Thursday, March 15, 2012

A Mad Men Kind of Birthday

I had given up on maintaining this blog, but Mad Men has brought me back. My Mad Men birthday party, that is.

I love themed parties. I love dressing up. Since I was a kid, I've felt like I was born in the wrong era. I drool over '50s and '60s cars. I have an addiction to vintage-style polka dot dresses. I know it's so trendy to embrace the vintage style, especially with the growing popularity of rockabilly, but I was pretty much born this way.

Planning this party was half the fun.


Looking in my closet, two dresses jumped out at me. I ultimately decided against this sailor dress because it was more Peggy Olson at the office, and I was going more for Betty Draper hosting a cocktail party. Peggy has brains, but ice-queen Betty has style.


I would have loved to go all-out with the food, but we had a miniscule budget. We stuck with classic finger foods from the early '60s. Pigs in a blanket was the most hearty appetizer. Deviled eggs, chips and dip, veggies and dip, cheese and crackers, and jello rounded out the menu. I wanted to do fondu, using our awesome fondu set, but the menu was already stretching our budget.

Guests ate on our wedding china -- only the second time it's ever been used! And, of course, we drank from martini glasses and chain smoked. Well, OK, we drank generic 7-Up with maraschino cherries and pineapple chunks, and smoked candy cigarettes from Candy Heaven in Old Sacramento.


I smoked from my Gramma's rhinestone-encrusted cigarette holder, which was so very Breakfast at Tiffany's. I found the cigarette holder when I was packing up Gramma's apartment after she died. It was fitting because not only did Gramma smoke like a chimney during my childhood, but when she got her smokes and lottery tickets at the 7-11 down the street, she let me pick out candy, and I often picked out candy cigarettes.


We played charades with clues relevant to the Mad Men era. In the excitement and laughter of the game, I forgot to take pictures. Everyone failed pretty miserably at this '60s Ad Slogans and Tagline quiz I adapted from, of all places.

Speaking of ads, I decorated with print ads from the era, including some used on the show. I focused on Sterling & Cooper accounts, including Lucky Strike, Heineken, Belle Jolie and Kodak.

Much of the decor in my house already suited the era. I covered up anything that didn't with curtains and sheets. I littered the fireplace mantel with literature from the time and played '60s tunes on our record player.

Photo Booth

I used white lace polka dot curtains to turn our Ramones wall into a backdrop for photos.

By the end of the night, we had killed four packs of candy cigarettes and drank way too many mocktails in true Mad Men style.


  1. Looks like fun! I had given up maintaining my blog, too. Just checked in and... Look! Laura just posted a couple days ago! Haha!
    Glad you had a good time!