Behind The Scenes Of My Appearance On Good Morning America

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Last week, I was on Good Morning America talking about the black Christmas Tree trend. I was referred by one of my wonderful friends over at Wayfair, who helped with an article I wrote for Forbes covering holiday décor trends

The Call 

If you didn’t know—let me tell you what happens when you get asked to be on GMA. They call you and say they are coming over in three hours! Seriously! They don’t send over hair, makeup or ANYTHING! There was literally one cameraperson! The whole thing works, but it’s kind of a hot mess.

It Takes A Village & Thirsty AF Emails

As many of you know from my Instagram, Speechless dresses me for a lot of events. I love this line because I’m petite and I’ve never had to alter any of their clothing. So, I emailed their publicist who is a friend of mine. I asked if they could bring over some options, immediately if not sooner. I honestly didn’t think they were going to hand deliver me dresses in an hour like Amazon Prime Now for the desperate. But that’s just another reason why I love them.

While I love print dresses—solids work best for television. So, I wore the Madeline Skater dress because it’s elegant but versatile. I can wear it to a business event or even to a causal wedding. A black dress can be boring, but it doesn’t have to be. The detailing really makes this dress unique.

Here are as few more Speechless Dresses you (and I) need right now—

Layla Sequin Slip Dress

I wore this to the Afterbuzz Holiday Party and it was a big hit. Accessories can make this look more casual or formal.

Sparks Fly Party Dress

This is such a sweet looking and fun dress perfect for the holidays or New Years Eve.

Sweet And Scalloped Lace Dress

Sophisticated front. Sexy back. Everyone wins!

The Look

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We all know I have bad hair, so I was super thrilled that GlamSquad saved my life. LITERALLY, THIS IS THE BEST APP EVER. You can order hair stylists, makeup artists, or nail techs to your location. I was so impressed with the team that was sent over. They were so professional and I couldn’t have been happier!

GlamSquad is great for the holidays or just to save time when you are trying to do everything! You can use the app or book online. Use the link above and get $25 off your first service. It’s such a game changer.

While my makeup artist used mostly Anastasia palettes on my eyes, she also topped it off with Revlon PhotoReady Eye Art Lid + Line + Lash in Topaz Twinkle.

Another thing I liked about GlamSquad is that while they brought their own makeup, they helped me choose one of my own lip glosses so I could easily re-apply. I wore Fuel from Urban Decay’s Hi-Fi Shine collection. The nude color pops on television. It’s also very moisturizing, which is important because my lips are dry AF this season.

You're Going To Be Obsessed With These Custom Holiday Cards

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Can you believe 2018 is almost over? (Do we really have a choice?) Get ready, because it’s almost “The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year!” And by wonderful, I mean stressful and exhausting. But you know what shouldn’t be exhausting? Holiday cards! That’s why I used Basic Invite to get mine this year!

Okay, but let’s stop for a second….

I know what you’re thinking—

Amanda, you’re so not basic. Why are you recommending something basic? GIRL, HAVE YOU LOST YOUR MIND?

No!!!! 

Basic Invite’s holiday cards aren’t basic! They have over 500 different Christmas and holiday cards that you can customize. So you end up with gorgeous cards that won’t look like everyone else’s.

Don’t Be Jealous, But I’m Living My Best Holiday Card Life Right Now

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Basic invite has everything card related covered from cute Christmas tree cards to sophisticated trifold holiday cards and holiday party invites. There are so many options and it’s impossible to go wrong.

You can create adorable photo cards with your actual babies or fur babies like I did here.

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Or even create beautiful cards to send to the people you work with. Skip the email and make an impression IRL. Your card doesn’t even need to be as funny as mine is.  

This is the card I’m sending to all of my PR friends!

This is the card I’m sending to all of my PR friends!

Even if you aren’t creative, there are many other ways to customize your cards. Basic Invite has 180 different color options you can use. I was super excited to make the palm trees on my card hot pink. If 180 colors aren’t enough for you—holiday cards are probably the least of your problems.

If You Want To Make It Extra Fancy

Get foil cards! Choose from gold, silver, and even rose gold (YESS!!! ROSE GOLD) in a flat or raised style.

Basic Invite Is Also Your Personal Card Assistant 

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Do you know anyone’s address?

(Insert cricket sounds here)

No, of course you don’t!

That’s why Basic Invite has an address capturing service that allows you to simply share a link on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, to request addresses. Then they’re stored in your account. It also makes you way less annoying and people will actually be excited to receive your cards.

Basic Invite offers recipient address printing at no cost on all Christmas card orders! If you’ve ever been embarrassed of your own handwriting or wasted six envelopes trying to write a zip code without smearing three lines of ink—this can be a total game changer.

There are also 40 different colors of envelopes, so your card doesn’t get mistaken for a boring person’s in the mailbox. Just another custom touch…

Custom Samples For Invitations

So you know when you buy custom invitations online and then you have to make a commitment without seeing or feeling them IRL first? Terrifying, right? Basic Invite understands what a mess this is. So they will print off a sample and send it to you, so you can see and feel the paper quality. It also prevents those annoying “What did you think of my invite?” calls.

Do what are you waiting for?

Go to Basic Invite and start planning your holiday cards right now!

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Be Festive & Impressive: My Best Party Tips For The Holidays

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Do you want to throw one of those parties that everyone remembers in a good way? Lots of people think throwing a fabulous soiree (even if it is just in your living room) is a major ordeal. CTFD and listen to me. There is really only one thing you need to know. If you don't have a ton of time to plan, cooking skills, or a huge budget, whether you serve two people or 200 people (well, maybe not that many, but I can't think of 200 people I like), the same overall idea applies—being a good host is all about attention to detail. Here are a few of my best tips create a fun, fabulous and festive event that will keep your guests posting all weekend long.

Never Serve Your Food In The Package It Came In

Why is this my first tip? Because when people do this—It makes me insane. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve been to someone’s house and they’ve served hummus or salsa in the package it came in. USE A BOWL! Any bowl. This takes seconds and classes up your event exponentially. 

Cooking Isn’t Necessary, If You Aren’t A Chef

If you want to throw a party but last time you made your mom’s Swedish meatballs, you had to call the fire department, don’t bother. Go to Trader Joe’s and buy prepackaged apps like spanakopita and pigs in a blanket. If those aren’t your thing, there are tons of options. But be sure to heat everything up in the oven, NOT the microwave.

DO NOT SERVE ON STYROFOAM

This one is obvious, but not to everyone. Several years ago, I went to a dinner at someone’s house for a religious holiday and they served on Styrofoam. I’m pretty sure even G-d was disgusted. First of all, it’s AWFUL for the environment. It also looks tacky. While serving on regular plates is ideal, there are times when it's impractical or even impossible. That being said, not all disposable plates are created equally. Keep in mind that just because something is disposable, doesn’t mean it should look like something you want to throw out. There are so many stylish paper plate options available. Here are a few of them. 

A Platter Makes A Party

If you entertain often, I think it’s important to have a section of platters. I have several I received as wedding gifts and while I don’t entertain as often I would like to, I love any opportunity to use them. My personal ones are from Kate Spade, Nambé, and Christophle, but while high-end is nice, it isn’t necessary. Target has tons of options. Another idea is to buy individual dinner plates and use them as platters, especially if you aren’t serving on a large table. 

DO NOT SERVE ON STYROFOAM

This one is obvious, but not to everyone. Several years ago, I went to a dinner at someone’s house for a religious holiday and they served on Styrofoam. I’m pretty sure even G-d was disgusted. First of all, it’s AWFUL for the environment. It also looks tacky. While serving on regular plates is ideal, there are times when serving on paper plates might make more sense. That being said, not all disposable plates are created equally. Just because something is disposable doesn’t mean it should look like something you want to throw out. There are so many stylish paper plate options available. Here are a few that I really like. 

Napkins Are Important

Cute cocktail napkins=napkins=coasters=food grease not everywhere=no coffee tables destroyed.

Make Fancy Water

It’s not just about drinking and driving or making sure you accommodate the hydrationally-challenged. But rather, it's about that one friend who gets wasted every year and acts epically annoying. Put some water in a pitcher. Throw fruit in it. Lemons, strawberries, cucumbers. It doesn’t matter. Pick one. People will drink it. 

Create A Signature Cocktail

A basic bar is so boring. Make some signature holiday cocktails and serve from a pitcher. It’s minimal work for maximum glam.

Never Forget Dessert

Everyone likes dessert (and if you don’t—who are you?). Buy something fun for dessert like mini cupcakes from a local bakery or try my semi-secret semi-homemade cookie recipe.

Step One: Buy the refrigerated cookie dough in a tube from your local supermarket. I like Pillsbury Chocolate Chip, but any will do.

Step 2: Prepare according to the package’s directions.

Step 3: Cut off enough dough for a cookie.

Step 4: Ball the dough in your hands and flatten it out.

Step 5: Put in on a cookie sheet and bake according to directions.

Step 6: Fool everyone. None of your cookies will look alike so people assume it came from a recipe and what is essentially a plastic tube. Works. Every. Time.

Don’t Forget The Bathroom

Not to sound like your mom, but if you are having people over, make sure you have enough toilet paper, hand soap and a place for your guests to dry their hands. I always feel awkward when there aren’t guest towels or any kind of towel for that matter to dry my hands. I feel uncomfortable using your personal towel, but I am not going to wipe my hands on what I am wearing, which is inevitably dry clean only. Am I supposed to use toilet paper? Is your house a gas station? And don’t get me started on people who don’t have enough soap. What’s wrong with you? Also, a scented candle makes your bathroom more festive and less stinky.

*By the way, if you really want to be nice, that enamel pin from Ban.do pictured above makes a great stocking stuffer.