Sugarlaws: Living Sweetly.

new year’s eve party planning!

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December 22nd, 2014 · Print Print

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New Year’s Eve: The pinnacle of the entire holiday season!  Whether you’re celebrating with a few friends at home or headed out for a night on the town, New Year’s Eve is the perfect way to ring in the new year with a fabulous outfit, friends galore, and, of course, fun cocktails!

So if you’re thinking of hosting some guests this New Year’s, here are a few ideas to get your party off on the right foot!

First, pick your start time carefully.  If you’re having an evening affair, think about starting later than usual — think, 9 p.m. or even later — so that everyone can be fashionably late and still see the ball drop!  Three or four hours is the perfect amount of time for a party to last, so accommodate the early birds and the late night-ers with a carefully picked start.

Next, set up a few small stations where guests can enjoy cocktails and appetizers at their own pace.  I like to have a dish of canapes right when guests come through the doors, but I keep our main bar on the other side of the house.  That way, people have to mingle and you don’t wind up with a crowd by the door and crickets everywhere else in your house.  Especially if you’re having a large group over, this keeps things from getting too cramped!

Finally, put some thought into your cocktails!  We spend so much time picking menus and choosing decor, and then forget to be creative when it comes to the most important part of a party: the cocktails!  Wine is always great, but amp your party up a notch with unique holiday cocktails like Kahlúa Peppermint Mocha — trust me, when this bottle is on your bar, no one will be able to resist!  Serve it with freshly made espresso (my recipe is below!) to keep the party going till midnight and beyond!

One last cute idea from the Kahlua Holiday website: before your guests arrive, decorate some of your glasses with peppermint rims to serve Kahlua Peppermint White Russians!  I loved their easy DIY video for this beautiful, creative idea — what a fun way to make your holiday party extra special!

2015 is going to be an amazing year, and with these tips, you and your guests will be ringing it in with style! 

Kahlúa is best when sipped responsibly.  Stay safe this holiday season and don’t drink and drive!

Kahlua 101

Kahlúa Mocha Espresso

INGREDIENTS
1 part Kahlúa Peppermint Mocha
1 part Espresso
1/4 tsp vanilla

DIRECTIONS
Mix together Kahlua, vanilla and a fresh brewed espresso. Shake vigorously, and strain into your preferred serving glass.

Disclosure: I have been compensated for this post, but all thoughts and opinions are my own.

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confession: my epic holiday fail

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December 19th, 2014 · Print Print

So, last year, I faced the ultimate culinary challenge: a holiday meal for a dozen people. 

And you’d think that would be a huge success, right?  People do this all over the world, and it goes off without a hitch, so this Saveur-endorsed expert will have no trouble, right?  The girl who’s piped eclairs and rendered duck fat and baked cakes from scratch?

Sure, you would think so.

And you would be wrong.

Don’t those potatoes look so great?  Sure, they do.  They look terrific.

But my guests, the ones who were supposed to be eating them for Christmas dinner last year… what did they get?

Oh, sorry.  They got a bunch of burned potatoes.

And, you guys… I feel like I have some story to tell, but there’s no story here.

I was six months pregnant.  I didn’t have a crying baby to look after or a seven-month sleep deficit.

I just tried my best at a holiday dinner, and… well, I burned the potatoes.  In fact, I burned everything.  The details aren’t really important, so let me just say: it was inedible.  I spent all day cooking, and there was literally no edible food on our table.  We didn’t even save the leftovers — and, yes, there were plenty.  They went straight into the trash.

I felt awful.  I felt so badly about ruining Christmas dinner that I could hardly talk about it for months — Chad had to pretend, every time I brought it up, that really, it wasn’t so bad.  Sure, the potatoes were tossed into the garbage, but, even a holiday dinner sometimes goes awry; people understand.  No one starved.

And as our family was leaving (after I’d given them enough dessert and wine to ensure they weren’t still actively hungry, even if they weren’t quite full), my mother in law told me that the first time she’d cooked for her husband’s parents, she’d done the same thing.  She’d spent all day in the kitchen, planned a perfect menu, and then burned the whole thing.

And, you know what?  Someday I hope to tell this story to our son’s wife.  Some holiday, many decades from now, when I see her (and him! I’m raising a man who cooks, if it’s the last thing I do) take on the incredible effort of a holiday meal and see it go wrong, I’ll share this story.  I’ll tell them about that time, a few months before he came into this world, when I bit off more than I could chew and came up just a little bit short.

And I’ll tell them about how we all laughed about it the next year (while eating the store-bought backup dishes I’m ordering this time around). 

So, this year, turn on the Christmas lights.  Open a bottle of wine.  Play some great music and take a moment to focus on the faces of the people around your table.  Because life goes by really fast, and this year’s burned potatoes are next year’s funny story.  And a decade later, they’re a treasured memory of a time you tried and failed; a time you were just human and not superwoman. 

So go ahead.  Burn the heck out of those potatoes. 

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New Mom Skincare Routine!

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December 19th, 2014 · Print Print

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As you guys know, getting enough sleep is tough when you’re a new mom.  So this week, I’m sharing an easy routine that will help you hit the sheets makeup free and wake up to glowing skin.

Skincare is sometimes overlooked in the bigger word of beauty but it’s the foundation of every good look. For great makeup results, you need to start with radiant, healthy skin, which can be hard when you’re a busy new mom.

Click below to watch the video I made with Simple Skincare to show my New Mom Skincare Routine!

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