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80s Surprise Birthday Party

My friend Carisa and I were born just 3 days apart.

It took us about 38 years to meet and realize that. 

She once wrote me a sweet email

(after we had met through church about 5 years ago)

 that God, in His infinite wisdom and sovereignty, 
waited until JUST the right moment to cross our paths.

Like He was up in heaven saying

"Not now. Wait for it…"

Then BOOM.

Karmen and Carisa happened.

And we've been HAPPENING

ever since.
(If I could only talk about all those HAPPENINGS! 
You'd wet your pants. 
Or maybe that's just us. 
Okay, just me.)

When Carisa and I were turning 40, it came out that she had never had a birthday party.

[Sound of needle scratching record to stop the music.]


I decided to fix that.

I NEEDED to fix that.

Fix it good.
(Ok, now I'm singing Devo.)

So I threw her a tea.

She is from Kentucky.

So I had everyone in attendance at the tea house 
read a stanza of a Jimmy Dean (yes, of sausage fame) poem

in their best Carisa accent.
(Boy, does she ever have an accent.)

It was a sweet poem about your cup overflowing so the saucer is full and whatnot.

Everyone's take on Carisa's accent was hysterical.

Everything from Aunt Jamima to Scarlett O'Hara.

Funny stuff!

So we decided to make the tea annual.

There was always a theme.

One involved bras

(because Carisa left me a message once about needing me to be "her bra":  
offer her support and stay close to her heart.)

The other involved shoes.

In its fourth year, I pulled a fast one.

Carisa came up with the idea that we'd each send evites to our invitation list that we were surprising the other with a luncheon.

And the surprise would be on the guests since we'd known about it all along.

I said okay.

Then sent my own fake evite and then my double psyche surprise evite

which was an 80s themed party for Carisa.


Thanks for hanging with this.

That was a l-o-n-g set up!

Me and Carisa in the  makeshift "photo booth". The "I were" sign is an
inside joke. FYI:  she said that once. "I were!" I know. Too funny.
And it makes NO sense. So I made a sign. And made her hold it.
It seemed appropriate.
This was SUCH FUN to put together! And my friend Sumita helped me A LOT!

I did some Pinterest and blog research and found a great centerpiece idea involving cassette tapes.
There is a short strand of multi-color Christmas lights
inside. I couldn't figure out how to plug them in
while still acting as centerpieces. So I just used them on
the table with nothing inside. Still looked cool.

I found a bunch of cassette tapes at the thrift store
to make some centerpieces.

I hot glued the cassette tapes together to form a square.

I added a second layer. 

I even used the tapes that weren't clear.
I put the cassette tape containers on the dining room table flanking a vase of flowers that my girlfriend put a legwarmer on! I don't have a picture of it but it was CUTE!

 I knew right away that I wanted to do a photo booth since I was asking everyone to dress up in their best 80s garb AND bring a picture of themselves during the 80s.

I wanted a neon color to paint a frame I picked up at the
thrift store. The only neon spray paint I could find
was this MARK IT stuff that the gas company uses to
mark gas lines in your yard--on the grass.
It is very powdery and doesn't make for a good covering
paint. I wouldn't recommend it.

I wanted a big empty frame to use for a photo booth.

Madonna stopped by for a photo shoot.

 Every photo booth needs props!

I put together a props area. I filled a vase with
lemon drops and Nerds and stuck in signs
with 80s sayings that I made out of pre-cut signs
I found at CVS (of all places) that I taped to
wooden skewers. I found the slatted sunglasses
at Dollar Tree. I had the red sparkly ones.
I tied a pink handkerchief to the vase.
Check out those Devo hats I made! Come on, they are adorable!
Oh, Madonna, you make me laugh!

My photo booth backdrop was just a
zebra print vinyl tablecloth taped to
the back of my French door and curly cues
taped on top.

I filled another vase with Nerds (bought on clearance after
Halloween) with Pixie Sticks stuck in.

I had each guest bring an 80s picture of themselves. I set
up an area to display the pictures. That was such fun
to see when they went up.
(I've been threatened to not show pictures of certain
people AT the party or their pictures DURING the 80s).
They were all such good sports!

I turned my chalkboard pantry door
into all things 80s. I found people just
standing there reading all the the different
names, events and pieces of pop
Chocolate Cafe made these incredible
80s cupcakes.

Pac Man, MTV and cassette tapes! Aren't they great?
Same people who made the Thrift Store Party themed
In the bathroom I provided some "Gnarly 80s stuff" to
spiff up everyone's TOTALLY AWESOME appearance.
I actually FOUND Love's Baby Soft. It smells JUST
the same! I also had some scrunchies, banana clips and
hair clips of all sizes. There is even some neon nail
polish in there. Dollar Tree and Wal-Mart had everything
I needed.
Goody Bags! Each one included a bottle of Aqua Net (duh!),
neon nail polish, a banana clip, a bright scrunchie and
Love's Baby Soft perfume. Aqua Net is harder to find
than you'd think. I finally tracked it down at Walgreen's.
And guess what?? NO ONE asked me why I was buying
12 cans of Aqua Net. No one.

As it turns out, the 80s didn't turn out to be a great food decade. So I made up a salad bar with grilled chicken, shrimp and salmon as choice toppings among other veggies and nuts. I guess the salad bar became a big thing in the 80s.

It certainly was easy to put together.

After lunch, I had some 80s trivia questions that I asked everyone.

That was fun.

And Carisa was surprised.

So the double psyche surprise worked!


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  2. Anonymous6:19 AM

    First off I would like to say excellent blog! I had a
    quick question in which I'd like to ask if you don't mind.
    I was interested to know how you center yourself and clear your head
    prior to writing. I have had a tough time clearing my mind in getting my ideas out.

    I do take pleasure in writing however it just seems like the first 10 to 15 minutes are lost simply just trying to figure out how to begin.
    Any suggestions or hints? Thanks!

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  3. in response to how I "clear my head prior to writing", I pray. I always pray to make sure that what I am saying is what I should be saying. Sometimes I just don't get a good feeling and never post the draft. I have several things in draft that may never get posted. I hope that helps!

  4. You can use the multicolor battery pack Christmas lights for the center pieces next time. they sell them at walmart for 4 bucks or 5 I think. Just an FYI.


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