A Modern Holiday Fete Done Right

We like throwing parties just as much as the next gal, but with the holidays, it seems like we're hosting one every other day. Not that we don't enjoy downtime with friends and family, but all that partying can take its toll — even on us fashion editors. That's why we called in the help of actress/TV host/blogger (phew!) Grasie Mercedes.
The Brooklynite, now based in Los Angeles, is no stranger to juggling five things at any given moment, so we absolutely had to pick her brain about throwing the ultimate party. We're talking about everything from table settings and cocktails to outfits and accessories. Not to spoil anything here, but the only way she keeps track of it all is with her Pulsar watch. So, keep reading to see how Mercedes plans the perfect night in.
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Photographed by Olivia Malone.
"Right now, I'm preparing for a night in with friends. Entertaining at home is such an L.A. thing that I absolutely love. Growing up in NYC, that rarely happened. No one has a dining area big enough, and anything over four guests gives me anxiety. I am no Martha Stewart!" Advertisement
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Photographed by Olivia Malone.
"I wanted to keep it simple, festive, and fun. That's why I covered my table in brown paper and put oil pastels in little mason jars for guests to write on during dinner. It really brings out the kid in all of us." Advertisement
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Photographed by Olivia Malone.
"I usually use my phone to tell time, but having a watch when prepping for an occasion is key. You want to keep track of the time, but chances are your phone is out of reach or your hands are too dirty to touch it. That's where a great watch, like this Pulsar one, comes in." Advertisement
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Photographed by Olivia Malone.
"This is a great daytime outfit that allows me to run around and can easily transition into a nighttime, casual dinner look. Plaid is super-on-trend this fall, and I like pairing this preppy piece with something edgy, like vegan leather pants. " Advertisement
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Photographed by Olivia Malone.
"Want an apple-cider margarita? It's tequila, Cointreau, apple cider, and some apple slices for garnish — super-easy!"
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Photographed by Olivia Malone.
"I knew I wanted to make a yummy holiday drink, so this apple-cider margarita is perfect. I don't like to overthink. I prefer simple touches here and there over anything too elaborate."
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Photographed by Olivia Malone.
"Flowers are one of the simplest ways to take a room from boring to festive without much effort. If you want, you can take it a step further and add unique touches like printed cloth napkins, mason jars in place of glasses, or silverware wrapped in twine. Not only will your guests be impressed, but it's so much easier than it looks!"
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Photographed by Olivia Malone.
"Don't the pomegranates add that perfect touch to complement the gold and silver candle accents?"
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Photographed by Olivia Malone.
"Even when I wear something as simple as this, I like to dress it up with the right accessories. I would rather be slightly underdressed than overdressed for an event. I'm all about keeping it simple, but wearing at least one statement piece — especially for the holidays."
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Photographed by Olivia Malone.
"Okay, there you have it — my perfect table setting! Now, who's ready for the fashion?"
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Photographed by Olivia Malone.
"I love statement pieces and get most of my inspiration online from sites like Refinery29. Sometimes, I'll even look at my Outfits page to see what I've worn and figure out a way to wear pieces differently."
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Photographed by Olivia Malone.
"This Pulsar watch feels more like jewelry than a timepiece. I love the mixed metals! I'm really into mixing gold and silver tones and love pieces that do it for me."
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Photographed by Olivia Malone.
"I love the versatility of an LBD, especially around the holidays. You can dress it up however you like. I'm all about the accessories here — I love a good statement, obviously!"
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