31 December 2013

Happy New Year's Eve!

It's New Year's Eve readers! Even though I won't be throwing my own New Year's party this year; I did prepare a fun little DIY for those of you who are and need a little extra sparkle. I purchased gold tinsel from Paper Source [bonus : tinsel is most likely all on sale now!] and used wooden coffee stirrers as my base. I wrapped the tinsel around the stirrer and simply tucked the loose end under the wrapped portion - no glue needed! For an extra festive touch I used a few leftover cranberries [that bag of mine seems to be never ending!] and let them float in the glasses. 

I hope all of you have a sparkly and wonderful start the New Year! [Please stay safe out there as well.]

ps : 2013 has been quite a special year for me; all thanks to this little blog. I have developed a even more of a passion for creating and photographing than ever before and I thank all of you who stop by each day, comment, and support me. I cannot wait to see what 2014 brings, I have lots planned ;)
I will be taking the rest of the week off to enjoy the holiday and get back into the swing of work. Check back on Monday for a post talking about resolutions and some exciting things to come.

30 December 2013

Cranberry Fizz!

Happy Monday readers! This week is another fantastic one. Most of it will be spent in New York with Arielle. This is going to be an extra long trip [four days!] and I can't wait to explore and ring in the New Year in my favorite city. Today's post is a NYE themed cocktail for those who don't particularly like champagne. I myself love champagne more than any other drink; but this one came in as a close second! The great thing about this recipe is that it can be served as a mock-tail and gives those who prefer not to drink [or cannot drink] something bubbly and pretty to cheers with at midnight!

You'll Need [for one cocktail] :
[1] Two handfuls of fresh cranberries
[2] One table spoon of sugar
[3] Two table spoons of water
[4] Half a lime squeezed
[5] 1 part vodka
[6] Sparkling water

To Make :
[1] Bring cranberries, sugar, and water to a boil. Simmer until cranberries begin popping.
[2] Pour cranberry juice into cocktail shaker with vodka and lime juice.
[3] Shake vigorously & pour into champagne glass
[4] Top with sparkling water

24 December 2013

Christmas Recipe Ideas

So this will be my last post of the week, I decided to spend the next few days enjoying the holiday with family and getting ready to travel! Since I compiled my themed recipes for Thanksgiving last month [HERE] I thought it might be fun to do the same for Christmas. All of these recipes can be whipped up fairly quickly and are all seasonal themed.

[1] Mulled Cranberry Apple Cider
[2] Cranberry White Chocolate Cookies
[3] Christmas Cosmo
[4] Easy Spiked Eggnog
[5] Peppermint Hot Chocolate
[6] Peppermint Bark

Let me know if you try any of the recipes below. I'd love to hear how they turn out!

Merry Christmas Eve!

Happy Christmas Eve readers! I've finally got the presents wrapped, the gingerbread ready to bake, and my outfit all picked out for this evening and I'm so excited! I think I love Christmas Eve more than Christmas day itself. Christmas Eve for me is filled with baking and cooking, last minute wrapping, and getting all dressed up to attend candle lit Christmas Eve service and a family filled dinner. Presents on Christmas day are great but I think the excitement of what's to come and the time spent focusing on family and traditions is far better. 

Do any of you have any Christmas Eve traditions you love? I'd love to hear them below. 

ps : Keep an eye out for a second post later today with my favorite holiday recipes!

23 December 2013

Spiked {Easy} "Eggnog"

For some reason the idea of true eggnog seemed intimidating [using an egg in a drink...I just wasn't sure about that.] So I decided to search for easy alternate versions to create the seasonal drink. I discovered a few options that used vanilla ice cream as the base. This drink can be made spiked or not, I really enjoy the addition of dark rum. [It gives it a really rich flavor.] 

You'll need :
[1] Vanilla ice cream
[2] Dark Rum
[3] Ground nutmeg
[4] Whipped cream
[5] Cinnamon sticks 

To Make :
[1] Melt down a bowl of ice cream in the microwave for about 2 minutes
[2] Stir well & place in fridge to cool down
[3] Add a small amount of rum [I didn't add a full shot because the flavor would be overwhelming. I used the bottle cap to measure out a small amount.]
[4] Add a dash of nutmeg and mix all together
[5] Top with a scoop of ice cream and whip cream
[6] Garnish with nutmeg and cinnamon sticks

Enjoy! This mixture is the perfect after dinner treat. Have any of you made actual eggnog? If so, I'd love to hear recipes or how it turned out!

20 December 2013

Happy Weekend

Happy Friday readers! Yes, another post using cranberries! I had so many leftover cranberries from the past few food shots that I decided to repurpose them for a coffee table center piece. The gold sparklers have also popped up a bit this week and I will be talking about how simple it is to make them in the coming weeks. (I have used them quite a bit this holiday season!)

My goal for this weekend is to Christmas shop (I've been the worst this year and haven't gotten anything done!) And to enjoy a fun weekend with Arielle (who is coming into the city from New York) before we head home. I hope all of you have fantastic pre-Christmas weekends; and have been better about present shopping than I have!

ps : How do we feel about this moving photo? I'm not quite sure yet. I can't take credit for it though. I uploaded the photos for this post to Google last night and this morning woke up to a notification saying I had an "Auto Photo to retrieve". This was the result. I may or may not swap it out for the original. 

19 December 2013

Peppermint Bark

At a holiday party I attended recently I had the best peppermint bark ever. I immediately began craving more and decided it shouldn't be too hard to make my own. See below for steps and a few tips! [I made a small batch because I was just testing it, you can alter the ingredients easily to make more.]

Ingredients :
[1] 1 and 1/2 cup of dark chocolate shavings
[2] 1 and 1/2 cup of white chocolate chips
[3] 6 candy canes

How to :
[1] Melt down your dark chocolate and pour onto baking sheet covered with aluminum foil
[2] Place in refrigerator to harder (about 15 to 20 minutes)
[3] While the dark chocolate is hardening break up your candy canes and then run them through the blender to crush them into smaller sizes
[4] Begin melting your white chocolate down
*[5] Stir most of your crushed candy canes into your warm white chocolate (I got so excited to pour the white chocolate onto the dark I didn't think to add this step in. My peppermint bark still came out, but it would taste so much better had I stirred in the peppermint instead of only pouring on top.)
[6] Pour white chocolate mixture over hardened dark chocolate
[7] Top with remaining candy canes
[8] Let it chill in refrigerator for 30-45 minutes. Then break into smaller pieces.

18 December 2013

Currently Loving // Holiday Sparkle

Tis the season for holiday parties and the excuse to get dressed up! Today's post is featuring some of my favorite accessories and items to get dressed up for the season with. Gold tinsel optional ;)

[1] Ann Taylor Cap Toe Wedges - The perfect heel for being on your feet all night. They are so comfy.
[2] Necklaces : J. Crew (purchased in store) - I love layering two necklaces this time of year for ultimate sparkle.
[3] M.A.C Red - Featured on here a few times, my go-to pop of color. [An oxblood color like Diva or a hot pink like Schiap are a fun twist to classic red.]
[4] Marc Jacobs nail lacquer in Petra is my new favorite twist on a holiday metallic nail. The color is amazing!
[5] Butter London's Union Jack Black - this one I've talked about a few times. This color will never get old and a sleek, shiny, jet black nail is perfect for any event.

Other nail colors featured [reference photo two] :
[1] Butter London West End Wonderland is the perfect addition to a color like Union Jack Black. (Or it can be worn on it's own.)
[2] Essie's Lollipop - it's description literally uses the words "candy cane" in it. Need I say more?
[3] Chanel Vamp No. 18 - Cult classic Vamp is the perfect companion to an oxblood lip.
[4] Essie's Set in Stones makes the perfect top coat. Try it over Essie's Topless and Barefoot for a sleek and neutral look with a pop of holiday. 

17 December 2013

Snowy Pine Cone Craft

Back in Novemeber I shared THIS post talking about my Thanksgiving decor and pine cone find. I knew from the beginning I wanted to transform them from a fall/Thanksgiving look into more of a winter/Christmas one. Due to how long each pine cone takes I didn't craft all of them, I selected a few of my favorites and got to glittering. I used Martha Stewart products (iridescent glitter - in white, which you can buy individually in store and glitter glue - which I also bought at Michael's). If you don't want to invest in the Martha Stewart glue, regular Tacky Glue works great as well. I also purchased those super cheap like 40 cent foam brushes so I didn't mind ruining a few and just tossing them instead of trying to clean them. 

To create the look I used the brush dipped in glue to coat the edges of the pine cone. I then picked up pinches of glitter and sprinkled it over the glue. Once it had a second to adhere, I shook the pine cone out to let the excess glitter fall off.

The iridescent glitter came out a little more green/blue than expected. It looks completely white in the bottle (and very pretty); so next time I might go for a pure white to get a true snow effect. I've also been thinking about spray adhesive to coat the whole pine cone and then dusting glitter all over. None the less this year's are still pretty and sparkly! 

Have any of your crafted an holiday decorations?

16 December 2013

Christmas Cosmo

The weekend before last, while in New York and Hoboken we celebrated Nicole's birthday and housewarming all at once while giving it a Christmas theme. We attempted (or shall I say, I attempted) rather unsuccessfully to throw together a Christmasy cocktail that was roughly based on a cosmo/cranberry vodka. I decided to work with this challenge and actually perfect the drink...for next time ;) Its really simple, I stuck with a basic cosmo recipe and added pomegranate to give it a seasonal flavor. 

You'll need :
[1] Regular vodka
[2] Triple Sec
[3] Cranberry Juice or Cranberry Pomegranate juice
[4] Whole lime
[5] Fresh pomegranates 

To make one drink :
[1] 1 part vodka
[2] 1 part Triple Sec
[3] 2 parts Cranberry
[4] Lime juice - half a lime squeezed 
[5] Combine over ice in shaker and shake vigorously 
[6] Pour over fresh pomegranates 
[7] Garnish with lime wedges

Happy cocktail-ing and holiday partying :)

13 December 2013

Happy Weekend

Happy, happy weekend readers! This weekend is going to be a really busy one between work and blogging, but I'm excited. I have so many projects I want to work on for the upcoming weeks and can't wait to share with you all! Along with working and blogging I also hope [fingers crossed] to wrap up most of my Christmas shopping - and wrapping! As you can see from the photo above, I'm going with a rustic meets preppy feel for my wrapping this year. It's a little different than normal but I am on a total plaid/tartan kick currently!

Are you all still Christmas shopping or have you all finished yours?

12 December 2013

Cranberry & White Chocolate Cookies

Last week I kicked off my "Christmas/holiday" themed recipe posts. For fall it was all things apple and I suppose my current obsession for winter is cranberry. Last week was a cranberry apple cider and today is a cranberry filled cookie! [It's also safe to say that I have at least one more cranberry recipe up my sleeve!] I based my cookies off of this recipe from the Food Network; but I made two small changes. First off, I left out the nuts. Macadamia nuts were not super easy to find and I also didn't feel like the cookie absolutely needed them. Secondly, the recipe called for 1 and 1/2 cup of flour. The last time I made cookies and put that much flour in I made the mistake of dumping it all into my batter and almost ruining them. This time I measured out the 1 and 1/2 cup and slowly added the flour in. I only ended up using about a 1 cup, maybe a little more before I decided my batter was at a texture I wanted. 

Have any of you been testing any winter/Christmas recipes? I'd love for you to share!

Happy Baking :)

11 December 2013

Currently Craving // Christmas List 2.0

I enjoyed putting together last week's "Currently Craving Christmas List" so much that I decided to make a second installment. Some of these price points are a little higher than last week incase you are searching for a bigger present for someone special!

[1] Zara Gloves : $29.90
[2] Diptyque Candle : $60 
[3] Kate Spade NY Watch : $195
[4] J. Crew Pajama Set : $95
[5] Alexa Chung's It : $30
[6] CB2 Pinch Bowls : $4.95 - $14.95

ps : I also love the Roses scent from Diptyque & the fact that a selection of their candles come in a cheaper price point!

10 December 2013

Currently Reading

Necklace : J. Crew. in stores ; Diptyque Candle ;  Kate Spade Cat Case ;  It by Alexa Chung

This year I had two "Christmas presents" I wanted to snag for myself. [I fully believe in buying yourself a little something every year during the holidays.] Firstly [and I'm sure obviously] was Alexa Chung's book It and secondly a new phone case which is pictured above. [I totally fell in love with this Kate Spade case after my friend and fellow blogger Jordan sent me the link to it.] 

I read Alexa's book on the bus ride up to New York this past weekend. It was a quick, but great read. Alexa had me pretty much laughing out loud with her quirky and witty thoughts [I'm sure my bus mates must have thought I was nuts!] and I now have a fantastic understanding of how her style developed. I found it so intriguing to read the section on her style icons (which featured quite a few men). 

Another section I really loved was her thoughts and ideas on heartbreak. She jumped from hilarious quotes about Instagram, to lines that ring really true. 

It is safe to say that I now love Alexa Chung even more than I did before. If you are looking for a fun and fashionable read for yourself or to gift; Alexa's book is just the ticket.

Have any of you read anything great lately?

09 December 2013

Baby It's Cold Outside

So this trip was a little different than normal. Instead of staying in Manhattan I split my time between the island and Hoboken. Nicole has just moved to Hoboken; which by the way is the most adorable place ever! This was also the first time I was able to see the views of New York above. I've always been in the heart of the city, never on the outside looking in. Nicole took me to a few different spots to check out the view and snap some photos; and they are breathtaking! We also ate some amazing Thai food, I got almost completely stuck in Manhattan for the night thanks to the snow [shout out to Arielle for being a great snow buddy for those few extra hours], and we braved the crowds to check out that beautiful tree in Rockefeller Plaza [head over to my Instagram to see that picture!]

I hope all of you had great weekends; and if you were affected by the snow stayed safe [and warm!]

*Second photo taken by Nicole DeCamp