I found myself in the midst of a polar vortex for my birthday this year, at the tail end of visit to my family in the Midwest. In the midst of record-breaking amounts of snow, I decided to throw a small party with hints of Spring. There would be roses, punch, and lots and lots of streamers.
When I was a little girl, my idea of decorating for a party was taking several rolls of crepe paper streamers and plastering my living room ceiling with color. Restraint and subtlety were not words I cared for. So when I found myself throwing a party in my childhood home, it only seemed fitting to take the opportunity to visit my roots and use as much crepe paper as possible.
I also decorated with botanical letter garland by Rifle Paper Co. and tissue paper blossoms.
After doing a bit of research into flowery punches, I decided to serve the Old Faithful, which is made up of elderflower-y St-Germain, fresh grapefruit, mint leaves, sparkling water, grapefruit bitters and a whole bottle of bourbon.
One cannot serve that much bourbon without also supplying things to eat. The spread included chicken salad with dried cherries spread on Melba toast, Rice Krispies Treats and cucumber avocado tea sandwiches, served on Anthropologie Ladies-in-Waiting dinner plates.
I had envisioned a cake covered in peonies, but the polar vortex meant that our florist experiencing a flower shortage. Luckily, Costco’s flower department was open for business, and we purchased a big bouquet of red roses. My friend (a wedding photographer) expertly arranged a beautiful topper for the red velvet birthday cake, going as far as to go out in the snow to pluck some evergreenery from the garden to complete her creation.
I forgot to buy birthday candles for the cake; so, when the moment to sing Happy Birthday arrived, we improvised and stuck the candles on the table into the cake.
Perhaps the most unlikely element of the party was the presence of the piñatas. A friend was visiting from France; and, as he had never seen a piñata in real life, it only seemed right that this be his introduction to the activity. Imagine my surprise when one of the guests showed up with a second piñata! She had used it to wrap my birthday gift (so clever! and also so awkward because I had to retrieve my presents through the burro’s bottom...).
Instead of hanging the piñata outside in the snow, we opted to put him on the living room floor and hit him with a stick. My cousin’s preschool children were the most enthusiastic participants, but I was the one who managed to knock his head off in a decisive blow.