A Collegiette's Guide to New Year's Eve

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With the Christmas swiftly approaching and about to fade just as quickly as New Year’s Eve approaches, it’s essential to have a quick and easy turn-around plan for the perfect New Year’s Eve celebration. The questions on every girl’s mind: “What do I wear? What shall I cook? How will I decorate?” All of these questions can be answered with a little creative brainstorming and planning.
 
After putting away all of the Christmas decorations, it is time to begin preparing for the perfect evening with your close friends and family to ring in the New Year. When organizing your menu, first things first: drinks and appetizers.
 
EatingWell.com recommends “Pomegranate Champagne Punch,” (which can also be done in a nonalcoholic version depending on your guests).
 
INGREDIENTS:
2 cups champagne
1 cup pomegranate juice                               
1 cup seltzer
1/2 cup citrus vodka
Lemon twists, for garnish
 
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For a nonalcoholic version, combine 2 1/2 cups seltzer and 2 cups pomegranate juice.
 
If you are not so domestically inclined or just don’t want to spend the entire evening in the kitchen, try these 10-minute, no-cook, Tomato Basil Skewers for an appetizer.
 
INGREDIENTS:
16 small fresh mozzarella balls
16 fresh basil leaves
16 cherry tomatoes
Extra-virgin olive oil, to drizzle
Coarse salt & freshly ground pepper, to taste
 
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For the main course, try something simple that doesn’t require too many complicated ingredients. From marthastewart.com, try the Pepper-Crusted FIlet for your New Year’s Eve meal. It is sure to impress, and will satisfy your guests without having to prepare too many extra side dishes.
 

 
INGREDIENTS:
2 filet mignons, (5 to 6 ounces each, about 1 1/2 inches thick)
Coarse salt and very coarsely ground pepper
2 teaspoons olive oil
Red Wine Sauce, for serving (optional)
 
 
DIRECTIONS:
Season filets very generously on both sides with salt and pepper (especially pepper), patting in firmly.
Heat oil in a small skillet over medium-high. Cook filets until desired doneness, 3 to 5 minutes per side (depending on thickness) for medium-rare.
Remove strings from filets, and serve with Red Wine Sauce, if desired.
 
*If any of your guests happen to be vegetarians, a nice pasta recipe would also satisfy the group and accompany the mozzarella-skewer appetizers nicely.
 
For the decor, the options are endless. Start by choosing a color scheme and go from there. New Year’s Eve is traditionally done in metallics or light blues and whites to go with the winter season. Shops like Hobby Lobby, Tjmaxx, Target, and Walmart all offer inexpensive choices and lots of variety that will give you the freedom to create.
 
A few tips for transforming your humble abode on the big night:

1. Put lights everywhere. String some white lights across your ceiling like you would streamers. Just make sure you hang them high enough so that they are not in the way. It’s an inexpensive way to reuse your Christmas lights and add an enchanted feeling.

2. Tie favors, hats, and noisemakers to pieces of ribbon, and attach them to the light wires so that they dangle down throughout the room. Make sure some are low enough for people to grab when the clock strikes midnight, but others can simply be used as decorations.

3. To add glamour to even the most basic snacks, fill large margarita glasses with mixed nuts and M&Ms.

4. Spread silver and gold confetti across your tables. If it matches your color scheme, use black tablecloths to add contrast and make the gold and silver pop.

5. Blow up a few balloons and pile them up in the corners of your apartment.
 

 
No New Year’s Eve party is complete without the perfect outfit. Slip on something festive like the dresses shown below. There are many different necklines, lengths, and shimmery shades for any age and body type. I found these flashy frocks at Polyvore.com, but there are tons of options at stores near you. Visit Express, Topshop, or for a more inexpensive option, Forever21.
 

Have fun with your accessories! Look for heels with a more wintery look so that you do not appear out of season. There are lots of black velvet options or glitzy metallic pairs that will go perfectly with your ensemble.
 
Add a fun party clutch to hold all of your necessities, an arm full of bangles, and you’ll be ready to host in-style.
 
Ultimately, New Year’s Eve represents possibility, a fresh start, and is a chance to appreciate life with those you love. When cooking, decorating, and even putting the finishing touches on your outfit, keep that in mind. The environment you want to create should feel fun, easy, fresh, and signify that 2012 will be even better than previous years.  

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