Simple Tips for Hosting a Fabulous Girls’ Night In

3 min read

Back in March I realized two things:

Photo cr:

Photo cr:

1. My personal life was like, “Hey girl, where you been?” My days seemed to consist of either being at work, thinking about work or recovering from the exhaustion of an intense workweek that left me so spent all I want nothing more than to recline on the couch, watching cartoon movies and other non-mentally taxing fare. In addition to that, most Thursday nights in the winter I played kickball with the company team. “I need to get a life!” I told my sister, N, during a phone chat. She chuckled. “I’m not insulting myself. I mean I actually need to get a life. This is pathetic. This isn’t me.”

2. A year and a half after moving to San Francisco, I kinda actually have some friends. Imagine that!

I decided to throw a party. Well…ok, not really a party, but a small gathering in my home – a place the size of one of Oprah’s walk-in closets at her Montecito ranch. A partini? A partito? Parties are even better with a theme so I settled on a “girls’ night in” since I’m acquainted with more women than men.

I used Paperless Post to send the online invitations.

For nine of the years I lived in L.A., I threw an annual post-holiday party. Sadly, the last two holiday seasons sailed by without an event. I didn’t know enough people to legitimize throwing a party.

Who would I have invited? The mailperson who insists on cramming grocery ads in my mailbox even though I have unsubscribed from the junk? (You are not fooling anyone by crossing out the apartment number!) The Spanish teacher whose class I took when I first moved here? Would he insist on conversing only in Spanish? My chatty, eccentric chiropractor? She’d be trying to recruit clients all night, no doubt. (“Stand here. Look in this mirror. Now, do you see how lopsided you are when you stand up straight?! It’s incredible, isn’t it? Come to my office; I’ll fix it! Life changing!”)

Or maybe the inquisitive, cherub-cheeked young checker at my local grocery store who always comments when I buy Now & Laters, “Oh! I haven’t had these since I was a kid.” The same comment every time. Well, I still eat them because my one true addiction sugar. I’m trying to get the monkey off my back, but it’s clinging to me like Spanx! And anyway, I hate when people feel the need to make commentary on my purchases.

Sometimes you just want a fun night in with your girlfriends. Here are simple tips to plan a girls' night in your friends will love! | The Girl Next Door is Black


I bought a new bench for extra seating space; it also functions as a storage trunk!

I bought a new bench for extra seating; it also functions as a storage space!


I limited the guest list to 12, including me. A mix of women I know from work, friends of friends who are now my friends, a few women I met thanks to Girlfriend Circles and friends from L.A. who now live here. A fun, diverse group of women in their early to mid-30s (and one late twenty-something).
Tip: I always invite more people to a party than my place can handle. Unless you’re throwing an “I’m handing out free cash and weed!” party, the acceptance rate will probably be around 60 – 70%. This is not a scientific figure, I just know from experience throwing many events. Plus, there are almost always last-minute cancellations.


Have you ever been to a party without music? I really don’t understand it. What kind of party is that? A wake?

DJ Keisha Keish streamed a mix of hip-hop, hip-pop & top 40, prompting song requests from the group and shameful admissions of liking music you know is offensive and sometimes downright misogynistic, but the beat is so damn good you can’t help yourself. See: almost anything by Juicy J.

Tip: Prepare a playlist in advance, keeping in mind the mood you wish to set. Consider asking guests for their favorite songs to add to the playlist.

This UE Mini Boom speaker is one of my best purchases in recent history. Love it!  Great for us during a Girls' Night In. See more on The Girl Next Door is Black

This UE Mini Boom speaker is one of my best purchases in recent history. Love it!


Inspired by friends who are avid Pinterest-projecters, I turned to the site to find ideas for the food and drink menu. I decided on a combination of fun finger foods like tangy barbecue meatballs, one “sophisticated” dish, recipe by Martha Stewart; and a bubbly, easy-to-make Kir Royale as the signature drink.

Tip: I created a Pinterest board to save ideas for appetizers and drinks. 

Follow Keisha | The Girl Next Door is Black (a blog)’s board Are you NOT entertained? on Pinterest.

I saved prep time by shopping for most of the groceries on Instacart. Thanks to Google Shopping Express I also ordered party supplies online, including a couple of serving dishes I neglected to purchase and ordered the night before the partito for delivery the next morning.


The party gave me the perfect excuse to break out the Cards Against Humanity game gifted to me on my last birthday.

The first player (The “Card Czar”) is determined by answering the question “Who pooped most recently?” Of course, this means as a group you have to actually talk about when you pooped. I learned more about my new friends’ bowel movements than I could never have imagined or necessarily wanted to know.

“I think at like 10 this morning after breakfast?”
“I go every morning like clockwork!”
“If I don’t poop daily I get really cranky!”

Games and candy "tapas" are a good idea for Girls' Night In snacks foods ...Read more on The Girl Next Door is Black

Games and candy “tapas”

After titters, giggles and me being teased for the many faces of disgust I made each time someone said “poop” (damn my vivid imagination!), the game commenced.

Cards Against Humanity is a fun "adult" game to play during a Girls' Night In...sea more ideas on The Girl Next Door is BlackWe spent most of the evening talking and laughing, digressions in conversation alternating with each round of the game. Topics veering from secrets of aging well to the details of G’s recent engagement (“How did he ask?” “What a pretty ring!” “Were you surprised?”) and careers (one of my friends is a urologist which always fascinates people) and every single gal’s favorite topic: dating (blech).

I’d intended to have Magic Mike playing in the background. My friend E surprised me with the DVD for Valentine’s Day this year, knowing my uncharacteristic affinity (read: crush from afar of embarrassing proportions) for Channing Tatum. What a pal!. However, the WORST ELECTRONIC DEVICE I HAVE EVER PURCHASED aka my Blu Ray player wouldn’t play the movie. Gotdamn piece of nothing good.

Tip: Something inevitably will go wrong at a party; roll with it and adjust. Don’t freak out and be that host(ess).

The party wound down naturally after hours of belly laughing and too many champagne cocktails on my part. My guests left with smiles, new acquaintances made, good times had, exchanges of hugs and “We have to get together again soon!” As I closed the door behind the last guest just before midnight, I grinned with the satisfaction of successfully pulling off my first party in San Francisco.

(Visited 102 times, 10 visits today)
  • Kay
    March 9, 2016

    Oh em gee… that cartoon is my life lol

    Looks like we have two things in common… We like entertaining and we live in shoeboxes. I know all about “cozy” get-togethers and limited seating space. (I once had to postpone a dinner party because I didn’t have enough chairs #sadbuttrue)

    Great tips and sounds like a fun theme. One tip I would add is cheap parting gifts. A little something to send your guests home with. Like for this maybe a cute pair of warm, comfy socks. Nothing expensive… maybe the polka dot socks or colorful striped ones they have at Dollar Tree.

    This post just made me wanna have my next extravaganza… off to plan!

  • Nami
    August 5, 2014

    Hi Keisha! I loved your posts about Zanzibar and just had to leave you a comment to say hi! I spent a few days there with friends and a couple of days myself and loved it! I just moved to the Bay Area end of last year and have been reading your blog for inspiration! I’m definitely not used to not having too many friends in a new city but I’m sure it’ll get better! Yay for your partini! 🙂 Looking forward to more posts!

  • Laura
    July 30, 2014

    Sounds like a wonderful time!! Makes me wish I lived in SF 😉

What Do You Think?

%d bloggers like this: