Most of us tend to forget the spirit of the season because we get lost in the hustle and the bustle that is inevitable this time of year. The Holidays are all about spending time with family and friends so make sure to keep that in mind when planning for the season ahead. I’ve got some tips to make entertaining easier.

My focus is always on three areas of the house: the kitchen, the pantry and the dining room. Keeping your pantry, kitchen and fridge stocked with the essentials is key.


One of my favorite entertaining essentials is stocking a bar cart like this Threshold Metal & Stone Bar Cart and matching Barware Tool Set with festive beverages and mixers. That way, your guests can have fun mixing their own cocktails and you’re not stuck behind the bar all night.

Pre-Mix one custom cocktail and set out wine, beer, sodas and a big bucket of ice and it’s totally self-serve. Another time saver? Pre-washed and pre-cut Archer Farms Veggies ready to go as soon as you open the bag. Need to freshen up your snack rotation? Try Archer Farms holiday trail and snack mixes that are available for just a couple of weeks during the holiday season, so grab them while you can!

Cranberry Rice Pilaf Recipe

Another tip? Don’t sweat the menu. Sure you want some wow-factor (like a great turkey stuffed with sage and basted with Madeira), but you need some easy go-to recipes. Success® Rice takes just 10 minute to make and can be a key ingredient in some tasty recipes. like this  Cranberry Pecan Brown Rice Stuffing. It’s tasty, elegant and effortless. It’s a great classic recipe with a modern twist that will wow your guests. And there’s a variety of products available including White, Whole Grain Brown, Jasmine and Basmati. Everyone in the family will love it. Success is in the Bag.®

Cranberry Pecan Brown Rice Stuffing

2 bags Success® Brown Rice
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1 tsp dried orange peel
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 Tbsp margarine
1/2 cup celery, finely sliced
2 Tbsps shallots, finely chopped (may substitute onion)
1 tsp poultry seasoning
1/2 cup pecans, chopped and toasted
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
salt and ground black pepper, to taste

Prepare rice according to package directions. In a medium microwave safe bowl, mix cranberries and orange peel with chicken stock and microwave on high for 2 minutes. Set aside. Heat a large sauce pan over HIGH heat and add margarine. Stir in celery, shallot and poultry seasoning and sauté 3 minutes. Stir in cranberry mixture, pecans, parsley and rice and cook over medium heat for 3 more minutes or until all liquid is absorbed.

To toast pecans: Pre-heat oven to 350ºF. Place pecans on a small cookie sheet and bake for 5 minutes. Be careful not to burn pecans. Cool.

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Hope these tips help to make your season more fun and let you actually enjoy hostess duty this year.

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Navigating Holiday Parties

Holiday Party Tips

We love a good party, and this holiday season there can be so many that it can be tough to get through them all. To help us out, we enlisted tips from Executive Career Coach Karen Elizaga, a credible resource on the corporate landscape and job market, on how to navigating this year’s company holiday party.

When it comes to corporate holiday party etiquette and making the most of a work event, Karen admits that appropriate dress and monitoring alcohol intake are both extremely important, but believes that corporate holiday events offer an opportunity to connect with colleagues and create new professional opportunities.

Check out Karen’s tips to effortlessly navigate any party this holiday season.

  • Eat Before You Get There—Entering the party without a growling stomach, allows you to focus your energy and connect with others.
  • Talk To Someone New—Step outside your comfort level and get to know the people around you—Literally. Take advantage of upstream, sideways, and downstream relationship building.
  • Talking Points—Have some interesting opening lines or stories prepared to strike up conversations.
  • The Perfect Handshake—Carry your glass or plate of food in your left hand. This allows you to extend your free, dry right hand to someone for a solid, connected handshake.
  • Stand Tall With Positive Energy—You want your body language to make you seem open to new conversations and connections with people.
  • Don’t Eat All The Shrimp! – Holiday parties are not just a big reward — don’t forget you are WORKING. Gobbling all the fancy food because you feel the company owes you won’t win you points with the boss.
  • Go Easy on the Martinis – These are co-workers, not your girlfriends. Partying like a rock star could raise eyebrows and hurt your career. Take it easy, tiger.
  • Have Fun!— Being hyper-focused on networking might make you seem overly anxious, which impedes the natural connection.

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Holiday Fashion Ideas

Dressing up for the holidays is a fun way to celebrate the year with your friends and family. It can also be a great way to celebrate accomplishments with your company. From office party chic to family affairs, we have you covered with some of our favorite fashion finds this season.

School Party CHic

School Party Chic:

As a mom we have a lot of holiday parties, and to look polished without being overdone, we love the Princess Vera Wang Collection. Available at Kohl’s some of our favorites are the Princess Vera Wang Wool Colorblock Lurex Sweater, the Princess Vera Wang knit/mesh button-down top, the Princess Vera Wang peter pan collar blouse and the fun Princess Vera Wang Smoking Flats.

cozy fashion favorites, Lauren Conrad, Kohl's

Casual Parties with the Family:

For time with the family, we love the Lauren Conrad collection from Kohl’s. Featuring affordable and fashionable finds, we love the LC Lauren Conrad Sequin Floral Tank and the LC Lauren Conrad Tulle Maxi Skirt for super feminine and lightweight finds.

Blue Nile, fashion, holidays

We also love the chic jewelry from Blue Nile, a leading online jeweler. For the holidays we love the chic Arrow Necklace in Rose Gold Vermeil and Sterling Silver and the sweet Double Heart Pendant in Sterling Silver where you can find affordable and fun items for any look.

You can also score something for yourself by saving 10% off at until Dec. 31st. Simply use the code: BNAPP2013 at checkout. They also have fun way to showcase your style through their Leave Nothing to Chance infographic.

Holiday Clutches

Accessorize your look: has all of your accessory needs with their on-trend and modern designs that are all $49.99. Some of our favorites for the holidays are the chic clutches like the Retrospective, Night Vision and the Ascot. As for holiday shoes, we are loving the Karmen heel and the Marina flats to add some color to your festivities.

Office Party Chic

Office Party Chic:

For the office party, we love the easy of going day-to-night with the Textured Colorblock Sweater Dress from Dress Barn that can be paired with the gorgeous Edie High Party Pump from Cole Haan and the Sea is Calling Metallic Clutch from Nine West.

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