{Weddings} Milk and Cookies

BREAKING THE ICE: Guest Post by Alanna Kalb

    In our recent focus on entertaining we've talked about what to wear, how to look good in photos and what gifts to bring.  But perhaps the biggest challenge as a guest is having fun at a party where you don't know anyone but the host.  Recently I asked Alanna Kalb, author of a chic and clever little book called Stuff Every Woman Should Know to wrap up our Spring series on presents and parties by sharing with us her tips for turning a room packed with strangers into a space filled with potential friends.

    If life is for living, reason dictates that parties are for partying. And what better way to get in the party spirit than by making new friends? Try to get comfortable talking to anyone, anywhere. It’s a good skill for lots of reasons.  If you don’t know anyone at the party except for your popular host, better to be chatting up a friendly stranger than lurking alone in the kitchen, pretending the ice trays need filling. And who knows who you’ll meet, or what you’ll learn? I’ve made some amazing friends by having the guts to ask some girls to lunch (office party), got an intro course on backpacking through Patagonia by sitting next to my host’s little brother (backyard BBQ), and made a valuable business contact through a friend’s mother (dinner party). Keep an open mind, and do smile at strangers! Below, a three-step guide to making a new friend or, at the very least, staying entertained while you wait in line for the bathroom.
    1. Put away your phone, make eye contact and smile.
    2. No one is expecting you to charm them with wit and intelligence (although they probably won’t mind if you do). So often we’re too afraid of sounding or acting “wrong” that we don’t do anything at all. Start small- ask how he/she knows the host. Ask where that delicious-looking tofu kebab came from. Ask where she found those beautiful clip-on earrings. You can’t go wrong by asking questions: people love talking about themselves, and they’ll love you for giving them the opportunity.
    3. If you just don’t feel comfortable with the in-person cold call, rope your host into making a few introductions. Follow the host around and when you float into a group that seems your type, stay and chat for a while. Repeat as necessary.

    (Note: When we’re nervous, we often like to be holding something—and at a party, it’s bound to be a drink. Make sure you don’t gulp down more than you meant to. If you think a few drinks will loosen you up and make you charming, you’re taking the wrong page out of Charlie Sheen’s book.)

    You don’t know when the next time is that you’ll be wearing your highest heels, so kick them up! If there’s food and it looks delicious, pile a plate high. Take a whack at the piƱata; make a (brief, sincere) toast; catch up with the aunt you haven’t seen in years. Enjoy that party to the fullest and by all means, strike up a chat with the person sitting next to you.

    Alanna Kalb is a writer based in New York City. An enthusiast of brunch, parties, and pithy quotations, she is thrilled that Stuff Every Woman Should Know (Quirk Books) gave her a reason to be a modest know-it-all.

    Top photo via Megan Gilger on Pinterest. 

    Source URL: http://thesoap-box.blogspot.com/2011/05/
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{Editorial} Sophie Homes For Elle Germany, May 2011

{Mix} Morning Gal

{Home} Lazy Sunday

{Home} Rustic Inspiration

NEWLYWISH: A Different Kind of Bridal Registry

    Here's one of the best wedding gift ideas I've heard of :  a bridal registry that includes "experience gifts"--trips, wine tastings, performances, dance lessons--plus local shops and artists. The site's  founder, Amanda Allen, says that although right now most shops are based in New York City the company has plans to expand to other urban areas, and concert, theater and sporting events can be accessed nationwide.  Best of all, it you have your heart set on, say, a specific work of art, Amanda says she'll do her best to get it added to your Newlywish list.  Hmmm, I can think of quite a few artists I'd add to my list ....

    Wishing you all a relaxing holiday weekend.  Back next week with all kinds of summer treats.Source URL: http://thesoap-box.blogspot.com/2011/05/
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{Streetstyle} Park Avenue Princess

{Beauty} Freckles

GIVEAWAY WINNER ... plus a Treat for Every Reader

    In honor of our first stylish sponsor's love of millinery, we put the names of the giveaway entrants into a hat (one entry per reader), tossed, mixed, closed our eyes and drew out one lucky name.  And the winner of the Denise Fike Metallic Print is:

    Barbara Hammond
    Barb chose "Peony" (shown here)
    (An artist herself, Barbara also writes the blog Zero to 60 & Beyond)

    Barb, I'll be in touch with details.  Everyone else--don't despair! We have a treat for EVERY READER:   Enjoy 20% off Denise Fike's Metallic Series thru 6/30/11. (Visit Denise Fike Designs on Etsy and use code "STYLE.") 

    That's just $32 for a piece of original art--a real steal.  On July 1 the price goes to $50 per piece, so take advantage of this special Style Maniac offer now.  Images of the 9 other prints currently offered are shown in the collage above.  Have fun shopping, and thanks to all for entering.Source URL: http://thesoap-box.blogspot.com/2011/05/
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{Weddings} Perfect Chemistry


{Mix} Sea of Nars and MAC

{Home} Industrial Workspace

{Home} Mixed Patterns


    This does not exist as a book yet.  But it should.  Even if it's the slimmest, smallest book ever made.  The advice is so spot on, so smart, and presented with such clarity that I'd give it to every graduate that comes my way. Including some in mid-life.  I'd like to steal all the text and images from Austin Kleon's post, but instead I'll send you to his site to read "How to Steal Like An Artist and 9 Other Things Nobody Told Me."  Please come back after you read it and share what advice resonated with you most.

    p.s. Here's a real steal: an original work of art by Denise Fike.  The winner of our Sponsor Giveaway,  chooses her own piece from a selection of 10.  Enter by Tuesday 5/24/11.Source URL: http://thesoap-box.blogspot.com/2011/05/
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{Street Style} Stripes and Reds

{Beauty} Oh Blake

SPONSOR GIVEAWAY: Metallic Print by Denise Fike

    "Peony" Metallic Print by Denise Fike.  One of 10 to choose from if you win the Giveaway.
    As an introduction to her new work, our premiere Stylish Sponsor has volunteered this fabulous Giveaway.  This is your chance to get a unique, one-of-a-kind piece of art created by Denise Fike.  And the best part is the winner gets to pick which one of 10 lovely prints he or she will take home!  Entering is easy.  Simply:
    • VISIT the Denise Fike Designs shop on Etsy and look through the 10 Metallic Prints showcased
    • CHOOSE which 1 of the 10 prints you would select if you win.
    • POST a comment here naming your favorite print.
    Giveaway closes on Tuesday, May 24 2011.  Winner will be chosen at random and announced on Wednesday, May 25.  Art will ship anywhere in the United States.

     Here's a bit more about these METALLIC PRINTS, as described by artist Denise Fike:
    Each print is an original work, and is distinctive, as no two are alike.
    Printed on metal and hand made paper.  
    The spontaneity of the process results in a unique image with every print.
    Once stabilized, I make adjustments to the art to enhance the piece.  
    The art is framed, ready to hang, and measures:
    overall - 6 1/8" x 8 1/8"
    art- 5" x 7"
    Premiere price $40

    After June 30th: $50
    Source URL: http://thesoap-box.blogspot.com/2011/05/
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{Editorial} Enchanted


    Today I am pleased to announce our first-ever sponsor of Style Maniac, artist Denise Fike of Denise Fike Designs.  Denise truly sets the standard for my vision of a Stylish Sponsor:  talented, original, with work of genuine interest to you, dear readers, plus a personal favorite (and friend) of my own.  Early on in this blog I featured Denise's lifesize Fashion Collages and Custom Bridal Portraits (she also paints pets).  Since then she's expanded into Dirty Dishes, started her own fabulous blog, and developed a proprietary process to create smaller sized (and priced) but hugely fabulous one-of-a-kind Metallic Prints.  You can find out more about Denise's work through the links below and on Style Maniac's new SHOP page.  Tomorrow, stop back for a very special Giveaway that will give one lucky reader a chance to win a piece of Denise Fike original art.

    Denise Fike
    Fashion Collages, Custom Bridal & Pet Portraits, Dirty Dishes, Metallic Prints and more. Commissions welcome.
    SHOP Denise Fike Designs on Etsy
    Facebook Page
    BLOG:  Fashion Plates & Dirty Dishes
    Email  Source URL: http://thesoap-box.blogspot.com/2011/05/
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