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?

Host the BEST Christmas Gathering!

We are down to the wire, people! If you are hosting a holiday party this year, now is the time to get going with the party planning! Unless you’re a lonely butler, chances are you know some people, and those people are likely to invade your house at some point during the month of December. The closer you get to Christmas, the more true this becomes. So, with the inevitable onslaught of guests, it’s advisable that you decorate your abode, and perhaps have some last minute party-making tricks up your sleeve.

This guy knows about deadlines.

This guy knows about deadlines.

In the event that you’re spending Christmas away from family traditions, creating some of your own, or hosting a party for friends, this article/video by Julia Ziegler-Haynes is full of SUPER helpful hints, tips, and recipes! She basically tells the ultimate hosting-on-the-cheap secret, which is DO IT YOURSELF. If you opt for ingredients instead of pre-made stuff, you’ll almost always save money. With just a few items, and for about $100 total, she puts together a lovely party in not much time!

She tried the punch, and it was gooood.

She tried the whiskey punch, and it was gooood.

Even if you have never hosted a holiday party, or any party for that matter, the above links and video should be a fantastic guide toward making you a successful host! That being said, here is a collection of amazing Christmas “celebrations” and personal holiday stylings from the Internet. Feel free to attempt any of these you prefer, and impress all of your guests! The following are my favorites:

Christmas HAIR! She and Gaga should hang out.

Christmas HAIR! She and Gaga should hang out.

I love the super resentful, angrypants look on this guy's face!

I love the super resentful, angrypants look on this guy’s face!

Bahahahaha!

Bahahahaha! Wrecking Balls! This could definitely be a “pornament” on a naughty Christmas tree!

I'm not all about babies, but his dude is giving some fierce crazy eyes.

I’m not all about babies, but his dude is giving some fierce crazy eyes.

Star Wars nativity is THE BEST!

Star Wars nativity is THE BEST!

I did a “Star Wars” themed Christmas a few years ago, and although I’ll clearly have to do a (way better) repeat performance, it was a blast! If you’re a Christmas traditionalist, that’s great, but I since it comes around every year, I like to use it as an opportunity to try lots of different themes (Elvis/Blue Christmas, Turquoise & Purple Peacocks, Star Wars, Nightmare Before Christmas), and they have all been delightful! It’s much easier to feel motivated and festive for a party if you have chosen a great/simple/clever theme to bring everything together.

Are you hosting a holiday gathering this year? Have you already? What theme did you go with this year? Do you have a Christmas celebration tradition?

Gift Guides & DIY Inspiration!

Christmas is officially ONE WEEK AWAY! *Cue hysterical jingle bells* That means that if you haven’t put together a holiday ambiance at your home/desk/car, you should GET ON IT! Also, if you haven’t purchased (or made) gifts for everyone you know (and a few more, just in case), you can refer to any number of holiday gift guides for completely generic suggestions that are sure to wow your “loved ones.”

Buy them some super cool shoes! This does require you to have a working knowledge of their shoe size, so maybe you know them well enough to get them a slightly more thoughtful gift?

Buy them some super cool shoes! This does require you to have a working knowledge of their shoe size, so maybe you know them well enough to find a slightly more thoughtful gift? NOPE! Faux-Keds for you!

I know sometimes gift giving can be stressful, especially if a deadline is fast approaching and you’re second guessing yourself, or are unsure of what said recipient will be happy having. Some people seem particularly difficult to buy for, as they have eccentric taste, or a hedonistic tendency to purchase whatever they want (AMERICA!), or they’re like my grandparents, who seem to have anything and everything anyone could possibly own.

Clearly no one at this gift exchange was at a loss!

Clearly no one at this gift exchange was at a loss! It was a sexy Christmas present mountain!

Since I was involved with a wedding this year I have not made as many gifts as I usually do, but there’s still time! Some folks are not “crafty,” and some people aren’t fans of receiving handmade gifts ( I have few kind words for you people, unless the gift is: unfinished, hideous, or smelly, in which case, I get it), however, I always appreciate the effort involved with DIY/handmade gifts, and the creative ideas behind them tend to be amazing! Now, occasionally, especially after years of making presents for people, your enthusiasm wanes, or you feel like a change, but need inspiration. I found this article on HuffPo, and it has some great DIY ideas!

Creating these cute, themed bookends seems pretty easy! Choose the person-propriate animal, spray paint, and affix to a piece of wood!

Creating these cute, themed bookends seems pretty easy! Choose the person-propriate animal, spray paint, and affix to a piece of wood!

This could be less ornate, or even more so! It's a fab idea for a hostess gift, or for coworkers, anyone who loves tea, really!

This could be less ornate, or even more so! It’s a fab idea for a hostess gift, or for coworkers, anyone who loves tea, really!

Appreciate old buttons? Have vintage earrings without hope of finding their partner? Make them into fun cocktail rings!

Appreciate old buttons? Have vintage earrings without hope of finding their partner? Make them into fun cocktail rings!

This is such a great way to make a unique gift for that kid your friend had! You could amend the materials/themes and make it fun for girls and/or boys!

This is such a great way to make a unique gift for that kid your friend had! Amend the materials/themes and make it fun for girls and/or boys!

These are adorable! They would make a great small gift, or even as part of a fancy gift wrap presentation! They can be personalized, monogrammed, and even hand sewn if you don't have a sewing machine!

These are adorable! They would make a great small gift, or even work as part of a fancy gift wrap presentation! They can be personalized, monogrammed, and even hand sewn if you don’t have a sewing machine!

If you've got some extra/old keyboards lying around (if not, try a resale store, they have LOTS), you can create some trendy wall art!

If you’ve got some extra/old keyboards lying around (if not, try a resale store, they have LOTS), you can create some trendy wall art!

Upcycling! There is absolutely no reason to keep those floppy disks, unless you're going to make them into adorable little planters (or fat vases/candle holders/makeup brush holders, etc.), and give them to people as gifts!

Upcycling! There is absolutely no reason to keep floppy disks, unless you’re going to make them into adorable little planters (or fat vases/candle holders/makeup brush holders, etc.), and give them to people as gifts!

Beautiful! Turn a bottle into a piece of art by adding these geode stoppers! Give one for a small gift, or create sets!

Beautiful! Turn a bottle into a piece of art by adding these geode stoppers! Give one for a small gift, or create sets!

GGPhoneTreat

This is one of my favorites!!! They are so super cute, and if you can sew at all, you can make these happen! Give your friends a gift that is functional AND totally adorbs!

If you are still looking for gifts, or gift ideas, I hope these are helpful and/or inspirational. So many of them are so cute and look fairly easy to create! They could definitely be made in a group setting, too! Have a Christmas crafting party, and just let people take home their goodies, or swap while you’re all together! Got all your shopping and/or gift-making done? Stay tuned for creative gift wrapping ideas later this week!

Are you done with your Christmas list? Did you DIY gifts this year? How did you decide what to make??

Fabulous Holiday Dresses!

It’s mid-December, folks, and that means you should at least be considering where you should have picked up the perfect, gorgeous holiday dress already! Seriously, why haven’t you stocked away several by now??

So sparkly! Plus, it’s custom made!

I have been seeing lots of fun articles and suggestions about getting and/or creating a holiday dress in the past few days, and they’re not wrong. If you are, like me, attending several events this holiday season, you will need to make a completely unique and beautiful fashion statement for each one. The Trashy Diva blog featured a wonderful collection of Sophia Loren-inspired clothes and accessories!

They have a couple of amazing dresses that would do just the trick!

They have a couple of amazing dresses that would do just the trick!

The wonderful and fabulous Gertie debuted her latest: a green chiffon dress based on vintage pattern Simplicity 4414.

I'd make it!

I’d make it!

Though she’s (apparently) also making a blue velvet gown for Christmas (which I cannot WAIT to see!), the green chiffon would be perfect for any holiday gathering, especially if paired with some vintage red jewelry and shoes! Less “traditional” holiday color schemes are a great way to be festive without being cliché or boring, so break out those bold colors and bright accessories!

She's the absolute cutest! Her dresses are expertly sewn, and it absolutely shows! The rhinestone trim is GLORIOUS!

She’s the absolute cutest! Her dresses are expertly sewn, and it absolutely shows! The rhinestone trim is GLORIOUS!

It's even got a cowl neck in the back! Extra glam!

It’s even got a cowl neck in the back! Extra glam!

Since I’m attending/participating in a friend’s wedding this weekend, I have a rehearsal dinner and a brunch to dress for, and because I’m in the wedding I’ve already got that outfit in the bag! (It’s literally been marinating in a dry cleaning bag for months.) One of my other friends got married in November, and although it was a bit warm, I chose a sweater dress for the occasion, mostly because it was just too cool not to wear!

Aren't we the most pretty?! I got this dress SUPER last minute, but it had such a retro vibe, and hugged my lady curves so well, I just had to get it!

Aren’t we the most pretty?! I got this dress SUPER last minute, but it had such a retro vibe, and hugged my lady curves so well, I just had to get it!

If you’re not involved with one (or more) weddings this season, there are still many possible, non-ugly sweater themed parties, to plan for: office party, networking events, happy hours, early gift exchanges, multi or extended family get-togethers, those fortunate Sagittarius or Capricorn birthdays, and any number of random, enjoyable outings that require you to wear more than just your pa-jim-jams!

When you’re not out, obvs, you should be doing THIS! Rock those jammies.

Usually Christmas day is spent with family, so I can put together a more relaxed (but equally adorable!) ensemble, however, I am definitely considering my outfit for New Year’s Eve! Last year I wore a super incredible, multi-colored, silk patchwork coat my mother and great grandmother created together. Mom originally made into a floor-length coat in the ’70s, then cut off, and it had been wasting away in a “to do project” box until we came across it, and I bargained hard in order to get her to finish it so I could show it off.

LOVE this jacket! It was a huge it, of course!

LOVE this jacket! It was a huge hit, of course!

This year I may or may not have time to create a dress, however, I was inspired last night by a huge, fabulous, rhinestone-studded, black velvet belt (that I can finally fit into), which was just waiting for me in my closet! It’s vintage, from Neiman Marcus! So, even if I create an ensemble from the existing items in my closet, I’m sure it’ll be fabulous! As long as you’ve got an inspiration piece, you’ll come up with something show-stopping. Plus, you will feel confident and enthusiastic, so everyone is guaranteed to be excited with you!

Do you have a holiday dress/ensemble picked out? Anything that you wear as a holiday tradition? Plans to do it up on NYE?

Random Fun Wednesday! Beauty, Decor & Inspiration!

Today’s collection of things is pretty amazing! I’ve got a couple of Houzz articles to share about holiday decorating, some INCREDIBLE up-close shots of snowflakes, and a super inspiring project that involves mannequins! Yay, mannequins!

Ok, so for those of you who haven’t thrown up the Christmas decorations just yet, Houzz has some simple ways to jazz up your entry! They’re really great, mostly because almost all of them could be applied to any space, whether large or small. The first few are definitely for home owners (those lucky/totally trapped individuals), but could be utilized by those of you who have kind and flexible landlords.

We'll talk more about these shortly.

Just add a wreath! (We’ll talk more about these shortly.) They also suggest you purchase a lion (or other awesome) door knocker! GREAT idea!

The next set of suggestions are for anyone and everyone who has the time and/or energy to put said tips to use: add a pop of color, put together enormous floral arrangements, set up a festive corner seating space, and the really dedicated folks can totally paint the walls!

I know most of you won’t go that far, but you can easily add a festive feel to your home with a theme wreath! This tutorial gives detailed instructions for creating a lovely one out of real plants!

This is a great tutorial, and you can incorporate any elements you prefer using the same methods! (Rikki Snyder © 2012 Houzz)

This is a great tutorial, and you can incorporate any elements you prefer using the same methods! (Rikki Snyder © 2012 Houzz)

Now that we’ve fed the DIY beast, it’s on to complete and utter awe at how incredible nature is! The Russian photographer Alexey Kljatov has utilized macrophotography to take unbelievably detailed pictures of snowflakes! I’m a Texan, and it snows in Houston about every 3-5 years, and even then it doesn’t really stick, it just sludges up and mixes with whatever muck is on the ground.

Snow/Grass People!

Snow/Grass People!

That being said, I’m ALWAYS impressed by snow in any capacity. My brief stint in North Texas granted me a few glorious snow days, and one terrifying, white-knuckled experience of driving on snow/ice for the three blocks I had to go in order to pay my rent. (I’m pretty sure the stress aged me by at least ten years.) I even introduced my cat/life partner Molly to snow (her snowfaked fur looked beautiful!), but she was over it almost immediately after discovering it is both cold and wet. Anyway, here are some of the gorgeous photos!

Snowflake1

They don’t even look real, but they ARE!

Snowflake2

It looks like ice! Which I guess it kind of is.

Snowflake3

All the angles!

Snowflake4

Future snowflake!

Snowflake5

This one is my favorite because of the traditional shape, but also the insane intricacy.

Moving on from one inspiring thing to another, Pro Infirmis (a German organization for the disabled) has created a video detailing their amazing project, creating personalized mannequins using the measurements of disabled/differently-abled people!

This is such an incredible project!!! These people/the models are so brave! I admire their poise, graciousness, and amazing sense of self! They are willing to be measured, prodded, and evaluated against “regular” mannequins in order to make this a reality. It is abundantly clear from the looks on their faces after the reveals, and especially seeing their mannequin-twins in the store display windows, how meaningful it is for someone, anyone, to be reassured of their beauty, and to feel accepted by others.

What do you think of this mannequin project? Would you own a mannequin, if so, why? Do you already?? (I did!) How are you decorating for the holidays? Think you’ll make a wreath this season? What colors/style/materials will you use?

Happy Thanksgiving!

Yay for everyone’s favorite Fall themed Faux-Christmas! My feelings about all holidays not Halloween aside, Thanksgiving is a nice (albeit brief) reminder for us to appreciate what we already have, eat ENORMOUS piles of delicious food, and spend time with people we love!

That being said, here are some hysterical vintage photos that will definitely put a smile on your face, even if your relatives are making you crazy, your football team is losing, or you’re just sad because your stomach can’t fit anymore mashed potatoes.

So sneaky, Marilyn! (Image credit: Copyright Bettmann)

So sneaky, Marilyn! (Image credit: Copyright Bettmann)

Now they're posing together! Amazing. (Image credit: Copyright Bettmann)

Now they’re posing together! Amazing. (Image credit: Copyright Bettmann)

1954, Film starlet Adelle August charms a turkey, with clearly homicidal intentions - Image by © Bettmann/CORBIS

1954, Film starlet Adelle August charms a turkey, with clearly homicidal intentions – Image by © Bettmann/CORBIS

No idea. It's so nonsensically marvelous. Vera-Ellen looks amazing in her French maid/hunter ballet outfit! (Image via retrophile.com)

No idea. It’s so nonsensically marvelous. Vera-Ellen looks amazing in her French maid/hunter ballet outfit! (Image via retrophile.com)

Last, but certainly not least, just for the ladies:

Yep. This is what we get. Dudes, STEP UP YOUR GAME!

Yep. This is what we get! Dudes, STEP UP your Sexy Thanksgiving Game!

Ok, that’s not the best, but have this instead:

Mmmm, Enrique!

Anyway, Sexy Thanksgiving, everyone!!! Also, if you’re in Houston, come visit me at the Houston Pop Shop this weekend for Black Friday or Small Business Saturday! There will be tons of vendors, food, drinks and FUN!