The benefits of social media and an online presence.

COD online kills me. Literally.

Despite my failure at first person shooter games, Call of Duty has taken the world by storm. The release of Call of Duty: Ghosts on Tuesday presented sales exceeding $1 billion on the first day. Having attended several midnight release tournaments in the past, I can guarantee a lot of these sales spawned from tournaments that took place to generate buzz for the release.

To organize a large-scale tournament, you would need a way to register participants and monitor the games played, a venue to set up several screens and consoles, and advertising. So, in an effort to make this less complicated, let’s just plan one for you and your friends.

FIRST: Rent a projector or find the biggest screen you have and hook your system up to it. It’ll make for a much better gaming experience. If you plan on having several friends play, you may want to try to set up two different areas to play so that the tournament moves faster.

NEXT: Have a bracket like in the playoffs of any sport. As each round is played, fill in the name of each winner until there is only one man left standing. Or ya know, woman.

FINALLY: Give a prize to the tournament champion! If this was a professional tournament, everyone would have to pay a registration fee and you could use that to reimburse you for the prize. But in this case, I would say give something small like a Game Stop gift card. And of course, bragging rights!

The moral of the event-planning story is an event can be planned around any current event or cool trend. The release of Call of Duty: Ghosts is no different.

Plan your own tournament and let me know how it goes!

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Watch my screencast tutorial below to learn the basics of creating a Facebook event page!

Want to have a get together with your friends but tired of the same old parties?

How about a beer exchange?

Angry Orchard

Click for photo credit.

Here are the rules:

Choose A Location: Your house? Your best friends house? Despite the name of the party, try not to have your beer exchange at anything other than one of your friends’ houses.

Invites: Send out cool funny beer themed invites or just let your friends know via social media. Either way, make sure you only choose friends over 21 and include the time, place, and rules.

Rules: Speaking of rules, here they are! Each person brings a case of their favorite beer (24 in a case). Something interesting or exotic, but nothing you would see at a common frat party.

The idea is that you give each person, 12 attendees, 2 bottles from your case. Try to get everyone to explain why they chose the beer (or cider in my case) that they did and where they first tried it. At the end of the exchange, you go home with a case full of tons of different and interesting beers for the price of the original case.

Just remember that the number of attendees is up to you! Maybe you and your friends are just hanging out and want to have a mini beer exchange. Go for it! Grab six friends and six six-packs.

And maybe you’ve read all of this and the final reaction is still: Beer? Gross. That’s fine too! Just switch the beer for something else. Like your favorite wine or desserts.

Good luck!

So, you’re not an event planner. No big deal!

We all need to know how to plan. And I can show you how to properly plan for everyday life. Like a road trip!

My best friend Buddy and I recently took a day trip to Washington D.C. (before the shutdown, go us!) And despite only lasting a day, that trip was one of our most thought out yet. So I’m here to share with you the basic steps of any road trip.

Meeting Pandas at the National Zoo

Meeting Pandas at the National Zoo

 

Planning Ahead: Do some research first! Decide where you would like to go and then find out how much gas you’ll need to get there. Save up enough money for gas, food, and souvenirs if you wish to buy them. If you are planning to visit specific places, make sure you know the hours and days they are open as well as their entrances fees. In our case, we planned to visit the National Zoo plus the National Mall and Lincoln Memorial. They close at 6 on Sundays and admittance is free.

Scheduling: Make sure the day works for everyone hoping to go and that you all ask off for work. Buddy is always off on Sundays and I was lucky enough to have off so we chose a Sunday. I also brought my laptop and textbooks with the hope of getting homework done in the car. (It didn’t happen but a girl can dream.)

Make a List:  Write down all the places you plan to visit and then rearrange them based on where they are located so that you are making the best use of your time. Create a really basic itinerary of how long you would like to spend at each place so that you don’t run out of time.  Buddy and I took the metro and headed to the Zoo first since it was on the way to the National Mall. Once we got off at our stop we circled around the Smithsonian Museums. We chose which animals we would like to see and which museums we most wanted to visit beforehand to save us time.

Social Media Use: Check in on Foursquare everywhere you go. It’ll be a fun way to share with your social networks where you are and users will share tips about cool things in your area. Take pictures to upload later but don’t miss out on the experience! The trick to this one is knowing your online friends. If your road trip will take several days, be sure you’re okay with all of your Facebook or Twitter friends knowing that you will not be home. Have a house-sitter or a friend pick up your mail and maybe leave a light or two on at your house just in case.

I told you. You don’t have to be an event planner to plan. So get your pens and notepads out and begin that road trip!

Happy Halloween, friends!

If you’re last-minute like me, you’re probably attending a Halloween party tonight and still thinking about what costume you can throw together. (Pro-tip for females: Braid your hair and buy a plastic bow and arrow from Wal-mart. You’re Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games! )

But, if you’re not just attending that party, you’re hosting it, then you better have all your ducks in a row. Actually, jack-o-lanterns in a row? That’s festive right?

Anyway, in the spirit of Halloween and all things spooky, I figured I’d make sure you didn’t forget some of the basic parts of my favorite Halloween parties. Check them out:

1.) Snacks

Okay, so we know you have chips and cookies. But do you have ghost cookies? Or meatballs that look like eyeballs? Do you have creepy fingers or punch with a hand in it? (Maybe forego that one if you have youngsters around…) Just don’t forget that your party has a theme! It’s literally a HALLOWEEN party and this is the one time that you can go completely cliché without anyone thinking that your party is over the top.

Frankenstein Marshmallows! Click for recipe.

Frankenstein Marshmallows! Click for recipe.

2.) Decorations

Walk in any dollar store and go to town. Buy those stringy cobwebs in the bag and drape them over your walls. Buy plastic spiders and attach them to the webs. Have Halloween tablecloths and napkins. Think of it like a kid’s second birthday. Nothing is off-limits as long as it matches the theme. Finally, don’t forget to buy a cheap Halloween mix and play spooky music while your guests are arriving.

Easy decorations!

Easy decorations!

3.) Costumes

Seems like common sense, right? Wrong. Make sure to specify that you want people to wear costumes and provide them ideas if they are at a loss. You don’t have to have a Halloween costume party but having half of the guests in costumes and half not may bring weirdness on both sides. We all know what it’s like to be the one person not wearing a costume. But we also all know how awkward it is to be the ONLY one wearing a costume. Whether you’re using Facebook to invite your friends or inviting them in person, just make it clear whether it’s a costume party or not.

Katniss Costume Idea

Katniss Costume Idea

If you’re still at a loss for ideas, don’t forget our trusty friend for all things cute and inventive: Pinterest!

Search Halloween ideas or check out this amazing board of Halloween Party Ideas. Good luck!

Like what you see? Follow my personal branding board for easy access to blog posts and other useful event planning information!

Maybe you’ll just follow for the recipes, quotes, and fashion advice. That’s cool too, I guess. 😉

Follow Michelle on Pinterest!

Follow Michelle on Pinterest!

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