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    February 9, 2015
    Etsy Find: Will You Be Mine?

    It’s time for the annual round up of all things lovey-dovey. So, here are few of my favorite Valentine’s cards from Etsy. Above, You Make Me Melt card from Hartland Brooklyn, $4.50.

    Think I’ll Keep You card from Sea & Lake, $4.50.

    Pizza card from Sea & Lake, $4.50.

    I know it’s a little wrong, but this makes me giggle. Fallen For You card from Diamond Donatello Gates, $5.75.

    Apple of My Eye card, $4.50 from Clap Clap Design.


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    December 19, 2014
    Get into the Holiday Spirits

    The holiday season is the perfect time to break out the cocktail shaker. Here are a few holiday-inspired cocktail recipes to try out this season. Above, the Mint Merrymaker.

    Continuing with the mint theme, a Peppermint White Russian.

    When I was growing up, my parents had a friend who made his own Irish Cream. It was amazing. Here’s the how-to if you’re feeling DIY-inclined.

    On the fruitier side of holiday flavors, an Orange-Cranberry Gin and Tonic.

     

    For a twist on the New Year’s Eve toast, try this Sparkling Pear Sangria.

    Cheers to the holidays!

     


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    December 15, 2014
    Stocking Stuffers for Big Kids

    The kids on my list are always easy to buy for, but the adults? That’s another story. Here are a few ideas for fun, inexpensive holiday gifts. Above, throwback plasma nightlight from Urban Outfitters, $24.

    Or, how about a Chromecast HDMI streaming media player for just $30? It supports apps like Netflix, YouTube, HBO Go and Hulu Plus, and also allows you to stream thing playing in a Chrome browser window.

    If you know any hardcore karaoke fans, get them a subscription to Karafun, the web-based karaoke service. You can use the web player, Windows-compatible player or download the app to your iPhone or iPad for access to over 19,000 songs. A 3-month gift card is $30.

    And for the Apple addict, a XL nylon lightning cord for $12.

     


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    December 11, 2014
    Gift Wrapping: We’re All Doing it Wrong


    Holy cow, we’ve all be wrapping presents wrong since, like, always. This video has the best gift wrapping hack since “just throw it in a gift bag already.” I’ll be at home practicing.


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    December 9, 2014
    Etsy Find: Vintage Putz Houses

    If you’ve never heard of a Putz House, you are not alone. I had no clue they existed until I picked up this month’s issue of Martha Stewart Living and read her cover wreath how-to. Putz Houses are miniature houses – usually made from cardboard – used to set up a Christmas Village. I was instantly enamored. Lucky for me, I found a fairly large selection of the vintage houses on Etsy. Above, vintage white mica church, $10.95. Below, vintage brick house, $12.

    Of course, you can also make your own versions. Martha has some patterns here. And kits are available for around $10 per building.

     


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    December 5, 2014
    Etsy Find: Comfort & Joy

    This card Emily McDowell Illustration knows exactly what it takes to get through the holiday season. Set of 8, $19.


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    November 25, 2014
    Tired of Thanksgiving? How About Hanksgiving?

    I had no idea there was such a thing as Hanksgiving until I ran across this “make your own Hanksgiving turkey” post over at the Decider yesterday. From their piece:

    “No one can tell for sure when the first Hanksgiving happened. Some say it happened when families across America basked in the glory of Tom Hanks in Bosom Buddies. Others whisper that it didn’t become a real holiday until Hanks took home his first Academy Award. Still some sage old men tell of a strange mystical event, somewhere remote, like where they have Burning Man, where all the characters that Tom Hanks ever brought to life met, broke bread, and brought one moment of perfect peace to the Earth. And then there are the people who say it’s just a dumb Internet joke that went too far.”

    What a hilarious alternative to the traditional Thanksgiving holiday. Apparently, the way to celebrate is a Tom Hanks movie marathon. Makes total sense to me and it actually sounds pretty fun. At any rate, whether you’re celebrating the old fashioned way or with good old T. Hanks have a great holiday weekend!


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    November 24, 2014
    Best Worst Holiday Gift Ever?

    I ran across this faux fur-covered ice scraper on the Neiman Marcus web site and I cannot stop laughing. For Neiman’s it’s actually a bargain – coming in at jut $35. Bonus points for this amazing accompanying photo.


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    November 21, 2014
    Best Thanksgiving Time-Savers

    We know we shouldn’t over-commit on our Thanksgiving menus, but we do it anyways. I find the best strategy for getting things done is to make anything I can ahead of time. Here are a few of my favorite make-ahead recipes and one cheat to help you through the holiday.

    1) Make and Freeze Pie Crusts The Weekend Before - If you just can’t do without homemade pie crust (I know I can’t), you can simply make them ahead of time and pop them in the freezer for the convenience of the store-bought stuff. Get Martha Stewart’s make-ahead pie crust recipe here.

    2) Make Mac & Cheese The Night Before and Keep it in the Fridge – I think mac & cheese is actually better when it sits over night before the final baking. It gives the flavors time to meld. I usually go with this recipe from Martha Stewart and add the crumb topping just before baking.

    3) Make Soups Ahead a Few Days Ahead – I find that soups, like mac & cheese, taste better after a night or two in the fridge.

    4) Replace Turkey with an Alternative Main – I have a deep dark secret: I’ve never cooked a turkey. A few years ago, my family discovered that none of us really likes turkey that much. Instead, we’ve begun replacing the traditional bird with other meats. I like to go for something that I can’t do at home – like a brisket from a local BBQ joint, or a smoked ham. But other time-saving options would be a roast chicken or duck – both of which take much less time to cook. Or, if you can’t do without turkey, go buy one. In my home town, most of the BBQ restaurants sell smoked turkeys – which, for turkey, are pretty amazing.


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    October 31, 2014
    Happy Halloween!

    It’s Halloween, and you know what that means. Candy! Here’s a handy guide to the best and worst of Halloween sweets to poach from your kids’ holiday haul courtesy of Buzzfeed. Spoiler Alert: Reece’s Peanut Butter Pumpkins are coming in #1. Above Chocolate print, $29 from Poster Dog.


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