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Cookie Swap: Chocolate Dipped Lemon Cookie

christmas cookies lemon

Every year, I take a couple of hours to make a few different types of Christmas cookies and then freeze them to bring out for pop up parties and hostess gifts.  I always make different varieties each year (no repeats!) just to keep things exciting and to teach myself something new.

Although I do try something new each year, I do a couple of things consistently.  I always include a citrus cookie and a marshmallow variety.  The others are all fair game. And here is a fun surprise… not only will you be getting my recipe today, you’ll also be getting the recipes from 10 other amazing bloggers participating in this ‘cookie swap’. More on that after the recipe.

lemon christmas cookies

When I was looking for my citrus cookie this year, I decided to throw it at Bing and their new Bing Smart Search on Windows 8.1.  Typing in ‘Lemon Christmas Cookie’ (no lemon bars here) I was happy to see how the results popped up, which made it really easy for me to pick a direction and build this recipe. Continue Reading…


Our Simple Christmas Decor

cabin christmas

We spent the evening trimming our tree last night, although it didn’t take too much time with the decorations I chose to use this year.  Since we were going on vacation and didn’t have too much time with the tree, I didn’t want to go to in great depths with it.  I chose to have a simple, rustic type theme this year with no tree ornaments, and just a few minimal, but festive, touches to bring it all together.

My main switch-up this year was to use big colorful bauble lights on the tree instead of my usually white lights with glittery accents.  I used a plaid blanket to wrap the bulb of our tree and keep things looking like a rustic woodsy cabin.  Very simple accessories like a snow studded wooden star and brass stocking hangers rounded out the simplicity of the look.

rustic cabin christmas decorations

colorful christmas decoration

It’s pretty simple, but I think it makes a statement!  Continue Reading…


‘Tis the season for diy Christmas Cards

Diy christmas card

We just arrived back from Hawaii last night and I got to making my homemade christmas cards immediately!  I have wanted to do a card with some natural greenery on it for years, but had other card ideas that I kept using.  What’s better is that the cards cost just $0.35 each.

handmade christmas card

souder christmas card

I bought solid kraft paper cards and although they were of the fold over variety, I just sliced each in half to make a pack of 12 into a pack of 24.  I then ran the cards through my printer with a simple and festive ” ’tis the season” message.  A couple sprigs of boxwood from a $9.99 Trader Joes wreath and a little hot clue made them just perfect.

Rosemary would also make an adorable (and fragrant) card.

What do you think?  Do you have an hour up your sleeve to spare on these darling cards?



Friday Faves 12.6

Friday Faves 12.6

ONE the most darling tea pots I’ve ever seen.  They’d make a great gift for the hard-to-buy-for on your list.  £59 from Emma Bridgewater. More Emma Bridgewater teapots from £59 TWO brushed silver geometric lamp is very simple and still so cool.  $42 from Target. THREE I love this monogramed log tub from Mark and Graham.  I would use it for a ton of ice and some bottled beer and wine.  It would also make a phenomenal gift.  FOUR monogrammed paperweight is so cute.  I just love the ski one! $35 from Mark and Graham.  FIVE these might be the ornaments I’d get if I were doing ornaments this year.  They’re little photo-real ornament scenes from Terrain for $38.


I have had a phenomenal week in Hawaii, and although I have been loving it, there’s a bit of snowy christmasy stuff that I’m missing out on back home.  I am excited to start decorating as soon as I’m back, but for the remainder of my trip here in the islands, I’ll be hitting up the Na Pali coast tomorrow and seeing some more sights before I head home tomorrow!

In the meantime,  we have a TON of stuff going on this week -

*please vote for my 12 Days of Marsala recipe over here.  I would be FOREVER grateful since my winning would mean a trip to Italy… Please vote!

*We have a Lowes accent chair giveaway going on right now!  Definitely enter because the chair  is awesome!


Cane Chair Fabric Solve

Swiss dot fabric

So, I know I’ve been holding out on revealing the cane chair redo, but you know I had a fabric dilemma, right?  To recap, I polled you guys on what fabric I should use for my found cane chairs and a grey and black tribal type design won, but once I got the fabric in, I posted about how it was actually like a blue/grey which I didn’t think would match the gold I was planning to use on the chair frame.

So, I chose to use this giant flocked dot fabric from Mood, but it was sold out.  Roadblock after roadblock here.  I took a closer look at the giant flocked fabric and it reminded me of the yarn ties that I had on a quilt that used to cover my childhood bed.  I got to thinking that I could probably make this fabric, so that is just what I did.

pom fabric

Keep reading to see how I made this pom pom fabric to use on my cane chairs!  (finished photos soon!)  Continue Reading…


Spicy Marsala Gnocci

spicy gnocci

I have a treat for you today!  In the wintertime, with the days getting shorter and the nights getting colder, easy, warm dinners are essential.  I love to cook, but was thrown a challenge this week to make a recipe using Colombo Marsala.  It’s being featured in their ’12 Days of Marsala’ and I’m so excited to be included!  I’d never cooked with marsala before, but love the way this Spicy Marsala Gnocci turned out. It’s hearty, spicy, and a bit tangy.

The best part of the challenge, for me, is that if I win… I win a trip to Italy!  So please, head over to the contest Facebook page and vote for me!  I’ll be forever thankful!

gnocci recipe

It’s super easy (about 20 minutes) and I’m sure you’ll love it!  If you don’t like strong cheeses, swap the gorgonzola for parmesan, you’ll still love the smoky, spicy mix of the panchetta and the crushed red pepper.

Spicy Marsala Gnocci with Gorgonzola
Time: 25 minutes
Serves: 4
1 tsp olive oil
6 oz chopped panchetta
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tsp crushed red pepper
1 cup Colombo Marsala Dry
16 oz package Gnocchi
4 tablespoons crumbled gorgonzola cheese
I hope you love it!  Don’t forget to vote for it over on the Colombo Marsala page!  I’m crossing my fingers!

Handmade Christmas: Leather Home Accessories

DIY gifts

It’s common to hear ‘handmade gifts’ and think about a wobbly knit scarf and ill fitting beanie.  I promise you, this three week series of handmade gifts will leave your recipients really happy to know you.  First up, we have a set of leather desk accessories – a gorgeous fringed keychain and leather catch-all.

Your friends and family with love what some metallic leather pieces do to their space and you’ll love giving something that you crafted by hand.

Handmade gifts - leather

leather DIY gifts fringe keychain

There are so many options based on what leather colors you use.  I bought lots of small pieces from a few different Etsy shops which were more than enough to do this project. It was pretty easy (about 30 minutes total) to get two really darling pieces that you loved ones will be so impressed by.  Keep reading for the full tutorial and templates.

Continue Reading…


Holiday Decorating: Minimal Scandinavian Rustic


Target Red White Decor

BIRCH logs  |  RED wire basket  |  TREE pillow  |  STOCKING with embroidery  |  CHEERS cocktail napkins  |  CONFETTI glassware  |  PLAID blanket  |  VILLAGE metal lanterns  |  REINDEER bust

I couldn’t bear the thought of leaving for Hawaii without preparing my holiday decorations.  Now don’t get me wrong, I did not have time to get everything set up, but I did buy the tree and any new decorations and brought others out of storage so that as soon as I touch down in one week, I can hit the ground running.

I always put together a little decor scheme to help me narrow my focus for the holidays. This year, since I’ll be traveling, I wanted to keep the decor simple, but still very festive.  While I don’t usually decorate with red (or wear red, it’s a personal thing), this year I can get a lot of ‘bang for my buck’ by adding in the bright, merry hue without having to overhaul the house.

My tree is going to *gasp* have no ornaments.  None. My plan is to wrap the bulb in a plaid blanket and put lights on it. It’s going to be a very we-just-brought-this-tree-in-from-the-forest look.  The rest of the decorations will follow the same esthetic – warm, simple, and merry.

It all started with these little red village candle holders from Target and spun off from there.  Since I felt like the look could easily turn very ‘country’, I kept the rest of the decorations very very minimal and somewhat masculine (hence the no tree ornaments).

It’s not very conventional of me, I usually lean toward the silver and gold sparkle, but I really was trying to get outside my usual this year and try something fun and new.  What do you think?


p.s. Don’t forget we have TWO giveaways going on!  Enter here and here!  Also, make sure to check out the rest of the amazing giveaways in the 24 Merry Days! Chelsea from Lovely Indeed has an amazing one going on today as well!



Disclosure: Compensation was provided by Target via Glam Media.  The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Target.


24 Merry Days Giveaway: Lowe’s Accent Chair

24 merry days - lowes giveaway
It’s the first day of December, and you know what that means – the beginning of 24 Merry Days of giveaways!  I am the first in line to kick off this merry month with an accent chair giveaway from Lowe’s!  I LOVE this chair and am so so excited that one of you will be winning it! If you follow Jordan from Oh Happy Day, you’ll know that she recently featured this chair in her holiday guest room that she designed for the Lowe’s holiday look book.  Isn’t it such a modern classic piece?

lowes accent chair giveaway

Well, if you love it, then enter to win it!  We’re running the giveaway for just one week, so let’s go!
a Rafflecopter giveaway


**For US residents only.  Sorry for any inconvenience** 

Be sure to bookmark the 24 Merry Days site because we’ll be unveiling special prizes every single day for the next 23 days right up until Christmas. That’s a whole lot of merry!


*don’t forget to check out the rest of the amazing giveaways – Chelsea from Lovely Indeed has an amazing one for you tomorrow as well!


Notes from a Holiday Weekend



Happy Weekend, guys! I know some of you had to rally yesterday and head into work after the Thanksgiving holiday and now you’re finally relaxing.  I’ve had a moment to sit still this morning (since I’m on a plane for the next 8 hours, but more about that later), and take a moment to reflect on the holiday, and the last two weeks of self employment and the time out to think and reflect is definitely a powerful thing.

I wanted to take the opportunity to talk openly about the move to self-employment, the motivators and moments it took for me to take the leap, and how anyone can find fulfillment in their careers. I am following along with Hilary Rushford on her upcoming book launch regarding what she calls the ‘4-part Entrepreneurial Cocktail’.  She speaks about four main parts of being a successful entrepreneur – How to stay motivated, how to play to our strengths, how to turn a profit, and how to do it all without being overwhelmed.  Hillary has asked 30 business owners and bloggers to chime in on one of these four parts of her ‘entrepreneurial cocktail’.  I thought I’d take the time to share with you a little about my entrepreneurial spirit, what motivated me to start this blog, and what motivates me everyday to continue. I get so many emails of people wanting to know more about my background and how I went from a college chemist to creative business owner and how I got started blogging.  The truth is, it all started by needing to take the first step toward making something of my own and making a name for myself.  I knew the life I wanted (a creative business of my own), but I didn’t know quite how to get there, so I took one step and that was to start a blog. What continues to motivate me is something I could have never expected. Continue Reading…