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.
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.
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.
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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Different puzzle pieces are creating bigger pictures these days. 2024 will mark a milestone on a few different levels, including the release of my third book next June (yay!).
I am also a Professional Certified Coach. My main mission for attaining that particular goal is to use my formal credentials to help people navigate through the sometimes tumultuous waters, both on and offline, when it comes to information about marriage, sex and relationships that is oftentimes misinformation (because "coach" is a word that gets thrown around a lot, oftentimes quite poorly).
I am also still super devoted to helping to bring life into this world as a doula, marriage life coaching will always be my first love (next to writing, of course), a platform that advocates for good Black men is currently in the works and my keystrokes continue to be devoted to HEALTHY over HAPPY in the areas of holistic intimacy, spiritual evolution, purpose manifestation and self-love...because maturity teaches that it's impossible to be happy all of the time when it comes to reaching goals yet healthy is a choice that can be made on a daily basis (amen?).
If you have any PERSONAL QUESTIONS (please do not contact me with any story pitches; that is an *editorial* need), feel free to reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org. A sistah will certainly do what she can. ;)
Exclusive: Gabrielle Union On Radical Transparency, Being Diagnosed With Perimenopause And Embracing What’s Next
Whenever Gabrielle Union graces the movie screen, she immediately commands attention. From her unforgettable scenes in films like Bring It On and Two Can Play That Game to her most recent film, in which she stars and produces Netflix’s The Perfect Find, there’s no denying that she is that girl.
Off-screen, she uses that power for good by sharing her trials and tribulations with other women in hopes of helping those who may be going through the same things or preventing them from experiencing them altogether. Recently, the Flawless by Gabrielle Union founder partnered with Clearblue to speak at the launch of their Menopause Stage Indicator, where she also shared her experience with being perimenopausal.
In a xoNecoleexclusive, the iconic actress opens up about embracing this season of her life, new projects, and overall being a “bad motherfucker.” Gabrielle reveals that she was 37 years old when she was diagnosed with perimenopause and is still going through it at 51 years old. Mayo Clinic says perimenopause “refers to the time during which your body makes the natural transition to menopause, marking the end of the reproductive years.”
“I haven't crossed over the next phase just yet, but I think part of it is when you hear any form of menopause, you automatically think of your mother or grandmother. It feels like an old-person thing, but for me, I was 37 and like not understanding what that really meant for me. And I don't think we focus so much on the word menopause without understanding that perimenopause is just the time before menopause,” she tells us.
Photo by Brian Thomas
"But you can experience a lot of the same things during that period that people talk about, that they experienced during menopause. So you could get a hot flash, you could get the weight gain, the hair loss, depression, anxiety, like all of it, mental health challenges, all of that can come, you know, at any stage of the menopausal journey and like for me, I've been in perimenopause like 13, 14 years. When you know, most doctors are like, ‘Oh, but it's usually about ten years, and I'm like, ‘Uhh, I’m still going (laughs).’”
Conversations about perimenopause, fibroids, and all the things that are associated with women’s bodies have often been considered taboo and thus not discussed publicly. However, times are changing, and thanks to the Gabrielle’s and the Tia Mowry’s, more women are having an authentic discourse about women’s health. These open discussions lead to the creation of more safe spaces and support for one another.
“I want to be in community with folks. I don't ever want to feel like I'm on an island about anything. So, if I can help create community where we are lacking, I want to be a part of that,” she says. “So, it's like there's no harm in talking about it. You know what I mean? Like, I was a bad motherfucker before perimenopause. I’m a bad motherfucker now, and I'll be a bad motherfucker after menopause. Know what I’m saying? None of that has to change. How I’m a bad motherfucker, I welcome that part of the change. I'm just getting better and stronger and more intelligent, more wise, more patient, more compassionate, more empathetic. All of that is very, very welcomed, and none of it should be scary.”
The Being Mary Jane star hasn’t been shy about her stance on therapy. If you don’t know, here’s a hint: she’s all for it, and she encourages others to try it as well. She likens therapy to dating by suggesting that you keep looking for the right therapist to match your needs. Two other essential keys to her growth are radical transparency and radical acceptance (though she admits she is still working on the latter).
"I was a bad motherfucker before perimenopause. I’m a bad motherfucker now, and I'll be a bad motherfucker after menopause. Know what I’m saying? None of that has to change. How I’m a bad motherfucker, I welcome that part of the change."
Gabrielle Union and Kaavia Union-Wade
Photo by Monica Schipper/Getty Images
“I hope that a.) you recognize that you're not alone. Seek out help and know that it's okay to be honest about what the hell is happening in your life. That's the only way that you know you can get help, and that's also the only other way that people know that you are in need if there's something going on,” she says, “because we have all these big, very wild, high expectations of people, but if they don't know what they're actually dealing with, they're always going to be failing, and you will always be disappointed. So how about just tell the truth, be transparent, and let people know where you are. So they can be of service, they can be compassionate.”
Gabrielle’s transparency is what makes her so relatable, and has so many people root for her. Whether through her TV and film projects, her memoirs, or her social media, the actress has a knack for making you feel like she’s your homegirl. Scrolling through her Instagram, you see the special moments with her family, exciting new business ventures, and jaw-dropping fashion moments. Throughout her life and career, we’ve seen her evolve in a multitude of ways. From producing films to starting a haircare line to marriage and motherhood, her journey is a story of courage and triumph. And right now, in this season, she’s asking, “What’s next?”
“This is a season of discovery and change. In a billion ways,” says the NAACP Image Award winner. “The notion of like, ‘Oh, so and so changed. They got brand new.’ I want you to be brand new. I want me to be brand new. I want us to be always constantly growing, evolving. Having more clarity, moving with different purpose, like, and all of that is for me very, very welcomed."
"I want you to be brand new. I want me to be brand new. I want us to be always constantly growing, evolving. Having more clarity, moving with different purpose, like, and all of that is for me very, very welcomed."
She continues, “So I'm just trying to figure out what's next. You know what I mean? I'm jumping into what's next. I'm excited going into what's next and new. I'm just sort of embracing all of what life has to offer.”
Look out for Gabrielle in the upcoming indie film Riff Raff, which is a crime comedy starring her and Jennifer Coolidge, and she will also produce The Idea of You, which stars Anne Hathaway.
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If you haven’t scrolled upon Olivia McDowell's TikTok famous dinner parties, you may need to reconfigure your "For You Page."
What began as a passion for hosting aesthetically themed meals for her closest friends has quickly become a viral sensation. With an astonishing 12 million viewers, women describe Olivia’s picturesque dinner parties as the “dream girls' night,” complete with classy cocktails, beautiful table settings, elegant outfits, and, most importantly, food plated to perfection.
Seemingly reigniting the feminine urge to host fancy dinner parties, Olivia has perfected the finer details. Overlooking the skyline in her beautiful NYC apartment, she never fails to make her signature handmade pasta dishes while simultaneously looking effortlessly chic in the wardrobe of dreams while doing so.
Replying to @nara0630 what should the theme of my next dinner party be? #minivlog #nycliving #dinnerpartyideas #caviarinnewyork
What I love most about hosting intimate dinners for close friends are the connections and relationships that form over food. They don't require a caviar budget with a high-rise apartment, it just takes determination and a little creativity. Watching Olivia’s journey inspires viewers to be a part of a community of positive and uplifting women who share common interests and tastes in food, fashion, and decor. Simply stated, she’s raising the bar of friendship goals.
If you’re aspiring to host a holiday-themed dinner party this season, check out the four tips that will guide you along the way.
Choose Your Theme
Replying to @emz.life.tsv what was your fav part? 🤍 hope this gives you some inspiration to host a fancy friendsgiving too! #hostingtip #dinnerparty #pastamaking
Set the ambiance with a thoughtful theme, which will indeed be your guiding light for less stress during the planning process. Establishing a theme sets the tone for everything else to fall in place, such as menus, table design, and presentation. For example, a holiday-inspired dinner party is a perfect occasion for elegant all-white decor paired with draped table cloths, pillar candles lit atop luxe holders, floating floral arrangements, and, for a personal touch, handwritten place settings.
Utilizing free resources such as Canva for menu templates and creating a “Dinner Party” moodboard via Pinterest is perfect for gathering dinner inspiration for themes, decor, and recipes for the special occasion.
Simplify the Menu
How to host your own pasta making dinner party — part 1: pasta making from scratch 🤍 Hosting dinner parties has become my favorite thing to do this year. More goes into it than you expect, the prep, planning, guestlist, tablescape, etc. but it’s always worth it in the end. What do you guys want to see next? #hostingtips #dinnerparty #pastamaking
Don’t overcomplicate the menu. A simple dinner party formula to use as your guide to making sure your guests leave full of food and joy is appetizers, salads, entrees, sides, desserts, and beverages. As a starter, assemble an aesthetic spread that your guest can nibble on while awaiting the main course with starters such as bread, cheese, jam, nuts, and fruit. A simple salad will do, complete with a light dressing right before your entree. For a main dish, pasta recipes always go a long way and also allows your guests to interact with one another, which leads to McDowell's third dinner party hosting tip.
Include an Interactive Element
Replying to @itstai.tv 🖤 #girlhood
To break the ice and encourage guests to get to know one another, introduce interactive elements to the evening. Moments of interaction allow everyone to connect, like capturing content for social media or memorializing the essence of the night through fun Polaroids. Olivia also encourages her guests to participate in the pasta-making dinner process as a group, or if hosting a brunch, her friends indulge in building their own coffee bar as an opportunity for forming connections and conversation starters. Group board or card games are also great for laughs and healthy competition to help get the vibes flowing.
Don’t Forget the Dress code
Replying to @samantha_mendiz when all of your friends are the main character 🖤🥂 #dinnerparty #nycfashion
Tis’ the season for glamour and sparkles, so why not go all out with a super chic dress code? You can’t have a picture-perfect holiday dinner party without the coordinating attire to match. When planning, make sure to make the required attire specific yet broad enough for a range of personalities and preferences to comfortably partake while looking stunning doing so.
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