Queen of the Cookie Swap

by & filed under Portraiture.

Who doesn’t love cookies? There are so many great recipes to try. The problem is finding the time to make several batches. Instead of trying to make all the cookies yourself, why not host a cookie swap? Not only is this a great way to spend some time with friends this holiday season, but you’ll also get to sample a variety of delicious cookies. Here are just a few reasons why you should host a cookie swap.

It’s a Great Way to Connect with People During the Holidays
We’re all so busy during the holiday season that it can be hard to find time to spend with your friends. Why not host a cookie swap? You can trade cookies and recipes, and also have fun drinking bubbles and listening to your favorite seasonal tunes. 

You Won’t Have to Worry About Eating 12 Dozen Chocolate Chip Cookies  If you don’t want to be stuck with a large batch of one kind of cookie, a cookie swap is  the answer. You can enjoy a few of your favorite recipe, but also enjoy a variety of others, without making them yourself. These are also great for having on hand when holiday guests drop by.

It’s a Great Way to Get New Recipes If you love to bake, but like to try recipes that are tried and true, a cookie swap is a perfect holiday activity. This way you’re not spending a lot of time making cookies that end up being a flop.

It’s Fun
Last, but not least, a cookie swap is fun to host. Everyone shows up with tons of cookies and then everyone gets different cookies to take home. 

The Basics:

1- Each person makes 1 dozen cookies for each attendee plus 1 dozen for tasting. In other words, if you invite 8 people, each person makes 9 dozen of one kind of cookie and swaps with everyone else so they leave with 1 dozen each of 8 different cookies.

2- Assign cookie types- ask each attendee to sign up for a type of cookie (chocolate, lemon, gingerbread, biscotti, etc.) so that you wind up with a variety of flavors. You can also ask that cookies be a certain minimum size (3″-4″ is a good estimate) so that the cookies are of a similar size for making a plate. There are also lots of no-bake/ez- bake solutions for the kitchen-challenged like:

CopyCat Samoas

Red Velvet Cake Balls

Cranberry Pistachio Bark

Caramel Chocolate Pretzel Rods

Or those who are pressed for time or patience can bring something yummy from the local bakery.

3- The host provides the venue, light refreshments (savory as there will be lots of cookies!) and (if they like) containers for people to place their cookies in to bring home. If you are not supplying containers, remind people to bring their own.



Meet Dr. Guirguis- A New Kind of OB/GYN Practice

by & filed under Portraiture.

We were so thrilled to partner with Dr. George and his associates on images for his beautiful new office on the 2nd floor of 104 Hudson Street. The office officially opens on December 5th but we were able to get the construction-dust preview as we measured and planned the installation of 10 of Mac’s images. Dr. George was amazingly interested and involved in the process, requesting sepia images that complement the spa-like atmosphere of their state of the art office.

His enthusiasm for his work and his patients is evidenced in the amount of thought and care that has gone into building a gorgeous new facility for his patients. We are very excited to see what comes next. Dr. George is already seeing patients in the space, as is his associate, Dr. Hoffman. You can reach out to Dr. George at 833.732.1131.

Holiday Party Dressing with Liana of Be Brilliant

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Be Brilliant Styling

I met Liana Murgola at a business networking event in Hoboken. Her look and confidence drew me straight to her! Once we started talking and I learned a bit about her and her company; Be Brilliant Styling. I wanted to share her with all of you. Liana thanks so much for talking with me for our blog!

Tell me a bit about Be Brilliant! What makes you different from other stylists?

What sets Be Brilliant Styling apart is that while we focus on wardrobe and appearance, I am also committed to empowering my clients to fall in love with their body through style.
I have degree in psychology from GWU and have trained in various coaching methods with top life coaches in NYC, in addition to having certifications in image consulting and fashion styling from FIT.
What drives our process and every service I offer is to take that background and provide clients with a transformational experience that goes beyond the closet and gives them access to a new level of confidence and power.
We also have a non-profit community called “The Brazen Beauty Project” (read more about the Brazen Beauty Project at the end of this article) to empower adolescents in their self-image. A portion of our proceeds goes towards building the project and sponsoring other non-profits including “Stand Up for Education” and “Women Rising”

It’s great to have an expert on image and style to ask this question, as we are moving into the holiday season there are going to be a lot of business/social events like office Christmas parties. How does someone walk the line between festive and appropriate for events with people who have only seen you in business attire? After all, no one wants to be the person whose wardrobe malfunction is the office hot topic for weeks to come!

Holiday parties are an opportunity to express your personality more so than you might at the office. You can also highlight your best features and yes, even show off a bit more skin than you’d wear on a normal day at work. Just remember less is more. In spite of a huge range of office cultures, one thing that holds true for most professional environments is that they are usually more conservative than you’d dress for a night out with friends.
Some ways to get this right are to pick one area to highlight and/or show skin. For example, if you wear a dress with a V neckline, make it minimal or no cleavage and balance it out with a lower hemline or tights. If you wear sleeveless or an open back, balance it out with a higher neckline and opaque tights, slacks, etc. For guys you can open a button on your shirt, wear a fitted sweater, or rock some festive accessories (think shoes, socks, belt, pocket square.) 
If you want to express your personality more you can take risks, just make sure you own it! You wear the clothes – don’t let them own you. So if you’re hesitant and won’t feel good/confident, figure out the tweak you need to rock it, or go for something else. The primary goal is to build connections and relationships outside the office, and have a good time. Wardrobe can be a great conversation piece, just don’t let your look become a barrier to making connections by stealing the show or making you uncomfortable all night.
Lastly, keep the corporate culture of your company and the level of dressiness of the venue in mind when dressing for any occasion. For example, if the party is in a casual venue – like a bar or someone’s home – you can wear a casual outfit and then elevate it with some sparkly or shiny accents, layer festive textures, etc.

That’s great advice! If readers want to contact you for more information- or follow you for advice, what are the best ways to do this?

You can follow us on Instagram @bebrilliantstyling – for more information about us and our services you can visit our website at www.bebrilliantstyling.com – You can also email us to schedule a free 30 minute video consultation at liana@bebrilliantstyling.com
Liana on The Brazen Beauty Project: Empowering Adolescents to embrace a positive self image
As an adolescent I struggled with body dysmorphia and disordered eating so part of why I started the business is because it’s the best way I’ve found to combine my love of fashion with something that really makes a difference for people, particularly in dealing with questions of body image. I didn’t realize how distorted my perception of myself as a teenager was until I was an adult and saw photos of myself at a time when I felt ‘huge.’ As an adult looking back I saw the underweight girl my doctors said I was. Since then I’ve used clothing as a way to embrace my own figure and empower my clients.
Body image is the #1 shame trigger for women (and men are not immune.) In 2014 study by Dove, 96% of women surveyed say they would call themselves ‘average’ (not beautiful), and 83% of girls age 7-13 don’t think they’re beautiful.
Clearly this is an epidemic and while body positivity and diversity in fashion has greatly improved in the last few years there is a long way to go. So my goal is that our work with clients and our non-profit project continues to move the mission forward. Learn more about the project here.