Dress: Argemiro Sierra. (Thrifted, seriously, 1 hour before red carpet coverage & for the unbeatable price of $7.) Shoes: Vince Camuto, $62. Earrings: Kendra Scott, $58. Belt: Atik Shop, $30 (3109 Commodore Plaza Coconut Grove, FL. Link to similar belt at Mango here.)
     Last nights Oscar's were the most entertaining in recent memory, thanks in no small part to the incorrigible, but hilarious Seth MacFarlane and the round-up of audience-friendly films nominated. I'm just going to say it: In past years, the Academy Awards have been a snooze fest of self-indulgent pomp (I'm sorry, Billy Crystal. I love you!) Last year I was asleep before Best Supporting Actress. But some of the performances up for noms this year really resonated with me (Les Mis, The Sessions...balled my eyes out), and I really wanted to see how they fared. And also, I've had an inexplicable fashion-craving for a long, full evening skirt to pair with a sheer top. And so, the last minute idea to have an Oscars party was born.

     Now, I can never do anything half way. Every party MUST have some little detail to make it special, no matter how last minute. So I decided we'd dress up and sip champagne cocktails! But still, I needed something more. I dug around (with only t-minus three hours to red carpet, and still a dog to be bathed, a house to be freshened up, cheese and a fabulous Oscars-worthy dress to be bought) and found Oscar gold (literally): left-over Christmas cards with a beautiful gold foil damask print, white cardstock, and my trusty fancy-edged scissors. The Oscar ballot practically made itself. Suddenly I envisioned my guests thoughtfully writing their votes in each category (mine being the winner every time!) all of us clamoring enthusiastically about why our selection would be the shoo-in. I had found my something special and I didn't spend a dime.
Left over Christmas cards became the perfect Oscars ballot cards with a little imagination.

Fancy-edged scissors and white cardstock are an absolute staple for every hostess. Here I used them for my DIY Oscar ballots, but think of the possibilities: place cards, dish markers, even featuring funny quotes by a tray of drinks to greet guests by the door.

With no time to create a label and print, your imperfect handwriting can be just as lovely. Especially when made fancy with an easy flourish in the first letter. Effort almost always is more charming than perfection.

No time or budget for a big centerpierce? No problem. Baby's breath and curly willow make for an elegant, affordable and FAST arrangement. Speaking of fast, keep a few frozen hors d'oeuvres perpetually in stock: meat balls, quiches, puff pastries--anything you can just toss in the oven while you get ready. I assure you, none of your guests will have the sophisticated palette your fear, and it is a far greater crime to be caught entertaining without enough food.

     I didn't find my long, full evening skirt. But I did find a conveniently on-trend black and white striped dress by Columbian designer, Argemiro Sierra for a song! And with an asymetrical cut and color-block paneling that had an air of Julianne Moore's famous 2011 red carpet flop (according to some) in Lanvin. (The woman takes fashion risks and has skin and talent beyond reproach. She's one of my idols.) And the ballots turned out to be a great party favor, too! Everyone was engaged in the all-in-good-fun game of self-declared expertise, as though we'd actually have some weight in the matter. You should have heard us critique the red-carpet--our very own fashion police episode.
     In case you're wondering who my best-dressed pick was, it was Halle Berry in Versace. Flawless. Modern. Sexy. Strong. I die. In second place, the adorable Jennifer Lawrence in that blush Dior Haute Couture confection, exquisitely styled with a simple strand of bling defiantly worn backwards. Who was your pick for Best Dressed?

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