Mardi Gras Madness!

Though I'm a few hundred miles from Bourbon Street, my friend (a Brooklyn photographer originally from N'awlins) went all-out to throw us Yanks an authentic Mardi Gras party. Her walls gleamed with streamers of green, gold and purple, and the kitchen was stocked with fried chicken, red beans and rice, and king cake. The hipster party guests wore festive Mardi Gras dresses, wigs, masks and more (wait, it was Brooklyn — those could have been their street clothes).

We draped ourselves in handfuls of those precious beads — and unlike some blitzed college coed, we didn't have to flash our naughty bits for 'em. Then we stumbled upon the most genius party station: an arts and crafts table where we could decorate our own Mardi Gras masks. Equipped with two hot glue guns and bowls full of beads, gemstones, baby figurines (from the king cake, ya'll), feathers, boas, pipe cleaners, and glitter sticks, a full hour later my inner art geek emerged from the table with only a few glue burns and a mask befitting the parade's grand marshal.

Soon enough, we all started bedazzling our beer bottles and plastic drink cups as DIY fever spread among the otherwise jaded 20- and 30-something hipsters. The next time you're throwing together your own bash, don't forget to put out the art supplies along with the bourbon. You're never too old for pipe cleaners.

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