Having Friends Over for a Get Together

Little kickbacks are nice to host at your home from time to time, even if you do end up dreading the work involved in getting ready, preparing food, making sure everyone is comfortable and having a good time, and then cleaning up after the event (the least fun part!). But the good thing is that you don’t have to drive anywhere. AND you can hang out in the comfort of your own home.

If you’re going to be throwing little parties or events this holiday season, preparation really is a major part of the party itself. If you aren’t prepared for the numerous guests coming, the food and drinks situation can be a disaster. If you don’t plan out parking, that can also cause headaches for guests and yourself. With that said, here are a few things you can keep in mind when prepping for your next kick back.

Set out a few different treats and prepare some dishes.

Everyone loves surprises at events they end up at. I’ve always enjoyed the idea of setting out candy boxes as placeholders for your guests at the table. It’s cool to personalize their little gifts by knowing who likes what candy.

And whether you prefer doing finger foods or full on meals, it’s probably standard to provide at least a few different options for food. Your guests will likely be more than happy to bring dishes as well, but as the host, it’s somewhat of an expectation to have a few options for snacking. And guess what? If they start to know you like putting out little gifts at their seats (like the candy boxes above), they’ll be more likely than not to start bringing their own things to your events!

Get your seasonal decoration on.

Whether you’re simply cleaning up the place and putting out a few candles or going all out with fall or Halloween decor, making sure your place is nice and cozy is key. Just make sure you spruce the place up to match the season or upcoming holiday and everyone will realize you made a solid effort in hosting the event!

Have everyone bring their own drinks.

Trying to cut down the costs of hosting a party? You should make sure everyone brings their own drinks. Trying to satisfy the thirst of many guests who might be getting a bit rowdy late into the night is not something you should have to worry about. The good thing is that BYOB is pretty much the standard when it comes to get togethers and kickbacks. Take the stress off of yourself and your wallet by letting others know it’s fine to drink but ONLY if they bring their own.

Experiencing Yourself Through Music

For me, there’s nothing better than revisiting specific albums that I haven’t sat down with for a long time. Music means a heck of a lot to me, so being able to listen to things that used to mean something to me is an extremely nostalgic experience. What’s great is that it always seems to transport me back to a place and time in my life when I had that music on repeat.

Sometimes this involves me searching through my closet storage and getting out cheap moving boxes filled with old albums; then, I pop it on the record player and sit back. Other times, I just know where to find the music on Spotify, so I’ll queue it up on my soundbar or headphones and dive in. No matter what it means to me now or used to mean to me back then, I am reconnected with an older version of myself, and oftentimes old memories will come back, or I’ll remember things I used to enjoy.

I feel not enough people choose to look at music from this perspective, as a sort of “experiential” process. Instead, music is something that you hear on the radio to and from work, and that’s it. I view this as such a limited way of looking at music, and sometimes I feel bad for those who don’t know any better. They don’t know that there’s music out there that speaks to their soul and experiences and emotions. After all, this is what music is all about. It’s about baring your soul, being real, talking about things that matter, sharing experiences, and making meaning out of life. Unfortunately, a lot of popular music anymore is stripped of these aspects and ends up just being repetitive lyrics that hold very little meaning.

I think if everyone had their own little cheap moving boxes filled with records like me, there would be a lot more love and understanding in the world. If everyone gave music a chance and journeyed through the human experience from one artist to the next, people would begin to understand what makes the world work, what makes us all tick, and what actually matters in life. Like all things, though, everyone has their preferences and hobbies and interests, and they’ll never all overlap for the better.

I’m glad apps like Spotify have become so normalized if only to make music more widely accessible to people around the world. While artists may not be compensated fairly because of this model, I still think reaching more ears is more important than artists making buku bucks off of their music. The musicians who understand the impact that their music has on people are probably fine with the model anyway, because they understand what matters.

Reusing Your Cardboard

I’ve always been a huge fan of holding on to things (especially supplies and materials) that you think you no longer need. This is especially so for anything that’s often regarded as trash or mere packaging. For example, think of all the cardboard boxes you’ve ever had in your life. Now try to imagine the percentage of those you could’ve broken down and stored away for future use but are instead somewhere in a landfill, taking up space for no reason?

For as versatile and eco-friendly as cardboard is, we have a habit of throwing it straight in the trash instead of using it around the house for storage, recycling it, or even using it for mulch or composting. Why is it that we are always so obsessed with throwing things away?

The short answer is because we’re lazy. The long answer? Because the landfill system has made gathering trash and tossing it in a hole in the ground far easier than alternative methods. So, with a system made for us to be lazy, we’re all going to be lazy and choose the laziest option. Why would it have turned out any other way?

I try to do my part, though, in holding onto cardboard from packaging instead of tossing it straight in the trash. In fact, the last option I choose is recycling it. And I only resort to that if I don’t have use for it, don’t end up burning it, or can’t use it in organic matter, such as mulch and composting. (Yes, you can do both of these if you take the time to learn the process and do it on your own.)

Ultimately, we have to learn to start taking responsibility for our actions, and that includes everyday actions like tossing things in the trash.

If you happen to think of it, refuse to throw your cardboard boxes away the next time you get something in the mail from online. Heck, even if you got it from the store and it’s packaged in cardboard, make the conscious effort to break it down and store it away. And if you already have a huge amount of cardboard because you’ve been doing this, choose to recycle instead of trash it! It cannot be understated how much reducing your trash and reusing things from packaging helps to benefit the environmental state of the world. If only everyone would take the time to recycle one piece of cardboard once a week, things wouldn’t look so bleak.

Making a New Pet Feel at Home

Over the past weekend, my fiancee came home with a kitten. And I honestly couldn’t tell you how off guard I was when it happened.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not the type to throw a fit about something like this, or act like we can’t have a cat whatsoever. But after a long weekend camping with some buddies, I suppose I expected Sunday to be a very lazy day. That’s why I was pretty surprised when she came home with a cat. And more than anything, it was a bit stressful because we have a dog that has never been around cats, so raising them together will take some work up front.

Additionally, planning out something like this can be one of those things that you’ll feel like you’re always underprepared for. So, she actually heeded my advice and took a leap of faith by bringing the rescue home. Since we’re thrust into the fire with this situation, we’ll learn to take it day by day and slowly introduce the cat to the dog. We hope that within a week or two they start to settle into the home together, but for now, they’ll be separated.

I think a big part of getting the cat acclimated with the home is entertaining her and making her feel comfortable. To start, she’s extremely playful, which can be good for her age but bad if toys aren’t abundant. She’ll start swiping at our hands and nipping at us without something to occupy her, so we’re making sure to hit up the pet store this week.

One thing we’ve been keeping her occupied with is some packing tape, though. It’s funny how packaging supplies like this can be a free and easy way to tide a small animal over for the time being until we get some new toys and materials. And speaking of packaging supplies, we got out an old cardboard box and lined it with a blanket for her to sleep on, and she’s been loving it so far.

Ultimately, it all comes down to creating a hostility free environment, and if the dog is always nosing around the kitten, wanting to see her and smell her and be near her, she’ll be uncomfortable. Those moments are necessary eventually, as they’re going to have to get used to each other’s presence. But for now, we’re letting them become accustomed to one another’s smells, and keeping them in separate rooms and swapping rooms every other day will allow that to happen.

Nostalgia Is Good, but Living in the Past Isn’t

Sometimes I think people live too much of their lives in the past. Whether that’s in an attempt to relive their “glory days”, clutch tightly to their old ways, or they’re just too lazy to change for the better, I honestly believe that holding onto a past way of life is unhealthy for growth, happiness, and stimulation of the mind.

While this is clearly just an opinion on the ways you can go about living your life, it’s something I find to be detrimental about myself and some of my friends, so it’s no wonder that I’m so steeped in this opinion.

One of the things I often see amongst my friends is a desperate longing to return to college. While I can understand their point of view (considering I often miss the ease of life when at college and wouldn’t mind returning for another degree some day), there’s a point where you have to see that there’s a difference between wishful thinking/nostalgia versus actually trying to live out those days again. From bar crawls to excessive drinking and ordering take out and putting off responsibilities, I have a handful of friends that aren’t quite attempting to move forward in their lives because they’re so caught up in their pasts.

The thing is, it’s completely fine to relive those days from time to time by meeting up with old friends and doing what you used to do when younger. For example, I just recently had some buddies over to go out to bars and then come over to my place to play video games into the late hours of the night. We had a lot of fun and definitely want to do it again, but we all understood that this was something that happens from time to time. It was great digging out some old games from my cardboard boxes in storage, but those cardboard boxes are meant to stay in storage for a reason: accessing them every now and then to use, but not to make a staple in my life.

I think the world and its inhabitants would be a far better place if everyone simply agreed that we need to focus on the present situation first, the future second, and finally the past from time to time. Unfortunately, what seems to happen is that everyone is keyed in on their pasts and intertwining it with their present day situation, and no one seems to consider the future for whatever reason.