Hey guys! Kristen here! Ok, this is totally surreal. Here I am, actually posting on a blog that I’ve been reading for oh, about four years and I could not be more psyched! Shannon’s passion, creativity and style are among just of the few reasons why I cannot believe I get to work alongside of her! Well, those reasons and um, Gabe. Obvi.
Despite attending the same high school and having a handful of mutual friends, Shan and I never met in real life until about three months ago when we decided to get some lunch wine and make the transition from online pals to real life besties! From there, I started helping her out at Bottle Pop events like the Harry Potter Bridal Shower (where I first experienced her visions come to life!) and Gabe’s Pier (where Gabe and I pre-gamed his party with cheese balls and Lightening McQueen!). Being her right hand gal at events is super fun, and being a contributor on the blog is icing on the cake!
Around the same time that all of this excitement was happening, I was beginning to think about the plans for how we’d celebrate my fiancé’s birthday in September. I really wanted to make it truly memorable for my guy, Tommy, for a very specific reason. Last year for his birthday, when I thought I was planning a big birthday dinner for him with some friends at a local restaurant (where we happened to have our first date, but, for various reasons, I did not suspect a thing!), behind the scenes he was secretly planning our engagement dinner. We had the most amazing night where we celebrated with family and friends! His special day turned into our special night, and so this year I really wanted to celebrate him!
I had come across the idea for a Bring Your Own Cheese Partyon one of my favorite foodie blogs a few months back. For Tommy and I, eating out, trying new things, and cooking together are all very big parts of our relationship. Cheese platters are a true fave, wherever we go, and we make them at home fairly often! Of course, a BYOC Party seemed like the perfect fit for a casual but unique get-together in his honor!
The wheels were in motion; the (secret) Pinterest board started! I filled Shannon in on the plans, sent her my long list of ideas, and she helped me to pull the pieces together. Our condo is teeny tiny, and so my girlfriend graciously offered her house up for the evening and also helped me out tremendously in both preparation and execution. (Thanks, Lex!) I sent out an Evite to an intimate group of friends and family asking them to join us and to forego gifts and bring whatever kind of cheese they fancied: soft, semi-soft, hard, bleu, goat, sheep, cow, smoked, spreadable - you name it!
I purchased various crackers and breads, as well as jams, spreads, jellies, honey, fruits and nuts – all of the delicious accoutrement that makes a cheese plate the best darn thing on any table. The combinations are endless! We rounded out the menu with a few easy but substantial apps so that the guests weren't filling up on too much wine with all of that cheese. And my sister made drunken raisins, because life is just better with drunken raisins.
Shannon and I worked together on the main table. She provided a lot of the serving pieces and dishes. (Score!) The biggest project that we tackled together was our DIY Chalkboard Cheeseboards. These were my fave part of the spread and super easy to do. I picked up a few wooden boards from the Dollar Store and some chalkboard paint from Home Depot. Pinot in hand, Shan and I taped off a section of the board so that there was a nice straight line along the bottom. This way, you don't have to worry about your chalk getting in the way of your cheese! Paint away with a good two or three even coats and let it dry. We used the chalk markers from Michael's which seemed to work much better than the old fashioned stuff.
The party was a definite success! Everyone had a great time and the amount of food we had leftover...let's just say I am still eating cheese, three weeks later! Pure party perfection.