Friday, December 16, 2011

Dress to Impress

Paper Source is one of my all-time fav stores when shopping for cards, crafts, and gift wrap. They have TONS of cute holiday items this year, and I couldn't help but ooooo and aaahhhh over everything in the store, so I had to share with you all! There's nothing better than getting a great gift with fabulous wrapping, am I right? Enjoy!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Gold & Citrus

Remember those earrings I won from L.A. In The Bay? They HAVE arrived, and are even more gorg in person - beautifully wrapped in GOLD and complete with a hand-written note from Sara, how cute! 

Design Board

Design board time! An open, but small living room in need of a face lift...This living room (in real life) is surrounded by floor to ceiling windows, so I've decided to create a "gallery" wall of black & white family photos along with a mirror to display on the mantle. A great trick when there is no "wall space." Enjoy! 

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Plaza Snapshots

Good Evening! How are you? One of my favorite things about Christmas is...obviously...the decor! Some of the most magical displays can be found in a mall or window peeking from the street. Take a looksie at South Coast Plaza through the lens of my iPhone. I managed to use all of my time snapping photos instead of shopping - oops. Can't wait to check out Chicago's holiday windows next week!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Put a Sock In It

Hello, lover! Here is my quick tutorial on a simple, yet elegant hairstyle. Great for those days you're rushing to get out the door - me, every day. Add a bit more drama to your bun with a sock...yes, a sock. "Class it up" and wear this bun low, or aim for high style (think Carrie Bradshaw) and place on top of your head.

If you want a twist around the base like Carrie's, just leave a section of the pony out on step 4

1. Start with a high (or low, depending where you want your bun) ponytail
2. Cut the toe off of a sock that matches your hair color 
3. Roll the sock in a doughnut shape
4. Place the "doughnut" at the end of your pony and begin to roll the hair around the sock 
5. Keep rolling the sock down until you reach the top of your head... and voila!
If your hair is shorter or extremely soft, you may need to secure with bobby pins. 

Be Our Guest

Just a little peek at our guest bathroom. Enjoy! 

Monday, December 12, 2011

Weekend Snapshots

 Welcome to Monday. It's chilly and rainy here -- perfect for a cozy, December day. I hope everyone had a fab weekend - ours was busy, exciting, and relaxing all in one. Couldn't be better. We attended a friend's ugly Christmas sweater party and donned these matching beauties ;). It was a great time, and fun catching up with some friends from college.
game night
christmas shopping and carolers...
true food - yum...
...and ended the weekend at church
see the man-made snow?
"being grateful is wanting what you have..."

Coffee Filter Wreath

Censtational Girl is having a link party today...yippee! Her blog is quite amazing and every DIY-ers dream.  The party is featuring "Christmas Crafts," and I am showing off one of my favorites - the coffee filter wreath. This wreath is easy-peasy and adorable! You can place it on your mantle, hang it with festive ribbon, or leave it plain and use it as part of your holiday tablescape. There is a great tutorial here. Enjoy! 

Saturday, December 10, 2011


Not your typical Saturday morning.
I woke up to an amazing email from Lauren over at L.A. In The Bay...I WON the Gold & Citrus earrings giveaway - tres fab! I love reading Lauren's blog...she has a great sense of style. Thank you Lauren and Sara
photo via L.A. In The Bay

$50 and Up

The last set of accessories can all be found for $50 and up. These accessories are for the babe with no budget -- or who may want to splurge this holiday season. Some (numbers 4, 7 and 15) can still be found for under $100, while others (particularly 1 and 11) will cost you. I hope everyone is having a fab weekend! Enjoy!                          

Friday, December 9, 2011


Today is the last day of Edie's link party -- featuring breakfasts, breads, or drinks. I am going with drinks (surprise, surprise). I was originally going to share my Peanut Butter + Banana + Oats smoothie recipe, and was in the midst of writing my entry when my friend Jenny told me about ONEHOPE Wine. Now, I know this is not a recipe, but it is SO great I couldn't resist sharing. Everyone needs a glass or five during the holidays, right? 

ONEHOPE Wine donates 50% of its profits to partner charities benefiting a variety of causes. Check them out and stock up!

$50 Or Less

Time for the second set of accessories! Set #2 is catered to the gal who LOVES accessorizing and is willing to spend a bit more this holiday season. All accessories in this set are $50 or LESS! Again, if you want to know where to find these items, leave a comment (accessory number included), and I'll respond with the link. Enjoy!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

$10 or Less

This is the first of a 3-part post dedicated to accessorizing your holiday wardrobe. Buying a new outfit for every occasion is oh-so-chic, but accessorizing the outfits you already own is a great way to save money. A bib necklace here, a fab scarf there...and voila! People will never know you're wearing the same dress you debuted last year ;).

What's with the 3-part post? Well, let me tell you... I'm accessorizing for the gal on any budget. The FIRST set is for my ladies on the Ramen Noodle plan. All of these accessories are $10 or LESS! Where can you find these little gems? Leave a comment (include accessory "number"), and I'll let you know! Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Christmas Cake Pops

Edie is hosting her second link party of the week, and we're moving from appetizers to desserts. I chose my new, favorite recipes of the year - - Red Velvet Cake Pops. These cute little things can be made in any flavor you'd like, but red velvet is fun and festive (not to mention scrumptious). My dear friend Haley introduced me to these bad boys...and I've been addicted ever since.

1 box red velvet cake mix (yields approx 20 cake pops) Yes, I use a box mix...don't judge me 
Indredients included in cake mix (eggs, water, vegetable oil)
Lollipop sticks (Michael's, JoAnn's, other craft stores)
12 oz white or dark melting chocolate (fondue chocolate works best)
1/2 container cream cheese frosting

Preheat oven to 350°F
Follow cake mix instructions and bake cake as you normally would 
Remove cake from oven and let cool
Transfer cake into large mixing bowl and add frosting (it's OK if cake breaks -- see next step)
Kneed cake and frosting until mixture appears "doughy"
Roll dough into balls
Melt chocolate on stove or in microwave (careful not to overheat)
Dip sticks into melted chocolate and place into center of cake ball (chocolate will help cake form to stick)
Place cake pops in freezer to cool for 30 minutes

Dip cake pops into melted chocolate (making sure entire "pop" is covered)
Twirl off excess chocolate and top with cake crumbs (or sprinkles, chocolate chips, etc.)
Place cake pop stick into styrofoam and allow to harden


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The Reason for the Season

I  l - o - v - e Christmas! Guilt-free shopping, twinkling lights, and glittering gifts are just a few reasons this is the most wonderful time of the year. It's easy to get caught up in all of the gift wrapping, decorating, hot chocolate guzzling, and caroling out in the snow, but it's also an important time to think about those less fortunate than ourselves.

This year, our church made it easier for us - we "adopted" a 17-year-old boy who wouldn't otherwise have gifts under his tree.

Christmas List
Hats and Beanies

Hats and beanies. Hats and beanies?! Can you imagine if that is all you wanted for Christmas? We have so many things to be thankful for, and his Christmas list helped me remember how blessed many of us really are. I will admit, it pained me only shopping for hats and beanies; I wanted to throw in some headphones, a skateboard, and video games, but our church put a $ limit on the gifts to keep it fair (for compulsive shoppers like myself). As we placed our gift bag in the "Bin O' Gifts," I couldn't help but smile.

In the spirit of giving, here are some gifts that give back this holiday season. 

1. / 2. / 3. / 4. / 5. / 6. / 7. / 8. / 9. / 10. / 11.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Holiday Appetizer

Edie is hosting an appetizer link party this week and I am so excited! Lots of yummy new recipes to add to the book before Christmas. Today, I am sharing one of my favorite apps of all time - bacon wrapped dates...Holy.Deliciousness. The first time I experienced this appetizer party in my mouth was at Cafe Ba Ba Reeba in Chicago. My recipe is a slightly different, but equally delicious version found below.

12 Pitted dates
1/2 Cup cream cheese (or any cheese you choose - goat cheese is delicious, too)
1/2 Cup brown sugar
4 - 5 slices of bacon 


Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F
Slice dates in half, and open them up
Pinch off pieces of cream cheese, and place them into the center of the dates
Close the halves of the dates, roll them in brown sugar, and wrap with a half-slice of bacon
Secure each date with a toothpick
Place in baking dish 
Bake for 20 minutes, or until bacon is crisp
Turn dates over after first 10 minutes for even cooking
Serve over bed of spinach drizzled with balsamic for a lovely holiday display