A Southern New Year's Celebration: Ringing in 2014 with Damaris Phillips

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Host Damaris Phillips welcomed guest Buddy Mattingly, and taught him how to make a a bourbon inspired meal in Louisville, Kentucky, as seen on Food Network's Southern at Heart, Season 1.

Photo by: Mark Cornelison ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Mark Cornelison, 2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

While some may be content to watch the Times Square ball drop on New Year's Eve from the comfort of their pajamas while cuddled on the couch, Southern at Heart host Damaris Phillips is no such celebrator. In fact, this Louisville, Ky., native dons her most-elaborate outfit and her fanciest footwear for a night on the town as she prepares to ring in the new year. FN Dish caught up with Damaris toward the end of this year to find out more about her New Year's traditions and best memory of the holiday. Read on below to learn her New Year's resolution from last year and get her top tips for easy party fare.

How do you celebrate New Year's Eve these days?

Damaris Phillips: I love going out. I love getting dressed up fancy. I love sparkly clothing. Like, there's not a lot of occasions to wear sparkly heals, and I have maybe 15 pairs, so I love New Year's because it's the perfect time to put on sequins and rhinestones and glitter and get real dressed up. And I love to dance; I like to go to places where they have, like, an old-time ball kind of New Year's, and my gentleman loves New Year's. Like, it's his favorite holiday, so I know how special it is for him, and it's always fun to be celebrating together. I come up with New Year's resolutions. For sure.

Do you usually keep your resolutions, and what have been a few of your resolutions in the past?

DP: Oh yeah. This year my New Year's resolution was to try and be present in the moment, like to try and really focus on where I was, because I knew going into New Year's that I was going to go do Food [Network] Star. And so I wanted to make sure that even though I was missing home or even though it was a crazy experience, I would be able to be present in it.

What is your favorite memory of New Year's Eve?

DP: Last year's [New Year's Eve] was wonderful. I went with my guy and my best girlfriend and her gentleman and we had a great time. We went to watch a band called The Ladybirds that do, like, kind of throwback rockabilly music. And so we did that and then we went to another music show. There was lots of kissing and dancing and Champagne, and it was really fun.

So you enjoy a glass of champagne when the clock strikes midnight?

DP: I'm a Champagne-at-midnight and kiss-at-midnight kind of girl.

Do you have a signature cocktail?

DP: You take a bottle of Champagne and you chill it. And then you open it and you drink it.

Any suggestions for easy pass-around appetizers for a crowd?

DP: I do love a New Year's party, like a crowd. I love anything baked in the oven. I love little croissants filled with stuff. I love biscuits filled with things. I love little potato cups. People like to eat. Any finger food and anything that will not stain a dress is what I go with. No garlic 'cause hopefully you're going to kiss at midnight.

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