Keep your summer going and celebrate the luau’s Hawaiian heritage with these detailed tips to planning and throwing the ultimate summer backyard party!

Here is everything you need to host an island escape in your own backyard:

Island Feast Menu:

For more recipes including a tropical ginger-tini and piña colada cheesecake, click here.

Hawaiian Vibes – Entertainment Ideas:

For more games, activities, and entertainment, click here!

Tropical Touches – Decor & Invites:

Aloha! Every great luau starts with a warm welcome, so personalize your invitations to help set the festive tone for a day with friends and family.

Find more invite and decor ideas here!

Luau Checklist:

Click here for more checklists for the ultimate luau!

For delicious ways to incorporate more pineapple juice into your recipes as well as summer party tips and more, visit Dole.com/Sunshine.

This post was originally featured at Dole.com/Sunshine.

 

When you don’t feel like spending half of your kids’ college fund on movie tickets, popcorn, and sodas, a DIY movie night at home is a pretty great substitution.

From cocktails to the movie selection, we’ve put together 5 steps to make your next movie night a no-brainer.

1.) Alcohol.

As if anything else could top our list of movie night necessities! Movie theater candy-themed cocktails are the perfect start to any night. Try the Jolly Rancher, a Fireball,  or a Tootsie roll.

2.) Invitations.

If you want to get really fancy, you can create an invitation with this free printable. But word of mouth is cool, too.

3.) The Movie.

This seems like a given, but considering the movie is probably the most important part of your movie night, you had better pick a good one. The Single Moms Club is the perfect comedy (with just a touch of drama) to make your movie night a hit.

4.) Popcorn Bar.

Yes, you read that right. This is actually the best DIY ever because you don’t actually have to do anything yourself; your guests do. Everyone gets to choose their own popcorn mix-ins which means everyone is guaranteed to be happy. That, friends, is what we call a win-win situation.

5.) Dessert.

Last but not least, you’ll most definitely need to indulge in something sweet. We’re pretty convinced this frozen Reese’s pie is the most delicious recipe on the planet and it requires zero baking, if you want to go for bonus points and make the dessert yourself. If not, store-bought is perfectly acceptable and nobody will know the difference. 

Single Moms Club

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Click here to download The Single Moms Club on iTunes!

The perfect dress will make you shine at your holiday parties! Here are a few we absolutely adore. Do you have a favorite “go-to” holiday dress? Post a photo in the comments!

Felicity Huffman's What The Flicka - Best Holiday Dress

1. The Red & Green Holiday Dress

Christmas is the PERFECT time to wear that red dress you have been eyeing at the store for a while! Or how about a green dress? Often overlooked, a gorgeous dress in emerald could be just what you are looking for!

 

Felicity Huffman's What The Flicka - Best Holiday Dress

2. The Sparkly Holiday Dress

We couldn’t resist these eye-catching sparkly party dresses. We suggest pairing these amazing dresses with a neutral shoe and understated jewelry. So let your dress and your personality shine when you wear these perfect holiday dresses!

 

Felicity Huffman's What The Flicka - Best Holiday Dress

3. The Floor Length Holiday Dress

Talk about making an entrance. If you feel like channeling Grace Kelly and going the ultimate classy route, a floor-length gown is the way to go. Happy holidays, indeed.

 

Felicity Huffman's What The Flicka - Best Holiday Dress

4. The Perfect LBD Holiday Dress

The classic little black dress. You can’t go wrong here! Perfect for any and every holiday party. We suggest pairing it with some eye catching sexy heels in a fun or sparkly print and of course, don’t forget to top it off with some yummy jewelry to really make your LBD pop!

 

Felicity Huffman's What The Flicka - Best Holiday Dress

5. The Perfectly Plaid Holiday Dress

How amazing are these perfectly plaid holiday dresses? Different and one of a kind, you are bound to make a statement at your next holiday party. Belle of the ball? More like rockstar of the ball! You go, you glamazon.

 

I love themed parties. As a girl, my parents threw an annual Hat Party, where, as you guessed, invitees were required to wear a hat to get into the event. Guests were creative, and I remember one year a friend of theirs came wearing nothing but a hat. There were prizes for the best cap in show, and the whole night seemed so lively and full of fun. Unlike a more traditional gathering, no one seemed to drift into a confined group or feel awkward around new people. Everyone had the shared experience of wearing a goofy hat, and that created an instant sense of community and participation.

Those early experiences influenced my own grown-up gatherings, and nowadays, I’m known for throwing a great party. I love the planning and execution (yes, I’m one of those ladies) and the smiles on friends’ faces when they have a fantastic time. Want to throw a great themed party, too? Here are a few ideas to get you started. Do you have other tips? Share them below. I’m always looking for new, creative ideas.

Go Global. I love this idea and have used it many times to bring new friends into the fold. You can host global parties in two ways, either as an event dedicated to one foreign culture, or an event dedicated to every guest’s heritage.

For a one-culture global gathering: I recently threw a Bollywood Nights party, and prepared several delicious curries, brought out a few sweets from India, had Bollywood music playing when guests arrived, and finished the night with hot homemade chai and a viewing of one of my favorite Bollywood films, Devdas. There was some sari dress-up involved, and even some fun with henna tattoos. The guests had a blast and learned so much about Indian culture. To have your own soiree, use the five senses (taste, touch, scent, sight and sound) to help you pick elements that will make the party come to life. Food, beverages, music, fragrances, fabrics, movies etc. make a themed party feel like an adventure.

For a world-wide gala: A few years ago, I invited fifty or so of my closest friends over for an Around the World party. I asked guests to come dressed in their native ancestral clothing, and to bring a dish that represented their cultural heritage. There were so many beautiful costumes, and amazing food in my house. We even hired a belly dancer to come and teach the guests how to shimmy and shake their waists, and had prizes for the best dish and best costume of the night. That party is still talked about to this day. To throw your own soiree: encourage guests to get in touch with their roots. Once guests understand the concept, and have their dishes and costumes ready, your job is to create a multi-ethnic environment. Globes, pictures of maps, and posters with common phrases in multiple languages all serve to set the mood. Music should be a variety of upbeat rhythms from around the world.

Host a Dining-In. Inspired by the incredible organization, Dining for Women which organizes chapters across the US to join in a pot-luck dinner event and donate the money they would have spent eating at a restaurant to programs that seek to educate and transform the lives of women and girls worldwide living in extreme poverty. I love this idea, and realized that this can be done for any agreed-upon charitable organization. The host and the guests would have to pre-agree on which organization they wanted to donate to, and elect a treasurer to collect the funds at the party. Each guest would bring a dish to share, and the host would share important information about the programs and services that their chosen organization operates. Not only would guests have a wonderful time together, they would know they were doing something positive to help others. That’s a win-win in my book.

Start a Book Club. This is another favorite. I recently moved across-country and found myself wanting in the friend department. I love books, and love discussions that involve wine, and good food, so I started a neighborhood book club by advertising online. Our first discussion was in October, and was an absolute success. Everyone brought food, a few good women brought wine, and we had a few hours of nerdy-fun talking about the characters, plot, theme and significance of the book we’d read. We are already reading our second book (The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, a great read by the way), and have a grand holiday party in the works. It feels like the party that keeps on giving.

There are so many fun ways to host a themed party, from the traditional Ugly Sweater Party, to the tried and true Christmas Cookie Swap; themed parties are a fantastic way to get guests talking by sharing in a common goal. Have a cool themed party idea? Post it below for the rest of us. Imitation is the best form of flattery – and I would love to learn how you throw a fabulous get-together!

Photo Credit: PerfectlyPlannedByShari.com

This kid is fully expecting a delicious cake to be able to cut into at his birthday party. However, what he gets is something completely different. We think the family did a great job of pulling off this prank! So, was the birthday boy happy with the surprise? Watch and find out!

Do you have any funny videos of you and/or your children? Submit them to us here—we’ll post our favorites onto the site!

Whenever I am asked, “What is your most embarrassing moment as a parent?” without fail, one incident always comes flooding back. It was September 2, 2005; my older boys were 5 and 3 1/2. Oh yes, I still remember the exact date. You would too, if this had happened to you. That is when I developed an intense… aversion to children’s birthday parties, held in public places.

The kids were off from school for Labor Day weekend so my neighbor and I took our kids to an indoor playground/moon bounce place. The kids were having a BLAST – running, jumping and playing. Which I loved, because it would tire them out, bwa ha ha! After a few minutes, I realized that I hadn’t seen my 2 boys in a few minutes. Just as I started to look for them, my friend’s daughter (who was also 3 1/2) ran over to me and said, “Lauren! Your boys are over there with the birthday party and they are playing with the cake! ” I shrieked, “WHAT?!” I hadn’t realized there was a birthday party going on at the same time but how would they get involved with the party?? I ran toward where she was pointing and as I rounded the corner, I could hear them happily saying, “Vroom, vroom! Beep, beep, beep! Errrr!”

They had found a construction truck themed cake and … you may need to sit down for this… were playing with the construction trucks ON TOP OF THE CAKE. They had smeared the icing, with the tires of the trucks, all over the cake; including where it said “Happy Birthday _______”. (I can’t remember the kid’s name – I think it may be part of the attempting-to-block-it-out process.) As I looked at the cake that was all but destroyed, I wanted to run away! I wanted to pretend these weren’t my kids! Of course that wasn’t an option, so I freaked out at my kids, sat them on a bench and found the parents from the party. Red-faced and on the verge of tears, I groveled, apologized, etc. By this time, my boys were crying over what they had done and apologized as well… the parents were understandably upset but incredibly gracious. I begged them to let me run to the store and replace the cake but they kindly refused. Before leaving, I found the owner of the moon bounce place, explained what happened and gave him all the cash I had, to put toward the party.

I completely avoided going back to that place for more than a year – can a person get Post Traumatic Stress Disorder from something like this? If so, I had it. When our kids were invited to a friend’s birthday party there, I had no choice but to return to the scene of the crime. Upon arriving, I realized that the owner had redesigned the layout of his indoor play place, and had completely sectioned off an area for birthday parties so that it unavailable to the general public. This, was no doubt, because of my children.

People who know this story, including my friend who was there to witness it, assure me that someday I will be able to laugh about it. It has been over 7 years and I am still traumatized. I had never been so mortified in MY ENTIRE LIFE. And I’ve had some really embarrassing moments! I’d love to know, if this had happened to you, would you be able to laugh about it? Or would you be like me and, develop a nervous twitch every time your kid gets an invitation to a birthday party?