by Natalie Swift December 15, 2020
It is crazy to believe that it is already the fifth day of Hanukkah, and we are now just ten days away from Christmas! While I am ready to have 2020 in my rearview mirror, I want to make sure I appreciate these remaining weeks of the year, and fully embrace the Holidays. For many of us, this Holiday season is not what we pictured or hoped for. Community events (like our own Newport Holiday Stroll) have been cancelled, families are choosing to stay put rather than travel across the country to see each other, and the traditional Holiday party circuit has either been completely cancelled or limited to one's own social "pod." Like for many things this past year, we are asked once again to reset our expectations. The fatigue from the pandemic is particularly challenging at the moment, as this is many people's favorite time of year, but I think we can still enjoy the Holidays, uphold some dear traditions, and even find new ones in this very untraditional year.
The time leading to Christmas has always been my favorite part about the season. Even as a young child I always found it funny when people talked about the joy and excitement of "Christmas morning" because, for me, it has always been the traditions surrounding setting up and creating Christmas. It kicks off with that first time you give yourself permission to listen to your favorite Holiday song, finding a tree farm to handpick your tree, pulling out your box of decorations and feeling the nostalgia they bring, and then taking the time to think about your loved ones and what type of gift (big or small) you think would bring a smile to their face. And then there is the best tradition of them all...having an excuse to entertain or attend a joyful, boisterous gathering of friends and family with no pretense except to laugh and just bask in the moment.
We know these gatherings may look a little different this year...but that doesn't mean they need to be less festive or joyful! In fact, I actually argue they can be even more merry. Rather than just seeing the people that live nearby, or you can easily travel to, you can host a virtual Holiday Party that includes everybody you could ever want to see during the Holidays. Personally, I already have a few virtual get-togethers planned, some with people I haven't seen all year and maybe wouldn't have seen if it was a "regular" Holiday season. There is still time to plan these parties before the end of the Holidays, so I thought I would share my take on how to elevate these hangouts and find unique ways to make them festive and bright.
Obviously I'm a little biased, but one of my favorite parts of any Holiday Party is getting dolled up with everyone and pulling out some seasonal favorites from my closet. I know it may feel a little silly doing this on video chat, but how many video chats have you had this year in loungewear or sweats? Make this one a little extra special, pull out that Holiday outfit that you were hoping to wear, throw on some red lipstick, and have this gathering be absolutely exceptional and festive. I am in LOVE with our current inventory at the shop right now, so whether you are about to attend a gathering of five in-person, or a virtual hangout of 20, we have some celebratory pieces that will be absolutely be perfect for it.
This Black Joan Dress ($178) from Whimsy + Row has been a favorite in the shop and I think she's the absolute perfect pick for a Holiday Party! She is composed of a ribbed modal fabric that is incredibly soft and comfy, but still hugs your curves to create an ultra flattering silhouette. Personally, I love her with the waist belt in front to cinch in for an hourglass look, but you can loosen it up to make room for yummy cocktails and treats! I love the simplicity and timeless style of this dress and while I think she stands alone perfectly, she is simple enough that you can also play with fun jewelry and a bright red lip (my personal favorite is Inspire from Rare Beauty)!
The Sita Eclipse Desi Ankle Dress ($218) from Cleobella is the ultimate party dress. She has such a classic and feminine structure, but her block print makes her a standout and something truly unique and special. I am also in love with the fact that she's composed of 100% organic cotton jersey knit, so she has this effortless movement with just the right amount of structure to maintain her silhouette. This is a piece that I could see myself reaching for time and time again for many special occasions and never tire of wearing her.
Who else loves a little sparkle during the Holidays? I love both of these Show Me Your Mumu dresses so, rather than pick one, I wanted to show both! The Silver Confetti Kimora Wrap Dress ($198) on the left, is one of the most stunning dresses we currently have at the shop. Her details are absolutely incredible with everything from the faux wrap and elastic waistband, the high slit, to even the silver metallic dotted fabric so you don't have the hassle of sequins snagging throughout the night. She's definitely a dress to have a celebration in, and I think would be just the thing to add a little shine to your Holiday party! And then the Dancing Queens Shine Black Ramona Dress ($148) on the right is just as stunning but in slightly subtler ways. She's perfect for an at-home celebration with her relaxed fit so you can feel equally chic and comfy. But then I think she could be styled with a little more playfulness too, whether that be an over-the-knee boot and statement earrings, or even a neon pump for a bright pop-of color to contrast the neutral undertone. Either way, both of these styles are perfect for getting the party started and guaranteeing a fun, celebratory evening!
Can it truly be a Holiday party without a signature drink? Whether you're mixing your signature cocktail, sipping on one glass of wine, or perhaps enjoying the festivities with a cup of hot cocoa in hand, I find that there is something so joyful in indulging in a seasonal drink that warms you from the inside out. Below are just a couple of ideas of fun drinks to cheers with your besties over zoom.
I love to cook, give me a multi-hour 10-step recipe and I will thrive, but when it comes to mixology and creating cocktails I am comically atrocious. That is why I have been admiring our neighbor, Kristen Coates, cocktail mixers for some time now. The Hot Buttered Rum Mix ($20) to me is the perfect choice for a Holiday event if you want something yummy with little effort. All you need to do is add your favorite rum and hot water, to enjoy this decadent, organic blend of butter and spices. Amazingly this small jar is good for 18 mixes, and Kristen is shipping throughout the Holiday Season so you can get it just in time to enjoy all of your upcoming Holiday gatherings!
For those of you more adept at mixology (or perhaps prefer an iced cocktail), we have a DELICIOUS vegan milk punch recipe from Dakota that is about to put all other Holiday cocktails to shame!
To be honest, any type of get together (virtual or not) feels that much more special and precious this season. Even still, here are more tips that I plan to follow to make this season's parties unique from all the rest!
1. Keep it light. If this is a big gathering of friends and/or family that know each other well, why not make it fun and play a game of superlatives? Create a list of funny "Most Likely To" categories and have friends vote in their top picks. Even if you can only get through one round of this before the conversation carries itself elsewhere, at least it's a fun kickoff to the night and something unique that hopefully will get you laughing and smiling. You can even reminisce on the year and discuss the funniest stories from 2020 and how cabin fever has manifested itself (I think I've organized my pantry five times in the past two months).
2. Play a Game. My friends from college love a good game. We have started this tradition of dedicating one night of our reunions to playing a Murder Mystery Party, where we choose a theme, dress as different characters, and play make believe for the evening. While that may be a little tricky to do over video chat, there are so many fun games and activities you can do. From classics like Pictionary and charades, to even creating a trivia night with prizes, a fun game night with friends from across the country could be just the thing you need to get you into a festive and merry spirit.
3. Love. While I am 100% for keeping these gatherings light and joyous, at the same time, I do think there is something to be said for taking the time to reflect and sit in this moment in time with those closest to you. In a year, where I have been physically distant from so many people I love the most, I do feel like (in ways) I have never been closer to them. There is no better time than the Holidays to share your love and appreciation for the people that you cannot wait to give the biggest bear hug once it is safe. Reminisce about the time you first met, dream up the vacation of when you get to see each other again, and make sure that you tell everyone how much they mean to you. This is what the Holidays have always been about - joy and love.
Whether you plan to be curled up by the fireside everyday until Christmas with a good book, or have six virtual hangouts already on the calendar - we want to ensure that this is the best Holiday Season you could ask for! I have certainly been yearning for social gatherings with friends and family, so creating these Holiday Parties is what I need to make it truly merry and joyful. Ask yourself what it is you need for these last weeks of 2020, and treat yourself to it. Be good to yourself and enjoy the brightness of this time - it goes by so fast!
If you're still in need of some gift ideas, we suggest checking out our 2020 Holiday Gift Guide or perusing our Gift Collection! We have so many fun goodies at the shop right now at all price points. Here's to hoping your Holidays are merry and bright!
by Dakota Whitworth May 17, 2021
"Our design team's mood board for Folk Song was filled with, as usual, vintage photographs of muses from the 70s. This time, maybe a reflection of the time it was created, a lot of it was based on open spaces, adventures on the road and nature. A feeling of freedom but in quaint places on the road, the kind of getaway that ends up as dog eared, worn photographs in a family photo album. " - Spell
We are thrilled to reveal Spell's Folk Song collection at harperandtucker.com at the official drop time tonight: Monday, May 17 at 8pm EST!
by Natalie Swift May 05, 2021
by Dakota Whitworth April 26, 2021