Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Fashion Lust

Does anyone else LUST over things that are in no way, shape or form every going to be in your possession?? WHY do we do it to ourselves?!


Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Holiday Décor

Starting out in a new home can get expensive fast to get the look and décor you want. Luckily, Philip and I were mostly set with everything we could want or need for the house after wedding gifts and since we had already been living together for two years.

Christmas decorations, on the other hand, is a different story!

We have some items, like our 7.5 ft. pre-lit tree we got in a Black Friday sale last year for a ridiculously low price! Also, I was given some hand-me-downs from my mom. It filled an apartment nicely. But now...in a house...there's a LOT more space!



I love our Christmas tree! ...but notice the teeny tree skirt with bears on it :/
It's definitely too little in proportion to the size of the tree and, well, bears aren't exactly my thing.



These stockings are from Philip's family. The one on the far right is our dog Tyson's. Technically, we should have four hanging, but the only others I found were not in great condition or had someone's name stitched on it.

We're making do with hand-me-down decorations to fill the house, like the tree skirt and stockings. But we do have some of our own that I've been collecting for the past few years that we love.



This is a hand-painted nativity set bought in Mexico City in the summer of 2008. I went shopping in the markets after my cousin's wedding and found this precious scene displayed. My family is very big on finding décor and artifacts from around the world and making them work in the modern style of our homes. This was the perfect addition for Philip and me during Christmas.



This adorable snowman set is now displayed as the centerpiece on our dining table. I love their tiny circles for mouths as if they are singing.



And because we both come from half Jewish backgrounds, we have our menorah that my parents gave us as the centerpiece on our kitchen table.

Does anyone know where to get really great tree skirts, stockings or Hanukkah decorations? I'm willing to hit some after-Christmas sales to prepare for next year and make our Christmas-decorated home more our own!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Virtual Holiday Card

Last year, during my family's Thanksgiving visit, my dad took an impromptu photo of Philip, me and our two pups. It turned out to be a fabulous family photo (despite my lack of makeup!). A month later, I randomly decided to use it as our holiday photo. But it was only a couple days from Christmas and Hanukkah had already started. So I simply emailed it as an attachment with a short message to my list of family and friends whose email addresses I had.

This year, I decided to get a little more creative, yet still didn't want to fuss with cards, handwriting and stamps.

I've been dabbling in digital scrapbooking lately and am loving it! It gave me the skills to create this for our holiday card this year...



The above card with its font was created with elements downloaded from Kevin and Amanda. Amanda has the most fabulous site which offers tons of free digital scrapbooking elements and fonts. She'll even make your own handwriting into a font...for FREE!

Does anyone else do virtual holiday cards?

P.S. Take a sec' and check out this blog's new look if you're using Reader or RSS. I've given it a bit of a makeover now that I'm no longer planning a wedding and am enjoying being a newlywed. New life = new blog!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Holiday Treat :: Red Velvet Chocolate Balls

Philip and I are very social and love having people over our house for football, parties, holidays, etc. I am big on hostessing and love to serve food while our friends are visiting. Since it's the holidays and football is coming to a close with big games, our house has been pretty full every weekend.

I have a new go-to dessert that everyone absolutely LOVES and I wanted to share with you so you can impress your family and friends too!

Luckily, this recipe is extremely simple even if you are not a big baker. Even more lucky is that they taste as if they were extremely difficult. Always a sneaky plus! And the inside of the dessert is red - perfect for Christmas.



RED VELVET CHOCOLATE BALLS {aka RVCB's}

Ingredients
1 box red velvet cake mix (cook as directed on box for 13 X 9 cake)
1 can cream cheese frosting (16 oz.)
1 package chocolate bark
Wax paper

1) After cake is cooked and cooled completely, crumble into large bowl
2) Mix thoroughly with 1 can cream cheese frosting (I use a mixer, but you can use your hands)
3) Roll mixture into quarter size balls and lay on cookie sheet - should make ~50 balls
4) Chill for several hours (I put them in the freezer to speed this up and take them out after ~20-30 minutes)
5) Melt chocolate in microwave per directions on package - only melt a few pieces at a time so it doesn't start to cool and harden while you're using it
6) Roll balls in chocolate and lay on wax paper until firm - use a spoon to dip and roll in chocolate and then tap off extra


Here I am at Thanksgiving dinner enjoying the RVCB's and a scoop of chocolate chip ice cream - delish!

Enjoy!
Original recipe from Bakerella.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Secret Santa Gifts


I have had PRESENTS on the brain lately! No, not receiving. Giving...does anyone else struggle every year to find different and creative gifts for their loved ones?

Before I can get to my family, I have TWO Secret Santa gifts to think about.

The 1st is for work, a $10 limit and the catch is the gift has to correspond with the recipient's name (ie Holly Smith = holiday scarf). I have the initials N.C. I think I have this one covered, but any new suggestions from you creative people out there would be amazing! We exchange on Thursday.

I'm going to get nerds candy and a nature calendar.



On to the next Secret Santa...this one is with friends, 4 couples, with a $20 limit. I drew a girl. There are no rules like the work SS, so anything goes. She's in the "One Who Has Everything" category, so I'm a little stumped since I don't know her super well yet (she's the newest to our group). I definitely want something great and maybe creative. I'd like to stay away from the impersonal bath gels and lotions and those types of presents. Any thoughts? Any great Secret Santa gifts you've given or received?

The only thing I've thought of is maybe a cool accessory for her iPhone...but I'm not an owner and don't know much about what's desired or not.

Any help would be amazing! What do you think?

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Hosting Thanksgiving

We've been busy the past week and a half preparing for and then entertaining my family for Thanksgiving. It was our first time hosting this big dinner at our home. I was so excited to use all of our new silverware, glassware, china and pretty holiday place mats we received as wedding gifts.

Here's a look at the table setting...







My dad has a great homemade caesar salad recipe he makes for holidays, so we asked if he could make it again to help out. He was in the kitchen with me making the dressing while I peeled potatoes.


This apron is so cute and was a bridal shower gift from a friend. It has my new initials embroidered on the front in red.


My dad was in charge of the salad, I was in charge of all the sides and dessert and Philip was in charge of...the turkey. Fried turkey, that is. I was introduced to fried turkey the first Thanksgiving after Philip and I started dating (only 2 weeks later). He came to my parents house and we decided we'd try it his way, so he brought over his turkey fryer...we haven't gone back since! It's so delicious, especially to someone who doesn't particularly enjoy regular (boring) turkey...ahem, me. If you haven't tried it, try it!


Setting the table with all the food: caesar salad, corn on the cob, mashed potatoes, corn bread stuffing, dinner rolls and a single serving of sweet potatoes for Philip.


My brother was super excited to eat.


This was taken after dinner and dessert - we look so tired! It was a lot of hard work, but a successful and wonderful evening.

How were your Thanksgivings? Did you host?