Thursday, December 27, 2012

Happy Birthday, John!

Happy birthday, John! Your manliness is an excellent balance to my love of pink and sparkly things.

And your faith and love of family inspire me to be a better person.

Here's to another great year with my favorite guy! 29 definitely has good things in store for us.

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Friday, December 21, 2012

Inspired by Peppermint Mocha

Peppermint mocha cupcakes, gingerbread cake, cookies

With Christmas right around the corner, you know I'll be baking up a storm over the next few days. We're staying in Chicago for Christmas and have a mini Christmas with John's siblings this weekend. I'm thinking about baking a peppermint mocha cake, which inspired this Friday's outfit:

Gap striped dress, GiftShopBrooklyn red velvet and sequin clutch,
Elephantine earrings, Tory Burch Eddie bow ballet flats

Maybe a little dressy for sibling Christmas, but still festive. I mean, who can resist a little sparkle around this time of year?

If I don't talk with you before Tuesday, have a very merry Christmas!

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Wednesday, December 19, 2012

DIY Glitter Animals

With less than a week to go before Christmas, I'm scurrying to finish the last minute details. If you're like me and looking for last-minute decorations or hostess gifts, why not whip up a few glitter animals? I shared the sparkle-fying of my favorite animal last year and it's definitely worth sharing again.

  • Plastic animals found near the kids crafting section. Mine were $5.99 and $2.99.
  • Martha Stewart glittering glue: $3.99
  • Martha Stewart glitter in yellow gold: $4.99
Total (with tax): $19.12. Would have been less had I remembered to bring a coupon.

By the way, Martha has glitter available in every color under the sun! Don't feel limited to silver or gold!

Once you've covered your work area in newspapers or an old J. Crew LL Bean catalog, brush on a smooth, even coat of glittering glue. (The Martha Stewart glittering glue came with a brush.) I worked in small areas to make sure the glue didn't dry before glittering. You could also apply glue to the entire animal, except where you are holding it.

Liberally pour glitter over the entire animal, making sure to cover every area that has been brushed with glue.

Shake the excess onto your paper.

Once the rest of the animal is dry, brush glue over the remaining part of the animal and glitter away!

Pour the excess glitter back into the bottle for future projects.

You now have some budget-friendly and festive decorations to add to your mantle, tablescapes, and shelves. If you'd like to make them into Christmas tree ornaments, simply screw small eyelets into the top of the animal. These are also perfect for last minute hostess gifts or small Christmas presents.

Note: I've noticed some excess glitter still falling off my penguins, so I might look into getting some glitter sealer. A can of Krylon Glitter Blast sealer is about $5.
2012 update: I have yet to seal the glitter. There are a few spots where the glitter has come off, mainly the tips of the tail and beak, but overall it stuck pretty well.

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Friday, December 14, 2012

A Little Sparkle and Plaid

J. Crew handknit popcorn sweater and plaid scarf, Kate Spade small square studs,
ShoeMint Koko flats, Lands' End Canvas sequin skirt

Although I'm attending a tacky Christmas sweater party and bringing these cookies this weekend, I'm more excited about breaking out my sequin skirt for the Christmas season. I included it in no less than three posts last December and January, so why not create an outfit around the Lands' End Canvas sequin skirt?

Pinned Image

After a little searching with my friend Pinterest, I landed on this perfectly cozy look as my inspiration. Warm and practical with a lambswool sweater, but also festive with the sequin skirt and suede flats.

Have a fantastic Friday and weekend!

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Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Mini Stockings are Here!

Remember the Marimekko mini stockings I made for the holiday bazaar? They're now available in my Etsy shop in sets of 2 and 4 mini stockings!

They're perfect to decorate the Christmas tree:

Marimekko Mini Christmas Stocking Ornament - silver, gold, white polka dot - set of 2
Or decorate your table. They also function as silverware holders:

Marimekko Mini Christmas Stocking Ornament - red and gold - set of 4

You can also give these lovelies as a party favor, decorate a gift, or hang from your mantel as a pet stocking.
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Thursday, December 6, 2012

Inspired by Lasagna

Madewell scallop lace top, Free People party plaid skirt, Urbanite Jewelry Chicago, IL earrings,
Tilly Maison confetti lucite tray, J. Crew Lula glitter ballet flats

It's been a while since I shared a Friday's Fancies outfit, so why not do it up right with some sparkle? This outfit is perfect for a personal or work Christmas party. And that gorgeous tray? Fill it with Christmas cookies, of course! I just baked these peppermint mocha cookies for a work birthday and will definitely bake them again.

As for savory baking, I recently made a batch of lasagna, which partially inspired this outfit. The ruffled edges of lasagna noodles hint at the scallops in the lace top. And red is an obvious choice with the pasta sauce.

This ingredient picture is a little misleading because I ended up using the better portion of three bags (about 5 cups) of shredded mozzarella and about 1.5 jars of pasta sauce (about 48 oz. total). The more cheese and sauce, the merrier!
Classic Lasagna
Lasagna noodles (9), cooked.
  • Keep in water until you use them or they'll stick together. Dry with paper towel before assembly.
40 to 48 oz. jar of pasta sauce (Prego is one of my favorites)
1.5 to 2 pounds of lean ground beef, cooked and drained
16 oz. container of ricotta cheese
Mozzarella cheese (at least 1 pound, I used about 5 cups shredded)
Preheat oven to 350*

Mix the cooked ground beef with the ricotta cheese.

In a glass 9x13 dish, start layering your ingredients:
  • Sauce. Not too much, this is so the noodles don't burn.
  • Noodles (3 strips/layer).
  • Half of the ground beef and ricotta cheese mixture.
  • Mozzarella cheese (don't be skimpy).
  • Sauce.
  • Noodles.
  • The other half of the ground beef and ricotta cheese mixture.
  • Mozzarella cheese.
  • Sauce.
  • Noodles.
  • Sauce.
  • Mozzarella cheese.
Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour. It's best to place a cookie sheet below the lasagna to catch any drips.

The lasagna is ready when the sauce is bubbly and the cheese is melted and browned a little on the top.


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Monday, December 3, 2012

Moms are the Best

Even though I just saw my family over Thanksgiving, I was really excited for my Mom to visit this past weekend. There's something about having your mom around that's really comforting. One reason for her visit was my church's holiday bazaar.

We decided to get a table again this year and of course she owned it with the alpaca yarn, hats, and scarves. Our biggest takeaway from this year is that accepting credit cards is a must! We closed several sales after saying we accepted credit cards. My Mom used the Square reader and app with her iPhone and it worked like a charm.

It was also a bit of a "girl's weekend."  Friday night was spent enjoying her tasty beef tips over rice while gabbing with John, prepping for the bazaar, and sewing these adorable Marimekko mini stocking ornaments. I still have a bunch from the bazaar, so a few have made their way to our Christmas tree. Others should be popping up on Etsy soon.

After the bazaar on Saturday, we ventured downtown with John to pick up coffee from our favorite place ever and go to dinner at the Walnut Room. The wait for a table was rediculous, so we snapped a picture of the Great Tree and headed over to Petterino's on John's suggestion. This was an excellent idea for multiple reasons: the wait was much shorter, we were able to walk around the Christkindlmarket (and see another gorgous tree and snack on cinnamon sugar roasted almonds), and I had some amazing parmesan crusted sea scallops for dinner. If I see scallops on a menu, there's a 90% chance I'll be ordering them.

Winter Shirt Dress tutorial from Elle Apparel

Sunday was spent debating interior decorating ideas over Amaretto coffee, going to Mass, and making a trip to Joann's. We found some gorgeous jersey and knit fabrics, but the patterns were less than inspiring. Good thing Pinterest had some much better options.

How was your weekend?
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