Burns Night 2015

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I’m about to out myself as big nerd. Which is probably too not much of a secret anyway, but I think publicizing your themed dinner party in honor of a long-dead Scottish poet is right up there with wearing a Boy Scout uniform as an adult (DAD!) or admitting that you still read Anne of Green Gables every now and again. Ahem. But we’re fine with that. And we’re fine with it – nay, we celebrate this weirdness! – because people all over the world celebrate Burns Night every year. And this year, we did, too.

For the uninitiated, Burns Night is a big ol’ Scottish dinner party celebrated on or ’round about every January 25th in honor of Robert Burns’s birthday. Burns was a poet, scholar, soldier, true Scotsman and all around good guy – except when he was being lascivious and womanizing. But let’s leave that part out for now.

A true Burns Night must consist of just a very few things, namely, haggis, whiskey and readings by the Scotch Bard himself. However, when you read about what Haggis entails, you are far, FAR less likely to want to eat or cook it. Enter, the vegetarian version, which is basically a tasty stuffing that is reminiscent of Thanksgiving. We also added some kale. We need greens, people!

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In addition to haggis, there are a few other must-haves for any good Burns Night:

Bangers – sweet Scottish sausages

Clapshot – mixture of mashed potatoes and turnips

Cranachan – a raspberry, cream and granola parfait

Millionaire’s Shortbread – caramel, chocolate, shortbread goodness!

We asked our guests to wear their traditional family tartans, if they were able. The Davis Clan tartan is a gorgeous red plaid shot through with gold, while Nathan’s family is French-Canadian, so he decided his clan tartan would be from the noble house of J. Crew. My sweet friend of Chinese descent didn’t have a clan tartan either, so she wore her best Burberry plaid! From bow ties to scarves, it was hilarious to see what everyone deemed worthy of a clan tartan.

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After a first round of whiskey cocktails, the running order begins!

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First, you must process in the haggis. Yes, you read that correctly – process. As in, parade it around the house.  We did it to the tunes of the Red Hot Chili Pipers ( and yes, you also read that correctly…) Then, someone is supposed to slash it open with a saber. Since we, uh, didn’t have any spare sabers lying around, we settled on a nice big kitchen knife.

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While the slashing happens, someone must address the haggis with the classic reading called, rather uncreatively, the “Address to a Haggis.” My gorgeous friend Joya performed admirably, even reading it in Scotch Gaelic!

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After the address and the chairwoman’s welcome, the night descends into readings of Burns’ poetry, prayers and songs. We also played cards (spoons!), drank whiskey cocktails and sang Auld Lang Syne to cap off the night. It was a strange, historical and hilarious night for everyone whether we are Scottish or not.

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Three cheers for Robert Burns!

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Have you ever celebrated Burns Night? Would you be into it? Tell me, tell me!

Will you accept this rosé?

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Friends! Countrywomen! Put-upon spouses and partners who have had their TVs hijacked every Monday for many weeks! That time is upon us – Bachelorette Finale night. Or “finally” night*, for those of you who are sick of Bachelorette-related crap important news and happenings infiltrating your homes for more hours in a week than you’d care to say. We had to delay our viewing party by a day and the suspense almost killed me. Apparently the rest of the world got the memo that it was going to be Josh a loooong time ago, but some of us are just not that on top of reality news…ahem…

I would LOVE to pretend that I am above The Bachelor franchise. That I don’t care about it, that I don’t watch it, that I feel dumber by participating. But only one of those is true – that I feel a little dumber every time I turn it on. And then Andi puts on another scarf and tells somebody to staaaaaaappppp it and I settle in, uncaring that there are important! world! facts! about Syria or Russia or Prince George or the conflict in Gaza that are being pushed aside in my brain to make room for the Josh v. Nick debate. It’s getting very Flowers for Algernon** up in here.

The only thing I love more than Bach drama is having people over, and when the two collide. WELL. You’d better hope you’re here for the right reasons, is all I’m saying. Or the wrong reasons. I don’t really care. GET IN MAH HOUSE. Because that’s where the party at, yo. Yes, my dear friend Eliza and I threw a Bachelorette-themed evening, much to the confusion and mockery of Le Fiance. Deets are below!

The Mood:

Small bouquets of roses were placed around the house, along with many a flickering candle. Flickering candles are the essence of ro-mahance, don’t you know.

The Food:

Appetizers: The Suspense is Kale-ing Me! (kale chips) + (Will you accept this) rosé

Main: Tuscan Stuffed Chicken (though legs, thighs or butts would also do) served on a bed of brown rice

Dessert: Baked Bourbon Vanilla Peaches over Ice-Cream, as a nod to the Andi’s Atlanta roots

 

Did you watch? Did you have a viewing party? Are you over The Bachelor/ette or still totally into it?

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*The first of a few bad puns. I make no apologies.

**Who is Algernon and what do the Algerians have to do with The Bachelorette, you ask? Don’t ask me. I’m already too much dumber to answer (see above).

 

It’s all in the (Ladylike) Details

While I was underwhelmed by most of last night’s Oscar fashion, I thought two people got it exactly right: Tina Fey and Emma Stone.

Tina, like Michelle Williams, had an adorable peplum dress that was both flirty and flattering, and her hair was basically Oscar Night Barbie, but in the most glamorous way possible.

 

Emma, on the other hand, went for all out drama with a touch of whimsy, in a deep wowza red with a giant bow, in contrast to Michelle’s bow, which was of the twee variety. Since she is a person of the twee variety, I suppose that’s okay, but I like my bows giant and up near my face area. And who doesn’t?

Sadly for Emma, all the websites and newsy people seem to be slowly and sadly putting her on the ubiquitous and dreaded Worst Dressed lists.  HuffPo UK is even calling her a “massive dress error.” Dislike.

What do you think? Do you dig the giant bow? The tiny peplum skirt? Do tell.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go tell Sandy the rest of her dress is finished and she can ditch the white t-shirt. Also, I’d like to slap the beige right off Kristen Wiig, but I fell asleep just looking at her.

Fabulously French Friday

Last weekend, my sweet girlfriends came over for a Fabulously French Friday. Film, art and current affairs were debated, gossip and news were exchanged, the corks were popped and the joie de vivre was fizzing around the room.

Sometimes I look around and I bemoan our lack of grace. Americans run around in gym clothes with wet hair, in sweatshirts and sneakers, talking loudly and listening never. We talk with our mouths full, eat while we run, text while we wait, and are generally a bit impatient and more concerned with instant gratification than anything else. I’m as guilty as the next girl of so many of these, so French Friday was our little way of making space in our week to savor. To sip. To have conversation, good food, put down the iPhones and indulge in a little la vie en rose.

To throw your own French Friday, you’ll need:

1. Good quality chocolate, like Dagoba Organic.

2. Soft cheese, like brie or triple cream goat cheese.

3. A French film of your choice. Midnight in Paris, Amelie, Chocolat or Gigi, anyone?

4. A great champagne. Veuve du Vernay brut rose is my go-to.

5. Something that makes you feel comfortable and sexy at the same time. I’d live in black Lanvin flats, a swipe of red lipstick and a J. Crew stripey long-sleeved tee if I could. And, you know, some pants. Maybe.

Viva la France!

Oscar Party Inspiration

Who’s pumped for the Academy Awards this weekend? I completely am, but not for the reasons most people are. I’ve only seen two of the nominated movies (The Descendants and Barber of Birmingham – GO AMELIA!) and I have very little interest in Billy Crystal. Nope, I am strictly into it for the fashion and the food.

In honor of this yearly explosion of fabulosity, I’ve compiled a little inspiration board to help guide my party planning. This year’s event will be a black tie affair, with a twist – pink!

On the menu: greyhounds, popcorn, movie theater candy, and a large tray of perfectly pink peppermint JoJos.

Also, for those truly committed to the cause of throwing an amazing party, Twig & Thistle’s DIY Oscar Party Kit will knock your socks right off. I mean it. Right. Off.