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new year’s eve party planning!

December 22nd, 2014 · No Comments

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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!

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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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Tags: holiday · sponsored

introducing the silky hair dare!

December 16th, 2014 · 1 Comment

I’m so excited to share this video I made of my experience with the new Dove Pure Care Dry Oil line!  I’m always on the lookout for great beauty bargains, and these products are so nourishing for your hair and incredibly budget-friendly.  The whole line is available at Walmart, and offers a ton of bang for your beauty buck.

And Dove is so certain that you’ll love these products that they’re letting you try them risk-free with the Silky Hair Dare!  If you don’t love this line after one wash, they’ll give you your money back on HairMoneyBack.com.  I know it’s tough to decide which new products to try, so this is a great way to try it out and see if it works for you!

My favorite product in this line is the Pure Care Dry Oil African Macadamia Oil treatment.  I love using oils in my hair — they add so much shine on the days when my hair is feeling dull and lifeless.  (Side note: people sometimes think that using an oil in your hair will weigh it down, and I don’t find that at all!  Look for a lightweight oil like this one and it should just add shine and body, not heaviness!)

And Dove wants to hear about your experience with these products!  Tag your photos on Twitter and Instagram with #SilkyHairDare and let us know what you think!  And to learn more about the Silky Hair Dare, visit Dove’s section on Walmart.com!

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Tags: sponsored

the most gorgeous holiday tablescape

December 15th, 2014 · 1 Comment

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As you guys know, I love to entertain. 

Give me a free weekend with nothing on our agenda and I’ll figure out some excuse to have people over — sometimes with an hour or two of notice, sometimes with a month.  When I have the time, energy, and resources, there’s nothing I like more.

And I’ve learned something really important from many years of obsessive hostessing: your guests want to see you.  They’re not showing up to evaluate your home cooking or crafting as compared to Pinterest.  They want to hang out; they want to catch up.  They do not want you to be stuck in the kitchen whipping up homemade treats for them, all by yourself.

When we lived in New York, I learned this the hard way (sort of).  I invited a dozen or so friends over to our apartment, and just placed a tray of toasted baguette slices into our oven when the doorbell rang with the first guest.  Twenty minutes later, I had forgotten completely about those little toasts, and I was enjoying talking with a few friends when, suddenly, I smelled something… burning.

My homemade recipe was done-zo.  Or, more accurately, ha ha, it was toast.

And, you know what?  No one cared.

The party went on, I hung out with our friends, and the toasts were forgotten.  No one starved.

And from that, I learned my lesson.  The next time we invited friends over, I didn’t make everything from scratch.  I bought some beautiful items, laid them out in a pretty way, and everyone ooh-ed and aah-ed the same as they always did. 

I still love setting out the most beautiful dishes, and creating the prettiest table.  But lately — especially with a new baby, when my time is not just limited but essentially nonexistant — I’ve been embracing the beautiful things that are also easy

And on that note, let me introduce Shari’s Berries.  These beautiful little treats are stunningly gorgeous, and they’re literally the perfect thing to break out when you want to present a beautiful table with very minimal effort.

Also, they make chocolate-covered Oreos with Christmas decorations on them.  Are you sold yet?

I picked out some of my favorites for this post, but there are so many more beautiful options on their websites.  From handmade snowmen brownie pops to cake truffles in gift boxes with quirky little sayings, their website has everything you need to be the ultimate holiday hostess.

So sit back, relax, and don’t burn the toast. 

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Tags: food · holiday · sponsored