Sweet Little Winter Care Package Gift Idea + Oreo Cheesecake Cookies

This past week, my family and I celebrated Valentine’s Day together. Because I baked cookies and cupcakes and we had a little candy station for our party, I didn’t want to gift them too much candy either. I mean your girl loves chocolate just as much as the next person, but I mean how much can I person really have? So I thought a bit and decided on doing a little Winter Care Package for each of them. When I think of Winter, I think of a few essentials we all may need to reach for during the daily chill. And I know not everyone thinks to carry those things with them. So I thought I’d do a little something to help my loved ones out. This was my little way of saying… “Hey I love you. Keep safe and warm this Winter.” 😉

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Things I Included: Chapstick, a pack of tissues (these came with some cute inspirational sayings!), a travel sized lotion, hand sanitizer, and some watermelon flavored cough drops. I put all of those things together securing it in these cute heart printed cellophane bags. Next, I included a hot chocolate packet for those cold winter nights, a scratch-off for some fun, and of course just a bit of Valentine’s Day chocolate. 

I made them for my Mom, Dad, Brother, Sister in Law and Aunt. So I had two versions- one for the guys and one for the ladies.

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The Guy’s Version^

 

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The Ladies’ Version ^

 

I found these cute decorative paper bags and Valentine’s Day stickers, and cards. And decided why not be super cutesy and nostalgic and write some Valentine’s to the people who I love most. I know Valentine’s Day is very much marketed as a couple’s holiday but love is all over. It comes in different relationships and bonds. And my family and I have always treated it like that. I love my family and I love that even though I don’t need a special day to show that. I still like that there is a holiday solely dedicated to showing love. It’s just a way to make sure in the craziness of this life, we stop and show our love to those who treasure. No matter the type of relationship.  

 

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Onto the cookies I made for Valentine’s Day. I got the recipe from a Pinterest pic, but the recipe that was linked was this one HERE, with the additional step of adding a few drops of red food coloring.

Pinterest inspo…of course…

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[NOT MY IMAGE]

 

My baking process…

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This was only a 5 ingredient cookie recipe and it was pretty simple. Also…they are DELCIOUS, my whole family really enjoyed them! 

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Happy Love Day! ❤

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Hope this little winter care package idea comes in handy if you’re looking for a little something to give a loved one. And I hope you give this cookie recipe a try. I’m sure you can make them for any holiday, if you alter the color! Enjoy!

 

*All other images are my own.*

-<3-

 

Love is…

 

CLICK HERE for an I LOVE YOU Playlist. ❤

 

two souls combining

weathering all storms of fear and uncertainty

Love is

having patience and understanding

Love is

opening doors and buying flowers just because

Love is

a look, a whisper, a touch

Love is fire

Love is rain

Love is friendship

Love is pain

Love is passion

Love is comfortable silence

Love is an embrace like no other

Happy Valentine’s Day! 

*I do not take credit for the image used.*

-<3-

“Belated Love”

BLOGGER’S NOTE: I have to apologize for being MIA this past week. I think this is the longest I’ve gone without posting in quite a while. But I am recently dealing with some changes in my life and it’s seriously taking over all of my mentality. So blogging has kind of taken a back seat, while I get acclimated. It’s not something I set out to let happen, but it just had to. And instead of getting mad at myself, I decided to just accept it and move onto giving you guys fun and new content. I have had this little story waiting to be posted for you guys since Valentines Day. It was supposed to go up last Sunday on Valentine’s Day but then things got crazy and I pushed it to Monday but then I got sick last week and posting just didn’t happen at all last week. And although that saddens my heart, I am human and sometimes in times of great stress and change, we need to give ourselves a mental/emotional break to just be. So I hope you are still with me, this short is finally ready to post so I present to you “Belated Love”- A short love story following  Melanie and Grayson’s journey to finding each other again.

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Mel &amp; Grayson

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Valentine’s Day 2015

Melanie walks hand in hand with her boyfriend Grayson as the city lights twinkle alongside them.

“Did you enjoy your dinner?” he asks smiling over at her.

“I really did… but the dessert was my favorite part.”

“Oh I could tell, I know how much you love your chocolate,” he smiles letting out a small laugh.

“And Valentine’s Day is the perfect excuse for indulging with little- to no shame,” she replies, laughing.

“No shame. None. You- are perfect,” Grayson says stopping and turning to her. He takes her hands in his and pulls her toward him. “I love you. Happy Valentines Day.”

“I love you,” she says smiling brightly as Grayson kisses her.

Grayson and Melanie continue walking as they enter Central Park, the cold crisp air kissing their faces.

“Are you cold?” Grayson asks looking over at her.

“Just my hands. I forgot my gloves,” She says rolling her eyes at her own forgetfulness.

“Come here. Give me your hands.”

Melanie holds her hands out to him, he takes them in his and brings them to his lips as he breathes on them, trying to warm her up.

Melanie looks at him her eyes smiling with love.

“Thank you,” she says kissing him.

“My pleasure,” he smiles “Actually I should have a pair of gloves in my pockets somewhere. Here- let me, see, …”

Grayson begins checking his pockets. He pulls out a ring box and hands it to Melanie.

“Can you hold that a minute?”

Melanie’s eyes lock onto Grayson’s. Her face in complete shock.

Grayson continues to pretend to look for gloves.

“Oh whoops, guess I left my gloves at home too.”

He smiles looking at her, he begins to kneel down on his knee.

Melanie’s breath catches in her throat as she looks away in awe.

“Oh my god” she says, standing there- frozen.

Grayson takes the box from her hand and opens it revealing a large sparkling diamond ring.

“Mel, I love you so much. You and I are amazing together. I know that we may not always be on the same page about everything but you are the only person who I actually want to fight all my fights with. You amaze me every day, and I want to spend the rest of my life with you. Will you marry me?”

“Are you serious?” she asks as he slides the ring on her shaking hand.

“Well I didn’t buy this ring for nothing,” he laughs.

Melanie stares at the ring on her hand. Still in complete shock. Her body shivering for an entirely new reason. The winter cold has nothing on the shock of this moment. Her emotions are all over the place as Melanie tries to gain some stability.

“Hey…”

 Grayson stands up, cupping her face looking into her eyes.

“What do you say?” he asks.

Melanie looks up at Grayson and kisses him.

“Is that a yes?” Grayson says pulling away and looking up at her with a sweet laugh.

“Yes. Of course,” Melanie says smiling.

“I really caught you off guard, huh?” he says laughing.

“Well yea. I mean I really didn’t expect this, at all,” her voice stumbling.

“Well I mean, it can’t be that much of a surprise right? You know how much I love you,” he questions with concern on his face.

“Of course. Oh my god- of course. And I love you too, so much.”

Melanie cups Grayson’s face and kisses him, as he smiles brightly at her.

“I just didn’t think you were there yet,” she says.

“Really…well here we are,” he says kissing her again.

Melanie hugs him excitedly.

“Here we are,” she says with a nervous laugh.

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Valentine’s Day 2016

Melanie steps out of her shower into her fuzzy leopard printed slippers, as she wraps a beige fluffy towel around her body.

She wipes the mirror above her sink with her hand, revealing her reflection.

Her hair, wavy, and long, lay damply upon her shoulders. Her skin freshly washed and glowy.

She smiles and sets to brushing her teeth.

Upon rinsing, she hears her phone begin to ring and she rushes into her bedroom to grab it.

“Hello?”

“Hey girl,” her friend Kristin says.

“Hey, what’s up?”

“Nothing much just out picking up a few things for my singles girl’s night in valentines gala tonight. Are you coming, or did that cute guy Will finally ask you out?”

“He did! I’m getting ready as we speak.”

“Oh so exciting! Where’s he taking you?”

Melanie walks to her closet pulling out a dress and looking at it.

“I’m not exactly sure. He said he was going to take care of everything and that I should just be ready for 8.”

“Oh a man with a plan. Sounds like a keeper.”

“Ha. We’ll see. I’ve learned not to expect anything, since what happened with…well you know….”

“Oh yea. Well that was a complicated situation. I guess it pays to be cautious from here on out.”

“Yea. Any way I should get going so I can finish getting ready.”

“Yes. Enjoy. And if you find your date is a dud, you know where to find us,” Kristin says smiling.

Melanie laughs

“Ok, you got it. Thanks girl. Enjoy your night. Eat massive amounts for chocolate for me!”

“Done. See ya girl. ” Kristin laughs.

Melanie hangs up and starts pulling her outfit together.

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Grayson sits at his computer in a dimly lit living room. He sips his beer.

He scrolls through his Facebook feed as girls after girls post their Happy Valentine’s Day posts. Happy pictures of them and their boyfriends.

Grayson laughs with a snarky undertone. His eyes drift to a familiar name as he notices Kristin just posted a picture of her shopping car full of goodies. The caption reading…

Girls Night In Tonight…Um did I buy the whole store or what? We’ll miss you Mel Mel! #HappyValentinesDay

His face falls. His heart wills him to click Melanie’s name.

Her page pops up showing a smiley faced Melanie and Grayson’s breath catches in his throat.

He starts to look through her pictures as he sees what her life has been like without him.

“Dude get a grip, it’s over, it’s been over. You have to stop doing this to yourself,” Grayson says aloud as he buries his face in the hands.

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Melanie looks at herself in the mirror, she smiles and grabs her coat and purse and heads to her living room.

She checks her phone and sees that her date should be coming soon.

Melanie walks to her kitchen grabbing a box of chocolate with a small note on it reading “To Mel Belle, Love Dad.” She goes to sit on her couch when her apartment doorbell rings.

Smiling she walks over, opening the door.

Her face falls seeing the face of the man before her.

“Hey Mel,” he says sheepishly as he holds a bouquet of red roses and a heart shaped box of chocolates in his hand.

Melanie is speechless for a long moment.

“Grayson… What are you doing here?” She finally says.

“I know it’s been a while but I’ve been dying to talk to you. Do you have a minute?”

Melanie looks at him stunned.

“You do realize its Valentine’s Day, right?”

“Yes,” He smiles extending the gifts to her.

Melanie ignores the gesture.

“So what…you decided that I didn’t have any plans and that tonight out of all nights would be a good time to waltz back into my life. You must be joking.”

“I’m sorry I didn’t really think this through. I just- God you look beautiful,” he says, his eyes looking her over.

“What do you want Grayson?” Melanie says needing to change the subject quickly, her nerves building.

“Are you going somewhere?”

“That’s none of your business.”

“You have a date don’t you? Of course you do. I’m such and idiot,” he turns and starts to walk away.

Melanie sighs as her instincts scream for her to shut the door, but her heart just can’t.

“Grayson wait-” she calls after him.

He stops and turns, with a hopeful expression.

“You obviously came here for a reason. So I guess… I can spare you 5 minutes,” She says stepping aside and gesturing him to come in.

Grayson smiles brightly as he walks in, he hands her the roses and candy awkwardly as she takes them and closes the door behind them.

“I’ve really missed you,” Grayson says as he watches her place them on her end table.

Melanie looks at him.

“What… you don’t miss me…at all?” he says searching her eyes for answers.

“Grayson, you were the one who broke our engagement. What do you want from me?”

“I didn’t break our engagement. You gave the ring back.”

“Yes. I did. And I may have been the one to officially call things off but let’s be honest Grayson, you weren’t ready to be married. In many ways, you broke our engagement long before I did. I just said what you couldn’t say.”

“Mel. You’re wrong. You are just so completely wrong,” Grayson says with a huff and a stern yet sexy glare.

“Am I? Really? Because every time I brought up something wedding related you made light of it. It was like you couldn’t be bothered to plan it. Like you didn’t want to start building a life together. What does that tell me? That you’re not in it,” she says her arms crossing in front of her chest.

“I was in it. I was all in it. You just completely questioned my love for you based on the fact that I didn’t care what color the napkins were.”

“It wasn’t just that and you know it.”

“Then what else was it?”

“Things were just different. It was a feeling that I would get when I was with you. I could just feel how hesitant you were. You couldn’t be less interested in planning our wedding.”

“How hesitant I was? You sure you don’t mean how hesitant you were?”

“What does that mean?”

“Come on Mel. It was easy to blame me. To blame my lack of planning skills for the reason why we broke up. But let’s tell the truth here. Let’s be honest about who was the one that wasn’t ready to get married. Because I assure you it wasn’t me. My not caring about planning wasn’t meant to be an insult, I told you it was whatever you wanted. I know you, I know how important it was to have your perfect dream wedding. I didn’t care about the hype of it, all I cared about was marrying you. For me our wedding was just about you. As long as you were the one standing across from me in that church- I wouldn’t have cared what you wore, where we were, or who was there. I just wanted you. I wanted to marry you, because I loved you. I loved you so much. That’s what it was about for me. So please don’t say I wasn’t in it. And own up to the fact that you were the one who just wasn’t ready.”

“So that’s why you came here? To hash things out?”

“No. I don’t want to fight with you.”

“Then why are you here?”

“Because I miss you. Because I hate being away from you. Because I was so heart broken by your rejection that I just shut down and I didn’t fight for you. If you needed some kind of reassurance from me, I wish you would have just talked to me. I wish you would have confided in me about your doubts. Or was it just that you fell out of love with me completely? Because you never gave me an explanation you just left.”

“Is that what you think? That I didn’t love you?”

“I don’t know. I mean you seem to be recovering fine. Going on dates and smiling like nothing ever happened.”

“So you’ve been checking up on me?”

“Of course I have. What do you think? I’m not going to apologize for that. I love you. I’m always going to love you. I’m not going to stop checking in on you. So get used to it.”

Grayson walks swiftly over to Melanie and cupping her face he kisses her.

Melanie wraps her arms around his neck as she falls into his kiss.

“I shouldn’t be doing this. I have a date. He’s probably on his way.” Melanie says in between Grayson kissing her.

“You wouldn’t have let me kiss you, if you actually cared about this guy. What do you know him for like 2 minutes? I don’t care about this guy. I don’t want to know about you going out with this guy, or any guy for that matter.”

Grayson says continuing to kiss her throughout their conversation.

“Grayson…Grayson…stop,” she says pushing him away.

“Why do you fight this so much? I know that there are still feelings here. There always has been. Even if you continuously want to deny it,” He says looking at her slightly dazed.

“I don’t want to deny it. I just-sometimes, I can’t help sabotaging a good thing. And please you have to understand it was never about you. I love you. Of course I love you. But I – I got scared. Marriage is so official and I guess I was just worried that I would somehow mess it up in the long run so I ended it before you could.”

“I’m not buying it. You know how much I adore you. There was nothing you could do that would make me think any less of you, ever. You’re basically walking perfection to me.”

“That’s the problem, Grayson. I love you so much. But you leave no room for me to be human. Everything I do, you just accept. I’m not perfect. I shouldn’t be put up on a pedestal.”

“I’m sorry. I never knew that’s how you felt. Look I get that I can come on a bit strong. And maybe I’ve smothered you by loving you too much. But I can’t help if I think you’re amazing. I can’t help if everything about you turns me on. It’s the price you pay for being madly in love. For finding that person that you can’t see yourself living without. And maybe I’ve convinced myself that you feel as strongly for me as I do for you. There’s something deeper going on, that made you run away from me, something you felt you couldn’t trust me to understand. So if I’m not the guy for you, then find who is. And just be happy, because in the end that’s all I want for you.”

Melanie looks at him, as her eyes begin to fill up.

“I’m gonna go. Obviously I didn’t think this through. It’s just this day. It got me thinking-I mean not that I don’t constantly think about you- but especially today. I just had an intense urgency to see your face. I’m sorry if I ruined your night.”

Grayson heads for the door as he opens it to find a man standing there about to ring Melanie’s door bell, he’s holding pink roses and a stuffed bear.

Grayson hangs his head and then looks up.

The man seems confused.

“Don’t mind me. I was just leaving. But word of advice. She likes Red roses, not pink. And she hates stuffed animals, they creep her out. Chocolate is always a safe bet.”

Grayson walks past the guy as Melanie watches his retreating figure and smiles inside, remembering their time together.

“Am I early?”

“No. You’re right on time Will. Why don’t you come in? There are probably a few things we should talk about.”

Will nods and steps inside as she takes his flowers and bear he notices she sets them down next to a dozen red roses and chocolate.

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Grayson sits on a bench in Central Park. He stares straight ahead in a daze. He has a flashback of kissing Melanie from earlier that night. He can clearly remember her arms tightening around his neck, her lips kissing him back with intensity.

He sighs looking down.

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“Will, I’m sorry I changed our plans I just wasn’t in the mood for dealing with a crowd tonight.” Melanie says handing Will a glass of wine as they sit in her living room in front of the fire place.

“That’s ok. Does this have anything to do with the mysterious stranger leaving your apartment?”

“Yes. We have some loose ends we’re still trying to sort through.”

“Can I ask you something?”

“Sure.”

“Is it a matter of unresolved feelings?”

Melanie sighs.

“Hey it’s really ok. I mean you and I are totally at the early stages. I’d rather know now than fall for you and get my heart stomped on later.”

“His name is Grayson and he was my fiancé. I broke things off a few months ago and we never really had an honest conversation about what happened. We were both so torn we just went our separate ways.”

“Do you still want to be with him?”

“I don’t know if I can. It’s kind of complicated. I’m kind of complicated.”

The guys looks at Melanie and ponders, he leans in and kisses her without warning.

Melanie pulls away almost immediately.

“I’m sorry I just-”

“Say no more- I think you just found your answer. And with that said, I think I’m going to head out. Happy Valentine’s Day,” Will says standing up.

“Will I’m-”

“Please don’t apologize. Look I get it. Sometimes, you gotta kiss the wrong one to make you realize who the right one is.”

He leaves and Melanie touches her lips thinking.

The image of Grayson grabbing her and kissing her plays over in her mind.

Melanie rushes over to grab her coat and purse, as she opens her door, she sees Grayson standing there at her door yet again.

Melanie drops her stuff to the floor as they lock eyes.

Grayson as if reading her mind, grabs her into a kiss as they begin to walk backward into her apartment. He pushes the door closed behind them.

“I’m sorry I’m such a mess.” Melanie says kissing him again.

“You’re not a mess.” He says kissing her.

“I’m sorry for hurting you and making you think I didn’t love you.”

“I knew you still loved me. I’m perceptive like that.” He says kissing her.

“Well, then I’m sorry for-”

“Shhh.” He says continuing to kiss her.

“No but wait, we need to talk, I have to tell you-”

“We can talk later, I have other things in mind.”

“But I just think that we still have so much that wasn’t resolved we really should just sit and-”

“Baby listen to me,” he says cupping her face, “I love you. But you talk too much. Please shut up,” he laughs “so we can really get this reunion going,” he says unzipping her dress and pulling it down off her shoulders.

“Words can wait,” she says as she kisses him back and starts to unbutton his shirt.

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Grayson and Melanie sit in front of the fireplace, drinking wine and eating chocolates.

Melanie is wearing Grayson’s white button down and Grayson is wrapped in a bunch of blankets.

Grayson feeds her a piece of chocolate. She bites it and kisses him.

He cups her face, deepening the kiss.

“I love you, I’ve missed you so much,” She whispers.

“Well I’m glad we’re on the same page,” he smiles kissing her. “So…where were you running off to when I came back?”

“To find you,” she kisses him.

“Hmm. And what happened to Will?” he asks tucking her hair behind her ear and kissing her softly.

“Well he could tell pretty quickly that my mind was otherwise occupied.”

“So he didn’t kiss you…or anything?” Grayson asks knowingly.

“Um…well…” Melanie squints, scrunching her face,  as she tries stalling.

“Of course he kissed you. How could he not.” Grayson cups her face as his thumb traces over her lips. He smirks and leans in, kissing her.

Melanie smiles against his lips, her hands covering his.

 “Just so you know the kiss didn’t even last 3 seconds. I think he knew he was just a distraction. He even said sometimes you have to kiss the wrong one to realize who the right one is. And when he kissed me the only thing I could think about was you, and how I’d rather be kissing you.”

Grayson smirks, stroking her cheek.

“So are you gonna marry me or what…because I mean if you need a little extra convincing, that can be arranged.” Grayson says looking into her eyes, as he kisses her.

“Although I’m not objecting to any of your ways of persuasion. Are you sure your not mad…about Will?”

“Will who?” Grayson smirks, pulling Melanie into a kiss.

“I’m serious.” Melanie says smiling and looking at him.

“Do I hate the idea of some other guy kissing you? Absolutely. But I’m not mad. Because at the end of the day, you’re here with me.”

“I think it’s safe to say that I am never letting you go again,” Melanie says kissing him as she pulls him closer to her.

“Ok great. So uh…answer my question,” he says smirking as his eyes sparkle looking at her.

“Um… question was that again?” she says playing coy.

“Marry. Me.” he says seriously, staring into her eyes.

“Yes.” she says grabbing his face and kissing him several times.

Grayson laughs.

“Can we just talk about how sexy you look in my shirt? Kinda makes me feel like you’re all mine.”

“Really? Cause I am. I always have been.”

Grayson kisses her.

“And hey if you play your cards right, I might just let you take it off me.”

Grayson’s eyebrows raise.

“Even better,” he say kissing her as he starts to unbutton the shirt.

Melanie wraps her hands around his neck as they fall back onto the floor, the fire flickering into the night.

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-<3-

*I do not take credit for any images, or gifs used in my edits or otherwise.*

BLOG UPDATE: I think posting three times a week has been difficult for me, which is probably why I haven’t been so successful in posting on Sundays . So I am going to go back to my usual schedule of Mondays & Thursday. I have a lot going on personally  (all good things) and changes happening, so some things are up in the air for me. Once I feel a little more settled I will try for a third posting day again.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Girls Gala; How To Plan A “Girls Night In”- Valentine’s Day Edition

There are a few major categories you need to focus on when deciding to have a party.

*WWWWW&H: Who (the guest list) What (what are you celebrating) When (the time and date) Where (party spot) Why (do we need a reason to throw a party? the answer is really no) & How ($$$- Budget and enlist a party planning partner in crime, mine is always without a doubt mi madre…THANKS MOM!)

*Decorations (this is when your theme comes into play)

*Music (make a party playlist)

*Activities (break out them board games or create some fun games of your own!)

*Food (what are you serving; appetizers? dinner? or both?) *Beverages (alcoholic, soda, water, coffee, tea?) *Dessert (cake, cookies, fruit platter?)

*Favors (something for your guest to take home)

*Attire (do you want your guests to dress in costume, or dress up glamorously or do you wanna keep things casual cool….and hey I’d never knock a pajama party!)

So once you map out your party, now it’s time to get things going. Let me walk you through my Girls Gala, I recently had this past weekend for Valentine’s Day or should I say Gal-entine’s Day.

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*WWWWWH

My Guest List always includes friends that I’ve known for quite some time. They are made up of childhood friends, high school friends, my brother’s girlfriend who has been in my life since college and a best friend who I’ve known basically my entire life. Life gets busy and it’s not like how it used to be that we’d all hang out every Friday night playing rock band or dance dance revolution or spending way too many long hours overstaying our welcome at Starbucks or various local restaurants. So when we do get together it’s really special to all of us.

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I’m a big fan of hosting parties so I usually do them in my home, it saves me a fee to rent out a place, and you just have more flexibility with what you can do. For this particular Valentine’s Day party I knew that having it on Valentine’s Day would have just been rude, considering most of my friends have boyfriends, so I opted to have my party the night before. I wanted to have something for just us girls to celebrate our friendships and the bonds we’ve formed over the past years. You don’t need to be in love to celebrate a day based on love. I love all my girls so this was my gift to them.

*Decorations

….are my favorite part! I love having a theme for my parties. I just feel like it gives you more to work with visually. So being that this was a Valentine’s Day party I color schemed a lot of pinks, reds, whites, and purples. Hearts, Cupids, and Roses, all that jazz. I also love a good bargain so most of the stuff I purchased was from the dollar store.

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*Music

I love music, I feel like the right playlist can just instantly transfer the mood of a party. For my party I opted to include a lot of the romantic  vocal stylings of Justin Timberlake (uh duh?), Bruno Mars, Ed Sheeran, and a few others. Hey I may be single but I can appreciate a good love song. 😉 But you know it’s never wrong to throw little Tay Swift in the mix, and have a little “shake it off” dance party…which we did. And I have proof.

*Activities

Ok this is an important one… (Aren’t they all?)

-The last party I hosted was my 80’s party for my birthday last year, and although we all had a good time, I felt like I didn’t have any activities to occupy our time. So this time I did a little online researching and came up with some fun valentine inspired games to play. It gets your guests to loosen up and since it was after a long work day for most it was a stress release too. Grab a glass of wine and laugh as your friend tries to act out weird things during charades. Or blindfold them and tell them to “Kiss the Stud”… isn’t Oliver cute? (Where my “How To Get Away With Murder” fans at….Oliver is my favorite!)

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-I also had a little “activity box” if you will, full of fun little games that the guest could play in between dinner and dessert. I filled it with games like fortune-teller; Who’s Your Celebrity Valentine?, Marry Kiss or Ditch, M.A.S.H (who remembers MASH?), and labeled them and left the box on the couch for my guests to open at their leisure.

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-Build your own Photo booth.

I did this at my 80’s party and it was huge hit! So I had to do one again this time around. Throw up a funky curtain and set up a prop table with funky hats, sunglasses, scarves, accessories and make some saying sticks and Viola homemade photo booth! Seeing as it was Valentine’s Day inspired I opted for conversation heart colors and wrote some funny quotes and sayings on them. You can even make a hashtag, so that when your guests post to social media you can easily find all the images in one place! I love taking pictures, I feel like you are making memories when you take pictures, and although being present in life is important it’s nice to have those images to look back on, because 20 years from now memories may alter or fade but pictures bring you back to that moment.

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*Food, *Beverages, *Desserts

It makes me crazy when people ask me if they should eat before coming. Like what? Do you not know me? I’m a foodie, and I will never host a party without FOOD??? With that being said, for my Girls Gala I opted for a healthy meal to balance out a very UN-healthy dessert spread.

-My Menu consisted of:

-Appetizers: A cinnamon dip with pita chips and a salty/sweet popcorn, pretzels, Swedish Fish mix.

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-Dinner: Sliced Grilled chicken (marinated overnight in Lemon Pepper marinade) Grilled on a George Foreman Grill. Served on sourdough bread with either a choice of an avocado spread or a roasted pepper.

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To go along with that I made a spinach salad topped with feta cheese, walnuts, olive oil & vinegar dressing, and strawberries!

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-Dessert: I made heart-shaped sugar cookies and Chocolate chip cookies with m&m’s and mini fruit kabobs. Then my friends each brought something which I didn’t expect and we ended having an entire spread! I mean it is Valentine’s Day….don’t judge us!

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-Beverages: All of my friends and I are of age so I set up a little wine tasting station, I had a few bottles of wine in my house and champagne and one of my friends brought sangria and another brought a few other bottles of wine so we had quite a good selection. I also like to have some soda on hand and water for other non-alcoholic options. And tea and coffee in case anyone wants a cup with their desserts.

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*Favors

Now this is an optional step, not everyone does it, but I usually like to let my guests leave with a little something. So I decided to do a mini candy bar. Where they could make their own candy bags as they left. I mean in all that dessert where was the chocolate? It isn’t Valentine’s Day without the chocolate! And near the candy bar I placed some handmade paper fortune cookies for my guest to open, they were filled with inspirational, feel good quotes.

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You are your own idol.

*Attire

20150215_005010_copyWhen I sent out my mass text (so fancy….But I do have a way with words…) I initially said to get dressed up. We all settled for a more casual dress up vibe. Nothing too crazy, but I have to say… were my girls working the red lips or what? I’m so proud. I opted for a pink shade lip and stuck to the color that never goes out of style…black, for my outfit. With a few fuchsia pink accents and gold jewelry. Basically I have these fuchsia pink heels that I use any excuse to wear them. And by wear them I mean they come on and off throughout the party. Hence I’m not a heels girl, I love my fuzzy socks more than anything. I’m siting here wearing a Valentine’s Day pair right now as I type!

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So there you have it, my go to party planning tips. When all is said and done and the stress of planning is over with, I can sit back knowing my friends enjoyed themselves and looking at the pictures we took I know that it was one for the books. Check out some photo booth snap shots below!

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Thank you ladies  for being your amazing selves!

So folks whether you’re single, in a relationship, kinda sort of maybe seeing someone, you are loved by someone (most likely many someones #family #friends.) And what better way to reciprocate that love than by throwing your girlfriends an awesome GNI (girls night in).

I leave you with our version of an Oscar selfie ;)

I leave you with our version of an Oscar selfie 😉

-<3-

** All images and videos are my own**

(I apologize for the crappy quality vlog camera…

but at least my photo booth pics are on point!)

The “I Love You” Playlist

So…its February folks which means one thing… Valentine’s Day is approaching. The older I get the 4879480983_a4ff4495e8_zmore I’ve learned to appreciate this holiday. I realize that you don’t need to have a boyfriend, or a girlfriend. It’s a day of love, all kinds of love. And with that said let’s dive into some of my favorite love songs and the artists who give us all the feels that we just can’t quite explain. Music has a way of transcending the mind and the emotions we feel. Staying in with a special someone? Or maybe you’re having a girls night in with your best friends. Either way I’ve got a playlist to make your valentine’s day or night perfect, so enjoy!

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40 songs that say “I Love You”

God Must Have Spent A Little More Time On You– *NSYNC

I Thought She Knew– *NSYNC

This I Promise You– *NSYNC

Lovestoned– Justin Timberlake

Mirrors– Justin Timberlake

Until The End Of Time– Justin Timberlake

You Got It On– Justin Timberlake

Not A Bad Thing– Justin Timberlake

Just The Way You Are– Bruno Mars

When I Was Your Man– Bruno Mars

Give Me Love– Ed Sheeran

Thinking Out Loud– Ed Sheeran

Never Say Never– The Fray

Look After You– The Fray

Stealing– Gavin Degraw

Make It To Me– Sam Smith

Stay With Me– Sam Smith

I’ve Told You Now– Sam Smith

The Way You Do The Things You Do– The Temptations

Who’s Lovin’ You– The Jackson 5

You Are Not Alone– Michael Jackson

Speechless– Michael Jackson

Butterflies– Michael Jackson

I’ll Be– Edwin McCain

Missing You– Tyler Hilton

Use Somebody– Kings Of Leon

Bring It Back– Kris Allen

I Need To Know– Kris Allen

Leave You Alone– Kris Allen

Classic– MKTO

Clarity– Zedd (ft. Foxes)

Poison & Wine– The Civil Wars

All We’d Ever Need– Lady Antebellum

I Run To You– Lady Antebellum

Can’t Take My Eyes Off You– Lady Antebellum

One And Only– Adele

To Make You Feel My Love– Adele

Give Your Heart A Break – Demi Lovato

Love Me Like You Do– Ellie Goulding

Honeymoon Avenue– Ariana Grande

Those were some heavy “feels” huh?

*Yes there’s a lot of the same artists, but what can I say they own my iTunes. Beautiful voices, heartfelt lyrics, I’m a sucker for a ballad. Bruno, Sam, Justin, Ed we all get the feels from their music, don’t try and tell me you don’t!

*For any of my ladies out there who aren’t into the whole romantic love song playlist this Valentine’s day, that’s cool too. I got ya covered…check out my female empowerment playlist….HERE!

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-<3-

*I do not take credit for any images used*