Hacks for the Holidays with Rachel Blumenthal
The Rockets of Awesome Founder and CEO shares her favorite tips for sailing through the season stress-free.
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December is, without question, the most festive time of the year. Between office parties, school events, family gatherings and fêtes with friends, it’s a wonder anything gets done. To navigate the perpetual list of places to go and people to see, we turned to Rachel Blumenthal, founder and CEO of Rockets of Awesome and a frequent name on guest lists across the city. As an entrepreneur, wife and mother to three-and-a-half-year-old son, Griffin, Rachel knows a few things about multitasking. Her site is a favorite for the time-saving “life hacks” it offers fashionable new moms, so we asked Rachel for a few social shortcuts to simplify the season.
1. Keep hostess gifts on hand
I keep hostess gifts at home so I don’t have to worry about what to bring every time we’re going somewhere. Jo Malone and Diptyque are good for candles. Nuts.com has really pretty nonpareils and pretzels in super-cute packaging, so you don’t even have to wrap them. And then there’s a bottle of pink Veuve. One of the three is always appropriate wherever we’re going.
2. Have a uniform
Instead of trying to pull a new, really creative look together for every event, I generally have sort of a uniform: either a dressy jumpsuit with a blazer—or black leather pants, a sweater and heels. I’ll wear jewelry I can shower in to make the accessorizing process easier.
3. Go for quick-change beauty solvesDry shampoo is a game changer. I’m big on touch-ups of mascara and eyeliner. I don’t traditionally wear lipstick, but I just bought a super-bright-pink Chanel lipstick—when I put it on, I immediately feel pulled-together and more festive.
4. Know the pros
If I didn’t work, I’d probably enjoy spending more time party planning. My hours are crazy, however, so I’ve found these really smart services that I use when I host. MiniBar has everything you need to stock a bar. Use the app or go online and they will show up at your house within an hour. Kitchen Surfing is another favorite. A chef will come to your house, cook a meal and be in and out in about an hour. It’s really easy and they’re always reliable.
5. Kids party, tooIt’s unrealistic to think you’ll have a family party with kids at one table and adults at the other. I prefer one table that’s sophisticated, but set with melamine plates and cool, wipe-friendly placemats. Have a room ready for the kids to play in—turn on a movie and have Magna-Tiles, dress-up clothes, maybe a play kitchen set out, so the kids can come and go.
6. Manage the morning after
If I’m hosting, I want to enjoy the party, so I’ll have someone there to help me pick up afterwards. It’s an expense worth spending because it makes the evening less stressful and the morning isn’t about cleaning-up. I have friends who have their nannies come early and take the kids out of the house so they can sleep in—I haven’t tried that yet, but it’s quite brilliant.
7. Gift picks for the stroller setWhen I’m getting a gift for a child, I try to be thoughtful to the parents. I tend to buy clothes and a small toy or a really cool pair of sneakers. Our kids are fortunate and they have lots of stuff, so I tend to avoid toys unless it’s an activity. Griffin likes the Seedlings DIY boxes. We’re also really big on Kiwi Crates. I recently discovered the TriBeCa Balloon Saloon—they have a great selection of speciality toys and sweet, thoughtful little gifts from obscure brands, so you don’t feel like the kid you’re giving to already has five of them.
Images courtesy of Rachel Blumenthal.