September is National Courtesy Month posted in: Etiquette

September is National Courtesy Month, offering the perfect opportunity to extend kindness and respect to our fellow man. In essence, courtesy is consideration. It’s about showing kindness and respect to others.

please be courtous

Today’s high-demand and hurried pace makes it all too easy for common courtesies to fall by the wayside. And our reality TV world which is often ruled by rude and obnoxious behavior in effort to ratchet up ratings doesn’t’ help at all. Unfortunately, blatant disrespect and ruthless conduct toward others seems not only to be tolerated, it is at times encouraged and even in some cases rewarded. If you’ve ever had the displeasure of witnessing or personally experiencing ill-mannered behavior you know how uncomfortable and vexing these situations can be (if you have never encountered such behavior, CALL ME – we must talk!) Rude encounters can leave us wondering if some people realize how they come across or if courtesy is becoming a lost art.

So how can you keep courtesy alive? As elementary as it is, the key to keeping courtesy alive in our culture is to live according to the Golden Rule, to treat others as you wish to be treated. This principle directs us to consider how it would feel to be on the receiving end of our words and actions.  It’s important to note that courtesy if unaffected by a person’s status in society, balance in their bank account, or whether or not they can do something beneficial for you – everyone is worthy and due common courtesy. We are to show kindness and respect for others in both our initiated conversation and actions as well as in our response – regardless of other’s good or poor manners.

receiving end of my communication

There are small things that we can do every day to show politeness and respect to our fellow man, and most won’t even require much effort. Here are my top tips for extending courtesy to others:

1. Be clear and considerate in your communication. In all things, think about being on the receiving end of your actions – or lack of as it may be. How would you feel if your call wasn’t returned or text wasn’t responded to, you received a curt and seemingly demanding email, you set aside your valuable time only for your companion to leaving you hanging and show an hour late? Communication is an exchange of information between two or more individuals – take care in how your communications could be perceived by others. Be sure to communicate in a clear and honest manner.

2. Hold the door for a stranger. Isn’t it nice when someone holds a door for you? A stranger takes the time to acknowledge and wait for you – how nice is that? This kind of thoughtfulness makes us feel good. We all walk through several doors every day. So, hold the door open for the person behind you – it takes hardly any effort at all, but may mean a lot to the person on the receiving end.

3. Say no to tit for tat. When someone is disrespectful or downright rude to you, don’t

allow it to throw you off course and stoop to their level. I’m not suggesting that you be a doormat. However, depending on the circumstance, you can either turn the other cheek, or respectfully express your thoughts and let the person know that you are wiling to engage further only if mutual consideration is shown.

4. Roadway Rituals. Being one who travels frequently, I am all too aware of the lack of common courtesy when on the road. Drivers often cut off other cars in traffic, fail to use turn signals, and my personal peeve, remain in the passing lane – refusing to let faster cars pass by them. This rudeness has a negative impact on other drivers, and can lead to ‘road rage’, or even worse – an accident. Politeness is a must for all drivers. Common courtesy will make life on the road better and safer for everyone.

5. Leave things better than when you found them. Don’t down the last cup of coffee and walk away as if you didn’t know the ewer was empty. Put on a new pot of brew so the next person doesn’t have to face the disappointment. If you see a piece wrapper or paper laying about, toss it in the trash, don’t just step over it on your way to the copier. If you are the first one home in the evening and the house is in disarray from rushed morning, tidy up, turn the lights down, put the music on and open a bottle of wine – your partner will surely appreciate the inviting environment.

Doing even a few of these things will not only have a positive impact on the people in your life or brighten the day of a stranger, but will boomerang the positivity back to you. When we stop thinking only about ourselves and consider the needs and desires of others – great things happen. We do for others and in turn, it often ends up doing more for us than for them.


This September, let’s celebrate National Courtesy Month by showing patience, kindness and respect to our fellow man. Or be a real renegade, and practice this 24/7 365!

courtesy is contagious

What ideas do you have on how to spread courtesy across our great land?



Signature Tanja & Co. Events

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Slainte! Serve up a Little Conversation this St. Patrick’s Day posted in: Decorating Ideas, Entertaining Essentials, Holiday Decorating, How To, How Tos, Party Ideas

Any St. Patrick’s Day celebration just wouldn’t be complete without raising your glass and making a toast to good health and good friends. Whether you go all out on St. Patty’s Day, or
if you’re lucky to even remember to wear green, here’s a festive way to serve up beverages that’s guaranteed to have your guests’ “Irish” eyes a smilin’.

Create conversion bottles that can double easy décor for your St. Patty’s Day celebration. Use them to serve up your beverage of choice – a signature drink, tonic, or simply chilled water.  I LOVE the ones I found on Bliss Bloom Blog. These festive flasks will have everybody talkin’, and they won’t cost you a pot o’ gold to create.

st patricks bottles - cover

All you need are green bottles and a gold glass marker or paint. Simple, easy, and inexpensive. Don’t have any green bottles? You’re luck (and in vogue) – be really “Green” and pick up a few bottles from your local recycling center.  This festive and eco-conscious project is easy to create. Follow  Bliss Bloom Blog’s how-to and in a few simple steps you’ll have an “upcycled beverage service”.

Oh, by the way, if you like what you see, remember to click and share with your friends!


Tanja Lynn, The Party Maven




Photo credit: Courtesy of Bliss Bloom Blog

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2014 Color of the Year: Radiant Orchid posted in: Events, Fashion, Inspiration, Trends, Weddings

The 2014 Color of the Year is Radiant Orchid (PANTONE 18-3224), a shade of purple that’s a real attention-getter.

Radiant orchid is one vibrant gal in the colorwheel – uplifting and bold. She is expressive, energizing, original, and blooming with confidence, yet in a totally embraceable way.

Pantone 2014 Color of the Year Radiant OrchidThis color is a blended harmony of fuchsia, purple and pink undertones which is said to emanate great joy, love and health. With these attributes, what’s not to love? Who wouldn’t want to invite greater joy, love and health into their life?!

While Radiant Orchid is unique and bold, it’s also surprisingly versatile. This color has range! It is a nice companion to pastels, makes a statement as the bold counterpart to a lighter shade of purple such as Violet Tulip (another hue from the spring 2014 palette), and also plays nice with other bold colors such as teal for a totally vivacious look. This is one shade that you can take almost anywhere this year!

The color hit the runways during the spring 2014 fashion shows incorporated into collections by designers such as Emerson, Stella McCartney, and Juicy Couture, to name a few, and has been reported to be making its way to the red carpet. This particular blend of fuchsia, purple and pink has both cool and warm undertones, making it flattering to many hair, eye and skin tones. So dare to be radiant in this haute hue!


In the world of events, this eye-catching color is as adaptable as it is beautiful. Create a totally radiant event in monochromatic tones using this shade, or use it to create ambiance through lighting, make a statement with bold florals, create a focal using unique furniture pieces or to add a splash of color in accents and accessories. Radiant Orchid livens up neutral gray, beige and taupe palettes, creates a striking combination when paired with turquoise or teal, complements deeper tones such as olive and navy, and is chic with red or even muted neon or light yellow tones. So whether you decide on a little or a lot, this color definitely knows how to dress a party!


 Radiant Orchid Collage. Events

So what do you think of Radiant Orchid – love it or leave it? Would you use if in your event or wear it to a party? Have any other pairing suggestions? We’re dying to know, so leave a comment below.


Wishing you an inspiring day!

Tanja Lynn, The Party Maven



Images Courtesy: Tanja & Co. Studio 109, Colin Miller, Colin Cowie, James Michael Photography, Cheryll Gillespie, Aileen Tran, David Tucker Photography and Shaadi-Bazaar

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Celebrate World Kindness Day 2013! posted in: Etiquette, Events, Holidays, Society News

Wednesday, November 13th is World Kindness Day!

World Kindness Day offers an opportunity to highlight goodwill in our world. It’s a day that brings people from all walks of life together for a common goal – to show kindness to others.

Celebrate World Kindness Day 2013

While an excuse is never needed to be kind, World Kindness Day exists as a reminder encouraging us to be courteous to others, to lend someone a helping hand, to show compassion or do something to brighten someone’s day. At Tanja & Co, we’ve created an online party, and would love to have you join us in celebrating World Kindness Day this year! By joining together we can see how as individuals focusing on the common thread of  kindness which binds us as one people regardless of race, religion, gender, politics or zip code,  we can effect and propel positive change in the world around us.

Another wonderful thing about World Kindness Day is that it can be celebrated anywhere and in so many different ways. Participation doesn’t have to be costly (be it time or money) to mean more than you may ever know to the recipient. You can do something as simple as invite a single friend to join you for a family dinner, set out and return an elderly neighbors garbage cans, leave a family in your community an anonymous a gift card for a ‘Nite at the Movies’. For more ideas for inspiration keep checking ourCelebrate World Kindness Day event page, or turn back to our recent National Courtesy Month blog post to get you thinking, and we would love to hear your suggestions on ways to spread kindness on this day.


world kindess day celebration ideas

If you’re wondering how World Kindness Day got its official start? It was introduced in 1998 by the World Kindness Movement which is comprised of about 20 different organizations across the globe.

The day is observed in many countries, including the USA, Canada, Japan, the UK, Australia, The United Arab Emirates Italy and India to name a few. Schools are also beginning to formally observe and participate and some also work with awesome kindness outreach programs The Be Kind Project and Life Vest Inside here the USA. If you have interest for schools in your area to join the movement, contact us at for more information.

So,  join us to celebrate. Be sure to check back here and on our facebook event page often for additional ideas.

Oh, by the way, share this post with your friends to invite them to join the movement and spread kindness!


Signature Tanja & Co. Events




Would you like to use this article in your e-zine or on your blog?

Fantastic! Please do, as long as you include the following complete information along with the article: Tanja Lynn is The Party Maven. She is a designer, event planner, image consultant and founder of Tanja & Co., a boutique event planning and etiquette consulting event firm based in the Virginias that serves client worldwide.


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National Strawberry Rhubarb Pie Day! posted in: Entertainment, Food and Beverage, Recipes

There’s just something about fresh, homemade pie that’s comforting, and well….homey. Being that today is National Strawberry Rhubarb Pie Day (and I’m enjoying a weekend , it’s the perfect day to try out a new living well recipe that I have added to my collection.

This sweet and tangy treat was first made popular during the early 1800’s. Did you know that rhubarb is actually a vegetable? well, it is. This fact makes strawberry rhubarb pie one of the rare (tasty) pies that combines fruits and vegetables into one delicious delight. In my book,any dessert that compliments  strawbabies (one of my fave fruits) and gets us to eat our veggies, deserves its own day! And with strawberry season starting, what better way to celebrate this summertime favorite than to bake one yourself. Yum!

I enjoy making individual “indi” desserts, so this  mini pie “tart” if perfect, and will create a lovely dessert presentation.  If you feel like having a Betty Crocker moment today, here’s the recipe to try:

Strawberry Rhubarb Tarts



  • 1/2 c butter (or butter substitute), softened
  • 1/2 c confectioners sugar
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • 1/2 c whole-wheat flour
  • 1/2 c all-purpose flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 c nonfat milk
  • 5 rhubarb stalk, cleaned
  • 1/2 c water
  • 1/2 c agave (love this stuff!)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 10 strawberries, hulled and sliced


Tart Shells:

1. Mix (or blend in blender) butter, sugar, almond extract, and flour until the mixture looks like course crumb

2. Add milk. Blend until the mixture becomes dough

3. Flour the dough and roll out on a lightly floured counter or board to a 1/4″ thickness.

4. Using a 4″ round cookie cutter, cut 12 circles

5. Place a cutouts in cupcake pan to form tart shells


1. Preheat oven to 350F

2. In medium sauce pot, cook rhubarb, cinnamon and agave with water and lemon juice for approx. 5 minutes over medium heat. Allow the mixture to cool.

3. Pour filling contents into blender pitcher. Secure lid and pulse the mixture 2-3 times.

4. In medium bowl, mix the strawberries with the rhubarb mixture.

5. Divide filling evenly into each tart shell, filling each shell 2/3 full

6. Bake for 10-15min or until golden

Using this health conscious recipe, each tart has only 140 cal, 2.5g of fat and 17g sugar.

These tarts make a great summertime dessert. And if you’re life me, I like to prepare mini indi versions of great dessert when entertaining.

Wish you a Sweet Saturday!

recipe and photo courtesy of living well

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Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Dip! posted in: Food and Beverage

I just found a great new recipe that will sweeten up any day on Pinterest this week. Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Dip! I just had to share….


1/2 cup butter
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 8-ounce block of cream cheese, softened
3/4 to 1 cup powdered sugar (*to taste)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup mini chocolate chips, plus extra for sprinkling


In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Whisk in the brown sugar until it dissolves and the mixture starts to bubble. Stir in vanilla and set aside to cool.
In a separate bowl, cream the cream cheese and powdered sugar together for 60 seconds. With the mixer on low speed, add in brown sugar and butter mixture. Mix until combined. Stir in the mini chocolate chips.

Garnish with additional mini chocolate chips. Serve with animal cracker, ‘nilla wafers or graham crackers.

Recipe courtesy of Megan at whatsmegancooking.

Enjoy! and let me know if you think it’s a hit or miss.

Bon appetit!

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Etiquette: Top Ten Tips for Successfully Surviving Black Friday with Aplomb posted in: Etiquette

The holiday shopping season officially kicks off this Friday, the day after Thanksgiving. Many people like the excitement of the big crowds and the thrill of the deal. If you are one of these people, then Black Friday can be a fun experience.  However, unfortunately in the competitive shopping frenzy, it’s easy for some people to get carried away.

You may encounter rude or outright obnoxious shoppers in the quest for savings. While most of us, will not behave in such a way, we can still unwittingly become part of the problem rather than part of the solution if we allow our emotions take over in the heat of a moment and momentarily lose sight of our good sense and etiquette.

Here are my top ten tips for successfully surviving the day. And should you encounter a shark in the water, keep your composure, don a smile, remember that you willingly chose to participate in Black Friday, and say to yourself “I never did mind about the little things”.

Soldier up!

1. Make a list and check it twice. Prepare a gift list, so that you know exactly what you are looking for. Write down the people you’re shopping for and what you want to find for them (it’s also good to have alternate gift ideas on your list)

2. Make a Plan. Review your shopping list and write down all the stores you wish to visit. Consider your gift priorities in relation to store locations and traffic patterns then plan your route. If you will be shopping in a city you are not familiar with, get directions in advance. Check stores hours of operation online, in your local paper or give them a call a few days in advance so you can firm up your schedule.
3. Have reasonable expectations. This is not the day to expect sales staff to dote on you—they will be slammed. Certainly ask for help if you need it, but keep your questions short and sweet. If there are items o your list that you expect to need more involved associate assistance , do your research before the big day, or come back another time. It would be wise to shop for the specific items that you need Also because the masses will be shopping on this day, stores may sell out of items. Be understanding, and do not demand miracles from employees.

4. Remember to use your inside voice. A volume of traffic doesn’t mean that we need to turn up the volume of our voices in turn. While whatever you are doing is very important to you, it is rude to force others to hear it. Talking on the cell phone loudly in line, or even talking loudly to a friend who is standing next to you, is a sure way to get the people around you thinking that you have no manners. Of course, it goes without saying that you should watch your language, and never yell at an employee if you are upset about something. Ask to speak to the manager in a firm, quiet voice if you have a complaint. You will get far better and quicker service, and the employees will appreciate your restraint.


5. Don’t cut in lines. It’s simply rude.

6. Wait Patiently. Anticipate lines, and quite possibly long ones. Eye rolling, sighing and exclaiming that cashier’s are moving at a snail’s pace will not make lines move faster (but can make those around you uncomfortable). Be sure to pack plenty of patience and allow extra time for likely lines. If along the way should become irritable, please don’t push yourself to suffer through the rest of the day. Feel good about what you did accomplish and allow yourself to enjoy lunch with a friend or simply go home.

7. “Holding spaces” is a No-No. Please do not stand in line for others or allow friends and families to cut in line at the last minute. Everyone should be kind, take their own place in line when ready to check-out and wait their turn.

8. Bring your “A Game”. This is not your average shopping day with friends. This is shopping bootcamp! Prepare yourself and gear up. Eat breakfast, stay hydrated, wear comfortable shoes (give your stilettos the day off) and carry a small cross-body bag with your essentials (cash, credit cards, place to stash your receipts, keys, etc.). Have purchases and cash or credit card ready when you reach the register, and remember to ask the cashier for a gift receipt.

9. Shop need, not greed. There are other people who are trying to afford Christmas for their families too, take only your fair share.

10. Be considerate. It’s going to be a day of large crowds, but try to be mindful not to stand right upon others, step on toes (literally or metaphorically speaking) or move in reverse without looking back first. Pushing and shoving is not appropriate and not worth saving$10. Also, it’s a long day for store employees, an extra effort to give a warm smile along with a “please” and “thank you” may mean more than you know.

I for one do not have the patience for such an event, so I’ll leave this one to the pros. May you brave soldier shoppers enjoy a fabulous day and score some serious deals!

I sincerely wish everyone a safe, peaceful, love-filled Happy Thanksgiving!


Photo credit: Soldier girls courtesy of Martijn Mulder

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Fall Party Ideas posted in: Events, Uncategorized

Planning a fall party can be bushels of fun.  host a fall fete your guests won’t soon forget using these pro tips and recipes…

  1. Location
    Plan your parties outdoors when you can. Whether you are out on the deck or down on the farm take advantage of Mothers Nature’s décor and enjoy the nice weather if you can.
  2. Atmosphere
    It’s all about being laid back and easy. Long wooden or small spool tables. Tall back wooden chairs or blanketed bales of hay, or upside down buckets topped with a big cushion are great seating options. For an added touch hire a guitarist or a banjo picker to liven up the scene.
  3. Décor
    The traditional fall palette never goes out of style think yummy tones of chocolate, spiced pumpkin and butternut squash. Burgundy, blackberry, and cream  also work nicely. For flowers, again keep it fresh using in season blooms such as sunflowers and mums. Pumpkins, mini gourds and acorns are fun. Accent the scene with candles housed in lanterns and jars.
  4. Food
    When it comes to  harvest season dishes– fresh is best. Select recipes that include in-season fruits and veggies such as pumpkin, butternut squash, and apple pie. Comfort foods such as chili, cornbread, creamy soups, apple pie and spiced pumpkin mini cupcakes are popular choices. Present food on a buffet created from a large board with wooden barrels to create the table base. Drape the tabletop wth burlap and fresh blooms for an even more festive feel.
  5. Beverage
    Hot cider is a must. Add in a few favorite wine selections, beer and soft drinks and you’re ready to go. Service iced drinks in a metal tub or pumpkin cooler and use mason jars for glassware.

 Now you’re all set! here are some great recipes to incorporate into your fall party menu.

Roasted Potato & Okra Salad


2 lb small potatoes such as fingerling, red, or yellow-fleshed
1 large bunch scallions, halved lengthwise and roughly chopped
2 large fresh rosemary sprigs, plus 1/2 teaspoon chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
2 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
3/4 lb small (2- to 3-inch) okra, heads removed
1 cup fresh corn (from 1 to 2 ears, I used a combo of frozen kernels plus 1 ear of corn)
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon finely chopped shallot

yum! yum!


Roast potatoes and okra:
Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 450°F.

Halve potatoes lengthwise and toss with scallion pieces, rosemary sprigs, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Spread potato mixture in a large roasting pan and roast, stirring once, 20 minutes. Stir potatoes and add okra to pan, tossing to coat. Continue to roast until okra and potatoes are tender, about 30 minutes more.

Cook corn while potatoes roast:
Cook corn in 1 quart of salted boiling water for 3 minutes. Drain and set aside.

Make dressing and assemble salad:
Whisk together lemon juice, shallot, chopped rosemary, and remaining 2 tablespoons oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a large bowl until combined. Discard rosemary sprigs, then add hot potatoes and okra to dressing along with beans, corn, and salt to taste, tossing to combine. Serve hot or warm.

from via TheKitchenSink, who originally adapted from Gourmet.

The Best Mexican Cornbread You Will Ever Eat


Cup Margarine Melted
1 Cup White Sugar
 4 Large Eggs
1 15 Oz. Can Cream Style Corn
1 4 Oz. Can Green Chile Peppers Very Well Drained
1/2 Cup Shredded Monterey Jack Cheese
 1/2 Cup Shredded Cheddar Cheese
1 Cup All Purpose Plain Flour
1 Cup Yellow Corn Meal
 4 Teaspoons Baking Powder
1/4 Teaspoon Salt



Preheat your oven to 300 degrees and spray a 9inch times 13 inch baking pan.

In a large bowl mix together all your ingredients together very well. Pour your mixed ingredients into the baking dish and bake for 1 hour until a toothpick pushed into the center comes out clean. Recipe courtesy of crazyhorseghost

For more Chili recipes than you can shake a stick at, click here.


 Photo credits:

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Cupcake Cuties posted in: Entertaining Essentials, Entertainment, Events, Food and Beverage, Great Products, Weddings

Society, now you can take your cupcakes from ordinary to extraordinary in a snap! I give you Cupcake Cuties, an amazingly creative and new way to serve up cupcakes in style!

Photos courtesy of Jen O'Sullivan

These cupcake design kits make your cupcakes as special as your occasion, and are as yummy to look at as they are to eat. Using the cutie kits is a cakewalk:

1. Begin with a frosted cupcake

2. Wrap a Cupcake Cutie sleeve around the base of your cupcake

3. Garnish with Cupcake Cutie Toppings

Just bake, wrap and garnish. It’s truly that simple! Each design takes less than 3 minutes to put together!

They are available in a wide range of holiday, occasion and fun themes suitable for any celebration. One my favorite designs – the martini cupcake, comes complete with the best olive (chocolate covered almond) I’ve ever had 😉

Cupcake Cuties

Each Cupcake Cuties kit comes with self-adhesive cupcake sleeves, custom toppings to complete the chosen cupcake design, and directions to ensure you know how to put your cuties together so that they can look fabulous. All items come adorably packaged in a container that could double as a gift box. Plus the sleeves are printed with Food Safe inks. Another great thing is that the packaging is made of recyclable PET Material, so they are eco-friendly as well. Bonus – they are made right here in the USA. Each set provides supplies to decorate 24 cupcakes and sells for around $23.99.

Can’t get enough of these cuties? Join the Cutie of the Month club, and receive special offers. Visit Cupcake Cuties online to order yours today!

So what do you think Society, do Cupcake Cuties take the cake or what?!


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Gumball Centerpiece posted in: Events, Great Products, Society News

Photos courtesy of Jen O’Sullivan


Last week I attended Uncensored (great industry conference) to stay on the forefront of what’s hip and happening in the world of special events. I had the good fortune to develop relationships with some talented peers, share experiences, exchange information and get ideas and inspiration for future events. Here’s a cute, fun, inexpensive decor idea, and hello, portions of it are totally edible!

Use bright color gumballs to fill various sized jars or containers, accented with grass and paper flowers (as shown above), or feather boas. These bright, festive centerpieces would are perfect for a range of events – everything from a children’s birthday party to a meeting or conference as an unexpected fun twist for the kid in all of us. Adapt this idea to an all white wedding shower. Use white gumballs with alternating accents of white paper flowers and boas placed atop tables of white linen with sparkle sheer overlays.

And better still, let this decor pull double duty. Just before the end of the party or meeting, place small scoops and clear plastic bags next to the centerpieces, and encourage guests to take some gum to go! Guests get a fun takeaway, and you have a little less cleanup!

Party on!

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