With the holidays coming up, there are several things that come to mind. Time with family, seeing loved ones who you don't get to see regularly, food, presents and of course the shopping hustle and bustle.
What comes to my mind is: PARTIES! Holiday parties are a great way to show off your style and not have to worry about looking too "festive." Whether you're cooking your first holiday dinner, looking for ideas on the perfect New Year's outfit or trying to find the perfect gift for a friend, here are tips on decreasing the stress that is all too familiar with the next couple of weeks.
Impress with appetizers
Shown is a mozzarella, basil and tomato appetizer.
If you want to invite everyone to your house, but are stressing about playing it off perfectly, DON'T! In my opinion, it's okay to ask guests to bring a dish, whether you're going for a cocktail and appetizer party or a full-blown meal. Make a cute, quirky invitation that expresses your style. It has even become very popular to send invites via email without looking like you didn't put effort into it. This way you can cut down expenses on paper invitations, which most likely potential guests will throw away or forget about. That way you can go for some higher end wine or even top shelf liquor to supply your guests with.
The Internet is a great way to find ideas for appetizers, especially Pinterest.com. Just do a quick search of "cocktail hour" or "appetizer" recipes, and you're sure to find one that is easy to make and impressive to guests. Some of the different and interesting things I've seen have been "mini" things, like mini apple pies, mini chicken pot pies, mini stuffed peppers, even mini caprese salads! You can have a wide range of easy to make appetizers, and more than likely, everyone will be impressed. And honestly, who doesn't love appetizers? Also, if guests come to your party knowing it's just appetizers, they won't expect a full-course meal.
Don't be afraid of glitter
I'm a firm believer in glitter. Just don't over do it. New Year's Eve is a great time to use glitter in your accessories and make-up that you might not feel completely comfortable using during other times of the year.
If you're shy about it, start with maybe a little glitter eyeliner for your big night out.
Both Urban Decay and Sephora have great liquid glitter eyeliner, but if you don't want to spend that much money, try Hard Candy's glitter eyeliner, "Walk the Line." You can find it at Wal-Mart.
If you aren't sure exactly how to wear glitter on your eyes, here's one look you could try.
Start with black liquid eyeliner, and if you are unsteady, tape is a great way to get a straight line. Take a strip and slant it starting from your outer eye and just draw with the eyeliner.
If you're using a liquid, let it dry for 30 seconds before doing a thin layer of whatever glitter liner you've chosen, slightly above the line of black eyeliner. It's subtle enough that people aren't thinking you're going to a rave, yet festive.
Nail polish, rings and necklaces are other ways to incorporate glitter in to an evening outfit for one of the most anticipated nights of the year, New Year's Eve.
Be the best gift giver
Everyone is always worried about presents. For children, it's that moment where they wake up on Christmas morning and are overwhelmed with excitement of what Santa (ahem, Mom and Dad) got them. When you get older, and you're the one buying the gifts for others, it's always a struggle of whether or not the person will like or even appreciate your gift.
To me, the best gifts I've gotten have been the ones with the most thought into them. Think of what the person likes. Ask around (quietly) what the person has been talking about buying.
Homemade gifts present a lot of thought as well. And if you're not into crafty things, check out websites like Etsy.com or visit your local stores which more than likely have a host of homemade crafts. Hand-make a card for them. Make a "coupon" for a night out for just you and them. Make a mix CD of songs that always remind you of them.
Also, I'm a big advocate of gift cards for people you really don't know that well, but are inclined to give them a gift. I loved when relatives or friends buy me gift cards because then I'm not receiving a gift that is completely not me and they won't have wasted their money.
All in all, every year we come up with ways to out do last year. Don't forget the reason for the holidays: spending time with loved ones.
Stop your hectic, ever-changing schedule and realize that moments with your family are sometimes far and few and future get togethers might not be possible.
Let the hustle remind you that you can inhale, exhale and appreciate those days off of work that you look forward to every year.
Wiegand is a lifestyle and entertainment reporter. Her column, "Cosmetic Chaos" is published on the last Friday of each month in the Lifestyle section. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org