Last week Mai hosted a Secret Santa Austin Bloggirls party. It was her idea and we were all over it!
Mai decorated her cute apartment with her $15 holiday tree and fire from Walgreens (keep an eye out for her Bargain Holidays post), and even had holiday music playing along with the crackling fire.
She came up with and made these delicious faux chicken, i.e. tofu, feta and spinach on phillo appetizers. So yummy.
We had a smorgasbord of food along with it, including chips and homemade guacomole, Whole Foods pizza, artisan cheeses with mini toasts, and delicious dilled red potatoes made by Mai with fresh dill grown locally by Johnson's Backyard Gardens,
She also personalized holiday cups,
and hand decorated adorable stockings for each of us with an adorable little geisha girl keychain inside.
I could learn so much from her! She is an awesome hostess!
We used elfster.com to pick names. We had a blast guessing which gift was from who, although mine was easy because Kiley accidentally slipped early on and told us she had put a card with her gift (a very sweet one, too!!).
Through Elfster I drew Miranda, who couldn't end up coming at the last minute. I had only met her once besides, but Mai helped me out with picking her gift and I ended up buying her adorable felt coasters from Anthropologie. I kind of heart them.
We were so excited for the first gift that the paparazzi showed up. Adam, our honorary guest and fill in for Miranda, wasn't about to be shown up with the camera frenzy. Fortunately I captured the moment before we came to our senses.
Mai got Jackie her gift, one I wish I had taken a picture of because it was an adorable black with all different colors owl credit card wallet from Emerald's. It was handmade by someone on Etsy, which I also wish I knew who! So adorable. I also adore this picture of Jackie holding up her gifts, so excited with anticipation of what they might be!
Dani got Mai her gift, which was a replacement for a beautiful peacock feather headband that Mai had previously worn on many an occasion until it had started to fall apart. This one is just as beautiful and Mai still gets to wear her signature feathers! So very Sex and the City. I just have to explain that Mai also made this a secondary Ugly Christmas sweater party, but none of us had one except for her, which she wore the entire night. Awesome. I so need one.
Jackie got Dani her gift, and gave her vintage buttons for crafting, as well as a pretty feather green barrette. I love how Mai's fireplace glowed in the background.
We enjoyed a laugh that had me looking around the table so grateful for and in awe of all these wonderful people in my life when Kiley subtly tried to swipe Dani's Secret Santa gift.
Fortunately she seemed pretty pleased with her gift from Miranda. I wish I could remember all of the items, but I don't.
Jackie threw together a last minute Secret Santa gift of sports magazines for Adam. He seemed touched.
I feel pretty darn lucky that Kiley got my gift, because WOW she's an amazing shopper. Somehow she managed to stay under our $10 budget and gave me a beautiful purple scarf, as well as a tin of yummy Smith's Rosebud Salve lip balm. Crazy and so fun!
I had to run out way too soon to attend another holiday party with Brando, though the two of us did join the girls and Adam later to watch Mai's band she works for. We did manage to take a group picture of the girls before we left though, which makes me happy.