Saturday, December 31, 2011

happy new year!

{image via A Field Journal}

2011 included living in my sorority house with my amazing sisters, having a great roommate {we'd barely spoken before living together and now I consider her one of my best friends!}, graduating from college, finding a job that I never thought I would be interested in {a marketing job for an International Relations major? hmmm...}, and starting my {third attempt - oops!} blog.  It all made for a wonderful year and I am grateful for every moment spent with my family and friends.

Here's to an even healthier, even better, even happier 2012.

Happy New Year.

what are you doing new year's eve?

I missed Friday Five again this week, but I did this post with Friday Five in mind.  I probably should have posted this much earlier during the week but better late than never.

Plans for New Year's Eve vary depending on personal preference.  I usually like to spend it at home rather than at a huge party.  But whatever your plans are, a great outfit is a must for ringing in the new year.

If you're planning a night out on the town with your girlfriends, a special date night with your special someone, or heading to a fancy party, why not wear a dress that dress that dazzles and shines?  Pick your best dress, full of lace, sequins, metallics, etc., and that makes you shine even brighter than the ball at Times Square.

But if you're not ready to wear a full out sequin dress and are planning to wear your go-to LBD or want to dress up a casual outfit of jeans and a tee, don't forget the accessories.  They can spruce up your outfit with their fun details that it'll be sure to catch someone's eye at midnight.

If you're like me and want to keep comfy and cozy on New Year's inside, then pick out some cute and fun pajamas and settle on the couch to watch the ball drop.  Whether it's with your family, friends, or your guy, you'll be warm and stylish when ringing in 2012.  And don't forget to whip up some steaming hot and delicious mugs of hot chocolate!

And here's something fun to listen to while celebrating {possibly my new favorite rendition of this song!}...

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

holiday baking

Surprisingly, I didn't bake much over the holiday weekend.  There was one thing that I was determined to try though.  I wanted to decorate cookies with royal icing.  I've always considered it to be one of the skills that really made someone a great baker {there are much harder things but let's start out small}.  It has always been something that I was nervous about doing because 1. I don't consider myself to be that artistic/creative and 2. I really don't like royal icing.  Royal icing can be too sweet or just... off... tasting if you don't have the right recipe.

Well, I've got it.

This icing tasted more like meringue, something I happen to like, so I thought this was great.  The recipes I used for the sugar cookie and the royal icing both came from Glorious Treats, an amazing baking blog I found over the holiday weekend.  That blog and Sweet Sugar Belle are two baking blogs that I will be referencing for recipes, ideas, and great tips for cookie decorating.  Just browse through their posts to see some decorated cookies that will blow your mind.  It amazes me that people can create such pretty cookies!

Mine are not so pretty, but hey!  I think they were pretty good for a first-timer.

{Like I said, I'm no Picasso.}

Sunday, December 25, 2011

merry christmas

I hope that your holiday weekend has been - and continues to be - full of all things merry and that Santa brings you everything you wished for.  Merry Christmas.

{image via Pinterest}

Saturday, December 24, 2011

saturday six: fun purchases

December has been a busy month and I've found myself slacking on putting posts together.  I did mean to write yesterday for a Friday Five, but since I missed it here is a Saturday Six.

The following are things I bought in the past month.   I cheat a bit since some of the things, while different items, come from the same brand.  And they weren't all bought at full price {I like to take advantage of sales and major discounts}.  And one of these was bought in November... oh well! :]

{Stephanie Johnson Laura Large Trapezoid in Rodeo Drive Pewter}

{Stephanie Johnson Laura Flat Pouch in Rodeo Drive Black}

{Trina Kelly Stripe Gold Essential Purse Kit}

{American Apparel Velvet Bow Hair Clip in Green}

{Kate Spade Mercer Street Lacey Wallet in Black,
similar 'Lacey' styles found here; images via}

And just for kicks, here's another favorite from this week!

{Chinchilly by Essie with Feldspar glitter on ring finger;
inspiration via, Martha Stewart Glitter Glue Set here}

Thursday, December 22, 2011

c is for cookie

{upper right picture taken by my friend Alex, all others taken by me}

One of the best things about the holiday season is the endless number of recipes that pop up.  I love trying new recipes and sending a few to some friends, along with their favorite kind of cookie.  This year, I sent packages filled with two types of cookies to my friends {and some of my favorite people} Hillary, Alex, and Karen.  All three are my sorority sisters {Go Gamma Phi!} and Karen and I were actually roommates last year when we lived in our sorority house.  

Real life, jobs, graduate school, senior year at Syracuse - all are some things that have prevented me from seeing these three and other friends as often as I would like.  I wanted to send them a little something just to say hi and wish them a happy holidays.  I hope you three liked them!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

deux lux for american eagle outfitters

Earlier this month, I featured this deux lux duffle bag in a gift guide for the jet setter.  After, I frequently visited the site just to look at all of the things they have.  Honestly, I think deux lux may make some of the prettiest bags and accessories I've seen in awhile.  Or at least, they are definitely the ones with the most sparkle.

This past Saturday while at the mall with my mom, we happened to stumble upon a bag I had admired once or twice before in American Eagle.  My mom and I have pretty similar taste so I wasn't surprised when she pointed it out me.  I was surprised though when she showed me the label.

GAH.  I was a bit excited to say the least.  My mom had recognized it from my blog and offered to buy it for me {thanks Mommy!} since American Eagle had a 40% off sale going on.  Imagine our surprise when  we got to the register and the price was reduced from $49.50 to $22!  More than 40% off and quite a steal from the deux lux Felix Small Duffle and Cosmic Love Duffle.  I used it later on that night when I went out with my parents and again on Sunday.  And today.  And I'll most likely use it tomorrow.

I'm in love clearly.

{deux lux for American Eagle Sequined Mini; on clearance here}

Thursday, December 15, 2011

have your {cup}cake and eat it too!

Happy National Cupcake Day!

{Milk Chocolate Cupcakes with Fresh Mint Frosting; recipe and image via}

{Ferrero Rocher Cupcake recipe; image via}

Monday, December 12, 2011

weekend recap

A fun weekend spent trying out new nail polishes, seeing The Radio City Spectacular and a double header at the Garden {Washington vs. Duke and Oklahoma State vs. Pittsburgh}, walking around the city, and finally seeing The Book of Mormon with my family and my friend Gabby.

Friday, December 9, 2011

friday five: holiday baking

One of my favorite things about the holiday season is the abundance of baking recipes that suddenly pop up.  I have been a subscriber to the Food Network's 12 Days of Cookies for a few years now and every year I make sure to bake several of them.  This year, I've decided to explore beyond the world of the Food Network and am planning on making these five recipes this holiday season.

{Classic Sugar Cookies; recipe and image via}

{White Chocolate, Cranberry, and Almond cookies; recipe and image via}

{Peppermint Chocolate Chunk Cookies; recipe and image via}

{Peppermint Mocha Cupcakes, recipe and image via}

{Chocolate Covered Marshmallow Cookies; recipe and image via}

Thursday, December 8, 2011

more gift ideas & stocking stuffers

these are a few gifts that i meant to include in my previous gift guides but didn't want to overload any of them.  they are just as great as the other items i mentioned and would make fabulous gifts to receive for christmas {or hanukkah}!

1. Monthly subscriptions to things like Birchbox {beauty and skincare products with boxes for women and men!} and Beer of the Month Club 2. Jay-Z The Blueprint 10th Anniversary Vinyl 3. J. Crew Refined Silk-Cashmere Wrap 4. Taschen 4 Cities 5. J. Crew Leather Flask {clever saying!}

1. Essie Luxeffects Top Coats in Set in Stones and Shine of the Times 2. The World's Best Dress Sock by hook + Albert {these are so fun!} 3. Contrasting Laces by hook + Albert 4. Kate Spade Twirl Roller Ball {my go-to perfume for work} 5. Philipp Keel's Simple Diary Vol. 2 6. Gingerbread Boy S'mores {what a yummy treat to find in your stocking!}

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

gift guide: workaholics

it's always nice to make the space at your office your own.  by adding little touches and accessories here and there, your fun and bright personality shines through - something that may be put on the back burner while you're typing away and working hard on that proposal that needs to be on your boss's desk ASAP.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

gift guide: world traveler

there is always someone you know that travels often and loves it.  so this is for those fun and spontaneous weekend getaways, that flight to your vacation destination, or long road trips to see family for the holidays.  just don't forget to pack some reading material, music, and mints!

Monday, December 5, 2011

gift guide: techies

this gift guide is for those who love having the latest gadgets out there.  i know it's hard to choose when there are so many options {personally, i use Apple products but i LOVE my Kindle Fire} so i included items that would work with whatever tech products you love.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

gift guide: host and hostess

traditional host or hostess gifts always seems to come in the form of food or drink.  and while i did include one item in this guide that happens to fall in that category, these are a few others that would be great to give {or receive!}.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

gift guide: sports fans

while making my wish list for my parent's this year, i decided that i would make a few gift guides to post here as well.  i picked out a few themes and, instead of making "for her" and "for him"guides, i tried to include gifts for both in each.  this is the first of my gift guide series, which i based off of my own family's favorites.

Friday, December 2, 2011

friday five: holiday DIY

i have been majorly slacking on posts this week.  i've been sick with a really bad cold and haven't had much time or energy to blog too much.  i am on the road to getting better though, which is great news since the holiday season has officially started!  and this year, i am really into crafts and DIY projects, especially those with a winter holiday theme.

{all images via martha stewart holidays}

{shimmering gold beaded stocking; how-to}

{ombre glittered bells; how-to}

{holiday light bright; how-to}

{christmas cloche; how-to}

{blue spruce wreath trio; how-to}