Luck O’ the Irish!

Ah, yes, St. Patrick’s Day – the day when everyone is Irish! Most days of the year, you probably don’t want to drink green beer or dress like a leprechaun, but this is an exception. March 17 provides an opportunity to be as crazy as you want without having to explain yourself – or your ancestry.  If you’re having trouble deciding what look you want to go far, look no further – help is here! Whether you’re bold or subtle, everyone can sport a charming look on this magical day.

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Wear Your Lucky Charms

If you want to be more subtle, accessories are the perfect way to show your Irish spirit. Consider a green derby hat. They’re easy to find, cheap, and in some cases disposable if you get a plastic one. What you should do, however, is get one that you can wear year after year! You can also carry around your own miniature pot of gold and hand it out as a party favor. Chocolate gold coins would be splendid for this.

pot-of-gold

Make Them Green With Envy

If you’re feeling a little sultry or going to a grown-up party, release your inner sexy lass! It’s fun to dress up and draw a little attention to yourself once in a while – you’ll be everyone’s good luck charm! For extra fun, make four leaf clover notes with Irish sayings to hand out to fellow party people.

Ireland

Erin go Bragh!

If you want to go all out, think of every Irish thing you can wear and put it on! You can use face paint, a wig, or anything else you think of to pay tribute to the isle across the Atlantic. Whatever you do, do so with enthusiasm and speak in your best Irish accent. It may not be accurate but nobody else’s will be either, so you can all laugh together as you sing late into the evening.

 

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Mardi Gras Madness!

Before some people fast for Lent, they like to party. You’ve seen their colorful beads and festive makeup – typically it comes in shades of purple, gold and green. Mardi Gras season is upon us and it’s sure to be a wild time. Whether you’re going out on the town or celebrating at home, you can’t do it without getting dressed up! Here are some ideas to help you get in the spirit of things.

MardiGrasMakeup

Shake up the Makeup

If there ever was a time to get crazy, it’s Mardi Gras. Forget subtle shades of eye shadow – this is your chance to be bold. Three words: gold glitter lipstick – the brighter the better. If you want to paint your face, try a combination of purple and green. You could do half and half or color your face in four different sections. Whatever you do, use your imagination! This is not the time to be conservative.

mardi-gras-clown-and-flapper-couples-costume

Dress to Impress

The same rules that apply to your makeup apply to your outfit. If you don’t have something in Mardi Gras colors, consider renting from a costume shop. It’s crucial to dress up in proper colors and they should have plenty of things in stock. For a more classic appearance, try a Mardi Gras-themed flapper girl look. For something more unique, dress up in costume as a clown or jester.

kingcake (1)

Bake a Cake

Many celebrations call for festive food, and Mardi Gras is no different. A King Cake will make the perfect centerpiece for the food table, and you can have as much fun with it as you want. It’s a traditional dessert and has religious significance for some, but whether it’s part of a specific observation or just a good time, your party won’t be complete without one. Depending on the number of guests at the party, you may want to have more than one.

No matter what you decide to do for your Mardi Gras party, do it with gusto! Encourage your guests to come in costume and make it an event to remember. Whether you’re hosting the event yourself or helping someone else plan, be creative and enjoy yourself – like every other holiday, it only comes once a year!

 

 

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A February to Remember

Valentine’s Day is less than a month away. Too many people let this opportunity for festivities pass them by – there are lots of great ways to celebrate! A romantic dinner by candlelight may come to mind, but this year, consider something a little different: throw a love-themed party. If you’re available, invite the object of your affection. If you’re part of a couple, invite all of your single friends and play matchmaker. You don’t need to end up with the love of your life at the end of the evening for it to be a success – but who knows?

VDAYDecorations

Decorate

Getting your placed dressed up for V-Day is pretty straightforward. Lots of red, pink and hearts will get you there, and you can use construction paper to make unique decorations if you feel like going the DIY route. If you want to go the extra mile, put your favorite quotes about love from literature and film all over the walls. If partygoers correctly identify where the quotes come from, have a prize ready! There’s nothing like a little incentive to get the party moving.

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Food is Love

No party is complete without something to eat. Chocolate fondue is a timeless treat, as well as heart-shaped sugar cookies. Have unfrosted ones ready to go with plenty of frosting, sprinkles and conversation hearts ready to go so people can create their own edible love notes. Have candy dishes throughout, filled with a wide variety of sweets. If you can, find fortune cookies with romantic fortunes.

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Play Cupid

I couldn’t possibly suggest you go to a party without dressing up. There are plenty of Valentine’s Day costumes you can wear, but nothing beats Cupid. You can take a cute approach or something sultry, but be sure to include the ever important bow and arrow accessory. Even if your arrow doesn’t hit the mark, your charm certainly will.

No matter what your romantic situation is, enjoy yourself! Nothing is more attractive than a confident individual who likes to have fun. And don’t forget to save your decorations and use them for next year.

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Stirring Up Those Stardust Memories

If you’re feeling at a loss for how to get your costume on after Halloween, vintage costumes are an excellent choice. They’re not easily classified as either a costume or an outfit—they’re kind of both, really. And depending on how dramatic your friends tend to be, you may not feel like you’re dressing up at all! They’re perfect for holiday parties.

Many of us remember watching movies like “The Sound of Music” and “It’s a Wonderful Life,” growing up. Why did the women look so well put-together in those films? Well, it’s probably because they were set in the nineteen thirties and forties—back when tailoring was put front and center. Every piece—whether a skirt, a blouse, or a jacket—was exquisitely fitted, hemmed, and just…elegant, it seemed.

One popular style, as seen above on Donna Reed’s character Mary Hatch from “It’s a Wonderful Life,” is the tailored dress with a straight skirt and Peter Pan or embroidered/lacey white collar.  It’s a dress that’s easy to find both patterns and reproductions of, online, since it was such a popular style.

Another popular style was the dress suit, made up of a tailored, fitted wool jacket and a skim pencil skirt that fell just below the knee or at the knee:

Part of the reason for this was the fact that, first during the Great Depression, then during World War II, money was scarce and clothing was eventually being rationed, which led to creative problem solving in sewing.  For example, department stores sold patterns for transforming men’s suits into women’s clothing.

 

And don’t forget the hat!  It seems that hats in the thirties and forties were always worn at an angle—with hats in the thirties being a bit smaller than hats in the forties, which more closely resembled a man’s fedora than the smaller velvet and feathered caps of the twenties and thirties, which seemed to be intended more for decoration than function.

Although we no longer need to deal with rationing, you could probably guess that a faithful reproduction of these vintage looks could get a bit pricey, unless you’re creative.  So—how can you put together a convincing 1930s or 1940s outfit without breaking the bank?

The first possibility is to make it yourself!  There are numerous sites out there that provide vintage sewing patterns, starting from the early 1900s and going through the nineteen-thirties and forties to the end of the 20th century.  However, if you’re not as handy with a needle and thread, there are plenty of sources for vintage reproduction clothing: Puttin’ on the Ritz and Vintage Dancer are two good sources for new imitations of classic women’s styles.

Finally, it of course is always a possibility to go out and find the real thing—provided, of course, that you’re willing to be patient!  You may have to shell out a pretty penny, however—as they used to say—but it’ll likely be worth it, if only to channel the life and personality of the former owner!  Eek!

Seriously speaking, vintage clothes hunting can become a time-consuming pastime, but you can obtain genuine pieces either online or locally, at vintage and antique stores.  Most online sources of vintage clothing are either private sellers or tied to a particular store from which items are shipped. However, if you’re going to invest in the genuine article, so to speak, it’s worth the time to try the clothes on—which is why I recommend either finding an outfit in person or making sure the pieces you obtain online fit your measurements exactly.

Best of luck channeling your inner Lauren Bacall for those holiday parties!  Now go forth and put on the ritz!

Posted in Women's Costumes, Women's Fashion | 1 Comment

Have a Very Scary Christmas

Christmas is a big deal. If holidays are kids at school, Christmas is the most popular kid of all – everyone wants to be their friend and anticipation surrounds every move they make. Once Halloween is over, all the attention is devoted to December 25th; Thanksgiving seems to be merely a speed bump on the road to Christmas. Conventional wisdom would suggest Christmastime requires strictly traditional themes and activities. I’m here to tell you there’s room for Halloween-related ideas even when it’s time to deck the halls.

Have_A_Killer_Christmas_by_liquid_venom

Have a killer Christmas…

The Weather Inside is Frightful

Decorations are part and parcel of both Halloween and Christmas. Just because it’s not October anymore doesn’t mean the living room can’t be macabre. Instead of snow globes, put a Santa hat on a skull. In place of reindeer, try little spiders on stretched-out sheets of cotton for a faux-snow arachnid look. Basically, take any Halloween decoration and add a little Christmas flair – or vice versa – and you’re there.

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Run, run, as fast as you can…

Season’s Eatings

There is nary a seasonal party without snacks. Everyone enjoys something to munch on and hors d’oeuvres can be a great conversation piece.  Lil’ smoky sausages could be called Reindeer Guts. Miniature breadsticks with marinara sauce = Chopped Elf Fingers. The possibilities are endless here, so use your imagination. Silly snacks are a great way to break the ice at any gathering and the mixture of jolly and gory will give people plenty to talk about.

A Rob Zombie Claus

A Rob Zombie Claus

Ho Ho Horrifying

Christmas party attendees are often encouraged to wear ugly sweaters or elf costumes and there is almost always a Santa Claus in the house. Want to spice up the gathering? Show up as Zombie Claus – the kids will think twice about being naughty. You can also take inspiration from Tim Burton’s masterpiece The Nightmare Before Christmas – any character will do. Try mixing and matching: show up as Frosty the Snowman, but hold your head a la the Headless Horseman.

There’s no need to lament the fact that Halloween is over. You can incorporate all of your ghoulish ideas into current Christmas festivities and you may even be lauded for your uniqueness during a time when things can get fairly predictable.

Posted in Holiday Costumes, Other Holidays | 1 Comment

Post Halloween Shenanigans — Baking for the Holidays

It’s not easy for me to admit Halloween is over. I absolutely loathe letting the season go. However, time marches forward and so must I!

My all encompassing love of Halloween doesn’t completely overshadow the joy I find in other holidays — particularly Thanksgiving and Christmas. I love to bake. Like, I really, really love to bake. The holiday season is the absolute perfect excuse to bake until I drop, and believe me, I plan to.

As a domestic baking machine, there are a few tools I find I need more than one of to keep work moving seamlessly. Frosting tips, rubber spatulas, cupcake pans, round cake pans, silicone baking mats, whisks (all the whisks!), and aprons.

The lovely folks over at Sin in Linen sent me an apron, pot holder, and oven mitt from their Skull Star Kitchen Linens set for review, and I have to say that I was mightily impressed.

Skull Star Apron

Skull Star Apron

The apron was a bit starchy when I received it, so I ran it through the laundry and it came out super soft. I wasn’t expecting anything fancy, so I was pleasantly surprised by the adorable bow on the pocket (a pocket which fit my phone perfectly) and the ruffle at the bottom. Unfortunately, because of the dark color, you can’t see either of those lovely attributes in my photo.

The only downside to the apron is….well, it’s black. It shows flour in spectacular fashion. However, I launder my aprons regularly, so it’s not a huge problem for me. Besides, aprons are meant to get dirty — it’s their job to protect your clothing.

Skull Star Oven Mitt & Pot Holder

Skull Star Oven Mitt & Pot Holder

The oven mitt and pot holder did their jobs well. I used them to slide out the hot oven rack and remove silicone cake pans while baking. In typical fashion, I felt a bit of warmth, but nothing came remotely close to burning me.

One of the major reasons I love baking is that I have a crazy sweet tooth. After testing out my new kitchen linens, I enjoyed a slice of warm pumpkin cake with vanilla bean brown sugar frosting. It was dee-licious!

Yum!

Yum!

 

I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. 

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All-American Halloween Twitter Chat with BBC America!

This past week, I got a ridiculously exciting email from Ruth Margolis, a positively lovely writer for BBC America.

On Wednesday, October 29th, I’ll be taking part in a Twitter chat on the concept of an all-American Halloween. We’ll probably talk traditions, crafts, costume and party ideas- whatever you guys want! Ruth wrote a really neat article that kicked off the idea, called 13 Hacks for the Perfect American Halloween that you should go read to get pumped.

A bit of background: #MindtheChat is a weekly Twitter chat hosted by BBC America’s very cool blog called Mind the Gap, which talks about American and British culture. Its tagline is “A Brit’s guide to surviving in America.”

Mind the Gap

Go read some of their stuff- it’s pretty hilarious. Here’s one of my favorite quotes from one of Ruth’s articles, “10 Things Brits Say… and What Americans Think We Mean“:

7. What we say: “I got off with this fit bird.”
What Americans hear: “I disembarked with an athletic pigeon.”

Don’t expect Americans to even attempt a translation here. But if they do manage to guess that “got off with” means “made out with”, be sure to clarify that what you mean by “bird.”

And then please stop by and talk with us about the all-American Halloween on Twitter, from 2-3pm EST, on Wednesday. Follow the conversation by using the hashtag #MindTheChat 

Words cannot express how excited I am for this Twitter chat, but perhaps Jeremy Renner can:

Yup, that’ll do.

Thank you so much, Ruth, for this incredible opportunity! I feel very honored to be asked to be part of this. And thank you, everybody, for reading and loving Halloween as much as I do. See you Wednesday!

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My Horror Movie Survival Kit

Halloween is quickly approaching and I’ve been binge watching horror movies on Netflix to celebrate. The nice folks over at Man Crates (a company that ships awesome gifts in crates that you have to open with a crowbar) recently asked me what I’d put in my horror movie survival kit, and thanks to my marathon movie watching, I had a few ideas on hand.

Tallahassee has the right idea!

Weapons

If I’m fighting zombies, I’m clearly going to need something to cause blunt trauma – a shovel, billy club, baseball bat, etc. I’m leaning toward the baseball bat, though. They’re built tough and fit the hand nicely.

For run-of-the mill, chainsaw wielding serial killers, a shotgun and ammo is always nice to have on hand. You want a bit of distance between you and the psycho murderer, so anything that requires you to get in close is out of the question.

Last but not least, you need something for your supernatural foes. A silver cross, stake, and a super soaker full of holy water should do the trick.

And even if it doesn’t do you any real good, a katana always looks super cool.

Camo won’t save you from Predator…

Camouflage

If there’s one thing I’ve learned from nature, it’s that you need to blend in when being hunted by a predator. To disappear into forest foliage when being chased by a Jason-like-killer, green camo clothing is a must. Fitting in with a zombie hoard is a bit harder, but a little dirt, zombie blood, and a convincing, shuffling gait will go a long way.

I’m pretty sure you can’t hide from vampires, though…

Beer. Beer will keep you alive.

Things to Keep You Alive

Food and fresh water are kind of a no brainer. A canteen, water source, collapsible pot, and ferro rod fire starter will ensure that you always have clean drinking water.

Food’s a little trickier when you’re on the run. My husband recently stumbled across Soylent, which although expensive, would be badass in a survival situation. I’m pretty sure it’s not made of people, but don’t quote me on it.

As a woman that frequently finds herself in the wrong shoes for the occasion, a good pair of running shoes is a requirement for getting away from the bad guys.

And to keep all this stuff together, a backpack would come in real handy.

In the end, I’m not overly worried about surviving a horror movie – because, like Santa Clause, they’re not real. If they were, this survival kit of mine would be completely useless. I’d totally be the first person to die.

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Guest Post — 4 Ways to Prepare for a Haunted House This Halloween

Today we have a little treat! A guest post from the lovely Katelyn Darrow! I’m a big fan of haunted houses, and Katelyn has some wonderful tips on preparing for these wonderful attractions.

It was interesting to see my favorite horror movies come to life!

It was interesting to see my favorite horror movies come to life!

It’s the season of screams and scares! Halloween is fast approaching, and one of the best ways to get into the spirit of the spooky holiday is to visit a haunted house attraction. I recently went to (and survived) Universal Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights, and it was a terrifying experience! This year’s Halloween Horror Nights offered 8 different haunted houses, in addition to outrageous live shows and horrifying street experiences. Although it’s difficult to prepare for a scary ordeal like a haunted house or spooky attraction, there are a few things you can do to make the most of your experience. Whether you’re planning a trip to Orlando, Florida for the award-winning Halloween Horror Nights, or visiting a local haunted house, use my tips below to get ready!

Wear Sneakers

Be sure to dress comfortably, especially when it comes to footwear. When you’re fending off zombies, vampires, cannibals, and more, you will NOT want to be tripping in your stiletto heels and mini-skirt. Haunted attractions oftentimes have tight spaces or uneven terrain, so dressing in active-wear will keep you from slipping.

Stay Hydrated

Going through a scary attraction can be exhausting! Keep sipping water throughout, because running from bloodthirsty vampires and being chased by evil clowns will have your adrenaline pumping.

Posing with the "Support the Purge" bus. The sets were extremely realistic!

Posing with the “Support the Purge” bus. The sets were extremely realistic!

Watch Horror Films

I have a love-hate relationship when it comes to scary movies. Although I’m not very well-versed when it comes to the horror genre, I’ve certainly seen a few unforgettable scary flicks. Watching frightening movies beforehand may give you an idea of what to expect before going into a haunted attraction. Several of Universal Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights houses are based on popular scary films, including sci-fi thriller Alien Vs. Predator, John Carpenter’s classic Halloween, and a new movie called Dracula Untold, coming to theaters on October 10th. There were also houses based on frightful TV shows like Dusk Till Dawn and AMC’s hit show The Walking Dead. One of my favorite attractions was an outdoor scare zone based on The Purge, where you felt like you were experiencing the chaotic 12-hour purging period. Watching a few of these films and television shows in advance gave me a little peek at what to expect.

Have Fun

I think the most important part is to enjoy yourself and have a blast. When you’re going to a scary Halloween attraction, bring your bravest friends along and scream at the top of your lungs!

 

Katelyn Darrow is a teen blogger who enjoys writing about a variety of topics. She thinks Halloween is a fun holiday, although she gets spooked very easily! One of her favorite things to do during the fall season, in the weeks leading up to Halloween, is watch horror films (hiding under a blanket and peeking through her fingers, of course).

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10 Fun & Creative Couples Costumes

If you’re planning to spend this Halloween with your bestie or significant other, you might want to consider dressing as a pair. If you need some inspiration, look no further than these ten awesome duos.

1.) Double Rainbow

So intense!

2.) Mary Poppins & Bert

It’s supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!

3.) The Price is Right

Come on down!

4.) John & Yoko

A double fantasy.

5.) Daria & Jane

It’s a sick sad world.

6.) The Red & Pink Power Rangers

Go, go Power Rangers!

7.) The Fairly Odd Parents

Wands and wings and floaty crowny things!

8.) The Fantastic Mr. & Mrs. Fox

You know, you really are… fantastic.

9.) The Grady Sisters

Redrum!

10.) Jon Snow & Ygritte

You know nothing.

 

Share your favorite couples costumes in the comments below. Bonus cookies for pictures!

Posted in Adult costumes, Halloween Costumes, Halloween Costumes For Men, Halloween Costumes For Women | Tagged | 2 Comments