For inspiration, explore this photo gallery of celebrities sporting shimmery outfits, including Taylor Swift’s striped, strapless frock, Paula Patton’s long-sleeved sequins and Beyonce’s cobalt-blue mini. Cara Kelly over at Arts Post has a round up of more New Year’s Eve fashion tips.
A champagne toast at midnight is the classic way to ring in the New Year. Real champagne, explains wine columnist Dave McIntyre, must come from the Champagne region of France — otherwise, it’s just sparkling wine. If you’re after a true champagne, he has a list of recommended champagnes, and explains a secret to choosing a good bottle .. But for budget-minded consumers, he notes that many sparkling wines offer good quality for a fraction of the price and offers tips on finding the best brand:
Look for “the neighbors.” If champagne is too pricey but you want to stay French, look for sparkling wines from other regions, such as Alsace, Bourgogne (Burgundy) or the Loire. Those wines are called “cremant,” and they are made by the same method as champagne, with the secondary fermentation producing the bubbles in the bottle, though they might not be made with the same grape varieties. They often are quite excellent and range from $15 to $25.
Second, look for other countries that specialize in sparkling wines. Spain’s cava and Italy’s prosecco are ideal choices for celebrating any day’s minor victories or just for starting off dinner with a smile. The best-known cava is probably Freixenet’s Cordon Negro, which is widely available, inexpensive and rather cloyingly sweet. Most cavas are dry, often austere; they might be delicate or robust, but they are always inexpensive, ranging from about $8 to $20.
Sparkling wine is so popular that winemakers around the world produce their own versions. California makes some to rival champagne in complexity and price, but the real bargains can be found by way of some unexpected places. In Oregon, Argyle winery produces a delightful brut sparkler with an intensity of fruit that reminds me of the Domaine Chandon Etoile from Napa Valley. The Etoile costs about $40, but you can find the Argyle for $25 or less. Read more and find out which two sparkling wines (just $10 a bottle) McIntyre recommends.
With all that bubbly comes a high chance of New Year’s Day hangover. The Associated Press reports on hangover cures (and how to avoid a hangover all together). Among the tips in their story:
• “The only way to prevent a hangover is to not get drunk,” said Boston University researcher Jonathan Howland.
• Don’t drink on an empty stomach, said Sam Zakhari, director of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism’s metabolism and health effects division. Food helps absorb alcohol and delay its toxic effects on the body. Drinking plenty of water before, during and after also helps because alcohol can dehydrate the body.