Happy Galentine’s Day!

Single this Valentine’s Day? No need to worry! Valentine’s Day can hold a different meaning for everyone so I challenge you to view it from a lens other than that of being in a relationship (even if you are in one!). For example, I love Valentine’s Day because putting love on public display with all the flowers, colorful decor, and heart/love signs everywhere makes me happy!

So, with that in mind, here are my tips on how you can celebrate a fabulous Valentine’s / Galentine’s Day!

  1. Gather your girlfriends together for a night of good food, rom-coms, and laughter!
    • Send out an invitation (e-vites are great for this!), decorate your space, and find some festive serving pieces! With so many ways to celebrate and have a fun evening pick something that fits your group!
      • This year, my friends and I did an early Galentine’s Day over the weekend! We got together to watch the Opening Ceremonies of the Olympics and a Netflix favorite. Everyone brought wine and dessert to share! The hostesses did a great job decorating their place, having fun serving wear/napkins to go with the theme, and even got a fun Galentine’s Day game.
      • Tomorrow, we are getting together for a potluck Galentine’s dinner!
  2. Dress festive! *My personal favorite!*
    • Valentine’s Day is the one day of the year (other than my birthday) when wearing an over-the-top amount of pink is publicly acceptable and let’s be honest, who does not want to channel their inner Elle Woods?!
  3. Send valentines!
    • Family and friends will appreciate a piece of happy mail!
      • Tip: Stop by your local TJMaxx, Marshall’s, or Home Goods for a great deal on festive cards!
    • If you give valentine’s to coworkers, ensure the messages are tasteful and friendly to remain professional while spreading cheer. Also, if you add in a valentine treat, be sure you know if anyone has a dietary restriction.

I hope these tips get you in the Valentine spirit, but I know there are some who struggle with being single, especially at Valentine’s Day, and we can all admit we have been there at some point. For those of us who need a little extra encouragement this Valentine’s, I leave you with the wise words a friend sent to me in her valentine last year, “Single is not a status. It is a word that describes a person who is strong enough to live and enjoy life without depending on others.”

Have a wonderful Valentine’s Day and celebrate the love in your life!

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Tailgating with Class and Style!

Photo Credit: Southern Living

Photo Credit: Southern Living

Football season is officially underway! As a BIG fan of college football (Go Terps! 🐢), it is one of the many reasons why Fall is my favorite season! As if the game itself is not enough to get you excited, having a well-planned tailgate is the best way to start the day! Here are my tips to kick-off your game day experience in the best way:

  1. Get in the Team Spirit!
    • Tie in your team colors and symbols to the table, tent, and lawn decor.
    • Dress the part! It’s time to break out those team tees, dresses in your team colors, and accessories that add to the team spirit (hello turtle earrings and team koozies!)
    • Football shaped food and mascot inspired trays or desserts are always a hit!
    • Make a signature cocktail that ties into your theme or your team, use festive drink stirs, or serve a beer that ties into your team name!
  2. Be Inclusive, Not Confrontational
    • While we all have our favorite teams and love our alma maters, be inclusive of those who may be cheering for the other team. Add a little of their team color or invite them to bring a dish tied to their team.
    • While a little bit of friendly competition is always fun, avoid getting into arguments or confrontations with fans of the other team. Remember, you are there to have fun – not to “bad mouth” others!
  3. Plan Ahead
    • Tailgates can range in size from small and simple to large and extravagant (I’ve seen it all!). No matter what size your tailgate, the following always apply:
      • Be sure to have an accurate count of how many people will be attending and buy/make your dishes accordingly (aka make a little extra). Running out of food and beverages is never a good thing!
      • Bring plenty of ice for drinks and food. Keep any food that needs refrigerated in coolers and ensure it will stay cold the duration of the day or else you will end having to throw it out (you do not want anyone to get sick).
      • Label your coolers to avoid confusion.
      • Remember trash bags and clean-up as you go.
      • If you are hosting, make a timeline for your set-up and when you need to start cooking. No one wants to miss kick-off!
      • Bring chairs for people to take a rest. You do not need enough for every person, but a decent number is always appreciated!
      • Here is a great checklist for all your tailgating needs!
      • Plan for the weather! If it’s a chilly day, bring along your favorite team sweaters and stadium blankets. Rain in the forecast? Get ready to set-up those tents!
      • Noon kick-off, how do you tailgate for breakfast?! Get those donuts, bagels, egg bakes, grilled bacon/ham/etc, and mimosas ready!
  4. There Is More to Tailgating than Eating
    • While the food (and drinks) usually take center stage at any tailgate, there are plenty of other fun things to do as well!
      • Just as you would in your home, be an excellent host/hostess and introduce guests to those who do not know each other.
      • Bring lawn games! Corn hole, ladder ball, bocce ball, and playing football in the parking lot are all fun ways to get people up and moving.
  5. Not Hosting, Just Invited to Tailgate?
    • Ask what dish, dessert, or drinks you can contribute to the tailgate.
    • Always help with clean-up!
    • Be a classy attendee – Dress for the theme/your team and as mentioned earlier, avoid confrontation with others (especially from the opposing team).
    • Be social with the others at the tailgate and make an effort to meet new people!
    • If you have your own chairs, it is always a friendly gesture to bring them along.

For more tailgating inspiration (decor, food/drink, and games), visit my Pinterest board! Happy Fall and Football y’all!

Sparkle On,

Alexandra

Celebrating the 4th of July!

Photo Credit: Lilly Pulitzer

Photo Credit: Lilly Pulitzer

This weekend we celebrate the 4th of July! Happy birthday America!
As we celebrate our freedom and our country, be sure to sparkle in all the right ways! Here are my tips for an amazing 4th of July celebration!

  1. If You are Hosting a Party
    • Be festive!
    • Creating a signature cocktail, whether in how it looks or the ingredients you use, is a great way to put your own creative spin on the party. Here is a cute idea for serving a “Sparkling Spritzer”
      Photo Credit: Style Me Pretty

      Photo Credit: Style Me Pretty

    • Have party favors for your guests to take home or have things you can pass out during the party to get people into the American spirit!
  2. If You are Attending a Party
    • Offer to contribute an appetizer, drink, dish, or dessert for all to enjoy.
    • Take a host/hostess gift.
    • Dress the part – Proudly wear your red, white, and blue!
    • Offer the host/hostess your assistance during the party.
    • Write and send a thank you note within three days of attending the gathering.
  3. Honor and Respect the Flag 🇺🇸
    • Fly the flag all day! Be sure to keep a light on it when the sun goes down.
    • I know it is cute to use plates or napkins that have the American flag on them as a decorative piece, but here is something to keep in mind: Even though it is not technically a real flag, eating off the flag and the act of wiping your mouth or using the flag to clean your hands is disrespectful. Avoid using American flag plates and napkins if possible.
      • NOTE: A design of stars and stripes is great, I mean the actual American flag printed on something.
    • If you are wearing apparel or accessories with the American flag on them, ensure they are tasteful and appropriate. The flag should not be partially displayed (it should always be displayed in it’s entirety), tattered, or “distressed” in any way. You should also never drape yourself in the flag.
    • Watch this interview featuring Gary Biggs of Protocol Partners for additional, valuable flag protocol information.
  4. Remember and thank the service members who have fought and are currently serving to continue protecting our freedoms.

    Photo Credit: Love Bakes Good Cakes

    Photo Credit: Love Bakes Good Cakes

I would love to see how you all incorporated my tips into your celebrations so please share them with me! You can submit a photo or comment on this post or through my Contact Me page.

Have a wonderful 4th of July! God Bless America! 🇺🇸

Sparkle On,

Alexandra

Do’s and Don’ts of the Office Holiday Party

In most offices, it is tradition to have an Office Holiday Party. From the potluck luncheon at the office to the after-hours party at the boss’ home, there are a variety of celebrations that take place! No matter the setting, many of the same etiquette rules applies. This week, I am sharing my Do’s and Don’ts of the Holiday Office Party.

  • 🙂 Do:
      • Keep it professional!
      • Dress appropriately and professionally. If you want to add a touch of festive decoration (holiday colors, a little bit of shimmer, holiday jewelry) that is perfectly acceptable.
    Graphic Credit: The Classy Cubicle

    Graphic Credit: The Classy Cubicle

    Graphic Credit: The Classy Cubicle

    Graphic Credit: The Classy Cubicle

    Graphic Credit: The Classy Cubicle

    Graphic Credit: The Classy Cubicle

    • Take a host/hostess gift if the party is being held at the boss’ home.
    • If it is a pot luck, be sure to sign up to bring something and bring what you say you will.
      • If you are not a good cook, sign up to bring utensils, decorations, or something other than food. You can also bring something store-bought; however, you should put it on a pretty platter and not bring it in the store containers.
    • Have a little snack before you go. It is not proper to pile up your plate because you starved yourself all day and want to pig-out.
    • Arrive on time and stay for a good portion of the party.
      • Do not be the person who shows up for 5 minutes and then leaves.
      • Do not linger at the end of the party and be the last person to leave.
    • Socialize with everyone, not just your closest friends. The Holiday Office Party is about boosting morale and enhancing the office community so, reach out to those you do not see/talk to on a regular basis and start building new relationships.
    • Participate in the gift exchange, games, etc. that go on during the party.
    • Find your boss and the host/hostess before you leave and thank them for having the party and including you.
  • :/ Do Not:
    • Miss the party. Unless you have an urgent matter or a conflicting obligation, you are expected to be there.
      • If you have a conflict, express the situation to your boss and apologize for your absence.
      • If it is a potluck, still send something to contribute to the party. If it is hosted by your boss, still send a host/hostess gift.
    • Dress like a houchy-mama! An after-work party does not mean you are going to the club.
    • Take a guest if you were not invited to bring one. Check your invitation to be sure.
    • Talk with food in your mouth.
    • Get drunk at the party. No matter how many times you are told to “have a good time,” it will reflect on your professional reputation if you say something inappropriate, become sloppy, and in general, embarrass yourself.
      • Stay professional! You can always go out with your friends afterwards!

Remember these tips as you head to your Office Holiday Party! Most importantly, be professional, but still enjoy yourself and the time with your colleagues!

Happy Holidays!

Sparkle On,

Alexandra