Party On, Garth! 15 Apps and Gadgets for Throwing Epic Events
What time is it? Party time! Excellent! There’s nothing better in the summer months than getting a bunch of friends and family together and dancing, drinking, and eating the night away. But if you’re throwing the event yourself, that fun comes with stress. How to get everyone together and make sure they have a good time? Well, while we can’t actually help you throw the party (what, did our invite get lost in the mail?), we can share our favorite tech tricks and gadgets for throwing an epic shindig!
1. Pinterest Secret Boards (Free on Web, iOS, and Android): While we all know that Pinterest is a great way to get ideas for party decor, food, and more, it’s not exactly ideal to plan your whole party in public. You want your guests to be surprised, intrigued, and impressed by your event, not see the whole thing in their Pinterest feed before it even happens. Enter Pinterest secret boards. Each account gets up to three boards that are private to them and anyone they invite. That means you and your sister can plan a surprise party for your mom without being in the same room!
2. Facebook (Free on Web, iOS, and Android): An oldie but a goodie. Facebook Events are still a great way to get an idea of who plans on coming to your party and plan around that. While we certainly don’t recommend it for a big bash, like a wedding or other party that deserves paper invites, it’s perfect for your casual backyard BBQ.
3. GroupMe (Free on iOS, Android, and Windows): The group messaging app is a great way to send updates and reminders about the event to your whole crew. Plus, just because you’re hosting doesn’t mean you have to foot the bill. If you’re throwing a party for close friends, ask them to chip in for food and booze with the GroupMe app.
4. Djoclate II ($65): We discovered this little guy not too long ago and we’re pretty much obsessed. It’s a portable music mixer that lets you seamlessly play music from any two music storage devices. That means you can plug your iPad and your bestie’s phone in and DJ the ultimate dance party using music from both devices. It also lets you fade out like a pro, ensuring no awkward sounds in between songs. Get your groove on!
5. Jambox ($179.99): It’s no secret that we love the Jambox: in fact, we even hacked the Big Jambox into its own carrying case for truly portable rocking out. But even if you’re partying in one place, this is a great little device that packs some truly huge sound. You can connect it via Bluetooth to your smartphone and pick your tunes all around the party.
6. Spotify (Free on Web): We use Spotify to DJ at the office on the daily, and it definitely works for party playlists. You can search for a rad playlist already on the service, create your own, or listen to a radio station based on your favorite artist, genre, or even playlist. That way, even if your party goes into the wee hours of the morning, you’ll always have fresh jams to listen to.
7. Kuhuh ($35): Although technically I guess you can count karaoke as a subset of music, we all have those friends that make that definition a bit of a stretch so we’re gonna go ahead and put this under the “merriment” category. This Kickstarter project is designed to let you do karaoke from anywhere, from any smartphone or tablet. It lets you plug in up to two headphones, headphones, and speakers. Spontaneous karaoke party? We’re in.
8. Juke ($131): Apparently karaoke is popular on Kickstarter right now — we’re not complaining. The campaign promises to create a wireless, mobile karaoke experience. It comes with a built in microphone and a Bluetooth receiver that plugs into your home speakers. It even lets you cache karaoke videos to your phone so you don’t have to stream your favorite song every time.
9. Party Games! ($.99 on iOS): Love Catchphrase or Pictionary, but don’t always remember to bring your games with you? Now you can play on the go! You can even personalize the word lists to make them more fun for your friends. We’re thinking of a Brit + Co. specific list to spice up happy hour :)
10.Chromecast ($35): We’re kind of obsessed with this little gadget. It lets you connect nearly any device to your TV via wifi. So you can stream music videos to your TV, watch Netflix, or watch viral videos throughout the party. Plus it’s tiny and crazy easy to use.
11. KegWizard (Free on Web): We’ve written about this before, and we’ll probably write about it again. No beating around the bush here: you need the right amount of booze for the level of drunkenness your friends will get. With this app, you can select how many of your friends will likely get tipsy, buzzed, drunk or hammered, and then it will “kegulate” the amount of beer, ice, and red plastic cups needed for an epic event. Frat boys (and BBQ planners) rejoice!
12. Cor.kz Wine App ($1.99 on iOS): Whether you’re looking to buy wine to pair with the entree you’re serving at your dinner party or simply trying to find a bottle to gift your hostess, this app has you covered. It lets you browse wine, read and write reviews, and even comparison shop!
13. Drinkify (Free on Web): So you’re already rocking out to great music and you have a fully stocked bar. Now the only question is what drink to serve with what music? Yep, this is a thing. Drinkify lets you type the artist you’re listening to and serves up a cocktail, beer, or wine that matches the mood. Pro tip? The Icona Pop involves ice cream ;)
14. Party-Shot Automatic Photographer (Price varies): You want awesome party pics to remember the night by, but you don’t want to be stuck behind the camera all night long. This dock from Sony automatically detects faces and smiles, capturing some great candid shots that you’ll love having (or laughing about) in the morning. It’s no longer available via Sony but you can snag one for about $33 on Amazon.
15. Instagram Hashtag (Free on iOS): Don’t underestimate the power of existing social networks for capturing the best moments of the night. Everyone will be Instagramming anyways, just pick a hashtag and post it somewhere the guests can see it: turn it into cool wall art or send it to the group via GroupMe. Be sure to pick something slightly obscure (#birthdayparty probably won’t work) and you’ll be able to see all your photos in a single feed at the end of the night.
What’s your must-have tech for entertaining guests and/or partying until dawn? Let us know in the comments below.
Artist Dev Heyrana On How Bravery, Resilience and Sunshine Influence Her Work
Ever meet someone who you feel immediate kinship with on a deep almost spiritual level? That is legit every person's experience upon meeting Dev Heyrana, the star of this edition of Creative Crushin'. A fine artist, hip hop dance teacher and constant collaborator, Dev's particular brand of creativity is one-of-a-kind. She manages to be warm, welcoming and woke, with a focus on inclusivity, social justice and motherhood that comes through in every piece of art she creates.
Anjelika Temple here, co-founder of Brit + Co and one of many humans who has benefitted from Dev's boundless generosity and kindness. We first connected at a launch event, then I asked her if she and her family would like to model for a B+C shoot (they did!), then months later, I asked the IG universe if anyone would be down to co-parent with me for a day so I could speak at a conference. Dev said yes! And for those that know her, none of these serendipitous moments are surprising.
Now it's time to delve more into Dev's story, her creative inspiration, her thoughtful approach to parenting and what makes her more passionate than ever about bringing her point of view and artistic voice into the universe.
Anjelika Temple: First, foundations. Where did you grow up? What is your heritage? What did you study in school? Where do you live now?
Dev Heyrana: Born in The Philippines and immigrated to the U.S. when I was 9 years old. Me and my family are from the island of Cebu and I'm a proud Cebuana. My childhood in the Philippines felt like freedom. I had my swimsuit in my backpack for whenever we decided to swim and I biked everywhere.
Immigrating here at 9 yrs old was a transition, to say the least. My parents had big dreams but the move was heavy on them. It wasn't easy. I had to grow up fast. I took care of my sisters while my parents worked night shifts. By the age of 12 I would cook dinner and get my sisters ready for bed. Something I didn't realize was that kids my age didn't do those things until I got older. We would play these make-believe games to make, in hindsight, our hard situation brighter.
I think this is really when art played a big role in my life. It was something I could escape in and always felt healing.
I witnessed racism towards my family and didn't know how to make sense of it. These events left a mark. I was a quiet kid and observed everything and everyone around me. I think about my grandparents, Lolo Jose and Lola Rita, a lot as I walk through life. When I make decisions. As hard as it feels, you have two choices, do you let it take you down or take it one step at a time forward. I kept going and it really shaped me as to why I am the way I am today.
I studied Fine Arts at The Corcoran in DC. I owe that decision to my art teacher, Mr Giles, in High School. He was retiring and wore a Hawaiian shirt every day during my senior year. He was a curmudgeon and I felt incredibly special since out of everyone in the school he really believed in me. As grumpy as he seemed to the class, he would tell me things like "Go into the other studio and break some glass, then put it on a canvas." He's the reason why my abstract pieces have elements like clay and sand in them.
I've had incredible mentors and all were teachers. Mr. Giles in High School and Christine George in College. Christine was the one who told me to go either to New York or San Francisco because "D.C. is no place for an artist like you." She told me to not listen to anyone, how I can still paint, be a graphic designer, and, if I choose to, have a family. I've never had anyone tell me anything like that before.
I took a chance because of her. Moved and went to Design School in 2006 and I've stayed in the Bay Area ever since, raising two girls with the love of my life.
Anj: You are one of those magical human beings that has figured out how to be a full-time artist. What was your career path like before you were able to dive fully into your creative passions?
Dev: The most radical thing I could have done in my family, I did, I went to college for Fine Arts. A mix of being so young and having to do it on my own, I went with the school that gave me more scholarships. Even then I worked three jobs to be able to get through it. Hard work is ingrained in me.
With my sculpture background, I fell in love with Print and Packaging and why I came out here to San Francisco. I appreciated the security of having a career in Graphic Design. I also learned how to work with clients and the business side of things. Even then, I never stopped painting.
A few years ago I went through a pretty hard time with my health. I dealt with six surgeries in one year and I still have to do some follow-up ones. That experience almost broke me and what got me through was my family and painting in bed while I recovered.
When I finally got back on my feet, my heart just wasn't in Graphic Design anymore. So I made a two year plan. With a toddler and a mortgage, I wanted to make sure my steps were thought out. I put myself out there as an Artist while I still worked in Design. After a year I worked part time as a Graphic Designer and stepped down from my Creative Director position. I loved it, to be creative as an Artist and as a Designer. I looked at 2018 as my year to make the jump. If my work as an Artist balances out with my salary then I would quit in the Summer of 2019. And so here we are. I also am sharing a studio with my good friend, Naomi PQ, and I feel like my creative drive is just beginning.
Anj: What do you love about painting? How do you feel when you're in a creative flow state?
Dev: Like every part of me is free. Free to express myself through the stroke of my hand. How all of it leads back to my heart. These elements I use to paint have a mind of their own and how I need to respect the process.
It centers me and reminds me that the process is just like the life we lead. I know I still have so much more to learn but while I'm painting no matter how it's going, I'll embrace this moment.
Anj: You reference your roots quite a bit in your work. Talk to me more about how your roots inspire your work.
Dev: One of my earliest memories is of my Lolo Jose teaching me how to water mango saplings. He converted to Buddhism when my mother was young, so he viewed the world with love and kindness. I didn't realize it then but watering those mango trees were life lessons. We need to take the time to nurture, practice patience, and respect all living things. I still imagine him walking beside me often, carrying his teachings as I find my way in this world.
Nature and the Sun drive my pieces. My abstract works are fragments of moments. Like the sunset I grew up with when I was seven years old in the Philippines, like how I saw the water in Cebu when I dove in as a young adult, and like when I saw the redwoods with my children for the first time.
I see earth in our skin and especially when I paint people. How our mango trees grew and blossomed because the dark earth was rich with nutrients. I imagine the Sun piercing through these women I depict. I paint their love and bravery because their resilience cannot be contained. I want to celebrate all of it.
This is the beauty of Art, I am able to paint exactly how I see it.
Anj: Motherhood and your daughters are also central themes in your work. How has motherhood changed your approach to creating artwork?
Dev: Everything. I was still deep in my Design Career and I would paint at home. One day Quinn, who was 3 years old at the time introduced me at the park to a mom. "This is my mom, she's an Artist." It struck me that my toddler knew who I was more than I knew myself. That's really when I really owned it. I am more fearless because of my girls.
I own my body, I thank people when they compliment me, and I am selective but fearless when I use my voice. I am more in tune how I speak about myself because of them. When I paint these women I want to celebrate them. I notice how I embrace myself is translated in my paintings.
Anj: What advice can you give to parents who are trying to tap into their kiddos' innate creativity?
Dev: I don't have a lot of guidelines set up. I'll say "Let's draw the biggest fish we can draw" or "how many silly lines can we make" and I let them lead me. They ask me questions, show me things, and I sit there with my coffee watching their eyes wide with excitement. Watching them in their creative process is pure joy for me. Those silly lines can turn into a dragon or waves and next thing we know, we're drawing a big beach scene. My advice would be that you can suggest something to start it off but be open to how they take it. It is such a beautiful window into their minds.
Anj: Shifting gears to HIP HOP DANCE! Talk to us about his component of your creative expression.
Dev: I loved the Hip Hop scene in DC and discovered how much fun the clubs were in college. My friends told me about this Hip Hop Crew I should try out for, I was so scared because I've never taken a dance class in my life. I got in and it was like having another family. We competed all over the East Coast, it was a blast!
I found hipline when I started my first Design Job and needed an outlet. It was exactly what I needed and one of the owners asked if I was interested to teach. I've been teaching there since 2009 and am still going strong. It's a wonderful community of women. Now we're virtual and reaching clients all over.
Anj: What does a typical [pandemic] day look like for you? How does it differ from your rhythm before COVID?
Dev: I've been practicing being kinder to myself lately. Both me and my husband work full time and so having the girls at home is a challenge. Some days we are amazed by how smooth it went and then there are others where if the girls are clean and bellies are full, it's a total win.
Now that we're on month 8 our rhythm before covid felt more chaotic to be honest. I felt like we were always rushing out the door while carrying so many bags. Now my husband and I try to have coffee together, if he has a break from his meeting, and we sit with Quinn before school to see what she has to do for the day. Rowan's preschool closed down but we were able to find a wonderful speech therapist for her and she has an Adventure Pod we go to two times a week.
The one thing we really try to do is go outside once a day. Have some magic in their childhood no matter how small. It could be just going up for a hike by our home and picking up leaves, riding our bikes, or watching the sunset from our window. Seeing how the girls' react to these adventures we have is pure magic.
Anj: When you get creatively blocked or burnt out, how do you reset? Do you have tips you can share?
Dev: I go outside. I go out for a hike or go to the beach. Even if it's 15 minutes, something about grounding yourself in Nature is really healing. I also do exercise where I doodle for two minutes because it feels doable. Judgment-free doodles, always opens the doorway to more.
Anj: I know firsthand that community-building is huge for you. Tell us more about what your support system and creative community looks like.
Dev: I feel a lot of love and strength when I think of my community. My relationship with my sister led the way what women supporting women looks like. It's listening, asking questions, remembering, cheering for all the wins, being there even if it's hard, and taking time to invest in them. The way me and my sister show up for each other is why I have these amazing women in my life. I can talk to them about my family, motherhood, and we're all trying to balance it all while sharing my most recent project. I feel really blessed especially looking back in my college years where I don't know where Art would take me.
Anj: When you need to give yourself a pep talk, what does it sound like?
Dev: I usually take a deep breath then say or think "One step forward". Most of the time, I'm scared (as shit) but the thought of not trying scares me more. That one step forward can be hard as hell and maybe even heartbreaking, but I have to try.