December 28, 2012

Two Thousand Twelve

2012 has been a year of change. Some of the most momentous moments of my life happened this year. I graduated from college, started my first job, and most importantly, got engaged. I really am in a different stage of life than I was a year ago. Everything I worked so hard for is finally coming together, and I cannot wait to see my life continue to evolve in 2013. As always, thank you for your continual support of this site, and I look forward to what the new year has in store!

December 21, 2012

Gift Guide: Under $50

This is for all the last minute shoppers out there. I know you exist, because I am part of the club. Happy shopping!

ONE: Lipstick crayons are the perfect gift for your girly girl. TWO: A classic bangle always fits. THREE: A pretty spiky necklace will make a great stocking stuffer. FOUR: Cat studs for a cat lover like myself. FIVE: Pink sea salt. SIX: Furry slippers for the cold months ahead. SEVEN: Keep him straight with left & right cufflinks. EIGHT: Give the gift of a good cookbook. NINE: Jazz up the table with tortoiseshell glasses. TEN: Because everyone could use a new pair of socks. ELEVEN: Make it personal with a monogrammed mug. TWELVE: Keep the case cute. THIRTEEN: Beautiful colors in a beautiful set. FOURTEEN: Make change cheery. FIFTEEN: A rugged wallet for him. SIXTEEN: Great gift for a cheese lover. SEVENTEEN: Update a pocket square with polka dots.

December 19, 2012

In the kitchen: Nutella Sandwich Cookies

I know what you're thinking: another Christmas cookie. But wait, this cookie is not like the rest. It is not a sugar laden. It is nutty and creamy. These are the perfect Christmas cookie, the best I've ever made. In a sea of gingerbread and sugar painted confections, these hazelnut nutella babies stand out. I have a serious sweet tooth, but I usually only want one piece of dessert. These leaves an entire batch of cookies or cake to someone else. I don't really see the problem in this, but others do. Over the last few days I have had my fare share of these cookies. They are just that good. Seriously, they are the best cookies I've ever made.

1/3 cup hazelnuts
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick butter, salted
1/2 cup sugar
1 large egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Finally grind hazelnuts in a food processor. In a bowl sift together flour, salt, and baking soda. Add ground hazelnuts and stir to combine.

In a separate bowl cream butter and sugar until almost doubled in size (about five minutes). Add egg yolk and vanilla and beat until combined. Once all the wet ingredients are combined, slowly add the dry ingredients in increments of 3. Take dough out a bowl and pat into a ball. Cover dough in plastic wrap and allow to chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

Once dough as chilled, roll out on a well floured surface until 1/8 inch thick. Using a 2 inch cookie cutter, cut out rounds as close as possible. Transfer rounds to a baking sheet and back for 10 minutes.

When cookies are cooled, spread with 1 tablespoon Nutella and enjoy!

December 17, 2012

Holiday Work Party

statement necklaceclutchdresscuffglitter pumps

Tonight is my first holiday work party. I think it is going to be fun to dress up with my coworkers, but I don't want to wear anything to showy or trendy. Keep your look simple and festive. This dress is perfect. I lovely winter blue that would look great with gold accents. If you're attending your first work, let me know how it goes. 

December 14, 2012

Kale & White Bean Minestrone

Will and I are trying to eat less meat. For the first few weeks we weren't so successful, there were a lot of carbs involved. But, over time we've gotten better. This biggest change has been planning meals at the beginning at the week so we're not struggling to come up with dinner at 6 pm. Another change has been adding new vegetable into our diet. Kale was high on the list of veggies to try. I went back and forth on what to try it in, but in the end soup won. This soup was perfect. Warm, rich, and a little salty. I was afraid I wouldn't like the texture of kale, but it tasted like any other wilted green. If the weather is a little chilly this weekend, I suggest you try this soup. I may dabble in kale chips this weekend. Wish me luck. 

Kale & White Bean Minestrone 
serves 8-10

2 tablespoons olive oil 
1 medium yellow onion, decided 
2 carrots, decided 
4 cloves of garlic, minced 
2 cups cremini mushrooms, sliced 
1 bunch kale, chopped 
1 can cannellini beans, drained 
1 28oz can crushed tomatoes 
1/4 cup red wine 
4 cups vegetable broth 
1 sprig of rosemary 
salt and pepper 
pecorino cheese 

In a large pot heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and carrots and cook until softened (5 minutes). Once softened, add the mushrooms and garlic, cook for 2 minutes or until softened. 

Deglaze pot with red wine, stir to get brown bits off bottom of pot. Add crushed tomatoes and chicken stock, bring to a boil. Once boiling add sprig of rosemary and kale. Season with salt and pepper. 

Let simmer covered for 45 minutes. Serve warm with pecorino cheese. 

December 13, 2012

Winter Elements: Gloves

Oh hey- it's that time again. Time for the temperatures to be dipping to the 30's. Time for me to refuse to go outside, unless I am bundled like a small child. Gloves are necessary for me when the temperature gets chilly. I have a beautiful black leather pair that Will brought back from Argentina for me. I do love how soft and warm they are, but I'm interested in something a little more fun this year. This  pink polka dot pair from Madewell is calling my name. A long pair of stripped gloves would be fun too, or you can keep it classic with a simple pair of leather gloves. Which pair will you choose?   

December 11, 2012

Life Lately

The days keep getting shorter, and I can tell. The sun starts setting at my office around 4. By the time I leave at 5:30 it is completely dark. This only wants to make me go home and curl up in a ball of my sofa. I do just that most nights. For the time being there is nothing wrong with my routine, but I'm looking forward to a more active lifestyle in 2013. What are you looking forward to next year? 

December 10, 2012

10 things...

Cableknit SweaterSparkly Ornaments Cookie CuttersChristmas CookiesFun GlovesClassic Pea CoatFestive LightsChristmas CardsLive WreathHoliday Candle

I believe in celebrating one moment at a time. Growing up, my family bought and decorated our tree and house around mid December. I think it is better this way. Let Thanksgiving and Halloween have their time before moving to Christmas. After that, let the festivities begin! We decorated our tree last weekend. For our first tree, it doesn't look too shabby. I'm proud of it.

December 7, 2012

Gift Guide: Cookware

The cook: we all know one, or want to be one. Here is what to give them.

ONE: Add a little spunk to your dessert with these colorful cake servers. TWO: These gold rimmed ramekins are so festive. THREE: Chicken timer, a kitchen classic. FOUR: There is a reason these bowls have been around for years. FIVE: Monogrammed All-Clad, enough to make any serious cooks heart melt. SIX: For the animal lover. SEVEN: This knife set is perfect for a beginner or a seasoned cook. EIGHT: A cheese love would love this unique cheese board NINE: Pair with classic cheese knives for a well rounded gift. TEN: A pretty cake stand is great for a baker. ELEVEN: Too cute to pass up these salt & pepper shakers. TWELVE: Le Creuset is known for their dutch ovens, but I'm a big fan on this saucepan. THIRTEEN: Smitten Kitchen is now a cookbook! Make sure to give someone a copy this season. FOURTEEN: No one can turn away good cheese. FIFTEEN: These pretty wine glasses would make a great addition to anyone's collection. 

December 5, 2012

Gift Guide: Houseware

I think anyone would appreciate these stylish gifts. You may even want to pick one up for yourself. 

ONE: Keep cookies safe in this colorful jar. TWO: A wool throw will keep everyone on the couch warm and snuggly. THREE: I'm craving a glass lamp. (hint, hint) FOUR: Caitlin McGauley's illustrations would look great on a gallery wall. FIVE: Fluffy pillow. Enough said. SIX: Help someone "keep it together". SEVEN: Keep them together on a bookshelf. EIGHT: Personalization makes this jewelry box even sweeter. NINE: Bar carts are all the rage. Give one to someone you love. TEN: Keep this gilded tray on a coffee table. ELEVEN: Make your wine last throughout the holidays with this little fellow. TWELVE: Chevron ottoman. THIRTEEN: Add a little glitz to your home.

December 4, 2012

Gentlemen's Gift Guide

Men can be hard to buy for. They already have everything, and want nothing. Hopefully this list will give you a little inspiration on what to buy him.

ONE: Great for grill pros and beginners. TWO: Because every man needs a nice flask. THREE: Update his professional look. FOUR: Pug cuff links, need I say more? FIVE: Took keep him warm all winter long. SIX: Just right for an afternoon drive. SEVEN: Update his bar with this foxy set. EIGHT: Brush up his poker skills. NINE: Don't let him get cold feet. TEN & ELVEN: A masculine touch with this matching bar set. TWELVE: Add to his vinyl collection. THIRTEEN: Rugged and ready for wear. FOURTEEN: A step up from the usual pocket knife. FIFTEEN: The only jacket he'll need. SIXTEEN: He will never be late again. EIGHTEEN: Keep him clean.

December 3, 2012

Gift Guide: Ladies

Tis the season to deck the halls! We decorated our christmas tree last night. So that got me in the spirit for a little gift giving. I hope this gift guide helps you find inspiration for a nice lady in your life.

ONE: This ipad case resembles candy, I'm in. TWO: Every lady needs a pretty monogrammed necklace. THREE: I've been eyeing these flats for months (hint, hint) FOUR: Find your signature scent FIVE: This is perfect after a long day. SIX: Floral notecards make snail mail much more inviting. SEVEN: A must have for glowing skin. EIGHT: This classic bag will last you a lifetime. NINE: Make a statement in a showstopping necklace. TEN: Just the right size to keep on hand for quick notes. ELEVEN: To keep you warm at night. TWELVE: Serve your drinks in something special. THIRTEEN: Fill your home with an inviting fragrance. FOURTEEN: Wear this scarf into spring. FIFTEEN: So you can keep track of time. SIXTEEN: Polka Dots, enough said. EIGHTEEN: A classic cut in a standout color. EIGHTEEN: For cold winter days.

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