Wednesday, December 11, 2013
From the time I was three until about eight or nine, my mom's go-to hairstyle for all school photos, Santa visits and Olan Mills portrait session was half-up from ear to ear paired, of course, with delicately feathered 80's bangs and a matching bow.
I wouldn't say I was scarred by my mom's choices (although I was actually scarred the time my mom thought it would be a good idea to let my dad curl my hair), but I think as an adult I've avoided most half-up hairstyles, fearing they make me look too juvenile, until this, which is a little more sophisticated than your regular half-up pony. It's simple, quick and, to the Olsen twins' delight, employs only five (okay, six at the most) bobby pins.
This also looks great with loose curls as a "day two" style when you're trying to stretch an extra day out of yesterday's curling session.
What You'll Need:
- five (okay, maybe six) bobby pins
What You'll Do:
1. Separate a section of hair roughly from eyebrow-to-eyebrow.
2. Twist and then pin this section to secure, pinning at about the place you would secure a pony.
3. Take the section of hair between where your pinned hair stops and your ear on the right side...
...bring it across the pins holding your twist and secure, pushing the pins up and under your twisted section. I used two pins.
4. Repeat on the left side, being sure to push the pins up and under your other sections in order to hide your bobby pins. I used two pins.
For a few variations, pair this with a healthy dose of teasing for a little volume in the front. I also plan to try this a little lower, giving the appearance of a two-thirds up style. This would also look great paired with a low chestnut bun, which you can find the tutorial for here).
Ps- can you believe we are halfway through our holiday guide? To have the remaining 13 delivered to your Facebook feed, head over to our page and click 'like'.
Tuesday, December 10, 2013
In the spirit of the holidays, the lovely folks at Postagram (whose awesome and convenient photo postcards I've used and written about before here) are offering Ducklings In A Row readers 10 credits good for two free Postagrams! There are 100 uses up for grabs (one per email address), so nab yours now following one of these two ways:
- register through this link here
- enter promo code 'ducklings' in the Postagram app (go to Settings > Apply Promo Code > ducklings).
The promo code expires on December 17th, but the credits you redeem before the 17th are valid forever, just like my love for you and for Postagram. # friendsforever
So hurry over and nab your free Postagram credits now. How will you use yours? Food for thought - Postagrams are the perfect way to say 'thank you' to the friend who just hosted the most epic holiday party of 2013. Isn't that worth a thank you + darling fridge-worthy photo?
Thanks again, Postagram! You guys are the bee's knees. xoxo
Monday, December 9, 2013
|photo from here|
When it comes to parties, it's hard to stress me out, but the one area where I'm nearly hopeless is a good party playlist. Luckily I happen to know this gorgeous walking encyclopedia of all-things-music, who is my go-to pal for opening night party music - Amy Birnbaum.
The lovely Amy is a music publisher and concert producer by day and gospel singer and dj by night. You can find out more about her and her projects here. In the meantime, Amy put together an awesome holiday party playlist, which I've added to Spotify for easy sharing (you can also play the whole mix through the widget below, just press play). Amy had some amazing commentary on the songs she chose (and why) for her playlist, "It's Gonna Be A Funky Funky Christmas". Amy calls it a classic playlist with a Cee Lo spin and a touch of extra spice a la gospel infused backup vocals. I call it perfect.
Here's some insight from Amy about the perfect playlist:
"The key to creating a solid holiday playlist is giving your guests both the comfortable and familiar, and including songs they have never heard. And party goers, don’t be scared if you want to dance and no one else is—take that first step. This is the biggest compliment for a DJ! I can guarantee everyone will follow suit, and thank you for your lack of inhibition."
Here's the full the playlist with Amy's (funny) insight to the songs that make up your new favorite holiday party rotation in italics:
1. Aint No Chimney’s In The Projects-Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings-with a special seasons greeting’s from Daptone Records Binky Griptite
2. Holiday-Vampire Weekend
3. Santa Claus is Coming to Town-Jackson 5
4. Father Christmas-The Kinks
5. Winter Wonderland-Booker T and the MG’s
6. Someday At Christmas-Stevie Wonder. This man is appropriate for every single day of the year.
7. It’s The Most Wonderful Time of the Year-Andy Williams
8. Christmas Wrapping, The Waitresses. This song is ridiculous.
9. Joy To The World-Broadway Inspirational Voices. The brilliant Michael McElroy has assembled the best Broadway voices to perform these holiday gems
10. Sleigh Ride-TLC. Yeah. Get it ladies.
11. Santa Claus is Definitely Here to Say-James Brown
12. Little Saint Nick-The Beach Boys
13. That’s What I Want For Christmas-Shirley Temple You’ll be hard pressed to find a clean recording of this holiday classic, but its guaranteed to bring your party goes cheer. Proud to say, my music co, Round Hill Music, publishes it.
14. Run Rudolph Run-Chuck Berry
15. You’re A Mean One Mr. Grinch-Thurl Ravenscroft
16. This Christmas-Donny Hathaway. One of the only Christmas covers that I can listen to 365 days of the year.
17. Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree-Brenda Lee
19. Baby Its Cold Outside-Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald
20. What Christmas Means to Me-Cee Lo. Nothin like a classic tune with a Cee Lo spin. Those gospel infused backup vocals add a touch of extra spice!
21. Back Door Santa-Clarence Carter. This tune is one of my holiday secret weapons. There’s always one rowdy drunk who gets a bit funky with this one
22. Please Come Home For Christmas-Charles Brown
23. Santa Claus is Comin’ To Town-Bruce Springsteen
24. Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas-She and Him
25. Go Tell It On The Mountain-Kirk Franklin. A joyous, joyous rendition. And who’s to say you can’t put the same song in the mix again. Can’t forget about Mahilia Jackson’s version of the same title
26. Christmas All Over Again-Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
27. Sleigh Ride-The Ronettes
28. Wonderful Christmastime-Paul McCartney
29. I Saw Three Ships-Sting
30. Roman Holiday-Nicki Minaj (EXPLICIT. Make sure the kiddies are sleeping.)
Thanks, Amy! xoxo
Sunday, December 8, 2013
Want to know what's awesome about the suburbs? Having a basement. Know why having a basement is awesome? Because I can indefinitely store things like these giant, round balloons from the duckling's first birthday party and turn them into ornaments two and a half years later using other random supplies from the scary hoarding nightmare that is our basement.
The duckling has been really into projects recently (I guess the ornament doesn't fall far from the Christmas tree), and as I started thinking about our holiday guide back in November, the idea for these big beauties came to me. I think they'd be perfect for a holiday party or for a holiday card photo shoot with your kids. Maybe they'll even make it into this year's annual Christmas video.
The instructions couldn't be easier, employing standard silver baking cups from the grocery store, leftover balloons (you can pick up similar ones here), and some red and white baker's twine I had sitting around in my basement. The duckling was given creative control over the decorations for the ornaments, very quickly settling on my favorite color, glitter. You can forego the glitter dots if desired, but I've included them in the instructions below since, for me, saying no to glitter is like saying no to guacamole.
What You'll Need:
- assorted balloons (I used oversized, but regular balloons would work, too by inflating them 2/3 of the way to keep them as round as possible)
- silver baking cups
- baker's twine or string
- glue (I used Mod Podge)
- brush (I used a round foam stipling brush to make quick work of the polka dots)
What You'll Do:
1. blow up your balloons and tie off the ends.
2. using your brush, paint a little glue on your balloon, being sure not to use too much to avoid a mess.
3. Place a small pile of glitter on a paper plate and dip the glue on the balloon into the glitter. I did one to test and then did multiple glue-then-glitter dots at once.
4. After your glue has dried, cut about an 8" piece of twine to make the loop on the end.
5. Poke a small hole in the center of your baking cup and thread your string through. I tied a little knot to keep the baking cup in place, tight up against the balloon.
That's it! So easy. The hardest part is keeping my not-so-delicate three-year-old from popping them. Fun, right?
Saturday, December 7, 2013
|the birdie, xmas 2012|
Then I became a mom. Twice. And instead of making hand-painted fire trucks and felt play sandwiches, the truth is that I bought my son's last birthday gift on Groupon.
That said, I have whipped up quite a few DIY projects over the years (and will continue to do so, hopefully before Christmas 2018), some of which would make for really great gifts. Below are a few gift and recipient pairings to get your crafting fingers tingly. Feel free to browse all of our past diy projects here.
for your best friend...
Make this magnetic tote bag and then fill it with homemade Scrabble letter magnets, perfect for your friend who is always sending you invitations to play Words With Friends.
for your husband...
Turn our visitor map into a "been there, done that" map / brag board for your husband's pastime of choice, whether it's driving seventeen hours in the snow to see Phish (again) or catching a major league baseball game at every ballfield in the U.S.
for your son...
Whip up some daddy shirt pillows for your little guy's bed (or indoor tent). Have some old favorite (but sadly outgrown) shirts of your son's? Turn them into t-shirt pillows following the same instructions (the only adjustment being that you'll have to hand sew the last side rather than button and un-button). Wouldn't a collection of old baseball jerseys or old superhero t-shirts be so darling?
for the proud grandparents...
I started making homemade family videos on my iPhone a few years ago as a cheap ($4.99 to buy the app) and easy way to compile photos and videos from various smaller trips and outings (I make our annual Christmas video on my laptop. Click here to see last year's). Make a "best of 2013" video right from your phone, including your favorite Instagram photos and videos of your kids (or friends or dogs or cats dressed up like historical figures) to share with the proud grandparents / aunts / uncles, etc.
for your mother-in-law...
Making embossed note cards is a simple and thoughtful way to create handmade gifts for your mother-in-law (or mom or girlfriend). Customize them with initials or stamps reflecting their interests or background, like this cute Texas stamp for your friend from the lonestar state, this Boston terrier stamp for your dog loving aunt or this cute pinata stamp for your party-loving sister, all from Paper Source. They even have the perfect stamp for me.
Have a margarita. Or two.
Friday, December 6, 2013
I firmly believe everyone should have a great cocktail that you can make with your arms tied behind your back (so I guess that means with your teeth).
Y'all know I love wine (and guacamole). I talk about it enough (like here, here and here), but I also make a pretty, pretty, pretty good margarita. It's nothing fancy. I don't muddle herbs or light anything on fire. It's just the perfect, simple, not-too-sweet-and-packs-a-punch margarita. When I drink this I usually end up dancing alone in my kitchen.
Our friend Sheah sent this recipe to us when we first moved to our house in the burbs and were desperately homesick for Brooklyn. Sheah, having worked at two of our favorite restaurants in between tours and gigs with her amazing band Shenandoah and the Night, knew just the thing to dull our pain - tequila. And she was right. It's been over a year since we moved, and although we're no longer pining for Brooklyn (okay, we'll always pine for Brooklyn but we stopped ugly crying about it last December), we are still drinking this tasty cocktail.
Here's the recipe for Shenandoah's margarita (in a pretty little printable I made just for you):
I've been known in a pinch to substitute one ounce of agave nectar for the simple syrup if I don't have any on hand (although it's super easy to make and store. Click here for instructions). This recipe makes two margaritas, one for you and one for me.
Actually, today it's 'one for each of the 100+ people in my office and one for me' day, because I'm driving the office bar cart today, and I'm making (cue the mariachi band) margaritas. I'll have these little 4x6 recipe cards below on hand for anyone who's interested (that means you, too! Simply right-click and save on a PC or drag and drop to your desktop on a mac if you'd like to keep a copy on hand for your home barkeeping adventures). I also may or may not be wearing a mini sombrero.
For party portions, here are the quantities to make a gallon, which is 17 margaritas:
34 ounces (a liter) of tequila
25 ounces of lime juice
17 ounces of simple syrup
17 ounces of grapefruit juice
17 ounces of orange curacao
You can also round the last four ingredients down by an ounce each to make even cups (three cups lime juice, and two cups each of the simple syrup, grapefruit juice and orange curacao).
Thursday, December 5, 2013
|photo from here|
As an advocate for green makeup and skin care products, Katey is now the spokesperson for Burt's Bees and has been featured in Vogue, Glamour, InStyle and Nylon. If that's not enough, her workday involves some of the most talented women around - Lena Dunham, Mindy Kaling, Olivia Munn, Christy Turlington, Selena Gomez, Susan Sarandon and on and on.
Katey recently posted a guide to applying the perfect red lip color on her blog, The Beauty Of It Is, which I've put to the test and photographed step-by-step for you all just in time for holiday party selfies in front of my party fringe wall backdrop.
1. Exfoliate your lips, ideally post-shower using a toothbrush, soft washcloth or makeup wipe, going in gentle circles. To quote Katey, "never harder than you would scrub an overripe tomato".
2. Use a lip liner if your color tends to bleed or fade (essential for us lip lickers) or if you want a defined edge. Katey suggests Cherry or Brick by MAC. Ps - oh, hi, Manhattan.
3. Apply your lip color of choice (I love this one, which I'm wearing, and this one).
4. After applying your color, place a q-tip between your lips so that the end touches the front of your teeth and so that the q-tip is parallel to the floor. Pull the q-tip out so that any excess color ends up on the cotton swab and not on your teeth.
5. Pack a touch-up kit. I'm terrible at remembering to check my lip color (which usually is also a good indicator that I'm having fun), so I was delighted to hear that one of my favorite tricks is also a part of Katey's arsenal - packing and using a similar colored, or even clear, gloss for touch-ups.
Check out Katey's blog, The Beauty Of It Is, for some great tips and product recommendations.
What's your favorite lip color? What's your favorite red?