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Holiday Hijinks Made Easier

Whether you are throwing a last minute party, getting ready for relatives or planning for next year's bash, Brianna Anthony and Jenna Monroe will show you how it's done.

Creating a fun party is one of those skills some people claim either you have or you don't. But don't worry: for those that don't, or even those that do and just need some new ideas, help has arrived. 

Whether you are planning a last minute holiday party, getting ready for your family gathering or thinking of having a party next year, Brianna Anthony and Jenna Monroe have a plan of attack that could turn even a rookie into a party planning maven.

While filming a couple of articles earlier this year, Anthony and Monroe revealed with great excitement and anticipation that they had decided upon the perfect cocktail, and by extension, the theme for this year's Christmas party. Perhaps the most significant facet of this revelation was that it occurred in July.

Singularly, the most important lesson you could take from this weeks is to plan ahead. No matter what the season or type of party you plan, starting the process early will enable to have as many options as you can imagine and will save you a ton of money. Even if you are in a last minute situation, taking a few moments to walk through the process Anthony and Monroe use will give you the best possible outcome.

While you are throwing this years bash, or just after, make notes about the things you wish you had been able to pull off or things that did not quite work the way you had hoped. With the year ahead to plan and squirrel away all the materials, your next party will be a breeze and a blast.

Anthony and Monroe have thrown five holiday parties now and each year they build on their past success. Even when something doesn't quite work (see the video where they mention the persimmon pomegranate salad), lessons are learned and solutions discovered. A seasonal cocktail is always featured and a theme established each year. The next step is to build a balanced menu around the flavors and feeling of the theme.

Anthony and Monroe pulled out all the stops for their Dickens Christmas menu and each dish or tidbit fits the overall vibe. Sophisticated touches like offering a warm, aromatic beverage will fill their home with the sweet and spicy smells of the holidays. A seasonal keg of local beer and Anthony's spiced nuts will round out the offerings nicely ensuring no one is left out. Party favors are another essential piece to the festivities; Monroe said it's best to go edible.

"The gift that keeps on giving, until it's gone anyway" she said. this year, old fashioned popcorn balls are in the plan.

Professional dancers and teachers with Pacifica's own , Anthony and Monroe are always on the move. Efficient gathering of materials and strategic reuse of decor items from past events help save time and resources. Shopping in September and October and then again after the holiday season give these girls a chance to score deals on just what they need. Knowing your theme early can make this shopping more fun as you find treasures that fit perfectly. Sometimes the bargain hunting even inspires elements of the party as well.

Watch the videos to catch some of the secrets Anthony and Monroe use to create the holiday spirit for their close-knit group of friends. With families so spread out these days, communing with close friends fulfills the need to spend time with loved ones in the  holiday season. See the photos for evidence of the revelry and the beauty of the apartment transformed.

Fill your mind with the creative energy of these two dynamos and let their advice guide you to your own new traditions throughout the year.

Spiced Cocktail Nuts

Ingredients

-Vegetable cooking spray

-2 egg whites

-6 cups mixed nuts

-3/4 cup sugar

-2 tablespoons Madras curry powder

-1 tablespoon ground cumin

-2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

-1 1/4 teaspoons cayenne pepper

-1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

-2 cup s dried cranberries

Directions

Place an oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F. Spray a baking sheet, liberally, with vegetable cooking spray. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk the egg whites until frothy. Add the nuts and stir until coated. In a small bowl, combine the sugar, curry powder, cumin, salt, cayenne pepper, and cinnamon. Sprinkle the sugar mixture over the nuts and toss until coated. Arrange the nuts in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 45 minutes until golden and fragrant. Cool for 1 hour.

Using a metal spatula, remove the nuts from the baking sheet. Break the nuts into bite- sized pieces and stir in dried cranberries. Place in serving bowls or store in sealed container.

Spice Trader Cocktail

Ingredients

-1.75 L Bottle Vodka

-375 mL Bottle Drambuie Liqueur

-34 oz Bottle Blood Orange Juice

-3, 1" sq. pieces fresh ginger

-4 limes

Directions

Approximately 24hrs prior to serving, place ginger and a small amount of Drambuie into a blender or food processor.  Puree until mixture reaches a pulpy consistency. Add remainder of Drambuie and store in a sealed container in the refrigerator.

Immediately before serving, place first 4 ingredients in a large punch bowl or pitcher. Slice limes in half and juice into mixture.  Leave peels to float for a pretty pop of color. Serve over ice.

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