Robert Verdi / Holiday Entertaining

Last night, me, my glasses, and my grandma sweater (it was freezing out) headed down to Robert Verdi’s Luxe Lab for his Holiday Entertaining event.

Above, that’s me trying to take a shot of the “naked” cupcakes.

For the duration of the party, I parked myself directly next to this bowl of white chocolate-covered, peppermint-sprinkled preztel thins. Have to say, I might like these even better than Peppermint Bark; the saltiness of the pretzels adds great contrast.

Of course these would be incredibly easy to DIY – just dip salted thins in melted white chocolate (Ghirardelli’s is great), set on wax paper, sprinkle over crushed candy canes, and place in the refrigerator until hardened.

I’m one of those people (isn’t everyone?) who constantly sets down my drink at a party only to immediately forget which glass belongs to me, leaving me to wander around for awhile saying “Is that yours? Is that yours? Is that mine?” Which is annoying for all involved. These awesome chalkboard wine glasses (you can buy them at Pier 1 for $3 apiece) solve that problem nicely.

Bonus? They make great DIY gifts: just buy inexpensive glasses, mark out a square with masking tape, and then spray the area with a little chalkboard paint (include a couple of sticks of chalk in the box with the glasses).

Above, I’m with Ayn (from Woman’s Day) and Casey. (That’s Kendrick’s Uniqlo blazer I’m wearing – I’m a big fan of working his clothing into my wardrobe.)

And here’s one of Robert’s adorable entertaining ideas: using a mini Instax camera, snap each guests’ photo as they arrive, and then use the shots as placecards.

Some more ideas from the event:

– Core two apples and use them as DIY candleholders for tapers.

– Set out “naked” (undecorated) cupcakes and little bowls of frosting and toppings so guests can DIY their own desserts.

– Avoid watered-down drinks by freezing soda (or fruit juice) and using the cubes to chill your beverage (I also like the look of freezing pieces of fruit or edible flowers in ice cubes).

– For kids (or anyone, really), set out votives filled with crayons and craft paper placemats. When I lived in LA, I worked at a restaurant, Cheebo, that used craft paper for tablecloths and had crayons at every table, and I thought it was such a neat touch: nearly every single guest picked up the crayons and started drawing at some point, and it seemed like a great icebreaker for dates.

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