Friday, September 23, 2016

Katie's 30th Birthday: "30 is a Magic Number"

Turning 30 is pretty big deal and as the first of my friends to have the honor, I decided I needed to do something big and fun to kick off a year of dirty thirties.

Also, how gross is the term "dirty thirty"? I kind of hate it. That's why I decided to stay far away from it when picking my bday theme which, after much deliberation, I decided to christen "30 is a Magic Number."

What does "30 is a Magic Number" mean? It means that all your friends have to dress up as something magical and you get to have lots of gold and sparkles and bright colors everywhere. It's the ideal theme for me, really.

Let's break this ish down:


We (being me, Doug, and Kelly) considered going the catering route but when that was WAY too expensive, a longtime favorite of mine popped up as the perfect cheap and easy solution. Mac & cheese to the rescue! 

 Mac & Cheese Bar (Doug used this recipe) with bacon, Fritos, shredded cheese, green onions, hot dogs, and various sauces. 

Keep the cheese separate from the noodles in a crock pot so the sauce doesn't get cold and clumpy. We used 4 lbs of macaroni noodles for 25ish people.

Colorful paper cups and plastic forks make for easy clean-up.

Dessert was a no-brainer. Macarons from Farina always win, especially when they're brushed with gold dust.

Raspberry, Marrionberry, and Salted Caramel Macarons from Farina Bakery


Our friends tend to be big beer drinkers, so we made sure that Doug's kegerator was fully stocked with two of his homebrews as well as a locally-brewed favorite, Occidental Kolsch.

We hadn't made a cocktail on tap since our rehearsal dinner two years ago, but I was once again blown away by how easy it is to make a huge batch of cocktails this way. Just pour the ingredients into a corny keg, let carbonate for a few days, and pour! (If you want to get really technical, Doug says "hook the keg up to a CO2 tank, pressurize it at 30 PSI for 3 days, and then bleed the PSI to 8 PSI when ready to serve.")

Tom Collins, renamed "Veritaserum" to fit my theme, are always a crowd pleaser... but maybe slightly too easy to drink?

Tom Collins on Tap
(Makes about 40 servings)
  • 1 750 ml bottle of gin 
  • 5 cups fresh-squeezed lemon juice (about 17 lemons!)
  • 2.5 cups simple syrup 
  • 10 cups water (use carbonated if not kegging)


My goal was to keep all party supplies under $150 and I think we managed to do that- especially since I was able to borrow bistro tables from UP at no cost and I already had a ton of gold, pink, and teal craft supplies leftover from our wedding. 

The rainy forecast meant we had to abandon our deck party plans for the living room... but I think it worked out just fine thanks to Natalie and Lauren's decorating expertise.

 That paparazzi, man. Photo Backdrop made with gold tinsel curtains and ruffled crepe paper streamers.

 "30" Balloons (have them filled at Fred Meyer not the Dollar Store).

Purple, pink, teal, and gold Tassel Garland.

Special Touches

We entertain fairly regularly at our house, so as if the food, drinks, and decorations weren't enough already, I wanted to make sure my party had a few extra touches to make sure it felt really special.

Did you know it's super easy and super cheap to create a custom on-demand Snapchat geofilter? It only cost us $5 to run this thing for 8 hours. They have templates too in case you don't have mad Photoshop skills like yours truly.

This was before Lauren taught us about using the "pretty filter." See below for proper pretty filter usage.

Since college, my costume drawer has gone woefully underused- but this party helped solve that problem. It was so awesome to see all my friends really commit to the costume thing!

Props to all the Harry Potter characters (you guys know me too well), as well as Natalie who dressed up as a Magic 8 Ball, Lauren as Ruby Red Slippers, and Kel, who brought back the infamous siren costume, complete with face feathers. 

Cheers to 30 and to having the best friends to celebrate with!