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Apr 12 2012

I'm obsessed with this concept to brighten up your bar. What's better then skittles and vodka?

1. Separate your skittles into colors
2. Mix 60 skittles and approx. 180mL vodka in empty water bottles
3. Shake the bottles well and leave them overnight
4. Lots of white residue will be left, filter this out using a coffee filter or similar. Repeat as needed
computer softwares
Chill (in freezer) and serve.

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Killer dress? Check. Awesome shoes? Check. Perfect clutch? Check. Party-proof makeup that lasts all night long? Eh, not really. There are so many different brands of makeup that it's hard to figure out which one has the best products and it is nearly impossible to try every single kind. You've got to know when to splurge and on what product. I've taken the liberty to jot down the save and splurge versions of the best makeup that doesn't require 10 touch-ups throughout the night:

1. Best Primer

Splurge: NARS ($32) has a fantastic primer with SPF AND smooths skin. It also perfect because it absorbs oils so you're face will never look greasy. It's definitely a keeper!

Save: Sally Hansen just came out with a new face primer and its super affordable (around $10).

2. Best Foundation

Splurge: Personally, I love to keep it natural so I use Bare Minerals ($26) for my foundation but if you prefer liquid foundation, I recommend Chanel's Mat Lumiere ($54). It's perfect for all-day and all-night wear plus it's super lightweight.

Save: There are a lot of great foundations I've come across but I'd say Rimmel London's Lasting Finish 25 Hour Foundation (around $7) is probably the longest-lasting, especially if used with a primer.

3. Best Concealer

Splurge: I've been really happy with Clinique's Airbrush Concealer ($19.50). It doesn't leave your skin cakey like some concealers do and it does a great job covering up imperfections like red spots and the occasional pimple.

Save: I've heard great things about Physicians Formula's Conceal Rx Physicians Strength Concealer ($8.95). If you put a dab on your imperfection and leave it there for a few minutes and then rub it in, it covers the area completely and lasts all day.

4. Best Blush

Splurge: Blush has been my enemy for years because it seemed like I'd put it on and then it'd be gone 10 minutes later. I absolutely love NARS blushes ($28). There's 25 different shades and this blush lasts ALL day.

Save: Victoria's Secret has a great line of cosmetics. I'm a huge fan of their Luminous Mineral Blush Duo ($15). Like NARS' blushes, there's a variety to choose from as well.

5. Best Bronzer

Splurge: Okay, bronzer is a tough one. On one side, you don't want it to be too light because then you'll just look cakey. But on the other hand, you don't want to be as dark as an Oompa Loompa. I really like Bobbi Brown's Illuminating Bronzing Powder ($35) because it's really lightweight and gives the right amount of glow to the skin. My favorite is Mac Bronzing Powder ($23) my color is refined golden.

Save: Physician's Formula products are good. Bronze Booster Glow-Boosting Pressed Bronzer ($14.95). You'd think that a cheaper bronzer would turn you orange but this stuff gives you the perfect glow and lasts for hours.

6. Best Eyeliner (Liquid and Pencil)

Splurge: Urban Decay offers a great pencil liner that is super easy to apply and doesn't break up after wearing it for hours with their 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil ($19). For liquid liner, I wasn't a fan of liquid liner for the longest time until I found the right brand which, for me, is Smashbox's Limitless Liquid Liner Pen ($22). It's SUPER easy to apply and you can create a soft, every day look to a glamorous smoky eye look for a night out.

Save: I've heard great things about CoverGirl's Perfect Point Plus ($5.79) and the best part about it is that it's a self-sharpening pen so you don't have to worry about getting eye liner shavings everywhere. For liquid liner, Almay's Liquid Eyeliner ($7.29) is perfect for creating a dramatic look and offers different colors for your specific eye color.

7. Best Eyeshadow

Splurge: I absolutely love all of Urban Decay's eyeshadow sets! My favorite palette is their Ammo Eyeshadow Palette ($38). The palette comes with a wide range of colors so you can go for a daytime look and then use the darker colors for a sultry night look. I am also a Mac girl, the amount of eyeshadows I have is stupid!

Save: Ulta's 10 Shade Eyeshadow Palette ($14) offers a great variety of colors that have a bit of shimmer in them. Perfect for ANY occasion!

8. Best Mascara- Mascara is a tough one because everyone has different lash lengths. The key word to remember in your search for long-lasting anything is 'waterproof'.

Splurge: Dior has a great line of mascaras and the perfect party mascara (doesn't run or smudge) would have to be their Diorshow Waterproof Black Out ($25). It gives AMAZING volume and never make your lashes clumpy. This is a mascara that is definitely worth splurging for.

Save: Like the eyeshadow palettes, I love having a product that can work for daytime wear AND nighttime. So, Almay's One Coat Dial Up Mascara ($8.49) is perfect for your transformation from the office look to a sexy nighttime look. This is good for a busy mom or hard-working gal that doesn't have a lot of time between work and play. Almay also offers a great waterproof mascara that adds volume AND grows your lashes at the same time with their One Coat Get Up & Grow Waterproof Mascara ($7.99).

9. Best Lipstick

Splurge: My favorite Lipgloss ever is Buxom ($18). Love, love, love it! It will plump your lips and moisture at the same time. Another great hydrator is from Dior ($30).

Save: CoverGirl's LipPerfection Lipcolor ($7.99) comes in fabulous runway shades and continues to moisturize your lips after application. The best part about this lipstick is that you don't have to reapply every hour!

I am a firm believer that beauty is on the inside but I also believe that sometimes you feel the way you look. Its always nice to get dressed up or put on a full face of makeup for no reason but to make yourself feel good. So put on your best and have a beautiful day!! xo


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 Photo: MSN Living

This is a touchy subject, I know, I've been there! There are multiple reasons a couple might not want children to attend their wedding. Space, money, worrying about disruptive outbursts are all good reasons for wanting an adult only wedding. Unfortunately, notifying guest of your no children policy can be difficult to accomplish. Here are a few tips…

1. Alter your invitations. Putting “no children” or “adult only” on your invitations is considered a no-no. Specifically writing the guests names and leaving “and family” out will let the person receiving the invitation knows it is an adult-only occasion.

2. Inform them when they RSVP. If your guest RSVP's for more then the number you assigned them, be sure to give them a call. You don't want your guests to think that you don't want THEIR children there so be sure to word it carefully. You could mention that there is a strict limit of the number of guests due to the size of the venue or that your budget only has room for a specific amount of food.

3. Don't give in to special requests. If you followed #2, most guests will understand the situation and keep their kids at home. However, some will not. There may be a guest who says they aren't comfortable leaving their child at home with a sitter or that their child is very well-behaved. DO NOT GIVE IN TO THEM! You cannot promise one guest one thing and then tell the others no. It's important to stand your ground with your decision and stick to your no children policy.

4. Provide names and numbers of babysitters near the location. If your guests seem skeptical about attending, give them some names and numbers of local babysitters that are available for that day. You basically did all the work for them!

5. Hire a babysitter for the occasion. If all of the above fails, you can hire a babysitter (or maybe an family member old enough to be trusted with children). This is probably the easiest way to avoid confrontation with your guests and take care of the problem altogether. Provide a hotel room specifically for the children and the babysitter to be in during the ceremony, reception, or both. Talk to some nieces, nephews, cousins, siblings, etc. for old toys and video games to have in the room to keep the children occupied. For food, ordering pizza is probably your best bet.

No matter how you handle this sticky issue just remember that this is YOUR day!!

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Feb 03 2012

Football fanatic? Party lover? Just watching for the commercials? Well now you can celebrate all three with a super fun Superbowl bash! Superbowl Sunday parties are great because it's super casual and it's ALWAYS a great time.

Prepare to get really festive and bring out you creative side with some of these fun-filled ideas:

Little Sprout Creations

1. Okay, let's start with the two teams: New England Patriots and New York Giants. So, why not plan your food and drinks around the Superbowl contestants?

New England: Cape Cod, Boston Tea Party, and clam chowder. . .some of this may ring a bell!

Stuffed Lobster Rolls- these take a bit of prep but they're worth it!

Thick and Creamy New England Clam Chowder- this can cook while you're making the lobster rolls!

Whoopie Pies- famous in the state of Maine, these will fill your sugar craving for sure!

Samuel Adams Boston Lager- the name says it all. . .a true New England drink!

New York: Times Square, the Statue of Liberty, and Central Park. . .and the list goes on!

New York Style Pizza- don't go for delivery or settle for frozen pizza. . .channel your inner Italian and start rolling some dough!

Baked Buffalo Wings- by being baked and not fried, these wings are healthy AND have a quick prep time!

Chocolate Cannoli- cool your mouth off from those wings with these savory chocolate snacks!

The New Yorker- not a beer fan? Try this fresh cocktail!

2. Got some downtime before the game? Challenge your guests with some Superbowl trivia! Before the party begins:

-Research and print out some Superbowl facts

-Cut them into strips of paper and put them in a bowl

-Have your guests take a piece of paper out of the bowl as they arrive

3. Another fun Superbowl party game is buy a small gift (maybe a giftcard) and have your own version of a raffle. Have your guests write down their guess of the game's final score and whoever has the closest score, wins the gift!

4. For decorations, get creative! Here are some fun ideas

Hostess with the Mostess

Photo: Julie Mulligan

Wants and Wishes 

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Feb 02 2012

Seating arrangements. Some of you may think it's one of the most stressful parts of wedding planning but I wanted to offer you some helpful hints on creating a stress-free seating plan that will please you and your guests:

1. The most basic question in wedding planning: assigned or unassigned seating? Unassigned seating sounds better and simpler for your guests and you but it actually causes more stress than sitting down and organizing a seating chart. A February 2006 study by YouGov found that about 83% of wedding guests would rather have assigned seats or assigned tables. Nobody wants to feel like the unpopular kid not being able to find a seat in the lunchroom so let your guests' find their name card or assigned table.

2. Next question: assigned seats or assigned tables? Both of these arrangements have great features so this choice is really up to you. Assigned tables are more popular and a lot less work for the organizer.

Marta Stewart has a nice seating chart tool. You can sign-up here and click on Wedding Tools.

3. Now, who goes where?! Again, this is all up to you. It's important to add some variety to your guests' tables:

-Keep families and co-workers together

-Mix up the ages a little bit but not too much. People tend to get along better if they  have similar interests and/or similar ages. But don't go crazy and seat your crazy college cousin with your great grandma!

-Remember to keep your tables balanced when it comes to the male-female ratio. Traditionally, most brides do male-female-male-female.

4. Your guests will need to know where they're going once they arrive at the reception. Get creative on displaying your cards and/or table numbers

 -If you decided on assigned seats, you'll need a seating chart for your venue, cards with table numbers, and place cards.

-If you decided on assigned tables, you'll just need a seating chart and table number cards.

**In all honesty I had trouble with my own seating chart. My best advice would be to start early, do not try to complete it all at once, and try to not let it stress you out too much.

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Jan 26 2012

If you're in the midst of planning a fun little get-together, you're probably trying to think of some fresh new ideas to throw into the usual drinks and finger foods. Remember how fun birthday parties used to be when we were little kids? Balloon animals, moon bounces, dress-up clothes, and candy were all it took to entertain us–don't worry, I'm not suggesting you get a clown or anything like that. Bring out your goofy inner-child and get creative with some of these playful ideas while still maintaining a budget:

1. Make your own photo booth–this is very easy to do, super inexpensive, and so much fun! All you need is a digital or Polaroid camera, a tripod stand, and a blank bed sheet. Decorate the bed sheet however you like and set your camera to a timer and snap away!

2. Another thing that livens up a boring bash is throwing an elephant in the room. . .White Elephant that is! White Elephant parties are super cheap and always put a smile on everyone's face. White Elephant parties usually go something like this:

Set a price limit, like $10–usually White Elephant parties involve simple gag gifts. Everyone randomly picks a number out of a bowl–to decide what order each person grabs a gift from the pile. Here's where the fun comes into play: the second person up to get their gift has the choice to pick a random gift from the pile or steal the gift person #1 unwrapped which applies to everyone thereafter.

Wacky gift idea: pretty much anything from Skymall, pajama jeans, the shake weight. Its always fun to add a good gift too (everyone will be fighting over it)

3. The Jackson 5, I Dream of Genie, Fun Dip, PacMan. . .some childhood favorites! We definitely don't see these things around anymore and it's a darn shame! So why not bring them back? One party planning idea is to throw a childhood bash. Here's how:

Photo: The cupcake blog

Food and Drink: this is really easy to do thanks to Hometown Favorites, an old-fashioned online food store.

Entertainment/TV: If you're like me and you have your old Nintendo 64 buried in storage, whip that sucker out and get your Super Mario on!

Music: Pull out the ipod, put it on your old school library (we all have one), and bust a move.

These are just some suggestions but also tell your guests to bring any childhood toys or games to get more reminiscent juices pumping!

Whichever suggestion you decide on or create yourself, I'm sure your party will have a great playful flare and make your guests not want to leave! Remember that party planning is supposed to be fun first and stressful second.

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Nov 28 2011

Almost all brides all have the same issue when it gets time to do the guest list…too many people! Whether its a space issue at your venue or you can’t have the dream wedding you saw on Style Me Pretty because the more people the more money. Some people think it’s just extra money for a dinner or two but that’s not the case. More people=more tables=more rentals=more centerpieces=more meals=more cake=more money.

Now the big question, how do you decide who gets the cut? I found this cute graph on wedding bee that may help.