Thursday, October 29, 2009

How To: Throw a Cocktail Party on a Budget

Andrea Wyn Schall has spent more than a decade planning some of the biggest A-list parties in Hollywood, including the Screen Actors Guild Awards®. She is the author of Budget Bash – Simply Fabulous Events on a Budget.

The holidays are fast approaching and before we know it, another year will have passed us by. So before the year’s end, why not celebrate the present with friends and family at a cocktail party that is easy and fun to pull together? Send out invites, pick a theme, and create your menu. Put together a party checklist, and you're ready to go!

After deciding on your budget, determine your guest list and then check out one of the many on-line invitation websites to help you create and manage your guest list. MyPunchBowl and Cocodot are both great sources for high-quality party invitations. They provide various invitation templates, help you create and manage your guest list and RSVPs, and also offer plenty of theme ideas and other resources.

Once the invites are in the “mail”, begin to cross off other items on your party checklist. Why not try a 70’s theme? For music, use Pandora’s iPhone application to stream disco music or share playlist ideas with friends on 8Tracks. Check out budget d├ęcor items from Oriental Trading Company or Party Supplies Hut for must-have extras like a mirror ball, door beads, disco paper plates and napkins. Don’t like disco? Blogs like Create My Event and Thoughtfully Simple offer inspiration and DIY tricks.

Select an hors d’oeuvres and cocktail menu that will appeal to everyone’s palette, avoiding known allergens such as nuts and shellfish. For your bar, try to include a signature drink and plenty of nonalcoholic beverages as well.

Some suggestions for easy to make, budget-friendly appetizers:

Mushroom Rolls
Honey Lemon Chicken Skewers with Vegetables
Sun Dried Tomato and Olive Tapenade Bruschetta
Seared Beef Tenderloin Mini Sandwiches with Mustard-Horseradish Sauce
Red Salmon Dip
Mini Peppermint Cheesecakes with Chocolate Chips
Lemon Cookies

With your checklist completed, your 70s party is ready to go. Don’t forget to have fun and do the hustle!

To find more helpful party planning tips, menus and recipes, advice, pictures and more go to Budget Bash – Simply Fabulous Events on a Budget.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Latest Facebook Stats: 57% of Users are Women

Industry blog Inside Facebook recently released the August 2009 statistics for the #1 social networking site. According to Nielsen, Facebook's had than 87 million US visitors during the month of June, compared with less than 63 million US MySpace visitors that month. Women continue to take the lead on Facebook as 45.4 million women make up 57% of the site's visitors.

As Facebook continues to grow, however, its demographics keep shifting. Although more women use Facebook than men, men have made up the majority of audience growth. In August 2009 , the highest growth category was males ages 13 to 17, whose numbers increased by 14.5%, followed by men ages 45 to 54, rising 12.8%. Among women, the highest growth was in the 45 to 54 and 55 to 65 age ranges, which were up 11.8% and 11%, respectively.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

MyEhive: Buy Handmade Goods in the UK & Ireland

Do you love Etsy but live in Europe? MyEHive is an online marketplace for handmade goods for the UK & Ireland. And although MyEhive is a global marketplace, it encourages sourcing lo cally to help create wealth in communities for a durable future. Its focus on the UK market makes it an attractive alternative to Etsy for European artisans and buyers.

The site offers a variety of handmade items, from soaps to invitations to jewelry. The items vary from kitschy, such as felt DIY iPhone covers, to high end (like the Love's Dream necklace with Swarovski crystals and freshwater pearls by Melissa Leon.) MyEHive's Coccoon Blog showcases some of the most unique items on the site.

MyEHive has created a retro-style demo video. Check it out below.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Relevancy is Key When Targeting Women Online

Online marketing firm Prospectiv recently conducted a consumer survey targeting women online. The study, which surveyed over 1000 women, found that relevancy is crucial when it comes to marketing communications online. The results also pointed to some key differences between women with children and those without.

Some of the highlights:
  • Women want to see information that is relevant to their lifestyle. This is particularly relevant for mothers: 45% of mothers said they are most interested in receiving marketing information that pertains to their lifestyle, vs. 30% of non-moms.

  • Moms are more flexible than non-moms about email marketing. Only 20% of moms said,
    "Don't send me anything at all," while 35% of non-mothers said the same.

  • Nearly half of respondents (45%) to the Prospectiv survey said that brands can communicate with them most effectively through product samples offered online. Respondents who are mothers were more in favor than non-mothers of product samples (47% vs. 38%, respectively.)

  • 39% of survey respondents said trying a sample would most likely get them to purchase a product. The other options were: having a coupon to use, necessity, or receiving a personal recommendation.

  • Coupons were also viewed as an effective marketing tool. 53% of the women surveyed had
    clipped coupons and 18% had redeemed online coupons in the past year.

  • 35% of repsondents said they are reluctant to share information such as email address, age, and gender, but 71% would share that information to receive discounts, promotional offers, and coupons.