By Laura Medina
February 11, 2009
If the market is getting you down-don't!
Right now is the perfect time of the year to celebrate; and it doesn't have to be Valentine's Day.
You, with a little help from your buddies, can throw theme parties celebrating your interests.
There are plenty to pick from. You can steal the recent Grammys and throw your own Grammy party with a musical genre theme, blues or the Grammys' bash of Summer of Love then show up as your favorite hippy.
Or if fashion is your passion, steal the main trends from New York Fashion Week and present your own fashion show.
A good example is the upcoming Oscars Awards. This a good excuse to dress up and glam up.
Jennifer Sbranti, graphic designer turned party planner, is here to help with little fuss but a lot of bang while staying down low on the budget.
You can get the ball rolling by mailing invites as Oscar nominee ballots so your guests can pick which actor and movie will win Best Actor and/or Movie as they rsvp. An extra incentive is giving her or him a prize of a care package of popcorn, candy, and theater tickets.
To truly get everyone into the mood, ask them to come dressed up as their favorite Old Hollywood movie star. Politely suggest a classic actress or actor, other than Marilyn Monroe or Brad Pitt. Mildly nudge them towards a sultry Ava Gardner or the modern classic Steve McQueen.
While raking the yard, pick out some nice strudy branches or leaves, shake them up then properly clean them.
Once washed and dried, spritz gold and silver metallic spray paint all over them then coat them in glitter until they dazzle and sparkle.
You can do the same thing to quirky and cheap picture frames.While the bedazzled foliage is drying out, you go out for a fun treasure hunting trip to Michael's Craft store, the Dollar Store, Wal-Mart, or even HollywoodMegastore.com, for unique but cheap Hollywood decorations.
Buy red felt at the fabric store or Wal-Mart for your red carpet which you can reuse later for Christmas. For the sewing-handicapped, you can order one for $10 at www.HollywoodMegastore.com. While there, you can pick up life-sized, standing photos of Marilyn Monroe or Charlie Chaplin there.
Can't go to Hollywood Mega Store? Take out those dusty old glossy magazines or discounted Hollywood art books, pick out the most glamourous black-and-white photos then gently slip them into frames and vases, emphasizing Old Hollywood.
In the decorating department, you can pick up clear, plastic beads and pebbles a plenty to bedazzle satin ribbon strips or fill translucent vases with.
Even yards of feather boas and piles of cheap peacock feathers can give unexpected glitz.
Dot the red or black peacock feathers in vases. Offer your unimagative guests boas for instant chic and fun.
You can even trim rims of cocktail glasses with boa snippets at the bottom, making them very femme fatale.
At Michael's, they even sell ready-made embellished rhinestone stickers, spelling out, "Fabulous" and "Superstar."
Just peel off and peel them onto strips of satin ribbons then neatly wrap and tape around the vases.
Sticking those dedazzled, metallic painted tree branches in those decorated vases gives a wonderland effect.
To make it look like "InStyle Magazine" came in and did a job, drape cheap twinkly, plastic beads and costume jewelry from the 99 Cent Store to make it even more glamourous.Can't have a party unless you have nibbles and refreshments.
No, you don't have to hire a caterer.
Just bring out some ivory ceramic plates or silver-plated platters then arrange them buffet style.
Pick out the most interesting and best cold cuts from your local deli or supermarket. If you have a decent grocery, you and the butcher can play a game, "What's the coolest meat?" then you select the yummiest slices to really entertain your guests.
To balance out, intermingle the spread with dried fruits, even jam, crackers, and cheese cubes or/and slices.
Visit your local liqour shop or section and pick up those poor, neglected flavored syrups to perk up any old soda or seltzer water or give that juice (alcoholic or non-alcoholic) an extra kick.
You don't have to hire waiters filling up glasses. You can fill up pitchers of these brews, buffet-style.
Once the twinkle has been sprung and the guests bedazzle on the red carpet, you and your friends can watch and celebrate the Oscars in the comfort of your own home on a dime.
Or, you're a boutique owner or a young and upcoming fundraiser, here's your chance to shine without crashing your account.
Thanks to Jennifer, we, too, can be glamourous with little fuss or muss.