfectly or because there has been no heartache.

It’s beautiful because in all of it – the joy, pain, laughter, tears, happy moments and heartache – I know that I feel all of it because I love and I am loved.

Happy Birthday to me!

Looking for Chocolate in Charlotte? Check Out barCHARLOTTE

chocolate in charlotte nc

If you’re looking for good chocolate near Uptown Charlotte, you won’t be disappointed with a stop in 7th Street Market.

This beautiful display at barCHOCOLATE greeted me while I was there for a business lunch. Of course there was no way the chocoholic in me could be close to this and not try a couple of pieces.

After much deliberation, I decided on the Ghost Chili Sea Salt Caramel bon bon…

and the Bee Pollen Hazelnut Praline bon bon…

They were both DELICIOUS!

 In addition to barCHOCOLATE, there’s an awesome sandwich spot (Local Loaf!) and other cute shops. 7th Street Market’s mission is to promote local and regional farmers, food artisans, and entrepreneurs.

What this means for customers is that everything is fresh and flavorful, which explains why I’ve added it to my list of favorite lunch spots in the Queen City.

Enjoy if you go and I’d love to hear about it!

Nan and Byron’s Brownie with Ice Cream and Chili Sauce

Last week I attended a blogger dinner at Nan and Byron’s here in Charlotte. The meal was excellent, but this brownie right here?!

It was so good it made me resurrect the Chocolate Friday column. YES. THAT. GOOD! The brownie is topped with coffee ice cream and chili sauce.

Yes, I’ll give you a moment to think about that.

A fabulously moist brownie, topped with COFFEE ice cream. And then, because that is not enough, they add a kick with the chocolate chili sauce. It’s not too spicy, just a little kick to up the wow factor.

Before tasting it I agreed to share and that was a good thing. There is no way I would have shared if I hadn’t already agreed to it.

If you love dessert, especially chocolate (and who doesn’t?!), you should absolutely try this. As for this chocoholic, I’m planning my next trip.

 

Disclaimer: I attended this event as part of a blogger group. The meal was complimentary, but that has absolutely no bearing on my review. I value you as a reader and I will never post anything I do not believe. Your trust is worth much more than a comped meal.

Girls Night In Party Idea – Vision Board

Vision Board Supplies And Gratitude Journal

howtovisionboardsuppliesThis past weekend I had a few girlfriends over for our monthly book study. Because our topics included gratitude and joy, I thought it would be nice to have each person work on a vision board.

In true “Towanda fashion,” it couldn’t be just a vision board. I wanted our boards to be a part of a journal… an overall one-thing-fits-all journal to capture our gratitude thoughts, life plans, general happenings and achievements throughout the year.

To prepare I bought poly folders with prongs and pockets, sheet protectors, glue sticks, various types of paper, markers, crayons and pens. I also supplied magazines and scissors.

Some of my girlfriends came up with AWESOME vision boards. They put their creations in a sheet protector and added it to their folder. Behind the board I encouraged them to add loose leaf paper that they could use to journal.

It was a lot of fun and I’m glad I started the process. Notice I say “started.” That’s right. I facilitated the process, encouraged everyone else, but I just couldn’t find the right pictures for my vision.

Now, I’ve tasked myself with locating other images and finishing before Christmas.

I’m sharing my half-done board because many of you may be planning to do your own vision board, and you may get frustrated when you can’t find the right images.

This frustration can be amplified if all you see are finished boards and don’t see the struggle that went into it.

Now, you don’t have to beat yourself up if you don’t finish it in one setting. I’m here to keep you company, :-).