We all have mixed feelings about New Year resolutions but most of us love NYE parties. And what’s a party without some champagne? (Also it’s the only thing that doesn’t give me a raging hangover the day after). And because it’s National Champagne Day, I’ve also jotted down TA’s favorite champagnes and where to find them. Because no matter where you’re celebrating NYE tonight, make sure you do it in style.
1. Lanson Pink Label
Think the lightest of rosés corked into the prettiest pink bottle. A bold floral scent with subtle floral and red berry flavors with just a touch of acidity. A history note: The Lanson house dates back to 1760 and was awarded the Royal Warrant in 1860 by Queen Victoria. To this day, they supply the British Royal family with their famed champagne. So, it’s safe to say this label knows its stuff.
2. Veuve Clicquot Brut Yellow Label
Never boring, buttery like a biscuit with a hint of candied lemon zest. Don’t you dare try to age this champagne, enjoy it for its fresh crispness. The best part: Clicquot is famed not only for its divine wine but for the courageous woman behind it. Widowed at 27 in 1805, Madame Clicquot took over her husband’s business and under her management and cleverness, she transformed the company into the powerhouse it is today.
I’m also in love with the creativity that still exists in this brand, even their box designs are spectacularly adorable.
3. Artéis&Co 1999
For an especially grand occasion ($500, oof), go for the 1997 Champagne Salon. If you can find it. The bottle, rebelliously designed by French graffiti artist André Saraiva, is liquid gold packing punchy apple aromatics. Then it melts on your tongue and we hope you have something to hold onto when it does.
4. Dom Pérignon 2004
The granddaddy of champagnes according to every bottle-popping enthusiast. Toasty brioche and almond notes with a long, smoky aftertaste (one of the reasons its so coveted). When you first pop this Dom open, you get a whiff of peaches, which is enough to get anyone salivating.
5. Perrier-Jouët Belle Epoque
Silky, slightly spicy and effortlessly elegant. Discovered this champagne when someone opened a bottle mid-cake binging. Now I can never eat chocolate torte any other way.
In case you waited ’til the last minute (again, don’t worry, we did too), here are a few essentials to party in style tonight:
Feature photo by Dream Create
This year I’m kissing all New Year’s resolutions goodbye and never looking back. I’m bored of the bucket lists that crop up on Facebook statuses come January 1st. Making the vow to go hit the gym every day is about as realistic as believing you’re going to only eat half that slice of cake — you know very well you’re going to inhale the divine thing in one sitting.
Want to know what I’m wearing? Outfit post coming soon on TA.
In fact, I’m willing to bet that New Year’s resolutions can be the worst thing ever. They’re vague and nebulous, shiny trophies teasing you from a distant future when you have yet to take the first step towards them. This daunting list of goals we draft every year takes a sharp jab at our flaws and the parts about us that we don’t really like. So, we go about setting up these grand schemes that only 8 percent of us are actually successful in achieving, while the rest of us fall into a cycle of self-shaming when we don’t follow through.
Well, I’ve had enough. Instead of starting the new year with half-hearted promises, I’d like to propose something daringly simple: let’s live in the here and now, shall we?
Instead of “I want to make ‘X’ amount of money this year,” focus on what you learn from your mistakes and victories along the way, not the loot you end up with.
Instead of “I’m losing ‘X’ pounds,” make eating healthy and taking walks around the park a lifestyle, not a short term goal.
Instead of declaring that this is the year you’ll fall in love, appreciate every relationship/one-night stand/whathaveyou and write your experiences down in a journal. Every person we meet and let into our world is a chapter in our never-ending messy love lives. By the way, messy is a good thing. Because life’s messy, not a Katherine Heighl rom-com where everything ties neatly into place at the end and where she always ends up with the hot guy.
Also, stop telling yourself that this is they year you’re going to take that trip to Paris but never make any actual plans. Start saving a small chunk of your paycheck every time and in six months (and some savvy flight sleuthing) you’ll be on your way to the Louvre. Of course, the list goes on but when it ends is up to you.
So, do yourself a favor and bid those resolutions a gracious adieu. Who said we ambitionistas need a calender to tell us when and how to do things?
PS: And here are a few fashion finds to keep you fabulous all 365 days of the year. Cheers!
It’s Christmas tomorrow and I keep going down my mental checklist of things to do. Presents wrapped and mailed? Check. Flights booked? Check. Party details sorted? Check. Still, my mind keeps wandering back to the unanswered emails in my inbox and the unfinished projects I left back at the office. I know, I know. Every “thought piece” on the internet these days tells you to unplug, unwind, and let go.
Pfft, easier said than done. It’s hard to untangle yourself from the 9 to 5 when your brain is so used to being on and so unfamiliar to the idea of being on holiday. Whenever this mental checklist of mine gets overwhelming, I take a walk along the beach, which just so happens to be in my backyard.
It’s moments like this, when I get to feel the sand beneath my feet and watch the waves calmly wash onto the shore, that make me grateful to be living in Santa Monica. The winters here in California are rarely colder than 60 degrees and more often than not, you’ll get days where the afternoon is a warm 80 degrees.
Sure, we don’t have snow and I do sometimes miss the magic of a winter wonderland. Yet the truth is that you really can’t beat sandals in the middle of December. It’s not unusual to see Angelinos (LA natives) wandering in light slacks, a comfy tee and a cardigan during our “chilly” winters. For this particular stroll, I went with Zara flower print drawstring pants (which may or may not also be part of my summer wardrobe), a Ralph Lauren champagne-taupe cardigan over a white tank, Oliver Peoples sunglasses, and leather sandals.
Ralph Lauren Champagne-Taupe Cardigan sold out but similar here
White Tank similar here
Zara Flower-Printed Drawstring Pants alas! also sold out but similar here & here
Oliver Peoples Emmy-Style Sunglasses
Leather sandals similar, and achingly summer-ready, here & here
Photos by Sarah Hadley
Merry Christmas Ambitionistas!
For those (un)lucky ambitionistas in charge of planning this year’s office party, don’t worry. Skip the cold meat and cheese plates, stale gingerbread cookies and awkward conversation with the nervous intern in the cubicle next to you. Instead of booking a table of 40 at the Cheesecake Factory (yikes), plan something memorable that’ll have coworkers touting your cleverness and looking forward to next year’s party.
If all else fails, chocolate is a perfectly acceptable holiday meal
As always, TA has you covered, from head to heel.
White Christmas Party
Rent a space large enough to fit everyone in your office. Dress tables with white tablecloths, gold silverware and white roses as centerpieces. Hang snowflakes from the ceiling, accenting with gold and silver ornaments to add a festive sparkle. Let everyone know ahead time that the dress code is all-white formal, so think elegant white dresses and maybe a pretty blue one just because. You can send a mass invite to the entire office via email or add a personal touch with paper invites tucked in envelopes. Hey, might as well put that office printer into good use.
For food, stick to classics for entrees — roasted chicken, sauteed vegetable, etc. — but go wild on the desserts. Remember, it’s an all-white theme. So, choose heavenly coconut cakes, white chocolate martinis, and a white chocolate fountain to dip strawberries and marshmallows.
Christmas by the Beach
Sometimes, all that snow and chilly weather can get you down. Create a mini getaway for your officemates this year by throwing a beach-themed Christmas party. BHG has a lovely compilation of seashell-ready holiday decor. Encourage everyone to show up in Hawaiian t-shirts, beach dresses and sandals. Hand out leis as party favors and prep the bar for tequila sunrises and other summery cocktails.
Spread some feel-good cheer and throw a toy drive for a local charity. Ask guests to bring one gift item — teddy bears, toy trains, legos, etc. — and place everyone’s presents underneath a large Christmas tree. Since the theme focuses on a more traditional occasion, line the walls with strings of lights and garland, playing up the classic red and green colors throughout the room. Designate a table for hors d’oeuvres and drinks. For small plate inspiration, check out Bon Appetit’s holiday-appropriate recipes to ensure an office party victory.
White Elephant Gift Exchange
White elephant exchanges are a great way to stir up friendly fire at office parties. Keep gifts at a $25 minimum and make sure you have plenty of hot cocoa to enjoy while you watch everyone fight over a cardboard cut out of John Stamos (happened once, t’was hilarious).
Up the ante of the usual potluck party by turning it into a competition and setting up a few rules: All dishes must be homemade, no safety pies allowed. The person who shows up with the best dish can win a gift basket filled with goodies or a cash prize of $50. This is one of the easier parties to set up, since the entire office helps out with the food. Plus, it ensures that everyone brings something reasonably tasty — no cold veggie trays here.
Outdoor S’mores Roast
Move the party outdoors and throw a s’mores roast. You can either carpool or have everyone meet at a designated area. Choose a setting that’s relaxed, lots of beaches have fire pits available for the public and deserts make great landscapes for a memorable party. Once everyone gets settled and the fire is roaring, pass along a tray of graham crackers, chocolate pieces and marshmallows. Just don’t forget the skewers!
Ugly Sweater Party
Like the potluck party, turn this ugly sweater party into an office contest. You’ll be surprised by the effort and creativity of your coworkers and there’s nothing like friendly competition to get people into a festive spirit.
Style Note: Boden Fabulous festive sweater
For a more playful take on holiday feasting, organize a post-Christmas brunch office party for when everyone gets back from the holidays. It’s ideal, as more restaurants open up after the 25th and besides, who doesn’t appreciate delicious mimosas and maple-soaked french toast? If possible, reserve one long table that can fit everyone in your office and have the dishes prepared family style, so that people are encouraged to share. This creates a relaxed atmosphere and the perfect setting for lively conversation.
Keep the attire casual yet smart — cardigans, sunglasses, etc. — so that you can nurse any eggnog hangovers in peace.
We’d love to hear what your holiday office plans are this year.
If you have any cheeky ideas for a party, let us know in the comments.