Valentine’s Day Soirée!

Someone like myself, who prefers Halloween to all holidays, watching documentaries about diseases, sharks and/or massacres, as well as the generally macabre aspects of life, may not truly appreciate the saccharine, heart-shaped miasma that is Valentine’s Day. I do, however, love a good theme. One I can really run with, like the goddess Diana, through a beautiful forest of decorating possibilities!

Given this fact, and Valentine’s Day being on a Thursday last year, I decided to host a fabulous Valentine’s soirée! I thought it might be much more enjoyable than a “fancy” date night at some restaurant, surrounded by a bunch of desperate strangers, with outrageously high expectations, eating overpriced steak and mediocre desserts.

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So yummy!

Again, because I have doting parents who are willing to help me, and provide excessive amounts of table settings, decor and silver pieces, this party was an over-the-top success! Not to mention, the house lends itself extremely nicely to this color scheme, given the vintage pink linoleum covering the kitchen, pink curtains in the dining room, pink sectional sofa and dramatic peacock feathers in the foyer. I invited so many people that we had all three tables set up (one in the Library/Study, Dining Room and Breakfast Room). Each was set with a different combination of colors, all of which featured pink heavily.

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Fancy folks in the Dining/Cherub room!

The Breakfast Room! (My favorite table cloth, the vintage net and sequined felt!)

The Breakfast Room! (My favorite table cloth, the vintage net and sequined felt!)

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Sophisticated romance in the Study!

I served Mexican food, mostly because you can cook a lot of it at once without too much effort, and it has less staining properties than Italian fare. (Red sauce and white table cloths DO NOT mix.) So, I opted to make 40+ enchiladas, with chicken and veggie options! Never before attempted, but they were delicious! I bought rice and beans from Chuy’s (they were SUPER gracious about it), and a couple of my friends provided the (totally necessary) crock pot queso.

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My mother, and guests, were very helpful!

Not sure how I got away with not wearing an apron. (ALWAYS wear an apron!)

Not sure how I got away with not wearing an apron. (ALWAYS wear an apron!)

We also had a pink champagne punch (OBVS), with a frozen juice/blueberry-filled heart to keep it cool, and make my great grandmother’s punch bowl look even more fabulous!

Gorgeous in all the ways!

Gorgeous in all the ways!

For dessert (along with the many amazing guest contributions), I made what my family now calls “Strawberry Collapse Cake.” So named because of an incident in my childhood involving my mother, covered up to her elbows in pink, strawberry/coconut icing, weeping and babbling incoherently while what was once a layered cake slowly oozed sideways and simultaneously imploded. Being a relentless problem-solver, she decided to put the “cake” in an antique trifle bowl. Alternating cake, icing, sliced strawberries and cool whip, she created a beautiful dessert, and effectively masked it’s inherent instability.

*Somehow the desserts went unphotographed, however, if you have any pictures, please let me know!*

The decor for this party was absolutely incredible. Seriously. We’re talking gold lame swags, punctuated with my mother’s (seemingly endless) supply of heart-shaped candy boxes, in the living room. A silver epergne (pronounced: ay-pern), adorned with piles of hearts and cherubs, not to mention the ever-present pink cow hide rug, and pink and green sofa.

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So many golden swags! (It’s all one long piece, btw.)

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Silver epergne and pink cow hide rug. So classy!

Pink sofa! And the gorgeous flowers Boyfriend bought just for me!

Pink sofa! Plus, gorgeous flowers!

We added some hearts to my mother’s antique wall-o-drawers piece in the Breakfast Room, plus some hanging on her stick arrangements, for good measure.

My friend's camera had a color filter! We USED it!

My friend’s camera had a color filter! We USED it!

The cutest!

The cutest!

My father’s Study/Library was made more festive with two enormous Styrofoam hearts, on loan from my maternal grandmother. I used one of the three hearts as a background for the “photo booth” we set up in the entry way! This was also a big hit, especially for those who donned some of the “costumes” provided: feather boas, oversize pearls, ladylike fans, and the token mustache guy we inherited from my grandparents’ furniture store.

So demure!

So demure!

Perfect friends!

Perfect friends!

Also meant to be!

Also meant to be!

Or does Matt love this guy??

Or does Matt love this guy??

Nope. It's this pretty lady!

Nope. It’s this pretty lady!

Adorbs!

Adorbs!

So happy!

So happy!

My anti-Valentine's friends came too!

My anti-Valentine’s friends came too!

Since we are a pretty crafty group, I also set up my mother’s craft room as a place for people to make their own Valentine’s Day cards and/or paper bags to collect goodies! (Like the Spanish conversation hearts my mother managed to accidentally purchase!)

Te amo!

Te amo!

I collected some pre-made Valentine’s cards, along with paper, glue, scissors, stickers, GLITTER, doilies and so much more! Giving people something to do before and/or after dinner encourages creativity and conversation. Plus, if you haven’t put together gift bags, they have something to take home that will remind them of how much fun they had!

Brian was super excited about his Valentine's bag!

Brian was super excited about his Valentine’s bag!

Craftin!

Craftin!

And lookin' good!

And lookin’ good!

Also, for this event, I decided I needed to create an ensemble that would be memorable and gorgeous. Thankfully, my mother has a pattern collection that would rival that of Vogue or McCall’s, so I quickly found a pattern that NEEDED to be real.

Isn't everything about this incredible??

Isn’t everything about this incredible??

So, Mom also had this fab silky red fabric that happened to be a shade darker on the “wrong” side, which was PERFECT for this dress, and I didn’t have to line the peplum! It was one of my first attempts at dealing with boning (re: buy boning that hasn’t been wrapped in a circle for 20+ years), and sewing this particular pattern. It went pretty well, though, and the final product turned out to be quite the conversation piece!

Dramatic in red! (Look at my pink cheeks!)

Dramatic in red! (Look at my pink cheeks!)

Worn with my PEACOCK FEATHER BOA!

Worn with my PEACOCK FEATHER BOA!

This party was a wonderful way to spend Valentine’s Day! Everyone had a wonderful time, contributed so much, and were able to wallow in the evening’s romantic theme.

Have you been to a Valentine’s Day party? Do you and your other celebrate Val-D? Do you have an anti-Val-D tradition?

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Farewell, 2013!

Well, it’s almost the beginning of a new year! Welcome back to the office, if you’re at work again. (Sorry, I am, too.) Those of you still lolling around the house, go take a shower! Wash off the post-Christmas crust, and go have a drink with someone who isn’t in your family.

Yep.

For everyone: WHAT ARE YOU WEARING NYE?!?! I have a fantastic vision of a black and white ensemble, inspired by the 1970s and Madeline Kahn’s Young Frankenstein turban!!!

Yes, THIS turban!

Yes, THIS turban! I’ve got a diamond brooch picked out and everything!

I haven’t decided exactly what to do with my hair (completely engulfed or flowing out in a billowy cloud of curls?!?!), but I am positive that it will be fabulous! The real kicker is a vintage black velvet, rhinestone-studded belt from Neiman-Marcus!!! I needed an ensemble to show it off, and for whatever reason a jumpsuit seems to be the ideal option, so I’m GOING FOR IT! If the jumpsuit does (and likely should) bow out in the coming year, at least I can have some farewell fun before it does.

They've been on the red carpet for several years now! If Kristen Wiig can do it, so can I! Cheers to getting totally naked to pee!

They’ve been on the red carpet for several years now! If Kristen Wiig can do it, so can I. Cheers to getting totally naked to pee!

So, the options for NYE are endless! They can be, but are not limited to: fancy dinners, fancy parties in hotels and/or bars, fancy house parties, more laid back affairs, or drinking alone. Although all the planning can be a bit exhausting, once you’re there, it’s always a good time! The point is, however you celebrate, it ought to be completely covered in glitter, your makeup should be outrageous, and even if you know it’ll all be melty and slightly sticky by the end of the night, it’ll look damn good when you walk in the door.

We’re talking a disco and glitter light show presented by RuPaul on a Disney budget!

If you haven’t put together an outfit, it’s not too late! You still have an evening and a lunch hour to make this happen, and Charming Charlie stays open LATE! Plus, the post-Christmas sales on extra-shiny things are currently going on, so coming up with at least one statement piece won’t be that difficult. You can be wearing all black and throw on a fancy scarf, feathers, sequins, or a necklace and you are set!

See?? Insta-fab!

See?? Insta-fab!

Or those CRAZY heels you never get to wear!

Or those CRAZY heels you never get to wear!

See also: Glam hair accessories!

See also: Glam Hair Accessories!

There are TONS more amazing looks, some inspired by celebrities, others by Pinterest, but basically if you’ve got gold, feathers, or fringe, you will be the belle of the ball! Also, try taking a look in your closet to see what possibly amazing ensembles have been hiding! If you’ve got a small/non-existent budget, wear something simple and/or elegant, and let your makeup and hair create the statement!

LOVE this!!! The makeup is gorgeous, ties in with her statement necklace, and her hair is a magnificent halo!

LOVE this!!! The makeup is gorgeous, ties in with her statement necklace, and her hair is a magnificent halo!

I adore this retro-inspired wave, bold lip and necklace combo!

I adore this retro-inspired wave, bold lip and classy necklace combo!

She looks so incredibly elegant, but absolutely modern at the same time, and her updo is perfect!

She looks so incredibly elegant, but absolutely modern at the same time, and her updo is perfect!

Whatever makes you feel your best, that’s exactly what you should do! That being said, sometimes a little bit of extra prep/effort is usually worth it, as long as you have fun during the process. Since some folks are coming from the office, it may be a more subdued look, but no matter how you look or where you go, have an excellent NYE! I’m all about themes, so forget about your resolutions for one more night, and let’s all get super fancy!

Do you have fun plans for this NYE? Do you have a NYE tradition? Have an outfit picked out?? What do you love about it?