If you’ve spent any time in the South, you know how much we love Southern Living. Each edition is filled to the brim with recipes, home decor, and lifestyle articles of happenings below the Mason-Dixon line. I love that while the features and articles are always on-trend, the magazine still gives a deep nod to tradition. It is the one magazine that generations of women look forward to receiving and reading each month. I asked Southern Living’s Style Editor, Stephanie Granada, to share some of her top style and entertaining tips for the holidays and on into the new year.
Red lipstick will always do you good for evening parties.
What are your top 10 tips for entertaining throughout the holiday season?
1. First of all, keep a clear perspective. The holidays can be a stressful time, but it doesn’t have to be if you remember that what’s important is to spend time with loved ones. No one in your circle is going to be judging or disappointed if everything is not perfect and over-the-top.
2. Make things as easy for yourself as possible. Make-ahead meals are great for dinner and brunch parties. We have a ton of make-ahead ideas- like casseroles, briskets and pastries in our December issue.
3. For your decor, choose an accent color and let that carry through and tie everything together. This year we’re loving classic Christmas red.
4. Bring the outside in. Go into your yard to forage for palm fronds, berries and branches that make great accents for everything from your Christmas tree to a centerpiece.
5. Pick and choose where you’ll skimp and splurge. Casseroles and cookies are low-cost foods that will really go the mile in feeding lots of people. Displayed on fine china and silver, even the most budget-friendly meals will look like a million bucks. And those are things you’ll reuse every year.
6. I love to have a build-your-own bar set up for guests. It’s fun for them to mix a specialty cocktail, and it keeps you from spending all your time refilling drinks. Choose a cocktail, and set out all the ingredients and cute recipe card.
7. A pack of about three-to-five cookies packed in a small gift box makes for a festive party favor.
8. Look into party rentals for things like plates and glasses. It can be surprisingly affordable and saves you clean-up time later.
9. As a hostess, you want to look good, but also be comfortable. Go for a dress in a loose style and a jewel tone. The bright color will make you look vibrant and stunning without sacrificing comfort.
10. Aside from hosting parties, you’ll also be invited to a lot of gatherings. I like to keep treats from Southern artisans on hand to take for the hostess. Olive & Sinclair caramels and Schermer Pecans make for a great, small gift.
Can you share your favorite fashion and / or beauty looks for the holidays?
I love a loose, wispy updo that works with, rather than against, the chaos. Go for something like this style seen on Carrie Underwood. And no matter how classic, red lipstick will always do you good for evening parties.
What style trends are you loving for 2015?
I love the monochromatic palettes, especially white-on-white, which looks so crisp and fresh. On any given day, I can be running around from meeting-to-meeting one minute and hitting the road for a seven-hour trip to Charleston the next, so I’m very glad for a return to comfortable staples like shirtdresses and flats for the new year.