4-Star Explorer's Girls Night In!

4-Star Explorer's Girls Night In!

With gas prices steadily fluctuating and the temperature kissing lower degrees of Fahrenheit everyday the common female ritual of gathering in groups to go out to the latest "it" club and wearing as little amounts of clothing as possible is slowly falling to the wayside as autumn leaves. Add to that the overwhelming need to conserve funds for important things like investments and shoe collections, staying in is becoming the favored option for many girls across the city. But no need to subject yourself to a lonely existence filled with Single Girl Fridays featuring sappy romantic movies and eating ungodly amounts of fattening snacks. Just call your best gal pals to turn that frown upside down and turn that girl night "outtie into an "innie" with 4-Star Explorer's tips on having a fabulous Girl Night In.

1. Be a Wo-Man With a Plan

Planning can really make the difference between inviting friends over for a chill session and actually having a grownup get together. Sit down and make yourself an old fashioned "To Do" list of what items you need to purchase, what recipes you want to make and exactly what you want your guests to do. Not sure where to start? Use your resources and don't be afraid to "google."

2. Create a Champagne Taste, on a Kool-Aid  Budget

Let's face it with terms like "economical breakdown" and "lower 47%" being thrown around the need to pinch a penny is crucial. And with no shame in my proverbial game I don't mind being as frugal as possible. My friends are the loves of my lives but I don't mind serving them on $1 decorated paper plates versus the $5 Hefty brand. So for gatherings with large groups find out how to ball on a budget! Want to serve something yummy to your guests, stick to one thing and make tons of it. For instance you might want to make a nice chilli dip. It's fairly inexpensive to make, only having three ingredients turkey chilli; shredded and cream cheese, and you can bulk up servings to feed your friends all night long. Head to places such as Aldi, Trader Joes or Walmart to save money on food and spirits. And take advantage of your local sale papers and coupon websites to make your dollar stretch.

3. Personalize It!

Taking a moment to plan and personalize items for your guests is a good look and will make them feel really special. For my event, I scoured the various social media outlets in which I am connected to my friends and printed out a cute picture of each of them and put it front of their glasses. It's a way for the girls to feel included as well as spot who's on the guest list for that evening.

You should also try to add a theme or attraction for your party. For instance, I created a cute little homemade poster with the event's name and my lipstick print and signed name. I asked the girls to bring lipstick or colored lip gloss and had glitter and other materials so they could do the same. It's great because it also stands as a nice memento of the evening and can be put on display for your friends to see next time they visit. Making collages, clothing swaps, and smart phone/social media led scavenger hunts are also fab ideas to roll out at your next event.

4. What's the 411?

Make sure guests have all the information, requests, and addresses in a timely fashion. I'd probably give 10 days to a week's notice if it's something small but more formal. It may also be an added gesture to either create or purchase some cute invitations. It may shock you but the Dollar Store or whatever buck reincarnation you have near you is a good place to find simple but event appropriate invitations. Also be sure to remind guests two to three days before the event for a final count of who's attending.

5. Are You Not Entertained?!

Ok, you called everyone over and cooked up the fixings, now what? Have something planned for your guests to do. You can have a board game potluck where everyone has to bring one of their favorite games to play. Not too much for games, movies do all the work for you! Pop in a good ole chick flick and stare at the eye candy or have a good cry. You know your friends best so tailor something to their interests and what they would like to do.

6. Go With the Flow

Ever heard the adage "life is what happens when we're off making plans?" Well such is true for party planning. Don't focus too much on scheduling things that you forget to have a good time. Shit happens, things get lost, people show up late, and things don't go over as planned. It's ok. Take a breathe and try your best to get through because these are your friends and most of the time they love you regardless of the stupid mistakes you make. Nobody likes a "Tiger Host" so don't sweat the small stuff and laugh as much as possible.

Using all of these tips I embarked on my own hosted Girls Night In at my place and invited my dear friends Ashley Kyles, Ashlee Robison, Breana Southerns and Morinola Shobajo. We had a great catching and cracking up. The girls loved the preparation and spread that went into the event and I hoped my added bonus would be seen as a treat to them as well.

A few months ago while covering Chicago's Annual Fashion Fest I got a chance to run into a bright star in the jewelry business. We met and hit it off wonderfully and I made it my business to keep in touch and support her work. Vanessa Betance of So Ness Boutique is simply style perfection. Giving you Hermès quality on a Targèt budget. She recently decided to branch out with her boutique on wheels service, So Ness Getty, and with her blessing we made this small party of ladies into a proper jewelry party! Imagine your dull table with the weird uncomfortable chair that creaks turned into a sparkling presentation of the finest jewelry in your immediate price range laid out. As I stared at the array of jewel creations I couldn't help but think, "this must be how Carrie Bradshaw felt about shoes!"

After we reattached our jaws and moved on from being astonished, we perked up at getting the chance of reliving a scene we've probably haven't experienced since childhood when we all wanted to be princesses, playing dress up with the jewelry. But this wasn't 2nd grade and we weren't playing around in momma's jewelry box, oh no, suddenly we were big girls with extra big girl wallets and extra big girl places to go. Suddenly, the talk of attending plays and going out on dates was being thrown around while trying on extravagant necklaces. We got to finger some more of the goods and inquire about styling. After the sales were made and mini battles over mutually sought after pieces subsided, we decided to play the classic game of 21 Questions.

I took an old knickknack box and stuffed it with various questions that I printed out, cut into little slivers and placed them in said box. A lot of the questions I got were from one of my favorite shows called 1 Girl, 5 Gays which centers around a panel of gay men being asked important questions on various pop culture and important issues plaguing not only the gay but young adult population. Vanessa Betance and her friend/assistant Victoria were nice enough to stay and join in on the festivities. From drawing the perfect penis to finishing off many bottles of wine to the finale of the evening which was the official 4-Star Explorer-Girls Night In viewing of Magic Mike I would expect that the night was a success.

Thanks so much to my wonderful, amazing friends for agreeing to help me with this endeavor and for being subjected to the multiple texts that I sent out leading up to the night and special thanks to Vanessa Betance for providing us with wonderful wares and entertainment that will be sure to be the top of discussion for many gab sessions to come.

Please Support and Visit So Ness Boutique Online!!! And Don't Forget to Inquire About Her So Ness Getty Expansion Service As Well....

Vanessa Betance

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