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The joys of summer happy hours: sunsets and libations. The horrors of summer happy hours: interns and sticky floors. It’s time for your summer cocktail hour to move somewhere more intimate and special. It’s time to go home, ladies. It’s time you brought back girls’ night in.

Like a slumber party for grown-ups (where the sleepover part is optional), GNI brings friends together for laid-back laughter, snacks and the latest buzz on all things Harper Lee/True Detective/Taylor Swift.

We’ve rounded up a few suggestions on how to host a relaxed and creative gathering that’s sure to delight. Don’t worry: Cocktails are included.

The Bert Show

Break Out the Ouija Board

Or the tarot cards or the Magic 8 Ball, for that matter. Go low-tech for a night with a nostalgia-inducing, fortune-telling activity. Studies suggest friends who bond over teenage memories are happier overall, and even if you weren’t all friends back in the day, certain cultural phenomena can help you find common ground. Bonus points if you add a dope sound track. (“Waterfalls,” anyone?)

One Good Thing by Jillee

Bring Your “Favorite Things”

“White elephant” party? So Christmas 2012. “Favorite things” party? This summer, right now. Here’s how it works: Each guest picks her favorite under-$5 item (it can be anything, from helpful to whimsical) and brings enough to give one to each attendee. Everyone takes turns explaining her choice (fingers crossed you don’t all bring stain-remover pens), and at the end of the night each friend leaves with a goodie bag full of cute, friend-approved necessities.


The Happiest Hour

Having friends over for GNI? Amazing. Missing the juicy gossip because you're playing mixologist all night long? The worst. A make-ahead pitcher of cocktails is the way to go. Stick to a simple signature drink, like this watermelon sparkle fresca. Made with Chandon Rosé, this fizzy sipper infuses sweet and tart thanks to watermelon, lemon and lime.

Photo: Eric Moran/Styling: Erin McDowell

Party Food Redux

Tiny shrimp puffs with arugula foam are perfectly fine fare at a work party. But admit it: Sometimes you really just want to tuck into a plate of nachos. Behold the best of both worlds. Whip up these two-bite party snacks that seem like junk food but are actually pretty nutritious. Savory zucchini fries and sweet ice cream cupcakes are dainty enough for fingers and pack a flavorful punch.


The Mani Event

We don’t know about you, but we think it’s super-hard to self-paint both hands (one always looks a little…off). Set up a mani station in your living room and treat one another to some creative nail art. Been dying to try an on-trend accent nail? Enlist a painterly pal to help you out.

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