Oscar-Inspired Red Carpet Party Games for Adults

Oscar-Inspired Red Carpet Party Games for Adults

Here are a few game ideas to spice up Oscar Night. Don’t get me wrong – I love watching the Oscars each year, but I’ve got to admit, sometimes I get a little bored. I mean, I love all the glitz and glamour, but it just seems to go on forever. In fact, last year, I fell asleep and missed Viola Davis’ acceptance speech for best supporting actress. Of course, I YouTubed it later, but I was a little…

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Creative Out-of-the-Box Valentine’s Day Gift Ideas

Creative Out-of-the-Box Valentine’s Day Gift Ideas

I’ll never forget my first Valentine’s Day in high school. I was sixteen years old, head over heels for my high school sweetheart, and thrilled to finally be allowed to go on a date on a school night. I waited nervously at the window for him to drive up in his parents’ car, clutching a handmade card and the gift I’d bought him—his favorite cologne and chocolates. When he finally arrived, he came to the door with a dozen…

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The Most Creative Gift Exchange Game Ideas for Your Next Party

The Most Creative Gift Exchange Game Ideas for Your Next Party

Gift exchanges aren’t just for Christmas, silly!”, my coworker Kathryn laughed as she closed her laptop and got up to refill her coffee. She had just told me she was planning a getaway weekend for the girls at our office at her parents’ lake house. But when she told me she was organizing a gift exchange for the occasion, she immediately picked up on my puzzled look. A few weeks later, ten of us ladies were tearing open…

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Relaxing After the Holidays: Gifts to Give Yourself

Relaxing After the Holidays: Gifts to Give Yourself

Let’s face it, the holidays can be draining. Now, I absolutely love Christmas and New Years, but by the end of the festivities, I am utterly exhausted. All the shopping , traveling, cooking, feasting, and visiting really takes it out of me, and I crave some quality downtime. It’s like I need a holiday from the holidays! Last year, I decided to do just that when the festivities were over. I wanted to start the year feeling rested and rejuvenated rather…

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Tips and Tricks for Throwing a Last Minute Party for New Year’s Eve

Tips and Tricks for Throwing a Last Minute Party for New Year’s Eve

Impromptu—it’s one of my favorite words, but funnily enough, impromptu gatherings always throw me for a loop. I prefer to plan and prepare for everything well in advance, but that changed last year when my husband and I decided to throw a last-minute party for New Year’s Eve. A day before the big countdown, we ran into a friend who asked if we had any New Year’s plans. I tried to change the subject, as I was…

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Make Your Own Christmas Ornament Projects You Can Gift or Keep

Make Your Own Christmas Ornament Projects You Can Gift or Keep

There’s nothing I love more about Christmas than decorating the tree. When I was little, my family and I would turn on our favorite Mel Torme Christmas cassette, fill a tray with Christmas cookies my mom had baked, pass around the eggnog, and begin merrily untangling the lights and hanging ornaments. The best part was opening the box of ornaments and being reminded of all the wonderful memories attached to each one. And while they all had…

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Homemade Edible Christmas Food Gifts You Can Make in Advance

Homemade Edible Christmas Food Gifts You Can Make in Advance

I’m not the craftiest person in the world, so it goes without saying that DIY Christmas gifts are not my forte. Give me a glue gun or a needle and I’ll probably end up hurting myself rather than creating something impressive. What I can do, however, is cook. One Christmas, fresh out of pastry school with very little money to spend on Christmas gifts, I used my new confectionary skills to make nougatine with rosewater, pistachios, and dried cherries for…

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Hanukkah Gift Giving Etiquette Do’s and Don’ts

Hanukkah Gift Giving Etiquette Do’s and Don’ts

My best friend Sadie married the kindest, funniest, most thoughtful man. We always say she won the lottery with Evan! And while there are many things I admire about their relationship, what I find most interesting is their unique holiday traditions. Evan’s mom’s side of the family is Jewish, so Sadie celebrates both Hanukkah and Christmas every year. As you can imagine, their December is jam-packed with celebration, gift-giving, and delicious feasts. A few years back, the two of…

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Inspiring New Year’s Eve Party Games for Adults

Inspiring New Year’s Eve Party Games for Adults

I’m not one for wild and crazy New Year’s parties. Instead, I like to slip on a cozy pair of slippers and spend the night at home with my husband, a few close friends, and a a bunch of yummy snacks. Every year, as the clock ticks closer and closer to midnight on December 31, we take some time to reflect on all the wonderful things the last year has brought. As we flip through photos of…

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How to Throw a Festive Christmas Ornament Gift Exchange Game Party

How to Throw a Festive Christmas Ornament Gift Exchange Game Party

“Every one of these has a story,” I explained to my husband as I pulled the gigantic box of holiday decor down from my closet shelf. Itty bitty snowmen, glittery snowflakes, and strands of tinsel spilled out the sides as I plopped it on the living room floor. We’d just bought our very first Christmas tree as a couple, and I wanted to impress him with my extensive collection of festive ornaments. Much to my delight, he…

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Ten Thoughtful Gifts for the Dad Who Wants Nothing

Ten Thoughtful Gifts for the Dad Who Wants Nothing

Soap on a rope. That’s what I got my dad for Christmas every year until I was well into my teens. I’ve always loved picking thoughtful and unique gifts, but when it came to my dad, I was stumped. The man, a minimalist at heart, wanted nothing. Every year, I’d listen intently to everything he said, looking for hints as to what he might like, but I never got so much as a clue. Come December, I…

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Hilarious Office Party Gift Exchange Ideas for Creative Coworkers

Hilarious Office Party Gift Exchange Ideas for Creative Coworkers

There were doughnuts everywhere. Garlands of paper doughnuts in festive colors hung from the ceiling, doughnut ornaments graced the boughs of the Christmas tree, and doughnut-themed cups and plates sat stacked at the snack station. The piece de resistance was the doughnut wall which is just what it sounds like—a wall with fresh, gourmet doughnuts hung all over it. I’d spent all November planning a office gift exchange party for my coworkers, and my vision had finally…

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Gratitude-Inspired Thanksgiving Activities for Families

Gratitude-Inspired Thanksgiving Activities for Families

“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.”  —Melody Beattie The house smells of turkey and sage as my family eagerly gathers around the table. Like every year before, we join hands and take turns sharing what we are grateful for…

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How to Get Your Christmas Shopping Done Early: 5 Easy Tips and Tricks

How to Get Your Christmas Shopping Done Early: 5 Easy Tips and Tricks

T’was the night before Christmas, and I was incredibly unprepared for the following day’s festivities. Despite my best intentions to get my shopping done early and enjoy a quiet Christmas Eve in front of the fire, I found myself in a mall. I dashed from store to store in a frenzy, not at all sure what I was looking for. I needed something—anything—for my dad, brother, and sister-in-law. As I weaved my way through the Christmas Eve…

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Enchanting Halloween Treat Bag Ideas for a School Classroom Party

Enchanting Halloween Treat Bag Ideas for a School Classroom Party

I haven’t always loved Halloween as much as I do now. I was a timid and sensitive kid so, naturally, Halloween was never my favorite holiday. It was too scary for me and all the candy gave me a tummy ache. But that all changed when my third-grade teacher, Mrs. Campbell, threw a Halloween classroom party. We bobbed for apples, drew faces on pumpkins, and danced to the monster mash. The best part, though, was the treat bags….

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Personalized Gifts for a Wedding That Newlyweds Will Fall in Love With

Personalized Gifts for a Wedding That Newlyweds Will Fall in Love With

No gifts. That’s what my husband and I stated on our wedding invitations. We’d already been living together for a couple of years before we got married, so there wasn’t really anything we felt we needed once we tied the knot. Of course, our generous friends and family showered us with beautiful presents anyway. They weren’t your traditional gifts, though. There were no fine china sets, vases, or salad bowls. The gifts we received were personal and came…

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Surprise 40th Birthday Gift Ideas for Her New Decade

Surprise 40th Birthday Gift Ideas for Her New Decade

As I walked into the party and took in my surroundings, the first word that came to mind was “fabulous.” It was my friend Susan’s 40th birthday and her husband had thrown her a party to celebrate. There were fancy mocktails and delicious hors d’oeuvres; everyone was dressed to the nines. In my twenties at the time, I had no idea that forty could be this fabulous! What impressed me most about the evening wasn’t the drinks or…

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The Best Housewarming Gift Ideas for a First Home

The Best Housewarming Gift Ideas for a First Home

I remember feeling so proud as I stood in my 500-square-foot apartment in a run down three-story walk up, waiting for my guests to arrive. I didn’t care if it was small and a little sketchy because it was mine all mine. I’d just moved into my very first apartment—and it was time to celebrate. Of course, my new place didn’t really start feeling like a home until the night of my housewarming party. It was a…

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Sentimental New Mom Gifts From Dad Ideas for After Baby’s Birth

Sentimental New Mom Gifts From Dad Ideas for After Baby’s Birth

Giving birth is one of the hardest, most terrifying, and most beautiful experiences of a woman’s life. As a daddy, you’ll never really know just how tough and exhilarating it can be; I probably don’t have to tell you, but your lady is a super woman—not only because she will push through the pain of labor with grace, but also because she will give herself continuously—and unconditionally—to your newborn babe without asking for anything in return. This…

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Unique Bridesmaids Gift Ideas on a Budget

Unique Bridesmaids Gift Ideas on a Budget

My wedding day felt like a dream. It was effortless, romantic, and filled with magical moments shared with my husband on our special day. What made it truly incredible, though, was having my nearest and dearest friends beside me, standing with me in their periwinkle bridesmaid dresses as I took my vows. Those wonderful women carried me through that day, just as they had so often in my life. They made me laugh when I was feeling…

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The Best 30th Birthday Gifts for Her Adventures Still to Come

The Best 30th Birthday Gifts for Her Adventures Still to Come

It’s no secret—I’m pushing thirty. Lucky for me, though, thirty is the new twenty. There has never been a better time to blow out thirty candles! But, if I’m being honest, turning thirty is a pretty big deal for me. As exciting as it is to put the student loans and self-doubt that defined my twenties behind me and step forth into a new decade, the thought of that big old 3-0 birthday rolling around still brings…

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The Best First Birthday Gift Ideas to Delight One-Year-Olds

The Best First Birthday Gift Ideas to Delight One-Year-Olds

My favorite picture of me as a baby is from my first birthday party. I’m sitting in my high chair sporting a Winnie the Pooh party hat with a big cake in front of me displaying a solo pink candle. The picture always brings a smile to my face because my expression is priceless—I’m gazing inquisitively at the camera as if to say, “What is all this fuss about?” While I obviously had no clue why I…

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The Best Summer Birthday Party Ideas for Toddlers

The Best Summer Birthday Party Ideas for Toddlers

As someone who was born in July, I can say with confidence that summer birthdays are the best—especially when you’re a kid. When I was little, my parents threw the best parties for me; looking back they were quite simple, but I loved them. Every year my friends would come over in the mid-morning and we’d frolick in the grass as the skirts of our party dresses whooshed in the warm breeze. At lunchtime, we’d all gather…

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The Best Gift Exchange Ideas for Big Families Hosting Summer Reunions

The Best Gift Exchange Ideas for Big Families Hosting Summer Reunions

I’ll never forget the very first family reunion I went to when I was a kid. My brother, my parents, and I all piled into our red station wagon and road tripped to Wisconsin where we gathered at my Uncle’s country home—along with forty of our relatives. It was the first time that all of my aunts, uncles, and cousins were together in the same place at the same time. I remember feeling very overwhelmed and shy…

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