How to Plan the Perfect Holiday Party: 5 Party-Planning Tips

Throw the perfect holiday party this year! 

One of the best parts about the holidays is all of the holiday parties. Three years ago, my roommates Marie and Bridgit and I hosted our first annual Secret Santa “Friendsmas” party. Rather than shopping for everyone, we figured a secret Santa would be fun and easy and the perfect excuse to get all of our girlfriends together for the holidays.

When Marie and I moved into a new apartment last year, we decided to keep the tradition going and are hosting our closest pals for the third time this year.

It’s one of my most favorite traditions of the year, and as it’s grown, we’ve definitely learned a few things along the way. So this year, I’m sharing my best tips for hosting the perfect holiday party!

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Fabio Viviani’s 4 Favorite Cocktail Recipes

Get your mixology on with one of Top Chef alum and Chicago restaurateur Fabio Viviani’s favorite cocktail recipes from Bar Siena, Siena Tavern and Prime & Provisions!

Fabio Viviani knows good cocktails. (If you’ve been to one of his restaurants in Chicago, you already know this.) So it’s no surprise that when he’s looking for a good drink, he keeps it close to home.

“I go to The Aviary once in a while, but [my favorite] has to be Bar Siena and Siena Tavern for cocktails,” Viviani says. “I tend to stay home for a cocktail because it’s very hard to beat my restaurants in town for cocktails. We have great cocktails.”

What’s his go-to order? “I’m a classic, I like old fashioned at Prime & Provisions and I like the #2 at Siena Tavern. I love them.”

Step up your summer cocktail game and try out these recipes for yourself! And then pair it with a plate of four mushroom risotto from Viviani’s brand-new cookbook, Fabio’s 30-Minute Italian.

Cheers!

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Kale & Quinoa Salad with Toasted Almonds Recipe

This kale quinoa salad with a honey mustard dressing from HelloFresh is one of my all-time favorites!

I tried HelloFresh for the first time last fall and absolutely LOVED it. My three veggie-friendly recipes came packed in a big box full of fresh ingredients, each in a small carton that tucks neatly into the fridge. While it’s billed as easy, these meals still took me way longer to prepare than something I’d usually make for myself on a weeknight. BUT with each recipe I learned some new skills (like making my own dressing from scratch) and I found a few favorites that I’ve made over and over since my first box—this salad is one of them!

It’s light and fresh for summer but still filling and loaded with super foods that you can feel good about. I live for honey mustard and this homemade dressing is easy and delicious. It’s also super easy to customize (I use shaved parmesan over feta, and you could use different nuts or dried fruit to switch it up).

I’ve made this salad so many times since my last HelloFresh box (meal prep it for a week of lunches or serve it for a night in with friends) that I wanted to share the recipe with you! Hopefully it’ll become one of your favorites too.

Want to try HelloFresh for yourself? Use the code LINDROSE to get $40 off your first box!!

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Nordstrom Anniversary Sale Wish List 2017

Shop my favorites from the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale!

It’s that time of year again!

Every summer, the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale is the best time to stock up on your favorite fall pieces, from a fresh pair of booties to cozy knits and cool new jackets. They also have a great mix of summer stuff that you can wear (or float on, or drink out of) through the rest of the warmer months. (Plus there are always amazing beauty bundles, so you can save on your favorite products!)

And the best part about this sale is that it’s not discounted stuff that didn’t sell from last season—it’s a mix of old favorites and new releases for fall, perfect for scooping up the best deals before the season starts. I woke up this morning and it literally felt like Christmas (I have a problem).

Early access to the sale for Nordstrom cardholders started today, but the sale opens to the public July 21 and runs through August 6, so there’s still plenty of time to shop. But the most popular items sell out FAST, so be sure to snag your favorites while you can!

After combing through the catalog and digging through everything online and in store, these are the things I’m loving from this year’s #NSale.

UPDATE: Some have sold out, but lots of my picks are still available! I’ve added a few other things I’ve been shopping from the sale below that are all in stock, too!

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Fabio Viviani’s Four-Mushroom Risotto with Parsley Salad and Sun-Dried Tomatoes

You’ll feel like a top chef whipping up this four-mushroom risotto from Chicago chef Fabio Viviani’s new cookbook, Fabio’s 30-Minute Italian.

Fabio’s latest cookbook is finally here!

Siena Tavern and West Loop’s Bar Siena are two of my favorite restaurants in Chicago, and now you can cook up Fabio’s favorite Italian recipes at home in 30 minutes or less.

The book has more than 100 easy Italian recipes for salads, soups, fresh homemade pasta, seafood, desserts and more—plus his tips and advice for recipes throughout. (Click here to learn more about Fabio’s new cookbook and find out his Chicago favorites!)

Pair this fresh, hearty summer dish with a bottle of Fabio Viviani Wines (you can find it at Whole Foods—check out Fabio’s new special reserve wine, Fatty Pope!) for the perfect Italian combo.

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Q&A: Chef Fabio Viviani Talks Chicago Favorites and New Cookbook “Fabio’s 30-Minute Italian”

Chicago restauranteur and Top Chef favorite Fabio Viviani is cooking up more than 100 fast and easy Italian recipes in his latest cookbook, Fabio’s 30-Minute Italian.

As soon as I heard Fabio Viviani was coming out with a new cookbook, I knew I had to get my hands on it. Bar Siena-worthy recipes in 30 minutes or less? Sign me up!

I had the chance to interview Fabio about his brand-new book for the latest issue of CS magazine (check out the full article here!)—he even convinced me I could make pasta from scratch (so I’m pretty sure anyone can do it).

Fabio’s 30-Minute Italian is full of tips and tricks to make authentic Italian dishes without spending hours in the kitchen. “The meals are accessible—they don’t use fancy ingredients—and if people understand how I am, they know that with literally 10 to 20 minutes and three or four steps, they can make a fantastic meal,” he says.

Fabio’s dishing on his new cookbook, favorite foodie spots in Chicago and exciting upcoming projects (hint: more wine and new restaurants coming to town!).

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Glow Up! Spring Makeup Haul

From new hair products by Kristin Ess and Drybar to a glowy Too Faced bronzer and peach-inspired palette, these spring beauty products are a few of my favorites.

This spring is all about the glow! After a long, dry winter in Chicago, I can’t get enough of bronzy, peachy products that feel like they’re bringing life back into my skin. I’ve been stocking up on a few new beauty products for spring (and picking up some old favorites) that are brightening, hydrating, light and glowy to help get skin summer ready.

A few of these—the Juice Beauty primer, Ecotools brushes and Too Faced bronzer—I’ve seen in so many YouTube videos and blog posts that I had to try out for myself. And they did not disappoint. Those combined with some of my favorite NARS and Tarte products are making their way into my spring beauty rotation.

Before moving onto makeup though, start with skincare! These are my favorite winter skincare products that will help exfoliate and prep your skin for better application. I’ve also been obsessed with the Tarte Cleansing Cutie, which you can use with any cleanser, to gently exfoliate and remove dirt and oil (Clarisonics are way too tough on my sensitive skin and this is a great, cheap, deep-cleaning alternative!).

What are your favorite spring beauty products? Have you tried any of these already?

Juice Beauty Phyto-Pigments Illuminating Primer

This Gwyneth-approved lightweight primer is perfect for summer skin. Use it as a primer or add a pump in with your foundation or tinted moisturizer for a smooth, glowy finish.

NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer Broad Spectrum SPF 30

I’ve been using this tinted moisturizer for years. It’s super lightweight with built-in SPF and evens out skin tone without being too matte.

Tarte Shape Tape Concealer

Shape Tape sells out in minutes for a reason. This full-coverage concealer flawlessly covers redness or dark circles and is great for highlighting and brightening under eyes.

Too Faced Sweet Peach Eye Shadow Collection Palette

This peachy palette is so pretty and full of neutral shades that are fresh, bright and perfect for warmer weather. The shades are super pigmented, creamy and smell like peaches!

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Weekend Guide: What to Do in Nashville

What to eat, where to go and things to do in Nashville. Check out my complete guide for a weekend in Nashville!

Nashville’s one of those cities that I knew I’d like before I’d ever even been. But I finally went for the first time back in October—my college friends and I (casually 17 in total) planned a weekend girl’s trip and had the BEST time exploring and eating and drinking our way through the city.

We found an amazing, massive Airbnb that somehow fit all of us, booked a pedal tavern, packed our cowboy boots and had a full-on bachelorette party weekend minus the bachelorette.

A few tips for big groups: Since there was a shortage of restaurants who could take a reservation that large, we did dinner on Friday night at The Stillery. It was perfect for a bigger group, had great food and cocktails, plus they had live music during dinner! We booked a private chef to come to the Airbnb on Saturday night to cook dinner for everyone. Highly recommend! It ended up being super affordable split between several people and there were leftovers for DAYS. It was also great because people could get ready at their own pace (key when there are three bathrooms for 17 girls) and hang out and eat before going out (plus, we saved on drinks by picking up wine and stuff for cocktails at the grocery store beforehand.)

I’ve been back to Nashville a few times since then and these are a few of my favorite places to go and things to do!

Where to Eat

Proper Bagel: Grab a vanilla bean latte and an order of avocado toast at this Instagram-worthy bagel shop near Belmont’s campus. You’ll also find bagel sandwiches, salads and plenty of vegan and gluten-free breakfast and lunch options here.

Pancake Pantry: There’s always a line, but it’s so worth the wait. The pancakes are obviously amazing (go for the sweet potato or banana bread ‘cakes), but the hashbrowns are everything. Do yourself a favor and get both.

Martin’s Bar-B-Que Joint: If you’re not trying to wait in line at Hattie B’s, try Martin’s for ribs, mac & cheese and a drink in the beer garden, where you can play ping pong, darts and shuffleboard.

Photo courtesy of Martin’s Bar-B-Que Joint

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Testing Life Hacks with Sears Home Services!

Do walnuts remove scratches from hardwood? How about using coconut oil to polish wood? Check out my new video series, Home Hacks with Sears Home Services! 

Exciting news! I’m teaming up with Sears Home Services in a super fun new home video series where we put life hacks to the test. There’s a million life hacks floating around on the internet, but which ones actually work and are worth using? We’re finding out for you!

In the first installment, I’m testing three hacks to help clean cabinets (but these easy tricks can also be used on wood floors or to help clean up wood furniture around your house).

Check out the video below and let me know what you think! These videos were SO much fun to film and I can’t wait to share them with you!

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Winter Skin-Care Routine

Winter in Chicago is no joke. These are my picks for the best products for dry skin.

When I moved back to Chicago from Missouri after college, my skin freaked out as soon as it got cold outside. I started testing out new products and moisturizers to readjust to the harsh, dry Chicago winters and smooth out dry patches—and it was a PROCESS.

It took two or three winters to nail down a cold-weather skin-care routine that kept my dry skin hydrated, but these products have help keep my skin smooth, soft and bright year-round. (Your makeup will go on smoother, too!) Bonus: Whether your skin is sensitive, dry or oily, these products work great on most skin types. Let me know what you think and if you’ve tried any of these out!

Josie Maran Argan Oil

This 100% pure argan oil was the only thing to help eliminate dry spots and patches on my face and body when I first moved back. It’s good for all skin types (even oily!) and is all-natural, organic and rich in antioxidants. You can use it on your hair, skin and nails to restore moisture wherever needed. I use this almost every night before bed. This is a great moisturizer on its own, but if my skin is feeling extra dry, I’ll let it sink in and follow it up with a moisturizing cream.

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