How to have a Noche Española or Spanish Birthday Party...
1.) Decorations. My preference, which was the cheapest and
Just use fabric or t-shirts/pillow cases you don't mind cutting up, make a triangle template on cardboard, and have your DVR loaded so you can cut for 2 hours while watching Master Chef and Food Revolution...
I took three strings of yarn and twisted them together to make one strong ribbon and literally just hot glued the triangles on to it. I said it before and I'll say it again. Hot glue and I are like massaman curry and avocado. We enhance each other. (BTW-- Jose took the photo on the right below... impressive, eh?!)
2.) FOOD. I think you all understand what food in this house means. Let's just say if "Vidal" were a logo... it would be a mouth. Talking and eating. Seriously. So, Jose took on the ambitious role of party chef and made some amazing tapas!
-Patatas Bravas + delicious sauce
-Dates stuffed with goat cheese and wrapped in bacon *still drooling*
-A selection of Spanish cocas, i.e. flat bread with toppings.
3.) Guest Participation. Ask friends to bring their interpretation of Spain! This could mean food... or attire as well ;)
Holla dolla! Found some paper doilies at the dollar store that made great coasters throughout the house!
4.) Games. Oh man. So one of the games that I HAVE to share with you is one I stumbled across online. Originally, you're supposed to tape a "message" under each person's plate (ideal for a dinner party) with a really strange question/quote such as "Have you tried ostrich eggs?" You cannot share your phrase/question with anyone.
The goal is for each person to incorporate their phrase into the conversation NATURALLY. However, I changed it up. As soon as everyone had arrived, I went around the room with a bowl full of quotes and had them pick one randomly. Jose and I came up with quotes such as:
Ernie from Sesame Street is definitely Hispanic.
Drink it up, grandma!
You can pretty much pickle anything.
I think the Keebler Elves work for Apple.
I get terricited sometimes. You know… excited and terrified at the same time? *(Albert Tate :)
___(Your Name)___ is feeling this. [[Yes, like third person]]
Guess that's what late night party planning does to you. You come up with the most random phrases! Jose and I would laugh so hard imagining our friends finding ways to incorporate these naturally into conversation.
So what is the incentive? You earn money. Fake money. Jose and I made 3 goody bags full of chocolates, Spanish cookies, gadgets, and other fun stuff for people to BID on at the end of the night. If you were able to incorporate your phrase without someone saying "Is that your fake phrase?" You earned 20 (fake) dollars. If someone catches you, then the person who catches you earns $10. ALSO, if you happen to say something random and someone ask if that's your fake phrase but it's not -- you earn $10 (without abusing this ability!).
That game continued throughout the entire night to give people plenty of opportunity to say their phrase. Another great game to help with that is Fishbowl. If you're not familiar with this game -- it is an AMAZING group game that basically combines charades and catch phrase.
I'm thinking these two were on the same page..
We made sure people could earn more money by winning at these other games. We did ask everyone to incorporate a Spanish theme to it. This is the hilarious "Che Guevara" interpretation on the left and a Spanish museum on the right:
5.) Coffee Break. We asked our friend Derek to bring his espresso machine and coffee flavorings, but he went above and beyond that! He made a mini coffee menu on his iPad!
I went around and took orders while Derek graciously turned our kitchen into a mini Starbucks.
Thanks to Rodrigo, I stole a quick photo opp to get at least one with the amazing chef :)
Last game. *shakes head* I don't even know where to start or if I should even bother. Do you ever laugh so hard that the back of your head starts to hurt? Tears start to form and your cheeks don't want to stretch any further? THIS game. This game did it. Telephone charades.
The basic premise is that one team picks a scenario and the second team will, one by one, be re-interpreting what they saw.
In our case, a husband is filming his wife in the delivery room, cuts the umbilical cord, and as he holds the baby he realizes he was in the wrong room! After removing the tape from the video camera and tossing it to the mom, he dashes out of the room.
You can see how communicating a scene without words can completely be re-interpreted. Here is one example where Derek's filming...
is slowly interpreted into this:
...this is what the people who were guessing typically looked like:
Vince, who was the first guesser on the other team, guessed that Derek was watching a surrogate mother give birth (slightly correct) and when the baby was given to him -- he realized how ugly it was and tried to give it back (not quite! :).
Nick, on the other hand, thought the scene started with an impatient man who suddenly saw a baby appear (out of nowhere?) outside of his window. Poor Kristin was the last one to go:
Honestly, the laughter exceeded my expectations. Such ridiculous fun! After the intense bidding for the goody bags was over, we popped a candle into an apple empanada (made by Kristin) and sang Jose happy birthday :)
Best joint birthday party we've ever had. And there I was, thinking were weren't going to celebrate it with family, but that's exactly what these friends have become to us. Our Arizona family :)