DIY Champagne Bar

diy champagne bar

Potlucks are all the rage among the twenty-something crowd, and for good reason: they’re budget-friendly, they save pre-party space, and they’re a fun and creative way to involve guests. If the thought of hosting a party or dinner overwhelms you, but you are dying to get a group of friends together, look no further than the potluck. Why not create your own tradition with family or old college buddies? Fancy something bite-sized? Mix it up with a themed fondue party. Should you find yourself invited to one of these types of gatherings, it is always a good idea to keep …

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You’re Invited: Potluck Fondue Party

Chocolate Fondue

It may be chilly, snowy, or rainy outside, but there’s no need to frown. Gloomy winter weather provides the perfect excuse for throwing a party with one of the most convivial themes of all time: fondue! Thanks to the Swiss (who are pros at surviving inclement weather conditions), we have a dish that not only warms the soul but is also fun to eat and enjoy with others.

If you’ve never had fondue, it’s a savory dish comprised of cheese, wine, and other flavorings that have been melted together and served in a communal pot (aka: caquelon) over some …

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How To Celebrate a 21st Birthday

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I love birthdays. While I’m not above being a sucker for my own big day, I also enjoy hyping up my friends’ birthdays. I’ve perfected the art of the flawless homemade card, am a pro at scouring Durham boutiques for a gasp-worthy present, know the intricate ins and outs of streamer hanging, and could publish a guidebook on how to write a flawless Facebook happy birthday wall post. While all birthdays are exciting, celebrating a 21st birthday is in a league of its own and is really all about the booze (sorry Mom–we’re legal now!). Last week, my most fun-loving friend, Katie, turned 21, and so we celebrated accordingly. Follow this guide, and you can too.

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You’re Invited: A Candyland Valentine’s Day

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It is with only slight shame that I admit I got this idea from watching Katy Perry’s softcore-pornographic Candyland music video for “California Gurls.” Just the Candyland part, not the cutesy(?) slow-mo whipped cream-spraying boobs, throw-up-in your-mouth-and-swallow-it-again part. Ugh.

The game of Candyland dares to imagine a world in which candy-land is the only land. And I dare to remember a time when Valentine’s Day was nothing more than heart-doodle-covered paper lunch bags filled with mounds of candy and Spongebob cards. Candyland is a place of pure positivity (and pure sugar), and Valentine’s Day should be, too. Whether …

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3 Best Types of Cookie For a Cookie Buffet

Add variety to your cookie buffet with an assortment of cookie slices and sandwiches.

January falls on rough times. With the end of the holidays and the start of school, we need something to combat that beginning-of-year slump. When I’m down, I somehow always find myself in the kitchen, oven mitt in one hand and rubber spatula in the other. Baking, it seems, never fails to bring back some of that holiday joy.

At times like these, nothing says comfort better than a platter of cookies waiting to be shared. At your next party or potluck, step up your cookie platter a notch with a tiered cookie buffet featuring various species of cookies.

**3

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How To: Serve Dinner, The Italian Way

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Living in Italy, well, turned me into a snob. I scoff at strawberries in the winter. I’ve sworn off frozen yogurt. I quickly avert my eyes from the wan, sickly, pale pink tomatoes in the grocery store. ‘These don’t exist in Italy!’ I explain to my friend, to my mother, to anyone unfortunate enough to go shopping with me. ‘It just seems so…wrong!”

Food in Italy is sacred – prepping it, cooking it, and, most importantly, eating it. A meal is a ceremony, a celebration, a time where not much else matters besides the plate in front of you …

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You’re Invited: Breakfast for Dinner Party

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Let me be clear that this party idea is no haphazard pun.Brinner“? Ha! The “breakfast for dinner” and “dinner party” hybrid gets conceptual and caters to the associations we harbor with each distinct element. “Breakfast for dinner”  is lazy, comforting and indulgent; while “dinner party” is sophisticated, elaborate and glamorous. The fun and whimsy herein is creating a party and an atmosphere that brings out the best of both worlds, simultaneously shouting all six adjectives to your guests.

Cocoa Puffs and Froot Loops: only for six-year-olds? Skewers: only for steak and grilled veggies at a BBQ hosted

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5 Albums That Make Cooking (even more) Fun

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Pressing ‘play’ on an iTunes playlist or even better, letting an entire album play as you chop, blend, sauté or even microwave, makes cooking feel fantastic and relaxing. Knee deep in the holiday season which is usually chockfull of dinner parties, get togethers and other festive events, what you’re going to need when you cook for either yourself or a large group of folks is a nice calming yet stimulating selection of music that will help your frazzled nerves.

Listening to great music also makes the kitchen feel more inviting so a solo cooking mission may turn …

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You’re Invited: New Year’s Eve Bash!

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I’ve got to be honest…New Year’s Eve has never been my favorite holiday. High expectations, crappy weather, and too many obligations often lead to a tiresome evening. In recent years, I have realized the key is to bring the party to me! Many factors contribute to a successful New Year’s Eve bash, from the food and drink to music, but make sure to invite all your favorite people over to celebrate with. And since copious amounts of champagne means your behavior may be far from classy, you might as well sure all other elements of the party are.

**The Details**

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Hot Buttered Rum

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For my birthday last week, a good friend gave me a silver flask filled with clear rum. I decided to make hot buttered rum as a birthday nightcap for myself, but hot buttered rum is also a perfect drink for any cold wintery night. The buttery, creamy, and comforting flavor of this drink warms any heart. Hot buttered rum is a great for holiday parties and can be made in large batches easily. To take a sweet photograph for this post, I used a clear cup, but hot buttered rum tastes better sipped out of a hearty mug.

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