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25 Halloween Costumes w/Your LBD

The easiest way to create a last-minute or inexpensive Halloween costume is to start with things you already have. I do it every year, because I get so frustrated with how expensive yet poorly-made most Halloween costumes are. I'd rather use what is already in my closet, or spend a little extra on accessories or a new dress that I can wear anytime of the year. A little black dress is the easiest way to use what you have to create a Halloween costume with a few inexpensive accessories and other accessories you probably already have in your closet.Pictured Above: Halloween Black Mesh Dress

1. Black Cat - This is the easiest way to use your little black dress on Halloween. I know it's pretty much the most generic costume in history, but for good reason - it's just so easy and affordable. It's the perfect last-minute costume for women, because you could really use any black outfit even if you don't have a little black dress. Pair it with your black flats or heels and a…

10 Tips for a Stress-Free Thanksgiving

I've been hosting Holiday dinners for nearly almost 20 years, and I've learned the hard way which tips really work and which ones don't, though I'm always learning new ones. I've found that the most simple entertaining tips are not only the best but often the most easily overlooked. Whether you're new to hosting dinner parties or simply a little rusty and need a refresher course, these are all really great tips for hosting Thanksgiving dinner. You shouldn't have to spend all day in the kitchen, and most of all, you don't have to stress! Host a relaxing and fun Thanksgiving with these top ten tips. Pictured above: Pottery Barn Heritage Pumpkin Plates


1. Properly Prep the Turkey. This may sound like a no-brainer, but make sure you defrost the turkey well ahead of time. There is nothing worse on Thanksgiving morning than realizing your turkey is still frozen on the inside. Never thaw a turkey at room temp. You should either defrost it in the fridge or in cold water. It may take longer than you think, so don't plan on thawing your frozen turkey overnight the day before. When thawing a turkey in the fridge, allow for 1 day of thawing for every 4 pounds. It's best to have it thawed well in advance so you can brine it the day before (you want it fully thawed for the brining process). You can find more info on the Butterball website on how to thaw a frozen turkey. Pictured above: Thanksgiving Recipes for a Crowd by Food & Wine

2. Plan Out Your Dishes in Detail. It's important to have each dish coordinated, especially on a day like Thanksgiving. Make a timed list in order from first to last. When the big day arrives, and you have a house full of loud in-laws, you'll be happy to have a list to refer to, especially if you're as scatterbrained as I am. I also like to set out ingredients grouped by dish, along with the pots/pans needed. It serves as a great visual guide during the cooking process. Pictured above: 15 Pies You Should Stuff Your Face with on Thanksgiving via Cosmopolitan

3. Plan and Arrange the Serving Dishes the Day Before. At least a day before Thanksgiving, designate each recipe with its own serving dish and lay them out where you plan to present them, like on your buffet or table. It's one less thing to thing about on Thanksgiving, and that way if you use special serving dishes just for the holidays, you won't waste time digging around for that turkey platter when you should be cooking. Pictured above: Fresco Turkey Plates via Pottery Barn

4. Serve Up Antipasti. The most annoying thing for me on Thanksgiving is a hungry person hovering like a vulture. You need some cold ready-to-serve appetizers to keep your hungry guests at bay so you can focus on cooking the dinner. An antipasti tray of cold meats, cheeses, bread and olives is the perfect thing to set out for a dinner party. Guests can pick and choose and assemble their own appetizers. Pictured above: Cheese Plate Presentation Tips by Martha Stewart

5. Make Dishes Ahead of Time. For any dinner party, I always include make-ahead recipes on purpose so I can get a head start a few days before. I like to include a few I can make completely ahead of time and a few I can at least start prepping the day before.

6.Clean as You Go. Dishes pile up so fast during a big dinner. It seems like simple advice, but it's some of the best I could give after twenty years of hosting holiday dinners. It really helps to stay on top of the dishes as you go.

7. Have a Back-Up Plan. Though some stores will be open for those last-minute grocery runs, chances are they'll be out of crucial Thanksgiving ingredients. Stock up on extra items that can turn into last-minute dishes like frozen veggies and bakery goodies, in case one of your recipes go south.

8. Grab a Co-Host. If you're a single hostess, enlist a friend to help with answering the door and making everyone feel comfortable so you don't have to play both cook and hostess all by yourself.

9. Just Say Yes!! When guests asks if there is anything they can do to help, don't be shy! Give them something, anything to do. If you're like me, you may prefer to do the cooking yourself, but you can always use an extra hand with chopping and clean-up.

10. Skip the Fancy Cocktails. Unless you're having a chic cocktail party, you needn't give yourself more complicated recipes to worry about. For Thanksgiving dinner, all you need is a few options when it comes to festive beverages, like beer and wine, or something really easy, like this 3-Ingredient Cranberry Cocktail that you can make ahead and serve in a punch bowl or large drink dispenser. 

Most importantly, RELAX!! No one is going to remember if your place settings were perfect. They'll remember the yummy food and the smile on your face. No amount of "perfect" is worth spending the holidays stressed and exhausted.

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  1. Step Eleven: make sure your idiot brother in law gets lost somewhere in the woods well in advance.


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