Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Domino's American Legends Pizza House Party

So, say someone offers you a gift card worth $75 at Domino's and asks you to sample their new line of pizza - American Legends ("the classic American flavors without the road trip"). Now, say that all you have to do is invite over your friends so that they can sample the new pizza, too. Wouldn't you go for it? I sure did - and what a fun time it was indeed!

It all started several months ago when my sister-in-law forwarded me an email from houseparty.com announcing a French Cocktail Hour party. Prospective hosts need only apply online (easy and free) and the houseparty computers would select a set amount of hosts via a cross-comparison of applicants against the sponsor's (in that case, the French Government) marketing needs. Although I had applied for that house party, sadly, I was not selected to be a host. But did that stop me from applying for other house parties? No way! The very next party I applied to host was the Domino's American Legends house party. This time was I selected? You betcha!

From start to finish, my experience with the house party was superb! They have an internal national party blog that allows you to hear from other party hosts as well as getting information directly from the site. I received timely emails with information on what was coming up next in the party planning process and tips to get the buzz going about my party.

The house party site has the added functionality of inviting all of your guests online, making it a breeze to spread the word about your party. I did have one person who I needed to invite in person, and the site made that so easy, too. What fun it was to watch as my guests responded to the RSVP and left messages on the party message board (also built in to the site).

Once my party was customized to my taste, and the invitations were issued, I began the theme development of which I am so fond. How to play up the theme with the food? American Legends combined with legendary food tastes brought me to the challenge that I issued to my guests: to bring a food or drink inspired by a legendary American person or place. Being an Elvis admirer myself, I had notions of fried banana and peanut butter sandwiches... or a spin-off of that in a banana & peanut butter dessert pizza. Yes, that is what I would make! Well, to make that long story short, the brownie "pizza crust" broke as I was turning it out, so I just cut them up into squares and forewent the Elvis connection. Brownies are an all-American dessert, so I cut my losses and just went with that. I did, however, stumble upon a fantastic recipe for a non-alcoholic mint julep. The recipe is based on the beverage served at Disneyland. See that? I combined the legendary drink of the Kentucky Derby with the legendary all-things-Disney and got myself a two-fer. It was delicious to boot! In honor of Hawaii (American legendary paradise), I also cut up a fresh pineapple.

And that brings me to the variety of the Domino's American Legends line of pizzas. Are you stuck in the typical pepperoni pizza rut? Domino's has the answer to your problem. Are you ready for this? They have the Honolulu Hawaiian, Philly Cheesesteak, Buffalo Chicken, Memphis BBQ Chicken, Cali Chicken Bacon Ranch, and Pacific Veggie. Whew! We enjoyed one of each on the hand-tossed crust. Let me tell you, folks... Domino's reputation has skyrocketed in my opinion! You do not want to miss the Memphis Chicken BBQ. It is sweet and smokey, and totally to die for! It was my personal favorite, and not only because it made me think of Elvis (OK, yes, Elvis was smokey and sweet, but it was the Memphis connection that made me think of him initially. Come on folks!)

So, feeling that the food was covered, I wanted to add a few other details to bring the theme out even more. I turned to the public library for help. I took out several books on the subject of American Legends. This included: "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas", biograpies on Judy Garland and James Dean, a tourism book on Hawaii, and a foodie book about New York. I added a couple from my own collection, including a book on Elvis (of course!), and one about the Kentucky Derby. From the house party site, I downloaded and printed out a top ten list of popular American travel destinations. I set copies of this list around the sitting area with the books. So for a casual shindig, I was feeling pretty satisfied that the theme would be developed.

A couple of weeks prior to party day, house party sent me a party pack which arrived via UPS. I got quite a kick out of the fact that it was shipped in a Domino's pizza box. How fun and odd to see the UPS man delivering pizza! Inside the box were several goodies. There was a Domino's pen and notepad (good for making party planning to-do lists), Domino's pizza coupons, free popcorn coupons for AMC theaters, and coupons for Zobmondo games. To my delight, there was also a free Zobmondo "You Gotta Be Kidding" card game for us to use at the party. Squee!

Party day happened to be the same day as the scheduled community-wide yard sale, in which I had hoped to participate. The good Lord must have known I was trying to do too much, because that morning it was raining cats and dogs. The yard sale being rained out did provide me the luxury of having plenty of time to get the house tidied up and in order. This was good, because I had planned a backyard bash, but had to change it to an indoor party. It was just too wet outside.

Let me share with you another cool facet of my Domino's experience. I love coupons. I ordered my pizza early via the phone instead of online just to make sure the large order could be handled adequately and would be ready on time. I explained about the house party promotion and asked about the online coupons. We hashed things out with no problems, and I managed to take my $75 gift card from the Domino's/house party promotion and get 12 pizzas instead of six thanks to the coupon deal. Lesson here is always, ALWAYS look for coupons and ask the salespeople if they can work with you to use them to the max. There was even enough left on the gift card to throw in a 2-liter of soda. Sweet! It was such a weird thing to see my husband and brother-in-law carrying in so many pizza boxes at one time. But we were a good sized crowd, and we were hungry! Late afternoon found us welcoming our guests, which numbered about 30, to our humble abode with smiles on our faces and feasting on our minds.

I had printed out cards with the names of each American Legends pizza that I placed aside the appropriate pizza box so that everyone knew what each one was. It was surprising how much fun everyone had just talking about the variety of pizzas and what we all liked most about them. The most popular AL pizza was the Cali Chicken Bacon Ranch. On the house party site for the Domino's party, most people indicated that the Philly Cheesesteak was the most popular at their parties. Here in southcentral PA, we are cheesesteak connoisseurs, and while it was delicious, it didn't quite taste like what we thought of as cheesesteaks. Where was the cheez wiz? Heh! One of my guests remarked that all of the pizzas were delicious but only the pepperoni and the cheese variety were actually pizzas. Her Italian background wouldn't let her identify the AL line as pizzas.

The "You Gotta Be Kidding" game had several of us rolling on the floor it was so funny. With questions like "Would you rather dig in someone else's nose to get out a booger or have someone else dig in your nose to get out a booger?" you can imagine the amusing discomfort that took turns on everyone's face. Groans and laughter did abound, nonetheless.

After several hours of pizza-fueled fun and games, the party guests dissipated, managing to roll home after having so much to eat! There was even some pizza sent home with guests, we had such a bounty. When it was all said and done, I figured it cost me all of about $20 to throw this party. That was for the soda and munchies. What a bargain! Many thanks to Domino's and house party for a wholesome and terrific event to be a part of! We couldn't have been happier! I am totally aching to host another house party. If you've never checked them out before, go at once to houseparty.com and sign yourself up. And hey, if you get selected to host a party, don't forget to invite me! *wink*

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Big things in the works

I promise you I've not abandoned this blogging thing! I actually have several shindigs I'm currently working on right now, and it has severely cut into my blogging time. I will try to post some details soon on the "American Legends Domino's Pizza Party" I'm hosting, 4th of July Sillybration in our neighborhood, as well as the 40th Wedding Anniversary party my sister-in-law and I are planning for her parents. Summer is known for keeping people busy, and you'll get no argument from me on that statement! Until later...

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

One Lovely Blog Award

I'm honored to have been awarded the "One Lovely Blog" Award by Cascia over at Healthy Moms. Thank you very much for the nod!

There are so many lovely blogs out there, and I'm passing this award along to some that I've discovered in my blogosphere travels...

Here are the rules: 1) Accept the award, post it on your blog together with the name of the person who has granted the award, and his or her blog link. 2) Pass the award to other blogs that you’ve newly discovered. Remember to contact the bloggers to let them know they have been chosen for this award.