Infusing grandeur into otherwise drab Mondays with five things/ideas/events for the week:

I.  Of all the ways to celebrate New Years Eve, a lavish dinner party with friends has always been my favorite (surprise, surprise). I adore making the guest list filled with people I love, finding the perfect recipes, ordering cheesy top hats, tiaras, and noisemakers, making resolutions together, and drinking far too much champagne. This year, I will be packing up my car and doing all of these things with eight friends in snowy Lake Tahoe. On the menu: Blinis with Caviar and Meyer Lemon Creme Fraiche, Mushroom Bisque with Shaved Black Truffle and Truffle Foam, Beurre Rouge Filet Mignon with Pommes Puree, and Caramelized Vanilla Poached Pears with Gramercy Tavern’s Gingerbread (made with Guinness and dark molasses). For tips on planning your own New Years Eve dinner party take a peek at my post from a few years ago.

II.  If you’re looking for something slightly less elaborate, host your friends for a champagne toast before heading out to bars and parties. Serve Crab Rangoons, which are typically outrageously unhealthy between the cream cheese and deep-fried deliciousness. The best part of my version is that they are baked rather than fried, making them less sinful than their greasy counterpart - but equally scrumptious (I promise).

III.  Finding a dress for New Years Eve is always daunting. Celebratory sparkle is a go-to, but halfway through the evening I typically want to go home and put on something more comfortable than heavy sequins and beading. A little black dress never fails, yet somehow doesn’t feel special enough for the holiday. But black plus layers of tulle is the pinnacle of NYE chic. The Opal Dress by up and coming designer Camilyn Beth is similarly perfect for birthdays. I can’t wait till mine arrives!

IV.  Speaking of celebrations, every single person I know got engaged last week (at least according to Facebook). This means that I’ll be planning several bridal showers this spring - including one for my little brother’s fiancee! In researching ideas to make the brides-to-be feel extra special, I came across a darling company called PaperFlora specializing in paper flower backdrops. I love the idea of using the backdrop as a setting for photos. Stick with bridal white, or choose from dozens of colors (using the wedding palette could be a sweet touch).

V.  Spending time with my family over the last month for the holidays left me feeling particularly childish. I’m embracing this impish streak and heading to a pop-up party at Romper Room on Maiden Lane in March where the bar will be transformed into a giant ball pit (think Chuck E. Cheese minus minors, plus booze). Get your tickets soon because it’s already partially sold out.

Have a wonderful week and a happy new year!  xx tt