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.

 

Happy National Lipstick Day!

Happy National Lipstick Day! If we are going to celebrate one cosmetic as a nation, it should be lipstick. After all, lipstick is magic. We apply it and our face changes. Lipstick is always there for us when we need it. Seriously, I have at least three or four lipsticks or glosses in my pursue at all times, so I can have an automatic pick me up whether my lips are feeling a little dry or my mood is a little meh. Also, when someone asks you for a pen… just kidding…you’re SOL, lipstick makes an awful pen.

Here are a few fun facts about lipstick you can share with people and sound like a total smart mouth--

The average woman spends $15,000 on makeup in her lifetime of which $1,780 is on lipstick.

Does anyone else read this and realize they are so NOT the average woman?

Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, and other early feminists wore bright red lipstick as symbol of their defiance at the 1912 NYC Suffragette rally.

So can we stop staying lipstick isn’t feminist?

About 81% of American women wear lipstick compared to 70% of French women, who prefer a more natural look.

Or maybe they just lied when taking this survey because we all know how awesome French makeup is.

During economic downturns, sales of lipstick increase because it’s an affordable luxury. This is known as The Lipstick Affect.

Don’t we all know this?

In 1828, Guerlain introduced the first lipstick, which was more like a pomade.

I wonder if they applied it with a lip brush or were just lazy like I am and used their finger?

 

So are you treating yourself to a lipstick today?

Here are a few of my favorites—

Liquid Matte

I love a liquid matte because it looks like a regular lipstick but applies like a gloss, which I always think is easier. Huda Liquid Matte in Jetsetter is so pretty no matter what look I'm going for and it's the color of a cocktail. Plus, it’s also long lasting so I can drink and not reapply every five minutes.

Red

Red lipstick gives you INSTANT sex appeal. If you wake up feeling less than your hottest, red lipstick is all you need. I’ve said it before, and I’m pretty sure I’ll say it again, Nars Cruella is universally amazing on everyone. It’s a velvet matte lip pencil that goes on smoothly and is really easy to apply. Another thing I love about it is that if you aren’t a lip liner person (I aspire to be-- but I’m just not), you can use this pencil to outline your lips and fill in without any additional product. 

Healing

If your lips tend to get dry, lipstick can go horribly wrong, which is why I love Fresh’s Sugar. It moisturizes like a lip balm but gives you the color you want, so it’s the best of all worlds. There are 13 different colors, but my personal fav is Tulip.

Deal

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After discovering it by accident, one of my favorite lip products of all time is Wet N Wild’s Balm Stain in A Stiff Pink. For just $2.99, it’s the perfect cheap treat. It’s a fun, bright pink and stays on way longer than the price would make you think.

Splurge

I’ve been obsessed with a bold lip this summer, which is why I really like Chantecaille’s Hollyhock. It’s an orange-based pinky red kind of color that’s perfect for day and compliments a tan. I like to wear it and go very minimal on my eyes.

Almost Clear Gloss

Sometimes, I just want to have just the tiniest hint of color on my lips, which is why I like Paul & Joe’s Limited Edition Tinted Lipgloss in Musing. It is the subtlest pink color. Your lips will look just as pretty as the St. Tropez styled packaging.

Treatment

Lipstick looks best on smooth, exfoliated lips. E.L.F. Lip Exfoliator is the easiest way to get the job done. It has grains of sugar to easily de-flake and shea butter, avocado oil and jojoba oil to leave your lips soft. You can apply it as you would any regular lipstick and then tissue off. Use it every day, if possible.  

Things We're Too Lazy To Blog About Podcast: Pregnant

Let’s cut to the chase. Scroll down or listen on iTunesGoogle PlayStitcher or TuneIn.

Live from Ali’s pre July4th BBQ! Someone is pregnant and it’s not Ali or Amanda. It’s Ali’s East Coast bestie, Nicole. In this episode we dish about getting pregnant, having kids, high school, why Ali is ready for babies and why Amanda is not, Amanda’s OG fave podcast, birth control nightmares, and so much more. Have a happy and safe holiday!

Things We Talked About In This Episode

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PLEASE BE SAFE ON JULY 4TH (AND OBVS EVERY OTHER NIGHT OF THE YEAR)

Free Uber ride up to $20

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$10 To Via, which is an NYC rideshare app. No, you are probably not driving drunk in NYC, but Via is so much better and safer than the subway.

Amanda’s interview with Stefanie Wilder-Taylor

For Crying Out Loud Podcast

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Don’t forget, you can EARN EXTRA KARMA POINTS by subscribing and leaving us a five-star review on iTunes. All you have to do is click the Ratings and Reviews tab. Then, Click Write A Review. Then actually write a review.

In the Podcasts App, search for the podcast even though you already subscribe, then click Ratings and Reviews. Click Write A Review. Write about how much you love being a Blogette. It might not show up immediately, but just Ali going to an event, she’ll get there eventually.

Patriot League: Red White & You

I’ve never really been into dressing for holidays. Even when I was a kid, I thought wearing black and orange on Halloween looked ridiculous. In fact, every time I wear orange with anything dark, I always ask myself if I look like it's October 31st. I personally don't understand the ugly sweater craze. Why would you wear something ugly on purpose that you paid money for? Furthermore, wearing red on Valentine’s Day always feels desperate to me. But Fourth of July is different. You have choices! It's the only time when combining red, white and blue can be red, white and well....you. There is a lot of potential for chic and you can combine all or just two of those colors. And unlike ugly sweaters, you can wear your outfit more than once this summer.. Here are some cute July Fourth ideas that will have you looking stylish all summer long.  

PS: If you are looking for some really cool patriotic for t-shirts for men, check out veteran run-company Ranger Up.

DG2 by Diane Gilman Off-the-Shoulder Lace Trim Dress

Yes, that is me wearing this. I love this dress from Diane Gilman. It’s stylish, comfortable and flatters all figures. If you are going to a pool party, you can comfortably wear a bikini or even some one-pieces underneath.  Accessorize with red, white or both.

American Eagle Keyhole Romper

Photo by Sabrina Hill

Photo by Sabrina Hill

I’m also wearing this look. I love rompers, especially this one from American Eagle. It’s super on sale right now, so get yourself a July 4th treat. You can't go wrong with gingham at a BBQ.

Madewell Stretch-Denim Overalls

There’s nothing more American than denim, especially these Madewell overalls. They are the perfect choice if it's not going to be the warmest day and or an early trip to the farmer's market.

Hunza G Greta Bow-Embellished Seersucker Swimsuit

This one-piece is RED HOT. It is also one size and fits anyone who wears sizes XS through large, which is so convenient because I always choose the wrong sized swimwear when ordering online.

Forever21 Cutout Striped High-Low Dress

I love a cutout dress, especially a high-low one. This dress from Forever21 is couture-ish and dramatic. Wear it with cute red heels. 

Ralph Lauren (No Relation) Cropped Cotton Mesh Polo

I love a classic white polo forever, especially this modern update. It works with everything and nothing. 

F- It Fridays (Singles Awareness Day Edition)

Dear Single People,

When I was single, I used to hate Valentine’s Day. Sure, there would be lots of chocolate around and my mom would always buy me a nice gift, but it just sucked. Until I met my husband, I never seemed to have a boyfriend on February 14th. Or worse, I’d have a breakup just a few weeks before. So, if you are totally hating couples right now, I feel ya. But remember, it’s only 24 hours and you have to be in a relationship with yourself for the rest of your life.

So, use Valentine’s Day as an excuse to treat yourself kindly. Get dinner or have a fun right with a friend at home. Go to a singles event and give away your smooches freely. Or buy yourself a cupcake, a bottle of wine and cry on your couch. I won’t judge you. Been there. Done that. Then go drunk shopping and check out my favorite Singles Awareness Day treats. Or be productive and send me an email that says how much you love this blog. Should I add comments? Would you comment if I added them? Let me know.

Lots of Hugs,

Amanda

Jolii Cosmetics Matte Lip Glosses (Not An Oxymoron, I Promise)

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Have you ever wanted to put on a lipgloss that was matte? I swear it actually exists and Jolii Cosmetics makes it. Every lipgloss comes with bonus karma points because a portion of each sale goes towards the Animal Hope and Wellness Foundation. Jolii's products are formulated with shea butter and jojoba oil, so they are incredibly moisturizing. Also impressive is the color selection, which is very fashion forward with shades of red (perfect reds!!!!!!), orange, purple and brown. It's like an Instagram selfie lover's dream worthy of 10000 likes.

Miss A Makeup Cases

Don't miss Miss A makeup cases. They're just a $1 (seriously, not kidding), but they look way more expensive. Fool everyone! 

Kopari

Kopari won’t be the love of your life, but it will be the love of your medicine cabinet or wherever you store your beauty products. It’s made with 100% organic coconut oil sourced from the Philippines. It contains no sulfates, silicones, parabens, toxins or GMO ingredients. Everything has a light, fresh, natural scent, as opposed to most coconut products, which can smell like a gas station air freshener.

I'm obsessed with the newly launched facial care line, particularly the Coconut Cleansing Oil. It gets all the makeup and dirt off your skin, leaving no oily residue. So, you don’t have to double cleanse, which we all know can be incredibly annoying.

Another must try is the  Coconut Lip Love, which willmake your lips so soft that if you go to a singles event on V-Day, everyone will want to make out with you.

I also love classic Coconut Sheer Oil because it’s a multitasker. You can use it to moisturize your hair and face. I use a little bit on my split ends before bed every night. And yes, you will want to sleep with Kopari way more than that dude who kept hitting on you at the party.

Sterling Forever Forever Blue Layered Bead Necklace

Buying yourself a fun accessory is an instant pick-me-up. Sterling Forever's Layered Blue Bead Necklace can dress up a t-shirt and color to any solid outfit. After all, it's called a statement necklace for a reason. 

Rebecca Minkoff Chain Heart Crossbody Bag

This Rebecca Minokoff Chain Heart Crossbody Bag will make you want to take a selfie followed by #adorbs. If you prefer your bag a little badass, it is also available in black.

Kate Spade Rose Charmeuse Teddy Romper

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Why wait for someone else to buy you cute lingerie? Treat yourself to this Kate Spade Charmeuse Teddy romper. Remember, you don't need another person to make you feel hot, sexy and wanted on February 14th. 

Dear Men, Don't Be Basic. Here Are The Valentine's Day Gifts That Will Make Her Swoon

Dear Men,

I know you’re reading this. No, seriously, a company did market research and long story short, I know men read my blog. I also know that 40% of my Instagram following is men because analytics. That being said, thank you for reading. I assume you’re on this page because you haven’t bought your girlfriend, wife or significant other a Valentine’s Day gift yet. Don’t worry, you still have time to not be a bad boyfriend, husband or significant other. Let me share a secret with you. Flowers and candy because it's the third Wednesday in April and you love her are awesome. But for V-Day, those things look basic. Don’t be that guy. You need to buy her something unique. Here are eight gifts that say, "I love you and actually made an effort." 

Datebox

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Datebox is a subscription box that keeps on giving. It has almost everything you need to have a date night without leaving the house. Curated for maximum fun, the current box includes a recipe and ingredients for cake pops. Who doesn’t love cake pops? It also has a canvas and acrylic paints so you can make something beautiful together. Past boxes have included sushi making kits (sans fish because it’s not Blue Apron), smores, card games, a dance DVD, etc. Datebox is good for couples in all stages of relationships because everyone needs a date night. Men, if you just started seeing someone and are terrified a Valentine’s Day gift might scare her off, Datebox is totally non-threatening. She will blush at your creativity and it will help you two get to know each other better. I also think it’s a great gift to give new parents who might not be able to have a date night otherwise. 

Maria Shireen Glitz Trio

I’ve mentioned Maria Shireen hair tie bracelets more than once on this blog because I’m obsessed. (On that note, if anyone wants to buy me something…) Popular with the Hollywood fashionista set, they were featured in the gift bag at the exclusive #IndieLounge at Sundance last month. I love the Glitz Trio because it’s sparkly, but Maria Shireen has a variety of styles any woman who is constantly searching for a hair tie (so like all of us) will appreciate. 

Ali Levine X Sterling Forever Open Gold Pointed Ear Jackets

 

Ali Levine X Sterling Forever Earings

Celebrity stylist Ali Levine's Sterling Forever collab is super chic. Her open pointed ear jackets are fun, funky and totally affordable. It’s also like giving her two pairs of earrings in one because the smaller triangles split off from the larger ones.

Parfait Charlotte Bra & High Waist Brief Set

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If your lady is blessed with a larger cup size and has trouble finding bras that fit (not that you are complaining), she will absolutely swoon over Parfait's Charlotte bra and high waist brief set. Available in sizes 28-44 D-J, this will make her feel sexy and supported both by you and the bra.

Cosabella Speakeasy Body Suit

 Cosabella's Speakeasy Body Suit is something she will want to put on for you to take off. It's stylish, sexy and great for a woman who isn't into the traditional teddy.

Kilian Playing With The Devil Spray

Playing With The Devil by Kilian actually smells like heaven. And it comes with a stylish clutch she can use when you take her out to a nice dinner. Yes, it's Valentine's Day, so you've got to do that too.

Catbird Tiny Corsage 14 Karat Rose Gold Bracelet

A classic style, Catbird's Tiny Corsage Bracelet has a 0.35 karat diamond nestled in trendy rose gold. This little diamond will show you have a big heart because all of Catbird's jewelry is responsibly made. But she probably knows both of those things already. 

Kneipp Lavender Massage Oil

If you want to make Valentine's Day extra special, why not surprise her with a massage? Add some Kneipp Relaxing Lavender Massage Oil to show you thought about the entire thing in advance. Bonus points for that!

Ladies, Get It Together For Valentine's Day

Happy Tuesday! Did you realize while you were eating wings or cake during the Super Bowl on Sunday night that Valentine’s Day is a week away? Probably not. Have you bought your significant other a gift yet? Same answer as the first question. So, it’s time to get yourself together and start shopping. Valentine’s Day is not a good time to screw up this gift thing. But, don't worry about looking for the perfect gift because I over thought everything for you.

Also, let’s address the elephant in the room. You might be reading this because perhaps you are in a new relationship and you’re wondering if you should even buy him something. Of course you should. Think of Valentine’s Day is an opportunity to show you're into him, but not that you want him to propose to you yesterday. Get him something that shows you get him.

Here are some of my favorite Valentine's Day gifts for men. 

Harry’s Truman Set

All men shave. Even the one’s with Zach Galifianakbeards. One of my favorite things about Harry’s is that everything looks more expensive than it is, especially The Truman Set. It comes with a razor in the color of your choice (navy, orange or olive), shave gel or foam (you pick), three blades and a travel cover (because not having one can lead to scary accidents). I LOVE the shave gel. Seriously, most shaving products at this price point smell like desperation, but Harry’s Shave Gel smells like a fresh forest. Between us, it’s very likely you are going to steal this product from him. If you want to upgrade, add a razor stand, which is you can have engraved. Fancy, I know!

Spank The Yeti

In December, I included Spank The Yeti in my Special Snowflake Gift Guide and now I’m bringing it back. It's an inappropriate game that is appropriate for most occasions (not including Arbor Day). Spank The Yeti is kind of like F-, Marry, Kill on crack. It’s a must have for game lovers or people who like to have fun in general. After all, why would you ever date someone who doesn’t like to have fun? If you are, you might want to re-evaluate that relationship. This gift is especially good for new couples because it helps you learn more about each other in a non-threatening, completely un-therapeutic kind of way. 

J. Crew Harwick Weekender Bag

J. Crew’s Harwick Weekender Bag is the one gift on this list that cannot possibly fail. Who doesn’t need a new weekender? It’s durable and rugged, yet sophisticated. 

Hugo Boss Marros Scarf & Beanie Set

Nothing says “I care” more than helping him not freeze this winter. Hugo Boss’ Marros Scarf & Beanie Set is simple, yet stylish and will make him feel warm, but look cool. 

Wüsthof 4-Piece Steak Knife Set with Plum Wood Handles

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Nothing says you're taking a stab at love quite like knives. If your significant other likes to cook, they will really appreciate the quality and aesthetic of this set from Wüsthof. Although these knives were designed for (you guessed it) steak, they're also useful for cutting other things.

Mr. Beer Premium Gold Edition Homebrewing Craft Beer Making Kit

If your man is super picky about beer, tell him it’s time to him to stop complaining and start brewing his own. A fun project and a thoughtful gift, Mr. Beer’s Homebrewing Kit is perfect for beginners. If anything, it will give him something to do when you want to have a girls night and leave him at home.

B&O H2 Leather Headphones

B&O’s H2 Leather Headphones are so stylish might want to steal them. And by might, I mean you probably will. And yes, they sound as super sweet as they look. 

Gaiam Athletic Dynamat

For the man who’s into yoga, Gaiam’s Athletic Dynamat will be received with much gratitude. It’s designed to be longer and wider than most standard yoga mats, so he can spread out completely in pigeon pose. Add a gift card to his favorite local studio and he’ll want to namaste with you forever.

Prada Saffiano Leather Card Holder

Nothing says you spent a lot of money on him quite like Prada. The Saffiano Leather Card Holder is super sophisticated and luxurious. It's an accessory any card-carrying man can appreciate. 

Tsovet Stainless Steel and Leather Watch

Before cell phones, people used to wear these things called watches to check the time. While it’s an old school kind of gift, Tvoset’s Stainless Steel and Leather Watch has a simple but modern design. 

Five Ways To Trick Yourself Into Achieving Your Fitness Resolutions in 2017

Welcome to January! It’s the official month of no one being able to shut up about their New Year’s resolutions. Let’s be honest. Everyone is talking about changing their life forever, but if you’re anything like me, you’re still trying to recharge from the holidays and can barely change your socks.

It also feels like fitness takes so much more effort in January than it does during a more ideal time of the year like April. You have to wait for your favorite treadmill at the gym (seriously, the sign says there’s a 30 minute limit, you’ve been waiting for 33 and the person who is currently walking 1.3 miles per hour is the most selfish person in the universe), all the good group fitness classes are booked, and if one more person on Facebook asks you to join their Whole30 group, you are going to deactivate your account for a whole 30 days. Losing weight (or any other fitness goal you may have) shouldn’t come at the cost of losing your mind. So, stop listening to that person who keeps bragging about how they’ve lost six pounds since Sunday (and we all know it was water weight anyway), and listen to me.

Don’t Make Resolutions

I’m convinced the person who came up with the term “New Year’s resolution” never achieved one because it sounds intimidating. Who wants to do something they’re not current doing for a whole year? I don’t! Instead, make short-term goals as part of an overall lifestyle change. What sounds easier? Losing 30 pounds this moth or taking three group fitness classes per week? Change your vocab and then change your life.

Something Is Always Better Than Nothing

No matter how realistic our goals are, we all have emergencies, commitments or simply get tired. I try to workout five days a week. But, there are times when I get really busy and four workouts feels like a miracle. I used to feel really bad when I didn’t achieve my weekly goal, but then I changed my perspective, choosing to focus on the positive. Four is better than zero, right? I worked out four days last week. Good for me! 

The Best Workout Is The One You Actually Do

Every day, someone makes a claim that they’re invented some kind of new fitness program that burns 8 million calories per hour and will make your body look like Jennifer Lopez’s in 3 weeks. That’s awesome, but totally ineffective unless you actually do it.

We are currently in the golden age of fitness. No matter what your goals, ability, body type, patience level or budget is, there is some kind of exercise that you will like. And by like, I mean at the very least, not hate entirely. Are you a good dancer? Try AKT or a dance class at your local studio. Like to show off how tough you are and learn new acronyms? Get your WOD on at one of the thousands of Crossfit affiliates. You don’t want to sweat because you get weekly blowouts (on that note, I really want to be you)? Pilates and barre can help you achieve your fitness and hair goals. Do you love spin class but have a crazy schedule or live in Antarctica? Buy a Peloton bike. Perhaps you’re equally serious about fitness and avoiding people? Stream it up with Tone It Up. Between group fitness, gyms, old school DVDs, online programs or just getting outside and putting one foot in front of the other while listening to music or a podcast, there is something for everybody and no excuses for anyone.

Multi-Task & Get Your Friends Involved

Sometimes it’s hard to find time for your social life and fitness, so why not combine both? Instead of drinking 5000 calories worth of mimosas at brunch or beers at happy hour, why not exercise together? Group fitness classes are perfect for friend dates because you have to sign up in advance, making everyone less likely to flake out. If group fitness isn’t your thing, why not go for a hike, ice skate, ski or try a new sport together? Then grab a healthy meal afterwards.

Go Shopping

I know I’m more motivated to workout if I get to wear something stylish. Activewear should be an 100% guilt-free purchase. But getting fit doesn’t mean your wallet has to be lighter, especially if you have a spending hangover from the holidays. I’m absolutely obsessed with the limited edition AKT by Anna Kaiser X Target collaboration that launched this week. Three of my favorite activewear brands, Zobha, Carbon38 and Bandier also have some pretty impressive sales right now. Treat yourself and your body. 

A Gift Guide For All The Special Snowflakes In Your Life

They say it’s better to give than receive, but not when gift giving feels like a burden. We all want to give the people we care about (or the people we pretend to care about) meaningful presents, but it’s not always easy. Whether giving a gift is an act of love or simply an obligation, you don’t have to overthink about it any longer because I’ve already done that for you. Here are my favorite gifts for all the difficult people on your list. No matter what your budget is, any one of these gifts will guarantee a smile and potentially a thank you card. 

Your Significant Other’s Mom

You Hooked Up 5 Times and Have No Idea Why You’re Even At This Dinner ($)

Even if you are meeting the parents a little sooner than you would have liked to, you still need to bring a nice holiday gift. A personalized Go-Comb is perfect for those occasions when you need to make a statement that won’t affect your bank statement. For $21.99, this personalized comb has a mirror on the back and fits in any wallet. What says, “I actually care,” more than something you had personalized? The Go-Comb is my favorite budget gift for everyone on my list this year.

Sucking Up Chic ($$)

With notes of pomegranate, mandarin, pine, cloves and cinnamon, nothing smells like the holidays more than Nest’s Diffuser. Designed to fit with any décor, this reed diffuser will remind your SO’s mother of how wonderful you are every time she walks past it. 

Future Mother-In-Law ($$$)

Kate Spade’s Charlotte Street Platter is one of my favorite gifts of all time. I’ve purchased it twice, once for my mother-in-law and then for myself. If your future mother-in-law is into entertaining, she can never have too many platters. Remember, if you’re probably going to spend the holidays with this woman for the rest of her life, no gesture is too grand. 

The Man In Your Life

Dudes are the hardest to buy gifts for. You want them to think you care, but not too much. These ideas are also great for boyfriends, dads, brothers, etc.

Beyond FWB ($)

Treat him to a fancy but affordable grooming product bundle from Dollar Shave Club. While we know this is a gift for him, it’s also a gift for you because he will smell like a clean walk in the woods and not like the “drunk frat dude,” scent so many men’s products are unfortunately infused with.

Boyfriend ($$)

If he’s been carrying around the same old laptop bag since college and now he has a real job, it’s time to help him upgrade. MRKT’s Mateo Briefcase is made from durable felt and vegan micro suede. It fits a laptop and has tons of pockets to help organize his stuff. It’s a serious bag, while being stylish and so not stuffy.

Ring On It Zone ($$$)

If he’s put a ring on it (or is about to), you need to reciprocate. So, go big with a pair of shoes from Beckett Simonon. Featuring a variety of timeless styles, every pair is handcrafted in Europe or South America. Much like your love, these shoes are very high quality and designed to last for years to come. 

That Hippie/Vegan/Yogi Person In Your Life

OM ($)

Feel The Love Transformation Cards are like having an entire deck of mirror messages. Because who doesn’t love positive affirmations?

Heart ($$)

Designed by #GirlBoss Peri Donch, Peri’s Ombre Everything bag is made of 100% sustainable cotton canvas and hand-dyed in Los Angeles. It’s super hippie chic and machine washable, which will be helpful when her bottle of Kombucha accidently leaks inside her pretty purse.

Namaste Friends Forever ($$$)

Mindful Mosaic’s Core Chakra Gift Box was carefully curated by creator of Core Chakra, Dani Havasy. It contains everything you need to balance your chakras (even if you have no ideas what a chakra is) from essences to crystals and even yummy treats.

Your Fashionista Friend

You know that friend whose style you equally admire and are intimated by? She’s hard to buy a gift for because you know she might judge you. But that’s why you love her.

On Fleek ($)

Even if you can’t shell out for a coveted Christian Lacroix purse, you can buy an equally stylish notebook.

Influencer ($$)

Jac Vanek knows what is important. This zip pouch speaks the truth with enough room for tweezers and at least five of her favorite eyebrow products. 

Best Dressed ($$$)

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Celebrity stylist Ali Levine’s collaboration with Sterling Forever has some of the chicest accessories this side of the red carpet. No matter what your friend’s signature style is, she will love the Roman Numeral Bracelet.

That Boring Couple Whose Party You’re Obligated To Attend

We all know that even the even the strongest booze won’t help get their party started. But you know what will? Spank The Yeti! ($25) Invented by a dirty-minded lady, think of this game as F*ck, Marry, Kill on crack, where you learn a whole lot abut the people you are playing with and laugh hysterically. You’ll have so much fun, you won’t even have to fake a reason for leaving early. If Spank the Yeti is a little too naughty for this couple’s taste or they have a kid, Schmovie is a more appropriate, but equally fun choice. 

White Elephant Party  

Picking up a Starbucks gift card along with your latte the morning of the party makes you look like a jerk. This year, buy a gift that will get stolen more than once like this Black Marble Cheese Board from CB2. 

Becky With The Not-So-Good Hair

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Do you have a friend with hair issues who is always asking to borrow a rubber band? Why doesn’t she have her own? It’s because she doesn’t have the Maria Shireen Hair Tie bracelet. Sophisticated, but sneaky, these bracelets look like trendy bangles, but are designed to hold hair ties. There are several styles starting at $35.

Your Friend Who Is Almost Annoyingly Obsessed With Her Cat

She will be equally obsessed with the LoveCats ring from Cat Bird ($32). Handmade of bronze in Brooklyn, she will be the trendiest lady outside the litter box. 

Your Friend Who Loves Her Dog So Much, It Has Its Own Instagram Account

Get her a hand-printed tea towel from Best In Shore ($15). There are a variety of breeds available (only the cute ones) and a portion of sales is donated to animal rescues. Bonus karma points included.

Your Pregnant Friend

Everyone is buying her stuff for the baby, so why not be the cool person who buys her something she can use right now? Say hello to Hello Mellow’s Mommie To Be Gift Set ($68). It contains everything her changing body needs to relax including a scrub, body oil, body butter and the brilliantly named, I Can’t See My Feet Soak. Made of entirely of safe ingredients you can actually pronounce (even if you’ve had 6 champagne punches at her baby shower), Hello Mellow was created by Tracey Feldstein, a #GirlBoss, healer, and massage therapist.

Your Friend With A New Baby

People with new babies tend to get a lot of swag, but 45 books, 37 receiving blankets and 25 onesies later, what this person really wants is a night out. Get them a gift certificate to Helpr, which is a new app where they can book a pre-screened babysitter On Demand. It costs $21 per hour (3 hour minimum), so it’s reasonable and will be much appreciated.

 Your Busy Friend Who Has No Time For Herself

Get her the Iluminage Deluxe Anti-Ageing Gift Set. It has an eye mask, gloves and socks made with patented copper technology that helps fighting aging while you sleep. Help her multi-task in ways she didn’t even know she could.

Drum Your Way Fit With Pound At Crunch

As someone who participates in group fitness four to five days a week, it’s really important to keep it interesting and challenging. What’s worse than a boring workout? So, I was really excited to try Pound at Crunch. Pound is a really interesting concept because it doesn't fit into a neat category. Instead it combines cardio, strength training, core work, stretching and drumming. Yes, drumming!

To be honest, I was a little nervous to try Pound. Try to think of the least musically talented person you know, such as someone who can’t even pretend to drum on a steering wheel while stuck in traffic. My sense of rhythm is probably far worse.  Before the class, I had a vision that I would drum totally off beat and everyone would give me dirty looks, but luckily that didn’t happen. I was actually surprised that after a song or two, I felt like I was able to keep up with everyone. The drumming also really helped to stabilize my core and keep me balanced, which, as it turns out, is the whole point of the class. According to the instructor, Harmonie (yes, that is her real name and no, it could not be more appropriate), being part of the Pound Posse doesn’t require any coordination, “Coordination is not a huge element that we focus on. Anyone can do this workout as long as you feel the music. Your body just flows with it and connects everything you are doing.”

Harmonie In Action

Harmonie In Action

While Harmonie is a natural fit to teach this class, before Pound, she had no prior musical experience, “I've always loved music and was in dance, but I had zero drumming experience and that’s the beauty of it. You don't have to be a drummer to do this workout at all.”

In addition to making the class good for all levels, by providing different modifications, Harmonie was a dream instructor. She was fun, fit, enthusiastic and most importantly, had great taste in music. Liking the playlist absolutely essential for feeling the flow of Pound. Every song has its own set of moves and choreography such as squatting, stretching, crunches, or cardio, followed by or integrating drumming on the floor, in the air or hitting the Ripstix together.

If Pound sounds familiar to you, it’s because this workout has been around for over four years. Kirsten Potenza & Cristina Peerenboom came up with the idea one day when day they were air drumming sans sticks. They realized they were challenging their cores and boom, Pound was born.

Harmonie was one of the first Pound instructors and she is still happily rocking out every week, “I get the biggest high from teaching class. I empower my class to let it all out and to do their best. I challenge them by asking them to think of something they want to let go of during class and then to focus on something they want to bring more of into their lives. It's quite miraculous to watch their faces when they are Pounding...it's like you can see into their soul because each one is thinking something different. I know I play a small part in their day and it makes me so happy that I can do that for them.”

Another thing I really liked about Pound is that it replaces standard weights with ¼ pound (no pun intended) Ripstix. It seems like dumbbells have become the standard equipment for every workout I do these days from Pilates to Spin and even Yoga (which goes against so much of what yoga is about, but that is a different post entirely). Adding weights adds an extra challenge that many people want, but I am not one of those people. My shoulders and arms tend to bulk easily, so I’m sticking with Ripstix from now on.

If you don't live in Los Angeles and reading this makes you have major Pound FOMO right now, don't worry. The class is taught in over 2000 studios and gyms worldwide. If you want to try Pound at your local studio or get more info, visit Pound Fit’s website.

So Last Week... Things I Read That Are Totally Worth Your Time

Happy Sunday! I felt like the Internet was filled so much post-election hate last week. I desperately needed to get my mind off the negativity. And trust me, it was a challenge. Here are some posts I found that had nothing to do with the election and everything to do with the superficial. Sometimes, we all need a break. 

Yahoo Style: 5 Super Warm and Stylish Cruelty Free Parkas

Because good karma never goes out of style, Vegan fashionista Miriam Porter shows you how to stay warm, stylish and cruelty-free this winter. 

Refinery29: So You Want To Shave Your Vagina

A guide for those times you can't wax and don't want to risk injuring yourself.

The Cut: 25 Famous Women On What Makes Them Feel Pretty

This collection of quotes from The Cut is a thought-provoking read.

Apartment Therapy: 19 Super Sources for Knobs & Pulls

New knobs and pulls can completely change the look of a room. Even if you are a renter, it might be worth the investment to change out some of the hardware in your space. Apartment Therapy lists the best sources for a variety of budgets. 

Amelia Liana: Chanel Collection Libre Review

Amelia Liana reviews the new Chanel Libre cosmetics collection with an honest evaluation and absolutely stunning photography.

F- IT Fridays: Your Weekly Dose of Retail Therapy (Travel Chic Edition)

Is this really "the most wonderful time of the year?" or are you dreading it? I find that even if my family doesn't drive me crazy, going to the airport will. If you're one of those people who is able to travel light, without running late or needing a glass of wine, good for you! I'm not one of those people. Instead, I choose to travel chic. Here are some of my favorite travel essentials. 

Samsonite Electronic Luggage Scale

Do gate agents give you stink-eye for having overweight luggage? Avoid having to ask for a supervisor by weighing it in advance. Samsonite’s Electronic Luggage Scale is cheaper than excess baggage fees and fits right in your carry-on. 

Gift Boutique Seek Explore Discover Luggage Tag Box Set

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Think of luggage tags as necessities for your accessories. I love this set from Gift Boutique.  

Diane Von Furstenberg Adieu Hardside Spinner Suitcase

If it's time to bid adieu to your current luggage, it might be time to say hello to Diane Von Furstenberg's Adieu collection. 

Kate Spade New York Cedar Street Passport Case

Be a jet setter with this gorgeous passport case from Kate Spade New York. 

B&O Play H6 Leather And Gold-Tone Headphones

Is there a more stylish way to ignore the person sitting next to you or your family than to listen to music or a podcast with these headphones from B&O? 

How To Travel With Every Beauty Product You Need And Not Have It Be A Complete S-Show

The following story has everything to do with travel products, so actually read it.

Three years ago I met the most amazing guy. He was cute, funny and everything I ever wanted in a partner. There was just one problem, he was geographically undesirable. He lived in New York and I lived in Los Angeles. But I had the sense he was totally worth my time. Because his job wasn’t flexible, I had to be the one to schlep from coast to coast most of the time. It was completely annoying, but totally worth it because he eventually became my husband.

So, WTF am I getting at here? Being in a long distance relationship teaches you a lot of things, including how to pack every single beauty product you need so you don’t run out or have an incident involving a bottle of eye makeup remover and a dry clean-only sweater. If you’re traveling for the holidays, especially for a period of a week or longer, you're going to need a lot of stuff. Just follow my guidelines and you will be able to take it all with you. 

Go Big When You're Not At Home

Aren't those travel size bottles from Ulta and Sephora just darling? Nope, they're often overpriced, not-so-great for the environment, and never have quite enough product for me. The same logic applies to those TSA-friendly refillable bottle kits. In my unscientific opinion, they don’t keep products as fresh as the original packaging does. Then there is always the tiny drop at the bottom that never comes out, which is annoying and wasteful. My strategy is to bring full sized products which are already a part of my regular routine, that just happen to be packaged in a way that is conducive to travel. 

Buy The Biggest Travel Toiletry Case You Can Find

We all have 1000 little toiletry cases, most of which are useless. If you’ve ever had all of your products strewn about a hotel room, wondered if someone broke in, stealing your expensive moisturizer and your search became something you later referred to as an “incident”, a big toiletry case is a necessity. It allows you to keep all of your products together in one place.

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This cute bag from Target is perfect because it has lots of pockets and easily fits full-size bottles. 

Do Not Bring Anything That Can Leak Or Break! (Yes, That Exclamation Point Is Intentional) 

If you learn just one thing from this post, it’s do not bring anything that can leak, break or is made from glass. It will be more trouble than it is worth. 

But If You Must...

Tape down the caps and double Ziploc. Don’t forget to bring extra tape with you. 

Bring One Product In Each Category, Bonus Points For Multi-Taskers

I have separate AM and PM skincare routines, but many of my products can be used any time. So, I only take those when I travel. Here are some of my favorites.

Spa @Home by MasqueBAR Melting Cleanser

 
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When I’m home, I use a cleansing oil to remove makeup, but the thought of travelling with a oil that can leak is enough to make me need a valium before takeoff. That’s why I always travel with Spa @Home by MasqueBAR Melting Cleanser. This K Beauty Product is a genius multi-tasker that removes both makeup and dirt. No double-cleansing necessary.

Clinique Take The Day Off Eye Makeup Remover Stick

Clinique Take The Day Off Eye Makeup Remover Stick is the same size as a lipstick, but has no risk of leaking, so it's ideal for traveling. A solid eye makeup remover balm, it’s perfect for on the go touchups and getting off the last bit of your mascara so you don’t become known as that guest who ruins pillowcases.

Regenica Rejuvenating Dual Serum

Regenica’s Rujuvenating Dual Serum is a really unique product that just happens to be perfect for travel because it’s formulated for both day and night use. The plastic bottle houses two chambers of ingredients you mix together in your hand (that’s why it’s called “dual serum”). Made with a 95% concentration of patented MRCx™ formula as well as advanced copper peptides, amino acids, anti-oxidants, and plant-based extracts, it helps prevent and reverse the signs of aging. The serum has a very creamy texture, so if you have combination skin like I do, you can easily skip moisturizer. 

Regencia Revitalizing Eye Crème

Made with many of the same patented ingredients as the Dual Serum, Regencia Revitalizing Eye Crème takes care of all possible under eye problems, which are just inevitable when you travel, including puffiness, wrinkles, dark circles and fine lines. It can be used both day and night.

 Bioré Baking Soda Cleansing Scrub

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You know how your face feels dirty when you’ve been traveling all day? If you are dying for a squeaky clean visage again, all you need to do is use Bioré's Baking Soda Cleansing Scrub. It exfoliates deeply, but gently, getting the gunk out of your pores and balancing your skin. Because this scrub is a powder and not a liquid, you don’t have to worry about spilling. You could even put a little bit in a Ziploc bag, but I’d avoid doing that if you are taking a plane. 

Plus Ultra Toothbrush

If a toothbrush could be a super model, the Plus Ultra Toothbrush would be it. Made from 100% organically grown Moso bamboo, it’s way more sleek and stylish than a typical plastic brush. It’s also biodegradable, sustainable, anti-microbial and comes with bonus karma points. If that isn’t reason enough to brush with a Plus Ultra, the brand was started by #GirlBoss Christina Ramirez. I met her personally at an event I'm going to post about on Monday and her brilliance just wowed me. 

 

F- It Fridays: Your Weekly Dose of Retail Therapy (Holiday Outfit Edition)

I know, it’s Friday and you can’t even. I totally get it. Me too. Welcome to F- It Fridays: Your Weekly Dose of Retail Therapy. This week, we’re looking at holiday outfits.

It’s only November 4th, but the holidays are just weeks away. This means two things are inevitable. You’re going to have to RSVP yes to lots of events and most of your shopping for the rest of the year is going to be for other people. So, start shopping for yourself now before the madness begins. You can’t wear the same thing you wore last year because Instagram and Facebook and your mom’s Flickr account. You absolutely must buy yourself something new. Here are some suggestions.

Jill Jill Stuart Velvet & Lace Shirtdress

 

This Jill Stuart dress is a smart alternative to a cocktail dress for causal events where only a very polished look will do. And by that I mean, it’s freezing and you want to wear long sleeves and boots.

Leith Bell Sleeve Sheath Dress

Simple, but so chic, the color of this Leith dress really stands out. It’s also reasonably priced. I dare you to click on the link and find out how affordable it really is. Accessorize with a new statement necklace you bought with all the money you didn’t spend on this dress.

Reformation Adeline Dress

If you want to stun everyone when you walk into a room, you might not find a more interesting choice than this dress from Reformation. Seriously, make sure there is a defibrillator at the party because someone might have a heart attack when they seen how amazing you look.

Mara Hoffman Cross Front Jumpsuit

If you can’t decide between a little black dress, a pantsuit, or going naked, this beautiful Mara Hoffman jumpsuit is your happy medium.

Trina Turk Gizela Dress

Do you hate red, green and pumpkin spice lattes? Then Trina Turk’s pink Gizela dress is a fashionable way to say “Bah humbug.” Also, if you’re anything like me and can’t get enough Trina Turk, check out my post from earlier this week, From Dresses To Décor

Hot Mess Halloween: Five Costumes You Already Have In Your Closet

Sometimes the scariest (or at the very least, anxiety provoking) part of Halloween is figuring out what you are going to wear. It’s kind of a chore. There are lots of people who take Halloween very seriously, planning out their costumes months in advance. I am not one of those people. If you’re reading this, you probably aren’t either. The only thing I’ve ever planned for in advance was my wedding and even then, I’m pretty sure I made some decisions just minutes before the event started.

This isn’t to say I hate on Halloween. It’s a fun night. I’m just generally pre-occupied with more important things around October 31st than what I’m going to wear for approximately 3.5 hours of my life.

However, just because your costume is an afterthought doesn’t mean it has to look like one. All you need to do is shop your closet. Here are a few stylish options you can put together in just minutes using things you probably already have. And when you get loads of compliments, no one will have any idea that you haven’t been planning your ensemble for the better part of October. Shh! It will be our secret. 

#GirlBoss

Think less Victoria’s Secret Angel and more Angel Investor for this costume. Put on your favorite power suit or biz causal outfit and slay. Don’t forget your cardholder, which is coincidentally a great way for single people to share their phone number the old-school way. 

Dead Bridesmaid or Prom Queen

I can’t think of anything scarier than some of the bridesmaid dresses I’ve seen. Whether it was pretty-but–not-your-style to unflattering or even downright hideous, you probably aren’t going to wear the same bridesmaid dress more than once. So, why not cover the whole thing in fake blood and go all out? Or add a tiara and be a dead prom queen. Either way, the choice is yours.

Naughty SchoolGirl

 

Naughty Schoolgirl is my hot mess Halloween go-to. Revive your old uniform or that kilt you thought you might wear and never did. Then put on a tight polo, sexy knee-high socks and Mary-Janes. Voila! You’ve got yourself a costume. Accessorize with a backpack or messenger bag. Then, put your hair in pigtails or braids. Give your eyes a rest by leaving your contact lenses out for the night and swap them for your sexy specs.

Hipster

If you’re over Halloween for reasons we wouldn’t know about, this is your costume. Pair your favorite flannel button down with skinny jeans or liquid leggings. Just don’t forget your Ray-Bans and a sense of irony. Blast some Bon Iver on your way to the event for some extra inspiration. 

Fitness Instructor

While your workout might require a lot of effort, this costume does not. Much like Halloween costumes over the years, your fitness gear has become a whole lot more revealing, so don’t think you won’t turn heads, even if you are wearing sneakers. Should someone be confused by your costume, take a bite off your favorite candy bar, look that person in the eyes and say you’re a “naughty fitness instructor.” No matter what your sweat is, you probably already have the outfit. Accessorize with a yoga mat.