Recharge with Friends aka A Baller Party on a Budget – Part 2

Entertaining 101, Treats
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First Things First

Ha, as I write this, I am slightly embarrassed. I have been looking over some previous posts and some posts to come and they mostly feature Trader Joe’s! As Keanna mentioned last week, we are not sponsored by them but are Stans. But hey if someone knows someone and wants to put in a good word for us and get us sponsored, I won’t be mad! Anyway, as you may know, we are trying out editorial themes. This theme is “recharge.” As an introverted extrovert, I generally love to recharge with friends.

So, I figured it would be a perfect opportunity to follow-up on my Pretty Simple Keys to Have A Baller Party on a Budget Post with a real life example. Here the focus of the evening was one of my best friend’s favorite dishes – Pineapple Fried Rice.

It took a lot of tinkering to get the taste right without requiring a lot of exotic spices that you will never use again. I first made it on that night and I broke one of my cardinal rules: thou shall not prepare a dish for company which thou had not practiced before. But, I make a stir fry at least once a week, so felt confident that I could do it and my confidence paid off this time!

My Team of Baddies

I would be remiss if I continued without mentioning how amazing my friends are. These are the people you want to be with if you want to recharge with friends. They are the definition of brains and beauty. With impressive resumés, big hearts, and always a kind word. But always ready to get me together when I am acting foolish. They are the bestest friends that a person could ask for.

When I travel, I try to have a big dinner for friends in the area to make it easier to see everyone at once. These kind souls are always down to host dinners and even (mostly) look the other way while I make a massive mess as I clean.



A toast to LOYALTY. I don’t know why this moment makes me laugh, but it definitely applies to these two. Well, it applies in an honest way. Not the ironic way Evelyn meant.

Pretty Simple Keys to Hosting a Party

Spread the Love

Here, we had a simple evening for three people, so we actually had everything in one spot for the most part. But we brought the food out in stages, which serves the same purpose.

Less is More

My basket at Trader Joes. Got everything I wanted for less than $100!

My goal was to buy all the items at Trader Joes and to spend less than $100. This included the appetizers, main course, and wine! I was just doing the night for three people, so it would have cost $120 for six people. Still cheaper than going out and was a nice treat for amazing friends.

Ask for the Right Help

I don’t live in DC and wanted to treat my friends to dinner without spending a fortune. Thankfully, my bestie was kind enough to let me host in her chic apartment. The colorful plates and cheeky little decorative items brought the look together.

Lead with Canapés

A little something something to stimulate our appetites.

Technically, we did not start with amuse-bouches, but I just like the way it sounds more than “appetizers.” Anyway, my friends were going to be coming straight from work/gym, so I did not want to welcome them immediately with a heavy meal.

The macarons are to die for and all you have to do is defrost them. The meat and cheese went over really well. And you cannot go wrong with fruit. My cheese board did not fit in my weekender bag, but we were able to make do with the fun colorful plates that my friend had.

Have a Theme

We did not want to make a big deal of the evening or have a costume party. The theme was more in the food selection as I selected my friends’ favorite items. I also wanted to make sure that everything was filling but not fattening. As you can see they spend a lot more time than I do in the gym.

Count Your Seats

While I was just planning on the three of us, I was happy to see that we had extra seats in case someone else came.

Add Some Height

For this understated evening, we just went with simple flowers and an ice bucket. Both of which were a surprise for my friends. Just a little something to jazz up the table.

Add a Show Stopper

This might be cheating, my in my mind having my friends walk into the setup was a show stopper. They were very happy to jump right in.

Beg, Borrow, and Steal

As I was not in my own apartment, I had to borrow everything!

Have 1-3 Drinks

A former fling who was French had a mother who believed that sparkling wines are best paired with appetizers and I have adopted that rule. We were very impressed by the affordable sparkling wine that I got from Trader Joes. I just wish that I wrote down the name. I remember that it was a Prosecco but nothing else. Hopefully, I’ll be able to do an update in the future with the name and price.

After appetizers, we had a lush full Shiraz for the main course. I tried to hide the box that it came in because people love the taste until they see that it came out of a box. Thankfully, my friends aren’t wine snobs and really enjoyed the selection.

Have Fun!

Love the little decorative touches, but cannot take credit for them.

Everything went according to plan. Well, almost everything. I had a little issue with an overpriced cab on the way to the apartment. Also, I had a couple drinks before making dinner and did not notice how smoky the kitchen was getting while making the stir fry. Lol. This is why you test and perfect recipes before making them for friends. Gotta get the recipe idiot/drunk-proof!

Instead of doing a massive post with multiple recipes, I am going to break it up into multiple more focused posts.

I invite you to check out the recipes at the links below:

Pineapple Fried Rice
Spicy Asian Cucumber Salad

Have any other tips for enjoying a meal and recharging with friends?  Please let me know in the comments. Also, we would love to connect with you via our mailing list, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, even Google+.

Keepin’ it Pretty & Simple,

By Monti Lawson

Hello, I am Monti and half of the team for Currently living in New York City, but raised pretty much in Virginia Beach, VA. By day, I am a freelance consultant for nonprofits. At night, you can find me trying to infuse vodka, playing with cocktails, gardening, or trying as many new cuisines as I can find. Longing to spend a year traveling through Asia.

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