Holiday Wreath

This past weekend I attended a “Wreath Making Party” in Ashburn, VA. I had never heard of these Wine & Design parties but it turned out to be so much fun!

 

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The owner of Country Shabby Chic came over to my friends house with all of the supplies we needed to make our wreath and led us through the steps.

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What you will need:

  • Box Wire Wreath
  • 1 roll of Deco Mesh
  • Thick Wired Ribbon
  • Wooden Initial
  • Twist Tie (in wire form)
  • Twine
  • Optional: Jingle Bells, JOY sign, Reindeers, Cinnamon sticks etc

What you will do:

  • Fold your Deco Mesh in half and tie the end on with one of  your wire twist ties
  • Bunch the Deco Mesh in your hand and stuff through the bottom wire of your wreath, then the middle, then the top. You will do this two times in each section until you get to the end

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  • With your remaining Deco Mesh (there shouldn’t be much) you will tie that onto the top rack with a wire twist tie as well
  • Fluff your mesh
  • Make your bow (or pre-buy a bow!) tutorial here
  • Attach your bow with wire twists that go directly into the Deco Mesh
  • Tie the twine onto your wooden monogram letter and attach it to the bottom wire of the wreath
  • Hot glue gun any extras to your wreath

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If you live in the DC/MD/VA area contact Country Shabby Chic for your Wine and Design party — They do much more than wreath making. If you live somewhere else I’m sure there are Wine and Design consultants in your area.

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Peppermint Blossoms

Did I mention that while I was on a baking spree last weekend I was SUGAR FREE? Do you know how hard it is to make cookie/brownie batter and not test it out? It’s basically torture and I don’t suggest you try it unless you have to. The third batch of cookies were Peppermint Blossoms and Adam said these were his second favorite cookie of the day (Sugar cookies #1). I trust my cookie testers judgement so here is the recipe!

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Peppermint Blossoms

Ingredients

  • 48 Hershey’s Candy Cane Kisses
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • Red and green sprinkles ( can use sugar crystals too)

Directions

  • Heat oven to 350°F. Remove wrappers from candies.
  • Beat butter, granulated sugar, egg and vanilla in large bowl until well blended. Stir together flour, baking soda and salt; add alternately with milk to butter mixture, beating until well blended.
  • Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Roll in red sugar, granulated sugar, powdered sugar or a combination of any of the sugars. Place on ungreased cookie sheet.
  • Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until edges are lightly browned and cookie is set. Remove from oven; cool 2 to 3 minutes. Press a candy piece into center of each cookie. (If they start to melt transfer them to the freezer immediately) Remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely. Makes about 48 cookies.

“Crack”ers (Cookie Style)

I received these “crack”ers a few years ago through a blogger Holiday Sweet Swap and could not get over how amazingly addictive something was for how simple it was to make. I’m pretty sure I ate the entire tin to myself that day and I’ve thought about making them ever since. Since we were slowly moving back into our apartment last December I skipped my usual baking spree. But this year, it.was.on. These would be perfect for a holiday party, they only take 10 minutes!

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“Crack”ers (Cookie Style)

Ingredients:

  • 1 box Club Crackers ( I only used about a sleeve and a half)
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter
  • 1 12 oz package MINI chocolate chips (<— must use mini)

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Line an 11 x 15 cookie pan that has a lip with foil.
  • Cover foil with one layer of crackers, breaking to fit bottom as necessary.
  • Heat sugar and butter together in a saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring constantly for about 3 minutes.
  • Then pour and spread mixture over crackers while hot.  It will seep in and around the crackers and that is okay.
  • Bake for 5 minutes in 400 degree oven.
  • Remove from oven and sprinkle mini chocolate chips all over.  As chips melt, spread evenly with a spatula.
  • Place in refrigerator to cool.
  • When very cold break apart in large pieces peeling away the foil.  Then break into smaller serving size pieces and store in covered container in refrigerator until ready to serve.

Note:  the unevenness of the pieces makes these cookies attractive.  Do not expect to break them into the shape of the crackers.  Also, you must use MINI chips.  Regular sized chips do not melt appropriately.

Gift Guide: Under $25

I’m always looking for small gifts to give to co-workers or friends that won’t break the bank. You don’t want to be that person who is caught with nothing to give when the other person has a beautifully wrapped gift in their hand. Below are my favorite picks for items under $25.
Gift Guide: Under $25
J Crew elastic headband – These are the best hair ties. Normally $12, on sale for $5
Tart server  – Love these fun cake/pie servers for any special occasion
Monogram mug – I am obsessed with this mug! I bought one for all of my co-workers and stuck cake pops in them.
 Gift Boutique Fortune Cookie Box  – I don’t know why I think this is cute, but I do.
Hot Chocolate – Ah.maze.ing.
Deborah Lippmann beauty product – Perfect color combo
letterpress recipe cards + tags – Mignon Kitchen Co. – I bake/cook a lot so these would come in hand when I am winging a recipe
Black Hawaiian Sea Salt  – Perfect for the bath lover
Tuscan Blood Orange Natural Soap – A friend of mine suggest this soap and said the Blood Orange scent is unreal
Diane Von Furstenberg earphones earbud – I keep a lot of earbuds on hand in different places of the house, car and my purses. Never know when you’ll need one!

Grandma’s Sugar Cookies

The recipe I’m posting today brings back warm memories of my childhood. When we were younger, we would head up to Maryland from Florida to spend Christmas with my moms side of the family and every year I would help my Grandma make her infamous Sugar Cookies. We start eating these during Christmas Eve Brunch and continue eating them until they’re gone (Christmas Dinner). I think we usually make 2 batches? It makes A LOT of cookies but they are in high-demand with our family. The dough, which has to chill for a few hours before rolling out, is so yummy too and you know we sneak many a bites during the whole process.

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Sugar Cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 lb margarine (4 sticks); softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 6 cups flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 rolling-pin
  • 3 cans of frosting (We use Betty Crockers Vanilla <—we cheat!)
  • Sprinkles

Directions

  • Pre heat your oven to 375 degrees
  • Mix the margarine, sugar, eggs, vanilla, flour, salt & baking soda together and then chill, covered for a few hours.
  • When you remove from fridge, leave it for an hour or so before you start to work with it.  The first batch always seems to be a challenge…so be patient as you roll it out.
  • Sprinkle flour on your surface before you start with the dough, and rub flour on the rolling-pin frequently.
  • Roll out to about 1/4 inch thick, and use cookie cutters.
  • Lift gently and place on ungreased cooking sheet.  Bake for 5 to 7 minutes at 375 degrees.  (If not quite done another minute or two.)
  • Frost and sprinkle.

 

Caution:  they are addictive! The consensus is that they are best once the icing sets into the cookies and makes them very soft so I suggest making these a day (or two) in advance of when you will need them.

Gift Guide: The Couple

Sorry if you are tired of the gift guides but I still have two more for tomorrow (DIY & Gifts under $25) and then I’m done. All of my friends are in the get married (or about to get engaged) stage so  practical gifts are at a high during this period of our lives. These are also great gifts for an engagement party since the couple typically hasn’t registered yet.
 Gift Guide: The Couple

Gift Guide: Girly Girl

The girly girl list was probably the easiest one I made because, well, I’m a girly girl. I own some of these items and would never turn down any of the others because they are all so fun!
 Gift Guide: Girly Girl

Drybar Blowout In A Box – If you’ve been to the Drybar you know they do amazing blowouts (if you haven’t – check it out!) I use their conditioner and love how light it is for my long hair.
 Bar tool – I doubt Adam would ever let me keep these glitter coasters out for display but they would be fun for a girls party!
Birchbox 6-Month Gift Membership E-Card – $10 a month to receive a box full of beauty goodies. I have a bunch of reviews on my blog about this.
Crystal jewelry – Still loving gold so yes, I love this watch.
Necklace – Classic look with a touch of gold.
Tote bag – I get TONS of compliments on this Tory Burch bag… It is huge so I throw a ton in there and it has held up beautifully after toting it with me everywhere the past 365 days.
Cheek bronzer – Bobbi Brown has some classic makeup for women – I always go for bronzers that are multi-colored over solid.
Polaroid Polaroid Z2300 Camera Black – All girls love selfies
How to Walk in High Heels The Girl’s Guide to Everything  – A fun book for your coffee table or dressing room
Pajamas – I can’t sleep in pants and long sleeves because I get too hot in the night so these light weight jammies are perfect!
Monster Crystal Headphones in White – I personally don’t know if I would wear big headphones like this but I see a lot of people traveling with them and these are a pretty alternative.
Tech accessory – If I didn’t just buy a Lilly Pulitzer Ipad holder — I would’ve purchased this one! Kate Spade has been all over this list… One of my favorites!

See other gift guides here: FashionistaFitness FreakYour ManThe HostessThe Guys Guy & Stocking Stuffers

Gift Guide: Stocking Stuffers

I’ve always been excited to open up our stockings on Christmas morning. All of our presents are wrapped inside of the stocking except for things like candy, magazines, chapstick and toothbrushes (santa never forgets the toothbrush!). Below are some of my pics for men & women.
 Gift Guide: Stocking Stuffers

J Crew bag — Everyone needs a pretty passport cover
Mossimo Supply Co gold glitter belt – This is similar to the Kate Spade belts they sell for $75. I’ve tried this on and it is super cute!
Vosges Milk Dark Chocolate Bacon Bars – Bacon and Chocolate is something I’ve never had but I bet it tastes amazing.
Travel Spice Kit – I am one of those freaks who has every single spice in their cabinet. When i travel to my moms and she has nothing (not even cinnamon!), this would totally come in handy.
Desktop Golf Game – It’s less noticeable to play with a game on your desk than it is to whip out candy crush on your phone.
Jack Black ‘Balm Squad’ Intense Therapy Lip Balm SPF 25 Set One Size – Adam’s always asking where my chapstick is so it’s nice they make some for men.
Christmas beanie hat – Perfect for someone who rides public transportation in the morning. Headphones + Keeping your head warm = Win.
GolfSense 3D Golf Swing Analyzer for iPhone, iPad and Android, White – Kind of a more expensive stocking stuffer but small enough to fit in their stocking. I know Adam would like this as he is still perfecting his swing.
Personalized Enamel Purse Mirror – You can never have too many mirrors
Paintbrush Notepad – I like to keep these near my bed or in my car for when I get random ideas… Oh the life of having A.D.D.
Kitchen gadgets tool – A pretty tea infuser
Handpresso – I don’t drink coffee, but this seems like it could come in handy for you caffeine lovers
Triple C for J.Crew USB phone charger – If you’ve upgraded your phone you have probably noticed it dies, A LOT. This charger will charge your phone up to 50% without a socket nearby.
Jewelry box – I am obsessed with gold lately so it’s only fitting I fell in love with this ring holder.
Nail polish – Love the dark holiday colors
Cubebot Puzzle – Another fun game for your desk… Not that I’m bored at work or anything!

See other gift guides here: FashionistaFitness FreakYour Man & The Hostess, The Guys Guy

Gift Guide: Your Guy

Holiday Gift Guides are back! One of my favorite things to do is give others gifts. I’m not going to lie, I like receiving as well… But picking out the perfect gift for a loved one (without them asking) always makes me happy.

Here are my favorite picks for guys this year.

Gift Guide: Your Guy
1. BeerTender — This is perfect for your guys “man cave”. Always a cold draught on hand.
2. NorthFace eTip Gloves – Warmth and able to play candy crush on your phone.. My husbands dream
3. Golfer BBQ Grill Utensils – These are fun for a man who has everything, loves to golf and can be seen manning the grill.
4. Whisky Stones – Nobody likes watered down whiskey (or vodka).
5.  Bowflex Adjustable Dumbbells – Perfect for an at home gym – each dumbbell can be 2.5 to 52.5 pounds.
6. Personalized Bottle of Tabasco – I know Adam puts tabasco on EVERYTHING so this gallon would last him about a month.
7.  Guy Gourmet Cookbook – For the men who are the chefs at home.
8.  Facial Hair Care Set – For the trendy man
9. Multi-tool Tripod –  An adjustable cell phone and screw-in camera mount and two foldable legs that serve as a tripod. The rest of the tool is all Gerber ingenuity – a fine edge blade, a serrated blade, three screwdrivers, a bottle opener, pliers and wire cutters.
10. Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones  – Hopefully he isn’t using these to drown out you and your crying baby.
11. Monogrammed Leather Toiletry Bag – My brother was once seen carrying a target bag with his overnight items. That is a no-no.

See other gift guides here: Fashionista, Fitness Freak, Your Man & The Hostess

Cyber Monday Deals (J. Crew)

Happy cyber Monday! Did anyone wait to do their shopping online today? We’ve done the majority of our shopping online to beat the crowds and I noticed J. Crew was having some great deals today! Everything is either 30-60% off with free shipping. Below are my favorites.

Tops
Bottoms and Dresses
Shoes
Accessories
Random

Happy Shopping!