Forget dropping a few hundos on another overly extravagant (and borderline memorable) New Year's Eve bash. We suggest ringing in 2013 at home—but not in PJs while scarfing down Chinese waiting for the Times Square ball to drop. We're talking about throwing your own festive fete, complete with delish food, drinks, and personal touches that don't include balloons or crepe paper. And to help, we brought in an expert to help you execute the perfect par-tay!
Meet Monica Pedersen. You may already know her gorgeous mug from HGTV, where she plays host to numerous shows like Bang For Your Buck and House Hunters. Even though she'll be in bed before midnight this year to make her early morning call time for the Rose Bowl Parade, this Chicago native has executed plenty of parties in her day. So, to make things easier for you, she's shared her database of favorite local places to scoop up everything from creative candle holders and flatware to hostess gifts and flowers. Oh, and she even dishes on the best party food ever (hint: it's not cocktail weenies!). The only element you'll have to figure out on your own? That winning guest list, of course.