Life of the Party

On Saturday, we spent a lovely casual evening relaxing and visiting with dear friends. Everyone brought a type of food-based upon the first letter of their last name. Since Mr. Mickey’s last name starts with J, we were to bring something other than dessert or cheese. This excellent idea was included in each invitation to keep everyone from bringing the same thing. They asked each person or couple to bring finger food, appetizer, or dessert, which could be eaten from a small plate as people mingled. To help with variety, they divided the choices into categories. If your last name ended in:
A-C, please bring a dessert
D-I, please bring something vegetarian
J-P, non-cheese, non-dessert
R-S, anything you wish – except dessert
T-Z, nuts, or snack mix

The couple who hosted the party opened their beautiful home and supplied every type of drink you could think of, along with plates, napkins, utensils, and soft classic Christmas music playing in the background.


Here’s a tip for you. When you feel a little nervous or self–conscious at the beginning of a photoshoot, do something ridiculous to break the ice. After that, your smiles will be genuine, and you will relax.










I took roasted red pepper hummus and whole wheat cocktail bread. Here is one of my favorite recipes for hummus.

Click here for a video I made before we left for the evening.

I wore Chico’s items, including a cardigan from a couple of years ago and a tank top from last year with the Reece So Slimming pants. The red outerwear scarf I added over my coat was from Target last year. The shoes/short boots are by Calvin Klein a couple of years ago.


Styling tip: Notice that I wore a shorter tank top to divide my body in thirds rather than in half. When viewed from the front, the tank creates one-third, and the dark area of my pants produces two-thirds, which is much more visually pleasing than if the tank was the same length as the cardigan. I look taller and thinner just by wearing a shorter tank and showing more of my legs. I always cover my backside.


  1. Thank heaven the food didn’t have to begin with the letter of your last name. I wracked my brain to think of a food beginning with my last name, K, and would have been stuck. It certainly looked like a lovely party.

    I love the tip to wear a shorter top to cut the body in thirds. I often wear longer sweaters and couldn’t figure out why some of the matching tanks looked odd on me. And that is why-the tank was too long. It wasn’t the sweater that was the problem, it was my styling. Thank you for the helpful tips. They are well appreciated.

  2. Susan, I would be interested to know which pants those are from Chico’s please. Also, are you wearing boots? Thank you!

  3. The party photos were wonderful, but we needed to see Mr. Mickey. Isn’t it typical at a social setting that the men congregate in one part of the room and the women in another. That even happens in our family events. As usual you looked so nice, and I loved the red cardigan you were wearing with the little bit of bling. Question for you: Your explanation of the 1/3-2/3 split makes sense especially when you included the photo. But, would this also apply to someone who is short and squatty like me – 5’2″, pudgy, and short legs? Enjoyed tremendously your video; I’m going back to watch the video on packing for a trip. Have a great day.

  4. Lovely, and by dressing more casually than you normally do, you surely made others at the party feel more comfortable.

  5. Hi Susan, you look absolutely stunning. I love that shade of red on you too. Just guessing, but I think it may be a family party.

  6. Susan, thank you for enlightening us on how you put things together explaining why you do what you do. This was very practical and I never thought of dressing in thirds! You look stunning but I really love your smile and warmth that comes from you.

  7. I enjoyed the video. Thanks for putting it together. I always like seeing you at the functions you attend. It is instructive to see how others attending are dressed and how they wear their hair and makeup for a festive party. The 1/3 – 2/3 rule has helped me understand and apply proper proportion for my 5’2′ self.Thanks for all you do!

  8. Hi, Susn. Have not been able to get off your blog-youtube site, anything you post since I discovered you yesterday. Your style is just what I try to wear. Thank you for your work maintaining this site.

  9. Love that red on you. Very stunning. The party looks fun, hope you enjoyed it. Would have loved to see Me. Mickey also. I love the hostess’s creative idea of what to bring. The tank and sweater tip makes sense, I need to try this on myself and see how it works.

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I share tips and inspiration for using what you already have in contemporary ways. Defining words include effortless, classic, refined, discreet, and elegant. My style is chic, minimal, and timeless with a bit of edge.