In honor of the Academy Awards tomorrow night, this month's top 10 list is a compilation of my absolute favorite decor, food and drinks from the past 10 years of viewing parties. Each year, I host gatherings for the Emmy's, Golden Globes and the Oscars. I watch with a close group of girlfriends, who are all as red carpet and pop culture obsessed as I am.
It was incredibly fun to revisit all the ways I've decorated the front door, transformed the entry way table, plated things on the living room ottoman, rearranged the fireplace mantel, made over the dining room, and jazzed up the bathroom. I started to drool, reliving all the dinners my friend Stephanie, or as we call her, Chef Steph, has prepared for these occasions. I also felt myself getting a cavity as I remembered all the movie candy we've consumed!
I've organized this list in the same way I prepare for these parties on the day of - from the front of the house to the back, then food and drinks!
1. The Leo
For my Academy Awards party in February 2016, I used my entry way table as a bar cart, and offered up a signature cocktail inspired by Leonardo DiCaprio. That night he was the predicted winner of the Best Actor category.
The Leo had two ingredients: Sweet VictorTEA Vodka and LEOmonade.
Now, if you look closely at the photo below, you can see I misspelled the back half of the word lemonade, using an A where there should have been be an O. Whoops!
2. Red Carpet Candy Bar
Pro tip: You can shop for candy by color at Party City. If you are planning a celebration centered around certain hues, this aisle is very helpful!
To scoop the candy, I added wooden spoons I found at HomeGoods that came in this festive polka dot pattern.
3. Concession Stand Parfaits
I got more comments and messages about these parfaits than any other awards show item in the past 10 years. This was another creation sparked by Pinterest.
In the original photo, the hostess layered candy and popcorn in Champagne flutes. Let's be honest, you cannot fit your hand inside a Champagne flute, so I decided to make mine in pint glasses.
The girls in attendance at the 2017 Academy Awards party were very happy campers.
4. Cocktail Pops
For the 2018 Golden Globes celebration, I was able to combine two party staples - cocktails and candy - with the discovery of these cocktail lollipops!
I found these gems on my first-ever trip to HomeSense in Framingham (it's like HomeGoods on steroids). The pops were on display right next to the register and I started rushing around to find as many different flavors as I could. I wound up getting: Champagne, Moscow Mule and Champagne with strawberries.
I displayed these in water glasses, with red jewels at the bottom (another Party City find).
5. Monogrammed Napkins
When my grandmother decided to sell her condo in Jamaica Plain, my cousin and I did the bulk of the packing. While emptying out her bar cart, I found these paper napkins monogrammed with her initials, HLG (Harriet Lila Goldman).
It felt so special to be able to use them for the Golden Globes last year.
Last month, I unwrapped monogrammed napkins my cousin had gifted me for my birthday to use when the girls came over for the Golden Globes on January 6.
I love the rich, saturated, raspberry color. You can order these exact napkins from Mark & Graham.
6. Perfect Paper Goods
Over the years I've found some incredible paper goods that have truly kicked the party up a notch. First, these may be my favorite napkins of all time.
Second, this popcorn garland from HomeSense was surprisingly high quality and really transformed the living room with just that one item. The paper popcorn boxes were printed on heavy card stock and the colors were bold and bright.
7. Red Carpet Rosé
I often use the side board in my dining room as the hydration station - water, seltzer, soda, wine, etc. For the Emmy Awards gathering in September 2017, I put together a Red Carpet Rosé, which was a glass of 90+ Cellars Rosé, garnished with a Sugarfina gummy candy rose, which lay across the top of the glass on a rose gold cocktail pick made by Viski. I found the picks at my favorite local shop, Greentail Table.
I'd like to give an honorable mention here to another party drink, the individual bottles of Prosecco by Martini & Rossi. This is such an easy thing to offer guests that feels instantly fancy.
8. Star Soap
For my Golden Birthday (29 on September 29), I threw a huge soirée at my place, and my friend Dustin served as party planner. He turned my bathroom into a spa, and when I noticed all his improvements, he remarked, "Never forget the bathroom. Every guest uses it." I have kept that in mind all these years, and I try to make him proud by always giving the bathroom extra love before any event.
The other serious contender for this category was my soda-sipping rubber ducks.
Everybody knows if you drink too much soda during a movie you'll have to pee!
9. Photo Booth
For the 2015 Emmy Awards, I decided to set up a photo booth in part of my dining room. I had six girls over for the occasion and everyone was game to goof around with the props. I ordered a gold fringe curtain and set of Hollywood photo sticks from Oriental Trading Company.
We posed during commercials, and used a self-timer to get a full group shot. The outtakes from those attempts still make me laugh four years later.
10. Boozy Milkshakes
There have been some epic desserts at the viewing parties for the past decade, but for me, the most memorable is definitely the s'mores milkshakes, inspired by the boozy rendition served at Wahlburgers.
Step one: line each glass with chocolate syrup.
Step two: add two scoops of chocolate ice cream. Step three: pour in one shot of marshmallow flavored vodka and stir. Step four: garnish with crushed graham cracker.
Ice cream has continued to play a starring role on the awards show menus, including: trying Baskin Robbins popcorn flavored ice cream at the 2014 Golden Globes party.
And the Halo Top sundae bar for the Golden Globes in 2018.
And the Brigham's sundae bar for the Golden Globes last month.
You've heard me say it before, but ice cream is my primary food group.
And there you have it! My top 10 viewing party moments of the past 10 years.
Per my 2019 New Year's resolutions, I'll be sharing a new top 10 list every month for the rest of the year. If you have a topic or theme idea for a future list, please let me know! Leave a comment below with what you'd most like to see.
In case you missed it, here is January's list - Top 10: Brunch Spots.