Happy New Year!

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New  Year’s Day is a day for turning over new leaves, making resolutions, and beginning fresh.  New Year’s Eve, however, is a day/night to party!  It is a celebration where we can all take the time to look back on the past year and acknowledge the things that made us happy and sad, and move forward into the new year for better or for worse.

This year, me and my sister hosted a small party where we got creative with the food, the drink, and the decor.  My sister mixed a deliciously festive punch, I baked some glittery cookies, and we put together a DIY photobooth for some fun prop-filled pictures.

All photos in this post are courtesy of my sister (Minnie In Manhattan). Check out her blog for NYC Lifestyle posts, many of which feature dog-friendly ideas and options.

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The punch consisted of:

  • 2 parts POM pomegranate juice
  • 1 part Ciroc vodka
  • 1 part pear nectar
  • 1 part club soda

What we wound up doing, since this was a slightly experimental recipe, was making a small batch and tasting it before we made enough to fill our entire punch bowl.  We suggest that you do the same so that it is tailored to your specific taste preferences.  We also used Ciroc because it’s smooth and delicious, but you’re welcome to use any vodka you prefer.  Also, we garnished our glasses with glitter sugar on the rim, using honey (agave also works) to get the glitter sugar to stick.  The way this is done is to pour some honey/sugar into a bowl, and some glitter sugar into another bowl.  Before any punch is poured into the glasses, dip the rim into the honey/agave and then into the glitter sugar.  Don’t use too much honey/agave here or it will drip down the glass.  Also, any type of fine sprinkle with work, so get creative with it!  We then used some fresh cranberries on party picks from Party City as a decorative garnish.

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This was my second time making this particular sugar cookie recipe, and the more I make it, the more I fall in love with it.  You can find the recipe here. The great thing about this recipe, aside from the fact that it’s DELICIOUS, is that you don’t have to chill the dough before you can roll it out.  What I do do, however, and I highly advise you to do too when rolling out any sugar cookie dough, is to sprinkle flour generously and frequently throughout the whole process.  I sprinkle on the surface I’m putting the dough on, and then before I start rolling I press the dough down with my hands and do another sprinkling of flour on top of the dough (to prevent the rolling pin from sticking to it).  Then after the dough is rolled out, I sprinkle flour again on top of the dough to prevent the dough from sticking to the cookie cutter. I also flour the cookie sheet before I put the cutouts on there as well.  Have fun with this recipe, as its texture makes it very malleable, making it easier to get the perfect shape (with super crisp edges)!  I was able to hand cut the champagne flutes you see in the photos, as I had trouble finding cookie cutters in this shape.  The icing is hand made using confectioners sugar and milk/water.  You can also add food coloring for even more decorating options!

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Lastly, this DIY photobooth was such a fun and unique addition to our NYE party.  We bought some props like hats, noisemakers, and sparkly leis from Party City, as well as a white backdrop, a “2015” banner, and some party streamers.  We hung the banner and the backdrop on a bare wall, positioned the camera (self-timer capabilities are a necessity) on a shelf a few feet away, and we had a perfect party photobooth in a matter of minutes! Make sure you do some planning beforehand, as you’ll need a method of hanging the backdrop on the wall you select.

We had a great time this New Year’s Eve, and have high hopes for an amazing 2015!  Stay tuned within the next week or so for more helpful posts, including delicious and healthy recipes and some of my favorite workout regimens to kickstart some New Year’s resolutions!

Stay fit and festive, all!

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