It’s been both a very long year, and a very short year. I blinked and it was graduation; I took a nap and it was Thanksgiving. I’ve never been a person who loves the holidays. For years, I’ve watched the women in my life bake, decorate, and celebrate their way through the holiday season. I wish I felt that magical holiday spirit sometimes, but it’s just not me.
Surprisingly, I fell in love with a man who loves the holidays. I mean loves them. He bought Christmas lights that he can program with an app on his phone. If I’d let him, there’d be a 13′ tall inflatable Santa in my front yard. And he keeps trying to buy the dogs reindeer costumes, though I don’t think they’ll be as into the idea as he is.
Regardless of my Scrooge-like tendencies, let’s talk about the holidays anyway. After all, just because the holidays aren’t my cup of eggnog (that stuff is a waste of good bourbon), doesn’t mean they’re not yours.
Need a quick, crowd pleasing appetizer for a dinner or cocktail hour? Need it to look like your contribution took hours, but you threw it together in 10-minutes? You need a cheese tray.
While my preferred configuration uses slightly different ingredients (see here), this photo perfectly illustrates how a good cheese tray should be arranged using a mix of colors and textures. Need the hardware? I have this wooden platter from Target and it is plenty big enough. You’ll also need a good quality set of cheese knives and some chic serving dishes. I like these marble dipping bowls, but glass prep bowls will work also.
*photo found here.
These incredible velvet pumps from Deimille ($390) are sublime. They’re sparkly, moody, and perfectly festive. If you’re looking for something sleeker, the brand’s Della Pia pumps ($345) have a mix of black and burgundy with a seriously chic bow at the back.
Need something on the under-$100 side? These $38 Michaella tie-ankle pumps from Target are a lot of fun. ASOS has both these simple London Court Shoes ($49), and these seriously on-trend Sassi Heels ($61).
Once the wet, snowy weather hits, I am the Queen of the Updo, Conqueror of Humidity, Lover of Bobby Pins, First of Her Name. There is simply nothing I hate more than showing up to work, coffee, or a party with my humidity-flattened hair pressed to my head. Gross.
This hairdo tutorial from Margo & Me is a bit more involved than my daily updo, but it’s perfect for a holiday gathering. Need something with less labor involved? Try the five-minute fancy ponytail or this simple chignon. I also like this topsy-turvy half-up hairdo. As for how I keep my updo in place, I spritz bobby pins with a bit of my favorite hairspray to tame flyaways.
I love sequins, but in my mid-thirties, holiday parties may be the only appropriate place to wear them. And while this modern look with sequin bustier may be high fashion, it’s probably not right for any of the holiday gatherings on my list. Instead, I like this Needle and Thread blouse with embroidered sequin flowers. This Miss Selfridge blouse with white sequins on white sheer is positively gorgeous. Or try this rose-gold sequin t-shirt from H&M. Plus-size? Try this black INC blouse with a sheer yoke.
*image found here.
Because I was in junior high in the 1990s, I’ve had some difficulty coming around to the choker-necklace trend. Who doesn’t remember the scoop neck peasant dresses with choker necklaces and army boots of yore? But while I have to suppress the LSD-like flashbacks of Seventeen magazine and ‘My So Called Life’, even I have to admit there are some lovely necklaces for sale right now that would be perfect for the holidays.
Unless you have a makeup artist on call (or live in D.C., and can pop into the Birchbox makeup studio in Georgetown), you’re probably on your own for your holiday party makeup. But have no fear, Bobbi Brown is here.
Whether you want ‘Party Eyes’ (above), ‘Smokey Eyes’, or simple ‘Classic Eyes’ her must-have Everything Eyes palette gives you all the product you need and the tutorials. I just picked up her Luxe Eye Palette and it was worth every penny. Need more help than a step-by-step list can provide? Bobbi has some of the best YouTube videos out there.