The Perfect Cocktail Party Playlist

If you’re hosting a holiday soirée this weekend but aren’t sure what tunes to cue up, look no further. I’ve compiled the perfect party playlist for those in need of fresh, mingle-ready melodies.

Selecting music is one of the most fun steps when you’re hosting a party—I usually try to pick a mix of songs that are upbeat and festive, but aren’t overly recognizable and distracting. This playlist includes mix of musical genres, and all songs are guaranteed to induce head-bobbing and mingling. Just remember to set the volume at a moderate level—conversation comes first, so keep it low enough to talk easily, yet robust enough to give your gathering a vibrant energy. Print the track list below in case any inquiring minds want to know; you could also give the playlist to guests as a take-home party favor. Enjoy!

Listen to Brandy’s Perfect Cocktail-Party Playlist right here (total listening time: 1hr 10min).

Photo: Cover image via The Simply Luxurious Life

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How To Display Your Holiday Cards: Binder-Ring Flipbook

This simple-yet-genius idea comes to us from Ashley Muir Bruhn of the wonderful blog Hither & Thither. Instead of letting her just-received holiday cards pile up on counter, she corrals them together using a simple binder ring, essentially creating a friends and family flipbook. “My son Hudson loves looking through them,” says Ashley, “and it’s a nice way for me to talk to him about loved ones whom we don’t get to see often.”

Click through for the simple DIY instructions

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How To: Throw the Perfect Holiday Fête in Five Steps

The holidays are in full swing and there’s no better excuse to pop some bubbly and pull together a festive gathering with your nearest and dearest. Sound complicated? Think again! Here, I’ve imagined my own very merry holiday table; follow my five simple party-hosting tips below to help you plan your own winter celebration, whatever your seasonal style…

snow dot modern holiday tabletop placesetting

modern, simple snow dot holiday table

Click through for Kelli’s tips on throwing the perfect holiday party…

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10 Holiday Gift-Wrapping Essentials

This holiday season, in addition to our regular Julep contributors, we’re also sharing stories from our Minted artists and designers about how they celebrate this most wonderful time of the year.

Name: Kimberly FitzSimons
Where you’re based: Pelham, New York
How long you’ve been with Minted: Five years
Favorite thing about the holidays: nonstop holiday music—it always puts me in a good mood. 
On my holiday wish list this year:
 Five different brands/shades of red lipstick. I’m determined to nail the perfect red lip!
Favorite holiday tradition: It just started, but it will be making holiday cookies with my daughters.

My family is very serious about wrapping holiday presents. The title of Best Gift Wrapper of the Season is very coveted and is partially based on how tightly the gifter can secure the ribbon atop a wrapped package! My father wins every year, but I’m determined to take the title this year with these holiday gift-wrapping favorites.  —Kimberly

Click through for all of Kimberly’s holiday gift-wrapping essentials…

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Last-Minute Thanksgiving Ideas (In Under 10 Minutes!)

Happy (almost) Thanksgiving, friends! We’re down to the wire and if you’re scrambling for time, don’t panic. We have six super-simple ideas that will guarantee a beautiful (and stress-free!) Thanksgiving celebration in under ten minutes, flat.

Click through for all of our last-minute Thanksgiving ideas…

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How To: Throw the Perfect Holiday Party in Five Easy Steps

The holiday season means plenty of gatherings, parties, and hosting duties, all of which can certainly get a little overwhelming. Organization is always key to ensuring a stress-free event. To help you stay on top of things and handle everything with grace, I’ve laid out five easy steps for hosting the perfect holiday party.

This metallic-tinged tablescape inspired me to create some coordinating party elements below.

Click through for Brandy’s tips on throwing the perfect holiday party…

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Printable “How to Holiday” List

The holidays are definitely a busy time of making, eating, and going places. Instead of trying to remember everything on your to-do list off the top of your head, let’s make things official (and a little more fun!) with a fill-in list. A “How to Holiday” list, to be exact, ready for you to print and hang up. Grab the download below.

holiday bucket list
fill-in holiday list

Click through for our “How to Holiday” printable…

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My Thanksgiving Table: Renee Pulve (+ DIY Leaf Place Cards)

This holiday season, in addition to our regular Julep contributors, we’re also sharing stories from our Minted artists and designers about how they celebrate this most wonderful time of the year.

Name: Renee Pulve of Smudge Design
Where you’re based: Westlake Village, CA
How long you’ve been with Minted: 4.5 years
My favorite thing about the holidays is… Christmas music.
Thanksgiving isn’t Thanksgiving unless… there are leftovers!
Stuffing—love it or loathe it? Love it—and it better be Stove Top!

This Thanksgiving, I’ll be hosting a small and intimate gathering at home. Here’s a sneak peek into what I’ve got planned. —Renee

Click through for all the details, plus Renee’s DIY maple-leaf place cards tutorial…

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How To: Get Great Family Photos (For Your Holiday Cards!)

Minted’s newest collection of holiday cards is now available (you can also see all of the winning holiday photo-card designs right here!), which means it’s time to start thinking about which card you’ll be mailing out this holiday season. If you decide to go the photo-card route, we know it can be a daunting task deciding on a single photo that perfectly captures your family. To help, I interviewed San Francisco-based kids photographer Sarah Hebenstreit of Modern Kids Co.—she photographs our founder and CEO Mariam Naficy’s holiday-card photo every year!—for her best tips on getting beautiful family pictures you’ll treasure for years to come.

1. Find the right photographer.
Make sure your photographer enjoys shooting kids. If you still have last year’s batch of holiday cards, go through the stack and pull a couple of favorites, then ask your friends who their photographer was. “Word of mouth is really the best recommendation,” says Sarah.

See Sarah’s seven other genius tips after the jump…

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