A Holiday Party Hit

My first holiday party of the season was on a chilly Thursday night. The premise was simple: bring yourself, bring food, and bring 5 of your favorite thing for a little gift exchange.

Since I knew I would be spending the evening with my more health conscious girlfriends, I wanted to bring something that was original, healthy, but still had a touch of decadence to it. (It was a party after all!) I did not, however, want to bring store-bought cookies from Trader Joe’s that would just sit on the counter untouched by the end of the night (like I did last year). It came to me rather quickly thanks to an old Pinterest find from earlier this summer. I wanted to do a dessert-type dish and I wanted to do something that I actually took the time to make (no matter how simple it might have been).

Strawberries (healthy) + chocolate (decadent) = the perfect party treat (that your incessantly dieting friends will actually eat).

An added bonus, besides the irresistible pairing of strawberries and chocolate, was presenting them in a unique way by stuffing them, rather than dipping them (there’s the originality).

(Click here for the recipe).

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{Chocolate-filled strawberries.}

As for the gift exchange, the idea was to bring 5 of your favorite thing that was $6.00 max. Each person’s name would go into a hat 5 times and we’d each draw 5 names (minus your own) to pass your gifts out to after a small introduction as to why it was a favored item of yours. At the end of the night, you’ll have 5 different new favorite treasures from your friends.

I knew instantly what I would bring from the moment I learned of our gift exchange: L’Oreal’s Colour Riche Femme Fatale Collection nail polish in Tangerine Crush. I’ve already raved about it as one of the great beauty finds of 2012 (now you know why 5 were featured in the post). Since I’m all about presentation, I wanted to give out my goodies in a special way. I got 5 super cute Chinese style take out gift boxes from Cost Plus and placed the nail polish inside with a touch of tissue paper. Voilà!

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{L’Oreal’s Colour Riche Femme Fatale Collection nail polish in Tangerine Crush.}

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{Gift boxes.}

The chocolate-filled strawberries and nail polish in these awesome gift boxes were a holiday hit! And not one strawberry was left over after our potluck-style party. Take that, store-bought cookies! 🙂

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2012: Best in Beauty

I’m not a high maintenance gal, but this doesn’t mean that I don’t like to always look put together. I’m way too O.C.D. with a healthy dose of perfectionism for sloppiness! 🙂

I didn’t really transition into the “girliness” of being a girl until my mid-twenties (when more astute attention was paid to clothes and makeup). It’s still growing and evolving; as it should when you come more into your own and want to redefine your look. The simple fact of getting older, wanting to try new things (and let’s be honest: as well as my addiction to tips found on Pinterest, the blogosphere, and my subscription to Glamour magazine) led me down a path this year to take the time to enjoy and grow into that fun girly side a bit more and experiment with new products.

These are beauty findings I discovered this year, that I’ve come to love, use, and recommend to those looking to (re)capture the “girl” in all of us; tried, tested and true. Happy primping!

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Estee Lauder’s Double Wear Light Stay-In-Place Makeup, $36.00. I recently switched from using powder makeup to this foundation after successfully using a sample that I got during the L.A. Cupcakes and Cashmere book signing (gotta love cross promotion). It’s super lightweight, doesn’t clog pores, lasts all day; and most importantly, doesn’t feel like liquid is sitting on your face. Four reasons I’ve never used liquid makeup. Also, this inexpensive but very sturdy Studio Tools Large Foundation Brush from Target, $6.99, does a wonderful application of my new face makeup.

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My favorite new find for a warm glow on your cheeks would be courtesy Bobbi Brown’s Pot Rouge for Lips and Cheeks, $25.00. I have a warm, chestnut skin tone and love the Milk Chocolate, though Bobbi’s got you covered with 9 other shades to suit your skin tone. The best part? You can sweep it on your lips for a touch of color as well.

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My favorite nail polish on the mani/pedi front: Tangerine Crush from L’Oreal’s Colour Riche Femme Fatale Collection, $4.99.

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Dressing up the eyes has become much more dramatic and long-lasting with these two new beauty finds: Sephora Collection’s Full Action Extreme Effect Mascara in Black, $15.00; and Bobbi Brown’s Long-Wear Eye Pencil, $24.00, in Mahogany.