Let's get back to normal, shall we?
What I'm wearing lately, affordable party dressing, hostessing hacks, and gifts for the pet parents.
Hello! I apologize for the radio silence, my boyfriend and I both got sick right after Thanksgiving and had our proverbial asses kicked by dual sniffles, aches, and fatigue. But we’re well now! And I’m back on my bullshit, writing you this newsletter. So thank you for the grace of recovery time.
If you emailed or DM’d me asking for a link and I didn’t respond, I’m sorry! I did read your message though, and I rounded up all of the #WYGT links people were asking for right here, including questions about my boots, coat, and a few other items you eagle-eyed spies spotted.
I’m hosting a small holiday party tomorrow at our loft. I love to play hostess, and I’m pretty good at it if you’ll let me brag a little. The Devil’s in the details, as they say — and I have crowned myself the queen of said details.
First, I always consider my guest list carefully. (Not in a snobby way, this isn’t the Vanity Fair Oscar party.) But because the COVID era limits the number of people who I feel comfortable gathering in my home at one time, I use what I like to call “The Pong Method” (TPM).
TPM is simple: the host makes sure that every person on the invite list knows at least one other person aside from the host. That way, everyone has someone to bounce (or “pong”) off of. Because we have all been the awkward guest at a party where the only person we know is the host, and it is incredibly un-fun. Making sure your group has some touchpoints ensures that nobody feels like the odd man out.
The second most important thing I consider is the phases of the evening. Breaking the party up into sections helps keep things moving along so people aren’t dwelling too long, or stuck in a boring conversation. A typical dinner party might go like this.
Phase one: cocktails. Everyone is greeted and given a signature cocktail (right now, I am very into these perfect martinis) — something strong to loosen folks up, but only one, and only during the first part of the night. Then I will let folks mill around and chitchat while they sip the first round. I also always have some substantial snacks out for this phase. Usually, it’s a grazing board of some sort with meats, cheeses, crackers, nuts, olives, and dips. While I want everyone to have a great time and get a little buzz, I don’t need anyone drinking on an empty stomach.
Phase two is the main event: dinner. Everyone is seated, the meal is served, and the wine gets flowing. I always quietly lap the table a few times and top off everyone’s water glass, too. I want to make sure my guests are hydrated.
Phase three is usually an activity of some sort. Maybe it’s a round of Cards Against Humanity or The Barefoot Contessa Drinking Game. Maybe it’s dirty Pictionary. We’ve done Disney karaoke before! One time, we had a singalong to a bunch of old country songs using this epic playlist. Still another, the boys pulled out their guitars and everyone sang along to 90’s music. I’ve even broken out paints, paintbrushes, and art paper and let people go to town (which is really fun if you have creative guests). This phase is usually the part that everyone remembers as the best part of the party. The point is to do something where everyone can bond, let loose, and be silly. Of course, plenty more wine flows too!
(And then I send everyone home in an Uber. You drinky, no drive-y.)
Of course, what to wear is always a consideration too! If it’s a particularly special evening, I might splurge on a nice dress or fancy shoes, but often I’ll check the inexpensive retailers first: Zara, Mango, and H&M — the holy trinity of fast fashion.
It’s rare that all three are firing on all cylinders simultaneously. Sometimes, H&M’s selection will be fire but checking Zara’s like, u ok gurl? Right now, it happens to be Mango who’s out ahead. They’ve got a bunch of pretty, sparkly things in stock, like these shoes, these earrings, and this beautiful coat. Even one well-placed festive accessory or a touch of velvet can be mixed in with your existing wardrobe, and will *make* a look.
Hopefully, you’re wrapping up your gift shopping by now. But no judgment if not, tbh. Here to help! We’ve assembled gift guides for The Pop Culturist, The Guys, The Gourmand, The Globetrotter, and The Beauty Enthusiast. We even polled our friends and family — and got some great recommendations. But we didn’t forget the pet parents! A few favorites: