Hostess with the Mostess: Oscars Party

22 Feb

I love any reason for a party. Sure, the fact it’s Wednesday is a good enough reason for me (humpday anyone?), but if you need a better one don’t look any further than the Academy Awards.

The biggest Sunday night in Hollywood is coming up and you’ve still got time to throw together a brilliant party. PJ’s and Pearls? Check.

Here are some ideas to get your party started.

A Theme

Yes, “the Oscars” works, but you can do better than that. Old Hollywood Glam? Black and White? Dress Up as a Star? Tuxedo Royale? PJ’s and Pearls? Take your pick!

Invitations

Once you’ve selected your theme, you can Google printable templates for invites. Send your guests a personalized invite before the big day.

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Decor

You can’t go wrong with black and white everything, or choose lots of gold. Whatever you do, stick to what you choose to have the greatest effect. Easy décor ideas include:

Black balloons with gold writing. Add “Best Dressed”, “Best Makeup”, etc. for a fun photo-op

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Star garland. Hit up your local dollar store for gold bristol board and trace and cut out gold stars. Attach them together with string and hang around the room.

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Confetti strewn across the counter tops. A no brainer.

Gold coasters. Or gold star-shaped coasters – even better.

Want fresh flowers? Opt for deep red roses.

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Paint a mason jar gold and fill with black and white straws.

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Have a Ken doll laying around from when you were 8? Great! Spray paint him gold and affix to a stand. Your little Oscar man has arrived 🙂

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Drinks

There is no better way to cheers the Oscars than with champagne. To kick it up a notch, rim your champagne glasses with gold glitter. You can also download Oscar-themed drink tags to attach to each glass.

Want to really outdo yourself? Fasten black bowties to your glasses with two little dots underneath. You’ve got yourself some pretty nifty tuxedo glassware!

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Nibbles

Everyone knows Hollywood stars don’t eat. But us regular folk sure do! Think yellow and gold for your nibbles as well. Different kinds of popcorn, donuts or cake pops covered in gold glitter, Ferrero Rochers, yellow gummy bears, and unwrapped Caramilk bars so just the gold wrapper is left. A personal favourite – bake chocolate cupcakes with vanilla icing and fix each with a Hollywood character. Print a photo of an old star and attach to a straw. So cute! Black chalkboard signs for each item help round out the décor.

Ballots

No Oscars party is complete without a little friendly competition. Printable Oscar ballots are easy to find online, and have your friends take their picks before the show starts. Or, if Bingo is more your thing, create Bingo play cards and follow along. Winner gets bragging rights.

Swag Bag

It ain’t the Oscars without swag. No, your swag bags won’t be as pimped out as Hollywood’s, but they will have a more personal touch. Scour your local dollar store for some fun goodies your guests can take home to remember your epic party forever and ever.

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Hope your party is better than the show usually is!

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Favourite Thing Friday: Sodastream

6 Jan

I got a Sodastream for Christmas and it is officially my. new. obsession. If you know me, you know I can drink anyone under the table when it comes to sparkling water. I even drink it to work out. But buying bottled sparkling water adds up…at 24 bottles a week, that’s $50. Hence why I love my Sodastream 🙂

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If you aren’t up to date on your kitchen-counter gadgets, the Sodastream is simple. It’s a small machine that has a tube of carbonation in the back, and literally adds bubbles to your water. Easy, peasy! The carbonation canisters can be exchanged/re-filled at any local participating store (in Canada think The Bay, Canadian Tire, etc.).

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I bought some extra bottles for my Sodastream so I always have sparkling water cold in the fridge. I take one bottle to work with me everyday, and have a few at home. When they run out, I just fill a bottle up with tap water and add carbonation with the machine. Voila!

If you are a soda fanatic, you can purchase flavours for the water as well to recreate a healthier version of your typical Coke, Ginger-ale, etc. There are also fruity flavours – I recommend the grapefruit. A touch of that and the water tastes identical to the Perrier Grapefruit Sparkling Water from the supermarket.

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Do you have a Sodastream and love it as much as I do?

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Get Coconut Clean

29 Nov

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Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past year you’ve heard that coconut can do it all. From cooking, to oil pulling, to makeup remover, to moisturizer, to hair mask…hell, I bet it can even be used to lose weight. I’ve never used coconut oil for anything other than cooking (and the one time I tried oil pulling for a blog post), until recently. And since then I am a believer. Coconut is the holy grail of beauty!!

I read online (from the infamous Mix & Match Mama) that coconut oil is a great face cleanser. I mean if Shay Shull uses it, I had to try it. I am now addicted and will ONLY wash my face with this. Let me break it down for you:

Coconut oil is all-natural and gentle – no chemicals or added preservatives. It will cut the grease without stripping the moisture from your skin as some facial cleansers on the market do. It is also anti-bacterial and helps protect your skin from potential pathogens and bacterial populations. It is also deep cleaning which means bye-bye blackheads. And although it is an oil, it apparently does not clog pores.

The biggest change I noticed when using coconut oil as a cleanser is the difference it made with blackheads on my face. They really started disappearing or becoming smaller and less noticeable. I also felt like my skin was actually clean of makeup and foundation – something I’m not sure every cleanser on the market actually does.

So how do you use it? I take a small dab of coconut oil and rub it between my fingers for a few seconds until it smoothes out. I then apply it all over my face, paying particular attention to my eyes to get off my eye makeup. I then wash my face with water. Coconut oil is of course still an oil, so it can be a slippery mess trying to get it all off with just water. I’ll sometimes use a bit of face cleanser (I use Cereve for sensitive skin) to just cut the oil and it comes off very easily. Once you dry your face I promise your face will have never been softer!

It’s not a miracle product and I’m not promising your acne will be gone after 3 uses. But it’s as natural as you can get (make sure you use organic, virgin, cold-pressed).

Lipsticks for Winter

24 Nov

I am a lipstick addict. There I said it. My name is Sweet Child in the City and I am addicted to buying lipsticks. Help me, I’m poor.

I don’t leave the house without something on my lips. Like ever. (OK, maybe on a Sunday morning when I go to get an XL coffee and I had one too many glasses of wine the night before…maybe only then).

I thought I’d round up my faves so that YOU don’t have to go and buy the whole MAC store to find out the best ones. So kind of me 🙂

Here you go:

MAC Rebel

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This is a new favourite of mine. It’s a plum based matte lipstick that pretty much goes with anything in the winter. Don’t be afraid of the purple tint – it’s really quite pretty and not as dark as it looks. I use a liner called Boiseberry from Annabelle to make the look a little lighter, but you can also use MAC’s liner in Currant to get a stronger look.

MAC Speed Dial

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This is my go-to everyday lipstick for work. It’s the perfect pink for your pout in the winter season. It works especially well on blondes, and brings out green or blue eyes (if I do say so myself). I typically use a sheer gloss overtop, or layer with MAC’s Pure Silliness gloss for an added shot of pink.

YSL Volupte Sheer Candy in #3 Pomegranate

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This is my trusty old favourite. I wish it wasn’t quite so sheer, but the colour is so beautiful that I just know I have to reapply more often. If you don’t love bold matte looks, this is the lipstick for you. It looks quite bright in the tube, but it goes on very sheer. I bought this for my Mom last Christmas and she loves it. It’s great for any occasion – work, holiday party, girls night out, and could really work with absolutely everything. It’s a bit of a higher price point, but seriously worth it in my opinion.

MAC Red (or Maybelline Red Revolution)

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I only wear red lipstick in the winter. And if I’m going to wear red, I go big or go home with MAC’s classic Red. It’s not too deep or too orange, and has a hint of a pink undertone which personally works well with my skin tone. I always wear a liner with red lipstick, and for this one recommend MAC’s liner in Cherry. If you want an identical lipstick from the drugstore, try Maybelline’s Red Revolution.

And there you have it…your lips are ready for winter!

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Welcome to the Short Hair Club.

14 Oct

Short hair, don’t care.

I recently did the chop. I caved to something different, held my breath, and let my hairdresser go scissor happy on my locks. My hair is now a la Carrie Underwood – shoulder length.

My hair is fine to begin with, so short hair actually suits it. After a little regret and a lot of practice styling it, I have now fallen head over high heels for my new do. And bonus – it is so easy to manage.

Are you thinking of a long bob? If so, check out some of my inspiration below and fall one step closer to great hair.

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Frozen Rose FTW

1 Oct

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I know it’s fall and I’m super late getting around to posting about a frozen summer cocktail. But I figure better late than never, right?

My friend sent me this recipe back in the summer to try out for an upcoming girls night. It was a smash hit! Rose is fun, but “frose” is a whole new level (and Instagram-worthy). Try it out – next summer (brrrr).

Ingredients

1 regular bottle of dry rose

Fresh strawberries (about 2 cups sliced – save a few for garnish)

1 tablespoon granulated sugar

1 shot vodka

2 tablespoons grenadine (or I’ve added a 1/4 cup sprite instead for a different vibe)

Directions

  1. Pour the rosé into ice cube trays and freeze until solid.
  2. Combine the strawberries and the sugar in the bowl of a blender and let sit at room temperature for about 10 minutes.
  3. Add the vodka, grenadine, and rosé cubes. Blend the mixture until smooth. Add a strawberry to the rim of the glass, and voila!

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Your Guide To…Charleston, S.C.

30 Sep

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Ahhh Charleston. Quaint, charming Charleston. I have completely fallen head over high heels for this city. It’s the kind of place you just never move away from because you have everything you need  – beaches, palm trees, historic homes, farm to table restaurants, a lively downtown, beautiful scenery, and friendly people. But alas, most of us do not reside in such place. And that is why I have created Your Guide To Charleston for when you visit (every. single. year).

The only thing I don’t yet have the lowdown on is shopping. But if you are looking for a kick-ass bachelorette weekend, start here.

Sights

The Battery, Rainbow Row, & Downtown

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Rainbow Row

 

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East Bay Street, Downtown Charleston

 

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Historic home along the Battery

 

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The Battery

 

Charleston really sweeps you off your feet with charming homes and breathtaking views. You will want to start any trip by exploring the downtown area, either by foot or by horse & carriage (because, why not?). The Battery is the southern tip of Charleston and features some of the oldest homes right along the coast. If you follow the street into the downtown area you will pass Rainbow Row, the iconic rainbow painted homes that Charleston is known for. A tour of either the downtown area or residential areas will fill you in on all the interesting history along the way. If you are looking for a horse & carriage tour, try Palmetto Carriage.

Sullivan’s Island

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Sullivan’s Island, Mount Pleasant

 

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Sullivan’s Island Beach

Sullivan’s Island Beach is in Mount Pleasant, a suburb just outside Charleston. The definition of low-country, it is worth the trip about 20 minutes outside the city to see. When you aren’t laying on the beach or dipping your toes in the ocean, check out The Obstinate Daughter for lunch, a great restaurant on the main strip near the beach.

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The Obstinate Daughter – a great spot for lunch or dinner

 

Boone Hall Plantation

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The beautiful Estate at Boone Hall

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A photo I took on the drive in

 

Oh my goodness. Boone Hall is a bride’s dream. The roadway into Boone is a tree-lined, moss covered fantasy that leads to a breathtaking white-pillared home. Boone is worth exploring but if you don’t have the time, just driving in and taking in the peaceful views is a must-do.

Magnolia Plantation & Gardens

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Drayton Estate at Magnolia Plantation

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My picture perfect afternoon at Magnolia

 

Another beautiful plantation, Magnolia is the only privately run old plantation left in Charleston. The old Drayton home on the property is fun to tour, where you learn about life in the 1800’s in the deep south. To the left of the home is the most gorgeous pond I’ve ever seen. Picture perfect Kodak moment. If you are a fan of gardens, there are acres upon acres to explore. Rest assured, you will be in flower paradise.

Food

F.I.G.

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Probably the most sought-after reservation in town, you must book early to get in. F.I.G. serves seasonally and locally inspired food, and is a must-hit for any foodies out there. If you can’t get a reso, you can always try going right when they open at 5pm and sitting at the bar or one of their first come, first serve community tables.

Husk

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Located in a beautiful old home downtown, Husk does not disappoint. I’m a huge fan of Husk in Nashville, and this location (there is also one in Savannah), has a menu abundant with seafood and fresh vegetables. A reservation is almost as hard to get as at F.I.G., so be sure to book early if you can.

Cypress

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Cypress is from the same openers at Magnolias and Blossom, and is located in the East Bay region of Charleston, not too far from downtown (King St.). You can generally walk into Cypress get a table with a bit of a wait, but you can pass the time sipping on a tasty cocktail in their upstairs bar. I love that Cypress does caeser salads made freshly at your table – it’s always fun to watch them make it.

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The steak at Cypress

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Caesar salad made fresh at your table

 

Nightlife

Stars

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A busy two-storey bar along the main strip of King Street, Stars is one of the more popular spots to be. The rooftop patio overlooks the city and features two bars on either end. Go early to avoid a line-up.

The Rooftop at Vendue

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The Vendue hotel features some of the best views of the city. More of a swanky cocktail bar, the roof is a little bit of an older crowd than you will find on King Street.

The Cocktail Club

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A small but cute bar featuring some seating and a huge selection of liquor. Located right on King Street just down from Stars.

Republic

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If a club scene is more what you are after, stop by Republic on King for some drinks and dancing.

Hope you enjoy your time in low-country!

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Throwback Thursday: The Blue Jean Shirt

23 Jun

Today I am throwing it back to the BJS. Yes, it deserves it’s own acronym. 

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The fall is the perfect weather for the BJS so check out this old post for some inspo!

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PS…Sweet Child in the City is now on #Instagram! Follow me here —–> @sweetchildinthecityblog 

 

Roasted Beet & Feta Salad

10 Jun

I’ve recently gone on a beet craze. I cannot get enough of them! My hands may as well stay stained red because I feel like I’m peeling beets every night. Yum.

Here is one of my favourite go-to recipes:

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Roasted Beet & Feta Salad (adapted from Canadian Living)

Ingredients

  • 6 beets, trimmed
  • 3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar (I’ve also used Kalamata vinegar as well)
  • 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard (I’ve also used honey mustard)
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 pinch pepper
  • 1 cup baby greens
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh dill
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh chives
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese

Wrap beets in foil; roast on baking sheet at 425°F (220°C) in oven until tender, about 45 minutes. Let cool enough to handle. Remove skins; cut beets into wedges. Set aside.

In large bowl, whisk together oil, vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper. Add greens, onion, parsley, dill, chives and beets; toss to coat. Sprinkle with feta cheese.

Enjoy!

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DIY: Wooden Coffee Table

6 Jun

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I am officially adding carpenter to my resume!

I wanted a new coffee table that would add some character to my living room and tie everything together. My couch is a deep grey so I wanted to brighten the room up with white and add a rustic feel with wood. I must have searched for 10 hours online to try and find what I pictured in my mind, to no avail (or at least for a reasonable price). So I did what any girl who knows what she wants does – do it myself!

I found a plain white coffee table at Ikea that was the shape I was looking for and had a wooden base to start.

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I then decided to add a wooden top to it to get that country-inspired reclaimed wood feel, which I stained a weathered grey to match my décor. Here is the final result!

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I was a little worried how it would turn out since I officially have ZERO experience with tools, paint, wood, or anything of the like, but alas it was a mission accomplished :). I’m thrilled with the result (and a little proud too!)

If you’re looking to create something similar, here is an overview of what I did and used.

I went to Lowe’s and got 4 pieces of 1x2x8inch and 4 pieces of 1x4x8inch select pine, 1.25inch brad nails, wood glue, sand paper for my sander, a can of stain by Verathane in weathered grey, and some foam tipped paint brushes. The tools I used were a saw, miter box, sander, and hammer.

I started by placing the wood in the order in the photo below, and then cut each piece to the exact length of the table.

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Before I went to glue each piece down I checked the wood to make sure the best side was facing up. I then traced a straight line down the wood in the three places where I wanted to put my nails in. This ensures that when you go to nail you do so in a straight line. I put one line down the middle of the table and 1 on either end about 2 inches in. I decided to nail through the top as I don’t mind the look, but you can nail from underneath if you don’t want the nails to show.

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I then glued and nailed each piece down one at a time. You really want to make sure you squeeze the wood as tight as you can to the next piece when you nail so there aren’t any spaces between the wood.

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Next I sanded down the top and sides to get a smoother surface (no slivers here!) and to smooth out any unevenness in the wood.

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Then come the sides. I measured 2 pieces of the 1x2inch wood to the exact length of the side of the table, and glued and nailed those ones on. Then I did the same thing with the last 2 pieces on the longer sides. I then sanded down those sides, especially the corners. You can see how I put the sides on, but you could also use a miter box to cut the corners at 45 degree angles if you wanted a different look.

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The comes time to stain! Once you are happy with the level of smoothness of your table, make sure there isn’t any dust left from sanding. I then painted on 1 layer of stain. I went section by section and used a rag to wipe off the stain as I went to get that weathered look. If you don’t wipe off the top layer of stain after you apply, it will look more like grey paint. I only ended up doing 1 layer of stain and going back and fixing a few areas where I wanted to even it out, but you could do a second layer depending on how dark you want it.

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And voila! A brand new table 🙂 I loved it so much I did my TV stand too!

PS…thanks to Centsational Girl for her tips and tricks on making this table.

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