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5 Holiday Party Hacks

holiday party hacks

Ever since you can remember, you’ve always been the hostess. Creating warm environments and making everyone comfortable is your thing – but that doesn’t mean it’s always sunshine and roses. There is an expectation that hostesses have it together – not only are they exceptional cooks but also ambience experts and gift-giving gurus. Being a hostess can be a stressful role during the holidays, making wearing so many hats difficult to juggle. This year, make setting up for your holiday party easier with our five quick and simple holiday hacks!

1. Décor

Over Thanksgiving, you started to put out some of your holiday decorations, but you’re not close to finishing. To make your space more festive in a pinch, use ornaments as a centerpiece. Arrange your most glittery ornaments in a tray or bowl on your table for instant holiday spirit.

holiday party hacks

2. Ambience

A festive party is all in the atmosphere – so make sure your perfectly curated holiday playlist  (Justin Bieber’s “Mistletoe” included) doesn’t fall short. Use this one to get in the spirit. Amplify the sound of your playlist by placing your phone in a mug. Trust us, it works.

3. Tablesetting

Larger dinner parties may call for a seating chart. Rather than individually folding intricate place cards, use Zip ID Cases with names slipped inside of each. These will jazz up your tablescape and serve as a small party favor to each guest at the same time.

holiday party hacks

4. Serving

When your college roomies get together again, it can be a struggle to remember everyone’s favorite wine. We recommend keeping it simple by serving just one holiday cocktail recipe. This cranberry apple libation is sure to be a hit.

5. Gifting

If your holiday party is also serving as your annual gift exchange, you’ll want to make sure you spend a little time wrapping your gifts, since you’ll have an audience. We love turning part of a gift into the wrapping. Our bag charms serve as perfect gift toppers for any holiday gift. You’ll have everyone hoping you have their name in next year’s Secret Santa.

holiday party hacks

Now that you’ve completed party planning, you’ll want to use these five apps to get through the holidays. Not hosting this year? This is what you’ll want to bring with you to your next dinner party.

It’s a Snap: Win the Window Sweeps

Vera Bradley win the window
It’s the most wonderful time of the year. Every outing feels festive and overflowing with holiday memories. The next month is full of photo ops, and we want to be part of your memory making. Today kicks off our Win the Window sweepstakes, and you have two weeks to enter to win the Vera Bradley collection of your dreams. One grand-prize winner will win all the styles in our featured store-window display, and 10 first-prize winners will receive a gift set of styles from the window.

To enter, just snap a selfie in front of the featured display at one of our Vera Bradley stores and share it on Instagram or Twitter with the hashtag #winthevbwindowsweeps. Make sure to tag @verabradley and set your account to public so we can see your photo! What are you waiting for? Start snapping!

Vera Bradley win the window

November 30 – December 14
One grand-prize winner will receive:

10 first-prize winners will receive:

Let the fun begin! Find a store near you.

All winners will be randomly selected. See official rules and details.

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. PURCHASE WILL NOT IMPROVE CHANCES OF WINNING. Void where prohibited or restricted. Offered at participating Vera Bradley Retail Stores within the 50 U.S., to individuals 13 or older. Begins on or about 11/30/16 and ends on 12/15/16. Entry Period: 11/30/16 – 12/15/16. Limit 1 entry per person/per
sweepstakes, regardless of entry method used. To enter without using a mobile device, complete entry form in Store and provide to a Store associate. Messaging & data rates apply to internet access via mobile devices. Other charges may apply; check your mobile plan for rates/details. By entering, you grant Sponsor a license in/to your entry and all content. Odds of winning depend on number of eligible entries received per sweepstakes. For prize details and limitations, please see complete Official Rules, available in Store and at verabradley.com/winthewindow. © 2016 Vera Bradley Designs, Inc. Promotion is not sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Twitter or Instagram.

Gifts for People That Are Impossible to Shop For

gifts for people that are impossible to shop for
During the holidays, we are constantly torn between two emotions: excitement and stress. We can’t get enough of this holiday playlist, but the idea of coordinating gifts and travel plans is always overwhelming. As if shopping for the holidays isn’t hard enough, you drew your distant cousin’s name for the annual Secret Santa gift exchange. Add that to the list of your hard-to-please aunt, particular mother-in-law and new coworkers. Selecting the perfect gift for everyone on your list isn’t always easy, but this list is full of presents that every person will love. Happy shopping!

gifts for people that are impossible to shop for

1. Throw Blanket

Who doesn’t love to curl up in a throw blanket? Answer: nobody. Everyone loves a good throw – so pick one up in her favorite color. Bonus points if you know her alma mater.

2. Ornament

If you’re not close with your coworkers but still feel obligated to give gifts, go with a lower priced item that works for anyone during the holidays – an ornament. This Scottie Dogs ornament is a unique festive touch they’ll love seeing year after year.

3. Travel Mug

If the only thing you know about your cousin is that she’s constantly on-the-go, gift her a Travel Mug. Whether she’s an avid coffee drinker or just enjoys a morning hot cocoa, a travel mug is one gift she will use on a daily basis.

4. Scarf

Scarves are such easy gifts to give  women you don’t know particularly well. In the winter, everyone can use a scarf to keep warm – plus, there is just something about gifting a scarf that feels very thoughtful.

5. Coloring Book

Coloring books aren’t just for kids anymore – in fact, they’ve been growing in popularity for adults in recent years. Our new Coloring Book is perfect for the artistic at heart and busy working woman alike as a fun, yet therapeutic way to relax after work. This is bound to be the most memorable gift they receive this year.

6. Candle

One of the best parts of the season is transitioning your home décor with cozy, festive accents. This is always a highlight of your year, so it likely is for her too. Gift her a candle that will bring warmth to her home. A minimal effort gift she’s bound to use for the frigid months to come.

Now that your holiday shopping is done, check out these 5 apps you’ll need to finish getting through the holidays.

Shop Hometown: The North End

Shop hometown: North EndJust miles down the road from our corporate headquarters, is the quaint and picturesque town of Roanoke, Indiana. In the center of Roanoke is their Stars Hollow-esque Main Street, filled with small shops, restaurants, a yoga studio and of course, an ice cream parlor. On the corner, you’ll find The North End, an upscale boutique featuring a variety of brands and price points, including an assortment of Vera Bradley products. The North End is unique in that its first floor is a boutique and the second story serves as an elegant hotel suite. We love supporting local businesses and encourage shopping “small” within our communities – especially at stores like The North End.

shop hometown: north end

After we had started our own holiday shopping lists, we took the afternoon off and headed into Roanoke. With extremely busy schedules and packed weekends, we don’t have time to make multiple shopping trips for the holidays, so our goal was to knock out our holiday shopping in one day on one street. Once arriving into town, our first stop was Moose and Mollie’s for a quick caffeine fix. While sipping on a delicious white chocolate mocha, we finalized our shopping list for the day.

shop hometown: north end

We arrived at The North End and were quickly greeted by the owner, Karima and her energetic dog, West. Karima walked us around and gave us a brief history of the store – everything from its opening two and a half years ago to the fact that she’s a mother of five (total boss). When looking at the assortment in The North End, you’ll find many unique styles that you’ve never seen before in the Midwest – and there’s a reason. The North End’s motto is “different is beautiful,” which is why Karima sources styles from across the world, from London to Turkey. She showed us some of her favorite pieces before we dove into our shopping lists.

shop hometown: north end

First up on the list: Mom. Moms love the holidays – it’s a known fact, so gift her an ornament that will look beautiful on her perfectly curated tree. Next is your sister. She’s one of your favorite people to shop for, so you need to make it special. We love the Mia Wristlet for the weekend paired with a unique headband she can wear for yoga. Coworkers can be tricky to shop for – especially when you have so many! Go for something simple like a funny mug filled with their favorite candy or a cute candle. Don’t forget to pick up something for your bestie! We loved the burgundy fur snood – afterward, you can walk down the street and pick up a local bottle of wine.

shop hometown: north end

shop hometown: north end

Shop hometown: North End

After completing our holiday shopping (with a few extras in tow for ourselves), we walked across the street to grab a quick dinner at Joseph Decuis Emporium – hello, sweet potato fries! Mission accomplished.

shop hometown: north end

If you make it into Roanoke, make sure to stop by The North End, give West a few puppy pets and explore the rest of Main Street. Roanoke’s small town charm has a lot to offer – especially for gelato and farm-to-fork fans. Don’t forget to wave to us as you drive by our headquarters!

3 Tips for Hosting Your First Friendsgiving

Whether you can’t go home for Thanksgiving or just like to get together with friends the weekend prior, Friendsgiving is a mainstay in most post-grads’ November calendars. It’s always fun to gather with your closest friends over some drinks, party games and an obscene amount of food. This year, it’s your turn to host (insert anxious feelings here). Don’t freak, just follow these tips for the best (and easiest) Friendsgiving ever.

Hosting Friendsgiving

1. Go potluck style

Send out a group text two weeks ahead of time, asking everyone to bring a dish to pass. If you have a particularly large group, create a shared Google Doc as a sign up sheet to ensure not everyone brings the stuffing. Rule of thumb: the host cooks the bird – but that’s it. Potlucks are a great way to have a variety of food while not making more work for yourself.

Hosting Friendsgiving

2. Follow a timeline

Two weeks ahead of time: Send out your sign up sheet. This will give everyone plenty of time to choose and prepare a recipe to bring.

A few days before: Find the bird. A frozen turkey can take multiple days to thaw, so you can’t get away with buying it the day before. A good rule of thumb is to allow 24 hours of thawing for every five pounds of turkey.

The day before: Start prepping your turkey. Whether you go with a traditional brine or a dry brine, the prep process can be time consuming. Choose a recipe in advance and allow plenty of time to prep.

The morning of: Set your table. This is something you won’t want to be squeezing in between roasting the turkey and greeting guests. Although your friend group may be casual, ditch the paper napkins and go with something a little nicer.

Hosting Friendsgiving

3. Keep it simple

You will have your hands full between coordinating the potluck, cooking the turkey and cleaning your house – so keep the rest simple. We recommend pulling out a game if your post-feast coma hasn’t gotten the best of you (Cards Against Humanity, anyone?). Set the ambience with a few candles, a festive playlist and an easy DIY centerpiece.  There is no need to go over the top since Friendsgiving is about connecting and mingling anyway.

Do you feel prepared? Good – now go start your Google Doc and get to planning!

Morning Routines of Successful Women: Celeste

Morning routine
Eight out of the twelve members of our executive committee at Vera Bradley are women. Ahem, who runs the world? It’s no surprise that we admire women who shatter glass ceilings and break stereotypes in the workplace, but now we want to know how they do it. In search of the secrets of Superwoman, we’re studying highly successful females and how they spend the first few hours of the day. Take out your schedules; you’re going to want to write this down.

Making connections and staying humble is the secret to Jessica’s success, and Sherry attributes positivity, kindness and hard work to her achievements. The third powerful female that we interviewed found a way to make what most people enjoy as a hobby into a successful business venture. Meet entrepreneur and yogi, Celeste. She followed her dream and opened Fusion, a yoga studio in Fort Wayne, IN in June 2016. Celeste shares how she created her dream job and what it’s like wear yoga pants to work everyday – we know you’re really interested in the latter.

Morning routine

“When I first wake up in the morning it is usually because my husband is calling me. He lives in New York during the week and, to be quite honest I am not known to be a morning person, so my husband will call me in the morning around 6:30 a.m. I always have a short morning conversation with him and of course exchange ‘I love you’s.’

Morning routine

I give myself a couple moments to stretch in bed, reach my arms overhead and stretch from side to side – opening up my side body.

Then, I spend at least five minutes in meditation. I will sit in my bedroom and set my phone timer and allow myself those five minutes for me. I try to release any expectations for that time and just open myself up to whatever it is I need to receive, sometimes it is just kisses from my cat, Lulu, but that must be what I needed that day so I take it! Owning a business and running around town for appointments can make your day fly by and by the time I get home in the evening I am ready for dinner and Netflix, so those are my five minutes in the morning.

Morning routine

Breakfast is next and due to the nature of my job, teaching yoga and fitness classes, I don’t eat a big breakfast because it would make me feel weighed down while teaching. I always have warm water with lemon and typically an apple or banana between morning classes.

I try to be at the studio by 7:30 a.m. so I can start warming the room for hot yoga, folding towels from the night before, and be ready for the first class of the day at 8:15 am.

I am constantly on the go and sometimes I have to shower at the studio to run to the next appointment. I use the 4 pc. Cosmetic Organizer to keep all my items organized and so that things don’t get smashed together when I put them in my gym bag. I also love that I can use each compartment separately. Sometimes I just need a quick refresh if I am on site so I take something smaller with me that doesn’t take up as much room.”

Morning routine

Before she went back to the yoga studio to teach afternoon classes, she gave all the aspiring entrepreneurs three pieces of advice.

“#1. Listen, and don’t listen just to respond. Really listen to people and their ideas. You never know what works until you try! #2. Don’t be afraid to say no. ‘No’ doesn’t have to be harsh or unkind, but guard yourself, your time and your investment.  #3. You only fail when you stop trying. You will have a wave of emotions not just in a month, week or day but even just within the span of five minutes. Always come back to why you are going for it. Pause and do whatever it is that makes you feel passionate and keep pushing forward.”

Morning routine

Morning routine

We love looking into the lives of those that inspire us; some say it’s nosey, we prefer curious. Stay connected with us as we give more glimpses into the morning routines of other successful women next month. If you’re still hungry to see more hustle – take a look at how seven female leaders spend their first hour at work.

A Closer Look: Imperial Rose

After the release of three new patterns last month, you probably assumed we were done for the season. We love a good surprise, so we’re releasing one more pattern this month! Available to shop on November 17, Imperial Rose is the color-blocked floral pattern your closet needs this winter. This art-deco inspired pattern is composed of black, creamy greige and boxwood green, exuding bold and confident vibes. Imperial Rose is perfect for the woman with modern style who loves a little luxe – whether it be the shine of a necklace or fur of a scarf. If you love art deco and want something even more geometric, Imperial Tiles is for you.

Imperial Rose
Imperial Rose

Style your tech
Dress up your phone, tablet or desktop screen with our new pattern:

desktop download: Imperial Rose

Download: Desktop | Tablet | Mobile

See the inspiration in pictures. Visit our Imperial Rose board on Pinterest.

Is something a little more festive your style? You’ll love Scottie Dogs.

Shop the entire collection when it arrives, online and in stores, Thursday, November 17!