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Ladies, This Is How To Have A Dope Grown Ass Woman Sleepover

Where's your sleeping bag and fire PJs at?

What About Your Friends?

I don't care how old we get, we can never be too old for a sleepover. So, why don't more of us do it? While things like schedules, partners and kids can make it challenging, I honestly believe that it's because a lot of us aren't sure how to throw one in such a way that it doesn't feel awkward or, let's be honest — childish.

If that's exactly what your line of reasoning is, because I personally think that there is something that's so wonderful and unique about sisterhood bonding, I've put together 15 tips that can make you want to host a grown ass sleepover and also cause your friends to want to RSVP ASAP.

1. Come Up with a Theme

To me, party themes are all about building up anticipation. It doesn't have to be anything deep. You can ask everyone to wear a certain color. You can focus on them coming dressed from a particular era. If you plan on going with a specific type of cuisine or music, folks can show up representing that. It's totally up to you. One way to give your guests an idea of what to expect is to send an e-card invite that has the theme featured on it. Paperless Post, Evite and Smilebox are just some of the online options you've got to choose from.

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2. Cop Some Mattress Toppers

I'll be honest — sometimes I'll pass on an event like this (or not stay the night) simply because I'm getting too old to be sleeping all uncomfortable on the floor, even with a sleeping bag. Something that can immediately prevent this from being an issue is going to your local Walmart and picking up some mattress toppers (you know, like egg crates). You should be able to find a few for under twelve bucks. They can provide a bit of extra cushion, so that folks aren't waking up with a killer backache the following morning.

3. Potluck It. Kinda.

I recently had a birthday (Geminis, stand up!). When one of my friends asked me if I thought I would ever throw a party, in true Gemini fashion, I said, "Why? So I can go into debt while some folks weren't even thoughtful enough to bring a present?" Chile, please. Along these same lines, just because you may be the one who is hosting the sleepover, that doesn't mean that you need to be trying to figure out how to pay your rent once everyone leaves. Since food is probably going to be the biggest expense (well, that and liquor; I'll get to the latter in a bit), why not have everyone bring something? And to avoid ending up with nothing but plasticware, make specific requests. A dish and a bottle of something to get lit with should do.

4. Get Some Old School Candies

As you're gonna see with some of these other points that I'm going to make, one of the most fun things about a grown woman sleepover is cultivating an atmosphere of nostalgia. One way to do that is to include some bowls of candy that include old-school brands. Something that I like about the website Old Time Candy is it breaks candy down into sections like eras, flavors and types. You can peruse to your heart's content by clicking here; then order and have what you want delivered directly to your house.

5. Serve Snacks That Are Liquor-Infused

Speaking of stuff to snack-on, why not make the kind that are liquor-infused? There's a recipe for vodka chocolate-covered strawberries here. A recipe for vodka-spiked watermelon here. A recipe for drunken salsa here. A recipe for tequila-spiked caramel corn here. And all kinds of recipes for boozed-up ice cream here.

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6. Put Together a Playlist from Your Collective College Years

Listen, I adore 90s R&B so much that I've got at least five graphic tees in honor of it. Every time I listen to music from that decade, I can literally hear a sigh come out of my body as I recall my college days. Taking out a couple of hours to put together a playlist from your own college years is a great way to get people hype and to hear some pretty awesome stories while songs are playing in the background — whether you went to school with your homies or not.

7. Stream a Couple of Throwback Movies

I already know that y'all got at least three streaming subscriptions thinking that it would be lower than your cable bill was (is it? LOL). So, why not look ahead of time for one or two movies that will take all of you back to either a simpler or more fun time (college anyone? 20s anyone?)? If you don't have streaming or cable, you might be able to find some gems on Tubi. It takes a little bit of digging and there are random commercials that pop up while viewing, but how much complaining can you do about a free app. Right?

8. Or, Binge-Watch a Favorite Black Sitcom

A show that I binge-watched a couple of years ago and thoroughly enjoyed is Survivor's Remorse. Now that it's back on BET, I've been catching up on it again. I also dig that TV One has put A Different World into rotation. Not only are both shows really good, they take me back to a time and place in my life that hold certain memories that I oftentimes don't think about until I do some binge-watching. Whether it's one of these or something else, maybe pull out five favorite episodes of a show that you and your girls used to like to watch all of the time. Even if you end up eating and talking while it's on, good Black programming always sets the best kind of atmosphere and tone.

9. Create a Signature Cocktail

Sometimes, I will do writing for wedding websites. It's there that I first heard of signature cocktails, and I like everything about the concept. Oftentimes, at wedding receptions, the bride and groom will have their own customized drink or they will come up with something that symbolizes them as a couple.

To commemorate your sleepover with your girls, why not make your own drink too? If you're down yet have no idea where to start, Sip Awards has some helpful tips here. Or, you and your friends can take a signature drink quiz, they can send the results to you and you can come up with a couple of mixtures that way (a cool quiz is right here).

10. And/Or Have Some Cotton Candy Cocktails on Tap

If you just read what I said and thought to yourself, "Girl, I'm gonna be good just to host this thing. What else, you got?", another option is to serve up a cocktail that already exists. One that tends to be a fan favorite is cotton candy cocktails that has strawberries, champagne, vodka, rosè, limes and cotton candy in it (the recipe is here). Talk about a drunkety-drunk-drunk sugar rush!

11. Then Play 20 Questions, Truth or Dare or Never Have I Ever with It

I've played all of these games with some of my girlfriends before and you know what — no matter how long I've known them and how much we've discussed before, when they've got some drinks in them, the game never ends without my mouth falling wide open, at least a couple of times. The main point here is to get an understanding, beforehand, that everything that is shared is confidential. Hell, if you want to makeshift some NDAs, I ain't mad at you. Celebrities do it all of the time. I totally get why.

12. Or, Go a Round of Social Sabotage

If y'all are more of an actual card or board game kind of person, BuzzFeed actually created a game called Social Sabotage (and yes, it's a card game). Basically, the box comes with two sets of cards — where and what. The best way to explain it would be that it's an online/smartphone version of truth or dare with a whole lot of twists to it. Things really could get kinda wild. Anyway, if you want to buy the game, go here. If you want to watch a video that explains how the game works, check that out here.

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13. Paint Each Other’s Toenails (or Fingernails)

OK, while I know that spa activities are a traditional girls' night in move, my experience has been that oftentimes they end up being a lot more trouble than they're worth when it comes to setting up and cleaning up. A happy medium is to have some polishes available for folks to either paint each other's toenails or fingernails. Personally, while I'm good when it comes to my feet, I'm always thrilled when someone can help me to switch out colors for my fingernails when I'm in between mani/pedi appointments. It's a cool way to slow down the night.

14. Give Everyone Their Own Bonnet as a Party Favor

Y'all and these bonnets, boy. One day, I'll write something, just on that alone. For now, can we all agree that they were initially made to protect our glorious hair while we sleep at night? That said, I can't think of a more profound way to end a Black woman sleepover than to hand out a party favor in the form of a new bonnet. If you go to Etsy and put "bonnet" in the search field, you can find a variety that are made from Black women. Some merchants even customize, chile. #yourewelcome

15. Have Breakfast Delivered the Next Day

Once half of y'all are either slightly hungover or too tired to make that big breakfast that you see folks do on TV, I've got an idea. Since actually eating breakfast can help you to feel better after a night of getting totally lit up (so does drinking water or chewing on some ginger, by the way), why not have breakfast (or brunch, depending on the time y'all wake up) delivered?

If you're up to trying something new, My Recipes published "51 of the Best Breakfast Destinations in America". Also, your favorite delivery app should have a breakfast section for you to peruse. It's the perfect way to end an awesome sleepover, don't cha think? Have fun!

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You may not know her by Elisabeth Ovesen – writer and host of the love, sex and relationships advice podcast Asking for a Friend. But you definitely know her other alter ego, Karrine Steffans, the New York Times best-selling author who lit up the literary and entertainment world when she released what she called a “tell some” memoir, Confessions of a Video Vixen.

Her 2005 barn-burning book gave an inside look at the seemingly glamorous world of being a video vixen in the ‘90s and early 2000s, and exposed the industry’s culture of abuse, intimidation, and misogyny years before the Me Too Movement hit the mainstream. Her follow-up books, The Vixen Diaries (2007) and The Vixen Manual: How To Find, Seduce And Keep The Man You Want (2009) all topped the New York Times best-seller list. After a long social media break, she's back. xoNecole caught up with Ovesen about the impact of her groundbreaking book, what life is like for her now, and why she was never “before her time”– everyone else was just late to the revolution.

xoNecole: Tell me about your new podcast Asking for a Friend with Elisabeth Ovesen and how that came about.

Elisabeth Ovesen: I have a friend who is over [at Blavity] and he just asked me if I wanted to do something with him. And that's just kinda how it happened. It wasn't like some big master plan. Somebody over there was like, “Hey, we need content. We want to do this podcast. Can you do it?” And I was like, “Sure.” And that's that. That was around the holidays and so we started working on it.

xoNecole: Your life and work seem incredibly different from when you first broke out on the scene. Can you talk a bit about the change in your career and how your life is now?

EO: Not that different. I mean my life is very different, of course, but my work isn't really that different. My life is different, of course, because I'm 43. My career started when I was in my 20s, so we're looking at almost 20 years since the beginning of my career. So, naturally life has changed a lot since then.

I don’t think my career has changed a whole lot – not as far as my writing is concerned, and my stream of consciousness with my writing, and my concerns and the subject matter hasn’t changed much. I've always written about interpersonal relationships, sexual shame, male ego fragility, respectability politics – things like that. I always put myself in the center of that to make those points, which I think were greatly missed when I first started writing. I think that society has changed quite a bit. People are more aware. People tell me a lot that I have always been “before my time.” I was writing about things before other people were talking about that; I was concerned about things before my generation seemed to be concerned about things. I wasn't “before my time.” I think it just seems that way to people who are late to the revolution, you know what I mean?

I retired from publishing in 2015, which was always the plan to do 10 years and retire. I was retired from my pen name and just from the business in general in 2015, I could focus on my business, my education and other things, my family. I came back to writing in 2020 over at Medium. The same friend that got me into the podcast, actually as the vice president of content over at Medium and was like, “Hey, we need some content.” I guess I’m his go-to content creator.

xoNecole: Can you expound on why you went back to your birth name versus your stage name?

EO: No, it was nothing to expound upon. I mean, writers have pen names. That’s like asking Diddy, why did he go by Sean? I didn't go back. I've always used that. Nobody was paying attention. I've never not been myself. Karrine Steffans wrote a certain kind of book for a certain kind of audience. She was invented for the urban audience, particularly. She was never meant to live more than 10 years. I have other pen names as well. I write under several names. So, the other ones are just nobody's business right now. Different pen names write different things. And Elisabeth isn’t my real name either. So you'll never know who I really am and you’ll never know what my real name is, because part of being a writer is, for me at least, keeping some sort of anonymity. Anything I do in entertainment is going to amass quite a bit because who I am as a person in my private life isn't the same a lot of times as who I am publicly.

xoNecole: I want to go back to when you published Confessions of a Video Vixen. We are now in this time where people are reevaluating how the media mistreated women in the spotlight in the 2000s, namely women like Britney Spears. So I’d be interested to hear how you feel about that period of your life and how you were treated by the media?

EO: What I said earlier. I think that much of society has evolved quite a bit. When you look back at that time, it was actually shocking how old-fashioned the thinking still was. How women were still treated and how they're still treated now. I mean, it hasn't changed completely. I think that especially for the audience, I think it was shocking for them to see a woman – a woman of color – not be sexually ashamed.

I hate being like other people. I don't want to do what anyone else is doing. I can't conform. I will not conform. I think in 2005 when Confessions was published, that attitude, especially about sex, was very upsetting. Number one, it was upsetting to the men, especially within urban and hip-hop culture, which is built on misogyny and thrives off of it to this day. And the women who protect these men, I think, you know, addressing a demographic that is rooted in trauma that is rooted in sexual shame, trauma, slavery of all kinds, including slavery of the mind – I think it triggered a lot of people to see a Black woman be free in this way.

I think it said a lot about the people who were upset by it. And then there were some in “crossover media,” a lot of white folks were upset too, not gonna lie. But to see it from Black women – Tyra Banks was really upset [when she interviewed me about Confessions in 2005]. Oprah wasn't mad [when she interviewed me]. As long as Oprah wasn’t mad, I was good. I didn't care what anybody else had to say. Oprah was amazing. So, watching Black women defend men, and Black women who had a platform, defend the sexual blackmailing of men: “If you don't do this with me, you won't get this job”; “If you don't do this in my trailer, you're going to have to leave the set”– these are things that I dealt with.

I just happened to be the kind of woman who, because I was a single mother raising my child all by myself and never got any help at all – which I still don't. Like, I'm 24 in college – not a cheap college either – one of the best colleges in the country, and I'm still taking care of him all by myself as a 21-year-old, 20-year-old, young, single mother with no family and no support – I wasn’t about to say no to something that could help me feed my son for a month or two or three.

xoNecole: We are in this post-Me Too climate where women in Hollywood have come forward to talk about the powerful men who have abused them. In the music industry in particular, it seems nearly impossible for any substantive change or movement to take place within music. It's only now after three decades of allegations that R. Kelly has finally been convicted and other men like Russell Simmons continue to roam free despite the multiple allegations against him. Why do you think it's hard for the music industry to face its reckoning?

EO: That's not the music industry, that's urban music. That’s just Black folks who make music and nobody cares about that. That's the thing; nobody cares...Nobody cares. It's not the music industry. It's just an "urban" thing. And when I say "urban," I say that in quotations. Literally, it’s a Black thing, where nobody gives a shit what Black people do to Black people. And Russell didn't go on unchecked, he just had enough money to keep it quiet. But you know, anytime you're dealing with Black women being disrespected, especially by Black men, nobody gives a shit.

And Black people don't police themselves so it doesn't matter. Why should anybody care? And Black women don't care. They'll buy an R. Kelly album right now. They’ll stream that shit right now. They don’t care. So, nobody cares. Nobody cares. And if you're not going to police yourself, then nobody's ever going to care.

xoNecole: Do you have any regrets about anything you wrote or perhaps something you may have omitted?

EO: Absolutely not. No. There's nothing that I wish I would've gone back and said to myself, no. I don’t think at 20-something years old, I'm supposed to understand every little thing. I don't think the 20-something-year-old woman is supposed to understand the world and know exactly what she's doing. I think that one of my biggest regrets, which isn't my regret, but a regret, is that I didn't have better parents. Because a 20-something only knows what she knows based on what she’s seen and what she’s been taught and what she’s told. I had shitty parents and a horrible family. Just terrible. These people had no business having children. None of them. And a lot of our families are like that. And we may pass down those familial curses.

*This interview has been edited and condensed

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