Kevyn Aucoin: The Sensual Skin Enhancer

I’m always on the lookout for the best makeup products and last week while in NYC, I found one I had to tell you all about! While chatting with a makeup artist from the Boston area, I found out how much she loved the Kevyn Aucoin Sensual Skin Enhancer (how ’bout that name??). She told me that this product had a buildable formula that looked natural and would stay put, but I would be the judge of that!

The next day, I headed to Bergdorf Goodman and talked with the Kevyn Aucoin rep there, she was very helpful and told me that a great way to apply the enhancer is by mixing it with a little eye cream and using it to brighten up your under eye area. You could also mix it with moisturizer just to enhance to look of your skin and give you very light coverage. We tried on a few colors and I purchased it right away.

Although pricey ($48 for a jar), a little goes a LONG way. I love the buildable and velvety feel. You can use it for light spot or undereye coverage if you’re just wearing tinted moisturizer or even no foundation at all! Or you can layer it to cover up any problem areas. I’ve applied it using my finger, a brush, and a sponge and all work well. A great bonus? I loooove the smell which is perfumey, but light.

I’m not going to lie to you guys, when I took the pictures below, I had NOT been feeling the best so I sorta had to force myself to get ready and smile. But I still wanted to show you what it looks like to use the skin enhancer. These pics are unedited and taken after right after I finished getting ready (and felt sick to top it off!). I mixed the product with a little foundation, used it under my eyes and to spot treat. I would recommend the skin enhancer mostly to anyone looking for a good undereye formula or buildable spot coverage.

The Sensual Skin Enhancer from Kevyn Aucoin comes in 16 colors and is available by clicking here. Have a beautiful Thursday, everyone!

 

 

Traveling with a Little One

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Little G in NYC

I don’t know about you, but I’m already dreaming of our next vacation! Because let’s be honest, the months of January and February are less than exciting, especially here in the Midwest. While I LOVE planning our next trip, I tend to get anxious at the thought of flying with our two-year-old.

Since I’ve become a mom, I’ve talked to so many other mamas who have been hesitant to fly with their kiddos…they can be SO unpredictable! I felt the same way when we decided to fly to Vegas when our little G was just 6 months old (yes, Vegas…you read that correctly). Turns out she was a perfect gem on the plane so we decided to take her to visit some friends in Connecticut when she was 8 months and again to Florida when she was 18 months, and back to Vegas right before her second birthday! (At this rate, she’ll be eligible for a Southwest Rapid Rewards card before she’s 3!)

Despite being nervous before each flight, I knew planning and preparation would make all the difference. So here are a few tips I learned from each of those trips:

 

Schedule flights around your little one

This one may sound a bit inconvenient but I promise you won’t regret it. We always book our flights around G’s routine, mostly nap time, because that’s the one thing we all suffer from when it’s missed. We make sure we’re taking off right around her nap time, that way she’s snuggled in our arms and the sound of the plane can lull her to sleep. If you know your kiddo would never nap on a plane, book your flight early in the morning so they can nap when you arrive at your destination.

Choose a direct flight

I can’t stress this enough. There’s nothing worse than having to change planes with a toddler. They think they’ve finally made it and to their disappointment, you board another plane and they have to be confined all over again. Save yourself the time and stress and book a non-stop.

Use a baby carrier through the airport

The key to free hands and a distracted child. We love the Bjorn and our Tula!

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Less is more with entertainment

Purchase 1 or 2 NEW toys and books and wait until you’re on the plane to pull them out. And there’s absolutely no shame in using Netflix or downloading movies to keep them entertained.

Pack plenty, and I mean plenty of food

The question I hear most often is if TSA allows food on a plane and the answer is “absolutely”!  I’ve packed full-on lunches for our little one…pb&j, applesauce, crackers, granola bars, fruit, you name it. Just plan a little extra time when going through security because they’ll want to check everything. (Bonus: get them a little treat while waiting to board…our little one especially likes blueberry scones from Starbucks ☺)

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The Extras

I like to pack as many diapers and wipes as I can possibly fit. Sometimes we’ve only used 1 or 2 diapers and other times she likes to be a stinker, literally, and we’ve had to change her 3 times on one flight! That being said, you’ll want to pack bags to put dirty diapers in, a small hand sanitizer, and a small package of wet wipes to wipe down the tray and headrest when you board.

Stay Calm

Your child can sense if you’re nervous and the calmer and more relaxed you are, the better everyone will be. Some of the best advice I ever got about flying with a little one is that it’s OKAY to walk the aisles with your kiddo. She’ll be distracted by the change of scenery and everyone likes to look at a happy baby!

Extra Tips

My favorite diaper bag to travel with is The Honest Company Diaper Backpack. It’s slim but has so much room inside. I will never travel without it.  

And finally, don’t forget you can check your stroller and/or car seat right before you board! Just make sure it’s tagged ahead of time with all your info. We love taking advantage of this feature because you don’t have to pay to check it and it’s right there on the flight with you the whole time.

I would love to hear your travel advice in the comments!

Happy Flying!

New Year’s Eve Party Details

This last weekend, we held our second annual New Year’s Eve party! We had a blast with the 20 guests that arrived around 9 and stayed ’til about 1. Obviously, the time for holiday parties is passed, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be plenty of 2017 shindigs coming up soon (Superbowl, St. Patrick’s Day, Birthdays??) So we’re sharing just a few details from our party that we felt help make it a success! And hopefully, you can get some ideas for your next soiree 🙂

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A welcome table:

We wanted people to feel like they’d come to a celebration the second they walked in the door. A small welcome table with champagne and party accessories helped to accomplish that. Find a tutorial on how to make your own party hats here!

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An open bar:

Everyone loves on an open bar! The key is to make sure you have it stocked so that there is something for everyone. We would recommend having the following: gold and silver tequila, gin, vodka, dark and white rum, bourbon, and whiskey. We also had a variety of mixers, bar tools, and cups. Finally, we made a delicious batch of sangria (find the recipe here) and of course, offered lots of champagne.

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Bonus (winter) party tip:

We ran outta room in the fridge and since it was around 38 degrees, the extra champagne was chilled outside!

Fun and inclusive games:

Beer Pong and Flippy Cup were silly and entertaining ways for guests who didn’t necessarily know each other to interact and enjoy themselves. Plus, it took everyone back to good ‘ole college days!

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An unexpected surprise for your guests:

We bought several dozen donuts and served them to our guests after midnight, ya know…since it was morning! It was a sweet way to kick off 2017 and delay any “healthy eating” resolutions for a bit longer.

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Thanks so much to the people who came to celebrate the New Year with us! We hope 2017 is already off to a great start for everybody and we’re excited for all the parties this year will bring!

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Year End Reflections and Focusing on the Positive

For many of us, 2016 has been, shall we say…rough. And even though there are lots of reasons we are happy to see this year go, we thought it would be beneficial to take some time and focus on the GOOD things that happened this year. If you have a minute, we’d definitely encourage you to do the same! It can be soooo easy to focus on the negatives in life, but reflecting on blessings will lift the spirit and give you encouragement as you start 2017.

Below, each of us shared a few of the best events or experiences that happened this year. For starters, one awesome thing that 2016 brought about was the launch of Shades of Green!! It’s been so fun working on this blog together and we have loved connecting with all of you :). So thank you so much for reading and we hope everyone has a happy New Year!!

 

Lo’s Best of 2016

My husband, Mason, got a job in Corporate Finance working with mutual fund investments.

We experienced Napa Valley California for the first time.

We adopted an 8-month-old puppy and became a two-dog family!

We saw our first Major League Baseball game with Cubs team that won the World Series.

I fist-bumped Dustin Johnson at the BMW Golf Championship (he won!).

 

Lys’s BEST OF 2016

I got to travel a lot to places like Florida, NYC, Phoenix, Vegas, and Chicago! I also got to fulfill a lifelong dream and visit Paris.

I know that going to Lebanon is technically also “travel”, but the experience of visiting Heart for Lebanon and the refugees that they work with was so impactful, it warrants being set apart.

Nick, my husband, is in his 3rd year of neurosurgery residency and his schedule got lighter this year so we get to see each other more!

I got to volunteer for our church’s Special Needs Prom, helping the guests shop for outfits beforehand and then doing nails the day of!

 

Janelle’s BEST OF 2016

This year, I celebrated 5 years of marriage to my husband, Chris.

We have a daughter who turned 2 in October and we are blessed that she is a happy and healthy child.

Chris is in his residency for internal medicine and pediatrics and is now halfway through!

I joined a mom’s group and it has been great to connect with other women who are in this stage of life.

 

See you all in 2017!!

 

Freshen Up Fridays

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Every Friday that I’m home, I like to get rid of the week’s clutter and make my home look great before the weekend’s activities. I don’t do a deep clean, but what I do is enough that it makes a big improvement on the look of the house. I’ve started calling this cleaning tradition “Freshen Up Friday”. And what better time to freshen up your house than right before the holidays? When I begin this process, my focus is always on three areas: the living room, kitchen and master bedroom (in order of importance). Here is exactly what I do that really makes a big difference:

 

Pick up, organize, and declutter

This may seem obvious, but it is by far the most important step and best done first. It only takes minutes to pick up books, shoes, or toys and put them back where they belong and it makes all the difference in how your home looks. Just quickly sweep through the three main areas I mentioned and you’re good to go.

Make your bed

It doesn’t have to be perfect, but this step will really make the master bedroom look put together. An extra bonus for putting on clean sheets, but not necessary if there’s no time!

Do the dishes

If there are any dishes in the sink, give them a good rinse and stick them in the dishwasher.

Wipe off kitchen counter, table, master bathroom counter, and coffee table

These tend to be the largest flat surfaces in the main areas of your house. When you wipe them down they shine beautifully, which makes your home look squeaky clean.

Sweep

Just in the main areas we’re focusing on – living room, kitchen, and master bedroom. And if your vacuum cleaner has a wand, quickly use it clean out any corners.

Arrange living room couch pillows and blankets

Fluff the pillows and make sure any throws you have are folded and neat.

Light a scented candle

A sweet smell filling your home will be the finishing touch! I would do this in either the living room or kitchen.

 

And that’s it! I went through all these steps yesterday and the whole process took me about 35 minutes. Time will vary depending on how large your home is and how much clutter you have, but either way, it should take you under an hour. Hopefully, this helps you gear up for this next week’s festivities and happy holidays to everyone!

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Lo’s Favorite Yoga Brands

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Outfit pictured above: Zella top and ALO shorts

 

When I started practicing yoga a few years ago, I had no idea what clothes and props I needed, much less what brands to buy. In the beginning, I was only practicing 2 to 3 days per week, so I got by with wearing some old capri leggings and athletic tops I used to work out in college. I borrowed props like blocks, straps, and eye pillows from the studio classes I attended, too. Since I wasn’t sure how long my commitment to yoga would last, I didn’t want to fork over a bunch of money on mats, clothes, and accessories just for them to go unused. After I made the conscious decision to practice daily, I started accumulating the items I needed from most important – like a mat – to least important – like a pullover sweater. At this point, I know about what brands can stand the test of time and regular use – valuable information I wish I would’ve had when I was a beginner! Here are some noteworthy brands and what they do best (in no particular order):

 

man
This brand is top notch when it comes to purchasing a yoga mat. Their Black Mat PRO is unparalleled in both style and quality. The fact that the Manduka PRO series mats carry a lifetime guarantee alone should be a reason to consider giving one a try. I’ve had my Mat PRO for over a year and I absolutely love how supportive, comfortable, and durable it is! If you’re not sure about the price tag on this mat, the PRO Lite is an alternative, less expensive option.

 

luc

In my opinion, Lucy is pretty underrated for the quality of clothing they offer. I couldn’t live without my Hatha Capri Legging that I’ve owned and practiced in for 2 years! This legging wears beautifully and fits the same no matter how many times I wear and wash. It’s always one of my go-to options when headed to an intense workshop or just lounging around the house. To make Lucy even more lovable, they offer extended sizes to accommodate all shapes!

 

zel

I discovered Zella when shopping in the athleisure area of Nordstrom one trip. I loved everything I found! The Zella brand is unique and edgy. Of all the great stuff they have, pullovers like this one are my favorite! I always enjoy checking out the new patterns and styles each season, even though most of what I have is gray or black ;), because obviously.

 

alo

It’s no surprise that Alo is one of the top yoga brands in the country right now. Their styles are fashion forward, chic, and affordable if you can get them on sale! The well-known goddess legging is understandably one of the most sought-after yoga pieces in the market. Mine feel like they were made just for me! They can stand the heat and humidity in a sweaty room or hot porch deck.

 

lulu

Lululemon caters to many different athletics and activities, but yoga clothing and accessories are where the company boomed. They even have FREE yoga classes on Saturday mornings in the Indianapolis store! What could be better if you’re hesitant to try yoga for the first time? They’ll let you borrow a mat, too! Bottom line? This brand is solid. I really like the variety of tops they carry, but I’m partial to these simple, stay-where-they’re-supposed-to-even-when-I’m-upside-down tanks. Because there’s nothing worse than having to worry about where your shirt is when trying to get your headstand on.

Whatever style of yoga you do and however many days a week you get to a class, these brands don’t disappoint! Having the right apparel and gear helps you get the most out of your practice, and that’s something I never realized until I owned those first few game-changing items. Of course, I could go on and on about other stuff I love, but there may be things that work for me that don’t work for everyone. If you have an idea of what brands to go to, you can find what tailors to your needs. And there’s no better place to start than with Manduka, Lucy, Zella, Alo, and Lululemon!

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DIY Coasters

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Okay ya’ll, this is probably the easiest DIY project you will ever do! It’s so cute and makes a great gift…because you know I’m all about DIY gifts. So here’s the scoop:

 

The Goods:

Ceramic tiles – from your local hardware store (4×4)

Mod Podge – Gloss

Tacky Glue

Cardstock – I bought a book of pre-cut sheets that work perfectly (3.875 x 3.875)

Cork

Paint Sponge

Scissors

Your own pictures

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How To:

Start by putting mod podge on the back of your cardstock and stick it in the center of your tile. If you bought pre-cut sheets you shouldn’t have to cut them. Otherwise, measure your cardstock first. (Note: it’s very hard to mess up mod podge because it dries clear. It acts as a glue and a sealer so don’t worry if you’re messy with it.)

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Next, take your picture and trim it just a bit smaller than the size of the cardstock. This is always the hardest part for me because I can’t cut straight to save my life.

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Once your picture is cut to the appropriate size, place mod podge on the back and glue it down.

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Let that dry for about 10 minutes. While you wait, cut your cork to fit the back of your tile. I used another tile to measure. Set your cut cork aside.

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Once you feel like your cardstock and picture are dry, attach your cork to the back with tacky glue. Get the glue as close to the edge of the cork as possible so the corners don’t pop up.

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Finally, put mod podge all over the front of your tile.

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Take your paint sponge and start swiping. Remember to swipe in the same direction and wipe off any excess from your brush so it’s not clumpy or bubbly.

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Let that dry about 30 minutes and you’re all done!

 

If you’d like, you can spray the finished product with Krylon spray. This will protect your work and keep it water resistant. I didn’t have any on hand but it’s good stuff, especially if you’re actually going to be placing drinks on them.

Happy Crafting!

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Join the Rebellion and Support a Good Cause

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During this holiday season, Target and Disney are doing something really awesome that I had to tell you about! From now until December 31st, Target will donate $5 to the UNICEF Kid Power program for every t-shirt bought from their new Force4Fashion collection. When I saw these cool Rogue One: A Star Wars Story tees I wanted to buy one anyway. But learning that $5 would be going to a great organization made me want to spread the word!

I’ve known about UNICEF since I was young but became even more familiar with the organization when I interviewed the President and CEO of the U.S. Fund, Caryl Stern, for New York Moves magazine many years back. The U.S. Fund for UNICEF’s mission (literally taken from their site) is to support “UNICEF’s work, and other efforts in support of the world’s children, through fundraising, advocacy, and education in the United States. They do whatever it takes to save and protect the world’s most vulnerable children. Forty years ago, UNICEF figured out that promoting simple, low-cost interventions like hand washing and breastfeeding could save millions of lives. Undaunted by war or geography, UNICEF delivers.” Now, doesn’t that sound like an organization worth supporting? What a cool thing!

So about these tees…Disney has partnered with Target to create an awesome rebellion-themed “be a force for change” collection of 10 t-shirts inspired by Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. There are options for both men and women and you can find all of them online now. They are all only $12.99 and, again, $5 of that goes to support the UNICEF Kid Power program. So pick one up before you head out this weekend to see the new Star Wars movie in theaters and never stop looking for ways you can be a #ForceforChange!

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Want to read even more about the Disney, Force 4 Fashion and Target partnership? Click here.

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Why We Love Vegas

Why we love Vegas

At the beginning of October, our family took another fun-filled vacay to Sin City. It was the 4th trip for our whole family and every time we go, we often get asked, “Why do you guys love Vegas sooooo much??” So we thought we’d provide an answer! And maybe, if you’ve never been, the reasons why we love this city will convince you to give it a try for YOUR next trip. (All pics are from our recent vacation)

Reason #1: We love games

Why we love Vegas

I know not everyone thinks of gambling this way. But Blackjack, Roulette, and even slot machines are just that…games! In a family that has always enjoyed friendly competition, we love to try and play to win. When it comes to the money we play with, we take caution to budget an appropriate amount of dough so if we lose it all, it’s not a big deal. But if any of us win, we love celebrating each success!

Reason #2: The food is delicious

Why we love Vegas

Vegas boasts three Michelin-star restaurants and numerous other amazing eateries. And even if you don’t wanna fork out the big bucks, there are still a lot of options like Serendipity III or In-and-Out burger. Many of the hotels also have huge buffets which serve unlimited wine and beer as a part of your meal. This last trip we enjoyed dinners at places like Tao, Lavo, and Holsteins, all of which we would recommend. 

Reason #3: The shows are so entertaining

Why we love Vegas

We’ve seen a wide variety of shows while visiting: from concerts to magic shows to Cirque du Soleil. Every show we’ve seen is unique and we’ve never been disappointed. Whatever type of entertainment you’re into, you’re sure to find something in Vegas that you’ll love. Cirque du Soleil has several shows, but Ka is the one that we would recommend above all other. There’s just nothing else like it so definitely check it out the next time you go!

Reason #4: There’s no better place to dance the night away

Why we love Vegas

Some of the best nightclubs in the world reside in Las Vegas! We have had a great time hittin’ the Strip all dressed up and dancing to music played by the coolest DJs like Calvin Harris and Tiesto. It’s not as hard as you might think to get in. There are club promoters walking around the casinos during the day and often, you can even find ways to get in for free. The big name celebrities or DJs will often make appearances on the weekends, but there are clubs that are open certain days throughout the week. Just make sure to check their schedules online.

Reason #5: We can shop ’til we drop

Why we love Vegas

Oh. The. Shopping. Whether you’re at the Forum Shops at Caesar’s Palace, the Canal Shoppes at the Venetian and Palazzo, endless amounts of shopping are available to you. You can browse the very high-end (there’s basically a Louis Vuitton in every hotel) or try to score great deals at the awesome outlet shops just outside The Strip. Either way, you can score some goodies to bring home if you don’t lose all your money 😉 And even if you do, it’s still fun to window shop all the beautiful things.

And Reason #6 as to why we love Vegas sooo much: We go with the right people

Why we love Vegas

This is so key. Vegas can be an amazing time, but if you’re not with the right people, it can be exhausting, expensive, and even downright annoying. For example, it would not be fun to visit the city with people who don’t like to go out or who are really trying to pinch their pennies when you wanna eat well, gamble, and dance all night. Trust us, the last thing you want is to get excited for your trip, go with people who don’t really want to do much, and end up with a serious case of Vegas FOMO. On the flip side, if people in your group can tend to be reckless with both their money and themselves, you might spend the whole time playing babysitter. Which is no one’s idea of a good time… But if you hang with people who are at your speed, who wanna have fun (but not TOO much fun), and enjoy doing the same types of things as you, Vegas can be the BEST time and a place to create memories you can enjoy for years to come.

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Our Party Essentials: A Night Out

 

Party essentials for a night out!
At the Indy 500 Maxim Party earlier this year. Pictured left to right – Janelle, Lys, Mary Sowers, Lo

 

Whether it’s a bachelorette party, girls night, birthday, or going out in Vegas, the three of us have a few items that we consider must-haves for a night out on the town. And since this is the season of parties (New Year’s Eve, anyone??), we thought we’d let you all in on a few of the essential things we need for a great evening out!

 

Lys’s Essentials

Heels you can walk and dance in – Always have a go-to pair in your closet that you know will look good, but won’t kill your feet. Sure, they may not be as trendy as your 6-inch strappy python heels, but your feet will thank you later!

Adhesive bra – For backless or low-cut cocktail dresses, this is a necessity. And no matter your needs, there are lots of different options available from Nordstrom.

Concealer –  When I’m out dancing, my makeup can sometimes run and concealer provides a quick fix and easily fits into my bag. I recommend PhotoReady Concealer from Revlon.

Uber – If you’re going to be drinking, this is a must. Always, always, always have a safe plan to get around during a fun night out!

 

Janelle’s Essentials

Lashes – These are just fun to use and what better excuse to pump up the volume on your lashes than going to a party? You can apply full falsies or add individuals like these.

Bright matte lipstick – Because nights like these are the perfect excuse to bust out bold lip color. I like Bite Beauty Matte Creme Lip Crayon from Sephora, or maybe give the Kylie Lip Kit a try!

Big diamond stud earrings – They go with every cocktail dress ever and a large pair of simple studs will never go out of style.

Small card holder – Ditch your larger wallet and use this to fit your credit card and ID in your small clutch (or maybe even your guy’s pocket??). I just received a Dior card holder like this one  as a gift from Paris and can’t wait to take it on my next night out!

 

Lo’s Essentials

Cash – It’s always helpful to have some cash on hand just in case you need to tip a bartender, cab driver, whoever… Or if while you’re out, you end up needing to paying someone back for a drink or parking.

Champagne – If you’re celebrating something, why not get the party started before you go out? I love having a bottle of champagne available even before you leave because it starts the night out in a celebratory mood. Korbel is a good, affordable option.

Bobby pins – I like to wear my hair up, so these are essential for mid-evening hairstyle repairs. Plus, you can throw them in your bag or a pocket.

The perfect shoulder clutch – I’m obsessed with my clutches and have carried them to so many events. The pink bag I have pictured above is from Kate Spade. This cute wristlet is similar.

 

Now that you have a list of essentials to help you out, grab your cocktail dress and heels and paint the town red! Happy party season!

Party essentials for a night out!

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