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Our Housewarming Party + Contest

This post is sponsored by Glad.  Glad asked me to put together a One-Bag Party, which means all of the waste only goes in one bag. I love this concept. Visit for more details!

We moved in almost a year ago but a lot of our friends hadn’t seen our apartment yet so last Saturday we decided to host a giant housewarming party. If you remember we live in a 500 square foot apartment so I wasn’t sure about entertaining all those people until we decided on an open house style party. We told guests to stop by for a visit any time between 11am and 6pm. I was still a little bit nervous to throw a party for everyone we know in such a small space but we have an excellent backyard and a really fun stoop so I figured we could always overflow into the outdoor spaces. Honestly, I think it might be one of my favorite parties I’ve ever thrown. It had a very relaxed vibe. I liked that people didn’t feel like they had to stay very long and that people stopped by on their way from one weekend activity to the next. We also had guests that stayed for a few hours and guests that stopped in more than once. It was great because we actually got a chance to have good talks with almost everyone that came through. When I’m planning a party I like to focus on a couple things that make the party feel special and keep the rest of it simple, for the housewarming I decided on Florals and Food.

For the Florals: Since it was a housewarming party I wanted to keep the house pretty close to its original state so people could see our apartment but I decided to put up a garland on the front door to welcome people in. I ordered a eucalyptus garland from the Flower Mart and picked up some peonies, tulips, and wax flowers that I added myself. It wasn’t cheap, it cost a little over $100 but considering it made such a big impact it was a good tradeoff. It only took about an hour to make and hang and I was really happy with the results. I hired Julie Manwaring to make a “come on in” sign that we attached with wire. (Watch for a DIY post coming soon.)

For the Food: I asked my friend Andrea Pimental to cater the food. She is a genius and is so great to work with. I told Andrea I wanted most of the food prepared before the party so I could just bring out a few new dishes every hour. I bought a bunch of small pots and bowls for $1-2 (mostly from CB2 and Crate & Barrel) and handed them over to Andrea to work her magic. The food was amazing. It was so fun to bring out new fun things to eat through out the party. For breakfast we had yogurt parfaits, scones, baklava, avocado and grapefruit salad. Then in the afternoon we got out strawberry tarts, shrimp skewers, panzanella salad and few other things I’m forgetting now. You should’ve heard the oohs and ahhs when I brought out the tray of Butterscotch Pots de Creme. The last few hours we mostly sat on the stoop and ate homemade popsicles and watched the people walk by on our busy street. (Andrea posted the whole menu with recipes here.)

For the One Bag Party: I chose elements that were reusable recyclable and compostable to reduce on waste. San Francisco has an excellent compost program so a the cups and the paper napkins were compostable. The little pots and bowls were reusable but came in cardboard boxes that we recycled. In the end our one bag of trash consisted of the bamboo plates and utensils and some of the food packaging. Not bad for a 50 person party! Glad wants to challenge everyone to have a one-bag party. And they asked me to select some items that a reader could win at home.

(Giveaway is now CLOSED. Congratulations to our winner, Cindy #913!) There are two ways to enter to win all the item pictured below. Winner will be chosen on Monday April 29th!

1. Leave a Comment Below describing what kind of One Bag party you would host and if you want to enter twice then
2. Enter on Instagram (you must have an Instagram account to enter this way) see details on the @ohhappyday instagram account.

Photography by Paul Ferney + a few iphone photos
Florals by Jordan Ferney, assisted by Irene Yu
Food by Andrea Pimental

  1. Stacey

    April 27, 2013

    I am planning an engagement party for my daughter in June. She want a gold confetti theme. “One Bag” may be a bit of a challenge, but I’m going to try!

  2. Becky F

    April 27, 2013

    An afternoon tea party with finger sandwiches, scones and tea in vintage tea cups.

  3. Leanne

    April 27, 2013

    I’d host a one-bag party for our dear friends, who are off camping and about to get engaged this weekend! What a fun and green way to celebrate them!

  4. Malori

    April 27, 2013

    Ah I’m getting ready to move so I’d either host a housewarming party or a big sunday brunch. I love getting together with friends for a hearty breakfast and mimosas. It’s so goooood!

  5. Lauren

    April 27, 2013

    I think it would be so fun to host a summer solstice party! I would service delicious summer treats and everyone would stay way into the wee hours.

  6. Laura

    April 27, 2013

    I would love to host a one bag barbeque!

  7. Stephanie Barkhuff

    April 27, 2013

    I would have a “Last day of school party” for the moms! Get ready to enjoy the summer!

  8. Laurryn

    April 27, 2013

    So many lovely celebrations posted here!

    We would love to adopt those goodies and the one bag philosophy for our classrooms’ community garden planting party.

  9. Miggy

    April 27, 2013

    Are you kidding? I would love EVERY SINGLE THING in this prize package!

    So I threw a one bag party for my daughter this past Feb. It was a unicorn party. We kept it simple with decorations that I always reuse (your fringy streamers) and a interchangeable banner. The food was light snack with paper plates and wooden spoons. I didn’t plan on it being a one bag party, but it ended up being that way. I’m also wanting to throw an outdoor movie party…

  10. Laura

    April 27, 2013

    A wedding shower on my backporch!

  11. Katrina

    April 27, 2013

    Oh my goodness, sooo beautiful! I love celebrating Spring & Summer! Ahh these longer light-filled days! :) :) :)

  12. SUE B.

    April 27, 2013

    I would like to have my girlfriends over for a Tapas style Brunch!

  13. Sammi

    April 27, 2013

    I would have an art auction to support some of the local artists in town (I’m from a small town in a mountainous state – so it’s hard for people to get their names out there). I would serve a small appetizer in a bowl, or maybe just coffee in a mug made by one of the artists, so the guests could just take their bowl home!

  14. Kristina

    April 27, 2013

    A fancy grownup backyard cocktail party. With 2 little ones most of my parties are focused on them. We recently redid our backyard and it would be fun to host a party just for the grown ups.

  15. diane

    April 27, 2013

    memorial day party to welcome summer. love the tablecloth

  16. Margaret Lamar

    April 27, 2013

    I would like to have a beginning of summer party!

  17. kate

    April 27, 2013

    i’m jumping off two things, we just moved to a new home so a housewarming but like Paula’s twilight Italian feast in our yard. sounds wonderful.

  18. Rachel H.

    April 27, 2013

    Love this post, and the cute new apartment!

    I would host an outdoor BBQ on our front porch. My fiance and my parent’s got us our first barbecue for Christmas, and we’ve been waiting for good weather to test that bad boy out. :)

  19. Mary Pendleton

    April 27, 2013

    Cool! I’m having my daughter’s 2nd birthday party in June and I’m totally making this a goal. It makes for easier clean up in the park too!

  20. Kellen

    April 27, 2013

    I’d host a clothing swap – the whole point is to recycle : )

  21. Caleb

    April 27, 2013

    I’d throw a cinco de mayo party!

  22. Isa

    April 27, 2013

    I’d host a surprise birthday bash for my son’s 8th coming up. Two years in a row now we have been too busy and kind of skipped the party thing, doing just cake with his cousin, so we want to make it up to him this year! Since we live in a large one bedroom with no dishwasher, a one bag or less bash would be ideal. I’m taking notes!

  23. Aimee

    April 28, 2013

    This year, we are hosting our 9th Annual Oyster Fest at the Tomales Bay Oyster Company in Point Reyes. It’s a fun tradition that brings together family and friends we don’t get see all the time.

  24. Ann Nordquist

    April 28, 2013

    I would have family & friends over to simply celebrate good food & company, a “I love you” and thank you for being in my life sort of party. We would bbq now that we’re going into warmer weather.

  25. CYN

    April 28, 2013

    I’d love to host a cupcake party for my daughter’s 15th birthday!

  26. linda

    April 28, 2013

    I would love to win, and if I do, i would host a vintage party in my backyard!

  27. ingeborg

    April 28, 2013

    oh wow! i would throw an outdoors movienight with uni-friends. i would decorate with old jars, serve organic sandwiches and popcorn in paperboxes. everyone would bring their own chair (and take it back with them when they left), the popcorn-paperboxes i’d make new and gorgeous colored paper out of, the sandwiches would go to a local café for homeless and drugaddicts, and when the flowers died they would have made great compost.

  28. Tess

    April 28, 2013

    A combination Cinco de Mayo and Kentucky Derby party!!!

    Outdoors on a roof deck or patio,

    weather permitting of course :-)

  29. Betsy Transatlantically

    April 28, 2013

    I need to throw a housewarming party, too – I just moved this weekend and can’t wait to show off my new apartment!

  30. Lauren

    April 28, 2013

    A good ole fashioned dress up party. Maybe Bowties and Bourbon…Or a late afternoon affair with front porch cocktails and yard games.

  31. Christy S

    April 28, 2013

    How fun. I want to host a lot of garden parties this summer so this would be perfect.

  32. Courtney

    April 28, 2013

    I would have a surprise party for my Mom. She is a saint, always thinking of everyone else but herself.

  33. kelsey

    April 28, 2013

    I would host a Favorite Things party! Have you heard of those? You choose one of your favorite things ($10 or less), buy 5 of them and bring them to the party! Then you swap with the other partygoers and go home with five new (different) things! It is a blast!

  34. Cathérine

    April 28, 2013

    I am a beyond proud new auntie!!! My little niece is just too cute and beautiful and I would love to through a party for her on our roof terrace. Having this “soirée” as a one-bag party is definitly a must today. I would love to win.

  35. Mona Davies

    April 28, 2013

    I would love to host a graduation party for my eighth grader.

  36. Tina

    April 28, 2013

    We’d love to host a homemade ice cream party with the summer coming up!

  37. Zoe

    April 28, 2013

    When we had a going away sale/goodbye party in our apartment last year we invited people to come over all day, stocked everything like a sale but also set up food and drink using our own porcelain plates and cups and silverware. At the end of the day any food that was left I just gave away on the plates they were on. Everything goes! I think if I did it again in the future I would try to buy more of the food in bulk/larger containers rather than small individually wrapped foods. That was probably our biggest waste.

  38. jessicac

    April 28, 2013

    I would host a crafternoon party, with fun cocktails, craft stations, tiny sandwiches and cake!!

  39. Anna Trout

    April 28, 2013

    We are having a baby in a few weeks and moving a few weeks after that so I’d love to have some sort of going away and meet the baby party :) The flower garland was so gorgeous!

  40. Aida

    April 28, 2013

    My son’s birthday party is around the corner! I love this selection, thanks for this!

  41. Lindsey B

    April 28, 2013

    I always thought it would be fun to host a ‘pity party’ and play off of that phrase. Have people dressed up as their favorite sob story and try to remain in that mind set for a part of the night. Of course it would be all laughs and smiles! Another idea was for a cereal party, come dressed as your favorite cereal/cereal character.

  42. Liz

    April 28, 2013

    I’ve been dying to do a surprise pop-up party somewhere out in nature here in Utah!! Your blog is so inspirational!

  43. Yvonne P

    April 28, 2013

    I would host a Mother’s Day brunch for my 91 year old mother in law who just moved in with us.

  44. Theresa

    April 28, 2013

    Every Spring when the weather gets nice, my husband, son and I host a potluck pancake party. Neighbours and friends bring a dish and we make the pancakes and serve mimosas (oj for kids). What makes it great is that, like you guys, we keep the schedule loose and invite people to stop by throughout the day. What makes it ‘one bag’ is the dishes aren’t plastic or paper. I usually get my son to help me roll the cutlery into cloth napkins and this small touch never fails to be appreciated by men and women alike! The prep is minimal except for the invite which we start designing in the deep of winter: “what kind of invite should we make this year?…” It’s fun and everyone gets frisky being invited to any kind of party!

  45. Monica Lynn

    April 28, 2013

    I have always wanted to throw a Derby Party for the Kentucky Derby, complete with hats and mint lemonade (instead of juleps). These items would be great for that!

  46. nikki

    April 28, 2013

    I would love to host a one bag lemonade party with different flavors of fancy lemonade and fabulous bite sized snacks!

  47. annie

    April 28, 2013

    What a gorgeous party! I would like to plan a summer brunch party. :)

  48. Stacy Mulloy

    April 28, 2013

    i am throwing my sister a 50 person, garden party themed, bridal shower in a couple of months and I am totally snagging some of your ideas! thanks for the inspiration!

  49. Rachel

    April 28, 2013

    I’d host a half-Master’s party. I just finished my first year of grad school and beyond being proud of everyone for all the hard work we’ve put in, and the incredible friendships we’ve made, just like the idea of being half a master of something. I love a good pun and think this could be made into a lot of half and half things to congratulate everyone!

  50. lacey poag

    April 28, 2013

    a fun “you are a blessing to us…come enJOY our new home” party is in order. we move into our house in early june! oh happy day

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