1. Be Better…Blogolympics™!

    Let’s be straight here…I really want to LOVE the Olympics. I really do. 

    I totally admire the athletes sheer strength, skill, and discipline but I am having some severe issues with really pretending to be a huge fencing fan when the closest I’ve ever come to fencing is a group of losers really cool people LARPing in Prospect Park.  

    Side note: there are some friends of mine that it totally makes sense that they really love the Olympics…but then there are others that I’m like…when did you become an expert on trampolinist form and rotation? Whatever. 

    Since I can’t watch that fencing poke-in-the-butt meme one more time (YOU NEED TO SEE THIS), I figured I should entertain myself with my own sort of Olympics. BLOGOLYMPICS™!!!!!

    For those of you who don’t know what Blogolympics™ is (that’s pretty much everyone because I just made that word up), I’m going to give medals to my favorite blogs and hopefully recommend some new reading for your bored-ass eyeballs. Also, I needed a reason to use my new word. 

    BEST MEN’S BLOG

    Gold Medal: Uncrate-Whenever I want to drool over gear that isn’t made for girl parts, I head over to Uncrate. Need a gift idea for your man? Want to check out the best cars, techie sh*t, or manly food/drink? This site never disappoints and he posts frequently so there’s always something new to get all slobbery over.

    Honorable Mention: Art of Manliness

    BEST GEEK BLOG

    Gold Medal: Lifehacker-From opening a can with your toenail to tips for uploading new software..Lifehacker mixes helpfulness with absurdity. Budgeting, travel, gadgets, and tech are all covered with a light tone and humor by this Gawker Media subset. And yes, you’ve probably all heard of Lifehacker…I didn’t say I was going to find the most obscure blogs, this isn’t the Hipsterlympics™ ok? Stick with me here.

    Honorable Mentions: Thedailywh.at 

    BEST TUMBLR BLOG

    Gold Medal: Kim Jong-Il Looking at Things-If you can make a North Korean dead dictator humorous, I commend you. I’m pretty glad that he’s in the grave, but I can’t lie by saying I’m a little bummed about the eventual blog death, due to lack of material. 

    Honorable Mentions: Bon Iver Erotica, Things Organized Neatly, Best Roof Talk Ever These all could be gold medalists, really. 

    BEST FOOD BLOG

    Gold Medal: I Am A Food Blog- If you can make me want to READ recipes and fool me into cooking by utilizing beautiful typefaces, splendid photography, and simple prose, I will give you a gold medal any day. Any blog that can make chores interesting (yes, cooking is a chore), wins my heart. 

    Honorable Mentions: The Yellow Table, Pardon the Dog Hair (ed note: both of these are by friends of mine, but I actually LOVE their blogs…so yeah)

    BEST FASHION BLOG

    Gold Medal: Life! Death! Top Tips!-Most of the time, fashion blogs are just recycling the same ol’ shit…so I tend to stay off of them completely. Manrepeller used to be funny and cool, before she became famous and was like doing everything BUT writing a fashion blog. Life! Death! Top Tips! is a blog worth a read…she takes tips and advice from women’s mags, so we can all hang our heads in shame regarding how ridiculous we’ve become. Note: she’s British so sometimes I need Google Translate (for idiots) to understand what the hell she’s talking about.

    Honorable Mentions: Runway Falls (a no-nonsense blog featuring a collection of photos and video of models falling on the runway…which completes my life in a lot of ways)

    BEST GENERAL BLOG

    Gold Medal: Humans of New York- Every time I read, I laugh, I cry, and I wonder how I continue to live in the crazy-ass city. If you like short stories and profiles of interesting people, this is your new favorite site. 

    Honorable Mention: Surf Collective NYC

    BEST DIY BLOG

    Gold Medal: NO ONE GETS A MEDAL…I F*CKING HATE DIY BLOGS AND I WISH THEY WOULD ALL FALL INTO A DEEP CREVASSE AND NEVER COME BACK AGAIN. Seriously people, we can’t just make our whole lives out of colored paper and mason jars. 

    Honorable Mentions: Go back to pinterest or etsy you twits…but if you are looking for some laughs, head over to REGRETSY.

    If you want to vote my Be Better Blog for an imaginary medal in a made up sporting event, click HERE. 

    What are your favorite blogs? Or your least favorite?

     


  2. Be Better at…the Internet.

    5 Reasons I Hate Pinterest:

    Hate might be a harsh word for a dark place where I sometimes find myself in a moment of quiet desperation…I should rephrase. Instead of “hate”, let’s say…"don’t understand why people love Pinterest". 

    The initial concept is great, and for some companies and people, Pinterest is an amazing world of inspiration, wonderment, and inevitably a money making machine. 

    But, for the average gal/guy, it’s a f*cking time suck.

    Now, don’t get me wrong, I occasionally find myself browsing and trying to love my expereience on Pinterest, but I can’t pretend to like this sh*t anymore. I’m coming out of my social networking closet, RIGHT NOW.

    Here’s why:

    1. Pinterest Kills Creativity: At first, Pinterest was about getting inspired and sharing ideas with others…now it’s a cesspool for the same ol’ shit, over and over. I swear, it’s the same 100 images, just recycled and replicated. We no longer are getting inspired by things like color/nature/art/architecture…but now just using other people’s work as the highest level of creativity. A prime example of this is weddings these days. Have you seen a rise in a homogenous look and feel of weddings like I have? The combination of wedding blogs and Pinterest have just about killed unique events…turning them all into a hodge-podge of cake balls and DIY painted paper lanterns. NOTE: If you want to have a spectacular, special event…don’t look at Pinterest. 

    2. “I’m PINNING!”: Please stop saying this. It’s pretty much…the worst.

    3. Too Much Estrogen: Let’s face it, Pinterest is the Internet’s vagina. One way I think it could be saved in my eyes, would be more men adding manly, useful sh*t on there. I know, you know like 2 dudes that use Pinterest…well, that’s just not enough ladies. It’s like a femme vortex…where we get lost in the delusions of being able to cook gourmet meals, while learning new exercise moves, all while knitting a f*cking ankle warmer. 

    4. The Self-Absorption and Self Loathing Mecca: Now, there is a dark side to Pinterest…although you wouldn’t think it right away. Boards of “Thinspiration”, and self loathing have of course become commonplace on the site…body hate never looked so organized and adorable. Also, for most users, Pinterest becomes a safety zone, wherein you can craft the perfect life for yourself, most of which you’ll never attain, which obviously will lead to feelings of inadequacy. The perfect hair, food, home, even husband…all wrapped up in a bow that you had to dip-dye yourself.

    5. Everyone is a Self-Made Martha Stewart: I get it…you can stencil and spray paint your doormat that you hand-wove from coconut fibers…but do you really need to? Yes, some of these ideas are awesome, but we need to draw the line somewhere people. Go outside, be active, stop staring at the computer, quit planning your next trip to the craft store…because who has time to monogram your own toilet paper?! 

    OK. I’m done. 

    And yeah, yeah…I know Pinterest is great for like…recipes and stuff BLAH BLAH BLAH. Email all your hate mail to bebetterblogger@gmail.com.

    Also, I’m going on vacation for 5 days…so peace out. HELLO CALIFORNIA!

    xo Chinae

     


  3. Be a Better…Bartender.

    Rhubarb Dark and Stormy:

    Friends, it’s Friday. WASTHISTHELONGESTWEEKEVERORWHAT?

    I think the best way we can celebrate that summer officially kicked our asses this week, is to make a fantastic cocktail. Sound good? Bueno!

    Rhubarb Dark and Stormy:

    • 2 ounces dark rum
    • 3 ounces ginger beer (not ginger ale, douchebags)
    • Small grate of fresh ginger
    • 1/2 ounce lime juice
    • Ice (Ice, Baby)
    • 1 tbsp of Rhubarb Syrup* (Recipe below)

    Combine all the ingredients together and stir over ice in a Collins glass. Garnish with a sliver of ginger or lime wedge. 

    To make your own rhubarb syrup (stays good in the fridge for 3 weeks):

    • 1 1/4 cup of rhubarb, washed and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
    • 1 cup granulated sugar
    • 1 1/4 cups of water
    Combine all the ingredients in a saucepan and stir. Heat over high until boiling, then turn that bitch down and simmer for 25 minutes longer. After that time, remove it from the heat, and strain the liquid through a fine, mesh strainer. Let cool down and transfer to a bottle or jar.
    Happy Weekend y’all.
    Chinae
     


  4. Be Better at…Health.

    I’ve pledged my allegiance to butter many a time on this blog, but today, I’m introducing you to a new friend I made over the weekend.

    Coconut Oil. 

    I’d heard a lot of buzz over this stuff lately, and decided to do some research, haul my ass to Trader Joe’s, and take this jar of slick goodness on a date. 

    I think I’m in love. I haven’t used it in the kitchen yet, but I’ll tell you, my body is already thanking me for spending that hard earned (not so hard earned) $5 bucks.

    My first thought was…putting oil on my body is reserved for beachtime and I would NEVER put it this Exxon-Valdez oil spill of a face (too soon?). But after reading a lot of info on the interwebz, I tried it out. First, I dipped my proverbial toe in the water with using it on my legs after shaving. Result? My legs were smooth, supple, not greasy, and smelled lightly of a beach vacation. Not pissed. 

    Next up, I used it to take off my makeup and as an eye cream before bed. Now, it did feel super oily when I went to sleep, and I was uber paranoid that I would wake up with a face full of pimples. My coworkers might disagree, but I am simply glowing today. My skin felt fresh with no signs of coconut related acne this morning, and my legs still felt incredible. Lastly, I fell and scraped my knee pretty bad last week, yes I am a five year old child, and I applied some coconut oil on my wound before bed…my knee looks SO much better this morning, just saying…

    Here are some properties of coconut oil that make it fucking awesome:

    • Anti-microbial/Infection Fighting 
    • Anti-bacterial (kills bacteria that cause ulcers, throat infections, urinary tract infections, gum diseases, and other bacterial infections)
    • Anti-carcinogenic 
    • Anti-fungal (kills fungi and yeast that lead to infection)
    • Anti-inflammatory
    • An Antioxidant
    • Anti-parasitic (fights to rid the body of tapeworms, lice and other parasites)
    • Anti-viral (kills viruses that cause influenza, herpes, measles, hepatitis C, SARS, AIDS, and other viruses)
    • Infection fighting
    • Known to improve nutrient absorption (easily digestible; makes vitamins and minerals more available to the body)
    In my www.research, there are a million cajillion uses for coconut oil but here were some of my favorites and some of the especially surprising:

    After Shave 
    Body Scrub – mix with a little sugar and insta-exfoliation!
    Diaper Salve 
    Eye cream – apply on the lids directly at night.
    Lubricant – an all natural substitute, but not compatible with latex.
    Makeup Remover – use with a Q-tip or cotton pad.
    Sun Burn Relief 
    Fitness - when ingested, coconut oil has been proven to jumpstart your metabolism, improve thyroid function, and raise energy levels!
    Allergies (seasonal hay fever)
    Cellulite - And all God’s women said “AMEN!”
    Gum Disease and Gingivitis-(use as a toothpaste or rub directly on gums)
    Nutritional Supplement – melt and add to cooking or juices.
    Insect repellentmix coconut oil with peppermint oil extract and brave the outdoors
    Seasoning cookware: great for cast iron pans!
    Moisturizing and cleaning leather products: hello, newly revitalized Fall boots!
    For a full list of uses, look here and here
    One warning…when you open the jar, it’ll look like hardened candle wax but the moment you put it in your hands it will go Alex Mack on you and instantly liquify!
    Let me know what you think when you try it out!
    Later bitches,
    Chinae

     


  5. Be a Better…Dresser.

    About a month ago, I was pissing and moaning about how I didn’t go to Coachella, and blah blah blah. Then comes the torture of perusing all the “Top Ten Best Looks at Cochella” blog posts that make me want to hang myself with a sueded-fringy bag’s strap. Soon after, I swore to bestie Becky that I would bring my own Coachella to NYC via flower head piece. This may or may not have also been inspired by pro-drudgery musician Lana Del Rey who I hate/love the shit out of.  

    So about a week ago…I crafted. A lot.

    I was gonna make like…1-2 head pieces. I think total I created 8 looks…and my fingers felt like I had played guitar like Hendrix for two hours. Worth it. 

    Here’s What To Do:

    Step 1: Buy crafty crap. I did it in one foul swoop at the flower market, but I am sure if you live in a suburb you can head over to your local Michael’s/Joanne’s/or another store with the first name of a person. Here’s the shopping list:

    • Bark-Covered Wire
    • Floral Tape
    • Paper Flowers with wire base

    Step 2: Measure your big head. OK…maybe I just have a big head, but take your bark-covered wire and measure it around the crown of your head, where you want your headband to sit. Now add 2 inches. 

    Step 3: Twist ends to form a circle. Why did I make you add 2 inches? So you have extra room for twisting, dummy. Twist the ends together and then wrap with a 6 inch length of floral tape, around the twisted part so you don’t pierce your head on accident. 

    Step 4: Wire on your flowers. Twist the wire part of the flower base around your circular crown in a random assortment. I suggest switching up direction and distance, so you don’t end up looking like a tacky flower girl. 

    Step 5: Cover your mess. After all the flowers are attached, wrap floral wire around the portions that you can visablly see the wrapped wire. It’s weird stuff and sticks to itself…I was amazed for way too long at this. 

    Tips to Sporting Your Flower Crown:

    • Do not wear to a business casual work environment. You’ll probably get fired.
    • Wear it with your hair down. If you match this with a bun…you might look like you work at the local renaissance fair or you may be mistaken for 
    • When you are making this, remember that you are a normal person, not a famous person, or a model. So no, you can’t pull off a Carrie/Bird in the Hair Moment when you are just on your way to get a bagel. Tone it down ladycat.
    • Keep it simple…too many colors, textures, and shapes are just going to make you  look like you work down at the Tropicana with Ricky Ricardo. 
    • Try to use as many natural materials as possible…plastic flowers and satin ribbon can go tacky tacky tacky REAL quick. Think Sienna Miller not Selena. (RIP) 

    Send me photos of your flower crowns!!!!!

    xo Chinae

     


  6. Be a Better…Beauty.

    Make-Up Basics Edition:

    Most of us are adult people, and need to be looking that way as well. As hard as it is to roll out of bed 5-10 minutes earlier, the cost of looking like an adolescent or a bridge troll is not worth it people. One of the most common topics that I get asked about in girl land is how the hell to look amazing, but not put too much work into it. This topic seems elementary and mundane but I assure you, if you aren’t doing these beauty tricks…you should be. 


    Basic Make-Up Tricks and Tips:

    -Concealer Cocktail: When I see girls with dryed out, concealer-caked patches of skin on their face, I want to cry big Tyra Banks tears. There is no reason to have tectonic plates of Maybelline on your mean mug, ok?! Here are two tricks for concealing: 1) Put your base/powder/tinted moisturizer all on first and THEN apply your concealer. By putting it on first, you are probably using more than you really need and that’s making you look very Tammy Faye Baker. 2) With a small concealer brush, mix your concealer with a tiny bit of your moisturizer before applying…this will thin it out and make a flawless application, leaving out the flakey, cakey alternative. A great concealer set to try: Make Up Forever’s 5 Camouflage Cream Pallete No. 1.

    -Cheek Color Always: I know a lot of you people skip your cheeks in the whole morning battle, Girl vs. The Clock. This is a huge mistake. If there were 3 things I would never skip, they would be: cheeks, mascara, and brows. When you don’t balance your cheek color to the rest of your make-up, you look like a preteen. You really might as well not wear a bra and make-out with a boy (who may or may not be in Show Choir), behind the Computer Lab at school. The preteen thing especially comes into play when you apply thick eyeliner and the rest of your face is pale and very Johnny Depp circa Edward Scissorhands. Get the most bang out of using a bronzer/blush combo to contour your cheeks and then add a pop of color. Cheek color is one of the quickest things to apply, so no excuses, play like a champion. My favorite line of cheek colors is: Make UP Forever Powder Blushes.

    -White Power (this sounds racist): We’ve all had those mornings where you look in the mirror and you see Gary Busey. It happens. Sometimes an overload of soy sauce/salt (bloated), too much vodka (haggard), or a bout of the stomach flu (deathly) can seriously affect what your normal face looks like. This happens to me about once a week (see: this morning). What to do? Chug two glasses of agua pronto and then get out the white/cream eyeshadow or shadow-stick. Adding a little splash of white right below your brows (lifts the eye) and right near your tear duct (opens up the eye), will help you fake a full 8 hours and 2 less vodkas. PROMISE! My favorite white shadow: MAC White Frost.

    -GO Kit: Spend some time figuring out what goes in your make-up emergency kit. This should include 5 items that you could grab and go and still look polished as sh*t. Now that you’ve picked your gear, buy an extra set of all 5 and store them in a mini-bag, that travels. This way, when you get unexpectedly whisked away for an impromptu tropical vacation, get stopped to be on a reality TV show, or are just f*cking late to work, you have everything at arms length! Also, this kit is perfect for those after work dates or happy hours that require attendance right after work…you’ve heard of day-to-evening dressing, now do that same thing to your face. (It needs it). Another great idea is to get some good/larger samples to stock your Go-Kit, a favorite beauty sample company I like is Birchbox…which gets delivered, straight to your door monthly. 

    -Pick Your Weapon: I saw a girl on the subway yesterday…smokey, sultry eye make-up, amazing bright cheek color, and saucy, red, matte lips…and yet, it was SO SO wrong. This is where application, no matter how good, is only as good as concept. Think about what you’re wearing clothing-wise, or what facial feature you want to accentuate, and JUST punctuate that one. Otherwise, you WILL look like one of the children from Toddlers and Tiaras.

    If you want to do a smokey eye, keep the rest of your face neutral (though still polished and accented) and try a nude gloss instead of pairing it with a colored lip. When trying a highly-pigmented (see: bright and thick) shade of lipcolor, make sure you keep eyes simple and wear a cheek color that compliments the shade of lipstick ( if you are doing a warm red lip…steer clear of blush with a cool pink tone, etc). One of my favorite looks this season is a bright, punch of color on the cheeks, simple but exaggerated black liner (top lashes only, for a 1950’s bent), and a light gloss. So pretty and SUPER easy.

    -Bronzer: Everyone looks better with a little. No, you don’t have to change your race but if sunkissed and healthy is not a look you like, I don’t want to be your friend. Even you need some, Anne Hathaway/Renee Zellweger/Uma Thurman. (If you are Anne Hathaway, Renee Zellweger, or Uma Thurman and you are reading my blog, I sincerely apologize and you can go bronzer-less and I will still adore you) My favorite bronzer: NARS Bronzer in Laguna.

    -Filled-In Brows: OK, if I ran for political office, this would be one of my core issues. BROWS. (Yes, this is also why I should never run for political office) Filled in brows get a really bad wrap these days…I blame the Chola community (which I have a particularly strange fondess, for). Every person (EVERY PERSON, ARE YOU LISTENING) should be filling in their brows and setting them with wax or brow mascara. The only way to look perfect polished and finished is with a groomed brow. Gals get scared of filling in their brows for a lot of reasons, but I venture to say, that will the right product, you’ll preach the gospel of brow maintenance one day too. Most people should invest in a good brow powder. It’s the most natural way to fill ‘em in and most powder comes with a wax to set your eyebrows as well. Here’s a good option: Lorac’s Take a Brow.

    OK, enough beauty-related rambling for today…hope this solves some of your make-up woes and if you have specific questions, send them to me at bebetterblogger@gmail.com or send me a tumblr message and I’ll answer them right here!

    xo Chinae

     


  7. Be a Better…Lady.

    Building Fires, Cooking Steaks, and, Changing Tires Edition:

    I have fully functioning female parts. I also can cook a damn good steak. I also have changed a tire and can start a fire properly. These are things that a good woman should know how to do…even if your manfriend does it for you most of the time (and you should let him…send feminist hate mail to bebetterblogger@gmail.com). The secret is in the “knowing”…think of it as hidden lady talents that should you get stuck in the Northwestern woods like Brian Robeson from the literary masterpiece, Hatchet, that you will indeed survive. Although there may be no cars or rib-eyes, that fire thing will help you out indeed. 

    Alright ladies…put your butchest outfit on and let’s get this started…

    Cooking a Good Steak Sans Grill:

    I’m kind of a grill snob at this point in my Texan-turned-New Yorker-life…I’m a sucker for the classic Weber running on charcoal and inevitably too much lighter fluid. BUT, my landlord apparently isn’t super excited with the thought of me rolling my Weber into my living room… so as a strict carnivore, I’ve had to figure out another way to get my beef fix without setting the building on fire. 

    Things you’ll need:

    -A good cut of Steak…don’t even dare come at me with a puny 4oz shell steak that comes in a 4 pack…it’s just embarassing. I’d go with a good marbled rib-eye or a porterhouse if I were you.

    -Butter

    -Salt & Pepper

    -Heavy pan…cast iron preferably.

    Heat your pan up nice and hot…drop a good 2-3 pats of butter into the pan. The butter is going to create a good crust on the outside of your steak so suck it up and know the calories are WORTH IT. While your pan is heating, liberally apply S+P to your steak on both sides. The more the better. Some people think that they need to add all kinds of crazy spices and rubs to their steaks…here’s my theory…treat your steak like a lady. If you need to put a dress on her to make her look decent, the lady may not be quality from the start. Let the natural flavor of the meat be the star. 

    OK, so once we are all seasoned and the pan is all hot and buttery, drop your steak in. NOW WAIT. Seriously. Don’t touch it. Leave it for 3 minutes. Walk away, smoke a cigarette, change your underwear, watch youtube…whatever. Just don’t flip it. By not flipping you are letting a good crust develop on the steak and seal those meaty juices right in there. After 3 minutes, flip your steak and let it cook another 2-3 minutes on the other side. The best (pretty much the only way) to eat a good steak is Rare-Medium Rare. Side Note: If you order steak cooked WELL on a date, we are not probably going to ever work out.

    Now, on to building a FIRE:

    Things You’ll Need:

    -Matches: Keep ‘em dry y’all

    -Tinder ( paper, dry grass, or bark)

    -Kindling ( dry twigs and sticks)

    -Larger Logs (larger pieces of dry timber)

    To start, clear your fire area by digging out a section where the base is down to mostly just dirt…you don’t want to set the whole damn forest on fire, k? The next step is to make a small ball of tinder…my personal fav is bark mixed with leaves. Build with your kindling a small teepee formation around the tinder. Then start building a larger teepee on top of the kindling teepee, with your logs. FYI…you have not lit the fire yet idiots (i hope). Make sure it feels pretty steady and that air can pass through the fire…it’ll be the key to a good roaring pile o’ flames. Last step is light your tinder and enjoy.

    Changing a Tire…in a Dress:

    Things you’ll need:

    -Spare Tire

    -Lug Wrench

    -Jack

    Sh*t. You’ve got a flat tire and you are late to that hot hot date. Get there girl. Pull your arse over to the side of the road (all the way over…don’t become Rodarte roadkill). Take two deep breaths, you’ve got this. Get into your trunk and grab your jack and lug wrench (it’ll be under that weird wool felt lining). Loosen the lugnuts on the your flat (don’t remove, just loosen), with your lug wrench. Use your foot/legs if you haven’t been diligent at the gym about your upper body workouts. 

    Next, place your jack underneath the frame of the car where you will see a flat, small metal plate (usually located directly in front of the rear tires or just behind the front ones). Jack that bad boy up enough to get the tire up off the ground (approx 5-6 inches). Once jacked, remove your lugnuts all the way and pull the tire off the car. Replace it with the spare tire, put the lug nuts back on tight (but not too tightly), lower the jack and return the car to it’s normal position. After the wheel is back on the ground, tighten your lug nuts to their tightest position with the lug wrench. Voila…DATE TIME!

    Cheers to Knowing How To Do It Yourself, and Cheers to NOT Having To!

    Chinae

     


  8. Be a Better…Host.

    Engagement Party Edition:

    There are few occassions more exciting than one of my male friends puttin’ a ring on it. Especially when that ring is: a) ridonkulous 2) perfect 3)going to be attached to one of my bestie’s fingers.

    One of my favorite things to do is put together a lil’ celebratory shindig, and Becky and Victor’s engagement was the PERFECT time to flex my hosting muscle this weekend.

    While Victor was off wining and dining Becky, and popping the question on the High Line…me and a team of friends were at Becky’s apt…revamping and decorating the space so when they walked in an hour and a half later…that we’d be set for a huge SURPRISE and have a 30+ person party humming along. 

    So you want to throw an engagement party for some friends? Here are some tips and tricks to get the job done without too much worry:

    1) Delegate: Know what things to handle and which things to outsource. Example…I am not a baker. I hate baking. I don’t eat carbs. Therefore, me making all the desserts for the event…worst idea ever. Me providing a signature cocktail? MAKES PERFECT SENSE. When you are delegating for an event keep it simple for people to jump on board with what you’re doing. Be specific about what you need from them. Instead of: “bring something to share with the group”…try “please bring desserts and one bottle of something bubbly”. No one wants to have a melt down in the grocery store about what to bring to a party. 

    2) Plan ahead: This takes a little bit of work…but I promise, in the end it will save you time and energy. Sit down and think about the overall vision for the event. Number of guests, theme, color scheme, menu, things you’ll need to DIY, shopping list, and a myriad of other small details. Getting it on paper (or on Polyvore if you are a huge douche like me) really will make you feel more prepared on the big day!

    3) Details: Pick 1-3 special aspects of the event. Whether that be a particular food or drink that you know they love, a gift for the couple, or decorations that echo who they are…you want to remember that this is FOR THEM. This is their day to celebrate, and it should be memorable and have elements of their personality included. For Becky and Vic’s engagement…I added silly details like a ring pop installation to show the light, fun nature of who they are as a couple, and left them with a box of notes I had every guest write to them with well wishes on their engagement for them to read through after we all had left. 

    4) Let loose: EVERYTHING WILL NOT GO AS PLANNED. Know it. Love it. Learn to appreciate it. If you are so hung up on the fact that things may not be going to plan, you will end up making an event about love and joy…more about stress and perfection. Your guests and honored ones WILL feel your tension and the number one rule of being a party planning aficionado is making sure people are having an amazing time.  

    Congrats again to my besties, Becky and Victor. 

    Martha Stewart’s Evil Stepsister Signing Off,

    Chinae