Holiday Goodies

So I originally intended to make this post much earlier in the week, but things got in the way.  It was only this morning I realized that my sweet obsessed brother and sister-in-law are coming into town tonight. So I frantically began baking.

I knew I wanted to make something from scratch and peppermint flavored. A few weeks ago, I was browsing on Pinterest and I came across the recipe for chocolate peppermint bark cookies.  I knew I had to make them. Here is the recipe.

They were surprisingly easy! A few adjustments I made: I only used 1 1/2 sticks of unsalted butter and 3/4 cup of sugar. I also put much less chocolate chips and candy canes than indicated, no white chocolate chips whatsoever and the end result was just the perfect amount of sweetness.

The final product. I used a knife to create swirly designs and cut them in unique shapes.

What are you baking for the holidays?

I wish you and your family a very happy holiday! Have a lovely weekend.

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The Christmas Spirit

I know I’ve been neglecting the blog this week, but I’ve been consumed with work and getting things ready for the holidays. I read this news story earlier in the week, which made me so happy. “Secret Santas” all across the country are going to the layaway counters at stores and paying off other peoples’ bills. This has also motivated others to give back in the same manner. It truly shows that kindness has a ripple effect. :)

On a lighter note, here is a funny video courtesy of Jimmy Kimmel Live. Kimmel asked parents to videotape them giving their children a really awful gift. Some of the reactions are hilarious!

Holiday Cheer

Christmas lights strung inside the house. (The congratulations sign was hung up after my brother proposed to his girlfriend, who is now his wife. I don’t think it’ll ever be taken down.)

I can’t believe 2011 is almost over and that Christmas is nearly here!

I know I’m not in the minority when I say I love this time of year. Christmas lights on every corner, stores decorated, holiday baking, and peppermint mochas. It makes me feel warm and fuzzy.

What are some of your favorite things related to this time of the year?

Treat Yourself

The problem I’ve faced since starting this blog and also following other bloggers (Cupcakes and Cashmere, Matchbook Magazine, Glitter Guide to name a few) is that I want everything they post about.  Not good!

Last year, I bought myself the Amazon Kindle for Christmas and I absolutely love it.

Thanks to my new favorite blogs I have many contenders for this year’s Christmas present to myself. (We are doing a family Secret Santa courtesy of Elfster and I already have that wish list squared away.)

Here they are:

I desperately need a new pair of flats and I love the Tory Burch revas.

Since my current iPhone cover is a white fabric that has gotten dirty, I want to upgrade to this sparkly Kate Spade case.

I am absolutely loving this copy of Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre that has been turned into an iPhone charging dock. Such a clever and decorative twist on a practical item. Check out their other designs on Etsy here.

What is on your Christmas wish list?

Also, being that it is the season of giving you can find my favorite gift guides for donations here and here.

Holiday Host Gifts

Now that it is officially December 1st, it feels like an appropriate time to talk about all things Christmas related. I was so surprised to see how many stores were decorated for Christmas…in October! But now with a swift change of the calendar, I have fully embraced the holiday spirit.

Many bloggers are posting great gift ideas for family and friends. However, around this time of year come many holiday parties. It always nice to bring something for the host and hostess who have generously invited you over.

I love to bake and make homemade gifts. With these thoughts in mind, here are my ideas for affordable and homemade host gifts for the holidays, with a personal touch:

With every passing Christmas, my love for peppermint grows exponentially. Here is a great recipe that I plan on trying out myself this holiday season! Place the bark in a decorative bag or tin, either of which can be found at Etsy or Target.

Last Christmas, I made holiday cookies and found the holiday cookie cutters in the dollar aisle at Target. If you have a child, or a niece/nephew, have them help you with the decorating. They will love it! Be sure to make a little extra, because after carefully decorating I am sure they will want to eat a few. :) Since the cookies are pretty in itself, they don’t need help in the presentation department. Simply wrap the cookies in some cellophane, tie it with a ribbon, and you are good to go.

Is there a more perfect winter drink than hot chocolate? I think not. Provide your host with all the essentials to make an amazing mug of hot chocolate. You can even cater to your host’s preferences, if you know them well enough. For instance, include pieces of shaved Andes mints for someone who loves mint. (Hint hint :)) Put all the items in a cute jar, add a pretty label, perhaps even a ribbon and hand it over to the host to enjoy!

For those of you that don’t like baking, this is the item for you. All it requires is some assembly but it is still just as thoughtful!

What is your go-to gifts for hosts during the holidays?

(All images courtesy of Pinterest.)

Thanksgiving Outfit

At heart I am a sweats kind of girl. Most of the time its jeans and a shirt or sweater. However, I do have random urges to dress up. Luckily, this urge came to me on Thanksgiving morning.

With all the eating that would be taking place, I decided on wearing a sweater dress with leggings. Since it rained in the morning, I wore a light cardigan and my boots.

It ended up being the perfect outfit as I was able to play with my niece and also indulge in a slice (or two!) of pie.

Giving Thanks


Thanksgiving has always been a favorite holiday of mine. Honestly, how can I not like a holiday that is centered around food?

My plans for this long weekend include: Thanksgiving dinner with family, reading The Hunger Games (I just started this week and I’m hooked), and scouring the web for Cyber Monday deals (I cannot deal with the lines and crowds that come with Black Friday). I’m looking forward to it.

While the origins of Thanksgiving are not something to be proud of, its message is a good one: being grateful for what you have.

So in no particular order here is what I am thankful for this Thanksgiving:

  • My family and friends
  • The good health of my family, friends, and myself
  • A roof over my head and food to eat
  • Kettle cooked jalapeno chips, Thai food, red velvet cake and guacamole
  • Books/my kindle
  • Heaters, sweatpants, and fuzzy socks (to keep me warm all winter)
  • The simple pleasures, my favorite being sharing a good meal with a good friend

What are you thankful for this year?

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

Happy holidays!

I love the holidays. It makes me feel so warm and fuzzy inside, like I’ve just drank a gingerbread latte (my holiday drink of choice!).

I’m so excited to spend this Christmas at home. We have family coming in tomorrow from Seattle and Vancouver and they are staying for a week. We have no real plans except to eat and spend time with each other..and I cannot wait.

I love holiday baking, so I probably have make sugar cookies with my 4 year old niece. Also, we will go see Christmas lights and decorations in San Francisco.

We don’t really do gifts, but we got something for my niece and family that are coming over.

Do you have any holidays traditions or customs? Is there something you are excited to do during this holiday season?

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The arrival of my first paycheck coincided nicely with the holiday season. I made my first BIG purchase and bought the latest Kindle as a Christmas present! I’ve always been a bit hesitant, because I love the feel of books, but after playing around with the Kindle for only a few minutes I fell in love. It is so light and sleek. Plus, I love that I don’t have to wait forever to buy a paperback version of a book now.

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More importantly, this holiday season I am very grateful for all that I have: a roof over my head, never having to worry about when my next meal will be, good health, and supportive family and friends.

I hope that you have a wonderful holiday season, however you are planning to celebrate!