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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. nicole

    April 25, 2013

    I would host a cinco de mayo one bag fiesta!

  2. Alia

    April 25, 2013

    We just moved across Canada so I would host a block party to get to know our new neighbours!

  3. Hillary

    April 25, 2013

    Oh how I adore parties!! We are moving out of state in a couple months so I would host our own going away party to see all our friends before we leave.

  4. Kat Chavez

    April 25, 2013

    I am dying to have a Mexican fiesta in our back yard. I too love little plates and the idea of new appetizer sized meals that continually just show up. This is how we did our wedding food, all passed heavy apps!

  5. Michelle Bousfield

    April 25, 2013

    I would love to host a 4th of July/summer party with fireworks and activities for the kids :)

  6. Becky

    April 25, 2013

    A garden party for my Grandma’s 80th birthday next month (if the East Coast swarm of cicadas don’t eat us first…) :)

  7. KVossler

    April 25, 2013

    A housewarming/birthday party for my two toddlers. We are moving in June and can’t wait to have a party! We had planned to do an open house style shindig that starts in the morning and moves into the afternoon as well. Now I know it can be done.

  8. Carleigh Lowe

    April 25, 2013

    I would have a spontaneous bbq party on a rare sunny and warm day in SF!

  9. Elizabeth

    April 25, 2013

    I would have another outdoor movie viewing. Last summer we had all our neighbors over, and popcorn and drinks, and screened Maverick on a sheet in the backyard. So much fun!

  10. Corinne

    April 25, 2013

    How gorgeous! Smart way to get hosts to think about the trash they’ll be producing at each event. I’d love to host a 1 bag outdoor movie party and project on the shed in the backyard.

  11. LaTasha Cornett

    April 25, 2013

    I purchased my first home last August and have been slowly putting my stamp on it. I would plan a 1 year anniversary/housewarming party! Considering my love of cocktails and fun party food i would incoropate both of those things. I’m looking forward to my first summer in my new home :-)

  12. Betsy Hartman

    April 25, 2013

    I would host a Law School Graduation Party for my husband Brock down here in San Diego!
    He has worked so hard these past three years that I am wanting to plan a happy-relaxed-delicious food-good company type of party to celebrate him. The One Bag party would add the perfect touch for the evening.

    Thanks for sharing your house warming party with us, it was inspiring.

  13. Nicole

    April 25, 2013

    I would host a lovely outdoor party at our new apartment with delicious grilled vegetables, champagne cocktails and pretty reusable table decorations like potted flowers! We would prevent lots of waste by using mismatch vintage plates instead of paper!

  14. Melissa G.

    April 25, 2013

    I love everything you selected and would do a joint open house and first birthday party for our sweet girl.

  15. Kelly

    April 25, 2013

    I would host a baby shower for one of my preggers friends.

  16. Kayleigh

    April 25, 2013

    I love the idea of a One Bag Party, and would love to host a backyard BBQ.

  17. Becki

    April 25, 2013

    It’s my birthday in May, so I would have a birthday party. I love having just a few of my favorite people around. An open house sounds perfect to me. I will enter on instagram.

  18. MamaV

    April 25, 2013

    A Chicago Hot Dog Party with all the fixin’s: poppy seed bun, celery salt, sliced pickles, mustard (no ketchup allowed!), chopped tomatoes, and whatever other fun toppings people feel daring enough to try!

    Can you share a link to or the name of the beverage dispenser with the cork top? I’d love to purchase!

  19. Christine

    April 25, 2013

    Block party! We have many elderly neighbors and in a rural NY community we haven’t seen each other since the weather was warm last summer! It would be a great time for everyone to see how the kids have grown and celebrate the coming of summer.

  20. Angie

    April 25, 2013

    A surprise 22nd wedding anniversary for my parents, since they always ‘forget’ about their big day.

  21. Tracy Davis

    April 25, 2013

    I would love to have a one-bag baby shower!

  22. Lindsey Hansen

    April 25, 2013

    I would use every bit of the items for my wedding in July. Some of the things shown didn’t make it into the budget unfortunately so this would be spectacular! Love it all!

  23. connie lyu

    April 25, 2013

    I would plan a breakfast items only party!

  24. kerry b

    April 25, 2013

    looking forward to the Kentucky derby party we throw every year…One bag it will be!!!

  25. Jade

    April 25, 2013

    maybe just a little summer soiree with friends? something easy and fun with lots of kids…

  26. Monica

    April 25, 2013

    I love the idea of a one bag party. I am throwing a baby shower this summer and am going to try to only have one bag of trash. Thanks for the inspiration.

  27. Yvette L.

    April 25, 2013

    I would host a “Goodbye Elementary, Hello Middle School” party for my daughter and her friends this summer! They are very excited, but also nervous, to be making this transition.

  28. Hillary

    April 25, 2013

    We are planning to have a Swedish Midsommar party in June. This would be perfect.

  29. Suzanna

    April 25, 2013

    A going-away party, as we’re just about to go on an 8-month-long road trip!

  30. Lauren G.

    April 25, 2013

    I have a dream a very relaxed late afternoon backyard cookout with a hodgepodge of real plates, cups and napkins. And any other drinks (beer and soda) would be recyclable.

  31. Jamie

    April 25, 2013

    Such a cute idea! I’d have a Meet the Baby party when the baby gets here in May! A great come and go idea for meeting the new guy!

  32. katie

    April 25, 2013

    Gorgeous! And the food looks so good!


  33. Tara

    April 25, 2013

    I’d welcome summer in by having an outdoor party celebrating all my amazing friendships rekindled since I moved back to California!

  34. Emily W.

    April 25, 2013

    Love that garland! And the food looks amazing.

    I’m throwing a party for my mom to celebrate her 60th birthday and her five-year cancer-free mark! I would make this my one-bag party by using real dishes and glassware and cloth napkins.

  35. erin

    April 25, 2013

    I would LOVE to host a mothers day brunch… i die for hosting and this year we have big news for the grandmas… another bunny is on the way!!!

  36. Kiersten

    April 25, 2013

    We actually just moved to a new place, so a housewarming party sounds great! Ours would have to be Mad Men themed though. Maybe it will happen!

  37. Melissa

    April 25, 2013

    First off, this party is gorgeous. That floral door garland kills me! I can’t wait to try to recreate it. And the food looks incredible.

    If I were having a one bag party, I would host a food swap! Everyone invited would bring around five homemade/home grown foods (loaf of bread, basket of potatoes, jam, cookies, etc.) and then we would all trade with each other so that everyone would go home with exciting new things to try! Everyone would bring their own containers for transporting their goods, and I would provide a few simple snacks and homemade strawberry lemonade. There’d be a focus on reusable and compostable so that the only waste generated would be in napkins and a few paper decorations and balloons.

    Thank you for the chance to win! :)

  38. Noelle G.

    April 25, 2013

    We are buying a new house.. this could come in handy!!

  39. Amy T

    April 25, 2013

    Well now, I would also host a house warming party, or perhaps a town warming party since we just threw caution to the wind to simplify our life! We left behind a lovely city for a small town and found our dream 1965 ranch home for a screamin’ deal — after four months of renovation we finally moved in! It’s time to bring our old and new friends into our space to make it feel real. These lovely items would be perfection.

  40. dia

    April 25, 2013

    I would have an summer garden party, with an emphasis on heirloom tomatoes and fresh cheeses — my family grows two dozen different kinds, including green zebra stripe, black krim and lemon drop cherry. We eat them with homemade mozzarella and local goat cheese. Might be fun to do an outdoor screening of a classic Italian movie, too.

  41. Allison

    April 25, 2013

    I would love to have a one-bag party to celebrate summer and the season of bbq-ing! An all-American bbq with burgers with all kinds of fun toppings, homemake baked beans, corn on the cob, etc.

  42. samantha

    April 25, 2013

    I am in the middle of moving in with my boyfriend, and we want to have a housewarming party next month once everything is all spruced up. One bag means less arguing about taking out the trash!

  43. Kipin

    April 25, 2013

    A birthday party for my husband. Golf themed, it will include croquet mini golf, lots of finger foods, cake pops shaped like golf balls and a green blazer saved from the thrift store for the birthday boy with a Master’s patch.

  44. mel

    April 25, 2013

    If host a neighborhood pot luck in our cul de sac. The weather is perfect this Spring to get out and say hello!

  45. Marlina

    April 25, 2013

    Loved your One Bag Party! I would host a welcome home baby party. We’re having a baby in August and would love to host an open house for everyone to come over and see our new bundle of joy!!!

  46. Claire

    April 25, 2013

    Love the Open House idea! I would do this on a summer Sunday and use all the lovely things that we got as wedding gifts that I’m often afraid to use outside and just hope for the best! Grilling, homemade sangria and lots of guacamole are musts!

  47. Jennifer

    April 25, 2013

    I would host a lovely brunch!

  48. Shalyn McFaul

    April 25, 2013

    I would love a summer picnic one bag party. My husband and I have birthdays less than a month apart, but summer is always so busy for us that it is hard to execute two big parties so close to one another. It would be great to do a combo one.

  49. Shannon Karas

    April 25, 2013

    I would host a mothers day backyard brunch for all the special mamas in my life.

  50. Caitlin

    April 25, 2013

    I’d host a birthday brunch!

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