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While getting dolled up for a night on the town with your girlfriends can be a great way to cut loose and let off steam, sometimes the best times are had at home. In honor of Thursday morning's Pajama Party on TODAY, TODAY style editor Bobbie Thomas reveals her favorite ways to enjoy a girls' night in.
Whether you often take liberties with your locks or you're stuck in a hair rut, a night spent in with the gals can provide a carefree platform to experiment and try new 'dos. The simplest way to sample different styles is with a wig, and as the party host, you can order an assortment of inexpensive options or ask the girls to bring/wear a style completely different from their own. A fun and commitment-free way to get inspired, this may help you to see what your friends think of a new you. ($14.99 and up; RickysNYC.com)
Swap and shop
For a simple twist on a style swap, try turning your night into a "Naked Lady" party. Not as risque as it sounds, simply have everyone come wearing clothing, shoes or accessories that they are willing to exchange with someone else — then let the trading begin! Who knows, you could end up scoring that sweater or pair of pumps you've been complimenting your co-worker on. Also works well with kids' clothing, books, etc.
From fake eyelashes to dare-to-wear eye shadow and lipstick shades, we all have a trend or two we're not quite ready to try on our own. Use this opportunity and provide a beauty bar or encourage your guests to bring items that you'll collect in a basket. Then have fun while you help each other create fresh looks, exchange tips, offer opinions and maybe even learn new tricks. E.L.F. is a great, affordable line that offers bright, bold colors for your eyes, lips and face ($1; EyesLipsFace.com), while My Face Cosmetics' Bling Bar has matching eye shadows and nail chromes in an array of metallic colors that are ideal for summer ($10-$18, MyFaceCosmetics.com). A classic mani/pedi is always a crowd pleaser, and Sally Hansen's Color Quick Nail Pens slip right into your purse, allowing you to brush on color when you're on the go or easily apply a quick fix ($7.95; SallyHansen.com). And while we all love freshly painted nails, it can be tough to wait the requisite 20-30 minutes while the polish dries. The Dazzle Dry Quick Dry Nail System, complete with a range of colors, base and top coats, will help to solve this problem by leaving your nails completely dry in just five minutes ($28, VbCosmetics.com). Last but not least, I love showing my girlfriends how to apply fake eyelashes. An often overlooked makeup secret, they are great for anyone looking to lengthen their lashes or frame their face. Revlon's Beyond Natural False Eyelashes are easy to apply and will give you natural-looking volume instantly ($9.99, Walmart.com).
Try as we might, no ladies' night is complete without a few indulgent goodies. Whether you decide to turn your night into a pairing party, or you gather the gals to cook and create, there are items out there to satisfy every sweet tooth. Cookies & Corks conveniently package their sweet and savory goodies to compliment red, white or sparkling wines ($7.95, CookiesandCorks.com), while Babycakes Cake Pop Maker ($29.99, TheBabycakesShop.com) and Cuisinart's Mix-It-In Soft Serve countertop ice cream/yogurt/sorbet maker ($100; CambriaCove.com) are both perfect for concocting individual-size treats.
They don't call them "chick flicks" for nothing, and retailers are now releasing box sets aimed directly at our heartstrings. The Ultimate Chick Flick Collection, including classics like "The Banger Sisters," "Ever After," "Moulin Rouge," "Say Anything," "Someone Like You" and "Where the Heart Is" will keep the evening filled with laughter ($62.99; Amazon.com). And the Girls' Night In Collection featuring "Just Like Heaven," "Win a Date With Tad Hamilton," "How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days," "What Women Want" and "Forces of Nature" will help provide enough quotable moments to carry you through the week ($41.39, BarnesandNoble.com). Gather around and watch as a group, or just let them play in the background.
Not ready to wear PJs to work? Go in-between with silk pants
While our Mystery Date and Mall Madness days may be behind us, there are still plenty of fun games out there for the gals to enjoy together. The game What's a Dame to Do presents your party with a range of scenarios, then asks you to predict how other players will react. It's a funny way to find out what you would do when faced with an everyday dilemma ($24.99; GamesForDames.com). The quickest way to get to know more about your girlfriends might be to play I've Never. Share things you've never done (or secretly want to do) aloud, and those who have done them sip some wine. You can also play the ready-made board game (family-friendly or adult version) ($19.99; IveNeverGame.com). Lastly, the Loaded Questions game comes with more than 1,000 questions designed to spark laughter and see just how well you really know your friends. With eight versions available from junior to parenting 101, the game is great for gals of all ages ($24.99; LoadedQuestions.com).